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Paul Explains the Second Coming

We’re continuing to look at Christ’s return, explained by Paul in 2 Thessalonians.  In my last post, we saw that his reason for writing this is to spur us on in our work for the Lord.

Paul goes on from there and starts to give the Thessalonian church some more information regarding the Last Days.

Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers, not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by some prophecy, report or letter supposed to have come from us, saying that the day of the Lord has already come.  Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction.
II Thessalonians 2:1-3

We need to understand what Paul is saying here.  The first thing we see is that he uses three different terms for the same thing.  He calls it the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, our being gathered to him, and then, later on, he calls it the day of the Lord.

It’s easy to see that Paul isn’t saying that the Lord’s coming is one time and the gathering up the saints is another.  On the contrary, our being gathered to the Lord and the coming of the Lord is all the same in Paul’s mind.

He then goes on to tell the church not to let anyone deceive them in any way.  He doesn’t want anybody to push them off track and out of the truth.

He shares that they haven’t missed the coming of the Lord.  Certain things must happen before the return of Christ.

As an apostle, Paul knew that it wasn’t even going to be in his lifetime, because Jesus had already told this to His apostles, and Paul was in contact with them.  I have no doubt that he knew Jesus’ teaching on this subject.  Jesus had taught His apostles that they wouldn’t be alive on the earth at the time of His return.  (Luke 17:22-25)

Without even checking into it, he could tell that the letter that was causing all of the fuss in Thessalonica was a false teaching.  It was not to be taken seriously.

The question most of us want to ask is; “What kind of things will happen before Christ appears?”  The answer to that question will help us to see how close we are to the end.

He says, first of all, that there’s going to be a rebellion that occurs.  So we must ask ourselves; what’s the rebellion?

The Greek word there literally means a defection from the truth.  We’re not in the Last Days until people turn away from the truth.  Personally, I believe this has been fulfilled already.  I believe the defection from the truth is what we look back on now and call the Dark Ages.

At that point, the true Church was just a little, tiny flicker of a spark.  During that time in history, there was a great falling away from the truth.  But, since then, God has been restoring the things that were lost.

The Lord has started restoring evangelism, teaching on healing, tongues, and faith to the Church.  That’s why I believe that we have already gone through that falling away and are preparing for the final harvest.

Question: How close do you think we are to the return of Christ?

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

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Posted by on October 24, 2018 in Encouragement, Return of Christ, Revival

 

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Our Last Days Calling

In my last post, I talked about how Paul described the Lord’s return in Second Thessalonians.  He said that those who didn’t know the Lord would be shut out of His presence.

Please understand the justice of God in this situation.  When this passage talks about the people who don’t know God, it literally means, to know by observation.

For instance, I know about Abraham Lincoln, but I can’t say that I know Abraham Lincoln.  That’s what it’s talking about.  It means to know God – not simply to know about God.  These are people who don’t want to know God.

They’ve heard about Him.  They just don’t want to get to know Him, and they sure don’t want to obey the Good News of the Lord Jesus Christ.  These are people who have made a conscious decision not to obey the Lord or the Gospel.

This theme will be developed later on in the Word of God, but for now, I want you to realize that when the Lord returns, there will be two groups of people on the earth.   There will be those who have decided to serve the Lord and those who have decided not to serve the Lord.  There isn’t going to be anybody who doesn’t know about Him – no middle ground.

Why is Paul telling us all this? The answer is found in the very next verse.

With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may count you worthy of his calling, that by his power he may fulfill every good purpose of yours and every act prompted by your faith.  We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.
II Thessalonians 1:11-12

We have a purpose to fulfill.  He wasn’t telling them this just to give them more information about Christ’s return.  Too many Christians have made studying the Lord’s return an end in itself.

The fact that we know Jesus is returning should spur us on to do the work that He’s called us to.  We need to be found fulfilling the call of God prompted by our faith.

That’s what God wants for us.  Paul is explaining to these people that they need to be ready for the Lord’s return, but more importantly, they need to be fulfilling their call in Christ.

Don’t just hide under a bush and say, “I’m waiting for Jesus to come.”  We know there are people who’ve done that throughout history.  Many people have set dates for the return of Christ.

Then they went out and sold everything they had.  They ended up sitting on a mountain in white clothes just waiting for Jesus.  They sat on that mountain for a while until they realized that Jesus wasn’t going to come at that time.

