Lectionary Calendar
Saturday, May 25th, 2024
the Week of Proper 2 / Ordinary 7
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Bible Commentaries
2 Thessalonians 2

Edwards' Family Bible New TestamentFamily Bible NT

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Verse 1

By the coming of our Lord ; rather, in respect to the coming of our Lord, of which he had just spoken.

Verse 2

By spirit ; by any pretended revelation from the Spirit of God.

As from us ; professing to come from us. The apostles did not teach that the day of judgment or the end of the world was near; but that the day of death, when their hearers would be called into eternity, was near, and that they should be always ready; for in such an hour as they thought not, the Son of man would in that sense come. Luke 12:35-40 .

Verse 3

A falling away ; a great apostasy from the faith and practice of the gospel.

That man of sin ; the words "man of sin" are to be understood not of any single person, but of a wicked system presided over and directed by a succession of wicked men. The words of the apostle clearly describe that great system of spiritual tyranny and wickedness of which the papacy has ever been the central power.

Be revealed ; show himself, and be made manifest in his true character.

The son of perdition ; the very words applied by our Saviour to the apostate Judas. They describe the man of sin as notoriously wicked and doomed to final destruction. See the histories of popes John II. and John VIII.; of Marcellinus; of Honorius, of whom the council of Constantinople say, "We have caused him to be accursed"; of Eugenius, whom the council of Basle call "a simonist, a perjurer, a willful heretic"; of John XIII.; of Sextus IV.; of Alexander VI., who, as a papal historian says, was "one of the greatest and most horrible monsters in nature"; and of many others. See Guicciardini, Ciaconius, and other papal historians.

Verse 4

Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God ; opposeth the gospel of Christ as revealed in the Bible, and persecutes those who embrace it. See the history of Wickliffe, Huss, and Jerome of Prague, of the Waldenses, of the Inquisition, of Mary queen of England, and of St. Bartholomew’s day in France. Who invades the prerogatives of God, pretending to be the head of the church, to forgive sins, and to do what God himself cannot do-grant indulgences to commit sins. See the history of pope Leo X., of the archbishop of Mayence, of Tetzel, and of papal indulgences. Who practically annuls the laws of God, and substitutes for them the commandments of men; as when the council of Trent decreed, "Whosoever shall say that it is not more blessed to remain in virginity or celibacy than to be joined in marriage, let him be accursed"; and when the pope says, "Be careful to preserve the people not only from the reading of papers, but from the reading of the Bible"-"shun with horror the reading of such deadly poison"; thus exalting himself above the word of God. See the Catechism of Dr. James Butler, Dens’ Moral Theology, and other papal works.

As God ; assuming the right to control the conscience, receiving the titles, and claiming the honors which belong only to God-called by his deluded followers, "Our Lord God the Pope," "Another God upon earth," "King of kings and Lord of lords." See Newton on the Prophecies.

Verse 5

These things ; that there would be a great apostasy before the coming of Christ to judgment. Of course that event was not near. Verse 2 Thessalonians 2:2 . The rise and progress of the papacy and all its abominations, in exact fulfilment of the declarations of Paul, uttered and recorded hundreds of years before, show that he was divinely inspired to make known these things; and that the epistles as well as the gospels, the New Testament as well as the Old, are the sure and infallible word of God.

Verse 6

Withholdeth ; holdeth back or hindereth the development of the man of sin, and his claiming the high powers and prerogatives which he afterwards assumed.

Verse 7

The mystery of iniquity ; that ambitious, proud, covetous, and domineering spirit, which the popes afterwards exhibited in assuming to be lords temporal and spiritual.

He who now letteth ; the Roman government, which, while it lasted, prevented the rise of the papal civil government.

Until he be taken out of the way ; the Roman government would continue, as long as it should last, to prevent the establishment at Rome of the papal government.

Verse 8

Then ; after the downfall of the Roman empire.

