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THE SECOND EPISTLE TO THE THESSALONIANS - Chapter 2 - Verse 1

 

2nd Thessalonians CHAPTER II.

 

ANALYSIS OF THE CHAPTER,

THE main object of this chapter is to correct an erroneous impression which had been made on the minds of the Thessalonians respecting the second coming of the Saviour, either by his own former letter, or by one forged in his name. They had received the impression that that event was about to take place. This belief had produced an unhappy effect on their minds, 2 Th 2:2. It became, therefore, necessary to state the truth on the subject, in order to free their minds from alarm; and this purpose of the apostle leads to one of the most important prophecies in the New Testament:

The chapter comprises the following points:—

I. An exhortation that they would not be alarmed or distressed by the expectation of the speedy coming of the Saviour, 2 Th 2:1,2.

II. A statement of the truth that he would not soon appear, and of the characteristics of a great apostasy which must intervene before his advent, 2 Th 2:3-12.

In this part of the chapter, the apostle shows that he did not mean to teach that that event would soon happen, by stating that before that, there would occur a most melancholy apostasy, which would require a considerable time before it was matured.

(a.) That day would not come until there should be a great apostasy, and a revelation of the man of sin, 2 Th 2:3.

(b.) The character of this man of sin was to be such that it could not be mistaken: he would be opposed to God; would exalt himself above all that is called God; and would sit in the temple showing himself as God, 2 Th 2:4.

(c.) There was a restraint then exercised which prevented the development of the great apostasy. There were indeed causes then at work which would lead to it, but they were then held in check, and God would restrain them until some future time, when he would suffer the man of sin to be revealed, 2 Th 2:5-7.

(d.) When that time should come, then that "wicked" one would be revealed, with such marks that he could not be mistaken. His coming would be after the working of Satan, with power and signs and lying wonders, and under him there would be strong delusion, and the belief of a lie, 2 Th 2:8-12. This great foe of God was to be destroyed by the coming of the Saviour, and one object of his appearing would be to put an end to his dominion, 2 Th 2:8.

III. The apostle then says, that there was occasion for thankfulness to God that he had chosen them to salvation, and not left them to be destroyed, 2 Th 2:13,14.

IV. An exhortation to stand fast, and to maintain what they had been taught, (2 Th 2:15;) and a prayer that God, who had given them a good hope, would comfort their hearts, closes the chapter, 2 Th 2:16,17.

Verse 1. Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The phrase "by the coming," is not here, as our translators seem to have supposed, a form of solemn adjuration. It is not common, if it ever occurs, in the Scriptures, to make a solemn adjuration in view of an event, and the connection here demands that we give to the phrase a different sense. It means, respecting his coming; and the idea of Paul is, "In regard to that great event of which I spoke to you in my former epistle—the coming of the Saviour—I beseech you not to be troubled, as if it were soon to happen." As his views had been misunderstood or misrepresented, he now proposes to show them that there was nothing in the true doctrine which should create alarm, as if he were about to appear.

And by our gathering together unto him. There is manifest allusion here to what is said in the first epistle, 1 Th 4:17, "then we shall be caught up together with them in the clouds;" and the meaning is, "In reference to our being gathered unto him, I beseech you not to be shaken in mind, as if that event were near."

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