1 Thessalonians 2:16-20


1 Th 2:16 (KJB)
Forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved, to fill up their sins alway: for the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost.
Forbidding - Stop, prevent, or restrain
Fill up - To make complete, fulfill, or carry out
Uttermost - End, termination, or result
Here Paul speaks about what the Jews were contrary about. By forbidding Paul and the others from preaching the true Gospel, they were denying the words of eternal life not only to the Gentiles, but they themselves were condemning themselves by the rejection of the true Gospel. Paul speaks of them completing their sin by rejecting the only way to Heaven. Since their sins were finally matured to the point that they have rejected the very God they claim to be serving, the wrath of God will come upon them as a result. They will face eternal damnation just as anyone else who rejects the true Gospel. Salvation is by grace and not by race, therefore some Jews will become saved like Paul or Peter and some Gentiles will become saved. Once a Gentile is saved, they are no longer called a Gentile but a Christian. The term Gentile in Scripture deals with those outside of Israel who were unsaved. When a Jew becomes saved they call themselves “Messianic Jews.” This term denotes a continued rejection of the Lord Jesus Christ since all who are saved should call themselves Christians. There are no special groups in Christianity, all are equal at the foot of the cross. They are trying to identify with Moses and with Christ, you cannot have it both ways. Many of them need to study the Book of Galatians.
1 Th 2:17 (KJB)
But we, brethren, being taken from you for a short time in presence, not in heart, endeavoured the more abundantly to see your face with great desire.
Being taken - Made an orphan or to take from
Endeavoured - Hasten or do one’s best
The Apostle Paul uses a word for “being taken” which carries with it the meaning of being an orphan. This is how Paul and Silas felt when they were forced to leave Thessalonica. Their love for these Christians was so strong that he used the term for orphan in a reverse manner. He stated previously that he treated them like a nurse treats a child and with the mindset of a father. Normally the parents do not speak of being orphaned, only the children are considered orphans. Paul speaks about being absent from their presence but they are with him in heart because of how precious they are to him. However, even though they are apart for a while, Paul will endeavour to see them again for he greatly desired to fellowship with them.
1 Th 2:18 (KJB)
Wherefore we would have come unto you, even I Paul, once and again; but Satan hindered us.
Paul had desired to come back to Thessalonica but for some reason he was hindered by Satan. No doubt it was Satan working through unsaved men to prevent Paul from preaching further the true Gospel. God had allowed Satan to hinder Paul from coming and it is not recorded why but we must always keep in mind, that if we are providentially hindered from doing some work in the Kingdom, it is God who is directing the hindrance so He can re-direct us where He wants us to serve. Satanic hindrance is always a possibility in every believer’s life. Daniel prayed for three weeks and Satan hindered his prayers, so we must never wonder why we are being hindered. We just realize that Satan is used of God to fulfill His will properly. One good example is the five missionaries killed by the Auca Indians in Ecuador. After that incident, their wives went there and that resulted in many coming to know Christ. So what looked like a bleak incident, was really in the plan of God.
1 Th 2:19 (KJB)
For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?
Rejoicing - Boasting
Paul’s love for the Thessalonians did not wane because he was hindered from coming to them. He loved them and called them his hope, joy, and crown of rejoicing. He was not boasting as if he did some great thing, his boast was what the Lord had done in Thessalonica by raising up a strong group of Christians who were already spreading the Gospel. While many of the young churches like Corinth and Galatia had internal problems, this church was getting on with the Great Commission. This is what Paul was boasting in, what the Lord was doing among them. There will be great rejoicing on the last day, when the Lord returns and raises up all the Christians and reunites them with their bodies and making those bodies into glorified spiritual bodies. The fullness of salvation will be a time when all the believers throughout time are gathered into Heaven. Paul is encouraging the Thessalonian Christians that they too will stand in the presence of the Lord when He returns. He is basically saying that your joy is great now, but when the Lord returns your joy will be exponential.
1 Th 2:20 (KJB)
For ye are our glory and joy.
Paul would never think that he would get some kind of reward for the work at Thessalonica but the fact that these had become saved and were spreading the word to others made Paul and the others glory in that work and it gave them great joy that they were not just sitting in their homes but were out making disciples. Paul became very joyful when he saw people becoming saved and he gloried in the fact of the mighty work which God had done in Thessalonica. I can personally attest to Paul’s joy in that arena. When I receive an e-mail from someone telling me that they have found something of value or something they needed at that time on my site, it gives me great joy and encouragement to continue on, knowing that I have no idea who is reading the articles on my site and where they are from around the world. It is God who allows me to pen these articles, not knowing at the time who they will affect. The Christian’s glory and joy should be to see others become saved or if they are saved, to grow in the faith.