That Wicked ; the wicked one, the man of sin and son of perdition spoken of in verse 2 Thessalonians 2:3 .

Be revealed ; manifest himself; claim to be universal bishop and lord of the kings of the earth.

Shall consume with the spirit of his mouth ; compare Isaiah 11:4 , "He shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked"; Isaiah 49:2 , "He hath made my mouth like a sharp sword"; Revelation 1:16 , "Out of his mouth went a sharp two-edged sword." See also Revelation 19:21 . The reference apparently is as well to the judgments that proceed from the mouth of Christ, as to the doctrines of his gospel and the power of his Spirit. The full accomplishment of this promise can alone give us its full interpretation. The same divine Spirit who by the mouth of Paul foretold the rise and progress of popery, foretold also its destruction; and the accomplishment of one part of the prophecy is conclusive evidence that, in due time, will be witnessed the perfect accomplishment of the other. Revelation 19:20 .

Verse 9

After the working of Satan ; by his aid, and like him deceitful, crafty, and wicked.

Lying wonders ; pretending to work miracles when they do not, and the pretence is a lie designed to delude the ignorant.

Verses 9-12

Satan has had much to do in the rise and progress of popery, and now has much to do in sustaining it, by wars and bloodshed, persecution and cruelty, deceit and falsehood, and by those pretended miracles and lying wonders, by which multitudes, who receive not the truth in the love of it, are deceived to their destruction.

Verse 10

Deceivableness of unrighteousness ; all deceitful arts and practices to promote their selfish and unrighteous schemes.

In them that perish ; added to show over whom the wicked and lying arts of the man of sin have power.

Because they received not ; still further added to show why the men just spoken of perish.

It is the truth ; did not give the truth a loving reception, because they hated it and chose error in its stead.

Verse 11

For this cause ; because they hate and reject the truth.

Shall send them strong delusion ; permit it in his providence to come upon them as a righteous judgment for their hatred and rejection of the truth.

Believe a lie ; those lying wonders and false immoral doctrines propagated by the man of sin, to the deceiving and ruining of multitudes who take pleasure in unrighteousness.

Verse 13

Chosen you to salvation through sanctification-and belief of the truth ; God not only chooses his people to salvation, but he chooses the way also-"sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth"-a way in which they "work out" their "own salvation with fear and trembling," while God "worketh in" them "both to will and to do of his good pleasure."

Verse 14

Whereunto ; to salvation in the way just mentioned.

Verse 15

The traditions ; instructions which the apostle had given them in preaching and by writing. Traditions, in the sense in which the word is used by the apostles, are the doctrines and duties which they preached, and which are recorded in the Bible. These are the traditions and the only traditions which they exhorted their hearers to hold. Hence the reason why all people should have the Bible and study it, that they may understand and follow the traditions which apostles and other inspired men taught. Hence, too, the reason why popes are afraid to have the Bible freely circulated. It points out their character, and describes the wickedness of their doings. It denounces the system of which they are the head, as the "man of sin," "the son of perdition," "the wicked one," "the mystery of iniquity"; "whose coming is after the working of Satan, with signs and lying wonders, in all deceivableness of unrighteousness." If the people are permitted to read it and judge for themselves of its meaning, and are disposed to follow it, they will see that popes and their associates are antichrist, and will treat them accordingly. No wonder they issue bulls against the Bible being circulated in Italy, and that the masses of their people have not been taught to read it. No wonder their priests, even in the United States, often take the Bible away from their people, and sometimes burn it. It denounces their system as false and wicked, and describes those who are deluded by it as believing a lie. Let the Bible circulate, and let all read, believe, and obey it as the word of God, and errors of every description will vanish, will be consumed with the breath of his mouth and destroyed with the brightness of his coming.

Bibliographical Information
Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on 2 Thessalonians 2". "Edwards' Family Bible New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/fam/2-thessalonians-2.html. American Tract Society. 1851.
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