This epistle might be referred to as 3rd Thessalonians, but not really. There may have been a forgery supposedly from Paul but actually from an imposter, and that might have been why the Thessalonian church was confused on certain matters. This was alluded to in Ch. 2:2 (“not by letter as by us”).
This letter was written by Paul shortly after the first letter to the Thessalonian saints; both around A.D. 51.
Theme: The Day of the LORD (This phrase is also seen in Joel 1:15; 2 Ptr. 3:10 and Rev. 19:19 and elsewhere). This phrase refers to that period of time when God actively and openly begins to deal with the people of the Earth in judgment, beginning with the Jew and then the Gentile as portrayed in Revelation Ch. 6 – 19.
It begins with (1) the translation of the church or rapture (“bride of Christ”) from Earth to Heaven and culminates at (2) the Great White Throne Judgment with the 70th week of Daniel (“time of Jacob's trouble” Jer. 30:7) in which the world will see the 7 year reign of anti-Christ or “the man of sin” (2 Thess. 2:3) occurring between those two points.
The saints at Thessalonica were anxious because they thought that the Day of the LORD was upon them, but Paul corrects this misunderstanding in explaining that two crucial events must first happen before this occurs; we will see what those things are in 2 Thess. Ch. 2.
Outline: Intro: 1:1-4; I – Comfort in persecution: 1:5-12; II – The Day of the LORD vs. the man of sin: 2:1-12; III – Exhortations and instructions: 2:13-3:15; Conclusion: 3:16-18.
STUDY # 1 – 2 Thess. 1:1-12: The Perspective of COMFORT IN PERSECUTION
Vs. 1: Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:
Greetings from Paul & Co. in the Name of 'the Trinity' perhaps? “God, the Father, and the LORD Jesus Christ.” Punctuation doesn't exist in Hebrew the way it does in modern languages; punctuation is implied in some of the Hebrew letters and these are translated into English Bibles into the appropriate commas and periods and exclamation points. So having a comma after “God” and also “the Father” (followed by the LORD Jesus Christ) may imply “God” as the third Person of the Triune God, the Holy Spirit. This is repeated in vs. 2.
Vs. 2: Grace unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
“Grace and Peace”. The grace of God brings us peace with God; prior to salvation the sinner is an enemy of God (Not that God is an enemy to anyone, but He is a Holy and Righteous Judge that must condemn sin); on our part however due to our sinful and rebellious nature, we are enemies of God in our fallen state (Rom. 8:7 “Because the carnal mind is enmity against God, not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” Also Eph. 2:16; James 4:4). Once salvation is obtained, the sinner has peace with God (Rom. 5:1) and as a result may experience the peace of God (Phil. 1:6-7) as we fellowship with the LORD according to His saving grace.
The fact that this grace and peace comes from both the Father and the Son with no differentiation between the Father's grace and peace given, and that of the Son's, shows that the Son is God just as the Father is; for who can offer the grace and peace that the Father gives that has the same quality, except for God (the Son)?
Vs. 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;
Thanksgiving is offered by Paul and his co-laborers for the abiding, faithful saints of Thessalonica (thanksgiving is also offered in 2:13, except there its because of God's election, salvation, santification and belief in the truth). We likewise ought to offer praise and thanksgiving to the LORD for those saints, (whether they are in the pastorate or in the pew) who are still abiding in Christ, still faithful in their service and devotion to the LORD, especially since we are living in the days of the apostasy.
These saints were “growing exceedingly” in their faith. Theirs was a faith that was growing far above and beyond of what would normally be expected, something that Paul could boast about to other churches (as mentioned in vs. 4).
Faith comes by hearing says Rom. 10:17, and hearing by _____?
We rightly conclude that if their faith grew exceedingly it was because of their devotion to the Word: both the Incarnate Word, the LORD Jesus Christ; and the inspired Word (the Scriptures).
Also in vs. 3 we read “...the love of everyone of you all aboundeth...” or “super-abound” as the Greek word employs in this passage. So we see faith and love in this verse. Faith comes by hearing the Word of God, and faith operates by love (Gal. 5:6).
