Bible Commentaries
2 Thessalonians 1

Benson's Commentary of the Old and New TestamentsBenson's Commentary

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A.M. 4058. A.D. 54.

After the introductory salutation and benediction, the apostle,

(1,) Expresses his gratitude to God for the constancy with which the Thessalonians adhered to the cause of Christ, 2 Thessalonians 1:3 , 2 Thessalonians 1:4 .

(2,) He encourages and animates them under the persecutions to which they were still exposed, by the prospect of that glory that would be conferred upon them at the coming of Christ, 2 Thessalonians 1:5-10 .

(3,) He prays that God would finish his work in and upon them, and make them meet for the felicity of heaven by his grace, for the manifestation of the glory of the Father and of Christ, 2Th 1:11 , 2 Thessalonians 1:12 .

Verses 3-5

2 Thessalonians 1:3-5. We are bound to thank God It is highly observable that the apostle here wraps up his praise of men in praise to God, giving him the glory of the increase of grace which was manifest in the Thessalonian believers. That your faith groweth exceedingly Notwithstanding all that is done by your enemies to prevent its increase, and even to destroy it. Probably he had heard from them since he sent them the former letter. And the charity Or love rather, of every one of you aboundeth Like water that overflows its banks, and yet increases still more. Their faith, it appears, derived new confirmation from their sufferings, and their sense of them engaged them tenderly to pity, and do their utmost for the relief of, those who shared in those sufferings, and at the same time endeared to them that one body, that church of Christ, which the carnal world so cruelly hated, and so maliciously endeavoured to destroy. So that we ourselves glory in you Or boast of you; in the churches of God “This passage shows us what is a principal occasion of joy to faithful ministers; it is the faith and love, patience and constancy, of the people to whom they minister. The apostle’s address here is admirable. He excited the emulation of other churches by boasting of the Thessalonians to them. And he quickened the Thessalonians by telling them how much he had praised them in the hearing of the churches.” Macknight. In all your persecutions and tribulations Arising probably both from the Jews and their own countrymen. Concerning the particulars of these persecutions we have no information. Which is Or shall be; a manifest token Ενδειγμα , proof, or demonstration, of the righteous judgment of God Of the equity of the divine judgment, which shall be fully manifested in due time by God’s amply rewarding you, and punishing your enemies; that ye may be counted worthy That it may appear by the integrity, faith, and patience, the meekness and superiority to this transitory world, which you manifest under these severe trials, that you are fit to be admitted into that glorious kingdom of God for which you suffer.

Verses 6-8

2 Thessalonians 1:6-8. Seeing it is a righteous thing However men may judge of it; with God To whom belongeth vengeance, (Romans 12:19,) and who will avenge his elect that cry unto him day and night; to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you To remove the pressure from you to them. And it is remarkable that about this time, at the passover, the Jews raising a tumult, a great number, some say thirty thousand of them, were slain. St. Paul seems to allude to this beginning of sorrows, 1 Thessalonians 2:16, which did not end but with their destruction. And to you that are troubled That suffer persecution; rest with us If not in the present world, where we do not ourselves expect it, yet at last, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven. By the word ανεσις , here rendered rest, or, as it more properly means, relaxation, the apostle does not mean deliverance from persecution. The believing Jews, with whom St. Paul here ranks himself, had no relaxation in that sense any more than the believing Gentiles. But he meant deliverance from the troubles of this life at death, and the enjoyment of eternal rest, the rest of God, partly entered into then, and more especially after the coming of Christ here spoken of. With his mighty angels Who shall be the ministers of his power in the execution of this great and awful judgment. In flaming fire To which the aerial heavens and the earth are reserved, (2 Peter 3:7; 2 Peter 3:10,) and by which they shall be destroyed; taking vengeance Or inflicting punishment, as διδοντος εκδικησιν also signifies; see 1 Peter 2:14, where the same word is translated punishment. Does God, as some say, barely permit this punishment to come upon his enemies? or, as the Lord once rained brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven, (Genesis 19:24,) does a fiery stream go forth from him? Who know not God By an experimental and practical knowledge; who know him not so as, 1st, To be humbled before him, Job 40:4-5; Job 42:5-6; Job 2:0 d, To trust in him, (Psalms 9:10,) namely, for pardon, holiness, and eternal life, being first truly penitent; 3d, To love him with a love shed abroad in their hearts, John 4:7; 4th, To keep his commandments, 1 John 2:3-4; 1 John 1:0 John , , 5 th, To be transformed into his image, 2 Corinthians 3:18. In which passages the fruits of the saving knowledge of God are designedly specified, and two of them at least, namely, love and obedience to God, declared to be absolutely essential to the true knowledge of him. Reader, examine thyself! Does thy knowledge of the one living and true God produce these fruits? Surely it cannot, unless he that commanded light to shine out of darkness, hath shined into thy heart, to give thee the knowledge of his glory in and by Jesus Christ, 2 Corinthians 4:6; unless the Son of God hath given thee an understanding to know him, 1 John 5:20. And who obey not the gospel Who do not receive its truths and promises with a lively faith, productive of love and obedience, Christ being the author of eternal salvation only to those that love and obey him, 1 Corinthians 16:22; Hebrews 5:9. Believing the gospel is often termed by St. Paul the obedience of faith, both because God hath commanded men to believe it, and because it contains not only doctrines to be credited, threatenings to be revered, and promises to be trusted, but also a variety of precepts necessary to be obeyed. Probably in the former clause, who know not God, the apostle had chiefly the unbelieving Gentiles in view, and in this latter the unbelieving Jews.

