The Evangelical Universalist Forum

JRP's Exegetical Compilation: 2 Thessalonians 1:6-10

This is part of my Exegetical Compilation Project, which I am verrrrry slowly posting up, and which can be found here.

2 Thess 1:6-10 – this is one of the Big Guns commonly shot off against any idea of the eventual salvation of all sinners from sin, especially since it’s the strongest such statement made in the surviving epistles of St. Paul. (The legitimacy of 2 Thess is often rejected nowadays, even by some conservative Christian scholars, but I accept it and all the canonical epistles as legitimate.) These verses have numerous complex issues, however, which will take some time to unpack.

Usually this saying is debated between proponents of eternal conscious torment and of annihilation, although both sides naturally consider it strong testimony against the salvation of these sinners from sin.

Let me start by conceding a point that is sometimes brought into the dispute: there is no distinction between the uses of {apo} in this sentence. The whole-ruination comes from the Presence/Face of God (a Hebraism referring to the Angel of the Presence Who was YHWH Himself, the Visible of the Invisible, in the OT) and from the glory of His strength. No one would ever bother saying that the whole ruination comes away from the glory of His strength! – and rhetorically the two prepositional phrases stand in parallel unity anyway (the “glory” being another Hebraism for the Visible Presence of God, the Shekinah.)

At the same time, if someone insists on translating the first {apo}, or both its usages, as “away from” so that those who {tisosin} the {dikên} of God do so “away from” His presence and "away from " His glory (instead of “from” His presence and glory as a result of His presence and glory); then they should either read total annihilation from this, or else interpret their translation so that the omnipresence of God is not denied in the eternal conscious torment – unless translators are content to deny the omnipresence of God (and thus deny a doctrine of even mere supernaturalistic theism, including orthodox trinitarianism)!

This naturally leads into a closer examination of verse 9 which is the key verse under contention. In Greek (with a stable textual transmission) it reads, continuing a sentence from the previous verse:

hoitines dikên tisousin olethron aiônion apo prosôpou tou kuriou kai apo tês doxês tês ischuos autou

The second half of the sentence has already been discussed, although it will have a further part to play in the account of the interpretation soon: from {apo prosôpou} onward means “from (the) face of-the-lord and from the glory the strength of-him”. (In English we would usually change “the glory” to an adjective to describe “the strength”, and that’s a legitimate translation.)

The first five words of the verse are the crucial center of the meaning, and why people have generally interpreted the translation to be one of St. Paul’s few statements in favor of hopeless punishment.

The first word, {hoitines}, is a referent plural pronoun, “anyone-who-plural”. Thus it cannot refer back to Jesus Christ in the preceding verse, even though as the closest referent noun that would otherwise be a reasonable first inference. The closest and contextually most probable matching grammatic reference would be to “those not obeying the gospel of the Lord of us Jesus Christ”. (To which I will note that one’s larger-scale interpretation of this verse will depend on what one considers to be the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ! Be that as it may.)

That second word, {dikên}, is simply a simple form of the word “justice” (though not the special compound form also commonly used, {dikaiosunê}) with the grammatically proper suffix for its logical place in the sentence.

Yet many translators don’t want to call it justice. The New International Version calls it “punishment”; ditto the Revised Standard Version. Green translates it as “penalty”, as does the New American Standard and the Holman CSB. Knoch’s literal concordance, though, translates it more directly: justice.

The whole paragraph, going back a few verses, is saturated with references to justice: the afflictions endured by the church are a display of God’s “just judging” ({tês dikaias kriseôs}, and note that “crisising” is here applied to people who all translators agree are God’s people being saved by God). It is a just thing {dikaion} with God to repay the ones afflicting these people with affliction (and also to repay the ones being afflicted!) Those who do not know God shall receive {ekdikêsin}, out-justing (usually translated “vengeance”).

“Those who do not know God and those who do not obey the good news of our Lord Jesus” shall have justice dealt out to them by our Lord (in verse 8) when He is revealed from heaven in flaming fire (verse 7). So it makes a lot of contextual sense that Paul continues to talk about justice in verse 9.

God was the verb-er of the justice previously in Paul’s paragraph; but here “those not obeying the gospel” are the doers of the verb, and justice is the object of the verb. In other words, Paul is saying “those” shall-be-verbing “justice”. That verb is the unusual term {tisousen}, and its meaning is highly important to the proper interpretation and translation of the sentence. But because the verb is unusual – and because the usual New Testament applications of other forms of this verb would not fit a hopeless punishment interpretation, and even would strongly argue for the expectation of the salvation of the punished – I can foresee a reasonable appeal to establish surrounding contexts first and then check to see how most reasonably to fit this term into the contexts. So I will come back to this word later.

In English we would skip over the next term, {olethron}, to put its adjective {aiônion} or “eonian” (the adjective form of “eon” or “age”) first. “Eonian” sometimes describes things that go on forever never-endingly (especially when referring to God and God’s intrinsic characteristics), and sometimes describes things that had a beginning or have had an end. So since its meaning varies, it has to be determined by context – except insofar as the object which “eonian” describes comes uniquely from God, which is certainly true here. (There may be a few exceptions to that observation, but not in the New Testament so far as I recall.)

This happens also to be important for reckoning this testimony in trinitarian apologetics! The term “eonian” itself is one indicator that Paul is identifying the person of Jesus as God Most High, even though Paul also distinguishes between the persons of “Jesus” and “God” in some real and significant fashion (such as in verse 1 of this same chapter).

Moreover, Paul is personally putting Jesus in the action of ultimate judgment ascribed only to YHWH in the Old Testament, not to any lesser lord or god.

And that isn’t only a generalized observation. Paul is referencing a specific portion of scripture here: the judgment of YHWH in the day of YHWH’s forthcoming appearance, described in Isaiah 2:10: “from the terror of YHWH and from the splendor of His majesty”; also paralleled in verse 21 as “before the terror of YHWH and the splendor of His majesty”. (Similarly, shortly prior to 2 Thess 1:9, in verse 7, where Paul is speaking of the Lord Jesus being revealed from heaven with the angels of His power, he is referencing Zechariah 14:5b where the prophet says in regard to the same situation, “Then YHWH my Elohim [one of the plural name-titles for God] will come and all the holy ones with Him.”)

This Isaianic prophecy extends from chapter 2 through the end of chapter 5. It criticizes the unjust and oppressive Jewish rulers and population, although especially the rulers. YHWH declares that they shall be (in effect, although the exact term isn’t used) wholly ruined in the Day of the Lord to come, at the coming of YHWH among them.

This is not the end of their story in these chapters, however! – although this can be obscured by the fact that Isaiah does not report things in sequence. He starts with the end result, for example, chapter 2 verses 1 through 4, where the mountain of the house of YHWH will be established as the chief of mountains, and all the nations shall stream to it to be taught YHWH’s ways by YHWH, so that they may walk in His path; and YHWH will act as arbitrating judge among the nations so that they will live in peace with one another ever afterward.

It is in context of looking forward to this day that Isaiah calls Israel to stop their injustice and their idolatries and repent and come back to walking in the light of YHWH. People, especially the egotistical leaders, who refuse to do so, will be humbled and abased so that YHWH alone will be exalted in that day. A repeated theme in chapter 2 (verses 10, 19, and 21) is that doers of injustice will try to hide in caverns from YHWH’s appearance; but they will also throw away their idols (verses 18 and 20) – possibly into the same caverns (with the moles and the bats!) where they themselves attempt to hide.

In the second half of chapter 3, Isaiah switches metaphors and begins to speak of rebel Israel as daughters of Zion who are proud, seductive adulteresses, who shall be humbled in fashions analogically parallel to the more masculine humbling imagery elsewhere in the prophecy. The outcome of this, however, is more fully reported: defeated rebels shall appeal to the righteous to save them and to take away their reproach. And notice: the righteous remnant, “everyone who is recorded for life in Jerusalem”, the holy ones “who are left in Zion and remain in Jerusalem”, servants adorned by the beauty of the Branch of YHWH (a reference to the Messiah, thus to Jesus), are called the “survivors” in distinction from the rebels pleading for salvation! (That’s in verses 1 through 3 of chapter 4.) The rebels pleading for salvation, like desperate women after a battle begging to be made the indentured servant concubines of the conquerors, did not survive the coming terrible splendor of YHWH!

In other words, this part of the vision isn’t looking at however many of the unjust survived the coming of YHWH, now pleading to be included – although some prophecies do look in that direction since the principles are similar (and even in this prophecy not all the unrighteous died immediately). God is showing Isaiah something that will (also) happen after the general resurrection: the defeated rebels have been resurrected and are now pleading with the righteous survivors.

Nor shall the pleas of the defeated rebels be rejected! YHWH shall wash away the filth of the rebel daughters of Zion (referring to both men and women with that recent analogy), who were slain as impenitent rebels during His coming. He shall purge the bloodshed of Jerusalem from their midst {en pneumati kriseôs kai pneumati kauseôs} in a spirit of judgment and a spirit of burning. And yes, this “crisis” as the Greek Old Testament translates the original Hebrew, is the same “crisis” (down to the same grammatic form) which St. Paul was talking about in 2 Thess!

The result will be that the pillar of daysmoke and nightfire (as in the presence of YHWH during the Exodus, the same presence by which the rebels were originally slain) will be a shelter from the storm and the rain and the heat. (Chapter 4 verses 4 through 6. Chapter 5 goes back to the theme of coming punishment for rebel Israel and does not mention salvation of the rebels again.)

In this context, Isaiah 2 verse 9 (preceding verse 10, referenced by St. Paul in 2 Thess 1:9) should not be translated “But do not forgive them”, as for example in the New American Standard Version. The primitive verb there, which means to lift and has a wide variety of usage in the OT, should be interpreted in a sense parallel to other portions of the same chapter instead: do not lift up the humbled proud again to their former status of exalted rebellion. (For example chapter 2 verse 22, “Cease from man whose breath is in his nostrils, for in what should he be esteemed?”)

In any case, the context of Isaiah 2 through 5 indicates that the fate of rebels wholly ruined from the presence of YHWH is not hopelessly final. Even the proudest rebels are shown in a process of preliminary repentance (though not yet seeking salvation) by throwing away their idols; other proud rebels seek repentance, including by petitioning the victorious righteous survivors, and receive reconciliation with YHWH; and the whole prophecy begins with a portrait of broad repentance among all the nations in the day of YHWH to come: which by narrative and thematic logic must necessarily be subsequent to the punishment related afterward in the chapter, resulting in loyal fellowship with YHWH where no such fellowship previously existed, and peace among the nations under YHWH’s fair justice.

So, unless the apostle Paul is completely changing (not just expanding) the contextual meaning of his Isaiah reference, he’s talking about a situation that is expected to lead to the repentance and salvation from sin of those who – unlike the “survivors!” – are wholly ruined by YHWH in His coming judgment of avenging fire!

This isn’t something that should be swept aside. Not only is it directly relevant in a positive way to the intention and result of the judgment of 2 Thess 1:9 (and its immediate contexts), it also is in just the same proportion relevant to trinitarian apologetics. Saint Paul’s specific allusion to Isaiah 2 demonstrates that in calling Jesus “Lord” Paul very certainly means “YHWH”, not some lesser lord or god.

This also gives us a clear contextual rationale for how to translate “eonian” this time: it means less than never-ending; and considering the strong connections to the punishment coming from God’s unique presence, it most likely refers to the {olethron} coming uniquely from God. (Although it could also refer to the {olethron} being specific to the special coming eon in which it occurs.)

I have been using the term “whole-ruination” so far, since that is a fairly literal translation of {olethron}. Sometimes this is translated “extermination”, or in some other excessively destructive way; and that’s fair enough, too. But does the term itself intrinsically point to a hopeless final situation?

Well, St. Paul himself doesn’t think so! He uses the exact same term in a very certainly hopeful sense at least once elsewhere, namely 1 Corinthians chapter 5 verse 5. Paul condemns the flesh of his opponent among the Corinthian church, the Stepmom-Sleeping Guy, to whole-ruination (same term) so that the SSG’s soul may be saved in the day of the Lord to come: the exact same day which Paul is talking about here in 2 Thessalonians 1:9!!

Paul also uses the same term at 1 Thess 5:3, as part of his birth-pangs analogy of the pain coming to the wicked in the Day of YHWH to come. But a woman’s birth-pangs, though they can be dangerous beyond even painful, are not typically regarded as intrinsically hopeless; Paul himself typically regards birth-pangs as hopeful, such as at the famous description of the cosmos afflicted by sin in Romans 8.

