(NASB translation unless indicated otherwise)

2Ths. 1:1 Paul and Silvanus and Timothy to the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:

Paul is writing to church age believers in Thessalonica. They are undergoing great affliction at the present time from a group of persecutors who are quite severe in their attacks on these believers. In fact, the affliction is so great that it resembles very closely the quality of persecution that will exist during the time of great affliction (tribulation) that will be wielded by the man of lawlessness. The word for affliction here and for tribulation in Matthew 24:9 and 21 is the same word in the Greek, thlipsis. At the time of writing to the Thessalonians, the world conditions are such that the events leading up to the Day-of-the-Lord return of Jesus could begin to take place at any time. In other words, the time of affliction that they are going through, could very easily escalate into the great affliction. If that were to happen, then they need to know that Jesus promised them deliverance from the severity of that time so that the vast majority of His believing brethren (the elect, church age believers, Hebrews 2:10-11) would not undergo the death blows from the beast. For he will try to kill all believers in Jesus (Revelation 12:17; 13:7, 15; Daniel 7:25), but will not totally succeed because the time of his oppression will be cut short (Matthew 24:22) by the return of Jesus.

And that promise is exactly what Paul reaffirms to them in this letter.

A very important point of introduction is to recognize that there is only ONE second coming. That is, what Jesus taught about His coming (the coming of the Son of Man) and what the apostles taught about His coming all refer to the one and the same return of Jesus in the clouds of the sky. At that time, the resurrection of ALL believers who have died since Adam will occur, and the resurrection of all living believers will occur; and all of these will meet with Jesus in the sky, and will be escorted to heaven where they will begin preparation for their home and function in God's plan for eternity. This passage before us is key to understanding that when Jesus comes back to gather His saints to Himself, as described at 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17, it will be a visible, physical and glorious revelation of God's glory, accompanied by His angels, just as Jesus taught at every recorded mention of the event.

This chapter is vital and pivotal for establishing the UNITY of all the second coming passages that occur in the New Testament. For amplification, see The Second Coming as taught by Jesus.


2Ths. 1:2 Grace to you and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

This is the standard greeting from the apostle and is expressed in most of his letters. It indicates a desire for them to experience all the resources of God's grace provision that He has made available to them through His word. This desire can only be fulfilled through the believer's diligence in spiritual growth as Peter detailed at 2 Peter 1:2-11, and summarized at 2 Peter 3:18, "but grow in THE GRACE and the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." The apostle's desire for them to experience peace is also conditional upon their response to God's word in claiming the many promises that produce peace in the soul during the midst of any kind of pressure (Philippians 4:6-7). Paul indicates that Jesus is the source for this peace, just as He promised at John 14:27. But He also made it clear that it was conditional upon their attitude of not being afraid or intimidated. The Father too is the source of this quality of inner peace as the promise at Philippians 4:6-7 indicates, "the peace of God, which surpasses all human comprehension, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus."


2Ths. 1:3 We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brethren, as is {only} fitting, because your faith is greatly enlarged, and the love of each one of you toward one another grows {ever} greater;


Paul expresses his appreciation for their consistent faithfulness in both Christian growth and in expressing the love of Christ towards one another.

2Ths. 1:4 so that, we ourselves boast about you among the churches of God for your endurance and faith in the midst of all your persecutions and afflictions which you are tolerating;

He tells them that he actually brags on their behalf because of their faithfulness in the face of severe persecution and pressure. The word afflictions is thlipsis and simply means pressure. It can come from a variety of sources, but the focus in this context seems to be on the persecution pressure that they were enduring. This is not something new or strange to the church. Paul taught at Acts 14:22, "it is necessary that through many afflictions (thlipsis) we are to enter into the kingdom of God," (BFT). And at Philippians 1:29, "For to you it has been graciously provided on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for Him," (BFT). And Peter too, at 1 Peter 4:12, "beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you . . . as though some strange thing were happening to you."

This experience of affliction from those who are rejecters of God and of God's plan of salvation through Christ, is simply evidence that God is JUST in judging them. It is their own actions that condemn them, and at the same time vindicate your faithfulness because it is demonstrated that you are walking worthy of your place in the family of God. As the believer endures such persecution affliction, he testifies to the reality of his salvation relationship with God.

