"He that Endureth to the End, the Same Shall be Saved" (Mt. 24:13).
By Michael Zaucha
In his second epistle to the Thessalonian church, the Apostle Paul was well aware of the dire necessity for their encouragement and exhortation. For one thing, they were making impressive and noticeable advancements in the kingdom of God and of His Christ - advancements that are peculiar to that kingdom, and they were being noticed – their “faith growth exceedingly and the charity of every one of them all toward each other aboundeth” (II Th. 1:4).
But the Apostle knew something more of the kingdom manner, and that is, with the advancements would come persecutions and tribulation. And come they did upon the church. These were literal life and death persecutions they were called of God to endure. But God would not leave them to their own resources to endure – God would raise up the Apostle Paul to equip and strengthen them to endure all things even unto the end.
In his knowledge of the kingdom of God and of His Christ, as a wise masterbuilder (I Cor. 3:10), the Apostle knew that the Thessalonians were in need of spiritual strength and armament to endure the persecutions and trials, even unto the end. For this to occur, powerful and mighty resources would be necessary, and these the Apostle would supply, through Jesus Christ our Lord, for He is faithful that promised (Heb. 10:23).
The providing of divine provisions to the saints is the manner of the kingdom of God and of His Christ, and those which the Apostle supplied to the Thessalonians in order for them to endure to the end have the same effect upon the saints of all ages. The kingdom provisions that the Apostle Paul supplied to the Thessalonians are the same provisions given us to endure.That kingdom manner is still in force and in effect for even the saints of this day because Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and for ever (Heb. 13:8).
The Kingdom Manner Revealed. First, the Apostle revealed to the saints the true location of their assembly. For a time, they may have not given much thought to this truth for it appeared obvious that it was in the land of Thessalonica, but that is not the true location of the church. The Apostle revealed that they arelocated in a much higher and safer location: “in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (II Th. 1:1).
This is the true location of all the saints of all ages, and in order to endure, the saints need to be reminded of this glorious truth and provision. As the Scripture saith: God “hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son” (Col. 1:13). We now await the fullness of the abundant entrance “into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (II Pet. 1:11).
More Help Provided. The Apostle along with Silvanus and Timothy would approach the very throne of grace, to call upon the God of All Grace to perfect, stablish, strengthen and settle them (I Pet. 5:11), and the exalted Lord Jesus Christ, who is full of grace and truth (Jn. 1:14), in the behalf of the church in theirtime of persecution that they might find grace to help in their time of need: "Grace unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ" (II Th. 1:2).
Additionally, the Apostle would reinforce them by making known the heavenly perspective of what these persecutions and trials really were. Paul reveals that these persecutions are a judgment of God upon them - but not a judgment against them, but instead a judgment for them. Not all judgments of God are against men; some are for them, and this is the case of the Thessalonians. And as the church endures them strong in the faith, God is showing the heavenly onlookers that these are the very ones that God counts worthy of the kingdom of God.
Persecutions and trials AND the endurance of them by the church are the tokens or seals of approval from God that these ones are the ones being made meet for heaven! The Apostle's word of encouragement to the church: "we ourselves glory in you the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure: which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer" (II Th. 1:4-5).
Now this was and still is a most needful perspective for all the churches of God who are in the midst of great tribulation. They need to be continually reminded of this glorious truth that they would endure to the end.
Even More Help Provided. The apostle Paul also knew that still more would be necessary in the equipping of the church in order for them to endure to the end, and he would do so in telling them of those things that shall still yet come to pass, "when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels" (II Th. 1:7).
At His appearing, it will be made perfectly clear that the nature of the Lord Jesus Christ is truly in sharp conflict with everything and everyone that is infected with sin and He shall do something about it for ever. At His appearing will the sayings of the prophets come to pass: "a fire goes before Him, and burns up His enemies round about. His lightings light the world; the earth sees and trembles. The mountains melt like wax at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the Lord of the whole earth" (Ps. 97:3-5). "The mountains quake at Him, and the hills melt, and the earth is burned at His presence, yea, the world and all that dwell therein" (Nah. 1:5).
At His appearing, the severity of God's righteous judgment shall be poured forth without mercy "on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ" (II Th. 1:8), and that "it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you" (II Th. 1:6). All those, who have persecuted the church without Godly repentance "shall be punished with everlasting destruction" -not annihilation - "from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His power" (II Th. 1:9). The Day of the Lord Jesus Christ will also reveal the truth the He careth for you (I Pet. 5:7), the church of God.
Demonstrated in the Type. When Israel was young and journeying in the land of Canaan, "when they were but a few men in number; yea, very few, and strangers in it, when they went from one nation to another, from one kingdom to another people; He suffered no man to do them wrong: yea, He reproved kings for their sakes; saying, touch not mine anointed and do My prophets no harm." Yet there were some who hearkened not to the word of the Lord and troubled His people. Against these, "(God) called for a famine upon the land: He brake the whole staff of bread" (Ps. 105:11-16). And to the troubler of Israel,Amalek, God would "utterly put out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven" (Ex. 17:14).
So shall it be at the glorious appearing of the Lord Jesus Christ, for on that day He shall recompense tribulation to them that trouble you, and that recompense shall be without end, even for ever and for ever. Deceived and darkened men who speak casually of what eternal separation from God shall be do not have the true knowledge of the awfulness of that situation of this everlasting hell. Those who speak glibly about this destruction to come had best stop their mouths and seek grace to repent in order to avoid this severity of God at all costs.
A Promised Rest to Come. For the church, those who are troubled now, the Apostle holds more out for the saints - a proclamation of goodness for them all - the day of rest, when the time of troublers andtroublings are over: "And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels" (II Th. 1:7).
The proclamation of truth is that this day is soon coming, but not yet. For now, by the tender mercies of our Heavenly Father, there are times when He leads us to Elim where there are twelve wells of water and seventy palm trees for us to rest in and regain strength (Ex. 15:27), but this is not the promised rest.
The promised rest will be entered into when there is the total and complete elimination of all adversaries, enemies, troublers and anything and everyone that set themselves against the Lord and against His Anointed. This Jesus will do at His appearing, the last enemy to be destroyed is death itself (I Cor. 15:26).
That last enemy death, that was so potent against the entirety of the race of man, will offer up no resistance, no fight, no warfare when the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords appears, for when He appears "we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed" (I Cor. 15:51-56).
At Jesus' appearing, and with all the enemies put away for ever, the shouts of the church will be sounded forth: "Thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ" (vs. 57). On that day, when all the saints of all times are gathered together, of every kindred, and tongue and people, and nation, we shall shine forth as an everlasting testimony to the glory and magnificence of God's so great salvation that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Individually, as lively stones, like unto the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, the topaz and the like (Rev. 21:19-20), and together, "the holy city, new Jerusalem" (Rev. 21:2), having the glory of God (Rev. 21:11), wherein the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it and His servants shall serve Him and they shall see His face, and His name shall be in their foreheads, and they shall reign for ever and ever (Rev. 22:3-5).
To those who are troubled now for Christ's sake, the promised soon-to-come day of rest will more than adequately compensate all the saints for their times of troubling in this present evil world. To the only wise God our Savior be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.