2 Thessalonians 1:7
And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(7) Rest with us.—Why “with us”? It shows sympathy in their present trials, for it implies that the writers themselves had earned or were earning (see Acts 18:12) that rest by the like trials. The word “rest” (or relaxation) is the opposite of the “strain” at which the persecution kept them. Such “rest” is not to be expected in its fulness till the judgment day.

From heaven.—St. Paul seems to delight in calling attention to the quarter from which “the Lord Jesus” (the human name, to show His sympathy with trouble) will appear. (See 1Thessalonians 1:10, 1Th_4:16.)

With his mighty angels.—Literally, with the angels of His poweri.e., the angels to whom His power is intrusted and by whom it is administered. The angels do not attend merely for pomp, but to execute God’s purposes. (See Matthew 13:41; Matthew 13:49; Matthew 24:31.)

1:5-10 Religion, if worth anything, is worth every thing; and those have no religion, or none worth having, or know not how to value it, cannot find their hearts to suffer for it. We cannot by all our sufferings, any more than by our services, merit heaven; but by our patience under sufferings, we are prepared for the promised joy. Nothing more strongly marks a man for eternal ruin, than a spirit of persecution and enmity to the name and people of God. God will trouble those that trouble his people. And there is a rest for the people of God; a rest from sin and sorrow. The certainty of future recompence is proved by the righteousness of God. The thoughts of this should be terrible to wicked men, and support the righteous. Faith, looking to the great day, is enabled partly to understand the book of providence, which appears confused to unbelievers. The Lord Jesus will in that day appear from heaven. He will come in the glory and power of the upper world. His light will be piercing, and his power consuming, to all who in that day shall be found as chaff. This appearance will be terrible to those that know not God, especially to those who rebel against revelation, and obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. This is the great crime of multitudes, the gospel is revealed, and they will not believe it; or if they pretend to believe, they will not obey it. Believing the truths of the gospel, is in order to our obeying the precepts of the gospel. Though sinners may be long spared, they will be punished at last. They did sin's work, and must receive sin's wages. Here God punishes sinners by creatures as instruments; but then, it will be destruction from the Almighty; and who knows the power of his anger? It will be a joyful day to some, to the saints, to those who believe and obey the gospel. In that bright and blessed day, Christ Jesus will be glorified and admired by his saints. And Christ will be glorified and admired in them. His grace and power will be shown, when it shall appear what he has purchased for, and wrought in, and bestowed upon those who believe in him. Lord, if the glory put upon thy saints shall be thus admired, how much more shalt thou be admired, as the Bestower of that glory! The glory of thy justice in the damnation of the wicked will be admired, but not as the glory of thy mercy in the salvation of believers. How will this strike the adoring angels with holy admiration, and transport thy admiring saints with eternal rapture! The meanest believer shall enjoy more than the most enlarged heart can imagine while we are here; Christ will be admired in all those that believe, the meanest believer not excepted.And to you who are troubled - That is, "it will be a righteous thing for God to give to you who are persecuted rest in the last day." As it will be right and proper to punish the wicked, so it will he right to reward the good. It will not, however, be in precisely the same sense. The wicked will deserve all that they will suffer, but it cannot be said that the righteous will deserve the reward which they will receive. It will be right and proper, because:

(1) there is a fitness that they who are the friends of God should be treated as such, or it is proper that he should show himself to be their friend; and,

(2) because in this life this is not always clearly done. They are often less prospered, and less happy in their outward circumstances, than the wicked. There is, therefore, a propriety that in the future state God should manifest himself as their friend, and show to assembled worlds that he is not indifferent to character, or that wickedness does not deserve his smiles, and piety incur his frown. At the same time, however, it will be owing wholly to his grace that any are ever admitted to heaven.

Rest - The future happiness of believers is often represented under the image of rest. It is rest like that of the weary laborer after his day of toil; rest, like that of the soldier after the hardships of a long and perilous march; rest, like the calm repose of one who has been racked with pain; see the notes on Hebrews 4:9. The word "rest" here (ἄνεσις anesis) means a letting loose, a remission, a relaxation; and hence composure, quiet; 2 Corinthians 2:12; 2 Corinthians 7:5.

With us - That is, with Paul, Silas, and Timothy; 2 Thessalonians 1:1. It would increase the comfort of the Thessalonians derived from the anticipation of the future world, to reflect that they would meet their religious teachers and friends there. It always augments the anticipated joy of heaven to reflect that we are to share its blessedness with them. There is no envy among those who anticipate heaven; there will be none there. They who desire heaven at all, desire that it may be shared in the highest degree by all who are dear to them.

When the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven - Shall appear; shall come from heaven; see the notes, 1 Thessalonians 4:6.

With his mighty angels - Margin, "angels of his power." So the Greek. The sense is, that angels of exalted rank and glory will accompany him; see the 1 Thessalonians 4:16 note; Matthew 24:31; Matthew 25:31 notes.

7. rest—governed by "to recompense" (2Th 1:6). The Greek is literally, "relaxation"; loosening of the tension which had preceded; relaxing of the strings of endurance now so tightly drawn. The Greek word for "rest," Mt 11:28, is distinct, namely, cessation from labor. Also, Heb 4:9, "A keeping of sabbath."

with us—namely, Paul, Silas, and Timothy, the writers, who are troubled like yourselves.

when—at the time when … ; not sooner, not later.

with his mighty angels—rather as the Greek, "with the angels of His might," or "power," that is, the angels who are the ministers by whom He makes His might to be recognized (Mt 13:41, 52). It is not their might, but His might, which is the prominent thought.

Having spoken of the recompence of the troublers, here of the troubled: and in this we may observe a parallel, as in the former. The recompence to these is expressed by rest; in the Greek, dismission, or cessation from labour or trouble; as Hebrews 4:9: There remaineth a rest to the people of God, where the word is, keeping a sabbath, importing a rest from labour, as this text doth speak of a rest from trouble. And though the word rest is properly negative, yet under it the apostle comprehends all the felicity of the future state; elsewhere called a crown, a kingdom, an inheritance, glory, salvation, eternal life, yea, it contains in it the perfect satisfaction of the soul in the fruition of God, &c. And this is said to be given them by way of recompence, as tribulation is to their troublers; though there is no parity between their trembles and the rest, that is, their recompence, yet it is a proper recompence; and therefore the grace and mercy of God will be much manifested therein, though it is said to come from God’s righteousncss in the text. The righteousness of God dispenseth both these recompences; but yet the righteousness in both is not alike; akribodikaion, strict justice, dispenseth the one, and the punishment of the wicked riseth from the nature of their sin, and the merit of it; but it is only epieikeia, equity, that dispenseth the other, and that not so much with respect to the nature of the saints’ duties or sufferings, as the promises and ordinance of God, and the merit of Christ for them. And this rest the apostle sets forth before them, under a twofold circumstance:

1. Rest with us. Us, the apostles and ministers of Christ, we and you shall rest together; as we have partaken of troubles together, so we shall of rest. And you shall enjoy the same felicity with the apostles themselves, in the same state of rest. And though now place doth separate us, yet we and you shall rest together, which will the more sweeten this rest to you and us.

2. When the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven; the other circumstance. This is the time of their entering into this rest. Christ’s coming is sometimes called his epifaneia, appearing, 2 Timothy 4:8, or shining forth; sometimes, fanerwsiv, his manifestation, 2 Corinthians 4:2 1Jo 3:2; sometimes, apokaluqiv, his revelation, as in the text. Now the heavens contain him, but he will come in person, and his glory shine forth: though before that their souls shall be at rest in heaven, and their bodies in the grave, yet not till then shall their persons be at rest. And as Christ himself is already entered into his rest, Hebrews 4:10, so he will come again to take his people into the same rest with him.

And to you who are troubled, rest with us,.... This is another branch of the justice of God, in rendering to them who are afflicted and persecuted for righteousness sake, "rest"; a relaxation or rest from persecutions, for a while at least; as the churches of Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had, from that persecution raised at the death of Stephen, Acts 9:31 and as the Christians had at the destruction of Jerusalem; which though it was a day of vengeance to the unbelieving Jews, were times of refreshing to the saints, who were now delivered from their persecutors: or rather this designs a rest which remains for the saints after death in the grave, and at the coming of the Lord, and to all eternity; when they shall rest from all their toil and labour, and be freed from sin, and all disquietude by it, and from the temptations of Satan, and likewise from the persecutions of men; see Job 3:17. And this will be enjoyed in company with the apostles, and other believers; and as it is some alleviation to the sufferings and afflictions of saints now, that the same are accomplished in others, so it will enhance the heavenly glory, rest, and felicity, that they will be partners and sharers in it with the apostles of Christ Jesus, and have the same crown of glory they have; and indeed their company and conversation will be a part of their happiness.

