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1 Thessalonians 1
Verse 1 This letter comes from the missionaries Paul, Silvanus (Roman) (other name is Silas (Greek) used by Luke, one and the same person?) and Timothy and it is addressed to the church in Thessalonica. Since Paul as an apostle is primarily responsible, his name is written first. Then Silvanus who was probably older than Timothy, who had also preached the gospel in Thessalonica. They were with Paul in Corinth from where this letter was written.
Paul's name in Jewish was Saul, of the tribe of Benjamin, the tribe of King Saul centuries earlier. His name means: Asked of God. But Saul received the Roman (Latin) name: Paul or Paulus.
To the congregation in Thessalonica. Congregation (1 Peter 2:9) means the elected persons, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, to declare the wonderful works of God, of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. 1 Corinthians 11:18 a group of believers who come together in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
In God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. With the preposition "in" meaning "rooted, grounded" in the First and Second Persons of the Trinity. The Holy Spirit follows in verse 5. It is Jehovah, the God of Israel, Who has sent His Son Jesus. Jesus is fully God, equal to His Father. Lord because Jesus is Lord over all believers, for Whom He gave His life on the cross of Calvary for the forgiveness of sins. Paul took the name 'Lord' from the eleven disciples, who called Jesus: Lord (Master). Christ (Greek) is equivalent to the Hebrew Messiah. But personally I see it as the resurrected Jesus, risen by God the Father from the dead and now seated at the right hand of God the Father in Heaven.
Grace and peace are possible only through God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. They are the only source. It is a gift of grace from the Trinity to sinful man. When we think of peace we can think of the Jewish greeting of 'Shalom' (Judges 19:20 necessity, prosperity and well-being).
Verses 2 and 3 Paul, Silvanus and Timothy we give thanks to God for all of you, that is, specifically by name, the Thessalonians. In our prayers we should specifically mention by name (not my family, but each family member by name. Specifically a brother or sister in Christ, the name of the pastor and missionaries, etc.). All that is: all the church members of the Thessalonians. Apparently they prayed unitedly (in addition to their individual prayers). God was praised for His work in the Thessalonians. They were known for their works of faith, the efforts of love and their hope (on the Coming) in our Lord Jesus Christ.
What the work was, is not mentioned. We can think of care for the sick and poor. Looking at verse 6 the preaching and proclamation of the gospel despite all the resistance of Jews. Their preaching and their faith was known far beyond Thessalonica (verse 7). An example to us.
Verse 4 What a testimony. Paul, Silvanus and Timothy know that the Thessalonians are saved from sin. It is very clear from one works that they belong to the Lord Jesus Christ. Their daily life is a testimony of Christ, so that others speak of their faith and alterations.
Verses 5-10 How do they know verse 4 for sure? The explanation follows in verses 5-10. The power of the Holy Ghost has come upon them with full conviction after the evangelism of these three missionaries. Despite all the heavy tribulations, Acts 17:5-9 by the Jews, who became envious because many Gentiles came to believe in Jesus as Saviour. The Thessalonians had gladly accepted the gospel and in turn (after the missionaries were forced to leave their city) preached it to others in word and deed. Their testimony penetrated deep into Macedonia and Achaia and far beyond. How did this come about? Thessalinica was a popular trading place, located on the Egnatian Highway, which connected East with West. Located on the Thermaic Gulf which port reached the whole world. So that the believers used every opportunity to preach the gospel.
Verse 6 The Thessalonians had become ambassadors by their conduct: you have become imitators of us and of the Lord under affliction. As Jesus was persecuted and reviled by scribes and Pharisees, so the Thessalonians were persecuted by the Jews. Imitators of us, because they propagated Jesus Christ and thereby referred to Jesus and God the Father. The missionaries had been physically present. The Thessalonians had not known Jesus physically, but through the proclamation and conduct of these three missionaries.
Verse 8 Their faith is focused on God. Not on the three missionaries, but purely on Jesus and God the Father. No pastor or missionary worship, but focused on the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior of sins and Lord of daily Christian life. How did the missionaries know this? By the stories of the travelers who came from Thessalonica and told in Corinth. Their beliefs and behavior circulated by word of mouth. Is that also our testimony?
Verse 9 Their conversion was sincere and radical. They had radically done away with all idolatry. The many Greek gods and converted to one living God. The Greek gods who were deaf and dumb, without works and their images made by human hands. Converted to the living Trinity, with the visible power of the Holy Spirit. Foolishness to the heathen, invisible to the heathen. But visible through the conversion of the Thessalonians, through the rejoicing among persecutors and the works of the Holy Spirit. Done with the old life and born again. New life through the power of the Holy Spirit which manifested itself in the manifestation of the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22). When a man opens himself to His operation, that changes the born again person. Not just emotionally, but in spirit and will. A complete surrender to God and no more living in the world. That is a decision. The Thessalonians had grown up from childhood in the worship of idols, the Greek gods, prostitution in the idol temples. The enemies of missionaries were correct in claiming that they turned the world upside down. Idolatry shows itself in all kinds of greed, selfishness, wealth, drugs, wild parties, free sex and pornography, etc. For the Thessalonians Zeus was reality. Mount Olympus (the home of the gods), about 75 km from Thessalonica, sometimes trembled (earthquake).
Notwithstanding the grace of God, a radical conversion had taken place and their hearts had opened to that one God and acknowledged being sinners, recognizing their inability to save themselves from the wrath of God and having the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and Lord accepted. They served Him, as a slave serves his master, completely of their own free will.
Verse 10 To wait for the Son from heaven. Evidently Paul has spoken of the (first and second?) Coming of Christ. The Son Jesus, who was raised from the dead for the redemption from the wrath to come. Paul already writes this before the Revelation to the apostle John. Paul knew and taught about the wrath to come, that is, God's judgment on man in the future. Which has been extensively revealed to John and we know through the book of Revelation.
The first Coming of Christ is the Coming for the wise virgins in Matthew 25 and who are taken up in Matthew 24:41-42. This First Coming is in the clouds and Christ does NOT appear to mankind living on Earth. More on this in chapter 4:13-18.
The second Coming is at the end of the Great Tribulation when all nations on earth will see Jesus, Matthew 24:30, whom they pierced (Zechariah 12:10). Then Jesus Christ will set His feet on the Mount of Olives (Zechariah 14:4). Then He will come with all the saints (Zechariah 14:5) (the raptured Christians of Matthew 24:41-42? or are they the angels?). Then the angels will gather the people, separate the wheat from the chaff, the goats from the sheep, and the judgment (God's wrath) will take place, Matthew 25:31-36.
Attention deserves the word 'expect'. It means 'Looking forward with all patience and faith'. It is future and is not going to happen immediately. We are now 2000 years later and the first and second Comings have still not happened. Nevertheless, with the return of the Jewish people to the State of Israel, the signs as Jesus spoken in Matthew 24, and today all the preparations for the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem, point to the soon first Coming and fulfillment of Matthew 24:41-42.
Expecting is an active action. The way you prepare everything for someone who comes to eat or stay. Tidying up the house, cleaning, shopping and preparing the meal. Prepare the guest room. Draw up a program of activities, what am I going to show him in my city and/or country. You make time to show him things and travel/visit together. You ensure that he will feel perfectly at home. How is our expect? Is our house in order? A house without worldly things, without worldly idols? Is our life under the control of the Holy Spirit and the nine fruits of the Spirit visible in your life? Can you walk around with Christ and show your labor for Him?
For the true Christian, the first Coming is a redemption, see chapter 4:13-18. Receive a redemption from the sinful body and receive a new sinless and eternal body equally to Jesus Christ. For the Christian who is left behind and going through the Great Tribulation, fear but know that if he or she refuses to accept the mark 666, he or she will receive eternal life with God.
For the man who rejects God, God's wrath and judgment awaits upon his or her works. No one will escape.
1 Thessalonians 2
Paul's defense is simple, he refers to what the Thessalonians themselves know. Paul recalls their thoughts. The labors of these three missionaries have not been without fruit. Many have come to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior upon the preaching of these missionaries. The enemy used slander by means of which they were tryingto undermine the influence of their message amounted to this: These missionaries are deluted individuals who for selfish reasons and with trickery are trying to exploir the people, so that the gospel preaching stops because their message is unreliable. In that way, Satan began to sow doubt in Eve. Eve fell into the trap, and through Adam's conscious choice, sin entered into the world. That is the result if you give a finger, then Satan takes the whole hand. It succumbed to a minor temptation. A petty theft leads to a bigger one. And even bigger with violence and threat with a revolver. And eventually to murder. A small temptation from drug use, to addiction, with theft, violence and overdose or murder. When tempted, one should take God's Word in hand and use the full Truth against Satan. Reject every little temptation. Immediately confess sin and acknowledge complete forgiveness through the blood of Jesus. God casts sin into the depths of the sea.
The missionaries' work had not gone empty-handed. What Paul is saying here is, "Far from taking anything from you, we have given you." Our gospel has come to you not only in word, but in power, with fulfillment by the Holy Spirit and full assurance. The Good News came from God, it was God's gift.
Verse 2 You have accepted it despite the mistreatment of the Jews (Acts 17:1-9). You knew from our beatings in Philippi (Acts 16:11-40) how they had openly mistreated me and Silas which was forbidden because they were Roman citizens. They had been dragged before the rulers, slandered, unjustly thrown into prison, and chained to the foot stock. Nevertheless, they had boldly proclaimed the gospel in Thessalonians. Not afraid of being mistreated again. Without selfishness they had preached the gospel at the risk of being persecuted by them too.
Verse 3 In Thessalonica there were many philosophers, charlatans, impostors and swindlers, who seduced the people with cunning for their own honor and gain. Their motives were not pure. Unlike these missionaries who, with pure intent, preached the gospel: Redemption through Jesus Christ from the wrath of God for sins. No fallacy but the pure Truth: The Only way to God the Father is Jesus. Jesus is the Truth and the Light. The admonition that man is a sinner and cannot save himself. The exhortation to radical conversion. Leaving the old life in the world and being born again into a child of God.
Verses 4 and 5 Unlike these deceivers (verse 3), these missionaries were approved by God to proclaim the Truth. They (Paul by Jesus Christ personally) had been approved by God to preach the gospel. They did not speak to please and satisfy people, but if necessary with harsh words of truth, without winding cloths that man cannot please God, one is a sinner and needs Jesus. Calling sin by name.
Verse 6 Without any flattery, without weakening sin. Clearly teaching the commandments of God. Say what is wrong. What the Will of God is not. Teaching clearly the 10 commandments and the Torah (the laws in the first five books of the Bible). Everything that Jesus taught during His life here on earth. Not telling half truths. No flattery in preaching. False promises of richness when one gives tithe. False promises of healing as men ....
Although Paul was an apostle called by Jesus Christ personally, he might have made demands. However, he did not seek glory from men. He, Silas and Timothy worked and made their own living. No reward for their gospel preaching. No reward for the powers (through the Holy Spirit) associated with their preaching. But humility and giving all glory to God.
Verse 7 The missionaries behaved as a loving mother taking care of her own children. Not a hired nanny, but a love like a mother's own. With a fatherly love like Jesus gave His life for the believer. A love of God the Father. Who desires not that any should perish, but that all be saved. However, man has free will. God will not force him or her. There is no real love in a forced marriage. A marriage should be voluntarily entered into by a man and a woman. Any person can voluntarily make a covenant with God. Voluntarily accept Jesus Christ as Savior. Voluntarily accept Jesus Christ as Lord and daily say NO to sin, daily let Jesus be Lord of your life and put yourself under the control of the Holy Spirit and do God's Will.
A mother feeds her children, gives education, cares when in suffering and illness, difficulties, guidance, etc.
Verses 8 and 9 Working during the day to support themselves, in the evening (and at night?) preaching the gospel. Despite all the attacks and persecutions by Jews (and Gentiles) with threats to their lives, we are remembering you of our efforts to bring the gospel. You have become dear to us because many have accepted the gospel of God despite all the resistance of Jews to turn you away from it.
Verse 10 The believers in Thessalonica and God are witnesses how we, Paul, Silas and Timothy, have behaved holy, righteous and blameless. Their daily walk was a testimony of their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Their walk of life was a testimony to the power of the Holy Ghost. How is that in our lives?
Verse 11 A father takes care of the education of his children. Paul, Silas and Timothy had taught the Thessalonians as a group (Bible study group) God's Word, but also paid attention to personal circumstances, exhorted each one of you and encouraged. Liberation from the past, abortion, satan worship, addiction, admonition of individual sins, etc. Mainly to build up the faith and encourage one to stand firm and grow in the faith.
Verse 12 Be worthy of your royal priesthood. You are called as a priest to serve God, to walk worthy of God, to be an example. Let Jesus Christ be visible in your life, by not participating in worldly things. Show that you submit to God's commandments and protest against what is against the Will of God. For you are called to the Kingdom of Christ. To reign as king with Jesus Christ in His 1000-year Kingdom. How can you reign with Him, if you have not already served Him as Lord in your earthly life?
Verse 13 We thank God that you have not accepted it as a word from us of men, but as what it really is: Words of God. That Word is at work in you. The preaching should be experienced by unbelievers, not of the preacher, but as Words of God. Only then will it bear fruit and bring unbelievers to faith in Jesus. The preaching in the church should not be experienced as the pastor's, but God speaking to you. The Word that is spoken must bear fruit and have an effect in your life who believes.
Verse 14 Fortunately the Thessalonians had become imitators, ambassadors of Jesus Christ in word and in deed. In Judea, the Christians were persecuted by Jews and Gentiles. Likewise, the Thessalonians were persecuted by their own townspeople. Possibly also the abuse and/or persecution by spouses. For precisely in Thessalonica many women had come to faith. These husbands may have held prominent positions in Thessalonica. And were they looked at and excluded? Because their wife was a Christian?
Do we recognize this from the Muslim world. Women, children who convert to Christianity and are persecuted, sometimes killed by their Muslim husband or fathers?
Verse 15 Jesus said that the Israelites/Jews had killed the prophets. Their disobedience began already after the Exodus from Egypt with the golden calf in the desert. Serving idols among the Judges. Rejecting God, resulted in exile to Babylonia. Many prophets God sent to warn and repent, but time and again they killed the prophets. The climax is Pilate's exhortation to crucify Jesus. Jesus warned, if they do not spare Me, you can expect a similar fate. Many imitators were burned at the stake. Many imitators were tortured and raped in prisons. Many are in concentration camps because of their faith. Others have been beheaded. And so on.
Verse 16 It were the Jews who try to hinder Jesus being preached in Asia Minor. With that they filled up the measure of their sins. That has been happening for 2000 years now. But Ezekiel 37 is being fulfilled. The dry bones of the dead (the burnt and dry bones of the Jews in the concentration camps in the Second World War?) are clothed with flesh and muscle. However, the spirit is not in them yet. They still expect to be saved by keeping the Torah. The sense of sin is still missing. Yet in the end all Israel will be saved.
Verse 17 The missionaries were accused that it was all false love. After all, they had abandoned the Thessalonians after their forced leave from Thessalonica, their accusers said. Nothing more could be further from the truth. Although the missionaries were not physically present, they were carried in the heart. Their desire to return was great. Many missionaries long to return to their missionary land, but their visas are refused. Many have had to leave their missionary country because of the Covid-19 and no longer receive visas. But their hearts continue to go out to these people. Their zeal in prayer is great.
Verse 18 It is a guess what the meaning is of "but satan hindered us". Spurgeon has interesting explanations. On the left: Select: English; On the menu bar, select: Sermons; Scroll down to: 1 Thessalonians and click; Select by clicking on: Satan´s opposition (It opens after a few seconds).
It is beyond our human understanding how it is possible that satan can prevent. Everything is under God's control, right? Or did the apostle not understand God's Will, was it his human desire? However it may be, God's ways are best.
Verses 19 and 20 The Thessalonians are the crown of boasting of the Lord Jesus for these three missionaries, which they receive at His coming (Parousia: the arrival of a king or emperor, an important person). To them, the Thessalonians are their honor and great joy over this successful young church in Christ. Can we say this about our work? If we have only been able to guide someone for a short time after someone has come to faith. Have we clearly explained the gospel and God's Word that the newly born again remains steadfast in the Christian faith, enough strength to resist Satan and the world? The Thessalonians had said goodbye to the world with their idols. They lived completely under the control of the Holy Spirit despite the absence of their spiritual fathers.
1 Thessalonians 3
Verse 1 In light of chapter 2 verse 18, where Satan has several times hindered the three missionaries from coming to the Thessalonians, Paul could no longer bear to know what was going on within this young congregation in faith. We do not know from the Bible how long the missionaries have been able to work there. Paul had been preaching in the synagogue for at least three weeks. To gaine an unbeliever to faith and fully steadfast in the faith in three weeks, armed against satan, is a great teaching. But they had also worked day and night on the proclamation. May this be a lesson to today's church and preachers!
So they decided that Paul should be left alone in Athens. The problem arises with "alone". Plural is used in the root text. So this only applies to Paul and Silas left behind in Athens and Timothy was sent to Thessalonica? Or had Silas left Paul for a short time to visit another congregation? Acts does not answer this either.
Verse 2 Timothy is a servant in the proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ. His task is to build up believers in faith, but also to admonish where a believer sins, lives in the world, deviates from the Word of God. To fortify in the Word of God, to stand firm in the tribulations and persecutions, and to resist Satan. To strengthen in prayer life. What about our Church leaders? Do they perform these tasks?
Verse 3 The purpose of sending Timothy was to see if the Thessalonians were faltering. Jews had come from Philipi who questioned the missionaries' teachings. The idolaters in Thessalonica tried to sow doubt. After all, our gods have been tested, we have served for many years, do not be tempted by this new teaching.
For you yourselves know that we are destined for afflictions and persecutions. Jesus Himself had said that this fate awaits us. He too was reviled and mocked. The scribes, the Jews rejected the teachings of Jesus. So do not be surprised at the attacks on your faith. Be warned.
Verse 4 Already when we were with you in Thessalonica we told you beforehand that you were to suffer afflictions from Jews, Gentiles and Satan. And that has just come to pass when we were with you. So much so that we had to flee to save our lives. The goal is to test the steadfastness of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and to grow in faith.
Verse 5 Because Satan hinders us (2:18), and I was in the dark about your faith, therefore I send to you Timothy. To be sure that the tempter (Satan) has not deceived and crushed you. Has been able to deceive you, because he prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking whom he can devour and he masquerades as an angel of light. Paul wanted to ascertain whether the Theslonians had accepted the gospel purely emotionally or whether it was out of a sense of sin and necessity for redemption through the blood of Jesus Christ. Had they managed to withstand all the afflictions and attacks of Satan? Had their faith grown? Was their life under the control of the Holy Spirit?
What are our spiritual leaders like? Is a newly born again person left to his or her own devices. Or is it regularly checked whether the person is steadfast and grows from baby to adult in faith. When I look at myself, it has been Christ who has held me steady. I myself had to take the initiative to go to church, where people paid no attention to me. I myself had to take the initiative and look for a Bible study group. No one guided me in my spiritual life and growth. I had grown up without Sunday school. But grew in knowledge by reading the Bible daily. Without supporters, without prayer circle.
How many young born again are not lost, returning to life in the world, because there is no spiritual guidance?
