As Though Looking through a Telescope - The Warrior's Journey®

As Though Looking through a Telescope

Author: Chaplain, COL Scott McChrystal, USA (Ret.)

. Photo by is licensed under CC By 2.0

“God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed.” (2 Thessalonians 1:6-10) 

Have you ever looked at mountains in the distance through a telescope? You’ll find that the magnification seems to pull all of those ridges together so that they look like a single mountain. You can’t tell there’s any distance between the first ridge and those beyond it. They’re all pulled together or “telescoped.” But when you drive over and through those same mountains you’ll discover that they’re not so compressed. There are wide valleys separating the ridges. Sometimes there are many miles between each ridge.   

Keep this in mind whenever you read the Bible passages on Jesus’ Second Coming. When Paul and the other biblical writers speak of the events of the last days and the Lord’s coming, they frequently “telescope events.” Looking from a distance, they will speak of the Lord’s coming for the saints as a thief in the night and His return with the saints to judge the world as though they are the same events (John 5:28-29). Yet when those events finally come, we’ll realize that there are wide valleys and great distances between them. The Book of Revelation helps to unravel what often appear to be “tightly wound” events, such as Christ’s return for the saints, with the saints, the Millennial Kingdom of Christ, and the final judgment of the wicked. The devotion on 1 Thessalonians 4 will better explain the sequence of these events. 

In the passage above, Paul speaks of Jesus bringing relief to the saints and of a final judgment of the wicked as though they occur at the same time.  But they do not. According to Revelation 19-20, there are at least 1,000 years between those events. To understand the true sequence and timing of these “eschatological” events we need to examine all the Scriptures that speak of them. These passages include Daniel 7:9-28; Matthew 24-25; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:3; 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12; and Revelation 4-22. We’ll discuss them more in future devotionals. But one thing must be absolutely clear from the start. The next prophetic event, the Lord’s coming for the saints as a thief in the night, will come without any warning. Since the death and resurrection of the Messiah, there are no prophetic events that will precede the Lord’s coming, when some are taken up by the Lord and others are left behind (Matthew 24:36-42). Therefore, no one on earth will know the day or hour and we must remain ready at all times. 


  • How can we as believers in Jesus remain ready for the Lord’s coming? 
  • By devoting ourselves to prayer, study of the Scriptures, and the Lord’s work? 
  • By fellowshipping with other believers and encouraging one another? 

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