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2. There is another coming of Christ spoken of by the apostles, different likewise from his coming to judge the world, and to put an end to the present state of things; namely, his coming to destroy the man of sin, 2 Thess. ii. 8. Him the Lord will consume by the breath of his mouth, and will render ineffectual by thẻ bright shining of his coming. This singular event, which will contribute greatly to the honour of God, and to the good of his church, being to be accomplished by a visible and extraordinary interposition of the power of Christ in the government of the world, is, agreeably to the scripture style, fitly called the coming of the Lord; and the bright shining of his coming. But this coming is no where in scripture said to be at hand.
3. There is likewise a day, or coming of Christ, spoken of by Paul, different from his coming to judgment, and from both the former comings. I mean, his releasing his people from their present trial, by death. 1 Cor. i. 8. He also will confirm you until the end without accusation, in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. -Philip. i. 6. He who hath begun in you a good work, will be completing it until the day of Jesus Christ. 1 Thess. v. 23. May your whole person, the spirit, and the soul, and the body, be preserved unblameable, unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is true, the release of Christ's servants from their present trial by death is accomplished, for the most part, by no extraordinary display of his power: yet it is fitly enough called his day and coming; because, by his appointment all men die, and by his power each is carried to his own piace after death Besides, his servants in particular, being put on their duty like soldiers, must remain at their several posts, till released by their commander; and when he releases them, he is fitly said to come for that purpose
4. Besides all these, there is a day, or coming of the Lord to judge the world, and to put an end to the present state of things. This coming, Christ himself hath promised, Matt. xvi. 27. The Son of Man shall come in the glory of his Father, with his holy angels; and then shall he reward every man according to his work. Now, this being a real personal appearing of Christ in the body, it is more properly than any other of his comings called the day and coming of Christ. And the purposes of it being more important than those of his other comings, the exertions of his power for accomplishing them, will be most signal and glorious. On that occasion likewise, he will appear in far greater majesty than formerly. For whereas, during his first abode on earth,
his dignity and perfections were in a great measure concealed under the veil of his human nature, at his second coming, his glory as the image of the invisible God, and as having all the fulness of the Godhead dwelling in him bodily, will be most illustriously displayed, by his raising the dead, judging the world, destroying the earth, punishing his enemies, and rewarding his servants. Hence this coming is, with great propriety, termed the revelation of Jesus Christ: and the day of his revelation, when he shall be glorified in his saints, and admired of all them who believe.
Thus it appears, that when the apostles wrote, there were four comings of Christ to happen; three of them figurative, but the fourth a real personal appearance; that these different comings are frequently spoken of in scripture; and that, although the coming of Christ to destroy Jerusalem, and to establish his everlasting kingdom, be represented by the apostles as then at hand, no passage from their writings can be produced, in which his personal appearance to judge the world is said, or even insinuated, to be at hand. The truth is, if the different comings of Christ are distinguished, as they ought to be, we shall find, that the apostles have spoken of each of them according to truth; and that the opinion which infidels are so eager in maintaining, and which some Christians have unadvisedly espoused, to the great discredit of the inspiration of the apostles, as if they believed the day of judgment was to happen in their lifetime, hath not the least foundation in scripture.
View and Illustration of the Things contained in this Chapter.
IT seems, the messenger who carried the apostle's first letter to the Thessalonians had informed him, that they were exceedingly strengthened by it, and bare the persecution, which still continued as violent as ever, with admirable constancy. This good news was so acceptable to Paul and his assistants, that they began their second letter with telling the Thessalonians, they thought themselves bound to return thanks to God for their increasing faith and love, ver. 3.-And that they boasted of their faith and patience in all the persecutions which they endured, to other churches, ver. 4. (probably the churches of Achaia,) in expectation, no doubt, that their example would have a happy influence on these churches, in leading them to exercise the like faith and patience under sufferings.-And, for the encouragement of the suffering Thessalonians, the apostle observed, that their behaviour under persecution demonstrated God's righteousness in having called them, notwithstanding they were of the Gentile race, into the gospel dispensation, ver. 5.—Yet it was just in God to punish their Jewish persecutors, by sending tribulation upon them, ver. 6.—while he was to bestow on the OLD TRANSLATION. CHAP. I. 1 Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians in God our
1 Παυλος και Σιλουανος και Τιμοθεος, τη εκκλησία Θεσσαλονικέων εν Θεῳ πα
Father, and the Lord Jesus τρι ήμων και Κυρίῳ Ιησου
2 Grace unto you, and peace, from God our Fa
2 Χαρις ύμιν και ειρηνη απο Θεου πατρος ήμων, και
ther, and the Lord Jesus Κυρίου Ιησου Χριςόν.
Ver. 1.1. God our Father. God is the Father of all mankind, by crea
tion: and of them who believe, by regeneration: and that whether they be Jews or Gentiles.
Thessalonians, a share in his rest, along with the believing Jews, when Christ will return from heaven with his mighty angels, ver. 7.-to punish all who know not God, and who obey not the gospel of his Son, ver. 8.-with everlasting destruction, by flaming fire issuing from his presence, ver. 9.—The apostle adds, that, at the judgment of the world, Christ will be glorified by the ministry of the angels, who shall put his sentences in execution, and be admired by all who believe, and among the rest, by the Thessalonians, ver. 10.-And in this persuasion, he always prayed that the behaviour of the Thessalonians might be such as would induce God to judge them worthy of the gospel, whereby they were called to eternal life; and also to perfect in them the work of faith with power, ver. 11.—That, on the one hand, the name of the Lord Jesus Christ might be glorified through them, by their persevering in the faith of the gospel, even when persecuted;. and, on the other, that they might be glorified through him, by the virtues which they were enabled to exercise, in a degree proportioned to the grace of God, and of Christ, bestowed upon them; for these virtues would excite in the minds of their persecutors, the highest admiration of their character, ver. 12.
CHAP. I. 1 Paul, and Silas, and Timothy, to the church of the Thessalonians, which is in subjection to the true God our Father, whereby it is distinguished from an assembly of idolatrous Gentiles, and in subjection to the Lord Jesus Christ, whereby it is distinguished from a synagogue of unbelieving Jews.
2 May virtuous dispositions be multiplied to you, with complete happiness from God our common Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the Father dispenses these blessings to men.
3 We, who, in our former letter, (iii. 12.) prayed the Lord to fill you with faith and love, are bound to thank God always concerning you, brethren, as is fit; because, agreeably to