Thessalonians - Glorification by Faith in Christ

By E. S. (Emanuel Sprankel) Young



II. The Day of the Lord and the Man of Sin, 2:1-17

The Apostle now proceeds to the principle object which he had in view in writing this Epistle. The Thessalonians did not fully understand the coming of the Lord for His own and the Day of the Lord when God shall come with manifested glory to take vengeance upon those who are disobedient unto Him and His Son. The Apostle reminds them of his former instructions on this subject as presented in the first Epistle (4:13-18, 5:1-11). All who did not get a clear distinction presented in the first epistle concerning the two great events that are to happen in the future, the coming of the Lord for His own which is to precede the Day of the Lord, will have another opportunity in this letter to let the Holy Spirit set out more clearly the difference between the two great events. The first event is the gathering together of those who are the Lord's, living and dead, as presented in First Thessalonians (4:13-18). The second event, the Day of the Lord, the revealing of Christ from Heaven to take vengeance upon those who will not believe will not take place until Christ has come for the Church which is His Body.


The Thessalonian saints having been fully instructed by the Apostle Paul concerning the doctrine in the book of Romans, were sure of their standing in the Lord Jesus Christ. They were also dwelling with Christ in the Heavenlies because they were members of His Body as Paul sets forth in the Book of Ephesians, They had reached such a standard in Christian education that the coming of the Lord for His own and His coming to punish the wicked in the Day of the Lord, were of tremendous interest. The Apostle had taught them to watch and pray. Some no doubt had been led into error through false teachers, that the Day of the Lord had already set in and, therefore, Christ had already come for His own and they had missed the blessings of going with the redeemed into glory. This brought sadness into many homes who had been waiting and looking for Christ's return and expected to leave the earth before the tribulation period and the coming judgment.

Ver. 1. Now we beseech you, brethren, touching the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and our gathering together unto him.

The Apostle entreats the brethren, showing that he is deeply interested in the blessed hope which had been so clearly set forth in his first letter. The Apostle had not attempted to fix the time of the coming, however, he emphasized the fact that they ought to watch and pray because Christ Himself said, he would come at a time when many would not be looking for Him. Satan is the deceiver and his purpose is to blind the people so they cannot and will not look for Christ's coming and when He does come according to the teaching of the Word, many will be deceived. Satan was deceiving some in the time of the Early Church. Satan is always trying to make people believe that God does not mean what He says and so he has some to ask the question, “Where is the promise of His coming?” (2 Pet. 3:1). He had them doubt the Word of God. He is always trying to deceive those who have God's Word as he deceived our first parents in the Garden of Eden. He influenced them to disbelieve what God said.

Some have thought that the coming of the Lord was in A. D. 70 at the time of the destruction of Jerusalem. The Apostacy was the revolt of the Jews from the Romans. Others believe that His coming and only coming is to the individual at the time of death. The coming of the Lord for His own is none of those but for the gathering of His loved ones unto Himself through resurrection and translation, for a complete redemption of His own.

Ver. 2. To the end that ye be not quickly (or lightly, with little reason) shaken from your mind, nor yet be troubled, either by spirit (by anyone appearing to have a spiritual gift of prophecy), or by word (of mouth), or by epistle (purporting to have been written) as from us, as that the day of the Lord is just at hand.

The disciples were in trouble again as they had been in First Thessalonians (Chap. 4), and this is written for the express purpose of removing that trouble. They had been taught by the Holy Spirit through Paul that before the Day of the Lord should come they would be caught up to meet the Lord in the air to be forever with Him. This would all happen before that great and terrible day would set in. The Apostle therefore gives the warning in this verse that, “You be not easily influenced and led away from the truth (shaken, agitated like the waves by the storm), but that you hold carefully to what God says in reference to this matter.” It is always well to retain the truth. It is the truth that sets us free no matter how unreasonable it may appear to those who know not God and the power of His Word. These Thessalonians were troubled, troubled simply because they did not obey the voice of God and believe just what God said.

“Either by spirit.” We were taught in the former Epistle not to despise prophesying and to believe all that the prophets had spoken. The Apostle refers to prophetic discourses delivered by those who did not have full information as to what was taught. There may have been no purpose on their part to deceive these Thessalonians, but they erred in not being able fully to comprehend what is meant by the teaching of God's prophets. “Nor by word.” The Apostle had taught orally and _ by writing and what he had said was not fully comprehended. Now anything that the Apostle said that was misunderstood, he aims to correct in this letter.