2Ths. 1:5 a plain indication of God's righteous judgment with the result that you are considered worthy of the kingdom of God, on behalf of which also you are suffering.

This faithful consistency in the face of thlipsis is a testimonial beacon to the believer's status as a child of God, and to God's grace provision for the believer, which is the basis for that believers faithful devotion and endurance.

2Ths. 1:6 Since indeed, it is just for God to repay with affliction those who are afflicting you,

The construction, "since indeed," is eiper, which is a particle of recognized reality. Paul states here the certainty of God's repayment to those who are the persecutors of believers. The word, repay, is antapodidomi, and means to give back to someone in recompense for actions or service rendered. The verb has two objects and two indirect objects (actually 3, including "us as well"). On the one hand God is paying back something to the persecutors, and on the other hand, he is paying back something to the believers. Both paybacks will be initiated by the same event of Christ's glorious descent from heaven in the clouds of the sky. At that time, He will give rest to the believers by removing them out from the affliction, and he will give affliction to the unbelievers by pouring out his wrath upon the world.

This truth is taught by language of principle rather than a specific promise to the Thessalonians that it will indeed occur in their lifetime. This language of principle is the same thing that Jesus used when He gave the promise to the disciples at John 14:1-3, for the promise that He would come again and receive them to Himself never occurred in their lifetime. But it could have, and indeed will in the lifetime of a future generation of believers.

The principle here, that "it is just for God to . . ," applies to whatever group of believers are alive on the earth at the time that Jesus returns. At the time of writing, the affliction (tribulation, thlipsis) that is being endured by the Thessalonians, and indeed, by other believers in other locations (including Paul, 2 Thes. 3:2; 1 Thes. 3:3-4) is not THE tribulation that Jesus taught about (Matthew 24:9-22), but it could easily escalate into that period of time if the man of lawlessness were to be revealed. In such a case, the principle stated in verses 6 and 7, would be applied and Jesus would return to both deliver (give relief to) the believers out from the world, and to render affliction on the unbelievers left in the world.

1. It is just with God: the adjective, dikaios, and the preposition, para, indicates something that is just, righteous, fair BESIDE God, that is, in his presence or sight. This indicates that the absolute standards of divine justice are in play and nothing can refute or discredit the administration of that justice to those who are deserving of either blessing or judgment. Although the translation, "just for God," is clear enough, it does not reflect for us the application of divine standards that the preposition para does, but at the same time, I suggest that ANY English translation will require additional explanation even while adequately indicating that God is justified in what He does.

2. To repay with affliction: the thing that is being repaid is thlipsis. That is, pressure and trouble, of an equal quality as what these unbelievers were inflicting upon the believers. The recipients of this affliction are "those who are afflicting you." This is a present active participle of thlibo and indicates that Paul has in mind the present persecution affliction that the Thessalonians are encountering. It does not see these persecutors as ones who (once) afflicted them, but those who RIGHT NOW are afflicting them.


However, because there is the possibility that THAT present time frame for the church might progress unto the revealing and reign of the man of lawlessness (the beast), the affliction that they are presently encountering, might advance into the affliction administered by the beast. In that case, the "repay with affliction" will be directed on the beast and his kingdom through the trumpet and bowl judgments as the book of the Revelation teaches. The possibility of this being the case is indicated by the fact that Paul speaks of deliverance from this affliction by the revelation of Jesus from heaven.

The possibility of this happening is not going to be a matter of guesswork by any particular generation of the church, for both Jesus and Paul taught that there would be indicators to portend the coming of the Lord. Jesus taught that when the SIGNS of the tribulation period occur, which would be evidenced by the abomination of desolation standing in the Holy Place (Jewish sanctuary or temple), that His second coming would be near - even though the exact day or hour would be unknown (Matthew 24:32-44).

And here at 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12, Paul teaches that the COMING of the Lord would not occur until after the man of lawlessness is revealed and the subsequent apostasy of many believers occurs in connection with this man's persecution.

2Ths. 1:7 and relief to you who are afflicted and to us as well at the revelation of the Lord Jesus from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire,

1. AND: This introduces the 2nd object and direct object governed by the verb, repay.

2. relief: This indicates that the Thessalonian believers are going to receive something that is directly opposite to what they were presently encountering.

