Tag Archives: 1Thessalonians

1st Thessalonians Overview (other people)

I found three main groups of people and one “other” spiritual being. The spiritual being had the least amount of mentions, but I have found that the Word of God is true. It teaches us….

our struggle is not against flesh and blood but against rulers, ,against powers, against world forces of this darkness, against spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6:12

Therefore, the first “other” that I will list will be the “spiritual force of wickedness’

Satan, the tempter: 2:18 The enemy of YHVH is directly responsible for hindering the authors from coming to the Thessalonians. So often I hear believers sigh, “It must not be God’s will for me to do what I thought He called me to.” Are you sure? Some of the most powerful men of God were hindered from what they knew God called them to but they understood that God is not frivolous in His directions. We have a powerful enemy who loves using us to prevent God’s will from being accomplished.

Satan has more then one tool in his kit. He is the tempter (3:5). He put up every roadblock possible to keep the authors for going back to check on the Thessalonians. It must have been an exhausting battle for them. It seems that they came to the end of their rope emotionally. They began to worry that the church had fallen to the tricks of the tempter causing the work of the authors to be in vain. (I will not leave you at the end of Paul and Silas’s rope, God, who is greater then the enemy, found a way to get a message to His worried messengers, filling them with joy which is our strength!)

Mom and dad, stand firm in prayer! You know about the temptations presented to your precious child. God is greater then the tempter!

Satan’s minions, a.k.a men who are not believers. The enemy will use whoever does not commit their life to the Almighty. There are two categories of unbelievers in 1st Thessalonians. They are Men (or unbelieving gentiles) and Traditional Jews. 

In general, many in the church came from the unbelieving gentiles. The authors prayed for the the Thessalonians ministry to unbelievers, asking that the Thessalonians love for them would abound. But they remind the church of the changes that have taken place in the lives of the believes, they are supernatural changes. He reminds them that gentiles (unbelievers) are full of lustful passion (4:5). They reject God (not men 4:8), and insist that there will be peace and safety yet will be destroyed when an inescapable destruction comes upon them (5:3). Instead of being filled with the Spirit, they spend their nights in drunkenness (5:6).

And such were some of you, but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of The Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God. 1 Corinthians 6:11

They are beloved unbelievers. We are to love them, to pray for them, but not to be like them.

Unbelieving Traditional Jews: The assembly of the Thessalonians began in the synagogue. For most of history the Jewish people were the only people on earth who could know the Almighty. Anyone who wanted to know the Creator had to come to synagogue to learn The Way of God. But now a line has been drawn in the sand. Even though two of the authors were Jewish men, and one of them is half Jewish, they warn the Thessalonians that bloodline is not the way to the Almighty (John 1:12-13). Right away we are reminded that it was the Jews who killed Y’shua (Jesus) (2:15) as well as God’s prophets (men who speak for God). It was the Jews who drove the authors out of every place they went. Not only are they hostel to everyone else (2:16) they are not pleasing to God Himself. The wrath of God will come upon them to the uttermost.

I need to say that it is not Jewish blood that makes men good or bad. The best teacher I have ever had is a Jewish man who believes in Y’shua-Jesus as his Messiah. All things being equal, I have found that a believing Jew has more to teach me about God then any other teacher. They still have an advantage.

Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the benefit of circumcision? Great in every respect. First of all, that they were entrusted with the oracles of God. What then? If some did not believe, their unbelief will not nullify the faithfulness of God, will it? May it never be! Rather, let God be found true, though every man be found a liar, as it is written, “THAT YOU MAY BE JUSTIFIED IN YOUR WORDS, AND PREVAIL WHEN YOU ARE JUDGED.” Romans 3:1-4 quoting Psalm 51:4

The final “others” category are Other Believers Not everyone is against us! The first “other believers” the authors mention are in Macedonia (Yugoslavia) to their north and Achaia (Western Greece) to their south-east. Apparently the authors went to share the Gospel with them, but the Thessalonians were a step ahead of the authors. These believers gave a positive report to the authors concerning the reception they experienced in Thessaloniki (1:7). Having known the Thessalonians they gave the authors information about how they turned from the icons (idols) of local gods to serve the living and true God (1:9) and how they now wait for the Son of God to return (1:10). What an amazing testimony!

Sometimes people are led to believe that if they give their life to Jesus, they will be blessed in their finances, they will be healthy and other people will be falling all over themselves because they want what you have. Phooey! You gain eternal life, but you also gain a sworn enemy who is not above using the people you love and trust to recapture you. Though you are safe in Jesus, if he can make you feel the way Paul and Silas felt, that their work was in vain and that there prayers were not answered, then like them you will feel discouragement and make the enemy sneer (which is as close as I imagine him coming to a smile). Stand firm, you are not alone. The authors tell the Thessalonians that they are like the believers in Judah because they suffer at the hands of their countrymen (this must have been painful for Paul to write) (2:14) Even so, seek what is good for all (5:15)

Those who sleep in Jesus: This is the final category of “other people” and it is a comfort to me. I suppose the first believers were 180 degrees opposite of modern believers. They were watching for the return of the Son of God. I think modern believers have lost that edge. But how can those who have died watch for the return of Jesus? They already see Him and will be coming with Him (3:13). In case they did not catch it the 1st time, Those who sleep (died) in Jesus, God will bring when Jesus comes (4:14) We who are still alive in Jesus will not proceed them (4:16). You may ask, will they be pure spirit creatures like God himself? No, the dead in Christ will rise first (4:16) THEN those who remain will be “caught up” with them (4:17).

