Thessalonian & Corinthian Epistles
Azusa Pacific University
Dr. Ken Waters
September 11, 2002
"Introduction to Thessalonians"

I.   Alexander the Great dies in 323 BC and his land splits control (Book of Daniel speaks of this)
A.   Seleucus I - Syria & Babylon (According to Daniel: King of the North)
B.   Ptolemy I - Egypt (According to Daniel: King of the South)
C.   Lysimachus - Thrace
D.   Demetrius - Gaza
E.   Antigonus - Phyrgia
F.   Cassander - Macedonia (323-301 BC)
1.   Destroyed 26 cities in Macedonia in his fight for the area
2.   Thessalonica (315 BC) - named after Cassander's wife, the half-sister of Alexander the Great
3.   Same time, Rome was consolidating their power (defending and taking their territory)
a.   168 BC had taken control of Macedonia
b.   Aemilius Paullus took the region
c.   Region was divided into four provinces
i.   Thessalonica became capital city of the second province
d.   148 BC all of the provinces of Macedonia were formed into one and Thessalonica was the capital of that (pop. 200,000)
II.   Macedonia & Thessalonica was a Greco-roman city
A.   Great center of worship between Demeter & Dionysius
1.   Demeter - sister of Zeus (goddess of fertility)
2.   Dionysius - son of Zeus (agricultural/nature God)
B.   Took the form of the Greek mystery religion (Paul's greatest competition)
C.   Contained a Jewish synagogue - Acts 17:1 (Paul's greatest opposition)
D.   Similarities between Christianity and Greek Mystery Religion
1.   Personal salvation & immortality in the world to come
2.   Inclusive fellowship (male/female, master/slave, rich/poor, Jew/Greek, etc &)
3.   Offers sacraments
E.   It was easy for people to be apart of two or more religions
III.   Paul's Thoughts with Thessalonica
A.   Second coming of Christ
1.   The message of the Parousia (second coming of Christ) is the heart of the Christian message
2.   Imminent Eschatology vs. Immanent Eschatology
a.   Imminent
i.   Consists of Three events (Mark 13, Matt 24)
i.   Coming of the Kingdom of God
ii.   Second coming of God
iii.   End of Time
ii.   Most gospel writers and Paul agree with this
b.   Immanent
i.   Kingdom of God is already here
ii.   The end of time will come later
iii.   Luke is the only writer that holds to this view
3.   Apocalypticism
B.   The ministry of the spirit (signs and wonders, preaching, etcÉ) is the sign of God's election
C.   The imagery of the crucifix is the center of his message (this is hard for the Romans to understand because the cross meant so much shame)
D.   Opposition to the Gospel meant the eschaton was closer to coming
E.   The church is our only validation