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Thessalonica was a large Greek (see Ancient Empires - Greece) city that was founded by Cassander, one of Alexander the Great's officers who took control of Greece after Alexander's death from an illness while in his early thirties. Thessalonica was located between Phillipi and Berea in Macedonia (see map below), on the Thermaic bay of The Aegean Sea. Cassander named the city after his wife Thessalonica, who was so-named by her father King Philip of Macedon (Alexander's father) when he discovered that she had been born on the day that Philip defeated the Thessalians. Cassander was among the Diadochi, or the "successors" of Alexander (which included The Seleucids and The Ptolemies - two of the four "prominent" horns of Daniel 8:8; see also Alexander The Great In Prophecy) who became much more overtly ambitious after Alexander's death. Cassander defeated Alexander's mother Olympias (who some historians suspect was involved in the assassination of her husband Philip, Alexander's father) who was later killed, and he also murdered Alexander's widow Roxana and their infant son.

Paul's Second Missionary Journey

By the time of the New Testament, the Greek empire had declined and Thessalonica became one of the four Roman (see Ancient Empires - Rome) districts of Macedonia, which was visited by the apostle Paul on his second and third missionary journeys (see Paul's Second Missionary Journey and Paul's Third Missionary Journey).

"Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews. And Paul went in, as was his custom, and for three weeks he argued with them from the Scriptures [see Which Bible Did Jesus Use?], explaining and proving that it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead, and saying, "This Jesus, whom I proclaim to you, is the Christ." (Acts 17:1-3 RSV)

Fact Finder: Which two Epistles did Paul write to the church at Thessalonica?
See 1 Thessalonians and 2 Thessalonians

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