2 THESSALONIANS 1
6 Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you;
Why should such a class excite enmity in others? It seems as if such an antagonism should be morally impossible, for the friends of Christ are the inoffensive and excellent of the earth.
Many things that seem unlikely do happen nevertheless, and this is one of them. Who would have imagined beforehand that Jesus, the sinless man, who went about doing good, would excite hatred so intense as to bring about his destruction? The explanation in his case is the explanation in the case of all his brethren. He demurred to the ways and principles and sentiments of the wealthy religious, who were on good terms with themselves and in high estimation with all the people.
The wounds that he inflicted on pious self-love, by his contentions for righteousness, created for him among his own people implacable foes more cruel than the heathen. They could not forgive his reproofs. Had they loved the praise of God more than the praise of men, it would have been otherwise, they would have rejoiced in Christ's zeal for God, and would have been ready to believe it possible that his condemnations of their class were just.
But on the contrary, they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God. Consequently, his words and attitude hurt their self-love incurably, and goaded them to compass his destruction under the respectable plea that he was a promoter of disorder and a mover of sedition. But God overruled their malice to the accomplishment of His own purpose.
Paul says -It is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you, and to you who are troubled, rest." What God sees right to be done will be done. Therefore, we may rest assured of this, that the end of all who trouble the word, or work, or people of God, will be an end the reverse of satisfactory to them on all points. It is an end frequently described by Paul. He summarizes it thus luridly in Romans 2:
"Indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil."
Seasons 2: 40
7 And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,
If the ecclesiasticism of Christendom were the worship of God in spirit and in truth, the poor in this world, rich in faith, would be the notables, revered and beloved by the rich; who would rejoice in emptying themselves of their glory and honour, that they might be exalted in due time. But the reverse of this is the fact.
Mammon reigns in Church as well as State; and the members of the one are the ambitious and brawling politicians of the other. All this is of the flesh, or Sin Incarnate, which is the Devil. Now the mission of Jesus is to destroy the Devil, and the works of the Devil (Heb. 2:14; 1 John 3:8) and we have already seen, that the Gentiles are to come to him after his apocalypse, and to confess that what they now cherish is only lies, vanity, and unprofitable.
They will then acknowledge that their denominations are works of the Devil; and as such they will rejoice in their abolition, and glorify their destroyer. The whole system now existing is a monster iniquity, which only awaits the "apocalypse of the Sons of God" for its disruption, and utter annihilation.
Another place in Paul's writings where he uses this noun in a notable manner is in 2 Thess.1:7. He there tells his persecuted brethren that God will recompense to them "a rest with us (Paul, Sylvanus, and Timothy) in the apocalypse of the Lord Jesus from heaven...
At the present time, nothing seems less important to a man than that he should know God and obey the gospel. The prosperous and the great and the successful are those who know not God and obey not the gospel. The man least valued or regarded among men is the man who knows God and obeys the gospel.
Consider the great change that will take place in this matter when the Lord comes. His coming, though secret at first, will be a great public and world-booming event, which will alter the views of everyone in a radical manner. What Christ thinks will become the most sovereign of questions, though now so little considered.
His purposes-His movements-will absorb public and private attention as nothing has ever done. There will be panic everywhere till things adjust themselves. At such a time, when it is discovered that the thing that finds favour with him is the knowledge of God and the obedience of the gospel, these attainments, so little valued now, will acquire an importance that will make all men wish themselves their happy possessors.
It will be too late with the majority. Now is the time to obtain the knowledge of God, and to practice the obedience which by the mouth of Paul He has enjoined upon "all men everywhere" (Acts 17:30). Then will be the time for the outpouring of that long-gathering vengeance which God has restrained so long for His name's sake. And then will be the time when the treasure we now possess, and which we have to hold in difficulty and gloom, will appear in its true character of untold value.
... if we can only endure for the short journey that lies ahead, we shall soon be out of the desert, and safe in our Father's house of Righteousness, whose shining form we can discern in the approaching distance.
