The disciples of Yeshua of the first century C.E.
believed they would see the return of their Master in their lifetime or that of
their children. In Emperor Nero and Domitian, they saw the Antichrists often
spoken of by the prophets Daniel and Ezekiel, by Yeshua, Paul, and John. For
that reason, much of Paul's writings are in the context of preparing the
congregations of Messiah for evil days ahead.
Just like Messiah had His foreshadows in some of the
patriarchs and prophets, the Antichrist has his foreshadows in the heads of
world Empires and evil dictators of History. Whereas Nero and Domitian were not
the 'Antichrist', they were foreshadows of him.
Today, while we may not live under the
'Antichrist', maybe our children will, and if not them, maybe our grandchildren.
Each year we celebrate the Fall Feasts which in Hebrew are called 'rehearsals'.
The Fall Feasts speak of the time when the Messiah comes, when Yeshua will
return. They are therefore rehearsals for that Blessed Day. In Judaism we do not
try to figure out the date of the Messiah but are taught to be ready each year
by preparing ourselves for it at the Fall Feasts, especially during the forty
days preceding Yom Kippur, the most likely 'time' Yeshua will set His feet on
the Mt of Olives. These forty days start with the first of Elul which was in
this year's Gregorian calendar last 18th of September.
If our grandchildren are to be ready, we better live
lives that reflect that readiness in the sight of our children, so they will in
turn teach their children, our grand-children. Paul gave to the Thessalonians
congregation a readiness class in the form of a 'checklist' for that day. Oddly
enough, unlike some to day who urge us to be ready, this 'checklist' did not
have anything to do with self-preservation or survival such as changing money to
gold, growing beans in their yard, or live outside the city in a self-contained
environment. Paul's idea of preparation was first and foremost concerning
inter-personal relationship, as well as their relationship with God. Here is
what Paul said to prepare the congregations for that Day (my comments in
1 Thessalonians 5
"Now concerning the times and the seasons,
brothers, you have no need to have anything written to you (You know the 'season'
of the coming of Messiah: the Fall Feasts). For you yourselves are fully
aware that the day of Adonai will come like a thief in the night (a Talmudic
expression referring to Rosh Hashana, 10 days before Yom Kippur). While
people are saying, "There is peace and security," then sudden destruction will
come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not
escape. But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that
day to surprise you like a thief (you are enlightened by the knowledge and
teachings of the Word about the Fall Feasts, so you will not be surprised like
the others). For you are all
children of light (light = knowledge), children of the day. We are not of
the night or of the darkness (darkness = ignorance).
Having put on the breastplate of faith (like Moses who fled Egypt and put his lot with God, learn to trust the Father for the present and the future, and not trust in the riches of the world)
Love (learn to love; may your faith be motivated by love for God and your brothers)
And for a helmet the hope of salvation (remember that full redemption is the end of the story; nothing can change that)
For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Master Yeshua HaMashiach (we are not destined to suffer the wrath of God as described in Revelations 16) who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him (this time 'awake or sleep' are to be understood literally within the language of the day meaning 'alive or dead').
Here is more instruction; Therefore:
Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Master Yeshua HaMashiach. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.
This was Paul's checklist for the Congregations to be prepared for the Day of Messiah. I think that if it was good for them, it
must be good for us to use as a list to check our hearts during the next 40 days to prepare for Yom Kippur!
He then added: