2Thess1-6-9 - Read This Chapter Focusing on Verse 8 -- those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Includes Christendom

 Chuches and Myths. Matt13C << 2 Thessalonians 1 >>


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

 1-Pau-land-Silvanu-sand-Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: 

2 Grace to you and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

 3 We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brethren, as is only fitting, because your faith is greatly enlarged,

and the love of each one of you toward one another grows ever greater;

4 therefore, we ourselves speak proudly of you among the churches of God for your perseverance and faith in the midst of all your persecutions

 and afflictions which you endure. 

5This is a plain indication of God’s righteous judgment so that you will be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which indeed you are suffering. 

6 For after all it is only just for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you, 

7  and to give relief to you who are afflicted and to us as well when the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire,

8  dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 

9  These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, 

10 when He comes to be glorified in His saints on that day, and to be marveled at among all who have believed—for our testimony to you was believed.

 11 To this end also we pray for you always, that our God will count you worthy of your calling, and fulfill every desire for goodness and the work of faith with power, 

12 so that the name of our Lord Jesus will be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

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<< 2 Thessalonians 1:8 >>

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

2 Thessalonians 1 Commentaries: Barnes • Calvin • Clarke • Chrysostom • Darby • Gill • Geneva • Guzik • JFB •KJV Translators' • Henry's Concise • Matthew Henry • People's NT • Scofield • TSK • Vincent • Wesley

Barnes' Notes on the Bible

In flaming fire - This is a circumstance which is not noticed in the account of his appearing in the parallel place in 1 Thessalonians 4:16. The object of the apostle here seems to be to represent him as coming amidst vivid flashes of lightning. He is commonly described as coming in clouds, and to that common description there is here added the image of incessant lightnings, as if the whole heavens were illuminated with a continued blaze.

Taking vengeance - Margin, "yielding." Greek, "giving. The word "vengeance" is used in the sense of punishment, for there cannot be in God what literally corresponds with the passion of revenge; compare the notes on Romans 12:19.

On them that know not God. - On all who are strangers to him; that is, who are living in pagan darkness, or who, having heard of him, have no practical acquaintance with him.

And that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. - Who do not embrace it, and practice its precepts in their lives; compare the notes on Romans 2:9.

Clarke's Commentary on the Bible

In flaming fire - Εν φλογι πυρος· In thunder and lightning, taking vengeance - inflicting just punishment on them that know not God - the heathen who do not worship the true God, and will not acknowledge him, but worship idols; and on them that obey not the Gospel - the Jews, particularly who have rejected the Gospel, and persecuted Christ and his messengers; and all nominal Christians who, though they believe the Gospel as a revelation from God, yet do not obey it as a rule of life.

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

In flaming fire,.... Which may either refer to Christ, who will be revealed from heaven in such a manner; and whose coming will be as the lightning, not only sudden, but glorious, illustrious, and visible; he will be seen and easily discerned; there will be such a light and flaming fire about him, which, as it will serve to make him visible, will greatly add to the majesty of his appearance, and strike terror to his enemies, and burn them up round about; see Daniel 7:7 or else it may refer to the angels, who shall descend in fiery forms, which is agreeably to their nature, Psalm 104:4 and so they appeared in the forms of horses of fire, and chariots of fire, when Elijah was carried up to heaven. And it is a tradition of the Jews (z), that the angel Gabriel descended , "in a flame of fire", to burn Moses, as he was in the inn, when upon his journey from Midian to Egypt: or this clause may be read in construction with the following, as it is in the Vulgate Latin and Syriac versions, "in flaming fire taking vengeance"; and so expresses the manner in which vengeance will be taken on the wicked by Christ, the Judge of all, to whom it belongs: and the punishment of ungodly men is often signified by fire, and flames of fire, by the fire of hell, and a lake which burns with fire and brimstone, by a furnace of fire, everlasting fire, and fire that cannot be quenched, to set forth the endless torture and inconceivable misery of the damned; and it may be, some regard is had to the general conflagration, which will be at the coming of Christ, when the heavens, being on fire, shall be dissolved, the elements shall melt with fervent heat, and the earth, and all that is in it, shall be burnt up, when the bodies of the wicked, then living, will be consumed in flames of fire, and their souls feel the wrath of the Almighty. The persons who will then be punished, and on whom vengeance will be taken, are described as follows,

