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Bible Commentaries

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible
2 Thessalonians 1

 

 

Verse 3

2 Thessalonians 1:3. We are bound to thank God, &c.— From this verse to the end of the chapter, the apostle repeats the substance and main design of the first epistle; which was, to confirm them in Christianity, and in their patient suffering for it: and the great argument which he here makes use of is, that the Lord Jesus Christ would come as an universal judge, and that then he would punish the impenitent, and make the faithful happy, for ever. The Christians at Thessalonica seem to have been remarkable for their patience and steadfastness, as well as for their mutual love and affection. See 2 Thessalonians 1:4-5. 1 Thessalonians 1:3; 1 Thessalonians 1:6-10; 1 Thessalonians 2:14; 1 Thessalonians 4:9-10.


Verse 4

2 Thessalonians 1:4. So that we ourselves glory Compare 2 Thessalonians 1:11 with this verse, and you will find, that here is an instance of his commending them, according to his frequent way of writing, in order to encourage and more effectually persuade them still to be advancing. From this text it is worth while to observe the apostle's skilful and happy address: he raised the emulation of other churches, by commending the Thessalonians; and he again quickens the Thessalonians, by acquainting them how much he had praised them in other churches.


Verse 5

2 Thessalonians 1:5. Which is a manifest token The exercise of God's justice has a double object; respecting good men for their purification, and respecting bad men for their punishment. Persecution inflicted and suffered, furnishes both these objects respectively. Perhaps the word rendered manifest token, may further imply, that the sufferings of good men, and the triumphs of their persecuting enemies, should not only terminate in a display of divine vengeance; but that these seeming irregularities do even now declare, that there shall be such a day of retribution.


Verse 6-7

2 Thessalonians 1:6-7. Seeing it is a righteous thing with God, &c.— His justice is equally concerned to afflict those in their turns who have afflicted you; 2 Thessalonians 1:7 and to grant to you who have been afflicted, repose with us, &c. Heylin. With his mighty angels, should be joined to the next clause;—his mighty angels in flaming fire; or, "who will make a flaming fire;" as Psalms 104:3-4.


Verse 9

2 Thessalonians 1:9. From the presence of the Lord, This phrase expresses not only that they shall be expelled from that joy and glory which reigns in the presence of Christ, but that his presence shall appear active in the infliction of their punishment; so that they shall as it were be blasted by the lightning of his eye. The original is very emphatical: "Who shall suffer punishment,—everlasting destruction from the face of the Lord." From the glory of his power means, from his glorious power.


Verse 10

2 Thessalonians 1:10. To be admired, &c.— This strongly implies, not only that the saints themselves shall admire at what he does for them, so far above all their conceptions and expectations; but that it shall reflect an admirable gloryupon our Redeemer, in the judgment of all who shall be spectators of it. Elsner and Grotius read the next clause, Because our testimony concerning you will be approved in that day; or shall have been verified, or ratified upon you. Dr. Heylin reads it, For what we have testified and declared to you, shall be verified in that day.


Verse 11

2 Thessalonians 1:11. That our God would count you worthy Would make, or render you worthy, &c. Heylin and Doddridge. Instead of the good pleasure of his goodness, Blackwall would render the original ευδοκιαν αγαθωσυνης the benevolence of his goodness; and observes, that it is the shortest and most charming representation any where to be found, of that infinite goodness which passes all expression, but was never so happily and properly expressed as here.

Inferences.—How solemn and august will Christ's appearance to judgment be at the last day! How tremendous to sinners! and how transporting to the saints! he will then be visibly seen, as coming from heaven with aweful majesty and surrounding hosts of angels; a flame of fire will go before him to devour his enemies; and he will execute righteous judgment in taking dreadful vengeance on those who have finally stifled the divine light under their respective dispensations, and especially on those who have rebelled against the clearer light of the gospel, and on all the persecutors of his church and people: they shall be banished from his blissful presence, and punished with immediate impressions of his Almighty power upon them to their everlasting destruction. But with what a different aspect, and to what better purposes will he, at the same time, manifest himself to his faithful saints, whose hearts have been purified by faith! he will come to be glorified and admired in them; and they shall be glorified in and with him, as members in union with him. Then the holy and blessed creation of God shall see to all eternity, from what ruin Jesus could raise, and to what felicity he could exalt, those who were once captives of Satan, slaves of sin, and heirs of death and hell! happy souls! who cordially embrace the divine testimony which is given in the gospel concerning him, and which shall be confirmed, with a glorious accomplishment of it to all the faithful, in the great day. What thanks will be eternally due to God on their behalf! and with what patience, faith, and hope, may we endure all tribulations which befal us here below, in view and prospect of this blessed day, when the righteous God will, according to his promise, and the merit of his Son, make rich amends to his saints for all their sufferings for him! May grace and peace be multiplied to them from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ! May all the good pleasure of God's goodness, and the work of faith, be fulfilled in them with power, by perfecting all that concerns them, in order to their glorifying the name of Christ in this world, and their being glorified with him in the world to come, according to the riches of the Father and Son's grace, as revealed in the gospel.

