THE END OF PLANET EARTH
2 Thess. 1:9, 10 says of all who do not know God and do not obey the gospel, “These shal l be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord; nd from the gloty of His power when He comes in that day to be glorified in His saints and to be admired among all those who believe, because our testimony among you was believed.” This passage is a warning to all who ignore, persecute or mistreat the church of the living God, and at the same time it expresses words of great comfort to all Christians who will be glorified and share in Christ's glorification at His second coming. Most of the preaching done on this passage concentrates on how Christ will take vengeance on them who are not Christians, and indeed it should make the nonchristian world to quake and shudder, for He will suddenly descend from heaven in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not Christ. But this is not the main object for which Christ will come. The punishment of evildoers is not something in which He finds His greatest glory, for He does this, as it were, when He comes for another purpose. To destroy evil is a matter of necessity in which His spirit takes no delight. We cannot fault God for the promise that he will punish wicked people. The human race also warns all people that if anyone violates the laws of the land and murders and steals or otherwise violates the rights of others, we will unish you. If it is right for the human race to punish wickedness, it is a also right for God to punish wickedness, even moreso. According to the text, the punishment of evil-doers is something He will do in connection with a far more important event to take place. The more important object of His second coming is expressed in verse 10, "When He comes in that day to be glorified in His saints and to be admired among all those who believe because our testimony among you was believed.” The greatest thing about His second coming will be Christ's future glorification, and we will concentrate on that subject in this study. When Christ receives His future glorification, that will be the end of planet earth.
The first striking thing in this passage is the contrast between the first coming and second coming of Christ. What a difference between the first and second advent of Christ! The second coning of Christ is described as an event of awe-Spiring significance and splendor. When He comes the second time it will be to be glorified and admired by heaven and earth, but when He came the first time it was to be despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief He comes a second time to be exalted with awe-inspiring glory, but the first time He came to die in circumstances of shame and sorrow. At His second coining the world will behold a spectacle of unexampled honor and splendor
Secondly, we learn from this passage that the full glorification of Christ will not occur till His second coming. The text says, “When He shall come to be glorified in His saints”. To some degree Christ is being glorified now on earth by Christians. Jesus said of the saints when He prayed to the Father, “All Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them”(John 17:10). While He remains in heaven He is glorified on earth only by His saints in His church, but this glory is perceptible only to Himself, but the greater part of the human race knows nothing of the honor due Him. When He was on earth, His glory was hidden. John 1:10 says, “He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him.” How humiliating that must have been for Him. In like manner, the world does not know Christians, even as it did not know Him. Christians are now misunderstood by the world, even as He was misunderstood when He walked among the sons of men. And that is humilating to us as His devoted followers. I John 3:1 says, “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us because it did not know Him." But when He comes the second time there will be no misunderstanding; all will see His true glory and the glory of the redeemed.
Christians, lift up your eyes by faith and anticipate this great change which will be as great to Christians as it will be to the Lord. We too shall be involved in this glorification. It is said of Christians in Colossians 3:3-4, “For you died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.” We died to an evil life of sin and disobedience, and now we live a new life in Christ. For this change God has bestowed honor and glory on us, but the world does not recognize this honor. But when He comes the entire world will see His glorification, and our glorification. His church is now being purified and made ready for that marvelous day when the perfected church shall be presented unto Christ as a bride to her husband. Friends, that will be an extravaganza, the likes of which, this world has never seen. My friends in Christ, you need to get ready for the surprise of your lifetime. His exaltation and esteem will be extraordinary, striking and surprising. It will be a spectacle like humans have never seen before. His manifestation will be our manifestation. For this manifestation He waits and we wait. We know not when the set time will arrive, but every hour is bringing it nearer to us. Practically speaking, it is just as near as our death In Romans 13:11, Paul states we should all be devoted zealously to godly living for this very important reason, “Do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep, for now our salvation is nearer than when we believed."?That salvation is our final salvation which awaits us in the future state on which we enter at death. At death we are translated into the joy of the righteous dead. So to speak, that experience may be compared somewhat to moving from the United States to Canada, a move from one place to another. Thus our death is to us the equivalent of the coming of Christ. So near is it, that even the most active have none too much time to prepare for it. Christians who have become indifferent, uninterested and careless toward Christ and the church have allowed their souls to go to sleep. And let us all be warned. There is no time to be spiritually asleep.
