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Two Thesallonians One

by Dr. Henry M. Morris

(taken from the Defender's Study Bible)

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2 Thesallonians 1:1 Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:

Thessalonians. See the Introduction to 1 Thessalonians. This second epistle to the Thessalonians was apparently written soon after the first, while Timothy and Silvanus (i.e., Silas) were still with Paul at Corinth. Paul had received a reply to his first letter, and their response indicated that the Thessalonians needed still further instruction and correction. Apparently, some false teacher had written them in the name of Paul (2 Thessalonians 2:2), and his erroneous teachings needed to be corrected. Also they were undergoing severe persecutions for their Christian stand, and Paul wanted to both commend and encourage them in this.

2 Thesallonians 1:2 Grace unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

2 Thesallonians 1:3 We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth;

2 Thesallonians 1:4 So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure:

tribulations. The tribulations which all saints in all ages must endure (not just in the last generation—note Acts 14:22; 2 Timothy 3:12) are from men. The future tribulation visited on rebellious men, however, will be from God (2 Thessalonians 1:6). They are not the same. In fact, our present tribulations can be considered a blessing, since we are therefore enabled to share, in small measure, the sufferings of Christ (2 Thessalonians 1:5; see also Philippians 1:29; 3:10; 2 Corinthians 1:5).

2 Thesallonians 1:5 Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer:

2 Thesallonians 1:6 Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you;

2 Thesallonians 1:7 And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,

rest. “Rest” here is a noun, not a verb. That is, those who are doing the troubling will receive tribulation; those who are being troubled will be given rest.

angels. The angels accompanying Christ at His first coming testified of peace and good will (Luke 2:13-14). At His second coming, they bring vengeance and flaming fire.

2 Thesallonians 1:8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:

flaming fire. This fire may be the same as “the pillar of fire” that protected and guided God's people in the wilderness (Exodus 13:21). Alternatively, there are numerous references to fires in the tribulation period (e.g., Revelation 8:5-10; 18:8). Finally, climaxing the day of the Lord, the earth itself will be “burned up” (2 Peter 3:10).

vengeance. “Taking vengeance” does not here imply taking revenge but rather exacting justice. God has been long-suffering, but “our God is a consuming fire” and “it [will be] a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 12:29; 10:31).

know not God. Knowing God means more than knowing about God; it means knowing Him as He is, personally and reverently acknowledging Him as sovereign Creator, redeeming Savior, and all-seeing Judge.

obey not the gospel. It is the gospel by which men are saved (1 Corinthians 15:1-2) and there can be no other way of salvation (John 14:6; Acts 4:12). The gospel is good news and salvation is offered freely to anyone who will receive it through faith in Christ. There is no acceptable excuse for rejecting His love and sacrificial death. For those who do reject Him, however, “there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries” (Hebrews 10:26-27).

2 Thesallonians 1:9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;

destruction. This “everlasting destruction” is not annihilation of being, but of well-being. It means “everlasting ruin” or “everlasting punishment” (compare Matthew 25:41; Revelation 14:11).

presence of the Lord. The very essence of eternal hell is that it involves everlasting separation from God and all manifestation of His glorious power. Hell cannot be located on the new earth (see on Revelation 19:20; 20:10), since the lake of fire is in existence both before and after the disintegration of this present earth. Since God's power pervades His entire universe, it seems that the lake of fire must be as far away from the presence of God on the new earth as possible. To be forever separated from all that God is—love, power, righteousness, beauty, intelligence, etc.—is essentially what men who reject Him have chosen, and this is what hell will be like.

2 Thesallonians 1:10 When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.

all them that believe. When Christ returns and calls His saints to meet Him in the air (both dead and living—1 Thessalonians 4:16-17), He will “be admired in all them that believe,” not just those who are maintaining a certain standard of spirituality at the time of His coming. The rapture is not a partial rapture, but is effective for all believers, whether carnal or spiritual, living or dead. The evaluation of one's life after individual regeneration will be settled at Christ's judgment seat (2 Corinthians 5:10).

2 Thesallonians 1:11 Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power:

2 Thesallonians 1:12 That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.