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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged
2 Thessalonians 2

 

 

Verse 1

Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,

Now - `But:' marking the transition from his prayers for them to entreaties to them.

We beseech you - affectionate entreaty to win them to the right view, rather than stern reproof.

By , [ huper (Greek #5228)] - 'with respect to:' as [ huper (Greek #5228)] 'of,' 2 Corinthians 1:8; Philippians 2:13 - literally, in behalf the true view Christ's coming, which has been misinterpreted.

Our gathering together unto him - the final gathering of the saints to Him at His coming (Matthew 24:31; 1 Thessalonians 4:17; Psalms 1:5). [ Episunagoogees (Greek #1997) is nowhere else found except Hebrews 10:25, the assembling together of believers for congregational worship, which is a pledge of the final assembling never to part.] Then first will believers enjoy mutual recognition. Our instinctive fears of the judgment are dispelled by the thought of being gathered together UNTO HIM ("even as the hen gathereth [ episunagei (Greek #1996)] her chickens under her wings"), which ensures our safety.


Verse 2

That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.

Soon - on trifling grounds, readily (Galatians 1:6).

Shaken , [ saleutheenai (Greek #4531)] - tossed as ships tossed by an agitated sea (James 1:6; James 1:8; James 1:11; Ephesians 4:14).

In mind , [ apo (Greek #575) tou (Greek #3588) noos (Greek #3563)] - from your mind; i:e., from your ordinary stedfastness.

Or , [ meede (Greek #3366)] - 'nor yet.' [A 'Aleph (') B Delta G, instead of meete (Greek #3383).]

Troubled , [ throeisthai (Greek #2360)] - emotional agitation; as "shaken" to intellectual.

By spirit - by a person professing to have the spirit of prophecy (1 Corinthians 12:8-10; 1 John 4:1-3). The Thessalonians were warned (1 Thessalonians 5:20-21) to "prove" such professed prophesyings, and "hold fast (only) that which is good."

By word - of mouth (cf. 2 Thessalonians 2:5; 2 Thessalonians 2:15): some saying alleged to be that of Paul, orally communicated. If oral tradition was liable to such perversion in the apostolic age (cf. a similar instance, John 21:23), how much more in ours!

By letter as from us - purporting to be from us, whereas it is a forgery. Hence, he gives a test by which to know his genuine letters (2 Thessalonians 3:17).

Day of Christ. 'Aleph (') A B Delta G f g, Vulgate, read 'of the Lord.'

Is at hand , [ enesteeken (Greek #1764)] - rather, as in Romans 8:38; 1 Corinthians 3:22; Galatians 1:4, 'is present' [stronger than efesteeken (Greek #2186), 2 Timothy 4:6]. Christ and His apostles always taught that the Lord's coming is at hand; it is not likely that Paul would imply anything contrary: what he denies is, that it is so immediately imminent, or present, as to justify the neglect of every day duties.


Verse 3

Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;

By any means - Greek, 'in any manner.' Christ (Matthew 24:4) gives the same warning. Paul indicated three ways (2 Thessalonians 2:2) in which they might be deceived (cf. other ways, 2 Thessalonians 2:9, and Matthew 24:5; Matthew 24:24).

A falling away , [ he (Greek #3588) apostasia (Greek #646)] - 'the falling away,' or 'apostasy,' of which "I told you" before (2 Thessalonians 2:5), "when I was yet with you," and of which the Lord gave intimation (Matthew 24:10-12; Luke 18:8; John 5:43).

That man of sin be revealed - Greek order, 'and there have been revealed the man of sin.' As Christ was first in mystery, and afterward revealed; also as He is now spiritually present, and afterward shall be revealed personally (2 Thessalonians 1:7; 1 Timothy 3:16); so Antichrist (the term 1 John 2:18; 1 John 4:3) is first in mystery, and afterward revealed (2 Thessalonians 2:7-9). As righteousness found its embodiment in Christ, "the Lord our righteousness," so "sin" shall have its embodiment in "the man of sin." The hindering power meanwhile restrains its full manifestation: when that shall be removed, this shall take place. The articles, 'the apostasy,' and 'the man of sin,' may refer to their being well known, as foretold by Daniel 8:9-11 (perhaps distinct from "the little horn," Daniel 7:8; Daniel 7:25, which may refer to the Papacy); Daniel 11:30, the willful king who "shall exalt and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvelous things against the God of gods; neither shall he regard any god."

