Attention!
StudyLight.org has pledged to build one church a year in Uganda. Help us double that pledge and support pastors in the heart of Africa.
Click here to join the effort!

Bible Commentaries

Bell's Commentary on the Bible

2 Thessalonians 2

Verses 1-17

  1. Intro:
    1. Slide#4 Title: Carbonated Christians
    2. Illust: (shaking up coke) There was a problem with the Thes bel’s...they were All Shook Up.
      1. Sodas are "saturated" with Carbonation (CO2). The soda flows into the bottle under 1200 psi of pressure & is capped before the carbonation can escape. As you open the cap, the CO2 begins to escape, which is the effervescence, the fizz, the bubbles coming out of solution.
      2. They were shook up over: new prophecies, new letters written in Paul’s name, & new things that people said had apostolic authority.
      3. Paul will comfort them by popping the top, letting out the pressure of the Thes church.
        1. Reminding them to stick with what he had already told them.
        2. He also gives them a sequence of events (3-10) to assure them/us that the church is destined for salvation not judgment (13).
    3. Outline: I’m all shook up. Paul Pops the Top. Those who Reject the Truth. Those who Receive the Truth.
  2. I’M ALL SHOOK UP (1,2)
    1. ​​​​​​​(1) Speaks of the Rapture.
    2. (2) Day of the Lord – Day of the Judgment.
      1. Word had circulated, “we’re in the Day of the Lord” (because of the persecution that hit)
      2. A shaking occurred [Shaken = a restless tossing of a ship]
    3. 3 ways the rumors rolled:
      1. Spirit – supernatural revelation.
      2. Word – in a discourse.
      3. Letter – a forged letter.
        1. See 3:17 also.
  3. PAUL POPS THE TOP (3-10a)
    1. ​​​​​​​Paul emphatically advises them, “It hasn’t happened yet!”
      1. ​​​​​​​Here’s the Proof The Day hadn’t begun [These things must take place 1st]
    2. 1st THE FALLING AWAY (3a)
      1. αποστασια – Apostasy, the departure. (definite article The, not just a departure)
        1. Paul talks about it in more detail in 1 Tim. 4:1-3 Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.
    3. 2nd THE MAN OF SIN REVEALED (3b-10a)
    4. This is the start gun of the Tribulation.
    5. DESCRIBED (3b,4)
    6. He’s described 1st as the man of sin – speaking of his character as unalterably opposed to God.
    7. Next, as the son of perdition – speaking of his doom to destruction like his forerunner (Judas) experienced. Jn.17:12 Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled.
      1. Perdition - The Semitic construction meaning “he who is destined to be destroyed”.
      2. He is also known as: “The Little horn”; “The prince that will come”; “the willful king”; “The antichrist who shall come”; “The Beast out of the sea”.
      3. There were to be other evil men to come along that will be called antichrists.
        1. 1 Jn.2:18 Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour. But this one is the personification of evil, the cultivation of all that is opposed to God.Ryrie
    8. HIS RELIGION (4)
      1. The Tribulation is surely not w/o religion - He’s very religious.
      2. He becomes an active member, & ultimately the leader of The 1st church of Me, Myself, & I. [3-Self Patriotic Movement] [only state-sanctioned (registered) Protestant church in mainland China]
      3. Man was made to Worship…as is proof here.
      4. Here, he opposes God (i.e. tries to stand in opposition, not thwart)
      5. His religious system is connected with the Temple.
        1. In Dan.9:27 he makes a cov. w/the Jews to open the Temple to them for 7 years. He breaks it in the middle, known as the abomination of desolation. Mt.24:13
    9. RESTRAINED (5-7)
    10. (6) What or who is restraining? (read 6-8)
    11. The debate lies here. I.D.ing the Restrainer.
      1. Some say Governments (their purpose is to restrain evil/Rom.13); Or, Satan (doesn’t make sense w/vs.7); Others say the H.S.
      2. It is neuter in vs.(6), masculine in vs.(7). This works for the H.S.
        1. The Greek word for spirit is neuter. Yet, the spirit is a person, so masculine works also (Jn.15:26;16:13,14)
        2. Restrain means to hold back, hinder. This was 1 of the 1st works of the H.S. recorded. Gen.6:3 My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, for he is indeed flesh; yet his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.
      3. “Ultimately we see the Holy Spirit in the bel.’s. Once the Holy Spirit restraining power through the church is removed, the antichrist will make his move.” ChuckSmith
      4. Our promise from Mt.16:18 The gates of hell shall not prevail against His church.
        1. ​​​​​​​The church will not go thru The trib. because the restrainer will be removed before the man of sin is revealed.
    12. (7) Taken out of the way – Problem: How could the Spirit be taken out? (omnipresence?)
      1. Big difference between one’s residence & one’s presence.
        1. His presence will not be taken away from the earth; Just His residence...the indwelling of the believers.
        2. Many will be saved during the tribulation (Rev.7:14) & only God can do the work of Regeneration. God will work as He did in the O.T. times.
        3. Ryrie said, “God’s universal & permanent residence in His people is a distinctive relationship in that day of Grace.”
    13. DESTROYED (8)
    14. This section describes the power of the man of sin, yet its underlying note is the Sovereign & Almighty power of God.
    15. Here is God’s 2-fold military strike: Consume & destroy.
    16. His 2 weapons: His Breath & His Brightness.
      1. His breath – from Is.11:4 He shall strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, And with the breath of His lips He shall slay the wicked.
      2. His Brightness – His very appearance will destroy him (not annihilate).
        1. Destroy – render inactive, to put out of commission. LKGNT
    17. EMPOWERED (9,10)
    18. The antichrist will be Satan powered.
  4. THOSE WHO REJECTED THE TRUTH (10b-12)
    1. ​​​​​​​THEIR CONSEQUENCE (10b-11)
      1. The problem isn’t believing A lie, but THE lie.
      2. All men are believers in something.
      3. (11) If you refuse Christ in the age of Grace, why do you think you’ll receive him during that 7 year space? [note: God will send…]
    2. THEIR CONDEMNATION (12)
    3. Their judgment is justified: They did not believe the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
      1. You can’t go any lower than this…Complete opposition to God & His truth.
  5. THOSE WHO RECEIVE THE TRUTH (13-17)
    1. ​​​​​​​“Here is a system of theology in miniature.” James Denney
      1. Their Source (13a) Chosen, from the beginning. Its end purpose, Salvation
      2. Their Method (13B) Accomplished through Sanctification.
      3. Their Means (13c) Belief. [another blend of divine & human]
      4. Their Goal (14) Glory.
        1. John Stott said, “In the eternity of the past God chose us to be saved. Then he called us in time, causing us to heart the gospel, believe the truth & be sanctified by the Spirit, w/a view to our sharing Christ’s glory in the eternity of the future. In a single sentence the apostles mind sweeps from “the beginning” to “the glory”. There is no room in such a conviction for fears about Christian instability. Let the devil mount his fiercest attack on the feeblest saint, let the Antichrist be revealed & the rebellion break out, yet over against the instability of our circumstances & our characters, we set the eternal stability of the purpose of God.” Wow
      5. Their Responsibilities (15) Stand Fast, Hold the traditions.
        1. Traditions – R.C. use this to support their case for their esteem of tradition.
        2. Hold fast to the soon to be written down traditions of the Apostles.
          1. Remember this is only the 3rd book out of 27 penned so far (50,51ad).
          2. Bible + Traditions? [Protesters/Protestants screamed NO, Sola Scriptura]
    2. THEIR ARGUMENTS our response
      1. ​​​​​​​It never says Scripture Alone.
        1. Alone doesn’t have to be in the text for it to be a truth.
      2. The Bible teaches that tradition should be followed.
        1. Yes, it should have been…till it was penned.
        2. There is no evidence that all the revelation God gave them to express was not inscripturated in the 27 books of the N.T.
      3. The bible can’t be properly understood w/o tradition.
        1. Yes, the bible has perspicuity apart from traditions. (perspicuity = easily understood)
          1. We do not need an aid to understand it (except the H.S.)
        2. This says that all doctrines that essential to salvation are sufficiently clear.
        3. “To assume that oral traditions of the Apostles not recorded in the bible, are necessary to interpret what is recorded under inspiration, is to argue in effect that “the uninspired is more clear than the inspired”.
      4. Tradition & the bible are inseparable.
        1. The very statement refutes itself. [if 2 things are separated, how can they be inseparable?]
      5. Excluding traditions violates the principle of causality [an effect (the bible) cannot be greater than its cause [i.e. the bishops who put together the canon]
        1. There problem: The Magisterium determined the Canon so therefore they have authority interpreting what it says.
        2. There false assumption: They didn’t determine the Canon (standard/rule). No, God did by inspiring these books & no other books.
        3. The church or magisterium discovered which books. God had determined them.
          1. The term the original church council used...was recipimus, we receive.
        4. This was done by: The Canon…
          1. ​​​​​​​must have Apostolic authorship.
          2. must have been received by the early church.
          3. must be in harmony w/the books about which there is no doubt.
        5. Even Catholic Dogma states “they received & recognize but didn’t cause or produce it.”
      6. ​​​​​​​Rejecting tradition leads to denominationalism (a splintering).
        1. Beliefs w/in R.C. vary widely such as [Dominicans, Franciscans, & Jesuits].
          1. This is self-condemning. Actually those who hold to Scripture Only maintain less of a splitting actually.
      7. Rejecting tradition is unhistorical.
        1. The 1st cent, Christians didn’t have the N.T. to teach them. So, using the bible Alone was impossible w/o apostolic tradition. But…the apostles were still alive. And they still had the O.T. Also, there was no need of an apostolic succession (papacy), they simply had to write down what we know today as the infallible apostolic writings, i.e. the N.T.
      8. Their Blessings (16,17) A whole slew of them.
    3. Wrap Up:
      1. Don’t be shaken. Your not in the trib. You didn’t miss the Rapture. You don’t have to deal w/the man of sin. Stand fast. Hold firm. Our Father loves you. He gives eternal encouragement, hope, grace, comfort, strength, in every word & work.
Copyright Statement
These files are the property of Brian Bell.
Text Courtesy of Calvary Chapel of Murrieta. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on 2 Thessalonians 2". "Bell's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/cbb/2-thessalonians-2.html. 2017.