When the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven; then will the justice of God take place in both the above branches and instances of it, rendering tribulation to persecutors, and rest to the persecuted. Christ, ever since a cloud received him out of the sight of the apostles up to heaven, has been, as it were, hid, and has not been seen with corporeal eyes by men on earth ever since, but by a very few, as Stephen, and the Apostle Paul; he has only been seen by an eye of faith; at his second coming there will be a revelation of him, and every eye shall see him: and this revelation of him will be "from heaven": thither he was received at his ascension, and there he now is; and here he is received, and will be retained until the end of all things; and from hence the saints expect him, and from hence will he descend in person, and then he will be revealed, and appear to the view of everyone: and that

with his mighty angels; which will add to the glory, majesty, and solemnity of that appearance: these are called his angels, because he is the Creator of them, and the object of their worship and adoration, and he is the Lord and head of them, and they are ministering spirits to him and his; and "mighty" angels, because they excel all other creatures in strength; a remarkable instance of the might and strength of angels is in 2 Kings 19:35. The words from the original text may be rendered, "with the angels of his power"; as they are by the Vulgate Latin, Arabic, and Ethiopic versions, for they will be the ministers of the power of Christ in gathering the elect from the four winds, and all nations, before Christ; and in taking out of his kingdom all that offend, and do iniquity; and in severing the righteous from the wicked; and in casting the latter into the furnace of fire. The Syriac version reads the words, "with the power of his angels".

And to you who are troubled rest {4} with us, {5} when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,

(4) He strengthens and encourages them also along the way by this means, that the condition both of this present state and the state to come, is common to him with them.

(5) A most glorious description of the second coming of Christ, to be set against all the miseries of the godly, and the triumphs of the wicked.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
2 Thessalonians 1:7. Θλιβομένοις is passive. Bengel erroneously considers it as middle.

ἄνεσις] from ἀνίημι, denotes the relaxing which follows exertion, the ἐπίτασις (Plat. Rep. i. p. 349 E: ἐν τῇ ἐπιτάσει καὶ ἀνέσει τῶν χορδῶν. Plutarch, Lyc. 29: οὐκ ἄνεσις ἦν ἀλλʼ ἐπίτασις τῆς πολιτείας) passing over to the idea comfort, refreshment, rest. Comp. 2 Corinthians 2:13; 2 Corinthians 7:5; 2 Corinthians 8:13, and the analogous expression ἀνάψυξις, Acts 3:19. Here ἄνεσις characterizes the glory of the kingdom of God according to its negative side as freedom from earthly affliction and trouble.

μεθʼ ἡμῶν] along with us. From this it follows that the apostle and his companions belonged to the θλιβόμενοι. μεθʼ ἡμῶν accordingly contains a confirmation of the notice contained in 2 Thessalonians 3:2. Others (as Turretin, comp. also de Wette) understand μεθʼ ἡμῶν entirely generally: with us Christians in general. But the ἄνεσις which will likewise be imparted to the ἡμεῖς presupposes a preceding θλίψις, that is, according to the context, persecution by those who are not Christians. But such persecutions do not befall Christians everywhere. Strangely, Bengel (and also Macknight), μεθʼ ἡμῶν denotes: “nobiscum i. e. cum sanctis Israelitis.” Ewald: “with us, i.e. with the apostles and other converted genuine Jews of the Holy Land, so that they shall have no preference.”

ἐν τῇ ἀποκαλύψει τοῦ κυρίου Ἰησοῦ] a statement of the time when ἀνταποδοῦναι will take place, equivalent to ὅταν ἀποκαλυφθῇ ὁ κύριος Ἰησοῦς. ἀποκάλυψις (1 Corinthians 1:7) is a more definite expression for παρουσία. The return of Christ is the period at which He, so long hitherto concealed, will as Ruler and Judge be manifested, will publicly appear.[37]

ἈΠʼ ΟὐΡΑΝΟῦ ΜΕΤʼ ἈΓΓΈΛΩΝ ΔΥΝΆΜΕΩς ΑὐΤΟῦ] a specification of the mode of the ἈΠΟΚΑΛΎΨΕΙ.

ἈΠʼ ΟὐΡΑΝΟῦ
] see on 1 Thessalonians 4:16.

