Pastor David B. Curtis


Media #1167 MP3 Audio File Video File

Being Worthy of His Calling

2 Thessalonians 1:11-12

Delivered 05/21/23

Good morning, Bereans. This morning we are continuing our study of 2 Thessalonians chapter 1 and will be focusing on verse 10. Remember verses 3 through 10 are one sentence in the Greek and they deal with the Second Coming. So today we will finish this sentence.

They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed. 2 Thessalonians 1:9-10 ESV

"Punishment of eternal destruction"—as I said in our three-part series on verse 9, most take this phrase to refer to Hell (i.e., eternal conscience torment). I hope I have demonstrated that that is not what this means. We saw that the word Paul uses for destruction isOlethros.It has nothing to do with eternal, conscious torment. It refers to death and national judgment that was to come upon Jerusalem.

When was this national judgment to occur? Paul tells us.

when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed. 2 Thessalonians 1:10 ESV

"When he comes"—this is a reference to the Second Coming of Christ. Thisidentifies the time of God's righteous judgment spoken of in this text."When he comes"—is literally "whenever He shall come." "When" (hotan) is a temporal particle pointing to that which is expected to occur in an indefinite, in other words, an exact time is not specified.

But we can nail down the time of his coming do to two other key elements related to the recompense accomplished by the return of Christ that are described in verses 6-7.

since indeed God considers it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Yeshua is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels 2 Thessalonians 1:6-7 ESV

Whom is he talking to in these verses? He is addressing the believers in Thessalonica in the first century. Verse 1 says: "Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians." He assures them that God is going to repay with affliction those who afflict any believers and all believers? No, those who afflict "YOU"—the believers in Thessalonica in the first century. He would "grant relief to YOU." Clearly, Paul was telling the first-century Thessalonian believers that they would receive relief from suffering. WHEN? When they died? No! He says it would occur "when the Lord Yeshua is revealed from heaven." That's the second coming (called here the Revelation of Yeshua). So, if the Lord has not yet returned two thousand years later, what did this mean to the Thessalonian believers to whom it was written? Nothing! It would have been deceptive to them because the only relief they would get would come at death since the second coming was thousands of years in their future.

Can you show me something in this letter that would indicate that Paul switched his intended audience to people thousands of years in the future?

John McArthur writes, "Who is going to feel this just retribution? And there in verse 6 it says, 'Those who afflict you.' That is, those who persecute Christians." He totally misses the intended first-century audience.

"On that day"on what day? This isa clear reference to the Day of the Lord that Paul spoke of in 1 Thessalonians.

For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. 1 Thessalonians 5:2 ESV

We saw in our study of this verse that the Day of the Lord is an event that happens between the two ages, that is, between "this age" and "the age to come."  Zechariah 14 teaches us that the "Day of the Lord" and the destruction of Jerusalem were connected. So, the destruction of Jerusalem, which was the Day of the Lord, marked the end of one age, the Jewish age, and the beginning of the new age, the Christian age of the New Covenant. To put it simply "the day of the Lord" is a time of judgment on Israel; it is the end of the Old Covenant age.

"In that day"—is placed at the end of the verse in the Greek text for emphasis. In Expositors Commentary, Robert L. Thomas explains: "'That day' is a frequent OT designation for the day of the Lord (cf. Isa 2:11, 17). In the present verse it solemnly emphasizes a time coincident with 'when he comes' as it does repeatedly in the NT" (Mark 13:32; 14:25; Luke 21:34; 2 Tim 1:12,18: 4:8 (Milligan, p. 92).

"On that day" (en tȩ̄ hēmera̧ ekeinȩ̄) echoes Isaiah 2:11,17 (LXX), the same chapter that Paul quoted in v. 9.

Enter into the rock and hide in the dust from before the terror of the LORD, and from the splendor of his majesty. The haughty looks of man shall be brought low, and the lofty pride of men shall be humbled, and the LORD alone will be exalted in that day. Isaiah 2:10-11 ESV
And the haughtiness of man shall be humbled, and the lofty pride of men shall be brought low, and the LORD alone will be exalted in that day. Isaiah 2:17 ESV

The wording of our text in 2 Thessalonians 1:10 appears to continue reflection on Isaiah 2 where twice it is said that"the Lord alone will be exalted in that day." There "exalted" is roughly synonymous with the repeated mention of God's "glory" in Isaiah 2:10, 19, and 21 which we looked at in verse 9. This expression of glorifying or exalting God "in that day" is unique in all of biblical literature.

Isaiah 66 portrays the eschatological judgment of idolaters who do not seek God's glory. They are contrasted with saints who glorify God (66: 5, 18-19). Isaiah 2 supplements the Isaiah 66 picture because it too repeatedly highlights God's glory.

As we saw earlier in this text, He will return"in flaming fire." This adds to the note of holy judgment and justice to be rendered. Fire is an instrument of judgment.

And fire came out from the LORD and consumed the 250 men offering the incense. Numbers 16:35 ESV
Now Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer and put fire in it and laid incense on it and offered unauthorized fire before the LORD, which he had not commanded them. And fire came out from before the LORD and consumed them, and they died before the LORD. Leviticus 10:1-2 ESV

It will be a painful execution of judgment, of justice. Josephus in his book,War of the Jews, vividly shows how painful the fall of Jerusalem really was.  

So, did Yeshua come in the first century and bring judgment on those who were persecuting the first-century Thessalonians? Yes, He did—just as He said He would. The partial Preterists would say that these verses only refer to His coming in judgment upon Israel and not to His Second Advent. They then see two different Second Comings? Wouldn't that make one of them a third coming? Do we see anywhere in the creeds that there would be two returns of the Lord in judgment? No, but the creedal partial preterists hold to it.

In a YouTube video entitled, "White Boy Summer Heretics & The Reformed Autistic Bros on Full Preterism," Sumpter says the following: "There's [sic] like 5 hyper preterists in the world and they all live in a bunker somewhere in Arkansas."  Then he adds that "Full Preterism is a heresy." That is his view of full preterists.

In a YouTube video entitled, "The Gary DeMar Debacle," Sumpter says: "One particular exegetical question I've raised with Gary is why all the text's he walks through must be judged as past or future. Why not consider the possibility that some of them are both past and future."

Let's stop here for a second. What New Testament texts talk about a Second Coming, judgment or resurrection that is far off from the writer's perspective? Which ones? I'll tell you which ones--none. A few texts do not have a time statement, but most do, and it is always near, soon, this generation, etc.

Sumpter goes on to say: "Why not consider the possibility that some of them are both past and future. There is precedence for this in biblical prophecy." He cites Isaiah 7:14 as an example.

Therefore, the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. Isaiah 7:14 ESV

Sumpter says, "That prophecy had a very immediate fulfillment time stamp." So, 700 years before Christ, a virgin had a son called Immanuel? Where is the record in Isaiah as to the fulfillment? Sumpter says, "This will be a sign that the immediate looming threats of Syria Samaria will soon fade away."  So, who was the virgin that gave birth to Immanuel? The immediate context and wording of Isaiah 7 demonstrate that this prophecy was not fulfilled at the time of Isaiah.

J. A. Alexander writes, "… the assurance that Christ was to be born in Judah, of its royal family, might be a sign to Ahaz, that the kingdom should not perish in his day; and so far was the remoteness of the sign in this case from making it absurd or inappropriate, that the further off it was, the stronger the promise of continuance to Judah, which it guaranteed. [J. A. Alexander, Commentary on the Prophecies of Isaiah, 171.]

The Lord had instructed Ahaz to ask for a sign, but he refused (Isaiah 7:10-12). Therefore, the prediction given was not just to Ahaz. The Hebrew "you" is here plural which I see as referring to the house of David. The house of David had been unfaithful to the Lord and it is to them that this prophetic promise of a sign is given.

