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1 He willeth them to continue stedfast in the truth received, 3 sheweth that there shall be a departure from the faith, 9 and a discovery of antichrist, before the day of the Lord come. 15 And thereupon repeateth his former exhortation, and prayeth for them.
1. Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,
2. That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled [with a view to your being not quickly shaken from your sober mind, nor yet be troubled], neither by spirit [supernatural impulse], nor by word [ordinary instruction], nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.
3. Let no man deceive you by any means; for that day shall not come, except there come a [the] falling away [the word is often applied to desertion of the true religion and true God] first, and that man of sin [patristic expositors impress upon us the individuality of the lawless one. Mediaeval writers bring out the idea, not only that there are many Antichrists, each a type of the perfect incarnation of Lawlessness (which is a Scriptural and patristic idea), but that such types may be found in isolated popes] be revealed the son of perdition [see St. John 17:12 . One by his crimes fitted for death, and sure to be destroyed];
4. Who opposeth and exalteth himself [exceedingly] above all that is called God or that is worshipped; so that he [taketh his seat in the temple of God] as God [omit "as God"] sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself [off] that he is God. [The ambitious self-designation of the Man of Sin is indicated (see note at the end of this chapter).]
5. Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?
6. And now ye know what withholdeth that I might be revealed in his time [his own season not before].
7. For the mystery of iniquity [lawlessness] doth already work; only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.
8. And then shall that Wicked [the lawless One] be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit [breath. Cf. Isa 11:4 ] of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: [Cf. the half line of Milton: "Far off his coming shone."]
9. Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,
10. And with all deceivableness ox unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
11. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a He [the lie: referring to Isa 11:9 ]:
12. That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. [That they might be judged, all collectively, who have not believed the truth, but have taken their pleasure in the unrighteousness ( sc. of the Man of Sin).]
13. But we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:
14. Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
15. Therefore, brethren stand fast and hold the traditions which ye have been [were] taught, whether by word, or our epistle.
16. Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself [Chrysostom invites the special attention of those who deny the co-equal divinity of the Son, because he is named after the Father in the baptismal formula. Here he stands first], and God even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace.
17. Comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work.
"The most striking feature in the Epistle is this apocalyptic passage, announcing the revelation of the 'Man of Sin' ( 2Th 2:1-12 )...
"The passage speaks of a great apostasy which is to usher in the advent of Christ, the great judgment. There are three prominent figures in the picture, Christ, Antichrist, and the Restrainer. Antichrist is described as the Man of Sin, the Son of Perdition, as the Adversary who exalteth himself above all that is called God, as making himself out to be God. Later on (for apparently the reference is the same) he is styled the 'mystery of lawlessness,' 'the lawless one.' The Restrainer is in one place spoken of in the masculine as a person ( ό κατέχωυ ), in another in the neuter as a power, an influence ( τό κατέχου )- The 'mystery of lawlessness' is already at work. At present it is checked by the Restrainer; but the check will be removed, and then it will break out in all its violence. Then Christ will appear, and the enemy shall be consumed by the breath of his mouth, shall be brought to naught by the splendour of his presence.
"Many different explanations have been offered of this passage. By one class of interpreters it has been referred to circumstances which passed within the circle of the Apostle's own experience, the events of his own lifetime, or the period immediately following. Others again have seen in it the prediction of a crisis yet to be realised, the end of all things. The former of these, the Praeterists, have identified the 'Man of Sin' with divers historical characters with Caligula, Nero, Titus, Simon Magus, Simon son of Giora, the high-priest Ananias, &c., and have sought for a historical counterpart to the Restrainer in like manner. The latter, the Futurists, have also given various accounts of the Antichrist, the mysterious power of evil which is already working. To Protestants for instance it is the Papacy; to the Greek Church, Mohammedanism. And in the same way each generation and section in the Church has regarded it as a prophecy of that particular power which seemed to them and in their own time to be most fraught with evil to the true faith." Smith's Dictionary of the Bible.
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Parker, Joseph. "Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 2". Parker's The People's Bible. https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany