2 Thessalonians 2:8
And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(8) And then.—Then at length, when the obstructor is gone, two things shall happen: (1) the Lawless One shall be revealed, and (2) then the Lord will come and destroy him. The purpose with which St. Paul began this chapter was to show relatively the date of our Lord’s Advent; but he is now so engrossed in describing the events which must precede it, that when he does mention the Advent again he does so in a parenthetical relative clause.

That Wicked.—Or, the Lawless One. The English version has again obscured the passage by not keeping the same word as in 2Thessalonians 2:7. The general tendency to “lawlessness” or “rebellion” will be brought to a head in the person of “the Lawless One” or “the “Rebel,” just as the “obstruction” is impersonated in “the Obstructor.” The publication of the “secret of rebelliousness” will be effected by the manifesto of the Rebel-in-chief. Of course, this Rebel is the same person with the Man of Sin, the change of title being due to the particularising of his sin by the word “lawlessness” in 2Thessalonians 2:7; the specification of the time is the only additional intelligence; all the emphasis of the sentence, therefore, rests on “And then.”

The Lord.—The best text adds the name Jesus, which serves more clearly to contrast Him with His rival. The word “whom” might be more pointedly paraphrased by “and him.”

With the spirit of his mouth.—St. Paul is quoting roughly from Isaiah 11:4 (comp. Job 4:9; Psalm 18:15; Wisdom Of Solomon 11:20 : “might have fallen down with one blast, . . . scattered abroad through the breath of Thy power”); and therefore we are to understand it to signify the perfect ease with which Christ will destroy Antichrist. Even when the phrase is used of speech (as it may perhaps be here), the absence of labour is the point to be noticed (e.g., Psalm 33:6).

With the brightness of his coming.—Rather, with the appearing of His presence. Here, again, it is the mere fact of the true Christ’s showing Himself, which will reduce to nothingness (such is the meaning of the Greek for “destroy”) the false Christ. When they shall stand face to face there will be no possibility of delusion any more.

2 Thessalonians 2:8. And then — When every prince and power that restrains is taken away; that wicked Ο ανομος, that lawless one, who boasts himself to be above all laws, and the infallible judge, dispensing with, and interpreting the laws of God, according to his pleasure. Nothing can be more plain than that this wicked or lawless one, and the man of sin, must be one and the same person: shall be revealed — This revelation must mean that he would then no longer work secretly, but would openly show himself, possessing the character, and performing the actions ascribed to the man of sin. Whom the Lord shall consume — The apostle does not mean that he should be consumed immediately after he was revealed; but, to comfort the Thessalonians, he no sooner mentions his revelation, than he foretels also his destruction, even before he describes his other qualifications; which qualifications should have been described first in order of time, but the apostle hastens to what was first and warmest in his thoughts and wishes. The word αναλωσει, here rendered to consume, Chandler observes, is used to denote a lingering, gradual consumption; being applied to the waste of time, to the dissipation of an estate, and the slow death of being eaten up of worms. He supposes it has the same meaning here, importing that the man of sin is to be gradually destroyed by the spirit — Or breath rather, as it seems πνευμα should have been here translated; of Christ’s mouth — By which expression the preaching of true doctrine, and its efficacy in destroying the man of sin, are predicted. For the mouth being the instrument by which speech is formed of breath, or air from the lungs, the breath of his mouth is a proper figurative expression to denote the speaking or preaching of true doctrine. Accordingly, the preaching of the gospel is termed, (Revelation 19:15,) a sharp sword proceeding out of the mouth of Christ; and (Hosea 6:5) God says, I have hewed them by the prophets, I have slain them by the word of my mouth. See also Isaiah 11:4. Or, the expression may include both the preaching of the gospel and the power of the Spirit accompanying it; and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming — By clear, convincing reasons and arguments contained in the doctrine of those that shall speak or write by the Spirit of Christ, or by God’s manifest judgments against him in the pouring out of the several vials, Revelation 16. The original expression, επιφανεια της παρουσιας αυτου, is, literally, the bright shining of his coming, and means that, as darkness is dispelled by the rising of the sun, so the mystery of iniquity shall be destroyed by the lustre with which Christ will cause the true doctrine of the gospel to shine. “If,” says Dr. Benson, “St. John and St. Paul have prophesied of the same corruptions, it should seem that the head of the apostacy will be destroyed by some signal judgment, after its influence or dominion hath, in a gradual manner, been destroyed by the force of truth.” According to Daniel, (Daniel 7:27,) after the little horn is consumed and destroyed, the kingdom, and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High; a prediction which undoubtedly signifies the general conversion of both Gentiles and Jews to the Christian faith, and the universal reign of righteousness and peace through all the earth.2:5-12 Something hindered or withheld the man of sin. It is supposed to be the power of the Roman empire, which the apostle did not mention more plainly at that time. Corruption of doctrine and worship came in by degrees, and the usurping of power was gradual; thus the mystery of iniquity prevailed. Superstition and idolatry were advanced by pretended devotion, and bigotry and persecution were promoted by pretended zeal for God and his glory. This mystery of iniquity was even then begun; while the apostles were yet living, persons pretended zeal for Christ, but really opposed him. The fall or ruin of the antichristian state is declared. The pure word of God, with the Spirit of God, will discover this mystery of iniquity, and in due time it shall be destroyed by the brightness of Christ's coming. Signs and wonders, visions and miracles, are pretended; but they are false signs to support false doctrines; and lying wonders, or only pretended miracles, to cheat the people; and the diabolical deceits with which the antichristian state has been supported, are notorious. The persons are described, who are his willing subjects. Their sin is this; They did not love the truth, and therefore did not believe it; and they were pleased with false notions. God leaves them to themselves, then sin will follow of course, and spiritual judgments here, and eternal punishments hereafter. These prophecies have, in a great measure, come to pass, and confirm the truth of the Scriptures. This passage exactly agrees with the system of popery, as it prevails in the Romish church, and under the Romish popes. But though the son of perdition has been revealed, though he has opposed and exalted himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; and has spoken and acted as if he were a god upon earth, and has proclaimed his insolent pride, and supported his delusions, by lying miracles and all kinds of frauds; still the Lord has not yet fully destroyed him with the brightness of his coming; that and other prophecies remain to be fulfilled before the end shall come.And then shall that Wicked be revealed - ὁ ἄνομος ho anomos - "the wicked one," referring to the "man of sin," and called "the wicked one" because of the eminent depravity of the system of which he was to be the head; see the notes on 2 Thessalonians 2:3.

