O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
The vengeance (v8) was tied to the Mosaic Cultus Covenant Vengeance. This is not in reference to a vengeance on those outside of Mosaic Cultus Covenant. Paul made reference to the jews of judea, who killed Joshua Messiah and the Prophets. This does not take away in any way that the Thess. 'fellow Countrymen' were not also followers of the Mosaic Cultus. (and also killed Joshua Messiah and the Prophets)
Thanks Bro Les,
The response was rather wordy I couldn't really follow. Are you saying it was Jews who were troubling the Thessalonians?
I do agree with you that it seems the vengeance of vs 8 has to do with the Mosaic Cultus, thus my query on how it would affect other nations. Another verse I think about is Acts 17:31
The fellow "countrymen" persecuting the Thessalonian brethren as found in I Thess. 2:14 actually is speaking of Jewish citizens of that city who are doing the troubling. Paul says these Thessalonian church believers became "imitators" of the churches in Judea that suffered persecution at the hands of the Jews. In the same way, these Thessalonians were enduring persecution from the Jews in Thessalonica. After all, this church was launched after Paul initially addressed those in the Thessalonian synagogue on 3 Sabbaths (Acts 17:1). Because of Paul's early success in reaching some of the Jews and a multitude of "devout Greeks" and many of the "chief women", the envy of the Jews immediately followed. They started an uproar in the city and dragged Jason and some of the brethren before the city rulers, when they couldn't get their hands on the apostles themselves.
This uproar was so severe that the brethren were forced to sneak Paul and Silas out of the city under cover of night, sending them to Berea. Not content with running them out of Thessalonica, the Jews heard of Paul's success in Berea also, and traveled there to stir up trouble for the apostles again. Once more, Paul was forced to leave the city, this time going to Athens.
These two forced retreats by Paul in the Acts 17:1-15 account are what Paul is rehearsing in his letter to the Thessalonians (I Thess. 2:14-16). "...For ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen (the Jewish ones), even as they (the Judean churches) have of the Jews: who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have CHASED US OUT; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men: Forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles..." So it appears that the Thessalonian brethren's fellow-countrymen who chased Paul out of Thessalonica and Berea are actually the Jews - not Gentiles. Christ would execute vengeance upon these Jewish persecutors, as mentioned in the II Thess. 1:6-10 context that you have brought out. God would use the escalating rebellion of the Jews against Rome to eventually focus the eye of the empire on crushing the Jewish rebellion. This would consequently relieve the Thessalonian believers of the tribulation the Jews were putting upon them.
Even though you can't use the I Thess. 2:14 text about the fellow "countrymen" to prove a judgment on the nations of the world in the time approaching the Parousia, there are certainly other verses that do prove this. I'm sure you know enough of them yourself, such as the basic Matt 24:6-8 text, with its "wars and rumors of wars, famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes in divers places". Offhand, I can think of the AD 60 Laodicean earthquake, as well as one at Mt. Vesuvius in AD 63, which was a precursor to the disastrous eruption to come later on in AD 79. (The fallout of which eruption later produced one of the worst plagues the empire had known, according to Seutonius and Dio Cassius.)
You've got the "distress of nations with perplexity" in Luke 21:25, with "the sea and the waves roaring. Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth" (oikoumene - the habitable earth of the whole empire - not just Judea). The sea mentioned here is a metaphor for the Gentile nations and their activities.
You mention Acts 17:31 as a reference to an imminent judgment on the "habitable world". One other obvious reference to the "whole habitable earth" which would feel the effects of this time period is found in Rev. 3:10 (Interlinear), "...the hour of trial which is about to come upon the habitable world whole, to try them that dwell on the earth." The turmoil of the times reached beyond Judea alone, and would extend to the nations as well, as you have noted.
Here is what I believe to be the justification for God sending tribulation on the whole habitable world at that time, as well as pouring out His particular vengeance on the disobedient nation of Israel. At His crucifixion, when Christ was standing before Pilate (John 19:11), He stated that, "he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin." There was sin on the part of the Roman government for authorizing the crucifixion, but the sin of betrayal by Jesus' own nation and its leaders was deserving of greater retribution. Both sides - the Jewish nation and the Roman empire - would suffer tribulation as a result of this sin, but the Jewish nation would end up receiving the greater share of it.
Thanks for clarifying there Patricia, I see now how the Jews were involved.
But could you give further insight into how the Jews outside of Jerusalem suffered in the rebellion, I am not informed about the history.
Further how were other nations and nationalities affected. I see Luke 21 reference but would like insight into history. How did these nations participate in the judgment.
I understand the covenantal impact of ad70 (at least part of it) on Israel's covenant relationship with God. What effect and relevance did the judgment have on other nations' spiritual or covenantal standing?
I have recently been reading on how the gospel is the proclamation that Jesus is King and not just of the Jews but of the world and how His "coming" would be His rule and thus destruction to any other purported kings.