D. A. Carson writes, "Isaiah 7:1-9:7 must be read as a unit (i.e., 7:14 must not be treated in isolation). The promised Immanuel (7:14) will possess the land (8:8), thwart all opponents (8:10), appear in Galilee of the Gentiles (9:1) as a great light to those in the land of the shadow of death (9:2). He is the Child and Son called 'Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace' in 9:6, whose government and peace will never end as he reigns on David's throne forever (9:7)." [D. A. Carson, "Matthew," in The Expositor's Bible Commentary: Matthew, Mark, Luke, ed. Frank E. Gaebelein, vol. 8 (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1984), 79.]

This prophecy is talking about only one person—Yeshua. Ahaz and the house of David stood in disobedience to the Lord. The sign given was prophetic and pointed forward to the day when the Lord Yeshua the Christ would come into the world. God would truly dwell with His people. The house of Judah could know that God was not done with the nation of Israel.

Sumpter goes on, "And yet Matthew sites that prophecy and says it was also talking about Mary conceiving as a virgin by the power of the Holy Spirit. It's possible that the first virgin birth Isaiah foretold wasn't a Holy Spirit conception."

So, Sumpter sees two virgin births? But the first one may not have been by the Holy Spirit? And he calls us heretics? Matthew says it was "also" talking about Mary? That is not what Matthew says. Did Isaiah predict two virgin births? How was this prophecy fulfilled immediately? How could anyone else but Yeshua be called, "God with us"? Matthew tells us when this prophecy was fulfilled. Speaking of Mary it says,

She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Yeshua, for he will save his people from their sins." All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: "Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel" (which means, God with us). Matthew 1:21-23 ESV

Charles Dyer writes:

"The only safe approach to determining the fulfillment of prophecy is first to understand the prophecy in its original context. Then one must examine the New Testament to see if the prophecy corresponds to the later events that actually transpired. Biblical fulfillment occurs when the meaning of a specific Old Testament prophecy finds its exact correspondence in a New Testament person, activity, or event. [Charles Dyer, "Biblical Meaning of 'Fulfillment,'" in Issues in Dispensationalism, ed. Wesley Willis and John Master (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1994), 70.]

Sumpter goes on to say, "The apocalyptic era ending judgment language of collapsing solar systems and blowing trumpets and Christ's coming are typological language that may often have near or immediate fulfillments but alsoalways point to a final judgment a final coming and a true end of human history." What kind of hermeneutic is that?

So, was Yeshua wrong when He said the following in reference to the AD 70 destruction of Jerusalem:

For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be. Matthew 24:21 ESV

Let's get some context on this verse. In Matthew 24, Yeshua is answering the disciple's questions about the destruction of Jerusalem. They wanted to know when it would be destroyed and what signs would precede the end of the age and His Parousia.

After talking about the abomination of desolation, which was Jerusalem surrounded by armies according to Luke (Luke 21), Yeshua taught about the great tribulation. Is Matthew 24 talking about an event yet future to us or something that happened in the time of the disciples? The Scriptures are clear that The Great Tribulation is PAST! It happened in the first century.

For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be. Matthew 24:21 ESV

"Then"—is when? Within a few thousand years? The "then" is found in the context of verses 15-20 when Yeshua told His disciples that when they saw the abomination of desolation, (i.e., the surrounding of Jerusalem by armies—Luke 21), they were to know that its desolation was near. This happened in AD 67 when Cestius Gallus, the Roman general, laid siege to Jerusalem. The Great Tribulation, therefore, is not an event yet future to us. It occurred "then," during the siege of Jerusalem by the Romans in the first century. This is made abundantly clear in the parallel text in Luke's Gospel.

"But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation has come near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, and let those who are inside the city depart, and let not those who are out in the country enter it, for these are days of vengeance, to fulfill all that is written. Alas for women who are pregnant and for those who are nursing infants in those days! For there will be great distress upon the earth and wrath against this people. They will fall by the edge of the sword and be led captive among all nations, and Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. Luke 21:20-24 ESV

Notice whom in particular the tribulation would come upon—"the earth" (vs. 23). The Greek word ge ("earth") refers here to Jerusalem and "this people" refers to the first- century Jews. It has nothing to do with a world future to us. Look at Luke 21:22.

for these are days of vengeance, to fulfill all that is written. Luke 21:22 ESV

Luke tells us here that ALL that is written will be fulfilled in the destruction of Jerusalem. What does he mean by that? "All that is written" refers to prophecy. All prophecy was to be fulfilled in the destruction of Jerusalem. Daniel tells us this very same thing in Daniel 9:24. Daniel's prophecy tells of the time when all prophecy would cease to be given and what had been given would be fulfilled. When would this be? Daniel's vision ends with the destruction of Jerusalem which we know occurred in AD 70.

