2 Thessalonians 1
Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:
2 Grace unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
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;
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:
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:
6 Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you;
7 And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,
8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:
9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;
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.
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:
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.
A simple phone call could have cleared up a lot of the problems faced by the churches of Paul. But there were no phones in the ancient world. So believers had to track Paul down and hand deliver a letter containing their questions. The apostle would then dictate a response and have it hand delivered back to the church. The process might take months. In the meantime false beliefs and misunderstandings would have time to develop and spread. This seems to have happened in Thessalonica.
In the first chapter of Second Thessalonians Paul again looks forward to the outcome of his work for the Thessalonians. At the Second Coming, the believers will be rescued from their persecutors by God’s spectacular intervention in Christ (1:5-10). Paul’s goal in this passage is not rejoicing in vengeance (1:8-9), but encouragement of the abused and oppressed (1:5-7). The core of this judgment is actually the opposite of First Thessalonians 4. There the Second Coming enables the Thessalonians to be “with the Lord.” Here their persecutors are driven away from the face of the Lord, not because He hates them, but because their characters cannot handle the glorious presence of God.
Loma Linda University