2 Thessalonians Chapter 3 Study No.4

Study No.4

2 Thessalonians Chapter 3


The subject of eschatology was high on Paul’s agenda for the assembly at Thessalonica. In both letters this is very clear and especially in this his second letter around 12 months later after he had written his first letter to them. In chapter two Paul wrote a great deal about the matters related to the end times or the last days. Letters, reports and prophecies had been circulating among the assemblies supposedly from Paul and his co-workers Silas and Timothy which were contrary to what Paul had taught them when he had been with them for a very short time but was forced to move on out of the city at with the help of the assembly members. Paul and his co-workers had been targeted by the Jewish religious leaders and the pagan Roman government in the province of Thessalonica. A riot had occurred in the city because of the preaching by Paul and his companions in ministry and had upset the local Roman magistrate. Roman provincial governors were very intolerant of any kind of riot or disturbance in the cities over which they had governance.

In Chapter two we see how Paul connects the Day of the LORD with the rapture and refutes the false teaching of a rapture that had already occurred and that the suffering of the believers in the assembly was part and parcel of the day of the LORD and that they had not been raptured. This false teaching from prophecies, reports or letters supposedly from Paul and his co-workers had unsettled their thinking and had caused anxiety among them. Paul mentions three specific things that have to happen first before the rapture. 1. The apostasy. 2. The revealing of the man of sin. 3. The working of Satan through all kinds of counterfeit miracles signs and wonders bringing with them spiritual deception.

He also mentions those who are not saved, having rejected the love of the truth because and had delighted in wickedness. He then reassures the assembly that they are those who were chosen by God to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through their belief in the truth. Ultimately the implication for them is that they had received the love of the truth, rejected wickedness, that they were to share in the glory of the Lord Jesus and to stand firm and to hold to the teachings they were taught by Paul and his co-workers Silas and Timothy. Now let’s look at chapter three…

(Vs.1-3) “Finally, brethren, pray for us that the Word of the LORD will spread rapidly and be glorified, just as it did also with you; and that we will be rescued from perverse and evil men; for not all have faith. But the LORD is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.”

Those in ministry will always feel the need for prayer and it is an encouragement to know that they are prayed for by their fellow brothers and sisters in the Messiah. Paul’s request for prayer was not primarily for the safety for him and his co-workers, although this was also important, but that the Word of the LORD would spread rapidly and be glorified and uplifted before men just as it had done with the assembly members at Thessalonica.

We see this same kind of attitude in the ways the believers prayed who were gathered together after Pentecost in the Book of Acts. Peter and John had been arrested because of a healing that could not be refuted and that had enraged the jealousy of the Jewish ruling hierarchy in Jerusalem being the Sanhedrin. These religious leaders told Peter and John in no uncertain terms to stop preaching because of the healing that took place that attracted the people and because the number men saved after Pentecost grew from 3, 000 to 5,000 and more if you count the women and children old enough to understand the gospel. After Peter and John had been filed with the Spirit again to testify to the Sanhedrin concerning the Lord Jesus and his power to save and to heal, they were released with a warning which of course they ignored anyway.

When Peter and John went back to the fellowship the believers, even though the Jerusalem assembly were feeling the pressure of the opposition to the gospel, they asked God in prayer to consider the threats and enable them to preach the Word of God with boldness and that God would confirm the Word preached with signs following. After they had prayed for God to act through the name of the Lord Jesus the place where they were gathered was shaken and they were all filled once again with the Holy Spirit and spoke the Word of God with great boldness. They did not pray for protection but that God’s Word might go forth in power despite the adverse circumstances they faced as a fellowship (Acts 4:1-31). Paul was also aware that he, Silas and Timothy were in the firing line from those who were unsaved and in ‘Satan’s cross hairs’ as it were from those who were claiming to be apostles and from the Jewish religious leaders who potentially could cause Paul and his companions’ great harm. He asked that the assembly would pray that he and his co-workers would be rescued by the LORD from perverse and evil men who did not have faith. Primarily Paul had in mind the Jewish religious leaders who had it in ‘big time’ for Paul and his co-workers.

He mentions that these men were “perverse and evil” that these men were “Out of place, not befitting. Unbecoming, improper, wicked, unrighteous, inconvenient and harmful.” These were without faith; “Without conviction of the truth of anything.” They were without any faith in God as He is revealed in scripture or without faith in the Lord Jesus the Messiah as the only way for salvation. These were not just pagans but also those who were very religious and self-righteous who did not know God as a Heavenly Father because if they did they would have also known that our Lord Jesus was the Son of God and the only way back to God the Father (John 14:6). The father of the unsaved Pharisees and Sadducees was the devil (John 8:44-45).

