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Ministry of the Word - Thessalonians..I & II Fr Jude
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I Thessalonians     Fr.Jude                                                                              25th Nov 2007
(1) INTRODUCTION :
This is the earliest letter in the NT written by St. Paul & it is a significant witness to the Gs.
It was written around 51 AD
It is an experiment in Xtian writing.
Paul has used the form of letter writing of his time
These letters deal with matters of faith & morals.
 
(2) AUTHORSHIP :
1 Thess is a genuine Pauline letter.
1 Thess 1:1 there are co senders, Silvanus shortened to Silas & Timothy.
Some scholars say 1 Thess are 2 letters of Paul
 
(3) DATE OF THE LETTER :
The 1st letter of St Paul 1 Thess was written around 50AD
He fled to Athens & wrote these letters from there Acts 17 : 10 – 15
Letter on Silvanus & Timothy joined Paul.
1 Thess 2 :17;  3 : 3 …….. we are sending Silvanus & Timothy our brothers from Athens
Paul went to Corinth Acts 18 :5, he was joined by Timothy.
Timothy told Paul there was a misunderstanding about the fate of those who had died
1 Thess 4 : 18 before Xt could come
Paul writes from Corinth, he composes the letter
 
(4) THE CHURCH IN THESSOLONICA :
It was a port city in Macedonia, north of Greece
It was founded by Cassender it had a deep history 350 BC who was a general in Alexander, He married Alex’s half sister named Tessoloniki, city named after her.
In 146 BC Thessolonica became the capital of the Roman province of Mecedonia
 Julius Ceassar was murdered by Brutus & Cassius
Thessoloniki supported Mark Anthony & Octavious to avenge Julius Ceassar.
There fore the city was given a free status & called a free city, it had it own magistrates, Governors & Government.
At the time of Paul it was an imp. City for economics, trade, commerce & for political reasons.
 There was a Jewish community with a Synagogue
 Paul preached in this synagogue Acts 17 : 1 -2.
WHAT WAS THE XTIAN COMMUNITY
It was largely comprised of Gentiles Xtians 1 Thess 4 :9,
1 Thess 2 : 14 ; Acts 17 ; 4; He asked them to work withier hands , 1 Thess 4 :11, evangelizing the community took place during the 2nd missionary journey
Paul Silvanus & Titus arrived from Amphipolis & Apollonia Acts 17 ; !-9, Their preaching met with great success, Jews were hostile & so they had to flee.
Paul writes 1 Thess to answer these griviances.
 
(5) WHAT WAS THE PURPOSE OF THE LETTERS :
To give hope & encouragement to the Thessolonians in the face of opposition & suffering 1 Thess 3 : 11 – 13; 2 : 14 Compatriots their own people
To clarify the Qs concerning the Parousia ( THE final coming of Xt )  5 : 1
& the Qs on fate who have died before the parousia 4 : 13
Clarification Paul give is that those who are alive before the perousia would have no advantage over those who have already died. The dead would be raised first , then all would be taken to meet the Lord.
                                    ( Septuagints: translation of the bible Hb – to Gk )
 
 
The letters were divided into 5 sections
1   1 : 1 Salutation
2   1 : 2 – 3 : 13 Thanksgiving 1 : 2 - 2 : 12     1st thanks giving---- 2 : 13 - 4 -:13 2nd thanks giving
3   4 : 1 – 12 Exhortation ( encouragement ) Chastity ------------ Charity    4 : 9 : 12
4    4 : 13 - 5 : 1 - 11 Eschatology – ( End times )  PAULS DOCTRIN
5    5 : 12 – 28        Closing prayer & greeting
 
Exhortation on Chastity 1 Thess   4 : 1 : 8
4 : 1 – 12 Ethical moral exhortation ( 4 things that the Gentiles were asked to follow a) not to have blood of animals, b) not to indulge in idolatry,  c) ---------------------d) not to fornicate. ( It was forbidden to have sex outside marriage, for the pagans this was normal )
Christians ( Gentiles ) were forbidden to live immoral & unchaste lives, The HSp sanctifies the human body, The body is the temple of the HSp.
Acts 15 : 29 a decree is passed to abstain from fornicating
1 Thess 4 : 4 our body = wife; --------control your own body = Control sexual desires
For Paul marriage is sanctifying, ie partners become holy & consecrated to God- not allowing anything to come between you & God      1 Cor 1 – 7, 14  ; Ep 5 : 22 – 32
Sexual offenses against other human beings are offenses also against God
1 Thess 4 : 8 God sanctifies the the human being.
 
Exhortation on Charity 1 Thess   4 : 9 – 12
Vs 9    brotherly love—Philadelphia—Philos = love; adelphia = brotherly
Love of fellow Christians is the hallmark of xtian existence Rom 12 : 10; John 13 : 34; John 15 : 12 – 17.
Vs 10 Love should also overflow with love for others
Vs 11 Paul advocates 3 things - To live Quietly-   To mind your own affairs-    -Work with your hands
Vs 12 Not to be dependent on any one
 
Eschatology ( end times ) Pauls Doctrin 4 : 13 – 18
What will happen to those who died before the parousia , don’t grieve too long , only you will suffer the most
Vs 17 clouds = vehicle of transportation   Daniel 7 : 13 clouds are a means of heavenly transport
Vs 14 credal formula, statement of faith
Vs 14 has 2 part formula –      Jesus died --        Jesus rose from the dead
Cor He was raised from the dead ( The father raised him from the dead )
Paul gives hope to all those who have died in Jesus will rise with him.
Paul uses apocalyptic language Rev Ch 14 ;, 17, 19, 20; 2 Cor 12:2; Rev 12 : 5
Vs 17 caugh up= snatched--- intense inner joy that one feels in wondrous up lifting experience
The meeting of the xtians with the Lord.at his parousia will evoke raptures & transformation
Meet the lord it shows the solemn entrance of kings in a conquered terms or a reception given to a royal visitor.
 