The son of perdition - applied to none else besides Judas the traitor (John 17:12). The Pope, like Judas, holds a high position in the Church, professing an affectionate reverence for Christ, yet really betraying Him. As 'the lawless one,' he claims supremacy over all law, civil, divine, and that of conscience; with lying signs, and professing to transform a wafer into God. But Revelation 17:1-18 represents apostate Christendom as "a woman," the usual emblem of a church. Antichrist is a man, seemingly, a beast really, and continues only 'a short space:' Christ in person destroys him. But apostate Christendom is destroyed by ten human kings, instruments of God's vengeance (Revelation 17:16; Revelation 18:2; Revelation 18:8; Revelation 18:20), Antichrist (the second "beast" coming up out of the earth) shall at first be "like a lamb," while he 'speaks as a dragon' (Revelation 13:11): 'coming in peaceably and by flatteries,' 'working deceitfully,' but 'his heart shall be against the holy covenant' (Daniel 11:21; Daniel 11:23; Daniel 11:28; Daniel 11:30). Seeds of the "falling away" soon appeared (1 Timothy 4:1-3), but the full development and concentration of anti-Christian elements in one person are still to appear. Contrast the King of Zion's coming as JESUS --

(1) Righteous;

(2) having salvation;

(3) lowly:

whereas Antichrist is:

(1) "The man of (the embodiment of) sin;"

(2) the son of perdition;

(3) exalting himself above all that is worshipped.

He is the son of perdition, as essentially belonging to, and finally doomed to it (Revelation 17:8; Revelation 17:11). As "the kingdom of heaven" is first brought before us in the abstract, then in the concrete, the King, the Lord Jesus; so here, first we have (2 Thessalonians 2:7) "the mystery of iniquity" [ anomias (Greek #458), 'of lawlessness']; then 'the iniquity one' [ ho (Greek #3588) anomos (Greek #459)], 'the lawless one' (2 Thessalonians 2:8). Doubtless 'the apostasy' of Romanism (the abstract) is the greatest instance of the working of the mystery of iniquity; its blasphemous claims for the Pope (the concrete) are forerunners of the final concentration of blasphemy in the man of sin, who shall not merely, as the Pope, usurp God's honour as His vicegerent, but oppose God openly.


Verse 4

Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.

(Daniel 11:36-37.) The words there as to Antiochus Epiphanes shall receive their exhaustive fulfillment in the man of sin, the New Testament Anti-christ. as Antiochus was the Old Testament typical Antichrist. The previous world-kingdoms had each one extraordinary person as its representative head (thus Babylon had Nebuchadnezzar, Daniel 2:38, end; Medo-Persia, Cyrus; Greece, Alexander, and Antiochus Epiphanes); so the fourth and last world-kingdom, under which we live, shall have one final head, the concentrated embodiment of all the sin and lawless iniquity in Pagan and Papal Rome. Rome's final phase will probably be an unholy alliance between idolatry and infidelity.

Who opposeth and exalteth himself. The one Greek article to both [ ho (Greek #3588) antikeimenos (Greek #480) kai (Greek #2532) huperairomenos (Greek #5229)] implies, why he opposeth himself is, that he may exalt himself above and against [epi-Theon], etc. Alford, absolutely, 'He that withstands (CHRIST)' - i:e., Antichrist (1 John 2:18), 'the adversary,' instigated by Satan (meaning adversary, 2 Thessalonians 2:9), 'diametrically opposed to Christ' (Origen, 'Cels.,' 6: 64). As at the conclusion of the Old Testament, Israel apostate allied itself with the pagan world-power against Jesus (Luke 23:12), and at Thessalonica against His apostles (Acts 17:5-9), and was in righteous retribution punished through the world-power itself (Jerusalem being destroyed by Rome, Daniel 9:26-27), so the degenerate Church (become an "harlot"), allying itself with the godless world-power (the "beast" of Revelation) against vital religion (i:e., the harlot sitting on the beast), shall be judged by that world-power which shall be finally embodied in Antichrist (Zechariah 13:8-9; Zechariah 14:2; Revelation 17:1-7; Revelation 17:15-17).

