Watching and Waiting, May 2024

Happy May First Baptist,

Some weeks ago now I got a call about a person’s concerns. They had seen the news that Iran had launched a missile barrage at Israel. The barrage included around 300 projectiles, and was launched from Iran and its supported groups. The idea that Israel was attacked, brought up fears and ideas about the end of the world and the return of Christ.

The order of events surrounding Jesus’ return is somewhat clouded because so much of the book of Revelation is apocryphal. The book of Revelation uses images and pictures and numerology and it sometimes feels that there is little concrete explanation. I personally believe that Revelation represents a timeline of events, and that each of those images within Revelation represents concrete realities. The overarching picture of a seven year tribulation is not a tribulation I expect to experience. As Peter teaches in his 2nd letter 2:4-9, God plans to rescue the church from such tribulation in the world. It is the reason I and many others expect the rapture to occur first.

As Paul writes in his letter, Second Thessalonians, The Antichrist is being held back. He is being held back by a person, and when that person is removed The Antichrist will be revealed. The one holding him back cannot be a human being, and so we are left with either an angel or the Holy Spirit being the one who restrains him. I suspect that the answer is that the Holy Spirit is restraining The Antichrist from rising. And so, the removal of the Holy Spirit will occur at the same time as the rapture when those who have the Holy Spirit will be caught up together with Christ in the sky.

So I remind you as Paul did the Thessalonians, we are not to become easily unsettled, or alarmed by the words of some that The Day the Lord has already come or the tribulation has already begun. The Thessalonians were under the impression that they had missed the rapture, but that was not the case.

Therefore, as we are still waiting for Jesus to return just as they were, Paul says “stand firm and hold fast to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter.” Jesus says, “About that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father… it is like a man going away: He leaves his servants in charge, each with their own assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch… you do not know when the own- er of the house will come back.”

Watching and Waiting,

Pastor Dave