There is a surprising number of commentators who see in this passage, the idea of a future "just satisfaction" to be experienced by believers when at the last judgment, the unbelievers, and specifically, those who persecuted them while on the earth, will be judged and assigned to the lake of fire. However, the context strongly suggests that the relief is to be experienced immediately, while still in the midst of the affliction, and is not something that would be experienced at some distant time in the future. In other words, this relief is immediate and personal and does not refer to any idea of "just satisfaction" at the future last judgment. The Greek noun is anesis and only occurs 4 other times in the New Testament.

(1) Acts 24:23

And he gave orders to the centurion for him to be kept in custody and {yet} have {some} freedom (relief), and not to prevent any of his friends from ministering to him.

This refers to immediate RELIEF from the pressure of confinement by allowing him to have visits from friends. There is no idea of "just satisfaction" in view here.

(2) 2 Corinthians 2:13

I had no rest for my spirit, not finding Titus my brother;
but taking my leave of them, I went on to Macedonia.

This certainly refers to turmoil and worry in the soul.
The REST would be immediate relief from such worry.

(3) 2 Corinthians 7:5

For even when we came into Macedonia our flesh had no rest,
but we were afflicted on every side: conflicts without, fears within.

Again, the word is used to indicate the absence of affliction. Ie, they had no relief from the pressures of persecution.

At 2 Thessalonians 1:7, those for whom the Lord comes at the Day of the Lord, will be given relief from the affliction that they are experiencing at that time. There is no idea of "just satisfaction" in view here.

(4) 2 Corinthians 8:12-14

For if the readiness is present, it is acceptable according to what {a man} has, not according to what he does not have. For {this} is not for the ease (RELIEF) of others {and} for your affliction, but by way of equality - at this present time your abundance {being a} {supply} for their want, that their abundance also may become {a supply} for your want, that there may be equality;


Here, the idea is that ease or relief from material need is provided by the generous giving of more prosperous believers.

But this is not advocated by Paul in order to cause an affliction upon the prosperous believers while at the same time providing RELIEF to the needy, but simply to set up a system by which some kind of mutual aid and assistance can be practiced so that there will be a certain degree of

equality between the believers involved. But what is clear here, is that the word is used to indicate an immediate relief from the affliction of material need, and there is certainly no idea of "just satisfaction" that would be experienced at some later date.

There is no contextual basis, no hermeneutical basis and no reasonable basis for seeing in the word, anesis (relief) any idea of some future "just satisfaction" that would be experienced long after the martyrs in view (the Thessalonians) had died and gone into the presence of Jesus in heaven.

The claim for such an idea rises out of the corner that the pretrib view backs theologians into and their inability to reconcile this passage with that view.

3. To you who are being afflicted: This is a present active participle of the verb, thlibo, and is used to indicate the present and immediate affliction that they are enduring. It is not an aorist tense which would suggest the translation, "to you who WERE afflicted" and could possibly justify then, the idea of a future "just satisfaction" for what had happened to them while they lived on the earth. But no, this is clearly affliction that they are PRESENTLY experiencing and from which they will be given relief while they are in the midst of it. This of course, confirms what was already established by the present active participle of the verb at the end of verse 6.

4. And to us as well: Paul includes himself here, and by way of application, all believers who are alive at that time. This indicates that the deliverance that Paul has in mind when Jesus returns, is something that will be universal for all believers who are alive on the earth. This of course is what the other rapture passages teach, and there is perfect consistency between all of them.

5. The time when this deliverance or RELIEF will be given to the afflicted believers is at the revelation of the Lord Jesus.

A. At the revelation of the Lord Jesus: The word is apokalupsis, and is used by the apostles four other times for the 2nd coming of Jesus to gather the church to Himself, and the verb (apokalupto) is used one time by Jesus as is recorded at Luke 17:30.

1Corinthians 1:7, so that you are not lacking in any gift, awaiting eagerly the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ,

1Peter 1:7, that the proof of your faith, {being} more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ;

1Peter 1:13, Therefore, gird your minds for action, keep sober {in spirit,} fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

1Peter 4:13, but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing; so that also at the revelation of His glory, you may rejoice with exultation.


