Thursday, June 14, 2012

2 Thessalonians 2

2Th 2:1Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we ask you, brothers
This discussion is now over the topic: The coming of Jesus and our being gathered to Him. It’s hard to divorce this from the rapture in 1 Thess 4. That would likely speak to a future date

2Th 2:2 not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by a spirit or a spoken word, or a letter seeming to be from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come.
If you think we said that it has come by something we said then be patient and think it over some more.  Noteworthy: the false teachers were using the words of Paul to make this case. 

2Th 2:3 Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction,
Before the day of the Lord we will have
1.       The rebellion
2.       The man of lawlessness revealed
Now the man of lawlessness is a man so whomever he is, he is a man.  He’s not an angel, or a bodiless spirit, he’s a man. But he’s the son of destruction, or perdition, meaning he’s reprobate. Like Judas.
Also noteworthy: pretribulational rapture is not supported here, if it was true Paul would have said: look guys, here I am, but instead he tells them to look for the man of sin.
Some preterists think this is Simon Bar Giora the traitor who killed the moderate Jews in the city and instigated the revolt against Rome.

2Th 2:4 who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God.
We know this about the man – he opposes all worship of false gods and idols.  He then moves into the temple and proclaims himself as God. 
There is no temple in Jerusalem currently. This might mean the church, or it might be a literal temple.
This imagery is evocative of the mad emperor Caligula who was going to put a huge statue of himself in the Jerusalem temple against the advice of his advisers, but was assassinated in 41AD.

2Th 2:5 Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things?
This is a parenthetical to his point in order to rebuke them.  I already told you this. This is a reminder to us that this letter is a reminder, and contains only a fragment of the information.

2Th 2:6 And you know what is restraining him now so that he may be revealed in his time.
It’s a man who is currently being restrained from doing this terrible thing in God’s temple by a what. Something is keeping him at bay, under wraps.   The purpose of holding him back is to wait until the time is right.  The Thessalonians know, but we don’t. 
Some preterits think this is Ananaus ben Ananaus the moderate voice of Jerusalem.
I'm not so sure.

2Th 2:7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. Only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way.
But it’s not far off either.  The lawlessness is being generated. The one who restrains the mystery itself is going to stop soon, and it’s a ‘he’ only in your ESV.  Closest translation is that which, but it’s the work of a person, or at least a personal work, so the translators made it he.  That the restrainer is holding back the lawless one is likely. It’s also possible he’s holding back the day of the lord, the it being in reference to the day, not the evil man.
This is strong evidence for a past fulfillment

2Th 2:8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming.
Once the day comes the lawless one will burst forth, and then God will kill him, and appear, and thus bring him and his reign to nothing.

2Th 2:9 The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders,
Satan has lying wonders. Jesus warned us of them in Matthew 24 (among other places)

2Th 2:10 and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.
Much like the story of Micaiah in 1 Kings 22 where God send lying spirits to the wicked king of Israel.
Men are in every way ruined. Fallen love, fallen reason, fallen thinking. We are in open rebellion to God and think it’s good. If we are to be saved it is because He arrests us, grabs us, awakens us from the dead.
Why do so many people perish in darkness? Because this is the verdict: light has come into the world but men love darkness. 

2Th 2:11 Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false,
They hate God, so in response God gives them what they want to see, anything but God.  And this is why Jesus spoke in parables so that hearing they would not hear, and seeing they would not see, lest they turn and be saved. To reveal Himself further would invite them to hate Him more,

2Th 2:12 in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
Why would God do this?  It is so that they will receive condemnation on the day of judgment. While it is true that men freely choose hell, it must also be said that God is working to condemn them, fitting them as vessels for His wrath

2Th 2:13 But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth.
Being deceived is impossible after your eyes are opened.  Christians are chosen by God, kalleoh called out, predestined.  We are saved by belief in Jesus, and growing increasingly holy by the power of the Spirit

2Th 2:14 To this he called you through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Why did God call us in this way?  So we could have the same glory as Christ Jesus.  Now that is a staggering, unthinkable amount of generosity. 

2Th 2:15 So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter.
It doesn’t mean like Roman Catholicism teaches, it means cling to doctrine. Go on imitating us in life as we imitated Christ.

2Th 2:16 Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace,
2Th 2:17 comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word.
Eternal comfort is that which is eternal. It was given in the past, which means we can be assured of our salvation.  God is in the business of soothing our frightful weak hearts, and setting our feet upon the rock so that we may do good works, because as this verse teaches, He loves us.

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