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THE SECOND EPISTLE TO THE THESSALONIANS - Chapter 2 - Verse 8

Verse 8. And then shall that Wicked be revealed. o anomov, "the wicked one," referring to the "man of sin," and called "the wicked one" because of the eminent depravity of the system of which he was to be the head. See Barnes "2 Th 2:3".

 

Whom the Lord shall consume. The Lord Jesus. See Barnes "Ac 1:24".

The word consume here analwsei means to destroy. See Gal 5:15; Lu 9:54. The word would be applicable to any kind of destruction. The methods by which this will be done are immediately specified—and it is of much importance to understand them, if this refers to the Papacy.

With the spirit of his mouth. What goes out of his mouth, or what he speaks; that is word, truth, command, or gospel—all of which he may be regarded as speaking. In Re 1:16; 19:16,21, it is said of the Redeemer that "a sharp two-edged sword goeth out of his mouth" that is, his word, doctrine, or command—what he speaks —is like a sharp sword. It will cut deep; will lay open the heart; will destroy his enemies. Comp. Isa 11:4, "With the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked." The reference in the passage before us is one of the methods which would be employed to "destroy" the man of sin; and the sense is, that it would be by what is spoken by the Redeemer. This may refer either to what he will say at his coming, or to his truth—already spoken; to what has gone from his lips, by whomsoever uttered; and the meaning then is, that one of the grand agencies for destroying this antichristian power is the truth spoken or revealed by the Saviour—that is, his pure gospel. If this latter be the true interpretation, it may mean that the process for his destruction may have commenced long anterior to the personal appearing of the Redeemer, but that the complete destruction of this power will be accomplished by the splendour of his Second Advent. It cannot be denied, however, that the most obvious interpretation is that which refers both clauses in the sentence to the same period—that of his second coming. Still, it is not improper to suppose that it may be implied that his power will be weakened and diminished by the influence of the gospel, though it may not be wholly destroyed until the second coming of the Saviour.

And shall destroy. katarghsei. Shall bring to naught; cause to cease; put an end to. This is, in some respects, a stronger word than that which in the former part of the verse is rendered consume. It denotes a more entire destruction than that, though it does not refer so much to any positive agency by which it will be done. In the former word, the attention is directed more to the agency by which the destruction will be effected —to the exertion of some kind of power to do it; in this word the attention is directed rather to the entireness or totality of the destruction. The antichristian domination will wholly cease, or be entirely destroyed. The words would naturally harmonize with the idea that there would be a somewhat gradual process under the operation of truth toward the destruction of the man of sin, but that the complete annihilation of his power would be by some more manifest exhibition of the personal glory of the Saviour.

With the brightness of his coming. This is evidently a Hebraism, meaning his splendid or glorious appearing. The Greek word, however, rendered "brightness"—(epifaneia, epiphany)—means merely an appearing, or appearance. So it is used in 1 Ti 6:14; 2 Ti 1:10; 4:1,8; Tit 2:13, in all which places it is rendered appearing, and refers to the manifestation of the Saviour when he shall come to judge the world. It is used nowhere else in the New Testament. There is no necessary idea of splendour in the word; and the idea is not, as our translation would seem to convey, that there would be such a dazzling light, or such unsufferable brightness, that all would be consumed before it, but that he would appear, and that this antichristian power would be destroyed by his appearing: that is, by himself when he would return. The agency in doing it would not be his brightness, but himself. It would seem to follow from this, that however this enormous power of wickedness might be weakened by truth, the final triumph over it would be reserved for the Son of God himself on his second return to our world. Yet, if this be so, it need not lessen our zeal in endeavouring to diminish the power of these corruptions; to establish and spread the truth; or to convert the defenders of these errors to a better faith.

{a} "consume" Da 7:10,11 {b} "spirit" Isa 11:4; Re 19:15,21

{c} "destroy" Heb 10:27

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