The City of Thessalonica. It was founded by Cassander, King of Macedon 315 B. C., and was about a hundred miles west of Philippi. It was a great commercial center of Paul’s time, the inhabitants being Greeks, Romans and Jews. It still exists under the name of Saloniki, and has a population of from 75,000 to 85,000 about half of whom are Jews.
The Church of Thessalonica. Upon being delivered from prison at Philippi. Paul continued his second missionary journey to Thessalonica, having also Silas and Timothy with him (Acts 17:1-5).
He spent three Sabbaths there, but on account of the persecution of the Jews, went from there to Berea, then to Athens, and then to Corinth where he spent 18 months. The first letter bears testimony to the splendid Christian character of these new converts from heathenism.
This is probably the first epistle written by Paul and perhaps the first written document of the Christian religion. It is not doctrinal, has no element of controversy and is one of the most gentle and affectionate of Paul’s letters. It is notable for its special salutations and refers to their expectations of the immediate return of Jesus.
Its main idea is consolation (4:17-18), its keynote hope and its leading words affliction and advent.
Its purpose was:
- (1) to send affectionate greetings
- (2) to console them in their afflictions
- (3) to correct their wrong, their mistaken views of Christ’s second coming
- (4) to exhort then to proper living as against certain immoral tendencies.
The day of the Lord begins at Christ’s appearing or revelation to the judgment of the living (Matthew 25:31; Revelation 19:11-21). This “day of the Lord” is the term for the time in which Jesus Christ will be recognised Lord in this world.
It also includes the time of the Millennium (compare 2 Peter 3:10) at which end the actual old creation will make way for the new heavens and the new earth.