SECOND THESSALONIANS CHAPTER ONE

OBSERVATIONS

The purpose of the observation stage is to maintain focus on the text at hand in accordance with the framework in which it was written: a framework which is defined by the normative rules of language, context and logic - rules which do not impose undue, unintended meanings to the text , and which largely limit the observer to the content offered by Paul's second epistle to the Thessalonians and his other writings. In order for any passage from elsewhere to be considered, it must have a relationship with the context at hand, such as a Scriptural quotation or a specific cross reference in the passage at hand by the author. This will serve to avoid going on unnecessary tangents elsewhere; and more importantly, it will provide the framework for a proper and objective comparison with passages located elsewhere in Scripture.

Remember that something elsewhere may be true, but in the text at hand it may not be in view.

Note that information on manuscript evidence is from "THE NEW TESTAMENT TEXT AND TRANSLATION COMMENTARY," by Philip W. Comfort, Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, Carol Stream, IL.

I) [2 Thes 1:1-12]:

(2 Thes 1:1 YLT) "Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, to the assembly of Thessalonians in God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ:

(2 Thes 1:2 NKJV) Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

(2 Thes 1:3 NKJV) We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is fitting, because your faith grows exceedingly, and the love of every one of you all abounds toward each other,

(2 Thes 1:4 NKJV) so that we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure, 

(2 Thes 1:5 NKJV) which is manifest evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you also suffer;

(2 Thes 1:6 NKJV) since it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you,

(2 Thes 1:7 NASB) and to give relief to you who are afflicted and to us as well when the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire,

(2 Thes 1:8 YLT) in flaming fire, giving vengeance to those not knowing God, and to those not obeying the good news of our Lord Jesus Christ;

(2 Thes 1:9 NASB) These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power,

(2 Thes 1:10 NASB) when He [shall have come] to be glorified in His saints on that day, and to be marveled at among all who have believed - for our testimony to you was believed.

(2 Thes 1:11 NKJV) Therefore we also pray always for you that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of His goodness and the work of faith with power,

(2 Thes 1:12 NASB) so that the name of our Lord Jesus will be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ."

A) [The Purpose Of This Letter]:

1) [Expositor's Bible Commentary]:

"To meet the needs that occasioned the Epistle Paul pursued three broad purposes:

(1) He provided an incentive for the Thessalonians to persevere a little longer by describing the reward and retribution issuing from the future judgment of God (1:3-10).

(2) He clarified prominent events belonging to the day of the Lord to prove the falsity of claims that the day had already arrived (2:1-12).

(3) He issued detailed instructions covering disciplinary steps the church was to take in correcting those who refused to work (3:6-15)."

2) [Bible Knowledge Commentary]:

"The Occasion and Purpose for Writing

The epistle gives evidence that Paul had recently heard news about conditions in the church. Probably this information came to him from the messenger who delivered 1 Thessalonians and returned to Corinth. Perhaps other people who had news of the church informed the three missionaries (Paul, Silas, and Timothy) also. Some of the news was good: the Thessalonians were continuing to grow and to remain faithful to Christ in spite of persecution. But some was bad: false teaching concerning the day of the Lord had entered the church and was causing confusion and leading some of the Christians to quit their jobs in expectation of the Lord's return.

In view of these reports Paul felt constrained to write this epistle. He commended his children in the faith for their growth, corrected their doctrinal error about the day of the Lord, and warned of its consequences."

B) [2 Thes 1:1-2]:

1) [(2 Thes 1:2b) Manuscript Evidence For 2 Thes 1:2b]:

(2 Thes 1:2 NKJV) "Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ."

TR, NU Sinaiticus, A, F, G, I, 0278,  Maj, it, syr, cop(sa) have "God our Father"

WH, B, D, 0111(vid), 33, 1739 have "God [the] Father"

The manuscript evidence for the two readings is evenly distributed: ... It could be argued that ... "our" was added to conform this verse to other Pauline introductions, where the formulaic expression nearly always is "God our Father." On the other hand, it could be argued that the Greek word rendered "our" was dropped to avoid repeating the wording of the first verse which reads, "(2 Thess 1:1 YLT) "Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, to the assembly of Thessalonians in God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ:" In any case God is our Father whether the "our" is present or not, it is implied. So the meaning is the same either way.

There is textual evidence for reading "God our Father," ‏א‎ and A from the Alexandrian text-type being in support of including the possessive pronoun "our." Since this is the Pauline pattern wherever this source phrase is used, however, how could the pronoun ἡμῶν (hemon, "our") ever have been omitted by substantial authorities B (Alexandrian) and D (Western)? Copyists would hardly have omitted it in light of its presence in 1:1 and other Pauline salutations. Yet they may easily have been influenced to add it to bring the expression into line with practice elsewhere. Therefore, it probably was not present in the autograph.

2) [(2 Thes 1:1-2) Commentary On 2 Thes 1:1-2]:

(2 Thes 1:1 YLT) "Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, to the assembly of Thessalonians in God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ:

(2 Thes 1:2 NKJV) Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ."

In 2 Thes 1:1a, Paul indicates that he was the writer of this epistle. For his name appears first; he spoke of himself in the singular elsewhere in the letter (ref 2 Thes 2:5); and he stipulated that it was he who wrote the letter with his own hand, (ref 2 Thes 3:17); albeit most of the letter addresses the assembly / the church "in God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ" in Thessalonica in the second person plural. Hence Paul indicates that he, Silas ["Silvanus"] and Timothy ["Timotheus"] were working together for the spiritual welfare of the believers in Thessalonica, evidently contributing together in the content of the letter. Silas was Paul's primary associate on the second missionary journey (Acts 15:40). Timothy was a young man Paul led to faith in Jesus Christ (1 Tim. 1:2), probably during Paul's visit to Asia Minor on his first missionary journey (Acts 13-14). Timothy had recently returned to Paul from a trip to Thessalonica with news of conditions in that church (1 Thes. 3:1-2, 6). So these three men were evidently well known amongst the believers in Thessalonica ministering to them in the Lord as missionaries.

Then in 2 Thes 1:1b which reads, the phrase "from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ" the words make explicit what is already implicit - that God is ultimately the only source of grace and peace. Two persons of the Godhead are in view "the Father and the Son." This indicates to Paul, that Jesus was Deity in the fullest sense. This is the only justification for placing his name beside the Father's as co-author of the unmerited favor and harmonious relationship pronounced in this greeting. 

Whereupon in 2 Thes 1:2 it reads, "Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ," where grace means unmerited favor - the opposite of works which are merited . Since Paul's readership is believers in the churches at Thessalonica who already have eternal peace with God, (Ro 5:1 ), then it refers to temporal peace with God in the sense of fellowship with God and temporal peace / lack of enmity with man while in their mortal bodies so that they might be of maximum service to the Lord, which Paul prays the believers may experience.

C) [(2 Thes 1:3-5)]:

(2 Thes 1:3 NKJV) "We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is fitting, because your faith grows exceedingly, and the love of every one of you all abounds toward each other,

(2 Thes 1:4 NKJV) so that we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure, 

(2 Thes 1:5 NKJV) which is manifest evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you also suffer;

1) [(2 Thes 1:4) Manuscript Evidence For 2 Thes 1:4]:

a) [(2 Thes 1:4)]:

(2 Thes 1:4 NKJV) "so that we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure,"

WH, NU, Sinaiticus, A, B, 0111, 33 have "to boast"

TR, D, F, G, Psi, 0278, 1881, Maj have another Greek word which also means "to boast" but this word only appears once in Scripture which makes it susceptible to scribal alteration.

2) [(2 Thes 1:3-5) Commentary On 2 Thes 1:3-5]:

In 2 Thes 1:3, Paul wrote "We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is fitting, because your faith grows exceedingly, and the love of every one of you all abounds toward each other," in the sense of Paul, Silas and Timothy being / feeling obligated to thank God always for the Thessalonian believers' exceedingly growing faith in God and their abounding mutual agape love for one another to whom Paul, Silas and Timothy have been ministering for God. So it is by the grace of God Who enabled the believers to believe unto salvation unto eternal life as well as to their exceedingly growing faith, their abounding mutual agape love for one another, and their suffering for the kingdom of God, (v. 5). In verse 5, it is indicated that it is by the grace of God that the believers in Thessalonica are recipients of the righteous judgment of God that they may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which they also suffer. Note that Paul is God's appointed apostle; and Timothy and Silas together with Paul are leading members of the early Christian community who accompanied and assisted Paul on part of his first and second missionary journeys.

So Paul indicated that the faith of the believers in the church at Thessalonica had continued to grow exceedingly; and the agape / self-sacrifical love of every one of the believers in Thessalonica toward one another abounded.

Then in 2 Thes 1:4-5 Paul continues this long sentence begun at verse 3 with two more verses as follows: (2 Thes 1:3 NKJV) "We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is fitting, because your faith grows exceedingly, and the love of every one of you all abounds toward each other, (2 Thes 1:4 NKJV) so that we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure, (2 Thes 1:5 NKJV) which is manifest evidence of the righteous judgment of God that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you also suffer."

When we look at 2 Thes 1:4-5, Paul's, Silas' and Timothy's thanking of God for the Thessalonians' exceptional growing faith and agape love toward one another in 2 Thes 1:3 in view which the latter, (v. 3), reads as follows:

"We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is fitting, because your faith grows exceedingly, and the love of every one of you all abounds toward each other,"

then verse 4 continues the thought from verse 3 as follows:

"so that we ourselves boast of you [the Thessalonian believers] among the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure;"

then verse 5 continues the thought from verses 3 & 4 as follows:

"which is manifest evidence of the righteous judgment of God that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you also suffer;"

So 2 Thes 1:4-5 indicate that Paul, Silas and Timothy boasted of the Thessalonian believers' among the churches of God for the believers' patience and faith in all their persecutions and tribulations that they endured which is made manifest evidence of the righteous judgment of God in the sense of God's Righteous judgment of accrediting with being worthy of the Kingdom of God, by His grace, the Thessalonian believers' patience and perseverance through persecution, albeit enabled by God. Nevertheless God in His Righteous Judgment, declared that their actions were worthy of the kingdom of God. On the other hand the judgment of worthiness was not as a result of being solely by their own efforts without enablement. For believers who still have their sin natures are not capable of producing acceptable righteous divine good works. Their efforts were made manifest evidence of the righteous judgment of God for enabling them to continue in extraordinary faithfulness and perseverance. Recall that 2 Thes 1:3 states as follows: "We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is fitting, because your faith grows exceedingly, and the love of every one of you all abounds toward each other." Notice that it is God Whom Paul, Silas and Timothy thank for their exercising their faith growing exceedingly and agape love for one another - and all of this through persecution. For without the grace participation / enablement of God, none of this would have come about!

Note that it is evident that there is an emphasis on the boasting of Paul, Silas and Timothy with the phrase rendered "we ourselves boast of you among the churches" in order to serve as an encouragement to the believers in Thessalonica because of their patience and faith in God to see them through the persecutions.

a) [Compare Eph 2:8-9]:

(Eph 2:8 NASB) "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;

(Eph 2:9 NASB) not as a result of works, so that no one may boast."

Since entrance into the Eternal Kingdom of God, i.e., salvation unto eternal life is solely via by the grace of God through a moment of faith alone in God's Son, Jesus Christ alone; and since that salvation is not of oneself - not based on an individual's efforts toward worthiness, i.e., toward attaining the Righteousness of God - but is solely a gift of God and not by works so that no one may boast. (Eph 2:8-9 quoted above);

then if 2 Thes 1:5 has in view that the believers in Thessalonica by their own auspices were worthy of the Righteousness of God unto entrance into the Kingdom of God as some contend; then we have such a critical contradiction in God's Word that it would make it untrustworthy on the issue of salvation and virtually all of its contents.

On the other hand, the text actually stipulates that the "patience and faith in all your [in all of the believers in Thessalonica's] persecutions and tribulations that you [they] endure which is manifest evidence of the righteous judgment of God that you [they] may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God"

"Counted worthy" is not to be viewed in the sense of the believers in Thessalonica seen as actually worthy in and of themselves for occupying the Eternal Kingdom of God which implies sinless perfection. But they are to be reckoned by the grace of God as worthy in a judicial decree as a result of God's working in them such a worthiness. So it is in the the sense that He [God] through His Righteous judgment, and not solely through the independent efforts of the believers in Thessalonica, that He counts them worthy of the kingdom of God. It is by God's Righteous declaration through His grace enablement of the believers to exercise patience and faith and agape love for one another throughout all the persecution that they are declared worthy of the Kingdom of God.

Although it is commendable that the Thessalonian believers did in fact express patience in the sense of perseverance and faith in God while they were being persecuted, it was not through their own unaided efforts. It was by the Righteous judgment, by the grace of God that they were enabled to do just that.

b) [(2 Thes 1:3-5) Compare Excerpt From Bible Knowledge Commentary]:

"The Thessalonians' attitude was not to endure by force of their own strength, however. They had faith in God; they looked to Him for grace sufficient to bear up and accepted their circumstances as conditions which He was allowing for His glory. They were patiently enduring... persecutions (diōgmois) from enemies of the gospel who were hostile toward them (cf. 1 Thes. 3:3-4). The trials (thlipsesin, "pressures, troubles"; cf. 2 Thes. 1:6-7) they were undergoing were painful circumstances that came from both Jewish and Gentile acquaintances (cf. 1 Thes. 1:6; 2:14; Acts 17:5-9). Their persecutions and trials were numerous. Yet, in spite of them all, the Thessalonians kept on standing strong and stable in their faith."

c) [(2 Thes 1:3-5) Compare Commentary By Robert Wilkin, Grace Evangelical Society]: 

"Will You Be Counted Worthy of the Kingdom?
2 Thessalonians 1:5

by Bob Wilkin, Grace Evangelical Society

"Christians love to sing of the worthiness of our Lord Jesus Christ. The hymn Thou Art Worthy is a good example of a praise song. However, we never sing of, and rarely even think about, our own worthiness. And in one sense this is fitting, if we are speaking of being worthy to spend eternity with God due to our works.

Yet there is a sense in which it would be proper to sing of our worthiness or lack thereof, because this too is a biblical theme. The Scriptures speak of the fact that we can be worthy of the kingdom of God.

The Second Epistle to the Thessalonians concerns God’s justice in light of the persecution of Christians. The believers at Thessalonica were suffering under persecution. Paul used this letter to urge them to continue to maintain their Christian testimony in spite of the persecution. He reminded them that when the Lord returns He will reward believers who endure, and He will take vengeance on the unbelievers who persecuted them.

There is a potentially confusing reference in the prologue to Second Thessalonians. Paul wrote:
We ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure, which is manifest evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you also suffer.

- 2 Thess 1:4-5 

Paul is writing to and exhorting believers ("your faith," v 4; see also v 10), yet he indicates that they might not be counted worthy of the kingdom. In order to be counted worthy, they would need to endure persecution. How can this be if the only condition of entering the kingdom is faith in Christ? 

Entering Requires Faith Alone

Second Thessalonians 1:5 speaks of being counted worthy of the kingdom. Whatever that means, it certainly is not talking about being counted worthy of entering the kingdom; the only condition of that is belief in Christ (John 3:16; 5:24; 6:47). 

Only believers can endure persecution for their faith in Christ. Since an unbeliever doesn’t yet believe in Christ, he can’t possibly endure persecution for faith in Christ until he becomes a believer. This is not to say that unbelievers have never been persecuted for their identification with Christ. Rather, it is to say that the persecution they endured was not specifically related to faith in Christ in the biblical sense. 

Ruling Requires Enduring in the Faith

The Lord Jesus and His apostles all spoke of the fact that there will be eternal rewards for believers who endure persecution for Christ’s sake: 

"Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you…for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven…" 

- Matt 5:11-12

"If children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together with Him." 

- Rom 8:17

"But rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy." 

- 1 Pet 4:13

"If we endure, we shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him, He also will deny us."

—2 Tim 2:12 

Ruling with Christ in His kingdom will be a tremendous privilege. It will be something every believer will want to participate in. However, many will not be found worthy of that honor. Only those believers who endure persecution and continue to confess their faith in Christ will be permitted to rule with Him.

The same basic idea is found in discipleship teaching elsewhere. The Lord said, "No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God" (Luke 9:62). The believer who turns back and ceases to walk as an open disciple of Christ is not fit to rule with Christ in His kingdom.

Similarly, when Paul was charging the new believers at the end of his first missionary journey, "strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith," he said, "We [i.e., disciples of Christ] must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God" (Acts 14:22). If a Christian remains an open disciple of Christ, he will be required to endure many tribulations.

Believers can escape persecution by being silent about their faith (John 12:42 43; 19:38 42). Paul is warning his new charges not to do that, lest they miss out on joy now and ruling with Christ forever. As Dr. John Hart put it so well at our recent conference on faith, "You can be a secret Christian, but you can never be a victorious secret Christian."

Jesus clearly modeled this very principle in His own life. He willingly accepted suffering before glory (cf. Matt 16:21 27; Heb 12:2). In order to share His glory in the life to come, we must share His sufferings in this life.

How Do We Suffer for the Kingdom?

If you’re like me, your first inclination is to think you rarely ever suffer for the kingdom. No one is throwing us in jail and beating us for our faith. Compared to the apostles and the early Christians, or people in other countries around the world today, we may feel we don’t suffer at all. Yet that isn’t true if we are spiritually minded believers.

Have you ever received odd looks from people when you tell them that you are a born-again Christian? Maybe you’ve even received verbal jabs like, "Not another holy roller," or, "Oh, you’re a Jesus freak, huh?" You may shrug off the looks or the remarks, but they do indeed hurt and they are persecution.

Recently after I had prayed before a meal, an unbelieving friend joked that when they are with me they have to endure my praying before every meal. Everyone laughed and I felt the sting of a slight rebuke.

When you share your faith surely you aren’t always met with smiles and thanks. Some people are offended if you simply offer them a tract. No matter how sensitive you are, some people will take offense and some will be happy to let you have it with both barrels.

Believer, Will You Be Counted Worthy of the Kingdom?

So, the question is will you be counted worthy of the kingdom? You will if you hold fast your confession of faith in the midst of persecution. 

.... the day when we stand before the Lord Jesus and hear His evaluation of our Christian lives will make that day seem relatively insignificant. Will we hear His "Well done, good servant" (Luke 19:17), or instead, "You wicked servant" (Luke 19:22)? Remember we can only hear His "Well done" if we remain an open disciple of Christ and endure persecution without shrinking back. Hang in there. He’s coming soon."

D) [2 Thes 1:6-10]:

(2 Thes 1:3 NKJV) "We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is fitting, because your faith grows exceedingly, and the love of every one of you all abounds toward each other,

(2 Thes 1:4 NKJV) so that we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure,

(2 Thes 1:5 NKJV) which is manifest evidence of the righteous judgment of God that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you also suffer.

(2 Thes 1:6 NKJV) since it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you,

(2 Thes 1:7 NASB) and to give relief to you who are afflicted and to us as well when the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire,

(2 Thes 1:8 YLT) [in flaming fire], giving vengeance to those not knowing God, and to those not obeying the good news of our Lord Jesus Christ;

(2 Thes 1:9 NASB) these will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power,

(2 Thes 1:10 NASB) when He [shall have come] to be glorified in His saints on that day, and to be marveled at among all who have believed - for our testimony to you was believed."

In 2 Thes 1:3-5 Paul stated, "We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is fitting, because your faith grows exceedingly, and the love of every one of you all abounds toward each other, so that we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure, which is manifest evidence of the righteous judgment of God that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you also suffer.

Whereupon in 2 Thes 1:6-10, Paul wrote that not only is it solely God's working to enable the believers of Thessalonica to grow exceedingly in faith, express agape godly love toward one another, and to enable their endurance through all the persecutions and tribulations, all of "which is manifest evidence of the righteous judgment of God that they may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God through the enabling grace of God," (vv. 3-5);

but Paul wrote in verses 6-10, that it is also manifest evidence of the righteous judgment of God as follows:

"since it is [also] a righteous thing with God [in the sense of the manifest evidence of the righteous judgment of God] to repay with tribulation those who trouble you, [the believers of Thesalonica and all believers who are persecuted] and to give relief to you who are afflicted and to us [all believers] as well when the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, giving vengeance to those not knowing God, and to those not obeying the good news of our Lord Jesus Christ; these will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power when He [shall have come] to be glorified in His saints on that day, and to be marveled at among all who have believed - for our testimony to you was believed."

So according to 2 Thes 1:6-10, there is also "manifest evidence of the righteous judgment of God:"

(1) to repay with tribulation those who troubled the Thessalonian believers;

(2) to give relief to afflicted [all] believers;

(3) to be glorified in His saints on that day when the Lord Jesus will be revealed in His Second Coming from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire;

(4) for the Lord Jesus to be marveled at among all believers;

(5) and for the Lord Jesus to bring eternal vengeance and destruction to all unbelievers.

Notice that in 2 Thes 1:5 which reads, "which is manifest evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you also suffer;" and (3) above which reads, "to be glorified in His saints on that day when the Lord Jesus will be revealed in His Second Coming from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire;" that the time of this second letter to the church at Thessalonica, neither the Rapture nor the Lord Jesus' Second Coming from heaven had not yet occurred, implying that the believers had not missed the Rapture or the Second Coming. So the persecutions they were experiencing were not part of the tribulation period that would follow the Rapture. Hence Paul reassured them that God had accounted them worthy of the kingdom of God; and that the persecutions they were undergoing were not part of the time of the Day of the Lord and His wrath upon the peoples of the earth.

1) [Compare Excerpt From Expositor's Bible Commentary On 2 Thes 1:6-10]:

"On the other hand, it is well known how God will pay back those responsible for troubling Christians. They will be repaid proportionately for the suffering they have caused God's people. This is only right ("just") in God's eyes and is the reason this future judgment is called "righteous" (NIV, "right," v. 5). In return, the antagonists will receive "trouble" (thlipsin), a term not further defined at this point. In v. 9 another expression, "everlasting destruction," adds insight into these consequences. Thlipsin is a word often translated "tribulation." It is the present lot of Christians to undergo tribulation (v. 4; 1 Thess 3:4). For the rest of the world, however, tribulation will be future and far greater in intensity (Matt 24:21; cf. Rev 3:10). In his first Epistle to this church, Paul described this period in relation to its source—viz., God's wrath (1:10; 2:16; 5:9). But here he speaks of it from the standpoint of circumstances that engulf the victims. After the period of tribulation has passed, these troublers will be denied entrance into the messianic kingdom that has welcomed the faithful followers of Christ (v. 5; Matt 25:41, 46)."

2) [Compare Excerpt From Bible Knowledge Commentary On 2 Thes 1:6-10]:

"1:6. Paul explained how the Thessalonians' suffering demonstrated the justice of God. He first stated the great truth taught from Genesis through Revelation: God is just. God will balance the scales of justice. He will mete out trouble (thlipsin; cf. v. 4) to those who troubled (thlibousin) the Thessalonians (cf. Gal. 6:7).

1:7. On the other hand God will give relief from the tensions of trials to those who are unjustly persecuted (lit., "troubled, pressured," thlibomenois; cf. vv. 4, 6) by their enemies. The Thessalonians, the apostles, and all other Christians who share in these pressures can look forward to this. Relief (anesin, "relaxation, rest"; used only five times in the NT: here and in Acts 24:23; 2 Cor. 2:13, 7:5; 8:13) will come at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Paul painted the picture of a veil being removed from in front of Jesus Christ; He will be revealed in blazing fire (cf. Ex. 3:2; 19:18; 24:17; Ps. 18:12; Isa. 30:27-30; 66:15; Dan. 7:9-10). This is the Lord Jesus, the Man in heaven. He will exercise the power then; the Christians' persecutors do so now. Christ's coming will be with His powerful angels; His heavenly servants will be with Him to carry out His bidding. If the Rapture had occurred in Paul's lifetime, the enemies of the Thessalonian believers would have been judged shortly (seven years) thereafter, at Christ's second coming."

1:8. At that time the Lord Jesus Christ will punish two classes of people: those who are ignorant of God (Rom. 1:18-32), and those who... do not obey [= believe in] the gospel (cf. John 3:36). The guilt of those in the latter group is the greater because their privilege is greater. God's judgment is perfectly just. Willful rejection of God's revelation spurns God.

1:9. The destruction to befall both groups is stated in this verse. They will be punished is literally "they will pay a penalty" (dikēn tisousin). For their rejection of God's grace they will experience endless or everlasting ruin (olethron aiōnion). This is "the most express statement in St. Paul's Epistles of the eternity of future punishment" (Edward Headland and Henry B. Swete, The Epistle to the Thessalonians, London: Hatchard, 1863, p. 137). The punishment of the wicked will be neither temporary nor will it be annihilation, but it will continue throughout eternity and those being punished will be conscious. It is eternal death as opposed to eternal life (Matt. 25:46). The nature of the destruction follows in the next phrase.

Separation from the Lord's presence (lit., "face") is the essence of eternal punishment. On the other hand being in the Lord's presence will make heaven heaven. A Christian's hope is to see and be with the Lord; the judgment of unbelievers is to be eternally inaccessible to His presence (cf. Rom. 1:18; 2:5-9; 6:21; Phil. 3:19; 1 Thes. 1:10; 4:17).

The majesty of His power is the visible splendor of the Lord's presence. The Lord's power will be manifest in a majestic display (cf. Rev. 19:11-16). Unbelievers will be forever shut out from the Lord's presence and His power.

1:10. This judgment will take place when the Lord comes back to earth and is glorified through the lives of believers whom He has transformed by making saints out of sinners. This is not the Rapture (1 Thes. 4:13-18; John 14:2-3), for no judgment accompanies the Rapture. Instead, it is the revelation of Jesus Christ in power and great glory (Ps. 2:1-9; Matt. 25:31), when He will set up His earthly kingdom (Rev. 19:11-20:4). At His return He will destroy the Armageddon armies gathered against Him (Rev. 16:12-16; 19:19-21) and will then judge living Jews (Ezek. 20:33-38) and living Gentiles (Matt. 24:31-46). These judgments are the ones just described (2 Thes. 1:9).
The exact date of His return is not given, of course, but it will be a day of judgment for the lost and a day of glory and marveling for believers. Christ will be "glorified in" (not by) His saints, that is, His glory will be mirrored in them. Christians will marvel in that they will admire their Lord for what He has done in them. All believers will marvel—not just those living on the earth and those resurrected when Christ returns, but also those who return to earth with Him, those who had been caught up to be with the Lord at the Rapture.

This group, Paul pointed out, would include the Thessalonian believers to whom he wrote this epistle. Because they believed Paul's testimony they would share in this great day. Such a hope should strengthen any believer who might be buckling under the pressure of persecution by unbelievers (v. 4). This glimpse into the future undoubtedly encouraged Paul's readers and it should encourage believers in their trials today."

E) [2 Thes 1:11-12]:

(2 Thes 1:11 NKJV) "Therefore we also pray always for you that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of His goodness and the work of faith with power,

(2 Thes 1:12 NASB) so that the name of our Lord Jesus will be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ."

1) [(2 Thes 1:12) Manuscript Evidence For 2 Thes 1:12]:

(2 Thes 1:12 NASB) "so that the name of our Lord Jesus will be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ."

WH, NU, Sinaiticus, B, D, L, Psi, 0111, it(b) cop(sa) have "the name of our Lord Jesus"

TR, A, F, G, P, 0278, 33, 1739, syr have "the name of our Lord Jesus Christ"

The documentary evidence for the WH, NU reading is superior to that of the TR, not to mention that the variant is probably the result of scribal assimilation to the next clause of this verse, which reads "Lord Jesus Christ.

2) [(2 Thes 1:11-12) Commentary]:

(2 Thes 1:11 NKJV) "Therefore we also pray always for you that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasurei of His goodness and the work of faith with power,

(2 Thes 1:12 NASB) so that the name of our Lord Jesus will be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ."

Author and apostle Paul closes out this first chapter of his second letter to the Thessalonians with a stipulation that he is always praying for them especially with the previous eight verses in mind which are summarized as follows:

Paul wrote in 2 Thes 1:3-10, that not only is it God's working to enable the believers of Thessalonica to grow exceedingly in faith, express agape godly love toward one another, and to enable their endurance through all the persecutions and tribulations, all of "which is manifest evidence of the righteous judgment of God that they may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God through the enabling grace of God, (vv. 3-5);

but he wrote in verses 6-10, that it is also manifest evidence of the righteous judgment of God as follows:

"since it is [also] a righteous thing with God [in the sense of the manifest evidence of the righteous judgment of God] to repay with tribulation those who trouble you, [the believers of Thesalonica and all believers who are persecuted] and to give relief to you who are afflicted and to us [all believers] as well when the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, giving vengeance to those not knowing God, and to those not obeying the good news of our Lord Jesus Christ; these will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power when He [shall have come] to be glorified in His saints on that day, and to be marveled at among all who have believed - for our testimony to you was believed;"

so according to 2 Thes 1:6-10, there is also stipulated the "manifest evidence of the righteous judgment of God" as follows:

(1) to repay with tribulation those who troubled the Thessalonian believers;

(2) to give relief to afflicted [all] believers;

(3) to be glorified in His saints on that day when the Lord Jesus will be revealed in His Second Coming from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire;

(4) for the Lord Jesus to be marveled at among all believers;

(5) and for the Lord Jesus to bring eternal vengeance and destruction to all unbelievers.

Hence Paul prayed in 2 Thes 1:11-12 with the context of verses 3-10 in mind as follows: "Therefore we also pray always for you that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of His goodness and the work of faith with power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus will be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ."

Since God's declarations and decrees are absolutely certain to come to pass, then there is no  uncertainty of the outcome implied in Paul's prayer. On the other hand, it is not inconsistent that Paul or any believer prays for God's declarations / decrees to come to pass; for that is what is commanded of God's children, the believer in Christ. For it is God who declares that His children, i.e., believers are to pray for all things:

a) [Compare Phil 4:6]:

(Phil 4:6 NASB) "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

(Phil 4:7 NASB) And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

Note that it is an honor for believers to pray to God for all things - even that which Gd has declared will come to pass, whereby those believers who pray become part of what God has declared to come to pass. And it is by His grace that He credits the believer with being faithful in prayer - even for those things which He has guaranteed will come to pass with or without our prayers or participation. In so doing they glorify their Father and will in turn be glorified by Him, 2 Thes 1:10-12)

b) [(2 Thes 1:11-12) Compare Rev 22:20]:

(Rev 22:20 NASB) "He who testifies to these things says, 'Yes, I am coming quickly.' Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.
(Rev 22:21  NASB) The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen."

Notice that the NT closes on the note of John's prayer for the already certain return of the Lord Jesus (Rev 22:20).

Uncertainty would undercut, not build, assurance for the fainthearted. Though the worthiness of the Thessalonian believers was confirmed (v. 5), certainty in the security of God's purposes does not diminish the need to keep on praying. Ultimate salvation rests on the sure foundation of God's faithfulness (1 Thess 5:24), but until its actual accomplishment, Paul continues praying for it.

Although Paul just went to great lengths in verses 3-10 to indicate that it was the working of God and by His grace that all that was to be accomplished would assuredly come to pass, nevertheless Paul prayed that all would come to pass, especially that "God would count the believers in Thessalonica worthy of this calling [i.e., worthy of the Kingdom of God]; and fulfill all the good pleasure of His goodness and the work of faith with power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus will be glorified in You and You in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ." [as promised and stipulated in 2 Thes 1:10, 12].

c) [(2 Thes 1:11-12) Compare Excerpt From Bible Knowledge Commentary]:

(2 Thes 1:11 NKJV) Therefore we also pray always for you that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of His goodness and the work of faith with power,

(2 Thes 1:12 NASB) so that the name of our Lord Jesus will be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ."

"1:11. Paul and his colleagues habitually prayed for the Thessalonians. Their spiritual welfare was always on the apostles' hearts.

They prayed that their God (the apostles' and the Thessalonians') would reckon or declare the readers worthy of the calling they had received, to come to God through faith in Jesus Christ (cf. Rom. 8:30; Eph. 4:1; 1 Thes. 4:7). Paul consistently made what God has done for believers the basis of his appeals for them to lead lives in keeping with their destiny. Christians do not live worthily in order to obtain salvation but because they have been granted salvation.
A second request was that God would bring to full expression every good purpose of theirs to glorify God, and every act motivated by their faith in God. Both motives and actions have their source in God (Phil. 2:13); thus they are accomplished by His power.

1:12. The ultimate purpose of this prayer is the glory of God. Specifically it was that God's glory might be manifested in and through the Thessalonians, both immediately (v. 12) and at the revelation of Jesus Christ (v. 10). When this happens, the vessels that manifest the glory of God are themselves glorified by association with Him. In the Bible the name stands for the person named, his character, conduct, reputation, and everything else about him. In praying thus, Paul was asking that God would fully glorify Jesus Christ in these saints. This is in keeping with and springs from the grace of God, personalized again by Paul as our God, and linked with the Lord Jesus Christ as an equal (cf. v. 1; 1 Thes. 1:1). Answers to prayers depend on and are traceable to God's grace. Such lofty requests as these can be fulfilled only by God's grace."

d) [(2 Thes 1:11-12) Compare Excerpt From Expositors' Bible Commentary]:

(2 Thes 1:11 NKJV) "Therefore we also pray always for you that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of His goodness and the work of faith with power,

(2 Thes 1:12 NASB) so that the name of our Lord Jesus will be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ."

"11 [Note] content with the certainty of coming glorification, Paul now prays for its realization. Human minds wrestle with the problem of praying for something already fixed in the unalterable purpose of God. Yet has not Paul already done this in these Epistles (1 Thess 3:12, 13; 5:23)? Is it not God's pleasure for saints to cooperate with his ongoing program? (Philippians 2:12, 13). For example, the NT closes on the note of John's prayer for the already certain return of the Lord Jesus (Rev 22:20).

The purpose of Paul's prayer is "that our God may count you worthy of his calling." This probably corresponds to their worthiness for the kingdom mentioned in v. 5. No uncertainty of ultimate acceptance is implied in the prayer. Uncertainty would undercut, not build, assurance for the fainthearted. Though the worthiness of the Thessalonian believers was confirmed (v. 5), certainty in the security of God's purposes does not diminish the need to keep on praying. Ultimate salvation rests on the sure foundation of God's faithfulness (1 Thess 5:24), but until its actual accomplishment, Paul continues praying for it (Hogg and Vine, p. 237).

"His calling" is usually regarded by Paul as a past decree (Rom 11:29; 1Cor 1:26) (Milligan, p. 93; Best, p. 268). To construe it like this here could imply the possibility of falling away from it (Lunemann, p. 198; Frame, p. 239). Yet such cannot happen to those already assured of a future worthiness (v. 5) based solely on the grace of God (v. 12). It is reassuring to know that God's call is made effective quite apart from human merit (cf. Gal 1:13-15). Instead of limiting the call to what happened before the foundation of the world, the present emphasis on Christ's return (v. 10) and the eschatological kingdom of God (v. 5) argues for extending the scope of "calling" to include its future outworking at God's righteous judgment (v. 5).

Paul's other prayer objective is for God to "fulfill every good purpose [lit., 'every resolve for goodness'] of yours and every act prompted by your faith." "Goodness" is part of the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22). Paul prays for the kind of desire that produces goodness - i.e., the active quality that constantly pursues what is right and beneficial for others. "Every act prompted by your faith" is what he had witnessed in them previously (cf. "work produced by faith," 1 Thess 1:3). What they had already attained was important, but room for growth was still there (cf. 1 Thess 3:10; 4:1). Realization of these objectives can come only "by his power," i.e., that of him the prayer is addressed to.

12 Here Paul states the purpose of his prayer - the glorification of Christ in the believers and they in Him (cf. Isa 66:5). This is an intermediate step toward the final recognition of the Lord's own worthiness and majesty and the saints' participation in these things with him. "Name" is a reference to the dignity, majesty, and power of the Lord's revealed character.

Several have chosen to understand "in you... in him" causally: "because of you... because of him" (Frame, p. 241; Best, pp. 271, 272); i.e., glory comes to the Lord because of the saved and to the saved because of the Lord. It is unnecessary to resort to this rare meaning of en ("in"), however. The more common locative meaning allows us to see this as the "en of mystic indwelling" (Robertson, RHG, pp. 587, 588). A technical expression initiated by Jesus (John 15:4; 17:21), this was taken up by Paul and developed more completely (Rom 6:11, 23; 1Cor 1:5; 2Cor 13:4; et al.). The thought is that of reciprocity resting on the union of the Lord with his people. They are to share the future moment of glorification together—as a unit.

Elsewhere Paul shows a continuing zeal to exclude merit from the salvation process (cf. Rom 4:16; 11:5, 6; Eph 2:5, 8); so here also grace is the source of everything (Lightfoot, p. 107). Grace is from both Father and Son as in the salutation. We pray for such things as these and our prayers are answered in harmony with the working of God's grace."