REFLECTIONS.—1st, The apostle joins the same persons with himself in the inscription of this epistle as in the former. Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians, in God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ: grace unto you, and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.

1. He expresses his thankfulness to God on their behalf. We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, and gratefully to acknowledge his blessings and mercies, especially those spiritual blessings, which he hath so richly bestowed upon you, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, in fuller discoveries of the gospel, and more unshaken confidence in the promises, as is evident in all the blessed fruits of grace and holiness which flourish among you; and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth, the sure proof of your faith unfeigned. Note; (1.) They, who are most advanced in grace, have still need to pray, Increase our faith. (2.) Where genuine faith is, every other grace must follow; for it worketh by love.

2. Their eminence in grace gave him occasion to boast of them to other churches. So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God; as for your other gifts and graces, so especially for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure, with holy intrepidity, unshaken perseverance, and calm submission, bearing up under every trial.

3. The sufferings of the faithful people of God would soon end in eternal rest, and the authors of them suffer condign vengeance; which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, who will soon make his impartial justice to appear; and even now it is your honour, and wisely ordered by him, that such tribulation should befal you, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer, conformed thus to your Head, and made meet to reign with him; seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompence tribulation to them that trouble you, who shall shortly feel the arm of an avenging judge; but to you who are troubled, rest with us, even the present rest in God, into which they who believe do now enter; and soon that eternal rest will come, which remaineth for the faithful people of God, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven, with his mighty angels, in all the pomp of tremendous majesty; in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, whether idolatrous Gentiles and unbelieving Jews, or impenitent sinners of every kind, who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; driven into eternal banishment from his blissful abode, and suffering in body and soul the vengeance of eternal fire: when, in that happy day for his faithful people, he shall come to be glorified in his saints, whose salvation shall then be fully accomplished; and to be admired in all them that believe, being henceforward the subject of their everlasting adoration, love, and praise:—because our testimony among you was believed, and you will, if you perseveringly cleave to Christ, reap the blessed fruits of your faith in that great day. Note; (1.) There is a day at hand, when the persecutors and the persecuted will have impartial justice done them at the bar of God. (2.) The prospect of that tribunal should comfort us under all the unjust reproaches, revilings, and tribulations which we now endure. (3.) The appearing of the Lord will be terrible to the ungodly and the sinner, whose neglect of God and his gospel will then be avenged; when wrath to the uttermost shall overtake them, and, driven with confusion from the presence of an angry Judge, the jaws of hell shall yawn to receive them; and, deep ingulphed in everlasting burnings, they shall sink, and never rise up again. (4.) Christ will be the eternal object of his faithful people's admiration; and while with wonder they trace from first to last the amazing dispensations of his grace, their hearts will glow with rapture, and their tongues be filled with never-ending praise.

2nd, In the prospect of this day the apostle redoubled his supplications for them. Wherefore also we pray always for you:

1. That our God, in whose favour and love we have a glorious interest, would count you worthy of this calling; enabling you to walk as becomes your vocation, and bring you to the possession of the glory that he proposes to you; and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, carrying on and completing in you the salvation which he hath begun; and the work of faith with power, strengthening this radical grace, that all the rest may flourish with greater vigour.

2. He prays, That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, by your exemplary conduct and conversation; and ye in him, as now united to him by faith, through the operations of his Holy Spirit; according to the grace of our God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who hath bestowed it on you for this great end, that his glorious name might be for ever exalted, and all the praise of your salvation be ascribed to him alone, and you yourselves made meet for the inheritance of the saints.

 


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Bibliography Information
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on 2 Thessalonians 1:4". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/2-thessalonians-1.html. 1801-1803.

Lectionary Calendar
Monday, September 16th, 2019
the Week of Proper 19 / Ordinary 24
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