In this early letter the apostate Jewish church as the harlot, and Pagan Rome as the beast, form the historical background on which Paul draws his prophetic sketch of the apostasy. Later, in the pastoral letters this prophecy is connected with Gnosticism, which at that time infected the Church. The apostate church is first to be judged by the world-power and its kings (Revelation 17:16); afterward the beasts and their allies (with the personal Anti-christ at their head, who rises after the judgment on the harlot, or apostate church) shall be judged by Jesus in person (Revelation 19:20). Antichristian tendencies produce different Antichrists: these separate Antichrists shall hereafter find their consummation in an individual exceeding them all in intensity of evil (Auberlen). Judgment soon over-takes him. He is a child of death, immediately after his ascent as the beast out of the bottomless pit going into perdition (Revelation 17:8; Revelation 17:11). Idolatry of self, spiritual pride, and rebellion against God characterize him; as Christ-worship, humility, and dependence on God characterize Christianity. He does not feign (as the "false Christs," Matthew 24:24), but 'opposes' Christ. [ Antikeimenos (Greek #480); one situated on the opposite side: cf. 1 John 2:22; 2 John 1:7.] One who, on the destruction of every religion, shall seek to establish his own throne, and for God's truth, 'God is man,' to substitute his own lie, 'Man is God' (Trench).

Above all that is called God (1 Corinthians 8:5). Pope Clement VI. commanded the angels to admit into Paradise, without the alleged pains of purgatory, certain souls. Still this only foreshadows Antichrist who will not, as the Pope, act in God's name, but against God.

Or that is worshipped. Rome here foreruns Antichrist. [Sebasma is akin to Sebastus, Greek for Augustus, worshipped as the divine vicegerent.] The Papacy rose on the overthrow of Cesar's power. Antichrist shall exalt himself above every object of worship, whether on earth, as Cesar, or in heaven, as God. The various prefigurations of Antichrist, Mahomet, Rome, Napoleon, and infidel secularism, contain some, not all, his characteristics. The union of all in some one person shall form THE ANTICHRIST, as the union in one Person, Jesus, of all the types and prophecies constituted THE CHRIST (Olshausen).

Sitteth in , [ kathisai (Greek #2523) eis (Greek #1519) ton (Greek #3588) naon (Greek #3485): goeth into, and sitteth in]

The temple of God ... that he is God. 'He will reign a time, times, and half a time' (Daniel 7:25) - i:e., three and a half years-and sit in the temple at Jerusalem (Ezekiel 37:26; Ezekiel 41:1-26; Ezekiel 42:1-20; Ezekiel 43:1-27; Ezekiel 44:1-31); 'then the Lord shall come from heaven and cast him into the lake of fire, and bring to the saints the times of their reigning, the seventh day of hallowed rest, and give to Abraham the promised inheritance' (Irenaeus, 'Adver. Haer.,' 5: 30. 4).

Showing himself - with blasphemous and arrogant DISPLAY (cf. a type, Acts 12:21-23). The earliest fathers unanimously looked for a personal Antichrist. Two objections exist to Romanism being the Antichrist, though Romanism may culminate in him:

(1) So far is Romanism from opposing all that is called God, that adoration of gods and lords many (the Virgin Mary and saints) is its leading feature.

(2) The Papacy has existed for more than twelve centuries, and yet Christ has not come; whereas the prophecy regards the Antichrist as short-lived, and soon going to perdition through Christ's coming (Revelation 17:8; Revelation 17:11).

Gregory the Great declared against the patriarch of Constantinople, that whosoever should call himself 'Universal Bishop' would be 'the forerunner of Antichrist.' The Papacy fulfilled this. The Pope has been called, 'Our Lord God the Pope;' and at his inauguration in Peter's, seated in his chair upon the high altar, which is his footstool, he has vividly foreshadowed him who "exalteth himself above all that is called God." An objection to interpreting the temple of God here as the Church (1 Corinthians 3:16-17; 1 Corinthians 6:19) is, Paul would hardly designate the apostate church "the temple of God." The local terms point to the literal temple. As Messiah was revealed among the Jews at Jerusalem, so anti-Messiah probably shall appear among them when restored to their own land, and after they have rebuilt their temple at Jerusalem. Thus Daniel 11:41; Daniel 11:45 (notes) corresponds, 'He shall enter the glorious land (Judea), and plant the tabernacles of His palaces between the seas in the glorious holy mountain;' and then (Daniel 12:1), 'Michael, the great prince, shall stand up' to deliver God's people (note, Daniel 9:26-27).

