ERROR AS TO
1. Now--rather, "But"; marking the transition from his prayers
for them to entreaties to them.
we beseech you--or "entreat you." He uses affectionate entreaty,
rather than stern reproof, to win them over to the right view.
by--rather, "with respect to"; as the Greek for "of"
our gathering together unto him--the consummating or final gathering
together of the saints to Him at His coming, as announced,
The Greek noun is nowhere else found except in
said of the assembling together of believers for
congregational worship. Our instinctive fears of the judgment
are dispelled by the thought of being gathered together UNTO HIM ("even as the hen
gathereth her chickens under her wings"), which ensures our safety.
2. soon--on trifling grounds, without due consideration.
shaken--literally, "tossed" as ships tossed by an agitated sea.
Compare for the same image,
in mind--rather as the Greek, "from your mind," that is,
from your mental steadfastness on the subject.
troubled--This verb applies to emotional agitation; as "shaken"
by spirit--by a person professing to have the spirit of
The Thessalonians had been warned
(1Th 5:20, 21)
to "prove" such professed prophesyings, and to "hold fast (only) that
which is good."
by word--of mouth (compare
2Th 2:5, 15);
some word or saying alleged to be that of Paul, orally communicated. If
oral tradition was liable to such perversion in the apostolic age
(compare a similar instance,
how much more in our age!
by letter as from us--purporting to be from us, whereas it is a
forgery. Hence he gives a test by which to know his genuine letters
day of Christ--The oldest manuscripts read, "day of the Lord."
is at hand--rather, "is immediately imminent," literally, "is
present"; "is instantly coming." Christ and His apostles always
taught that the day of the Lord's coming is at hand; and it is not
likely that Paul would imply anything contrary here; what he denies is,
that it is so immediately imminent, instant, or present, as to
justify the neglect of everyday worldly duties.
CHRYSOSTOM, and after
him ALFORD, translates, "is (already) present" (compare
a kindred error. But in
the same Greek verb is translated "come."
WAHL supports this view. The Greek is
usually used of actual presence; but is quite susceptible of the
translation, "is all but present."
3. by any means--Greek, "in any manner." Christ, in
gives the same warning in connection with the same event. He had
indicated three ways
in which they might be deceived (compare other ways,
and Mt 24:5, 24).
a falling away--rather as the Greek, "the falling away," or
"apostasy," namely, the one of which "I told you" before
"when I was yet with you," and of which the Lord gave some intimation
that man of sin be revealed--The Greek order is, "And
there have been revealed the man of sin." As Christ was first in
mystery, and afterwards revealed
so Antichrist (the term used
1Jo 2:18; 4:3)
is first in mystery, and afterwards shall be developed and revealed
As righteousness found its embodiment in Christ, "the Lord our
righteousness," so "sin" shall have its embodiment in "the man of sin."
The hindering power meanwhile restrains its manifestation; when
that shall be removed, then this manifestation shall take place. The
articles, "the apostasy," and "the man of sin," may also
refer to their being well known as foretold in
Da 7:8, 25,
"the little horn speaking great words against the Most High, and
thinking to change times and laws"; and
the wilful king who "shall exalt and magnify himself above every god,
and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods; neither
shall he regard any god."
the son of perdition--a title applied besides to Judas (the traitor,
and to none else. Antichrist (the second "beast" coming up out of the
earth); therefore he shall at first be "like a lamb, while he speaks as
"coming in peaceably and by flatteries," "working deceitfully," but
"his heart shall be against the holy covenant"
(Da 11:21, 23, 28, 30).
Seeds of "the falling away" soon appear
but the full development and concentration of these anti-Christian
elements in one person are still to appear. Contrast the King of
Zion's coming as JESUS: (1) righteous or
just; (2) having salvation; (3) lowly; whereas
Antichrist is: (1) "the man of (the embodiment of) sin; (2) the
son of perdition; (3) exalting himself above all that is
worshipped. He is the son of perdition, as consigning many to
it, and finally doomed to it himself
(Re 17:8, 11).
"He whose essence and inheritance is perdition"
[ALFORD]. As "the kingdom of heaven" is
first brought before us in the abstract, then in the concrete, the
King, the Lord Jesus; so here, first we have
"the mystery of iniquity," then "the iniquitous one"
Doubtless "the apostasy" of Romanism (the abstract) is one of
the greatest instances of the working of the mystery of
iniquity, and its blasphemous claims for the Pope (the concrete)
are forerunners of the final concentration of blasphemy in the man
of sin, who shall not merely, as the Pope, usurp God's honor as
vicegerent of God, but oppose God openly at last.