We’ve got to learn that same lesson.  Yes, Jesus is coming, but we don’t know when.  So we’ve got to do what we’re called to do until the day that Jesus Christ returns.

Question: What is God calling you to do in these last days before His return?

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on October 22, 2018 in Ministry, Return of Christ, Spiritual Walk

 

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Prepared to Wait

As we continue our study of the Gospel of Mark, Jesus is closing His End-Times teaching with His disciples.  These are His concluding statements.  They’re important for us to hear and understand.

“No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.  Be on guard!  Be alert!  You do not know when that time will come.  It’s like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with his assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch.”
Mark 13:32-34

He starts by saying that the exact day and hour will be a mystery.  Even Christ, when He took on our humanity, did not retain that knowledge of when that day would be.  Of course, now in His glorified state, Jesus knows when He will return.

His first command to the disciples and us is to watch.  The word literally means to be sleepless.  I don’t believe that the Lord means physical sleep in this verse.  It’s our spiritual eyes that we must keep open.

Too many of God’s people seem to be blind to what’s happening in the spirit.  They go to church for an hour or two a week and expect that this will provide them with everything they need to know.  I wish that were true.

We need intimacy with the Holy Spirit on a daily basis.  That’s the only way to remain spiritually alert and vigilant in these Last Days.

 “Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back — whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn.  If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping.  What I say to you, I say to everyone: ‘Watch!’”
Mark 13:35-37

Jesus is explaining to us a little bit of His time frame here.  Even though He never tells us exactly when He’ll return, He gives us some hints to help us be ready.  He doesn’t want us to be taken by surprise.

Jesus tells us the most important hint as we wait for His return.  He says that He will come when you don’t expect it.  Please be careful when reading the words of Jesus here.  Many miss the whole point of what He says.

Notice that it will not be a surprise because He comes before you expect Him.  What’s going to throw people off is that He’ll arrive later than they thought it would be.  That’s what He’s emphasizing in this verse.  The Lord said that it could be as late as midnight, the early hours of the morning, or even dawn.

What if I said to you, “Can I come over to your house tonight?”?

“Sure,” you reply and you wait for me to show up.  7 o’clock, 8 o’clock and 9 o’clock go by.  At that point, you’ll probably shut the porch light off.  At 10 o’clock you might be in bed.  At 11 o’clock you’ll definitely be in bed.  If I then bang on your door at 3 o’clock in the morning, I’m sure you wouldn’t even get out of bed to answer the door, even though I told you I was coming.

That’s what Jesus is saying.  He’s telling us that He’s coming later than we think.  There will be a time when people think that Jesus should be here by now, but He’s not.  We could call that “prophetic midnight”.

If you’re one of the people who believe that He’s going to be here at this prophetic midnight, you might be disappointed.  We’ve got to be careful.  Most of Christianity is expecting Him to come before certain prophetic events occur.  Jesus said, “I’m going to come later than you think.”

As a matter of fact, what you’re going to find, is that whenever Christ warns us about being ready, He always qualifies it by saying that He’ll come later than we’re expecting.  Jesus said that if the servant knew when the owner was coming he’d be ready.  We need to be spiritually awake and alert no matter what the future holds.

Question: What do you do to remain spiritually alert?

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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Not Surprised

I’m looking at Paul’s teaching in his first letter to the Thessalonians. In this section, he’s answering their questions about the Second Coming of Christ. Now, Paul is going to move on to answer the next question posed by the church – when is it all going to happen?

Now, brothers, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.
1 Thessalonians 5:1-3

Paul’s talking here about those that aren’t prepared. Jesus used different words to convey the same meaning. The Lord said that to those not ready, He was going to come like a thief in the night. But He also said that the saints weren’t going to be caught unprepared. Even the way Paul describes it shows this truth.

Paul said that it was going to come suddenly like labor pains on a pregnant woman. Please realize that most women make it to the hospital in time. A mother-to-be knows that there’s a baby on the way. She even knows, within a few weeks, when the baby will arrive.

The woman can feel that there are things happening in her body. Sometimes they can even say, “It’s only a day or two now.” Why? Because she can feel within her that something is going on.

And then finally, when the labor pains arrive, she knows that it’s time to get to the hospital. She can feel them mounting. She knew what to expect, and it didn’t take her by surprise. Very few women experience labor so quickly that they don’t make it to the hospital.

