This letter was written by Paul to the Church of the Thessalonians in the early 50's A.D. shortly after 1 Thessalonianswas written. Notice this is long before the temple was destroyed in 70 A.D. and long before Nero, the 666 of Revelation,began persecuting Christians in 64 A.D. He killed himself 3–1/2 years later with a sword and after that the Roman Empire fell into a civil war.
Others assisted Paul in writing this letter.
(2 Thessalonians 1:3) We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet [proper], because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth;
The New Testament writers often mentioned that charity is to be directed toward fellow believers.
Two aspects to Christian living:
Almost a form of competition between local churches of which one endures persecutions and tribulations with more patience and faith.
The Churches of God are those local Churches governed by pastors and elders. If these leaders were unholy and corrupt, I doubt if Paul would be so pleased with them.Note that in the book of Revelation, Jesus rebukes those Churches having serious flaws.
Their faith and patience is visible. It demonstrates that God is just in providing a way of redemption for those who receive it.
These Christians were suffering persecutions and tribulations because of their membership in the kingdom of God. The God-rejecting world hates those of the kingdom of God.
I think Paul is saying (1) that those who persecute the Church will get their due punishment in the final judgment, and (2) that it is righteous and just for God to punish people who have actively opposed the Church and the gospel.
We must wait until the final judgment for rest. Note that those who die before this event will get rest but not in the body — this must await the resurrected body.
Paul was not at rest when he wrote this; he is referring to his own future rest along with their future rest.
Since verse 9 is referring to eternal damnation, this verse refers to the final day of judgment. God will be glorified in those who are eternally redeemed. This matches very well with the idea of deification, that humans will be deified because Christ took on human nature and made it be part of God's nature.When we finally see God as he really is, (at least more so than we do now) we will certainly admire him.
I wonder if those who are not counted as worthy of this calling are not called at all? After all, what good is it to be unworthy of this calling? Certainly Paul thinks this is a bad thing so he prays for them to become worthy and to remain worthy. What good is it if they start out worthy but later become unworthy?
Paul mentions that others are also praying for them. Presumably, he is referring to the others who travel with him. It seems they have regular prayer meetings in which they pray for such things for the Churches and Christians they interact with.
People are called because of God's goodness. God's power is required to redeem someone. God must, by his power, plant his Spirit within the soul of the redeemed so that the powers of darkness are neutralized and can't keep the person from exercise saving faith. Charismatic Christians seem to think that God can only manifest his power in wild and extravagant public displays of energy and passion.
Just as God derives pleasure from goodness, so do we. This is not always easy to discern in this life of hardship and suffering but it will be very pronounced in the new heavens and new earth.Of course our goodness derives from his goodness; God is the source of all things good.
The Thessalonians got a forged letter stating...
Paul writes to remind them what he had already taught them...
In Chapter one of this book, Paul...
Chapter two follows immediately after these ideas.
There is a Great Contradiction highlighted in these verses...
My resolution to the Great Contradition...
Why would Jesus and the Apostles promise everyone a happy event but they all die before it occurs? And why would the promise also apply to all believers into the future? (and they all die too?)
This will be preceded by hardships and difficulties: tribulation, persecution of Christians.
Preteristslatch on to this verse in claiming that the parousia (second coming) of Christ would occur in 70 A.D. with the destruction of the temple. But Jesus didn't come then, so this event is yet-future. We will be gathered to him at his second coming.
After the crucifixion and before the resurrection Jesus gathered those in Abraham's bosom to himself but that was a past event at the time this letter was written. The only other times Jesus gathers people together is at each of our death and at his second coming.
We learn some important facts from this verse...
I think we can rule out the option that the day spoken of is each believer's death. It seems to refer to some event everyone will experience. They thought it would occur in a few years time.
Some fundamentalist Protestants teach they were troubled because they missed the rapture. This is absurd in the extreme for several reasons...
(2 Thessalonians 2:3) Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin [man of lawlessness] be revealed, the son of perdition [destruction];
Paul corrects their mistaken view by informing them that the day of Christ has not yet come. Two implications...
The second coming of Christ will not occur until these occur first...
Why would it be good news to the readers to learn that the tribulation had not begun yet if it was about to occur. That's like telling someone, "great news; you didn't die yesterday; but you will die tomorrow." Or if the tribulation occurs in their children's lifetime?
In chapter 1 Paul mentions their present suffering.Whatever the bad news from this false teacher, it must have been far worse than that. Later, during the age of martyrs, people considered martyrdom to be a blessing. Therefore, the bad news must have been that they missed the second coming because they weren't redeemed. But why would they think they were not redeemed? Perhaps because they were Gentiles who did not follow the law and get circumcised; that's the first heresy of the Church by the Judaizers.
I prefer to interpret the templeto mean a literal temple rather than referring to each believer as the temple of God. How can someone sit in the soul of a believer? Since the temple was destroyed in 70 A.D. and has not been rebuilt since there are 3 possibilities...
The man of sin, the Antichrist, could perhaps refer to Nero, Vespasian, and Titus but none of them literally sat in the temple showing himself as God. Therefore, we should rule out this possibility.
(2 Thessalonians 2:13) But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:
A cornerstone to Protestant teaching is the clear division between justification and sanctification; you are saved by faith only,then, after that, you strive to become more and more holy over time. This verse directly contradicts this view: it equates salvation and sanctification. Works are required for salvation.
Christians are to hold to the traditions taught them by the apostles. These traditions were taught by the preaching of the apostles and in letters written by the apostles. Christianity is an apostolic religion — the teaching of the apostles is the final authority. Any place where this teaching resides is, therefore, also the authority. As is common in the New Testament, Paul is addressing false teaching and seeking to correct people's understanding. He tells them the two trustworthy sources of information: his words in person and in writing. They are to reject any teaching from any other source. They are to judge every other teaching and compare it with Paul's teaching and reject any that don't match. These people are easily fooled: as soon as Paul has been away for a while, they forget what he said and believe things taught by others.
Notice that Paul doesn't include scripture in this list of two items, for example, he doesn't refer to the four gospels but only to his own letters to these people. In other words, Paul is saying the following: "My teaching is true; believe it; whether you hear it from my lips in person or read it in one of my letters to you."
This verse does not provide an over-arching approval of anything the Catholic Church claims to be big-T Tradidion. To be valid apostolic tradition, it must have actually been taught by the apostles. It is wrong to claim that the apostles taught something if there is no early record of it either in the New Testament or the writings of the early church fathers. Thus, the apostles did not teach indulgences and it is not part of apostolic tradition. (That being said, I believe indulgences to be valid, but not for the reason claimed by the Catholic Church. God is all-too-happy to bless us in all kinds of ways based on our faith. An example is the woman who believed she would be healed if she could but touch the hem of Jesus' garment.)
(2 Thessalonians 3:6) Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us.
King James Version