Most of Paul’s opposition in his ministry was from the unsaved Jewish religious hierarchy wherever he went to preach the gospel of the kingdom. He was aware of the need for protection as well because he knew that his path in life was very dangerous and precarious even at the best of times, and that he constantly needed the grace and protection of God wherever he went to minister the gospel of the kingdom. Those with an apostolic calling and gifting are always targeted by Satan’s ‘sharpshooters.’

“But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.”  Paul had learnt through hard experience that our Triune God is faithful and that in His faithfulness He would strengthen and protect the Thessalonian believers from the evil one. There is no suggestion by Paul that the Body of the Messiah would be taken out of tribulation but that they would be kept in and through it by the faithfulness, the strength and the protection of the LORD. This is the emphasis of the Word of God in the New Testament related to the faithful Body of the Messiah being kept in and through times of tribulation which all New Covenant believers are destined for, not kept from them (1 Thessalonians 3:3). The pre-tribulation rapture doctrine is a very dangerous one because it is not one that will prepare the wider Body of the Messiah for the time of great trial and testing to come upon the whole world (Matthew 24:21-22). In these days New Covenant believers will be kept in and through it and not from it. This un-biblical doctrine of a pretribulation rapture is the soft underbelly of the Body of Messiah that the claws of the Red Dragon will rake. It is “the Achilles heel” for the Body of the Messiah and when the man of sin is revealed he will specifically target faithful New Covenant believers throughout his vast empire which will be one of global proportions (Revelation 12:17).

While Paul undoubtedly had in mind the need for physical protection he also knew that as an assembly corporately they needed protection from the same perverse and wicked men who had no faith as Paul and his co-workers needed. Spiritual seduction and false teaching were always circulating and that many of these doctrinally twisted men were able by stealth to infiltrate the local assemblies. The apostle Peter mentions these when he writes “But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned; and in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep” (2 Peter 2:1-3).

These are those who by satanic power can intermingle with the assembly members by stealth to introduce these destructive heresies. To “secretly introduce destructive heresies” is “to lay truth and error side by side.” Satan is too clever to tell outright lies. He is a deceiver a liar and the father of lies and there is no truth in him at all. As the Lord Jesus said to the Pharisees; “You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44). The Pharisees had their own set of man-made rules teaching for doctrines the commandments of men (Matthew 15: 7-9). These guys also were into money and self-aggrandisement. Their fervent religious activity to promote themselves before men was a mask for covetousness just as we see today with the hyper faith prosperity money preachers profiteering on the blood of the Lamb our Lord Jesus. The money changers in the Temple were a prime example and the Lord Jesus with a righteous anger took a whip and turned everything upside down and drove the money changers out of the temple! Oh how we need the spiritual gift of discernment of spirits today especially as we see the Day of the LORD rapidly approaching.

So then these perverse and wicked men, servants of Satan, will spiritually hijack believers to turn them away from the Word of God and to introduce doctrinal error. Satan always mixes truth and error together side by side and makes it palatable to the sinful and fleshly appetites and desires of the old nature. As an example you can have a beautiful gourmet sandwich filled with all kinds of nutritious ingredients that tastes very delicious but laced with a small amount of arsenic, a slow and undetectable poison that over a period of time brings death. Those who lay truth and error side by side are spiritually poisoning those to whom they are preaching.

These ‘enchanters’ who are perverse and evil men, as far as the faith is concerned, are rejected by the LORD. They are spiritually reprobates for whom the blackest darkness has been reserved forever. God does not take His people out of the world but keeps them in the world from the evil one and that by the blood of the Messiah, by the Word of God, by the Holy Spirit and underpinned by prayer in the Holy Spirit. We are not promised to be taken out of tribulation but to be kept in it and through it.

In the gospel of John the Lord Jesus prayed for His disciples; “I have given them Your word and the world has hated them; for they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I am not asking that You take them out of the world, but that You keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world” (John 17:14-16). The phrase “to keep them” in the world is the same phrase used in Revelation where Jesus says to the assembly at Philadelphia; “Because you have kept the word of My perseverance, I also will keep you from the hour of testing, that hour which is about to come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth” (Revelation 3:10). In both passages of scripture the Greek word is the same word. Those who say this reference in Revelation chapter 3:10 refers to the pre-tribulation rapture are not correct. The Lord Jesus said; “In the world you will have tribulation. But take courage; I have overcome the world!” (John 16:33).

