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“ air : and so we shall for ever be with THE LORD."
-Now all that the Apostle thus certifies, respecting the coming of CHRIST, the sound of a trumpet, and the resurrection of the dead, he does “BY “THE WORD OF THE LORD.” This expression deserves particular notice ; for it is a direct reference to a written record. Had the Gospel by Matthew been in existence, when this epistle was written, it might be supposed that Paul had in his mind the twenty-fourth chapter of that Gospel, ver. 31; but the prevailing opinion of Critics is, that the Epistle to the Thessalonians was written ten or twelve years before the Evangelist wrote. Even if we admit his Gospel to have been then in existence, there are circumstances in Paul's statement, respecting the resurrection, which could not be gathered, directly, from Matthew ; and Paul's previous allusion to the day of wrath, seems, plainly enough, to indicate the source whence he delivered “the
· Eusebius and several later writers state the Gospel of Matthew to have been written A. D. 41, and Nicephorus places it in 49; but Irenæus, the most antient writer on such subjects, dates it when Paul and Peter preached at Rome; that is about the year 61. Mill, Michaelis, and various critics adopt this opinion.. Owen thinks it was written so early as A. D. 38; while Lardner thinks it was not written before the year 64.-The first Epistle to the Thessalonians is allowed by most critics to have been written in the year 52.
“ word of the LORD.” That the trumpet of which he speaks is the seventh Apocalyptic Trumpet, receives farther confirmation from what follows, in the fifth chapter :-“ Of THE TIMES AND “THE PERIODS, brethren, ye have no need that I “ write unto you; for YOURSELVES KNOW PER“FECTLY that the day of the LORD so cometh ws “XÉTTIS AS A THIEF in the night (ch. v. 1. 2). Is there no allusion here to the times and the periods explained in the Apocalypse ? And will any person, acquainted with the ancient modes of quotation, rest satisfied, that the concluding words could have been drawn from Mat. xiv. 43. (supposing that Gospel to have been then in existence), when he finds the very words in Rev. iii. 3, and xvi. 15, already applied in precisely the same manner; whereas the casual coincidence, in the former, can only be accommodated by inference? The Apostle refers to some plain testimony; to something directly to his purpose; soinething that they THEMSELVES KNEW PERFECTLY: and, in v. 3, reminds them of the sudden destruction that cometh on the wicked, viz. in the great day of wrath—" but ye, brethren, are not in
darkness, that THAT DAY should overtake you as “xéttnS AS A THIEF, v. 4.... God hath not appointed us to WRATH, but to obtain salvation by
our Lord Jesus CHRIST," v. 9.And he con, cludes by praying (v. 23) that they may " be pre
served blameless to THE COMING OF OUR LORD," viz. from heaven with the trumpet of God.
In his second Epistle to the same church the Apostle resumes the subject. He thanks God (ch. i.) for the increase of their faith,—boasting of them in other churches for the patience with which they endured persecution :-“ A manifest « token (says he) της δικαίας κρίσεως του Θεού OF " THE RIGHTEOUS JUDGMENT OF God; in that
ye were counted worthy of the kingdom of God, “ for which ye also suffer.”—“ THE righteous
_ “ judgment" alluded to, appears, from the context, to be that recorded in Rev. xix. 2.. “ True « and δίκαιαι αι κρίσεις αυτού RIGHTEOUS HIS “ JUDGMENTS ;"-for he instantly adds,“ seeing “ it is a righteous thing with God to recompense “ trouble to them that trouble you,” which is an accommodated transcript from Rev. xviii. 6, “ Reward her even as she rewarded you," &c.—The words that follow in the 7th verse deserve particular attention. In the common version they are given thus : " And to you who are troubled, rest “ with us, when the Lord JESUS shall be revealed " from heaven with his mighty angels.” In this translation the preposition év is translated as an adverb of time, “ when," and the word à Toxanúyer has been rendered as the third person singular future passive of the verb αποκαλύπτω. Macnight has given the same version, and the greater number of translators have given a future signification to this word. It is probable, however, had they been aware of the possible existence of the Apocalypse, at the time this Epistle was written, that they would have rendered the passage otherwise, as they could not possibly be ignorant that epoxakúper forms the dative singular of the noun αποκάλυψις. Macnight, on, “ rest with us," says, “ The Apostle “ does not mean, relaxation from persecution. • The believing Jews had no relaxation in that
sense, any more than the believing Gentiles. “ But he means, relaxation from the troubles of " this life at death, and the enjoyment of eter“ nal rest, the rest of God, along with the be
lieving Jews.”—Now, though it be true that, then, believers shall enjoy rest, a more natural sense may, I think, be given to the Apostle's words :-God gives to his people, in the present time,
“ rest, in THE APOCALYPSE OF “The Lord Jesus from heaven, by the Angels of “ his power :"—that is, in The Apocalypse which Jesus Christ gave from heaven, by the angels of his power ; for The Revelation was given by him whom John saw sitting on a throne in the heaven (Rev. ch. iv.), viz. Jesus Christ, who sent his angel to make it known to John. The Apostle therefore appears to be referring to the Title of the Apocalypse, given in the first verse of that pro
phecy. Nor is it any objection to this that in the title of the Apocalypse the word “ Angel” is used in the singular, for a plurality were actually employed in the course of the vision, though only one at a time addressed John. In the promises of “ The faithful witness,” recorded in the Apocalypse-in the belief of the things therein promised—those who are persecuted for the faith, enjoy a present rest,-because of the certainty of the future recompense, when God will wipe away all tears from their eyes. This very Apocalypse is now
inflicting punishment, with flaming fire, on them who know not God :" that is, the certainty of their punishment is therein fully de clared, as well as its manner; nor can they avert any of the judgments therein denounced against them.
Destruction by fire is, in the Scriptures, (and particularly in the Apocalypse) a symbolical expression for destruction by the sword. Conformably to this the declaration in Mat. x. 34,“ I came not to send peace but a sword," is thus expressed in Luke xii. 49, “ I am come to "send fire on the earth.” Ultimately the enemies of the saints are to be “cast into the lake of fire" (Rev. xx. 15). • They shall suffer punishment
everlasting destruction, από προσώπου του Κυρίου “ FROM THE PRESENCE OF THE LORD, even from " the glory of his power, in the day when he shall