Whom the Lord shall consume - The Lord Jesus; see the notes on Acts 1:24. The word "consume" here - ἀναλώσει analōsei - means "to destroy;" see Galatians 5:15; Luke 9:54. The word would be applicable to any kind of destruction. The methods by which this will be done are immediately specified - and it is of much importance to understand them, if this refers to the papacy. "With the spirit of his mouth." What goes out of his mouth, or what he speaks; that is, word, truth, command, or gospel - all of which he may be regarded as speaking. In Revelation 1:16; Revelation 19:15, Revelation 19:21, it is said of the Redeemer that "a sharp two-edged sword goeth out of his mouth;" that is, his word, doctrine, or command - what he speaks - is like a sharp sword. It will cut deep; will lay open the heart; will destroy his enemies. Compare Isaiah 11:4, "With the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked." The reference in the passage before us is to one of the methods which would be employed to "destroy" the man of sin; and the sense is, that it would be by what is spoken by the Redeemer. This may refer either to what he will say at his coming, or to his truth - already spoken; to what has gone from his lips, by whomsoever uttered; and the meaning then is, that one of the grand agencies for destroying this anti-Christian power is the truth spoken or revealed by the Saviour - that is, his pure gospel.

If this latter is the true interpretation, it may mean that the process for his destruction may have commenced long anterior to the personal appearing of the Redeemer, but that the complete destruction of this power will be accomplished by the splendor of his second coming. It cannot be denied, however, that the most obvious interpretation is that which refers both clauses in the sentence to the same period - that of his second coming. Still, it is not improper to suppose that it may be implied that his power will be weakened and diminished by the influence of the gospel, though it may not be wholly destroyed until the second coming of the Saviour.

And shall destroy - καταργήσει katargēsei. Shall bring to nothing; cause to cease; put an end to. This is, in some respects, a stronger word than that which in the former part of the verse is rendered "consume." It denotes a more entire destruction than that, though it does not refer so much to any positive agency by which it will be done. In the former word, the attention is directed more to the agency by which the destruction will be effected - to the exertion of some kind of power to do it; in this word the attention is directed rather to the entireness or totality of the destruction. The anti-Christian domination will wholly cease, or be entirely destroyed. The words would naturally harmonize with the idea that there would be a somewhat gradual process under the operation of truth toward the destruction of the man of sin, but that the complete annihilation of his power would be by some more manifest exhibition of the personal glory of the Saviour.

With the brightness of his coming - This is evidently a Hebraism, meaning his splendid or glorious appearing. The Greek word, however, rendered "brightness" (ἐπιφανεία epiphaneia - epiphany) - means merely "an appearing," or "appearance." So it is used in 1 Timothy 6:4; 2 Timothy 1:10; 2 Timothy 4:1, 2 Timothy 4:8; Titus 2:13, in all which places it is rendered appearing, and refers to the manifestation of the Saviour when he shall come to judge the world. It is used nowhere else in the New Testament. There is no necessary idea of splendor in the word, and the idea is not, as our translation would seem to convey, that there would be such a dazzling light, or such unsufferable brightness that all would be consumed before it, but that he would appear, and that this anti-Christian power would be destroyed by his appearing; that is, by himself when he would return. The agency in doing it would not be his brightness, but himself. It would seem to follow from this, that, however this enormous power of wickedness might be weakened by truth, the final triumph over it would be reserved for the Son of God himself on his second return to our world. Yet, if this be so, it need not lessen our zeal in endeavoring to diminish the power of these corruptions; to establish and spread the truth, or to convert the defenders of these errors to a better faith.

8. Translate, "the lawless one"; the embodiment of all the godless "lawlessness" which has been working in "mystery" for ages (2Th 2:7): "the man of sin" (2Th 2:3).

whom the Lord—Some of the oldest manuscripts read, "the Lord Jesus." How awful that He whose very name means God-Saviour, should appear as the Destroyer; but the salvation of the Church requires the destruction of her foe. As the reign of Israel in Canaan was ushered in by judgments on the nations for apostasy (for the Canaanites were originally worshippers of the true God: thus Melchisedek, king of Salem, was the "priest of the most high God," Ge 14:18: Ammon and Moab came from righteous Lot), so the Son of David's reign in Zion and over the whole earth, is to be ushered in by judgments on the apostate Christian world.

consume … and … destroy—So Da 7:26, "consume and destroy"; Da 11:45. He shall "consume" him by His mere breath (Isa 11:4; 30:33): the sentence of judgment being the sharp sword that goeth out of His mouth (Re 19:15, 21). Antichrist's manifestation and destruction are declared in the same breath; at his greatest height he is nearest his fall, like Herod his type (Isa 1:24-27; Ac 12:20-23). As the advancing fire, while still at a distance consumes little insects [Chrysostom] by its mere heat, so Christ's mere approach is enough to consume Antichrist. The mere "appearance of the coming" of the Lord of glory is sufficient to show to Antichrist his perfect nothingness. He is seized and "cast alive into the take of fire" (Re 19:20). So the world kingdoms, and the kingdom of the beast, give place to that of the Son of man and His saints. The Greek for "destroy" means "abolish" (the same Greek is so translated, 2Ti 1:10); that is, cause every vestige of him to disappear. Compare as to Gog attacking Israel and destroyed by Jehovah (Eze 38:1-39:29), so as not to leave a vestige of him.

with the brightness of his coming—Greek, "the manifestation, (or appearance) of His presence": the first outburst of His advent—the first gleam of His presence—is enough to abolish utterly all traces of Antichrist, as darkness disappears before the dawning day. Next, his adherents are "slain with the sword out of His mouth" (Re 19:21). Bengel's distinction between "the appearance of His coming" and the "coming" itself is not justified by 1Ti 6:14; 2Ti 1:10; 4:1, 8; Tit 2:13, where the same Greek for "appearing" (English Version, here "the brightness") plainly refers to the coming itself. The expression, "manifestation (appearing) of His presence," is used in awful contrast to the revelation of the wicked one in the beginning of the verse.

And then shall that Wicked be revealed: this revealing I think differs from that mentioned before, 2 Thessalonians 2:3; he is first revealed, as I said: quoad existentiam, when he comes forth into being, and then quoad apparentiam, when he comes to be discovered. And this I suppose is meant here, because his destruction is mentioned as following upon it; for the discovering of him is the first step to his ruin, and here is called by another name. At his first rising he is a man of sin; but after he hath violated the laws of God and the laws of Christ by setting up his own, he is well called anomov, that lawless one; and now he that pretended so highly for Christ is discovered to be antichrist. The mystery of iniquity that before lay hid comes to be revealed, God enlightening the eyes of many learned ministers and princes, yea, and of multitudes of people herein; the Scriptures, before shut up in an unknown tongue, being now translated to the understanding of the common people; those that were made drunk with the wine of her fornication, Revelation 17:2, now put away their wine from them, as Eli said to Hannah; and the kings and kingdoms that gave their power to the beast, now come to hate the whore, & c., the time being come for the fulfilling the words of God herein, Revelation 17:17. And this revelation is signified and foretold when the angel said to John, I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth her, Revelation 17:7. There is need of a Divine revelation to know the mystery of iniquity, as well as the mystery of godliness. And the woman is the same with the man of sin mentioned before, once the spouse of Christ, but now by her idolatry become a whore, and divorced from him; said to be also that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth, Revelation 17:18. By the understanding these thngs this wicked one comes to be revealed.

Whom the Lord shall consume; which is not done all at once; his consumption goes before his destruction. As Jezebel, the prophetess who seduced the servants of God to commit fornication, is said to be cast into a bed of languishing, Revelation 2:20,22; as he rose up by degrees, so shall he be consumed gradually. His power declines by degrees, both civil and ecclesiastical, and the authority he had got both in and over the consciences of men. The seven vials are the seven last plagues, which do gradually consume him. And this is said to be done by the Lord himself, which is the Lord Jesus. He that made war with the Lamb is overcome by the Lamb, Revelation 17:14; though many instruments may be employed herein; for he is said to have those with him who are called chosen and faithful; and it belongs to him, as all power of heaven and earth is given to him, to save his people, and to destroy his adversaries; as it is said of him, Psalm 97:3: A fire goeth before him, and burneth up his enemies round about. As he is a refreshing, directing light to his people, so a consuming fire to his adversaries. The stone cut out of the mountain without hands, Daniel 2:34, smites the image in the time of the fourth monarchy, when Christ came into the world, and in the latter end of it, under the antichristian state, it is broken in pieces.

