Today’s reading: 2 Thes 1
Today we begin Paul’s second letter to the Thessalonians. We must remember that this was a dramatic period in history. The witnesses to the resurrection were numerous and still alive. Miracles performed by the Apostles were commonplace. Converts quickly obtained powerful spiritual gifts like speaking in tongues. Everyone anticipated the early return of the Jesus in glory. Thus, the Thessalonians had become a little pre-occupied with the end times. This second letter serves to address some of those themes.
Particularly interesting is what Paul tells the Thessalonians about hell. He describes that second coming of the Lord in such grad terms and describes hell in such passing matter of fact way that if you are not paying attention you might miss it.
They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, AWAY FROM THE PRESENCE of the Lord and from the glory of his might, when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed.
Notice, Paul doesn’t speak of fire, brimstone, pain, demons, etc. The true punishment of eternal destruction is to be away from the presence of the Lord. It will be loneliness, a separation. One will be alive, yet cut off from the source of life. Words cant’ describe that this eternal loneliness must be like.
Tomorrow: 2 Thes 2