Q. Re: 2 Thessalonians 1:6, 7. “Since indeed God considers it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels.”
As I read verse 7 it looks like God will only grant relief for the Thessalonians at the second coming of Christ. Does that not mean that they will not be raptured until the second coming? If they are raptured before that, why does Paul say that God will only grant relief from affliction for them at the second coming? Also in 2 Thes. 2:1, the second coming and the gathering of the saints are two separate events but the second coming is mentioned first. Doesn’t it sound like 2 Thes. 1:7 where relief is given to the saints when they are gathered after the second coming of Christ?
A. In order for your interpretation to be right Paul would have to be contradicting other statements he made to the Thessalonians. 1 Thes. 1:10 is a good example. There he said Jesus would rescue us from the coming wrath.
If you read 2 Thes. 1:8-9 you’ll see Paul is referring to the time when Jesus comes to punish those who don’t believe in God and don’t obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They’ll be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord. That’s how and when he will repay with affliction those who have afflicted us. It has nothing to do with the rapture.
As for 2 Thes. 2:1, he did mention the 2nd Coming before he mentioned our being gathered to him, and the two are separate events. But if they were listed in chronological order, as you’ve suggested, the rapture would have to happen after the 2nd Coming, something no one believes.
And a few verses later he said the restrainer would have to be taken out of the way before the anti-Christ can be revealed and the anti-Christ has to be revealed before the 2nd Coming can take place (2 Thes. 2:7-8).
Many scholars believe the restrainer is the Holy Spirit, currently resident in the Church. Therefore the order Paul gave is first the Church will have to go (rapture) then the anti-Christ will be revealed (tribulation) and then the Lord will come (2nd Coming).