SECOND THESSALONIANS CHAPTER TWO

OBSERVATIONS

The purpose of the observation stage is to maintain focus on the text at hand in accordance with the framework in which it was written: a framework which is defined by the normative rules of language, context and logic - rules which do not impose undue, unintended meanings to the text , and which largely limit the observer to the content offered by Paul's second epistle to the Thessalonians and his other writings. In order for any passage from elsewhere to be considered, it must have a relationship with the context at hand, such as a Scriptural quotation or a specific cross reference in the passage at hand by the author. This will serve to avoid going on unnecessary tangents elsewhere; and more importantly, it will provide the framework for a proper and objective comparison with passages located elsewhere in Scripture.

Remember that something elsewhere may be true, but in the text at hand it may not be in view.

Note that information on manuscript evidence is from "THE NEW TESTAMENT TEXT AND TRANSLATION COMMENTARY," by Philip W. Comfort, Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, Carol Stream, IL.

****** EXCERPT FROM 2 THESSALONIANS CHAPTER ONE ******

OR MOVE TO CHAPTER TWO 

[2 Thes 1:6-10]:

(2 Thes 1:3 NKJV) "We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is fitting, because your faith grows exceedingly, and the love of every one of you all abounds toward each other,

(2 Thes 1:4 NKJV) so that we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure,

(2 Thes 1:5 NKJV) which is manifest evidence of the righteous judgment of God that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you also suffer.

(2 Thes 1:6 NKJV) since it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you,

(2 Thes 1:7 NASB) and to give relief to you who are afflicted and to us as well when the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire,

(2 Thes 1:8 YLT) [in flaming fire], giving vengeance to those not knowing God, and to those not obeying the good news of our Lord Jesus Christ;

(2 Thes 1:9 NASB) these will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power,

(2 Thes 1:10 NASB) when He [shall have come] to be glorified in His saints on that day, and to be marveled at among all who have believed - for our testimony to you was believed."

In 2 Thes 1:3-5 Paul stated, "We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is fitting, because your faith grows exceedingly, and the love of every one of you all abounds toward each other, so that we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure, which is manifest evidence of the righteous judgment of God that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you also suffer.

Whereupon in 2 Thes 1:6-10, Paul wrote that not only is it solely God's working to enable the believers of Thessalonica to grow exceedingly in faith, express agape godly love toward one another, and to enable their endurance through all the persecutions and tribulations, all of "which is manifest evidence of the righteous judgment of God that they may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God through the enabling grace of God," (vv. 3-5);

but Paul wrote in verses 6-10, that it is also manifest evidence of the righteous judgment of God as follows:

"since it is [also] a righteous thing with God [in the sense of the manifest evidence of the righteous judgment of God] to repay with tribulation those who trouble you, [the believers of Thesalonica and all believers who are persecuted] and to give relief to you who are afflicted and to us [all believers] as well when the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, giving vengeance to those not knowing God, and to those not obeying the good news of our Lord Jesus Christ [in the sense of not believing in Him for eternal life]; these will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power when He [shall have come] to be glorified in His saints on that Day [the Day of the Lord], and to be marveled at among all who have believed - for our testimony to you was believed."

So according to 2 Thes 1:6-10, there is also "manifest evidence of the righteous judgment of God:"

(1) to repay with tribulation those who troubled the Thessalonian believers;

(2) to give relief to afflicted [all] believers;

(3) to be glorified in His saints on that Day [the Day of the Lord] when the Lord Jesus will be revealed in His Second Coming from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire;

(4) for the Lord Jesus to be marveled at among all believers;

(5) and for the Lord Jesus to bring eternal vengeance and destruction to all unbelievers.

Notice that in 2 Thes 1:5 which reads, "which is manifest evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you also suffer;" and (3) above which reads, "to be glorified in His saints on that Day [the Day of the Lord] when the Lord Jesus will be revealed in His Second Coming from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire;" that the time of this second letter to the church at Thessalonica, neither the Rapture nor the Lord Jesus' Second Coming from heaven had not yet occurred, implying that the believers had not missed the Rapture or the Second Coming. So the persecutions they were experiencing were not part of the tribulation period that would follow the Rapture. Hence Paul reassured them that God had accounted them worthy of the kingdom of God; and that the persecutions they were undergoing were not part of the time of the Day of the Lord and His wrath upon the peoples of the earth.

[Compare Excerpt From Expositor's Bible Commentary On 2 Thes 1:6-10]:

"On the other hand, it is well known how God will pay back those responsible for troubling Christians. They will be repaid proportionately for the suffering they have caused God's people. This is only right ("just") in God's eyes and is the reason this future judgment is called "righteous" (NIV, "right," v. 5). In return, the antagonists will receive "trouble" (thlipsin), a term not further defined at this point. In v. 9 another expression, "everlasting destruction," adds insight into these consequences. Thlipsin is a word often translated "tribulation." It is the present lot of Christians to undergo tribulation (v. 4; 1 Thess 3:4). For the rest of the world, however, tribulation will be future and far greater in intensity (Matt 24:21; cf. Rev 3:10). In his first Epistle to this church, Paul described this period in relation to its source—viz., God's wrath (1:10; 2:16; 5:9). But here he speaks of it from the standpoint of circumstances that engulf the victims. After the period of tribulation has passed, these troublers will be denied entrance into the messianic kingdom that has welcomed the faithful followers of Christ (v. 5; Matt 25:41, 46)."

[Compare Excerpt From Bible Knowledge Commentary On 2 Thes 1:6-10]:

"1:6. Paul explained how the Thessalonians' suffering demonstrated the justice of God. He first stated the great truth taught from Genesis through Revelation: God is just. God will balance the scales of justice. He will mete out trouble (thlipsin; cf. v. 4) to those who troubled (thlibousin) the Thessalonians (cf. Gal. 6:7).

1:7. On the other hand God will give relief from the tensions of trials to those who are unjustly persecuted (lit., "troubled, pressured," thlibomenois; cf. vv. 4, 6) by their enemies. The Thessalonians, the apostles, and all other Christians who share in these pressures can look forward to this. Relief (anesin, "relaxation, rest"; used only five times in the NT: here and in Acts 24:23; 2 Cor. 2:13, 7:5; 8:13) will come at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Paul painted the picture of a veil being removed from in front of Jesus Christ; He will be revealed in blazing fire (cf. Ex. 3:2; 19:18; 24:17; Ps. 18:12; Isa. 30:27-30; 66:15; Dan. 7:9-10). This is the Lord Jesus, the Man in heaven. He will exercise the power then; the Christians' persecutors do so now. Christ's coming will be with His powerful angels; His heavenly servants will be with Him to carry out His bidding. If the Rapture had occurred in Paul's lifetime, the enemies of the Thessalonian believers would have been judged shortly (seven years) thereafter, at Christ's second coming."

1:8. At that time the Lord Jesus Christ will punish two classes of people: those who are ignorant of God (Rom. 1:18-32), and those who... do not obey [= believe in] the gospel (cf. John 3:36). The guilt of those in the latter group is the greater because their privilege is greater. God's judgment is perfectly just. Willful rejection of God's revelation spurns God.

1:9. The destruction to befall both groups is stated in this verse. They will be punished is literally "they will pay a penalty" (dikēn tisousin). For their rejection of God's grace they will experience endless or everlasting ruin (olethron aiōnion). This is "the most express statement in St. Paul's Epistles of the eternity of future punishment" (Edward Headland and Henry B. Swete, The Epistle to the Thessalonians, London: Hatchard, 1863, p. 137). The punishment of the wicked will be neither temporary nor will it be annihilation, but it will continue throughout eternity and those being punished will be conscious. It is eternal death as opposed to eternal life (Matt. 25:46). The nature of the destruction follows in the next phrase.

Separation from the Lord's presence (lit., "face") is the essence of eternal punishment. On the other hand being in the Lord's presence will make heaven heaven. A Christian's hope is to see and be with the Lord; the judgment of unbelievers is to be eternally inaccessible to His presence (cf. Rom. 1:18; 2:5-9; 6:21; Phil. 3:19; 1 Thes. 1:10; 4:17).

The majesty of His power is the visible splendor of the Lord's presence. The Lord's power will be manifest in a majestic display (cf. Rev. 19:11-16). Unbelievers will be forever shut out from the Lord's presence and His power.

1:10. This judgment will take place when the Lord comes back to earth and is glorified through the lives of believers whom He has transformed by making saints out of sinners. This is not the Rapture (1 Thes. 4:13-18; John 14:2-3), for no judgment accompanies the Rapture. Instead, it is the revelation of Jesus Christ in power and great glory (Ps. 2:1-9; Matt. 25:31), when He will set up His earthly kingdom (Rev. 19:11-20:4). At His return He will destroy the Armageddon armies gathered against Him (Rev. 16:12-16; 19:19-21) and will then judge living Jews (Ezek. 20:33-38) and living Gentiles (Matt. 24:31-46). These judgments are the ones just described (2 Thes. 1:9).
The exact date of His return is not given, of course, but it will be a day of judgment for the lost and a day of glory and marveling for believers. Christ will be "glorified in" (not by) His saints, that is, His glory will be mirrored in them. Christians will marvel in that they will admire their Lord for what He has done in them. All believers will marvel—not just those living on the earth and those resurrected when Christ returns, but also those who return to earth with Him, those who had been caught up to be with the Lord at the Rapture.

This group, Paul pointed out, would include the Thessalonian believers to whom he wrote this epistle. Because they believed Paul's testimony they would share in this great day. Such a hope should strengthen any believer who might be buckling under the pressure of persecution by unbelievers (v. 4). This glimpse into the future undoubtedly encouraged Paul's readers and it should encourage believers in their trials today."

[2 Thes 1:11-12]:

(2 Thes 1:11 NKJV) "Therefore we also pray always for you that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of His goodness and the work of faith with power,

(2 Thes 1:12 NASB) so that the name of our Lord Jesus will be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ."

[(2 Thes 1:12) Manuscript Evidence For 2 Thes 1:12]:

(2 Thes 1:12 NASB) "so that the name of our Lord Jesus will be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ."

WH, NU, Sinaiticus, B, D, L, Psi, 0111, it(b) cop(sa) have "the name of our Lord Jesus"

TR, A, F, G, P, 0278, 33, 1739, syr have "the name of our Lord Jesus Christ"

The documentary evidence for the WH, NU reading is superior to that of the TR, not to mention that the variant is probably the result of scribal assimilation to the next clause of this verse, which reads "Lord Jesus Christ.

[(2 Thes 1:11-12) Commentary]:

(2 Thes 1:11 NKJV) "Therefore we also pray always for you that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasurei of His goodness and the work of faith with power,

(2 Thes 1:12 NASB) so that the name of our Lord Jesus will be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ."

Author and apostle Paul closes out this first chapter of his second letter to the Thessalonians with a stipulation that he is always praying for them especially with the previous eight verses in mind which are summarized as follows:

Paul wrote in 2 Thes 1:3-10, that not only is it God's working to enable the believers of Thessalonica to grow exceedingly in faith, express agape godly love toward one another, and to enable their endurance through all the persecutions and tribulations, all of "which is manifest evidence of the righteous judgment of God that they may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God through the enabling grace of God, (vv. 3-5);

but he wrote in verses 6-10, that it is also manifest evidence of the righteous judgment of God as follows:

"since it is [also] a righteous thing with God [in the sense of the manifest evidence of the righteous judgment of God] to repay with tribulation those who trouble you, [the believers of Thesalonica and all believers who are persecuted] and to give relief to you who are afflicted and to us [all believers] as well when the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, giving vengeance to those not knowing God, and to those not obeying the good news of our Lord Jesus Christ [in the sense of not believing in Him for eternal life]; these will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power when He [shall have come] to be glorified in His saints on that Day [the Day of the Lord], and to be marveled at among all who have believed - for our testimony to you was believed;"

so according to 2 Thes 1:6-10, there is also stipulated the "manifest evidence of the righteous judgment of God" as follows:

(1) to repay with tribulation those who troubled the Thessalonian believers;

(2) to give relief to afflicted [all] believers;

(3) to be glorified in His saints on that Day [the Day of the Lord] when the Lord Jesus will be revealed in His Second Coming from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire;

(4) for the Lord Jesus to be marveled at among all believers;

(5) and for the Lord Jesus to bring eternal vengeance and destruction to all unbelievers.

Hence Paul prayed in 2 Thes 1:11-12 with the context of verses 3-10 in mind as follows: "Therefore we also pray always for you that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of His goodness and the work of faith with power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus will be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ."

Since God's declarations and decrees are absolutely certain to come to pass, then there is no  uncertainty of the outcome implied in Paul's prayer. On the other hand, it is not inconsistent that Paul or any believer prays for God's declarations / decrees to come to pass; for that is what is commanded of God's children, the believer in Christ. For it is God who declares that His children, i.e., believers are to pray for all things:

[Compare Phil 4:6]:

(Phil 4:6 NASB) "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

(Phil 4:7 NASB) And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

Note that it is an honor for believers to pray to God for all things - even that which Gd has declared will come to pass, whereby those believers who pray become part of what God has declared to come to pass. And it is by His grace that He credits the believer with being faithful in prayer - even for those things which He has guaranteed will come to pass with or without our prayers or participation. In so doing they glorify their Father and will in turn be glorified by Him, 2 Thes 1:10-12)

[(2 Thes 1:11-12) Compare Rev 22:20]:

(Rev 22:20 NASB) "He who testifies to these things says, 'Yes, I am coming quickly.' Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.
(Rev 22:21  NASB) The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen."

Notice that the NT closes on the note of John's prayer for the already certain return of the Lord Jesus (Rev 22:20).

Uncertainty would undercut, not build, assurance for the fainthearted. Though the worthiness of the Thessalonian believers was confirmed (v. 5), certainty in the security of God's purposes does not diminish the need to keep on praying. Ultimate salvation rests on the sure foundation of God's faithfulness (1 Thess 5:24), but until its actual accomplishment, Paul continues praying for it.

Although Paul just went to great lengths in verses 3-10 to indicate that it was the working of God and by His grace that all that was to be accomplished would assuredly come to pass, nevertheless Paul prayed that all would come to pass, especially that "God would count the believers in Thessalonica worthy of this calling [i.e., worthy of the Kingdom of God]; and fulfill all the good pleasure of His goodness and the work of faith with power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus will be glorified in You and You in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ." [as promised and stipulated in 2 Thes 1:10, 12].

[(2 Thes 1:11-12) Compare Excerpt From Bible Knowledge Commentary]:

(2 Thes 1:11 NKJV) Therefore we also pray always for you that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of His goodness and the work of faith with power,

(2 Thes 1:12 NASB) so that the name of our Lord Jesus will be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ."

"1:11. Paul and his colleagues habitually prayed for the Thessalonians. Their spiritual welfare was always on the apostles' hearts.

They prayed that their God (the apostles' and the Thessalonians') would reckon or declare the readers worthy of the calling they had received, to come to God through faith in Jesus Christ (cf. Rom. 8:30; Eph. 4:1; 1 Thes. 4:7). Paul consistently made what God has done for believers the basis of his appeals for them to lead lives in keeping with their destiny. Christians do not live worthily in order to obtain salvation but because they have been granted salvation.
A second request was that God would bring to full expression every good purpose of theirs to glorify God, and every act motivated by their faith in God. Both motives and actions have their source in God (Phil. 2:13); thus they are accomplished by His power.

1:12. The ultimate purpose of this prayer is the glory of God. Specifically it was that God's glory might be manifested in and through the Thessalonians, both immediately (v. 12) and at the revelation of Jesus Christ (v. 10). When this happens, the vessels that manifest the glory of God are themselves glorified by association with Him. In the Bible the name stands for the person named, his character, conduct, reputation, and everything else about him. In praying thus, Paul was asking that God would fully glorify Jesus Christ in these saints. This is in keeping with and springs from the grace of God, personalized again by Paul as our God, and linked with the Lord Jesus Christ as an equal (cf. v. 1; 1 Thes. 1:1). Answers to prayers depend on and are traceable to God's grace. Such lofty requests as these can be fulfilled only by God's grace."

[(2 Thes 1:11-12) Compare Excerpt From Expositors' Bible Commentary]:

(2 Thes 1:11 NKJV) "Therefore we also pray always for you that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of His goodness and the work of faith with power,

(2 Thes 1:12 NASB) so that the name of our Lord Jesus will be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ."