Rightly was the missionaries' fear that their efforts would be in vain. After all, their spiritual fathers were forced to flee for their lives. Was the tempter (Satan) able to sow doubt about sin, no forgiveness of sin? Satan tempted to sin, and after falling, he says there is no forgiveness. Pure lie and deception of the tempter. Satan is the god of the world (2 Corinthians 4:3), the prince of the powers of the air (Ephesians 2:2). 1 Timothy 4:1 says: Some will depart from the faithby giving heed to deceitfuç spirits and doctrines of demons, through the pretensions of liars. Those who deny the existence of Satan, they do not believe the Bible. Satan and demons are a reality.
Verses 6 and 7 But now that Timothy has come to us from you. Now that means Paul wrote this letter directly in response to Timothy's account. No waiting but an immediate response. Not a delay in answers. A definite hint for those who delay replying to important letters/emails. We are not going to pray and wait for the answer of the Holy Spirit. No, a penetrating prayer and begging God to receive an answer and to be able to communicate this answer soon. Do not give foot to Satan.
Paul thoroughly rejoices at the good tidings he has received about the Thessalonians. Complete reassurance. But also about the fact that the Thessalonians kept the missionaries in good memory despite all the tribulations. They, like the missionaries, were looking forward to meeting in person again. How is our relationship with our spiritual children? Do we have regular contact with them? Are we eager to meet them in person?
Verse 8 We rejoice because you stand firm in the Lord: in love, trust and hope in Him. That is worthy of thanksgiving.
Verse 9 That is a rhetorical question. The missionaries can give thanks to God for the good tidings received about the Theslonians. And how can they repay God for the joy He gives them? Have we thought about this. Sometimes we thank God for the things He gives us. Food, clothing, protection, blessing, victory over satan and demons, victory over our enemies, healing, etc. But how are our reactions? Do we do things to please God so that God rejoices over us?
Verse 10 Note that even though the missionaries work day and night, they still find time during the day and at night for prayer. Was it not Jesus who set the example. Worried by day and having compassion on the people and by night in prayer, conversing with His Father.
You may wonder, day and night in prayer? Well, some professions allow you to pray while you work. Other professions require complete concentration on work and do not allow you to do other things with your mind. But I myself find that between the different tasks, the Holy Spirit leads me to pray for various things. A possible tip for you?
Their prayer is fervent and earnestly because of their fervent desire to return to Thessalonica. To see each other again face to face. But also to build up what is still lacking in faith. A completion of spiritual education.
Is it the fervent and earnestly desire of the pastor, the spiritual leaders in the church, to build up believers in their faith? To build upw from the milk to solid food? From babies in the faith to adults in the faith, who are able to evangelize, resist Satan, pray day and night, and teach others in the faith?
Verse 11 The missionaries experience Satan's resistance to visit the Thessalonians. Satan wishes to overthrow them, no spiritual growth and education by the three missionaries. It is the fervent prayer that God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ break these powers and open the way to visit Thessalonica.
How is our prayer when we desire something fervent for God. Do we give up after a time of prayer? Or do we fervently pray that God's Will will be done? Are there believers who pray and thank God for a church of hundreds of thousands of believers and persevere like an American pastor, whose prayer was answered after 13 years of prayer and thanks?
Verse 12 Paul is aware that the growth of the Thessalonians is completely dependent on God. And not depending of seeing each other again and the teaching of the missionaries. It is praying to God, who also takes care of our spiritual children at a distance. For our adopted children in the developing world. The spiritual growth of our own children, but also members of the congregation in our own church.
It is very important to show love and attention. Remotely through letters, emails and telephone. Important is the increase in love for each other and God. Just like the three missionaries who are minded towards the Therssalonians. Mutual love between believers. No self interest. No selfishness, putting oneself in the foreground. But all attention is focused on the gospel proclamation, edification and glory of God.
Verse 13 The goal is to strengthen each other's hearts in love, so that we may appear blameless and holy before God on the day of the judgment seat of Christ (Romans 14:10, 2 Corinthians 5:10).
At the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His saints. There is great division and explanation about this. Some believe that this refers to Revelation 19:17-20, Matthew 24:30-31 (saints: angels and believers?), Zechariah 14:5. According to them, those who die go to Heaven and are now with Jesus in Heaven and at this return receive an immortal body just like those still living on earth. So there is no first Coming, only the coming from these 3 books of the Bible.
Personally, I do not share this opinion. For how then do we explain Matthew 24:40-41 and chapter 25 the wise and foolish virgins? This, I think, clearly points to a first Coming where one is taken (the wise virgin, the believer who lives under the control of the Holy Spirit) and the other is left behind (the foolish virgin, without sufficient oil = the Holy Spirit, who is in the world lives, not under the control of the Holy Spirit). At the first Coming of Christ in the air (not visible to the people on the earth) they are raptured, but more on this in the treatment of 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18.
I believe there is a second Coming described in Zechariah 14:5, Matthew 24:30-31 and Revelation 19:17-20 when ALL PEOPLE will see Jesus Christ, Him whom they pierced (The hands and feet of the crucifixion and spear in His side).
1 Thessalonians 4
Verse 1 Paul begins this chapter with a commendation and admonition to the Thessalonians. A praise for their way of life (just as you ARE doing), but also an exhortation to do that SO MORE AND MORE. The congregation at Thessalonica was a congregation of young believers. They had to grow, but every believer in Jesus Christ should grow, daily, which ends only at death, or at the rapture of the Church. More on that later when discussing verses 13-18.
This letter is addressed to brothers (and sisters) in Jesus Christ. Not to unbelievers. Paul had given clear instructions when the missionaries were in Thessalonica. They may have covered the entire Old Testament (the major parts of it) during their (at least) three weeks stay.
Why is this important? To know how to walk in daily life in order to PLEASE GOD. The Christian life should be aimed at proclaiming and pleasing God through our words and ACTIONS. To live to His honor and glory. See verse 3.
Paul was a realistic person with attention to the present life on earth and attention to the future in Heaven. Here on earth a holy life with its obligations as a Christian, and what will happen after death for those who have taken their sanctification seriously. He was not a dreamer, wished to give a healthy vision of life. A life with our brothers and sisters on one hand, and the witness to unbelievers on the other hand, verses 3-12.
Verse 2 The instructions from the Old Testament, the Torah, the 10 commandments were given by the missionaries. These are NOT human instructions, but instructions given by GOD HIMSELF. They have divine values and authority. No laws made and imposed by humans. These instructions were also given by Jesus during His life on earth. He is Lord.
Those who reject these instructions do not reject the missionaries, not the Bible, but they directly reject GOD (the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ).
THE SANCTIFICATION OF THE CHRISTIAN
Verse 3 With this verse begins the introduction of the sanctification of the Christian. What is God's will:
- Abstain from immorality.
- A sacred marriage. If one takes a woman or man, it is out of love and not out of lust. Many pagans marry out of lust, for their own pleasure. Christian marriage has its regulations from Leviticus 19 with whom one was NOT allowed to marry and
- Keeping God's instructions.