The king of Assyria is type of Antichrist, Isaiah 14:12-14, "Lucifer," the light-bearing "morning star" (a title of Messiah assumed by Antichrist, Revelation 22:16): 'I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit upon the mount of the congregation (i:e., God's place of meeting His people; the temple) in the sides of the north (the site of Jerusalem Psalms 48:2); I will be like the Most High.' "The temple ... the holy city" (Matthew 4:5; Revelation 11:1-2). Compare Psalms 68:18; Psalms 68:29, referring to a period since Christ's ascension not yet fulfilled (Isaiah 2:1-3; Ezekiel 40:1-49; Ezekiel 41:1-26; Ezekiel 42:1-20; Ezekiel 43:1-27; Ezekiel 44:1-31; Zechariah 14:16-20; Malachi 3:1). Antichrist possibly shall, the first three and a half years of the prophetic week, keep the covenant, then break it, and usurp divine honours in the midst of the week. He will, 'by flatteries,' bring many, not only Gentiles, but also of 'the tribes' of Israel (so Greek, "kindreds," Revelation 11:8-9), to own him as their looked for Messiah, in the 'city where our Lord was crucified.' "Sitteth" implies his occupying the place of power and majesty; in opposition to Him who sitteth "on the right hand of the Majesty on high" (Hebrews 1:3), who shall come to 'sit' where the usurper sat (Matthew 26:64 : note, Daniel 9:27; Revelation 11:2-3; Revelation 11:9; Revelation 11:11). Compare Ezekiel 28:2-16 as to Tyre, the type characterized by similar blasphemous arrogance.


Verse 5

Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?

Remember ... - confuting those who suppose Paul erred in his first letter as to Christ's immediate coming, and now corrects that error.

I told you - often [ elegon (Greek #3004)]: 'I was telling,' or 'used to tell.'


Verse 6

And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.

Now ye know - by my having told you. The power was one 'known' to the Thessalonians.

What withholdeth - holds him back. 'The power that [ to (Greek #3588) katechon (Greek #2722)] keeps in check' the man of sin from his development is the moral and conservative influence of states (Olshausen): human polity as a coercive power: "he who now letteth" refers to those who rule that polity by which the upbursting of godlessness is kept down (Alford). Legality, as opposed to 'lawlessness.' The "what withholdeth" is the general hindrance; "he who now letteth," the person in whom that hindrance is summed up. Romanism, as a forerunner, was kept in check by the Roman emperor (the then representative of the coercive power), until Constantine, having removed the seat of empire to Constantinople, the Roman Bishop first raised himself to precedency, then to primacy, then to sole empire above the secular power. The historical fact from which Paul starts was probably the emperor Claudius' expulsion of the Jews, the anti-Christian adversary in Paul's day, from Rome, thus 'withholding' them in their attacks on Christianity. This suggested the principle about to find its final fulfillment in the removal of the withholding person or authority, whereupon Antichrist in his worst shape shall arise.

That he might be. Ye know what keeps him back, in God's purposes, from being sooner manifested-`in order that he may be revealed in his own (Antichrist's proper) time' appointed by God (cf. Daniel 11:35). This will be when the civil polity derived from the Roman empire, which will be, in its last form, divided into ten kingdoms (Revelation 17:3; Revelation 17:11-13), shall, with its representative head ("he who now letteth" [ ho (Greek #3588) katechoon (Greek #2722)]: "withholdeth," as in 2 Thessalonians 2:6), yield to the prevalent 'lawlessness' of which 'the lawless one' is the embodiment. The elect Church and the Spirit, De Burgh suggests, are the withholding power; but they, to 'the end of the age,' shall never be wholly "taken out of the way" (Matthew 28:20). However, as the testimony of the elect Church, and the Spirit in her, hold back now the apostasy, it is possible that, though a few shall be faithful even then, yet the full energy of the Spirit in the visible Church, counteracting the 'working' [energy: energeitai] of 'the mystery of lawlessness' by the elect's testimony, shall be so far 'taken out of the way' as to admit the manifestation of 'the lawless one' (Revelation 11:3-12). The rapture of the elect Church to meet the Lord in the air (Isaiah 26:20; 1 Thessalonians 4:17) BEFORE Antichrist's brief reign and the great Jewish tribulation, clears away some difficulty. The Thessalonians might easily "know" this through Paul's instruction.