"11 [Note] content with the certainty of coming glorification, Paul now prays for its realization. Human minds wrestle with the problem of praying for something already fixed in the unalterable purpose of God. Yet has not Paul already done this in these Epistles (1 Thess 3:12, 13; 5:23)? Is it not God's pleasure for saints to cooperate with his ongoing program? (Philippians 2:12, 13). For example, the NT closes on the note of John's prayer for the already certain return of the Lord Jesus (Rev 22:20).

The purpose of Paul's prayer is "that our God may count you worthy of his calling." This probably corresponds to their worthiness for the kingdom mentioned in v. 5. No uncertainty of ultimate acceptance is implied in the prayer. Uncertainty would undercut, not build, assurance for the fainthearted. Though the worthiness of the Thessalonian believers was confirmed (v. 5), certainty in the security of God's purposes does not diminish the need to keep on praying. Ultimate salvation rests on the sure foundation of God's faithfulness (1 Thess 5:24), but until its actual accomplishment, Paul continues praying for it (Hogg and Vine, p. 237).

"His calling" is usually regarded by Paul as a past decree (Rom 11:29; 1Cor 1:26) (Milligan, p. 93; Best, p. 268). To construe it like this here could imply the possibility of falling away from it (Lunemann, p. 198; Frame, p. 239). Yet such cannot happen to those already assured of a future worthiness (v. 5) based solely on the grace of God (v. 12). It is reassuring to know that God's call is made effective quite apart from human merit (cf. Gal 1:13-15). Instead of limiting the call to what happened before the foundation of the world, the present emphasis on Christ's return (v. 10) and the eschatological kingdom of God (v. 5) argues for extending the scope of "calling" to include its future outworking at God's righteous judgment (v. 5).

Paul's other prayer objective is for God to "fulfill every good purpose [lit., 'every resolve for goodness'] of yours and every act prompted by your faith." "Goodness" is part of the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22). Paul prays for the kind of desire that produces goodness - i.e., the active quality that constantly pursues what is right and beneficial for others. "Every act prompted by your faith" is what he had witnessed in them previously (cf. "work produced by faith," 1 Thess 1:3). What they had already attained was important, but room for growth was still there (cf. 1 Thess 3:10; 4:1). Realization of these objectives can come only "by his power," i.e., that of him the prayer is addressed to.

12 Here Paul states the purpose of his prayer - the glorification of Christ in the believers and they in Him (cf. Isa 66:5). This is an intermediate step toward the final recognition of the Lord's own worthiness and majesty and the saints' participation in these things with him. "Name" is a reference to the dignity, majesty, and power of the Lord's revealed character.

Several have chosen to understand "in you... in him" causally: "because of you... because of him" (Frame, p. 241; Best, pp. 271, 272); i.e., glory comes to the Lord because of the saved and to the saved because of the Lord. It is unnecessary to resort to this rare meaning of en ("in"), however. The more common locative meaning allows us to see this as the "en of mystic indwelling" (Robertson, RHG, pp. 587, 588). A technical expression initiated by Jesus (John 15:4; 17:21), this was taken up by Paul and developed more completely (Rom 6:11, 23; 1Cor 1:5; 2Cor 13:4; et al.). The thought is that of reciprocity resting on the union of the Lord with his people. They are to share the future moment of glorification together—as a unit.

Elsewhere Paul shows a continuing zeal to exclude merit from the salvation process (cf. Rom 4:16; 11:5, 6; Eph 2:5, 8); so here also grace is the source of everything (Lightfoot, p. 107). Grace is from both Father and Son as in the salutation. We pray for such things as these and our prayers are answered in harmony with the working of God's grace."

****** END OF EXCERPT FROM 2 THESSALONIANS CHAPTER ONE ******

I) [2 Thes 2:1-17]:

(2 Thes 2:1 NASB) "Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming [Gk "parousia," presence / appearance in the sense of the Rapture ] of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering [up] together to Him, 

(2 Thes 2:2 NASB) that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come.

(2 Thes 2:2 YLT) that [you] be not quickly shaken in mind, nor be troubled, neither through spirit, neither through word, neither through letters as through us, as that the day of [the LORD] Christ [has come]; 

(2 Thes 2:3 NASB) Let no one in any way deceive you, for it [the day of the Lord] will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction,

(2 Thes 2:3 NKJV) Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day [the Day of the Lord] will not come unless the falling away [Gk "apostasia" = apostasy] comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition,

(2 Thes 2:4 NASB) who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God.

(2 Thes 2:5 NASB) Do you not remember that while I was still with you, I was telling you these things

(2 Thes 2:6 NKJV) And now you know what is restraining, that he [the man of lawlessness] may be revealed in His own time.

(2 Thes 2:7 NASB) For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only [He] Who now restrains will do so until [He] is taken out of the way.

(2 Thes 2:8 NASB) Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming

(2 Thes 2:8 HCSB) and then the lawless one will be revealed. The Lord Jesus will destroy him with the breath of His mouth and will bring him to nothing with the [manifestation] of His coming;

(2 Thes 2:9 NASB) that is, the one [referring back to v. 8 to the lawless one] whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders,

(2 Thes 2:10 NASB) and with all the deception [lit. every deception] of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved.

(2 Thes 2:11 HCSB) For this reason God sends [lit., is sending] them a strong delusion so that they will believe what is false,

(2 Thes 2:12 NASB) in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness.

(2 Thes 2:13 NASB) But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth.

(2 Thes 2:14 NKJV) to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

(2 Thes 2:15 NASB) So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth or by letter from us.

(2 Thes 2:16 NASB) Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, Who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace.

(2 Thes 2:17 NASB) comfort and strengthen your hearts in every good work and word."

A) [2 Thes 2:1-2]:

(2 Thes 2:1 NASB) "Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming [Gk "parousia," presence / appearance in the sense of the Rapture ] of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering [up] together to Him, 

(2 Thes 2:2 NASB) that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come."

1) [(2 Thes 2:2) Manuscript Evidence For 2 Thes 2:2)]:

(2 Thes 2:1 NASB) "Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming [Gk "parousia," presence / appearance in the sense of the Rapture ] of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering [up] together to Him, 

(2 Thes 2:2 NASB) that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come."

WH NU Sinaiticus, A, B, D*, F, G, L, P psi, 0278 (33) 1739, it, syr, cop have "the day of the LORD"

TR, D2, Maj have "the day of Christ"

The documentary evidence strongly favors the WH NU reading, "the day of the LORD." The variant (TR) is likely the result of scribal conformity to other Pauline texts that designate the eschaton as "the day of Christ" (see 1 Cor 1:8; Phil 1:10; 2:16). In the end, however, there is no difference in meaning - both terms denote the parousia.

2) [(2 Thes 2:1-2) Commentary On 2 Thes 2:1-2]:

(2 Thes 2:1 NASB) "Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming [Gk "parousia," presence / appearance in the sense of the Rapture ] of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering [up] together to Him,

(2 Thes 2:2 NASB) that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come."

Author and apostle Paul now requests of his readers especially in view are the brethren - the brothers in Christ of the church at Thessalonica - with regard to the coming / appearing [Greek word, "parousia"] of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Greek word, "parousia," can mean "presence, coming, advent, arrival" wherein "presence" or "appearance" best fits the context here in 1 Thes 4:13-18 and in 2 Thes 2:1-2; especially when the next phrase rendered, "and our gathering [up] together to Him," provides this context of a unique gathering [up] to Him of the brethren, i.e., of only those who are believers in Christ in this age, both dead and alive, who therefore won't be judged to see if they have eternal life or not; but they will judged for the rewards for faithful service to the Lord unto eternal blessing. "Parousia" therefore does not refer to Christ's appearance when He comes down to the surface of the earth to all of mortal mankind at that future time; i.e., His Second Coming, and gathers all mankind from all the corners of the earth for judgment - to determine who will remain on the earth in their mortal bodies to live throughout His millennial rule and who will be killed right then and there and have their eternal destiny judged at the Great White Throne Judgment as the Lake of Fire .

So the Greek word "parousia" in 2 Thes 2:1 refers to the presence / appearance of Jesus Christ in the clouds above the earth at the time of the Rapture of - the gathering [up] to the clouds in the air of - the dead "in Christ" and the alive believers of this age, i.e., the body of Christ, the church when our Lord Jesus Christ will actually appear in the clouds above the earth; and at which time will occur "our" - the word rendered "our" referring to Paul, himself, the brethren of Thessalonica and all believers in Christ of this church age dead and alive - at which time will occur "our gathering [up] together to Him" - up in the clouds to be with Him thereafter and forever, (ref 1 Thes 4:17 . This can only refer to that Rapture which Paul wrote about in detail in 1 Thes 4:13-18 ).

Whereupon, after Paul wrote (in 2 Thes 2:1), "Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming [Gk "parousia," presence / appearance in the sense of the Rapture ] of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering [up] together to Him," Paul wrote in 2 Thes 2:2, "that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come." Paul's warning that the composure of the believers at Thessalonica might be quickly shaken or disturbed by a spirit in the sense of through the spiritual gift of prophecy proclaimed by a misguided believer or perhaps of demonic origin or some kind of message either oral or written passed on perhaps from Paul. For it evidently might have originated from teaching that seemed to have come from Paul. For there were prophets in this church (cf. 1 Thess 5:19, 20) and the Greek word "pneuma" rendered "spirit" is a name for this gift and others (cf. 1 Cor 14:12). Whatever the specific spiritual gift medium, the teaching was represented as having Paul's authority. Or Paul suggests that the false teaching was made to them via the spoken word ("report," logou) - perhaps as a spiritually, God inspired, Word of knowledge from the Lord - a personal revelation . Though either would not claim the same authority as a direct inspiration by God of prophecy, it too was based on an allegedly Pauline source albeit reiterating or reaffirming what Paul was teaching. Or the false teaching might have been via a letter from someone as if it might be an actual epistle from Paul which one, some or all of them told the believers that the Day of the LORD had come - the time of trouble and God's wrath upon the peoples of the earth which evidently included them due to the severe persecutions they were experiencing - similar to that which God's people were to experience in the Tribulation Period of the Day of the Lord which was to be yet future. So Paul's warning to the believers at Thessalonica was that they not be quickly shaken from their composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from Paul to the effect that the day of the Lord had come.

****** EXCERPT FROM 1 THES 4 ON THE DAY OF THE LORD ******

[Compare 1 Thes 5:9]:

"For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ."

So the believer's hope is assuredly one of salvation and never one of falling into eternal wrath.

[Compare Rev 3:9-10]:

(v. 9) "I [Jesus, (v. 7)] will make those who are of the synagogue of Satan, who claim to be Jews though they are not, but are liars - I will make them come and fall down at your feet and acknowledge that I have loved you.....

[and continuing the thought]:

(v. 10a) since you have kept My command to endure patiently.

[Then a new thought begins which refers to the church saints not being subject to the wrath of the Tribulation period]:

(v. 10b) I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth."

Notice that the believer will be kept from the hour of trial giving him a blessed and sure hope for the future and not a fearful one.

THE SURE HOPE OF THE BELIEVER INCLUDES THE FACT THAT HE WILL NOT HAVE TO GO THROUGH THE WRATH OF THE FUTURE DAY OF THE LORD, I.E., THE TRIBULATION PERIOD

INTRODUCTION

Since 1 Thes 5:9 and Rev 3:10 both state that believers of the church age will not be subject to wrath. (And these passages do state that church age believers will not be subject to wrath)

and since Titus 2:13 says:

"While we wait for the blessed hope - the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ" (And it does) then the doctrine that the church has to go through the tribulation and be decimated by the catastrophes and judgments that occur leaving only a fraction of the world's population surviving with many church age believers martyred is false.

It is difficult to support the concept that the CHURCH AGE believer's "blessed hope" is that of being subject to God's wrath while waiting for the Lord's return, thus having to go through the tribulation until He comes at the end. Believers of the church age await the Lord's return for them when He will meet them in the air BEFORE the tribulation begins, (1 Thes 4:13-18; 2 Thes 2:1-4; 5:1-9). This is what Paul refers to as the "blessed hope" of the church age believer, (Titus 2:13).

THE BLESSED HOPE OF THE BELIEVER IS THAT HE WILL NOT BE SUBJECT TO THE WRATH OF THE FUTURE DAY OF THE LORD

THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE DAY OF THE LORD IN GENERAL

[Renald E. Showers, 'MARANATHA, OUR LORD, COME!, Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry, Bellmawr, N.J., 1995, op. cit., pp. 30-39]:

"The Scriptures teach that God created the universe for His own purposes (Rev 4:11). As a result, the heavenly and earthly realms are owned and ruled by God (1 Chr 29:11-12; 2 Chr 20:6; Ps 47:2; 103:19; 135:6; Isa 40:12-26; Jer 10:1, 10; Dan 4:17, 34-35, 37; Acts 17:24; 1 Tim 1:17; Rev 5:13). As the owner and ruler of the earth, God has His own sovereign purpose for world history and, therefore, for specific events within that history (Isa 14:24-27; 19:12; 23:9; 46:8-11; Jer 4:28; 23:20; 26:3; 30:24; 36:3; 49:20; 50:45; 51:29; Lam 2:8; Rom 8:28; 9:11, 17; Eph 1:9-11; 3:10-11; 2 Tim 1:9; 1 Jn 3:8).

In the Scriptures the expression 'the Day of the LORD' (together with other synonymous expressions, such as 'that day,' 'the day of God,' etc.) is strongly related to God's rule of the earth and, therefore, to His sovereign purpose for world history and specific events within that history. The Day of the LORD refers to God's special interventions into the course of world events to judge His enemies, accomplish His purpose for history, and thereby demonstrate who He is - the sovereign God of the universe (Isa 2:10-22; Ezek 13:5, 9, 14, 21, 23; 30:3, 8, 19, 25-26)....

Evidence for this significance of the Day of the LORD is found in past Days of the Lord referred to in the Scriptures. The Bible indicates that there have been several Days of the Lord in the past in which God demonstrated His sovereign rule by raising up several nations to execute His judgment on other nations. He raised up Assyria to judge the northern kingdom of Israel during the 700s B.C. (Amos 5:18, 20), Babylon to judge the southern kingdom of Judah during the 600s and 500s B.C. (Lam 1:12; 2:1, 21-22; Ezek 7:19; 13:5; Zeph 2:2-3), Babylon to judge Egypt and its allies during the 500s B.C. (Jer 46:10; Ezek 30:3), and Medo-Persia to judge Babylon during the 500s B.C. (Isa 13:6, 9)...

In these past Days of the Lord, God used human instruments and activity through war to execute His sovereign purpose against His enemies.

THE DAY OF THE LORD IN THE FUTURE

INTRODUCTION

[2 Thes 2:1-2]:

(v. 1) "Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to Him, we ask you, brothers,

["the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to Him" = the coming of the Lord to gather His church up to Him in the heavens in the Rapture which event precedes the Day of the LORD, the Tribulation period]

(v. 2) not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by some prophecy, report or letter supposed to have come from us saying that the Day of the LORD has already come."

"the Day of the LORD" = refers to that particular part of the Day of the LORD beginning with the birth pangs of the Tribulation period.

[Showers, cont.]:

"The Scriptures indicated that the concept of the Day of the LORD is applicable, not only to the past intervention of God in history, but also to the future. Several things in the Bible make this very obvious. First, Isaiah 2:10-22 describes a Day of the LORD that will involve the sixth seal described by the Apostle John in Revelation 6:12-17. Because this sixth seal will take place during the 70th week of Daniel 9, the Day of the LORD that will involve that seal must also take place during that future time period.

Second, Isaiah 34:1-8 and Obadiah 15 describe a Day of the LORD when God will judge all nations or Gentiles of the world. None of the past Days of the Lord involved divine judgment of all the nations. Up to this point in history, there has not been a judgment of all nations during the same time period. In light of this, we can conclude that the Day of the LORD of Isaiah 34 and Obadiah must be future.