Immorality has everything to do with NOT loving your neighbor and God. Breaking the 10 commandments: Putting God first, not coveting what is your neighbor's (his property, wife or husband), do not steal, do not kill, do not cheat.
Fornication is serving idols, literally but also living in the world, addiction, money, wealth, adultery, having sex with someone other than your wife or husband, sex which God has forbidden, pornography, etc.
Verse 4 The believer should live holy, because his or her body is a temple of God, in which the Holy Spirit dwells. If one does not live holy, then one will grieve the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:30) and eventually be extinguished (1 Thess. 5:19).
Verse 5 Passionate desires have everything to do with coveting what your neighbor has, lusts, sexual appetites, (addiction to) alcohol and drugs, your work, all that is like by the heathen. Unbelievers do not live under the control of the Holy Spirit, they are often deceived by satan and demons. Having spiritual experiences, belief in idols (including horoscopes) and healing through spiritual powers (Pilate, acupuncture, magnetism, etc.).
Verse 6 One speaks the truth, do not deceive, no lavish profit, a fair price. In short, one treats one's brother or sister in Jesus Christ well.
For God sees and knows your thoughts. He knows with what motives you act. When one does not live holy, God is an avenger of all these things. One day you will appear before the judgment seat of Christ (2 Cor. 5:10) and you need to give an account of your life.
Verse 7 For the believer is called to live to the honor and glory of God. A serious matter what you do with your daily life as a Christian. Called to sanctification and not to join with the world. To be worthy of God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, so that people cannot find fault with you.
Verse 8 If one rejects this, then one does not reject the proclaimer (including as brought by these missionaries in Thessalonica) and the words in the Bible, but THEN MEN REJECTED GOD Who also has the Holy Spirit as an indwelling person given to you and to sin awareness. If you add or remove words from the Bible, you reject God (thinking you know better than God, knowing better than the infinite knowledge of God).
Verse 9 Paul does not need to write anything about the mutual love, which is clearly visible in this congregation. God Himself taught them how to love one another. What a testimony! How is it in our church? How is it in your personal live? Is the love visible to our neighbor, believer and unbeliever? Do we praise our neighbor as Paul did in this verse? Are we as loving father or mother encouraging and building up their children?
Verse 10 This witness of love for one another has penetrated all Macedonia. However, we must not sit back. This must become more and more visible, greater (Read 1 Cor. 13) and grow even more. Love does not cheat, not in marriage, nor in business, in tax declaration, no self-I, gives glory to the other, gives glory to God. Love does not break the other down, but is aimed at edification and growth.
Thessalonica was a connecting city and a port city, many merchants and travelers visited this city. The deeds of the believers in this city were widely discussed and reported.
Verse 11 is an introduction to verses 13-18. Perhaps they were expecting the return of Jesus Christ soon. Paul calls on you to remain calm and to stick to his/her work, to look after your own business and to keep working. This is what the missionaries recommended when they were in Thessalonica.
Fanatics, busybodies and loafers you will find them everywhere, unfortunately also in the church. Fanatics in the preaching of the gospel who were living at someone else's expense, WITHOUT being called to do so. The missionaries stayed with their work (Paul as tentmaker) and spent the evening preaching the gospel and teaching the Bible. They had set to them the right example. There is nothing wrong with a church which have the financial capacity to support pastor(s), elders, evangelists and missionaries. We know churches in America with hundreds or thousands of members.
Certainly in our end times, there are many questions. Jesus said we should watch for the signs of the times. Six signs of the end times that Jesus gives in Matthew 24:3-14: 1. False prophets and messiahs; 2. Wars and threat of war; 3. Famines; 4. Earthquakes; 5. Trials; 6. The gospel will be preached all over the world. We now see these signs very clearly. Ezekiel 47 is fulfilling: From Jerusalem, underground freshwater flows to the Dead Sea, where fish swim in this freshwater of the Dead Sea.
Looking at myself, I was convinced that the Rapture of the Chruch would happen in 2021, it did not. I started painting my house because of the enormous rain that penetrated the walls. I am involved in the completion of the outfitting of a church. A Dutch book on Revelation has been translated into Brazilian Portuguese. The work is too much for me, there is still so much work to do. Need adult born again to build websites for adolescents and children. When looking to the church in Almere, The Netherlands, there is a crying shortage of workers. The frustration of the pastor who has to leave work because of a lack of workers.
People who wonder if I should or should not move. Improving my home. Moving to another city (inland) to start a new congregation/church there. Am I going or not in the mission? All questions that sow doubts.
Young couples, with or without children? To this question I will give my personal answer: start using your time in the service of God and do not start having children. We do not know what misery the future will bring, as we have seen with the Covid-19.
Follow your heart, if God calls you and you are convinced of this and you are supported in it, follow God's call. Others stay with your job, a lot of money is needed for evangelism and mission.
Especially in the Netherlands and other countries with one or more hourly car traffic jams to work, the 8-hour working time and then again the evening traffic jam, people come home tired. Your family needs attention. But with the 38-36 hour work week, you spend 2-4 hours working for the Lord.
Especially the retired among us, seek God's Will, what He asks of you. Dedicate yourself to evangelism, work in the church, support financially.
Verse 12 Outsiders should not be able to criticize our behavior. Self-supporting is a good testimony. Care and attention for the poor.
We should not need support from outsiders. Gospel proclamation without asking for donations and contributions, free access to services.
The Coming of the Lord
Following verse 11, Paul now continues on the coming of the Lord. The Lord Jesus Christ revealed to Paul what the Coming of the Lord means. Possibly there were Thessalonians concerned about their brothers and sisters who are asleep (have died), what their fate would be.
The Thessalonians had just come out of paganism. A hopeless Roman and Greek world of gods. With myths to what will happen after death. The Resurrection of the Pharaohs buried and embalmed in the Pyramids. According to the Greeks no future for the body, but a soul prison. It comes in Hades. Theology according to Elysian and Erebus. The Stoics have serious doubts about a future after death.
There are all kinds of interpretations about verses 13-28. I like to give some and sometimes with my comments.
- The soul goes to Heaven after death and at this coming of the Lord, the souls from Heaven go with the Lord to earth and soul and body (buried on earth) are united.
But the Bible says the soul is in the blood. The blood is in the body, so soul and body stay connected?
- There is only one Coming of the Lord, namely at the end of the Great Tribulation, given in Revelation 19:17-20, Matthew 24:30-31 (saints: angels and believers?), Zechariah 14:5. That means the believers are going through the Great Tribulation, based on John 17:15: "I do not pray that thou shouldst take them out of the world, but that thou shouldst keep them from the evil one". For them, the first coming of Jesus is to earth and His birth in Bethlehem. The second coming is His coming in Matthew 24:30.
