One of the most famous passages in the bible about the Coming of the Lord. Quoted very often to depict the level of judgment that God is going to pour out upon those who don't obey His gospel in the future. However, based on scriptural evidence, this judgement was a local judgement in the first century and this is a past event.
The passage comes from 2 Thessalonians 1:3-10. To set the context a little we need to understand that Paul was commending the members of this church for persevering through their tribulations that they were all going through for their belief and their following the Lord. He even looks FORWARD to the time when they would inherit the Kingdom that was coming. He says....
"that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you also suffer;"
(2 Thess 1:5)
So they were looking forward to that day. The same day Christ told them would come before some of them died. That day was the Coming of the Lord in His Kingdom to gather His saints and be glorified in them. (Matt 16:27-28) Paul continues on in his letter to the Thessalonians and says...
"since it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you (Thessalonian church members), and to give you (Thessalonian Church members) who are troubled, rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ." 2 Thess 6-8
Now since this had an immediate meaning to the recipients of the letter, we need to figure out who the ones were who were troubling the Thessalonian church members?
Who was persecuting them day and night. Who were the ones who did not want to obey the gospel? Who denied the Lord and His apostles and shouted out to crucify Him? Who was the subject of the parables when Jesus says that the Kingdom would be taken from them and given to a nation bearing fruit? Who were the ones who would receive vengeance from the Lord for slaying all the righteous ones from Abel all the way up to their present day? (Matthew 23)
It was the Jews. It can be no one else. The ones who would receive the full measure of His wrath was that first century "adulterous and wicked generation." (Matt 16:4, Matt 12:39)
"These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, when He comes, in that Day, to be glorified in His saints and to be admired among all those who believe, because our testimony among you was believed." 2 Thess 1: 9-10
Paul says they would be punished with "everlasting destruction." This phrase in the Greek is "aionios olethros" which means " everlasting ruin or better yet "TO DESTROY FOREVER"
So Christ would destroy these wicked men and His vengeance would be poured out when He appeared in that Day, to be glorified in His saints and to be admired by all those who believe. The measure of their (the Jews) sin would be filled to the top. (Matt 23:32)
The whole point of Christ Coming was to establish His eternal Kingdom. It would be at this time that He would call up the righteous dead out of Hades and would gather them together into One body with the righteous living remnant. Both would be made immortal at this time. This is also when those dead in Christ would literally inherit the spiritual reality of the New Kingdom and shine forth forever
This is the meaning of " TO BE GLORIFIED IN HIS SAINTS".
Remember also, Paul wrote to this very same church group at Thessalonica in his first letter and said to them "we who ARE ALIVE AND REMAIN at the coming of the Lord" (end of 1 Thess 4) Clearly, these were events that Paul expected some of them to be alive to witness. Which makes perfect sense because Christ said the same thing. (Matt 16)
The Coming of the Lord was a two fold event....
1) It brought salvation and inheritance of the promise and immortality. LIFE
2) It brought flaming fire down and vengeance down upon all of His enemies in judgement. DEATH
That is why it is called the GREAT AND TERRIBLE DAY OF THE LORD. (Joel 2:31)
Thanks for reading guys. If you enjoyed the article please be sure to like it and also please jump on the bottom of my home page and give that a like too. Thanks again!