Third, Joel 3:1-13 and Zechariah 14:1-3, 12-15 refer to a Day of the LORD that will involve God's judgment of the armies of all the nations of the world, when those armies gather in Israel to wage war against that nation and the city of Jerusalem and when the Messiah comes to war against them. According to Revelation 16:12-16, those armies will not begin to gather until the sixth bowl is poured out during the 70th week of Daniel 9. In addition, Revelation 19:11-21 indicates that Christ will wage war against them when He comes from heaven to earth. This, too, forces the conclusion that the Day of the LORD of Joel 3 and Zechariah 14 is future.

Fourth, in 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11 the Apostle Paul referred to a Day of the LORD that was future beyond the time when he wrote his epistle and that would bring sudden, inescapable destruction upon the unsaved of the world. That Day of the LORD had not taken place before Paul wrote his Thessalonian epistle, and it seems evident that nothing of its nature has transpired since. Thus, the Day of the LORD of 1 Thessalonians 5 is also future.

THE FUTURE DAY OF THE LORD: WRATH THEN BLESSING

[Showers, cont.]:

"The Scriptures indicate that the future Day of the LORD will have at least a twofold nature. First, it will be characterized by darkness and a tremendous outpouring of divine wrath upon the world....

[Joel 2:1-2]:

(v. 1) "Blow the trumpet in Zion; sound the alarm on my holy hill. Let all who live in the land tremble, for the Day of the LORD is coming. It is close at hand -

(v. 2) a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and blackness. Like dawn spreading across the mountains a large and mighty army comes, such as never was of old nor ever will be in ages to come."

[Amos 5:18-20]:

(v. 18) "Woe to you who long for the Day of the LORD! Why do you long for the Day of the LORD? That Day will be darkness, not light.

(v. 19) It will be as though a man fled from a lion only to meet a bear, as though he entered his house and rested his hand on the wall only to have a snake bite him.

(v. 20) Will not the Day of the LORD be darkness, not light - pitch-dark, without a ray of brightness?"

[Zech 1:14-15]:

(v. 14) "Then the angel who was speaking to me said, 'Proclaim this word: This is what the LORD Almighty says: 'I am very jealous for Jerusalem and Zion,

(v. 15) but I am very angry with the nations that feel secure. I was only a little angry, but they added to the calamity.' "

[1 Thes 5:1-11]:

(v. 1) "Now, brothers, about times and dates we do not need to write to you,

(v. 2) for you know very well that the Day of the LORD will come like a thief in the night.

(v. 3) While people are saying, 'Peace and safety,' destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.

(v. 4) But you, brothers, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief.

(v. 5) You are all sons of the light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness.

(v. 6) So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled.

(v. 7) For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night.

(v. 8) But since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet.

(v. 9) For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.

(v. 10) He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with Him.

(v. 11) Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing."

Amos 5:18-20 emphasizes that this will be the total nature of the Day of the LORD for God's enemies. It will bring no divine light or blessing to them. This will be the nature of the Day of the LORD during the 70th week of Daniel.

Second, the Day of the LORD will also be characterized by light, an outpouring of divine blessing, and the administration of God's rule. The Prophet Joel, after talking about the darkening of the sun, moon, and stars and God's Day of the LORD judgment of the armies of the nations gathered in Israel (3:9-16), foretold great divine blessing 'in that day' (vv. 17-21)......

[Joel 3:9-21]:

(v. 9) "Proclaim this among the nations: Prepare for war! Rouse the warriors! Let all the fighting men draw near and attack.

(v. 10) Beat your plowshares into swords and your pruning hooks into spears. Let the weakling say, 'I am strong!'

(v. 11) Come quickly, all you nations from every side, and assemble there. Bring down your warriors, O LORD!

(v. 12) Let the nations be roused; let them advance into the Valley of Jehoshaphat, for there I will sit to judge all the nations on every side.

(v. 13) Swing the sickle, for the harvest is ripe. Come, trample the grapes, for the winepress is full and the vats overflow - so great is their wickedness!

(v. 14) Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the Day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision.

(v. 15) The sun and moon will be darkened, and the stars no longer shine.

(v. 16) The LORD will roar from Zion and thunder from Jerusalem; the earth and the sky will tremble. But the LORD will be a refuge for His people, a stronghold for the people of Israel.

(v. 17) Then you will know that I, the LORD your God, dwell in Zion, My holy hill. Jerusalem will be holy; never again will foreigners invade her.

[Then final restoration. Full kingdom blessing]:

(v. 18) In that day the mountains will drip new wine, and the hills will flow with milk; all the ravines of Judah will run with water. A fountain will flow out of the LORD's house and will water the valley of acacias.

(v. 19) But Egypt will be desolate, Edom a desert waste, because of violence done to the people of Judah, in whose land they shed innocent blood.

(v. 20 Judah will be inhabited forever and Jerusalem through all generations.

(v. 21) Their blood guilt, which I have not pardoned, I will pardon. The LORD dwells in Zion!"

In addition, the Prophet Zechariah, after discussing the future Day of the LORD, when all nations will war against Jerusalem and the Messiah will come to the earth part of 'that day' will be characterized by darkness, the latter part will be characterized by light (vv. 6-7), great blessing (v. 8), and God's rule over all the earth (v. 9). This will be the nature of the Day of the LORD during the Millennium....

Thus, the Day of the LORD in the future will be at least twofold in nature. Just as each day of creation and the Jewish day consisted of two phases - a time of darkness ('evening') followed by a time of light ('day') [Gen 1:4-6] - so the future Day of the LORD will consist of two phases, a period of darkness (judgment) followed by a period of light (divine rule and blessing).

Since, as noted earlier, the Day of the LORD will demonstrate Who God is, it would seem strange for the God Who is light and in Whom there is no darkness at all (1 Jn 1:5) to have His day consist totally of darkness with no period of light, especially since the present day of Satan and rebellious mankind is characterized by a rule of darkness (Eph 6:12; Col 1:13).

In addition, since, as shall be seen later, the present day of Satan and rebellious mankind involves their rule of the world system, the future Day of the LORD would not truly be His day if it did not involve His rule of the world system during the Millennium. How could the Day of the LORD fully demonstrate Who He is - the sovereign God of the universe - without the sovereign exercise of His rule in visible form over the entire world?"

****** END OF EXCERPT FROM 1 THES 4 ON THE DAY OF THE LORD ******

2 cont) [(2 Thes 2:1-2) Commentary On 2 Thes 2:1-2 (cont.)]:

(2 Thes 2:1 NASB) "Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming [Gk "parousia," presence / appearance in the sense of the Rapture ] of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering [up] together to Him,

(2 Thes 2:2 NASB) that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come."

a) [(2 Thes 2:1-2) Bible Knowledge Commentary On 2 Thes 2:1-2]:

(2 Thes 2:1 NASB) "Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming [Gk "parousia," presence / appearance in the sense of the Rapture ] of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering [up] together to Him, 

(2 Thes 2:2 NASB) that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come."

'''Paul had instructed the Thessalonians from the Hebrew Scriptures, often called the Old Testament concerning the day of the Lord when he preached to them in person. The day of the Lord is the period of history mentioned repeatedly in the Old Testament during which God will bring judgment and blessing on the people of the earth in a more direct, dramatic, and drastic way than ever before (cf. Isa. 13:6, 9; Zeph. 1:14-16). From other New Testament revelation concerning this period of time it is believed that this will begin after the Rapture of the church, and will include the Tribulation and the Millennium.

In his first letter to the Thessalonians Paul had taught them that the day of the Lord would come as a thief in the night (1 Thes. 5:2). This instruction raised a question in his readers' minds. It must have seemed to some of them that the day of the Lord had already come. After all, the persecutions they were experiencing seemed to be what the prophets had predicted when they wrote about the great calamities coming on God's people and the world in the day of the Lord. The Thessalonians apparently had received instruction from other teachers to the effect that they were indeed experiencing the judgments of the day of the Lord, that is, the Great Tribulation. But if this were so, how could Paul's previous instruction that they would be caught up and escape the wrath of God coming on the earth be true? Paul wrote this section (2 Thes. 2:1-5) to straighten out the matter.

2:1. The preceding comments concerning the coming of Christ (1:5-10) stimulated the readers' thinking about this subject, but now Paul launched into it more particularly. The coming (parousias, "presence") of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to Him refers to the Rapture. "Beseech," though archaic, is perhaps a more effective word than ask (erōtōmen) in conveying Paul's attitude of warm personal affection. He lightened their spirits with a reminder that his readers were his brothers and sisters in the faith. Paul probably used the full title for God the Son - "our Lord Jesus Christ" - in order to add solemnity to the subject.

2:2. Paul warned his readers against believing the false teaching that was shaking their spiritual equilibrium and triggering their fears. Apparently the theory that they were in the day of the Lord was coming to them from several sources (prophecy, report, or letter), making the Thessalonians more inclined to accept it as authoritative. Some were saying this teaching had been revealed to them by the Lord. And some were reporting teaching they had heard from others. And the Thessalonians received a letter, which was allegedly from Paul, that taught the same error (cf. 3:17). No wonder the new converts were shaken.

The erroneous message which all these voices echoed was that the day of the Lord had arrived; the Thessalonians were in it. But if this were so, the believers were wondering, how could Paul speak of the Lord's return as preceding the day of the Lord? (1 Thes. 1:10) And what about those promises that they would not see God's wrath? (1 Thes. 1:10; 5:9) It is clear that Paul had taught them a pretribulational Rapture. Their confusion arose because they could not distinguish their present troubles from those of the day of the Lord.'''

b) [(2 Thes 2:1-2) Expositor's Commentary On 2 Thes 2:1-2]:

(2 Thes 2:1 NASB) "Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming [Gk "parousia," presence / appearance in the sense of the Rapture ] of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering [up] together to Him, 

(2 Thes 2:2 NASB) that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come."

"The False Claim (2:1, 2)

1,2 The hortatory words "we ask you, brothers" are identical in the Greek with "now we ask you, brothers" of 1 Thessalonians 5:12. This formula provides a transition from what Paul has been saying about the day of the Lord to an acute problem related to it.

The problem has to do with the events he has just described. It is "concerning" or "on behalf of" the Lord's coming and the saints' gathering [up] to him that Paul now writes. In the interest of truth about this vital hope, we must set down accurately certain features of "the day of the Lord" as a corrective to what some were falsely claiming.

He must explain what he means by "the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him" or else the solution to the problem cannot be grasped. Episynagoges ("being gathered") defines what part of the parousias ("coming") Paul has in mind. This is the great event he has described more fully in 1 Thessalonians 4:14-17 - i.e., the gathering [up] of those in Christ to meet him in the air en route to the Father in heaven. This begins the day of the Lord. What relationship this happening bears to the tribulation phase of the day of the Lord so frequently mentioned in these Epistles is important. Some limit the parousia to a single event and insist that it comes after the tribulation (Morris, pp. 151, 152; Gundry, pp. 113, 114). It is hardly possible, though, to explain the variety of relationships belonging to parousia in these Epistles if it is understood only as a single event. Even the meaning of the word suggests a longer duration.

Another problem is encountered if the parousia that initiates the day of the Lord is considered only the single event of Christ's return to earth following the tribulation. If Paul had given oral or written instruction to this effect, the false claim that the day of the Lord was already present could hardly have alarmed these Christians. According to this scheme, the day of the Lord could not begin without Christ's personal reappearance. His continued absence was obvious to all.

Yet the claim was made and accepted to the extent that the church was troubled. This implies Paul had not taught that a one-phase parousia after the period of wrath will begin the day of the Lord. He had told them that the coming of the Lord to gather his saints into heaven would initiate both the tribulation and the day of the Lord. They were promised immediate "rest" (1:7) and glorification with Christ (1:10), not increased persecution.

The false instruction had, however, denied them an imminent "rest." They would first have to undergo the severe persecution of the tribulation and possibly even suffer martyrdom before Christ's coming, according to these misrepresentations. They were even told that their current suffering indicated the arrival of the expected tribulation. 2 Thessalonians 2:3, 4, 8-12 speaks of this future period in terms quite similar to those of Revelation 13 and 17. The man of lawlessness has a number of affinities with the beasts of Revelation, enough to show that the two books describe the same period (R.H. Charles, Eschatology [New York: Schocken Books, 1963], p. 441n). Though 2 Thessalonians does not specifically mention the beast's war with the saints and their martyrdom, Revelation 13:7, 10 declares it explicitly. If this is a possibility for the church, why did Paul at no point teach this kind of anticipation? The answer must lie in the removal of Christians (including the Thessalonian believers) from earth before this persecution. It is another group of God's people, following the church's translation, who must face the terror of this arch enemy.

Despite their "persecutions and trials" (1:4) these Thessalonian Christians were not living in the day of the Lord as they had been erroneously told. A right understanding of "being gathered to him" reveals that they could not be so enmeshed, because for them Christ's parousia will antedate the awful period to come. In fact, their "being gathered to him" will be the event that signals the day's beginning.

As their friend and brother, Paul respectfully requests (erotomen, "we ask," v. 1; cf. 1 Thess 4:1) them not to become "unsettled or alarmed" (v. 2). This might easily happen if they were led to believe that somehow the glorious coming had passed them by. "Unsettled" means "to be shaken from your sensibleness [lit., mind]." Distorted teaching had alarmed them. Paul cautioned them against hastily (tacheos, "easily" [NIV]) adopting something other than the instruction he had previously given them (cf. v. 15). Teaching that seemed to have come from Paul had reached them through various avenues. One was the spiritual gift of prophecy or something related to it (lit., "spirit," v. 2). There were prophets in this church (cf. 1 Thess 5:19, 20) and pneuma ("spirit") is a name for this gift and others (cf. 1Cor 14:12). Whatever the specific medium, the teaching was represented as having Paul's authority.

Another avenue for the false teaching was the spoken word ("report," logou). Though this did not claim the direct inspiration of prophecy, it too was based on an allegedly Pauline foundation. The same basis was claimed for a third medium of communication ("letter"). Someone had apparently misrepresented Paul's views in an epistle bearing his name, a mistake he intends to rectify in any future correspondence (cf. 3:17, 18). It is not clear whether the readers had been misguided through one or all three channels, but in any case Paul denounces them all.

The false teaching consisted in the claim "The day of the Lord has already come [Gr., 'is present']" (v. 2). Enesteken ("is present") does not denote imminence, but actual presence. These readers who knew about the day (1 Thess 5:2) knew that its earlier phase would be a time of heightened persecution for the saints. Their suffering had already been so severe that someone tried to convince them that the period was already in progress, even though the Lord had not yet come to gather them to heaven (Auberlen and Riggenbach, p. 126; Moffatt, EGT, 4:47; Hogg and Vine, p. 245; Morris, p. 217; Hiebert, p. 304). They knew of the time of trouble and the Lord's return to culminate it (1:7-9). They had been led to believe, however, that his coming for them would spare them the anguish of that hour (1 Thess 5:9). But here were people telling them, with Paul's apparent backing, that such a deliverance was not to be.

Therefore they were in great need of an authentic word from Paul assuring them that they had understood him correctly in his first Epistle. They needed to know that the parousia (coming) of Christ for his church would mark the beginning of the future day of trouble and consequently that the day had not yet arrived. To accomplish this, Paul proceeds to describe features, obviously not yet present, that will characterize the day's early stages."

B) [2 Thes 2:3-4]:

(2 Thes 2:1 NASB) "Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming [Gk "parousia," presence / appearance in the sense of the Rapture ] of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering [up] together to Him, 

(2 Thes 2:2 NASB) that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come.

(2 Thes 2:3 NASB) Let no one in any way deceive you, for it [the day of the Lord] will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction,

(2 Thes 2:3 NKJV) Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day [the Day of the Lord] will not come unless the falling away [Gk "apostasia" = apostasy] comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition,

(2 Thes 2:4 NASB) who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God."