Vs. 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:
Lots of good stuff here! Thanksgiving for spiritual growth, faith, love and here in vs. 4 w read about patience and endurance. Why are all these things necessary in the Christian life?
Firstly, to honor God Who purchased us with His own blood (Acts 20:28). Secondly, because these godly traits, born and nurtured by the Holy Spirit indwelling us are greatly needed in times of hardships, struggles, persecutions and tribulations.
“Patience and tribulation” are both mentioned; here as well we learn more about this:
5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
If we want to endure such persecutions and tribulations (troubles), these spiritual elements are fundamentals, not frills; these are bare necessities not benign niceties!
One of the reasons the saints at Thessalonica thought that they had missed the rapture was because of the severe persecution they were enduring. There were those who were falsely teaching that this event had already taken place such as in 2 Tim. 2:17-18.
On the subject of “endurance”:
21 Yet hath he not root* in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended. (Isaiah 11:10 - “And in that day there shall be a *root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious.”)
2 TIMOTHY 2:3-4
4 No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.
Vs. 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:
“manifest token”, that is, the fact that they are being persecuted by the world shows that they are not of the world, but they are of God and thus accounted worthy of the kingdom of God; those who live godly in Christ will suffer persecution (2 Tim. 3:12). “Walking worthy” is mentioned also in 1 Thessalonians 2:12; 2 Thessalonians 1:11 and in Ephesians 4:1-2.
11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
Consider also HEB. 11:35b-38a:
35b ...and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection:
37 They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented;
Vs. 6: Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you;
“...recompense...” An actual name from Hebrew (of six different Israelis so named) transliterated into the Greek; the name means “God of deliverance”.
The saints of God are precious to our Abba Father Who takes it seriously when one of them are injured or even slighted in some way. The LORD Jesus sees any attack upon the church as an actual attack upon Himself!
ZECH. 2:8 “For thus saith the Lord of hosts; After the glory hath he sent me unto the nations which spoiled you: for he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of his eye.”
Recall what Paul the apostle heard when he was Saul of Tarsus, a pharisee and a persecutor of the church:
“4 And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?
5 And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.”
God is a God of justice and judgment executed justly. He is faithful to judge all sin both of sinner and saint. The unrepentant sinner will face his own judgment before God; the saint's sins have already been judged at the cross where Jesus bore our sins and their penalty in our place. This is the place of grace!
Vs. 7-8: And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,
In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:
“...rest with us...” Because of God's recompense for us, we can therefore rest in Him - “a letting loose, relaxation, rest, rest not from work but from endurance and suffering; also relief from anxiety and, or persecution.”
“...revealed from heaven...” The Greek word for “revealed” here is: apokalupsis – disclosure, revelation, be revealed, to lighten, manifestation, appearing. This word is more comprehensive than epipheneia and depicts the progressive and immediate unveiling of the otherwise unknown and unknowable God to His church.
“...taking vengeance...” upon those who:
- Know not God - “Depart from Me, workers of iniquity, I never knew you.” Matt. 7:23
- Obey not the Gospel of the LORD Jesus Christ. These are those who “believed not the truth” as mentioned in 2 Thess. 2:12.
“...flaming fire...” Fire is the element long associated in Scripture with God's judgment. Fire can either destroy or refine. It can either ruin or enrich. It all depends on what it's working on. Spiritually speaking the fire of God will bring punitive destruction upon the unredeemed; but will bring purity and wholeness to the redeemed of the LORD. Even among the saints, the works that they accomplish will be tried by the fire of God's judgment (at the [bema seat], at the judgment seat of Christ (1 Cor. 3:11-15; 2 Cor. 5:10) – the works of the flesh will be burned up, the work of the Spirit in our lives shall remain and be rewarded.
Turn to 2 Tim. 3:1-5; also 1 Peter 4:17-18
Vs. 9: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;
Three Greek words are employed for the following:
“punished” - This is a compound word in the Greek, using two different words together; the first being dike, meaning “justice, a just decision and its execution, judgment, punishment, vengeance, that which is right, equitable”; the second Greek word is tino and this means, “to pay a price, a penalty, punished.”
