And to you who are troubled, rest with us - And while they have tribulation, you shall have that eternal rest which remains for the people of God.
When the Lord Jesus shall be revealed - But this fullness of tribulation to them, and rest to you, shall not take place till the Lord Jesus come to judge the world.
With his mighty angels - The coming of God to judge the world is scarcely ever spoken of in the sacred writings without mentioning the holy angels, who are to accompany him, and to form his court or retinue. See Deuteronomy 33:2; Matthew 25:31; Matthew 16:27; Matthew 26:64; Mark 8:38.
And to you who are troubled - That is, “it will be a righteous thing for God to give to you who are persecuted rest in the last day.” As it will be right and proper to punish the wicked, so it will he right to reward the good. It will not, however, be in precisely the same sense. The wicked will deserve all that they will suffer, but it cannot be said that the righteous will deserve the reward which they will receive. It will be right and proper, because:
(1) there is a fitness that they who are the friends of God should be treated as such, or it is proper that he should show himself to be their friend; and,
(2) because in this life this is not always clearly done. They are often less prospered, and less happy in their outward circumstances, than the wicked. There is, therefore, a propriety that in the future state God should manifest himself as their friend, and show to assembled worlds that he is not indifferent to character, or that wickedness does not deserve his smiles, and piety incur his frown. At the same time, however, it will be owing wholly to his grace that any are ever admitted to heaven.
Rest - The future happiness of believers is often represented under the image of rest. It is rest like that of the weary laborer after his day of toil; rest, like that of the soldier after the hardships of a long and perilous march; rest, like the calm repose of one who has been racked with pain; see the notes on Hebrews 4:9. The word “rest” here ( ἄνεσις anesis) means a letting loose, a remission, a relaxation; and hence composure, quiet; 2 Corinthians 2:12; 2 Corinthians 7:5.
With us - That is, with Paul, Silas, and Timothy; 2 Thessalonians 1:1. It would increase the comfort of the Thessalonians derived from the anticipation of the future world, to reflect that they would meet their religious teachers and friends there. It always augments the anticipated joy of heaven to reflect that we are to share its blessedness with them. There is no envy among those who anticipate heaven; there will be none there. They who desire heaven at all, desire that it may be shared in the highest degree by all who are dear to them.
When the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven - Shall appear; shall come from heaven; see the notes, 1 Thessalonians 4:6.
With his mighty angels - Margin, “angels of his power.” So the Greek. The sense is, that angels of exalted rank and glory will accompany him; see the 1 Thessalonians 4:16 note; Matthew 24:31; Matthew 25:31 notes.
The instruction that Paul sent the Thessalonians in his first epistle regarding the second coming of Christ, was in perfect harmony with his former teaching. Yet his words were misapprehended by some of the Thessalonian brethren. They understood him to express the hope that he himself would live to witness the Saviour's advent. This belief served to increase their enthusiasm and excitement. Those who had previously neglected their responsibilities and duties, now became more persistent in urging their erroneous views. AA 264.1
In his second letter Paul sought to correct their misunderstanding of his teaching and to set before them his true position. He again expressed his confidence in their integrity, and his gratitude that their faith was strong, and that their love abounded for one another and for the cause of their Master. He told them that he presented them to other churches as an example of the patient, persevering faith that bravely withstands persecution and tribulation, and he carried their minds forward to the time of the second coming of Christ, when the people of God shall rest from all their cares and perplexities. AA 264.2
“We ourselves,” he wrote, “glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure: ... and to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His power.... Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of His goodness, and the work of faith with power: that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.” AA 264.3Read in context »
The time is not far distant when God will arise to vindicate His insulted authority. “The Lord cometh out of His place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity.” Isaiah 26:21. “But who may abide the day of His coming? and who shall stand when He appeareth?” Malachi 3:2. The people of Israel, because of their sinfulness, were forbidden to approach the mount when God was about to descend upon it to proclaim His law, lest they should be consumed by the burning glory of His presence. If such manifestations of His power marked the place chosen for the proclamation of God's law, how terrible must be His tribunal when He comes for the execution of these sacred statutes. How will those who have trampled upon His authority endure His glory in the great day of final retribution? The terrors of Sinai were to represent to the people the scenes of the judgment. The sound of a trumpet summoned Israel to meet with God. The voice of the Archangel and the trump of God shall summon, from the whole earth, both the living and the dead to the presence of their Judge. The Father and the Son, attended by a multitude of angels, were present upon the mount. At the great judgment day Christ will come “in the glory of His Father with His angels.” Matthew 16:27. He shall then sit upon the throne of His glory, and before Him shall be gathered all nations. PP 339.1
When the divine Presence was manifested upon Sinai, the glory of the Lord was like devouring fire in the sight of all Israel. But when Christ shall come in glory with His holy angels the whole earth shall be ablaze with the terrible light of His presence. “Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence: a fire shall devour before Him, and it shall be very tempestuous round about Him. He shall call to the heavens from above, and to the earth, that He may judge His people.” Psalm 50:3, 4. A fiery stream shall issue and come forth from before Him, which shall cause the elements to melt with fervent heat, the earth also, and the works that are therein shall be burned up. “The Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel.” 2 Thessalonians 1:7, 8. PP 339.2Read in context »
My father replied that he must be mistaken in calling this a new and strange doctrine, that Christ Himself, in His teachings to His disciples, had preached His second advent. He had said: “In My Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” When He was taken up to heaven before their eyes and a cloud received Him out of their sight, as His faithful followers stood gazing after their vanishing Lord, “behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven.” 1T 41.1
“And,” said my father, warming with his subject, “the inspired Paul wrote a letter to encourage his brethren in Thessalonica, saying: ‘And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His power; when He shall come to be glorified in His saints, and to be admired in all them that believe ... in that day.’ ‘For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the Archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.’ 1T 41.2
“This is high authority for our faith. Jesus and His apostles dwell upon the event of the second advent with joy and triumph; and the holy angels proclaim that Christ, who ascended to heaven, shall come again. This is our offense, believing the word of Jesus and His disciples. This is a very old doctrine, and bears no taint of heresy.” 1T 42.1Read in context »