Question / Comment - What is your understanding of 2 Thes. 1:6-9?What is your understanding of these passages and what does Paul mean by "rest," or "relief?" in vs. 7 Thanks
- Firstly God gives us rest and relief from trials and persecutions in this life. Paul himself obviously knew all about times of great difficulty but also God's deliverance and relief from (or sometimes in) the trial:
1Co 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.
- Secondly believers receive rest and relief when they die. While we are in this body we will have trials (of various types). This all ends for the believer when we die:
Rev 14:13 Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, "Write: 'Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.' " "Yes," says the Spirit, "that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them."
- Thirdly there is rest and relief at the Rapture of the Church for we shall meet Jesus in the air and forever be with Him... words of comfort!:
1Th 4:17-18 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.
- Fourthly there is a different experience of rest at the second coming of Jesus when all of His enemies are judged, believer's are vindicated and the world is finally restored into the peace and rest that it had before the fall under the rule of the King of kings. This is what 2 Thes 1:6-10 speaks of.
- Today the believer is persecuted by the world. When Jesus comes to rule they shall be in rest and peace.
- Today the believer is looked down upon. When Jesus comes to rule the believers come with Him in glory.
- Today the believer may not be avenged. When Jesus comes to rule He will take vengeance on the unbelievers.
- Today the unbelievers are largely not punished. When Jesus comes to rule they will be punished.
- Today those persecuting inflict suffering on believers. When Jesus comes to rule He will inflict suffering on them.
- Today those persecuting often have lives of ease. When Jesus comes to rule they will experience everlasting destruction.
- Today those persecuting often rule and have positions of power. When Jesus comes to rule believers shall rule with Him.
William MacDonald in the Believers Bible Commentary provides the current contrasts between the rapture and 2nd coming:
|The Rapture||The Revelation|
|1. Christ comes to the air (1Th 4:17).||1. He comes to the earth (Zec 14:4).|
|2. He comes for His saints (1Th_4:16-17).||2. He comes with His saints (1Th 3:13; Jud 1:14).|
|3. The Rapture is a mystery, i. e. , a truth unknown in OT times (1Co 15:51).||3. The Revelation is not a mystery; it is the subject of many OT prophecies (Ps. 72; Isa. 11; Zech 14).|
|4. Christ's coming for His saints is never said to be preceded by celestial portents.||4. His coming with His saints will be heralded by signs in the heavens (Mat 24:29-30).|
|5. The Rapture is presented as a time of blessing (1Th 4:18).||5. The Revelation is identified with the Day of the Lord (2Th 2:1-12, NU Text).|
|6. The Rapture is presented as a time of blessing (1Th 4:18).||6. The main emphasis of the Revelation is on judgment (2Th 2:8-12).|
|7. The Rapture takes place in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye (1Co_15:52). This strongly implies that it will not be witnessed by the world.||7. The Revelation will be visible world-wide (Mat 24:27; Rev_1:7).|
|8. The rapture seems to involve the church primarily (Joh 14:1-4; 1Co 15:51-58; 1Th 4:13-18)||8. The Revelation involves Israel primarily, then also the Gentile nations (Mat. 24:1-25:46)|
|9. Christ comes as the Bright and Morning Star (Rev 22:16).||9. He comes as the Sun of Righteousness with healing in His wings (Mal 4:2).|
|10. The Rapture is not mentioned in the Synoptic Gospels, but is alluded to several times in John's Gospel.||10. The Revelation is characteristic in the Synoptics but hardly mentioned in John's Gospel.|
|11. Those taken are taken for blessing (1Th 4:13-18). Those left are left for judgment (1Th 5:1-3).||11. Those taken are taken for judgment. Those left are left for blessing (Mat 24:37-41).|
|12. No dating system is given for events preceding the Rapture.||12. An elaborate dating system is given for the Revelation, such as 1260 days, 42 months, 3½ years (see Dan 7:25; Dan 12:7, Dan 12:11-12; Rev 11:2; Rev 12:14; Rev 13:5).|
|13. The title “Son of Man” is never used in any of the passages dealing with the Rapture.||13. The revelation is spoken of as the coming of the Son of Man (Mat 16:28; Mat 24:27, Mat 24:30, Mat 24:39; Mat 26:64; Mar 13:26; Luk 21:27).|