2 Thess. 1:3-12 Paul thanks God that the new believers in Thessalonica are growing in their faith despite constant persecution by the Jewish community. He assures them that those who persecute them will be punished and suffer eternal separation from the risen Lord Jesus when he returns to earth in might with the angels on the ‘Day of the Lord’.
2 Thess. 2:1-12 Paul assures them that the ‘Day of the Lord’ hasn’t come yet, and won’t come until after the ‘Man of Evil’ appears. Paul prophesies that this evil leader will deceive people in the same way as the satan, and will set himself up as a god. He will persecute and kill many believers before he is himself destroyed.
Bust of Emperor Nero
at the Capitoline Museum,
Paul is writing in 51 or 52AD during the reign of the emperor Claudius. Nero succeeds as emperor in 54AD and declares himself to be a god. He proceeds to persecute and execute Christians, including Paul himself, especially after the Great Fire of Rome in 64AD. Nero’s extravagant and evil lifestyle brings mounting opposition and he commits suicide in 66AD.