[Ref. The abomination that causes desolation ]

1) [(2 Thes 2:3) Manuscript Evidence For 2 Thes 2:3)]:

(2 Thes 2:3 NASB) "Let no one in any way deceive you, for it [the day of the Lord] will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction,

(2 Thes 2:3 NKJV) Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day [the Day of the Lord] will not come unless the falling away [Gk "apostasia" = apostasy] comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition,

WH NU Sinaiticus, B, 0278, 1739, cop have "the man of lawlessness"

TR A, D, F, G, Psi, Maj, it, syr, Eusebius have "the man of sin"

The two earliest manuscripts (Sinaiticus, B), as well as some others, read, "the man of lawlessness" or "the man of rebellion" (NIV) This one is "the anarchist" - he is opposed to all moral, religious, and civil law. Just as Christ embodied righteousness, so the "man of lawlessness" will embody lawlessness and rebellion (Dan 11:36). This one is probably the same as "the antichrist" (1 John 2:18; 4:3) and "the beast" (Rev 13). He will perpetrate the worst crime ever: that of claiming to be God and demanding worship from all human beings ... In this regard, he is the worst of sinners; therefore, it is understandable why he came to be known as "the man of sin." However, the title "the man of lawlessness" not only has superior attestation, it aptly describes the one who incites the eschatological apostasy.

2) [(2 Thes 2:4) Manuscript Evidence For 2 Thes 2:4)]:

(2 Thes 2:4 NASB) who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God."

WH NU Sinaiticus, A, B, D*, Psi, 33, 1739, it, cop have "to sit"

TR, D(2), G(c), Maj, syr have "to sit as God"

F, G* have "so as to sit as God"

The two variants are scribal expansions which attempt to clarify the point that the lawless one will perform an activity only God should do - i.e., occupy a place of worship in the temple. However, the additions are not needed inasmuch as the next expression in the verse ("presenting himself that he is God") makes it more than clear what the lawless one will attempt to do. Pretending to be God, he will desecrate the temple by setting up an image of himself and then demand others to worship him as God. This is what is otherwise known in Scripture as the abominable sacrilege - the abomination that causes desolation (see Dan 9:26-27; 11:31; 12:11; Mt 24:15; Mk 13:14 ).

******

3) [(2 Thes 2:3-4) Commentary On 2 Thes 2:3-4]:

(2 Thes 2:1 NASB) "Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming [Gk "parousia," presence / appearance in the sense of the Rapture ] of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering [up] together to Him, 

(2 Thes 2:2 NASB) that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come.

(2 Thes 2:3 NASB) Let no one in any way deceive you, for it [the day of the Lord] will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of [= destined for] destruction,

(2 Thes 2:3 NKJV) Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day [the Day of the Lord] will not come unless the falling away [Gk "apostasia" = apostasy] comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition,

(2 Thes 2:4 NASB) who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God."*

[*The abomination that causes desolation ]

In consideration of the current circumstances of severe persecution of the believers in Thessalonica, and after writing to them in 1 Thes 2:1-2 as follows: "Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming [Gk "parousia," presence / appearance in the sense of the Rapture ] of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together up to Him, that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come;" Paul then, in 2 Thes 2:3-4, warns the believers in Thessalonica in view of their ongoing and severe persecution that they were experiencing to not let themselves be deceived about the coming of the Day of the Lord - specifically that part of the Day of the Lord characterized by severe persecution of God's people: "Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day [the Day of the Lord] will not come unless the falling away [Gk "apostasia" = apostasy] comes first - the Greek phrase " apostasia" rendered "the falling away," or "the apostasy" referring to the singular and specific and extreme rebellion / the deliberate and total abandonment of the doctrines of the Christian / biblical faith which doctrines were evidently formerly believed and followed by believers in Jesus Christ. Unbelievers are not in view. Note the definite article "" rendered "the" signifies the epitome, the notable, the singular, the extreme apostasy as opposed to the presence of the indefinite article, "a" as in one of a number of departures from the faith which are not the epitome apostasy foretold about in 2 Thes 2:3. Note that some contend that "the apostasy" may refer to some event of apostasy which has already occurred, such as the Jews' apostasy just before the Maccabean uprising (Dan 8:23ff.; 11:36f.); or the falling away [Gk "apostasia" = apostasy] of many during this Church age, (Mt 24:11-12, 24; 1 Tim 4:1ff.; 2 Tim 3:1-5; 4:3-4; 2 Peter 2:1-22; 3:3-6; Jude 17-18); this ignores the stipulation that Christ's appearance upon the earth since His ascension must come prior to "the apostasy," for any apostasy to be the specific apostasy that is in view in 2 Thes 2:3.

3 cont.) [(1 Thes 2:3-4) Commentary On 1 Thes 2:3-4, cont.]:

(2 Thes 2:1 NASB) "Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming [Gk "parousia," presence / appearance in the sense of the Rapture ] of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering [up] together to Him, 

(2 Thes 2:2 NASB) that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come.

(2 Thes 2:3 NASB) Let no one in any way deceive you, for it [the day of the Lord] will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction,

(2 Thes 2:3 NKJV) Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day [the Day of the Lord] will not come unless the falling away [Gk "apostasia" = apostasy] comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition,

(2 Thes 2:4 NASB) who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God."

And the second notable event which will signal the Day of the Lord in 2 Thes 2:3 will be as it states in the NKJV, "the man of sin being revealed, who is called the son of perdition." Note that the NASB has "the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction" - whose destiny is eternal condemnation. And this "man of sin" / "man of lawlessness" will be one according to the NASB "who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God." This mighty figure will embody everything opposed to God, the epitomy of a human being who is the supreme human adversary of God. He will seek to replace the worship of the true God and all false gods with the worship of himself, and will proclaim himself to be God. The beast will tolerate the worship of no one or nothing but himself. [cref. The abomination that causes desolation ]

a) [Compare Rev 13:1-8]:

(Rev 13:1 NASB) "And the dragon stood on the sand of the seashore. Then I saw a beast coming up out of the sea, having ten horns and seven heads, and on his horns were ten diadems, and on his heads were blasphemous names.

(Rev 13:2 NASB) And the beast which I saw was like a leopard, and his feet were like those of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. And the dragon gave him his power and his throne and great authority.

(Rev 13:3 NASB) I saw one of his heads as if it had been slain, and his fatal wound was healed. And the whole earth was amazed and followed after the beast;

(Rev 13:4 NASB) they worshiped the dragon because he gave his authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, "Who is like the beast, and who is able to wage war with him?"

(Rev 13:5 NASB) There was given to him a mouth speaking arrogant words and blasphemies, and authority to act for forty-two months was given to him.

(Rev 13:6 NASB) And he opened his mouth in blasphemies against God, to blaspheme His name and His tabernacle, that is, those who dwell in heaven.

(Rev 13:7 NASB) It was also given to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them, and authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation was given to him.

(Rev 13:8 NASB) All who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain."

3 cont.) [(2 Thes 2:1-4) Commentary On 1 Thes 2:3-4, cont.]:

(2 Thes 2:1 NASB) "Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming [Gk "parousia," presence / appearance in the sense of the Rapture ] of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering [up] together to Him, 

(2 Thes 2:2 NASB) that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come.

(2 Thes 2:3 NASB) Let no one in any way deceive you, for it [the day of the Lord] will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction,

(2 Thes 2:3 NKJV) Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day [the Day of the Lord] will not come unless the falling away [Gk "apostasia" = apostasy] comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition,

(2 Thes 2:4 NASB) who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God."

So the man of lawlessness will set himself up on God's throne in the inner sanctuary of God's temple. The manner in which Scripture describes the revelation of the man of lawlessness / the man of sin / the antichrist indicates that he has been on the scene for a time without being widely known or remarkable until the time he is revealed to the world. And at the time of his revelation it will be a worldwide one - unforseen and shocking considering that it is he throughout the world who is able to be immediately successful as one "who opposes and exalts himself over every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God!" His whereabouts before his unveiling are not given; but it is evident that he will have been alive for years before his unveiling in order to effect such a sudden, dramatic and worldwide revealing of himself.

So it is evidently likely that the man of lawlessness will be identified in some way by a number of people who are his contemporaries when he makes a covenant with Israel at the beginning of the 70th week of Daniel as a result of knowing about what Scripture has indicated about him, (Dan 9:27a ). And when he breaks the covenant three and a half years later (Dan. 9:27b), he will be widely recognized for who he really is. It will be especially marked by removal of the symbolic articles from the Jerusalem temple. The man of lawlessness will occupy the holy precincts in order to accept and even demand worship that is due God alone. This evidently is a Jewish temple to be rebuilt in Jerusalem in the future:

b) [Compare Dan 9:27 ]:

(Dan 9:27 NIV) "He [the Antichrist ] will confirm a covenant with many [Israel] for one 'seven' [Heb. "shabuwa' literally "seven-period"]. In the middle of the 'seven' he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on a wing of the temple, he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him."

(Dan 9:27 NASB) "And he will make a firm covenant with the many [Israel] for one week, [Heb. "shabuwa' literally "seven-period" of years, i.e., seven years] but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate."

In the middle of the seven year tribulation period, (Daniel's 70th week), the antichrist will break his covenant with Israel, desecrate the temple with his image, declare himself world ruler and persecute all who will not worship him. The act of desecration will occur half-way through the seventieth prophetic week of Daniel 9:24-27, when the covenant made earlier with the Jewish people is broken. This will mark the climax of this lawless one's career. Historically, a foreshadowing of this blasphemous intrusion happened when Antiochus Epiphanes desecrated the temple in Jerusalem just before the Maccabean revolt .

Note that the man of lawlessness is declared to be "the son of perdition" / "the man of destruction" - who by definition / hence by this description he is destined / doomed to experience eternal destruction by God's Sovereignty yet like all men, man's eternal destiny is decided via his own volition . Nevertheless the term 'son of" is a Hebrew idiom which indicates the inevitable destiny of an individual or thing. Hence his destiny is one of eternal destruction. Compare Jn 17:12 where Judas Iscariot is also described as "the son of perdition," albeit Judas is not the particular son of perdition in view in Dan 9:27 and 2 Thess 2:4).

And in the chronology of events according to 2 Thes 2:3, his dramatic worldwide, public presentation will occur after the rebellion / the apostasy of the church begins, for when all believers of the church are extracted from the earth in the rapture the Holy Spirit, the Restrainer of Evil will not be restraining evil.

c) [Compare 2 Thes 2:6-7]:

(2 Thes 2:6 NASB) "And you know what restrains Him [Holy Spirit] now, so that in his time he will be revealed.

(2 Thes 2:7 NASB) For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way."

2 Thes 2:7 quoted above states that the coming of the man of lawlessness will not occur until after what is holding back or restraining sin "is taken out of the way." That Restrainer is the Holy Spirit Who indwells all Church Age believers. The only Agent Which can restrain sin is God and historically this has been the Holy Spirit's work. Since He is removed and since all Church Age believers are permanently indwelt by the Spirit, then the church must be removed also - in the rapture!

****** EXCERPT FROM 1 THES 4 ON RESTRAINER OF SIN ******

THE "RESTRAINER OF SIN," THE HOLY SPIRIT, IS TAKEN OUT OF THE WAY NECESSITATING THE CHURCH TO GO LIKEWISE SINCE IT WAS INDWELT WITH HIM

[2 Thes 2:6-7]:

(v. 6) "An now you know what is holding him [the man of lawlessness] back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time.

(v. 7) For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the One who now holds it back [God the Holy Spirit] will continue to do so till He is taken out of the way."

2 Thes 2:7 quoted above states that the coming of the man of lawlessness will not occur until after what is holding back or restraining sin "is taken out of the way". That Restrainer is the Holy Spirit Who indwells all Church Age believers. The only agent which can restrain sin is God and historically this has been the Holy Spirit's work. Since He is removed and since all Church Age believers are permanently indwelt by the Spirit, then the church must be removed also - in the rapture!

[Robert L. Thomas states, Expositor's Bible Commentary, Vol 11, Zondervan Publishing, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1978, p. 324-5]:

"So he [author Paul] can declare, 'You know what is holding him back.' 'Now' should be connected with 'what is holding him back' to indicate that 'holding back' is a present phenomenon. [i.e, it is evident from the context and directly stipulated in verse 7]. "To katechon" ('what is holding back') is a neuter title for this restraining force. The word recurs in the masculine in v. 7 where it is translated 'who... holds it back.'

Proposed identifications of "to katechon" have been multiple. Because of inability to explain the neuter-masculine combination, such suggestions as the preaching of the gospel, the Jewish state, the binding of Satan, the church, Gentile world dominion, and human government are improbable. To identify "to katechon" with a supernatural force or person hostile to God is difficult in a paragraph such as this because the restrainer is limiting Satan (vv. 7-9), not cooperating with him...

A popular understanding since early times has been that this is a reference to the Roman Empire (neuter) and its ruler (masc.)... Paul had several times benefited from the intervention of the Roman government (Acts 17:6ff; 18:6ff). In other writings he limits the roll of human government ((Rom 13:1, 3)... Though preferable to some other solutions, this explanation is disappointing in several ways. To predict the demise of the Roman Empire (cf. v. 7) is very uncharacteristic of Paul.... Then too, the Roman Emperor sometimes precipitated anti-Christian activities rather than restrained them... Elimination of this solution is sealed when we remember that the Roman Empire has long since ceased to exist, and the appearance of Christ or the lawless one has yet to take place...

It is evident that the restrainer, to accomplish his mission, must have supernatural power to hold back a supernatural enemy (v. 9). God and the outworking of His providence is the natural answer."

[Compare Gen 6:3]:

"Then the LORD said, 'My Spirit will not contend with man forever, for he is mortal; his days will be a hundred and twenty years."

[Compare John 16:7-8]:

(v. 7) "But I [Jesus] tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor [Holy Spirit] will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.

(v. 8) When He comes, He will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment."

[Compare 1 Jn 4:3-4]:

(v. 3) "but every spirit [relative to that which is behind the teachings of prophets - true or false, (v. 1)] that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.

(v. 4) You, dear children [believers], are from God and have overcome them

[them = the false prophets and their false message which is characterized by the "spirit of the Antichrist", i.e., you dear children are saved unto eternal life],

because the One [Holy Spirit] Who is in you is greater than the one [Satan] who is in the world."

[Notice that the Holy Spirit indwells the believer and thus is key in the protection of the believer from the effects of the "spirit of the Antichrist" via the efforts of false prophets. Thus it is the work of the indwelling Holy Spirit to restrain the spirit of the Antichrist from overcoming believers]

[Robert L. Thomas, cont.]:

"Reference to God is favored by the restrainer's harmony with divine purpose and a divine timetable ('at the proper time,' v. 6)....

Yet to say that God is the restrainer is not quite enough to explain the variation in gender. To one familiar with the Lord Jesus' Upper Room Discourse, as Paul undoubtedly was, fluctuation between neuter and masculine recalls how the Holy Spirit is spoken of. Either gender is appropriate, depending on whether the speaker (or writer) thinks of natural agreement (masc. because of the Spirit's personality) or grammatical (neuter because of the noun pneuma; see John 14:26; 15:26: 16:13, 14)... The special presence of the Spirit as the indweller of saints will terminate abruptly at the parousia [of the Holy Spirit] as it began abruptly at Pentecost [Acts 2:1-21]. Once the body of Christ has been caught away to heaven, the Spirit's ministry will revert back to what he did for believers during the OT period... His function of restraining evil through the body of Christ (John 17:7-11; 1 John 4:4) will cease similarly to the way he terminated his striving in the days of Noah (Gen 6:3). At that point the reins will be removed from lawlessness and the Satanically inspired rebellion will begin. It appears that "to katechon" ('what is holding back') was well known at Thessalonica as a title for the Holy Spirit on whom the readers had come to depend in their personal attempts to combat lawlessness."

[Compare 1 Thes 1:6]:

"You became imitators of us and of the Lord; in spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit."

[Notice that God the Holy Spirit provides information, faith and joy in the face of severe suffering as a result of persecution of the Thessalonian believers - combatting the spirit of the Antichrist, resisting sin in the lives of the Thessalonians]

****** END OF EXCERPT FROM 1 THES 4 ON RESTRAINER OF SIN ******

d) [(2 Thes 2:3-4) BKC Commentary On 2 Thes 2:3-4]:

(2 Thes 2:1 NASB) "Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming [Gk "parousia," presence / appearance in the sense of the Rapture ] of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering [up] together to Him, 

(2 Thes 2:2 NASB) that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come.

(2 Thes 2:3 NASB) Let no one in any way deceive you, for it [the day of the Lord] will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction,

(2 Thes 2:3 NKJV) Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day [the Day of the Lord] will not come unless the falling away [Gk "apostasia" = apostasy] comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition,

(2 Thes 2:4 NASB) who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God."

"2:3. Having stated the issue and identified the sources of the false teaching, Paul proceeded to warn his readers against being deceived. The Thessalonians must not be deceived by any person, no matter how credible he might appear to be, or by the way anyone might present his teaching, claiming the authority of God or godly men. New Christians tend to be gullible because they are not yet grounded in the truth of God's Word (cf. Eph. 4:14). But all Christians can be misled by impressive personalities and spectacular appeals. The antidote to poisonous heresy is a good strong dose of the truth which Paul proceeded to administer.

He referred to three events which must occur before the judgments of the day of the Lord took place. They are the apostasy (2 Thes. 2:3), the revealing of the man of lawlessness (vv. 3-4, 8), and the removal of restraint against lawlessness (vv. 6-7). (These are not necessarily given in strict chronological order...

One major event is the rebellion (lit., "the falling away," hē apostasia, from whence comes the English word "apostasy"). This is a revolt, a departure, an abandoning of a position once held. This rebellion, which will take place within the professing church, will be a departure from the truth that God has revealed in His Word. In view are people turning from God's truth to worship the Antichrist , who will set himself up in God's temple and claim to be God (v. 4). True, apostasy has characterized the church almost from its inception, but Paul referred to a specific distinguishable apostasy that will come in the future (cf. 1 Tim. 4:1-3; 2 Tim. 3:1-5; 4:3-4; James 5:1-8; 2 Peter 2; 3:3-6; Jude). He had already told his readers about it (2 Thes. 2:5).

i) [Compare 1 Tim 4:1-3]:

(1 Tim 4:1 NASB) "But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons,

(1 Tim 4:2 NASB) by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron,

(1 Tim 4:3 NASB) men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth."

ii) [Compare 2 Thes 2:5]:

(2 Thes 2:5 NASB) "Do you not remember that while I was still with you, I was telling you these things?"

Some interpreters have taken this "departure" as a reference to the Rapture of the church (e.g., E. Schuyler English, Rethinking the Rapture, New York: Loizeaux Brothers, 1954, pp. 67-71), but this is not too probable. D. Edmond Hiebert refutes this view that apostasia here refers to the Rapture (The Thessalonian Epistles, p. 306).

[Note that since 2 Thes 2:1 which reads, "Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming [Gk "parousia," presence / appearance in the sense of the Rapture ] of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering [up] together to Him," has the Rapture in view; then 2 Thes 2:3 which reads "Let no one in any way deceive you, for it [the day of the Lord] will not come unless the apostasy [proposed meaning to be the Rapture] comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction," could hardly be referring to the Rapture as referring to itself as that which must come before the Rapture comes!]

Some scholars believe that this apostasy (called by Paul "the" apostasy) will consist of people turning from God's truth to worship the Antichrist , who will set himself up in God's temple and claim to be God (v. 4). If this is so, then the judgments of the day of the Lord will occur in the second half of the seven-year period preceding Christ's second coming.

Another event that must take place before the judgments of the day of the Lord occur is the revelation of "the man of lawlessness" (ho anthrōpos tēs anomias). Paul used a tense for the verb "is revealed" which indicates that this revelation will be a decisive act that will take place at a definite moment in history (cf. vv. 6, 8). He will be fully associated with and characterized by "lawlessness" (or "sin," as some mss. and the kjv have it). He is also described as the man doomed to destruction (lit., "the son of perdition," kjv). The destruction to which he is destined is the opposition of salvation; it is everlasting torment. It seems probable that the man of sin will be identified by some people living then when he makes a covenant with Israel at the beginning of the 70th week of Daniel (Dan. 9:27a); but when he breaks the covenant three and a half years later (Dan. 9:27b), he will be widely recognized for who he really is (Charles C. Ryrie, First and Second Thessalonians, p. 104). This latter event may be the time Paul had in mind for the "revealing" of the man of lawlessness.

2:4. This man is further described as the adversary of God. He will seek to replace the worship of the true God and all false gods with the worship of himself, and will proclaim himself to be God. The beast will tolerate the worship of no one or nothing but himself (cf. Rev. 13:5-8). He will set himself up on God's throne in the inner sanctuary of God's temple. This probably refers to a literal temple, but some suggest that it is a figurative reference to his occupying the most holy place in human worship, which rightfully belongs only to God. The early church fathers and several good modern-day commentators accept the literal view. This man is also called the "beast coming out of the sea" (Rev. 13:1-10), "a scarlet beast" (17:3), and simply "the beast" (17:8, 16; 19:19-20; 20:10). He is the Antichrist (1 John 2:18), a pseudo-Christ hostile to the Savior. He will be a real human being, not a principle or a system or a succession of individuals. Such a person has not yet been spotlighted on the stage of human history."

e) [(2 Thes 2:3-4) Expositor's Bible Commentary On 2 Thes 2:3-4]:

(2 Thes 2:1 NASB) "Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming [Gk "parousia," presence / appearance in the sense of the Rapture ] of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering [up] together to Him, 

(2 Thes 2:2 NASB) that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come.

(2 Thes 2:3 NASB) Let no one in any way deceive you, for it [the day of the Lord] will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction,

(2 Thes 2:3 NKJV) Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day [the Day of the Lord] will not come unless the falling away [Gk "apostasia" = apostasy] comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition,

(2 Thes 2:4 NASB) who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God."

'''3 Paul supplements his request in v. 1 with a prohibition: "Don't let anyone deceive you in any way." Apparently those who willfully and maliciously troubled the Thessalonian believers had done this by deceiving anyone who would listen to them regarding the day of the Lord. Paul warns his readers not to be taken in by these speculations, whether through "prophecy, report or letter" (v. 2) or "in any way." Paul does not say what moved these promoters of error. Perhaps a misunderstanding of grace led them to teach that Christians must earn their part in the parousia by persevering through severe suffering. Whatever it was, Paul is determined to prove that his readers were not in the day of the Lord.

His proof of the day's nonpresence consists of citing two phenomena that had not yet occurred. The text does not explicitly say whether these will come before the day of the Lord or immediately after it begins, because the Greek sentence is not complete, but it presupposes something to be added from the previous verse; i.e., "that Day [the Day of the Lord] will not come" (NIV) or "that Day [the Day of the Lord] is not present" (cf. note). Grammatically similar constructions elsewhere (Matt 12:29; Mark 3:27; John 7:51; Rom 15:24) show these two happenings are conceived of as within the day of the Lord, not prior to it. The day of the Lord had not yet arrived because these two conspicuous phenomena that will dominate the day's opening phase had not yet happened.

Some wonder how the failure of these two to arrive can be a proof of the nonarrival of the day. The answer lies in understanding Paul's reference to these phenomena as his way of identifying the very earliest stage of this eschatological period. The readers had not missed the rapture (1 Thess 4:15-17) and were not in the day of the Lord (v. 2) because these two clear indicators of the day's presence had not yet appeared ...

Let us put it this way. Suppose the government of some country should announce, "In the near future on a date known only to us, Christianity will be suppressed. To mark the official beginning of this policy, on the appointed day the largest church in the country will be demolished and its pastor required to renounce Christianity publicly. Thereafter, all who admit they are Christians will be placed in jeopardy of imprisonment." At that time a foreigner might arrive in that country, having heard nothing more than that Christianity would be cruelly suppressed. He would doubtless find some Christians already experiencing certain hardships and, in his ignorance of the timing of the actual beginning of the policy of suppression, might assume that it was already in effect. A citizen who knew the details of the policy would have to tell him, "The period of suppression of Christianity is not yet present, because the largest church in the country has not yet been demolished and its pastor has not yet renounced Christianity publicly."

So far there is no logical problem. But some who have problems with the pretribulational view of the rapture ask, "How can the nonarrival of two events ('the rebellion' and the revealing of 'the man of lawlessness,' v. 3) that initiate the day of the Lord, a period that will come after the believers have been raptured - how can the nonarrival of these events prove to the confused Thessalonian believers (who are to be raptured and thus will not be in the day of the Lord) that they are not actually in that day?" The answer still is that the absence of the phenomena demonstrates the nonpresence of the day of the Lord. Obviously, had "the rebellion" and the revealing of "the man of lawlessness" already taken place when Paul was writing this letter, then the teaching of the priority of the rapture to "the day of the Lord" would have been called into question. But here in 2 Thessalonians 2 Paul is not discussing the timing of the rapture. He is simply reassuring his readers that "the day of the Lord" had not come. Nor does he at any place in this context (2 Thess 2:1-12) tell his readers that they will at some future time "see" the two initial phenomena of "the day of the Lord." Had he said that, there would indeed be a problem. But he did not speak of the Thessalonians' actually seeing the phenomena. He simply stressed the present nonarrival of the phenomena.

To sum up, let us return to the analogy of the newcomer to the country facing the suppression of Christianity. Suppose now that, arriving after the initial announcement, he is a short-term visitor due to leave before the official beginning of the anti-Christian policy. The answer to his confusion about being in the country with the policy already in effect would be corrected by his realizing that the largest church would have to be destroyed and its pastor publicly renounce Christianity before suppression of Christianity began. And this would be a valid answer, even though he would not be present when these things took place.

The troubled at Thessalonica could take heart in knowing they had not missed the gathering [up] of those in Christ at the parousia (v. 1). Their present persecutions were not identifiable with those to be inflicted by the man of lawlessness on a later group of saints after the eschatological day begins.

A closer look at the two phenomena accompanying the day of the Lord illuminates the characteristics of that day. "The rebellion" represents apostasia, from which the English word apostasy comes. Usage in LXX and elsewhere in the NT gives this word a religious connotation (Josh 22:22; 2 Chronicles 29:19; 33:19; Jer 2:19; Acts 21:21). It points to a deliberate abandonment of a former professed position. Attempts to identify the apostasy Paul is speaking of here with some past or present movement are futile because of its contextual association with the Lord Jesus' second advent (v. 1). An illustration of this kind of apostasy was that of faithless Jews just before the Maccabean uprising (Dan 8:23ff.; 11:36f.) (Hendriksen, p. 169). A similar defection of professing Christians is elsewhere anticipated (Matt 24:11, 12, 24; 1Tim 4:1ff.; 2Tim 3:1-5; 4:3, 4; 2 Peter 2:1-22; 3:3-6; Jude 17, 18). After the catching away of those in Christ (1 Thess 4:17), all who are truly in Him will be gone. Conditions will be ripe for people, especially those who call themselves Christian but are not really such, to turn their backs on God in what they do as well as in what they already have in thought. Then their insincerity will demonstrate itself outwardly. This worldwide anti-God movement will be so universal as to earn for itself a special designation: "the apostasy"—i.e., the climax of the increasing apostate tendencies evident before the rapture of the church.

Following and in conjunction with the apostasy will come the unveiling of a mighty figure embodying everything opposed to God. His whereabouts before his unveiling are not given. He will be alive for years before his unveiling, but his dramatic public presentation will occur after the rebellion begins.

Paul characterizes him in three ways. First, as "the man of lawlessness," he is the epitome of opposition to the laws of God. Satan so indwells and operates through him that his main delight will be in breaking God's righteous laws. Second, he is called "the man doomed to destruction"—literally, "the son of perdition." The Hebrew idiom "son of" indicates character or destiny. He belongs to a class so destined. The same expression describes Judas Iscariot (John 17:12), another member of this class. It does not, however, identify this later "son of perdition" with Judas.

4 Third, this individual "opposes and exalts himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped." His direct and determined opposition to the true God will be a leading feature of the continuing apostasy. It will be especially marked by removal of the symbolic articles from the Jerusalem temple. The man of lawlessness will occupy the holy precincts in order to accept and even demand worship that is due God alone. This evidently is a Jewish temple to be rebuilt in Jerusalem in the future. Dependence of these words on Daniel 9:26, 27; 11:31, 36, 37; 12:11 (cf. Matt 24:15; Mark 13:14) demands such a reference. There is no impressive evidence for understanding naon ("temple") in a nonliteral sense. The well-known "abomination that causes desolation" is sometimes regarded as a person and sometimes as an act of desecration by that person (Mark 13:14) (Hubbard, Wycliffe Bible Commentary, p. 1364). The act of desecration to which this verse looks will transpire half-way through the seventieth prophetic week of Daniel 9:24-27, when the covenant made earlier with the Jewish people is broken. This will mark the climax of this lawless one's career. Historically, a foreshadowing of this blasphemous intrusion happened when Antiochus Epiphanes desecrated the temple in Jerusalem just before the Maccabean revolt.

The lawless man's identity has been studied by many throughout the Christian era. Some deny that he is a historical person. They write off the terminology as detached from history and mythically oriented like the Jewish apocalyptic writings by which Paul was strongly influenced (Best, p. 289; J. Julius Scott, "Paul and Late-Jewish Eschatology—A Case Study, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 and 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12," JETS, (Summer, 1972), (15:139-141). But closer scrutiny of the parallels between late-Jewish eschatology and Paul's words reveals more by way of difference than similarity (Scott, pp. 141, 142).

The relationship of this apocalyptic portion of 2 Thessalonians to Christ's parousia (coming) confirms the impression that Paul must be referring to a single historical personage. Quests for such a person in the past and present have proved fruitless. Resemblances to Antiochus Epiphanes, Nero, Diocletian, one of the popes, and others may be admitted. But fulfillment of all details of the prophecy must await the future period of this man's prominence. It is futile to suppose that Judas Iscariot, Antiochus Epiphanes, or Nero will be brought back to life to fill this role. "The man of lawlessness" will be a new historical figure whom Satan will energize to do his will in the world. As "man of God" in the OT regularly designates a divine prophet, the present "man of lawlessness" designates a false prophet, probably to be identified with the second beast of Revelation 13 (Rev 13:11ff.; 16:13; 19:20; 20:10) (Best, pp. 283, 284, 288). His primary function will be to preside over the religious apostasy in cooperation with the beast out of the sea (Rev 13:1ff.), who leads political opposition to God. As God's chief opponent in Jerusalem whose background is probably Jewish (cf. Dan 11:36, 37), the lawless one will give religious leadership to complement the dominance of his associate over governments of the world's nations.

The presence of such an apostasy and counterfeit god will not escape international observation. The nonpresence of these things when Paul wrote proves his thesis regarding the nonarrival of the day of the Lord.'''

C) [2 Thes 2:5-7]:

(2 Thes 2:5 NASB) "Do you not remember that while I was still with you, I was telling you these things

(2 Thes 2:6 NKJV) And now you know what is restraining, that he [the man of lawlessness] may be revealed in his own time.

(2 Thes 2:7 NASB) For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only [He] Who now restrains will do so until [He] is taken out of the way."

1) [(2 Thes 2:1-7) Commentary On 2 Thes 2:5-7]:

(2 Thes 2:1 NASB) "Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming [Gk "parousia," presence / appearance in the sense of the Rapture ] of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering [up] together to Him, 

(2 Thes 2:2 NASB) that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come.

(2 Thes 2:2 YLT) that [you] be not quickly shaken in mind, nor be troubled, neither through spirit, neither through word, neither through letters as through us, as that the day of [the LORD] Christ [has come]; 

(2 Thes 2:3 NASB) Let no one in any way deceive you, for it [the day of the Lord] will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction,

(2 Thes 2:3 NKJV) Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day [the Day of the Lord] will not come unless the falling away [Gk "apostasia" = apostasy] comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition,

(2 Thes 2:4 NASB) who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God.

(2 Thes 2:5 NASB) "Do you not remember that while I was still with you, I was telling you these things

(2 Thes 2:6 NKJV) And now you know what is restraining, that he [the man of lawlessness] may be revealed in his own time.

(2 Thes 2:7 NASB) For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only [He] Who now restrains will do so until [He] is taken out of the way."

In 2 Thes 2:5, Paul reminded the believers in Thessalonica that he had spoken to them of these things when he actually was present with them previously - those things about which was concerning them especially relative to the parousia / appearance of the Lord and the Rapture; and the subsequent coming of the Day of the Lord which when it does come will bring great tribulation upon the earth; and which will be accompanied by the great apostasy of the church which comes and thereafter, the man of lawlessness who would make his presence known through his opposition to anyone worshipping every so-called god or object of worship including his desecration of the temple - the abomination that causes desolation spoken of in Daniel 9:27 . Paul's impatient reminder to them was made so that the believers who were undergoing persecution in their day would  not be shaken from their composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from himself or his entourage which conveyed the message that the believers had missed the Rapture to the effect that the day of the Lord had already come and thus were being subjected to the great tribulations and persecutions of the Day of the Lord.

So in 2 Thes 2:6, which reads, "And now you know what is restraining, that may be revealed in his own time," author Paul declared that because the believers in Thessalonica were previously informed on these matters that concerned them, that they should also "know what is holding him [the man of lawlessness - the antichrist ] back [it is] the One Who restrains evil, evidently the Holy Spirit. On the other hand, some contend that this cannot refer to the Holy Spirit because there is the variation in the gender of the phrase "what is restraining," between verses 6 & 7. In 2 Thes 2:6 the phrase is neuter in gender, and in 2 Thes 2:7 it is masculine in gender. But either gender is appropriate. It actually depends upon context. If the context refers to the Person of the Holy Spirit, then masculine should be the gender. On the other hand, if the context is referring to the subject of the Spirit of God, which may be conveyed by the Greek word transliterated "pneuma" rendered or referring to "the Spirit of God," then since the word "pneuma" endered "Spirit" is neuter. And to refer to the One Who restrains evil as "pneuma" rendered "Spirit" which in the neuter gender is grammatically applicable, (compare Jn 14:26; 15:26; 16:13, 14). Furthermore, it is the Holy Spirit Who has evidently been restraining evil through His being present in all individuals of the body of Christ, the believers in Christ. For He indwells each and every one of them and leads them to combat evil with righteousness:

a) [Compare Ro 12:21]:

(Ro 12:21 NASB) "Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."

Even in earlier times, it is the Spirit of God Who strives with mankind to be righteous.

b) [Compare Gen 6:3]:

(Gen 6:3 NASB) "Then the LORD said, 'My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, because he also is flesh; nevertheless his days shall be one hundred and twenty years."

So at the time when the Day of the Lord commences, after the removal of the Church, the body of believers with the indwelling Holy Spirit, the Satanically inspired apostasy / rebellion will begin. It appears that "to katechon" rendered, "what is holding back" in 2 Thes 2:6 & 7 was well known at Thessalonica as referring to the Holy Spirit on Whom the readers had come to depend in their personal attempts to combat lawlessness (1 Thes 1:6; 4:8; 5:19; 2 Thes 2:13).

Finally, in 2 Thes 2:6-7, which read, (2 Thes 2:6 NKJV) "And now you know what is restraining, that he [the man of lawlessness] may be revealed in his own time. (2 Thes 2:7 NASB) For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only [He] Who now restrains will do so until [He] is taken out of the way," author and apostle Paul declares that the mystery, of the heretofore unknown future existence of the worldwide lawlessness is already at work in the world, but He Who now restrains evil - God the Holy Spirit - will do so, i.e., restrain evil until [He] is taken out of the way - evidently at the time of the Rapture - He who indwells the church, each and every individual comprising the body of Jesus Christ. And upon His / the One Who restrains -  removal - the apostasy / rebellion will break out worldwide.

c) [(2 Thes 2:1-7) Bible Knowledge Commentary On 2 Thes 2:5-7]:

(2 Thes 2:1 NASB) "Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming [Gk "parousia," presence / appearance in the sense of the Rapture ] of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering [up] together to Him, 

(2 Thes 2:2 NASB) that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come.

(2 Thes 2:2 YLT) that [you] be not quickly shaken in mind, nor be troubled, neither through spirit, neither through word, neither through letters as through us, as that the day of [the LORD] Christ [has come]; 

(2 Thes 2:3 NASB) Let no one in any way deceive you, for it [the day of the Lord] will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction,

(2 Thes 2:3 NKJV) Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day [the Day of the Lord] will not come unless the falling away [Gk "apostasia" = apostasy] comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition,

(2 Thes 2:4 NASB) who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God.

(2 Thes 2:5 NASB) "Do you not remember that while I was still with you, I was telling you these things

(2 Thes 2:6 NKJV) And now you know what is restraining, that he [the man of lawlessness] may be revealed in his own time.

(2 Thes 2:7 NASB) For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only [He] Who now restrains will do so until [He] is taken out of the way."

"5. This teaching was nothing new to the Thessalonians; Paul had taught them about the day of the Lord when he was with them in Thessalonica. He called on them to recall those lessons. For the first time in this epistle Paul wrote that he personally (sing.) had taught them. He said this in order to emphasize the truth of his message, as he was the chief spokesman in Thessalonica. Paul did not regard prophetic truth as too deep or unimportant or controversial for new Christians. He believed it was a vital part of the whole counsel of God, so he taught it without hesitation or apology. The mystery of lawlessness (2:6-12)

The Apostle Paul continued his correction by giving more information about the man of lawlessness in relation to the removal of the One who now partially restrains lawlessness. This removal constitutes a third event referred to by Paul that must take place before the day of the Lord will begin. The theme of lawlessness pervades this whole section of the epistle.

2:6. [(2 Thes 2:6 NKJV) And now you know what is restraining, that he [the man of lawlessness] may be revealed in his own time.]... And (kai) connects what precedes with what follows; the same subject continues, but the emphasis shifts to what is presently restraining the revelation of the man of sin. Paul said the Thessalonians knew what it was, but he did not identify it here. Perhaps he had told them in person. Something or Someone is holding back the culmination of lawlessness. Part of the purpose of this restraint is to keep the man of sin from being revealed prematurely.

2:7. This verse explains and expands on verse 6. Paul reminded his readers that the secret power of lawlessness was already at work. The "secret power" (mystērion, whence "mystery") is one of the mysteries of the New Testament (Rom. 16:26; 1 Cor. 2:6-12; Eph. 1:9; 3:3-5; Col. 1:25-27). A mystery in the New Testament is a new truth previously unknown before its revelation in the present dispensation. In this case the mystery is the revelation of a future climax of lawlessness in the world. Then and now a movement against divine law directed by Satan was and is operative. But it is being restrained somewhat, and this restraining will continue until the time appointed for revealing the man of sin and the climax of lawlessness.

Who or what is restraining the satanically empowered movement against God's law and is postponing the revelation of the man of sin? Some say it is the Roman Empire. But the empire has long vanished and "the holder back" is not yet revealed. Another suggestion is that this is Satan, but it is difficult to see why he would hold back sin. Others suggest that human governments are holding back sin and the revealing of the Antichrist . But human governments will not end prior to the Antichrist's unveiling . Nor do all governments restrain sin; many encourage it!

The Holy Spirit of God is the only Person with sufficient (supernatural) power to do this restraining. Some object to this being the Holy Spirit on the grounds that "to katechon" in 2 Thessalonians 2:6 is neuter ("what is holding back"). But this is no problem for two reasons: (a) The neuter is sometimes used of the Holy Spirit ["pneuma," masculine gender (John 14:26; 15:26; 16:13-14). (b) In 2 Thessalonians 2:7 the words are masculine: ho katechōn, the one who... holds it back. How does He do it? Through Christians, whom He indwells and through whom He works in society to hold back the swelling tide of lawless living. How will He be taken out of the way? When the church leaves the earth in the Rapture, the Holy Spirit will be taken out of the way in the sense that His unique lawlessness-restraining ministry through God's people will be removed (cf. Gen. 6:3). The removal of the Restrainer at the time of the Rapture must obviously precede the day of the Lord. Paul's reasoning is thus a strong argument for the pretribulational Rapture: the Thessalonians were not in the Great Tribulation because the Rapture had not yet occurred. [nor the great apostasy, nor the revealing of the man of lawlessness, nor the removal of the One Who restrains evil, the Holy Spirit]"

D) [2 Thes 2:8-10]:

1) [(2 Thes 2:8a) Manuscript Evidence For 2 Thes 2:8a]:

(2 Thes 2:8 NASB) "Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming

(2 Thes 2:8 HCSB) and then the lawless one will be revealed. The Lord Jesus will destroy him with the breath of His mouth and will bring him to nothing with the manifestation of His coming.

WH NU, Siniaticus, A, D*, F, G, L(c), P, Psi, 0278, 33, it, syr, cop have "the Lord Jesus"

TR, B, D(2), 1739, Maj, Irenaeus have "the Lord"

In this verse, Paul was paraphrasing Isa 11:4 ... which speaks of what the Lord (Yehweh) will do to His enemies in the day of judgment. Paul, however, applied this to the Lord Jesus, Who has been given the authority as the Son of Man to execute God's judgment ... If Paul originally wrote "Lord Jesus," it could be argued that the variant displays scribal conformity to Isa 11:4 ... In any case it is difficult to make a determination on internal grounds or on external grounds, because the documentation is evenly divided.

2) [(2 Thes 2:8b) Manuscript Evidence For 2 Thes 2:8b]:

(2 Thes 2:8 NASB) Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming

(2 Thes 2:8 HCSB) and then the lawless one will be revealed. The Lord Jesus will destroy him with the breath of His mouth and will bring him to nothing with the manifestation of His coming.

WH NU, A, B, P, 0278, it, Irenaeus have "He will destroy"

Sinaiticus, D*vid, F, G, 33, 1739, Didymus have "may He destroy"

TR, D2, Psi, Maj, cop have "He will consume"

The documentary evidence is nearly evenly divided between the WH NU reading and the first variant [Sinaiticus, etc.]. The second variant "He will consume" [TR] [is] more likely a scribal alteration of the phrase rendered "he will destroy." Furthermore, ["He will destroy" [is considered to] be original, because it explains the other two variants. If so, the verse reads, "May the Lord Jesus destroy him with the breath of his mouth - even as he will destroy him by the radiance of his coming." ... the phrase rendered "May He destroy" might be the result of scribal conformity to the Septuagint's rendering of Isa 11:4, the verse alluded to here.

3) [(2 Thes 2:8-10) Commentary On 2 Thes 2:8-10]:

(2 Thes 2:6 NKJV) "And now you know what is restraining, that he [the man of lawlessness] may be revealed in his own time.

(2 Thes 2:7 NASB) For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only [He] Who now restrains will do so until [He] is taken out of the way.

(2 Thes 2:8 HCSB) and then the lawless one will be revealed. The Lord Jesus will destroy him with the breath of His mouth and will bring him to nothing with the [manifestation] of His coming;

(2 Thes 2:9 NASB) that is, the one [referring back to v. 8 to the lawless one] whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders,

(2 Thes 2:10 NASB) and with all the deception [lit. every deception] of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved."

Paul writes that the mystery of lawlessness in the sense of the not yet revealed future occurence of extreme never to be exceeded worldwide lawlessness is nevertheless already at work in part, i.e., humanity has already been demontrating ever increasing worldwide lawlessness. Only [He] [the Holy Spirit] Who now restrains [evil] will do so until [He] is taken out of the way and then the lawless one will be revealed. After the removal of the One Who restrains evil, the whole world will be enmeshed headlong into lawlessness to a degree never before and never again to be exceeded. At that time, the man of sin / lawlessness will be revealed - the son of perdition - the antichrist .

a) [Compare 2 Thes 2:3]:

(2 Thes 2:3 NASB) Let no one in any way deceive you, for it [the day of the Lord] will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction,

(2 Thes 2:3 NKJV) Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day [the Day of the Lord] will not come unless the falling away [Gk "apostasia" = apostasy] comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition,

This name of the man of lawlessness is never given in the Bible, but he will be known by his actions as the man of lawlessness / son of perdition / the antichrist . He is also spoken of in Daniel 9:26-27 and 11:36-12:1. Paul was conscious of the spiritual forces behind this individual, and for this reason he described his revelation as something that will take place by the power of another, not himself.

b) [Compare Dan 9:26-27 ]:

(Dan 9:26 NIV) "After the sixty-two 'sevens' [Heb. "shabuwa' literally "seven-period" the Anointed One [Jesus Christ] will be cut off [i.e., excecuted as a criminal] but not for Himself. [Then] The people of the ruler [the Antichrist ] who will come will destroy the city [of Jerusalem] and the sanctuary [of the temple]. The end [of human history as we know it] will come like a flood. War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed.

(Dan 9:27 NIV) He [the Antichrist ] will confirm a covenant with many [Israel] for one 'seven' [Heb. "shabuwa' literally "seven-period"]. In the middle of the 'seven' he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on a wing of the temple, he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him."

c) Compare Dan 11:36-45 and parallel passages from Mt 24 ]:

(v. 36) " 'The king....... [of the Roman empire, the 10 as yet future European nations, (cp Dan 7:24). At this point in Daniel's prophecy he leaps ahead in time from Antiochus Epiphanes whose career was described in vv.21-35, overleaps the church age to the end times and begins describing the future Roman empire of 10 European nations and the one who only could be the Antichrist]

(v. 36 cont) " 'The king will do as he pleases. He will exalt and magnify himself above every god and will say unheard of things against the God of gods. He will be successful until the time of wrath is completed, for what has been determined must take place.

(v. 37) He will show no regard for the gods of his fathers....

[This ruler will be the final ruler of the last Gentile empire - the final Roman Empire and will be a Gentile himself. Compare: "the little horn" in Dan 7:8, 24b. He has no allegiance to any of the religions of his fathers - to any of their gods.]

(v. 37 cont) He will show no regard for the gods of his fathers, or for the one desired by women.....

["He will show no regard......for the One desired by women" - no regard for the Messiah. The Antichrist repudiates the messianic hopes of Israel in order to place himself as god over them. It was the traditional hope of every woman that she would give birth to the Messiah as prophesied in O.T. Scripture]

...............nor will he regard any god, but will exalt himself above them all.

(v. 38) Instead of them, he will honor a god of fortresses [war]; a god unknown to his fathers [Satan] he will honor with gold and silver, with precious stones and costly gifts.

(v. 39) He will attack the mightiest fortresses with the help of a foreign god and will greatly honor those who acknowledge him. He will make them rulers over many people and will distribute the land at a price,

(v. 40) At the time of the end the king of the South [Egypt with Libyians and Nubians, v. 43] will engage him in battle, and the king of the North [Russia + allies, Ez 38 & 39] will storm out against him with chariots and calvary and a great fleet of ships. He will invade many countries and sweep through them like a flood.

(v. 41) He will also invade the Beautiful Land. [Israel]. Many countries will fall, but Edom, Moab and the leaders of Amon [Jordan] will be delivered from his hand.

(v. 42) He will extend his power over many countries; Egypt will not escape.

(v. 43) He will gain control of the treasures of gold and silver and all the riches of Egypt, with the Libyans and Nubians in submission.

(v. 44) But reports from the East and the North will alarm him,

[a great army from the East, 200 million strong, (China already has an army that large), moving to battle the Antichrist and another from the North, (Russia again), coming to do battle in the valley of Armageddon, Rev 9:16]

(v. 44 cont) and he will set out in a great rage to destroy and annihilate many.

(v. 45) He will pitch his royal tents between the seas

[he will now set up in Israel between the Mediterranean & Dead Seas]

(v. 45 cont) "He will pitch his royal tents between the seas at the beautiful holy mountain [Jerusalem]. Yet he will come to his end, and no one will help him."

3 cont.) [(2 Thes 2:8-10) Commentary On 2 Thes 2:8-10, cont.]:

(2 Thes 2:6 NKJV) "And now you know what is restraining, that he [the man of lawlessness] may be revealed in his own time.

(2 Thes 2:7 NASB) For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only [He] Who now restrains will do so until [He] is taken out of the way.

(2 Thes 2:8 HCSB) and then the lawless one will be revealed. The Lord Jesus will destroy him with the breath of His mouth and will bring him to nothing with the [manifestation] of His coming;

(2 Thes 2:9 NASB) that is, the one [referring back in v. 8 to the lawless one] whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders,

(2 Thes 2:10 NASB) and with all the deception [lit. every deception] of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved."

In 2 Thes 2:8 which reads, "and then the lawless one will be revealed. The Lord Jesus will destroy him with the breath of His mouth and will bring him to nothing with the [manifestation] of His coming," seven years later at the end of the Tribulation period . By putting the lawless one to death, the Lord will also bring to a stop his program of deceiving the world. The "breath of his mouth" could be figurative for a word spoken by Christ, but the literal sense is most likely in view, for the breath of God is a fierce weapon according to the OT (Exod 15:8; 2 Sam 22:16; Job 4:9; Ps 33:6; Isa 30:27, 28). The English renderings of "manifestation" or "appearance" for the Greek word "epiphaneia" refer to Christ's Second Coming and not the Rapture, for it is the Second Coming which corroborates the context of 2 Thes 2:8. This is so because it is the visible presence of the Lord Jesus coming into the world and His actions therein which will put an immediate stop to the acceleration of lawlessness in the world. This verse (2 Thes. 2:8), has in view the seven-year career of the Antichrist from the time he makes a covenant with Israel soon after the Rapture, until his overthrow by Christ at His Second Coming at the end of the seven year Tribulation period.