A little more courage! a little more perseverance, and by his coming, the Lord will gird us with immortal strength. He will clear our blurring eyes, and rouse our failing hearts, and strengthen our faltering steps, and revive our drooping life with a vigour that will never abate, wisdom that will never err, and joy that will never end.
The Christadelphian, July 1886 and Seasons 2: 40
8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:
In Flaming Fire
"The lightnings of the fire" are flashings kindled by the avenging wrath of Yahweh. The fiery abyss from which they shoot forth is said to be "His mouth," because it is by His command His mighty ones go forth against the enemy as a storm of lightning, thunder and hail. The fire typifies the Eternal Spirit in wrath. "Our God," saith Paul, "is a consuming fire." Hence, the flashing fires are "the lightnings of the fire."
"Bow Thine heavens," saith David in another place, "and come down, O Yahweh, touch upon the mountains, and they shall smoke; flash forth lightning, and Thou shalt scatter them; shoot Thine arrows, and Thou shalt put them to the rout" (Psalm 144:6).
Phanerosis - His Face as the Appearance of Lightning.
They go forth to conquer for themselves their dominion; or, as Daniel expresses it, "to take the kingdom," to "slay the Fourth Beast, and to destroy his Body;" to "take away his dominion, to consume, and to destroy unto the end." They "shall reign upon the earth;" but they must first conquer the nations; for the nations will not accept them for kings and priests without compulsion.
The Saints in their career of conquest are the Stream of Fire flowing and issuing from before "the Ancient of Days;" they are "the angels of Christ's power in a fire of flame;"the tormentors of the worshippers of the Beast, and his Image, and the receivers of the mark of his Name, with fire and brimstone in the presence of the Lamb; and the 144,000 redeemed from the earth; the First fruits; who follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. They are the chariot wheels of the Spirit, full of eyes, and a burning fire -- (Dan. 7:9,l0; Apoc. 14:10,11,3,4; 2 Thess. 1:7,8; Ezek. 1:18).
Not obeying the gospel
The faithless Jews and Gentiles are equally aliens from the precepts of Christ and His apostles. What these prescribe is enjoined upon the disciples of Jesus. They only are "under law to Christ." "What have I," says Paul, "to do to judge them that are without? God judgeth them" (1 Cor. 5:12-13). He has caused the gospel of the kingdom to be preached to sinners "for the obedience of faith." When they are judged, it will be for "not obeying the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ "...
Men frequently err in their speculations from inattention to the marked distinction which subsists in the Scriptures between those classes of mankind termed "saints" and "sinners." They confound what is said to, or concerning, the one, with what is said in relation to the other. Relatively to the institutions of God they are as near or afar off as are "citizens" and "foreigners" to the laws and constitution of the United States. "What the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law."
This is a principle laid down by Paul concerning the law of Moses, which is equally true of the codes of all nations. "Citizens" are the saints, or separated ones, of the particular code by which they are insulated from all other people; while "foreigners" or "aliens" from their commonwealth are sinners in relation to it; for they live in other countries in total disregard of its institutions, and doing contrary to its laws, and yet are blameless: so that if they were to visit the country of that commonwealth, they would not be punished for their former course, because they were not under law to it. Let them, however, while sojourning there continue their native customs, and they would become guilty and worthy of the punishment made and provided for such offenders.
Elpis Israel 1.2.
Obeying the gospel
I cannot too earnestly commend the words of Samuel to the attention of the reader in this place. "Hath the Lord," saith he, "as great delight in burnt-offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry" (1 Sam. 15:22, 23).
A great principle is set forth in these words. It is that which can alone place men in harmony with the religion of God. Without it a man may in deed know the truth, but he must believe and do if he would inherit the kingdom which has been preparing from the foundation of the world.
Religion is of two kinds; that, namely, which is invented by the thinking of sinful flesh, and that which is revealed of God... The religion of God, ... is the juste milieu, occupying a commanding and dignified position between the two extremes. It does not require men to abase themselves in the dust, and to afflict their bodies for their sins, nor to plant themselves as so many statues of clay, with downcast or upturned visages, in the silence of the sepulchre, under pretence of waiting for him to move them to preach or pray.
