2 Thessalonians 1:4-6

4 So that we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure,

which is manifest evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you also suffer;

since it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you.

for (v.4) = on account of

patience (v.4) = abiding under

“Persecutions” describes the hostile actions of others; “afflictions” are the various forms of injury to body and mind suffered by those who are persecuted.

that you endure (v.4) = to bear up. The present continuous tense indicates that the afflictions which beset them at the beginning (1 Thessalonians 1:6; 2:14) had been continued or renewed. — Vine, page 105.


The Thessalonians were enduring persecution so patiently that Paul boasted of them to others. [It isn’t OK] to boast about yourself though (Proverbs 27:2). … When David boasted (Isaiah 17:34), he was boasting about what the Lord could do through him (vs. 45-46). And when Paul boasted (2 Corinthians 11:5) he too was boasting about the Lord (2 Corinthians 10:8).

It must be OK to brag about others, though, since Paul did it. If it wasn’t, Solomon would have said “don’t let another man praise thee.” Of course, when we praise men in spiritual areas, we are praising the Lord for what He is doing through them. That’s why Paul praised the Thessalonians. … It’s not a natural thing for faith to grow amidst tribulations. It’s natural for faith to be shaken instead of growing, or Paul wouldn’t have warned us not to let it happen (1 Thessalonians 3:3). — Kurth

which is (v.5) — not in the Greek, but necessary in English to complete the thought. They refer to the Thessalonians patience and faith, not to the persecutions.

manifest (v.5) = not secret. The persecutions the Thessalonians were enduring were evidence of the righteous judgment of God, a sign that God will someday judge the persecutors in righteousness.

manifest evidence (v.5) = proof. … That they had endured patiently and that faith had not failed, was proof of the new life, and a guarantee that, in the end, God would vindicate Himself and them. — Vine, page 105.


The aggravation and hatred of the persecutors [while they were at the same time] beholding the peace and joy of those they persecuted was “a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God,” for already the persecuted believers were better off than their persecutors! Note: this was but a “token,” though a “manifest” one, of the actual judgment to come, when verses 6-10 will be fulfilled.

A comparison with Philippians 1:28 makes it appear further that this situation was a “manifest token” to them, the persecutors, of judgment to come. Mark well: “… in nothing terrified by your adversaries; which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God.”

“Their hearts and consciences are troubled with foreboding thoughts as they see your constancy,” says the Apostle, “while you are encouraged with the assurance that He who sustains you now will bring you through victorious.”

Their present situation was but “a … token of the righteous judgment of God, for the judgment itself was still to come. — Stam, pages 112-113.

righteous (v.5) = just, without prejudice or partiality.

judgment (v.5) = the act of distinguishing and separating.

counted worthy (v.5) — Fitness, not merit. There was no intrinsic merit in the exercise of faith and patience such as would establish a claim to the kingdom of God; their faith and patience testified … to the working in them of the powers of that kingdom. It was fitting and right, then, that persons in whom those powers were operating, and in whom consequently a character in harmony with that kingdom was being produced, should be given a place in it at its manifestation. — Vine, page 106.


The “kingdom” here is the kingdom of God in heaven, the one your body can’t go to without being “changed” (1 Corinthians 15:50-51). But the subject of 1 Thessalonians … is the pre-tribulation rapture. So Paul is talking about going to the kingdom of God in heaven in the pre-tribulation rapture. What made them worthy of this? Well, what made their persecutors worthy of the Tribulation? They had a covenant with God and they broke it. What made the Thessalonians worthy of the pre-tribulation rapture instead? They never broke the law that they were never under (Romans 6:15), so they were worthy of the rapture. God would be unrighteous to make them go through the Tribulation. — Kurth

you … suffer (v.5) — Suffering with Him now is the condition of reigning with Him then. (Romans 8:17, cp. also 2 Timothy 2:12; Acts 14:22).

with God (v.6) — in the estimation of God, in the sight of God

God planned to judge their persecutors with the Tribulation (v.6). … A token [evidence] is often a sign of a covenant (Genesis 9:12-13; 17:11), and their persecutors were Jews (Acts 17:1-8). The Jews had a covenant with God called the Law, a covenant that said God would punish them if they were bad. Their persecution was a sign of their rebellion against God, so it was a sign that when God judges them with the Tribulation, He will do so in righteousness. This is similar to how Daniel mentions God’s righteousness three times in speaking of how God judged Israel with the captivity (Daniel 9:7-14).  God would have been unrighteous if He didn’t judge them when His covenant with them said He would if they rebelled against Him. — Kurth

affliction (v.6) = (here) retribution to the ungodly in the future

Verse 6 sounds a lot like Isaiah 49:25, which is spoken to the Jews, the seed of Abraham, fulfilling Genesis 12:3. So why is Paul saying things like that to us, i.e., that God will recompense tribulation to those that trouble the Body of Christ? Paul says a lot of things like that. [For example] he applies Hosea 13:14, which is about Israel’s resurrection (Hosea 13:9-14) to us (1 Corinthians 15:51-55). That’s one of the ways he uses the Old Testament—he applies the principles. There is no sting in death for the believer no matter what dispensation you are in, and if you mess with God’s people you mess with Him, no matter what dispensation you are in. Although now that the dispensation of grace has fully set in, He will delay recompensing tribulation to persecutors until after the Rapture. — Kurth.

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