2 Thessalonians 2:1 MEANING

2 Thessalonians 2:1
(1) Brethren.--The Apostles have won a hearing for the true Advent doctrine by their sympathetic treatment of it in the former chapter; now they soften their correction of the false doctrine by using tender names.

By the coming.--Literally, for the sake of the coming, just as in English we adjure persons to do a thing "for God's sake." It is a stronger form of adjuration than the simple "by," inasmuch as it implies that the thing or person adjured by will suffer if the action be left unperformed. The Coming of Christ and the meeting with the beloved dead would not be so bright, so perfect, perhaps so soon, if the Thessalonians allowed themselves to be misled with regard to it.

Our gathering together.--The peculiar Greek word is the same as that used in Hebrews 10:25 of the assembling to the Lord's Supper, and nowhere else, so that some have interpreted it in the same sense here. In verb form it is thus used in 1 Thessalonians 4:17. The close connection between the two "gatherings together" may be seen in 1 Corinthians 11:26. The "our" means the meeting of the dead and the quick together.

Verse 1. - Now; literally, but; a particle of transition. We beseech you. Passing from what he besought God for them to what he beseeches them. Brethren, by. Considered by some, as in the A.V., as a form of adjuration. Thus Calvin: "He adjures believers by the coming of Christ; for it is customary to adjure by those things which are regarded by us with reverence." But such a construction is unknown in the New Testament, and is besides unnatural. Others render the preposition "in behalf of" or "in the interest of," "as though he were pleading, in honour of that day, that the expectation of it might not be a source of disorder in the Church" (Jowett); but such a sense is too artificial. It is best to render it "concerning," or, as in the R.V., "touching." The coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Some (Whitby, Hammond) suppose that by the coming of the Lord Jesus was here meant his coming in spirit at the destruction of Jerusalem, and that the apostasy was the revolt of the Jews from the Romans; the restraining power being differently interpreted. But this is a forced and extravagant interpretation, and is completely overthrown by what the apostle says in the next verse, for the destruction of Jerusalem was imminent. Besides, the Thessalonians, who were chiefly Gentile converts, were too distant from Jerusalem to be much troubled by the destruction of that city. By the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, then, is here meant, as is the uniform meaning of the phrase in the writings of Paul, the second advent. And by (or, concerning) our gathering together unto him. The word translated "gathering together" occurs only once again in the New Testament, where it is used with reference to the assembling of Christians for worship (Hebrews 10:35). Here it is used with reference to the assembling of believers to Christ, when he shall be revealed from heaven; it refers, not to the raising of the dead, but to the gathering together of those who are then alive (see 1 Thessalonians 4:17).

2:1-4 If errors arise among Christians, we should set them right; and good men will be careful to suppress errors which rise from mistaking their words and actions. We have a cunning adversary, who watches to do mischief, and will promote errors, even by the words of Scripture. Whatever uncertainty we are in, or whatever mistakes may arise about the time of Christ's coming, that coming itself is certain. This has been the faith and hope of all Christians, in all ages of the church; it was the faith and hope of the Old Testament saints. All believers shall be gathered together to Christ, to be with him, and to be happy in his presence for ever. We should firmly believe the second coming of Christ; but there was danger lest the Thessalonians, being mistaken as to the time, should question the truth or certainty of the thing itself. False doctrines are like the winds that toss the water to and fro; and they unsettle the minds of men, which are as unstable as water. It is enough for us to know that our Lord will come, and will gather all his saints unto him. A reason why they should not expect the coming of Christ, as at hand, is given. There would be a general falling away first, such as would occasion the rise of antichrist, that man of sin. There have been great disputes who or what is intended by this man of sin and son of perdition. The man of sin not only practises wickedness, but also promotes and commands sin and wickedness in others; and is the son of perdition, because he is devoted to certain destruction, and is the instrument to destroy many others, both in soul and body. As God was in the temple of old, and worshipped there, and is in and with his church now; so the antichrist here mentioned, is a usurper of God's authority in the Christian church, who claims Divine honours.Now we beseech you, brethren,.... The apostle having finished his first design in this epistle, which was to encourage the saints to patience under sufferings, proceeds to another view he had in writing it, and that is, to set the doctrine of Christ's coming, as to the time of it, in its proper light; and this is occasioned by what he had said concerning it in the former epistle, which was either misunderstood or misrepresented; and as he addresses the saints with a very affectionate appellation as his "brethren", so by way of entreaty "beseeching", and yet in a very solemn manner:

by the coming of our Lord Jesus: which is to be understood not of the coming of Christ in the flesh, to procure the salvation of his people; nor of his coming in his kingdom and power to take vengeance on the Jewish nation, for their rejection of him as the Messiah; but of his coming to judge the quick and dead, than which nothing is more sure and certain, being affirmed by angels and men, by prophets and apostles, and by Christ himself, or more desirable by the saints; wherefore the apostle entreats them by it, that whereas they believed it, expected it, and wished for it, they would regard what he was about to say: so that the words, though an entreaty, are in the form of an adjuration; unless they should be rendered as in the Ethiopic version, as they may, "concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ"; and so express subject matter of the discourse now entering upon, with what follows:

and by our gathering together unto him; which regards not the great gatherings of the people to Christ the true Shiloh upon his first coming, and the preaching of the Gospel to both Jews and Gentiles, when there were not only great flockings to hear it, but multitudes were converted by it; nor the greater gatherings there will be in the latter day, at the time of the conversion of the Jews, and when the fulness of the Gentiles shall be brought in; nor the conversion of particular persons, who are gathered in to Christ, and received by him one by one; nor the assembling of the saints together for public worship, in which sense the word is used in Hebrews 10:25 but the gathering together of all the saints at the last day, at the second coming of Christ; for he will come with ten thousand of his saints, yea, with all his saints, when their dead bodies shall be raised and reunited to their souls, and they with the living saints will be caught up into the air, to meet the Lord there and be ever with him; when they will make up, complete and perfect, the general assembly and church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven: this will be the gathering together of all the elect of God; and so the Arabic version reads, "the gathering of us all"; and which, as it is certain, is greatly to be desired; it will be a happy meeting and a glorious sight; by this the apostle entreats and adjures them to regard what follows.

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