There is no fanaticism nor pietism in His religion. When in the exercise of it men are moved to action, they are acted upon by an intelligent and earnest conviction of the truth. This is the instrumentality by which He rouses men to religious exercise--by the spirit, which is the truth (1 John 5:6). When, therefore, they are really "moved by the spirit" they are moved by the truth, and do not talk nonsense. They speak according to "the law and the testimony," and thus evince to all who understand the Scriptures, that they have "light within."...
"By their fruits ye may know them." This is an excellent rule by which to discern the spirits. Men pray for the Holy Spirit, profess to preach under its guidance, and often, in a very bad spirit, protest that they received it when converted. But the spirit dwells only with those who understand, believe and obey the gospel of the kingdom, and who walk according to its precepts. No man, be he preacher or "layman," has the spirit, or anything else to do with it than as resisting it, who does not preach and believe the gospel Paul preached... obedience of faith, which is the sole criterion of love to God...
All the Most High requires of men is just to believe what He has done, what He teaches, and what He promises; to obey the law of faith; to take care of the poor of His flock; and to keep themselves unspotted from the world. This is pure and undefiled religion (James 1:27). But, alas! where is it to be found?
Elpis Israel 1.5.
9 Who shall be punished with everlasting [aion] destruction from the presence [faces] of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;
Messiah's advent to punish the sons of Belial
He is apocalypsed from heaven, with the messengers of his power...The reader will have no difficulty in perceiving that this passage is descriptive of a great break-up of the foundation of the political organisation of the world for the wrath of Yahweh expends itself, not upon inanimate and unoffending nature, but upon the unrighteous and rebellious.
These are "the earth," and its civil and ecclesiastical organisation, "the mountains," "the heavens," "the channels," and "foundations of the habitable"; while that which is to overthrow, destroy, lay bare, and abolish, is the smoking fire of His indignation, flashing forth its lightnings and crashing thunders through Israel and their kings -- the lightning-faced Elohim of all the earth.
Phanerosis - His Face as the Appearance of Lightning.
Sons of Belial
Christ did not come to destroy men then, but he is coming to destroy them; for it is one of the most emphatic testimonies concerning him, and one that occurs very often, in a variety of forms, that he is the instrument by which God's vengeance is to be inflicted on the world.
He is to tread the winepress of God's anger, to plead with all flesh, and give them that are wicked to the sword. He is coming to destroy men's lives, and there will be such a time of destruction, both of life and property, as the world has never known.
When God enters upon the scene, to work upon the area of the whole world, as he will, you may depend upon it that something, of which we have no conception, will mark such a great interposition. We have only to look for confirmation of this to what he did on a small scale, whilst bringing his people from Egypt. This will give us some notion of what he will do when he takes them out of every nation under heaven.
The Egyptians were subjected to continual and all manner of suffering. At one time, swarms of flies afflicted them; at another, loathsome frogs corrupted the land by their abundance; at another, the forces of heaven would contend visibly against the people, killing their cattle in the field, destroying their crops and killing all those persons who did not, on the intimation of Moses, withdraw to the protection of their houses; and, to wind up the dreadful tragedy, we find that a whole army was buried in the Red Sea.
Sunday Morning No 8.
10 When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.
But the tribes in the wilderness are not permitted to see this glory of the Most Holy, though they are cognizant of what proceeds from its presence, as their ancestors were. Between it and them is the breadth of the Holy Place, or land, towards which they then look, as the heaven of the covenant with whose blood they have been sprinkled.
While they are in the wilderness they are in the court without, the way into the Holy Place not being laid open to them till the end of the forty years. But with Judah, the third part, refined in the fire, it is not so.
"He rules again with God-od rahd im-Ail; and with the holy ones is true."
God having saved Judah's tents before Ephraim's, his King possesses Judah, his portion, in the holy land, while Ephraim, under Elijah, is passing under the rod. This relation of Judah, the little stone-kingdom, in Judea, to the Ten Tribes in the wilderness, is as the Holy Place to the Court of Israel, the Court of the Gentiles beyond, not being then, as yet, measured, seeing that the war against them is in progress still.
Mystery of the Covenant of the Holy Land Explained