That’s what it’s going to be like for us. We know what to expect. We’ll not be taken by surprise. The labor pains may come upon the world quickly and unexpectedly, but the delivery – the coming of the Lord – will not be a surprise to the church.

But you, brothers, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief.
1 Thessalonians 5:4

That’s why we, as believers, should not be worried or anxious about all we see happening around us. We have the light of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God. We know what’s coming.

We should be living for Christ with the knowledge that God is bringing all things to the fulfillment of His will. This should cause us to be excited about the future, not worried.

We know how the Book ends – WE WIN!!

Question: What is your anticipation level when you think about the return of the Lord?

© Nick Zaccardi 2017

NOTE – If you want a more detailed look at the Second Coming of Christ, then click here to read about my new book.

 
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Posted by on June 28, 2017 in Encouragement, Faith, Return of Christ

 

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The Hope of Resurrection

I’m continuing with my look at First Thessalonians. As I’ve said before, Paul had sent Timothy to that Church to see how they were doing. Timothy returned with a good report of their growth. He also brought some questions that the church had asked during his visit. Now we’re going to see Paul’s answers.

One of the questions they asked was this: When Christians die, does that mean they’re going to miss out on the Second Coming of Christ? That’s a good question. Let’s see the apostle’s answer.

Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope.
I Thessalonians 4:13

Please realize that the term ignorant was not being used in a bad sense. Paul means that he didn’t want them to be without knowledge. He didn’t want them to be lacking in their teaching on the Lord.

He also uses the term fall asleep. The early church used this to signify that someone was dead. They realized that when a believer dies, they don’t cease to exist but rather enter the presence of the Lord. Their body, however, looks like it’s sleeping.

His first instruction to them is that they’re not to grieve as the world does. We’re not to act as people who don’t have any hope. We have an eternal hope.

We know about the resurrection of the dead on the Last Day. Because of this knowledge, funerals don’t hold the same fear over us that the rest of the world has. We shouldn’t act like we’re never going to see the departed Christian again.

Yes, I realize that there’s a parting process. You’re not going to see that person for a long time – so there’s going to be that kind of grief. But don’t grieve as if you’ve lost them forever. Don’t mourn like somebody who has no hope.

We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.
I Thessalonians 4:14

Because of the foundation of the teaching of Jesus Christ Himself, we know that Paul is talking about the day when Jesus returns. He’s speaking here about the Last Day, the Day of the Lord.

We remember how Jesus taught that on that day, when He returns, every eye shall see Him. This passage reminds us that on this day, He’s going to bring with Him those who have died in the Lord. All the saints that Jesus referred to as being gathered from one end of heaven to the other will be there.

According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words.
I Thessalonians 4:15-18

In other words, those who have already died in Christ have a better place in the resurrection than we do because they’re the first to be called. The Scripture says here that we’re not going to precede those who’ve died in the Lord. There’s a divine order to the resurrection.

Obviously, it’s going to take place in an instant. It’s not like we’re going to have to wait around for an hour. But in that instant, when we’re resurrected, the dead in Christ are going to be resurrected first.

Paul is calming their fears that those brothers and sisters who have passed on before us will not be missing out on anything.   They have a good place in the resurrection.

This should be an encouragement to each of us. What we see of the material world is not all that there is. We have a hope that goes beyond the natural. We should be looking through an eternal perspective.

Question: How should our future hope affect our present way of living?

© Nick Zaccardi 2017

NOTE – If you want a more detailed look at the Second Coming of Christ, then click here to read about my new book.

 
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Posted by on June 26, 2017 in Encouragement, Faith, Return of Christ

 

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The Walk of Patience

I’ve been posting from the book of James – the first book of the New Testament to be written. This means that the following passage is the first mention of the Second Coming of Christ.

Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm because the Lord’s coming is near.
James 5:7-8

James likens the wait for the Lord’s coming to the patience of a farmer. He says it’s very important for us to be patient. The Greek word he uses for patience is a compound word that means, long-tempered.

In other words, don’t get frustrated easily because it’ll be a long wait.

A farmer has to be long-tempered as he waits for the land to yield its crop. He must wait for the fruit. He can’t just plant the seed and get frustrated that the next day he doesn’t have a harvest. A lot of Christians have to understand this process. We learn a truth today, and we expect it to be living, active, and producing fruit in our life tomorrow. It doesn’t work that way.

