"Okay, guys! I've shown you the tree planted to honor Schindler, one of the righteous Gentiles who saved more than a thousand Jews by employing them in his factory. Now I'm going to give you time to walk through Yad VaShem, the Israeli Holocaust Museum, on your own. Take your time but be here at 7:15."
This is the routine on a Holy Land Tour, and the threat is that if you're not there on time, you could be left behind. And when you're in a strange city, this can be scary.
So far on this year's Truth Encounter trip to Israel, not one of our group has been left behind. Our guide carefully counts every individual to make sure everyone is on the bus before it rolls. But in the first century the Thessalonian believers were very frightened. They thought they had been left behind, that they had missed the return of Jesus. Evidently a forged letter, claiming to be from the Apostle Paul, told them that Jesus had returned and they had missed it.
In his first letter Paul comforted them with the fact that the dead in Christ and those alive when Jesus returned would not receive glorious, incorruptible bodies and they would live with the Lord Jesus forever (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18.) But now a false prophecy has told them that they have been left behind and Paul begins to respond to the false message they had received.
"Now we are asking you, brothers and sisters, about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering to Him, so that you will not be so easily shaken in your minds or troubled by some spirit, or word, or some letter supposedly from us, saying that the Day of the Lord has already come."
The return of Jesus for his own is one of our greatest comforts, and in his first letter Paul stressed it would be announced with the ringing sound of a trumpet and the loud voice of an archangel. We're not going to be deaf to the sound and we are not going to miss that regathering with our loved ones in Christ that have died. And in our Devo on Monday we'll learn that we haven't missed that great Day of the Lord when He returns, but we do need to be warned against a great political and military leader, a deceiver who is still to strut out on to the stage of history.
LORD, thanks that Jesus' coming for us is still full of comfort and for teaching us through Paul that you don't want us to be deceived by false prophecy. Thanks for the comfort that we are not going to miss Jesus' gathering together of his people in the air and our closeness to him forever.
For more from Dave Wyrtzen please visit TruthEncounter.com!