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Word Pictures in the New Testament
(2 Thessalonians: Chapter 2)

2:1 {Touching the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ} (\huper tēs
parousias tou Kuriou (hēmōn) Iēsou Christou\)
. For \erōtōmen\, to
beseech, see on ¯1Th 4:1; 4:12. \Huper\ originally meant over,
in behalf of, instead of, but here it is used like \peri\,
around, concerning as in 1:4; 1Th 3:2; 5:10, common in the
papyri (Robertson, _Grammar_, p. 632). For the distinction
between \Parousia, Epiphaneia\ (Epiphany), and \Apokalupsis\
(Revelation) as applied to the Second Coming of Christ see
Milligan on _Thessalonian Epistles_, pp. 145-151, in the light of
the papyri. \Parousia\ lays emphasis on the {presence} of the
Lord with his people, \epiphaneia\ on his {manifestation} of the
power and love of God, \apokalupsis\ on the {revelation} of God's
purpose and plan in the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus. {And our
gathering together unto him}
(\kai hēmōn episunagōgēs ep'
. A late word found only in II Macc. 2:7; 2Th 2:1; Heb
10:25 till Deissmann (_Light from the Ancient East_, p. 103)
found it on a stele in the island of Syme, off Caria, meaning
"collection." Paul is referring to the rapture, mentioned in 1Th
4:15-17, and the being forever with the Lord thereafter. Cf.
also Mt 24:31; Mr 13:27.

2:2 {To the end that} (\eis to\). One of Paul's favourite idioms
for purpose, \eis to\ and the infinitive. {Ye be not quickly
(\mē tacheōs saleuthēnai humas\). First aorist passive
infinitive of \saleuō\, old verb to agitate, to cause to totter
like a reed (Mt 11:7), the earth (Heb 12:26). Usual negative
\mē\ and accusative of general reference \humas\ with the
infinitive. {From your mind} (\apo tou noos\). Ablative case of
nous, mind, reason, sober sense, "from your witte" (Wyclif), to
"keep their heads." {Nor yet be troubled} (\mēde throeisthai\).
Old verb \throeō\, to cry aloud (from \throos\, clamour, tumult),
to be in a state of nervous excitement (present passive
infinitive, as if it were going on)
, "a continued state of
agitation following the definite shock received (\saleuthēnai\)"
(Milligan). {Either by spirit} (\mēte dia pneumatos\). By
ecstatic utterance (1Th 5:10). The nervous fear that the coming
was to be at once prohibited by \mēde\ Paul divides into three
sources by \mēte, mēte, mēte\. No individual claim to divine
revelation (the gift of prophecy) can justify the statement. {Or
by word}
(\mēte dia logou\). Oral statement of a conversation
with Paul (Lightfoot) to this effect {as from us}. An easy way to
set aside Paul's first Epistle by report of a private remark from
Paul. {Or by epistle as from us} (\mēte di' epistolēs hōs di'
. In 1Th 4:13-5:3 Paul had plainly said that Jesus would
come as a thief in the night and had shown that the dead would
not be left out in the rapture. But evidently some one claimed to
have a private epistle from Paul which supported the view that
Jesus was coming at once, {as that the day of the Lord is now
(\hōs hoti enestēken hē hēmera tou kuriou\). Perfect
active indicative of \enistēmi\, old verb, to place in, but
intransitive in this tense to stand in or at or near. So "is
imminent" (Lightfoot). The verb is common in the papyri. In 1Co
3:22; Ro 8:38 we have a contrast between \ta enestōta\, the
things present, and \ta mellonta\, the things future (to come).
The use of \hōs hoti\ may be disparaging here, though that is not
true in 2Co 5:19. In the _Koinē_ it comes in the vernacular to
mean simply "that" (Moulton, _Proleg_., p. 212), but that hardly
seems the case in the N.T. (Robertson, _Grammar_, p. 1033). Here
it means "to wit that," though "as that" or "as if" does not miss
it much. Certainly it flatly denies that by conversation or by
letter he had stated that the second coming was immediately at
hand. "It is this misleading assertion that accounts both for the
increased discouragement of the faint-hearted to encourage whom
Paul writes 1:3-2:17, and for the increased meddlesomeness of
the idle brethren to warn whom Paul writes 3:1-18" (Frame). It
is enough to give one pause to note Paul's indignation over this
use of his name by one of the over-zealous advocates of the view
that Christ was coming at once. It is true that Paul was still
alive, but, if such a "pious fraud" was so common and easily
condoned as some today argue, it is difficult to explain Paul's
evident anger. Moreover, Paul's words should make us hesitate to
affirm that Paul definitely proclaimed the early return of Jesus.
He hoped for it undoubtedly, but he did not specifically proclaim
it as so many today assert and accuse him of misleading the early
Christians with a false presentation.

