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Bible Commentaries
2 Thessalonians 2

Luscombe's Commentary on Selected Books of the NTLuscombe's NT Commentary

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Verse 1

1. This begins a new section. This is not related to chapter one. In ch. 1, the emphasis is on the judgment and the punishment of the wicked. Ch. 2 is concerned with the coming of the "man of sin." The term "gathering together" is found only one other time in the NT ( Heb_10:25 "assembling of ourselves together"). Here - It refers to the gathering of the saints at the second coming of Christ. This is the same time as 1Th_4:13-18 .

Verse 2

2. There was some misunderstanding about the coming of Christ. NOTE: There is a difference in "misunderstanding" and "false doctrine." Most of the ISSUES that have divided the body of Christ have NOT been doctrine, they have been about methods, opinions, personal prefrences, etc. Here the flaw was in the misapplication of Paul's teachings. "Shaken" is from a word meaning "to shake, to cause ot move, to waiver or totter." Notice the word "quickly", which shows that they did not give long and proper consideration to the matter. If the message is oral or written, from Paul or another, it should not shake their faith. Many were preaching, "The day of the Lord is at hand" - lit. "is now present". (See Rom_8:38 "things present"; 1Co_7:26 "present distress") NOTE: Paul denies that it is now. J. B. Lightfoot translates this "is imminent." His note states, "The Apostle does not deny that the day of the Lord may be near. He asserts that it is not imminent." Some were teaching that the coming had occured in a silent and invisible way. ( 2Ti_2:17-18 )

Verse 3

3. A strong warning is given to any who would "beguile" them wheter through wicked intent or mislead into wrong thinking. Church history shows how many are quickly lead away by every new fad that comes along. RED FLAG - MARK THIS DOWN - BE ASSURED - - - Christ will not come until there is a falling away first. NOTE: if apostasy is impossible, Christ will never come. The "man of sin" must be revealed. This man is so under sin that he is the embodiment of it. The "son of perditon", others translate "lawless one." Both terms fit the state of total evil, sin, lawlessness. This same term is used to describe Judas in Joh_17:12 .

There has been much discussion about the identity of this man of sin. Is this a specific individual - Nero? Is this an office - Pope or Emperor? Is this a teaching - (pick a false doctrine that would lead men away)? Many suggestions have been offered - Hitler, Stalin, Henry Kissenger, Nero, the Pope. None of these fits the text.

Whoever or whatever this refers to -

[A] It was clear to the readers of the first century;

[B] It was already at work;

[C] Had already taken place by the time later books of the Bible were written. ( Rev_1:3 )

Verse 4

4. Here is the description of this "man of sin" - -

A. He opposes God - This word means, "to be set against, adversary, to oppose." Those who oppose God, reject his teachings, deny the Son of God could be part of what is being considered here.

B. Exalts himself - This is in the middle voice (what one does for himself) so this is not a man that others have exalted. Here is one who has literally exalted himself over God and every concept of deity.

C. Sits in the temple of God - He takes a seat, positon, authority as places himself into God's place. The temple could refer to the church, individual Christians, or the literal temple in Jerusalem.

D. Setting himself forth as God - Literal "announcing that I myself am God." Not that he is the God of Jesus and Christians, but that he is God, the absolute and exclusive God.

Verse 5

5. This information is not new. Paul preached about these things when he was there in person. The readers are now remined of that teaching. The word "told" means a repetition of the teaching (as a parent says, "I told you a 1,000 times to stop that.")

Verse 6

6. Since I told you many times, and now am writing this letter, YOU KNOW. "That which restraineth" implies that something was a restraining force. This could refer to the Jewish state, the Roman state, Paul himself, or some other strong influence on the church (James, for example). Some have suggested that the restrainer was the Holy Spirit, preaching of the gospel, or God's providence in the world.

He will be revealed in his own season. When it is the proper time. We do not know who chooses the proper time - the man of sin, God, church, world affairs. If you take the view that the restraint is God's providence, then the proper time would be when it fit in God's scheme for this revelation.

Verse 7

7. This "mystery" was already at work. Mystery refers to that which is concealed, hidden. This hidden, under the surface work, was now becomeing visible. Still mostly hidden, but enought was known about it to know it was already working.

