“Do Not Give Up in Doing Right”
Highlights From Second Thessalonians
THE apostle Paul’s concern for Christians in the Macedonian city of Thessalonica moved him to write his second letter to them, about the year 51 C.E. Some in the congregation were wrongly saying that the presence of Jesus Christ was imminent. Perhaps even a letter incorrectly attributed to Paul was interpreted as indicating that “the day of Jehovah” had arrived.—2 Thessalonians 2:1, 2.
The thinking of some Thessalonians therefore required adjustment. In his second letter, Paul commended them for their growing faith, increasing love, and faithful endurance. But he also showed that apostasy would come before Jesus’ presence. So there were difficult times ahead, and the apostle’s letter would help them to heed his admonition: “Do not give up in doing right.” (2 Thessalonians 3:13) Paul’s words can help us in the same way.
Christ’s Revelation and Presence
Paul first spoke of relief from tribulation. (1:1-12) This would come “at the revelation of the Lord Jesus from heaven with his powerful angels.” Everlasting destruction would then be brought upon those not obeying the good news. It is comforting to remember this when we suffer tribulation at the hands of persecutors.
Next, Paul pointed out that “the man of lawlessness” would be revealed before Christ’s presence. (2:1-17) The Thessalonians were not to be excited by any message suggesting that “the day of Jehovah” was already upon them. First, the apostasy would occur and the man of lawlessness would be revealed. Thereafter, Jesus would bring him to nothing, doing so at the manifestation of His presence. Meanwhile, Paul prayed that God and Christ comfort the hearts of the Thessalonians and make them “firm in every good deed and word.”
Dealing With the Disorderly
Among Paul’s further words were instructions on dealing with disorderly individuals. (3:1-18) He expressed confidence that the Lord would strengthen the Thessalonians and keep them from the wicked one, Satan the Devil. But they needed to take steps for their own spiritual benefit. They were to withdraw from disorderly ones, those meddling in matters that did not concern them and refusing to work. “If anyone does not want to work,” said Paul, “neither let him eat.” Such persons were to be marked, and there was to be no fraternizing with them, although they were to be admonished as brothers. Faithful Thessalonian Christians were not to give up in doing right, and Paul desired that the undeserved kindness of the Lord Jesus Christ be with all of them.
Paul’s second letter to the Thessalonians gives Jehovah’s Witnesses the assurance that relief from their tribulation will come when Christ and his angels bring vengeance upon those not obeying the good news. It is also faith strengthening to know that “the man of lawlessness” (the clergy class of Christendom) and all false religion will soon be brought to an end. In the meantime, let us heed Paul’s admonition not to give up in doing right.
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Jehovah’s Word Moving Speedily: “Carry on prayer for us,” wrote Paul, “that the word of Jehovah may keep moving speedily [or, “may be running”] and being glorified just as it is in fact with you.” (2 Thessalonians 3:1; Kingdom Interlinear) Some scholars have suggested that the apostle was alluding to runners moving speedily in a race. While that is uncertain, Paul requested the prayers of Thessalonian Christians so that he and his coworkers might spread the word of truth with urgency and without hindrance. Because God answers such prayers, his word is “moving speedily” as the good news is preached with urgency in these last days. Jehovah’s word is also “being glorified,” highly esteemed by believers as “God’s power for salvation,” as it was among Thessalonians who accepted it. (Romans 1:16; 1 Thessalonians 2:13) How glad we are that God is blessing Kingdom proclaimers and speedily increasing the ranks of his worshipers!—Isaiah 60:22.