Even without that definite evidence of term usage, though, I would still regard 2 Thess 1:9 as talking very certainly about the same situation as Isaiah 2 through 5, which is not only hopeful for the sinners who are so destroyed (compared to the righteous survivors) but reveals the end result to be their eventual salvation from sin: a total sweeping victory of salvation for and by God Most High! – even though the same chapters also hint it’ll happen in waves, so to speak, with some sinners holding out or trying to dodge longer than others.

I really do not know any other way in which it could be truly said, that those wholly-ruined in the second coming of our Lord could even possibly come to VALUE His justice, up to and including the justice of His ruination of them!

Obviously, most translators have no clue how that could ever happen either, if universalism isn’t true! – which is why we rarely see even the common term for “justice” translated accurately here in this verse!

But, even though Isaiah indicates rebels eventually come to value the justice of eonian punishment (though he doesn’t directly say they “value” it), why would I think that’s an important concept here in 2 Thess 1?

Now it’s time to talk about that highly unusual remaining word, {tisousin}.

Like everyone who aren’t themselves experts in Greek, I have to depend heavily on people who are experts in Greek, most of whom are not universalists by the way; but sometimes when digging around I find evidence that ideological context is dictating translation instead of exegetical context dictating ideology. This is one of those times.

Everyone (so far as I can tell) agrees that the word {tisousin} is a third person plural verb form, indicating future action by the doer of the verb; and everyone seems to agree it is derived either from {tinô} or from a rare alternate emphatic form {tiô}; but there’s some debate about which of those it’s derived from.

The problem is that {tinô} means to pay in the sense of valuing or honoring. A slightly modified form of it, {timê}, shows up numerous times in the New Testament in several cognates. As the verb {timaô}, it always means to honor or to value; in an adjective form it always describes its objects as valuable; and its noun form indicates ‘value’ as a concept. Consequently, it can also refer to payment, but it doesn’t mean merely to pay. The New Testament authors had an entirely different word for that, {apodidômi}.

Tinô and its cognates are definitely and clearly used everywhere else in the NT (with two debatable exceptions I’ll mention in a minute) for valuing or honoring something in a positive way (unless maybe it’s phrased in a negative fashion, a’tino-something, which this word is not.) Someone can honor the wrong things, of course, but it’s the object that makes it wrong, not the verb. No one in their right minds would say you aren’t supposed to value or honor the justice of God!

Tiô would mean to value or honor more strongly. But because {tisousin} is found only one time in the whole NT, and because that one time is here in 2 Thess 1:9, and because people already think on other grounds that there is no hope for those people being wholly ruined (which would be a reasonable inference from extended context elsewhere if that was solidly established, but which would render this verse useless as strong exegetical evidence for such a position); then translators have a debate over whether this word is supposed to be derived from {tinô} (which would clearly make no sense) or from {tiô} – which would make even less sense but it’s very rare so who knows maybe some rare reversal-meaning-by-emphasis was attached to it (by Paul or whomever he learned it from).

Now, there are some pagan Greek authors, who use the term this way along with “justice” for punishment, and those authors may or may not be thinking in terms of hopeless punishment. But no one denies Paul is talking about some kind of punitive effect here; what I’m challenging is whether the punishment being described is hopeless (whether ECT or annihilation ether one).

But just as Paul could in theory be using a hopeful punishment term from surrounding pagan society for an actually hopeless punishment; by the same token, even assuming the surrounding cultural context always promoted “value/honor justice” as a hopeless punishment, that doesn’t mean Paul is necessarily following suit. Paul could just as easily be thinking something like I do when I see the word “retribution” used for hopeless punishment: real re-tribut-ive punishment is about bringing the punished one back into loyal tribute to proper authority. Which, not incidentally, is also what Paul’s scripture citation turns out to be about!

The only other times a cognate of the word {timê} is used for punishment, are in Hebrews 10:29, {timorias} a singular noun being used as a genitive “of punishment”; and in Paul’s testimony about his oppression of the church in Acts 22:5 and 26:11, {timôreô} which literally means ‘value-lift-guard’. (The same suffix, Oreo, is used as the brand name for a popular chocolate cookie which eaters frequently value-lift, too, in order to eat or lick the crème in the center guarded by the shield of the round cookies!)

Paul’s behavior in oppressing the Church before his conversion, fits the notion of remedial synagogue punishment testified elsewhere: in extreme but not-yet-capital cases, the Jews would punish someone, hoping the punished person would recant their sin and come back to communion with the congregation. The punishment might be to within an inch of their lives such as the 39 lashes, where 40 would be a legal execution, but it wasn’t supposed to be an execution as that would defeat the intention of the punishment! (The verb is active at 26:11 where Paul talks about actively punishing the Christians; and passive at 22:5, where the Christians are being punished. Paul himself regularly suffers synagogue punishment during his Christian missionary work.)

The context of Hebrews 10, meanwhile, cites Deuteronomy 32, where the whole point of the vengeance of God is to vindicate His rebel people, or (in a word) re-tribute them, bringing them back into tribute to Him: which He prophecies will succeed, even after the people have been so destroyed that they are “neither slave nor free” (a poetic way of describing total destruction to the farthest possible death).

This is also important because sometimes in debates about Christian universalism, the topic comes up about whether “timoria” was used for hopeless punishment in the surrounding Greco-Roman culture (contrasted to “kolasis”). Both terms are used in the New Testament, but by context “timoria” turns out to involve hopeful punishment every single time, and “kolasis” by context turns out to involve hopeful punishment at least sometimes (such as with the sheep and the baby goats!)

Keeping these things in mind, the proper translation for 2 Thess 1:9 would be nothing worse than “paying honor” to the justice of God; and any true payment of honoring God’s justice would involve coming to truly value the justice of God (even if that involved punishment against one’s self). Remember also that the form of the verb indicates that the subject of the verb (those who do not obey the good news of our Lord Jesus Christ, thus being wholly-ruined by the Lord) shall in the future be acting the verb. They aren’t receiving the action of the verb, they are doing the verb. This is exactly why some English translations prefer “earning” or some other active verb; but the word here doesn’t mean “earning” either. It means to actively pay for something valued by the payer. But in this case what shall be payed by sinners is quite simply and literally the {dikên}, or justice, specifically the justice of their own eonian whole-ruination by God.

They couldn’t actively “pay” such justice, of course; but they could come to actively value it, which is not only the base meaning of the term anyway, but is also what happens eventually in the prophecy from Isaiah being referenced by Paul’s phraseology: the sinners being punished by YHWH’s judgment are not only being cleaned from their filth and bloodshed in the fire of His judgment (washed by the spirit of judgment and the spirit of burning, as it explicitly says in Isaiah 4:4, which on any trinitarian account must refer to the action of the Holy Spirit), but also come to value His judgment of them.

So “value”, in context, is a good way to briefly and accurately get across the meaning (even though the term itself means to pay honor, or to value something enough to pay for it.)

The rather schizophrenic fashion in which translators regard this term can be exemplified by Thayer’s lexicon for its cognate {timoria} which gives punishment only as its third meaning, the more primary meaning being “to render help” or “to assist”! That is because both meanings happen to be Biblically true in the same Biblical usages. The Greek of Prov 19:29 is another example; the term is used in context of verse 25 where scoffers reject discipline but receive it anyway so that they may eventually become wise; wise men receive discipline in order to become wiser! This is one of the scriptural appeals for the synagogue beatings such as Saul of Tarsus gave and then had to receive later as Paul; and it has a lot of topical relevance to Heb 12, where God punishes those He loves in order to help them – even though no one likes it at the time! Thus there is also a direct lexical connection between Heb 10’s use of {timoria} in punishing the worst kinds of sinners, and Heb 12’s hopeful punishment of those whom God intends to save from sin.

In summary: those who refuse to obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, shall come to value/pay the justice of their whole-ruination by the Lord (YHWH) Jesus at His coming, a very positive, not negative result for them. Paul uses “whole-ruination” in at least one other place, 1 Cor 5:5, to describe the physical death (or at least the punishment) of a highly immoral false teacher thus handed over to Satan, so that his soul may be saved in the Day of the Lord to come – the same day Paul is talking about here! So the term does not necessarily mean hopeless punishment; and if those being punished come to value the justice of their punishment – which is how the terms would be typically translated aside from bias toward hopeless punishment, and which is exactly what indisputably happens to at least some sinners similarly punished by the presence of YHWH in the Isaiah prophecy St. Paul is referencing – then their whole-ruination will not be everlasting either.

Having said all that: while I do think the testimony here goes far in an unexpected direction opposite to the expected testimony for hopeless punishment, I don’t think a total scope of salvific intention is mentioned here or back at Isaiah (even though the holy mountain prophecy might imply it). So while I do think it testifies to the punishment being hopeful, and the salvation of the rebels certain despite the punishment, and even that the salvation for some rebels will be after the general resurrection (with lake of fire connections), I wouldn’t go all the way to universal salvation with these verses. But clearly their testimony fits very easily with Christian universalism.

As you might expect, these verses get talked about a lot, so members are encouraged to add further comments or alternate interpretations below, and add links to other discussions of these verses (whether here on the forum or off-site).

If you find my compilations helpful, feel free to tip me $5 here at Amazon, near or at the top of the list. You can tip me for multiple articles of course. (I get $2.50 of each single $5 tip.)

Very good! Thanks for refreshing me on the one who was handed over to Satan for his destruction so that he may be saved. I forgot all about this passage. It does seem likely that this is what takes place in the “Lake Of Fire”. Those who are baptized in the “Lake Of Fire” would be punished and purified as the old self is destroyed and they are risen to new life. That’s the way I see it anyway.

Well written article. A lot of talent here. I will be tipping you for this one.

Thanks, and you’re welcome. :slight_smile:

For what it’s worth, I don’t think I can legitimately push that set of verses in themselves, to the extent of everyone being saved: even if Paul is talking about a hopeful punishment which he expects to succeed, total scope isn’t talked about here. So, in theory, he might not be talking about those he doesn’t expect to make it.

I meant to add that at the end, but got distracted redrafting my notes and pulling together scattered things I had looked up over the years; I’ll go back and add it now.

Hi Jason
You may be aware that I have been looking at 2 Thess 1:9 and using previous threads with help from Caleb.
I have read your OP here and am particularly interested in your referencing of Isaiah 2 thro’ 5.
perhaps you can help me with these two questions:

  1. What leads you to believe that Paul is referencing Isaiah 2:10 - it doesn’t seem obvious to me?:
  1. How do you conclude that Isaiah 2 thro’ 5 is not chronological, and that it does not depict hopeless punishment for some sinners?


I agree. I was thinking of other passages in conjunction with what you wrote when I wrote that.


(1) Because the NASB intercolumn notes said so? :mrgreen:

(Serious 1) Actually I got into it after reading someone’s notes (I think Bauckham) talking about a slightly earlier verse citing Jeremiah [edited to correct: actually Zechariah, as properly noted above in my commentary] directly on the same topic, as part of an example of NT authors putting Jesus as Lord in the place of YHWH’s direct action in the OT. That led me to wonder if Paul was citing or alluding to a similar OT scripture in the {apo} verse, which sounded a bit familiar; so I checked the intercolumn notes and found Isaiah 2 suggested. The concept of evildoers trying to hide away from the presence of YHWH and the glory of His power is quite strong in the second half of chapter 2, and though the phrasing isn’t verbally identical it’s still close and conceptually identical. Moreover Jesus Christ in 2 Thess (and elsewhere) is performing the acts of the Presence and the Glory / Shekinah of YHWH.

The evildoers in Isaiah 2 aren’t strictly being killed, but they aren’t fleeing and hiding (and preliminarily repenting) in terror out of a warm glowy feeling of benign satisfaction to say the least. :wink: And then later they’re contrasted directly to the righteous who survived the coming of YHWH, so that seems like a big clue about what happened to them if other scriptures, like for example the slightly previous Jeremiah [Zech] reference, weren’t sufficient to indicate YHWH slays a lot (if perhaps not all) of them.

[Edited to add: back when I was checking the Zechariah reference, I did note the things missing there featured in Isaiah 2-5; for that purpose remember to read “Zech” for “Jer”. However, having mis-remembered Zech for Jer above, I am also subsequently comparing some things in Isaiah 2-5 with what [u]Jeremiah does testify to later. But like Zechariah, and like Isaiah for that matter, Jeremiah doesn’t always have the prophetic expectation of subsequent salvation for punished evildoers in view in every prophecy.]

I’ll take a moment here to mention that I don’t recall the Jeremiah reference, in itself, talking about the evildoers repenting, much less after being killed – Jeremiah does talk about that occasionally, but not in the place Paul is citing. So I’m not willing to call a citation in favor of hopeful punishment (much moreso post-mortem salvation of slain rebels, much moreso universal salvation of sinners even punished ones) out of no evidence (which is why, despite one or two possible tacit implications I don’t go the full distance in citing 2 Thess and its contexts as an evidential set for UR.)

