1 Thessalonians 2:17-20
Paul’s use of the word for being taken away from the Thessalonians is a word that is intensely passionate and related to our word for orphan. The NKJV commentary states that literally, it means, “since we have been torn apart.” He had the discernment to recognize that is was Satan himself who was behind this separation by placing roadblocks from gathering Paul and company to the Thessalonians.
There are a couple items to relate here:
- There has never been a guarantee that our life here on earth would be easy. The prosperity gospel is a horrible lie which states that since we are Christians, we will be blessed monetarily, have “things” in this life, and it will be easy. Stay very far away from that teaching. At the onset of salvation, spiritual battle is waged. Satan has little time to waste on the lost (even though time is given to keep the lost lost) but will place great time on those that have decided to claim Jesus. He will use any weakness available to him to create a stumbling block for us Believers. We must have the discernment as Paul did to recognize where Satan is attacking. The blessing in all of this is we have the means to defeat the attacks and create a greater good even amongst an onslaught of an attack: the Holy Spirit. Think about this, if Paul wouldn’t have been blocked by Satan to meet with the Thessalonians, would Paul have written a letter to them? Probably not. Thessalonians is believed to be Paul’s first letter to a church. That means at the onslaught on Satan’s initial attack on Paul to keep him from fellowshipping with the Thessalonians, Paul responded not to Satan’s attack but the Holy Spirit’s prompting and deliverance from the attack by penning a letter that not only encouraged the Thessalonians, but we enjoy nearly 2000 years later! The Blue Letter Bible app notes that “when Satan saw the great work God did through these letters, he regretted that he ever hindered Paul at all.” Glorious!!
- We must recognize the implications for today’s age. We must discern how Satan wants to keep us down. How Satan wants to keep us from fellowshipping together. We have a great stumbling block today in COVID that has kept many of us from fellowshipping together. Satan wants division. He wants isolation. We can see that today in how many states have put great restrictions on fellowshipping together. We can see that today in our church body where several have decided to stay away. I want this to be an encouragement here and not a judgement. I want to encourage us all to gather together and lay aside our fears of COVID in what it might be. We have far tougher roadblocks and trials ahead of us than this virus. It is imperative we gather, we encourage each other, and we are drowning in the grace and mercy of our King!
These verses are also the first reference in the New Testament to the term used pertaining to the Second Coming of our King. The term (parousia) is used 18 times in the New Testament, 7 of which are in Thessalonians.