October 29, 2017 Jenny e il Piccolo There it is in a nutshell. Our battle is against a being from the Spirit realm, but he is dark and evil. He is the prince of the world, and the people of the world are his toys, he uses them however he is able to defeat Almighty God. He thought he could defeat Him by tempting the first flesh and blood Ben Elohiym (Son of God), Adam. But The Almighty sent His only begotten Ben Elohiym (Y’shua-Jesus) to pay for our sin and through Him, be bought back as a Ben Elohiym (child of God). Life might be a rocky road but we have a sure reward in Heaven and power beyond what most of us can imagine as we walk in this world.

Debs in Everett, Washington… encouraging you to go encourage someone in Jesus today (2 Corinthians chapter 4). Picture from Jenny e il Piccolo

On my way to do an overview of Y’shua-Jesus in this epistle.

You can find my overview on 1 Thessalonians AUTHORS HERE.

My overview of 1 Thessalonians Recipients can be found HERE

 

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1 Thessalonians: recipient overview

1 Thessalonians map
Who are the recipients of 1st Thessalonians? There is much to learn about them just by isolating references to them and examining those in this epistle. I’ll start there. There are also details that help explain who the Thessalonians are in Acts 16 and 17. I’ll add those later. (You should read those exciting chapters for the big picture)

Who are the Thessalonians? The authors call them Brethren (1:4, 2:1, 9, 13, 5:4) which is the same tag used for Timothy (3:1-6). This tells me that they were equal in the sight of God to the authors, family. It is said that the “Word” came to them with power, IN the Holy Spirit. It wasn’t just philosophy as it was in Athens (Acts 17:22-32). How was the power manifest? The word came to them with tribulation (Acts 17:5) IN the joy of the Holy Spirit!! They turned from the icons of the local gods (idols, (Ephesians 6:2) to serve The God of gods and to wait for His Son to return. Unlike the Corinthian church, the Thessalonians believed that the Word they received was the Word of God himself (1 Corinthians 3:3-5). They are known as people of faith and of love (3:6) which was tested in suffering (2:15, Acts 17:5f) and as those who are very dear to the authors (2:8). They stood firm in the Lord (3:8) while loving those known as “brethren” (4:9) The book of Acts adds the mix of people. Paul first spoke in the Synagogue of the Jews (Acts 17:2) to people who worshiped YHVH, where there were Jewish people (Romans 3:1-2), God-fearing men (Non-Jewish men who followed the Scripture in every way except physical circumcision… which is why they are not known as proselytes, example, the centurion of Matthew 8:5-13) and some of the leading women of the area (Acts 17:4)

Where in the world (and the Spirit Realm) are they? Their synagogue (Acts 17:1-2) was located in the seaport city of Thessaloniki (have a peek at the map at the top of the page) That was their earthly location. In the spirit realm they were IN God and Y’shua-Jesus (1:1, John 14:19-24), IN the presence of YHVH (God the Father 1:3) and IN tribulation with the Holy Spirit (1:7, John 14:26).

What are they known for? Right away they are remembered by the authors for “their work of faith” The word work is from the Jewish Mitzvot, which is fulfilling the Torah. The same verse (1:3) tells me that they labor (physical work) in love with steadfast hope IN the Lord Jesus. They have power because they are IN the Holy Spirit (1:7). The Word of God came to them in Tribulation (Acts 17) but that could not stop them. The Word “sounded forth” from them (1:8). They are a community, a mix of bloodlines, who serve the creator instead of the local “principalities” (Ephesians 6:2) while waiting for the return of the Son of God whom they have only met “by faith”. The authors tell them that on the one hand, they are pleasing to God, but on the other, encourage them to excel in this (4:1). They are reminded that they know the commandments (4:2) and acknowledged for loving all the Brethren (5:14)

Problems that need addressing. I need to read between the lines a bit to address this question.

