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The Day of the Lord’s Appearing

In my last post, I began a study of Paul’s second letter to the Thessalonians.  As I said, because of a false message, they believed that Christ had already come and that they had missed it.  Paul is writing this letter to calm them down and get them on course again.

All this is evidence that God’s judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering.
2 Thessalonians 1:5

In my last post, we saw that Paul began the letter by commending them for their faith and perseverance in spite of the persecution that they’re suffering.  What he wants these believers to see is that if they remain faithful, they will not miss out on the Lord’s return.

Now, Paul wants to explain to them about some of the things that are going to happen in the future.  This is one of those verses that’s mostly ignored by people who believe in a seven-year waiting period between the Rapture and the Day of the Lord.

God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you 7 and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels.
2 Thessalonians 1:6-7

This passage literally says that God is righteous.  In His righteousness, He will vindicate His people.  He will not let things go on the way they are forever.

There’s a limit to the Lord’s patience.  On our part, it’s faith and perseverance that will see us through to the end where we’ll see the righteousness of God revealed.

The Scripture is clear that when it happens, both punishments and rewards will be handed out.  The word he uses for give relief, literally means rest, relief, and relaxation from trouble.

Paul uses the same word, trouble, in this passage (also translated “tribulation”) that Jesus used when He said, “As long as you are in the world you will have trouble.”  Paul said that there’s a day coming when Christ is going to relieve you of trouble.

So, if Jesus said that as long as you’re in the world you’ll have trouble, then the only way we’re going to be relieved of trouble is if we leave the world.  It’s only logical.

But verse 7 says this will happen when He reveals himself from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels.  That sounds very similar to what Jesus said about His return.

He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.  They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed.  This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you.
2 Thessalonians 1:8-10

Paul goes so far as to say that the relief of the Church and the punishment of the world will happen on the same day.  Isn’t that just what Jesus said?

On the day that we’re relieved, He’s going to judge those that don’t want to believe.  It’s no wonder that so many people ignore this section of Scripture.  It reiterates Jesus’ teaching that there’s no waiting time between the taking up of the church and the punishment of the ungodly.  It all happens THE SAME DAY.

Question: Why is the seven-year waiting period such a popular teaching in our generation?

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

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Posted by on October 19, 2018 in Return of Christ, The Church

 

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Jesus Teaches About His Return

In my last post, I talked about the Day of the Lord.  That’s the day that when Christ appears to rule over the earth.  Every eye will see Him as He establishes His millennial kingdom.  The Lord explained to His disciples exactly when this would take place.

“But in those days, following that distress, ‘the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’
“At that time men will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory.  And he will send his angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens.”
Mark 13:24-27

Here’s one of the verses that many Bible teachers seem to ignore.  This is the statement that Christ uses to bring all His other teachings into perspective.  Are you going to ignore it, or are you going to believe what Christ Himself taught?

This day may be called many things: “The Day of the Lord”, “The Day of the Son of Man”, or “The Day of Christ”.  Whatever you want to call it, it’s the day Christ returns to the earth to claim His rightful throne.

He makes it perfectly clear.  Mankind will see this return.  This is the day He comes to establish His kingdom.  His teachings to the disciples referred to it as His day, the day Christ comes to reign on the earth.  But wait!  What else happens on this same day?

The Lord makes that clear as well.  He sends out His angels to gather His elect – the church.  The angels will then gather us from the four winds, meaning those of us who are living on the earth at the time of His appearing.  It also says that they will gather us from the heavens. That means those believers who have already died before this day.

That makes this the Resurrection Day as well – the last day of the age.  According to Christ Himself, the Day of the Lord and the Resurrection Day are one and the same.  Look at how the Gospel of Matthew records it.

“At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn.  They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory.  And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.”
Matthew 24:30-31

All nations will mourn.  They – all nations – will see Him.  There will be a trumpet call.  The Scripture makes it very clear that the elect, those committed to Christ, will be gathered up on that day. This is the same day that Christ appears to all nations to take His rightful place as the Ruler of the earth.

How does that sit with what you’ve been taught?  Jesus teaches that the Resurrection Day and the Day of the Lord are the very same day.  Now the choice is up to you.  Who are you going to believe?  A man who comes saying that there’s a seven-year wait between the two or the Living Word of God Himself?  As for me, I chose to believe what Christ teaches.

Question: Why is the belief in the seven-year wait so popular?

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on July 9, 2018 in Return of Christ

 

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Do You Know the Two Resurrections

GravesWe’ve been discussing Jesus’ teaching on the resurrection as the key to understanding the Second Coming. In talking about this, the Lord describes two kinds. Here is the first.

“I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life. I tell you the truth, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live.”
John 5:24-25

It’s obvious that Jesus is talking about a spiritual resurrection here, because He uses the phrase, has now come. It was not future, but was being fulfilled in the days that Jesus walked the earth.

The Pharisees were the dead people (spiritually) that Jesus was talking about. He was telling them, “Wake up! You’re dead and if you want life, you must believe and obey my words.”

