Monday, January 30, 2012

The 2nd Advent

I recently taught a class at our church called "The 2nd Advent."  It was a look at the hope we have that's expressed in the Nicene Creed when it says
   [Jesus] will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
        and his kingdom will have no end.
I studied this topic during my sabbatical last summer, and was blown away at how ALL of Scripture tells the same story of what will happen when the Messiah returns.  Every book in the Bible, with the exception of Esther, has something to say about this event.  And getting a grid for understanding the picture that is being painted has unlocked SO MUCH scripture that I never understood before!

A couple of the reasons I gave my class for studying this:

The book of Hebrews says that the End Times is "elementary teaching!"
Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And God permitting, we will do so. Hebrews 6:1-3 (NIV) (italics mine)
Second, Paul showed he believed this is elementary.  Though he only spent about 3 weeks planting the church in Thessalonica, the Apostle considered these things important enough to teach them about End Times.
When they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a Jewish synagogue. As his custom was, Paul went into the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days [three weeks] he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and proving that the Christ had to suffer and rise from the dead. "This Jesus I am proclaiming to you is the Christ," he said... 10 As soon as it was night, the brothers sent Paul and Silas away to Berea. On arriving there, they went to the Jewish synagogue. Acts 17:1-3, 10 (NIV)
While he was there, he covered teaching on End Times.  He said as much in a letter to them:
Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers, not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by some prophecy, report or letter supposed to have come from us, saying that the day of the Lord has already come. Don't let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God's temple, proclaiming himself to be God. Don't you remember that when I was with you I used to tell you these things? 2 Thessalonians 2:1-5 (NIV)

If you're interested in the topic, comment here and I'll post a little about it.