Eschatology is a big subject that few of us understand. I dont claim
to have great understanding about the subject concerning the end of this
age and the return of Jesus. What I can do is to simply point out some
Scriptures that needs no or little interpretation. This is what I will do
in this article. From Pauls 2 letters to the Thessalonians I will state
what he says. He does not tell us the whole story, but he does say certain
things about the end of this age. Here they are.
Before Jesus comes back, certain things will happen. 2 Thess. 2:1
The rebellion will occur (an apparent special time of rebellion) 2
The rebellion is led by the lawless man 2Thess. 2:3
The lawless man will oppose God and exalt himself over everything that
is called God. 2 Thess.2:4 What he does will be in accordance with the
work of satan. He will perform many signs and wonders that will deceive
those who are perishing. He will promote every sort of evil imaginable.
2 Thess. 2:9-10
Yet before the lawless man appears in the world, the secret power of
lawlessness is already at work. That is to say, sin and satan are
presently working in the lives of men and women today. 2 Thess. 2:7
While this secret power of lawlessness is at work, and before the man
of lawlessness appears in the world, some someone is holding these evil
powers back from fully exhibiting their strength and power. 2 Thess.
At some point the one holding back the lawless man and the power of
lawlessness will be taken out of their way, permitting the lawless man to
appear in the world to do what he wants to do, and that is to deceive.
God Himself will send a powerful delusion to those who are perishing,
so that they will believe the lie of the lawless man. That is to say, God
helps those who are perishing to give themselves over to the lawless man
and the work of satan, resulting in their condemnation.
2 Thess. 2:11
At some point beyond this, Jesus will return. His return will be a
complete surprise to those who are perishing. It will be as a thief in the
night. 1 Thess.5:2 This should not be a surprise to the believer who
should be watching and praying for this day as Jesus said. 1 Thess.
5:4, Mark 13:35-36
When Jesus returns to earth, it will be with a loud command, with the
voice of the arch angel, and with a trumpet call. The dead in Christ will
rise first to meet Jesus and the angels with Him. 1 Thess. 4:15-16, 1
Thess. 4:14, 2 Thess. 1:7.
Then those who are alive in Christ will rise to meet Jesus, the angels,
and previously dead saints in the air. 1 Thess. 4:17
Jesus will then return to earth in blazing fire with His powerful
angels, and the saints.
- 2 Thess. 1:7
At that time Jesus will punish those who do not know God and who do not
obey the truth of the gospel with an everlasting destruction, that is,
they will be continually in the process of destruction yet at the same
time never finally destroyed. 2 Thess. 1:8
Also, at this time, Jesus will destroy the lawless man by His very
appearance and the breathe, or spirit of His mouth. 2Thess. 2:8
At that day, when Jesus returns, and begins the punishment of those who
are perishing, the destruction of the lawless man and satan, Jesus will be
glorified in His people and marveled at by all those who have trusted in
Him for their very lives. 2 Thess. 1:10
This is the time line of events at the end of the age as described by
Paul in his first and second letter to the Thessalonians. This is a clear
time line that needs no interpretation. Paul does not speak symbolically
as you see in the book of Revelation. Therefore what he says is simply
factual. I have only repeated to you the facts as Paul has set them forth.
By Pauls own admission there is more to the story than this. (2
Thess. 2:5) He spoke to the Thessalonians in person about all of these
things. He only reminded them of a few things in his 2 letters. O how I
wish he would have elaborated more in his letters.