Eschatology ( end times ) Time of the Parousia 5 : 1 – 11
When would the parousia happen , Paul believed that it would happen in his lifetime Ch 4 : 15 – 17
Vs 2 Day of the Lord= Biblical image in the OT, Prophetic tradition. Amos 5 : 18 ( woe to you ) Joel 2 : 1
Zephaniah 1 : 7; Acts 2 : 20; 1 Cor 5 : 5.
The day of the Lord is when Yahweh would manifest himself in his power & glory in cosmic convulsion             ( upheaval ) He would overthrow all the enemies is Israel & establish His own people supreme. Paul says that the day of the Lord will come as a (Vs 2 ) thief in the night = shows the suddenness of the event
Vs 3 As labour pains = ready to be delivered, suddenly, day of liberation, when you are least expecting
Mt 24: 43 – 44 ; Lk 12 : 39 - 40
The parousia will be the day when Jesus is manifested in all his glory, the day when all shall be judged, this day comes as a thief & all xtians must be prepared.. How is the xtian---------------------------by ( Vs 8 ) putting on the breast plate of faith & love & a helmet of hope of salvation, of the 3 virtues of faith , hope & love greatest is love. The xtian existence is characterized by these 3 virtues, the special relationship between the xtians & the Lord, is the ground of their salvation, Paul encourages them in this
Vs 6, 7, 8. Sober, not to be drunk on wine, be alert & wait in prayer.
 
 
II Thessalonians                                                                         Fr. Jude 25th Nov 2007
AUTHENCITY :
2 Thess was initially believed to be written immediately after 1 Thess
There was a difference in style between the 2 letters
In 1 Thess the day of the lord is soon to come, it seems Paul was expecting it in his life time
1 Thess Ch 4 : 15 – 17 in 2 Thess Ch 2:3 “ the day will not come unless the rebellion vcomes first & the lawless one is revealed , the one destined for destruction ( anti Christ ),  2 Thess Ch 3.
Pauls thinking seems to be changing too soon
In 2 Thess there should have been a reference if 1 Thess.
There fore some time must have passed between the writing of the 2 letters. 2 Thess does not deny the Parousia , but it would come later.
2 Thess also warns of the signs that will indicate the coming of the signs Vs 8, 9
Anti Christ was a totally new idea
We also find the day of judgment in 2 Thess.
INTEGRETY :
There are similarities & dissimilarities
There are some remarkable similarities in structure & vocabulary.
SIMILARITIES
The Opening Formula         2 Thess 1 : 1-2         & 1 Thess 1 : 1
Opening Thanksgiving         2 Thess 1 : 3 – 12   & 1 Thess 1 : 2 -10
Prayer for steadfastness       2 Thess 2 : 13 – 14 & 1 Thess 2 : 13
Gods salvation                       2 Thess 2 : 16 – 17 & 1 Thess 3 : 11 -13
Persecution                            2 Thess 1 : 4 -10      & 1 Thess 2 : 14 -16
Final Reunion with the Lord    2 Thess 2 : 1 - 15 & 1 Thess 1 : 10, 2 : 19, 4 : 13 – 18
DIS-SIMILARITIES ESCHOTHOLOGY :
2 Thess 1 : 5 -10 Signs & the last Judgment
2 Thess 2 :1 -15 Lawless one to be destroyed ( anti – Christ )
2 Thess :Signing of the letter, only gives the signature, to prove the authencity.
The Theology of the cross is absent in 2 Thess; 
1 Thess 4 : 14, 1 Thess 5 : 10 – 15 Refers to the mystery of Xt.
The close reference in 1 Thess to 2 Thess supports that the author of 2 Thess had a copy of a previous letter to the community & drew on it mainly to provide a context for his own situation , that situation concerned eschatological expectation Parousia
2 Thess affects the process of Theological development conscientiously perceived with regards to the finality of Christian life; ultimate divine judgment against the wicked & the final security of the faithfulones through the coming of Lord JC.
THEOLOGICAL QUESTIONS IN 2 THESS
What is the proper understanding of the Parousia. Ch 2 : 1
Vs 3 ; Let no one deceive you of the coming of the Parousia   Mk 13 : 5 – 7; 13 : 21-23; Lk & Rev
According to apocalyptic thinking evil must reach a certain fullness before the time is ripe for Gods judgment.
Rev 22: 11 Let the evil do a --------------evil. A prior necessity for the Lords coming----------is the manifestation of evil at its worst-------------foerm
Ch 2 : 4 Man of lawlessness--- Antiochus Epiphanes the IV   1 Mac 2 : 15; Daniel 9 : 14
he caused apostasy—(he forced people to abandon their religion) Daniel 11 : 36 – 37
Ch 2 : 4 Antiochus desecrated the temple by putting his statue in the temple; on the sacrificial table he killed pigs—signs of anti xt ; He called himself God pseudo- Parousia
Ch 2 : 8 Pseudo Parousia---------- Mk 13 : ---; Mt--------: 24-25
Do not be passive waiting for the parousia, be alert do not delight in wrong doings-----------------------a distracted understanding of God         Rom 1 : 18-32
Vs 14 you are called---to obtain, salvation is becoming the Lords glorious possession, moral holiness & Doctrinal fidality—according to the xtian holiness                                           
LETTERS DIVIDED INTO 5 SECTIONS :
1 : 1-2 Salutation                                                             3 : 1-16        Exhortation
1 : 3-12 Persecution before the Lords coming                3 : 17-18      Final Greeting
2 : 1- 17 Institution of the Parousia
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