Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,2 Thessalonians 2:1-2. We beseech you, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ — As you look for Christ’s second coming, and expect comfort from it; or rather concerning his coming, as the preposition υπερ is understood to signify in other places of Scripture, and in other authors. For he does not beseech by the coming of Christ, but his coming is the subject of which he is treating; and it is in relation to this subject that he desires them not to be disturbed. And by — Concerning; our gathering together to him — Namely, in the clouds. The phrases, the coming of Christ, and the day of Christ, may be understood either figuratively of his coming in judgment upon the Jews, or literally of his coming in glory to judge the world; the latter is the proper signification in this place, as the context will evince beyond contradiction. St. Paul himself had planted the church in Thessalonica, and it consisted principally of converts from among the Gentile idolaters, who had turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, 1 Thessalonians 1:9. What occasion was there, therefore, to admonish them particularly of the destruction of Jerusalem? or why should they be under any agitations or terrors of mind upon that account? What connection had Macedonia with Judea, or Thessalonica with Jerusalem? What share were the Christian converts to have in the calamities of the rebellious and unbelieving Jews, and why should they not rather have been comforted than troubled at the punishment of their inveterate enemies? Besides, how could the apostle deny that the destruction of the Jews was at hand, when it really was at hand, as he himself says, (1 Thessalonians 2:16,) and the wrath of God was already beginning to come upon them? He knew, and doubtless they knew, (our Lord having declared it,) that the destruction of Jerusalem would come to pass in that generation. The phrase, therefore, must necessarily be taken in a more general acceptation, of his coming to judge the world, as it is constantly used in the former epistle. That ye be not soon shaken in mind — Απο του νοος, from the mind, or judgment, you have formerly held: or from the true meaning of my former letter, as Chandler interprets the clause. Or be troubled — Perplexed, or put into confusion. The original word, θροεισθαι, signifies to be agitated with the surprise and trouble which is occasioned by any unexpected rumour or bad news, Matthew 24:6. Neither by spirit — By pretence of some revelation from the Spirit of God; nor by words — Some declaration pretended to have been uttered by me; nor by letter — Some counterfeit writing, or some passage in the former epistle; as from us — As written by me, or by my appointment; as that the day of Christ — That is, the coming of Christ to judge mankind; is at hand — It was a point of great importance for the Thessalonians not to be mistaken concerning the time of Christ’s second coming; for if they had inferred from the apostle’s doctrine that it was at hand, and it had not taken place according to their expectation, they would probably have been staggered in their faith, and finding part of their creed to be false, they might have been brought hastily to conclude that the whole was so.
That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.
Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;2 Thessalonians 2:3-4. Let no man deceive you by any means — By any of these ways fore-mentioned, or any other; for that day shall not come, unless a falling away, η αποστασια, the apostacy, come first — The article here is emphatical, denoting both that this was to be a great apostacy, the apostacy, by way of eminence, (the general, grand departure of the whole visible church into idolatrous worship,) and that the Thessalonians had been already apprized of its coming. Although the Greek word here used often signifies the rebellion of subjects against the supreme power of the country where they live, or the revolt of soldiers against their general, or the hostile separation of one part of a nation from another; yet in Scripture it commonly signifies a departure, either in whole or in part, from a religious faith or obedience formerly professed, Acts 21:21; Hebrews 3:12. Here it denotes the defection of the disciples of Christ from the true faith and worship of God, enjoined in the gospel. Accordingly, the apostle, foretelling this very defection, (1 Timothy 4:1,) says, αποστησονται τινες, some shall apostatize from the faith. See the note on that verse. And that man of sin — The head of this apostacy, given up