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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

2 Thessalonians 2:3

Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction,

Adam Clarke Commentary

Except there come a falling away first - We have the original word αποστασια in our word apostasy; and by this term we understand a dereliction of the essential principles of religious truth - either a total abandonment of Christianity itself, or such a corruption of its doctrines as renders the whole system completely inefficient to salvation. But what this apostasy means is a question which has not yet, and perhaps never will be, answered to general satisfaction. At present I shall content myself with making a few literal remarks on this obscure prophecy, and afterwards give the opinions of learned men on its principal parts.

That man of sin - Ὁ ανθρωπος της ἁμαρτιας· The same as the Hebrew expresses by און איש ish aven, and בליעל איש ish beliyaal ; the perverse, obstinate, and iniquitous man. It is worthy of remark that, among the rabbins, Samael, or the devil, is called און ואיש בליעל איש ish beliyaal veish aven, the man of Belial, and the man of iniquity; and that these titles are given to Adam after his fall.

The son of perdition - Ὁ υἱος της απωλειας· The son of destruction; the same epithet that is given to Judas Iscariot, John 17:12; (note). The son of perdition, and the man of sin, or, as some excellent MSS. and versions, with several of the fathers, read, ανθρωπος της ανομιας, the lawless man, see 2 Thessalonians 2:8, must mean the same person or thing. It is also remarkable that the wicked Jews are styled by Isaiah, Isaiah 1:4, משחיתים בנים benim mashchithim, "children of perdition;" persons who destroy themselves and destroy others.

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These files are public domain.

Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on 2 Thessalonians 2:3". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https: 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Let no man deceive you by any means - That is, respecting the coming of the Lord Jesus. This implies that there were then attempts to deceive, and that it was of great importance for Christians to be on their guard. The result has shown that there is almost no subject on which caution is more proper, and on which men are more liable to delusion. The means then resorted to for deception appear from the previous verse to have been either an appeal to a pretended verbal message from the apostle, or a pretended letter from him. The means now, consist of a claim to uncommon wisdom in the interpretation of obscure prophecies of the Scriptures. The necessity for the caution here given has not ceased.

For that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first - Until an apostasy ( ἀποστασία apostasia) shall have occurred - the great apostasy. There is scarcely any passage of the New Testament which has given occasion to greater diversity of opinion than this. Though the reference seems to be plain, and there is scarcely any prophecy of the Bible apparently more obvious and easy in its general interpretation; yet it is proper to mention some of the opinions which have been entertained of it.

Some have referred it to a great apostasy from the Christian church, particularly on account of persecution, which would occur before the destruction of Jerusalem. The “coming of the Lord” they suppose refers to the destruction of the holy city, and according to this, the meaning is, that there would be a great apostasy before that event would take place. Of this opinion was Vitringa, who refers the “apostasy” to a great defection from the faith which took place between the time of Nero and Trajan.

Whitby also refers it to an event which was to take place before the destruction of Jerusalem, and supposes that the apostasy would consist in a return from the Christian to the Jewish faith by multitudes of professed converts. The “man of sin,” according to him, means the Jewish nation, so characterized on account of its eminent wickedness.

Hammond explains the apostasy by the defection to the Gnostics, by the arts of Simon Magus, whom he supposes to be the man of sin, and by the “day of the Lord” he also understands the destruction of Jerusalem.

Grotius takes Caius Caesar or Caligula, to be the man of sin, and by the apostasy he understands his abominable wickedness. In the beginning of his government, he says, his plans of iniquity were concealed, and the hopes of all were excited in regard to his reign; but his secret iniquity was subsequently “revealed,” and his true character understood.

Wetstein understands by the “man of sin,” that it referred to Titus and the Flavian house. He says that he does not understand it of the Roman Pontiff, who “is not one such as the demonstrative pronoun thrice repeated designates, and who neither sits in the temple of God, nor calls himself God, nor Caius, nor Simon Gioriae, nor any Jewish impostor, nor Simon Magus.”

Koppe refers it to the King mentioned in Daniel 11:36. According to him, the reference is to a great apostasy of the Jews from the worship of God, and the “man of sin” is the Jewish people.

Others have supposed that the reference is to Muhammed, and that the main characteristics of the prophecy may be found in him.

Of the Papists, a part affirm that the apostasy is the falling away from Rome in the time of the Reformation, but the greater portion suppose that the allusion is to Antichrist, who, they say, will appear in the world before the great day of judgment, to combat religion and the saints. See these opinions stated at length, and examined, in Dr. Newton on the Prophecies, Dissertation xxii.

Some more recent expositors have referred it to Napoleon Bonaparte, and some (as Oldshausen) suppose that it refers to some one who has not yet appeared, in whom all the characteristics here specified will be found united.

Most Protestant commentators have referred it to the great apostasy under the papacy, and, by the “man of sin,” they suppose there is allusion to the Roman Pontiff, the Pope. It is evident that we are in better circumstances to understand the passage than those were who immediately succeeded the apostles.

Eighteen hundred years have passed (written circa 1880‘s) away since the Epistle was written, and the “day of the Lord” has not yet come, and we have an opportunity of inquiring, whether in all that long tract of time any one man can be found, or any series of men have arisen, to whom the description here given is applicable. If so, it is in accordance with all the proper rules of interpreting prophecy, to make such an application. If it is fairly applicable to the papacy, and cannot be applied in its great features to anything else, it is proper to regard it as having such an original reference. Happily, the expressions which are used by the apostle are, in themselves, not difficult of interpretation, and all that the expositor has to do is, to ascertain whether in any one great apostasy all the things here mentioned have occurred. If so, it is fair to apply the prophecy to such an event; if not so, we must wait still for its fulfillment.

The word rendered “falling away” ( ἀποστασία apostasiaapostasy), is of so general a character, that it may be applied to any departure from the faith as it was received in the time of the apostles. It occurs in the New Testament only here and in Acts 21:21, where it is rendered “to forsake” - “thou teachest all the Jews which are among us to forsake Moses” - apostasy from Moses - ἀποστασίαν ἀπὸ Μωῦσέως apostasian apo MōuseōsThe word means a departing from, or a defection; see the verb used in 1 Timothy 4:1, “Some shall depart from the faith” - ἀποστήσονται apostēsontaicompare the notes on that passage; see also Hebrews 3:12; Luke 8:13; Acts 5:37. The reference here is evidently to some general falling away, or to some great religious apostasy that was to occur, and which would be under one head, leader, or dynasty, and which would involve many in the same departure from the faith, and in the same destruction. The use of the article here, “the apostasy” (Greek), Erasmus remarks, “signifies that great and before-predicted apostasy.” It is evidently emphatic, showing that there had been a reference to this before, or that they understood well that there was to be such an apostasy. Paul says 2 Thessalonians 2:5, that when he was with them, he had told them of these things. The writers in the New Testament often speak of such a defection under the name of Antichrist; see Revelation 13:14; 1 John 2:18, 1 John 2:22; 1 John 4:3; 2 John 1:7.

And that man of sin - This is a Hebraism, meaning a man of eminent wickedness; one distinguished for depravity; compare John 17:12; Proverbs 6:12, in Heb. The use of the article here - ὁ ἄνθρωπος ho anthrōpos- “the man of sin,” is also emphatic, as in the reference to “the falling away,” and shows that there is allusion to one of whom they had before heard, and whose character was well known; who would be the wicked one by way of eminence; see also 2 Thessalonians 2:8, “that wicked” - ὁ ἄνομος ho anomosThere are two general questions in regard to the proper interpretation of this appellative; the one is, whether it refers to an individual, or to a series of individuals of the same general character, aiming at the accomplishment of the same plans; and the other is, whether there has been any individual, or any series of individuals, since the time of the apostle, who, by eminence, deserved to be called “the man of sin.” That the phrase, “the man of sin,” may refer to a succession of men of the same general character, and that it does so refer here, is evident from the following considerations:

(1) The word “king” is used in Daniel 7:25; Daniel 11:36, to which places Paul seems to allude, to denote a succession of kings.

(2) the same is true of the beast mentioned in Revelation 17:4, which cannot refer to a single woman, but is the emblem of a continued corrupt administration.

(4) it is clear that a succession is intended here, because the work assigned to “the man of sin,” cannot be supposed to be that which could be accomplished by a single individual. The statement of the apostle is, that there were then tendencies to such an apostasy, and that the “man of sin “would be revealed at no distant period, and yet that he would continue his work of “lying wonders” until the coming of the Saviour. In regard to this “man of sin,” it may be further observed:

(1) that his appearing was to be preceded by “the great apostasy;” and,

(2) that he was to continue and perpetuate it. His rise was to be owing to a great departure from the faith, and then he was to be the principal agent in continuing it by “signs and lying wonders.” He was not himself to originate the defection, but was to be the creation, or result of it. He was to rise upon it, or grow out of it, and, by artful arrangements adapted to that purpose, was to perpetuate it. The question then is, to whom this phrase, descriptive of a succession of individuals so eminent for wickedness that the name “the man of sin” could be applied, was designed by the spirit of inspiration to refer. Dr. Newton has shown that it cannot refer to Caligula, to Simon Magus, to the revolt of the Jews from the Romans, or to the revolt of the Jews from the faith, or to the Flavian family, or to Luther, as some of the papists suppose, or to one man who will appear just before the end of the world, as others of the Romanists suppose; see his Dissertations on the Prophecies, xxii, pp. 393-402; compare Oldshausen, in loc. The argument is too long to be inserted here. But can it be referred to the papacy? Can it denote the Pope of Rome, meaning not a single pope, but the succession? If all the circumstances of the entire passage can be shown to be fairly applicable to him, or if it can he shown that all that is fairly implied in the language used here has received a fulfillment in him, then it is proper to regard it as having been designed to be so applied, and then this may be numbered among the prophecies that are in part fulfilled.

The question now is on the applicability of the phrase “the man of sin” to the Pope. That his rise was preceded by a great apostasy, or departure from the purity of the simple gospel, as revealed in the New Testament, cannot reasonably be doubted by any one acquainted with the history of the church. That he is the creation or result of that apostasy, is equally clear. That he is the grand agent in continuing it, is equally manifest. Is the phrase itself one that is properly applicable to him Is it proper to speak of the Pope of Rome, as he has actually appeared, as “the man of sin?” In reply to this, it might be sufficient to refer to the general character of the papacy, and to its influence in upholding and perpetuating various forms of iniquity in the world. It would be easy to show that there has been no dynasty or system that has contributed so much to uphold and perpetuate sins of various kinds on the earth, as the papacy. No other one has been so extensively and so long the patron of superstition; and there are vices of the grossest character which have all along been fostered by its system of celibacy, indulgences, monasteries, and absolutions. But it would be a better illustration of the meaning of the phrase “man of sin,” as applicable to the Pope of Rome, to look at the general character of the popes themselves. Though there may have been some exceptions, yet there never has been a succession of men of so decidedly wicked character, as have occupied the papal throne since the great apostasy commenced.

A very few references to the characters of the popes will furnish an illustration of this point. Pope Vagilius waded to the pontifical throne through the blood of his predecessor. Pope Joan (the Roman Catholic writers tell us) a female in disguise, was elected and confirmed Pope, as John VIII. Platina says, that “she became with child by some of those that were round about her; that she miscarried, and died on her way from the Lateran to the temple.” Pope Marcellinus sacrificed to idols. Concerning Pope Honorius, the council of Constantinople decreed, “We have caused Honorius, the late Pope of Old Rome, to be accursed; for that in all things he followed the mind of Sergius the heretic, and confirmed his wicked doctrines.” The Council of Basil thus condemned Pope Eugenius: “We condemn and depose Pope Eugenius, a despiser of the holy canons; a disturber of the peace and unity of the church of God; a notorious offender of the whole universal church; a Simonist; a perjurer; a man incorrigible; a schismatic; a man fallen from the faith, and a willful heretic.”

Pope John II, was publicly charged at Rome with incest. Pope John XIII usurped the Pontificate, spent his time in hunting, in lasciviousness, and monstrous forms of vice; he fled from the trial to which he was summoned, and was stabbed, being taken in the act of adultery. Pope Sixtus IV licensed brothels at Rome. Pope Alexander VI was, as a Roman Catholic historian says, “one of the greatest and most horrible monsters in nature that could scandalize the holy chair. His beastly morals, his immense ambition, his insatiable avarice, his detestable cruelty, his furious lusts, and monstrous incest with his daughter Lucretia, are, at large, described by Guicciardini Ciaconius, and other authentic papal historians.” Of the popes, Platina (a Roman Catholic) says: “The chair of Saint Peter was usurped, rather than possessed, by monsters of wickedness, ambition, and bribery. They left no wickedness unpracticed;” see the New Englander, April, 1844, pp. 285,286. To no succession of men who have ever lived could the appellative, “the man of sin, be applied with so much propriety as to this succession. Yet they claim to have been the true “successors” of the apostles, and there are Protestants who deem it of essential importance to be able to show that they have derived the true “succession” through such men.

Be revealed - Be made manifest. There were, at the time when the apostle wrote, two remarkable things:

(1) that there was already a tendency to such an apostasy as he spoke of; and,

(2) there was something which as yet prevented the appearance or the rise of the man of sin; 2 Thessalonians 2:7. When the hindrance which then existed should be taken out of the way, he would be manifested; see the notes on 2 Thessalonians 2:7.

“The son of perdition.” This is the same appellation which the Saviour bestowed on Judas; see it explained in the notes on John 18:12. It may mean either that he would be the cause of ruin to others, or that he would himself be devoted to destruction. It would seem here rather to be used in the latter sense, though this is not absolutely certain. The phrase, whichever interpretation be adopted, is used to denote one of eminent wickedness.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.

Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 2 Thessalonians 2:3". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https: 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

2 Thessalonians 2:3

Let no man deceive you by any means; for that day shall not come except there come a falling away first

Christ and Antichrist

The most marked Features in this passage are--

A caricature of Christ; an exact counterpart and mockery of Christ in the man of sin. The latter has, like the former--

1. An apocalypse (2 Thessalonians 2:8. cf. verses 6-8).

2. A solemn coming on the stage of human history (2 Thessalonians 2:8).

3. An advent (2 Thessalonians 2:9).

4. Power, signs, wonders (2 Thessalonians 2:9).

5. Designation (2 Thessalonians 2:4).

6. A definitely appointed season of His own (2 Thessalonians 2:6).

II. A caricature of Christianity. As some of the leading glories of Christ are studiously travestied in the “lawless one,” and described in language which forces us to think of Christ; so several of the leading features of the Christian system are powerfully travestied by imitative anti-Christianity. This latter is--

1. A mystery (2 Thessalonians 2:7), imitative of the mystery of godliness.

2. Has an energy, an inworking (2 Thessalonians 2:7; 2 Thessalonians 2:11, cf. Ephesians 2:2), imitative of the energy and inworking of the Word of God (1 Thessalonians 2:12; Hebrews 4:12), of God (Philippians 2:18; Galatians 2:8), of the indwelling Spirit (Colossians 1:29). He shall work in them by such an energy as that of the Holy Ghost, who witnesseth in us concerning God; not a mere apprehension, but an inworking of error, a regeneration into the faith of the lie (E. Irving)

3. Has a faith--a solemn making of an act of faith--imitative of the faith of Christians (2 Thessalonians 2:11).

4. The words eudokein, eudokia are used of God’s good pleasure in His sinless Son, and of His goodwill toward men (Matthew 3:17; Matthew 12:18; Matthew 17:5; Luke 12:32; 1 Corinthians 1:21; Galatians 1:15), or the good will of Christians in holiness and acts of love (1 Thessalonians 2:8, etc.). The imitative good pleasure of anti-Christianity is in unrighteousness (2 Thessalonians 2:12). (Bp. Alexander.)

