Thessalonian Comfort or Future Coming? 2 Thess. 1

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by asterisktom, Jul 21, 2010.

  1. asterisktom

    asterisktom
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    I saw in this passage a while back something I never noticed before. Here are the first 10 verses.

    1 Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:

    2 Grace to 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 fitting, because your faith grows exceedingly, and the love of every one of you all abounds toward each other,

    4 so that we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure,

    5 which is manifest evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you also suffer;

    6 since it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you,

    7 and to give you who are troubled relief [anesis] with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels,

    8 in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

    9 These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power,

    10 when He comes, in that Day, to be glorified in His saints and to be admired among all those who believe, because our testimony among you was believed.


    What I noticed was that this whole passage was a promise from Paul to the Thessalonians. It was a promise specifically to the Thessalonians that they would get relief from their trouble (persecution).

    When would they get this relief? When the Lord comes.

    His coming was to do two things:
    1. Give relief to the Thessalonians from their persecutors.
    2. Mete out retribution - payback - to those who were doing the persecution.

    Now, who were the persecutors? None other than the Jews. This is clearly seen from a reading of Acts.

    When did the relief come? Well, it had to come in the lifetime of the ones Paul was writing to! These Thessalonians are long dead.

    Hmm. What event can we think of that all of a sudden took away all those Jews, stopping them from persecuting the Thessalonian Christians? That would have to be when the Roman army came down and crushed the Jewish rebellion. The city of Jerusalem was gorged with 2 - 3 million Jews, many of these from all parts of the empire, coming down to celebrate the Feast. After the Fall of Jerusalem in AD 70 the Jews were never able to again persecute Christians - anywhere. *

    This was the relief that Paul had promised the Thessalonian Christians. How strange that we should think this refers to a future coming?!

    To teach this would be to take away the relevance of Paul's promise to the Thessalonians. He had promised them relief.

    Note
    * Besides, with the change to the more lenient Flavian emperors - at least the first two, Vespasian and his son Titus, all of Christianity felt a relief. (This was to change when Titus's brother, Domitian, comes to power later).
     
    #1 asterisktom, Jul 21, 2010
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  2. Logos1

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    Nice work and inescapable conclusions.

    I’ve just been doing a study on Thessalonians and also see exactly the truths you point out here regarding the Lord’s return.

    There is further proof here that the Lord’s return was not meant to be seen as physical by the use of the Hebrew expression for God’s presence used in Thessalonians.

    When 1 Thess 3:13 states “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 saints.”

    The expression “at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints” was not suggesting he would show up in the sky with all the saints with him in physical form. This was a Jewish expression for the presence of God. We can see several examples of this expression used in the Old Testament.

    Deut 3:2 He said, "The LORD came from Sinai and dawned from Seir upon us; he shone forth from Mount Paran; he came from the ten thousands of holy ones, with flaming fire at his right hand.

    God never showed up in physical form with 10,000 holy ones with him at any time he was leading the Hebrews from slavery to freedom. This represented his presence being with them.

    Also, Psalms 68:17 “he chariots of God are twice ten thousand, thousands upon thousands; the Lord is among them; Sinai is now in the sanctuary.

    Again no one saw God and all these chariots in the sky.

    Also, Zechariah 14:5 “And you shall flee to the valley of my mountains, for the valley of the mountains shall reach to Azal. And you shall flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then the LORD my God will come, and all the holy ones with him.”

    Paul’s statement in Thessalonians was probably drawn from this verse and he was certainly using it in the same context since he didn't tell his audience he was changing the meaning of the expression.
     
  3. Jedi Knight

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    "and every eye shall see him"....didn't hear of this happening in history yet. Any record of the "with his mighty angels" coming back with Him (Josephus, Tacitus, Suetonius, etc.)? This would have been a note worthy event in history right?
     
    #3 Jedi Knight, Jul 21, 2010
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  4. asterisktom

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    This would be the "Yes, but what about [insert other verse]?" response. I am more than willing to discuss that verse as well, but I am curious what your answer would be to the 2 Thess. 1 problem I posed above.
     
  5. Jedi Knight

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    I'm just pointing out verse 7 that you underscored.
     
  6. Winman

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    Jedi is correct to mention verse 7, verse 6 and 7 are connected by the word "and"

    2 Thess 1:6 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,


    You want to isolate verse 6 from 7, but they are connected. So Jedi was correct to ask about Jesus being revealed from heaven with his mighty angels. When did this ever occur in history?

    According to Matthew 24, these angels would gather the saved from the four winds.

    Matt 24:30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
    31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.


