The Evangelical Universalist Forum

2Th 1:9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction

Any ideas on a UR interpretation of the text please?

2Th 1:7 And to you who are troubled, rest with us, when the Lord Jesus comes from heaven with the angels of his power in flames of fire, 8 To give punishment to those who have no knowledge of God, and to those who do not give ear to the good news of our Lord Jesus: 9 Whose reward will be eternal destruction from the face of the Lord and from the glory of his strength,

olethros g3639

  1. ruin, destroy, death
    1a) for the destruction of the flesh, said of the external ills and
    troubles by which the lusts of the flesh are subdued and destroyed

apo can be away from, from, by, because of

I see this as the lake of fire, or the fire preceeding from His throne. It burns away the man in men. God is about destroying the old man, so the new man can live. For those who don’t overcome now, who aren’t beheaded for Him in this life (beheaded so that The Head can reign), will be subjected to the baptism by fire then.

When God came down on mt. horeb, the people said to Moses go for us lest we die. They were afraid of the fire. God wasn’t going to kill them, He was going to write the law on their hearts. Its a fearful thing to be in the presence of the living God. The flesh is weak, it doesn’t want to be burned away.

I don’t see this passage as anything different, the fire is coming from His face, from His glory.

That’s very helpful redhot - much appreciated thank you.

If I compare it with what St Paul says in Romans 2:12

(LITV) For as many as sinned without Law will also perish without Law. And as many as sinned within Law will be judged through Law.

-this time the word for ‘perish’ is ‘apollumi’ . Can you (or anyone out there) please give me an interpretation of this text too?

It always helps to read a passage in context, especially its immediate literary context.

3 We ought to give thanks to God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because increase greatly doth your faith, and abound doth the love of each one of you all, to one another;
4 so that we ourselves do glory in you in the assemblies of God, for your endurance and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye bear;
5 a token of the righteous judgment of God, for your being counted worthy of the reign of God, for which also ye suffer,
6 since [it is] a righteous thing with God to give back to those troubling you – trouble,
7 and to you who are troubled – rest with us in the revelation of the Lord Jesus from heaven, with messengers of his power,
8 in flaming fire, giving vengeance to those not knowing God, and to those not obeying the good news of our Lord Jesus Christ;
9 who shall suffer justice – destruction age-during – from the face of the Lord, and from the glory of his strength,
10when He may come to be glorified in his saints, and to be wondered at in all those believing – because our testimony was believed among you – in that day;
11 for which also we do pray always for you, that our God may count you worthy of the calling, and may fulfil all the good pleasure of goodness, and the work of the faith in power,
12 that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of our God and Lord Jesus Christ.

This passage is meant as an encouragement to the Thesalonian believers who were suffering persecution for their faith in Christ. It encourages them by affirming: 1) they will be rewarded for their faithfullness, and 2) the ones persecuting them will reap what they sow. And when the Lord returns, which this passage seems to assume would be soon, even in their life time, these persecutors will suffer a similar fate to that of Sodom and Gomorrah, destruction.

Paul warns of destruction, olethros, in 1 Thes. 5 also saying,
1 And concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need of my writing to you,
2 for yourselves have known thoroughly that the day of the Lord as a thief in the night doth so come,
3 for when they may say, Peace and surety, then sudden destruction doth stand by them, as the travail [doth] her who is with child, and they shall not escape;

As well as in 1 Tim. 6:9
9 and those wishing to be rich, do fall into temptation and a snare, and many desires, foolish and hurtful, that sink men into ruin and destruction,

To me, destruction, olethros’ most evident meaning is the destruction that comes in this life due to sin. It’s not even speaking of punishment in the afterlife, but in this life. Paul even speaks of such destruction as resulting in one’s spirit being saved in 1 Cor. 5:5
5 to deliver up such a one to the Adversary for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

I see no reason to read into these passages anything more than the destruction that comes into a person’s life in this life due to sin, especially the sin of persecuting the church.

It’s also significant to note that the word translated “shall suffer” or “punished”, katadike, in 2 Thes. 1:9 is also used in Jude 7:
7 as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them, in like manner to these, having given themselves to whoredom, and gone after other flesh, have been set before – an example, of fire age-during, justice suffering.

Not only is the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah an example of such justice, punishment, but it also uses the word aionios to describe the fire that destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. The cities were burnt to ash as judgment from God, but the fire did not last endlessly. In fact, I believe in 1 Thes. 1:9 that aionios is explained in the immediately following phrase, “destruction age-during – from the face of the Lord”. In other words, “from the face of the Lord” explains what Paul meant by “aionios”. Jesus’ appearance, showing His face, brings destruction to those who are not on His side and rewards to those who are.

To take this passage and “read into” it ECT or even annihilation is ludicrous. It does not speak of what happens in the afterlife, but what happens in this life as a result of persecuting the church. It was meant as a word of encouragement to the Thessalonians to remain faithful, trusing in God to bring vengence on those who were persecuting them. It is not meant to teach what happens in the afterlife. I neither affirms or denies punishment in the afterlife, but only affirms destruction in this life.

The son of man came to seek and save the lost/perished/perishing/apollumi.
coins were lost, sheep were lost, prodigal was lost. Jesus came to find those who are already lost. He leaves the 99 in search of the 1 thats lost

a little context:
rom 2
5But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, 6who WILL RENDER TO EACH PERSON ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS: 7to those who by perseverance in doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life; gold precious gems

8but to those who are selfishly ambitious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, wrath and indignation.
wood hay stubble will be burned away but you will be saved though as through fire

zeph 3
“Therefore wait for Me,” declares the LORD,
“For the day when I rise up as a witness.
Indeed, My decision is to gather nations,
To assemble kingdoms,
To pour out on them My indignation,
All My burning anger;
For all the earth will be devoured
By the fire of My zeal.

9“For then I will give to the peoples purified lips,
That all of them may call on the name of the LORD,
To serve Him shoulder to shoulder. (saved though as through fire)

I also agree with Sherman here, as I see most punishment happening in the now. The LOF is now and will be. Who was and is and is to come.

Passing through while on Christmas break! :smiley:

To these observations I can also add the points I made in an article somewhere on the forum a while back (and reiterated in my debate with TFan in Oct):

1.) St. Paul does not always mean a hopeless punishment by “olethron” (whole-ruination) but at least once (when handing the Stepmom-Sleeping Guy over to Satan for the whole-ruination of his flesh) definitely means it as hopeful punishment (so that the SSG’s spirit will be saved in the Day of the Lord to come–the same Day Paul is talking about here!)

2.) the Greek of the phrase is rather more odd than English translations tend to render it–basically the people being punished will come to value the justice of Christ’s whole-ruination of them (which is something only a righteous repentant former sinner could do, not someone still currently sinning).

3.) Paul in his phrasesology is alluding directly to the prophecy of Isaiah 2 through 6, where that is in fact what happens: the sinners aren’t annihilated by the coming of YHWH in flaming fire, and are not hopelessly punished thereby (although they are wholly ruined), but repent in various stages until all have come back to peace with YHWH and with the righteous created persons against whom they have sinned. In other words, the ones being wholly ruined do come to value the justice of Christ’s whole-ruination of them. (Although for some ruined sinners it takes longer to repent than for others. Isaiah even describes the process of their cleaning and being made fit for the company of the righteous as being cleaned with fire!)

Interpretations of 2 Thess 1:9 which do not take these (and other considerations mentioned in this thread) into account, are necessarily going to be incomplete interpretations.

Back to Christmas break now–and may all creation come to value Christmas in the Day of the Lord to come! “A little child shall lead them!”

Thanks to redhot, sherman, jason for your helps. I’ll take some time to study them. I’m currently in discussion with a friend and your input is very valuable.