With the spirit of his mouth; as was prophesied of him, Isaiah 11:4: With the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked, even this wicked one here in the text, Revelation 18:8 19:15. And this, as some interpret, he shall do with ease, as by a word speaking; or by a word of command, saying: Let it be done, and it shall be done. Or, as we may read it, with the spirit of his lips, because of the power or spirit that goes along with his word. But this breath of Christ’s mouth Cajetane and others understand of the word of the gospel, which is the breath of Christ’s mouth in the mouths of his ministers, called the everlasting gospel, Revelation 14:6, which an angel flying through the midst of heaven is said to have, to preach to them that dwell upon the earth; and then followed by another angel, saying: Babylon is fallen, is fallen, 2 Thessalonians 2:8. The mystery of iniquity will be unveiled by the clear preaching of the word; and the primitive pure institutions of Christ, and doctrines of the gospel: will be vindicated from the antichristian corruptions and innovations. And the spirit of Christ going forth with the gospel, will make it effectual hereunto. These are the rod of his strength, whereby he rules in the midst of his enemies, Psalm 110:2, and whereby he shall consume this man of sin. Nations and people will fall off from him as they come to understand the truth by the word preached.

And shall destroy; after is consuming follows his destruction, katarghsei, the word destroy here signifies to abolish, enervate, to make of no force; and so used often in the New Testament: sometimes applied to the law, Romans 3:31, sometimes to the body of sin, Romans 6:6, sometimes to persons to whom Christ will not be effectual, Galatians 5:4; here to the man of sin: so that whatever remains there may be of him in the world, they shall be without any efficacy or power: his jurisdiction shall be abolished, his keys shall not be able to open or shut, the edge of both his swords shall be quite blunted, his triple crown shall fall off his head, his purgatory fire shall be put out, his images shall lose their veneration; the spell of the cross shall be detected, the intercession of saints shall be found to be a fiction, infallibility shall be fonnd to be a deceit, supremacy of the church shall fall to the ground; the rivers of his large revenues shall be dried up, &c., and the beast that was, and is not, and yet is, Revelation 17:8, shall now utterly cease to be.

With the brightness of his coming: the breath of his mouth wasted him, and the brightness of his coming destroys him. Some interpret this of Christ’s personal coming to judgment, which will be with great brightness, as Matthew 24:27: As the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west, so shall the coming of the Son of man be; coming in the glory of heaven, and every eye shall see him; and of his coming he spake 1 Thessalonians 4:1-18, and in this chapter also, as that which was not so near at hand as some imagined. And without question his coming will destroy him, if not destroyed before, as well as the rest of the wicked, 2 Thessalonians 1:9; but whether judgment may not first proceed against the antichristian state, and those that have sinned under the gospel, is a question. It is sometimes mentioned particularly with respect to them: as in the parable of the tares and wheat, Matthew 13:1-30, of the ten virgins, and the talents, Matthew 25:1-46. And the beast and false prophet are cast into the lake of fire, Revelation 19:20, before the general judgment, mentioned Revelation 20:12. So that at Christ’s personal coming his judgment will, as some conceive, begin here, and then proceed to the rest of the world; whereupon many assign some great length of time to Christ’s stay upon earth, and judging the world. Others take

the brightness of his coming in a spiritual sense, for a clearer manifestation of Christ in the world. As the kingdom of antichrist, or of this man of sin, is founded in darkness, so the brightness of this coming will dispel and destroy it. With respect to his eternal generation, Christ is said to be

the brightness of his Father’s glory, Hebrews 1:2; but this is a brightness with respect to men. And though he hath come in his Spirit to enlighten his church from the beginning of the world, and more eminently after his ascension, yet this will exceed all the former, and is peculiarly styled

the brightness of his coming. And so they expect this destruction of this man of sin before Christ’s coming to judgment; for if it be the same with the fall of Babylon, mentioned in the Revelation, many things are to be done here upon earth after that, before Christ’s last coming, and they mention the calling of the Jews, the destruction of those enemies called Gog and Magog, the coming down of the new Jerusalem from heaven, which is some glorious state of the ctmrch here upon earth. However, the apostle here mentions nothing of a destruction by the material sword; what princes may do of different religions upon a civil account, I do not know, but as this man of sin rose out of the apostacy of the church, so he will not be consumed and destroyed but by a return from it, which is done by the breath of Christ’s mouth, and the brightness of his coming. But yet, by some instruments or other, God will avenge the blood of his servants upon this man of sin in the time and way appointed of him. And then shall that wicked be revealed,.... That lawless one, who sets himself above the laws of God and man, and dispenses with them at pleasure, who judges all men, but is judged by no man; as he was in his ecclesiastical power, when Phocas, who murdered the Emperor Mauritius, granted to Boniface III. to be called universal bishop; and in his civil power in succeeding popes, who took upon them the power over kings and emperors, to crown, depose, and excommunicate at pleasure:

whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth: that is, the "Lord Jesus", as the Alexandrian copy, and Vulgate Latin version read; and the Syriac version, "our Lord Jesus": who is Lord of lords, and God over all; and so able to do what he is here said he shall do: and which he will do

with the Spirit of his mouth; meaning either the Holy Spirit, the third person which proceeds from him, as in Psalm 33:6, and so the Ethiopic version, "whom the Spirit of our Lord Jesus shall cast out"; Christ will by his Spirit blow a blast upon antichrist and his kingdom, which he shall never recover again, but ever after consume and waste away: or else by his spirit is meant his Gospel; the Scriptures in general are the breath of God, being divinely inspired by him, and are the sword of the Spirit, the twoedged sword of law and Gospel, which proceeds out of Christ's mouth; the Gospel contains the words of Christ, which are spirit and life; these come out of his mouth, and are sharper than any twoedged sword; and as hereby sinners are cut to the heart, hewn and slain, convicted and converted, so by this likewise antichrist will be consumed, and is consuming; for this phrase denotes the beginning of his destruction, which took place at the time of the reformation by the preaching of the Gospel by Luther and others; by which this man of sin received his deadly wound, and has been in a consumption ever since, and is sensibly wasting in his power and glory every day, and will ere long come to utter destruction:

and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming; either in a spiritual way, when he shall come in his spiritual kingdom and glory, by the light of his Gospel and the illuminations of his Spirit; when at eventide it shall be light; when he the sun of righteousness shall arise; when latter day light and glory shall appear, and latter day darkness, the gross darkness of Popery, Paganism, and Judaism, which cover the people, shall, be removed, and antichrist in every form shall disappear: or in a personal manner, when he shall come to judge the quick and dead, which will be in flaming fire and great glory; and then will antichrist and his followers, the beast and those that have worshipped him, be cast with the devil and the false prophet into the lake which burns with fire and brimstone; and this will be the last and utter end of him. In this passage there is a manifest reference to Isaiah 11:4, "with the breath of his mouth shall he slay the wicked": which the Targumist paraphrases,

"with the words of his lips he shall slay , "Armillus the wicked":''

and which the Jews say will be done by the Messiah at his coming;

"for so (i) (say they) that phrase in Deuteronomy 22:8 "if a man fall from thence", has respect to Armillus the wicked, who at the coming of our Messiah will be slain, as it is said in Isaiah 11:4'

This Armillus, the Jews say (k), is the head of all idolatry, the tenth king who shall reign at Rome, the city of Satan; that he shall rise up after Gog and Magog, and shall go up to Jerusalem, and slay Messiah ben Joseph, and shall himself be slain by Messiah the son of David; yea, they say expressly (l), it is the same whom the Gentiles call antichrist: it is the same with Romulus the first king of the Romans, and designs a Roman, the Roman antichrist; and it may be observed, that the Targumist interprets "the breath of his mouth", by his word; and so says another of their writers (m),

"the meaning is by the word of his lips, for the word goes out of the mouth with the vapour and breath:''

such an expression as this is said (n) to be used by Moses, when he was bid by God to answer the angels who objected to his having the law given him;

"I am afraid (says he) they will slay (or burn me), , "with the breath of their mouth":''

much more may this be feared from the breath of Christ's mouth.

(i) Tzeror Hammor, fol. 148. 2.((k) Apud Buxtorf. Lex. Talmud. col. 221, 222, 223. (l) Abkath Rochel, par. 1. sign. 7. p. 52. (m) In Ohel Moed. fol. 19. 1.((n) T. Bab. Sabbat, fol. 88. 2.

{8} And then shall {i} that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall {k} consume with the {l} spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:

(8) That wickedness will at length be detected by the word of the Lord, and will utterly be abolished by Christ's coming.

(i) Literally, that lawless fellow, that is to say, he that will completely tread upon God's law.

(k) Bring to nothing.

(l) With his word, for the true ministers of the word are as a mouth, by which the Lord breathes out that mighty and everlasting word, which will break his enemies apart, as though the word were an iron rod.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
2 Thessalonians 2:8. What was left to the readers themselves to supply to μόνον, 2 Thessalonians 2:7, from the conclusion of 2 Thessalonians 2:6, is now, in its essence, although in an altered form, expressly indicated by καὶ τότε ἀποκαλυφθήσεται ὁ ἄνομος.