B. These passages taken together and compared with 2 Thessalonians 1:7, make it irrefutable that they all refer to the very same arrival of Jesus at which time He will be revealed IN GLORY to the world of unbelievers, and will gather to Himself all the living believers at that time. And surely there is no basis for making this REVELATION of Jesus any different than the one He talks about at Luke 17:30, where the verb, apokalupto is used.

"It will be just the same on the day that the Son of Man is revealed."

C. Furthermore, Luke 17:34-35 makes a direct correlation between this revelation in glory and the supernatural removal of believers from the earth, who will then be gathered (paralambano, taken) to the side of Jesus, just as He promised would happen at John 14:1-3.

"I tell you, on that night there will be two men in one bed;
one will be taken, and the other will be left.
There will be two women grinding at the same place;
one will be taken, and the other will be left."


D. The translation in the NASB, KJV, NRSV, and the NIV, "when the Lord Jesus is revealed," is inaccurate and does not represent the literal Greek, which makes a significant difference. Regardless of the reasoning and rationale of these so called experts who insist on translating this as a temporal clause (when . . . revealed), it does not change the fact that the literal translation is clear and precise, and points significantly back to the four other places where the noun occurs, as noted above. William Hendriksen at least acknowledges the correct literal translation before he goes on to rationalize agreement with the usual rendering (New Testament Commentary, page 158). A. T. Robertson translates it correctly and describes it as the "unveiling of the Messiah," and identifies it with the same revelation as is mentioned at 1 Corinthians 1:7 and 1 Peter 1:7. (Word Pictures, Vol. IV, page 43).

What is quite interesting to me is how John Walvoord seems to arbitrarily assign the use of this noun (revelation), now to the rapture and now to a subsequent second coming, with which Dwight Pentecost agrees as he quotes on page 159 in Things to Come:

A survey of those passages in which the word is used in relation to Christ demonstrates that in a number of instances it is used of the second coming of Christ (1 Peter 4:13; 2 Thessalonians 1:7; Luke 17:30). . .
In other passages, however, it is clearly used in reference to the coming of Christ in the air for His church (1 Cor. 1:7; Col. 3:4; 1 Peter 1:7, 13).


An objective analysis of this noun produces only one second coming at which time, not only will Jesus deliver His elect (give relief to you who are being afflicted), but also begin a judgment on those who are left on the earth. This is confirmed by this passage if by none other, for the promise proclaimed here is clearly given to church age believers concerning an immediate relief from ongoing affliction at the revelation of Jesus from heaven.

6. From heaven: Of course Jesus comes down from heaven, where he is presently located, sitting at the right hand of the Father. This is perfectly consistent with all of the other second coming passages and does not require any amplification. Phlip. 3:20-21; 1 Thes. 1:10; 4:16;

7. with His mighty angels: This, of course, is what poses such a problem for the pre-trib rapture position, for they cannot harmonize this coming with angels in power and glory with the arrival of Jesus to rapture His church. They are thus, required to take this very vivid church promise away from the church and make the relief that is in view, totally meaningless to those who are going through the afflictions, and the revelation that is mentioned, to apply to Christ's descent to the earth at Armageddon.

However, since it is contextually obvious that this promise is for church age believers, then it is just as obvious that when Jesus comes back to rescue the living believers from the earth, He will come with His mighty angels. And this is exactly what several other passages teach.

In fact, the rapture passage at 1 Thessalonians 4:16, clearly indicates the presence of at least one angel, with the phrase, "the voice of the archangel," who is Michael. Earlier at 1 Thessalonians 3:13, we see the return of the Lord as "coming . . . with all His holy ones." The word hagios means one who is set apart as unique and special in God's plan, and who reflects God's glory. Thus, it is used of God himself (God is holy, 1 Pet. 1:16), and of the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:21); of Jesus (Acts 4:30); of believers in the Messiah, both Old Testament (Matthew 27:52) and New Testament (Romans 1:7); of Jerusalem (Matthew 4:5); the Jewish temple (Acts 6:13); and of angels (Mark 8:38).

