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Wednesday, May 22nd, 2024
the Week of Proper 2 / Ordinary 7
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Bible Commentaries
2 Thessalonians 2

Gann's Commentary on the BibleGann on the Bible

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Verse 1

2 Thessalonians 2:1

[See Pulpit Commentary, Excursion on the Man of Sin.]

Question of 2:1 -- Is this "coming" the Second Coming, or "the Day of the Lord" in judgment of AD 70?

Gathering together -- Not necessarily physical, but philosophical. [?] Episunagoge -- only here and in Hebrews 10:25. Cf the verb in Matthew 23:37, and Matthew 24:31. (see the note there.)

Gathering -- The calling of men by the gospel to Christ and a response.

Verse 2

2 Thessalonians 2:2

Soon shaken -- Quickly shaken,as excited, violently disturbed.

By spirit -- i.e. some prophetic utterance.

By word -- message, some spoken teaching.

By letter -- something written, purporting to be from Paul.

Day of Christ -- The day of the Lord (1 Thessalonians 5:2). *This is written about AD 50, & cf. Acts 18:2, Jews were being expelled from Rome, perhaps some thought that the judgment Paul had talked about.

* RSV = "Lord" for MT which reads "Christ".

Verse 3

2 Thessalonians 2:3

A falling away -- apostasy, NASV; rebellion, NIV. Hebrews 3:12. cf. Hebrews 12:25, [Could this be referring to the falling away of many Jewish Christians who turned back to Judaism during the AD 60’s.]

Falling away -- A common term for "military rebellion", rebellion or munity against God. [It could even refer to the Jewish rebellion against Roman authority.]

Man of sin -- = son of perdition, v.8 Wicked one; describes an attribute of the person under consideration; ie. Jesus is called "the man of sorrows" Isaiah 53:3, 1 Peter 2:19.

Man of sin -- see the Excursion on the Man of Sin in the Pulpit Commentary.

Son of perdition -- Termed used by Jesus to describe Judas John 17:12. "Son of .." also described a dominate characteristic of the person, etc. "son of consolation" Acts 4:36.

Son of perdition -- The Jewish mind often spoke metaphorically of a "characteristic" dwelling in a person, and sometimes calling him the "son of ... " that characteristic. Thus, of Barnabas as "son of consolation" Acts 4:36, and James and John as "sons of thunder" Mark 3:27; and the term "son of perdition" in 2 Thessalonians 2:3.

See ISBE "Son; Sons" (3)

(3) The word “son” is used with a following genitive of quality to indicate some characteristic of the person or persons described. In the English the word “son” is usually omitted and the phrase is paraphrased as in 2 Samuel 3:34, where the words translated “wicked men” in the King James Version mean literally, sons or children of wickedness.

Man of Sin .... IDENTITY

1. Jewish high priest, or Jewish hierarchy, etc. Jewish priests opposed idols and Jesus. The High Priest took Jesus’ job of making atonement for sin.

The "restrainer" in this scenario would be the Roman government which prevented them from an outright slaughtering of Christians. The "apostasy" would be those Jewish Christians turning back to Judaism.

2. NERO - Became the worse Roman Emperor persecuting Christians. He had been restrained by Seneca from his evil ways, until he had Seneca put to death. He then followed his evil heart. (Pulpit Commentary, 2Thess.2.3 p.56, "Nero was already adopted by Claudius, and was regarded by many as the future Caesar. ’He that restraineth’ was Claudius." )

(Philip Shaff’s History of the Christian Church) Vol 1, ch. 6


The first of these imperial persecutions with which the Martyrdom of Peter and Paul is connected by ecclesiastical tradition, took place in the tenth year of Nero’s reign, a.d. 64, and by the instigation of that very emperor to whom Paul, as a Roman citizen, had appealed from the Jewish tribunal. It was, however, not a strictly religious persecution, like those under the later emperors; it originated in a public calamity which was wantonly charged upon the innocent Christians.

A greater contrast can hardly be imagined than that between Paul, one of the purest and noblest of men, and Nero, one of the basest and vilest of tyrants. The glorious first five years of Nero’s reign (54-59) under the wise guidance of Seneca and Burrhus, make the other nine (59-68) only more hideous by contrast. [emphasis WG] We read his life with mingled feelings of contempt for his folly, and horror of his wickedness. The world was to him a comedy and a tragedy, in which he was to be the chief actor. He had an insane passion for popular applause; he played on the lyre; he sung his odes at supper; he drove his chariots in the circus; he appeared as a mimic on the stage, and compelled men of the highest rank to represent in dramas or in tableaux the obscenest of the Greek myths. But the comedian was surpassed by the tragedian. He heaped crime upon crime until he became a proverbial monster of iniquity. The murder of his brother (Britannicus), his mother (Agrippina), his wives (Octavia and Poppaea), his teacher (Seneca), and many eminent Romans, was fitly followed by his suicide in the thirty-second year of his age. With him the family of Julius Caesar ignominiously perished, and the empire became the prize of successful soldiers and adventurers.

- - - -

The "restrainer" could be Claudius, OR as some think, Seneca who was an influence for good and restrains upon Nero until Nero murdered him.

3. After the reformation movement, many began to think this was a reference to pope.

4. Some have interpreted it as Muhammad and Islam.

5. Some historical person, well known and understood by Paul’s readers, but we don’t know who it was. His name or identity is not revealed outright, but spoken of in veiled terms, probably to protect the Christians from additional persecution.

Verse 4

2 Thessalonians 2:4

Opposes -- exalts -- The NIV incorrectly adds two "wills" in this verse which would tend to make this future, while the Greek is in the present tense. An attitude of utter arrogance and presumptuousness.

How is the "man of sin" described here:

1) Opposes God (puts himself in opposition to the True and Living God)

2) Exalts himself above God / Divinity / that is worshipped.

3) As God he sits in the temple of God

4) Shows himself as God.

Above --

Three events to take place before the Day of Christ.

1) Apostasy (Rebellion)

2) Man of sin revealed

3) Removal of the restraint upon the man of sin

Daniel 11:36, Daniel 11:27; Luke 21:8, Mark 13:21-22

Verse 5

2 Thessalonians 2:5

I told you -- The subject matter was deemed so important that Paul had taught them regarding it when he had been present. Just because the identity of the "man of sin" is not clear to us, we shouldn’t think it was a mystery to them.

Verse 6

2 Thessalonians 2:6

Ye know -- They knew, even if we have difficulty in determining what Paul was speaking about.

Withholdeth -- restrains him. A restrain upon the appearance of the "man of sin." While Nero’s teacher Seneca lived, he had a restraining influence upon him. But after Nero put him to death he became a very different ruler (see note Nero, in v. 3 2 Thessalonians 2:3 ) "The glorious first five years of Nero’s reign (54-59) under the wise guidance of Seneca and Burrhus, make the other nine (59-68) only more hideous by contrast."

Verse 7

2 Thessalonians 2:7

Mystery -- something hidden, unknown.

Iniquity -- sin, evil doing

already work -- The matter that Paul is talking about was all ready present. cf. th 1 John 4:3.

He -- The restraining power or authority. Many of the early church fathers took the "restrainer" to be the Roman Empire. [If Roman restrain was removed as in AD 67, the Jews would utterly rebel and persecute the Christians.]

The restraint - 1) If the "man of sin" was Jewish, and their persecution of Christians, it is the Roman government that serves as the restraint until the rebellion AD 60-70. Matthew 24:22; 1 Peter 4:17-18. 2) If the "man of sin" was Nero, and his persecution of the Christians, the restrainer was someone else. 3) Some maintain that the Latin name of Claudius, the contemporary Emperor, was related to a Latin word "restrain". [IVP Bible Background Commentary, p. 601 Rt Bm)

Letteth -- restrains.

Taken out of the way -- the restraint would be removed.

Verse 8

2 Thessalonians 2:8

Wicked -- "lawless one"; NCV "Man of Evil";

Be revealed -- Become known.

Consume ..

Spirit of his moth -- "breath" -- the H.S. or the Word of God.

Destroy -- He will stand before God at the judgment.

Brightness of his coming -- 2 Thessalonians 1:8. "flaming fire", when the Lord came in judgment (at the resurrection). The "epiphany" of his "parousia". [

The picture of God’s retribution and these terms come from Isaiah 11:4, and Hosea 6:5

- - -

Paul did not know when the S.C. would be - Matthew 24:36.

He knew what Christ prophesied must come to pass.

God gave three signs.

1) Apostasy - rebellion 2 Thessalonians 2:3

2) Man of sin (false Christ) revealed v. 3-4

3) Knew one who restrained - v. 6-7.

Man of sin - marks (son of perdition v.3)

1) Opposed God - exalted self above God

2) Sitting in the temple

3) Showed that he is God - "I Am"

4) Already at work - v.7

A Restraining force - to be take out of the way.

5) The wicked one - revealed - v.8

6) The Lord would consume with the spirit of his mouth - v.8

The Wicked one would be destroy with the brightness of his coming - v.8

7) The man of sin’s coming is after Satan’s working - v.9

8) He would show power and signs and lying wonders - v.9

9) Deceived people (that would perish) with unrighteousness - v.10

10) Because they recognized not the truth. v. 10, 11, 12.

Verse 9

2 Thessalonians 2:9

Even him -- Supplied in the KJV for clarity.

Whose coming -- the coming of the "man of sin", "son of perdition" the "wicked (lawless) one"

Is after the working of Satan -- Satan would be behind the coming, and work, of the man of sin, the son of perdition.