2 Thes 2:9-10 characterize the Antichrist's actions leading up to his destruction by the Lord Jesus:

(2 Thes 2:8 HCSB) "and then the lawless one will be revealed. The Lord Jesus will destroy him with the breath of His mouth and will bring him to nothing with the [manifestation] of His coming; (2 Thes 2:9) that is, the one [referring back in v. 8 to the lawless one] whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, (2 Thes 2:10 NASB) and with all the deception [lit. every deception] of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved." Notice that the direction and empowerment of the lawless one, the antichrist, is evidently via Satan, who enables him to perform actions with supernatural power, signs and false wonders - supernatural activities - all of which are a counterfeit of the works of God in order to redirect the worship due God to himself. Satan's desire to counterfeit the work of God is evident throughout Scripture, including his desire and effort to usurp the power of God. Those of mankind who will perish during these times will have a self-imposed blindness because of their refusal to "love the truth and so be saved." No matter how attractive and invaluable the message of the truths of Scripture are, they will have no desire to consider it, especially the gospel of salvation unto eternal life.

d) [Compare Rev 13:1-7 ]:

(Rev 13:1 NASB) "And the dragon stood on the sand of the seashore. Then I saw a beast coming up out of the sea, having ten horns and seven heads, and on his horns were ten diadems, and on his heads were blasphemous names.

(Rev 13:2 NASB) And the beast which I saw was like a leopard, and his feet were like those of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. And the dragon gave him his power and his throne and great authority.

(Rev 13:3 NASB) I saw one of his heads as if it had been slain, and his fatal wound was healed. And the whole earth was amazed and followed after the beast;

(Rev 13:4 NASB) they worshiped the dragon because he gave his authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, 'Who is like the beast, and who is able to wage war with him?'

(Rev 13:5 NASB) There was given to him a mouth speaking arrogant words and blasphemies, and authority to act for forty-two months was given to him.

(Rev 13:6 NASB) And he opened his mouth in blasphemies against God, to blaspheme His name and His tabernacle, that is, those who dwell in heaven.

(Rev 13:7 NASB) It was also given to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them, and authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation was given to him."

E) [2 Thes 2:11-12]:

(2 Thes 2:8 NASB) "Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming

(2 Thes 2:8 HCSB) and then the lawless one will be revealed. The Lord Jesus will destroy him with the breath of His mouth and will bring him to nothing with the [manifestation] of His coming;

(2 Thes 2:9 NASB) that is, the one [referring back to v. 8 to the lawless one] whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders,

(2 Thes 2:10 NASB) and with all the deception [lit. every deception] of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved.

(2 Thes 2:11 HCSB) For this reason God sends [lit., is sending] them a strong delusion so that they will believe what is false,

(2 Thes 2:12 NASB) in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness."

1) [(2 Thes 2:11) Manuscript Evidence Of 2 Thes 2:11]:

(2 Thes 2:11 HCSB) "For this reason God sends [lit., is sending] them a strong delusion so that they will believe what is false,"

WH NU have the present tense verb [rendered] "he sends" based on excellent authority: Sinaiticus*, A, B, D*, F, G, 33, 1739. A variant of this in TR is [the phrase rendered] "He will send," based on inferior testimony: Sinaiticus2, D2, Psi, 0278, Maj. The prophetic or proleptic present tense was changed to the future tense by later scribes. The reading was multiplied in the majority of manuscripts, which was followed by TR (and so KJV and NKJV).

2) [(2 Thes 2:8-12) Commentary On 2 Thes 2:11-12]:

(2 Thes 2:8 NASB) "Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming

(2 Thes 2:8 HCSB) and then the lawless one will be revealed. The Lord Jesus will destroy him with the breath of His mouth and will bring him to nothing with the [manifestation] of His coming;

(2 Thes 2:9 NASB) that is, the one [referring back to v. 8 to the lawless one] whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders,

(2 Thes 2:10 NASB) and with all the deception [lit. every deception] of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved.

(2 Thes 2:11 HCSB) For this reason God sends [lit., is sending] them a strong delusion so that they will believe what is false,

(2 Thes 2:12 NASB) in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness."

In view of the fact that the man of lawlessness, i.e., the lawless one, the man of sin, the son of perdition, the beast, the antichrist - all phrases that describe the same person - will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of - the parousia - His coming that is, the one [referring back to v. 8 to the lawless one] whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, and with every deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved; Paul writes in the next two verses, 2 Thes 2:11-12, "for this reason [that those who perish because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved], God sends [lit., is sending] them a strong delusion so that they will believe what is false, in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness." So when people refuse of their own volition to consider the truth of the matter, i.e., refuse to love the truth, so as to be saved from temporal and eternal destruction, God sends them a strong delusion so that they will instead believe what is false.

a) [Compare Ro 1:18-32]:

(Ro 1:18 NASB) "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,

(Ro 1:19 NASB) because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them.

(Ro 1:20 NASB) For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.

(Ro 1:21 NASB) For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

(Ro 1:22 NASB) Professing to be wise, they became fools,

(Ro 1:23 NASB) and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.

(Ro 1:24 NASB) Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them.

(Ro 1:25 NASB) For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

(Ro 1:26 NASB) For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural,

(Ro 1:27 NASB) and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.

(Ro 1:28 NASB) And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper,

(Ro 1:29 NASB) being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips,

(Ro 1:30 NASB) slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents,

(Ro 1:31 NASB) without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful;

(Ro 1:32 NASB) and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them."

b) [(2 Thes 2:11-12) [Compare BKC Commentary on 2 Thes 2:11-12]:

(2 Thes 2:11 HCSB) For this reason God sends [lit., is sending] them a strong delusion so that they will believe what is false,

(2 Thes 2:12 NASB) in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness."

"2:11. God desires that all be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth (1 Tim. 2:4-6). But when people refuse to entertain the truth, He lets them pursue and experience the consequences of falsehood (cf. Rom. 1:18-25 quoted above). In fact God, as the Judge of men, begins this judgment at the moment of their rebellion and subjects them to the powerful delusion (energeian planēs) which comes from choosing error over truth. They choose to believe the lie and God sends them the delusion that is inherent in their choice. This powerful judgment from God is justified by the unbelievers' decision to refuse the truth [to love the truth]. "The lie" is the claim that the man of lawlessness is God.

2:12. The purpose of God in acting thus is to execute justice (cf. 1:6). Eternal condemnation will be the fate of all who on the one hand choose to disbelieve the truth and on the other hand delight in wickedness. The opposite of believing the truth is delighting in wickedness; a spiritual decision leads to its moral manifestation. This consequence befalls everyone who disbelieves the gospel. Paul's primary concern here is of course unbelievers who will be living when the man of sin will be revealed. But these principles of God's judgment apply in all ages and can be seen in the 20th century.

Is this passage saying that those who do not believe the gospel before the man of sin is revealed—and who are therefore not caught up to meet the Lord at the Rapture but still live on the earth—cannot be saved after the man of lawlessness has been revealed? Or can people who recognize but knowingly reject the truth of the gospel before the Rapture be saved after the Rapture takes place? The "powerful delusion" (v. 11) that God will bring on these individuals in particular suggests that few if any then living on the earth will be saved after the Rapture. This seems to be a special judgment from God that will occur at this one time in history. The many saints which the Book of Revelation indicates will be living on the earth during the Tribulation may thus be people who did not hear and reject the gospel before the Rapture (cf. Rev. 7:4).

In summing up this section, Paul reminded his readers that the trials and persecutions they were experiencing (1:4) did not indicate that they were suffering the judgments of the day of the Lord. They had not missed the Rapture. For  before the judgments of the day of the Lord would come, certain identifiable events must occur, [as Paul had evidently previously taught them.] These are the apostasy (extensive turning away from the truth of God), the removal of the Restrainer (the Holy Spirit restraining evil in the world as He works through the church He indwells) at the Rapture, and the unveiling of the Antichrist, the man of lawlessness. Since these events had not (and still have not) occurred, the Thessalonians were not experiencing the judgments accompanying the day of the Lord."

F) [2 Thes 2:13-17]:

(2 Thes 2:13 NASB) "But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth.

(2 Thes 2:14 NKJV) to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

(2 Thes 2:15 NASB) So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth or by letter from us.

(2 Thes 2:16 NASB) Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, Who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace.

(2 Thes 2:17 NASB) comfort and strengthen your hearts in every good work and word."

1) [(2 Thes 2:13) Manuscript Evidence For 2 Thes 2:13]:

NU, B, F, G, P, 0278, 33, 1739, syr(b), cop(bo) have "God chose you firstfruits"

TR, WH, Sinaiticus, D, Psi, Maj, it, syr(p), cop(sa) have "God chose you from [the] beginning"

The textual attestation for those two variants is divided, as is the internal evidence. In a Greek manuscript (written in continuous letters with no space between words), the word for "firstfruits," "aparxen" could have easily been confused for the expression "from the beginning" (ap arxes), or vice versa. The NU reading could be original because Paul had the habit of calling the first converts in a certain geographical region the "firstfruits"... and the Thessalonians were among Paul's first converts in Europe. But the variant reading also has legitimacy because it was customary for Paul to speak of God's selection of his elect before the foundation of the world... The split among English translations shows the difficulty of making a definitive decision. This would be a good place to use the marginal notes to indicate that the alternative reading is just as viable. If the translators select "from the beginning" as the text, the note would read: "Or, as in other manuscripts, "firstfruits."

2) [(2 Thes 2:1-12, 13-17) Commentary On 2 Thes 2:13-17]:

(2 Thes 2:1 NASB) "Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming [Gk "parousia," presence / appearance of Jesus Christ to Rapture out the believers of the church age ] and our gathering [up] together to Him], 

(2 Thes 2:2 NASB) that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come.

(2 Thes 2:2 YLT) that [you] be not quickly shaken in mind, nor be troubled, neither through spirit, neither through word, neither through letters as through us, as that the day of [the LORD] Christ [has come]; 

(2 Thes 2:3 NASB) Let no one in any way deceive you, for it [the day of the Lord] will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction,

(2 Thes 2:3 NKJV) Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day [the Day of the Lord] will not come unless the falling away [Gk "apostasia" = apostasy] comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition,

(2 Thes 2:4 NASB) who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God.

(2 Thes 2:6 NKJV) And now you know what is restraining, that he [the man of lawlessness] may be revealed in His own time.

(2 Thes 2:7 NASB) For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only [He] Who now restrains will do so until [He] is taken out of the way.

(2 Thes 2:8 NASB) Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming

(2 Thes 2:8 HCSB) and then the lawless one will be revealed. The Lord Jesus will destroy him with the breath of His mouth and will bring him to nothing with the [manifestation] of His coming;

(2 Thes 2:9 NASB) that is, the one [referring back to v. 8 to the lawless one] whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders,

(2 Thes 2:10 NASB) and with all the deception [lit. every deception] of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved.

(2 Thes 2:11 HCSB) For this reason God sends [lit., is sending] them a strong delusion so that they will believe what is false,

(2 Thes 2:12 NASB) in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness.

(2 Thes 2:13 NASB) But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth,

(2 Thes 2:14 NKJV) [It was for this] to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

(2 Thes 2:15 NASB) So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth or by letter from us.

(2 Thes 2:16 NASB) Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, Who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace.

(Thes 2:17 NASB) comfort and strengthen your hearts in every good work and word."

After Paul reminded / clarified to the believers in Thessalonica in 2 Thes 2:1-4 that they had not missed Christ's parousia / rapture to take them off the earth to heaven with Him so as not to be subjected to the wrath of the Day of the Lord, reminding them that he himself had earlier taught them of these matters and of what immediately will follow, (2 Thes 2:5); 

whereupon he wrote in 2 Thes 2:6-12 of the Restrainer [the Holy Spirit] Who continued and continues today to restrain evil from gaining total control of the world. Even throughout the first century the Spirit of God was restraining evil, especially that which would lead to the revelation of the man of lawlessness as Paul had emphasized to them when he spoke to them of these things before. The Spirit would continue to do this - as we now know for centuries - until evil will be permitted by the Spirit to pervade the world to such an egregious extent and with every deception of wickedness by those who will perish unto eternal condemnation because they would not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. And for this reason God will be sending them a strong delusion so that they will all the more believe what is false in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness. All of this would prepare the way for the revelation of the man of lawlessness, who will be revealed in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders. So for a season, the world will totally succomb to evil and to the man of lawlessness; whereupon shortly thereafter, (after 7 years of tribulation such as the world has ever seen nor ever will ever again experience), the LORD Jesus Christ will come in His Second Coming to the surface of the Earth and destroy the man of lawlessness with the breath of His mouth when He comes - this at the very end of that period of time.

Whereupon Paul wrote in 2 Thes 2:13, "But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth." Notice that it is through His sovereign decrees and election that God is thanked, i.e., given the credit for the believers' salvation, sanctification and faith in the truth especially faith in the truth of the gospel of salvation and obedience to the doctrines of Scripture which have been exemplified by the believers at Thessalonica; albeit each believer chose of his own volition to do these faithful things, . Notice that it is God Whom Paul wrote to Whom one is to give thanks resulting in their - and all believers' - salvation, sanctification by the Spirit, and faith in the truth - the believers presenting a marked contrast to all those who are perishing due to their not receiving the love of the truth; but who rather did not believe in the gospel of salvation and thereby would perish.

Note that Paul's first letter also gives thanks to God for the believers as well:

a) [Compare 1 Thes 1:1-10 ]:

(1 Thes 1:1 NASB) "Paul and Silvanus and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace.

(1 Thes 1:2 NASB) We give thanks to God always for all of you, making mention of you in our prayers;

(1 Thes 1:3 NKJV) remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and Father,

(1 Thes 1:4 NKJV) [having known], beloved brethren, your election by God.

(1 Thes 1:5 NKJV) For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit and in much assurance, as you know what kind of men we were among you for your sake.

(1 Thes 1:6 NASB) You also became imitators of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much tribulation with the joy of the Holy Spirit,

(1 Thes 1:7 NKJV) so that you became examples to all in Macedonia and Achaia who believe.

(1 Thes 1:8 NASB) For the word of the Lord has sounded forth from you, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith toward God has gone forth, so that we have no need to say anything.

(1 Thes 1:9 NASB) For they themselves report about us what kind of a reception we had with you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve a living and true God,

(1 Thes 1:10 NASB) and to wait for His Son from heaven, Whom He raised from the dead, that is Jesus, Who rescues us from the wrath to come."

It is evident that the believers in Thessalonica had indeed suffered much persecution; yet they nevertheless persevered through all of it by the sovereignty, election and grace of God yet through their free will / volition they chose to participate, hence Paul wrote of their faithfulness and perseverance as remarkable. For they did much to evangelize their region, even into Macedonia and Achaia: 

b) [Compare 1 Thes 4:5-7]:

(1 Thes 1:5 NASB) "For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction; just as you know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake.

(1 Thes 1:6 NASB) You also became imitators of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much tribulation with the joy of the Holy Spirit,

(1 Thes 1:7 NASB) so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia.

(1 Thes 1:8 NASB) For the word of the Lord has sounded forth from you, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith toward God has gone forth, so that we have no need to say anything. 

Notice that this is all by the sovereign will of God Who loved them and chose them and for that matter has loved and chosen all who will choose of their own volitions to become believers for salvation and for sanctification before the foundation of the universe ; albeit they who do believe choose to believe of their own volition . And it is the indwelling Spirit of God Who leads them to go forward toward final sanctification. Despite each ones failings in this temporal life, the believer's perfect standing before God which is due solely to the grace / unmerited favor of God and the believer's sanctification which is likewise by the grace of God is maintained - even perfected - through the work of the indwelling Holy Spirit as He moves the believer toward spiritual maturity in a sense of carrying him through as that believer by his volition makes those decisions to mature in the faith or not. So it is all through God's grace; albeit, it is up to each believer to endeavor of his / her own volition to study, obey and express an agape love for God and the brethren; and have an ongoing love and faith in the truth and follow through with ongoing obedience to show themselves approved before God, moment to moment in their temporal lives as led and even perfected by the grace of God through the indwelling Holy Spirit.

