Paul shows us the dangers of end-times speculation in his second letter to the Thessalonians. Between the first and second of Paul’s letters to the Thessalonians, it seems that some false teachers had come in with information they claimed to be from Paul. 2 Thessalonians 2:2 Don’t be so easily shaken or alarmed by those who say that the day of the Lord has already begun. Don’t believe them, even if they claim to have had a spiritual vision, a revelation, or a letter supposedly from us.
It seems that there was a rumor circulating that the Thessalonians had missed the return of Jesus. It was causing chaos, and some responded by quitting their work. Paul reminded them of what he had taught them when he was with them. His teaching in this letter is very ambiguous, and we would like more information. It is like hearing only one side of a telephone call. We know some details but not everything.
Scholars Speculate on the End Times
Some Bible scholars have sought to combine prophetic statements of the Bible to give a detailed scenario of the return of Christ. Some have even gone so far as to propose dates, which have always been false. John Darby proposed the rapture theory in 1833. This states that God will supernaturally remove the believers before the tribulation at the end of time.
In some ways, this theory has had the same effect as what happened in Thessalonica. In the past years, some have anticipated that Jesus will return soon, so they have not bothered to go to college or start a business. Even some churches have ceased to do outreach because they think there is little point, as Jesus will be here any day. This amounts to the work stoppage in Thessalonica.
I don’t think Paul wrote his end times information for speculation but to reassure the people that God would control the times. Jesus also taught what would happen before He returned and then added these remarks: Mark 13: 32 However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows. 33 And since you don’t know when that time will come, be on guard! Stay alert!
We are to stay alert and know the Scriptures about the end times. These may not make sense until it begins to happen. Remember, the Jewish scholars had the prophecies, but Jesus didn’t come the first time as they expected. Yet, Jesus did fulfill the prophecies. Jesus’ second coming will probably be the same way. He will come at a time and in a way we don’t expect. But He will fulfill all the prophecies.
Until Jesus comes with the new heaven and new earth, or He comes individually to escort us to heaven after our death, we need to live for Jesus. We need the guidance of the Holy Spirit to carry out the purpose God has for each of us. 2 Thessalonians 3: 13 As for the rest of you, dear brothers and sisters, never get tired of doing good.
To learn more about the dangers of end-times speculation, listen here: