2 Thessalonians 1:1-12 . ADDRESS AND SALUTATION: INTRODUCTION: THANKSGIVING FOR THEIR GROWTH IN FAITH AND LOVE, AND FOR THEIR PATIENCE IN PERSECUTIONS, WHICH ARE A TOKEN FOR GOOD EVERLASTING TO THEM, AND FOR PERDITION TO THEIR ADVERSARIES AT CHRIST'S COMING: PRAYER FOR THEIR PERFECTION.
7. rest--governed by "to recompense" ( 2 Thessalonians 1:6 ). The Greek is literally, "relaxation"; loosening of the tension which had preceded; relaxing of the strings of endurance now so tightly drawn. The Greek word for "rest," Matthew 11:28 , is distinct, namely, cessation from labor. Also, Hebrews 4:9 , "A keeping of sabbath."
with us--namely, Paul, Silas, and Timothy, the writers, who are troubled like yourselves.
when--at the time when . . . ; not sooner, not later.
with his mighty angels--rather as the Greek, "with the angels of His might," or "power," that is, the angels who are the ministers by whom He makes His might to be recognized ( Matthew 13:41 Matthew 13:52 ). It is not their might, but HIS might, which is the prominent thought.
8. In flaming fire--Greek, "In flame of fire"; or, as other oldest manuscripts read, "in fire of flame." This flame of fire accompanied His manifestation in the bush ( Exodus 3:2 ); also His giving of the law at Sinai ( Exodus 19:18 ). Also it shall accompany His revelation at His advent ( Daniel 7:9 Daniel 7:10 ), symbolizing His own bright glory and His consuming vengeance against His foes ( Hebrews 10:27 , 12:29 , 2 Peter 3:7 2 Peter 3:10 ).
taking--literally, "giving" them, as their portion, "vengeance."
know not God--the Gentiles primarily ( Psalms 79:6 , Galatians 4:8 , 1 Thessalonians 4:5 ); not of course those involuntarily not knowing God, but those wilfully not knowing Him, as Pharaoh, who might have known God if he would, but who boasted "I know not the Lord" ( Exodus 5:2 ); and as the heathen persecutors who might have known God by the preaching of those whom they persecuted. Secondarily, all who "profess to know God but in works deny Him" ( Titus 1:16 ).
obey not the gospel--primarily the unbelieving Jews ( Romans 10:3 Romans 10:16 ); secondarily, all who obey not the truth ( Romans 2:8 ).
Christ--omitted by some of the oldest manuscripts, and retained by others.
9. Who--Greek, "persons who," &c.
destruction from the presence of the Lord--driven far from His presence [ALFORD]. The sentence emanating from Him in person, sitting as Judge [BENGEL], and driving them far from Him ( Matthew 25:41 , Revelation 6:16 , 12:14 ; compare 1 Peter 3:12 , Isaiah 2:10 Isaiah 2:19 ). "The presence of the Lord" is the source whence the sentence goes forth; "the glory of His power" is the instrument whereby the sentence is carried into execution [EDMUNDS]. But ALFORD better interprets the latter clause (see 2 Thessalonians 1:10 ), driven "from the manifestation of His power in the glorification of His saints." Cast out from the presence of the Lord is the idea at the root of eternal death, the law of evil left to its unrestricted working, without one counteracting influence of the presence of God, who is the source of all light and holiness ( Isaiah 66:24 , 9:44 ).
10. "When He shall have come."
glorified in his saints--as the element and mirror IN which His glory shall shine brightly ( John 17:10 ).
admired in all them that believe--Greek, "them that believed." Once they believed, now they see: they had taken His word on trust. Now His word is made good and they need faith no longer. With wonder all celestial intelligences ( Ephesians 3:10 ) shall see and admire the Redeemer on account of the excellencies which He has wrought in them.
because, &c.--Supply for the sense, among whom (namely, those who shall be found to have believed) you, too, shall be; "because our testimony unto (so the Greek for 'among') you was believed" (and was not rejected as by those "who obey not the Gospel," 2 Thessalonians 1:8 ). The early preaching of the Gospel was not abstract discussions, but a testimony to facts and truths experimentally known ( Luke 24:48 , Acts 1:8 ). Faith is defined by BISHOP PEARSON as "an assent unto truths, credible upon the testimony of God, delivered unto us by the apostles and prophets" (originally delivering their testimony orally, but now in their writings). "Glorified in His saints" reminds us that holiness is glory in the bud; glory is holiness manifested.
11. Wherefore--Greek, "With a view to which," namely, His glorification in you as His saints.
also--We not only anticipate the coming glorification of our Lord in His saints, but we also pray concerning (so the Greek) YOU.
our God--whom we serve.
count you worthy--The prominent position of the "You" in the Greek makes it the emphatic word of the sentence. May you be found among the saints whom God shall count worthy of their calling ( Ephesians 4:1 )! There is no dignity in us independent of God's calling of us ( 2 Timothy 1:9 ). The calling here is not merely the first actual call, but the whole of God's electing act, originating in His "purpose of grace given us in Christ before the world began," and having its consummation in glory.
the good pleasure of, &c.--on the part of God [BENGEL].
faith--on your part. ALFORD refers the former clause, "good pleasure of his goodness," also to man, arguing that the Greek for "goodness" is never applied to God, and translates, "All [that is, every possible] right purpose of goodness." WAHL, "All sweetness of goodness," that is, impart in full to you all the refreshing delights of goodness. I think that, as in the previous and parallel clause, "calling" refers to GOD'S purpose; and as the Greek for "good pleasure" mostly is used of God, we ought to translate, "fulfil (His) every gracious purpose of goodness (on your part)," that is, fully perfect in you all goodness according to His gracious purpose. Thus, "the grace of our God," 2 Thessalonians 1:12 , corresponds to God's "good pleasure" here, which confirms the English Version, just as "the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ" is parallel to "work of faith," as Christ especially is the object of faith. "The work of faith"; Greek, (no article; supply from the previous clause all) work of faith"; faith manifested by work, which is its perfected development ( James 1:4 ; compare Note, Working reality of faith.
with power--Greek, "in power," that is, "powerfully fulfil in you" ( Colossians 1:11 ).
12. the name of our Lord Jesus--Our Lord Jesus in His manifested personality as the God-man.
in you, and ye in him--reciprocal glorification; compare Isaiah 28:5 , "The Lord of hosts shall be . . . a crown of glory and . . . a diadem of beauty unto . . . His people," with Isaiah 62:3 , "Thou (Zion) shalt be a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem," &c. ( John 21:10 , Galatians 1:24 , 1 Peter 4:14 ). The believer's graces redound to Christ's glory, and His glory, as their Head, reflects glory on them as the members.
the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ--There is but one Greek article to both, implying the inseparable unity of God and the Lord Jesus.