God’s elect saints, the faithful Body of the Messiah collectively in the world will enter into that great tribulation, unequalled from the beginning of the world until now and to never be equalled again. In these days of great stress and turmoil and trial for the sake of the very survival of the human race and for the sake of the elect saints of God these days will be cut short or swiftly cut as one cutting of a dogs tail as it were suddenly (Matthew 24:21-22).

In Revelation chapter 7 we see the elect saints coming out of that time of Great Tribulation (Revelation 7:14). These are the ones who have been kept in and through this period of Great Tribulation at the very end of this age. To come out of something you have to be already in it! The rescue is coming! The rapture and resurrection will happen and every blood justified, blood-redeemed, and blood-sanctified, blood cleansed child of the Living Triune God will be rescued and not one left behind! “We will not all sleep but we will all be changed!” (1 Corinthians 15:51). Now let’s continue…

(Vs.4-5) “We have confidence in the Lord concerning you, that you are doing and will continue to do what we command. May the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the steadfastness of the Messiah.”

Paul has the assurance in the LORD that the assembly would stay the course where the Word of God was concerned that Paul and his co-workers had preached to them. God had given Paul, Silas and Timothy this assurance. It was more than “a hope” or “I hope so.” It was that surety of faith from the Holy Spirit, that certainty of something that was not seen or perceived with human wisdom or insight, but an insight based on a deep seated conviction of that assurance produced by faith that what God had started at Thessalonica He would most certainly finish! He also knew that their hearts needed to be directed into and sustained by God’s love and into the steadfastness of the Messiah. It was the Lord Jesus’ steadfastness He exhibited when He was on earth that they would need to tap into through the indwelling Holy Spirit.

The word “steadfastness” in the Greek text is; “the characteristic of a man who is not swerved from his deliberate purpose and his loyalty to faith and piety by even the greatest trials and sufferings” it is a patient, steadfast waiting for an outcome, a patient enduring, sustaining, perseverance.” The Lord Jesus was steadfast in this way and was one whom “steadfastly and determinedly set His face to go to Jerusalem” (Luke 9:51).

Likewise Paul was encouraging the assembly members to act steadfastly and with determination to keep waiting for the return of the Messiah our Lord Jesus, a command he had given to them by the apostolic authority He had from the Lord Jesus, and for all of us who in these last days through the enabling grace of God, remain steadfast in spirit as our Lord Jesus was steadfast in spirit, knowing that His crucifixion must come before His resurrection. As it has been said “there is no crown without a cross.”

It is only by the unmerited, unearned favour of the LORD that any of us who are in the Body of the Messiah will be able to survive what is coming upon the whole world in these last of the last days in which we are now living. Having said this, God’s Word is chocked full of His covenant promises to keep us and to be with us and to strengthen us in the hour of trial we must face if we are still physically alive on earth when it comes. We have a blood covenant cut with God the father in the blood of God the Son. This fact is the eternal, unchanging bond that can never be broken and guarantees our ultimate rescue out from this wicked and perverse generation and out of this present evil age by the will of God the Father!

God cannot break His promises because the Word of our God stands firm forever! His Word is forever settled in heaven! It is only the love of God at the control centre of our lives that will be used by the Spirit to bring us to the point where we will have within us that same steadfastness of our inner spirit and resolve and that was in the Messiah our Lord Jesus! As one with apostolic authority from the Lord Jesus Paul goes on to issue a command…

(Vs.6) “Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus the Messiah, that you keep away from every brother who leads an unruly life and not according to the tradition which you received from us.”

As in all of his letters Paul ends them with down to earth practical instructions for daily living. Paul now issues a command to be obeyed as an apostle, not as an option one can take of leave. When Paul uses the name of the Lord Jesus he is activating through faith the authority and divine power that resides in the name of Jesus because at the name of Jesus when He returns every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus the Messiah is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:10-11).

Paul instructs the assembly members to distance themselves from a bother who is leading an unruly life. In the Greek text it is one who “is disorderly, out of ranks as a soldier, irregular without regularity in living, inordinate, immoderate in indulging one’s pleasures, deviating from the prescribed order or rule.” In the first century when a Roman legion went into battle to confront the enemy each rank would lock their shields together and have their swords or spears darting in and out between the small gaps between the shields. They had to keep ranks. If the rank was broken then the enemy could get in and cause casualties. If a Roman soldier fell in the battle one from behind would immediately step into his place to close up the ranks again.

A Roman Phalanx was a solid wall of steel. It was a compact or close-knit body of people, a formation of infantry carrying overlapping shields and long spears that was actually developed by Philip II of Macedon and used by Alexander the Great. A brother who is disorderly then can potentially weaken the others. The brother should not be expelled from the assembly but avoided by others brothers and sisters, not to judge or condemn him because God has accepted him, but that he might sit up and take notice and reform his attitude to align with the ranks of his fellow believers engaged every day in the spiritual battle. An unruly undisciplined believer needs to re-align his or her behaviour with the Word of God which we have in the Bible.

Today we have apostolic doctrine in the New Testament. The problem with the western Body of the Messiah by and large is that multitudes of brothers and sisters walk in unruly lives and out of ranks with those with whom they have regular fellowship. Unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace is a spiritual principle endorsed in the Word of God that can only be maintained by The Spirit when He finds the freedom to work in the local assembly. If we cannot stand together we will never stand alone. A Roman soldier was an accomplished fighter on his own, however, if he was out of rank  then he could be surrounded on all sides by the enemy and loose his life.

Unity of the Spirit in the bond of God’s peace cementing them together must be based on the truth of God’s Word because the Spirit is the Spirit of truth, not doctrinal error. True unity in the Spirit must be based solely on the Word of God and not on the word of man or the prevailing modern humanistic trends and traditions in society. As our Lord Jesus said; “It is written: man shall not live on bread alone but by every word that proceeds out from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). Every word is not some of it or even most but all of it! While we are learning to obey it every day, and at times we all miss it, nevertheless our desire should be to obey it because in seeking to do this only by the power of the Holy Spirit, we will prove we really love the Lord Jesus. He who said; “If you love Me keep My commandments.” It has nothing really to do with the emotions but with the will.

Agape, that divine love of God only possible by the power of the Holy Spirit is primarily an act of the will not the emotions. If we are willing to be made willing to obey the Lord Jesus then we must yield our wills to Him by faith. Once we do this, and it is a day by day, moment by moment action of our will, the right kind of emotions will follow and be those monitored and controlled by the Holy Spirit. After all it is written; “the Joy of the LORD is your strength!”(Nehemiah 8:10). Joyless believers are powerless believers. Joy is one of the fruits of the Spirit. When faith is exercised in line with a willingness to thank and to praise God despite what things may look like in the natural, the joy of the LORD will spring up from the deep recesses of our inner being and out of our lives shall flow rivers of living water! (John 7:38).

(Vs.7-9) “For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example, because we did not act in an undisciplined manner among you, nor did we eat anyone’s bread without paying for it, but with labour and hardship we kept working night and day so that we would not be a burden to any of you; not because we do not have the right to this, but in order to offer ourselves as a model for you, so that you would follow our example.”

Another problem that was constant in the assembly was idleness, an attitude of some that Paul had addressed in his first letter (1 Thessalonians 5:14). As an apostle under authority of the Commander in Chief the Lord Jesus, Paul and his co-workers had to lead by example. They were very careful not to live undisciplined lives or to be undisciplined in what they said and did in the fellowship. Often Paul worked with his own hands to support himself. He was a skilled tent maker. When he was not in the business of mending lives he was busy mending tents as well as engaged in preaching. He never looked for ‘freebees’ but he, Silas and Timothy paid good hard cash for their food so as not to be a burden of the fellowship. They were not hirelings!

Their labour in the LORD, both their spiritual and temporal work, was not a 9-5 job with a stipend and a pension but one that they worked at day and well into the night as they made their priority the spiritual welfare of the sheep over which the Holy Spirit had made them overseers. They knew they had a right to be paid because in the Word of God it is written “do not muzzle the ox that treads out the grain”  and again it is written that “the labourer is worthy of his hire.” The “grain” represents the nutritious grain of God’s Word; “the ox” represents the one who sows the seed of the Word. And again it is written that “those who labour in the Word are worthy of double honour.” The word “honour” is to do with “honorarium” namely money! They are to be paid well! Those hyper faith prosperity money preachers who are incapable of rightly dividing the Word of Truth should stop fleecing the sheep of their hard-earned dollars and go out and get a proper job!!!

(Vs.10-11) “For even when we were with you, we used to give you this order: if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either. For we hear that some among you are leading an undisciplined life, doing no work at all, but acting like busybodies.”