on them that know not God; which is a periphrasis, or common character of the Gentiles, 1 Thessalonians 4:5 who know not the one, true, and living God; or know him not so as to glorify him as God, and be thankful to him for the mercies they receive from him, and still less know him in Christ Jesus; which ignorance of theirs is not without sin, nor will it excuse from punishment; for though vengeance will not be taken on them, because they have not a spiritual saving knowledge of God, in the Mediator Jesus Christ, who never was revealed to them; yet forasmuch as they had the light and law of nature, by which the being of God, and the invisible perfections of his nature might be seen and understood, and much of his will, with respect to moral good and evil, be known, against both which they have rebelled, and having sinned, will perish without law: though it may also include all such persons, who having been favoured with an external revelation, have professed to know God, and yet in works have denied him:

and that obey not the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ; of which Christ is the author, was the preacher, and is the sum and substance; which is good news and glad tidings of the grace of, God, of peace, pardon, righteousness, life, and salvation by Christ; which may be said to be obeyed, when it is received and embraced by faith, with and from the heart, and confession is made of it with the mouth, and the ordinances of it are submitted to; and which is called the obedience of faith, because faith without obedience is not right, and obedience without faith is of no avail: but all that hear the Gospel do not obey it; there are some that disbelieve and reject the doctrines and ordinances of it, and others that, do profess it, and do not yield a cordial and cheerful obedience to it; both may be reckoned among the disobeyers of it: and though the unbelieving Jews may be chiefly designed here, yet deists of every age and place, where the Gospel revelation has come, and carnal professors, and profane despisers everywhere, may be included; whose condemnation will be aggravated by the external light which has shone around them, and they have hated; the severest punishment will be inflicted on them; it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon, Sodom and Gomorrah, than for such persons; see 1 Peter 4:17.

(z) Zohar in Gen. fol. 63. 2.

Vincent's Word Studies

In flaming fire (ἐν πυρὶ φλογός)

Lit. in a fire of flame. Comp. 1 Corinthians 1:13; 2 Peter 3:7.

Taking vengeance (διδόντος ἐκδίκησιν)

Lit. giving or rendering. Vengeance is an unfortunate rendering, as implying, in popular usage, personal vindictiveness. See on2 Corinthians 7:11. It is the full awarding of justice to all parties.

On them that know not God - obey not the gospel (τοῖς μὴ εἰδόσι θεὸν - τοῖς μὴ ὑπακούουσιν τῷ εὐγγελίῳ)

To know God is to know him as the one, true God as distinguished from false gods; to know his will, his holiness, his hatred of sin, and his saving intent toward mankind. Two words are used of such knowledge, εἰδέναι and γινώσκειν. Both are applied to the heathen and to Christians, and both are used of the Jews' knowledge of God. Ἑιδέναι, of heathen, Galatians 4:8; 1 Thessalonians 4:5; 2 Thessalonians 1:8. Γινώσκειν of heathen, Romans 1:21; 1 Corinthians 1:21. Ἑιδέναι, of Christ and Christians, John 7:29, John 8:19, John 8:55; John 14:7. Γινώσκειν of Christ and Christians, Galatians 4:9; 1 John 2:13, 1 John 2:14; 1 John 4:6, 1 John 4:7, 1 John 4:8; John 10:15; John 17:3. In John, γινώσκειν of Jews who do not know the Father, John 16:3; John 8:55 : εἰδέναι, John 7:28; John 8:19; John 15:21. The two are combined, John 1:26; John 7:27; John 8:55; 2 Corinthians 5:16. A distinction is asserted between γινώσκειν as knowledge grounded in personal experience, apprehension of external impressions - and εἰδέμαι purely mental perception in contrast with conjecture or knowledge derived from others. There are doubtless passages which bear out this distinction (see on John 2:24), but it is impossible to carry it rigidly through the N.T. In the two classes, - those who know not God and those who obey not the gospel, - it is not probable that Paul has in mind a distinction between Jews and Gentiles. The Jews were not ignorant of God, yet they are described by John as not knowing him. The Gentiles are described by Paul as knowing God, but as refusing to glorify him as God (Romans 1:21). Paul rather describes here the subjects of God's judgment as one class, but under different aspects.