  • “be sober” is the exhortation to the “sons of day and light (5:4, and 8)
  • the “unruly” need to be admonished (5:14)
  • the “faint hearted” (encourage them 5:14)
  • the “weak” need help (5:14)
  • “despising prophetic utterances” Like the modern church, they did not trust anyone who said they had a word from the Lord. (5:20) The Thessalonians are encouraged to “examine carefully” what they are told. Hang on to what is good (in line with the Word), abstain from every form of evil (1 John 4:1-4)

The Thessalonians are a light in a dark world. They need to live as “children of the light” in the world, but not of it. Sounds like a good word for me, today

Debs in Everett, WA on October 18, 2017

Bomber

Our brave, goofy, dearly loved Bomber passed to the next life on Tuesday, October 17. We cannot stop crying. He was ready but I was not. He was such a gentle, loving soul yet more then once he was ready and willing to “terrier-up” putting himself between me and danger. Always by our side, he was Chris’ dog and camping buddy but he loved all of us (even though Chris was his hands down favorite). He walked through the nights with Jason when he was transitioning from who he was to who he is. He delighted in grumping with Ray, the other old man, about who gets how much space on the bed. He usually let Ray win but never skipped the routine. My sweet Rudy is not known for being brave or for making friends, Bomber was brave for him and was his only dog-friend. Me? I’m having a really difficult time, everywhere I went he was there, now he is not. If there are horses in heaven then surly there are dogs too. Good by sweet Bomber-Dear, I’ll see you on the other side. Mom.

My overview of the authors of 1 Thessalonians can be found by clicking HERE

Next up is an overview of the “other people” mentioned in this epistle (an epistle is a teaching letter)

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1 Thessalonians: author overview

My Wednesday night Bible study is doing First Thessalonians this year. Doing an overview is not part of what we do as a group but I personally find this helpful. I want to know, WHO wrote this book? WHAT are their circumstances and motivation for writing and WHERE were they when they wrote? Discovering the answers from their own hand helps me understand the message of the book. Finding the answers is not madness, it comes from method.

1 Thessalonians Author 1
I start my author overview by marking every reference to the author(s) and the verb connected to their name or pronoun with blue pencil. This makes it easier for me to go back to make my list about the author. My first list is all the information I find connected to their name. I like to put my list on one page so that I can analyze it without needing to flip paper to see everything. The first thing I will be looking for is, who is (are) the author(s), what do they say about themselves in general?

1 Thessalonians Author 2 There are three different people who credit themselves with authorship of this book. They are … (author information is from my past studies, not information pulled from this book)

Paul: a zealous man, raised by a family from Tarsus who were wealthy enough to send him to religious school in Jerusalem. He was raised by Rabbi’s from the time of his bar mitzvat. Rather then being a boarding school brat, he excelled in his studies. As a man, he became a leading member of TEAM TRADITION, persecuting any Jewish person who strayed from religion as he understood it. On a trip to Damascus, outside of the Roman empire, he had a dramatic confrontation with Jesus. From that day on, he was a believer in Y’shua-Jesus.

Sivanus: Very little is know about Sivanus or how he became a believer. Tradition says that he was one of the seventy whom Jesus sent out to witness to the Jews. If so, then he was a follower of The Way long before Paul. He may have even been one of the believers whom Paul persecuted

Timothy: This young man had a Jewish mother and a Greek father. His mother and grandmother were of the faith. Many believe that it was Paul rather then his mother or gram’ma who introduced him to salvation. However he happened to come to faith, he had an upbringing that was nearly the opposite of Paul’s yet Paul calls him his brother and fellow worker (1Thess 3:2)

What do they say about themselves? They are men who have been approved by God (as diverse as their backgrounds are). They are gentle, devout, upright, and blameless (1Thess 2:5, 10) They say they are constantly thankful to God (2:13). Thankfulness is important because it is an acknowledgement of God’s will for our lives. Next I am shocked by the statement that they are  “destined for affliction”. This is important next to their approval by God. The affliction they suffer could be wrongly interpreted as God’s rejection. Something I need to keep in mind when it seems as if nothing is going according to plan… or maybe worse, falls short of the expectations of others. The authors  are men who rejoice because of the Thessalonians, who are comforted by the faith of others and who pray with gusto. They also request prayer for themselves.

1 Thessalonians Author 3 This letter is to the Thessalonians but that is not where the authors are when they write. The text tells me that they are in the Greek city of Athens, not a very happy place for the Apostle Paul.

What are the authors circumstances? Chapter 2 starts out telling me that they have suffered yet they spoke the Gospel boldly to the Thessalonians when they were there. Now they are hindered by Jews who do not want to see gentiles excel at their own religion. They are hindered by Satan himself in their desire to return to Thessaloniki (the name of the city of the Thessalonians). But again they make sure I know that they thank God as acknowledgement of His will. Even so, they say that they are at the end of their endurance and are afraid (3:5), yet comforted by the news Timothy brings them after his visit to their Thessalonian church. They encourage the believers that, even though they themselves are destined for affliction, that is not their final destiny. They watch for Y’shua to return knowing that their ultimate destiny is eternal Salvation. This is their motivation to Live for Him (5:9-10). In fact, living for God may be the motivation for writing this letter. Most of chapters 4 and 5 are about how to live for God in this world.

The book closes letting us know that none of us are alone. The authors ask for prayer and for the letter to be read to other churches.

Today has been tough. The days ahead are days when we need to encourage each other to “stand firm” (the meaning of A’men) on the Word of God.

Debs in Everett WA, October 14, 2017 …who is about to start her overview of the recipients.

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