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the Week of Proper 20 / Ordinary 25
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Bible Commentaries
2 Thessalonians 2

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Verse 1


Concerning the coming. He had written about this in his first letter to them. See the introduction to First Thessalonians.

Verse 2


Do not be so easily confused. They were not thinking things through with care. Or upset by the claim. Some had made the claim that the “countdown” for the end of the world had already begun. The Thessalonian church was afraid of what they thought was going to happen! Perhaps this was said. Someone had misunderstood [deliberately?] what Paul had said in his first letter to them. That we wrote this in a letter. It is strongly possible that a forged letter using Paul’s name had been circulated, saying the Day of the Lord had come. See note on 2 Thessalonians 3:17.

Verse 3


For the Day will not come until. Paul had already told them about this (see 2 Thessalonians 2:5). But no one has any way of knowing just what Paul said to them. The final Rebellion takes place. Protestant churchmen have traditionally identified this Rebellion as an apostasy to be identified with the Roman Church. But in 2 Thessalonians 2:8 the appearance of the Wicked One and the Coming of the Lord Jesus seem very close in time. 2 Thessalonians 2:7 tells us the Mysterious Wickedness is already at work [over 1,900 years ago as Paul writes this]. I think the Mysterious Wickedness is to be identified with the false prophet (see Revelation 13:11); and the Wicked One and the final Rebellion to the time when Satan is set loose for a little while (see Revelation 11:7; Revelation 20:7-10 and notes).

Verse 4


He will oppose everything which men worship. Lipscomb says: “I doubt if any organization is ‘the man of sin’ [the Wicked One]. A principle was at work that would set aside God’s order and establish one of its own in its stead. It leads to ruin and perdition [doom] – is called the son of perdition [that is, one destined to hell].” Whoever seizes the authority which belongs only to God, and substitutes their rules for God’s laws (Matthew 7:21-23; Matthew 15:9), is guilty of this. The same principle shows itself in many forms during the history of the church. Some think Satan will concentrate all his effort through one man at the time when he is set loose for a short time. (See notes on 2 Thessalonians 2:3.)

Verse 5


Don’t you remember? No one has any way of knowing just what Paul did tell them. But it is very unlikely that he gave them any secret information. The New Testament gives us Paul’s “understanding of the secret of Christ” (Ephesians 3:4).

Verses 6-7


Yet there is something that keeps this from happening now. They knew what it is [or was], because Paul had told them. Johnson thinks [along with many of the Christian fathers] that the “something” was the Roman Empire. Lipscomb [and many others] think it was Paul himself. The attitude which led people to distort the rules of God was already at work, but Paul used his influence and authority to prevent it from growing. When Paul died, this influence of distortion spread rapidly, as history shows. [Some think the chief-angel Michael and his army of angels will prevent the appearance of the Wicked One until Satan is set loose for a little while (see note on 2 Thessalonians 2:3).]

Verse 8


Then the Wicked One will appear. When the one who holds back this Mysterious Wickedness is ‘taken out of the way, the forces of change and distortion can take over. This may be the primary meaning here. But it must refer as well to the time when Satan is set loose for a little while, because in this verse, as the Wicked One appears, Jesus Comes and kills him. [This can be understood of the “cycle of Armageddon,” and also the final Rebellion. See notes on Revelation 11:7; Revelation 20:7-10. ]

Verse 9


With the power of Satan. Satan will work through this Wicked One to fool people. See notes on Revelation 13:11-14. Miracles and false signs and wonders. Things that seem to be from God. This will also include counterfeit “outpourings of the Holy Spirit.”

Verse 10


On those who will perish. Note that this is really not directed against the faithful believer, but the “nominal church member.” These are not ignorant of Truth, but they do not love it and welcome it!

Verses 11-12


For this reason. Those whom God cannot convince, he confuses! If you know the truth and will not obey it, you are in effect, calling God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit a liar! Compare Isaiah 66:3-4. The result is. Only Truth can make you free (John 8:32). Those who believe the Truth will seize it and make themselves part of it (see note on Acts 2:38). Those who rebel against Truth, seal their own doom (Mark 16:16). But God CALLS EVERYONE to come to him (see note on Revelation 22:17).

Verses 13-17


For God chose you. In contrast to the victims of the Mysterious Wickedness, the Thessalonian Christians had been chosen to be saved! See note on 1 Thessalonians 1:4. God’s Plan included the Gentiles from the very beginning! See notes on Acts 15:15-18; Romans 9:30-33. By the Spirit’s power. See notes on John 3:5; Titus 3:5; Acts 19:1-6. On the human side, their salvation was by their faith in the truth. On the divine side, it was by the Spirit’s power. [Sanctification is the believer taking justification seriously!] God called you to this through the Good News. This is the way God calls people to himself. Compare John 6:45. So then, brothers, stand firm. The Good News called them to share the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ. They are to hold on firmly to this and never to let go! [The Good News is the truth of God’s act in Christ to set men free, and all the doctrine which results from this.] Gave us eternal courage and a good hope. “My dear friends, we are now God’s children, but it is not yet clear what we shall become. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall become like him, because we shall see him as he really is” (1 John 3:2). And make you strong to do and say all that is good. A Christian gives his life as a living sacrifice to God. This is a form of worship! Compare Philippians 2:15-16.

Bibliographical Information
Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on 2 Thessalonians 2". "The Bible Study New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ice/2-thessalonians-2.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.
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