Geneva Study Bible

In flaming fire taking vengeance on them {6} that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:

(6) There is no knowledge of God to salvation, without the Gospel of Christ.

People's New Testament

1:8 In flaming fire. The flaming fire denotes brightness, glory, purity, and also destruction to adversaries. Dazzling brightness is always associated with his coming. God was revealed at Sinai in flaming fire (Ex 3:2; 19:18).

Them that know not God. Know him not because they refuse to know him. See Ro 1:28.

And obey not the gospel. This class refuse to accept and obey the gospel. Their day of grace will end with the day of the Lord.

Wesley's Notes

1:8 Taking vengeance - Does God barely permit this, or (as the Lord once rained brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven, Gen 19:24) does a fiery stream go forth from him for ever? Who know not God - (The root of all wickedness and misery) who remain in heathen ignorance. And who obey not - This refers chiefly to the Jews, who had heard the gospel.

King James Translators' Notes

taking: or, yielding

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

8. In flaming fire-Greek, "In flame of fire"; or, as other oldest manuscripts read, "in fire of flame." This flame of fire accompanied His manifestation in the bush (Ex 3:2); also His giving of the law at Sinai (Ex 19:18). Also it shall accompany His revelation at His advent (Da 7:9, 10), symbolizing His own bright glory and His consuming vengeance against His foes (Heb 10:27; 12:29; 2Pe 3:7, 10).

taking-literally, "giving" them, as their portion, "vengeance."

know not God-the Gentiles primarily (Ps 79:6; Ga 4:8; 1Th 4:5); not of course those involuntarily not knowing God, but those wilfully not knowing Him, as Pharaoh, who might have known God if he would, but who boasted "I know not the Lord" (Ex 5:2); and as the heathen persecutors who might have known God by the preaching of those whom they persecuted. Secondarily, all who "profess to know God but in works deny Him" (Tit 1:16).

obey not the gospel-primarily the unbelieving Jews (Ro 10:3, 16); secondarily, all who obey not the truth (Ro 2:8).

Christ-omitted by some of the oldest manuscripts, and retained by others.

Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

1:5-10 Religion, if worth anything, is worth every thing; and those have no religion, or none worth having, or know not how to value it, cannot find their hearts to suffer for it. We cannot by all our sufferings, any more than by our services, merit heaven; but by our patience under sufferings, we are prepared for the promised joy. Nothing more strongly marks a man for eternal ruin, than a spirit of persecution and enmity to the name and people of God. God will trouble those that trouble his people. And there is a rest for the people of God; a rest from sin and sorrow. The certainty of future recompence is proved by the righteousness of God. The thoughts of this should be terrible to wicked men, and support the righteous. Faith, looking to the great day, is enabled partly to understand the book of providence, which appears confused to unbelievers. The Lord Jesus will in that day appear from heaven. He will come in the glory and power of the upper world. His light will be piercing, and his power consuming, to all who in that day shall be found as chaff. This appearance will be terrible to those that know not God, especially to those who rebel against revelation, and obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. This is the great crime of multitudes, the gospel is revealed, and they will not believe it; or if they pretend to believe, they will not obey it. Believing the truths of the gospel, is in order to our obeying the precepts of the gospel. Though sinners may be long spared, they will be punished at last. They did sin's work, and must receive sin's wages. Here God punishes sinners by creatures as instruments; but then, it will be destruction from the Almighty; and who knows the power of his anger? It will be a joyful day to some, to the saints, to those who believe and obey the gospel. In that bright and blessed day, Christ Jesus will be glorified and admired by his saints. And Christ will be glorified and admired in them. His grace and power will be shown, when it shall appear what he has purchased for, and wrought in, and bestowed upon those who believe in him. Lord, if the glory put upon thy saints shall be thus admired, how much more shalt thou be admired, as the Bestower of that glory! The glory of thy justice in the damnation of the wicked will be admired, but not as the glory of thy mercy in the salvation of believers. How will this strike the adoring angels with holy admiration, and transport thy admiring saints with eternal rapture! The meanest believer shall enjoy more than the most enlarged heart can imagine while we are here; Christ will be admired in all those that believe, the meanest believer not excepted.

