Vincent's Word Studies
Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,
By the coming (ὑπὲρ)
Gathering together (ἐπισυναγωγῆς)
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.
In mind (ἀπὸ τοῦ νοὸς)
More correctly, from your mind. Νοῦς signifies the judgment, sober sense. Comp. 1 Corinthians 14:15, and see on Romans 7:23. They are to "keep their heads" under the temptation to fanatical extravagances concerning the Lord's appearing.
Be troubled (θρεῖσθαι)
From θροός clamor, tumult. The meaning is be unsettled or thrown into confusion.
By spirit (διὰ πνεύματος)
By prophetic utterances of individuals in Christian assemblies, claiming the authority of divine revelations.
By word (διὰ λόγου)
Oral expressions falsely imputed to Paul.
By letter as from us (δἰ ἐπιστολῆς ὡς δἰ ἡμῶν)
Const. as from us with word and letter. The reference is to a letter or letters forged in Paul's name; not to the first Thessalonian Epistle, as misunderstood by the readers.
As that (ὡς ὅτι)
Indicating the contents of such communications.
Is at hand (ἐνέστηκεν)
Better than Rev. is now present. Lightfoot, happily, is imminent.
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;
Better beguile; since the word means not only making a false impression, but actually leading astray. Except there come a falling away. Before except insert in translation the day shall not come. Such ellipses are common in Paul.
Falling away (ἀποστασία)
The man of sin - the son of perdition (ὁ ἄνθρωπος τῆς ἀνομίας, ὁ υἱὸς τῆς ἀπωλείας)
See on children of light, 1 Thessalonians 5:5. The phrase man of sin (lawlessness) does not occur elsewhere, either in N.T. or lxx. Son of perdition is found John 17:12, olxx: τέκνα ἄπωλείας children of perdition (A.V. transgression), Isaiah 57:4. The man of sin has been thought to refer to Caligula, Titus, Simon Magus, Nero, the Pope of Rome, Luther, Mahomet, etc.
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.
That is called God (λεγόμενον θεὸν)
Above the true God and the false gods. The opposer claims divine honors for himself.
That is worshipped (σέβασμα)
An object of adoration, including things as well as persons. Only here and Acts 17:23 on which see note under devotions.
Temple of God
According to some, a figure of the Christian Church. Others, the temple of Jerusalem.
Publicly asserting divine dignity. Rev. setting himself forth as God.
Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?
And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.
What withholdeth (τὸ κατέχον)
In his time (ἐν τῷ αὐτοῦ καιρῷ)
Better, in his own season, Not before his appointed season.
For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.
Mystery of iniquity (μυστήριον τῆς ἀνομίας)
Better, of lawlessness. The phrase is unique in N.T. and olxx. Mystery is found in various combinations, as mystery of the kingdom of heaven, Matthew 13:11 : of God, 1 Corinthians 2:1 : of his will, Ephesians 1:9 : of Christ, Ephesians 3:4 : of the gospel, Ephesians 6:19 : of faith, 1 Timothy 3:9 : of godliness, 1 Timothy 3:16 : of the seven stars Revelation 1:20 : of the woman, Revelation 17:7. A mystery does not lie in the obscurity of a thing, but in its secrecy. It is not in the thing, but envelops it. Applied to a truth, it signifies a truth once hidden but now revealed or to be revealed; a truth which without special revelation would be unknown. It is almost universally found in connection with words signifying publication or revelation. See on Matthew 13:11. The mystery of lawlessness is the mass of lawlessness yet hidden, but which is to reveal itself in the person and power of Antichrist. The position of the word is emphatic, emphasizing the concealed character of the evil power.
The sentence is elliptical: "only we must wait," or "only it must work in secret, until he that letteth," etc. For a similar instance see Galatians 2:10. The collocation of A.V. is wrong.
The same word as restraineth, 2 Thessalonians 2:6. Let is old English for hinder, prevent. Often in Chaucer.
"May I him lette of that?" (prevent him from it).
Troil. and Cress. ii.732.
"And bothe in love y-like sore they brente (burned)
That noon or alle hir (their) frendes might hit lette."
Legend of Good Women, 731.
"What lets but one may enter?"
Two Gentlemen of Verona, iii.1.
"I'll make a ghost of him that lets me."
"The flesh resisteth the work of the Holy Ghost in our hearts, and lets it." - Latimer, Serm.
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:
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)
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.
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.
Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,
After the working of Satan
The sense is that the coming of Antichrist proclaims itself to be according to the working of Satan by means of power, signs, etc. Ενέργεια Po. power in exercise, used only of superhuman power. See Colossians 1:29; Colossians 2:12.
Signs and lying wonders (σημείοις καὶ τέρασιν ψεύδους)
Lit. signs and wonders of a lie. Of a lie characterizes the three words, power, signs, wonders. All bear the stamp of fraud. For signs and wonders see on Matthew 24:24, and see on mighty works, Matthew 11:20.
And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
Deceivableness of unrighteousness (ἀπάτῃ ἀδικίας)
Better deceit of unrighteousness; which is characteristic of unrighteousness and is employed by it.
And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:
Strong delusion (ἐνέργειαν πλάνης)
Rev., literally and correctly, a working of error. See on working 2 Thessalonians 2:9. The phrase is unique in N.T. It means an active power of misleading. For πλάνη error which shows itself in action, see on 1 Thessalonians 2:3.
A lie (τῷ ψεύδει)
Properly, the lie. The article gives the generic sense, falsehood in all its forms. Comp. John 8:44; Romans 1:25; Ephesians 4:25. Comp. the contrast of truth and unrighteousness in 2 Thessalonians 2:12. All wrongdoing has an element of falsity.
That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
Might be damned (κριθῶσιν)
More correctly, judged. See on damnation, 1 Timothy 5:12.
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:
Hath chosen (εἵλατο)
From the beginning (ἀπ' ἀρχῆς)
Not elsewhere in Paul. His usual expressions are πρὸ τῶν αἰώνων before the ages (1 Corinthians 2:7): πρὸ καταβολῆς κόσμου before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4): ἀπὸ τῶν αἰώνων from the ages (Ephesians 3:9). Before eternal times (πρὸ χρόνων αἰωνίων) is found 2 Timothy 1:9; Titus 1:2.
Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
See on 1 Thessalonians 1:5.
Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.
See on 1 Corinthians 11:2. Not emphasizing a distinction between written and oral tradition. Tradition, in the scriptural sense, may be either written or oral. It implies on the part of a teacher that he is not expressing his own ideas, but is delivering or handing over (παραδίδωμι) a message received from some one else. See 1 Corinthians 11:23. The prominent idea of παράδοσις is therefore that of an authority external to the teacher. Comp. by word nor by letter, 2 Thessalonians 2:2.
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,
Through grace (ἐν χάριτι)
Better, in grace, as the element of God's gift. Const. with hath given, not with hath loved and hath given.
Comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work.