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Paul’s first letter to the church in Thessalonica was written shortly after he had been run out of that town by threats and opposition. Soon after Paul’s departure, false teachers crept into the church and tried to convince the people that Jesus had already returned and that there was no such thing as a resurrection from the dead. In this letter Paul offers the believers encouragement that, indeed, Jesus would return and bring judgment on all people. In light of this, the believer can have hope and endure any circumstance.
Many people in Thessalonica took Paul’s words regarding the hope of Jesus’ return a little out of context. They reasoned that if Jesus was going to return at any moment, then why should they be concerned with working hard are fulfilling the mundane obligations of life? Paul told them that certain things having to do with the “man of lawlessness” had to take place before Jesus would return, so it would be a little while before it happened. Regardless of when Jesus comes, Paul reminded the Thessalonians that hard work is a value and a behavior that is right and is expected of any follower of Christ — so get back to work!