But that first bloc of Isaiah prophecy features some interesting things lacking in Paul’s parallel citation from Jeremiah – not totally absent from Jeremiah, just not in that prophecy.

Which leads to your second question.

(2) The particular Jeremiah prophecy cited by St. Paul doesn’t mention several things which the Isaiah prophecy he references (though not verbally cites) does include.

a.) YHWH’s holy mountain of peace, established personally by YHWH as the greatest of mountains. Isaiah starts off with this, and with peace among all the nations under the teaching and arbitration of YHWH directly – but obviously that has to be out of chronological order because if things started out that way there would be no need for YHWH to personally arrive to lay the smackdown on impenitent evildoers who are unjustly abusing other people!

I’ll go back for a moment here to add that this is another reason I don’t go the distance citing Isaiah 2 as full evidence of UR (though it has some important pieces): only rebel Israel and its corrupt leaders are being punished, and restored, by God.

Isaiah’s holy mountain of peace comes back later (I’m at the office, I don’t recall the chapter) with an even stronger statement poetically describing the worst kind of sinners saved back into peace and living on the mountain, up to and including a fulfillment of the bronze serpent prophecy from Genesis 3, not only eating dust but playing with children! That’s important for scope purposes (even Satan ends up back in the fold, though in a radically humiliated way), but I didn’t want to press that scope here.

Anyway, the parallel Jeremiah prophecy cited by Paul doesn’t have anything like that.

b.) Jeremiah doesn’t even have the somewhat comic preliminary repentance scene of idolators throwing their idols away into the caves full of moles and bats – but then again Isaiah suggests some of the rebels try to follow those idols into the caves to escape from the presence of YHWH. Still, any preliminary repentance no matter how minor should be dismissed.

c.) That particular Jeremiah prophecy doesn’t have rebel Israel being treated like rebel disgraceful daughters, which typically indicates special love for (and grief over) the rebels.

d.) That Jeremiah prophecy, so far as it goes, doesn’t have rebel Israel desperately and contritely appealing to righteous Israel for re-inclusion, even under the worst analogical terms (effective slavery as concubines); much less does it have the rebels appealing to those who, in contrast to the rebels, survived!

e.) So far as it goes, that Jeremiah prophecy also doesn’t have a promise from God that the rebels will not only repent but be accepted and cleaned by God of their sins, apparently back to a full communion. Much less does that particular Jeremiah prophecy talk about this cleaning and salvation in terms of fire and crisis (using, in Greek, the same term for crisis/judgment St. Paul is using.)

It is true that the prophecy goes on to finish out in chapter 5 with more butt-kicking of rebel Israel, but that’s pretty clearly describing the events before those who didn’t survive the butt-kicking coming to appeal in repentance for re-inclusion (quite similarly to the prodigal son resolving to return to his father’s house even if only as a slave). And more to the point, it makes no sense for this to follow the peaceful arbitership of God’s holy mountain.

Still, I granted that Isaiah 2-5 doesn’t have to be talking about all people being saved, only about people notably being saved and cleaned by a spirit of judgment and of fire after not surviving the coming of the Presence of YHWH and the glory of His power. And though Isaiah talks about all the nations repenting elsewhere, he doesn’t really talk about that here (though the presence of the nations on God’s holy mountain would in comparison with Israel indicate their repentance from pagan ways at least).

My point was that, so far as St. Paul is also talking about those who don’t know YHWH and who reject the good news being strongly punished by the presence of YHWH and the glory of His power, there are several strong indications, including the contexts of one (not both) of the prophecies he puts Jesus into as YHWH enacting judgment, that the punishment is not only not hopeless but can and prophetically does lead to former evildoers positively value/honoring the justice of God.

Also, I’m willing to allow that on some standard models of end-times prophecy (which I lean strongly toward accepting), Jesus sets up a long-running peaceful earthly government, basically the best possible benevolent tyranny, which nevertheless catastrophically implodes at last leading to an even more cataclysmic punitive destruction by God. (Possibly because even benevolent tyrannies aren’t the best mode of government! – a lesson which well-meaning people will still have to learn from experience.) So I grant that it isn’t impossible in principle for God to have to strike down rebels after God institutes the holy mountain of the Day of YHWH’s just judgment and rulership. But I do notice that the general resurrection, and the lake of fire judgment, also happens after that final millennial rebellion (on this theory), and that seems to fit better with Isaiah 4; whereas the events of Isaiah 5 seem to presuppose earthly situations which don’t fit the post-LoF judgment at all, and maybe not even the results of a millennial reign either.

But that’s getting into the squirrely and highly contentious category of end-time sequencing and events, so I don’t want to hang much on it. :slight_smile:

Thank you Jason for a thorough response.
Unfortunately I do not have copy of the NASV with cross references so I appreciate you pointing it out to me. You mention reference to Jeremiah (re an earlier text and concerning Jesus as YHWH) and then finding Isaiah 2 suggested in the NASV intercolumn notes. I wonder if the NASV suggested Isaiah 2 solely or whether it was one of many cross references?

Correct me if I’m wrong but I believe ‘cross references’ to include various and very different types e.g. some may be alluding to a direct quote being made and these references are, shall we say, ‘cast in stone’ others may be pointing out scriptures which the author of the epistle (or whatever) MAY (or may not) have had in mind when writing his work (these maybe stand on sand) and still others may simply be put there because the cross-referencer thought the reader may have some interest in researching regardless of the original author’s intent. This last category gives us a useful tool but we must take great care when using these as a means of interpreting the text in hand.

Anyway, regardless of all my waffling above, I tried a google cross-reference on II Thess 1:9 and got the following (given, I assume, in the order of importance/relevance) :
**Matthew 25:41
“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels."

2 Thessalonians 2:8
And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming.

Revelation 21:8
But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”

Philippians 3:19
Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things

Isaiah 2:21
to enter the caverns of the rocks and the clefts of the cliffs, from before the terror of the Lord, and from the splendor of his majesty, when he rises to terrify the earth.

Revelation 20:14
Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire.

2 Peter 3:7
But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.**

-these are the first 7 out of a total of 37 separate cross-references. (Isaiah is the fifth in line). I must admit that having looked at these, I find the ‘hopeless’ interpretation of the text in hand to be more prominent in my mind :frowning:
The web-page is here: … ians+1%3A9

Yes. Thank you for that Jason. I myself happen to have a preference toward the end-time interpretation of the long-running peaceful government which catastrophically implodes as you say (ie the millennial reign then the re-release of satan) but if that is a correct interpretation then I cannot understand your point a) above because YHWH DOES reign for 1000 years, then upon the release of Satan sin once again takes hold. Surely Isaiah may be describing JUST THAT in Ch 2-5 and in chronological order.

