February 12

2 Thessalonians 1;5-7 (ESV)

This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering— 6 since indeed God considers it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you, 7 and to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels…

V7, The time of God’s righteous retribution is when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels. Retribution for the ungodly and rest for believers are included in His coming. Which phase of Christ’s coming is referred to here? It is clearly the third phase—the manifestation of His coming, when He returns with His saints to the earth.

The time of God’s righteous retribution is when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels. Retribution for the ungodly and rest for believers are included in His coming. Which phase of Christ’s coming is referred to here? It is clearly the third phase—the manifestation of His coming, when He returns with His saints to the earth.

Excursus on the Rapture and Revelation The Rapture

  1. Christ comes to the air ( 1Thess. 4: 17).
  2. He comes for His saints ( 1 Thess. 4: 16, 17).
  3. The Rapture is a mystery, i. e., a truth unkown in OT times ( 1 Cor. 15: 51).
  4. Christ’s coming for His saints is never said to be preceded by celestial portents.
  5. The Rapture is presented as a time of blessing ( 1 Thess. 4: 18).
  6. The Rapture is presented as a time of blessing ( 1 Thess. 4: 18).
  7. The Rapture takes place in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye ( 1 Cor. 15: 52). This strongly implies that it will not be witnessed by the world.
  8. The rapture seems to involve the church primarily ( John 14: 1–4; 1 Cor. 15: 51–58; 1 Thess. 4: 13–18)
  9. Christ comes as the Bright and Morning Star ( Rev. 22: 16).
  10. The Rapture is not mentioned in the Synoptic Gospels, but is alluded to several times in John’s Gospel.
  11. Those taken are taken for blessing ( 1 Thess. 4: 13–18). Those left are left for judgment ( 1 Thess. 5: 1–3).
  12. The title “Son of Man” is never used in any of the passages dealing with the Rapture.
  13. No dating system is given for events preceding the Rapture.

The Revelation

  1. He comes to the earth ( Zech 14: 4).
  2. He comes with His saints ( 1 Thess. 3: 13; Jude 14).
  3. The Revelation is not a mystery; it is the subject of many OT prophecies ( Ps. 72; Isa. 11; Zech 14).
  4. His coming with His saints will be heralded by signs in the heavens ( Matt. 24: 29, 30).
  5. The Revelation is identified with the Day of the Lord ( 2 Thess. 2: 1–12).
  6. The main emphasis of the Revelation is on judgment ( 2 Thess. 2: 8–12).
  7. The Revelation will be visible world- wide ( Matt. 24: 27; Rev. 1: 7).
  8. The Revelation involves Israel primarily, then also the Gentile nations      (Matt. 24: 1–25: 46)
  9. He comes as the Sun of Righteousness with healing in His wings (Mal. 4: 2).
  10. The Revelation is characteristic in the Synoptics but hardly mentioned in John’s Gospel.
  11. Those taken are taken for judgment. Those left are left for blessing (Matt. 24:37–41).
  12. An elaborate dating system is given for the Revelation, such as 1260 days, 42 months, 3½ years (Dan. 7:25; 12:7, 11, 12; Rev. 11:2; 12:14; 13:5).
  13. The revelation is spoken of as the coming of the Son of Man (Matt. 16:28; 24:27, 30, 39; 26:64; Mark 13:26; Luke 21:27)

Granted then that these are two separate events, yet how do we know that they do not occur at approximately the same time? How do we know that they are separated by an interval? Three lines of proof can be mentioned:

1. The first is based on Daniel’s prophecy of seventy weeks (Dan. 9:25–27). We are now living in the parenthetical Church Age, between the sixty- ninth and seventieth weeks. The seventieth week is the Tribulation Period of seven years. The church is taken home to heaven before the Tribulation Period (Rom. 5:9; 1 Thess. 1:10; 1 Thess. 5:9; Rev. 3:10). The coming of Christ to reign takes place after the seventieth week (Dan. 9:24; Matt. 24).

2. The second line of proof for an interval of time between the Rapture and the Manifestation is based on the structure of the book of Revelation. In the first three chapters, the church is seen on earth. Chapters 4 through 19:10 describe the Tribulation Period when God’s wrath will be poured out on the world that has rejected His Son. The church is never mentioned as being on earth during this period. The church is apparently taken to heaven at the close of chapter 3. In Revelation 19:11, Christ returns to earth to subdue His foes and to set up His kingdom—at the close of the Tribulation Period.

3. There is a third consideration which necessitates a time interval between Christ’s coming for the saints and His coming with the saints. At the time of the Rapture, all believers are taken out of the world and are given their glorified bodies. Yet when Christ returns to reign, there will be believers on earth who will not as yet have glorified bodies and who will marry and raise children during the Millennium (Isa. 11:6, 8). Where do these believers come from? There must be a period of time between the Rapture and the Revelation during which they are converted.

Now to return to verse 7, we have the arrival of the Lord Jesus in power and great glory. He is attended by angels through whom His power is exerted.