SUMMARY.--Not to Be Troubled Supposing the Day of
the Lord at Hand.
An Apostasy Must First Come.
Then the Revelation of the Man of Sin.
The Wicked One Destroyed at the Lord's Coming.
Exhortation to Stand Fast.
This chapter is written to remove misapprehension on the subject of the
Lord's coming. It shows that it might not be expected until certain
events have taken place. These are, (1) A falling away, or apostasy;
(2) The removal of some power which hindered the manifestation of the
man of sin; (3) The 
manifestation of the man of sin, and following this, the coming of the
Lord. He had told them of these things while with them
but now writes more fully. He does not seek to show all, but some of
the events which will precede Christ's coming.
1, 2. By the coming. Rather, concerning the coming. His
importunity is respecting this and "the gathering of the saints."
2. That ye be not soon shaken in mind. Be not agitated, or in
Neither by spirit. By some one who says he has a revelation of
Nor by word. Nor by one who claims to quote a word or letter
from us. It is thought that a forged letter had been circulated to
which Paul alludes. In the close of this Epistle he shows how his
letters may be known to be genuine. Some suppose, however, that by
"letter" he refers to an incorrect interpretation which was placed on
his first letter.
3. Except there come a falling away first. An apostasy must
precede the Coming. That is, there shall be a general falling away from
the purity of the faith. No apostasy of magnitude occurred in the
history of the church for centuries, which could answer to Paul's
description, but the gradual declension, corruption, and departure from
the ancient faith, which was fully developed a few hundred years later,
has always been spoken of by Protestant church historians as
The Apostasy. There is no good reason for doubting that it is to
the apostle refers.
And that man of sin be revealed. He shall be revealed then in
connection with the apostasy.
The son of perdition. This expression occurs once elsewhere, and
is there applied to Judas, an apostate.
Here it evidently has a similar application. Some power, once
Christian, falls away and becomes opposed to Christ.
4. Who opposeth and exalteth himself. I shall endeavor in a few
words to identify this power. Various explanations have been given,
but there is only one power that exhibits all the marks given by Paul.
Observe these: (1) The man of sin exalts himself above God. (2) He sits
in the temple, that is, in the church, for that is always the sense in
which Paul uses the term. He is a church power. (3) He claims powers
that only belong to divinity. (4) He shows off signs and lying wonders
or, in other words, lays a claim to miraculous powers. Every one of
these marks applies to the papacy: (1) Its development was simultaneous
with that of the apostasy. (2) Its development was let
(hindered) until the pagan Roman empire fell, but was rapid after it
was taken out of the way
(3) The papacy has set aside divine laws and has made other spiritual
laws to bind men, and has claimed divine prerogatives. A newly-elected
Pope is adored and styled "Lord God, the Pope." (4) It is in the temple
of God, that is, it arose in the church, and still claims to be the
"Holy Catholic Church." (5) The claim of Infallibility is "sitting as
God in the temple." (6) The papacy has always claimed miraculous
powers, and it is a fact well known that it has often worked off
No fact is better established than that the hierarchy of the church
have often deceived by false miracles. Indeed, these have often been
detected and explained.
6-10. Ye know now what withholdeth. They knew because Paul had
told them when with them. We have not that advantage, but I believe
that he told them that this development could not take place until
pagan imperial Rome fell. We know that it did withhold, or
7. For the mystery of 
iniquity. This revelation of the man of sin. It was a mystery,
that is, something yet hidden.
Doth already work. Causes are beginning to work which will lead
Only he who now letteth. He that hindereth must first be taken
out of the way. There was no room for an arrogant spiritual power in
Rome as long as imperial Rome continued to persecute the church. A
persecuted church cannot be a haughty church. Two things were needful
before the papal power could be developed; viz., the overthrow of
paganism, and the removal of the capital of the Empire from Rome. When
these things were done, it was free to seize the old Roman scepter.
8. Then shall that Wicked be revealed. After the hindering power
Whom the Lord shall consume. The Wicked power will be destroyed
by the Lord's coming, and will continue to exist, possibly, until that
9. Whose coming. That of the Wicked power.
Is after the working of Satan. That is, it will deceive men as
Lying wonders. False miracles.
10. Deceivableness of unrighteousness. Unrighteous delusions
which will be accepted by its votaries,
them that perish. Those that perish,
receive not the love of the truth. They have a disinclination
to receive it.
11, 12. For this cause God shall send them strong delusion.
Because they do not receive the truth. He who refuses to receive the
truth will at last believe lies. It is the law of human nature. God
sends the delusion by natural laws.
12. Be damned. Because "they had pleasure in
13-17. Chosen you to salvation. In contrast with those who fall
victims to the man of sin, the Thessalonian Christians had been chosen
From the beginning. From the beginning God had determined on the
salvation of the Gentiles, and arranged the plans by which they were
saved. See notes on
Romans, chapter 9,
for a full discussion of this subject.
Through sanctification of the Spirit. This clause tells how God
chose them to salvation. To this there are two sides, the human and
divine. On the human side they
believed the truth. On the divine side, God sanctified them by
the Spirit. He had chosen from the beginning all that believe and
accept the truth.
14. Whereunto he called you. See how God calls! It is by the
15. Therefore, stand fast. In view of your calling.
Hold the traditions. Instructions.
16. Everlasting consolation. God's consolations are eternal in