Matthew Henry's Whole Bible Commentary

Verses 5-10

Having mentioned their persecutions and tribulations, which they endured principally for the cause of Christ, the apostle proceeds to offer several things for their comfort under them; as,

I. He tells them of the present happiness and advantage of their sufferings, v. 5. Their faith being thus tried, and patience exercised, they were improved by their sufferings, insomuch that they were counted worthy of the kingdom of God. Their sufferings were a manifest token of this, that they were worthy or meet to be accounted Christians indeed, seeing they could suffer for Christianity. And the truth is, Religion, if it is worth any thing, is worth every thing; and those either have no religion at all, or none that is worth having, or know not how to value it, that cannot find in their hearts to suffer for it. Besides, from their patient suffering, it appeared that, according to the righteous judgment of God, they should be counted worthy of the heavenly glory: not by worthiness of condignity, but of congruity only; not that they could merit heaven, but they were made meet for heaven. We cannot by all our sufferings, any more than by our services, merit heaven as a debt; but by our patience under our sufferings we are qualified for the joy that is promised to patient sufferers in the cause of God.

II. He tells them next of the future recompence that shall be given to persecutor and persecuted.

1. In this future recompence there will be, (1.) A punishment inflicted on persecutors: God will recompense tribulation to those that trouble you, v. 6. And there is nothing that more infallibly marks a man for eternal ruin than a spirit of persecution, and enmity to the name and people of God: as the faith, patience, and constancy of the saints are to them an earnest of everlasting rest and joy, so the pride, malice, and wickedness of their persecutors are to them an earnest of everlasting misery; for every man carries about with him, and carries out of the world with him, either his heaven or his hell. God will render a recompence, and will trouble those that trouble his people. This he has done sometimes in this world, witness the dreadful end of many persecutors; but especially this he will do in the other world, where the portion of the wicked must be weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth. (2.) A reward for those that are persecuted: God will recompense their trouble with rest, v. 7. There is a rest that remains for the people of God, a rest from sin and sorrow. Though many may be the troubles of the righteous now, yet God will deliver them out of them all. The future rest will abundantly recompense all their present troubles. The sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed. There is enough in heaven to countervail all that we may lose or suffer for the name of Christ in this world. The apostle says, To you who are troubled rest with us. In heaven, ministers and people shall rest together, and rejoice together, who suffer together here; and the meanest Christian shall rest with the greatest apostle: nay, what is far more, if we suffer for Christ, we shall also reign with him, 2 Tim. 2:12.

2. Concerning this future recompence we are further to observe,

(1.) The certainty of it, proved by the righteousness and justice of God: It is a righteous thing with God (v. 6) to render to every man according to his works. The thoughts of this should be terrible to wicked men and persecutors, and the great support of the righteous and such as are persecuted; for, seeing there is a righteous God, there will be a righteous recompence. God's suffering people will lose nothing by their sufferings, and their enemies will gain nothing by their advantages against them.

(2.) The time when this righteous recompence shall be made: When the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven, v. 7. That will be the day of the revelation of the righteous judgment of God; for then will God judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath appointed, even Jesus Christ the righteous Judge. The righteousness of God does not so visibly appear to all men in the procedure of his providence as it will in the process of the great judgment-day. The scripture has made known to us the judgment to come, and we are bound to receive the revelation here given concerning Christ. As,

[1.] That the Lord Jesus will in that day appear from heaven. Now the heavens retain him, they conceal him; but then he will be revealed and made manifest. He will come in all the pomp and power of the upper world, whence we look for the Saviour.

[2.] He will be revealed with his mighty angels (v. 7), or the angels of his power: these will attend upon him, to grace the solemnity of that great day of his appearance; they will be the ministers of his justice and mercy in that day; they will summon the criminals to his tribunal, and gather in the elect, and be employed in executing his sentence.

