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2. The Man of Lawlessness

Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, 2That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. 3Let 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; 4Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. 5Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? 6And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. 7For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. 8And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: 9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, 10And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: 12That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

13But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: 14Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. 15Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle. 16Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, 17Comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work.

8 And then will be revealed — that is, when that impediment (τὸ κατέχον) shall be removed; for he does not point out the time of revelation as being when he, who now holds the supremacy, will be taken out of the way, but he has an eye to what he had said before. For he had said that there was some hindrance in the way of Antichrist’s entering upon an open possession of the kingdom. He afterwards added, that he was already hatching a secret work of impiety. In the third place, he has interspersed consolation, on the ground that this tyranny would come to an end. 661661     “Que sa tyrannie deuoit prendre fin quelque fois;” — “That his tyranny must at some time have an end.” He now again repeats, that he 662662     “Ce fils de perdition;” — “This son of perdition.” who was as yet hidden, would be revealed in his time; and the repetition is with this view — that believers, being furnished with spiritual armor, may, nevertheless, fight vigorously under Christ, 663663     “Sous l’enseigne de Christ;” — “Under Christ’s banner.” and not allow themselves to be overwhelmed, although the deluge of impiety should thus overspread. 664664     “Si outrageusement;” — “So outrageously.”

Whom the Lord. He had foretold the destruction of Antichrist’s reign; he now points out the manner of his destruction — that he will be reduced to nothing by the word of the Lord. It is uncertain, however, whether he speaks of the last appearance of Christ, when he will be manifested from heaven as the Judge. The words, indeed, seem to have this meaning, but Paul does not mean that Christ would accomplish this 665665     “Cela tout;” — “All this.” in one moment. Hence we must understand it in this sense — that Antichrist would be wholly and in every respect destroyed, 666666     “Descomfit;” — “Defeated.” when that final day of the restoration of all things shall arrive. Paul, however, intimates that Christ will in the mean time, by the rays which he will emit previously to his advent, put to flight the darkness in which Antichrist will reign, just as the sun, before he is seen by us, chases away the darkness of the night by the pouring forth of his rays. 667667     “Estendant la vertu de ses rayons tout a l’enuiron;” — “Diffusing the virtue of his rays all around.”

This victory of the word, therefore, will shew itself in this world, for the spirit of his mouth simply means the word, as it also does in Isaiah 11:4, to which passage Paul seems to allude. For the Prophet there takes in the same sense the scepter of his mouth, and the breath of his lips, and he also furnishes Christ with these very arms, that he may rout his enemies. This is a signal commendation of true and sound doctrine — that it is represented as sufficient for putting an end to all impiety, and as destined to be invariably victorious, in opposition to all the machinations of Satan; as also when, a little afterwards, the proclamation of it is spoken of as Christ’s coming to us.

When Paul adds, the brightness of his coming, he intimates that the light of Christ’s presence will be such as will swallow up the darkness of Antichrist. In the mean time, he indirectly intimates, that Antichrist will be permitted to reign for a time, when Christ has, in a manner, withdrawn, as usually happens, whenever on his presenting himself we turn our back upon him. And, undoubtedly, that is a sad departure 668668     “Vn triste et pitoyable department;” — “A sad and lamentable departure.” of Christ, when he has taken away his light from men, which has been improperly and unworthily received, 669669     “Laquelle ils auoyent reiettee ou receué irreueremment, et autrement qu’il n’appartenoit;” — “Which they had rejected or received irreverently, and otherwise than was befitting.” in accordance with what follows. In the mean time Paul teaches, that by his presence alone all the elect of God will be abundantly safe, in opposition to all the subtleties of Satan.


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