While I can see how this works in the story of Israel leading to the destruction of 70 and 135, I am still perplexed as to how other nations e.g. Rome felt in anyway the enthronement of Jesus as King of the world. I think of verses such as Psalm 2 and am still wondering how the nations have been shattered by His rod.
Further, since e.g. in Acts 17, the call for the nations was to repent in light of the judgment that was about to come upon the world, did they really feel this judgment and its reference to Jesus' enthronement? is there still a coming judgment and anything to fear for those nations and people who do not give their allegiance to the enthroned Jesus?
Hello again Boyardee,
Perhaps you should be thinking along the lines of the "divine council" being disbanded in AD 70. This would mean that Christ crushed Satan's demonic kingdom and rid the world of any dominion he had over the nations by the elimination of both Satan and his forces at that time. This would also apply to the annulment of any righteous angelic council members operating in the world as well. Why would you need them if each Christian had become a mobile ambassador for the kingdom of God in every nation they existed in? It would be redundant to have the righteous angels functioning in the same capacity.
After all, we have the statement in Hebrews 2:5 that tells us when the "divine council" would have been eliminated. It was at the transfer when the Old Covenant age of the world was formally eliminated in AD 70. "For NOT TO ANGELS did he subject the habitable world which is to come, of which we speak;" Conditions in the New Heavens and New Earth would not be subjected to either angelic supervision or demonic oppression as they had been before then.
I have read many comments from those who were genuinely puzzled about how Daniel's metal-man image could have been crushed completely by the blow from the rock in AD 70, when obviously the Roman empire did not come to an end at that point. It's not that the empire itself ceased to exist. It's that the demonic dominion over all the habitable world of the Roman empire came to an end.
This was the realization of God making his enemies his "footstool". Becoming a "footstool" is a GOOD THING, if you are a pagan nation. Think about what a footstool represents. It is the meeting place where a suppliant is able to have direct communion - face to face - with a monarch. In the OT, Jerusalem, the temple, and the nation of Israel was God's footstool; the only nation he had intimate communion with among all the nations. (Ps. 132:7 - "We will go into His tabernacles: we will worship at his footstool.") After AD 70, every nation of the habitable world was manifested as a place where God could have close communion with them. A footstool had been planted in every nation for men to have direct access to God Himself. Any remaining, national lines of demarcation were smashed completely. It was the One New Man - the New Creation on open display at that point, without any remaining ethnic distinctions for God's kingdom on earth.
You had asked earlier last year about the Jews outside of Jerusalem suffering in the rebellion, as well as how the nations of the empire outside of Judea also suffered. That's a tall order to give a thorough synopsis in one comment. Thankfully, there are ample resources that give a breakdown in how the Zealot forces and Messiah wannabes preyed upon their own people in Judea. Besides having to contend with the rebel elements of their own countrymen, Judeans had to face Vespasian's battle plans for subjugating their entire nation. These plans involved eliminating any potential threat coming from the cities outside of Jerusalem that could come against him when he concentrated his efforts on taking Jerusalem itself - the main prize.
As for the Romans themselves, a major conflict that absorbed Nero's attentions from the very first year he became emperor was the Parthian war concerning Armenia, which was not resolved until about AD 63. Then there was the AD 60/61 revolt in Britannia under Queen Boudica, an internal conspiracy against Nero that was put down, the AD 64 fire at Rome, and so on. Tumultuous times, to say the least.
Do any of these rambling comments above address the question you were giving?
Compliments of the New Year.
Great to hear from you as always and Im doing just fine. (luckily) Your “ramblings” carry import into the questions I have and I am still new to this thinking so it may take some time and reorienting before I get it. :)
I like the divine council angle as that effectively explains the demise of the other kings. Not being too knowledgeable about the divine council and what these "watchers" were up to and their influence in the history of the nations, I am therefore not too clear on how the removal of the council would affect life on earth. I get how people can now come to God "face to face" but how that translates to life on the ground on a national level for those disobedient to the gospel, I don't get. For example Caesar was still Caesar in AD71 and continued in his paganism. Yeah, he could come face to face with God if he wanted but instead he just continued in his own ways. Thus the question remains as to how the parousia affected him and his worship. Seems like he could just continue as if the devil or whichever member of the divine council was over him was still in charge. While effectively the divine council was disbanded how does that work out practically?
The way I understand the declaration that Jesus is Lord, it was a direct attack on Caesar and not just on a member of the divine council. Thus I would expect observable out workings of Christ’s enthronement rather than purely “spiritual/covenantal” realities.
I would assume with Jesus reigning over the nations, this would lead them to godliness. True we have Christians in many nations but in general it seems to me nations are going on their own paths and mostly away from God. So what did the Parousia accomplish in terms of the governance and direction of nations?
Given that the demonic forces have been destroyed, why is there still so much lack of knowledge about God in spite of Christians’ best attempts to dispel the darkness?