Verse 7

For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.

The mystery of iniquity - the counterwork to "the mystery of godliness (1 Timothy 3:16). Anti-Christianity latently working, distinguished from its final open manifestation. "Mystery" in Scripture means, not what remains a secret, but that which is for a while hidden, but in due time manifested (cf. Ephesians 3:4-5). Satan will resort to an opposition conformed to Christ's then imminent 'appearing' and 'presence,' and anticipate Him with a last effort for the dominion of the world; just as, at His first advent, Satan openly took possession of men's bodies. "Iniquity" [ anomia (Greek #458)], lawlessness; defiant rejection of God's law. Note, 2 Thessalonians 2:3; Zechariah 5:9-10, 'Wickedness' (Septuagint, the same Greek, 'lawlessness'), embodied there as a woman, answers to "the mystery of iniquity," here embodied in the "man of sin." As the former was banished forever from the Holy Land to her congenial soil, Babylon, so Iniquity and the Man of sin shall fall before Michael and the Lord, the Deliverer of His people (Daniel 12:1-3; Zechariah 14:3-9). Compare Matthew 12:43 : [ anomian (Greek #458)] Matthew 13:41 : the Jews, dispossessed of the evil spirit, idolatry being cast out through the Babylonian captivity, receive a worse spirit-Christ-opposing self-righteousness. Also, the Christian Church taken possession of by Romish idolatry, then dispossessed of it by the Reformation; then its house 'garnished' by hypocrisy, secularity, and rationalism, but 'swept empty' of living faith; then finally apostatizing and repossessed by the "man of sin," and outwardly destroyed for a brief time (though even then Christ shall have witnesses among "man of sin," and outwardly destroyed for a brief time (though even then Christ shall have witnesses among both Jews (Zechariah 13:9) and Gentiles (Matthew 28:20), when Christ shall suddenly come (Daniel 11:32-45; Luke 18:7-8).

Already (3 John 1:9-10; Colossians 2:18-23; 1 Timothy 4:1). Compare "even now," 1 John 2:18; 1 John 4:3) as distinguished from 'in his own time' hereafter. Antiquity does not justify unscriptural usages or dogma, since these were "already," in Paul's time, beginning: the written Word is the only sure test. 'Judaism infecting Christianity is the fuel; the mystery of iniquity is the spark.' 'It is one and the same impurity diffusing itself over ages' (Bengel).

Only he who now letteth - "will let" is not in the Greek. Translate "only (i:e., the continuance of the MYSTERY of iniquity-working is only) until he who now withholdeth (2 Thessalonians 2:6) be taken out of the way.' Then it will work no longer in mystery, but in open manifestation.


Verse 8

And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:

'The lawless one;' the embodiment of all the 'lawlessness' working in "mystery" for ages (2 Thessalonians 2:7): the "man of sin" (2 Thessalonians 2:3).

Whom the Lord. So B. But 'Aleph (') A Delta G f g, Vulgate read 'the Jesus,' How awful that He whose name means God-Saviour should be the Destroyer! But the Church's salvation requires her foe's destruction. As Israel's reign in Canaan was ushered in by judgments on the nations for apostasy (for the Canaanites originally worshipped the true God: thus Melchizedek, king of Salem was "priest of the most high God" Genesis 14:18, Ammon and Moab came from righteous Lot), so the Son of David's reign in Zion and over the earth shall be preceded by judgments on apostate Christendom.