Now since this promise is clearly given to LIVING believers who will be delivered (given rest) from a present experience of affliction, and since this will occur at the Revelation of Jesus WITH His mighty angels, then there is perfect harmony with the other 2nd coming passages such as:

Matthew 16:27

"For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels; and WILL THEN RECOMPENSE EVERY MAN ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS."

Matthew 24:31

"And He will send forth His angels with A GREAT TRUMPET and THEY WILL GATHER TOGETHER His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other."

Matthew 25:31

But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne."

Mark 8:38

"For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels."

Jude 14-15

"And about these also Enoch, {in} the seventh {generation} from Adam, prophesied, saying, "Behold, the Lord came with many thousands of His holy ones, to execute judgment upon all, and to convict all the ungodly of all their ungodly deeds which they have done in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him."

And then 1 Thessalonians 3:13

"so that He may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His holy ones."


Here, of course, the pretrib view needs to make these HOLY ONES, to be the believers whom Jesus brings with Him when he comes back, as per 1 Thessalonians 4:14. However, it seems to me in that case, the designation ALL his holy ones would need to include every believer of all ages, which would include the Old Testament holy ones. I understand that the use of "all" does not always mean all, however, there is no basis for restricting this "all" only to those believers who have died since the resurrection of Jesus. According to 1 Thessalonians 4:14, Jesus brings with him "those who have died (fallen asleep) THROUGH Jesus (dia + genitive case), not IN Jesus. This certainly does not rule out Old Testament believers. But then again, when we get to 1 Thessalonians 4:16, we find that "the dead IN Christ will rise first," and this seems to restrict the ones in view to only those who are in union with Christ as per 2 Corinthians 5:17 and 1 Corinthians 12:13. But I have a problem with that restriction since 1 Corinthians 15:23 does not provide for a separate resurrection of Old Testament holy ones, but seems to include all believers of all previous ages as "those who are Christ's at His coming." The reason is because, after this, the next point of focus is the end of the thousand year earthly kingdom. Furthermore, it seems that the Old Testament believers are included in Christ's new body by being joined with Him in heaven at His resurrection. For more details, see the article, THE SAINTS IN HEAVEN. There is no dispensational compromise as that article develops, and there is nothing that prevents these Old Testament believers from being placed into union with Christ because dispensational distinctions are only for function here on earth, and not in the afterlife.

However, as we have seen, the idea that Jesus comes back with His holy and mighty angels is totally consistent with what the Bible teaches elsewhere for the Day of the Lord arrival of the Messiah.

Further evidence that these "holy ones" are angels rather than people is seen at verse 10, "when He comes to be glorified in His holy ones on that day, and to be marveled at among all who have believed - for our testimony to you was believed," (NASB).

Here there seems to be a distinction between "holy ones" (angels) and "all who have believed" (the elect). If holy ones refers to believers, then there is a very awkward redundancy by referring to the believers directly, in the next phrase.

Yes, it is true according to Colossians 3:4 that, "when Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory," but that does not change the fact that the passage before us has a group of holy ones (angels) in view that is different from those who have believed in Jesus.

When Jesus comes back, arriving in the clouds of the sky, He first uses the angels who attend Him to gather together His elect ones from all over the world (Matthew 24:31; Mark 13:27). These join with Jesus in the clouds of the sky (1 Thess. 4:17), sharing the MANIFESTATION of His glory (Colossians 3:4) and then, eventually end up in heaven for the evaluation of their works. The exact timing for the arrival of these believers into heaven after the initial gathering of the elect needs to be discussed.

A. Does the language at John 14:1-3 require that these believers go immediately into the Father's house, and that they then, be physically WITH Jesus every single minute of eternity? I suggest that it indicates instead, the ultimate destiny of the believers after the evaluation of their works, and a STATUS of being associated with Jesus for all eternity in the peace and happiness of divine service.

B. However, there is reason to think that the believers DO go immediately into heaven.

1. There is no revealed need for the believers to remain with Jesus as He administrates judgment on the world.

2. There is need to undergo "cleansing" through the evaluation and reward of each believer's works, and this occurs in heaven BEFORE the physical descent into Palestine.

3. According to a comparison of all the passages involved, it is suggested that immediately after the arrival of Jesus at the Day of the Lord, which occurs at the 6th seal of Revelation 6, the living believers who were gathered out from the earth are seen in heaven (Revelation 7:9ff).