“everlasting” - aionios is the Greek word here, meaning: “perpetual, eternal, forever; it can mean of a time undefined but not endless as in Rom. 16:25 (“began”). Aionios when meaning eternal is the opposite of proskairos which means “for a season”. In 2 Cor. 4:18 “...the things which are eternal...” is ainonios. It means eternal, and forever regarding the Person of God (Rom. 16:26); His power (1 Tim. 6:16); His glory (1 Pet. 5:10); redemption (Heb. 9:12); salvation (Heb. 5:9); life in Christ (John 3:16); the judgment of God (Heb. 6:2); and of the fire, one of judgment's instruments (Matt. 18:8; 25:41; Jude :7).
The punishment mentioned in 2 Thess. 1:9 is not temporary but final, and accordingly the phraseology shows that its purpose is not remedial but retributive.
“destruction” - The Greek word here is olethros, meaning: “to destroy, death, punishment, destruction; ruin and divine judgment upon men at the ushering in of the Day of the LORD and the revelation of Jesus Christ. The word here does not mean annihilation or to obliterate out of existence, but to bring to a state of utter ruin and uselessness, in a way similar to but not identical with the way that time will eventually bring a building into a state of disrepair and if left unattended will finally result in complete ruin and will then require demolition.
There is the false doctrines of Universalism and also that of annihilation; go to www.thetruthunderfire.com and use the search engine there: “Christ's Court Session” to read a series of articles that deal with these topics.
Vs. 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.
“...glorified in His saints...”
How is God glorified in us?
23 Ye that fear the Lord, praise him; all ye the seed of Jacob, glorify him; and fear him, all ye the seed of Israel.
31 Therefore, when he was gone out, Jesus said, Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in him.
32 If God be glorified in him, God shall also glorify him in himself, and shall straightway glorify him.
33 Little children, yet a little while I am with you. Ye shall seek me: and as I said unto the Jews, Whither I go, ye cannot come; so now I say to you.
34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.
8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.
JOHN 17:4-54 I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.
5 And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.
1 PETER 4:11-16
11 If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:
13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.
14 If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.
15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men's matters.
16 Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.
Vs. 10 cont'd: 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.
“...admired in all them that believe...”
Believing in the sense of believing God, not merely believing in God as in believing that He exists, but believing what He tells us in His Word. The ones that admire the saints here, I believe are those other saints still on Earth who came to know Jesus as LORD and Savior during the time of the tribulation, where mere belief in God could not sustain them through such a horrific time, but a faith in God's Word that is unshakeable, even if one's very life is threatened!
Faith in the Word of God if it is genuine is as unshakeable as the Word of Truth itself (Matt. 24:35 - “heaven and earth shall pass away...” The Words of Jesus, being the Word of God will never pass away! Whether we face the time of tribulation or we face tribulation, hardships and persecution in this life, a solid faith in the Word of God will enable us by His Spirit of grace to prevail!
Vs. 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:
An excellent prayer! “worthy of this calling”. Ekklesia – called out assembly: Rom. 12:1-2 and Eph. 4:1-3. “...fulfill all the good pleasure of His goodness...” How good is the goodness of God? 95% good?
There is none good but God, so genuine goodness is a manifestation of the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22) and where ever we see goodness demonstrated, it must be of God working in our lives and the lives of the saints.
“...the work of faith with power.” Greek words employed here:
Vs. 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.Goodness, glory, and grace.
“...the name of the LORD Jesus Christ may be glorified in you and you in Him...”
The “name” is a representation of the character, reputation, the exemplary of the heart. It is a manifestation of one's personality. The “Name” of Jesus Christ represents Who He is = Jesus: Yehoshua, a contraction of YHWH shua or “Our God is salvation”!
The name of God is highly exalted, and the only thing that God exalts even higher is His Word (Ps. 138:2); Jesus is the Name above every other name (Acts 4:12; Phil 2:9). In the Name of Jesus Christ, let us therefore pursue the LORD, seeking greater and deeper sanctification and edification in His Word by faith so that we may endure the trials and temptations and tribulations in these coming days!
A video was produced of chapter 1 during the MEN's RETREAT of the same name as this three part study; you can watch this teaching here.