Consume ... and shall destroy. So Daniel 7:26; Daniel 11:45. He shall "consume" [analoi, 'Aleph ('); anelei (Greek #337) B Delta] him by His mere breath (Isaiah 11:4; Isaiah 30:33) - the sentence of judgment betel the sharp sword out of His mouth (Revelation 19:15; Revelation 19:21). Antichrist's manifestation and destruction are declared together: at his height he is nearest his fall, like Herod, his type (Isaiah 1:24-27; Acts 12:20-23). The mere 'manifestation of Christ's coming' [epiphaneia tees parousias] is enough to "consume" him. He is "cast alive into a lake of fire" (Revelation 19:20). So the world-kingdom of the beast gives place to that of the Son of man and His saints. [ Katargesei (Greek #2673)] 'Destroy,' 'ABOLISH' (the same Greek, 2 Timothy 1:10), means, render powerless, cause every vestige of him to disappear. Compare as to Gog attacking Israel, and utterly destroyed by Yahweh, Ezekiel 38:1-23; Ezekiel 39:1-29. The first outburst or gleam of His presence is enough to abolish or render utterly powerless Antichrist, as darkness disappears before dawning day. This is for the Church's consolation. Next, his adherents are "slain with the sword out of His mouth." Bengel's distinction between 'the appearance of His coming' and the "coming" itself is not justified by 1 Timothy 6:14; 2 Timothy 1:10; 2 Timothy 4:1; 2 Timothy 4:8; Titus 2:13, where the same [epiphaneia] appearing ("brightness") refers to the coming itself. "Manifestation of His presence" is in awful contrast to the revelation of the wicked one.


Verse 9

Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,

Whose coming , [ parousia (Greek #3952), Antichrist's: marking the contrast to the parousia (Greek #3952), 'personal presence,' of Christ] "is" - in essential character.

After - according to [ kata (Greek #2596): such as might be looked for from] the 'energy' of Satan, as opposed to the Holy Spirit's energy in the Church (note, Ephesians 1:19). As Christ is to God, so is Antichrist to Satan, his manifested embodiment: Satan works through him (Revelation 13:2).

With - Greek, 'IN:' invested with.

Lying wonders - literally, 'wonders (prodigies) of falsehood.' His 'power, signs, and wonders,' have falsehood for their base, essence, and aim (John 8:44) (Alford). Matthew 24:24 shows that the miracles shall be real, though demoniac: such mysterious effects as we read of by the Egyptian sorcerers; not such as Jesus performed in character, power, or aim: for they are against the revealed Word, and therefore not to be accepted as evidences of truth; nay, on the authority of that sure Word, to be rejected as in support of falsehood (Deuteronomy 13:1-3; Deuteronomy 13:5; Galatians 1:8-9; Revelation 13:11-15; Revelation 19:20). The same three terms occur for miracles of Joshua, Acts 2:22; Hebrews 2:4, showing that as the Egyptian magician imitated Moses (2 Timothy 3:1-8), so Antichrist imitates Christ's works as a "sign," or proof of divinity.


Verse 10

And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

Deceivableness , [ apatee (Greek #539) adikias (Greek #93)] - 'deceit of (to promote) unrighteousness' (2 Thessalonians 2:12).

In. So C. But 'Aleph (') A B Delta G f g, Vulgate, omit "in." 'Unto them that are perishing' (2 Corinthians 2:15-16; 2 Corinthians 4:3): victims of him whose name describes his perishing nature, "the son of perdition." But you need not fear, for (2 Thessalonians 2:13) 'God hath chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief.'

Because , [ anth' (Greek #473) hon (Greek #3739)] - 'for that,' 'in requital for which:' in retribution for their having no love for the truth which was within their reach (since it was a check on their passions), and for their having pleasure in unrighteousness' (2 Thessalonians 2:12; Romans 1:18); they are lost because they loved not the truth which would have saved them.

Received not , [ edexanto (Greek #1209)] - 'welcomed not;' admitted not cordially.

Love of the truth - not merely truth, but THE truth alone (Jesus), in opposition to Satan's 'lie' (2 Thess Love of the truth - not merely truth, but THE truth alone (Jesus), in opposition to Satan's 'lie' (2 Thessalonians 2:9-11; John 8:42-44), can save (Ephesians 4:21). Not merely must we assent to, but love, the truth (Psalms 119:97). The Jews rejected Him, coming in His Father's name; they will receive Antichrist, coming in his own name (John 5:43). Their sin shall prove their scourge.


Verse 11

And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:

For this cause - because "they received not the love of the truth;" the only safeguard against error.

Shall send , [ pempei (Greek #3992), 'sends'] - 'is sending' the "delusion" already. Those who reject the truth, God gives up in righteous judgment to Satan's delusions (Isaiah 6:9-10; Rom. 1:24-26:28 ). They first cast off "the love of tim truth," then given up by God, they settle down into 'believing the lie:' an awful climax (1 Kings 22:22-23; Job 12:16; Ezekiel 14:9; Matthew 24:5; Matthew 24:11; 1 Timothy 4:1).