ΜΕΤʼ ἈΓΓΈΛΩΝ ΔΥΝΆΜΕΩς ΑὐΤΟῦ] with the angels of His power, i.e. through whom His power manifests itself, inasmuch as the angels are the executors of His commands, by their instrumentality e.g. the resurrection-call to the dead is issued (1 Thessalonians 4:16). Calvin: Angelos potentiae vocat, in quibus suam potentiam exseret. Angelos enim secum adducet ad illustrandam regni sui gloriam. Oecumenius, Theophylact, Piscator, Benson, Flatt, and others erroneously explain it: “with His mighty angels;” still more erroneously Drusius, Michaelis, Krause, Hofmann, and others: “with His angelic host.” For this the Hebrew צָבָם is appealed to. But ΔΎΝΑΜΙς never occurs in this sense in the N. T.; the proofs to the contrary, which Hofmann finds in Luke 10:19, Matthew 24:29, Mark 13:35, Luke 21:26, are entirely inappropriate. It would then require to have been written ΜΕΤᾺ ΔΥΝΆΜΕΩς ἈΓΓΈΛΩΝ ΑὐΤΟῦ. It is a wanton error, proceeding from a want of philological tact, when Hofmann separates ΑὐΤΟῦ from the words ΜΕΤʼ ἈΓΓΈΛΩΝ ΔΥΝΆΜΕΩς, refers this pronoun to God, and joins it with ΔΙΔΌΝΤΟς ἘΚΔΊΚΗΣΙΝ into a participial clause, of which ἘΝ Τῇ ἈΠΟΚΑΛΎΨΕΙ Κ.Τ.Λ. forms the commencement. Granted that ΜΕΤʼ ἈΓΓΈΛΩΝ ΔΥΝΆΜΕΩς, without the additional ΑὐΤΟῦ, might denote with an angelic host, yet Paul, in order to express the thought assigned to him by Hofmann, if he would be at all understood, would at least have entirely omitted αὐτοῦ, and would have put the dative διδόντι instead of the genitive διδόντος.

[37] That also we are not here to think, with Hammond, on the destruction of Jerusalem is evident.

2 Thessalonians 1:7. After noting the principle of recompence (2 Thessalonians 1:5-7 a), Paul proceeds (7b–10), to dwell on its time and setting, especially in its punitive aspect. He consoles the Thessalonians by depicting the doom of their opponents rather than (9c, 10) their own positive relief and reward. The entire passage breathes the hot air of the later Judaism, with its apocalyptic anticipation of the jus talionis applied by God to the enemies of His people; only, Paul identifies that people not with Israel but with believers in Christ Jesus. He appropriates Israel’s promises for men and women whom Israel expelled and persecuted.—The ἄγγελοι are the manifestation of Christ’s δύναμις, as the ἅγιοι (saints not angels) are of his δόξα (2 Thessalonians 1:10); the position of ἀγγ. (cf. Win., § 80, 12b) tells against Hofmann’s interpretation of δυν. = “host” (צָבָא, so LXX). Here and in the following verses the divine prerogatives (e.g., fiery manifestation and judicial authority) are carried over to Jesus.

7. rest with us] St Paul’s was a life full of harassment and fatigue, and the hope of rest was sweet to him (note the outburst of Galatians 6:17). Men of an easy untroubled life miss the delight of the thought of Heaven.

But in his visions of future joy his children in Christ always shared. Comp. 2 Corinthians 4:14, “God will raise us up with Jesus, and will present us with you;” again in 2 Timothy 4:8, “the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge (comp. 2 Thessalonians 1:5 above), shall give me at that day—and not to me only, but also to all who love His appearing.”

when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven] Lit., in the revelation of the Lord Jesus from heaven. His advent is His people’s deliverance; it guarantees, and virtually contains in itself the relief for which they sigh.

Note, once again, the prevalence of the title Lord Jesus in these letters—the designation of the returning, triumphant Saviour. Compare notes on 1 Thessalonians 2:15; 1 Thessalonians 2:19.

Here and in 1 Corinthians 1:7 (so in 1 Peter 1:7; 1 Peter 1:13; 1 Peter 4:13) Christ’s second coming is called His revelation; for it will exhibit Him in aspects of majesty unknown and inconceivable before. In like manner there will be a “revelation of the sons of God,” and “of the righteous judgement of God” upon the wicked (Romans 8:19; Romans 2:5); those events, along with this, certified beforehand, but in their form and nature beyond our present conception. The “coming” of Antichrist is also foretold as a “revelation” (ch. 2 Thessalonians 2:3; 2 Thessalonians 2:6; 2 Thessalonians 2:8, see notes). So this revelation comes—

from heaven] comp. 1 Thessalonians 1:10 (see note); 1 Thessalonians 4:16; Php 3:20, “from whence we wait for a Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ;” and the very definite promise of Acts 1:11. It will be the unveiling of Christ in His glory (descending) from heaven; whereas His previous coming was in the form of a lowly man on earth.