Da 11:36, 37
is here referred to. The words used there as to Antiochus Epiphanes,
Paul implies, shall even be more applicable to the man of sin, who is
the New Testament actual Antichrist, as Antiochus was the Old Testament
typical Antichrist. The previous world kingdoms had each one
extraordinary person as its representative head and embodiment (thus
Babylon had Nebuchadnezzar,
end; Medo-Persia had Cyrus; Greece had Alexander, and Antiochus
Epiphanes, the forerunner of Antichrist); so the fourth and last world
kingdom, under which we now live, shall have one final head, the
concentrated embodiment of all the sin and lawless
iniquity which have been in pagan and papal Rome. Rome's final
phase will probably be an unholy alliance between idolatrous
superstition and godless infidelity.
Who opposeth and exalteth himself--There is but one Greek
article to both participles, implying that the reason why he
opposeth himself is in order that he may exalt himself
above, &c. ALFORD takes the former clause
absolutely, "He that withstands (CHRIST)," that
As at the conclusion of the Old Testament period, Israel apostate
allied itself with the heathen world power against Jesus and His
and at Thessalonica,
and was in righteous retribution punished by the instrumentality of the
world power itself (Jerusalem being destroyed by Rome),
Da 9:26, 27;
so the degenerate Church (become an "harlot"), allying itself with the
godless world power (the "beast" of Revelation) against vital religion
(that is, the harlot sitting on the beast), shall be judged by that
world power which shall be finally embodied in Antichrist
(Zec 13:8, 9; 14:2;
Re 17:16, 17).
In this early Epistle, the apostate Jewish Church as the harlot, and
pagan Rome as the beast, form the historical background on which Paul
draws his prophetic sketch of the apostasy. In the Pastoral Epistles,
which were later, this prophecy appears in connection with Gnosticism,
which had at that time infected the Church. The harlot (the apostate
Church) is first to be judged by the beast (the world power) and its
and afterwards the beasts and their allies (with the personal
Antichrist at their head, who seems to rise after the judgment on the
harlot, or apostate Church) shall be judged by the coming of Jesus
Anti-Christian tendencies produce different Antichrists: these separate
Antichrists shall hereafter find their consummation in an individual
exceeding them all in the intensity of his evil character [AUBERLEN]. But judgment soon overtakes him. He is
necessarily a child of death, immediately after his
ascent as the beast out of the bottomless pit going into
(Re 17:8, 11).
Idolatry of self, spiritual pride, and rebellion against
God, are his characteristics; as Christ-worship, humility,
and dependence on God, characterize Christianity. He not merely
assumes Christ's character (as the "false Christs,"
but "opposes" Christ. The Greek implies one situated
on an opposite side (compare
One who, on the destruction of every religion, shall seek to establish
his own throne, and for God's great truth, "God is man," to substitute
his own lie, "Man is God" [TRENCH].
above all that is called God--
The Pope (for instance, Clement VI) has even commanded the angels to
admit into Paradise, without the alleged pains of purgatory, certain
souls. But still this is only a foreshadowing of the Antichrist, who
will not, as the Pope, act in God's name, but against
or that is worshipped--Rome here again gives a presage of Antichrist.
The Greek is Sebasma; and Sebastus is the Greek for
Augustus, who was worshipped as the secular ruler and divine vicegerent.
The papacy has risen on the overthrow of Cæsar's power. Antichrist
shall exalt himself above every object of worship, whether on earth
as the Cæsar, or in heaven as God. The various prefigurations of
Antichrist, Mohammed, Rome, Napoleon, and modern infidel secularism,
contain only some, not all, his characteristics. It is the
union of all in some one person that shall form the full Antichrist, as
the union in one Person, Jesus, of all the types and prophecies
constituted the full Christ [OLSHAUSEN].
in the temple of God . . . that he is God--"He will
reign a time, times, and half a time"
that is, three and a half years, and will sit in the temple at
Jerusalem: then the Lord shall come from heaven and cast him into
the take of fire and shall bring to the saints the times of their
reigning, the seventh day of hallowed rest, and give to Abraham the
promised inheritance" [IRENÆUS, Against
showing himself--with blasphemous and arrogant
DISPLAY (compare a
The earliest Fathers unanimously looked for a personal Antichrist. Two
objections exist to Romanism being regarded the Antichrist,
though probably Romanism will leave its culmination in him: (1)
So far is Romanism from opposing all that is called God, that
adoration of gods and lords many (the Virgin Mary and saints) is a
leading feature in it; (2) the papacy has existed for more than twelve
centuries, and yet Christ is not come, whereas the prophecy regards the
final Antichrist as short-lived, and soon going to perdition through
the coming of Christ
(Re 17:8, 11).
Gregory the Great declared against the patriarch of Constantinople,
that whosoever should assume the title of "universal bishop" would be
"the forerunner of Antichrist." The papacy fulfilled this his
undesigned prophecy. The Pope has been called by his followers, "Our
Lord God the Pope"; and at his inauguration in St. Peter's, seated in
his chair upon the high altar, which is treated as his footstool, he
has vividly foreshadowed him who "exalteth himself above all that is
called God." An objection f