[3.] He will come in flaming fire, v. 8. A fire goeth before him, which shall consume his enemies. The earth, and all the works that are therein, shall be burnt up, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat. This will be a trying fire, to try every man's work,-a refining fire, to purify the saints, who shall share in the purity, and partake of the felicity, of the new heaven and the new earth,-a consuming fire to the wicked. His light will be piercing, and his power consuming, to all those who in that day shall be found as chaff.

[4.] The effects of this appearance will be terrible to some and joyful to others.

First, They will be terrible to some; for he will then take vengeance on the wicked. 1. On those that sinned against the principles of natural religion, and rebelled against the light of nature, that knew not God (v. 8), though the invisible things of him are manifested in the things that are seen. 2. On those that rebel against the light of revelation, that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men love darkness rather than light. This is the great crime of multitudes-the gospel is revealed to them, and they will not believe it; or, if they pretend to believe it, they will not obey it. Note, Believing the truths of the gospel is in order to our obeying the precepts of the gospel: there must be the obedience of faith. To such persons as are here mentioned the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ will be terrible, because of their doom, which is mentioned, v. 9. Here observe, (1.) They will then be punished. Though sinners may be long reprieved, yet they will be punished at last. Their misery will be a proper punishment for their crimes, and only what they have deserved. They did sin's work, and must receive sin's wages. (2.) Their punishment will be no less than destruction, not of their being, but of their bliss; not that of the body alone, but both as to body and soul. (3.) This destruction will be everlasting. They shall be always dying, and yet never die. Their misery will run parallel with the line of eternity. The chains of darkness are everlasting chains, and the fire is everlasting fire. It must needs be so, since the punishment is inflicted by an eternal God, fastening upon an immortal soul, set out of the reach of divine mercy and grace. (4.) This destruction shall come from the presence of the Lord, that is, immediately from God himself. Here God punishes sinners by creatures, by instruments; but then he will take the work into his own hands. It will be destruction from the Almighty, more terrible than the consuming fire which consumed Nadab and Abihu, which came from before the Lord. (5.) It shall come from the glory of his power, or from his glorious power. Not only the justice of God, but this almighty power, will be glorified in the destruction of sinners; and who knows the power of his anger? He is able to cast into hell.

Secondly, It will be a joyful day to some, even to the saints, unto those that believe and obey the gospel. And then the apostle's testimony concerning this day will be confirmed and believed (v. 10); in that bright and blessed day, 1. Christ Jesus will be glorified and admired by his saints. They will behold his glory, and admire it with pleasure; they will glorify his grace, and admire the wonders of his power and goodness towards them, and sing hallelujahs to him in that day of his triumph, for their complete victory and happiness. 2. Christ will be glorified and admired in them. His grace and power will then be manifested and magnified, when it shall appear what he has purchased for, and wrought in, and bestowed upon, all those who believe in him. As his wrath and power will be made known in and by the destruction of his enemies, so his grace and power will be magnified in the salvation of his saints. Note, Christ's dealings with those who believe will be what the world one day shall wonder at. Now, they are a wonder to many; but how will they be wondered at in this great and glorious day; or, rather, how will Christ, whose name is Wonderful, be admired, when the mystery of God shall be finished! Christ will not be so much admired in the glorious esteem of angels that he will bring from heaven with him as in the many saints, the many sons, that he will bring to glory.

Bible Commenter










For after all it is only just for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you,

eiper dikaion para qew| antapodounai (5629) toiv qlibousin (5723) umav qliyin 


and to give relief to you who are afflicted and to us as well when the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire,

kai umin toiv qlibomenoiv (5746) anesin meq' hmwn en th| apokaluyei tou kuriou Ihsou ap' ouranou met' aggelwn dunamewv autou 


dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.

en puri flogov, didontov (5723) ekdikhsin toiv mh eidosin (5761) qeon kai toiv mh upakouousin (5723) tw| euaggeliw| tou kuriou hmwn Ihsou, 


These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power,

oitinev dikhn tisousin (5692) oleqron aiwnion apo proswpou tou kuriou kai apo thv dochv thv isxuov autou,