Trend Update: 1 & 2 Thessalonians, December 2014

1 and 2 Thessalonians were two letters in the New Testament written by the Apostle Paul in approximately 50 AD. A key theme of 1 Thessalonians is the coming of Christ. Another doctrine in 1 Thessalonians is the rapture. Themes of 2 Thessalonians are the Day of the Lord and God’s judgment. The citizens of the city were being deceived regarding these doctrines. The point of the letters was to encourage believers about the imminent return of Christ.

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Thessaloniki, Greece was and is a real place. There were believers in Jesus in this town and area. In Paul’s time, 1st century AD, Thessaloniki was the capital of the Roman province of Macedonia. It was the largest city with a population of approximately 200,000 (Nelson’s Complete Book of Bible Maps & Charts). Understanding the history of the city, it is not difficult to imagine how and why a riot broke out when Paul arrived on the scene (Acts 17:1-9).

The first Jews are thought to have arrived in the region in 513 BC. The city of Thessaloniki was founded in 315 BC by King Cassander of Macedon. The Jewish community remained uninterrupted in Thessaloniki until 1492 AD, the time of the Spanish Inquisition and expulsion of Jews from Spain. 20,000 Jews migrated to the city to escape persecution. Thessaloniki continued until the early 20th century. It was called “Mother of Israel” and “Jerusalem of the Balkans”.

Today (December 2014), the Greek city is looking to revive its Jewish past. In the early 20th century, the city was essentially Jewish. In 1911, David Ben-Gurion and Yitzhak Ben-Zvi visited Thessaloniki. Their purpose was to study a functioning Jewish society.  They were looking for a model for the future state of Israel. The Jewish community in Thessaloniki was destroyed by the Holocaust during World War II.

http://www.haaretz.com/jewish-world/jewish-world-features/.premium-1.626438

Curious, the modern day city of Thessaloniki is looking to return to its Jewish roots. The city is a reminder of the letters written by the Apostle Paul. His message to the church is that of encouragement. Jesus is coming to get His bride. He is coming back as judge. His return is imminent.

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