    This is a worldwide event, it says all the tribes of the earth shall mourn. It says all the tribes of the earth will see him coming in the clouds. It says his angels shall gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

    None of this happened in 70 A.D., if if had there would be a record of it from nations all over the earth.
     
  7. asterisktom

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    No, you are bringing up another verse. It is definitely related to the one I underscored. It is speaking of the same time. It is also a verse 7 - but in Rev. 1. But it still is not dealing with the problem that I brought up.

    Let me try again:
    1. Was Paul even writing to the Thessalonian - or was he just shamming? Was he just pretending to address their concerns but was really speaking of a totally different group of saints 2000 years in the future?

    2. If you are a futurist: What comfort did the Thessalonians finally get per Paul's pointed promise to them? Death?

    3. Or was Paul a false prophet, seeing that he promised them - real actual saints suffering real actual persecution - something that (apparently, for futurists) never happened?

    4. When were these Thessalonians "relieved" and the persecutors at the very same time retributed by God?

    5. Considering the text: How can this not have happened at the time when Christ comes in flaming fire, etc.?

    Answer these questions before you bring up another text. Otherwise we will just be hopscotching through the whole Bible, never dealing seriously with anything.

    Or run over to a commentary and see how they answered these questions (or ignored them). You may be astonished - as I was - by what you find.

    Once again, this is not an obscure text. It is an obscured text: purposely ignored by many, or breezily dismissed with generalities (as, for instance, Macarthur does in his commentary).
     
  8. ReformedBaptist

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    Another thread on eschatology....:tonofbricks:
     
  9. asterisktom

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    Of course they are connected. The whole passage is connected. My point. The isolation comes from futurists who cherry-pick verse 7 from the context, making it into a still-future second coming verse, ignoring the application to the 1st century Thessalonian saints.

    Please, Winman, I am trying to say this in a nice way, but you are not very good at following logic and contexts from Scripture If I ignore you from now on it is not because any further comments from you are unanswerable. It is because your (at least in this point in time) deficiencies are too exasperating for me to deal with.
     
  10. Tom Bryant

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    We do need another thread on eschatology, just like we need another thread on Calvinism/Arminianism and KJV/Other versions. [sarcasm] :sleep:
     
  11. asterisktom

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    No, another thread on the glorious reign of Christ right now. This is not eschatology - I don't have any left. This is salvation doctrine and vital teaching on the Kingdom of God. I noticed in our church recently we sang "For Christ's coming kingdom are you sighing?" I thought, "No, I am enjoying it right now. I am sighing over my own spiritual deficiencies and sin, but I know that God is still working on me.

    A marvelous result of having become Preterist is that whole sections of the Bible have now become alive in ways that they were not before. The effect is like making it much more into a red-letter Bible, seeing that much in the Old Testament is actually speaking of Christ's present Kingdom.

    I wish there was an emoticon, not like those falling bricks, but carefully laid bricks, living stones (Christians) being laid upon the Rock of Ages. This is the Temple of Christ, the Zion of God.

    This is what my threads are about, the emphasis I am trying to bring out.
     
    #11 asterisktom, Jul 22, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 22, 2010
  12. Winman

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    Well, I sincerely believe verse 7 is a future event. I don't believe Jesus appeared in the clouds with his mighty angels to all tribes of the earth in 70 A.D.. Do you really think such a thing would escape recorded history? This event would be recorded in many tens of thousands of books from historians worldwide.

    This is what you have failed to prove, that Jesus actually came in 70 A.D.. When Jesus returns it will be the greatest event in all of history. Nothing will be able to compare to it. It will not be some secret or hidden event. And you nor any other Preterist can prove this.

    And you can't isolate one event from another. When Jesus comes he will establish worldwide peace. When did that happen? And it doesn't say he will destroy Jerusalem, he will rule from Jerusalem, and all nations shall flow unto it.


    Isa 2:1 The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.
    2 And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD'S house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it.
    3 And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
    4 And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.


    You are trying to convince people all of this took place when it is obvious to everyone that it did not.
     
  13. asterisktom

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    This is just a general comment to any futurists.

    If you want to be taken seriously, then deal with the problem I brought up from this passage in 2 Thess. chapter 1.

    Don't do the different-verse shell game. Show me you have an answer on this passage.
    Don't whine about "eschatology". Show me you have an answer on this passage.
    Don't say "What about" X. Y, or Z"? Show me you have an answer on this passage.

    I read no answers on this yet. The silence is deafening.

    "Let God be true, and every man a liar".

    And, yes, I put myself in that verse too.
     
    #13 asterisktom, Jul 22, 2010
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  14. HankD

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    Tom my brother,

    With all due respect and love in Christ.

    It is the conclusion of full preterism that is troublesome to futurists such as myself.