But how is Matthew 24:40-41 possible? Contradicts Revelation 3:10 "I will keep you from the hour of trial which is coming on the whole world." Contradicts Revelation 12:1-6, where the woman (Israel) is saved from the dragon and protected by God in the desert, where the dragon cannot reach her.
When the Church goes through the Great Tribulation, they preach the gospel in contradiction with the two witnesses and sealed the 144,000 who proclaim the Kingdom of God. The Christian proclaim Jesus who died and rose again, bringing redemption to everyone who believes. That contradicts the sacrifices that will be offered again in the yet-to-be-built temple in Jerusalem and the proclamation of the two witnesses and the sealed 144,000 ones!
- The Golden Gate in Jerusalem has been bricked up. According to the Jews, at the arrival of the Messiah who passes through the Golden Gate, the buried who lie in front of the Golden Gate will rise at His coming.
- After death there is a soul sleep. One goes to 'sleep' until the coming of the Lord. But Jesus says to the criminal in Luke 23:43, "Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise."
- The believing dead and living in Jesus are carried to Him in the air, and then returned with Him to the earth, Zechariah 14:5. Seems unlikely to me, given Matthew 24:40-41.
Verse 13 Paul does not wish to leave the Thessalonians in ignorance and uncertainty. But do not worry about those who have already died (in the Lord Jesus Christ). Do not grieve as the unbelievers, who have no knowledge of what will happen after death, and have no hope in it. For you know that Jesus was raised from the dead and the believers will be raised from the dead with Him and will have eternal life with God.
Paul goes on to explain further in the following verses, where the explanations vary widely. Here I shall state my personal view: The First Coming of the Lord is Matthew 24:40-41, these verses in Thessalonians 4 and 1 Corinthians 15:30-52. And the Second Coming of the Lord is Matthew 24:30-31, Zechariah 12:10 and 14:5, Revelation 19:17-20 for ALL people on earth (with the judgment), then ALL will see Jesus, Who they have pierced.
Verse 14 Opposite the hopelessness of ignorance of the unbeliever, stands the certainty of faith in the resurrection with Jesus. Those who believe that Jesus has risen from the dead, God the Father through Jesus will also raise them from the dead. Whereby death can be figuratively taken as being dead by sin, and lost forever. And literally death at the death of man.
Verse 15 These are not the words of Paul and his fellow missionaries. NO, they may tell this (mystery) BECAUSE Jesus told them (this we declare to you by the word of the Lord). What is this mystery?
The living in Jesus, who are still alive at His coming, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. Being alive has no advantage over the dead. Let us see where the fallen asleep, those who have died in faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, are now. Luke 23:43 Jesus says to the criminal who repents: "Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise". So after the crucifixion of Jesus and this criminal, BOTH go to paradise. In paradise, poor Lazarus is in Abraham's bosom (so Abraham has a body, namely a bosom) and both are RECOGNIZED by the rich one who is in Hades. Souls cannot recognize themselves, so all three must have a body and be AWARE of their situation. The rich suffers PAIN in the realm of the dead. So with a consciousness and a body. That means that the believer goes to paradise after his or her death.
That makes verse 16 logical that those who have died in Christ rise first, namely they go from paradise to Jesus who is in the clouds, see next verse.
Verse 16 For the Lord will come with a cry of command. Only God the Father knows when the Coming of the Lord will be. So it is God the Father Who gives the command. He will instruct the archangel (and which of the archangels, Gabriel, Michael, or anyone else we do not know by name) to blow the shofar (trumpet of God). Then the Lord Jesus Christ will descend from Heaven and go to the clouds around the earth. INVISIBLE to the people on Earth!
Then the believers who have accepted Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord will go from paradise to Jesus and according to 1 Corinthians 15:51-54 in the twinkling of an eye receive an imperishable (sinless and eternal) body.
Verse 17 THEN those living who acknowledge the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord will ascend to Jesus and also according to 1 Corinthians 15:51-54 in the twinkling of an eye will receive an imperishable (sinless and eternal) body. That, I believe, is the moment described in Matthew 24:39-42: "So will be the coming of the Son of man. Then two men will be in the field; one shall be taken, and one is left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one is taken, and one is left. Watch therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming". And the wise and foolish virgins in Matthew 25:1-13. If we take literally one is taken and one is left, the five foolish and the five wise, ONLY half of the believers will be accepted (live under the control of the Holy Spirit, having taken sanctification to heart) and go with Him to Heaven. While the other half of believers are left and go through the Great Tribulation and get a second chance(?) and refuse the mark of the Beast 666 and inherit eternal life on the New Earth?
All this happens in the twinkling of an eye. The people on earth will miss people in an instant. Chaos ensues, believing drivers of cars, buses, trains, pilots in an airplane are suddenly taken away and disappeared.
Those who have fallen asleep together with the living are taken away in the twinkling of an eye to Jesus, who is in the air (clouds). It goes in the twinkling of an eye, the people on earth WILL NOT SEE IT.
And so we shall always be with the Lord. Where is Lord Jesus today? Seated at the right hand of God the Father in HEAVEN. Only with an imperishable SINLESS body can the believer see God. God is a consuming fire. Even Moses with his sinful body could not see God. That is why I think believers are not in Heaven NOW, because of their sinful bodies.
I think then the Great Tribulation begins, the construction of the temple in Jerusalem (everything is ready, the construction of the temple can be done in three months, the priests and Levites are trained for the sacrifice, etc.), the two witnesses and 144,000 begin to proclaim and the Antichrist (Satan) comes to power.
The Church is in Heaven (Revelation 3), will praise God. And now my speculation follows: comes the appearance before the judgment seat of Christ, the wedding of the Lamb Jesus Christ with His bride the Church (Revelation 19:6-10) and we are trained for the battle against satan and his followers, the battle of Armageddon (Revelation 16:16).
Verse 18 It is NOT the intention that verses 1 to 17 remain a mystery for the Church. The believers should admonish one another with these words, that is, make them KNOWN to one another. What a great announcement by Jesus Christ to his servant Paul not to make us despair and look forward with confidence to the future in Heaven with a perfectly healthy without handicaps, sinless and eternal body.
Rapture/Parousia Duration: 1 minute. At the sign of the trumpet, Jesus leaves Heaven and goes to the clouds around the earth. First the dead are raised and then the living (two will be in the field, one is taken and one is left) the raised dead and the living go together with Jesus to Heaven.