When I learn something today, I must relearn it again tomorrow. I then need to relearn it again the next day. Finally, I get to the point where it’s not just in my head but also in my heart. Then, after getting it in my heart, I have to wait for it to grow and produce fruit. That’s the way the Word works.

If this is the process of growth, then it’s the same thing with the coming of the Lord. We have to wait for the right time – the time of the harvest.

James said that the farmer has to wait for the autumn and spring rains. You might think that he had it backwards. For us the order is spring and then autumn rains. In Israel, however, they have a whole different climate than we have.

When we plant, we plant in the springtime because it’s too cold in the winter to do anything, and then we harvest in the fall. In Israel it’s too hot and dry to grow anything in the summer. So they plant in the autumn, when the first rains of the autumn come, and the seed starts to grow.

It then becomes cooler in the winter and there’s a lot more water available. Then in the spring, they take in the harvest. At that time they look for the spring rains to get that final growth spurt before the fruit is picked. Then comes the summer, when it’s too hot and dry to grow anything.

That’s what it’s like concerning the church. James says that the beginning of the church is like the autumn rain. It seemed like everything was happening at once. There were miracles, signs, and wonders. It was an incredible time to serve the Lord.

Then, if you remember, in some of His parables, Jesus said it was going to be as if the church would fall asleep. He said a farmer fell asleep. He said that the ten virgins fell asleep. In all of these parables, the church was seen as entering a time of dormancy. That’s pretty much what the church did over the centuries.

But now, God’s waking us up again. That’s one of the reasons why I believe we’re in the last days. We’re seeing things happen by the sovereign hand of God. We’re seeing the church come to life again. I believe we’re heading into the spring rain getting us ready for the harvest.

So if I need to be patient, then what do I do in the mean time? According to the Scripture above, while I’m waiting, I must stand firm. This word means to establish yourself. We’re to be steadfast in what we’re doing for the Lord.

It also means to look resolutely in one direction without turning. That’s God’s will for us while we wait patiently for the Lord’s return. Once we put our hand to the plow, we don’t look to the right or to the left. We just stand fast, in faith, with what the Word of God says.

Question: How does patience give you a better attitude toward God’s work?

To find out about my new book on the Second Coming of Christ – Click here!

© Nick Zaccardi 2017

 
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Posted by on April 26, 2017 in Faith, Return of Christ

 

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Announcing My New Book – The Third Watch

I’m pleased to announce that I’ve finally finished working on my latest book. It’s titled The Third Watch: It’s Later Than You Think.

I believe that it’s a ground-breaking book on the Second Coming of Christ. It’s unlike any other that I’ve ever read.

Many years ago I sought the Lord concerning His coming. I was confused by all the different teachings. I asked Him to make it clear to me from the Scripture.

In answer to my prayer, the Holy Spirit gave me a personal course of study that changed my life. He impressed me to take all of the teachings of Christ concerning the Last-Days, and study them in the order in which He taught them to His disciples. The result was clarity of insight that I’d never had before.

I believe that anyone who’s serious about understanding the coming of the Lord needs to read this book. I go through each teaching session that Jesus had with His disciples and put it together, line upon line, and precept upon precept.

Then, with the foundation of Christ, I look at the teachings of the Apostles. It’s amazing how closely they align with what Jesus taught. Finally, I look at the book of the Revelation.

One word of caution – by the end of the book there will be no doubt as to what Jesus and His disciples taught. I try my best to let the Scripture speak for itself. Because of that, any teaching that’s not of the Lord must fall by the wayside.

I ended up changing my whole view of the end-times. I firmly believe that this book will prepare you for the greatest chapter in church history. But you have to come at it with an open heart and an open mind.

There are many who are worried about what lies ahead of us before the return of Christ. Since I’ve been preaching this message, I’ve seen believers set free from the fear of the future. The truth is that there’s nothing to fear and everything to look forward to.

To purchase the $14.99 paperback version from Createspace – click here.

To purchase the $9.99 Kindle version from Amazon – click here.

My prayer is that it will bless you and get you ready for the most powerful time the church has ever known.

 
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Posted by on April 25, 2017 in Book Reviews, Return of Christ

 

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