(2 Thessalonians 1:6-10a) “God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with His powerful angels. He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His might on the day He comes to be glorified in His holy people and to be marvelled at among all those who have believed.”
A day is coming when God will execute justice and righteousness through His one and only eternal begotten Son, the Messiah our Lord Jesus. God has fixed this day when He will judge the nations through His Son. God’s Word says; “Although God overlooked the ignorance of earlier times, He now commands all people everywhere to repent. For He has set a day when He will judge the world with justice by the Man He has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising Him from the dead.” (Acts 17:30-31)
When the apostle Paul wrote to the assembly of believers at Thessalonica for the second time they were suffering severe persecution. Previously the apostle Paul had spent only about three weeks with them and in that time had taught them quite a lot about the last days and the Second Coming of the Messiah our Lord Jesus and the events leading up to it. This is reflected in his first letter to them. Because of the intense persecution many believers thought that the Day of the Lord had come and that they had somehow been left behind. Some had unsettled the believers with fake news through letters purported to have come from the apostles and by false prophecies circulating among the assemblies. (2 Thessalonians 2: 1-2) Of course Paul settled their fears by telling them that the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus and their being gathered around Him in the air at His return could not happen until the great falling away occurred and the man of sin was revealed. (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4)
Now according to the Open Doors World watch List 2021 More than 340 million Christians suffer high levels of persecution and discrimination for their faith.” About 309 million of these Christians “suffer very high or extreme levels. That’s one in 8 worldwide, 1 in 6 in Africa, 2 out of 5 in Asia, and 1 in 12 in Latin America.” We are told in the Book of Revelation that when the fifth seal was opened by the Lord Jesus that under the altar of sacrifice in heaven the souls of those who had been slain, because of the Word of God and the testimony they had maintained, were crying out in a loud voice to the Lord as to how long before He who was Holy and True judged those who had shed their blood. They were all given a special white robe and told to wait a little longer until the number of their fellow servants and brothers who were to be killed as they had been was completed. (Revelation 6:9-11)
Following the fifth seal comes the sixth seal and the nations of the earth tremble at the earthquake and the shaking of the constellations in the sky as the meteor showers and huge hail stones descend on the planet. Cities are demolished and moved from their place. Everyone from every level and walk of society know that the day of the Lord’s wrath has come upon them and the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus is imminent. In fear and trepidation and with uncontrollable shaking, people hide in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains and even call for the mountains themselves to fall upon them to hide them from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb because the day of their wrath has come. (Revelation 6:12-17) Have you ever seen an angry lamb! This revelation of the Lord Jesus as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords descending to judge the nations is an image far removed from one who is gentle, meek and mild. He is the judge!
Now in Paul’s second letter to the assembly at Thessalonica the believers were still under severe persecution and so he encouraged them by telling them that the Lord Jesus on His return to earth would avenge their suffering and that Big Time! For their persecutors it would be ‘payback time’ and that God would see to it that justice and righteousness prevail! The first century believers lived with the expectancy of the return of the Lord Jesus in their time. It was their blessed hope!