with his mighty angels] Lit., with angels of His power: i.e. “attended by angels as signs and instruments of His power.” Comp. 1 Thessalonians 4:16 (and note) for the office of the angels in Christ’s advent; and for their relation to Divine Power, Psalm 103:20, “Ye angels, mighty in strength, that fulfil His word.” Their presence suits the majesty in which He comes as the Judge of mankind, “in his Father’s glory, with the holy angels” (Mark 8:38); and they are, perhaps, the agents of those changes in material nature by which it will be accompanied. Comp. Deuteronomy 33:2, Psalm 68:17, for older theophanies.

New and severe features are added to the picture of the Advent in the next verse:

2 Thessalonians 1:7. Καὶ ὑμῖν, and to you) To this refer 2 Thessalonians 1:10-11.—τοῖς θλιβουμένοις, who are afflicted) In the middle voice, who endure affliction; comp. 2 Thessalonians 1:4, at the end.—ἄνεσιν, rest) θλίψις, affliction, and ἄνεσις, rest, are opposed to each other with great propriety, 2 Corinthians 7:5; 2 Corinthians 8:13. Moreover rest includes also abundance of good things, 2 Thessalonians 1:10.—μεθʼ ἡμῶν) with us, i.e. with the saints of Israel, 2 Thessalonians 1:10, note. Comp. 1 Thessalonians 2:14.—μετʼ ἀγγέλων δυνάμεως, with angels of might, mighty angels) The angels serve Christ in the putting forth of His power.

Verse 7. - And to you who are troubled - afflicted - rest. The word "rest" here is a noun in the accusative, not a verb, as English readers might at the first glance suppose. It literally denotes relaxation, case. The meaning of the passage is that it is a righteous thing with God to recompense rest to you who are afflicted. The recompense of the persecutors - those who afflict, is affliction; the recompense of the persecuted - the afflicted, is rest (comp. Matthew 11:28, 29). The rest or relaxation here mentioned is that which awaits believers, not in this world, but in the next, "where the wicked cease from troubling, and the weary are at rest" (Job 3:17). "There remaineth a rest for the people of God" (Hebrews 4:9). The happiness of heaven on its negative side, as freedom from earthly affliction and persecution, is here stated. It is rest to the weary, freedom to the enslaved, release from sorrow, suffering, and pain, relaxation from toil, ease from noise and turmoil, the quiet haven of peace after being tossed about in the tempestuous ocean. With us; that is, not with us believers in general, or with us the apostles, the champions of the faith, and still less with us Jews, the saints of israel; but with us, the writers of this Epistle, namely, Paul and Silas and Timothy. When the Lord Jesus shall be revealed; or, more literally, at the revelation or apocalypse of the Lord Jesus. The advent of Christ is generally expressed by another word, parousia, denoting "presence;" here the word is apocalypse, bringing before us in a more vivid manner the visible manifestation of Christ. The advent of Christ is the period when he who has hitherto been concealed will be manifested as the supreme Ruler and Judge of the world. From heaven; where now he is concealed from human view, seated at the right hand of God. With his mighty angels; not with his host of angels, but, as it is in the margin of our Bibles, "with the angels of his power" - serving his power and proclaiming his might. It is the uniform declaration of Scripture that Christ will come to judgment attended by his holy angels (Matthew 16:27; Matthew 24:31; Jude 1:14). And these angels are "the angels of his power," sent forth to execute his commands. By their instrumentality the dead shall be called from their graves, and the wicked separated from among the just (1 Thessalonians 4:16; Matthew 13:49). 2 Thessalonians 1:7Rest (ἄνεσιν)

See on liberty, Acts 24:23. With this exception only in Paul.

With us

According to Paul's habit of identifying his experience with that of his Christian readers. See 1 Corinthians 4:8; Romans 8:23; Philippians 1:29, Philippians 1:30; Philippians 2:18; Philippians 3:20, Philippians 3:21; 2 Corinthians 1:7.

When the Lord Jesus shall be revealed (ἐν τῇ ἀποκαλύψει τοῦ κυρίου Ἱησοῦ)

Lit. in the revelation of the Lord Jesus. For ἀποκάλυψις revelation, see on Revelation 1:1.

With his mighty angels (μετ' ἀγγέλων δυνάμεως αὐτοῦ)

Lit. with the angels of his power.

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