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The Message of 1 & 2 Thessalonians: The…
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The Message of 1 & 2 Thessalonians: The Gospel & the End of Time/With…

by John Stott

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John Stott is a very good, and level headed, expositor of the Bible, and that is one of the reasons that I was attracted to this commentary, not to mention that the two letters to the Thessalonians deal with the difficult issues of the end times and the Anti-christ, which is why it is good to see what somebody like John Stott has to say about the topic.
As a bit of a background, the two letters to the Thessalonians were written by the Apostle Paul around 57 AD after he left the city where he was hounded out by the judaizers. At the time Nero was emperor and the church was still quite young. As Paul was forced to leave the city, there were a lot of things that he wanted to teach them, and a lot of these things the Thessalonians wanted to know, therefore he wrote to them regarding these topics which have been preserved for us to this day.
First thing I wish to discuss is the end-times and the Anti-christ. Stott deals with these topics in a way that is understandable and comforting. In regards to the end-times, they will happen and Jesus will return. Obviously this is something that we rely on faith, however these events will happen and we need to be prepared. 'What about those who have died?' the Thessalonians asked. Paul explained that they have not been left behind, but rather are sleeping, awaiting that day when Jesus returns in his glory to be brought up to be with him, and those of us still alive will be caught up with him as well. However, one of the problems that the Thessalonians faced was that a number of them stopped working in anticipation for the second coming. Obviously this isn't something that we face today because, 2000 years after, we are still waiting, and to many of us the urgency of the second coming is no longer around. Time has ceased to be immediate and has become: it will happen sometime, but not yet. Obviously this is something we need to move away from in the same way that the Thessalonians needed to return to work and continue to work in anticipation. This is another of the many passages which emphasis the importance of work and that those who will not work (as opposed to cannot work) should not participate in the bounties that are produced by other people's hard work. As Paul says - if they do not work they do not eat.
Now for the Anti-christ. There have been many Anti-christs throughout history, and there are many floating around today. What Paul is talking about here is not the small 'a' anti-christ, but the Anti-christ - the man of lawlessness who will lead the great rebellion against God. This anti-christ has not yet been revealed, and it is dangerous to speculate who this person might be. One key indicator is that he will be universally loved, another indicator is that he will perform miracles, but most importantly, he will lead people away from God. Personally, I find it disrespectful to refer to world leaders whom we do no like (such as Obama or George Bush) as the Anti-christ. It is clear that they are not, and throughout history people have pointed at a suitably powerful, and corrupt, individual and said 'he is the Anti-christ'. They said that about the Popes and about Martin Luther.
What we can know is that this individual will arise sometime. It is important to note that it does not seem to be a reference to Nero (who ruled at the time) despite the fact that Nero was a cruel and vicious ruler. One needs to consider that when the Christians underwent the Neronian persecution, the one thought on their mind was likely to be - it's only going to get worse.
Looking at the internet and the references to the coming one world government and the era of global enslavement does not worry me in the sense that these things must happen, and when they do, it is only an indication that the end is coming and that Christ will reveal himself to us soon. ( )
  David.Alfred.Sarkies | Feb 4, 2014 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0830812377, Paperback)

Replaces the book, , which received a 1992 Readers' Choice Award!

Digging into Paul's letters to the Thessalonians, John R. W. Stott addresses issues of vital importance today:



Originally published as Stott's comments on 1 and 2 Thessalonians are now available in paperback as a new addition to the Bible Speaks Today series.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:03:30 -0400)

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