Signs of the Second Advent

I. A caution: “Let no man deceive you.” A man may be deceived on this momentous subject.

1. All admit that Christ will come; but few invest it with sufficient importance. Paul thought so much about it that he made it the main subject of these Epistles, and the New Testament is full of it. Little is said about death but much about the Second Advent.

2. There were false teachers who preached that the event was at hand, and many were abandoning the ordinary duties of life, and were troubled and shaken in mind. False expectations were calculated to produce such results. What awful disturbance there would be in the mind of every unconverted man were it now infallibly announced that Christ would come tomorrow. But Paul was writing to the Church. How, then, could they be troubled who were encouraged to look for and hasten unto that event? It is one thing to live in quiet expectation of Christ, and another to feel that He will come tomorrow. We are forbidden to inquire into the day and hour. That is to keep the Church in a state of calm expectation. Think of the trouble many good people would be in were it known that Christ would come directly. Who would have any relish for work. And then there are many true believers whose evidence is not always clear; how it would trouble them. How agitated we should be about the condition of our friends. To prevent these evils, the hour is unrevealed.

II. The events which must transpire before Christ comes.

1. “The gospel must be first preached to all nations as a witness,” as our Lord said. His object was the formation of a Church as His witness. This Church, like a pilgrim, has gone from place to place. Churches have been formed, and then after a while the candlestick has been removed, as in the case of those of Asia. The effect of this has been the gathering of a people, generation after generation, to “the general assembly of the first-born.” This, too, is the work of every preacher. He does not convert congregations, but individuals. The net is cast and fish are gathered of every kind forming what we call Christendom. With this body our Lord will deal when He comes, and then the final severance will take place. But before then there will be a great moral separation, viz.

2. “A great falling away.” This will be of mere professors who, by withdrawing, will leave the whole body of believers sharply defined and intact (Revelation 13:8). This apostasy will not be of one or two, here and there; that began in Paul’s time, and has been going on ever since; but one of a great and striking character. The cause of this will be the portentous development of the mystery of iniquity which began the work one thousand eight hundred years ago, ripening into all sorts of sin, Romanism, infidelity, religious indifference and worldliness, preparing the visible Church for the reception of a great pretender who is--

3. “The man of sin.” Some have identified this character with the Pope in his official character but this can hardly be the case inasmuch as the Pope has never exalted himself above God, etc., (2 Thessalonians 2:4), and has not been worshipped by the world (Revelation 13:8). One of the marks of the beast is that all shall worship him but the elect; but surely every non-Papist is not a true believer. Whether a given Pope may yet appear as the man of sin is another matter, but it is quite certain that one has not yet been “revealed” as such. This individual will--

III. Then will come the end (2 Thessalonians 1:7-10). (Capel Molyneux, M. A.)

The falling away

is either that of which he had spoken to them while he was yet with them, or that, which in his own mind was inseparable from the coming of Christ which was to follow. Of what nature was this falling away? What vision of apostasy rose before him as he wrote this? Was it within or without? permanent or passing? persecution of the heathen, or the disorganization of the body of Christ itself? Was it the transition of the Church from its first love to a more secular and earthly state, or the letting loose of a spiritual world of evil, such as the apostle describes in Ephesians 6:12? So ideal a picture cannot properly be limited to any person or institution. That it is an inward, not an outward evil, that is depicted, is implied in the very name apostasy. It is not the evil of the heathen world, sunk in grossness and unconsciousness, but evil rebelling against good, conflicting with good in the spiritual world itself. And the conflict is of the same nature, though in a wider sphere, as the strife of good and evil in the heart of the individual. It is that same strife, not as represented in Romans 7:1-25, but at a later stage when evil is fast becoming good, and the remembrance of the past itself is carrying men away from the truth. (Prof. Jowett.)

An evil and presumptuous one

The apostle speaks in the eighth verse of the revelation of “that wicked,” intimating the discovery, which should be made of his wickedness in order to his ruin: here he speaks of his rise, which should be occasioned by the general apostasy; and to intimate that all sorts of false doctrines and corruptions should centre in him.

I. The names of this person.

1. He is called “that man of sin,” to denote his egregious wickedness; not only is he addicted to and practises wickedness himself, but he also promotes, countenances, and commands sin and wickedness in others.

2. And he is “the son of perdition,” because he himself is devoted to certain destruction, and is the instrument of destroying many others both in soul and body.

II. The presumption of this person.

1. His towering ambition. He “opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped.” Thus he has not only opposed God’s authority, and that of the civil magistrates, who are called “gods,” but exalted himself above God and earthly governors, in demanding greater regard to his commands than to the commands of God or the magistrate.

2. His dreadful usurpation. “He as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God!” As God was in the temple of old, and worshipped there, and is in and with His Church now, so Antichrist is the usurper of God’s authority in the Christian Church, and the claimer of Divine honours, for, among the moat blasphemous titles, this one has been given to him, “Another God on earth!” (T. Scott, M. A.)

Apostasy and Antichrist

I. The general apostasy which must precede Christ’s coming.

1. Apostasy is any defection from that lord to whom we owe fealty. In religious matters it is defection from our right and proper Lord. The devil was an apostate (Jude 1:6; John 8:44); our first parents (Romans 5:19); their posterity (Zephaniah 1:6; Isaiah 59:13).

2. The apostasy of the text was not civil, the falling away of many kingdoms from the Roman empire; but of the visible Church from its Lord. This is proved--

3. The proper Lord of the Christian Church is Christ (Romans 14:9; Ephesians 5:23).

4. Apostasy from Christ is determined by two things.

5. This apostasy is notable and discernible, not of a few or many in divers Churches. There have always been backsliders (1 John 2:18-19; 1 John 4:3; 1 John 4:5); but the great apostasy is in some visible Church where these corruptions are generally received and defended. Who then are they--

II. The revelation of Antichrist as--

1. “The man of sin.”

2. “The son of perdition.” Wherein he is likened to Judas (John 17:12). The term may be explained passively as one condemned to everlasting destruction (2 Samuel 12:5; Ephesians 2:3), or actively as bringing destruction on himself and others (Revelation 9:11, cf. Hebrews 5:9). Note the parallel.

The development of Antichrist

I. It begins in a falling away--

1. From the power and practice of godliness, though the profession be not changed.

(a) Coldness in duties, when the will and affections grow more remiss, and the worship of God, which keepeth up the remembrance of Him, is either omitted or performed in a careless and stupid manner (Jeremiah 2:32; Job 27:10; Isaiah 43:22). When you seldom think or speak of God and do not keep up a delightful communion with Him, there is a falling away.

(b) Boldness in sinning. When men lose their tenderness and strictness, and the awe of God is lessened in their hearts, and they do not only sin freely in thought, but in act, have not that hatred of sin and watch fulness they had formerly, but more abandon themselves to a carnal life, they are falling off from God apace (2 Peter 2:20).

Consider the cause of it--

(a) Want of faith in God (Hebrews 3:12).

(b) Want of love to God (Revelation 2:4-5).

(c) Want of a due sense of the world to come (Hebrews 10:39).

(d) Love of the present world (2 Timothy 4:10; 1 Timothy 6:10; 2 Timothy 3:4).

2. From a true religion to a false, which may be done two ways.

II. The next step is the man of sin. As the first apostasy of Adam and Eve brought sin into the world, so this great apostasy brought in a deluge of sin into the Church, and defiled the holy society which Christ had gathered out of the world. Idolatry is often called adultery or fornication; spiritual uncleanness disposeth to bodily, and bodily to spiritual. Usually a corrupt state of religion and corrupt manners go together; otherwise the dance and the fiddle would not suit. The world cannot lie quiet in a course of sin, if there be not some libertine, atheistical doctrine, and carnal worship to countenance it (Revelation 11:10).

III. The man of sin is also the son of perdition.

1. Actively. False religions strangely efferate the mind (Jude 1:11; Hosea 5:2). Men think no cruelty nor dishonesty unlawful which serveth to promote the interests of their sect, and lose all charity to those that are not of their way.

2. Passively, shall be destroyed. Sometimes grievous judgments come in this world for the corruptions of religion; but in the world to come, dreadful is the end of apostates (2 Peter 2:20-21). (T. Manton, D. D.)

The man of sin


I. That moral evil on earth is represented in human nature. Sin is connected with man in contradistinction to--

1. Abstract systems.

2. Super-earthly sinners.

II. That it is often found usurping the perogatives of God, such as--

1. Proprietorship in human life.

2. The taking away of human life.

3. Dominion over conscience.

4. The absolving from sin.

5. Infallibility of character.

III. That it is subject to restraint in this world, arising from--

1. Civil law.

2. Social intelligence.

3. The monition of conscience.

4. Physical inability.

IV. That it is associated, with the mysterious (verse 7). Evil is mysterious on account of--

1. The darkness that enfolds its introduction.

2. The mask under which it works.

3. Its wonderful results.

V. That it is satanic in its operations (verse 9). These operations are--

1. Sensuous.

2. Marvellous.

3. Deceptive.

4. Unrighteous.

5. Destructive.

VI. that it is destined to be destroyed by the agency or christ.

1. By His Word.

2. By His manifestation. (D. Thomas, D. D.)

Judas a type of the Papacy

The term “son of perdition” occurs but once elsewhere, and that on our Lord’s lips in reference to Judas. The parallel between His character and conduct and the Papacy--not any individual Pope, but the whole system--is most close. We conceive the Papacy to be here intended, because the features of type and prophecy here delineated fit no other subject.

I. Judas and the bishops of Rome alike were ministers--official men in the Church. The antiquity of the Church of Rome, and the dignity, authority, and vast influence of its bishops is undisputed.

II. Both betrayed the trust reposed in them. How fearfully Judas did this we all know; and has not the Papacy? The trust committed to it was the “mystery of godliness,” the maintenance of the gospel in its purity and simplicity, the care of Christ’s flock, example not lordship. How was this trust fulfilled by successive bishops of Rome? They gradually began to seek for ascendancy, to accommodate the Scriptures to their own purpose, to vitiate the purity and simplicity of the gospel by tradition, ecclesiastical decisions, fables, and legends as of Divine authority, to set themselves more aloft, and to set the Saviour aside, usurping His preeminence by assuming the title of His vicars, as though He were not with His Church always.

III. Both betrayed him into the hands of his enemies to death. Judas literally, the Papacy in the persons of His persecuted representatives. Judas betrayed Christ into the hands of the civil power, and has not the wretched policy of Rome ever been to screen its own cowardice and heartlessness behind the pretended power of civil authority, to whom her victims after sham trials have been handed over for death?

IV. Both betrayed the Lord with a kiss. The Papacy makes a vain pretence of showing special homage to Christ. Witness its caricature of Christ’s example when the Pope washes the feet of a few selected beggars, and the spurious honour given to Christ’s dignity by the mediatorship of Mary and the Saints.

V. Both betrayed the Lord for money. The covetousness of Judas gives point to the apostolic injunction to ministers not to be lovers of filthy lucre; but history is witness that the Papacy from the first has been given to filthy lucre. The requirements and ordinances which Rome has substituted for the ordinances of the gospel have been so many channels for wealth to flow into her treasury. Almost as soon as the Papacy rose on the ruins of the Pagan Empire she imposed the impious tax known as Peter’s pence. But this is not all. Merchandize is made of Christ. Rome professes that her priests, in the mass, transubstantiate the wafer into Christ, and the mass is offered for the sins of men, for money; so that the priests must be paid as Judas for offering up the Lord Incarnate. And then she sells indulgences, deliverances from penance, prayers, etc., making salvation a matter of money.

VI. Both betray Christ at the instigation of Satan. We could not account for the structure of the Papacy except on this hypothesis.

1. If you trace back the policy of Satan to the beginning you find it to be threefold.

2. Note the satanic characteristics of the Papacy.

VII. Both fulfil Scripture and accomplish what God in His determinate counsel and foreknowledge declared should be done. How these and other instances in which the wrath of man praises God is a mystery; but the existence of such a system of despotism, delusion, superstition, and cruelty, would be an intolerable burden on any ether hypothesis. But when we see it all foretold in revelation, and that it shall at last serve to magnify Christ, and tend to the glorification of His Church, we bow submissive and tarry the Lord’s time. VIII. Both are branded “the son of perdition,” because of their fearful doom (verse 8). (Canon Stowell.)

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Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "2 Thessalonians 2:3". The Biblical Illustrator. https: 1905-1909. New York.

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

let no man beguile you in any wise: for it will not be, except the falling away come first, and the man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition,

There is no hint here regarding the length of the time interval between the time Paul wrote and the actual coming of Christ in the Second Advent. In the light of intervening events, we now know that centuries and millenniums of time were to elapse before the final judgment; but as regards the actual date, we are no better off than were they. The event is still scheduled for a time yet future; and, as the mystery of lawlessness was working then, so it is now; but no man can know how long it will be before the Lord comes.

The man of sin ... See excursus on this at the end of the notes on this chapter. He is the same as the "lawless one" in 2 Thessalonians 2:8, with this distinction, that "the man of sin" refers to a progressive development of an anti-Christian influence, whereas "the lawless one" is thought by many to refer to some terminal and final embodiment of evil. The interpretation presented here is that the man of sin has indeed appeared. The man of sin sitteth in the temple; he exalts himself; he is a false apostle, the son of perdition; names of blasphemy are upon his head; and he is drunken with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus; but his course is not yet run. The final usurpation of the place of God himself has not yet taken place.

The son of perdition ... Judas is the only other person so designated in the New Testament. Just as he was the object of prior prophecy, so also is the apostle of apostasy.

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Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on 2 Thessalonians 2:3". "Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament". https: Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Let no man deceive you by any means,.... By any of the above means; by pretending to a revelation from the Spirit; or to have had it from the mouth of anyone of the apostles; or to have a letter as from them, declaring the day of Christ to be instant; or by any other means whatever; do not be imposed upon by them for the following reasons, for there were things to be done before the coming of Christ, which were not then done, and which required time: for that day shall not come,

except there come a falling away first; either in a political sense, of the nations from the Roman empire, which was divided into the eastern and western empire; for which, way was made by translating the seat of empire from Rome to Byzantium, or Constantinople; the former of these empires was seized by Mahomet, and still possessed by the Turks; and the latter was overrun by the Goths, Huns, and Vandals, and torn to pieces; Italy particularly was ravaged by them, and Rome itself was sacked and taken: or rather in a religious sense, of the falling of men from the faith of the Gospel, from the purity of Gospel doctrines, discipline, worship, and ordinances; and this not of some Jews who professed faith in Christ, and departed from it, or of some Christians who went off to the Gnostics; but is to be understood of a more general defection in the times of the Papacy; when not only the eastern churches were perverted and corrupted by Mahomet, and drawn off to his religion, but the western churches were most sadly depraved by the man of sin, by bringing in errors of all sorts in doctrine, making innovations in every ordinance, and appointing new ones, and introducing both Judaism and Paganism into the churches; which general defection continued until the times of the reformation, and is what the apostle has respect to in 1 Timothy 4:1 where he manifestly points out some of the Popish tenets, as forbidding marriage to priests, and ordering abstinence from meats on certain days, and at certain times of the year: this was one thing that was to precede the coming of Christ, another follows, which should take place at the same time;

and that man of sin be revealed; who was now hid, though secretly working; by whom is meant not only any particular person or individual; not the devil, for though he is the wicked one, a damned spirit, an opposer, an adversary of God and Christ, and his people, and who has affected deity, and sought to be worshipped, and even by Christ himself; yet the man of sin is here distinguished from Satan, 2 Timothy 2:9 nor is any particular emperor of Rome intended, as Caius Caligula, or Nero, for though these were monsters of iniquity, and set up themselves as gods, yet they sat not in the temple of God; nor is Simon Magus designed, who was a very wicked man, a sorcerer, and who gave out himself to be some great one, and was called the great power of God, before big profession of faith in Christ; and afterwards affirmed that he was God, the Father in Samaria, the Son in Judea, and the Spirit in the rest of the nations of the world; and, because of his signs and lying wonders, had a statue erected by the Roman emperor with this inscription, "to Simon the holy god"; but then this wicked man was now already revealed: nor is this to be understood of a certain Jew, that is to be begotten by the devil on a virgin of the tribe of Dan, and who is to reign three years and a half, and then to be destroyed by Christ, which is a fable of the Papists; but a succession of men is here meant, as a king is used sometimes for an order and succession of kings, Deuteronomy 17:18 and an high priest for that whole order, from Aaron's time to the dissolution of it, Hebrews 9:7 so here it intends the whole hierarchy of Rome, monks, friars, priests, bishops, archbishops, cardinals, and especially popes, who may well be called "the man of sin", because notoriously sinful; not only sinners, but sin itself, a sink of sin, monsters of iniquity, spiritual wickednesses in high places: it is not easy to reckon up their impieties, their adulteries, incest, sodomy, rapine, murder, avarice, simony, perjury, lying, necromancy, familiarity with the devil, idolatry, witchcraft, and what not? and not only have they been guilty of the most notorious crimes themselves, but have been the patrons and encouragers of others in sin; by dispensing with the laws of God and man, by making sins to be venial, by granting indulgences and pardon for the worst of crimes, by licensing brothel houses, and countenancing all manner of wickedness; and therefore it is no wonder to hear of the following epithet,

the son of perdition; since these are not only the Apollyon, the king of the bottomless pit, the destroyer, the cause of the perdition of thousands of souls, for the souls of men are their wares; but because they are by the righteous judgment of God appointed and consigned to everlasting destruction; the devil, the beast, and the false prophet, will have their portion together in the lake that burns with fire, Revelation 20:10 the same character as here is given of Judas, the betrayer of Christ, John 17:12.

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Gill, John. "Commentary on 2 Thessalonians 2:3". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https: 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

Let no man deceive you by any means: 3 for [that day shall not come], except there come a falling away first, and e that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;

(3) The apostle foretells that before the coming of the Lord, there will be a throne set up completely contrary to Christ's glory, in which that wicked man will sit, and transfer all things that appertain to God to himself: and many will fall away from God to him.

(e) By speaking of one, he singles out the person of the tyrannous and persecuting antichrist.

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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on 2 Thessalonians 2:3". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https: 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

by any meansGreek, “in any manner.” Christ, in Matthew 24:4, gives the same warning in connection with the same event. He had indicated three ways (2 Thessalonians 2:2) in which they might be deceived (compare other ways, 2 Thessalonians 2:9, and Matthew 24:5, Matthew 24:24).

a falling away — rather as the Greek,the falling away,” or “apostasy,” namely, the one of which “I told you” before (2 Thessalonians 2:5), “when I was yet with you,” and of which the Lord gave some intimation (Matthew 24:10-12; John 5:43).

that man of sin be revealed — The Greek order is, “And there have been revealed the man of sin.” As Christ was first in mystery, and afterwards revealed (1 Timothy 3:16), so Antichrist (the term used 1 John 2:18; 1 John 4:3) is first in mystery, and afterwards shall be developed and 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 manifestation; when that shall be removed, then this manifestation shall take place. The articles, “the apostasy,” and “the man of sin,” may also refer to their being well known as foretold in Daniel 7:8, Daniel 7:25, “the little horn speaking great words against the Most High, and thinking to change times and laws”; and Daniel 11:36, 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 — a title applied besides to Judas (the traitor, John 17:12), and to none else. Antichrist (the second “beast” coming up out of the earth); therefore he 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 appear (1 Timothy 4:1-3), but the full development and concentration of these anti-Christian elements in one person are still to appear. Contrast the King of Zion‘s coming as JESUS: (1) righteous or just; (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 consigning many to it, and finally doomed to it himself (Revelation 17:8, Revelation 17:11). “He whose essence and inheritance is perdition” [Alford]. 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,” then “the iniquitous one” (2 Thessalonians 2:8). Doubtless “the apostasy” of Romanism (the abstract) is one of the greatest instances of the working of the mystery of iniquity, and 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 honor as vicegerent of God, but oppose God openly at last.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 2 Thessalonians 2:3". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https: 1871-8.

People's New Testament

Except there come a falling away first. An apostasy must precede the Coming. That is, there shall be a general falling away from the purity of the faith. No apostasy of magnitude occurred in the history of the church for centuries, which could answer to Paul's description, but the gradual declension, corruption, and departure from the ancient faith, which was fully developed a few hundred years later, has always been spoken of by Protestant church historians as {The Apostasy}. There is no good reason for doubting that it is to the apostle refers.

And that man of sin be revealed. He shall be revealed then in connection with the apostasy.

The son of perdition. This expression occurs once elsewhere, and is there applied to Judas, an apostate. Here it evidently has a similar application. Some power, once Christian, falls away and becomes opposed to Christ.

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Original work done by Ernie Stefanik. First published online in 1996 at The Restoration Movement Pages.

Johnson, Barton W. "Commentary on 2 Thessalonians 2:3". "People's New Testament". https: 1891.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

Let no man beguile you in any wise (μη τις υμας εχαπατησηι κατα μηδενα τροπονmē tis humas exapatēsēi kata mēdena tropon). First aorist active subjunctive of εχαπαταωexapataō (old verb to deceive, strengthened form of simple verb απαταωapataō) with double negative (μη τισ μηδεναmē tis, mēdena) in accord with regular Greek idiom as in 1 Corinthians 16:11 rather than the aorist imperative which does occur sometimes in the third person as in Mark 13:15 (μη καταβατωmē katabatō). Paul broadens the warning to go beyond conversation and letter. He includes “tricks” of any kind. It is amazing how gullible some of the saints are when a new deceiver pulls off some stunts in religion.

For it will not be (οτιhoti). There is an ellipse here of ουκ εσταιouk estai (or γενησεταιgenēsetai) to be supplied after οτιhoti Westcott and Hort make an anacoluthon at the end of 2 Thessalonians 2:4. The meaning is clear. οτιHoti is causal, because, but the verb is understood. The second coming not only is not “imminent,” but will not take place before certain important things take place, a definite rebuff to the false enthusiasts of 2 Thessalonians 2:2.

Except the falling away come first (εαν μη ελτηι η αποστασια πρωτονean mē elthēi hē apostasia prōton). Negative condition of the third class, undetermined with prospect of determination and the aorist subjunctive. ΑποστασιαApostasia is the late form of αποστασιςapostasis and is our word apostasy. Plutarch uses it of political revolt and it occurs in 1 Maccabees 2:15 about Antiochus Epiphanes who was enforcing the apostasy from Judaism to Hellenism. In Joshua 22:22 it occurs for rebellion against the Lord. It seems clear that the word here means a religious revolt and the use of the definite article (ηhē) seems to mean that Paul had spoken to the Thessalonians about it. The only other New Testament use of the word is in Acts 21:21 where it means apostasy from Moses. It is not clear whether Paul means revolt of the Jews from God, of Gentiles from God, of Christians from God, or of the apostasy that includes all classes within and without the body of Christians. But it is to be first (πρωτονprōton) before Christ comes again. Note this adverb when only two events are compared (cf. Acts 1:1).

And the man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition (και αποκαλυπτηι ο αντρωπος της ανομιασ ο υιος της απωλειαςkai apokaluphthēi ho anthrōpos tēs anomias, ho huios tēs apōleias). First aorist passive subjunctive after εαν μηean mē and same condition as with ελτηιelthēi The use of this verb αποκαλυπτωapokaluptō like αποκαλυπσινapokalupsin of the second coming in 2 Thessalonians 1:7, seems to note the superhuman character (Milligan) of the event and the same verb is repeated in 2 Thessalonians 2:6, 2 Thessalonians 2:8. The implication is that the man of sin is hidden somewhere who will be suddenly manifested just as false apostles pose as angels of light (2 Corinthians 11:13.), whether the crowning event of the apostasy or another name for the same event. Lightfoot notes the parallel between the man of sin, of whom sin is the special characteristic (genitive case, a Hebraism for the lawless one in 2 Thessalonians 2:8) and Christ. Both Christ and the adversary of Christ are revealed, there is mystery about each, both make divine claims (2 Thessalonians 2:4). He seems to be the Antichrist of 1 John 2:18. The terrible phrase, the son of perdition, is applied to Judas in John 17:12 (like Judas doomed to perdition), but here to the lawless one (ο ανομοςho anomos 2 Thessalonians 2:8), who is not Satan, but some one definite person who is doing the work of Satan. Note the definite article each time.

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The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)

Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on 2 Thessalonians 2:3". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https: Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Vincent's Word Studies

Deceive ( ἐξαπατήσῃ )

Better beguile; since the word means not only making a false impression, but actually leading astray. Except there come a falling away. Before except insert in translation the day shall not come. Such ellipses are common in Paul.

Falling away ( ἀποστασία )

Only here and Acts 21:21. Comp. lxx, Joshua 22:22; 2 Chronicles 29:19.

The man of sin - the son of perdition ( ὁ ἄνθρωπος τῆς ἀνομίας, ὁ υἱὸς τῆς ἀπωλείας )

See on children of light, 1 Thessalonians 5:5. The phrase man of sin (lawlessness ) does not occur elsewhere, either in N.T. or lxx. Son of perdition is found John 17:12, olxx: τέκνα ἄπωλείας childrenof perdition (A.V. transgression ), Isaiah 57:4. The man of sin has been thought to refer to Caligula, Titus, Simon Magus, Nero, the Pope of Rome, Luther, Mahomet, etc.

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Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on 2 Thessalonians 2:3". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https: Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

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;

Unless the falling away — From the pure faith of the gospel, come first. This began even in the apostolic age. But the man of sin, the son of perdition - Eminently so called, is not come yet. However, in many respects, the Pope has an indisputable claim to those titles. He is, in an emphatical sense, the man of sin, as he increases all manner of sin above measure. And he is, too, properly styled, the son of perdition, as he has caused the death of numberless multitudes, both of his opposers and followers, destroyed innumerable souls, and will himself perish everlastingly. He it is that opposeth himself to the emperor, once his rightful sovereign; and that exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped - Commanding angels, and putting kings under his feet, both of whom are called gods in scripture; claiming the highest power, the highest honour; suffering himself, not once only, to be styled God or vice-god. Indeed no less is implied in his ordinary title, "Most Holy Lord," or, "Most Holy Father." So that he sitteth - Enthroned.

In the temple of God — Mentioned Revelation 11:1.

Declaring himself that he is God — Claiming the prerogatives which belong to God alone.

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Wesley, John. "Commentary on 2 Thessalonians 2:3". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https: 1765.

Abbott's Illustrated New Testament

A failing away; an apostasy.--Be revealed; openly appear.

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Abbott, John S. C. & Abbott, Jacob. "Commentary on 2 Thessalonians 2:3". "Abbott's Illustrated New Testament". https: 1878.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

3Let no man deceive you. That they may not groundlessly promise themselves the arrival in so short a time of the joyful day of redemption, he presents to them a melancholy prediction as to the future scattering of the Church. This discourse entirely corresponds with that which Christ held in the presence of his disciples, when they had asked him respecting the end of the world. For he exhorts them to prepare themselves for enduring hard conflicts, (639) (Matthew 24:6,) and after he has discoursed of the most grievous and previously unheard of calamities, by which the earth was to be reduced almost to a desert, he adds, that the end is not yet, but that these things are the beginnings of sorrows. In the same way, Paul declares that believers must exercise warfare for a long period, before gaining a triumph.

We have here, however, a remarkable passage, and one that is in the highest degree worthy of observation. This was a grievous and dangerous temptation, which might shake even the most confirmed, and make them lose their footing — to see the Church, which had by means of such labors been raised up gradually and with difficulty to some considerable standing, fall down suddenly, as if torn down by a tempest. Paul, accordingly, fortifies beforehand the minds, not merely of the Thessalonians, but of all the pious, that when the Church should come to be in a scattered condition, they might not be alarmed, as though it were a thing that was new and unlooked for.

As, however, interpreters have twisted this passage in various ways, we must first of all endeavor to ascertain Paul’s true meaning. He says that the day of Christ will not come, until the world has fallen into apostasy, and the reign of Antichrist has obtained a footing in the Church; for as to the exposition that some have given of this passage, as referring to the downfall of the Roman empire, it is too silly to require a lengthened refutation. I am also surprised, that so many writers, in other respects learned and acute, have fallen into a blunder in a matter that is so easy, were it not that when one has committed a mistake, others follow in troops without consideration. Paul, therefore, employs the term apostasy to mean — a treacherous departure from God, and that not on the part of one or a few individuals, but such as would spread itself far and wide among a large multitude of persons. For when apostasy is made mention of without anything being added, it cannot be restricted to a few. Now, none can be termed apostates, but such as have previously made a profession of Christ and the gospel. Paul, therefore, predicts a certain general revolt of the visible Church. “The Church must be reduced to an unsightly and dreadful state of ruin, before its full restoration be effected.”

From this we may readily gather, how useful this prediction of Paul is, for it might have seemed as though that could not be a building of God, that was suddenly overthrown, and lay so long in ruins, had not Paul long before intimated that it would be so. Nay more, many in the present day, when they consider with themselves the long-continued dispersion of the Church, begin to waver, as if this had not been regulated by the purpose of God. The Romanists, also, with the view of justifying the tyranny of their idol, make use of this pretext — that it was not possible that Christ would forsake his spouse. The weak, however, have something here on which to rest, when they learn that the unseemly state of matters which they behold in the Church was long since foretold; while, on the other hand, the impudence of the Romanists is openly exposed, inasmuch as Paul declares that a revolt will come, when the world has been brought under Christ’s authority. Now, we shall see presently, why it is that the Lord has permitted the Church, or at least what appeared to be such, to fall off in so shameful a manner.

Has been revealed. It was no better than an old wife’s fable that was contrived respecting Nero, that he was carried up from the world, destined to return again to harass the Church (640) by his tyranny; and yet the minds of the ancients were so bewitched, that they imagined that Nero would be Antichrist. (641) Paul, however, does not speak of one individual, but of a kingdom, that was to be taken possession of by Satan, that he might set up a seat of abomination in the midst of God’s temple — which we see accomplished in Popery. The revolt, it is true, has spread more widely, for Mahomet, as he was an apostate, turned away the Turks, his followers, from Christ. All heretics have broken the unity of the Church by their sects, and thus there have been a corresponding number of revolts from Christ.

Paul, however, when he has given warning that there would be such a scattering, that the greater part would revolt from Christ, adds something more serious — that there would be such a confusion, that the vicar of Satan would hold supreme power in the Church, and would preside there in the place of God. Now he describes that reign of abomination under the name of a single person, because it is only one reign, though one succeeds another. My readers now understand, that all the sects by which the Church has been lessened from the beginning, have been so many streams of revolt which began to draw away the water from the right course, but that the sect of Mahomet was like a violent bursting forth of water, that took away about the half of the Church by its violence. It remained, also, that Antichrist should infect the remaining part with his poison. Thus, we see with our own eyes, that this memorable prediction of Paul has been confirmed by the event.

In the exposition which I bring forward, there is nothing forced. Believers in that age dreamed that they would be transported to heaven, after having endured troubles during a short period. Paul, however, on the other hand, foretells that, after they have had foreign enemies for some time molesting them, they will have more evils to endure from enemies at home, inasmuch as many of those that have made a profession of attachment to Christ would be hurried away into base treachery, and inasmuch as the temple of God itself would be polluted by sacrilegious tyranny, so that Christ’s greatest enemy would exercise dominion there. The term revelation is taken here to denote manifest possession of tyranny, as if Paul had said that the day of Christ would not come until this tyrant had openly manifested himself, and had, as it were, designedly overturned the whole order of the Church.

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Calvin, John. "Commentary on 2 Thessalonians 2:3". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https: 1840-57.

Scofield's Reference Notes

for that day

The order of events is:

(1) The working of the mystery of lawlessness under divine restraint which had already begun in the apostle's time 2 Thessalonians 2:7

(2) the apostasy of the professing church 2 Thessalonians 1:3; Luke 18:8; 2 Timothy 3:1-8.

(3) the removal of that which restrains the mystery of lawlessness 2 Thessalonians 2:6; 2 Thessalonians 2:7. The restrainer is a person--"he," and since a "mystery" always implies a supernatural element (See Scofield "Matthew 13:11") this Person can be none other than the Holy Spirit in the church, to be "taken out of the way"; 2 Thessalonians 2:7; 1 Thessalonians 4:14-17.

(4) the manifestation of the lawless one 2 Thessalonians 2:8-10; Daniel 7:8; Daniel 9:27; Matthew 24:15; Revelation 13:2-10

(5) the coming of Christ in glory and the destruction of the lawless one 2 Thessalonians 2:8; Revelation 19:11-21

(6) the day of Jehovah 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12; Isaiah 2:12

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Scofield, C. I. "Scofield Reference Notes on 2 Thessalonians 2:3". "Scofield Reference Notes (1917 Edition)". https: 1917.

James Nisbet's Church Pulpit Commentary


‘That day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition.’

2 Thessalonians 2:3

The spirit of Antichrist is always in the world.

I. The spirit of Antichrist is the spirit of opposition to all moral restraint, and to all rule and authority. It is the spirit of corruption as St. Peter says, that is to say, of undoing and decomposition. Corruption is the opposite to life. Life builds up, corruption destroys.

II. The spirit of Antichrist is the spirit of hindering and forbidding the Church to do the work Christ has set her to do. It is the spirit that hates and would tread down worship offered to Christ. It is the spirit that abhors and would eliminate all definite belief in the truths of the gospel.

III. The antichristian spirit is not only engaged in attack from without, it is a corrupting spirit acting within, degenerating that which is good. Now we are expressly told that before the end the man of sin will be revealed, who is to oppose and exalt himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.

IV. But the end is not yet.—As you look into the summer sky on the advent of a storm, you see fitful flashes and hear distant rumblings before the tempest bursts with full fury on you; so throughout the age of the Christian Church we see the flash and hear the mutter of persecution, the signs preceding the advent of Antichrist and the coming of our Lord in glory. Such was the destruction of Jerusalem, such persecution following persecution; such in France, the outburst of the Revolution—but the whole series of events, the full stress of that terrible time will not be yet—not till the end.

—Rev. S. Baring-Gould.


(1) ‘I cannot say that the Papacy is the Antichrist, but it has shown the antichristian spirit. It is founded on lies, for its claims rest on forged title-deeds, the Decretals; it has been a corrupting power, encouraging, sanctioning lying wonders, conferring indulgences on such as worship this and that image which the Pope solemnly crowns; it withdrew the cup from the laity, withheld the Bible from the people, revolutionised the divine order of the Church, by the Pope exalting himself over all the bishops of the Latin communion, making them derive their authority and mission from him; it has used torture and the sword and fire to exterminate those who revolted against its supremacy, and it has finally proclaimed its infallibility.’

(2) ‘The most striking foreshadowing of the great falling away, and the revolt against Christ and His kingdom, was shown on a small scale, and in one land only—in the French Revolution. Then the Sunday was abolished and the week made to consist of ten days. The churches were desecrated and turned into debating club rooms, the worship of Christ was forbidden, and it was a matter of death for Christians to assemble for Divine worship, priests wherever caught were hung to a tree or the next lamp-post, and volleys of shot were poured upon those who assembled for prayer, and finally in place of God, in the temple of God, Human Reason was elevated to be publicly worshipped.’



Very solemn, to the ear of faith, are all those deep notes of prophecy which foretell what shall be in the last days. Solemn in every age of the Church, the words and prophetic warnings seem to increase in solemnity as the ages roll by. Consider what Holy Scripture delivers concerning the great apostasy which shall usher in the end, and specially concerning the man of sin, the son of perdition, who is to be revealed before the final advent of Christ to judge the world. Would we make the teaching of the Spirit practical, we shall—

I. As knowing that we have no assurance that Antichrist will not come in our own day, survey his features attentively as they are given in God’s Word, in order that we may know him if we see him. And

II. If exaltation of self against and above God—if a blasphemous assumption of the privileges and prerogatives of the Godhead be a prime note of Antichrist, then let us look warily in the direction of Rome.

III. But He is called the lawless one; and although superstition is ever near akin to unbelief, yet we must in fairness acknowledge that the licentiousness of speculation finds its most congenial atmosphere in other branches of the Church than the Roman. All may read the signs of the times, and must be aware that the nations of the north could contribute a feature to the man of sin, no less than those that dwell beyond the Alps.

IV. Keep these the great verities of faith, and suffer not the business or the calling, the family ties or the social duties, to elbow everything else clean out of your sight.

—Dean Burgon.


‘When we recall our Lord’s Prayer that all might be one as He with the Father, it is not possible to avoid the conclusion that the spirit of Antichrist will be the sectarian spirit striving to make Christ’s prayer of none effect. That there will be finally a great conjuration among all who hate the truth, or are jealous of the Church, and are in revolt against the moral law, is clearly laid down in Scripture, under the form of a great gathering against Jerusalem, and a final and terrible persecution, so terrible that men will fall away and deny the Faith so as to save their lives, or so as to stand well with the World Power; and doubtless there will be all sorts of attempts at compromise. The great bulk of men may have sufficient faith in Christ to wish to obey Him and worship Him, but will not have the moral courage to resist the power of the world when a confederate attack is made upon the Church.’

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Nisbet, James. "Commentary on 2 Thessalonians 2:3". Church Pulpit Commentary. https: 1876.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

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;

Ver. 3. Except there come a falling] Gr. αποστασια, an apostasy, viz. of people from the truth, when the whole world went a wondering and a wandering after the beast, Revelation 13:3. To the fathers these prophecies of Antichrist were riddles. The prophecy is sealed to the end, Daniel 12:9, till unsealed by event. Austin saith ingenuously, he understood not this text. And herein he did better than those other of the Latin Fathers that interpreted it of the falling away of various nations from the Roman empire. Daniel set forth Antichrist typically, in that little Antichrist, Antiochus; Paul topically, in this chapter. John writeth the mystery of Antichrist, in his Revelation; Paul sets a commentary upon him, and graphically describeth him, calling him apostasy in the abstract here, as some will have it; and in the next verse, "that man of sin," that is, meram scelus, sheer wickedness, as Beza hath it.

And that man of sin] That breathing devil, so portentously, so peerlessly vicious, Ut eius nomen non hominis, sed vitii esse videatur (as Lipsius saith of one Tubulus, a Roman praetor), that sin itself can hardly be more sinful.

The son of perdition] Destined to destruction, even to be cast alive into the "lake of fire burning with brimstone," Revelation 19:20. Well might Pope Marcellus II strike his hand upon the table, and say, Non video quomodo qui locum hunc altissimum tenent, salvari possunt, I see not how any pope can be saved. (Onuph. in Vita.) When I was first in orders (said Pope Pius Quintus) I had some good hopes of salvation; when I was made a cardinal, I doubted; but now that I am pope, I do almost despair. (Cornel. a Lapide in Numbers 11:11)

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on 2 Thessalonians 2:3". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https: 1865-1868.

Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament

As if the apostle had said, "Let no man deceive you in this article of your faith, by any pretence whatsoever; for before Christ's coming there shall come a great falling away from the catholic faith, and by that means the man of sin will be revealed, who is the son of perdition:"--

Note here, 1. Such a proneness there is in the nature and mind of man to embrace and entertain error, when once vented, that there is need of repeated dissuasives from it, and to guard persons against the poison and infatuation of it. Let no man deceive you by any means.

Note, 2. A general apostasy or defection of the visible church from the faith of Christianity, must be before Christ's coming to judgment; Except there come a falling away first. It is foretold as a thing that would certainly come to pass.

Note, 3. The revelation of Antichrist declared, That man of sin shall be revealed, the son of perdition; where by the man of sin, understand not a particular individual person, but a society and succession of men, such as is found in and amongst the papacy, where the sodomy, blasphemy, incest, adultries, sorceries, murders, treasons, which are not only committed, but countenanced; not only acted, but authorized; do most evidently declare that there never was such an apostasy from Christianity since it had a being in the world, as is found amongst them.

Note, 4. This man of sin is also styled the son of perdition.

(1.) Actively, a destroying son, one that brings others to destruction.

(2.) Passively, a son that shall be destroyed; Antichrist and all his adherents shall be destroyed, utterly destroyed, by Jesus Christ, and his kingdom shall perish without any hope of recovery; first destroying, and at last destroyed.

Where note, That our apostle at the first, the very first, mentioning Antichrist, doth declare his destiny; at his first rising he declares his fall and ruin. That man of sin, the son of perdition.

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Burkitt, William. "Commentary on 2 Thessalonians 2:3". Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament. https: 1700-1703.

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

3.] Let no man deceive you in any manner (not only in either of the foregoing, but in any whatever): for (that day shall not come) (so E. V. supplies, rightly. There does not seem to have been any intention on the part of the Apostle to fill up the ellipsis: it supplies itself in the reader’s mind. Knatchbull connects ὅτι with ἐξαπατήσῃ, and supplies ἐνέστηκεν after it: but this is very harsh) unless there have come the apostasy first (of which he had told them when present, see 2 Thessalonians 2:5; and probably with a further reference still to our Lord’s prophecy in Matthew 24:10-12. There is no need, with Chrys., Thdrt., Thl., Aug., to suppose ἀποστασία to mean Antichrist himself ( τί ἐστιν ἡ ὰποστασία; αὐτὸν καλεῖ τὸν ἀντίχριστον ἀποστασίαν, Chr.), nor to regard him as its only cause: rather is he the chief fruit and topstone of the apostasy), and there have been revealed (ref. ch. 1. As Christ in his time, so Antichrist in his time, is ‘revealed’—brought out into light: he too is a μυστήριον, to be unfolded and displayed: see 2 Thessalonians 2:8-9) the man of sin (in whom sin is as it were personified, as righteousness in Christ. The gen. is called by Ellicott that of the predominating quality), the son of perdition (see ref. John, where our Lord uses the expression of Judas. It seems merely to refer to Antichrist himself, whose essence and inheritance is ἀπώλεια,—not to his influence over others, as Thdrt. (both: ὡς κ. αὐτὸν ἀπολλύμενον, κ. ἑτέροις πρόξενον τούτου γενόμενον), Œc., Pelt, al.), he that withstands (the construction is not to be carried on by zeugma, as if ἐπὶ πάντα κ. τ. λ. belonged to ἀντικείμενος as well as to ὑπεραιρόμενος (the omission of the second article is no proof of this, as Pelt supposes, but only that both predicates belong to one and the same subject), but ἀντικείμενος is absolute, ‘he that withstands CHRIST,’ the ἀντί χριστος, 1 John 2:18), and exalts himself above (in a hostile sense, reff.) every one that is called God (cf. λεγόμενοι θεοί, 1 Corinthians 8:5. “The expression includes the true God, as well as the false ones of the heathen—but λεγόμενον is a natural addition from Christian caution, as πάντα θεόν would have been a senseless and indeed blasphemous expression for a Christian.” Lünem.) or an object of adoration (= numen, and is a generalization of θεόν. Cf. the close parallel in Daniel 11:36-37 (Theod. and similarly LXX): κ. ὁ βασιλεὺς ὑψωθήσεται κ. μεγαλυνθήσεται ἐπὶ πάντα θεόν, κ. τ. λ.), so that he sits (not αὑτὸνκαθίσαι, as Grot., Pelt, al., but καθίσαι, intransitive, as in reff.) in (constr. prægnans—‘enters into and sits in.’ The aor. usually denotes that one definite act and not a series of acts is spoken of: but here, from the peculiar nature of the verb, that one act is the setting himself down, and the session remains after it: cf. Matthew 5:1; Matthew 19:28, &c.) the temple of God (this, say De W. and Lünemann after Irenæus, Hær. v. 30. 4, p. 330 (cited in Prolegg. § 2 Thessalonians 2:3 note),—cannot be any other than the temple at Jerusalem: on account of the definiteness of the expression, ὁ ναὸς τοῦ θεοῦ, and on account of καθίσαι. But there is no force in this. ὁ ναὸς τοῦ θεοῦ to used metaphorically by St. Paul in 1 Corinthians 3:17 bis: and why not here? see also 1 Corinthians 6:16; Ephesians 2:21. From these passages it to plain that such figurative sense was familiar to the Apostle. And if so, καθίσαι makes no difficulty. Its figurative sense, as holding a place of power, sitting as judge or ruler, is more frequent still: see in St. Paul, 1 Corinthians 6:4; and Matthew 23:2; Revelation 20:4; to which indeed we might add the many places where our Lord is said καθίσαι on the right hand of God, e.g. Hebrews 1:3; Hebrews 8:1; Hebrews 10:12; Hebrews 12:2; Revelation 3:21. Respecting the interpretation, see Prolegomena, § v.) shewing himself ( πειρώμενον ἀποδεικνύναι, Chrys. Hardly that, but the sense of the present, as in ὁ πειράζων—it is his habit and office to exhibit himself as God) that he it God (not ‘a god,’ nor is it equivalent to ὁ θεός—but designates the divine dignity which he predicates of himself. The construction is an attraction, for ἀποδ. ὅτι αὑτὸς …; and the emphasis is on ἐστιν, ‘that he IS God’).

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Alford, Henry. "Commentary on 2 Thessalonians 2:3". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. https: 1863-1878.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

2 Thessalonians 2:3. κατὰ μηδένα τρόπον, by no means) He indicates three means in which they might be deceived, 2 Thessalonians 2:2.— ὅτι, because) Supply from what goes before, the negative particle with the substantive verb, it does not come to pass (that day shall not come), unless, etc. But this ellipsis shows εὐλάβεια, pious, reverent caution. He is εὐλαβὴς, reverently cautious, who comprehends well, and receives in a right spirit, the matter set before him, not with an unseasonable and foolhardy rashness, sachte, scheu, etc. εὐλάβεια is shown in the fact, that Paul does not expressly say: The day of Christ does not come, unless, etc. He speaks mildly (moderately); he abstains from words to which the lover of the coming of Christ would not willingly listen.— ἐὰν μὴ, unless) What we read in 2 Thessalonians 2:3-8 demands a fuller consideration. And, first, we shall look closely into this paragraph by itself; then we shall compare the Apocalypse with it. The former aspect of it comprehends something like the following positions:

I. The object of Paul is to admonish the Thessalonians not to think the day of Christ nearer than it really is.—The expectation of future events, which is supposed to rest upon Divine testimony, and which after all is discovered in the end to be false, occasions great offence (raises a great stumblingblock in the way of religion). Such an expectation of the day of Christ might occasion very great offence: wherefore Paul anxiously obviates it. The Thessalonians had been prepared to receive the Lord with joy, ch. 2 Thessalonians 1:11; 1 Thessalonians 1:10 : and indeed a desire of that sort presupposes hope and faith; but yet this very desire may be out of due order. It is therefore reduced to order.

II. Paul especially teaches, that some great evil will first come.—Paul does not enumerate all the events which were to intervene between that age and the day of Christ; but he points out a certain one thing, especially remarkable, the explicit declaration of which was even already at that time seasonable and salutary to the Thessalonians. He therefore describes the apostasy, the Man of Sin, etc.

III. Not only does the apostle point out the evil, but also the check upon it.—He who hindereth or checketh, κατέχων, is made mention of, the person who checks or holds back the Man of Sin. That check is in some measure prior to the evil itself, and therefore the announcement of it appertains much (in a great degree) to the design of the apostle, which is, that the time may be defined, though with a proper latitude, when the adversary is to be revealed.

IV. The evil extends itself from the times of Paul, even up to the appearance of the coming of Jesus Christ.—That evil is not only most widely extended, 2 Thessalonians 2:4; 2 Thessalonians 2:10; 2 Thessalonians 2:12, but also very long continued; and although it rises up by various degrees, yet it is also continuous from its first beginnings (staminibus, threads in weaving the web) even to its end. Now already, says the apostle, the mystery of iniquity is working. It already wrought in the time of the apostles, but more after their death, most of all after the death of the men who were the contemporaries and immediate successors of the apostles (i.e. the apostolic fathers). They do not arrive at the best and wisest conclusion, who entertain the opinion, that the ideal and rule of the Church lie in the ancient practice (the antiquity) of some of the earliest ages, rather than in the truth itself, seeing that those ages merely rebuke the greater declension of posterity [and do not, by the fact of their antiquity, establish their own complete coincidence with the truth].

V. There was also a check in the time of Paul, and that check then, and not till then, ceases to exist in the way, when the evil breaks out in all its force.—He who now holdeth (the evil) back [“letteth,” Old Engl.], says Paul, until he be taken out of the way. Hence it is evident, that the restraining check was not the preaching of the Gospel, either universal or apostolical. The check remained even after the time of the apostles, who finished their course long before the check ceased to act as a check; but the preaching of the Gospel is never wholly taken from among men [“out of the way”].

VI. The evil is described first in the abstract, then in the concrete.—The mystery of iniquity is said to be now already working; but after an interval, that Iniquitous one (Wicked) himself(10) shall be revealed. The event turned out corresponding with this order. Not dissimilar is the fact, that in 2 Thessalonians 2:3, previously, the appellation given is first apostasy, then the Man of Sin. In preaching of Christ, it was said first, in the abstract, the kingdom of heaven is at hand; then Christ Himself, with His glory, was more openly manifested. So, on the opposite side, the testimony is similarly framed concerning [the coming] evil. The vicious humour is drawn together, and breaks out at length in one abscess.

VII. The apostasy and the mystery of iniquity are a great evil.—The description of the evil in the abstract and concrete has different parts, and these mutually explain each other. Apostasy is a falling away from the faith, and is clearly described, 1 Timothy 4:1. This apostasy is not determined in its extent by any particular place;—as widely as the faith extended, so widely, for the most part, does the apostasy extend;—yet it prevailed in the greatest degree among the Jews. There is also the apostasy of those to whom faith had been offered, although they did not receive it. Some of those who had received it (11)drew back [“departing from the living God”]: comp. Hebrews 3:12. The people is treated as equivalent to one man, whether regard is had to the Divine grace, which offers itself, or to man’s refusal of it, under whatever circumstances. It was apostasy in the people who refused to enter into the promised land, LXX. Numbers 14:31. The bitterness of the Jews was excessive, especially at Thessalonica, Acts 17:5; Acts 17:11; Acts 17:13; and Judaism at Rome occasioned great damage to Christianity. In like manner, iniquity, the mystery of which was then already working, is not iniquity of any kind whatever, although it be manifold, Matthew 24:12, but that from which the Iniquitous one (‘Wicked:’ ἄνομος) himself is denominated, 2 Thessalonians 2:8, with which comp. 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4. The mystery of this iniquity was then already working (comp. Deuteronomy 31:21; Deuteronomy 31:27), and was so concealed, that it crept in among men almost without themselves being conscious of it, and went on increasing for many ages. But even yet it is working, until the working of Satan shall bring forth the Iniquitous one himself (“that wicked”): 2 Thessalonians 2:9. Judaism, infecting Christianity, is the fuel; the mystery of iniquity is the spark.

VIII. The Iniquitous one (‘Wicked’) himself is the greatest evil.—He is the Man of Sin, the son of perdition, opposed to and exalted above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he sits himself as God in the temple of God, and declares himself to be God (a god). He is the very Iniquitous (‘Wicked’) one, whose coming is according to the working of Satan, etc. These points we shall afterwards consider one by one.

IX. The check is used indifferently in the masculine and neuter gender [ κατέχων and τὸ κατέχον]: unless the neuter be put first in the text for this purpose, namely, in order that κατέχων, He who holdeth back (‘letteth,’ viz. the evil), may be afterwards opposed to the adversary, who is described in the singular [2 Thessalonians 2:8].—HE WHO NOW holdeth back (‘letteth’), says he, will cease to be in the way (to be among men); and a little before, Now ye know THAT WHICH withholdeth (holds back), so as that he may be revealed in HIS TIME [and not sooner; but for τὸ κατέχον, he would be revealed sooner than the proper time].

X. That check, whatever it is, does not restrain the apostasy and the mystery of iniquity—but the Man of Sin himself that iniquitous, or wicked one.—The mystery of iniquity, and he who holdeth back (‘letteth’), fall upon one and the same time [are coincident in time]; but, when he who holdeth back, and that which holdeth back (‘withholdeth’), have ceased to be in the way, then the Iniquitous one (Wicked) is revealed.

XI. At length out of the apostasy arises the Man of Sin; moreover, the political power of Rome, as a check, holds this very person back.—We clearly see, from the mutual comparison of the evil and the check upon it, and of the qualities of each, what both are. That Iniquitous one (‘Wicked’), besides marks of falsehood, has also a certain degree of majesty, set off under a spiritual disguise, as if he were a god. The civil authority acts as a check upon him; and this authority was assuredly in the hands of the Romans in the time of Paul, and comprehended Jerusalem; Rome, and Corinth, from which he was writing, as also Thessalonica, to which he was writing, etc.

XII. The date of this epistle in no small degree helps the interpretation.—It was written in the time of Claudius; comp. Acts 18:2; Acts 18:5, with 1 Thessalonians 3:1; 1 Thessalonians 3:6 : and this very circumstance utterly refutes Grotius’ attempt to interpret the prophecy of Paul concerning Caligula. The ancients were of opinion, that Claudius himself was absolutely this check; for from this circumstance, as it appears, it came to pass, that they considered Nero, the successor of Claudius, to be the Man of Sin; and when the wickedness of Nero, how furious soever it might be, had not, however, filled up that measure, they accounted Domitian, and the other emperors of a similar character, as a kind of complement to make up the full measure of the evil. They certainly did not by this interpretation exhaust the prophecy; but yet they attained to some part of the truth, namely, that something connected with Rome is here intended, whatever might be the mode of its exhibition.

Let us go a little closer. The check is something with which the Thessalonians were unacquainted when Paul had been with them not long before: and ‘now,’ when the same apostle wrote these things, they ‘knew’ it, from the fact of the beginnings of the events corresponding [to his words] more than many, a little before, would have thought. This is evident from the antithesis between the fifth and sixth verses. The epistle was written about the eighth year of Claudius, 48 of the Dion. æra, as we show in Ordo temporum p. 278. At that period Claudius had expelled from Rome the Jews, whether believers or unbelievers, and this because the latter were constantly raising tumults; and in Judæa itself, too, Cumanus was grievously oppressing them. Therefore, in the provinces, the prefects and procurators, in Italy and at Rome the Emperor himself, was holding back the evil. It is a remarkable proof of this fact, that the Jews did not kill James until after the death of Festus, and before the arrival of Albinus. Whatever they did on that occasion, they would willingly have done on other occasions against Christ, but could not for the Romans. So Gallio held them back at Corinth, Claudius Lysias at Jerusalem, Acts 18:14; Acts 18:21; Acts 18:23. In the time of Paul, the Roman power certainly held back the evil; not immediately (directly): therefore it must have been mediately (indirectly). Moreover, the instrumentality or medium of holding it back was severity towards the Jews, who would have proceeded farther, if they had been permitted by the Romans. I shall willingly listen to an easier and simpler (I should be glad to hear a more ready and probable) interpretation.

XIII. When the check ceased to be in the way, that Iniquitous one [‘Wicked’] is revealed.—This position agrees with the fifth, and yet it also differs from it. The former marks the long continuance of the check; the latter, the time of revealing the Iniquitous one [‘Wicked’]. The coming of the Iniquitous one [‘Wicked’] is according to the working of Satan in all power, and signs, and lying wonders, etc. This coming has not yet taken place, although its preludes are for a long time not wanting; therefore the check still exists. And it is evident from this most powerful argument, that the political power in the hands of the Romans is the check. For no other check, so powerful and so long-continued, will anywhere be found. This check, however, did not restrain the working of Satan, but the setting up of the dominion of the Iniquitous one [‘Wicked’]; and when it is removed, Satan lends his aid to the Iniquitous one [‘Wicked’].

We shall now take the assistance of the Apocalypse.

XIV. That Iniquitous one [‘Wicked’] is the beast ascending out of the bottomless pit.—So long and so continuous is the evil described by Paul, § iv., that it cannot but fall in at some period with the times of the apocalyptic beast; and the resemblance between the Iniquitous one [‘Wicked’] and the beast is so great, the power so widely spread and so exalted, that they can only be one subject [they must be one and the same person or existence]. The Iniquitous one [‘Wicked’] will not finally perish [his destruction will be deferred] until after the destruction of the beast; for in that battle, which is described in Revelation 19, the Lord’s enemies are so completely destroyed, that the calamity described by Paul cannot be extended to a period farther on. Moreover also the Iniquitous one [‘Wicked’] will not perish previously [before the destruction of the beast, etc., in Revelation 19]: for he remains even till the appearing of the coming of the Lord, [2 Thessalonians 2:8.]

XV. Therefore the whole evil described by Paul is strictly and intimately connected with the Roman empire.—What tie of relationship the apostasy and the Man of Sin himself had with the city Rome, could not be known by the Thessalonians, unless Paul taught them it face to face. The Apocalypse and the event teach us, and will teach posterity more and more fully. We then, according to our present ability, will institute a comparison.

XVI. That Iniquitous one [‘Wicked’] is yet to come.—It is one and the same beast which ascends first from the sea, then from the bottomless pit. That beast has very much to do with the woman, who is Babylon, Rome. Sometimes it carries the woman, at length it destroys her with the assistance of the ten horns [Revelation 17:16]. The beast out of the sea is the papacy of Hildebrand; but the beast from the bottomless pit, excepting the succession in the papacy (which does not take away the ancient tradition concerning the rise of Antichrist from the Jews, but leaves it in its own place [just as it finds it]), will have a quite new and singular character of wickedness, on account of which he is called the Man of Sin, etc. All these observations are demonstrated in my German and Latin interpretation of the Apocalypse. Antichrist, or the Man of Sin, as being about to come in the nineteenth century, could not be retarded by the Roman power of the first and following centuries, on which comp. Revelation 8:9. Therefore the Roman Emperor will be among the ten kings; and when he, with the nine others, shall give his power to the beast, he will be taken out of the way, and will give place to the Man of Sin. The Roman power is the check even up to the time of the rising of the Iniquitous one [‘Wicked’], who, after he has arisen, makes the whore desolate, with the assistance of the ten horns.

XVII. Rome is, notwithstanding, the channel in which the apostasy and the mystery of iniquity have flowed for many ages.—Claudius did not long exclude the Jews, and along with them the Christians, from Rome; a short time after, they returned, and with the good the evil also obtained abundant opportunity of being increased. The two parts of the evil are, the apostasy [“falling away”], and the mystery of iniquity. Apostasy from the faith, and διχοστασίαι or divisions, which lead men to forsake the doctrine of the apostles, are very closely connected; and the latter already at that time were arising at Rome on the part of some, who were under the influence of Satan; Romans 16:17, with which comp. Romans 2:20. Moreover, apostasy from the faith, bringing in doctrines concerning the worship of intermediate divinities (intercessors),(12) concerning the avoiding of marriage under pretence of spiritual perfection, and abstinence from meats, only indeed some kinds of meat, 1 Timothy 4:1; 1 Timothy 4:3, is peculiarly applicable to Rome, although it was long untainted by other heresies. The iniquity [ ἀνομία, 2 Thessalonians 2:7] chiefly consisted in the most deadly sin of pride, 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4. The beginning of man’s pride was his apostatizing from God; since his heart withdrew itself from Him who made him. For pride is the beginning of all sin.(13), Sirach 10:14-15. The seeds and commencing fibres lay concealed in the elevation of human authority, in Petrism [“I am of Cephas”]; 1 Corinthians 1:12, note. Hence by degrees arose the primacy of the Bishop of Rome, and the whole system of the papacy.

XVIII. Also, now and then, the Pope very closely approaches the characteristics of the Man of Sin himself.—The Pope is in some respects the Man of Sin, while he eagerly promotes the transgression of the Divine law and the Divine commandments, and greatly impedes the observance of them, but defends with the utmost severity his own decrees: he is the son of perdition, in that (whilst) he has plunged innumerable souls into destruction, and has delivered to death immense multitudes of men either devoted to himself or in any way resisting him: he is opposed [2 Thessalonians 2:4] to the majesty of Cæsar, formerly his master, and is exalted above all that is called God or worshipped, by the fact of his claiming as his right the highest authority, the highest worship, by his commanding angels, and subjecting the Emperor to himself. It is not merely once that the paroxysm of pontifical pride has broken out to such degree, that he called, or permitted himself to be called, god or vice-god [vicegerent of God]; and the solemn titles, Most Holy Lord (for godhead and holiness are synonymous in the language of Scripture), and, Most Blessed Father, have the same meaning: comp. Matthew 19:17. Sometimes the Pope, as if he were the divine image(14) [or pageant representing God], is placed with his chair [comp. sitteth, 2 Thessalonians 2:4] upon the altar [comp. in the temple, 2 Thessalonians 2:4], by princes acting as bearers. Their due praise remains undiminished to the first bishops of Rome; but yet in the progress of time, by gradual advances in spiritual and civil authority, according to the order in the text, the lineaments are to be seen of that form which will put itself forth before the world as palpably as possible in that Iniquitous one [‘Wicked’] in its own time.