The third and most important thing we learn from this passage is that it tells us some of the specifics of Christ's future glorification. It tells us in what respects Christ will be glorified and wondered at. I cannot expect to tell you one tenth part of it. I am only going to give you a lithe sample of what this must mean. We are told He shall come to be glorified in the saints and be admired in all them that believe. One part of His glorificatopm will be the vast numbers of men and women He will have saved during the the three ages of human history. All saved people who lived from Adam to Moses, from Moses to Christ, and from Christ to His second coming were all saved by Christ. The number of the saved will be a number so vast that no man can number. It is clear that it will be the vast number of redeemed people of earth who will be the means of promoting His glory or it may mean the universe will see His glory manifested in their redemption. His chief glory as seen in that day will be connected with the fact that He has redeemed His people. Another part of His glorificaion will be the absolute perection of all redeemed people of earth. They will be without spot or wrininkle or any such thing. He shall present us without fault before the throne of God. Christians will be highly involved in His glorification. He will come in order to receive appropriate honor before the assembled univese for His glorious accomplishment of redeeming mankind. He will be glorified then by the vast numbers that shall have been redeemed, and by their faithfulness and patience in the trials thrugh which they passed. He will be glorified by their praises and songs and by their ascending with Him to the new heavens and the new earth, to the Father's house with its many mansions.
In addition to being glorified, the text says He shall come to be admired in all them that believe. This may either mean that He will be admired by them that believe or it may mean He will be admired because of the wonderful character of all these people whom He saved. His redeemed will be honored for overcoming evil and for their loyalty to God. They were once defiled, but their robes have been made white by the blood of the Lamb. He may be admired because He is the source of all the holiness and goodness in His redeemed people. One commentator says the statement means that Jesus will come, “to be made marvelous in all them that believe.” The general idea is that Christ will in that day be made marvelous by all them that believe, because of what He has done for the redeemed people of earth and the glorious destiny that waits them in the heavenly world.
From these considerations it seems clear that when Jesus returns to this world His glory will not be so much the outward splendors which will attend His coming, such as the angels who will accompany Him, nor the manifestation of His power over the elements, but it will then be seen that He is worthy of universal admiration for having redeemed His church. He will be admired or glorified by His people for having conceived the plan to redeem them, for willing to become incarnate and to die for them, for defending His church in all its persecutions and trials, for raising His people from the dead, and for the godly character His church will exhibit in that day.
This appropriate honor which His church will bring to Him has never yet been fully seen. His people on earth have imperfectly reflected His glory. They have in general been comparatively few in number and scattered upon the earth in each generation. They have been in general poor and despised. Often they have been persecuted and disrespected. The honors of the world have been withheld from them. Most of the famous, mighty and noble have been ashamed to be enrolled among the followers of the Lamb. But in that day when He comes all this will be changed, and the assembled church will show to an admiring world how great and glorious is its Redeemer. and how glorious was the work of redemption.
But that will not be all. Besides His blood-bought, ransomed people who will admire Him, there will be on that day all the holy angels standing by to see, admire and wonder. They marveled much when He left heaven to become a babe at Bethlehem. We are informed that they are greatly interested in the Christian religion, and desire to look into it and understand all they can about it, and its purpose on earth. But when they see Him return from earth with ten thousand times ten thousands of His saints who have washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb, angels, cherubim, seraphim any other order of angels will marvel and admire Him. What praise, what shouts shall rise from all of these to the glory of the exalted Christ?
Last but not least, Satan and his defeated legions and all the unbelieving and disobedient people of all ages will marvel at Him. One of the important reasons He became flesh and dwelled among us was to destroy the Devil and other fallen angels. Satan did his best to destroy Christ's church and all mankind in general. They too will tremble at the majesty of Jesus on that day. What despair will seize these diabolic spirits as they discover their entire defeat. A part of Christ's honor and glory on that day will be that He defeated Satan by His church, by poor lowly human beings who were once under the control of Satan. They were cast out of heaven for their disobedience, causing heaven to lose many of its inhabitants. That loss will be made up by His church. All the saved people of earth are going to take the place of those angels who were cast out of heaven. My frioends, when these events transpire that will be the end of the story of planet planet earth. This gives us some idea of what planet earth was all about. This
is the greatestd story that has ever been told or ever will be teold.
There is one more thing in the text I have not mentioned, and there is no way I can overstate its importance. It explains what we must all do to be present on that day as a part of His redeemed church and participate in the glorification of Christ. We live in the Christian Age of he world, and Paul reveals, that anyone who is among the redeemed on that day will be there for one important reason. It is expressed in I Thess. 1:10. We will be among the redeemed of Christ on that day, and I quote: “because our testimony among you was believed.” The people who will admire Christ in that day will be people who believed and obeyed the teachings of the apostles and the other Spired writers of the New Testament. The meaning of this statement seems to be that they would be among the number of those who would in that day honor the Savior because they believed what Paul and other inspired teachers had preached to them respecting these future scenes. People who do not believe the events I have discussed in this study will not be among the redeemed on that day. They will be there but not among the redeemed. Paul taught that these are the closing events of Planet earth, and that the church will have a part in Christ's glorification because his testimony and the testimony of other inspired teachers was believed. People who believe what Paul taught in this passage will not waste what little time they have left on earth, but will make the preparation necessary to be among the redeemed. If we believe and follow the teachings of the apostles we will be overcomers, saints and obedient believers, and these are the marks of Christ's redeemed people.