Today Paul concludes his first letter to the church in Thessalonica with several closing remarks; one being “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
A few months after his first letter, Paul writes another letter from Corinth to the Thessalonians. In this letter, Paul explains that the second coming of Jesus Christ has not yet occurred. Although the church is experiencing persecution, Paul tells them this is not the tribulation that will occur on the day of Christ.
Paul exhorts them not to be “shaken in mind or troubled” by the false teaching concerning the Lord’s second coming. He says that before the coming of Christ, there will be a massive departure from true faith in the Lord and the Antichrist will appear, claiming to be God. The power which has been restraining Satan will be removed, revealing Satan at the Lord’s perfect timing. Ultimately the deceiver and all those deceived will be destroyed. – ”For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming. The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”
Paul encourages the church by saying, “God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth, to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle… the Lord is faithful, who will establish you and guard you from the evil one.”
Paul ends the letter by instructing them all to do their share of the work load and not to grow weary doing good but to admonish those who do not obey the word.
In Corinth, Paul continues to preach that Jesus is the Christ in the synagogue to the Jews. When the Jews oppose Paul, Paul says from now on he will go to the Gentiles. So Paul goes to the house of Justus, which is next to the synagogue, and continues preaching. “Then Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his household. And many of the Corinthians, hearing, believed and were baptized.”
“Now the Lord spoke to Paul in the night by a vision, ‘Do not be afraid, but speak, and do not keep silent; for I am with you, and no one will attack you to hurt you; for I have many people in this city.’ And he continued there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.”
“So Paul still remained a good while. Then he took leave of the brethren and sailed for Syria, and Priscilla and Aquila were with him.” Paul leaves Priscilla and Aquila in Ephesus to do the work of the ministry. Then Paul travels on, landing back at the church in Antioch. “After he had spent some time there, he departed and went over the region of Galatia and Phrygia in order, strengthening all the disciples.”
Tomorrow we will read about Paul’s third missionary journey, so keep reading.
(1 Thessalonians 5:12-28, 2 Thessalonians 1:1-3:18, Acts 18:4-23)