to all sin himself, (Revelation 13:5-6,) and a ringleader of others unto sin, 2 Thessalonians 2:12; 2 Thessalonians 2:14. If this idea be derived from any ancient prophet, it must be from Daniel, who hath described the like arrogant and tyrannical power, Daniel 7:25; He shall speak great words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High, and think to change times and laws. See also Daniel 11:26. Any man may be satisfied that St. Paul alluded to this description by Daniel, because he hath not only borrowed the ideas, but hath even adopted some of the phrases and expressions. The man of sin may signify either a single man, or a succession of men; the latter being meant in Daniel, it is probable that the same is intended here also. Indeed, a single man appears hardly sufficient for the work here assigned; and it is agreeable to the phraseology of Scripture to speak of a body, or a number of men, under the character of one. Thus a king (Daniel 7:8.; Revelation 17.) is often used for a succession of kings, and the high-priest, (Hebrews 9:7; Hebrews 9:25,) for the series and order of high-priests. A single beast, (Daniel 7, 8.; Revelation 13.) often represents a whole empire or kingdom, in all its changes and revolutions. The woman clothed with the sun, (Revelation 12:1,) is designed as an emblem of the true church, as the woman arrayed in purple and scarlet, (Revelation 17:4,) is the portrait of a corrupt communion. This man of sin is said to be revealed when he enters on the stage, and acts as he is described. The son of perdition — One who brings destruction upon others, both spiritual and temporal, (Revelation 17:2; Revelation 17:6,) and is devoted to destruction himself, 2 Thessalonians 2:8. Thus the Papacy has caused the death of numberless multitudes both of opposers and followers, has destroyed innumerable souls, and will itself go to destruction. The son of perdition is also the denomination of the traitor Judas, (John 17:12,) which implies that the man of sin should, like Judas, be a false prophet, should betray Christ, and be devoted to destruction.
Who opposeth — Or shall oppose, (the prophets speaking of things future as present,) and exalt himself above all — Greek, επι παντα, above every one, that is called God — This is manifestly copied from Daniel; He shall exalt and magnify himself above every god, and speak marvellous things against the God of gods. Or that is worshipped — Εεβασμα, alluding to the title of the Roman emperors, σεβαστος, august, or venerable. He shall oppose and exalt himself, not only above inferior magistrates, who are sometimes called gods in holy writ, but even above the greatest emperors, and shall arrogate to himself divine honours; so that he, as God — Assuming the authority of Christ; sitteth in the temple of God — Exercises supreme and sovereign power over the visible church, as head thereof, even over all that profess Christianity. By the temple of God, the apostle could not well mean the temple of Jerusalem, because he knew very well that would be totally destroyed within a few years. It is an observation of the learned Bochart, that after the death of Christ the temple at Jerusalem is never called by the apostles the temple of God; and that when they mention the house or temple of God, they mean the Christian Church in general, or every particular believer; which indeed is very evident from many passages in their epistles: see 1 Timothy 3:15; 1 Corinthians 6:19; 2 Corinthians 6:16; Ephesians 2:19-22; 1 Peter 2:5. Besides, in the Revelation by St. John, which was written some years after the destruction of Jerusalem, there is mention made of men’s becoming pillars in the temple of God, (Revelation 3:12,) which is a further proof that the sitting of the man of sin in the temple of God, by no means implies that he was to appear in the temple of Jerusalem. In short, the meaning of the verse is, that the wicked teachers, of whom the apostle speaks, would first oppose Christ by corrupting the doctrine of the gospel concerning him, and after that they would make void the government of God and of Christ in the Christian Church, and the government of the civil magistrate in the state, by arrogating to themselves the whole spiritual authority which belongs to Christ, and all the temporal authority belonging to princes and magistrates; showing himself that he is God — Exercising all the prerogatives of God, accepting such titles, and doing such things, as, if they indeed belonged to him, would show him to be God: an exact description certainly of the Papal power.
Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.
Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?2 Thessalonians 2:5-6. Remember ye not, &c. — These things were not asserted now merely to serve the present occasion: the apostle had spoken, yea, and borne a faithful testimony concerning them while he was at Thessalonica. Indeed, the rise and progress of this apostacy, with the various heresies connected with it, and the evils which were about to be occasioned by it, were matters of such offence and scandal, that unless the disciples had been forewarned concerning them, their happening might have led the weak to fancy that God had cast away all care of his church. The apostle, knowing this, made the prediction of these events the subject even of his first sermons to the Thessalonians, after they had embraced the gospel; and doubtless he followed the same course in all other places where he preached with any degree of success. See 1 Timothy 4:6. Beza observes that this prophecy was often repeated and earnestly inculcated in the first age, but is overlooked and neglected in modern times. And now ye know — By what I told you when I was with you; what with-holdeth — Restraineth the man of sin from exercising his impious tyranny. It seems the apostle, when at Thessalonica, besides speaking of the apostacy and of the man of sin, had told them what it was that hindered his appearance. But as he has not thought fit to commit that discovery to writing, we cannot determine with absolute certainty what it was; but if we may rely upon the concurrent testimonies of the Christian fathers, it was the Roman empire. Indeed, the caution which the apostle observes with respect to speaking of it, renders it highly probable that it was somewhat relating to the higher powers. He mentioned it in discourse, but would not commit it to writing. As he afterward exhorts the Thessalonians to hold the traditions which had been taught them, whether by word or his epistle, it is likely this was one of the traditions which he thought it proper to teach them. The apostle’s manner of speaking here, (that he might be revealed in his time, or in his own season, as εν τω εαυτου καιρω properly signifies,) seems to imply that there were reasons for permitting the corruptions of Christianity to proceed to a certain length. “Now what could these reasons be, unless to show mankind the danger of admitting any thing in religion but what is of divine appointment? For one error productive of superstition admitted, naturally leads to others, till at length religion is utterly deformed. Perhaps also these evils were permitted, that in the natural course of human affairs, Christianity being first corrupted and then purged, the truth might be so clearly established, as to be in no danger of any corruption in time to come.” — Macknight.
And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.
For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.2 Thessalonians 2:7. For the mystery of iniquity — There is a mystery of iniquity as well as of godliness, the one in direct opposition to the other. The expression, a mystery, in the Scripture sense of it, is something secret or undiscovered. See note on Ephesians 1:9. The mystery of iniquity, therefore, is a scheme of error, not openly discovered, whose influence is to encourage iniquity. Doth already work — Ενεργειται, worketh inwardly, in men’s minds, or in the church, and perhaps also secretly. The seeds of corruption were sown, but they were not yet grown up to any maturity: the leaven was fermenting in some parts, but it was far from having yet infected the whole mass. To speak without a figure, the apostle means that the false doctrines and bad practices, which he foresaw in after times would be carried to a great height by the power which he denominates the man of sin, were already operating in the false teachers, who then infested the church. Accordingly, in his speech to the elders of the church at Ephesus, not long after this epistle was written, he told them, (Acts 20:29,) that grievous wolves would enter in among them, not sparing the flock; and that of themselves men would arise speaking perverse things, &c. And before he wrote his epistle to the Colossians, false teachers had actually arisen in Phrygia, who earnestly recommended the worship of angels, (Colossians 2:18,) abstinence from certain meats, and various bodily mortifications, (Colossians 2:21-22,) according to the traditions and doctrines of men. For the apostle wrote that epistle expressly for the purpose of condemning these idolatries and superstitious practices. To these things may be added an excess of reverence for pastors, and setting them up as heads of factions, 1 Corinthians 1:19; 1 Corinthians 3:22; the ambition of pastors themselves, and contending for rule and precedence, 3 John 1:9; errors in point of doctrine already promulgated, as justification by the merit of works, Galatians 2:16; external performances put in the room of faith and love; the having recourse to other mediators besides Christ Jesus, and various human inventions added to the written word. Only he who now letteth — That is, restraineth, will restrain, &c. Chandler thinks this verse should be translated thus: The mystery of iniquity already worketh, only until he who restrains it be taken out of the way; that is, it works in a concealed manner only until then. The restraining here spoken of refers to the mystery of iniquity, as the restraining, mentioned 2 Thessalonians 2:6, refers to the man of sin. These were connected together, and were restrained by something which the apostle had mentioned to the Thessalonians, in his sermons and conversations, but which he did not choose to express in writing. This, as was observed on 2 Thessalonians 2:6, was generally understood by the fathers to be the Roman emperors and empire, as it is plain from Tertullian, who says, (Apol., p. 31,) “We Christians are under a particular necessity of praying for the emperors, and for the continued state of the empire; because we know that dreadful power which hangs over the whole world, is retarded by the continuance