XIX. First he who withholdeth, next that which withholdeth, ceases to be in the way.—We have mentioned this circumstance already, § 9: but here it comes to be repeated more strictly. He who withholdeth, is he who hath Rome under his sway; that is, heathen, or Christian emperors at Rome, or Constantinople; the kings of the Goths, and Lombards; again the Carlovingian and German emperors, from whom comes the wound of the sword, Revelation 8. This is He that withholdeth, going far into the middle of the times of the beast that arose out of the sea. Those princes so held back the papacy, as even notwithstanding to give it help; they so helped it, as notwithstanding to hold it back also. In the last time that which withholdeth is the power of Rome itself, when the beast carries the woman, and itself is not [Revelation 17:8]. When that shall be removed out of the way, the Iniquitous one [‘Wicked’] will be revealed.

XX. The Iniquitous one [‘Wicked’] is revealed, when he begins to act with open wickedness.—Revelation is opposed to mystery, and the former is thrice mentioned, 2 Thessalonians 2:3; 2 Thessalonians 2:6; 2 Thessalonians 2:8. Therefore that is not called ‘revelation’ by which the Iniquitous one [‘Wicked’] is convicted through the testimony of the truth; but that by which he himself, after the check is removed, acts with open wickedness, although few perceive (see through) the wickedness.

XXI. The appearance of the coming of Jesus Christ, by which the Iniquitous one [‘Wicked’] will be destroyed, will precede the actual coming itself, and the last day.—This appearance, with the destruction of the beast, or the Iniquitous one [‘Wicked’], is described, Revelation 19:11, etc.: where these two, the beast and the false prophet, are cast alive into the lake of fire, that burns with brimstone; moreover the kings of the earth and their armies are slain, Revelation 19:20-21. Lastly, the captivity of Satan and the kingdom of the saints follow. For the Apocalypse clearly interposes a thousand years between the destruction of the beast and the last day. But how will these years be reconciled with the language of Paul? Ans. Paul, looking back (referring here) to Daniel, as we shall afterwards see, at the same time implies those things, which are marked by the same prophet as about to happen between the destruction of the little horn and the end of the world, Daniel 7:7; Dan_7:9; Dan_7:14; Dan_7:22; Dan_7:26-27. Many things long prior to the destruction of the beast, as well as also the entrance of Jesus Christ through suffering into glory, are connected with His coming in the clouds; Matthew 26:64; John 21:22, notes. Therefore the same coming might be connected with the destruction of the adversary, which is a matter of very great importance between the two comings of Christ. And as the end of the world admitted of being (was able to be) connected with the destruction of Jerusalem, because the revelation of the intermediate events was not yet mature; so Paul might connect the coming of Christ with the destruction of the adversary, because [the revelation of] the thousand years were reserved for (against the time of giving) the Apocalypse, which much more clearly explains these points, so that the prophecy of Daniel itself may obtain light from the Apocalypse subsequently given. However, Paul appropriately [skilfully] terms it, the appearance of the coming, not the coming itself. It was not yet the time for more special information, and yet the Spirit of truth dictated those words to Paul, that they might exactly agree with the very things, which were afterwards to be more particularly revealed. The prophecy proceeds gradually. The Apocalypse speaks more explicitly than Paul; and Paul in this passage speaks more explicitly than the Lord Himself, before He was glorified; Matthew 24:29 : where see the notes. Moreover we ought to interpret the more ancient and more involved expressions by such as are most recent and most distinct, and not abuse the former for the purpose of weakening and eluding the latter. Nay, even in actual fact the destruction of the adversary coheres (is connected) with the coming of Christ; for there are two things especially illustrious in the glory of Christ, namely, that He is the Son of God, and that He is coming to judgment. Concerning each of these the Scripture has a similar mode of speaking, which we should carefully observe. It alleges the generation of the Son as a thing then present [then vividly realized], as often soever as anything very worthy of the only-begotten of the Father occurs; Acts 13:33, note. And thus it also represents [vividly presents to us] the glorious coming under the aspect of the judgments, which are altogether worthy of the Judge of the living and the dead; comp. Romans 2:16, note. The beast and the false prophet are first of all cast into the lake of fire at the appearance of the coming of the Lord Jesus; and when He actually comes, all who are not found written in the book of life are cast into the lake of fire. The first judgment is a prelude and altogether peculiar specimen of the second judgment; nay, it is in reality one and the same judgment, only separated by time, and out of the whole period [Revelation 8:2 to Revelation 11:15], falling under that portion which is marked now by the trumpet of the seventh angel.

The principal points of the subject-matter have been, I think, cleared up; and we shall now proceed to illustrate what remains, viz. the phrases or particular expressions.— ἀποστασία, the apostasy [falling away]) The Greek article is frequent in this paragraph, ἀποστυσία ἄνομος, and it is to be referred (ascribed) either to what Paul had previously said, or to the prophecies of the Old Testament.— ἄνθρωπος τῆς ἁμαρτίας, the Man of Sin) who is the greatest enemy of true righteousness. Paul so describes him, as to allude by way of contrast to Jesus Christ, and especially to the passage, Zechariah 9:9-10 : for the King of Zion is, 1) Righteous; 2) Full of salvation; 3) Meek, and riding on an ass: in short, He is the author of peace. But His enemy is, 1) The Man of Sin; 2) The son of perdition; 3) He opposes and exalts himself: in short, he is the Iniquitous one [Wicked]. For where justice and equity [as opposed to the Iniquitous one: nefarius, fas] flourish, peace flourishes. The whole benefit derived from Christ is indicated by peace. But the Iniquitous one [Wicked] occasions all misery and calamity. The law is holy and just and good; the ἄνομος, on the other hand, is profane and unjust and evil. Moreover, what Paul principally declares elsewhere concerning Jesus, he declares the exact reverse concerning the enemy, ascribing to him revelation and mystery, coming signs, etc.— υἱὸς τῆς ἀπωλείας, that son of perdition) who will both consign as many as possible headlong to destruction, and will himself go away to the deepest perdition, Revelation 17:8; Revelation 17:11.

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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on 2 Thessalonians 2:3". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https: 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Let no man deceive you: here the apostle urgeth again his charge against this error, though in other words, and begins his arguments to refute it. He had adjured them not to be shaken, and here he cautions them against being deceived, for the one makes way for the other; so also not to be troubled, 2 Thessalonians 2:2, for troubled minds are apt to be made a prey to seducers. And the caution in the text proves that their shaking and trouble did arise from some deceivers that were amongst them, rather than any misunderstanding of their own of what he wrote in the former Epistle about Christ’s coming. To be shaken in mind is bad, hut to be deceived is worse, for it is a going out of the path, as the word signifies; and thercfin’e his caution against it is universal, both as to persons and ways: Let no man deceive you, though he pretend to revelations, or be of the greatest reputation in the church.

By any means; either of era craft, flattery, pretending love, or plausible arguments, or misrepresenting our words, or forging of letters, or misintering our Epistle to you or any other part of Scripture, or feigned miracles, &c. Then he enters the arguments to confute it, which are.

1. The general apostacy.

2. The revelation of the man of sin.

Neither of these are yet, nor will be in this age; and yet that day shall not come till these both first come.

For that doth shall not come, except there come a falling away first; there is a supplement in our translation, for in the Greek it is only,

for, except there come a falling away first, & c., or an apostacy, a recession, a departing, or a standing off, as the world imports; so that apostacy may be either good, when it is from evil to good, or evil, when it is from good to evil: it is always used in this latter sense in Scripture. Again, it is either civil or spiritual: civil, as when people fall off from the civil government they were under, and so some would interpret the text of the defection from the Roman empire, the east part from the west, and the ten kingdoms that arose out of it; which was the opinion of Hierom, Epist. ad Algasiam. But the apostle writing to the church speaks not of civil government, and the affairs of state, and speaks of such an apostacy which would give rise to the man of sin, and the revelation of him. And this man of sin riseth up in the church, not in the civil state; and the consequence of this apostacy is giving men up to strong delusions to believe a lie, and then follows their damnation; and the cause of it is said to be, not receiving the truth in the love of it; so that it is not a civil, but a spiritual apostacy, as the word in Scripture is always (I suppose) so taken. And it is not of a particular person, or of a particular church, but a general apostacy of the church, though not of every individual; that church that is afterwards called the temple of God, where the man of sin sitteth, and is exalted above all that is called God; which cannot be in any particular church; and would not the apostle have specified that particular church? Neither is it some lesser apostacy which may befall the best church; but such as would be eminent, called h apostasia, that apostacy, greater than that of some believing Jews to Judaism, or of some Christians to Nicolaitanism, which some think is meant. Much less can it be Caius Caesar, as Grotius interprets, or any one person, for the apostle saith not apostate, but apostacy; else a man of sin could not rise out of it, and exalt himself above all that is called God, and worshipped. It is an apostacy from sound doctrine, instituted worship, church government, and true holiness of life, as may be further considered afterwards. Neither is the apostacy all at once, but gradual; for out of it ariseth a man of sin, who grows up to this manhood by degrees; and sin and wickedness are not completed at first, as well as holiness. Much less is this apostacy a falling off from the Church of Rome, as some papists affirm, and make the Reformation to be the apostacy, which was a return from it. Doth the man of sin rise out of the Reformation? Did any of the first Reformers oppose and exalt themselves above all that is called God, or is worshipped? Or, as God sat in the temple of God, &c.? Was any of their coming with all power, and signs, and lying wonders? Or did any of them forbid to marry, and to abstain from meats, &c.? Which is the character our apostle gives of this apostacy, 1 Timothy 4:1-3. Neither is the Mahometan religion this apostacy, for Mahomet sitteth not in the temple of God. Neither is it in the falling of the converted Jews from the Jewish church to the gospel church; the apostle would never call that an apostacy. And that man of sin be revealed: the next argumnent is from the revelation of the man of sin; this is also to precede Christ’s last coming: it is a Hebraism. A warlike man is styled a man of war; a bloody man, a man of bloods; a deceitful man, a man of deceit, &c.: so a man eminent in sin is here called a man of sin; not only personally so, but who doth promote sin, propagate it, countenance it, command it. See Platina, Sigebert, Blonetas, Beuno Uspregensis, Matt. Paris. In sins of omission, forbidding what God requireth; in sins of commission, requiring or allowing what God hath forbidden. In sins of the first table; corrupting God’s worship by superstition and idolatry, taking God’s name in vain by heartless devotion, dissembling piety, dispensing with perjury and false oaths, taking away the second commandment and the morality of the fourth commandment, and making men’s faith and obedience to rest upon a humau authority, &c. In sins of the second table; to dispense with duties belonging to superiors and inferiors; with murder, adultery, fornication, incest, robbery, lying, equivocation, &c. And besides all these, promoting a false religion, and destroying the true, by fines, imprisonments, banishments, tortures, poisons, massacre, fire, and faggot. And this man of sin is not a single person, but a company, order, and succession of men; because all are acted by the same spirit, therefore called a man; as the man of the earth, Psalms 10:18, is all men of an earthly spirit, and a man of the field, Genesis 25:27, is men whose minds and employments are in the field. Or, it is a sinful state. As the civil state of the four monarchies in Daniel is represented by four single beasts, and the antichristian state by a beast rising out of the sea, Revelation 13:1; so by man of sin is meant a sinful state, which though it consisteth of many people and nations, yet, being under the influence and government of one man, may be also styled the man of sin upon that account; impietatis Coryphaeus. Moulin. And because the sin of the whole community is chiefly centred in him, and springs out from him; a man in whom is the fountain of all sins. Hierein ad Algasiam. And the sin of this state is called a mystery of iniquity, 2 Thessalonians 2:7, and so differing from the sin in all other political states; and therefore may well be judged to be the same with the whore sitting on many waters, that hath mystery written in her forehead, Revelation 17:1,5. And as no expositor takes the whore to be meant of a single woman, and the true apostolic church is represented by a woman in travail, Revelation 12:1,2, why then should we take the man of sin to be a single man, as the papists do? viz. a Jew of the tribe of Dan, that shall erect his kingdom and temple in Jerusalem, seduce the Jews, continue three years and a half, make great havoc of the church, to be opposed by Enoch and Elias, and is to come a little before the end of the world. Ridiculous! Neither call this man of sin be Simon Magus and his followers, for he was revealed in the apostle’s time, seeing the mystery of iniquity belonging to this man of sin began to work in the apostle’s days, as 2 Thessalonians 2:7, and he is the same whom St. John calls antichrist, 1 John 2:18; and the spirit of antichrist began to be in the world in his time, 1 John 4:3; and the nations are to be made drunk with the cup of his fornication, and to serve and obey him, &c., Revelation 13:8 17:4; all which requires more time than is allotted by them: but they set him a great way off, that none may suspect him to be among themselves; but he that will compare the Church of Rome in the apostle Paul’s times with what it is now, and the doctrine of the council of Trent with that laid down in his Epistle to the Romans, may say: How is the faithful city become a harlot! And this man of sin is to

be revealed also, which shows that he is not a single person, not yet born: revealing relates not so much to a person, as a thing; in particular to the mystery of iniquity, mentioned 2 Thessalonians 2:7: his revealing is either quoad existentiam, or apparentiam. The former is meant here, and the latter 2 Thessalonians 2:8. He grows up into an existence, as the apostacy grows, as vermin grows out of putrefaction. As the church’s purity, faith, love, holiness declined, and as pride, ambition, covetousness, luxury prevailed, so he grew up: and which was the direct point and time of his full revelation in this first sense is conjectured by many, but determined by none; it is most generally referred to the tithe of Boniface the Third, to whom Phocas granted the style of oecumenical bishop, and to the Church of Rome to be the mother church. But as the apostacy brings forth this man of sin, so as he riseth he helps it forward; so that he both causeth it, and is caused by it. As corruption in doctrine, worship, discipline, and manners brought him forth, so he was active in corrupting them more and more.

The son of perdition; another Hebraism, where sometimes that which any way proceeds from another, as its cause, is called its son, as sparks the sons of the coal, Job 5:7, and branches sons of the tree, Genesis 49:22, and the learner the son of the teacher, Proverbs 3:1; and sometimes that which a man is addicted to, as a wicked man is the son of wickedness, Psalms 89:22. Again, that which gives forth what it hath in itself, as the branches of the olive trees giving oil are called the sons of oil, Zechariah 4:14; and in the text, the man of sin is

the son of perdition, as Judas is called, John 17:12: and he is so either actively, as he brings others to destruction, and so may be called Apollyon, Revelation 9:11; or rather passively, as devoted to perdition; as Revelation 19:20, the beast and false prophet are both cast into the lake of fire and brimstone; and the beast that was, and is not, is said to go into perdition, Revelation 17:11. The destroyer of others both in soul and body will be destroyed himself: first, morally, by the word and Spirit, as 2 Thessalonians 2:8; and then judicially, by God’s revenging justice in this world, and that to come. The apostle, at the very first mentioning him, declares his destiny; at his first rising and revealing, mentions his fall and ruin.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 2 Thessalonians 2:3". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https: 1685.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

A falling away; a great apostasy from the faith and practice of the gospel.

That man of sin; the words "man of sin" are to be understood not of any single person, but of a wicked system presided over and directed by a succession of wicked men. The words of the apostle clearly describe that great system of spiritual tyranny and wickedness of which the papacy has ever been the central power.

Be revealed; show himself, and be made manifest in his true character.

The son of perdition; the very words applied by our Saviour to the apostate Judas. They describe the man of sin as notoriously wicked and doomed to final destruction. See the histories of popes John II. and John VIII.; of Marcellinus; of Honorius, of whom the council of Constantinople say, "We have caused him to be accursed"; of Eugenius, whom the council of Basle call "a simonist, a perjurer, a willful heretic"; of John XIII.; of Sextus IV.; of Alexander VI., who, as a papal historian says, was "one of the greatest and most horrible monsters in nature"; and of many others. See Guicciardini, Ciaconius, and other papal historians.

