Thessalonians Epistle

The Thessalonians Epistles were letters of Paul. First Thessalonians was probably the earliest of Paul's letters and if so, was the first book of the New Testament to be written. First Thessalonians was penned from Corinth not long after Paul left Thessalonica at about 52. When Paul and his companions, Silvanus and Timothy, came to Thessalonica, it was one of the significant cities of the east Mediterranean area. Paul had received good reports of the church that he had founded in Thessalonica and the epistles are full of affection.

The Church in Thessalonica was founded about 51, on Paul's second missionary journey. His friends were the people at Thessalonica whom he had interested in his doctrine of Jesus. Paul had to leave Thessalonica in a hurry because of the Jews there. A short time later, Timothy rejoined him and reported to him certain questions the believers in Thessalonica had. Some of them were troubled at the death of friends, who would, they feared, thus miss the joy and glory of meeting the Lord Jesus on his return to the earth. Others were perplexed about the time of Jesus' return. The letter was written to encourage and establish a young church in the basic truths of the gospel, to inspire it to progress in the power of holy living, to instruct it in the matter of the coming if the Lord for His own and the relation of this event to the events of the day of the Lord. Paul sent messages of comfort, counsel, or encouragement, as their needs required.

In First Thessalonians, the Day of the Lord is presented as imminent, to be, expected at any time, and confidently to be "awaited" by all believers in the Lord. It will come as a thief in the night. They need not worry about Christians who died, they will not be forgotten when Jesus comes, they will all ascend to heaven, as Christ himself did. Christians must so live as to be prepared for Christ's return at any time. Shortly after they received the first letter, Paul got word that they were still having trouble over this. Some were even thinking that the Lord had already come. In II Thessalonians, two new features are introduced into the discussion, the rebellion and the man of lawlessness. There would be a falling away first, the one that holds lawlessness back would be taken out of the way, there will be signs and lying wonders and God will send them a strong delusion upon those who refuse to love the truth. Christians should not expect the Lord to return for them until these things have occurred. In the meantime, Christians must work diligently to earn the bread they eat. No pre-trib rapture theory here, it is said that before the Lord Jesus is revealed, the rebellion must take place, and the man of lawlessness must be revealed. Thus the Day of the Lord is pushed on to an uncertain and indefinite future with the judgment to follow.
[374, 293, 338, Acts 17, 339, 358]

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