Here the restrainer is considered a person. In verse 6 "that which" is present active neuter. Here it is masculine. This passage is difficult to put into English. It does seem clear the the evil was at work and would be of a limited duration. It was not yet fully revealed. Like the man of sin, there has been much discussion about the identity of the restrainer.

Verse 8

8. "Then" is in contrast to "now". "Shall be revealed" is used for the third time (3, 6, 8). This lawless one = [A] Whom the Lord will slay; [B] There is significance of the his coming.

The Lord shall slay with the breath of his mouth = He shall be destroyed by teaching of truth. (See Rev_1:16 ; Heb_4:12 ) This teaching will bring to nought the appearing of this lawless one. "Manifestation" (Gk. epiphaneia). "Coming" (Gk. parousia) is the common term for the second coming.

Many have tried to make a distintion between these two terms. They want epiphaneia to refer to the "rapture" phase and parousia to mean the visible coming to set up the kingdom. NOTE: In this verse both words are used about the same event.

Verse 9

9. This coming is in contrast to the coming of Christ. This coming is according to the working of Satan. He is not Satan. He is working in harmony with Satan and in agreement with Satan.

"Sings and lying wonders" "Sings" = observable acts "Wonders" = something exceptional which causes wonder or marvel. "Lying" = this power, sign, wonder is false and its purpose is to deceive.

Verse 10

10. All kinds of deception will take place. Like Satan, he will use all kinds of deception on them that perish (lit. "them that are perishing"). He wants to keep the lost, lost. Here the unbeliever is mentioned. Satan wants to deceive Christians, also.

Satan want to keep them lost. They do not love the truth. If they loved the truth, they would obey it and be saved. Why are they lost? Because they have chosen to not receive the truth.

Verse 11

11. Because they do not love the truth, God sends them a working of error. (See Rom_1:18 ; 2Co_4:4 ) This is a "strong delusion" sent from God. God always allows men to choose their own way. This is the same principle as in Rom_1:24 ; Rom_1:26 ; Rom_1:28 . (See Isa_66:3-4 ) It may well be said that the means by which one is deceived is God's permissive agency - not God's direct agency. God did not MAKE them believe a lie. They had already decided.

Verse 12

12. They will be judged because the choose not to believe the truth. This shows that:

[A] God is not "forcing" them to believe a lie;

[B] Gos is just in his action. They had pleasure in rejecting the truth. To reject truth = rejection of God, rejection of the Bible, rejection of Jesus, rejection of worship. It is the opposite of all that is truth.

Verse 13

13. Paul now returns to the matter of the brethren there. He is glad for their stand, even in the face of this rising man of sin. The word "bound" shows that this was something he just had to do. How did they avoid believing this lie of the man of sin? Answer - The chose to believe the truth. The resul is sanctification and salvation. Sanctification = set apart for God. There is a clear contrast between those who believe not the truth and those who believe the truth. The truth = God revelation of how men can be made righteous through Jesus Christ, that is, the gospel.

Verse 14

14. Our salvation is that into which we are called. This refers to the time when we heard the gospel and believed it. When we respond and obey the gospel, we are hearing the call of God. God still calls people in the same way today. The purpose of this calling is to obtain the glory of Jesus Christ.

Verse 15

15. "SO THEN" - Because you have been called, obeyed the gospel, believed the truth, stand fast. Don't be led astray. Don't believe the lie of the lawless one. In contrast, keep the traditions (oral teachings handed down) as they were taught by Paul. Some of this teaching was oral and some was in his two letters to them. Only those communications from Paul were to be accepted. Any other message must be weighed against the teachings of Paul. (See also Gal_1:8-9 )

Verses 16-17

16. Paul's ends the chapter with a prayer for them. He makes these points:

A. God loves us.

B. He gave us eternal life.

C. He gives us comfort.

D. Only God can offer us hope.

17. E. God will comfort our hearts.

F. We will be established in every good work and teaching.

Bibliographical Information
Luscombe, Manly. "Commentary on 2 Thessalonians 2". Luscombe's Commentary on Selected Books of the NT. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/mlc/2-thessalonians-2.html. 2021.
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