“When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day” (2 Thessalonians 1:10).
Paul taught, and any Biblically sound Christian believes, that there will be a return of the Lord Jesus Christ to this earth in the future. It is obvious that he did not promote the idea that Pentecost was actually the second coming of Christ in the person of the Holy Spirit, or that the Lord set up His Kingdom in the church. Our text speaks of an event that will be fulfilled in the future; nevertheless, the Day of the Lord is closer than when the apostle first revealed it to the Thessalonian believers.
This term speaks of the general time in the future when the Lord Jesus returns to catch away His saints and begin the final days of world history, but since He must come on a specific day, it must also refer to the day God has preordained. It is highly likely that Paul has in mind the whole period of what we call the Last Days.
This day will be the Lord’s Day not ours, though we will be blessed and receive glory by participating in it. Paul rightly calls it the “day of Christ” (2 Thessalonians 2:2) … “Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead” (Acts 17:31).
This day will see the outpouring of God’s wrath. “Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you” (2 Thessalonians 1:6) … “That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness” (2 Thessalonians 2:12) … “For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape” (1 Thessalonians 5:2-3).
These people can only refer to those whom He raptures from the earth at His coming. They are those who have lived for Him in life. “That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory” (1 Thessalonians 2:12). Only those who have lived as saints on earth will reign with Christ as saints in Heaven. For the raptured saints it will be a day of marvel, worship and admiration, for not only will we see the Lord, but we will be glorified in Him. “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed” (1 Corinthians 15:52) … “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2) … “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18). “The saints risen, glorious, rejoicing in salvation, shall be a glory of the Lord” (The People’s New Testament Commentary).
Paul is stating here that the believers in Thessalonica will be glorified in the presence of Christ because they accepted what he, Silas and Timothy taught. That is how sure he was that he was teaching the absolute truth about Christian living and the Second Coming of the Lord. How could he be so adamant that he was correct regarding the Last Days? The apostle John would not have sugar-coated his teaching after receiving the Revelation, no less would Paul, since he had a similar experience. “It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord. I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven. And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter” (2 Corinthians 12:1-4). The Thessalonians did believe and got saved. If they had not done so, then they would never share in the blessed hope. “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13). Holy living is “glory in the bud; glory is holiness manifested” (Jamieson, Fausset, Brown Bible Commentary).
Paul might not ever see the Christians in Thessalonica on earth again, but he knew that there will come a day in which all believers will be gathered around the Lord at His coming or all reunited in Heaven after death.