1 Thessalonians 5
Verses 1 and 2 Continuing with chapter 4, the apostle Paul affirms that no one knows when the Day of the Lord will be, because according to Jesus it comes in Matthew 24:43-44 and 36 as a thief in the night (2 Peter 3:10-13) and the angels of heaven and the Son (Jesus) do not know, only God the Father. Looking at Matthew 25, we should have enough oil in our lamps as well as a reserve to be among the wise virgins. That is, the Holy Spirit (the oil) must be fully active in the believer and at work at the (first) Coming of Jesus Christ. It is difficult to discern which Coming(s) Paul is talking about. Previous chapter talks about the rapture to Heaven. While the Day of the Lord according to Isaiah 13:6; Ezekiel 13:5; 30:3; Joel 1:15; 2:1, 11, 31; 3:14; Amos 5:18; Obadiah 15; Zephaniah 1:7, 14 and Malachi 4:5 is the great and dreadful Day of the Lord, preceded by the prophet Elijah (being one of the two Witnesses in the Great Tribulation). So the time of Noah in Matthew 24 to verse 36 or 39? The question is Matthew 24:40-44? Gives an unclear division? Is until verse 39 the Second Coming of Christ where all people on earth (verse 30) will see Him? And verses 40-44 the First Coming when Jesus Christ comes in the air and lift up the taken ones to Heaven? Followed by the wise and foolish virgins (the division between chapter 24 and 25 is not present in the original text).
Because of this obscurity of Paul, the different interpretations of these texts arise.
Verse 3 We can certainly say that today the world is in "peace" and we are living in the days of Noah. Carelessness, denial of God's existence and His wrath, the free sex and sex of the same sex, a rejection of God's commandments and standards, explanations through philosophy and science, denial of a coming of Christ. People think they can save themselves and do not need God. Then suddenly the disasters of the Great Tribulation befall them. It is possible that in the beginning of the Great Tribulation all is peaceful, until the wrath of God breaks out.
A pregnant woman is calm during the pregnancy, then suddenly the pain takes over, the membranes break and the contractions start. There is no escaping, the contractions cannot be stopped, the birth of the child is about to happen. So it will be, when the Great Tribulation begins, it will be unstoppable. Woe after woe, the breaking of the seven seals, the trumpets and the bowls. All will come to pass and like the woes these disasters are unstoppable. Until the last woe the child is born, until the (second) Coming of Jesus and He appears to all people on earth (the child is born).
That is the end. The pregnant woman cannot escape the birth of the child, the world cannot escape the Coming of Christ, the final judgment of God.
Verse 4 But you, brothers (and sisters) in Thessalonians are not in darkness. I, Paul, have told you all. You know that Christ will come to receive you and take you up to Heaven, you know that you will receive a new imperishable, sinless body and eternal life with God. That does not happen to you like a thief in the night. Many Christians now living under the control of the Holy Spirit (the wise virgins in Matthew 25) are in the imminent expectation of the (first) Coming of Christ. They are ready. While other Christians living in the world have no knowledge of the coming of Christ, their churches do not teach anything about the Coming. Staying behind overtakes them (Matthew 24:40-41) and notices that they have stayed behind on earth. Theirs is the Great Tribulation.
Verse 5 Paul is convinced that most in the church in Thessalonica (except those who do not live in holiness 4:3-8. the idlers) are children of light. They belong to the Lord Jesus Christ. They are children of the day because they let their light (gospel proclamation) shine in the world. They are not children of darkness, do not belong to Satan, nor to the night, that is, they do not live in the world, nor do the works of Satan. Sin no longer dominates them, they live in sanctification of God.
Verse 6 Sleeping in the sense of being watchful, as the master of the house is watchful for the thief, alert as the wise virgins who had spare oil for their lamps. Be vigilant for the pitfalls of satan. Watch out for worldly music that has demonic lyrics and calls for sexual appetites, fornication (with children), disobedience to parents, indulging in drink and drunkenness, enjoyment of drugs, etc.
To be sober what is worldly and what belongs to God. Sober to what God has forbidden (abortion, euthanasia, tattooing, murder, selfishness, stealing, and much more), not yielding to what is approved and talked about by governments today. Clothed with the spiritual armor.
Verses 7 and 8 The believers sleep at night so that he or she is well rested to work during the day and be watchful. Not to the night club and disco. No drunkenness and drug use, so that one opens oneself to the powers of darkness. Equipped with the armor of faith, love, Bible reading, steadfast prayer, and looking to the Coming of Christ and looking forward to the imperishable body in Heaven. Sober to keep working, not to be distracted and misled.
The harness protects the most vital parts of the human body: heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, intestines. The Christian should daily put on his armor of faith and love to withstand the onslaught of the powers of darkness. His or her body should be in good shape, physically as well as spiritually, nourished by Bible reading, prayer and the Holy Spirit. The best weapon is attack, not a passive defense against Satan, but active weapons of Bible knowledge and intense prayer.
The helmet of hope, namely Jesus died for sin (provided we confess). We are sinners, still living in the earthly body, still sinning. But He is faithful to forgive our sins when we confess. God casts them by confession into the depths of the sea. The children of light are saved by the blood of Jesus and saved by His work and protected from the coming wrath of God over sin.
Verses 9 and 10 The only reason to be redeemed from our sin, is the Lord Jesus Christ. By faith in Him, the believers are bought free from the wrath of God the Father over the sin of man. He died for sins, that we either wake (those alive at His Coming) or sleep (those already asleep at His Coming, 4:15) may live together with Him in Heaven. The sleeping does not go back to verse 7 who are drunk at night and have no knowledge of redemption, but refers to 4:15 who have already died in Christ.
Verse 10 Paul again urges the Thessalonians to build each other up. They are a good example, they do it too, but it is the vigilance to keep going to build each other up. The expectation of the Coming of Christ has been going on for 2000 years. Therefore, not expecting more makes sense. But just now, with all that is going on in the world, the signs that Jesus has indicated are being fulfilled, we now know that His (first) Coming is imminent, and the Comings probably in this generation is going to happen. The people of Israel is in the State of Israel. Ezekiel 47 is being fulfilled: underground fresh water already flowing to the Dead Sea and in its estuary, fishes already swim in this fresh water. Everything is ready to build the temple in three months and the Levites and priests are trained. The red heifer has already been bred. Earthquakes are increasing in number and strength. So now is the time to exhort the congregation and point out in the churches the necessary sanctification and preaching of the Coming of Christ.
Verses 12 and 13 Timothy had just returned from Thessalonica and had given a favorable report, but there were a few things that deserved Paul's attention, namely verses 12-15. Starting with the church leaders who are making efforts to build up the church. Church leaders who teach the gospel, conduct Bible studies, point out sins, rebuke, encourage, etc. Church leaders who take care of the church, maintain the church building, finances, etc. Church leaders who guide the weak in faith. Paul asks the Thessalonians to esteem them high, to listen to them, and to appreciate their work. Speak no evil of them, fear them and be at peace with them.
