1 and 2 Thessalonians

The following is an excerpt from Thessalonians by C.R. Stam:

The Thessalonian epistles reveal the early distinction between the hope of those who still expected Messiah to return to earth to reign after the Great Tribulation, and the prior hope held out to those who received Paul's message of grace. Here in his earliest epistles there is already evidence of an interruption in the program of prophecy, for we, God's ambassadors of "grace and peace," are to be recalled before He declares war on this Christ-rejecting world (2 Corinthians 5:20; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-5:11).

The Thessalonian epistles are properly called "The Letters of Blessed Hope," for in them we find more allusions and direct references to the rapture of the Church than most readers have observed, in every chapter of both epistles the rapture of the members of the Body of Christ is referred to--and the coming of Christ for His own before the day of wrath begins is most clearly taught. This subject is not found in the book of Acts, simply because Acts is not, as generally supposed, the story of the birth and growth of the Church of this dispensation, but the story of the fall of Israel (See Acts 28:25-28). But the Body of Christ is the product of the "dispensation" and the "gospel" of the grace of God proclaimed by Paul. Hence the Body will not remain on the scene upon which God's judgment is to be poured. God will not declare war upon this world without first recalling His ambassadors."

The believers of Thessalonica received the word in much affliction (1 Thessalonians 1:6) and their faith grew strong because of it (2 Thessalonians 1:3-5). Many refer to the church of Thessalonica as the model church, also the ones written to as mature believers, which is what we, too, can become as we learn to apply Paul's writings to our lives today.