Power -- miracles

signs -- the evidential value of miracles and wonders.

lying wonders -- "Lying" is to be applied all three works here. "False, counterfeit" Mark 13:22; cf. Luke 21

Wonders -- The "amazing", or awesome effect of miracles and signs.

Verse 10

2 Thessalonians 2:10

Deceivableness of unrighteousness -- the unrighteous (because of their love for sin) are easily deceived, and this will led them to perish.

Perish --

Because -- they will perish because they don’t love the truth.

Receive not the love of the truth -- They didn’t have a love for the truth, and because they were antagonistic to the truth they were eager and easy to be deceived by something false, not true. I think of how many who don’t want to believe in God, have accepted atheistic evolution. cf. 2 Peter 3:5.

That they might be saved -- How would a "love of the truth" save them? Because they then would obey it ( 2 Thessalonians 1:8 ), Jesus said, "If you love, keep my commandments." John 14:15, John 14:21, 1 John 5:2.

Verse 11

2 Thessalonians 2:11

Delusion -- believe a lie -- It is easy for the unrighteous to be deceived by a lie, a falsehood, a counterfeit. [Example of atheistic evolutionists cf. 2 Peter 3:5.]

Verse 12

2 Thessalonians 2:12

Be damned -- because they reject God and the truth.

Had pleasure in unrighteousness -- They loved doing evil more than obeying the truth.

Verse 13

2 Thessalonians 2:13

- New Paragraph - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Bound -- Something we ought to do is to give thanks always to God, cf. 1 Thessalonians 5:18.

Give thanks ..

Brethren beloved -- We can see God’s love and grace toward us in that He has provided a means of salvation for us, a means of forgiveness and redemption from sin.

From the beginning -- cf. “before the Creation of the world,” Ephesians 1:4.

Chosen you -- (God had selected Israel to keep his commandments, Deuteronomy 26:18. ) God chooses, or selects people to salvation who are like the Thessalonians.

You -- The Thessalonians, who had received the call and responded by obedience to the gospel, v.14.

Salvation through sanctification of the Spirit -- They were set apart from the world by following the directions for the lives given by God’s Holy Spirit. ["Sanctified" not by some whisper by the H.S. in our ear (cf. v.14). Others should be able to see our sanctification by the way we live.]

Belief of the truth -- Their sanctification came about because they trusted and committed themselves to following the truth, John 17:17.

Verse 14

2 Thessalonians 2:14

He -- God

Called -- Past tense, referring to the time of their conversion when they received the gospel.

Our gospel -- A gospel not originating with Paul, but the one he preached and delivered to the Thessalonians.

Called by the gospel -- We are not called by some special silent revelation, or whispering in our ear. This "call" to salvation from God to us through the gospel, is only answered by our faith and obedience. The call is not profitable if we don’t obey the gospel, 2 Thessalonians 1:8, Romans 2:8.

To the obtaining of the glory -- Responding in obedience will result in the obtaining of the glory God has for his children.

Our Lord Jesus Christ -- This glory is what the Lord has for us, and is like unto his in some respects, 1 John 3:2.

Verse 15

2 Thessalonians 2:15

Therefore -- a conclusion, or summary of some kind of an important point or application Paul wishes to make..

Brethren.. a term of tender affection.

Stand fast -- Stand firm, stand fast. Present imperative active, a command to continue standing firm. Keep the faith! Hold on to it!

Hold the traditions -- See also 1 Corinthians 11:2. Paul doesn’t make a distinction between written and oral tradition. Tradition, in the scriptural sense, may be either written or oral. Until the gospels and the epistles were written the teaching of the new covenant were transmitted orally by the apostles and evangelists.

By word, or our epistle -- whether oral, or written.

Verse 16

2 Thessalonians 2:16

Now [may] our -- The expression in v. 16 is equivalent to prayer.

Lord Jesus Christ -- and God our Father -- Both the Father and Son are mentioned, but they are as one.

Loved us -- Simply out of His love and grace is salvation possible.

Given us -- Given freely, we have earned it, nor do we deserve it!

Everlasting Consolation -- Eternal salvation.

Good hope through grace -- Our hope for everlasting consolation is only possible through God’s grace (undeserved kindness) to us. He has shown us his grace in sending a Savior, and calling us to him through the gospel.

Verse 17

2 Thessalonians 2:17

Comfort your hearts -- The hope that we have (v.16, & 1 Thessalonians 4:13.) should comfort our hearts (1 Thessalonians 4:18).

Comfort -- encourage

Stablish you -- strengthen, stabilize.

Every good word and work -- good deed, and work word. The "good word" of God, the Holy Scriptures, are effective in comforting or encouraging us, and it informs and encourages us in the work, service, we should do, 2 Timothy 3:16.

Word and work -- preaching and practice

Bibliographical Information
Gann, Windell. "Commentary on 2 Thessalonians 2". Gann's Commentary on the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/gbc/2-thessalonians-2.html. 2021.
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