καὶ τότε] and then, namely, as soon as the κατέχων is taken out of the way. The emphasis is on καὶ τότε, not on ὁ ἄνομος (Grotius), nor on ἀποκαλυφθήσεται.

ὁ ἄνομος] the lawless one, is not a different person from ἄνθρωπος τῆς ἁμαρτίας (Grotius), but identical with him. For καὶ τότε ἀποκαλυφθήσεται points back to μόνον, 2 Thessalonians 2:7, and by this to ἀποκαλυφθῆναι αὐτόν, 2 Thessalonians 2:6. The expression ἀνομία, just used, afforded the easily explained occasion for calling Antichrist ἄνομος.

With the relative sentence ὃν ὁ κύριοςπαρουσίας αὐτοῦ (which is incorrectly enclosed in a parenthesis by Benson, Moldenhauer, Schott, and Kern) the apostle immediately adds the ultimate fate which Antichrist has to expect. That Paul so directly passes over to this, although he has it yet in view to speak of the working of Antichrist before his destruction (comp. 2 Thessalonians 2:9-10), is an involuntary impulse of his Christian heart which causes him immediately to resolve the horror which the announcement of such an event as the ἀποκάλυψις τοῦ ἀνόμου has into comfort and consolation, as a discord into harmony, comp. 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4.

In a soaring and poetical form of expression, the members of which have their Hebrew parallels, Paul describes the fate of Antichrist. Not improbably Isaiah 11:4 was present to his mind, where it is declared of the promised Deliverer of the seed of Jesse: καὶ πατάξει λῆν τῷ λόγῳ τοῦ στόματος αὐτοῦ, καὶ ἐν πνεύματι διὰ χειλέων ἀνελεῖ ἀσεβῆ.

ἀναλίσκειν] to consume, to destroy.

τῷ πνεύματι τοῦ στόματος αὐτοῦ] describes the power and irresistible might of the reappearing Christ, the breath of whose mouth suffices to bring His opponents to nothing. More definite interpretations, as the sentence of condemnation (Vatablus, Cornelius a Lapide), or a command or address (Theodoret: φθέγξεται μόνον; Theodore Mopsuestia, ed. Fritzsche, p. 148: μόνον ἐπιβοήσαςτοῦτο γὰρ λέγει τὸ τῷ πνεύματι τοῦ στόματος αὐτοῦ ἀντὶ τοῦ τῇ φωνῇ, ἀπὸ τοῦ παρʼ ἡμῖν αὐτὸ εἰρηκώς, ἐπειδὴ ἡμεῖς τῷ πνεύματι συνεργῷ κεχρήμεθα πρὸς τὴν ἔναρθρον λαλιάν), are to be rejected; for they destroy or weaken the picturesque directness and strength of the figure. Comp. moreover, Eurip. Med. 588: ἓν γὰρ οὖν κτενεῖ σʼ ἔπος.

καταργεῖν] to overthrow, to annihilate. On account of Revelation 19:20, Calovius and Olshausen interpret the verb of a mere “rendering inefficient,” depriving Antichrist of his influence; but the parallel ἀναλώσει decides against this meaning, and a comparison of the Pauline form of expression with that of the Apocalypse is useless labour.

τῇ ἐπιφανείᾳ τῆς παρουσίας αὐτοῦ] by the appearance of His presence. The majestic brightness of the advent is not described by ἐπιφάνεια (Musculus, Hemming, Bullinger, Heinsius, Andrew Osiander, Cornelius a Lapide, Erasmus Schmid, Calixt, Clericus, Bernard a Piconius, Sebastian Schmid, Schoettgen, Turretin, Whitby, Benson, Macknight, Koppe, Krause, Bolten, Heydenreich, Pelt, Schott, Kern, Wieseler, and others); also παρουσία and ἐπιφάνεια are not to be distinguished, as Olshausen strangely thinks, as objective and subjective, i.e. as “the actual fact of the appearance of Christ,” and “the contemplation of it on the part of man, the consciousness of His presence;” but the placing the two together has the same design as formerly, τῷ πνεύματι τοῦ στόματος αὐτοῦ, namely, vividly to represent the power of Christ, inasmuch as the mere advent of His presence suffices to annihilate His adversaries. Comp. Bengel: “apparitio adventus ipso adventu prior est, vel certe prima ipsius adventus emicatio, uti ἐπιφάνεια τῆς ἡμέρας.”2 Thessalonians 2:8. ὅν, κ.τ.λ., his career is short and tragic. The apparition (cf. 1 Timothy 6:14, etc., Thieme, Die Inschriften von Magnesia, 34 f.) of Jesus heralds his overthrow.—ἐπιφανείᾳ = sudden appearance of a deity at some crisis (cf. Diod., Sicul., i. 25), as the god in 2Ma 2:21; 2Ma 3:24, etc. “In hieratic inscriptions the appearing of the god in visible form to men is commonly expressed by the same word” (Ramsay, Exp. Ti., x. 208). This passage, with its fierce messianic anticipation of the adversary’s doom interrupts the description of his mission which is resumed (in 2 Thessalonians 2:9) with an account of the inspiration (κατὰ), method (ἐν) and results (2 Thessalonians 2:10), of this evil advent. Galen (de facult. nat., 1. 2, 4–5) physiologically defines ἐνέργεια as the process of activity whose product is ἔργον. The impulse to ἐνέργεια is δύναμις. The δύναμις of this supernatural delusion is specially manifested in signs and wonders. The power of working miracles in order to deceive people (2 Thessalonians 2:11) was an accepted trait in the Jewish and early Christian ideas of such eschatological opponents of God (cf. on Revelation 13:13, and Friedländer’s Geschichte d. jüd. Apolog., 493 f.).8. And then shall that Wicked be revealed] Then, “in his own season” (2 Thessalonians 2:6), in contrast with the now of the last clause, the time of his restraint: then shall be revealed the lawless one (R. V.).