Luke clearly is saying the same thing that Daniel said—at the time Jerusalem was destroyed, all prophecy would be fulfilled. What does that include? That would include the prophecy of the Second coming, the resurrection, and the new heavens and earth. Everything prophesied to Israel would be fulfilled at the time of Jerusalem's destruction.

"At that time shall arise Michael, the great prince who has charge of your people. And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time. But at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone whose name shall be found written in the book. Daniel 12:1 ESV

Does that sound familiar to you? It should. We just read that same idea in Matthew 24:21.

For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be. Matthew 24:21 ESV

Now, notice the next verse in Daniel.

And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. Daniel 12:2 ESV

This is the resurrection of the just and of the unjust. It happens at the time of Jerusalem's destruction, and so does the Second coming. This is so important for us to understand. The completion of the plan of redemption and the fulfillment of all prophecy were tied up in Jerusalem's destruction. It was an age-changing event.

William Kimball, in his book,What the Bible Says About the Great Tribulation, said: "This period of great tribulation is not an event which the entire world is yet awaiting, but a past historic event of unparalleled concentrated severity specifically afflicting the Jewish nation in 70 AD."

Sumpter says, "I want to be clear, denying a central creedal confession doctrine like the coming of Christ in person to raise our physical bodies from their graves and the final judgment is a deadly and lethal disease like the black plague."

Where do the Scriptures say that Christ's coming would be a bodily coming. Nowhere in the New Testament is it stated that the Parousia of Christ was "in the flesh." The Bible doesn't talk about a physical bodily return of Christ. Let's look at a few Second Coming texts.

And then if anyone says to you, 'Look, here is the Christ!' or 'Look, there he is!' do not believe it. For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform signs and wonders, to lead astray, if possible, the elect. But be on guard; I have told you all things beforehand. Mark 13:21-23 ESV

In these verses, Yeshua seems to stress that his coming will not be a physical, bodily coming. If someone says,"Here is Christ, or there," they were not to believe it. Why? If His coming was to be physical and bodily, why would someone not be able to say, "He is over there"? They were not to believe that because his coming would not be physical and bodily, and yet it would be plainly seen. How would they see His coming? They would see it in the judgment that was to fall upon Jerusalem.

Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen. Revelation 1:7 ESV

John said that Yeshua was coming "soon" and "quickly" and that the "Jews," those who pierced him, would wail at his coming.

We must see that this is not a physical, bodily coming of Christ but a coming in judgment. The idea of "seeing" here is not seeing with the physical eyes but is rather seeing in the sense of "to recognize, to be aware, to perceive." The destruction of Jerusalem would cause the tribes of Israel to recognize that Yeshua was indeed the Son of man and the Messiah.

Let's look again at that last quote by Sumpter:  "I want to be clear, denying a central creedal confession doctrine like the coming of Christ in person to raise our physical bodies from their graves and the final judgment is a deadly and lethal disease like the black plague." We see from this that he puts the resurrection at the time at the judgment and second coming. And to prove his doctrine of physical resurrection, Sumpter sites Job 19.

And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. My heart faints within me! Job 19:26-27 ESV

Job says,"Yet in my flesh I shall see God." But, is that what the verse says? A study of the Hebrew reveals that this verse isn't translated correctly. As a matter of fact, it says the exact opposite. Keil and Delitzsch translate verse 26 this way: "And after my skin, thus torn to pieces, and without my flesh shall I behold Eloah" (Job 19:26-27). In their commentary on verse 26, Keil and Delitzsch write, "We cannot in this speech find that the hope of a bodily recovery is expressed."

