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2 Thessalonians

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©Michael Player

Chapter 1:5-12 (ESV)

Posted on May 08, 2024  - By Chris LaBelle  

Chapter 1:5-12 (ESV) - This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering— since indeed God considers it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed. To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power, so 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.

Question to consider: Do you think we should pray for God to repay with affliction those who afflict us?

The evidence of the coming righteous judgment of God that Paul offered was the steadfastness with which the Thessalonians held to the faith in the midst of their persecution for Christ. The reason he considered this evidence was because it was all prophesied by Christ, “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name's sake.” (Matthew 24:9) This was after what Christ described were the “birth pains” of famines, wars, and earthquakes so it meant that the righteous judgment that was coming was imminent.

Peter also recognized this in his epistle to the people from the church formed at Pentecost who were scattered throughout Asia Minor, “For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?” (1 Peter 4:17)

I believe Peter’s greeting from Babylon in 1 Peter 5:13 was a code for Rome because Christ would use Rome to judge Jerusalem the same way the LORD used Babylon at the time of Nebuchadnezzar. The mighty angels in flaming fire could be a description of the trebuchets reigning fire down on Jerusalem. It is also possible that this description will find its ultimate fulfillment when Christ returns to judge the whole world. Every judgment that had come up until that point though was done via an enemy of Israel: Babylon, the Medes and Persians, Greece, Syria, etc.

I think it is a mistake though to not consider these things in light of the AD 70 judgment because otherwise, Paul’s letter would hardly have been a comfort to the Thessalonians. They were facing a very real tribulation, and Paul was giving them a very real assurance.

In the midst of all of this, the Thessalonians would have still proclaimed the gospel, for none of us should ever want someone to suffer eternal punishment. Instead we should always pray for people to repent and turn to Christ before the judgment comes. If the Thessalonians repeated Paul’s words about the coming judgment, and people witnessed the devastation that came in AD 70, think about how the Lord Jesus would have been glorified in the Thessalonians as Paul prayed.


Dear heavenly Father, help us to be like the Thessalonians and stand firm in the midst of persecution so that Christ may be glorified in us as well. Amen.