This essay is an excerpt from a work in progress, entitled, The High King of Heaven: Discovering the Master Keys to the Great End Time Debate. In essence, the book is an exposition and defense of the eschatology of the classic Reformation, according to which Christ will return once, at the end of the age, to raise the dead, judge the world in righteousness, and bring in the new heavens and the new earth, the eternal Kingdom of God. This essay, and all the rest in this series, is meant to show how the NT richly supports this understanding of the Consummation.
THE RIGHTEOUS JUDGMENT OF GOD
Interpreting 2 Thessalonians 1:3-10
In Paul’s second letter to the Thessalonians, eschatological teaching appears even more prominently than in the first. The Thessalonians continue to endure severe persecution (1 Thess. 3:3, 2 Thess. 1:4). Because of this, and because of the apostle’s earlier teaching, they eagerly await the Coming of their Lord (1 Thess. 1:10). Now, however, a rumor is circulating, a rumor to the effect that “the Day of the Lord has come”— that Christ’s return is “at the very door” (Mt. 24:33). As a result, the Thessalonians are troubled, shaken from their spiritual composure (2 Thess. 2:2). Doubtless a vigorous debate has arisen in their congregations, seeing that the rumor does not square with Paul’s previous instruction (2 Thess. 3:5). Also, certain men, previously reproved for their indolence, are likely using this rumor as an excuse to dodge the responsibility of work (1 Thess. 4:11-12, 5:14). In the good providence of God, Paul gets wind of these things and again takes pen in hand.