It was time for them to hear and live. Jesus loved them and desired that they would pass over from death into life.

They could have experienced the life-giving power of God. Unfortunately, their pride kept them from accepting Christ for who He was. Even today pride is one of the biggest hindrances to the move of God in the church.

Jesus makes an important point here. It’s the basis of our belief in His return. Christ is the Life-Giver. This is the foundation for everything else. He uses it as the platform from which to speak of His future ministry of raising the dead (physically) to life.

“For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son to have life in himself. And he has given him authority to judge because he is the Son of Man.
“Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out – those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned. By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.”
John 5:26-30

This is the first recorded incident in Jesus’ ministry where He mentions the end-times. No, He doesn’t say a lot about it, but what He does say is at the very core of our belief in the Second Coming.

Jesus explains that there’s a day coming when all who are in their graves will hear His voice and will come out – those who have done good will rise to live; those who have done evil will rise to be condemned.

Unfortunately, we usually miss this key. Yet it’s the foundation stone for everything else that you’ll learn about when you study the Second Coming of Christ. The entire message that Jesus teaches builds on this.

Question: Have you experienced spiritual resurrection? How did it change your outlook on life?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 
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Posted by on August 17, 2016 in Power of God, Return of Christ

 

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The Last Days – The Fear Factor

MoonI’ve been posting about how we should be living in the last days. In my last article I talked about what not to do.

“There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”
Luke 21:25-28

Jesus makes it very clear. In the last days before His return the world will be in anguish and perplexity. People will faint from terror; apprehensive at what they think is coming. If that’s you, then STOP IT! You’re not of the world.

The fact is that there will be different signs in the natural world. Right now we just went through a sequence of “Blood Moons” that had many believers in panic mode.

What is a blood moon? Most people – even preachers – don’t know what it is. Simply put, a blood moon is a lunar eclipse. Then why call it a blood moon? For effect – it sounds more exciting and ominous that way; and it sells more books.

Please forgive me if I sound a little critical about this. I really do love my brothers and sisters in the Lord who major on current events and try to fit them into end-time Scriptures.

Like I said in a previous post; I’ve studied the Second Coming since the 70’s. That means that I’ve seen a lot of these predictions over the years. All of them had a bunch of Scripture backing them up. It’s a very dangerous thing to try and take the predictions of the Bible and definitively link them to current events.

I remember one prominent preacher who said, based upon Scripture and current events, that the Communist flag would be raised in Washington, DC on July 4, 1976. Then there was the comet Kehotek and the lining up of the planets. Both of which launched a number of predictions that Christ would return at that time.

Of course, 40 years after the return of Israel to their homeland in 1948 we read the book 88 Reasons why Jesus is Returning in 1988. Soon to be followed by 89 reasons…

Many of you may remember the posters that were everywhere proclaiming that the rapture would occur in 1990. Then, there was Harold Camping’s prediction that it would happen in 1994. After that, there was Y2K and Saddam Hussein supposedly rebuilding Babylon. Then Harold Camping was back claiming the rapture would occur in 2011. Then even Hollywood picked up on the Mayan and Hebrew calendars ending in 2012. Now we’ve heard about all the blood moons that took place through September of this year.

What bothers me about all this is that there are people in the body of Christ running scared. They’re spending their money buying survival supplies; fearful and confused about the future. That’s not what we should be doing.

As a believer, you will not survive because you prepared for the apocalypse. You’ll survive because God promised “I will supply all of your need according to My riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19)

If you keep focused on Jesus, you won’t need to fear what’s coming on the earth.

Question: How have you been affected by predictions of future events?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 
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Posted by on November 20, 2015 in Faith, Return of Christ, The Church

 

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The Long Wait

 

PowerlessI’m writing a series of posts about the parable of the Ten Virgins so that the people of God who are wise and listening will be prepared for the most glorious hour the church has ever known. Please don’t be like the foolish virgins who recklessly go out, never realizing that their meager oil supply would be their undoing.

“At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’
“Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’
“‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’

“But while they were on their way to buy oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.
“Later the others came. ‘Sir! Sir!’ they said. ‘Open the door for us!’
“But he replied, ‘I tell you the truth, I don’t know you.’
“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.”
Matthew 25:6-13

When they had all fallen asleep, the cry came forth waking them up. At that point it became obvious that the time of the bridegroom’s arrival was near. Here we can clearly see what constituted their foolishness. Please hear well what the Lord is saying – it could save your life.

Obviously Jesus saw a set of circumstances in the Last Days that would have the ability to rob Christians of their faith. I believe that the present teaching about the seven year Pre-Tribulational Rapture is just such a danger. What do you suppose will happen to believers who have put their faith in this doctrine? What will happen to their faith when it becomes clear that they’ll not be airlifted out before any trouble starts? Many will lose their faith in the Word.

Notice that the foolish virgins still had their lamps. The problem was that they had no fuel. It’s easy to love if you think that you’ll be taken away before the real problems start. But if my goal is for personal comfort, then when it becomes known that I must stay until the end, it’s every man for himself. My love degrades into a self-love.