It is essential that we keep in mind the identity of the figure depicted from 2 Thessalonians 2:3 onwards. The variety, of synonyms employed by the A.V. is distracting. This “revealing of the Lawless One” is the unveiling of “the mystery of lawlessness already at work;” he is no other than “the man of lawlessness, the son of perdition” announced in 2 Thessalonians 2:3. Three times, with persistent emphasis, the word revealed is repeated (2 Thessalonians 2:3; 2 Thessalonians 2:6; 2 Thessalonians 2:8), as of some unearthly and portentous object, that holds the gazer spell-bound. Comp. note on “mystery,” 2 Thessalonians 2:7.

“The lawless” (anomos) is a term frequently occurring in the LXX, both in the singular and plural; it denotes the typical “sinner,” or “wicked person” of the O.T.

whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth] According to the true reading, and better rendering, whom the Lord Jesus shall slay with the breath of his mouth (R. V.).

On the title “Lord Jesus” and its relation to the Second Advent, see note to 1 Thessalonians 2:19. Jesus, the human Name, could not be wanting here, where the overthrow of “the man of lawlessness” is in question.

The words that follow come from the prophecy of the judgement of the Rod of Jesse, Isaiah 11:4 : “He shall smite the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips shall He slay the wicked.” Such predictions had not been accomplished in the humble, suffering Messiah,—or but in foretaste, by the denunciations of Jesus (Matthew 23. &c.); they remain to be verified in His triumph. The Lawless One, being the ultimate embodiment of the world’s wickedness and defiance of God, must suffer the conclusive fulfilment of the prophet’s words.

Just as the sight of the Lord Jesus will suffice to bring ruin on cruel persecutors (ch. 2 Thessalonians 1:9), so it will need but the breath of His mouth to lay low the haughty and Titanic Antichrist: “A word shall quickly slay him!”

and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming] More exactly, and shall bring to nought with the manifestation of his coming (or presence: Greek parousia; see note on this word, 1 Thessalonians 2:19).

The Greek verb signifies to make inoperative, destroy in effect; it is a favourite word with St Paul: comp. 2 Timothy 1:10, “having abolished death;” and Galatians 3:17, “to make the promise of none effect.” The elect of the manifestation of the Lord Jesus will be to paralyse the Lawless One and strip him of his power. See note on ch. 2 Thessalonians 1:9, “destruction (coming) from the presence of the Lord.”

The word rendered “manifestation” (epiphaneia, our Epiphany) is not found in St Paul again till we come to his latest Epistles, where it is applied to the Second, and once to the First Coming: 1 Timothy 6:14; 2 Timothy 1:10; Titus 2:13. It signifies by usage an extraordinary, commonly a superhuman, divine apperance. Similarly the corresponding adjective, rendered “notable’ in Acts 2:20 (from Joel 2:31 : Hebrew, “terrible”). Prima ipsius adventus emicatio (Bengel).

In 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12 we are told (1) of the agency which brings about the coming of the Man of Lawlessness and the means employed for the purpose, (2) of the victims of his ascendancy (2 Thessalonians 2:10), and (3) of the issue for which in the sovereignty of Divine judgement his power is overruled (2 Thessalonians 2:11-12).2 Thessalonians 2:8. Τότε, then) immediately.—ὁ ἄνομος) This is the last and most weighty appellation, comprehending the force of the preceding ones. That unjust, iniquitous, lawless one, and (by a more nervous term used by Plautus and Nonius, ‘illex’) the outlaw. רשע, LXX., ἀσεβὴς, ungodly, Isaiah 11:4 : He shall smite the earth with the word (rod) of His mouth (τοῦ στόματος αὐτοῦ), and with the breath of His lips shall He slay the ungodly (ἐν πνεύματιἀνελεῖ ἀσεβῆ).—ὃν, whom) after having long enough acted the part of a man of violence.—ὁ Κυρίος,[18] the Lord) the Lord of lords, Revelation 19:16.—τῷ πνεύματι τοῦ στόματος αὐτοῦ, by the breath [or rather, the Spirit] of His mouth) There also proceeds out of this mouth a sword (ῥομφαία), Ib. Revelation 19:15; Revelation 19:21.—Τῇ ἘΠΙΦΑΝΕΊᾼ Τῆς ΠΑΡΟΥΣΊΑς ΑὐΤΟῦ, with the appearance of His coming [But Engl. Vers., with the brightness of His coming]) In some places appearance, in others coming [παρουσία], is mentioned, the latter in 2 Thessalonians 2:1, both being used in the same sense; but here the appearance of His coming is before the coming itself, or at least (it expresses) the first dawn of the brightness of His actual coming, as ἐπιφάνεια τῆς ἡμέρας [expresses the appearance or dawning of day].

