Paul's Passing Thoughts

Thessalonica, and a Contemporary End Time Scenario

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on December 9, 2020

Bible prophecy was a keen interest of mine when I first became a Christian in 1983 and I have recently revisited the subject. As you know, I believe the Bible is inspired by God because of its consistent theme of justification by new birth as opposed to religion’s soteriology of choice, progressive justification, which throws biblical understanding into total chaos. The Bible is best understood by interpreting its words biblically to determine the meaning in context, and letting the words say what they say.

This is why I believe the next historical act of God will be a sudden and unexpected snatching up of living Christians from the earth. Though we do not know when this will occur, we can get an idea of how close we are to this event from biblical information compared to current events. The apostle Paul’s two letters to Christ’s assemblies in Thessalonica are key to understanding this.

But first, let’s establish the idea of a sudden and unexpected transport of living Christians from the earth to meet Christ in the air, or among the clouds. This was first revealed in Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians:

1Corinthians 15:50 – I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. 53 For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality.

Biblically, a “mystery” is something that God has planned in the past but revealed at some other time. A resurrection would not have been a mystery to the Corinthians or any other Christians at that time. This is something different. This is a mass resurrection of Christians who are still living. This is something previously not revealed: “We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye.” Biblically, trumpets are synonymous with a public announcement or a call to assemble. “Last” often refers to the last part of an event that can vary in number. Some scholars believe “last” in this passage refers to a second sounding of a trumpet in regard to this particular event.

1Thessalonians 4:16 – For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words.

Some suggest “last” is a second trumpet in this event that heralds the snatching up of living Christians in this same event. The dead in Christ will be raised “first.” This is a consistent literary construction in other biblical passages. Also, however, we are in a time when God’s people are specifically identified as ekklesia, or Christ’s called out assembly for specific purposes. The idea of a last trumpet could refer to a last grand gathering of the ekklesia with Christ.

When will this happen? The Bible gives us one clue: at a time when people think it’s not going to happen anytime soon or at all. We are in those times. The idea of Christ coming unexpectedly and snatching away his followers from the earth is widely mocked in the church and chalked up to spiritual immaturity. In addition, the Bible suggests that this return of Christ will come during a time of peace and prosperity. These are not going to be popular ideas during a time that we are in now, that is, a return to Martin Luther’s Theology of the Cross soteriology in the church, which makes suffering the driving principle for salvation and sanctification. “No pain, no gain,” so to speak.

Paul’s letters to the Thessalonians supply definitive information on this subject and this post is limited to that information. The unexpected return of Christ to snatch living Christians from the earth, referred to as “the rapture,” will occur prior to the day of the Lord which is a seven year period culminating in Armageddon. I believe the rapture itself will initiate the day of the Lord. In the best scenario I see presently, the “great reset” will FAIL in regard to COVID-19, but will prevail in regard to the panic and chaos that the rapture will bring about. This is because the rapture will not go unnoticed:

1Thessolonians 4:16 – For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.

COVID-19 will NOT usher in the great reset, but will usher in the the intended technology that got all dressed up with no place to go. In this THEORY I am presenting, the present-day worldwide populist movement will prevail against the Orwellian “great reset” that is presently being foisted upon the world with the excuse being COVID-19. However, the rapture will be an apocalyptical event that will circumvent all reason and make the masses putty in the hands of the world leader who will emerge.

The rapture will not occur during the day of the Lord for this simple reason: the day of the Lord is a succinct seven-year period marked by uber-unique historical events and a very specific timeline. In fact, regarding when the day of the Lord is going to occur, Paul told the Thessalonians that it is a mute issue:

1Thessolonians 5:1ff – Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need to have anything written to you. For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief. For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness. So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, are drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him. Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.

Paul’s point here is that Christians are always ready for the day of the Lord’s return and whenever it comes, they will not be taken by surprise like those who say, “Where is the promise of his coming?” and “peace and safety.” Throughout the New Testament, this point is belabored over and over again by Christ and others. The Thessalonians had received a fake letter stating that the day of the Lord had already come. Paul replied by reminding them that the antichrist would be revealed first, and then defining the day of the Lord by describing the major events that would take place during that time period:

Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we ask you, brothers, not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by a spirit or a spoken word, or a letter seeming to be from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God. Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? And you know what is restraining him now so that he may be revealed in his time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. Only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming. The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

In Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians, he clearly states that days or seasons are irrelevant because the time comes like a thief in the night who gives no clues as to a time or place and relies on the element of surprise. But, since the Thessalonians were being taught that the day of the Lord had already come, Paul points to events that mark the beginning of the day of the Lord and goes on to describe the whole time period. Specifically, what marks the beginning, middle, and end. Paul writes this to comfort them. If the day of the Lord includes the rapture, why would this necessarily upset the Thessalonians when it would indicate the rapture was near (within seven years at most)? NO, Paul was comforting them because they thought they had missed the rapture which means they were false converts. If Paul had taught them in this context that “through much suffering we must enter the kingdom of God,” and the day of the Lord was at hand which also means that the rapture was at hand, why would that shake their mind and cause alarm? Why would times and seasons be the issue rather than their attitude about the reality? And, once the beginning signs of the day of the Lord occur, where is the thief’s element of surprise?

Of course, some will say that’s the whole point: Christians are not overtaken by the day like they would be by a thief because they know what signs to look for. Then why would Paul say there is no need to discuss days and seasons because thieves don’t hint at when they are coming? And, while Paul was describing the beginning, middle, and end of the day of the Lord, why wouldn’t he specify where the rapture was going to occur specifically in that time period?

Also, if we want to rely on strict grammar to make our conclusions, we must ask what day Paul is talking about? The day of the Lord or the rapture? The context is clear: it’s the “day of the Lord” which is the whole seven year period ending with Armageddon. The subject is clearly the day of the Lord with the implications of that time’s arrival being the cause for alarm.

I would say the present-day populist movement ushering in a time of peace and prosperity is a likely scenario leading up to the day of the Lord. However, the ability of patriots, nationalists, and conservatives to recognize how a pandemic is being used to take control of the world is different than “The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing.” The worldwide populist movement is not a Biblicist movement; when the antichrist starts performing miraculous signs and wonders, all bets will be off. Populists will stand in line to receive whatever the mega church state (that the antichrist will be in charge of) tells them to receive. For example, conservatives like Tucker Carlson accept the possibilities of extraterrestrial aliens who have visited earth. If, by way of the antichrist being allowed to display miraculous delusions, aliens show up and endorse the antichrist, all present logic and politics would be thrown out the window; Biblicists would be the only ones capable of lodging a logical argument through what the Bible has predicted. Certainly, liberal versus conservative ideas would quickly become a thing of the past.

Another consideration follows: the antichrists is described as being “lawless”  or the “man of lawlessness.” At least in the United States, politics have replaced all principles. The Obama administration was completely lawless. I think Barak Obama, to some degree, is a snapshot of what the antichrist will be: a self-willed arrogant individual who completely disregards basic principles of right and wrong and completely disregards the laws of the land. This is the new leadership style we see worldwide; a total disregard for basic principles of right and wrong that are self-evident.

This would be my best guess: the present-day populist movement will usher in a time of worldwide peace and prosperity. If the Democrats successfully steal this election, their power will be short-lived and the populist movement Donald Trump has started will make a huge comeback within a couple of years. The result will be an unprecedented time of peace and prosperity worldwide. Then, the rapture will take place and that will do what COVID-19 couldn’t. The great reset, headed by the antichrist, will take place virtually unhindered.

paul

 

 

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