Strong delusion , [ energeian (Greek #1753) planees (Greek #4106)] - 'an effectual (energizing) working of error' answering to the energizing "working of Satan" (2 Thessalonians 2:9), contrasted with the Holy Spirit's 'effectual (energizing) working' in believers (Ephesians 1:19).

Believe a lie - Greek, 'the lie' which Antichrist tells, appealing to his miracles as proofs (2 Thessalonians 2:9).


Verse 12

That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

They all might be damned - Greek, 'that all,' etc.: the general proposition which applies specially to Antichrist's adherents. Not all in Rome, or other anti-Christian systems, shall be damned, but only all "who believed not the truth" when offered to them, "but had pleasure in unrighteousness" (Romans 1:32; Romans 2:8). Love of unrighteousness is the great obstacle to believing the truth.


Verse 13

But we are bound to give thanks alway 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: But. In delightful contrast to the damnation of the lost (2 Thessalonians 2:12) stands the "salvation" of Paul's converts.

Are bound (2 Thessalonians 1:3).

Thanks ... to God - not to ourselves, ministers, nor to you, converts.

Beloved of the Lord - Jesus (Romans 8:37; Galatians 2:20; Ephesians 5:2; Ephesians 5:25). Elsewhere God the Father is said to love us (2 Thessalonians 2:16; John 3:16; Ephesians 2:4; Colossians 3:12). Therefore Jesus and the Father are one.

From the beginning (Ephesians 1:4 : cf. 1 Corinthians 2:7; 2 Timothy 1:9) - in contrast to those that 'worship the beast, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world' (Revelation 13:8). 'Aleph (') Delta f g read [ ap' (Greek #575) arches (Greek #746)] 'from the beginning.' But B G, Vulgate [aparchen], 'as first-fruit.' The Thessalonians were among the first converts in Europe (cf. Romans 16:5; 1 Corinthians 16:15; Revelation 14:4). In a general sense, in James 1:18. Perhaps so here: as the Thessalonians were not the first believers in Macedonia.

Chosen you , [ heilato (Greek #138)] (nowhere else in Paul's letters) - not the ordinary [ exelexato (Greek #1586)] "elated," implying selection; but taken for Himself, implying His having adopted them in His eternal purpose (Septuagint; Deuteronomy 7:7; Deuteronomy 10:15).

Through - Greek. 'IN sanctification:' the element in which the choice to salvation had place (cf. 1 Peter 1:2); in contrast to "unrighteousness," the element in which Antichrist's followers are given over by God to damnation (2 Thessalonians 2:12).

Of (worked by) the Spirit - who sanctifies all the elect, first by eternal consecration to perfect holiness in Christ, once for all; next by progressively imparting it.

Belief of the truth - contrasted with "believed not the truth" (2 Thessalonians 2:12).


Verse 14

Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

You. So 'Aleph (') G g, Vulgate. But A B Delta f 'us.'

By our gospel - `through' the Gospel which we preach.

To ... glory - in 2 Thessalonians 2:13, "to salvation;" i:e., deliverance from all evil, of body and soul (1 Thessalonians 5:9); here it is to positive good, even "glory" and that "the glory of our Lord Jesus," which believers are privileged to share with Him (John 17:22; John 17:24; Romans 8:17; Romans 8:29; 2 Timothy 2:10).


Verse 15

Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.

Therefore. God's sovereign choice, so far from being a ground for inaction, is the strongest incentive to perseverance in action. Compare the argument (Philippians 2:12-13), 'work out your own salvation, FOR it is God that worketh in you,' etc. We cannot explain the theory; but to the sincere the practical acting is plain. 'Privilege first, duty afterward' (Edmunds).

Stand fast - so as not to be 'shaken or troubled' (2 Thessalonians 2:2).

Hold - so as not to let go. Adding nothing, subtracting nothing (Bengel). The Thessalonians had not held fast his oral instructions, but were imposed upon by pretended spirit-revelations, words, and letters, as if from Paul (2 Thessalonians 2:2), that 'the day of the Lord was instantly imminent.'