Jason, what are you referencing when you say “The rebels pleading for salvation”?

Where do you get that the rebels are resurrected? It sounds like most of the men were slain, and the surviving women are the one’s who are seeking repentance.

Allow me to cross-post a related critical comment from Pilgrim from another thread, for purposes of collecting critiques:

This was my reply in the other thread to the possibility of the SSG’s body being permanently lost:


Don’t worry, I understand about being careful not to read UR into everything regardless. Otherwise I would have tried to do that to the Jeremiah [note: actually Zechariah] citation!

Notably the difference here is that St. Paul didn’t think a totally new body would be resurrected, but rather the old one transformed. That he (perhaps wrongly) never thought of the old body being unavailable anymore is irrelevant to that point.

True, but unless any resurrection of the wicked at all is being denied, then regardless of whether the old body is raised and restored, or a new body supplied (which I suppose to happen where necessary without obviating the resurrection of the old body in a new form where the old body remains significantly available), and regardless of whether the wicked are raised to incorruption or not (I suppose not yet), what is being destroyed must be only the body not the spirit.

This is borne out incidentally in the Isaiah ref, where the penitent wicked plead for acceptance with those who, being righteous, survived.

Moreover, if the wicked souls were annihilated they couldn’t come to honor the justice of God as a result.

Beyond that (as already noted in the compilation), Paul also uses the term in 1 Thess as part of his analogical description of the coming punishment of the wicked as birth-pangs. Granted he could mix metaphors, but this would be mixing metaphors at direct odds at one another if he meant annihilation.

Still, it’s a good line of rebuttal to test out, and I should add it to the notes! :slight_smile:

Oh, certainly! But notice for example that out of your subsequent list, only the Isaiah 2 ref involves similar phrasing, and especially unusual phrasing at that, which is what exegetes look for when trying to assess citation or direct allusion rather than mere topical connections or similarities. I would never argue Paul is referencing what we now call Rev 20, even though the basic ideas may be similar, and even though I myself think it nearly certain that Paul knew about the Revelation at the time he was writing the Thessalonian epistles. (Though I also expect the Rev was publicly published later, maybe put into circulation twice, with minor epistles for circulation.)

Looking through the linked list, the only other “cross-refs” I found that looked like Paul might have had them specifically in mind, happen to be the other two verses from Isaiah 2 I mentioned with again the same unusual phrasing!

Which however, strictly speaking, depends on how strongly those other verses testify to some kind of hopeless punishment. The first one out of the gate, for example, Matt 25’s judgment of the baby goats, I’ve already discussed in-depth, as actually being strong evidence for the coming salvation of the goats and a strong warning that we had better not interpret their punishment the way a baby goat would! We’ve talked a lot about the final chapters of RevJohn, too, to mention several of the next refs. I haven’t posted up my compilation notes on it yet, but I did put up a very indepth preliminary discussion about those chapters years ago somewhere. Still, on the list of things to do. :slight_smile: I did already post up a careful analysis of 2 Peter 3, where I argue that the pieces put together not only testify to God’s certain victory in saving all sinners from sin, but actually warn us not to despise God’s long-suffering patience in this matter!

That being said, I don’t blame people for looking at a number of apparently hopeless looking prooftexts and thinking they weigh toward 2 Thess also being hopeless. Hopeless looking things naturally look hopeless. :slight_smile: Whom I would fault, are specialists in a position to know better, for plopping those prooftexts around without contextual discussion to make a case look better by proxy. :angry:

(Though that web page probably just accepts cross-ref suggestions from anyone.)

Well, the holy mountain prophecy which starts this prophetic block in chapter 2, couldn’t be in chronological order (even allowing for two holy-mountain situations, the second of which ends with the bronze serpent pacified in humility – and I grant that I expect two holy mountain situations, the first occurring during the millennial reign during the benevolent tyranny). Because it says that no nation will ever learn war again.

Moreover, the structure of chapter 5 indicates Isaiah is going back to the current situation, where God is complaining that He has carefully tilled Jerusalem as a beloved daughter and a vineyard and expected it to produce good grapes but it produces only wild (and thus worthlessly bitter) ones. Thus God calls now on the inhabitants of Jerusalem to judge between Himself and His vineyard: what more was there to do for it that He has not done in it? Therefore He will call up pagan enemies to overthrow it – but in the final rebellion of the millennial reign, as in the coming of YHWH to rescue Jerusalem from seige before the reign, God destroys the rebel pagan armies directly before they conquer Jerusalem.

(This is aside from arguing that chapter 4 describes a situation where the lake of fire is operational and the general resurrection of the wicked has already happened, both of which would take place after the final Satanic rebellion at the end of the millennial reign.)

Besides which, even assuming for purposes of argument that chapter 5 describes God’s destruction of Jerusalem by pagan armies at the end of the millennial reign, one can hardly argue for a hopeless end there without denying the coming of the New Jerusalem and anything connected with that such as (argued elsewhere) the evangelism of impenitent sinners resurrected into the lake of fire judgment, to slake their thirst, wash their robes, and enter the NJ through the never-closed gates (following the river of life back into the city) to be healed by the log of life. Even if that is only a metaphorical description of the church without any literal city (which I allow is likely though not certain – I certainly acknowledge it is at least a metaphorical description of the church, since RevJohn itself says so :wink: ), there is evidence the story goes on hopefully past the general res and the l-o-f judgment.

How much any of this would shift around under a different end-time theory is, of course, entirely debatable. :slight_smile:

I’m referencing the same rebel daughters (analogically speaking) which you yourself ask about next.

Except Isaiah 4 doesn’t call the penitent rebel daughters the survivors. It calls the righteous ones, whom they are petitioning, the survivors, as part of a set of highly descriptive titles for them (not simply as an incidental aside that they also survived).

