What does 2 Thessalonians 1:8 mean?
ESV: in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.
NIV: He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.
NASB: in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God, and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.
CSB: when he takes vengeance with flaming fire on those who don’t know God and on those who don’t obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.
NLT: in flaming fire, bringing judgment on those who don’t know God and on those who refuse to obey the Good News of our Lord Jesus.
KJV: In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:
NKJV: 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.
Verse Commentary:
This verse affirms that God will punish those who "do not know God," which according to the Bible means those who choose to ignore Him (Romans 1:18–20). It is unbiblical to say God will not punish those who have never heard the gospel, arguing that this is why they do not know Him. One's lost condition is not based on whether or not he has heard the gospel but on the fact that he is a sinner. Romans 3:23 declares: "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." Romans 1:18–23 makes it clear that God has made the truth of His existence obvious and none have an excuse. Those who seek God will find Him (Matthew 7:7–8), leaving no one blameless for unbelief.

The second group, those who reject the gospel's call, are those with more direct knowledge and experience of the truth, who are therefore subject to greater responsibility (Hebrews 10:26–31). They have heard the gospel and blatantly refuse to believe.

In His justice, God will dispatch His holy angels to execute this judgment. Other Scriptures declare God's wrath against the unrighteous. For example, Romans 1:18 states: "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth." Also, Jude 1:14–15 quotes Enoch as prophesying: "Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of his holy ones, to execute judgment on all and to convict all the ungodly of their deeds of ungodliness that they have committed in such an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things that ungodly sinners have spoken against him."
Verse Context:
Second Thessalonians 1:5–12 refers to the Thessalonians' trials as evidence that God is righteous and just. Paul indicates that the Thessalonians' faith and endurance would prove their status as inheritors of God's kingdom. Further, Paul assures his readers that God will avenge those who troubled the Thessalonians, giving the persecuted ones relief. When Jesus returns with His angels, He will inflict flaming fire on those who do not know God and on those who heard the gospel but rejected it. Their punishment will include eternal ruin and separation from God. When Jesus returns, those who have believed in Him will share in Jesus' glory and will marvel at Him. This look into the future was meant to help the Thessalonians continue to be steadfast under persecution and trouble. Paul prays that God would enable his readers to live successfully and worthy of their calling.
Chapter Summary:
The apostle Paul received word that some Thessalonian believers did not understand clearly what he had written about the day of the Lord. Paul had told them in his first letter that Christians were exempt from the judgment and tribulation of the day of the Lord. However, some of the Thessalonians thought the day of the Lord had already begun, because they were undergoing fierce persecution. Here, Paul seeks to relieve those misunderstandings. He also addresses the matter of idleness and tells the church how to deal with those who are idle. Paul commends the believers for perseverance and faith, encouraging them to live according to the teachings he had given them.
Chapter Context:
Second Thessalonians opens with Paul's typical greetings, then shifts into encouragement. In his prior letter, Paul had explained the nature of death, for a Christian believer, and given a description of Christ's eventual return for His people. Now, the Thessalonian believers were experiencing persecution. Though they seem to be enduring it well, Paul reminds them that judgment before God awaits all people. Those who are persecuted for His sake will be part of His kingdom, while those who reject Him will face fire and vengeance. After this, Paul returns to the subject of Christ's return, and the rapture, seemingly to combat misunderstandings which linger despite his earlier letter.
Book Summary:
Second Thessalonians follows Paul's earlier letter to the same group of Christian believers. In 1 Thessalonians, Paul had praised them for their faithfulness and given them reassurances about the day of the Lord. This included teachings on the rapture and a description of death as ''sleep'' from a Christian viewpoint. In this second letter, Paul corrects possible misunderstandings about those ideas. Among his teachings here are the importance of a good work ethic and God's impending judgment on sin, including judgment on those who persecute the Christian church. Paul also provides the Thessalonians with reassurances that they have not somehow missed out on Christ's return.
Accessed 7/17/2024 1:51:44 PM
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