Wednesday, 20 September 2017
…and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels,
2 Thessalonians 1:7
Paul has just noted the repayment by God with tribulation of those who troubled the believers. As the epistle is written for the entire church age, it is a time which lies ahead, and in which the world will be judged for its treatment of believers. This becomes more evident as the words of this verse continue to unfold. He now states believers will obtain the opposite of the “tribulation” the world will receive by saying, “and to give you who are troubled rest.”
The word “rest” here is only used five times in Scripture, once in Acts, and four times by Paul. It gives the sense of relief or freedom. It is a type of rest that occurs when one lets loose something tense. A person who has held a bow and arrow until the strain builds up is given this type of relaxing ease when he lets go of the arrow. This is what will be given to those who face the stress of the world which comes against faithful Christians. Paul then says this will occur “with us.” He is speaking specifically of himself, Silvanus, and Timothy.
His words give the sense of the gathering together of all believers. Those who first suffered tribulations, and those then who saw their trials and were willing to also endure what they saw by receiving Christ, will together be given relief from those who troubled them. And all of this is set to occur “when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven.” The Greek literally reads, “at the apocalypse of the Lord Jesus.”
It is a different term than is normally used of the advent of Christ, parousia. That denotes “presence.” On the other hand, the word “apocalypse” gives a more striking concept of the appearance or manifestation of Christ. It is a period where Christ will be revealed as the One, Supreme, and All-powerful Ruler of the world. Thus, this appearance here is speaking of something different than the rapture itself, which he already described in 1 Thessalonians 4. However, Paul uses the name “Jesus” to help the believers identify more closely with His human nature. Despite what is coming, we have a Lord who first personally suffered for His people. When His people now suffer, He can empathize with them, and He will then be faithful to fully repay those who have persecuted His beloved church. It will be a time when He “is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels.”
Again, the term in Greek more literally says, “with the angels of His power.” These are angels which serve the Lord, and which exercise His great power for His sovereign purposes. They are given His commands, and they execute His judgments according to His words. Jesus speaks of them in Matthew. Jude speaks of them as well. And in the book of Revelation, we are given exacting insights into what they will accomplish at the Lord’s direction.
Life application: As the world continues to tailspin into more and more perversion, God’s people can expect to be faced with more and more persecution. But the Lord is not uncaring about this. Just the opposite is true. His plans and purposes are being fulfilled, even through our times of trouble. But He will also faithfully execute judgment on those who persecute His people. Don’t think the Lord has abandoned you; He has not.
Lord God, the Bible is clear – judgment is coming upon the world because of its turning away from You. Your word is also clear that judgment begins in Your house. Those churches which are openly condoning perversion of all kinds will be brought to utter ruin. Is a moment of perverse enticement worth condemnation and eternal punishment? Certainly not. We pray today that holiness will be restored in your churches, and that the sexually immoral will be expelled from Your house. Surely, things can’t continue for long as they are now progressing. Amen.