of the time appointed for the Roman empire.” “To this conjecture,” says Macknight, “the fathers may have been led by tradition, or they may have formed it upon Daniel’s prophecies. But, in whatever way they obtained the notion, it seems to have been the truth. For the power of the emperors and of the magistrates under them, first in the heathen state of the empire, and afterward when the empire became Christian, was that which restrained the man of sin, or corrupt clergy, from exalting themselves above all that is called God, or an object of worship civil and religious.” The reader must observe, the Roman empire, united under one powerful head, was extremely jealous of every other authority and power, and therefore was watchful to prevent the establishment of every such spiritual tyranny and usurpation as that by which Satan was attempting to make his grand effort against Christianity. It must be observed, however, that though the Roman empire, for several ages, restrained the progress of the mystery of iniquity, and the increase of the power of the corrupt clergy, by keeping the church under persecution, and curbing all authority but its own, and thereby retarded the establishment of the ecclesiastical tyranny here spoken of; yet, as Mr. Scott remarks, “the conversion of the Roman emperors to Christianity, in the beginning of the fourth century, tended greatly to prepare things for this apostacy, by giving scope to the ambition and avarice of the ecclesiastics, and by multiplying exceedingly merely nominal Christians; but it was not till the subversion of the western empire by the northern nations, and the division of it into ten kingdoms, that way was made for the full establishment of the Papal usurpation at Rome, the capital city of the empire.”
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: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.
Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,2 Thessalonians 2:9-10. Him whose coming — The apostle, in his eagerness to foretel the destruction of the man of sin, having broken in upon his subject, now returns to it again, and describes the other qualifications by which this wicked one should advance and establish himself in the world. He should rise, the apostle signifies, to credit and authority by the most diabolical methods; should pretend to supernatural powers, and boast of revelations, visions, and miracles, false in themselves, and applied to promote false doctrines. The expression, whose coming, here signifies the first appearance of this lawless one in an open manner. The mystery of iniquity wrought covertly in the apostles’ days; and the man of sin was not to show himself openly, till that which restrained was taken out of the way. His coming, therefore, or his beginning to reveal himself, was to happen after the empire became Christian, and to take place in the manner described in the following clause. After the working of Satan — Whose first setting up, and further increasing of his power, is by Satan’s influence; or with such a kind of working as Satan is wont to use wherewith to seduce persons; with all power — Pretended power from God; and signs — Fictitious or false signs, namely, not such as are fit to prove the truth of the doctrines which they are brought to confirm, but are mere impostures and forgeries; and lying wonders — Such illusions and deceptions as were effected by the power of Satan, to confirm the doctrines and dominion of Antichrist, and were calculated to cause wonder in the beholders. Macknight reads this clause, with all power, and signs, and miracles of falsehood, judging the structure of the sentence requires that ψευδους, of falsehood, be joined not only with wonders, or miracles, but with power and signs. And in explication of the terms he observes, that they are either signs, miracles, and exertions of power, performed in appearance only; mere impositions upon the senses of mankind; or they are real signs and miracles performed for the establishment of error; and consequently they are the works of evil spirits. Of this sort the miracles performed by Pharaoh’s magicians may have been; also some of the miracles related by heathen historians. For the apostle intimates that by some kind of miracle, or strong working, which had the appearance of miracles in the eyes of the vulgar, Satan established idolatry in the heathen world. Nay, our Lord himself foretels that false Christs and false prophets would show great signs and wonders, insomuch that if it were possible they would deceive the very elect. Wherefore, seeing the coming of the man of sin was to be after the working of Satan, with all power, &c., it is not improbable that some of the miracles, by which the corruptions of Christianity were introduced, may have been real miracles performed by evil spirits, called here miracles of falsehood, because they were done for the establishment of error: see Revelation 13:13-14, where the same events seem to be foretold. This description of the wicked or lawless one, plainly evinces that Mohammed cannot be the man of sin, as some pretend. For, instead of working miracles, he utterly disclaimed all pretensions of that sort. In like manner, and for the same reason, the man of sin cannot be the factious leaders of the Jews in their revolt from the Romans, as Le Clerc and Whitby have affirmed; nor any of the heathen Roman emperors, as others have imagined. Besides, although these emperors exalted themselves above all other kings and princes, and opposed Christ very much, they did not apostatize from the Christian faith, nor sit in the temple of God. With all deceivableness of unrighteousness — Or every unrighteous deceit, (the phrase being a Hebraism.) The apostle means those feigned visions and revelations, and other pious frauds, by which the corrupt clergy gained credit to their impious doctrines and practices. In them that perish — Who are in the highway to eternal destruction; because they received not the love of the truth — The cause this why God suffered them to fall into such destructive errors.