2:3 {Let no man beguile you in any wise} (\mē tis humas
exapatēsēi kata mēdena tropon\)
. First aorist active subjunctive
of \exapataō\ (old verb to deceive, strengthened form of simple
verb \apataō\)
with double negative (\mē tis, mēdena\) in accord
with regular Greek idiom as in 1Co 16:11 rather than the aorist
imperative which does occur sometimes in the third person as in
Mr 13:15 (\mē 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}
(\hoti\). There is an ellipse here of \ouk estai\ (or
to be supplied after \hoti\. Westcott and Hort make
an anacoluthon at the end of verse 4. The meaning is clear.
\Hoti\ 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 verse 2. {Except the falling away come
(\ean mē elthēi hē apostasia prōton\). Negative condition
of the third class, undetermined with prospect of determination
and the aorist subjunctive. \Apostasia\ is the late form of
\apostasis\ and is our word apostasy. Plutarch uses it of
political revolt and it occurs in I Macc. 2:15 about Antiochus
Epiphanes who was enforcing the apostasy from Judaism to
Hellenism. In Jos 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 (\hē\) seems to mean that
Paul had spoken to the Thessalonians about it. The only other New
Testament use of the word is in Ac 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} (\prōton\) before
Christ comes again. Note this adverb when only two events are
compared (cf. Ac 1:1). {And the man of sin be revealed, the son
of perdition}
(\kai apokaluphthēi ho anthrōpos tēs anomias, ho
huios tēs apōleias\)
. First aorist passive subjunctive after \ean
mē\ and same condition as with \elthēi\. The use of this verb
\apokaluptō\, like \apokalupsin\ of the second coming in 1:7,
seems to note the superhuman character (Milligan) of the event
and the same verb is repeated in verses 6,8. 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 (2Co
, 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 verse 8)
and Christ.
Both Christ and the adversary of Christ are revealed, there is
mystery about each, both make divine claims (verse 4). He seems
to be the Antichrist of 1Jo 2:18. The terrible phrase, the son
of perdition, is applied to Judas in Joh 17:12 (like Judas
doomed to perdition)
, but here to the lawless one (\ho anomos\,
verse 8)
, who is not Satan, but some one definite person who is
doing the work of Satan. Note the definite article each time.

2:4 {He that opposeth and exalteth himself} (\ho antikeimenos kai
. Like John's Antichrist this one opposes
(\anti-\) Christ and exalts himself (direct middle of
\huperairō\, old verb to lift oneself up {above} others, only
here and 2Co 12:7 in N.T.)
, but not Satan, but an agent of
Satan. This participial clause is in apposition with the two
preceding phrases, the man of sin, the son of perdition. Note
1Co 8:5 about one called God and Ac 17:23 for \sebasma\ (from
, object of worship, late word, in N.T. only in these
two passages. {So that he sitteth in the temple of God} (\hōste
auton eis ton naon tou theou kathisai\)
. Another example of the
infinitive with \hōste\ for result. Caius Caligula had made a
desperate attempt to have his statue set up for worship in the
Temple in Jerusalem. This incident may lie behind Paul's language
here. {Setting himself forth as God} (\apodeiknunta heauton hoti
estin theos\)
. Present active participle (\mi\ form) of
\apodeiknumi\, agreeing in case with \auton\, {showing himself
that he is God}
. Caligula claimed to be God. Moffatt doubts if
Paul is identifying this deception with the imperial cultus at
this stage. Lightfoot thinks that the deification of the Roman
emperor supplied Paul's language here. Wetstein notes a coin of
Julius with \theos\ on one side and \Thessalonikeōn\ on the
other. In 1Jo 2:18 we are told of "many antichrists" some of
whom had already come. Hence it is not clear that Paul has in
mind only one individual or even individuals at all rather than
evil principles, for in verse 6 he speaks of \to katechon\
(that which restraineth) while in verse 7 it is \ho katechōn\
(the one that restraineth). Frame argues for a combination of
Belial and Antichrist as the explanation of Paul's language. But
the whole subject is left by Paul in such a vague form that we
can hardly hope to clear it up. It is possible that his own
preaching while with them gave his readers a clue that we do not

2:5 {When I was yet with you} (\eti ōn pros humas\). The present
participle takes the time of the verb \elegon\ (imperfect
, {I used to tell you these things}. So Paul recalls their
memory of his words and leaves us without the clue to his idea.
We know that one of the charges against him was that Jesus was
another king, a rival to Caesar (Ac 17:7). That leads one to
wonder how far Paul went when there in contrasting the kingdom of
the world of which Rome was ruler and the kingdom of God of which
Christ is king. Frame notes Paul's abrupt question here "with an
unfinished sentence behind him" (verses 3f.), even "with a
trace of impatience."

2:6 {That which restraineth} (\to katechon\). {And now you know}
(\kai nun oidate\), says Paul in this cryptic apocalyptic
passage. Unfortunately we do not know what Paul means by {that
which restrains}
(holds back, \katechon\), neuter here and
masculine in verse 7 \ho katechōn\. "This impersonal principle
or power is capable also of manifesting itself under a personal
form" (Milligan). "He is Satan's messiah, an infernal caricature
of the true Messiah" (Moffatt). Warfield (_Expositor_, III, iv,
pp. 30ff.)
suggested that the man of lawlessness is the imperial
line with its rage for deification and that the Jewish state was
the restraining power. But God overrules all human history and
his ultimate purpose is wrought out. {To the end that} (\eis
. Another example of \eis to\ and the infinitive for purpose.
{In his own season} (\en tōi autou kairōi\). Note \autou\ (his),
not \heautou\ (his own), {revealed in his time}, in the time set
him by God.

2:7 {For the mystery of lawlessness doth already work} (\to gar
mustērion ēdē energeitai tēs anomias\)
. See 1Th 2:13 for
\energeitai\. The genitive \tēs anomias\ (lawlessness) describes
\to mustērion\ (note emphatic position of both). This mystery
(\mustērion\ secret, from \mustēs\, an initiate, \mueō\, to wink
or blink)
means here the secret purpose of lawlessness already at
work, the only instance of this usage in the N.T. where it is
used of the kingdom of God (Mt 13:11), of God (1Co 2:1) and
God's will (Eph 1:9), of Christ (Eph 3:4), of the gospel
(Eph 6:9), of faith (1Ti 3:9), of godliness (1Ti 3:16), of
the seven stars (Re 1:20), of the woman (Re 17:7). But this
secret will be "revealed" and then we shall understand clearly
what Paul's meaning is here. {Until he be taken out of the way}
(\heōs ek mesou genētai\). Usual construction with \heōs\ for the
future (aorist middle subjunctive, \genētai\). Note absence of
\an\ as often in N.T. and the \Koinē\. Paul uses \heōs\ only here
and 1Co 4:5. When the obstacle is removed then the mystery of
lawlessness will be revealed in plain outline.

2:8 {And then} (\kai tote\). Emphatic note of time, {then} when
the restraining one (\ho katechōn\) is taken out of the way, then
\the lawless one\ (\ho anomos\), the man of sin, the man of
perdition, will be revealed. {Whom the Lord [Jesus] shall slay}
(\hon ho kurios [Iēsous] anelei\). Whether Jesus is genuine or
not, he is meant by Lord. \Anelei\ is a late future from
\anaireō\, in place of \anairēsei\. Paul uses Isa 11:4
(combining {by the word of his mouth} with {in breath through
to picture the triumph of Christ over this adversary. It
is a powerful picture how the mere breath of the Lord will
destroy this arch-enemy (Milligan). {And bring to naught by the
manifestation of his coming}
(\kai katargēsei tēi epiphaneiāi tēs
parousias autou\)
. This verb \katargeō\ (\kata, argos\) to render
useless, rare in ancient Greek, appears 25 times in Paul and has
a variety of renderings. In the papyri it has a weakened sense of
hinder. It will be a grand fiasco, this advent of the man of sin.
Paul here uses both \epiphaneia\ (\epiphany\, elsewhere in N.T.
in the Pastorals, familiar to the Greek mind for a visit of a
and \parousia\ (more familiar to the Jewish mind, but common
in the papyri)
of the second coming of Christ. "The apparition of
Jesus heralds his doom" (Moffatt). The mere appearance of Christ
destroys the adversary (Vincent).