And 4:4 parallels the cleaning of the daughters of Zion with the cleaning of Jerusalem by the spirit of crisis and of burning, after which God makes peace with Jerusalem and the Shekinah returns over the city – possibly a physical literal situation, but analogical for His care for the redeemed Church. It would be highly weird for only women to repent and be redeemed (though they might perhaps come first, men being more militantly prideful). :slight_smile:

Still, I did acknowledge that Isaiah 2-5, as far as it goes, doesn’t specifically talk about the salvation of all the punished people. Going that far isn’t necessary for demonstrating that the punishment St. Paul is referencing isn’t intrinsically hopeless: the Presence and the Glory, the spirit of crisis and of burning, clean into repentance and salvation at least some of the sinners olethron’d thereby, even when those can be contrasted to survivors of the coming of YHWH. Which dovetails with St. Paul’s language talking about them coming to value/honor the justice of God thereby.

Porting a comment from Paidion over from another thread:

It is indeed true the man was excom’d, and I could go on to talk about that, too. But even if the only object of destruction was his self-serving nature, the point of the olethron was to destroy his self-serving nature. Lacking a specific object of the olethron in 2 Thess, we would still expect Paul, by comparison with what Paul specifically talks about when he uses the term elsewhere, to be talking about the same purpose. It still fits “those who do not know God and who do not obey the gospel” coming to honor/value the justice of God; and still fits the proud, cruel, unjust, and sensuous sinners of Isaiah 2 (and 1 for that matter) having their self-serving nature destroyed and cleaned by the spirit of crisis and of burning.

However: if Paul had only been expecting the man’s self-serving nature to be destroyed, he wouldn’t have been handing the man over to Satan to do that, and wouldn’t have stated he expected the man’s spirit to be saved in the Day of the Lord to come.

Also, the theory about his reference in 2 Cor being to the SSG, depends on 2 Cor actually being written subsequently to 1 Cor – which is about evenly disputed among scholars – and still would be supposition since Paul doesn’t give many clues about whom he is talking. But even if he was talking about the SSG, that wouldn’t mean Paul didn’t think he was handing the SSG over to physical death, only that the SSG hasn’t died. Whoever it is, is still strongly suffering, and the SSG as described in 1 Cor doesn’t seem to be the kind of person who would be suffering that much simply from being excluded from a small, culturally reviled group rejected by both Jews and Gentiles as nonsense or worse.

To this can be added that both of Paul’s scriptural references, Isaiah as well as Zechariah, talk about YHWH killing sinners when He finally makes the same direct appearance which Paul is talking about in 2 Thess 1.

(Amusingly, I did something some of the NT authors occasionally do, and referred to Zech as Jeremiah upthread! – and didn’t just refer to him as such, I was comparing Isaiah 2-5 with things that do occur elsewhere in Jeremiah but not in the verses I forgot didn’t come from Jeremiah but from Zechariah instead. :unamused: :laughing: )

Moreover, even though Paul compares the olethron of evildoers in 1 Thess 5:3 to birth-pangs, which are generally a hopeful crisis (and so not to be dismissed as evidence of Paul’s hopeful expectations), he cites either or both Jeremiah 6:14 and 8:11 (which are verbally very similar prophecies – and yes definitely Jeremiah this time, not Zech) where the destruction definitely involves killing evildoers – though more by pagan armies than by exposure to the direct presence of YHWH. (Another big difference being that pagan armies kill indiscriminately and so also must be punished in turn for volunteering to act as badder bad-guys – rather like Satan in 1 Cor 5! – but YHWH’s presence doesn’t harm the innocent and righteous.)

The total context still adds up to an expectation of death, even if the expectation is hopeful of subsequent salvation. Even excommunication from the group would be analogous to a death sentence. (Handing him over to Satan would seem to be analogous to God handing Israel over to pagan armies for that matter!)

Having said all that: back in 1 Cor 5 and 6, Paul goes on to chide the Corinthians in some detail about not being good judges among each other. Paul also talks in chapter 6 about how Christians are expected to judge angels {aggelous krinoumen}, which necessarily must involve rebel angels. However, Paul draws the angel-judging comparison to indicate that the Corinthians ought to be competent to judge civil cases among each other, which would normally involve reaching fair judgments to reconcile brothers to one another (rather than taking such cases to the pagan legal courts), and which might suggest the goal of judging angels, though maximally important by contrast, has a similar goal in view – ditto Paul’s judgment of handing the SSG over to Satan.

Cheers Jason - food for thought.

Adding some notes I wrote up recently for Father [tag]akimel[/tag] on his request, concerning 4 Maccabees 12:12 and its contexts; the language of which has some relation to 2 Thess 1:6-10.

anth’ hôn tamieusetai se hê theis dikê puknotr(i)ô kai aiôni(i)ô puri kai basanois, hai eis holon ton aiôna ouk anêsousi se.

“…against about-whom the divine justice vaults (like in a storeroom or secret treasure chamber for valuables) you to both more-frequent eonian fire and also torment-testing (which as a dative indirect object both receive “you” the accusative-form object of the action of “vaulting”), into the whole eon; they will not let go of you.”

The next verse starts a new sentence decrying hopeless torture by this evil ruler as savage. Thus God shall punish you (the evil torturing king) both living and dead; the verb for punish being timôrêsetai, which carries an implication of bringing the object of the verb to properly honor/value the one doing the verb.

Whether the author of 4 Mac, or the Jewish martyr he is narrating, personally understood this as hopeless or remedial punishment, I wouldn’t want to hazard a guess; but the terms do allow the concept that the evil king, being punished for hopelessly torturing prisoners to death like a savage, will be placed as a cherished item (the term there is typically positive in valuation) in a prison to face God’s justice of God’s fire and testing, which unlike the king has a goal of bringing the punished one to value God and His justice (the difference being that the king threatens them with hopeless “savage” punishment unless they repent and join him). But the king won’t be able to escape his punishment through the whole eon, unlike the martyr who will escape by death (even throwing himself onto the frying pans) rather than joining forces with the king.

Thank you, Jason, for your help on these texts!

Jason, the discussion of this text continues on this text. One commentator puts forward the following argument:

Any thoughts?

P.S. I invite the brethren to visit my blog and to take a look at the discussion: Perhaps some would like to their exegetical reflections to the discussion.

Mm, yes, very good: I think I originally picked this up from Bauckham as trinitarian evidence (along with a more specific quote from Jeremiah Paul is citing a verse or two earlier). When Paul says “lord” here, it’s another place where he’s referentially calling Jesus YHWH Most High Who alone should be worshiped (and Who will put the stomp on idolatry, worship of anything less than God Most High, sooner or later!)

I don’t think the {apo} phrase has to mean exclusively one or the other, though. The evildoers are (even somewhat comically) trying to flee away from YHWH’s manifested presence and failing in Isaiah 2 (and elsewhere); but whatever destruction they’re experiencing comes causally from His manifested presence.