And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:2 Thessalonians 2:11-12. For this cause God shall send them — That is, shall judicially permit to come upon them; strong delusion — The strong working of error in their hearts. From this we learn that, as a punishment of their sins, God suffers wicked men to fall into greater sins; and as the sin of the persons described in this passage consisted in their not loving the truth, what could be more just or proper than to punish them, by suffering them to fall into the belief of the greatest errors and lies? Thus the heathen, mentioned Romans 1:24, were punished by God’s giving them up to uncleanness, through the lusts of their own hearts; that they should believe a lie — Or, as the words εις το πιστευσαι αυτους τω ψευδει may be translated, so that they will believe a lie. The lie here intended by the Spirit of God, Macknight thinks, “is the monstrous lie of transubstantiation, or of the conversion of the bread and wine in the Lord’s supper into the real identical body and blood of Christ, through the will of the priest accompanying his pronouncing the words of institution; notwithstanding there is no change whatever produced in the accidents or sensible qualities of these substances. This impudent fiction is not only a palpable contradiction to the senses and reason of mankind, but a most pernicious falsehood, being the chief foundation of that fictitious power of pardoning sin, and of saving or damning men according to their own pleasure, which the Romish ecclesiastics have blasphemously arrogated to themselves, and by which they make men utterly negligent of holiness, and of all the ordinary duties of life.” That they all might be damned — Ινα κριθωσι, might be judged, or condemned; that is, the consequence of which will be, that, having filled up the measure of their iniquity, they will at length fall into just condemnation; who believed not the truth — Received not the gospel in faith, love, and obedience; but had pleasure in unrighteousness — In corrupt passions and vicious practices. The original expression, ευδοκησαντες signifies both to take pleasure in a thing, and to approve of it. “From this we learn that it is not the simple ignorance of truth which exposes men to damnation. In many cases this may be no fault in the ignorant. But it is men’s refusing to believe, through their taking pleasure in unrighteousness, which will prove fatal to them; for a disposition of that sort renders the wicked altogether incurable.” Such is the interpretation which Bishop Newton, in his admirable work on the Prophecies, Dr. Macknight, and many other approved commentators, have given of this famous prophecy; an interpretation which applies with great ease to all the facts and circumstances mentioned in it, and is perfectly consistent in all its parts, which no other interpretation invented by learned men can be shown to be. The passage is evidently a prediction, as the above-mentioned divines have fully proved, of the corruptions of Christianity, “which began to be introduced into the church in the apostle’s days, and wrought secretly all the time the heathen magistrates persecuted the Christians, but which showed themselves more openly after the empire received the faith of Christ, A.D. 312, and by a gradual progress ended in the monstrous errors and usurpations of the bishops of Rome, when the restraining power of the emperors was taken out of the way, by the incursions of the barbarous nations, and the breaking of the empire into the ten kingdoms prefigured by the ten horns of Daniel’s fourth beast.” To be convinced of this, the reader need only compare the rise and progress of the Papal tyranny with the descriptions of the man of sin, and of the mystery of iniquity here given, and with the prophecies of Daniel. In the bishops of Rome all the characters and actions ascribed by Daniel to the little horn, and by Paul to the lawless one, are clearly united. “For, according to the strong working of Satan, with all power and signs, and miracles of falsehood, they have opposed Christ, and exalted themselves above all that is called God, or an object of worship; and have long sat in the temple of God as God, showing themselves that they are God; that is, they exercise the power and prerogatives of God. And seeing, in the acquisition and exercise of their spiritual tyranny, they have trampled upon all laws, human and divine, and have encouraged their votaries in the most enormous acts of wickedness, the Spirit of God hath, with the greatest propriety, given them the appellations of the man of sin, the son of perdition, and the lawless one. Further, as it is said that the man of sin was to be revealed in his season, there can be little doubt that the dark ages, in which all learning was overturned by the irruption of the northern barbarians, were the season allotted to the man of sin for revealing himself. Accordingly we know that in these ages the corruptions of Christianity, and the usurpations of the clergy, were carried to the greatest height. In short, the annals of the world cannot produce persons and events, to which the things written in this passage can be applied with so much fitness, as to the bishops of Rome. Why then should we be in any doubt concerning the interpretation and application of this famous prophecy?” — Macknight.
That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:2 Thessalonians 2:13-14. But, &c. — Here he proceeds to comfort them against the terrors of the preceding prophecy; we are bound to give thanks always for you — As if he had said, I do not mean that ye believers at Thessalonica will be concerned either in this revolt against God, or in the punishment thereof; brethren, beloved of the Lord — Brethren in Christ through your believing in him, and therefore peculiarly beloved of God; because God hath from the beginning — Of your hearing and obeying the gospel; chosen you to salvation — Hath pardoned, accepted, and made you his chosen people and dear children, as he hath all who, hearkening to the call of his word, truly turn to him in repentance, faith, and new obedience; through sanctification of the Spirit — Through that renovation of mind and heart, and reformation of life, which is the fruit of the Holy Spirit’s influences; and belief of the truth — By the instrumentality of which the Spirit works that important change in mankind. Whereunto — To which belief of the truth, and sanctification of the Spirit, or to which faith and holiness; he called you by our gospel — And inclined and enabled you to obey the call; to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ — The glory which he hath, 1st, Purchased, Ephesians 1:14; Ephesians 2 d, Promised, John 10:28; John 3 d, Prayed for, John 17:14; John 4 th, Prepared, and will bestow, John 14:2-3 : the very same glory which Christ himself now possesses, Romans 8:17; Revelation 3:21.
Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.2 Thessalonians 2:15-17. Therefore, brethren, stand fast — In your adherence to the truth and possession of the grace of the gospel; and hold — Without adding to or diminishing from them; the traditions which ye have been taught — The instructions which have been delivered to you; whether by word — When we were present with you; or our former epistle — He preached to them before he wrote, and he had written concerning the things which he wished them to hold fast in his former epistle. The name traditions is here given by the apostle “to the doctrines and precepts of the gospel, on a double account; first, because they were delivered by Christ and by the Spirit to the apostles, merely on the authority of revelation; and, secondly, because the apostles delivered them to the world on the same authority, without attempting to prove them by any other argument. And this precept, hold the traditions, applies to no instructions or directions but those which the apostles and other inspired teachers delivered to the world as revelations from God. And though the inspired teachers, to whom these doctrines were revealed, communicated them to the world first of all by word of mouth, they cannot now be known to be theirs, but by their holding a place in those writings which are allowed to be the genuine productions of these inspired teachers. The traditions, therefore, on which the Church of Rome lays so great a stress, are of no manner of value.” Now our Lord Jesus Christ and God our Father — Here again, as in 1 Thessalonians 3:11, prayer is addressed by the apostle to Christ as well as to the Father, and in the same words; who hath loved us — As a father loves his children; and hath given us everlasting consolation — Hath opened to us the sources thereof in his gospel, or furnished us with the means of it; and of good hope — That is, a well-grounded hope, namely, of the glorification of both our bodies and souls; through grace — 1st, Justifying us, and entitling us to that felicity; 2d, Sanctifying us, and preparing us for it; and, 3d, Strengthening us, and enabling us to withstand our spiritual enemies, and do and suffer the will of God to the end, and thereby bringing us to it. Comfort your hearts — Under all the afflictions you endure for the gospel; and establish you in every good word and work — That is, in every good doctrine and practice, in opposition to all the efforts of your enemies to seduce you, whether visible or invisible.
Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace,
Comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work.