There is nothing wrong with working at a secular job. One of ‘the trends’ within the wider Body of the Messiah today is to think that those who are engaged in full-time ministry or are full-time missionaries are somehow more ‘spiritual’ than those who are holding down secular employment. One may not be on the front line but can be one who financially supports the front-liners engaged in the forefront of the spiritual battle. All of us in the Body of the Messiah are gifted differently by the Holy Spirit and our gifting will be in line with our calling (Romans 12:6-8) (1 Corinthians 12:1-11). There will be some within a local assembly who deliberately live off of other members in the fellowship and even though they are capable of doing some form of work they do not want to work for a living. These are undisciplined or disorderly, out of rank used in a military sense as we have already addressed. Those who are living undisciplined lives are busy bodies.

The word “busybody” used in the Greek text is one who is “busy about trifles and neglectful of important matters, especially busy about other peoples’ affairs, of things:  to be impertinent and superfluous, to bustle about uselessly, and to busy one’s self about trifling, needless, useless matters.” An undisciplined and disorderly believer is one who is “out of rank” when it comes for the local assembly and he or she will prove to be a hindrance and even a weak link in maintaining the unity of the Spirit when the local assembly is engaged in spiritual warfare. However, primarily Paul is dealing with a very practical matter that affects the whole local assembly.

It may well be that some were no longer bothering to work because they thought that the Day of the LORD had come and that the end was near so there was no point in working or even planning for the future. However, Paul had a different perspective on working at a living. All front line ministries need financial support and those who are not called or gifted to be in the front lines can be useful in supplying the financial needs of their brothers and sisters at the forefront of the battle at the front line.

(Vs.12-13) “Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus the Messiah to work in quiet fashion and eat their own bread. But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary of doing good.”

By faith, working at what God has called and gifted us to do within the local Body of the Messiah and doing it diligently and consistently will not only bring us spiritual health and well-being and a spiritually fruitful life, but also be a blessing to others. For the human body to function as it was designed by God to function needs every part working together. We all have gifts differing according to the grace given and if we want to be useful members of the Body of the Messiah spiritually and materially then we need to do our part. (Romans 12:6-8) (1 Corinthians 12:17-20). Those who were not working in the assembly at Thessalonica Paul commanded them to get a job and to work in a quiet fashion. They were to work in quietness describing the life of one who stays at home doing his own work, and who is not officiously meddling with or in the affairs of others, and to be silent in this unless their advice is asked for which would be the exception and not the rule.

As it is written in the Word of God; “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might; for there is no activity or planning or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol where you are going” (Ecclesiastes 9:10). “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the LORD rather than for men” (Colossians 3:23). “Lazy hands make for poverty, but diligent hands bring wealth. He who gathers crops in summer is a prudent son, but he who sleeps during harvest is a disgraceful son “(Proverbs 10:4-5).

We only have on life to live and we need to live in doing the will of God and using the gifts He has given us. If we do not know what our gift is then as we work within the local assembly doing with all of our might what we can do and doing it as if God was our boss, and He is, it will become clear what our gifting and calling is by those who have spiritual authority and oversight of that local assembly that we attend! Even in a secular job we should do it as unto the LORD because He, in His loving and divine wisdom, has given us the work. Whatever God has ultimately called us to do if we keep walking by faith and not by sight and allowing Him to have full control of our daily lives then in His way and in His timing He will steer us into His good, acceptable and perfect will for our lives (Romans 12:1-2).

As we seek to obey what He has already revealed to us in His Word and walk by faith in His Word then we will ultimately find ourselves walking in the centre of His will and come to recognise the gifting needed to fulfil the call He has placed upon our life from all of eternity (Psalm 139:16) (Ephesians 2:8-10). Whether we are working in ministry or in a regular secular job all of us are involved in the harvesting of souls for the kingdom of God. If we cannot go ourselves then we can finance others who are being thrust into the harvest field on the front lines. Whatever activities we are engaged in we should all work at doing good. And then Paul continues…

(Vs.14-15) “If anyone does not obey our instruction in this letter, take special note of that person and do not associate with him, so that he will be put to shame. Yet do not regard him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.”

Laziness in any form is an enemy of the spiritual progress of a New Covenant believer. Just as being physically lazy at ones work will prove to be unproductive to the business, a bad example to ones colleagues at work and not helpful to the employer, and if that laziness continues unchecked and not rectified will result in the loss of one’s employment. Likewise, in the spiritual realm laziness in spiritual matters and disciplines such as regular prayer in the Holy Spirit, reading and studying the Word of God, maintaining fellowship and walking moment by moment in step with the Holy Spirit by faith, will hinder spiritual growth and in our ministry and service for the LORD and affect others.

