I am on a journey through scripture to answer the questions what is the Gospel of Jesus Christ? Who are the True Believers? and Whom should the true believers spend time with?
I started my journey in the book of 1 Thessalonians, and today I am moving into 2 Thessalonians. Let’s take a look at this second letter written by Paul, Timothy, and Silvanus, apostles of Jesus Christ. They are writing to the TRUE BELIEVERS in Thessalonica. Here is chapter one of this letter.
2 Thessalonians 1New American Standard Bible (NASB)
Thanksgiving for Faith and Perseverance
1 Paul and Silvanus and Timothy,
To the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: 2 Grace to you and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
3 We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brethren, as is only fitting, because your faith is greatly enlarged, and the love of each one of you toward one another grows ever greater; 4 therefore, we ourselves speak proudly of you among the churches of God for your [a]perseverance and faith in the midst of all your persecutions and afflictions which you endure. 5 This is a plain indication of God’s righteous judgment so that you will be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which indeed you are suffering. 6 [b]For after all it is only just [c]for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you, 7 and to give relief to you who are afflicted [d]and to us as well [e]when the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with [f]His mighty angels in flaming fire, 8 dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9 These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, 10 when He comes to be glorified [g]in His [h]saints on that day, and to be marveled at among all who have believed—for our testimony to you was believed. 11 To this end also we pray for you always, that our God will [i]count you worthy of your calling, and fulfill every desire for goodness and the work of faith with power, 12 so that the name of our Lord Jesus will be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Today’s Bible study tip: Original context of scripture does NOT include headings or titles. These were later added to help the readers understand scripture as the translators understood it. So, when reading try to read without paying attention to titles, personal study notes, and such. Allowing for the Holy Spirit to teach you.
Ok, so when I was a child I thought like a child. And one of the thoughts I often had when reading scripture was that the “Christians” in the Bible were persecuted by the “Jews.” So every time I read any scriptures about persecution in the NEw Testament, I assumed it was the Jews who persecuted the believers. Now here is the reality, there were sects of the Christian and Jewish faith that persecuted one another, we see this in Acts. But most of the time in those situations it was not a kill them kind of persecution, but more of a shun them persecution. When Yeshua (that is Jesus) came and changed everything several things happened. So, here is a quick explanation, as I understand it of what happened.
First, when Yeshua (Jesus) began His ministry the Jewish people were NOT obeying YHVH God’s. There were some Jews, that did still hold to God’s Word alone, but not many. Most practicing Jews of His day kept the law of the religious leaders, which was NOT Torah, but rather the law of the rabbis. The religious leaders have passed down these laws that they had created due to their desire to lead the people and keep them from going back into captivity. But the law of the day, was NOT YHVH God’s law. One of the practices of that day required that anyone who wanted to be a TRUE Jew must go through rigorous training and ritualistic circumcision, even if they had once been circumcised before.
Now, Paul was a student of both the Law of the day, sometimes called the Law of Moses, and a student of the Law of YHVH, also sometimes called the Law of Moses, the Torah. (so, now you can see how our English translators got things a little confused when translating Paul’s writings.)
So, when Yeshua came many Jews realized He was indeed the Messiah, but many did not. The early church was made up of mostly Jews, not Gentiles. Yeshua’s disciples were Jews, Paul was a JEw, and of course, Yeshua, himself is a Jew.
Most of us know about the day of Pentecost as told in the book of Acts, where the fire fell on the apostles and over 300o true believers were added to the church. But did you know that all those people that were gathered in Jerusalem that day were there to celebrate the Jewish feast of Shavuot. They were people groups from all over the world that were there because they were obeying the commands of YHVH God’s Torah to come to Jerusalem at the time of the feast of Shavuot. They were practicing the Old Testament commandments.
Now, after this the Word of God went out from Jerusalem into all the World. AS it spread to the Gentiles there began a bit of confusion between the JEws that believed in Jesus and Messiah and the gentiles that believed. These two groups did not know how to come together. Because the Jews knew all the “rules” and the gentiles did not. This misunderstanding might sound like persecution in the book of Acts and other places, but it was just a misunderstanding. The Jews didn’t know how to teach or what to teach the gentiles about the laws of God. Because both groups were unsure of what were the actual laws of YHVH and what were the laws of man.
So, what does all this have to do with 2 Thessalonians chapter 1? In Thessalonica the True Believers were being persecuted. Really persecuted. Killed, tortured, starved, and mistreated. Not by the Jews. But by their families, former friends, the government, and community. They were truly suffering for their belief in the One True God and His Son. They were being persecuted for OBEYING THE GOSPEL OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST.
Wow, I really want to be sure I know what this Gospel is. I am excited to see what tomorrows reading brings.