Chapter 1

2 Thessalonians 1  •  6 min. read  •  grade level: 11
The Second Epistle was written in view of false teachers, most likely Jews, who had represented to the suffering Thessalonians that the day of Christ {day of the Lord} had already come; their great tribulations being the proof of it. They also seem to have pretended (see ch. 2:2) to have had authority by a letter from the Apostle Paul for saying so. This would be in every way calculated to shake the faith of the young Thessalonian converts, who, alas, by this time seem to have lost a little of the freshness of their first hope and joy, resulting from their faith in the return of the Lord.
The error, therefore, here was chiefly in connection with the day of the Lord, as in the first Epistle they had needed instruction on the coming of the Lord for His saints. Consequently the instruction in this 2nd Epistle is chiefly in reference to the second stage of the Lord’s coming, as the 1st Epistle was chiefly in connection with the first. The day of the Lord is therefore viewed in the first chapter as the day of the righteous reward of the believers (the kingdom of God would then be manifested), and as the day of tribulation and judgment for the wicked who remained ignorant of God, and rejected the Gospel of Christ; in the second chapter it is viewed in reference to the apostasy of Christendom and the revelation of the Anti-christ, who is called the man of sin, and the lawless one. The Lord would then destroy him with the spirit of His mouth and the brightness of His coming, and destroy all who were deluded by him. In the 1st chapter the believers are encouraged in reference to the day of the Lord, that in that day they would be resting with the Apostles with Jesus in glory, of course already glorified, as we have seen in the 1st Epistle; and in the second chapter they are reminded that their gathering together unto Christ would take place before the day of the Lord, as also of the apostasy and revelation of the man of sin.
The Church is addressed, as in the 1st Epistle, in reference to its relationship with God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. After giving the usual salutation of grace and peace, the Apostles, Paul, Silvanus, and Timotheus, thank God for the saints because their faith grew exceedingly, and their love one to another abounded; so that they gloried in them in the Assemblies of God, for their patience and faith in all their persecutions and tribulations that they were enduring. These trials, as we have seen, the enemy was taking advantage of to cloud their hope, which is not spoken of here as a subject of praise by the Apostle, as in the 1st Epistle. The day of the Lord had already come, the arch-deceiver said by his emissaries. The poor suffering Thessalonians deceived were about to say, Well, what has become of our hope then? We had been taught that before that day we should be caught up to meet the Lord in the air. Thus they were troubled, not only by the tribulations themselves through which they were passing, but by the deceptions of the enemy, and their hope was clouded. The Apostle does not allude directly to this till the second chapter; he is content in the first to put things right in the minds of the Thessalonians by showing them that their present trials were only a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God coming on their persecutors in the day of the Lord, that they might be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which they suffered. In that day when the Lord Jesus should be revealed, it would be a righteous thing of God to recompense tribulation to their troublers, and those who were troubled rest with the Apostles. Blessed comfort for the saints! Instead of tribulation in that day it would be perfect rest with the Lord in bodies of glory, whilst it would be tribulation only for the wicked! Tribulation now was the portion of the saints.
It is the kingdom of God here of which he speaks, not its present, but its future place, when Christ should return and take the kingdoms of this world into His hands, and reign gloriously as the King over the whole earth. The heavenly saints would have their portion and sphere with Christ in it, they would reign over it, getting their rewards, having been previously translated to glory, as we have seen in the 1st Epistle. Hence the trouble to the wicked would come, and rest to the righteous, when the Lord Jesus Christ should be revealed with His mighty angels, in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not God and that obeyed not the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, who should be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord when He should come to be glorified in His saints, and admired in all them that believed in that day.
It is then the second stage of the Lord’s coming of which the Apostle speaks here, called the day of the Lord, and here the day of the revelation of Jesus Christ. It is a day of reward for the saints, a day of judgment to the world. All the living heathen who know not God, all the professing Christians who have not obeyed the gospel of Christ, will be punished in that day. It will be everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power. Oh, careless reader, think of this; as sure as you are an immortal creature, born in sin, and finally rejecting Christ, so sure this must be the final result of a willful rejection of Christ, viz.,
But, on the other hand, Christ in that day will be glorified in His saints and admired in all them that believe. All the realities of His wonderful Person will come out visibly then; all the wonders of God become a man will be seen in His face; the unaltered scars in His hands, feet, and side, resplendent with all His glory, will tell out the wonders of His love. All His beauteous unchanged moral qualities as seen on earth, and more wonderful as seen in the glory of heaven, will meet the admiring gaze of His ransomed ones, as they shout
Oh, my reader, what a wonderful thing to be there! I trust it is your portion. Assuredly it will be so if the Apostle’s testimony has been believed.
In view of the solemn realities of that day, the Apostle prayed that the dear Thessalonian believers might be counted worthy of this calling and that God would fulfill in them all the good pleasure of His goodness, and the work of faith with power, that the Name of their mutual Lord Jesus Christ might be honoured in them and they in Him, now and in that day according to the grace of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ.