2 Thessalonians 2:2 MEANING

2 Thessalonians 2:2
(2) Not soon shaken.--The meaning would be clearer if we inserted "so" before "soon," for it does not mean vaguely that they were for the future not to be lightly shaken, but (as in Galatians 1:6) that they had already been shaken, and that in an unconscionably short time since their first teaching on the subject.

In mind.--In the original it is, from your mind; from your reason,

Be troubled.--The tense of the verb "be troubled" differs in the Greek from that of "be shaken"; for the "driving out of their wits" is regarded as a single act; the "agitation," or being troubled, as a chronic condition, into which there was fear of their falling. This shaking and trouble probably brought about the disorders spoken of in 2 Thessalonians 3. The instruments by which men had partly driven the Thessalonians out of their wits already were three:--(1) "Through spirit," i.e., by pretended manifestations of the Holy Spirit's power, whether through false signs or, more probably, through "prophesyings." (See 1 Thessalonians 5:20-22, where the fear of some abuse of prophecy is clearly marked already.) (2) "Through word," i.e., Word of mouth, as opposed to the written letter next mentioned. Most modern commentators seem rightly to take the words "as from us" with this clause as well as with the next; some persons misrepresented what they had heard the Apostles say on the topic, or pretended to have been intrusted with a message from them. (3) "Through letter;" apparently forged letters, purporting to be from (or, literally, through) St. Paul, had been circulated. (See Note on 2 Thessalonians 3:17.) "Word" and "letter" occur again in 2 Thessalonians 2:15 as his ordinary means of teaching.

As that the day of Christ is at hand--i.e., "to the effect that it is, "--giving the contents of the pretended revelation; for "as that" follows grammatically upon "spirit, word, letter," not upon "shaken, troubled." The word for "is at hand" implies a very close proximity indeed, the participle, in fact (like our word "instant"), being used for "present," e.g., Galatians 1:4. Probably the form which the false doctrine at Thessalonica was beginning to take was that the day of the Lord had already set in, thus confusing the whole idea of a personal, visible Advent, just as, at a later period, Hymenaeus and Philetus confused the true doctrine of resurrection by affirming that it was already past (2 Timothy 2:18). St. Paul not only denies vigorously that the day is come, but proceeds in the next verse to show that the signs of its approach are not yet exhibited. The best reading gives "the day of the Lord," not "of Christ." (See Note on 1 Thessalonians 5:2.)

Verse 2. - That; to the end that, the purpose for which the apostle besought the Thessalonians. Ye be not soon; quickly. This has been variously interpreted, "so soon after my exhortation," or "so soon after my departure from Thessalonica," or "so soon after your reception of the gospel," or "so soon after this opinion of the imminence of Christ's coming was promulgated." Others refer it to manner rather than to time - "soon and with small reason" (Alford). Shaken; agitated like the waves by a storm, as the word signifies. In mind; or rather, from your mind;from your sober reason. Or be troubled; a still stronger expression; "terrified." Neither by spirit; not any falsely understood prophecies of the Old Testament, nor any mistaken revelations, whether by visions or dreams; but prophetical discourses delivered by members of the Church in a state of excitement, announcing the immediate coming of Christ, and which were mistaken for Divine communications. There does not appear to have been any intention to deceive; the Thessalonians erred in neglecting "to try the spirits" and to "prove the prophecics." Nor by word; not any traditional word of Christ, nor any misinterpretation of his prophecy concerning the destruction of Jerusalem, nor a calm discourse in distinction from prophetic utterances; but the report of some of the apostle's words, either erroneous or misunderstood. Nor by letter. Not the apostle's former Epistle to the Thessalonians, the passages in which concerning the advent had been misinterpreted (Paley); for, if this were the case, the apostle would have expressed himself more plainly and would not have repudiated it; but some letter, either forged in the apostle's name or pretending to inculcate his views. As from us. These words apply to the last two particulars: "Let no pretended saying or pretended letter of mine disturb you in this matter." As that - to the effect that - the day of Christ; or, as the best manuscripts read, of the Lord. Is at hand; literally, is present, so R.V. The verb is so translated in the other passages where it occurs (Romans 8:38; 1 Corinthians 3:22; Galatians 1:4; Hebrews 9:9), except in 2 Timothy 3:1, where it ought also to have been so rendered. It is, however, difficult to conceive how the Thessalonians could think that the day of the Lord was actually present. We cannot imagine that they thought that Christ had already come for judgment. To escape the difficulty, some conceive that "the day of the Lord" is not identical with "the coming of the Lord," but that, besides the actual advent, it includes the events which are its antecedents and concomitants (Eadie). It appears, however, best to suppose that the word is a strong expression for the imminence of that day; that the hour of the advent was about in strike. The Thessalonians ought always to be living in a state of preparation for the day of the Lord, as that day would come suddenly and unexpectedly; but they were not to be so impressed with a sense of its immediateness as to be deprived of their sober reason.

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.That ye be not soon shaken in mind,.... Or "from your mind or sense", as the Vulgate Latin version; or "from the solidity of sense", as the Arabic version; that is, from what they had received in their minds, and was their sense and judgment, and which they had embraced as articles of faith; that they would not be like a wave of the sea, tossed to and fro with every wind of doctrine; or be moved from the hope of the Gospel, from any fundamental article of it, and from that which respects the second coming of Christ particularly; and especially, that they would not be quickly and easily moved from it; see Galatians 1:6

or be troubled; thrown into consternation and surprise, for though the coming of Christ will not be terrible to saints, as it will be to sinners; yet there is something in it that is awful and solemn, and fills with concern; and to be told of it as at that instant might be surprising and shocking: the several ways in which their minds might be troubled and distressed with such an account are enumerated by the apostle, that they might guard against them, and not be imposed upon by them:

neither by spirit; by a prophetic spirit, by pretensions to a revelation from the Spirit, fixing the precise time of Christ's coming, which should not be heeded or attended to; since his coming will be as a thief in the night:

nor by word: by reason and a show of it, by arguments drawn from it, which may carry in them a show of probability; by enticing words of man's wisdom; by arithmetical or astronomical calculations; or by pretensions to a word, a tradition of Christ or his apostles, as if they had received it "viva voce", by word of mouth from any of them:

nor by letter, as from us; by forging a letter and counterfeiting their hands, for such practices began to be used very early; spurious epistles of the Apostle Paul were carried about, which obliged him to take a method whereby his genuine letters might be known; see 2 Thessalonians 3:17 or he may have respect in this clause to his former epistle, wherein he had said some things concerning the Coming of Christ, which had been either wrongly represented, or not understood; and as if his sense was, that it would be while he and others then living were alive and on the spot: wherefore he would not have them neither give heed to any enthusiastic spirits, nor to any plausible reasonings of men, or unwritten traditions; nor to any letters in his name, or in the name of any of the apostles; nor even to his former letter to them, as though it contained any such thing in it,

as that the day of Christ is at hand; or is at this instant just now coming on; as if it would be within that year, in some certain month, and on some certain day in it; which notion the apostle would have them by no means give into, for these reasons, because should Christ not come, as there was no reason to believe he would in so short a time, they would be tempted to disbelieve his coming at all, at least be very indifferent about it; and since if it did not prove true, they might be led to conclude there was nothing true in the Christian doctrine and religion; and besides, such a notion of the speedy coming of Christ would tend to indulge the idle and disorderly persons among them in their sloth and negligence: and now for these, and for the weighty reasons he gives in the next verse, he dissuades them from imbibing such a tenet; for though the coming of Christ is sometimes said to be drawing nigh, and to be quickly, yet so it might be, and not at that instant; besides, such expressions are used with respect to God, with whom a thousand years are as one day, and one day as a thousand years; and because the Gospel times, or times of the Messiah, are the last days, there will be no other dispensation of things until the second coming of Christ; and chiefly they are used to keep up the faith, and awaken the hope and expectation of the saints with respect to it. The Alexandrian copy, and some others, read, "the day of the Lord"; and so the Vulgate Latin version; and accordingly the Syriac and Ethiopic versions, "the day of our Lord".

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