Friday 05 December 2014

Bible Book:
2 Thessalonians

2 Thessalonians 2:1-5, 13-17 Friday 5 December 2014

Psalm: Psalm 71:15-24


This chapter addresses the main problem which caused the secondletter to be written to the Thessalonians so soon after the firstone. They have either misunderstood his words in 1Thessalonians 5:1-5 about the unexpected timing of the returnof Christ, or have assumed that what he said about being gatheredto Christ was actually happening. It may also be that they havereceived a letter purporting to be from Paul, which has confusedthem still more. This is maybe why in 2Thessalonians 3:17 he emphasises that this letter is hisgenuine composition. In chapter 2, he attempts to put right themisunderstandings, by saying that the appointed signs that willherald that event have not yet happened. There has been norebellion, and the "lawless one" (v. 3) has not appeared.

The Thessalonians would have a better idea about this mysteriousfigure than we have today. They would accept a conflict between apersonal God and a personal Devil. We cannot deny the presence ofevil in the world, but not everyone would see that power in quiteas personal terms as Paul seems to be describing here. He isdescribed as the emissary of Satan (verse9) who will engage in a battle with Christ. The victor in thiscosmic conflict between God incarnate and evil incarnate would beChrist. Can we see the lawless one as a symbol of humanity's revoltagainst God?

Finally in this chapter, Paul gives thanks again for theThessalonians. He affirms them in their faith, and encourages themto hold fast to the teachings which he has given them

To Ponder

  • What are your thoughts about the idea of a cosmic strugglebetween forces of good and evil?
  • Some people interpret world events such as wars, earthquakesand famines as signs of God's judgement and the imminent return ofChrist. Do you agree? If not, what would you say to them?
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