I hear you when you talk about the various distresses that nations other than Jews experienced in the first century but Christians also experienced the same distresses yet we cannot say they also partook of the wrath of God (for being Christian was meant to escape that wrath). What then was God’s “judgment” since distress was common to all? How would these distresses further or show that Jesus is Lord?
When I consider your “footstool” explanation that the judgment on the nations was a good thing and not really something to be feared, I then wonder why people were called to repent. For Israel, the terror of judgment I can see thus the need for repentance. But for other nations I cannot see anything they needed to be “safe” from nor how obeying or disobeying the gospel had any consequences for them.
Thus I would expect observable out workings of Christ’s enthronement rather than purely “spiritual/covenantal” realities.
May I suggest you may wish to review your expectations in line with scripture? We know.....
The Kingdom of Heaven is eternal and not of this world ( orderly arrangement ) nor comes with observation.
The proclamation that "The kingdoms of the world have become the kingdoms of our God" is a direct result of God making Jesus Lord with pre-eminent authority and legitimacy.
The previous ideal of Government ( The Metal Man of Daniel ) which degenerated from it's noble Babylonian Top / Down form to the corruptible Roman political model was destroyed by Christ. The major accusation of the ruling elite of His own day was that He was turning the world upside - down. Needless to say Christ's rule has endured and enlarged whilst others have not.
I am sure there are lots of "out workings" of Christians being in society / government / public services, but that is not The Kingdom of Heaven...........The Kingdom of Heaven is that mystical Zion / Church to which Christ invites all who are pilgrims eternally. The government of The Church and it's Bottom / Up approach has had a great deal of influence on politics and international legal frameworks but will not be able to establish The Kingdom of Heaven. The nearest we're going to get to The Kingdom of Heaven on Earth is Christ's Church, however imperfect, however divided.
Thank you Stephen for the thoughts.
The previous ideal of Government ( The Metal Man of Daniel ) which degenerated from it's noble Babylonian Top / Down form to the corruptible Roman political model was destroyed by Christ.
How was this government destroyed? Surely Rome was not destroyed in AD70. So what exactly was destroyed and how?
You also wrote:
The major accusation of the ruling elite of His own day was that He was turning the world upside - down.
This turning the world upside down is the " observable out workings of Christ’s enthronement" that I was referring to and when I look at the world today I have to admit I dont see such impact of Christianity. Or are we to consider the rise of the Roman Catholic Church as the intended impact? IF that is so, I would then wonder who is NOW ruling the world as Christianity has certainly less influence than then.
At the end of the day I am seeking to understand how nations were judged and what the implications of that judgment was. Patricia suggested it was the removal of the divine council and I am still trying to understand the implications/outworkings of this (especially for those disobedient to the gospel).
What Im understanding is that the judgment would remove any covenants that God had with other nations which would mean that whatever call to service they had or any other means of being acceptable to God was no longer valid. But unlike Israel which suffered destruction, these other nations who were disobedient to the gospel would only go through "times of distress" but not destruction.
Paul's call to repentance in light of the pending judgment would thus be a call primarily due to the fact that their once valid forms of worship under the "watchers" would no longer be effective (if they were dead servants they were now becoming stones) and not primarily a call to escape from physical harm and realisable covenant judgment (i.e. unlike Israel which would face the reality of the temple being destroyed other nations would not have such shame). I wont speculate about how their post moterm was affected.
As for those born after DoJ these are "judged" already i.e. are dead like stones.
The dashing of the nations with the rod of iron has no out workings in governance of nations except for Israel which was destroyed.
Jesus doesnt really rule over the nations (which no longer exist covenantally) but calls individuals to come into His kingdom. The nations that exist now are just human inventions going in no particular direction but where the humans take it, especially as there are no more "watchers".
That is how Im understanding the judgment of nations. Am I getting it correctly?
In the light of Isaiah 49:6-8 & 42:6, I think we can assume that God has a deep concern and love for all peoples, tongues & races. God has given Christ to be a Covenant of Peace to the whole world.
J.S. Russell deals with "The Nations" mentioned in The Gospels as those tribes within the vicinity of Palestine. The commissioning of Paul and his mission abroad. It's a good read and only costs a £1 as a Kindle Edition on Amazon.
The Creation Motif describes in Genesis and Revelation Principalities and Powers all of which were created by Christ. Paul refers to Spiritual Wickedness in High Places and that Satan was destroyed by Christ's death. Whilst God's Kingdom was established at the Parousia of Christ..........it is a spiritual and everlasting kingdom.
Those outside The Kingdom are accountable to God and under His providential care and direction. Paul describes those outside of covenant as, "at that time without Christ, aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God"
And this is the great mystery which Paul proclaimed; That The Gentiles are joint heirs of The Covenants of Promise, they now have Hope and God is inviting them in to His Kingdom, World without End. God sees no distinction In Christ between Christ's children. As far as I can see the Lake of Fire - Eternal Punishment for Sin is still current for those dead in trespasses and sins who aren't fit to enter the presence of God.
Well, now that I've got that off my chest, Hope you are well, and may the light of His countenance shine upon you.