Traditions - instructions delivered, whether orally or in writing (2 Thessalonians 3:6; 1 Corinthians 11:2, margin, 'traditions'). The verb is used by Paul, 1 Corinthians 11:23; 1 Corinthians 15:3. From the three passages in which 'tradition' has a good sense, Rome has argued for her uninspired traditions, visually overriding, while held as of co-ordinate authority with, God's Word. She forgets the ten passages (Matthew 15:2-3; Matthew 15:6; Mark 7:3; Mark 7:5; Mark 7:8-9; Mark 7:13; Galatians 1:14; Colossians 2:8) stigmatizing man's uninspired traditions. [ Paradosis (Greek #3862) is one of the only two nouns in the 2,000 of the Greek Testament which numerically equals 666, the mark of the beast, Revelation 13:18.] Tradition is the great corrupter of doctrine, as [ euporia (Greek #2142)] 'wealth' (the other equivalent of 666) is the corrupter of the Church's practice. Not even the apostles' sayings were all inspired (e.g., Peter's dissimulation, Galatians 2:11-14), but only when they claimed to be so, as in their words afterward embodied in canonical writings. Oral inspiration was necessary then, until the canon of the written Word should be complete: they proved their inspiration by miracles in support of the new revelation. This revelation, moreover, accorded with the existing Old Testament-an additional test needed besides miracles (cf. Deuteronomy 13:1-6; Acts 17:11) When the canon was complete, the infallibility of the living men's inspired sayings was transferred to the written Word, now the sole unerring guide, interpreted by the Holy Spirit. Nothing has come down to us by ancient and universal tradition except this, the all-sufficiency of Scripture for salvation.

Therefore, by tradition, we are constrained to cast off all tradition not in, or proveable by, Scripture. The fathers are valuable witnesses to historical facts, which give force to the intimations of Scripture-such as the Christian Lord's day, the baptism of infants, and the genuineness of the canon. Tradition (in the sense human testimony) cannot establish a doctrine, but can authenticate a fact, such as those mentioned. Inspired tradition, in Paul's sense, is not a supplementary oral tradition completing our written Word, but is the written Word now complete; then, the latter not being complete, the tradition was necessarily in part oral, in part written, and continued so until, the latter being complete before the death of John, the last apostle, the former was no longer needed. Scripture is the complete and sufficient rule in all that appertains to making "the man of God perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works" (2 Timothy 3:16-17). It is by leaving God-inspired for human traditions that Rome has become the parent of Antichrist. It is striking that, from this very chapter denouncing Antichrist, she should draw an argument for her "traditions," by which she fosters anti-Christianity. Because the apostles' oral word was as trustworthy as their written word, it by no means follows that the oral word of those not apostles is as trustworthy as the written word of those who were apostles or inspired evangelists. No tradition of the apostles, except their written word, can be proved genuine on satisfactory evidence. We are no more bound to accept the fathers' interpretations of Scripture, because we accept the Scripture canon on their testimony, than to accept the Jews' interpretation of the Old Testament because we accept the Old Testament canon on their testimony.

Our letter - as distinguished from the "letter AS from us," (2 Thessalonians 2:2). He means his first letter to the Thessalonians.


Verse 16-17

Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace,

Himself - by His own might, contrasted with our feebleness; ensuring the efficacy of our prayer. Here our Lord Jesus stands first; in 1 Thessalonians 3:11 "God our Father." By Christ's grace we come to the Father's love (2 Corinthians 13:14).

Which hath loved us - in our redemption. Referring both to our Lord Jesus (Romans 8:37; Galatians 2:20) and God our Father (John 3:16).

Everlasting consolation. Not transitory, as worldly consolations in trials (Romans 8:38-39). This for all time present, then 'good hope' for the future (Alford).

Through grace - Greek, 'IN grace;' to be joined to "hath given." Grace is the element in which the gift was made.

Comfort , [ parakalesai (Greek #3870), singular verb, marking that the Son and Father are one]

Your heart - unsettled as you have been through those who announced the Lord's immediate coming.

Good word and work. So G g. But A 'Aleph (') B Delta f, Vulgate, invert the order, 'work and word.' Establishment in these were what the young converts needed, not fanatical teaching (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:58).

 


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Bibliography Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 2 Thessalonians 2:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/2-thessalonians-2.html. 1871-8.

Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, October 15th, 2019
the Week of Proper 23 / Ordinary 28
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