These virgins were not called foolish because they lacked any faith. They were not called foolish because they were not waiting for the bridegroom. It’s obvious to see that they were the ones who believed that the groom was coming quickly.

They had placed all their faith in the Lord’s quick appearing, so they felt no need to bring any extra oil with them on their vigil. They were not called foolish because they didn’t expect the Lord to come so soon. They were not caught off guard by the Lord’s immediate coming.

The problem was that they were not prepared to wait through the night as long as they were supposed to. They were looking for the return of Christ too soon. The fact is that they lost faith because Jesus took longer than they expected for His return.

Question: How long are you willing to wait for Christ’s return?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on December 29, 2014 in Faith, Return of Christ, The Church

 

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The Return of Christ – Who do You Believe?

Cloud2In my last post I talked about the Day of the Lord. That’s the day that when Christ appears to rule over the earth. Every eye will see Him as He establishes His millennial kingdom. The Lord explained to His disciples exactly when this would take place.

“At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.”
Matthew 24:30-31

Here’s the verse many Bible teachers love to ignore. This is the statement that Christ uses to bring all His other teachings into perspective. Are you going to ignore it, or are you going to believe what Christ Himself taught?

This day may be called many things: “The Day of the Lord”, “The Day of the Son of Man”, or “The Day of Christ”. Whatever you want to call it, it’s the day Christ returns to the earth to claim His rightful throne.

He makes it perfectly clear. All nations will mourn. They – all nations – will see Him. This is the day He comes to establish His kingdom. In His teachings to the disciples He has referred to it as His day, the day Christ comes to reign on the earth. But wait! What else happens on this same day?

The Lord makes that clear as well. He sends out His angels to gather His elect – the church. There will be a trumpet call. The angels will then gather us from the four winds, meaning those of us who are living on the earth at the time of His appearing. It also says that they will gather us from one end of heaven to the other. That means those believers who have already died before this day.

That makes this the resurrection day as well – the last day of the age. According to Christ Himself, the Day of the Lord and the Resurrection Day are one and the same. Look at how the Gospel of Mark records it.

“But in those days, following that distress, ‘the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’
“At that time men will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. And he will send his angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens.”
Mark 13:24-27

The Scripture makes it very clear that the elect, those committed to Christ, will be gathered up upon that day. This is the same day that Christ appears to all nations to take His rightful place as the Ruler of the earth.

How does that sit with what you’ve been taught? Jesus teaches that the Resurrection Day and the Day of the Lord are the very same day. Now the choice is up to you. Who are you going to believe? A man who comes saying there’s a seven-year wait between the two, or the Living Word of God Himself? As for me, I chose to believe Christ.

Question: Why is the belief in the seven year wait so popular?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on August 29, 2014 in Return of Christ, The Church

 

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The Day of Christ #returnofChrist

Cloud2I’ve been posting about how Christ will reveal Himself at His return.  We’ve talked about Jesus’ teaching in Luke, chapter 17, on the days of Noah and Lot.

Remember that He already said in verse 24 that when He’s revealed on that day, every eye will see Him.  It will not be a private return.  He’s coming in all of His glory.

“On that day no one who is on the roof of his house, with his goods inside, should go down to get them.  Likewise, no one in the field should go back for anything.  Remember Lot’s wife!  Whoever tries to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it.  I tell you, on that night two people will be in one bed; one will be taken and the other left.  Two women will be grinding grain together; one will be taken and the other left.  Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left.”
Luke 17:31-36

Many interpret this verse to mean that the one taken is taken into heaven and the one left is the one that’s going to be judged.  How can this be?  In both of His examples, the stories of Noah and Lot, the Lord clearly states that the unrighteous are taken in judgment and the righteous ones are left.

The disciples wanted Jesus to clarify what He was teaching them.  They asked the obvious question: Where was it that they were taken to?

“Where, Lord?” they asked.
He replied, “Where there is a dead body, there the vultures will gather.”
Luke 17:37

Jesus makes it clear that those taken are dead bodies.  The Greek word for carcass is what the NIV translates as dead body.  Also, the word Jesus used for vulture is a generic term that could be used for any carrion bird that feeds on dead bodies.

So in answer to the question “Where are they taken?” Jesus said, “Do you want to know where the carcasses are taken?  Then look for the vultures.”  Personally, I don’t want to be taken like that.  I want to be one of the ones who are left.

What, then, have we learned in this portion of Scripture?  First of all, I see a time of warning leading up to the time when Christ is revealed.  We then come to a day – a literal, twenty-four hour day – during which He will reveal Himself.

Christ uses two examples, Noah and Lot, to explain His point.  In both cases the day starts out with some saints.  They are then somehow supernaturally protected during the events of that day.  In Noah’s case he was put in the ark and in Lot’s case he was taken out of the city.

On the day that they were protected, salvation was then closed and judgment fell.  After judgment had fallen, at the end of the day, the saints were left.  That’s the way I read it and that’s the way I believe Christ meant it to be read.

Questions: Are you prepared for that day?  How have you prepared?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on September 23, 2013 in Return of Christ

 

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