The Manner of His Coming
2 Thess. 1: 8- 10
The Lord is coming and He will fulfil His promise that “I will come again”. Paul is telling the Thessalonians that though they are suffering now for their faith, God is faithful. He will reward believers like them and the apostolic team with kingdom “rest” when the Lord Jesus returns with His mighty angels from heaven.
Illustration 1: Biblical Prophecy
Biblical prophecy provides some of the greatest encouragement and hope available to us today. Just as the Old Testament is saturated with prophecies concerning Christ’s first advent, so both testaments are filled with references to the second coming of Christ. One scholar has estimated that there are 1,845 references to Christ’s second coming in the Old Testament, where 17 books give it prominence. In the 260 chapters of the New Testament, there are 318 references to the second advent of Christ—an amazing 1 out of every 30 verses. Twenty-three of the 27 New Testament books refer to this great event. For every prophecy in the Bible concerning Christ’s first advent, there are 8 which look forward to His second!
Today in the Word, April, 1989, p. 27
I. In flaming fire (2Thess. 1:8)
A. The flaming fire denotes brightness, glory, purity, and also destruction to adversaries. Dazzling brightness is always associated with his coming. God was revealed at Sinai in flaming fire (Ex 3:2; 19:18). The flaming fire may refer also to the Shekinah glory associated with the manifestations of God (Ex. 40:34-38; Ezek. 43:4f; Isa. 6:1; Rev. 15:8), and again to fire as an instrument of judgment (Num. 16:35; Lev. 10:2; Ps. 50:3; 97:3) or perhaps both.
B. Vengeance” is God’s judgment on unrepentant, unbelieving sinners. It is the “fierceness and wrath of Almighty God” (Rev. 19:15). It is the vengeance of God against those who have broken His holy law. Every infraction of the law will be punished, every sin of thought and deed.
C. Them that know not God. People who know him not because they refuse to know him. Rom. 1:28.
D. And obey not. This class refuse to accept and obey the gospel. Their day of grace will end with the day of the Lord.
Illustration 2: Revenge/Vengeance
On Monday, June 11, 2001, Timothy McVeigh was put to death for his crime of blowing up the federal office building in Oklahoma and killing 168 people. He served his death sentence as specified by the law of the land of the United States of America. His death was televised to specific groups.
The law specifies the death penalty for certain crimes, but that practice has been under scrutiny for many years. Some do not believe it is right to take another’s life for any reason. Others believe the taking of a life is justified in certain cases.
A moot point as far as McVeigh is concerned. He is dead.
After the dust has settled, I’m left asking this question, “Was Timothy McVeigh’s death about justice, or about revenge?” A question everyone who wanted McVeigh to die must grapple with themselves. If it was about justice, that is one thing. But if it was about revenge, that is another. Revenge cannot satisfy the hole in your soul. Revenge only makes the hole deeper.
Romans 12:19 “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.”
II. The punishment (2 Thess. 1:9)
A. “Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction” (2 Thess. 1:9). God’s judgment is punishment for disobedience and rebellion. The punishment is everlasting destruction. This is not annihilation; it is eternal suffering in the lake of fire (Rev. 20:10-15). It is “everlasting punishment” (Mt. 25:46). It is the destruction of everything that men hold dear. It is “everlasting contempt” (Dan. 12:2).
B. From the presence of the Lord. We can see the nature of “everlasting destruction”
in two “from” clauses.
1. First, everlasting destruction is “from the presence of the Lord.” The word “presence” means face. Those who reject Christ will have no fellowship with God for eternity. They will not meet Him in personal relationship. God will drive them far from His presence. Being in the Lord’s presence will make heaven, heaven.
2. The second term everlasting destruction is separation “from the majesty of God’s visible splendour and power, His majesty”. “Power” here denotes ability, force, strength. This is a strength afforded by power. Unbelievers will be forever shut out from the Lord’s presence and His power.
C. God’s power has a “glory.” The “glory” of His power signifies the visible expression of Jesus’ inherent personal power. Jesus has the exceptional ability to do what He has to do. He has the special personal ability to be the source for true, eternal, quality life. When we separate ourselves from Him, we cannot have the quality-of-life God wants
us to have.
III. When He shall come (2 Thess. 1:10)
A. This is not the Rapture (1 Thess. 4:13-18; John 14:2-3), for no judgment accompanies the Rapture. Instead, it is the revelation of Jesus Christ in power and great glory (Ps. 2:1-9; Matt. 25:31), when He will set up His earthly kingdom (Rev. 19:11-20:4). At His return He will destroy the Armageddon armies gathered against Him (Rev. 16:12-16; 19:19-21) and will then judge living Jews (Ezek. 20:33-38) and living Gentiles (Matt. 24:31-46). These judgments are the ones just described (2 Thess. 1:9).
B. The exact date of His return is not given, of course, but it will be a day of judgment for the lost and a day of glory and marvelling for believers. Christ will be ¯glorified (not by) His saints, that is, His glory will be mirrored in them. Christians will marvel in that they will admire their Lord for what He has done in them. All believers will marvel—not just those living on the earth and those resurrected when Christ returns, but also
those who return to earth with Him, those who had been caught up to be with the Lord at the Rapture.
Illustration 3: Return of Christ
The Second Coming is a term applied to the return of Christ. If there is a second coming, it follows that there must have been a first. The first coming of Christ was His incarnation when He was born. At the second coming of Christ every eye will see Him (Rev. 1:7) as He descends from heavens in the clouds (Matt. 24:30; Mark 14:62).
Christ’s return at the end of the world to establish God’s kingdom (1 Cor. 15:23-25). The New Testament does not use this expression; it refers simply to “the coming” (parousia), also called a “reveal(ing)” of Jesus (1 Cor. 1:7), or an “appearing” (Titus 2:13). There is dispute about the relationship of Christ’s second coming to the thousand years, or millennium (Rev. 20:4), but none as to the fact that it will be God’s decisive and indispensable intervention. Christ’s coming to destroy all evil will be the culmination of his redemptive work.
The Shaw Pocket Bible Handbook, Walter A. Elwell, Editor, (Harold Shaw Publ., Wheaton, IL; 1984), p. 358
The Lord Jesus Christ will come in flaming fire, in brightness of His glory, to punish with everlasting destruction those that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Don’t be one of them. Repent from your sins and receive Christ as your personal saviour before it’s too late.