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Friday, February 3, 2012

(54) The Books of Thessalonians

Church of the Doomsday Prophets.

With the exceptions of the Revelation of John and some passages by Christ, the books of Thessalonians are the only real books on prophecy and Christ's return in the New testament.  Somehow every chapter closes with a theme of His return.  Although these two books were written separately by Paul they appear to be only weeks apart in time.  They were written around 51 AD, approximately 16 years after Paul's conversion, and 5 years after his first mission.  The letter was sent to Thessalonica from the city of Corinth, which is probably when he started to take notes on the Corinthian people to deal with their problems.  Every chapter ends with a comment about the return of Jesus.

Thessalonica was a commercial center.  It was the capital of Macedonia.  It was named after a wife of General Cassander, a leader in Alexander the Great's army in 315 BC.  It is located at the end of the Danube giving it a perfect location for commerce.  It's major trading partner was Corinth.  Rome did not really influence it that much which is why its Greek culture remained strong.  Being a city of commerce, it became a very diverse city, full of writings in Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek and even Samaritan dialogue.  Images of materialism and seductiveness plastered the city.  It was also a city that was not very receptive to Christians.

The Church was started by Paul (Acts 17:1-4).  It was a church strong in its faith and a loving church (1 Thess 1:3) but it was not properly nurtured.  Many came under persecution.  Many Jews were in the city and forced Paul and Timothy to leave earlier than they wanted and because of this the Thessalonians misunderstood many of the meanings Paul was telling them about the return of Christ.

Some main points in these books are:
  1. There is glory in the second coming (1st 4:13-18)
  2. We are trichotomous beings.  We need to worship God as though we are; mind, soul and spirit. (1st 5:15-23)
  3. There is evil in this world (2nd 1:7-10)
  4. Don't let doomsday prophets scare you, only God knows the end. (2nd 2:1-3)
  5. The Lord is faithful (2nd 3:3-5)
These were written to tell of how Paul was glad to hear that their faith was growing and to settle the confusion about the return of the LORD.  They thought He had already come again, which if course is not true.  He stresses that the plan of salvation is only the beginning of our spiritual journey.  And our erroneous thinking leads to erroneous practices in life.  These errors destroy our spirit.

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