Chapter # 1 Paragraph # 3 Study # 7
Thesis: The climactic end of "the coming of the Lord from heaven" will be on a specific "day" when His final actions of "dispensing retribution" will take place upon those living upon the earth.
Introduction: In our last study we considered the sobering reality that has to do with the final end of those who refuse the knowledge of God and reject the Promise of the Gospel. To this, Paul adds one final concept: the timing and result of the coming of the Lord in regard to the "saints" who have "believed" the Gospel. It is to this final concept that we turn our attention this evening.
October 11, 2015
- I. The "Timing" in Respect to Paul's Use of "In That Day".
- A. It is not identifiable in respect to our current calendar and setting in history.
- B. It is both a "day" as an extended period of many "days" and a "day" as the final day of the "coming of the Lord from heaven".
- 1. The use of the phrase "the Day of the Lord" in the Old and New Testaments includes an extended period of time in which there is one overriding, umbrella concept.
- a. The "umbrella" is the thesis of "retribution" in terms of "wrath".
- b. The extended period of time is identified in various ways (the time of Jacob's trouble; the seventieth week of Daniel; the day of wrath and retribution; etc.), but it always includes an extended period of many days in which the details of God's wrath toward unbelievers are unveiled.
- c. Under this "umbrella" is one particular reality that we need to recognize: the details of God's wrath are expressed toward those still alive upon the earth, not toward those who have lived and died prior to this cataclysmic period of preparation for the establishment of the Kingdom of God upon the earth.
- 1) This means that the actual, individual, persecutors of the Thessalonians are not personally in view.
- 2) But this does not mean that the final end of those individual persecutors of the Thessalonians will be significantly different from the final end of those who are alive on the earth when the events are played out in history.
- 2. The presentation of the coming of Jesus from heaven within the concept of "the day of the Lord" always has a final, specific, actual, "day" when the last of the retribution is finally, fully accomplished.
- a. The Scriptures present this final "day" in several texts, most notably Zechariah 14 and Revelation 19.
- b. This final "day" will be the ultimate fulfillment of Jesus' words to Nicodemus in John 3 regarding the warning that no one is allowed to see or enter the Kingdom unless they have been "born again".
- c. This "day" is not about a specific number of hours; it is about the original definition of a "day" -- an "evening" and a "morning" (a period of darkness followed by a period of light) as it works out in metaphor (darkness is judgment and light is blessing).
- II. The Impact of the Actual "Day".
- A. The categories of individuals involved.
- 1. There is a category called "holy ones".
- 2. There is a category called "believers".
- B. Paul's use of two categories.
- 1. There are either two groups, or one group identified in two different ways.
- 2. If there are two groups, there are two possibilities of meaning.
- a. Matthew 25:31 identifies a group called "holy angels" (mentioned in our current context) and Luke 9:26 mentions a "glory" issue associated with this group.
- b. Paul's typical use of "holy ones" refers to human beings called "saints".
- c. But 1 Thessalonians 3:13 may have the holy angels in mind rather than holy humans.
- 3. If there is one group identified in two ways, the issues are "character" and "method".
- C. The actions of the categories.
- 1. The "holy ones" are they who "glorify" the coming Lord.
- 2. The "believers" are they who "marvel" at the coming Lord.
- D. The possible meanings seem to have somewhat equal support, but, because the holy angels are a major theme in the "coming" thesis, it seems more likely to me that they are the ones Paul has in mind.