Our 2-year chronological Scripture reading brings us to 2 Thessalonians 1-2. Bible scholars are generally in agreement that “The Second Epistle of Paul The Apostle to the Thessalonians” was written around AD 50-52, and shortly after his 1st Epistle to the believers in Thessalonica.
Following the style of ancient writers, Paul introduced himself as the author in the opening verse of chapter 1, rather than the conclusion of the letter as is our custom today. The apostle’s salutation was recorded in the first 5 verses of chapter 1, and with humility he introduced not only himself, but those who were his missionary peers, “Silvanus, and Timotheus” (i.e., Silas and Timothy, 1:1). Identifying “God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” as the foundation of our faith (1:1b), Paul saluted the persecuted believers of Thessalonica, writing: “2Grace [God’s favor] unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (1:2).
Recalling the excellent report Timothy had given regarding the testimony of the church of Thessalonica throughout Macedonia, Paul boasted, “3We 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” (1:3). Growing faith, abounding love, no wonder Paul took such joy in the believers of Thessalonica. Through “persecutions and tribulations,” they had been a testimony of enduring faith (1:4).
Though troubled and rejected by family and neighbors, Paul encouraged believers to remember there is coming a day when God will “recompense tribulation to them that trouble you” (1:6). In other words, though they were in the midst of trials and persecution, Paul reminded them God is just, and the day is coming when He will execute justice for His children (1:6). Paul prophesied, Jesus Christ is coming with the host of “His mighty angels, 8In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1:7-8). Though believers suffer for a season, they are to remember our Savior is coming as Judge, and the wicked will be “punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power” (2:9).
With that declaration, Paul assured the saints of his constant prayers, and desire for them to live their lives to the glory of God (1:11-12).
In light of the promise of Christ’s coming, and the gathering of the saints unto Him, Paul encouraged the believers of Thessalonica to not fret or worry, or allow false teachers to deceive them (2:1-3).
The apostle warned there would come a time when many would “fall away,” and the Antichrist, “that man of sin be revealed” (2:3). Describing the Antichrist as “the son of perdition” (literally, the son of destruction, 2:3b), Paul described his: 1) Character (3:4); 2) His danger (2:5); 3) His appearance or revelation to the world (3:6-8); 4) His end (3:8); and finally, 5) His work (2:9).
Regarding those who will follow the Antichrist, Paul warned, they will perish (2:10a). They will reject Truth (2:10b). They will be deceived (2:11), and damned in their sin (2:12).
Closing thoughts (2:13-17) – In contrast to those who follow the Antichrist, Paul gave a blessed description of the character and future of the saints. Expressing the affection of a loving spiritual shepherd, Paul declared, “we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you” (2:13a).
Because we are followers of Christ, we are assured of our salvation (2:13), chosen by God (2:13), sharing in Christ’s glory (2:14), standing fast and clinging to God’s Word and traditions passed down by the saints of old (2:15), and resting and trusting in the resources of our salvation (the love of God and Christ, who has comforted, encouraged, and given us a lasting eternal hope, 2:16-17).
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