So while that has been a big interpretative debate in the recent past, it’s not that important to me. I can work with it either way, and ideally both ways. :slight_smile:

While I’m thinking about it, though, I do want to add something I think we discussed in detail earlier in some other thread some time ago.

The other time Paul hands drastically fallen Christian teachers over to Satan, is in 1 Tim 1:20. And while the term olethron isn’t used, the terminology is expressly hopeful again: it’s so they’ll be taught not to blaspheme, and the Greek verb for “teach” there is the one used for teaching children (it’s even formed on a term for child). It’s also exactly the same term used for discplinary punishment in the first half of Heb 12, where God punishes those He intends to inherit, so that they’ll learn to be mature adults instead of spoiled children.

I should probably do a separate ExCom entry on that, though, as it takes place soon after one of those “faithful and true” statements which tend to point toward universal salvation.

Great edifying thread.

I was looking at 2 Thess 1:6-10 alongside 2 Pet 3:7-13 and Hebrews 12:22-28 and a few other parallel verses.
“Our God is a consuming fire” is the concluding statement of the “Yet once more, I will shake the heavens and the earth until only that which cannot be shaken remains” passage in Hebrews 12.

So fire, which is in Jesus eyes in Rev 1(eye is the light of the soul, fulness/fire of God in Christ) is the nature of God(fire/light/love)

Mark 9:49 Every man will be salted with fire and every sacrifice seasoned with salt. To me this states the inevitable process of transformation through fire on two levels- everyman(all, universal through the ages in life and death, heaven, earth, underearth) and every sacrifice(those who have offered themselves).

Of the sacrifices(believers, subjected ones)- God scourges every son whom He receives, and without correction we are illegitimate children. Fiery trials purify faith.

Every man(unbelievers, unsubjected ones)the fire, in time, consumes the life of the unbeliever, all its lusts and rewards, its progeny and ideals, and then, in the presence of God in the Light of the Day, its rebellion.

All about transformation- the nature of fire is that it transforms and tests the nature of whatever is in it.

There are these various levels of correction, but the correction is in all its levels essentially the same in nature, whether it is the purifying of our faith thru fiery trials in the now, or the burning off of our works of mixed motives(wood hay stubble), the soul being saved but as through fire, or being delivered over for the destruction of the flesh so that the spirit will be ssaved in the Day of the Lord or the experience of aionian kolassis,i.e. gehenna or the lake of fire.

Fire burning chaff. He will separate the wheat from the chaff- the seeds of grain are gathered in, then beaten on the threshing floor, then winnowed with a broom that blows the chaf(light surface coating/flesh) out from the seeds. The seeds are then ground leavened and baked(fire again) and distributed for sustenace. The chaff is burned with “unquenchable fire”- not fire that never goes out- it fire that utterly consumes the chaff(flesh/carnal mind/darkness).

Fire burning trees. “Now the axe is laid to the root of the trees”. Jesus is speaking of people and groups of people in authority, that have grown up together, that cast a shadow, but that are no longer trees of life- they get “chopped down”- made irrevelant, revealed as futile, frivolous, unfruitful- and “cast into the fire”.The fire is that which is consuming the things that are consummable- wood hay and stubble, versus gold, silver and precious stone. Which again, is purifying and corrective.

Again the fire is removing that which is “passing”(yet once more will I shake the heavens and the earth till only that which cannot be shaken remains) and that which is “natural”- of man, not of the spirit, not of the new creation.

2 pet 3:7-13 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men…the passage of time and the rust of corruption are themselves “perdition/ruination/lostness/apollumi”-all life a veil growing thin with time and rending in death- passage from night to day, temporal to eternal.

10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?

Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.

Fully transformed.

The elements melting away- elements, “stoicheion”, are the same elements as the “elemental principles” to which we are no longer to be subject(Colossians 2)- they are of the earth, earthly, soulical(James 3;13-17). Hebrews 5 uses the same word(elementary principles) of the oracles of God. By faith we know that the worlds were “framed” by the word of God. Stoicheion being both “elements” and “elementary principles”- the earthly(temporal) things consumed by fire until the heavenly things appear.

Peter is revealing the process more than an event(imo) even tho the process is highlighted and transitions through events and periods with specific functional purposes,
but always is the same in its nature and root purpose, which is consuming the temporal(lower nature) recreating out of fire “new things”/ spirit- a "new heavens and new earth(1:individul 2:corporate 3:universal) in which dwelleth righteousness(transformation…light out of darkness 2 Cor 4:6)

1 Cor 3:12 Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. 14 If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. 15 If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.

So in 1 Cor 3:15 the fire is burnng up wood, hay and stubble(mixed motive works as temporal/lightweight) and leaving only the foundation and those unshakeable things built upon it(gold silver precious stone) things that are not consumed by fire(I am He that tries the reigns and the hearts).
The same in John 15, the branches that “abide/continue/dwell” in the Vine(nature of God through the root, Christ)

John sees Jesus with fire in His eyes, and Paul sees 'on the Day God will judge the secrets of men’s hearts by Jesus Christ, their conscience either excusing or accusing them(Rom 2)"

And those who are accused…

Rev 14:10 The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone(theon) in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:

Jukes made the point about theon, as a word used, or coined, to describe the fire used to sanctify goblets and such for use in Greek rituals. And it is clearly “in the presence of God” in Rev 14- I think it is surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses also(Heb 12 general assembly) which is(imo) manifest in 2 Thess 1:10



8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:

9 Who shall be punished with everlasting(aionian) destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;

WHEN HE SHALL COME TO BE GLORIIED IN HIS SAINTS, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) IN THAT DAY.

All these images in 2 Thess 1:6-10, for me personally, flow together with the Hebrews 12 assembly( as the lake of fire, the wine press of the wrath of God,the Lamp, the reservoir of light overflowing the remnats of the darkness, kind of the ultimate view of Ephesians anakepholaiomai(gathering together of all things into one in Christ) and 1 Cor 15, the subjection of every adversary until God becomes all in all.

HEB 12: 22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, 23 to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, 24 and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel.

25 See to it that you do not refuse Him who is speaking. For if those did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape who turn away from Him who warns from heaven. 26 And His voice shook the earth then, but now He has promised, saying, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth, but also the heaven.” 27 This expression, “Yet once more,” denotes the removing of those things which can be shaken, as of created things, so that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. 28 Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; 29 FOR OUR GOD IS A CONSUMMING FIRE.