The Berean Expositor
Volume 21 - Page 47 of 202
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#16.  The N.T. fulfillment.
Rest from tribulation (II Thessalonians).
pp. 230 - 234
Unless it had been very seriously urged upon us that the teaching of I Thessalonians
deals with a secret phase of the Lord's coming, while that of II Thessalonians refers to
an aspect very different from the hope of the church, we should not feel it necessary to
draw attention to the obvious fact that these two epistles were written to the same church
upon the same theme, and that there is not the slightest warrant for the teaching that they
have been used to support.
We have already seen in I Thess. 1: 3 that the apostle remembered their work of faith,
their labour of love, and their patience of hope. In II Thess. 1: 3, 4 he takes up this same
"We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your
faith groweth exceedingly, and the love of every one of you all toward each other
aboundeth; so that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience
and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endures."
This church had received the word in tribulation (I Thess. 1: 6), and in every place
their faith had gone forth. In II Thessalonians this tribulation had continued. And the
churches of God heard of the Thessalonians' attitude through the apostle's boasting
concerning them. In each of the three qualities, faith, love and hope, had these saints
grown. Yet we are asked by some teachers to believe that a special secret rapture awaited
I Thessalonian believers, while the believers of the second epistle were to pass through
the tribulation of the day of the Lord and experience the sufferings of the reign of the
While it may be easy at this distance to settle the hope of these early saints, it
would have proved more difficult to have persuaded the Thessalonians themselves by
such illogical deduction. The process of reasoning seems to be somewhat as follows:
I Thess. 4: must be a secret rapture; and, from I Thess. 5:, an event having no
connection with times and seasons or the day of the Lord. II Thess. 2:, however, speaks
of the coming of the Lord as not taking place until after the manifestation of the man of
sin, and of the coming of the Lord in flaming fire. It is therefore assumed that the
coming of I Thess. 4: takes place before the rise of the man of sin, and the coming of
II Thessalonians after that manifestation.
The recognition that the true "secret rapture" belongs to the prison ministry of the
apostle sets us free from this vain attempt to find the hope of the one body in the earlier
epistles. The saints here, sorrowing for those who have fallen asleep, are comforted by
the fact that they, together with those who have fallen asleep, and at the same time, shall
meet the Lord in the air. The same saints in their sorrow on account of their own