This letter was written just a short time after I Thessalonians, to correct some false teachings that had come to the church relative to the coming of Christ. I Thessalonians deals with the Rapture--Christ's return in the air for His Church; while II Thessalonians deals with the revelation--Christ's return with the Church to the earth, to defeat His enemies and establish His Kingdom. The "Day of the Lord" referred to in II Thessalonians is that period of tribulation that comes to the earth after the Church has been raptured. I Thessalonians 1:10 and 5:9 clearly teach that the Church will not go through the tribulation. As Paul is writing this second letter to the church at Thessalonica, the church was going through terrible persecution (II Thessalonians 1:4-7), and some of the believers thought they were already in the Day of the Lord--that awful time of tribulation promised in the Old Testament. Paul writes this letter to explain God's program for the ages, and to encourage these suffering Christians to remain true to the Lord. He points out three great purposes behind their suffering in chapter 1: Suffering helps one to grow (verses 3-5); suffering prepares one for glory (verses 6-10); suffering glorifies Christ today (verses 11,12). This entire chapter is a great encouragement to us, as believers, in these trying days. The world is going downhill at a very high rate of speed. Men do not want to hear the Word of God. It seems the wicked are prospering, while faithful Christians are suffering. It seems that God has forsaken His own. Not so, says Paul. We, as believers, can rest in the fact that God is at work in the world and will one day vindicate His own and bring vengeance on those who have not received His Son as their own personal Saviour.
In chapter 2 Paul explains about the Day of the Lord and the man of sin. He says that certain events must take place before this day of wrath and judgment can come to the world. Paul encourages the Christians there to keep on working, and the same challenge rings forth to us today. Read II Timothy 3 and 4 to see what our responsibilities are as believers in Christ in these latter days.
Finally, in chapter 3, Paul exhorts the Christians at Thessalonica to change their ways. It is not enough to know about the coming of Christ, or even to believe it; we must practice godly living in our daily lives as if the second coming of Christ will occur at any moment. If we really believe He is coming again, then in all things we should live as if we may see Him even today. His coming is imminent! The challenge to believers in Christ is to look up, for our redemption draweth nigh.
Index of Daily Devotions