Jeffrey's original message asked in part
Or is the
idea of the wrath of which Paul speaks
something that is so
distinctively biblical, and so bound up with the
story of Israel and of
how Israel's God relates to humanity, that the
Thessalonians would not
have heard about, let alone accepted it, until Paul
preached to them and
taught them to make as their own the
ideological/religious framework of
which the idea is a part?
suggestions come to mind as possibly relevant. One is that *deliverance
from the wrath to come* somewhat parallels the idea in Malachi of *the Day of
the Lord* from which Elijah is to reappear to give warning. The other,
more particularly, recalls II Macc.7.37-38 in the seventh son's declaration that
his and his brothers' deaths in defense of the Law may effect deliverance from
the temporary anger of God for Judea's sins. The emphasis on Jesus'
deliverance from the wrath to come seems parallel to that legend.
As for "the wrath to come," apocalyptic
interpretation of history generally required the idea of God's judgment already
imposed and at work - but being held off because of the remarkable faithfulness
of an (Abraham, Moses, Elijah, Jesus) until the number of "the elect
(Israel, faitrhful believers)" is completed. Against such a background of
thought "th e gospel must first be preached to all nations."