In view of the previous verse (2 Thes 2:13) which reads, "But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth;

Paul concludes in 2 Thes 2:14-15, "[It was for this] to which He [God] called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth or by letter from us." Paul explained that the believers at Thessalonica [and all believers] were called to believe in the gospel of salvation unto eternal life in order to obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ in the sense of sharing in His eternal glory. So Paul thereby exhorted the believers at Thessalonica to stand firm and hold to what he taught them by word of mouth or by letter. Although it is all due to the sovereignty, election and grace of God that believers share in the glory of Jesus Christ and to what extent, Paul nevertheless exhorts the believers (and all believers) to choose of their own volition to do their part which inevitably will be done by each and every believer in accordance with his personal volition yet perfectly in accord with the election, decrees and sovereignty of God . On the other hand it is evident that Paul was nevertheless concerned that the Thessalonians were in danger of falling away from the apostles' teachings which they had received (cf. 2 Thes. 3:6) in person from Paul, fellow missionaries and from their letters. They were in danger of departing from the faith because of the trials and persecutions and daily negative influences of the world, the flesh, and the devil. In view is both the unfathomable mystery of how God absolutely and successfully operates out of His decrees, election and absolute sovereignty; yet it is up to the volition of each believer to choose to accomplish what he accomplishes for the glory of God resulting in sharing the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Whereupon, in 2 Thes 2:16-17, in the face of the Thessalonians' need for steadfastness Paul prayed that God would give them encouragement and strength (cf. 1 Thes. 3:2, 13; 2 Thes. 3:3): "Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, Who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace, comfort and strengthen your hearts in every good work and word."

Note that the Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father are both in view and are portrayed as One, i.e., operating in the singular (verbs), corroborating the Triune God . For Paul writes that God's love and grace is the foundation for eternal (i.e., unending) encouragement (paraklēsin aiōnian) in the face of any temporary present distress. Also God gives hope for the future. And that hope is good (agathēn, "beneficial") for it assures believers of the return of their victorious Savior.

So in 2 Thes 2:16-17, in view of their recent anxiety created by false information concerning the day of the Lord, Paul expressed a prayer to God that the believers at Thessalonica be reminded that our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, Who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace; that their heart be comforted and strengthened in every good work and word that they do and say. So they needed God's grace to make them confident and strong as they endeavored to do godly works and share the Word of God with others.

So the Thessalonican believers' suffering as well as their victories in evangelizing others and their being faithful to God in every good work and word are inevitably due to the sovereignty, election and grace of God through the indwelling work of the Holy Spirit in the believer's sanctification, edification, etc. Yet somewhere in there is the volition of the believer persevering, being faithful in the midst of ongoing struggles due to circumstances and struggles with his own sin nature day by day and moment by moment - hence needed God's encouragement and grace to perserve in such matters. Hence Paul's prayer to God on behalf of the believers in Thessalonica in view of their need for steadfastness, i.e., that God would give them encouragement and strength (cf. 1 Thes. 3:2, 13; 2 Thes. 3:3). For just as Paul struggled with circumstances as well as with his own sin nature in his daily, temporal life, yet in the end his success is, thanks be to God due to the grace of God Himself, (cf. Ro 7:15-25 ); so it was with the believers in Thessalonica and all believers of all ages.

c) [(2 Thes 2:13-17) BKC Commentary On 2 Thes 2:13-17]: 

(2 Thes 2:13 NASB) "But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth,

(2 Thes 2:14 NKJV) [It was for this] to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

(2 Thes 2:15 NASB) So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth or by letter from us.

(2 Thes 2:16 NASB) Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, Who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace,

(2 Thes 2:17 NASB) comfort and strengthen your hearts in every good work and word."

"A. Thanksgiving for calling (2:13-15)

(2 Thes 2:13 NASB) "But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth,

(2 Thes 2:14 NKJV) [It was for this] to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

(2 Thes 2:15 NASB) So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth or by letter from us."

2:13. In contrast to the unbelievers just mentioned, the Thessalonians were a source of joy to the apostles. Paul felt a strong obligation to thank God on their behalf continually. They were his brothers (cf. vv. 1, 15) and sisters in the faith, loved by the Lord though hated and persecuted by their godless neighbors.

The reason for the apostle's joy and gratitude to God was His choice of the Thessalonian believers for eternal salvation. From the beginning (cf. "before the Creation of the world," Eph. 1:4) God chose (heilato, past tense of aireō, "to take or pick," used only here and in Phil. 1:22) them, not on the basis of their love for Him or any merit on their part, but because of His love for them (cf. 1 Thes. 1:4). Paul consistently taught that the initiative in salvation comes from God, not man. The means God uses to effect salvation is the work of His Holy Spirit who sets aside chosen individuals for lives of holiness and separation from sin (cf. John 16:7-11). The Holy Spirit regenerates, indwells, and baptizes Christians into the body of Christ. The human aspect of salvation is belief in the truth of the gospel. The Holy Spirit then uses the Word of God to purify the believer's life (John 17:17).

2:14. 

(2 Thes 2:14 NKJV) [It was for this] to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ."

God called the readers to salvation by using the gospel as it was proclaimed by the apostolic missionaries in Thessalonica. God's purpose in doing so was that the believers might one day share the splendor and honor that Jesus Christ now enjoys, seated at the right hand of the Father (cf. 1:10-12).

2:15. 

(2 Thes 2:15 NASB) "So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth or by letter from us."

In view of their calling, the Thessalonian believers were to maintain their present position of faith in God, care for the brethren, and hope in the imminent return of Jesus Christ (cf. 1 Thes. 1:3). They were to stand firm (stēkete; cf. 1 Cor. 16:13; 1 Thes. 3:8). Christians are in constant danger of being swept downstream by the currents of ungodly culture. They are also prone to let the truths they know and the relationship they enjoy with God grow cold. They need to vigorously hold to what they have been taught by God's servants. The Thessalonians were in danger of loosening their grip on the apostles' teachings which they had received (cf. 2 Thes. 3:6) in person from the missionaries and from their letters. They were in danger of slipping backward in their Christian experience because of the pressures of their trials and the daily negative influences of the world, the flesh, and the devil.

B. Prayer for strength (2:16-17)

(2 Thes 2:16 NASB) "Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, Who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace,

(2 Thes 2:17 NASB) comfort and strengthen your hearts in every good work and word."

In the face of the Thessalonians' need for steadfastness Paul prayed that God would give them encouragement and strength (cf. 1 Thes. 3:2, 13; 2 Thes. 3:3).

2:16. Though the Son and Father are both mentioned, They are regarded as One. God's love and grace is the foundation for eternal (i.e., unending) encouragement (paraklēsin aiōnian) in the face of any temporary present distress. Also God gives hope for the future. And that hope is good (agathēn, "beneficial") for it assures believers of the return of their victorious Savior.

2:17. Paul had two desires for the Thessalonians: (a) The Thessalonians needed comfort and encouragement (the verb encourage [parakalesai] suggests both "comfort" and "encourage"; sometimes it means "urge" as in 1 Thes. 4:1, 10; 2 Thes. 3:12) in view of their recent anxiety created by false information concerning the day of the Lord. (b) They needed God's grace to make them firm and stable (strengthen is stērizai, also used in 1 Thes. 3:2, 13) in every good deed ("good" in the sense of being done as unto the Lord) and in every... word they spoke in defense and confirmation of the gospel.

d) [(2 Thes 2:13-17) Expositor's Commentary On 2 Thes 2:13-17]: 

(2 Thes 2:13 NASB) "But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth,

(2 Thes 2:14 NKJV) [It was for this] to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

(2 Thes 2:15 NASB) So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth or by letter from us.

(2 Thes 2:16 NASB) Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, Who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace.

(Thes 2:17 NASB) comfort and strengthen your hearts in every good work and word."

"13 

(2 Thes 2:13 NASB) "But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth,

Paul is thankful that God chose some to believe the truth and to be delivered from delusion and from divine judgment. He and his co-workers can rejoice in looking forward to salvation for themselves and their converts, an anticipation drastically different from the outlook for those awaiting perdition (cf. v. 10). The salvation viewed from its human side in 1:3ff. is now seen as an undertaking of God'

For Paul to address these "brothers" as those "loved by the Lord" (cf. 1 Thess 1:4) is appropriate, because God chose them to be saved. "From the beginning" refers to their pretemporal election (cf. 1 Thess 1:4). Paul usually places God's prior choice of men to salvation (v. 13) alongside their historical call (v. 14; cf. Rom 8:30) (Hendriksen, p. 188). This salvation is what will elude those who refuse to love the truth (v. 10). It entails present benefits and also future deliverance from the doom that will befall the lost at Christ's return (cf. 1:6, 8, 9; 2:8-12). God's choice operates in the realm of belief in the truth and of the Spirit's sanctifying work. The role of the Spirit in sanctification looms large for Paul (Rom 15:16; 1Cor 6:11, 12; 1 Thess 4:7, 8) as it does for Peter (1 Peter 1:2) (Best, pp. 314, 315). The sphere of God's choice of believers for salvation is also marked by its faith-in-truth emphasis. Belief in the truth is the means of the beginning and continuing relationships of salvation (cf. vv. 10-12).

14 

(2 Thes 2:14 NKJV) [It was for this] to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

God has fulfilled his foreordained purpose by calling the chosen to this salvation "through our gospel." The good news of divine truth conveyed through Paul's preaching was the means through which God called these Thessalonian converts at a particular point in time. What God purposed in eternity was carried out in history that the future might bring them a share "in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ." God's design was to make them adopted ones who participate in Christ's glory at the parousia (coming) (cf. 1:10, 12). As God's purchased possessions, they will be granted this matchless privilege. They do not earn it or in any other way acquire it for themselves. It is accomplished solely by God, as is all else referred to in this context (vv. 13, 14).

Notes

13 

(2 Thes 2:13 NASB) "But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth,"

The choice between the variants ἀπαρχήν (aparchen, "firstfruits") and ἀπʼ ἀρχῆς (ap) arches, "from the beginning") is difficult. The latter has a slight edge in external support, being found in both Western and Alexandrian text-types. It is a hard reading because of the absence of the phrase from Paul's other writings. On the other hand, aparchen is extremely difficult, because without an explanatory genitive, it renders no satisfactory sense in the verse (Best, p. 313). "Firstfruits" points to a larger group, but no group can be found among which these believers were first. Hence, (ap) arches has been chosen as the correct reading.

14

(2 Thes 2:14 NKJV) "[It was for this] to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ."

A locative instead of an instrumental force has been chosen for ἐν (en, "in") because the clause names an act in eternity past. To render the preposition by "through" (NIV) unduly anticipates the historical call of v. 14. The means of their call is expressed in the διά (dia, "through") phrase v. 14, while the ἐν (en, "in") phrase of v. 13 indicates the spiritual state in which God chose them to salvation (Ellicott, p. 220).

Whether to take περιποίησιν (peripoiesin, "acquisition"; NIV, "share") actively (Hendriksen, p. 128; Hiebert, p. 223) or passively (Lightfoot, p. 76) recalls the discussion of 1 Thess 5:9. An active sense in a setting that so strongly emphasizes God's part in the total salvation process is inappropriate, to say the least. More congruity is obtained by omitting the element of personal attainment that the active meaning of peripoiesin would convey. Human responsibility comes in v. 15, but vv. 13, 14 are devoted to what God has done. The meaning of "acquired possession" is therefore preferred over "acquiring" for peripoiesin. This necessitates taking δόξης, (doxes, "of glory") as a genitive of apposition.
 
2. Call to doctrinal adherence (2:15)

(2 Thes 2:15 NASB) "So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth or by letter from us."

15 "So then" turns the discussion to a practical responsibility derived from God's elective purpose (vv. 13, 14). Against a background of such an imminent world crisis as described in vv. 1-10, the beneficiaries of God's saving work cannot afford to lapse into lethargy, but must respond with loyal steadfastness ("stand firm") and keep a firm hold on the traditions ("teachings") taught them by Paul and his associates. A continuing stability and firm grasp on basic Christian doctrines would have alleviated the instability and alarm that prompted the writing of this Epistle (cf. v. 2). They had received instructions about ethical matters (1 Thess 4:1, 2; 2 Thess 3:6), but the particular data needed at this point is doctrinal, as shown by Paul's reference to "our gospel" in v. 14 (cf. 1Cor 15:3-5) (Best, p. 317). Paul himself had been a recipient of Christian traditions subsequent to his conversion. Through divine revelation he had originated other traditions (1 Thess 4:15). These he had passed on to his converts both "by word of mouth" and "by letter" in his previous contacts with them. In light of their inclusion in God's saving purpose (vv. 13, 14), he commands them to remain unmovable and cling tenaciously to these doctrines,

3. Prayer for practical compliance (2:16, 17)

(2 Thes 2:16 NASB) "Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, Who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace."

(Thes 2:17 NASB) comfort and strengthen your hearts in every good work and word."

16,17 The prayer that closes chapter two is in slight contrast (de, v. 16, untranslated in NIV) to the appeal of v. 15. Paul and his co-workers cannot in themselves make the appeal effective. Only God himself, who initially chose them, (vv. 13, 14) can do that. Addressing his prayer to the first two persons of the Trinity, Paul names the Son before the Father (contra 1 Thess 3:11), probably in line with the Son's worthiness of equal honor with the Father and his special prominence in the chapter's emphasis on future salvation and glory. Yet the two persons are one God as shown by several structural features in vv. 16, 17: 

(1) The pronoun autos ("himself," v. 16) is singular and probably should be understood as emphasizing both persons - "our Lord Jesus Christ and God our Father himself" (cf. 1 Thess 3:11). 

(2) "Loved us and... gave us" (v. 16) represents two singular participles whose actions are applicable to both the Son and the Father. The singular number is explained by Paul's conception of the two persons as one God. 

(3) "Encourage and strengthen" (v. 17) are likewise singular in number though they express the action of a compound subject. This grammatical feature is attributable to the oneness of essence among the persons of the Godhead (cf. John 10:30). Paul conceived of Jesus Christ as God in the same full sense as he conceived of God the Father. No other explanation of this unusual combination of grammatical features is satisfying.

Reminding himself and his readers of why God has every reason to answer this prayer, Paul notes that the Son and the Father "loved us" and graciously "gave us eternal encouragement and good hope." Evidence of this can be seen in the incarnation and death of Jesus Christ, which are so often referred to in terms of God's loving and giving (John 3:16; Rom 5:5, 8; 8:35, 37; Gal 2:20; 1 John 4:10). Because of God's love displayed in Christ, the present readers had a source of unending encouragement to offset their persecutions and accompanying doubts.

Paul prays that the encouragement provided in the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ may be appropriated inwardly - literally, "encourage your hearts" - as a motivation for giving them strength for "every good deed and word." Disquiet regarding the coming of the Lord (v. 2) was the need to be met. As God undertakes their cause, they can "stand firm and hold to the teachings" (v. 15).

Notes

16 

(2 Thes 2:16 NASB) "Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, Who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace."

To put the emphasis of αὐτός (autos, "himself") on the Son alone (and on the Father alone in 1 Thess 3:11) presents an unbalanced picture, as though Paul expected one person to answer one prayer and another to answer the other. The best way to solve this imbalance is to take the pronoun as extending to both persons in each case (cf. note on 1 Thess 3:11).

Galatians 1:1 presents a comparable situation of a singular participle following "Jesus Christ and God the Father," when the participle goes only with the latter of the two persons. Yet it is questionable whether Galatians 1:1 is parallel, since the participial expression "who raised him from the dead" cannot logically modify "Jesus Christ." The same is not true here. Both the Son and the Father have loved (Rom 8:35-39). Both the Son and the Father have given (Rom 8:32; Gal 2:20). In light of the stress in this verse on the unity of the Godhead, it is more plausible to refer the participles to both Persons (Frame, p. 286; Hiebert, p. 327)."