C. There is no need for Jesus to escort these believers back to heaven.
It is true that the ultimate destiny for them is to dwell in the many "dwelling places" within the Father's house (John 14:1-3), and within that context, to "forever be with the Lord." But, do they need to go there immediately, and if so, does the presence of Jesus in the clouds above the earth after the gathering violate "be with you forever?" Does this "destiny" of sharing time and space with Jesus require that all believers remain AT HIS SIDE every minute of eternity? I suggest not.


2Ths. 1:8 dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.

This clause indicates that when Jesus returns and delivers His people out from the tribulation (the affliction), He will begin to administer judgment upon the unbelievers who are left on the earth.

This "judgment" or retribution is the Greek word, ekdik@sis. It occurs 9 times and means an administration of justice, coming from the word group, dikaios, which means just or righteous. But it is only used here in reference to the second coming of Jesus. This administration of justice is described as an expression of God's anger (org@) and wrath (thumos) in a variety of passages, and refers to the DAY-OF-THE-LORD judgments via the trumpets and bowls.

This passage then establishes the fact that the second coming of Jesus is both visible and spectacular, and is attended by events which are elsewhere identified with the term, "Day of the LORD," which occurs in both testaments. The key to making this identification is based primarily on two passages, and then secondarily on comparison with all the "day of the Lord" passages.

First then, we observe at 2 Peter 3:10-12, that the believers in Jesus are to be looking for the coming of the Day of the Lord, which is also identified as the day of God. That day will come like a thief in the night for those who are unprepared for it. The issue with this image, "thief in the night," is unexpectedness, un-preparedness, and timing. It was first used by Jesus in reference to His second coming (Matthew 24:43-44), and the apostles have adopted it to refer to the very same event.

The unbeliever is unprepared for the arrival of Jesus by virtue of his condition of having rejected Jesus as Savior. Accordingly, when Jesus arrives and removes believers out from this world, the unbelievers will remain behind to either trust in Jesus at that time, or undergo the experience of divine wrath through the administration of divine justice.

The believer however, can also be unprepared by being out of fellowship with God, and not walking in the light of His word. Warning about this is given by Paul at 1 Thesalonnians 5:1-11. In this passage, the same IMAGE is expressed of a thief in the night. He then encourages the believers, "But you brethren are not in darkness, that the day should overtake you like a thief," and this is based on their salvation relationship with God of being "sons of light and sons of day." But the believers still needed to be warned about not walking in the darkness because if they are out of fellowship with God when Jesus comes back, they will be shamed and embarrassed, just as John teaches at 1 John 2:28, "And now little children, be abiding in Him so that whenever He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming." So Paul writes,

"Therefore, let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and under control."

The danger is that the believer might be caught off guard, even with the many signs that will be pointing to Christ's "at any moment" return.

He could get so involved with the normal routines of life, for both survival and pleasure, that the "day come on you suddenly like a trap," and he be embarrassed and shamed in Christ's presence.

Jesus taught about this at Luke 21:34-36.

"Be on guard, that your hearts may not be weighted down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of life, and that day come on you suddenly like a trap; for it will come upon all those who dwell on the face of all the earth. But keep on the alert at all times, praying in order that you may have strength to escape all these things that are about to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man."

Although this sounds like rejection by Jesus, in that the person does not "stand before the Son of Man," it is best to take it in conjunction with 1 John 2:28 as we saw above. Thus, there is the possibility that the believer could be so embarrassed and convicted, that he does not stand before Him in confidence, but in shame.

Strength to escape, refers to endurance during the specific time of tribulation which will begin at the mid-point of the 70th week. There will be intense pressure facing every Christian during this time, when the beast will be attempting to enforce his economic policies all over the world. Revelation 13:7, 17 describes the extent and nature of the beast's oppression of Christians.

A valid question needs to be asked at this point. If the church is undergoing the oppressive persecution from the beast during the tribulation, how is it possible for any of them to be in an economic environment that could bring about the scenario described as hearts being "weighted down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of life?" This is possible because the campaign of the beast, the man of lawlessness, will begin in Jerusalem, and although having both the divine permission to control all the world (Revelation 13:7), and the personal intent (Revelation 13:16-17), he will not actually reach that far. Accordingly, there will be believers scattered throughout various places in the world, who will be untouched by the oppression of the beast, and will be tempted through over participation in these normal human life activities.


