Paul’s letters to the church in Thessalonica are often referred to as his ‘eschatological letters’. [Eschatology: the study of 'end times’.] I was reminded of this recently when I noticed that each chapter in the first letter finishes with a reference to Yahshua’s return. It encouraged me to think of Paul teaching new believers about this with passion; to imagine him lit up with expectancy for the fulfilment of the promise. Twenty centuries later we are still waiting, yet we continue to teach these truths with passion and we still get lit up with expectancy! Would this have surprised the apostle? I wondered.
As I mused, my heart quickened with the thought that the Jewish people are not strangers to the concept of waiting for a realisation of divine promises! Abraham and Sarah waited for Isaac; Israel waited 400 years for deliverance from Egypt; they waited 40 years to enter the Promised Land, but most of all, they waited…and waited…for their Messiah! Millenia went by, and still He did not come, until one day a great angelic choir appeared in the heavens to announce His coming in a glorious chorus of music and praise! They had waited for Him for centuries – and He had come!
The apostle was still quivering from this stunning reality which had happened in his lifetime, and his passion overflows as he anticipates the return, “For [Yahshua] himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of [Yahweh].” [1Thessalonians 4:16; NLT] Though we, too, have waited for centuries for the fulfilment of this promise we should not lose hope – He will come again!
When Messiah came it happened exactly as promised – but was nothing like they had imagined; when He returns no doubt, it will be the same – exactly as promised, but nothing like we have imagined. As we approach the Feast of Tabernacles, the predicted signs of Yahshua’s return are unfolding everywhere. Our hearts must quicken as our expectations bloom; surely, He is coming soon? My father used to say, “Work as though He’s never coming – and expect Him tomorrow!” How soon is soon? Hold fast!
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