Vers 14 Idlers are chaotic, dissolute, undisciplined, irregular, messy, sloppy, disorderly, immoral and/or irregular. See also verse 4:11-12. Paul calls for reproving these idlers. Help the fainthearted, those who have no courage. Possibly also those who are concerned about what will happen to those who have already fallen asleep. Let the strong among you stand up in love for the weak (physically as well as spiritually). Do not esteem yourself higher than others, but be patient with all, be meek. It is the task of each (strong) member of the congregation to take care of the other (weak) members of the congregation. That is not limited to the pastor, elder or deacon.
Verse 15 Is in line with Jesus' statements in Matthew 5:38-48. Instead of returning evil for evil, show the love of Jesus and try to win the evildoer to Jesus as the Savior from sin and evil. Phil. 4:5 Let your kindness be known to all men. Let not satan and demons win, but seek the good of the other. Satan is only too happy to see people repay evil with evil.
Verse 16 Paul calls on to rejoice. Even in difficult circumstances of illness, disability, prison, torture and persecution. For Jesus was mocked on the cross, denounced by the scribes as possessed by demon (Beelzebul), the religious leaders called to crucify Jesus. Rejoice when you may suffer for Jesus Christ. Look to the future when all tears are wiped and dried in Heaven.
Verse 17 See Phil. 4:6 with supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. Let the Holy Spirit lay the matters of prayer upon your heart. These missionaries prayed for all congregations, perhaps even for congregation members/leaders by name. Their praise at the addrees of God was great. See What is prayer?.
Verse 18 First of all we give thanks that Jesus Christ died for sin. We give thanks for our food and drink, for our income, home, family, etc. That is the Will of God, our gratitude to our Savior the Lord Jesus Christ, the deliverance from the power of satan and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Our salvation and eternal life in Heaven.
Verse 19 Do not quench the Spirit. Namely through ingratitude, neglecting your redemption. It is the Holy Spirit that can give you the power to say NO to sin, not to give in to Satan's temptations. Warn you of deceptions, such as Pilates and acupuncture. For deceptions by philosophy, psychology, communism and socialism. Not confessing your sin, persisting in sin, that extinguishes the working of the Holy Spirit. If the Holy Spirit points you to wrong things again and again, no daily prayer, not reading the Bible daily, lovelessness, disobeying what the Bible teaches. Watching pornography, violence, monsters, horror, adultery, listening to worldly music with demonic and sexual lyrics (in a language you do not understand), etc., are all things which the working of the Holy Spirit, who dwells in you, extinguish.
Verse 20 Do not despise the prophecies. According to William Hendriksen (New Testament Commentary), the prophecies were important in Paul's time because the believers did not have a complete Old Testament (only on parchment scrolls in the synagogue) and did not have a complete Old and New Testament (our Bible). The church was still in its infancy. Thus prophecies were an important part of edification in Paul's day. And that is why, according to him, special gifts were needed in this transitional phase, which are no longer needed (of importance) today. However, important are the prophecies given by Isaiah, Daniel, Ezekiel, Zechariah, Malachi, Jesus and John in the book of Revelation. To their prophecies we all need to pay heed.
Yes, Paul's time right after the Ascension of Jesus Christ was a transitional phase. But prophecies revealing sin(s) are still applicable according to me. On the other hand, many prophecies made about Donald Trump staying on, have turned out to be false. Today many prophecies turn out to be false and do not come true. Many prophecies by "prophets" who also speak in tongues WITHOUT EXPLANATION often give general prophecies that apply to many people in daily life. Statements as God reveals to me that one who has cancer will soon be healed. Well, without pointing out the person in question and saying what kind of cancer it is, this is easy to prophesy, but many fall into this lie and trap (the person who has cancer and thinks the prophecy applies to him or her. This is just an example). There are many tricks, without being aware (today with the cameras and smartphones) that one falls into a trap. So my advice is, be careful. With a true prophet, ALL, no exception, come out and all are fulfilled. And be careful about praying out loud. When you wish an answer from God to a certain question, pray in mind, WITHOUT SOMEONE can hear it (satan and demons listen and sometimes give a false answer to prayer)!
Verses 21 and 22 In connection with verse 20, Paul gives the advice to test the prophecies whether they are actually being fulfilled as prophesied. But not just prophecies, TEST EVERYTHING. With that, Paul do NOT say that, for example, you test drugs to know what happens to you. Listen to worldly music in a language you do not know or with demonic lyrics and see what happens to you. Looking at pornography, at sex, monster, violence in movies and see if it affects your spiritual life. Do not get involved in horoscopes, magic, sorcery, satanic, etc. Paul is clear in verse 22 Abstain from every form of evil.
The test is testing whether it does not contradict God's Word, the Bible. Not, o but that does not apply to Christians. That was true for that time, but no longer applies today. OK, there are things that were specific to Israelites, but the 10 commandments and the Torah (excluding the bringing of sacrifices, because the perfect sacrifice for sin was made by Jesus on the cross). Meanwhile came the commandments as given by Jesus and the 12 apostles (replacing Judas the traitor by Paul). Not testing a marriage with an unequally yoked, unbeliever, unequal in spiritual life, male or female not a virgin, etc. That is tempting God by breaking His commandments. There are many other examples to mention, of which the intention is not to test the "evil".
Vers 23 In this verse, the source is given for the believer's strength: the Holy Spirit, God the Father Who desires peace with man and does not want anyone to perish. Jesus Christ Who died for the sin of man and by faith takes away the wrath of God the Father for the sin. The believer should serve Jesus Christ as Lord. The believer should live with spirit (among others pure thought, to the glory of God), soul and body (no fornication) to God's glory, sinless (to confess every sin immediately); because at the Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, the believer is found to be blameless and sound.
Verse 24 It is up to the believer to open himself or herself to the working of God. God wishes to continue the good work of redemption to the end (Phil. 1:6), but it is up to the believer to allow this. And NOT to quench the Holy Spirit (verse 19) nor to grieve (Eph. 4:30). He is the strength and faithfulness to work in the believer. But as an unbeliever is able to reject the sacrifice of Jesus (and thereby be lost), so the believer is able to resist God's operation and with it sanctification.
Verses 25-28 Paul concludes this letter with a call to pray for them. Greet each other with a holy kiss (as is still the custom in Asia). Let this letter be read to all members of the congregation (so also the idlers must be present). And ends with the graceful greeting of the Lord Jesus Christ.