    That conclusion is that the 3 year sack and destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple by Titus in AD70 is/was the Second Coming of Christ.

    Pointing out "problem" passages with a yet-to-come return of Christ cannot remove that conclusion, especially when compared to the full counsel of God as related to the Second Coming such as Acts 1:11.

    Acts 1
    9 And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.
    10 And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel;
    11 Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven?this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.
    12 Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a sabbath day's journey.​

    True, all eschatological views have issues.

    To me and many others this allegorization of the destruction of Jerusalem as the Second Coming of Christ is just unacceptable.

    While it answers to many of the other issues, it leaves this one (Acts 1:11) and many others answerable only with allegorization which goes beyond our acceptability.

    That you are satisfied with it is fine (with me anyway) although it seems quite a stretch.


    HankD
     
  15. Logos1

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    ReformedBaptist & Tom Bryant to complain about the nature of the thread is like aiming a pistol at your foot, pulling the trigger, and then complaining about your foot being shot. You had to make the effort to come into the thread of your own free will so if you don't want to see such a thread the answer is simple...duh.

    I thing the complaints are based on not liking the position taken not the fact that the thread is here. How many futurist positions have gone in and left such messages on.
     
  16. Logos1

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    Acts doesn't even deal with Christ's return.

    Hank with all due respect Acts 1:11 doesn't even address Christ coming back. The two angels are verifying that Christ came into heaven when he left the sight of the Apostles--since verse 9 says he left their sight--how else are they suppose to know where he went without that help. What magic is being used to know that answer?

    You can only turn verse 11 into a verse on Christ return if you ignore the verses around it and take it out of context.
     
  17. Winman

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    You are using the technique that slick lawyers use in a courtroom. You want to isolate this single verse, because isolated it can be argued to support your point. However, in the full context of the passage it clearly argues against your position.

    So, who is being serious? Do you really believe people are so naive as to be fooled by this form of argument?
     
  18. Tom Bryant

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    Actually, my foot is unharmed. Yes, my effort was extreme. I pointed and clicked and then hunted and pecked. And if you weren't happy with my response, then all you had to do was exercise your own free will and ignore it.

    My complaint is about an endless stream of threads that all say the same thing from both positions. If you took a luxury cruise ship boat load of preachers and theologians on a round the world trip, at the end of the cruise, you'd still have the same positions held by the same theologians, all equally convinced of the Biblical nature of their positions.
     
  19. asterisktom

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    Thank you, Hank, for your detailed and gracious answer.

    Let me try it this way: Forget that I am Preterist for right now. Imagine I was a young convert and just came across that passage in 2 Thess. 1. And I come to you, HankD, with these same questions. How would you answer me?

    Would you even answer? As a young convert - you know how they can be, very persistent and focused - I would want an answer to this very passage. It has to mean something. You wouldn't send me to a commentary. I hope. That is a later skill/resort of more "advanced" Christians who have settled into a system.

    What did the Bereans do? I suppose that when they were challenged on a topic by Paul they looked up that very passage. If Paul, as he often did, made copious use of the Old Testament prophets they checked out those prophets. They were noble in this respect.

    I am asking for all of us here to likewise be noble. Examine this very passage - not shifting the attention elsewhere - until this has been dealt with.

    For a person - not just you, Hank - but for anyone to answer my 2 Thess 1 with a verse elsewhere, or with saying they have a problem with preterism just confirms they have no answer.

    And that in itself is an answer.
     
    #19 asterisktom, Jul 22, 2010
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  20. HankD

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    This would be my answer Tom, I did not consult a commentary.

    While they did receive relief from their persecution because of the sack of Jerusalem, it did not include the visible return of Christ.

    They are separate and distinct promises.

    Even Jesus Himself said He did not know the exact time of His coming:

    Mark 13:32 But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.

    Why then would it be a surprise that Paul also did not know, but was under the impression that it would be in His life time?

    In addition to the "relief", this Scripture would refer to their final vindication after they were resurrected and saw the judgment of these men from whatever vantage point they would be given to witness it after the visible return of Christ to judge the world.

    Perhaps someone has a better take on this.

    Anyway, if you cant accept it as a possibility then you know how I feel about the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus representing the Second Coming of Christ when other Scriptures are brought to light as Acts 1:11 mentioned above.

    Christ Himself indicated the possibility of a delayed second coming:

    Matthew 24
    46 Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.
    47 Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods.
    48 But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming;
    49 And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken;
    50 The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of,
    51 And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

    Luke 12
    42 And the Lord said, Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season?
    43 Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.
    44 Of a truth I say unto you, that he will make him ruler over all that he hath.
    45 But and if that servant say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken;​
    46 The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him,


    HankD​
     

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