by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 1 Paragraph # 3 Study # 3 September 13, 2015 Dayton, Texas (Download Audio)
(017)Thesis:The thesis of the revelation of the Lord Jesus from heaven is primarily a thesis of "wrath".
Introduction:As we begin this evening, I want us to consider what Jesus said in John 5:28-29: " Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation." This text, as a "stand alone" statement leads to two major errors and confusions. On the one hand, it lends itself to be used by those who teach that salvation is by performance of good works (an error so great that an entire book of the New Testament is given over to contradict it) and, on the other hand, it lends itself to be used by those who teach one general resurrection of all men at the end of time so that the disposition of them will be done more or less simultaneously (an error encouraged by the false translation of "the hour is coming" rather than "an hour is coming"); an error revealed by Revelation 20 and its teaching that a thousand years will pass between the first and second resurrections of the dead. The point: short declarations of truth are often misunderstood because they are by nature not comprehensive and leave out a lot of detail.
So also is the statement before us this evening. In 2 Thessalonians 1:7 Paul identifies the crucial event which shall result in the "legitimate" exercise of God's recompense of men for their behavior. Because it is presented as an event rather than a "time", we have to understand his "point". It is to this "point" that we turn our attention this evening.
I. The Large Parameters of Paul's "Point".
A. The overall emphasis of the paragraph is that God is going to deal out retribution to those who have been giving the Thessalonians a bad time.
1. There are two major issues to this "overall emphasis".
a. First, the reference to God's giving of "rest" to those who have been troubled is an interruption of his main point.
1) The phrase is short and has only to do with the overall paragraph because it fits the thesis of the legitimacy of God's exercise of "recompense" to men for their behavior.
2) The phrase is most likely a parenthesis (an included but not major part of the main idea).
b. Second, technically, Paul's "point" is not that the enemies of the Thessalonians themselves are in view.
1) For Paul to mean the actual individuals who have given the Thessalonians grief, he would have to be teaching that the "revelation of the Lord Jesus from heaven with His powerful angels" was going to happen before any of those individuals died.
a) As it has turned out historically, none of the enemies of the Thessalonians lived to be recompensed by the Lord at His appearing.
i. This "event" has to do with Jesus coming to execute vengeance upon those who are living on the earth at the time of the event.
ii. This "event" is then stretched out to involve "everlasting destruction away from the face of the Lord", a concept detailed in Revelation 20 to be after the thousand years that separate the two resurrections.
iii. None of the enemies of the Thessalonians have experienced either of these aspects of the "coming of the Lord".
b) Neither, by the way, did any of the Thessalonians enter into their "rest" at any time during their lifetimes because of the revelation of the Lord from heaven.
2) The Thessalonians are addressed as a "type of meaning" that includes any and all who share the Thessalonians' troubles, who happen to be enduring those troubles when the actual event of the revelation of the Lord from heaven occurs.
a) In the entire history of the Church, the appearing of the Lord from heaven is put forward as the motivating hope of every believer, but, so far, none of them has experienced its fulfillment.
b) The issue is the way Paul used what I have called a "type of meaning".
i. Types of meaning are simply expressions that are characterized by certain defined characteristics.
ii. Unless a specific "time" is assigned as one of the characteristics of the "type of meaning", anyone or anything that has the characteristics is a part of the meaning involved regardless of the "time" issue involved [this is how we see the New Testament as a document that addresses "believers" of every period of post-Pentecost time in history up to the Rapture; it is also how we understand the fulfillment(s) of "prophecies"].
iii. The "type of meaning" involved with the Thessalonians involves at least three characteristics: life during the age of the Church; faith in the Gospel; suffering because of that faith as it is being expressed in love.
iv. Then there is the second "type of meaning" that involves the coming of the Lord from heaven: the One coming is the Lord Jesus; the coming is with mighty angels in flaming fire; the activities are wrapped up in dishing out vengeance upon those who do not know God; and the coming is to demonstrate "the glory of His power".