2:9 {Whose coming is} (\hou estin hē parousia\). Refers to \hon\
in verse 8. The Antichrist has his \parousia\ also. Deissmann
(_Light from the Ancient East_, pp. 374, 378) notes an
inscription at Epidaurus in which "Asclepius manifested his
\Parousia\." Antiochus Epiphanes is called _the manifest god_
(III Macc. 5:35). So the two Epiphanies coincide. {Lying wonders}
(\terasin pseudous\). "In wonders of a lie." Note here the three
words for the miracles of Christ (Heb 2:4), power (\dunamis\),
signs (\sēmeia\), wonders (\terata\), but all according to the
working of Satan (\kata energeian tou Satana\, the energy of
just as Jesus had foretold (Mt 24:24), wonders that
would almost lead astray the very elect.

2:10 {With all deceit of unrighteousness} (\en pasēi apatēi
. This pastmaster of trickery will have at his command
all the energy and skill of Satan to mislead and deceive. How
many illustrations lie along the pathway of Christian history.
{For them that are perishing} (\tois apollumenois\). Dative case
of personal interest. Note this very phrase in 2Co 2:15; 4:3.
Present middle participle of \appollumi\, to destroy, the
dreadful process goes on. {Because} (\anth' hon\). In return for
which things (\anti\ and the genitive of the relative pronoun).
Same idiom in Lu 1:20; 12:3; 19:44; Ac 12:23 and very common in
the LXX. {The love of the truth} (\tēn agapēn tēs alētheias\).
That is the gospel in contrast with _lying_ and _deceit_. {That
they might be saved}
(\eis to sōthēnai autous\). First aorist
passive infinitive of \sōzō\ with \eis to\, again, epexegetic
purpose of {the truth} if they had heeded it.

2:11 {And for this reason God sendeth them} (\kai dia touto
pempei autois ho theos\)
. Futuristic (prophetic) present of the
time when the lawless one is revealed. Here is the definite
judicial act of God (Milligan) who gives the wicked over to the
evil which they have deliberately chosen (Ro 1:24,26,28). {A
working of error}
(\energeian planēs\). Terrible result of wilful
rejection of the truth of God. {That they should believe a lie}
(\eis to pisteusai autous tōi pseudei\). Note \eis to\ again and
\tōi pseudei\ (the lie, the falsehood already described), a
contemplated result. Note Ro 1:25 "who changed the truth of God
into the lie."

2:12 {That they all might be judged} (\hina krithōsin pantes\).
First aorist passive subjunctive of \krinō\, to sift, to judge,
with \hina\. Ultimate purpose, almost result, of the preceding
obstinate resistance to the truth and "the judicial infatuation
which overtakes them" (Lightfoot), now final punishment.
Condemnation is involved in the fatal choice made. These victims
of the man of sin did not believe the truth and found pleasure in

2:13 See 1:3 for same beginning. {Beloved of the Lord}
(\ēgapēmenoi hupo kuriou\). Perfect passive participle of
\agapaō\ with \hupo\ and the ablative as in 1Th 1:4, only here
\kuriou\ instead of \theou\, the Lord Jesus rather than God the
Father. {Because that God chose you} (\hoti heilato humas ho
. First aorist middle indicative of \haireō\, to take, old
verb, but uncompounded only in N.T. here, Php 1:22; Heb 11:25,
and here only in sense of {choose}, that being usually
\exaireomai\ or \proorizō\. {From the beginning} (\ap' archēs\).
Probably the correct text (Aleph D L) and not \aparchēn\ (first
fruits, B G P)
, though here alone in Paul's writings and a hard
reading, the eternal choice or purpose of God (1Co 2:7; Eph 1:4;
2Ti 1:9)
, while \aparchēn\ is a favourite idea with Paul (1Co
15:20,23; 16:15; Ro 8:23; 11:16; 16:5)
. {Unto salvation} (\eis
. The ultimate goal, final salvation. {In
sanctification of the Spirit}
(\en hagiasmōi pneumatos\).
Subjective genitive \pneumatos\, sanctification wrought by the
Holy Spirit. {And belief of the truth} (\kai pistei alētheias\).
Objective genitive \alētheias\, belief in the truth.