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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on 2 Thessalonians 2:3". "Family Bible New Testament". https: American Tract Society. 1851.

Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges

3 c, 4. καὶ ἀποκαλυφθῇ ὁ ἄνθρωπος τῆς ἀνομίας, ὁ υἱὸς τῆς ἀπωλείας, ὁ ἀντικείμενος καὶ ὑπεραιρόμενος ἐπὶ πάντα λεγόμενον θεὸν ἤ σέβασμα: and there be revealed the man of lawlessness, the son of perdition, the adversary and exalter of himself against every one called god or (that is) an object of worship (aut numen, Beza). The emphatically prefixed ἀποκαλυφθῇ (substituted for ἔλθῃ of the parallel clause), which is repeated in 2 Thessalonians 2:6; 2 Thessalonians 2:8 (see notes; and cf. note on ἀποκάλυψις in 2 Thessalonians 1:7), gives to the coming of ὁ ἄνθρωπος τῆς ἀνομίας a superhuman stamp (cf. 2 Thessalonians 2:9). He is identified in 2 Thessalonians 2:7 (see note) with τὸ μυστήριον τῆς ἀνομίας; he comes κατʼ ἐνέργειαν τοῦ Σατανᾶἄνθρωπος τὴν φύσιν, πᾶσαν ἐν ἑαυτῷ τοῦ διαβόλου δεχόμενος τὴν ἐνέργειαν (Theodore)—and attended with manifold miracles (2 Thessalonians 2:9). The terms describing his appearance and action are borrowed throughout from those belonging to the Parousia of the Lord Jesus, whose ἀντικείμενος he is to be,—a Satanic parody of Christ, His counterpart in the realm of evil.

This fearful personality is described by three epithets, the last of the three consisting of a double participle, and all three Hebraistic in form: (a) ὁ ἄνθρωπος τῆς ἀνομίας (see Textual Note)—“the man” in whom “lawlessness” is embodied, “in quem recapitulatur sex millium annorum omnis apostasia et injustitia et dolus” (Irenæus), who takes this for his rôle (cf. “man of God,” “man of Belial [worthlessness],” “man of war,” &c., in O.T. idiom); more simply named ὁ ἄνομος in 2 Thessalonians 2:7. As “the man of lawlessness,” Antichrist concentrates into himself all that in human life and history is most hostile to God and rebellious to His law; he is the ne plus ultra of τὸ φρόνημα τῆς σαρκός (Romans 8:7). (b) The first epithet refers to the nature, the second to the doom of Antichrist; he is ὁ υἱὸς τῆς ἀπωλείας: cf. υἱὸς θανάτου, 1 Sam. (Kingd.: LXX) 1 Samuel 20:31; similarly in Deuteronomy 25:2 the man “worthy of stripes” is called, in Hebrew, “a son of smiting”; in Isaiah 57:4 the LXX reads τέκνα ἀπωλείας, σπέρμα ἄνομον, for “children of transgression, a seed of falsehood” (in the Hebrew). To Judas Iscariot alone this name is elsewhere given in Scripture (John 17:12); but “whose end is perdition” (Philippians 3:19), and “he goeth to perdition” (εἰς ἀπώλειαν ὑπάγει, Revelation 17:8; Revelation 17:11; said of the seven-headed Wild Beast), affirm virtually the same thing. (c) Of the two terms of the third title, ὁ ἀντικείμενος (cf. 1 Corinthians 16:9, 1 Timothy 5:14) is familiar, being equivalent to הַשָּׂטָן, ὁ Σατανᾶς, Satan, whom this “man of lawlessness” is to represent and whose power has its ἐνέργεια in him (2 Thessalonians 2:9 f.): see note on 1 Thessalonians 2:18; cf. also Zechariah 3:1 (LXX), ὁ διάβολος εἱστήκειτοῦ ἀντικεῖσθαι αὐτῷ. This participle might be complemented, along with the following ὑπεραιρόμενος, by ἐπὶ πάντα κ.τ.λ.; but it is a quasi-substantive, with a recognized and complete sense of its own. It is Christ to whom “the adversary” ἀντίκειται.

In the second and extended participial clause of (c)—identified with ὁ ἀντικείμενος by the single article—ὑπεραιρόμενος has a parallel in 2 Corinthians 12:7 (“exalted above measure”: St Paul is fond of ὑπερ-compounds). Ἐπί as distinguished from ὑπέρ, and in this context, is against. Πάντα λεγόμενον θεόν (illustrated by 1 Corinthians 8:5 b) embraces the entire Pan-theon of mankind, deposed by this Great Usurper in favour of himself; while καὶ σέβασμα extends the previous term, already so wide, by way of including every conceivable object of religious reverence. So σεβάσματα in Acts 17:23 embraces the religious monuments and emblems of Athens generally—shrines, altars, images, and the like: the only other N.T. instance of the word, which occurs besides in Wisdom of Solomon 15:17.

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"Commentary on 2 Thessalonians 2:3". "Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges". https: 1896.

George Milligan - Paul's Epistle to the Thessalonians

3. μή τις ὑμ. ἐξαπατήσῃ] A general warning leading up to the statement of the following clause. In their margin WH. suggest placing a comma at κυρίου, and thus connecting the words elliptically with what has gone before—‘(we say this) lest any one should ….’ But the ordinary connexion is simpler, and more in keeping with our Lord’s saying which may well have been in the writers’ minds: βλέπετε μή τις ὑμᾶς πλανήσῃ· πολλοὶ γὰρ ἐλεύσονται κτλ. (Matthew 24:4 f.).

ἐξαπατάω, a strengthened form of ἀπατάω (1 Timothy 2:14), is confined in the N.T. to the Pauline writings, cf. Romans 16:18, 1 Corinthians 3:18. For the rare use of the prohibitory subj. in the 3rd pers. cf. 1 Corinthians 16:11 (Burton, § 2).

κατὰ μηδένα τρόπον] i.e. not only not in any of the three ways already specified, but ‘in no way’—evidently a current phrase, cf. P.Amh. 35, 28 (2./b.c.), P.Lond. 111. 951, 4 f. (3./a.d.). Thdt.: πάντα κατὰ ταὐτὸν τὰ τῆς ἀπάτης ἐξέβαλεν εἴδη.

ὅτι ἐὰν μὴ ἔλθῃ κτλ.] an elliptical sentence, the apodosis being lost sight of in view of the length of the protasis, but too clearly implied in what precedes to occasion any difficulty: ‘because the Parousia of the Lord will not take palace unless there come the Apostasy first.’

It is not so easy, however, to determine in what this Apostasy consists. In late Gk. ἀποστασία is found as an equivalent of ἀπόστασις (Lob. Phryn. p. 528) in the sense of political defection or revolt, e.g. Plut. Galba 1. κάλλιστον ἔργον διαβαλὼν τῷ μισθῷ, τὰν ἀπὸ νέρωνος ἀποστασίαν προδοσίαν γενομένην, and the same meaning has been attached to it here, as when it has been referred to the revolt of the Jews from the Romans (Schöttgen Hor. Hebrews 1. p. 840). But the usage of both LXX. and in N.T. is decisive against any such interpretation. Thus in Joshua 22:22 the word is directly applied to rebellion against the Lord ( ἐν ἀποστασίᾳ ἐπλημμελήσαμεν ἔναντι τοῦ κυρίου, and in 1 Maccabees 2:15 to the efforts of the officers of Antiochus Epiphanes to compel the people to sacrifice to idols ( οἱ καταναγκάζοντες τὴν ἀποστασίαν ... ἵνα θυσιάσωσιν), cf. also 2 Chronicles 29:19, Jeremiah 2:19; while in Acts 21:21, the only other passage in the N.T. where it occurs, we read of ἀποστασίαν ... ἀπὸ ΄ωυσέως, with which may be compared the use of the corresponding verb ἀφίσταμαι in 1 Timothy 4:1, Hebrews 3:12; cf. M. Anton. 4:29 ἀπόστημα κόσμου ὁ ἀφιστάμενος καὶ χωρίζων ἑαυτὸν τοῦ τῆς κοινῆς φύσεως λόγου.

Whatever then the exact nature of the apostasy in the present connexion, it must at least be a religious apostasy, and one moreover, as the use of the def. art. proves, regarding which the Apostles’ readers were already fully informed. In this conclusion we are confirmed when we pass to the next words.

καὶ ἀποκλυφθῇ] ‘and (so) there be revealed (the man of lawlessness)’—a second historical condition preceding the Lord’s Parousia, or rather, giving καί its full consecutive force (I. 4:1 note), the sign in which the just-mentioned ἀποστασία finds its consummation.

The emphatic ἀποκαλυφθῇ by which the appearance of this sign is described is very significant, not only as marking the ‘superhuman’ character of the coming spoken of, but as placing it in mocking counterpart to the ἀποκάλυψις of the Lord Jesus Himself, cf. 1:7 and note the repetition of the same verb in vv. 6, 8 of this chapter. For other cxx. of hostile powers assuming the semblance of what they oppose see 2 Corinthians 11:13 ff., Revelation 2:2, and cf. Asc. Isai. 4:18 where it is said of Beliar that he ‘manifested himself and acted openly in this world.’

ὁ ἄνθρωπος τ. ἀνομίας] the man, that is, of whom ‘lawlessness’ is the true and peculiar mark— ἀνομίας being used here, as elsewhere in the N.T., to describe the condition not of one living without law, but of one who acts contrary to law, and thus as practically equivalent to the v. l. ἁμαρτίας (WH. mg.): cf. 1 John 3:4 ἡ ἁμαρτία ἐστὶν ἡ ἀνομία, and as illustrating the active sense belonging to the word cf. P.Par. 14, 27 f. (2./b.c.) ἀφορήτῳ δὲ ἀνομίᾳ ἐξενεχθέντες. The lawless one is thus none other than Belial (cf. 2 Corinthians 6:15) in accordance with the Bibl. usage by which בְּליַעַל is rendered by ἀνόμημα (Deuteronomy 15:9), ἀνομία (2 Regn. 22:5), or ἀποστασία (3 Regn. 20. (21.) 13 A), and in keeping with the (erroneous) Rabbinical derivation of the word from בְּלי ‘without’ and עוֹל ‘yoke,’ i.e. one who will not accept the yoke of the law (see Jew. Encycl. s.v. ‘Antichrist’). ‘Law, in all its manifestations is that which he [the Antichrist] shall rage against, making hideous application of that great truth, that where the Spirit is, there is liberty’ (Trench Hulsean Lectures p. 136; cf. Syn. § 66. p. 227 f.).

ὁ υἱὸς τ. ἀπωλείας] a second distinguishing epithet: so completely has the lawless one fallen under the power of ‘perdition’ (cf. John 17:12) that it may be regarded as his ultimate destination, cf. 1 Regn. 20:31 υἱὸς θανάτου οὗτος i.e. ‘destined to death.’ The thought of final doom is, however, only indirectly present in the description (cf. note on ὄλεθρος 1:9). Here rather, as elsewhere in his Epp. (Romans 9:22, Philippians 1:28; Philippians 3:19, 1 Timothy 6:9), St Paul employs ἀπώλεια in direct antithesis, either stated or implied, to σωτηρία, full and complete blessedness, in harmony with the usage of the word (and its allied terms) in the LXX. and the later writings of the Jews: cf. 1 Thessalonians 5:3 note, and see further Kennedy Last Things p. 119 ff., Volz Jüd. Eschat. p. 282 f.

The phrase ‘sons of perdition’ (= בְּנֵי הַאֲבַדּוֹן) is found in Jubilees 10:3, with reference to those who perished in the Flood.

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Milligan, George. "Commentary on 2 Thessalonians 2:3". "George Milligan - Paul's Epistle to the Thessalonians". https:

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

3. No man deceive you—Words very similar to those of our Lord.

Matthew 24:4. Deceive does not necessarily imply a deceptive purpose in the man.

By any means—The three above enumerated means, or any other.

That day shall not come—Critics agree that the italicised words, though not in the Greek, are properly supplied by our translators. A (or rather, the definite article the) falling awayThe apostasy—the well-known apostasy. Not a political rebellion or revolt. The whole passage indicates that it is a religious apostasy from Christ, led by antichrist, the man of sin, leading to the most blasphemous opposition to God.

Man of sin—Not merely sinful man, but man made up of sin. He is concrete wickedness. A deep allusion to the Satanic character lying at the base of antichrist.

Son of perdition—Applied by Christ to the antichrist among his apostles, Judas. John 17:12.

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 2 Thessalonians 2:3". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https: 1874-1909.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

2 Thessalonians 2:3. Let no man deceive you by any means, either by professing superior enlightenment as if a spirit spoke through him, or by interpreting my words as if I had meant what he affirms.

The apostasy, of which Paul had spoken while at Thessalonica, and which our Lord predicted in Matthew 24:12 as a characteristic of the last days. Comp. also the concluding words of the parable of the importunate widow, ‘When the Son of man cometh, shall He find faith on the earth.’ This general ‘going out from us’ of those who ‘were not of us,’ this widespread falling away from faith in Christ, will apparently be produced by distressing outward circumstances, the perplexed and disturbed state of nations, and calamities of the kind most difficult to be borne. So that when our Lord speaks of this apostasy, pity rather than surprise or reproach is the pre-dominating sentiment in His mind.

The man of sin. This title might appropriately be used of an element existing in many men, as Paul elsewhere speaks in that sense of ‘the old man;’ or it might be used as the designation of a class of men rather than of an individual, as we speak of ‘the intemperate man;’ but when we read on and find that all the expressions Paul uses regarding ‘the man of sin’ and his coming are not only personal but individual, we cannot but think he expected that the final outburst of evil would be headed by a personal Antichrist

Be revealed. Before Christ is revealed, Antichrist must first be revealed. The same term is used of both; strengthening the supposition that Paul speaks of a personal, individual Antichrist. Paul speaks of the revelation of the man of sin in contrast with the hidden working of iniquity which had already begun, 2 Thessalonians 2:7. ‘Even as Christ is now spiritually present in His Church, to be personally revealed more gloriously hereafter, even so the power of Antichrist is now secretly at work, but will hereafter be made manifest in a definite and distinctive bodily personality’ (Ellicott).

The son of perdition. The term applied to Judas, and signifying the most intimate connection of the person with perdition.

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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on 2 Thessalonians 2:3". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https: 1879-90.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

2 Thessalonians 2:3. καὶ ἀποκ., the apostasy and the appearance (so of Beliar, Asc. Isa., iv. 18) of the personal anti-Christ or pseudo-Christ form a single phenomenon. From the use of ἀποστασία as a Greek equivalent for Belial (LXX of 1 Kings 21:13, A, and Aquila), this eschatological application of the term would naturally flow, especially as אישׁ בליעל might well be represented by ἄνθρωπος τῆς ἀνομίας on the analogy of 2 Samuel 22:5 (LXX) = Psalms 17 (18):4. Lawlessness was a cardinal trait in the Jewish figure of Belial, as was persecution of the righteous (2 Thessalonians 1:4, 2 Thessalonians 2:7, see Asc. Isa., ii. 5, etc.). The very order of the following description ( ἀπωλείας set between ἀνομίας and ἀντικείμενος, etc., unchronologically, but dramatically) suggests that this incarnation of lawlessness was a doomed figure, although he challenged and usurped divine prerogatives. He is another Antiochus Epiphanes (Daniel 11:36, καὶ ὑψωθήσεται ἐπὶ πάντα θεὸν καὶ ἐπὶ τὸν θεὸν τῶν θεῶν ἔξαλλα λαλήσει, though Paul carefully safeguards himself against misconception by inserting λεγόμενον in his quotation of the words). This conception of a supernatural antagonist to Jesus Christ at the end is the chief element of novelty introduced by Paul, from Jewish traditions, into the primitive Christian eschatology. The recent attempt of Caligula to erect a statue of himself in the Temple at Jerusalem may have furnished a trait for Paul’s delineation of the future Deceiver; the fearful impiety of this outburst had sent a profound shock through Judaism, which would be felt by Jewish Christians as well. But Paul does not identify the final Deception with the Imperial cultus, which was far from a prominent feature when he wrote. His point is that the last pseudo-Messiah or anti-Christ will embody all that is profane and blasphemous, every conceivable element of impiety; and that, instead of being repudiated, he will be welcomed by Jews as well as pagans (cf. Acts 12:21-22).