2Ths. 1:9 And these will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power,

This describes the 2nd aspect of divine judgment that will be administered upon the unbelievers. This judgment is the result of the last judgment which is described at Revelation 20:11-15, and which will occur at the end of the millennial reign of the Messiah.

1. Paying the penalty refers to experiencing the right and proper expression of divine justice. The word for penalty, is dik@, and refers to the perpetuation of spiritual death (Romans 6:23a; Ephesians 2:1) beyond physical death and into the lake of fire for all eternity.

2. It is described as eternal destruction. The word, eternal, is aionios, and indicates a perpetual or "everlasting" experience. However, the word, "destruction," is misleading and has led to the false doctrine of the annihilation of souls. The word is olethros, and means destruction only in the sense of RUIN; that is, a total ruination of one's existence.

This is what existence in the lake of fire amounts to. Proof that there is no annihilation of the souls is found at Revelation 14:10-11.

1. And the smoke: the visible sign of the fire. Although it does not consume, it produces smoke as indication of the effects it is producing.

2. Of their torment: basanismos indicates an actual experience.

3. goes up: present active indicative of anabainō.

4. Forever: unto ages of ages (eis + accusative plural of aiōn + genitive plural of aiōn). Cf. Hebrews 1:8 for the extent of time involved (unto the age of the age, singular).

5. And they do not have: echō, present active indicative + negative

6. Rest: anapausis = cessation (of torment in this case).

7. Day or night: idiom for perpetual. This indicates the duration of the pain. This idiom is more personal than "unto the ages of ages."


2Ths. 1:10 when He comes to be glorified in His holy ones on that day, and to be marveled at among all who have believed -for our testimony to you was believed.

The WHEN of this verse refers to the inception of these events, and not the casting into the lake of fire. The occasion for the inception of these expressions of justice will be the visible and physical return of Jesus as already clarified in verse 7. When He comes back at the Day of the Lord -

1. He will bring RELIEF to the living believers by removing them out of the world via the rapture.

2. He will begin to pour out His judgments via the trumpets and bowls upon the unbelievers who remain behind.

3. The ultimate destiny of these unbelievers who are judged will be the lake of fire, which will not be meted out to them until after the millennial reign of Jesus.

When He comes there will be two classes of creatures involved. He will come with His angels (holy ones) and be glorified "in" and "by" them. At the same time, the believers who see Him coming will marvel at His presence. It seems most reasonable that the "holy ones" are different from "those who believe."


2Ths. 1:11-12, To this end also we pray for you always that our God may count you worthy of your calling, and fulfill every desire for goodness and the work of faith with power; in order that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

This is a prayer that the Thessalonian believers would be consistent in their growth and service so that they might fulfill the reason for being left here on earth, which is to glorify the name of our Lord Jesus.

At Ephesians 4:1, Paul expresses it with emphasis on the believer's personal responsibility. Here, he focuses on God's attitude when the believer is faithful. Ie, God "may count you worthy."

In the very next verse (2:1), Paul exhorts the Thessalonians concerning this promised REVELATION of Jesus, that they not be shaken by false teaching that it has already occurred. He then explains to them that it will not occur until some time after the tribulation that they are encountering turns into the great tribulation through the revealing of the man of lawlessness. He also clarifies that there will be a time of apostasy in association with this revealing, just as Jesus taught (Matthew 24:9-12), and that the REVELATION of Jesus will not occur until that apostasy takes place.


2Ths. 2:1 Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the COMING (parousia) of our Lord Jesus Christ, and our gathering together to Him,

Notice how Paul smoothly moves into the identification of the REVELATION of Jesus mentioned at 1:7, 10, as "the COMING or PRESENCE (parousia) of our Lord Jesus Christ; and how he identifies the RELIEF mentioned at 1:7 with "our GATHERING together to Him." And then at verse 2:2, he clearly connects it all together with the term, "the day of the Lord."


2Ths. 2:2 that you may not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come.