When the Lord Jesus does comes back He will bring the much needed relief for His beleaguered and afflicted saints on earth today. When He is revealed from heaven with blazing fire and with His powerful army of angels, all those who do not know God and who have refused to obey the good news of salvation and persecuted those who do, will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power. They will all go into the pit of hell to await the great White Throne judgement where they will be sentenced to the Lake of fire to be tormented for ever and ever. (Revelation 20:11-15)
Now when we read the phrase “everlasting destruction” in the Greek text of the Bible it is not speaking about annihilation or something that ceases to exist but something that is cast aside because it is no longer able to be used for the purpose for which it was created. Never let anyone tell you that hell and the lake of fire are not real places of conscious torment, because they most definitely are. (Revelation 14:9-11) Our Lord Jesus spoke a lot about hell in the gospel records and there is no reference anywhere in the Bible to annihilation after one dies physically. On the very same day the Lord Jesus returns to this earth He will be glorified in all of His people, both those who have died physically and those who are still here when He comes. They will all have immortal resurrected bodies exactly the same as the Lord Jesus Himself has. (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18) (1 Corinthians 15:49-52) (1 John 3:2)
Today we see untold numbers of our brothers and sisters being afflicted, imprisoned, and deprived of life’s necessities, tortured cruelly and killed and most of it in Islamic countries today. Of course we must not miss out mentioning North Korea and Red China. Even in Russia the persecution of unregistered assemblies continues to this very day and the persecution is supported by the traditional Russian Orthodox Church. Even in Israel faithful Messianic assemblies are persecuted by the religious Jews who reject their own Messiah. In America Biden with his unbiblical policies is opening the door for Christian persecution through laws that will be made restricting the activities of those assemblies who will put the Lord Jesus first before anyone or anything else. In Europe and in Australia laws are being passed in Parliament to restrict Bible believers who want to stay true to the Word of God.
While it seems the governments of the world are turning against born again Bible believers and Israel the day will come when the Lord Jesus will no longer be able to bear the suffering and the time of Great tribulation happening to His saints and will suddenly return. His coming will be sudden and flash like lightening from east to west. There will be nothing ‘secret’ about his Second Coming! (Matthew 24:27) (Revelation 1:7) The sky will be rolled back like a scroll. The great trumpet blast will sound and with the loud shout from heaven the Lord Jesus will descend with His powerful angels. (Revelation 11:15) He will rapture and resurrect the saints, save Israel from all of her enemies and punish those who have persecuted and killed His saints, whose death is precious in His sight. (Psalm 116:15)
As believers in our Lord Jesus the Messiah we have a spiritual adversary and his minions from Hades who are wearing down the saints and this persecution will climax with the coming of the man of lawlessness. However his reign will be short lived, lasting three and a half years by the Jewish calendar. As Paul also writes in His second letter to the Thessalonica Assembly; “And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will slay with the breath of His mouth and destroy by the majesty of His arrival.” (2 Thessalonians 2:8) So as we see the persecution spreading through the nations today let’s keep our eyes fixed heavenwards because the Lord Jesus is coming back and He has said; “Vengeance is mine says the Lord and I will repay!” (Romans 12:19)
Remember the parable the Lord Jesus told about the persistent widow and the unjust judge. This judge feared neither God nor man but was constantly pestered by a woman of the town who refused to give up asking for his help because she needed his justice to deal with her adversary. In fact she was so persistent that the judge answered her because she had started to wear him out. The Lord Jesus used this as an example for His followers who are always afflicted by their adversary Satan, “the accuser of the brethren who accuses them before our God day and night.”(Revelation 12:10) The Lord Jesus went on to say that God is a just judge and that He will avenge His elect saints who cry out to Him day and night and do not give up. In fact He also said that God would not put them off but answer them and give them justice and quickly. Added to this He said; “when the Son of Man comes back will He find faith on the earth?” The word used for faith also has the idea of faithfulness to what we believe and confess. (Luke 18:1-8) When the Lord Jesus returns He will be looking for faithfulness. May He find us faithful?
With these things in view let us keep on keeping on with knees bent and with expectant faith in our hearts, praying in the Holy Spirit, being built up in our most Holy faith and through the Holy Spirit Spirit kept in the love of God. May we also be continuously filled with the Holy Spirit as we look forward to that glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour the Lord Jesus the Messiah who will bring justice, truth and righteousness to this earth. (Titus 2:13) (Isaiah 9:7) (Psalm 72:2)
Right now as believers in our Lord Jesus we are under increasing and continuous pressure and afflicted in many ways by Satan and his minions from Hades because he knows that his time is short. However, God is just and righteous and when He says to Satan “this far and no more!” God will send our Lord Jesus back to this earth who will deal out retribution to those who have dared to persecute the people of God. On that day we will see not only truth and righteousness prevail on earth, but also the Justice of God!