Verses 9-10

2 Thessalonians 1:9-10. Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction Not the annihilation, but the perversion and utter ruin of all their powers of body and mind, so that those powers become instruments of torment and sources of misery to them in all possible ways. As there can be no end of their sins, (the same enmity against God continuing,) so neither of their punishment: sin and its punishment running parallel through eternity itself. They must of necessity therefore be cut off from all good, and all possibility of it. From the presence of the Lord Wherein chiefly consists the salvation and felicity of the righteous. What unspeakable punishment is implied even in falling short of this, supposing that nothing more were implied in the punishment here spoken of! But this phrase, destruction from the presence, or face, of the Lord, as Bishop Hopkins justly observes, expresses not only that they shall be expelled from that joy and glory which reigns in the presence of God and of Christ, but that his presence shall appear active in the infliction of their punishment, so that they shall find his wrath issuing forth like lightning to appal and torment their spirits, while his power glorifies itself in their ruin and misery. When he shall come to be glorified in his saints For his wonderful glory shall shine forth in them, and he will manifest the greatness of his power in rendering them glorious; and to be admired in all them that believe With respect to the efforts of his almighty power and love for their complete salvation. Or, they shall be filled with wonder at what is done by Christ for and upon them, so far exceeding their most sanguine expectation. Because our testimony, &c. As if he had said, I reckon you of this number because of the credit which you gave to our preaching.

Verses 11-12

2 Thessalonians 1:11-12. Wherefore In regard of which, as we rejoice in what is already done, and have the most earnest concern that the precious seed we have sown may answer the hope with which we see it springing up, and may at length advance to full maturity; we pray always for you We are incessant in our supplications to God; that he would account you worthy of this calling That is, would make you meet for the glory to which you are called; see Ephesians 4:4; and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness Which is no less than perfect holiness: that he would produce in you all those amiable and happy affections and tempers, which his paternal regard for our happiness engages him to recommend and require. “This,” observes Mr. Blackwall, ( Sac. Class., vol. 1. p. 184,) “is the shortest and the most charming emphatical representation that is anywhere to be found, of that immense graciousness and admirable benignity of God, which no words can fully express, but was never so happily and so fully expressed as here.” And the work of faith with power That faith which is his work, wrought by his almighty power, Ephesians 1:19-20; that is, that he would perfect your faith in Christ and in his gospel, and by it your holiness in all its branches. That the name The love and power; of our Lord Jesus Christ While you act in a manner so suitable to the relation in which you stand to him; may be glorified Gloriously displayed; in you That is, in these works of his grace and power wrought in and by you; and ye in him May also be glorified, may have the honour of approving yourselves his true, faithful, obedient servants; the excellent of the earth, and may for ever share in the glory he hath prepared for such in heaven; according to the grace The free, unmerited favour and love of our merciful God and the Lord Jesus Christ By whom that grace is so fully manifested to, and so plentifully bestowed upon us.

Bibliographical Information
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on 2 Thessalonians 1". Benson's Commentary. 1857.