At the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, those whose faith has proven steadfast under all the tribulations and persecutions they have had to endure from enemies of God will be counted worthy of the Kingdom of God for which they have indeed suffered. (2 Thess 1:4,5).  But while bringing relief to his faithful servants, The Christ Michael will repay tribulation to all those who made tribulation for them, exacting vengeance upon these enemies of God who warred against His servants and the birth of the Kingdom of God on earth. (2 Thess 1:6-9*).  Enemies of God, to be everlastingly cut-off, fall into three distinct categories:

(1)  Those who refuse to acknowledge God.
"They have set up their own empty ideas, and planned deceit and wickedness; they have even denied the existence of the Most High and have not acknowledged His ways."  (2 Esdras 7:23 & 2 Thess 1:8* NEB).

(2)  Those who refused to obey the "good news" of our Lord.
These ignored the testimony of the "good news" of salvation through the exercise of faith in The Christ that was proclaimed throughout the earth and "dismissed the thought of penitence while the way was still open". (2 Esdras 9:11
NEB).  They refused the way of salvation offered to them while the opportunity still existed.  (Matt 24:14.  Rev 10:7).

(3)  The "final rebellion" against God.
This rebellion is the apostate "man of lawlessness" of unsealed
'elders' of the sect falsely calling themselves Jehovah's Witnesses that were used by satan to usurp the  authority of faithful anointed  sons of God in The Christ's congregations. They "trampled" upon them, excommunicated them, and stood in authority in their place.  (2 Thess 2:1-12 NWT & NEB.  Matt 24:15.  Rev 11:1-3).

To his servants, Christ said: "Because you have kept my command and stood fast, I will also keep you from the ordeal ("hour of test".
NWT) that is to fall upon the whole world and test its inhabitants. I am coming soon."  (Rev 3:10 NEB).

This ordeal will be a severe trial of the spirit of every inhabitant on earth. It will be a time of such great distress that "unless those days were cut short, no flesh would be saved; but on account of the chosen ones those days will be cut short."  (Matt 24:21,22).

Almighty God Jehovah reserved the world of Noah's day for Judgement by a deluge of water, sweeping away the Godless men of that time; but the present heavens and earth are reserved for Judgement by Spirit "fire". "The Lord will judge by fire, with fire He will test all living men, and many will be slain by the Lord".  (Isaiah 66:16 NEB.  2 Peter 3:5-7).

Almighty God is about to flood the earth with the Spirit of His Judgement. Every unGodly inhabitant will receive this Spirit from Him. This Spirit as a "fire" will burn relentlessly within every rebellious spirit, and will eat them up. It will even cause a wasting disease within their flesh. They will be "wasting with sickness, yet overflowing with righteousness"!  (See Isaiah 33:11-14 and 10:16-23 NWT, NEB & footnote).

The Son of God The Christ Michael will "taunt them with their evil plottings and the  tortures they are soon to endure. This corresponds to the flame. And he will destroy  them without effort by means of the Law     and that is like the fire."  (2 Esdras 13:38 NEB).

The Christ Michael will expose all the unGodly sins of mankind within them. They will feel "naked and ashamed for all to see" and will look aghast at each other as their  rebellion against the Spirit of God causes their faces to burn with shame. (Rev 16:15. Isaiah 13:7-9 NEB). They will be covered with confusion as their  wicked deeds are brought out into the open to accuse them. They cannot hide from the fearful Judgement of God, for He comes to exterminate the earth's wicked inhabitants.  (2 Esdras 16:53,54 NEB)  (2 Esdras 63  67 NEB).

To those who usurped the authority of faithful anointed sons of God in The Christ's congregations, thereby falsely claiming to be spiritual "Jews" themselves, even changing the "times and Law" of God to do so, it is written: "In Zion the sinners have come to be in dread; shivering has grabbed hold of the apostates: 'Who of us can reside for any time with a devouring fire? Who of us can reside for any time with long  lasting conflagrations?'" (Isaiah 33:14.  Rev 3:9.  Dan 7:25).  For The Christ Michael warned: "Those  who have misused My Law will be taken by surprise; their contempt for it will bring them continual torment."  (2 Esdras 9:9 NEB).

Those who have "works and fidelity" laid up to their credit with the Most High, and who have faithfully endured the "great tribulation" will escape the "hour of test". The Christ Michael will protect them in danger so that no further "weapon" made to harm them will prevail. (Isaiah 54:17). Thanks to their good deeds and the faith they have shown, they will escape the  destruction of the Godless, and will be worthy citizens of the Kingdom of God.  (2 Esdras 13:22 24 & 9:7,8 NEB).

C. B. Thomas.