It will not be a good example to our fellow brothers and sisters in the Lord Jesus and in some cases may even cause another brother or sister to stumble. Sometimes God will have to lay aside one’s usefulness for a time until the problem has been dealt with and rectified. Paul says that one who is lazy should be avoided so that he will become ashamed of his behaviour and do something about it but he is not to be regarded as an enemy but be admonished as a brother, having also being redeemed, cleansed and sanctified by the blood of Jesus and sealed with the Holy Spirit for the day of redemption. Also we need to be careful how we deal with a brother who has fallen short spiritually of God’s best for his life keeping in mind that we only stand by faith and that by the grace of God.

As Paul writes to the Galatian assembly; “Brothers, if someone is caught in a trespass, you who are spiritual should restore him with a spirit of gentleness. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. Carry one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfil the law of the Messiah” (Galatians 6:1-2). All of us who are God’s blood redeemed children of the Living God must watch out for laziness in temporal and spiritual matters and be slow to criticise others. While all of us need to be admonished from time to time as “iron sharpens iron” we must always remembers that we are all one new man in the Messiah our Lord Jesus and need to constantly seek to speak and to act as He would in every given situation that comes our way. One who persists in spiritual laziness will never know fully the power of God. It was R.A.Torrey, that great man of God who said; “The Holy Spirit never goes about visiting lazy Christians.” And so Paul ends this his second letter to them.

(Vs.16-18) “Now may the Lord of peace Himself continually grant you peace in every circumstance. The Lord be with you all! I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand, and this is a distinguishing mark in every letter; this is the way I write. The grace of our Lord Jesus the Messiah be with you all.”

In the Psalms it is written; “The LORD sits enthroned over the flood; the LORD is enthroned as King forever. The LORD gives His people strength; the LORD blesses His people with peace” (Psalm 29:10-11). All of us will have our fair share of floods, those situations and circumstances in life that almost overwhelm us and seek to drown us in its flood tide of fear, anxiety, adversity, depression, discouragement, doubt, persecution and emotional and mental exhaustion, not to mention the challenge these things in themselves are to our faith. In all of these matters we always need to remember that the LORD sits enthroned above that flood. He still has everything under control whatever things look like or feel like in the natural.

To have God’s peace in every circumstance is the gift of God to us as His beloved and treasured possession as sons and daughters of the Living God. He is the God of peace (Shalom) and not only imparts His strength to us but also blesses us with His peace (Psalm 29:11). It is a supernatural work that the Holy Spirit does deep down on the inside of us where He has fused Himself with our spiritually reborn human spirit, being the control centre of the soul and the body and the centre out of which flow all of the issues of life (Proverbs 4:23). Paul’s deep desire for these New Covenant believers at Thessalonica experiencing a prolonged persecution, and being unsettled by false apostles with their false letters and prophecies that were circulating, was that the assembly corporately experience the continuous and ever increasing strength, peace and power of the presence of the LORD among them at all times and in all of the adversity they were experiencing.

It is also possible that Paul struggled with his eye sight and dictated his letters. Often reading the OT Scriptures on the parchment scrolls when he had access to them and writing letters in a dark prison cell or in a dimly lit room with only one or two candles for light may well have affected his sight. Possibly it may have even been a physical impediment that he had all of his life and that affected his eye sight, an infirmity God had allowed to enable Paul to remain humble because of the abundance of revelation from the Spirit of God that was given to him. In fact it was a physical ailment from Satan that God had allowed to keep Paul humble before the LORD (Galatians 4:12-15) (2 Corinthians 12:5-10). Writing the greeting to the assembly in his own hand writing was a distinguishing mark of all of his letters as there were letters always circulating that were purported to be from him but weren’t. So this greeting in his own handwriting was a sign that the letters written were from him.

Finally he writes that the unmerited, unearned favour of God might continue with them corporately and individually and that by His enabling grace be kept for that day when the He the Lord Jesus the Messiah will be revealed from heaven and take to Himself all of His blood justified, blood cleansed, blood redeemed, blood sanctified and Spirit sealed saints so that He might present them faultless and without blame before the throne of God, and that they might co-reign with Him on earth in His Messianic kingdom, and then after that in the final and eternal state where He will make everything new!