[18] The 2d Ed. prefers the fuller reading ὁ Κυρίος Ἰησοῦς; and the Germ. Vers. follows it.—E. B.

Tisch., with B (judging from silence), Rec. Text, Orig. 1, 668d, reads ὁ Κύριος. But Lachm. better, with AD(Δ) corrected, Gfg Vulg., Orig. 4, 321b, Iren. 182, 323, Hilary, reads ὁ Κύριος Ἰησοῦς. Orig. 1, 424e has Κύριος ὁ Θεὸς.—ED.Verse 8. - And then; namely, so soon as he that restraineth is taken out of the way. Shall that Wicked; or, that lawless one, in whom the mystery of lawlessness is realized; not different from, but the same with, the "man of sin, the son of perdition." Be revealed; appear unveiled in all his naked deformity. No longer working secretly, but openly, and in an undisguised form; no longer the mystery, but the revelation of lawlessness. The apostle now interrupts his description of the man of sin by announcing his doom. Whom the Lord; or, as the best attested manuscripts read, whom the Lord Jesus. Shall consume; or rather, shall slay (R.V.). With the spirit (or, breath) of his mouth. Various interpretations have been given to this clause. Some refer it to the Word of God, and others to the Holy Spirit, and suppose that the conversion of the world is here predicted; but this is evidently an erroneous interpretation, as the doom of antichrist is here announced. Others refer the term to a cry or word, and think that the sentence of condemnation pronounced by the Lord Jesus on the wicked is intended. But the words are to be taken literally as a description of the power and irresistible might of Christ at his coming - that the mere breath of his mouth is sufficient to consume the wicked (comp. Isaiah 11:4, "He shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked"). And shall destroy (or, annihilate) with the brightness (or, appearance) of his coming. The two words, epiphany and parousia, which are elsewhere used separately to denote the coming of Christ, are here employed. There is no ground for the assertion that the first is the subjective and the second the objective aspect of Christ's coming (Olshausen). The brightness of Christ's coming is not here expressed; but the meaning is that the mere appearance of Christ's presence will annihilate the wicked. Consume (ἀνελεῖ)

Better, slay, as Matthew 2:16; Luke 22:2; Acts 5:33.

Spirit (πνεύματι)

Better, breath. Πνεῦμα, almost always translated spirit, is from πνεῖν to breathe or blow. Frequent in class. in this sense. Comp. John 3:8; Hebrews 1:7. lxx, Psalm 147:7; Ep. of Jeremiah 61. Philo says "the spirit of God signifies, in one sense, the air, the third element; and it is used in this sense in the beginning of Genesis... for air, being light, is born up, and uses water as its basis. In the other sense it is the pure wisdom in which every wise man participates" (De Gigantibus, 5). See on Romans 8:4.

Shall destroy (καταργήσει)

See on cumbereth, Luke 13:7 and see on make without effect, Romans 3:3.

With the brightness (τῇ ἐπιφανείᾳ)

See on 1 Timothy 6:14. Rev., correctly, manifestation. See lxx, Esther 5:1; Amos 5:22; 2 Macc. 2:21; 3 Macc. 2:9. In class. (but late) of deities appearing to a worshipper (Plut. Themistocles, 30): of the sudden appearance of an enemy (Polyb. i. 54, 2): of a manifestation of Providence (Diod. Sic. i.:15): of the heathen gods assuming shape and appearing in order to work mischief (Just. Mart. Apol. i. 5). In N.T. of the parousia. See 1 Timothy 6:14; 2 Timothy 1:10; 2 Timothy 4:1, 2 Timothy 4:8; Titus 2:13. In 2 Timothy 1:10, of Christ's historical manifestation. So ἐπιφαίνω, Titus 2:11; Titus 3:4. Only here in Paul.

Coming (παρουσίας)

Or presence, which is the original meaning. In N.T. with a few exceptions, of the second coming of Christ. The combination manifestation of his presence (only here) appears to emphasize the resistless power of the Son of man, not (as Lightfoot) his splendor and glory. The mere appearing of his presence suffices to destroy his adversary.

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