2:14 {Whereunto} (\eis ho\). The goal, that is the final
salvation (\sōtēria\). Through our gospel (\dia tou euaggeliou
. God called the Thessalonians through Paul's preaching as
he calls men now through the heralds of the Cross as God {chose}
(cf. 1Th 2:12; 5:24). {To the obtaining} (\eis peripoiēsin\).
Probably correct translation rather than possession. See on ¯1Th
5:9, there {of salvation}, here {of glory} (the _shekinah_,
glory of Jesus)

2:15 {So then} (\ara oun\). Accordingly then. The illative \ara\
is supported (Ellicott) by the collective \oun\ as in 1Th 5:6;
Ga 6:10, etc. Here is the practical conclusion from God's
elective purpose in such a world crisis. {Stand fast}
(\stēkete\). Present imperative active of the late present
\stēko\ from \hestēka\ (perfect active of \histēmi\). See on ¯1Th
3:8. {Hold the traditions} (\krateite tas paradoseis\). Present
imperative of \krateō\, old verb, to have masterful grip on a
thing, either with genitive (Mr 1:31) or usually the accusative
as here. \Paradosis\ (tradition) is an old word for what is
handed over to one. Dibelius thinks that Paul reveals his Jewish
training in the use of this word (Ga 1:14), but the word is a
perfectly legitimate one for teaching whether oral, {by word}
(\dia logou\), or written, {by epistle of ours} (\di' epistolēs
. Paul draws here no distinction between oral tradition
and written tradition as was done later. The worth of the
tradition lies not in the form but in the source and the quality
of the content. Paul in 1Co 11:23 says: "I received from the
Lord what I also handed over (\paredōka\) unto you." He praises
them because ye "hold fast the traditions even as I delivered
them unto you." The {tradition} may be merely that of men and so
worthless and harmful in place of the word of God (Mr 7:8; Col
. It all depends. It is easy to scoff at truth as mere
tradition. But human progress in all fields is made by use of the
old, found to be true, in connection with the new if found to be
true. In Thessalonica the saints were already the victims of
theological charlatans with their half-baked theories about the
second coming of Christ and about social duties and relations.
{Which ye were taught} (\has edidachthēte\). First aorist passive
indicative of \didaskō\, to teach, retaining the accusative of
the thing in the passive as is common with this verb like _doceō_
in Latin and teach in English.

2:16 {And God our Father} (\kai [ho] theos ho patēr hēmōn\). It
is uncertain whether the first article \ho\ is genuine as it is
absent in B D. Usually Paul has the Father before Christ except
here, 2Co 13:13; Ga 1:1. {Which loved us} (\ho agapēsas
. This singular articular participle refers to \ho patēr\,
"though it is difficult to see how St. Paul could otherwise have
expressed his thought, if he had intended to refer to the Son, as
well as to the Father. There is probably no instance in St. Paul
of a plural adjective or verb, when the two Persons of the
Godhead are mentioned" (Lightfoot). {Eternal comfort}
(\paraklēsin aiōnian\). Distinct feminine form of \aiōnios\ here
instead of masculine as in Mt 25:46.

2:17 {Comfort and stablish} (\parakalesai kai stērixai\). First
aorist active optative of wish for the future of two common verbs
\parakaleō\ (see on ¯1Th 3:7; 4:18; 5:14) and \sterizō\ (see on
¯1Th 3:2,13)
. God is the God of {comfort} (2Co 1:3-7) and
strength (Ro 1:11; 16:25).

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Word Pictures in the New Testament
(2 Thessalonians: Chapter 2)