So, the Bible doesn't teach a physical resurrection, but it does tell us the time of the resurrection. The Scriptures testify that the time of the resurrection was to be at the end of the Old Covenant age.

But go your way till the end. And you shall rest and shall stand in your allotted place at the end of the days."  Daniel 12:13 ESV

We know this to have happened in AD 70 with the destruction of the Jewish Temple. The disciples knew that the fall of the Temple and the destruction of the city meant the end of the Old Covenant Age and the inauguration of a New Age.

There was only one Second Coming and it happened in AD 70. Almost every commentary agrees that Revelation 1:7 is the theme of the Book of Revelation.

Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen. Revelation 1:7 ESV

This is reminiscent of cloud comings in the Tanakh, when Yahweh came in judgment:

He lays the beams of his chambers on the waters; he makes the clouds his chariot; he rides on the wings of the wind; Psalms 104:3 ESV
An oracle concerning Egypt. Behold, the LORD is riding on a swift cloud and comes to Egypt; and the idols of Egypt will tremble at his presence, and the heart of the Egyptians will melt within them. Isaiah 19:1 ESV

We know from chapter 20 that God used the Assyrians as instruments of His wrath on Egypt, yet it says,"The LORD is riding on a swift cloud…, Egypt will tremble at His presence." God came to Egypt. Did He physically come to Egypt? No, how did He "come" to Egypt? He came in judgment. His presence was made known in judgment. But it was the Assyrians who were literally present.

Psalm 18:7-14 and Joel 2:1-2 also speak of cloud comings. Christ's coming spoken of in Revelation 1:7 is a judgment coming, which focuses upon first-century Israel:

Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen. Revelation 1:7 ESV

He is coming upon"those who pierced Him." That refers to Israel. As a consequence of His coming in judgment, "all the tribes of the earth [or land] will wail on account of him." Earth is translated from the Greek wordghay, and it means: "soil, country, earth, ground, land, world." "The tribes of the land" is a familiar designation for Israel. The Jews crucified Yeshua, and they were punished for it.

Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Yeshua whom you crucified."  Acts 2:36 ESV

Yeshua told them that they would see his coming.

But Yeshua remained silent. And the high priest said to him,"I adjure you by the living God, tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God."Yeshuasaid to him, "You have said so. But I tell you, from now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven." Matthew 26:63-64 ESV

The destruction of Jerusalem was evidence of Yeshua's coming in the clouds for that historical group of people. But are we to see it only as a coming in judgment on Israel? The full Preterist or consistent Preterist sees this judgment coming on Israel as the Second Advent of Christ. Yeshua said that He would come in the lifetime of His disciples, not just to judge Israel. He said that He would come in the glory of His father, with His angels, to reward every man.

For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done. Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom." Matthew 16:27-28 ESV

At Christ's coming, He was to judge the wicked and reward the righteous, and it was to happen quickly. In the parable of the tares in Matthew 13, we see that the judgment of the wicked and the reward of the righteous happen at the same time.

Let both grow together until the harvest, and at harvest time I will tell the reapers,"Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn."'" Matthew 13:30 ESV

We see here that not only are the tares burned in judgment, a picture of the destruction of Jerusalem, but the righteous are gathered into the Father's barn.

Then he left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples came to him, saying,"Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field." He answered, "The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, and the good seed is the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, and the enemy who sowed them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels. Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear. Matthew 13:36-43 ESV

The partial Preterist contends that this gathering will happen at a future Second Coming (which would actually be a third coming). But the Scriptures teach that it happens at the same time as the judgment of Jerusalem at the end of the Old Covenant world.

The Scriptures also teach that both the righteous and the wicked dead were to be resurrected on the same day. We see in 1 Thessalonians 4 that the dead in Christ would rise on the day of His return.

For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 1 Thessalonians 4:16 ESV

This resurrection is described by John as being on the "last day," the "last day" being the last day of Old Covenant Israel.

For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day."  John 6:40 ESV

The time of this resurrection was not some far-distant time over two thousand years away. The time had arrived in that generation.

