Did Paul Promise Everlasting Destruction from the Presence of the Lord?

2 Thessalonians 1:9 (AKJV), "who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power..."

Is this verse about hell?

No. Who are the ones Paul is speaking of? They are the ones who have been persecuting the Thessalonians. Do you know who that is? It was the apostate-unbelieving Jews (1 Thess. 2:14-16; Acts 17:1-5).

Everlasting is the word aionios, means "age enduring", i.e., till the end of the old covenant age or "enduring to the age". Young's Literal Translation says, "who shall suffer justice -- destruction age-during -- from the face of the Lord, and from the glory of his strength..."

The word destruction doesn't mean annihilation... 3639 ólethros (from ollymi/"destroy") – properly, ruination with its full, destructive results (LS). 3639 /ólethros ("ruination") however does not imply "extinction" (annihilation). Rather it emphasizes the consequent loss that goes with the complete "undoing."

So how were the unbelieving Jews completely ruined and separated FROM the presence of the Lord? (No one can literally be "separated from God" because God is everywhere).

The temple was the place they believed the presence of the Lord resided in covenant. But the fall of the temple to the Romans completely ruined and separated them from that means of knowing God, from their covenant heritage, and was historically a sign that he was not "with" them, i.e, God was not "with" the covenant of Law. 

This isn't the first time this happened but it was the last. 

“And the glory of the Lord went up from the midst of the city and stood on the mountain, which is on the east side of the city.” (Ezekiel 11:23 NKJV) 

“The rabbis commenting on this passage said the Shechinah retired to this Mount, and there for three years called in vain to the people with human voice that they should repent.” (Ezekiel 11:23 Barnes’ Notes) 

“The glory of the LORD went up from within the city and stopped above the mountain east of it. As God's glory left Jerusalem, it passed over the Kidron Valley to the Mount of Olives. This departure signaled Jerusalem's doom.” (Ezekiel 11:22-25 Bible Knowledge Commentary/Old Testament) 

Do you know what happened when the Romans approached Jerusalem in 66 1/2 AD? 

Eye-witness historian Josephus, early church historian Eusebius, and rabbis tell us that the Shekinah glory VISIBLY departed from the temple and hovered over the Mt. of Olives during the 3 1/2 year siege of Jerusalem by Rome. 

Josephus: “Moreover, the eastern gate of the inner  [court of the] temple, which was of brass, and vastly heavy, and had been with difficulty shut by twenty men, and rested upon a basis armed with iron, and had bolts fastened very deep into the firm floor, which was there made of one entire stone, was seen to be opened of its own accord about the sixth hour of the night  … Moreover, at that feast which we call Pentecost, as the priests were going by night into the inner [court of the temple,] as their custom was, to perform their sacred ministrations, they said that, in the first place, they felt a quaking, and heard a great noise, and after that they heard a sound as of a great multitude, saying, ‘Let us remove hence.’” (Book 6, Chapter 5, Paragraph 3, “Wars of the Jews”, by Flavius Josephus) 

You are the Temple of God

John 4:21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. 24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

God would not endorse the temple system ever again! Why? YOU are the temple of the Holy Spirit! The destruction and ruin was of anyone ever approaching God through sacrifices of lambs, through a Levitical priesthood, or localized even through an ethnic city. 



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