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Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on 2 Thessalonians 2:3". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https: 1897-1910.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary


First, &c.(2) What is meant by this falling away, (in the Greek this apostacy) is uncertain, and differently expounded. St. Jerome and others understand it of a falling off of other kingdoms, which before were subject to the Roman empire; as if St. Paul said to them: you need not fear that the day of judgment is at hand, for it will not come till other kingdoms, by a general revolt, shall have fallen off, so that the Roman empire be destroyed. The same interpreters expound the sixth and seventh verses in like manner, as if when it is said, now you know (3) what withholdeth, &c. That is, you see the Roman empire subsisteth yet, which must be first destroyed. And when it is added, only that he ho now holdeth, do hold, until he be taken out of the way; the sense, say these authors, is, let Nero and his successors hold that empire till it be destroyed, for not till then will the day of judgment come. A. Lapide makes this exposition so certain, that he calls it a tradition of the fathers, which to him seems apostolical. But we must not take the opinion of some fathers, in the exposition of obscure prophecies, where they advance conjectures (which others at the same time reject, or doubt of) to be apostolical traditions, and articles of faith, as the learned bishop of Meaux, Bossuet, takes notice on this very subject, in his preface and treatise on the Apocalypse, against Jurieux. St. Jerome indeed, and others, thought that the Roman empire was to subsist till the antichrist's coming, which by the event most interpreters conclude to be a mistake, and that it cannot be said the Roman empire continues to this time. See Lyranus on this place, St. Thomas Aquinas, Salmeron, Estius, and many others; though A. Lapide, with some few, pretend the Roman empire still subsists in the emperors of Germany. We also find that divers of the ancient fathers thought that the day of judgment was just at hand in their time. See Tertullian, St. Cyprian, St. Gregory the Great, &c. And as to this place, it cannot be said the fathers unanimously agree in their exposition. St. John Chrysostom (4), Theodoret, St. Augustine in one of his expositions, by this falling off, and apostacy, understand antichrist himself, apostatizing from the Catholic faith. And they who expound it of Nero, did not reflect that this letter of St. Paul was written under Claudius, before Nero's reign. According to a third and common exposition, by this revolt or apostacy, others understand a great falling off of great numbers from the Catholic Church and faith, in those nations where it was professed before; not but that, as St. Augustine expressly takes notice, the Church will remain always visible, and Catholic in its belief, till the end of the world. This interpretation we find in St. Cyril(5) of Jerusalem. (Catech. 15.) See also St. Anselm on this place, St. Thomas Aquinas, Salmeron, Estius, &c. In fine, that there is no apostolical tradition, as to any of the interpretations of these words, we may be fully convinced from the words of St. Augustine(6), lib. xx. de Civ. Dei. chap. 19. t. 7. p. 597. Nov. edit. where he says: For my part, I own myself altogether ignorant what the apostle means by these words; but I shall mention the suspicions of others, which I have read, or heard. Then he sets down the exposition concerning the Roman empire. He there calls that a suspicion and conjecture, which others say is an apostolical tradition. In like manner the ancient fathers are divided, as to the exposition of the words of the sixth and seventh verse, when it is said you know what hindereth; some understand that antichrist must come first. Others, that the beforementioned apostacy, or falling off from the Church, must happen before. And when St. Paul says, (ver. 7.) that he who now holdeth, do hold; some expound it, let him take care at the time of such trials, to hold, and preserve the true faith to the end. When the expositions are so different, as in this place, whosoever pretends to give a literal translation ought never to add words to the text, which determine the sense to such a particular exposition, and especially in the same print, as Mr. N. hath done on the seventh verse, where he translates, only let him that now holdeth the faith, keep it until he be taken out of the way. --- And the man of sin (7) revealed, the son of perdition, so that he sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself as if he were God. He is called again, (ver. 8.) that wicked one....whom the Lord Jesus Christ shall kill with the spirit of his mouth. By all these words is described to us the great antichrist, about the end of the world, according to the unexceptionable authority and consent of the ancient fathers. It is as ridiculous as malicious to pretend, with divers later reformers, that the pope, and all the popes since the destruction of the Roman empire, are the great antichrist, the man of sin, &c. Grotius, Dr. Hammond, and divers learned Protestants, have confuted and ridiculed this groundless fable, of which more on the Apocalypse. It may suffice to observe here that antichrist, is to be one particular man, not so many different men. That he is to come a little while before the day of judgment. The he will make himself be adored, and pretend to be God. What pope did so? That he will pretend to be Christ, &c. (Witham) --- St. Augustine (de Civ. Dei. book xx. chap. 19.) says, that an attack would be made at one and the same time against the Roman empire and the Church. The Roman empire subsists as yet, in Germany, though much weakened and reduced. The Roman Catholic Church, notwithstanding all its losses, and the apostacy of many of its children, has always remained the same. (Calmet) The two special signs of the last day will be a general revolt, and the manifestation of antichrist, both of which are so dependent on each other, that St. Augustine makes but one of both. What presumptive folly in Calvin and other modern reformers, to oppose the universal sentiments of the fathers both of the Latin and Greek Church! What inconsistency, to give such forced interpretations, not only widely different from the expositions of sound antiquity, but also widely different from each other! The Church of God, with her head, strong in the promises of Jesus Christ, will persevere to the end, frustra circumlatrantibus hæreticis. (St. Augustine, de util cred. chap. xvii.) --- In the temple. Either that of Jerusalem, which some think he will rebuild; or in some Christian Church, which he will pervert to his own worship; as Mahomet has done with the churches of the east. (Challoner)



Nisi venerit discessio primum, Greek: e apostasia. St. Jerome (Ep. ad Algasiam. q. 11. t. 4. p. 209) Greek: Apostasia, inquit....ut omnes Gentes, quæ Rom. Imperio subjacent, recedant ab eis.



St. John Chrysostom (Greek: log. d. p. 235) says that by these words, you know what hindereth, is probably understood the Roman empire, &c. and Tertullian (lib. de Resur. Carnis. chap. xxiv. p. 340) on those words, till taken out of the way, donec de medio fiat, Quis nisi Romanorum status?



St. John Chrysostom (Greek: log. g. p. 232) Greek: ti estin e apostasia autoi kalei ton Antichriston. See Theodoret on this place.



St. Cyril of Jerusalem (Cat. xv) says, this apostacy is from the true faith and good works: Greek: aute estin e apostasia. St. Anselm and others mention both expositions, i.e. from the Roman empire, or from the faith.



St. Augustine: Ego prorsus quid dixerit, me fateor ignorare....suspiciones tamen hominum, quas vel audire, vel legere potui, non tacebo, &c. Quidam putant hoc de Imperio dictum esse Romano, &c.



Greek: O anthropos tes amartias, o uios tes apoleias, o antikeimenos, &c. ille homo peccati, ille filius perditionis: the Greek articles sufficiently denote a particular man.

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on 2 Thessalonians 2:3". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https: 1859.

Mark Dunagan Commentary on the Bible

2 Thessalonians 2:3 “let no man beguile you in any wise: for it will not be, except the falling away come first, and the man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition”

“Let no man beguile you”: To seduce wholly, to beguile and deceive. “In any wise”: “Whatever he may say” (Mof). “Paul broadens the warning to go beyond conversation and letter. He includes ‘tricks’ of any kind” (Robertson p. 49). This warning infers that Christians can be deceived and they can be badly or wholly deceived. Deception is a constant foe that the child of God must battle (1 Corinthians 6:9; Ephesians 5:6). “For it will not be”: That is, Jesus" coming and our being gathered to Him (2:1). “Except”: “Unless” (NASV). “Until” (Wms). “The falling away”: Defection from truth (properly, the state) apostasy, falling away, to forsake the faith.

The New Testament contains a number of verses that predict a coming apostasy that would come upon the church after the days of the apostles (Acts 20:30-31; 1 Timothy 4:1-3; 2 Timothy 4:2-4). In view of this fact certain points should be highlighted, the present reality in the denominational world proves the accuracy of the Bible. For we find many groups which profess that they are "Christian" who do not follow or teach what Jesus and the apostles taught. The fact that many professed Christians have not even done what is necessary to be saved, and that most churches have no connection with the Lord"s church should not shock the person who has read their New Testament (Matthew 7:21-23). The condition of the modern denominational world is exactly what the Bible said would happen.

“The man of sin”: “Of whom sin is the special characteristic” (Robertson p. 50). “The better manuscripts read ‘man of lawlessness’. However, the difference in meaning between the two terms is not great. Lawlessness must be understood as failure to conform to the law of God, and this is what sin is (cf. 1 John 3:4). In the last resort sin is the refusal to be ruled by God” (Morris p. 220). “For he sins and leads others to sin, for he will cause himself and others to be destroyed” (Denton Lectureship p. 250). “Be revealed”: “Whether the crowning even of the apostasy or another name for the same event” (Robertson p. 50).

“Son of perdition”: “Doomed to perdition” (NEB). “A man doomed to eternal misery” (Thayer p. 191). Quite a bit of misinformation exists concerning the man of sin in the religious world. Some view him as a superhuman personification of evil or the devil incarnated, yet the phrase "son of perdition" is elsewhere used in the Bible in reference to ordinary human beings (John 17:12; Ephesians 2:1-3). Many try to argue that this is "The Anti-Christ". Fields notes, “We hear lots of preaching about THE antichrist. But John makes it rather clear that antichrist is not one supremely evil person, but that anyone who denies that Jesus is the Christ--is antichrist (1 John 2:18; 1 John 2:22; 1 John 4:3). Many people have been taught that this individual is revealed right before or very soon before Jesus comes, yet nothing in the text indicates that. Again, let it be noted that the popular doctrine of Premillennialism has this individual existing after the church is gathered to Jesus. In contrast, Paul taught that the apostasy and the “man of sin” would happen before Jesus came and Christians were gathered to Him (2:1).

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Dunagan, Mark. "Commentary on 2 Thessalonians 2:3". "Mark Dunagan Commentaries on the Bible". https: 1999-2014.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

no man = not (App-105) any one (App-123)

deceive. Greek. exaptao. See Romans 7:11.

by any means. Literally according to (App-104) no (Greek. medeis) way. A double negative for emphasis.

for = because.

except = if (App-118) . . . not (App-105).

a = the.

falling away = apostasy. Greek. apostasia. Only here and Acts 21:21.

that = the.

man. App-123.

sin. App-128. Some texts read III. 4, as 2 Thessalonians 2:7.

be revealed. App-106.

son. App-108.

perdition. See John 17:12. Revelation 17:8, Revelation 17:11.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on 2 Thessalonians 2:3". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https: 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

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.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 2 Thessalonians 2:3". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https: 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(3) Let no man . . . by any means.—“Whatever device they may adopt—spirit, letter, or what not—they are deceivers or deceived; do not be duped by them.” The form of warning is a mark of St. Paul’s style. (Comp. 1 Corinthians 3:18; Ephesians 5:6)

For . . . except.—The words between are rightly supplied in our version. Probably, St. Paul’s first intention was to turn 2 Thessalonians 2:5 differently, as, for instance:” For, except that Man of Sin, &c, ye remember that I told you the day would not come.” The length of the sentence made him break off (as he often does) without regard for grammatical completeness.

A falling away.—A great change in the purpose of the sentence will be felt directly “the” is substituted for “a.” Only one insignificant MS. omits the definite article; the same article in our version is vigorously rendered “that” before “man of sin.” In both cases the purpose is by no means to utter a new, strange prophecy, or to add to the knowledge of the readers, but to remind them of careful teaching given during the first few weeks after their conversion. “That falling away” must undoubtedly imply that the persons so apostatising had formerly held (or, perhaps, still professed to hold) the Christian faith: men cannot fall from ground which they never occupied. This vast and dreadful Apostasy (see Luke 18:8), so clearly and prominently taught of to the ancient Church, and so mysterious to us, is further defined by the following words, as the Apocalypse or Manifestation of the Man of Sin. Of this revelation of Antichrist the same word (apocalypsis) is used which is often used of Christ, as, e.g., 2 Thessalonians 1:7; Luke 17:30; and thrice in St. Peter; so that we may expect to recognise him when he comes as clearly as we shall recognise Christ. The conception of the Antichrist is not merely that of an opponent of the Christ, but of a rival Christ: there is a hideous parallelism between the two.

That man of sin.—It is not absolutely certain from the Greek, but the context makes it tolerably clear that the “Man of Sin” is the head and centre of the Apostasy itself, and does not form a separate movement from it. The “Man of Sin,” then, will have at one time formed (or will still profess to form) part of the Christian Church, and the Apostasy will culminate in him. Thus, for instance, the requirements of the passage would not be fulfilled by (with Hammond) interpreting the Apostasy to mean the early Gnostic movement, followed up by the independent appearance of Nero as the Man of Sin. The phrase, “the Man of Sin,” might, perhaps, be only a poetical personification of a movement, or of a class of men, or of a succession of men (as, e.g., Psalms 89:22; Revelation 2:20; Revelation 17:3); but the analogy of the parallel passages in Daniel 8, 11 leads rather to the supposition that St. Paul looked for the coming of some actual individual man who should be the impersonation of the movement of Apostasy. The genitive (see Note on 1 Thessalonians 1:3) is like a forcible epithet:” A man so wicked that, bad as other men are, wickedness should be his mark by which he is distinguished from all others; a man who belongs to sin, in whom the ideal of sin has become realised and incarnate.” What kind of sin will be most prominent in him is not expressed in the word itself; but the context points clearly to that which is, in fact, the crowning sin—spiritual pride and rebellious arrogancy (Ephesians 6:12).

The son of perdition.—The phrase which is used, in John 17:12, of the false Apostle; it suits well with the description of the Man of Sin, who, like Judas, will have “fallen away” from high Christian privileges: according to one popular interpretation, like Judas, from the privileges of the Apostolate itself. The expression signifies one who belongs by natural ties to perdition—who from his very birth chooses evil, and in such a sense may be said to be born to be lost (Matthew 26:24; 2 Peter 2:12). Both his malignity and his doom are thus implied in it.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on 2 Thessalonians 2:3". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https: 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

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;
no man
Matthew 24:4-6; 1 Corinthians 6:9; Ephesians 5:6
1 Timothy 4:1-3; 2 Timothy 3:1-3; 4:3,4
8-10; Daniel 7:25; 1 John 2:18; Revelation 13:11-18
the son
John 17:12; Revelation 17:8,11

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Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 2 Thessalonians 2:3". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https:

The Bible Study New Testament

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).

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These files are public domain.

Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on 2 Thessalonians 2:3". "The Bible Study New Testament". https: College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.

Lectionary Calendar
Saturday, October 24th, 2020
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
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