The day of the Lord is the time when Jesus COMES back, is PRESENT in the clouds of the sky so that He is REVEALED in glory, brings relief to His believers by gathering them together to Him through rapture and resurrection, and begins to afflict the remaining unbelievers and the oppressive man of lawlessness with judgment. At verse 2:8, this is called "the appearance (epiphaneia) of His presence (parousia)."

The word epiphaneia is used five other times and always in reference to the coming of Jesus to His church. 1 Timothy 6:14; 2 Timothy 1:10; 4:1, 8; Titus 2:13.

The word parousia occurs 12 times in the epistles and always in reference to the PRESENCE of Jesus at His second coming to the church. (1 Corinthians 15:23; 1 Thessalonians 2:19; 3:13; 4:15; 5:23; 2 Thessalonians 2:1, 8; James 5:7-8; 2 Peter 1:16; 3:4; 1 John 2:28; at 2 Peter 3:12, the coming of the Day of God, but it refers to His coming.)

This word is used four times by Jesus at Matthew 24 (verses 3, 27, 37, 39) to refer to this very same presence or COMING of the Son of Man, at which time He will gather His elect out from the earth (verse 31).

Paul had to address this same false teaching later (c. 68 AD) when he wrote to Timothy about those "who have gone astray from the truth, saying that the resurrection has already taken place," (2 Timothy 2:18).

But the day of the Lord, at which time the resurrection will occur through the translation of the saints, will not take place until after THE apostasy comes and the man of lawlessness is revealed. There will be many attempts at deception as with Hymenaeus and Philetus above, but the informed believer will not heed such strange doctrines, knowing that certain things must take place first just as they had been taught as per verse 5, "Do you not remember that while I was still with you, I was telling you these things?"

Jesus Himself taught that the coming of the Son of Man would not occur until after the tribulation, which would begin with the abomination of desolation standing in the Holy Place (Matthew 24:15-31); the same thing taught here by Paul about the "man of lawlessness" who "takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God."


2Ths. 2:3 Let no one in any way deceive you, for {it will not come} unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction,

The exhortation not to be deceived is an aorist active subjunctive plus the negative, of exapatao. The 3rd person singular is the basis for "let no one deceive," and indicates that the threat of deception comes primarily from those who are teaching things contrary to what has been previously taught to them by the apostles. Jesus said specifically, that there would be deceivers both BEFORE (Matthew 24:4) and DURING the tribulation (Matthew 24:11, "many false prophets will arise and will mislead many"). Because of this, "many will fall away, (Matthew 24:10), and "the love (for God) of many will grow cold," (Matthew 24:12) and Paul wrote that, "in the latter times, some will fall away from THE faith," (1 Timothy 4:1). Accordingly, the warning to be on your guard is urgent in order to avoid a very real and potential danger.

The words, "it will not come," in the NASB is UNDERSTOOD by the context although all we have is a negative conditional clause to indicate what must occur BEFORE the day of the Lord can arrive.

The condition, "unless the apostasy comes first," indicates not that the apostasy is the FIRST thing that occurs, but that first, that is, BEFORE, the day arrives, the apostasy must occur. Actually, the man of lawlessness will be revealed at the inception of the tribulation BEFORE the apostasy that Jesus taught about will occur, because He said that it will occur within the time frame of the tribulation (Matthew 24:9ff).

The revealing of the man of lawlessness is then the subject of the next nine verses, and culminates with the statement that he will be destroyed by the appearance of the Lord's coming. This does not mean that AT THE VERY INSTANT of the Lord's coming, but rather BY MEANS OF. That is, it is through and because of the Lord's return at the Day of the Lord, that the man of lawlessness will be destroyed several months later when Jesus descends physically to the earth at Armageddon.

Paul's writing about the second coming of Jesus is perfectly consistent with what Jesus taught when He said that "immediately after the tribulation of those days . . . they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory," (Matthew 24:29-30).

And this of course, is consistent with what Paul just wrote a few verse earlier that God would "repay with affliction those who afflict you . . . when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire," (2 Thessalonians 1:6-7).

It should be clear that Paul understood that the church would be present on the earth during the time of tribulation and be delivered out from the earth through the glorious return of Jesus in the clouds of the sky.


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İRon Wallace, http://www.biblefragrances.com. Anyone is free to reproduce this material and distribute it,
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