The inconsistent Preterists believe in two Second Comings of Christ—one in AD 70 to judge Israel and yet another still in our future which will be a physical, final coming of Christ. That means that they believe that the Law of the Old Covenant is still in effect because it was to remain until heaven and earth passed away (i.e., Old Covenant Israel.

There is no Biblical evidence for a third coming. The only coming that Yeshua spoke about was His coming to those of that generation. He was to come quickly, soon, shortly, The time was at hand. Consider how John, under the inspiration of Holy Spirit, ended the book of Revelation.

He who testifies to these things says,"Surely I am coming soon." Amen. Come, Lord Yeshua! The grace of the Lord Yeshua be with all. Amen. Revelation 22:20-21 ESV

How could He have stressed more clearly that He was coming soon? The destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70 was a major apologetic point in the first century because Yeshua clearly said that people of that generation would see His coming in the judgment of Old Covenant Israel at the end of the age. And John expected all these events to take place soon after he had written. Revelation was written to the seven Churches of Asia Minor to tell them of things that would happen soon—to them and not soon to us two thousand years later. To them the book was a prophecy of near-future events. To us it is history; it tells us of events that happened two thousand years ago.

OK, let's go back to our text in Paul's second letter to the Thessalonians. "To be glorified in his saints"this phrase can be understood in at least two ways. (1) Reflecting a Hebrew idiom, the majesty of the Second Coming will cause Yeshua to receive glory from His followers. (2) Reflecting the normal meaning of the Greek preposition, in addition to the unusual compound with the preposition repeated with the noun, (vv. 10,12) that Yeshua will be glorified among or in believers. Christ will be "glorified in" (not by) His saints, that is, His glory will be mirrored in them.

Although the saints have been despised and regarded as an enigma by many, God would reveal them to the universe as his children (Rom. 8:18–23; Phil. 2:9–11) and Christ would share his glory with them.

Once more the apostles appeal to the Tanakh, taking this citation from the Greek version of Psalm 89:7 (88:8), which says,"God will be glorified in the council of the saints." There "holy ones" probably refers to the angels. But here, "saints" refers to believers, who are "holy ones," set apart to the Lord from this world.

"And to be marveled at among all who have believed"—"to marvel at" appears in Greek literature as a human response to the revelation or miracles of a deity that evoke admiration and wonder. We see this in Matthew 8.

And he said to them,"Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?" Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. And the men marveled, saying, "What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?" Matthew 8:26-27 ESV

"All who have believed"—is an allusion to the Greek version of Psalm 68:35 (67:36),"God will be marveled at among his saints." In citing the Psalm, Paul substitutes one of his favorite designations of Christians ("those who have believed) for "saints."

"Because our testimony to you was believed"whether the Thessalonian believer is to be judged or to suffer destruction or whether he can look forward to eternal glory hinges on the word that Paul repeats in verse 10: "believed." The difference is belief in the message Paul preached (our testimony), the simple Gospel of Yeshua the Christ.

Paul here looks at man's responsibility in the Gospel—we must believe. To not believe in Christ is to be damned. This destroys universalism.

The judgment-coming of Christ in AD 70 brought wrath on the unbelievers and glory to the believers. Believer, when you get to heaven, will it be because of God's grace or His justice? Do you understand that your eternal life is a matter of divine justice? It is right for God to give you life. It is just for God to give you life.

A.W. Tozer wrote, "Justice, when used of God, is a name we give to the way God is, nothing more. And when God acts justly, He is not doing so to conform to an independent criterion but simply acting like Himself in a given situation."

How can God be just and still justify the unjust is found in the Christian doctrine of redemption. Tozer writes, "It is that through the work of Christ in atonement, justice is not violated but satisfied. Redemptive theology teaches that mercy does not become effective toward man until justice has done its work. The just penalty for sin was exacted when Christ our substitute died for us on the cross,"

God's justice said sin must be paid for. Christ fully paid the penalty. Justice was satisfied. God is merciful now to us and at the same time he is just. The due punishment for sin has been paid for, and justice has been satisfied.

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