It is very easy for today’s Messianic Believers to overlook the content of the Pauline Epistles, due to their complexities about issues pertaining to the Torah, First Century Judaism, and the inclusion of the nations in God’s plan of salvation. Among all of the Pauline letters, though, 1&2 Thessalonians get almost totally ignored by contemporary Messianic readers. Yet, 1&2 Thessalonians were some of the earliest of Paul’s letters written, depicting some of the early conflicts that the Body of Messiah experienced, as the good news was being proclaimed in the Mediterranean world. 1&2 Thessalonians are quoted in bits and pieces for their teachings on the end-times, the Second Coming, and they are surely employed in debates over a pre– or post-tribulational gathering of the saints. 1&2 Thessalonians includes much more to be examined for certain, as the First Century Believers were caught in the middle of often being rejected by the Jewish Synagogue, and they were treated with great suspicion and hostility by Greeks and Romans.
What are some of the important spiritual and theological issues to be explored in 1&2 Thessalonians, that can no longer go overlooked for today’s Messianic Believers? Is the Apostle Paul anti-Semitic in 1 Thessalonians 2:14-15? What kind of a religious and/or political clash was occurring between the early Messianic movement, and the Roman establishment’s veneration of Caesar? How has 1&2 Thessalonians been interpreted among many contemporary Christians accurately, and not so accurately, as it concerns the return of the Messiah? What about the importance of the doctrine of the resurrection, especially for the early non-Jewish Believers, who were still likely struggling with issues of their pagan upbringing? What were some of the challenges that the widely non-Jewish Believers of Thessalonica faced, as they turned to the Messiah of Israel for salvation, and had to decisively be removed from any of the social or religious spheres in which they had once lived?
What important lessons are there for contemporary Messianic Believers to learn from 1&2 Thessalonians? How much have we left these two letters outside of our purview of Bible reading? What key insights and admonitions need to be incorporated into our spirituality, given some of the issues and difficulties that we currently face—presumably as we live in some of the final decades before the actual return of Yeshua (Jesus) to Planet Earth? Messianic Apologetics editor J.K. McKee elaborates on these, and various other key subjects, in this study.