Pilgrim, if it would be of any help, I’m writing a series of posts on this passage (the Thessalonians one) in my blog. Taking a bit of a Christmas break, too, but if you’d like to glance at what I’ve got so far, they start here:

Cindy - I found that article to be extremely helpful. I can’t wait to read your article on aionios. Thanks.

Thanks for your input Jason but I’ve reread Isaiah Ch2 to 6 and cannot find what you say in red.
Can you (or anyone out there) point out to me the verses which imply what I have highlighted in red?? I get the impression that the ‘baddies’ are wiped out.

Likewise redhotmagma:
Romans 2 doesn’t refer to the burning of our (selfish) works but actually states in verse 12 that sinners shall perish.

As for Zeph 3, it says:

Zep 3:11 When that time comes, you won’t rebel against me and be put to shame.** I’ll do away with those who are proud** and arrogant. Never will any of them strut around on my holy mountain.
Zep 3:12 But** I, the LORD, won’t destroy any of your people who are truly humble** and turn to me for safety.
Zep 3:13 The people of Israel who survive will live right and refuse to tell lies. They will eat and rest with nothing to fear.

This doesn’t seem to suggest UR does it?

The Romans 2 I was highlighting the being judged by works, then relating it to works being as gold/precious metals or wood hay and stubble. I know it doesn’t say it here, but it seems that there is only one time our works are judged, so just putting the two together.

Zeph 3:11 The hebrew doesn’t say take people away, it says it will take pride and arrogance away, the “those who are” is added (I am not a Hebrew scholar by any means so I could be way off base here, just what I see when I look at the actual words used)
v 12 (NAS) "But I will leave among you A humble and lowly people, And they will take refuge in the name of the LORD.
This paints a different picture from the translation you posted. I’m sure everyone will be quite humble after going through this.

v 13 “The remnant of Israel will do no wrong And tell no lies, Nor will a deceitful tongue Be found in their mouths; For they will feed and lie down With no one to make them tremble.”
The idea of the remnant is troublesome for me. It is in fact the biggest concept that gives me pause about UR in the entire bible. Although if it means the remnant is the new man, then its not issue. Its not something I have great understanding about (not that I have great understanding about anything really :wink: )

you’re too modest! I have benefited greatly from your posts on this forum. I think (if I remember) I quoted the “CEV” translation (whatever that is) from my esword because it was the one that troubled me most but it could well be that it is the one that has got it wrong. If nothing else, it emphasizes how translations can differ and what a difference they can make.
I reckon that I am also not happy about the ‘remnant’ idea.
Thanks for all your help and I DO find the text about ‘saved as by/through fire’ extremely helpful. To me it suggests that it is the fire itself (the Godly consuming fire) that actually does the saving. I can live with these texts and can see how they need not contradict UR but I’m wanting to convince my friend and you have helped.
I’m hoping Jason will come back on his comment on Isaiah Ch2-6 'cos I just can’t see what he sees.
God bless

thank you for the kind words pilgrim

Sorry, I’m kind of out of pocket this week for Christmas/New Year’s.

Looking back over my notes, a new prophecy starts up in chapter 6, so I should have said chps 2 thru 5; which are the ones I covered in my debate with TFan. This can be found in our Premier Quarterly section here. In the official debate-discussion thread, I have some subsequent comments on the translation of the passage which for various reasons I didn’t get to go over in full during the debate. (One of the host, Chris’, rebuttal attempts on this verse involved challenging the translation.) Practically all of TFan’s rebuttal attempts for this passage involved trying to challenge that it was referring to Isaiah 2 (and so to the prophecy there as a whole) at all; he apparently recognized that if he allowed this he was going to be in trouble, which was a backhanded way of acknowledging that Isaiah was testifying at least to post-mortem repentance and salvation of sinners! (I comment on this post-debate here, btw.)

My main argument on this verse is found in this slice of the debate. (It was second in my discussion of debated verses, and the first set wasn’t something I discussed much in my main argument.)