“Or by epistle.” These false teachers in order to prove the doctrine they presented to be true, called attention to a written document claimed to have been written by Paul and they quoted from it no doubt as though they were giving instructions from Paul. It is possible that this letter was written for the purpose of deceiving; at least it was to enforce the false doctrine as if sanctioned by the Apostle.

“As from us.” The Apostle wants these Christians to understand that the truth in reference to these matters was clearly set out in the last two chapters of the former Epistle. He does not want the pretended saying or letter of his to disturb them concerning these doctrinal truths. These deceivers tried to show that the Day of the Lord had come. There is an important difference between the Day of the Lord and the day of Christ. The day of Christ concerns the Church, the members of Christ's Body. The Day of the Lord concerns the earth, both of Israel and the nation. The Day of Christ comes, the Day of the Lord follows. We must in this verse follow the revised version. The day of Christ is the day referred to when we shall be gathered together unto Him. The prophetic teaching of the Holy Spirit will be fulfilled as described in Paul's first letter. This hope of being gathered together at the coming of Christ for His saints is the true reason why we should not be troubled by those who speak concerning the Day of the Lord being present.

“Now present.” The Greek “is at hand” should be translated “set in,” or “be present.” It will be well to study carefully the verse as printed here. The Apostle shows that this Day of the Lord is still in the future. If the Day of the Lord had opened and they had not been caught up to meet the Lord in the air, then there was sufficient ground to be troubled. If the time had come for the Lord to be revealed from Heaven in judgment on His enemies, and He had not previously come to be glorified in His saints, then their faith was vain and their hope was vain. These teachers had deceived them. The Holy Spirit is the bringer of the truth and has promised to make the truth clear to the believer. It is, therefore, of utmost importance to know just what is meant here that our faith may be made stronger, love more abiding, and the blessed hope more real.


  • Why did the Apostle entreat these converts at this time?

  • What about our gathering together unto Him?

  • Tell in your own words just what you understand by it.

  • Are the Christian people now troubled about the blessed hope?

  • What did the false teachers do to weaken this hope?

  • What is the meaning of the Day of the Lord?


Here we have the all conclusive reason given by the Apostle why the Day of the Lord cannot set in or happen until the Church of God shall have been caught up to meet the Lord in the air. The saints shall first be gathered unto Him and Christ Himself shall be glorified in His saints.

Ver. 3. Let no man beguile you in any wise: for it will not be, except the falling away come first, and the man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition.

Deceivers are often more earnest in their effort to deceive than those who are in possession of truth to instruct and correct. God knows that the world is full of deceivers and through the Holy Spirit we are warned not to be deceived by any man. The Holy Spirit forewarns and prepares us to meet all deceivers by the power of the Word. We must be steadfast, looking for the coming of the Lord. The apostasy is yet to come. Let no man deceive you in any of the methods presented in the previous verse, either by spirit, word or letter.

“For it will not be, except the falling away come first.” If the Day of the Lord had set in then the last great apostasy must have taken place. The Anti-Christ must have been revealed, for he is to be destroyed by the brightness of Christ's coming. All that Daniel had prophesied concerning Satan and his companions must have taken place, and the man of sin revealed. We can in some way understand why the Holy Spirit brings such warning to us. “Let no man deceive you in any way whatever.” There are many professing Christians deceived in spite of the solemn words contained here in the Word of God. The professing Church teaches by the so-called new theology that the Day of the Lord shall not come until all the people shall be converted. The Holy Spirit teaches the very opposite, showing that the world is not yet bad enough for the beginning of the day of judgment. Those in the professing Church who believe in world betterment and have that as one of the specific missions of the Church instead of the saving of souls are teaching us that the world is not yet good enough, however, the Christians in the early church believed what Christ and the Holy Spirit teaches.

“The man of sin be revealed.” The revelation of the man of sin, the son of perdition as prophesied by the Scripture, will take place on the earth before the visible manifestation of the Lord from Heaven in judgment. We are told that before the revelation of the man of sin and the setting in of the Day of the Lord there is to be a falling away from God and His truth, and this falling away is manifesting itself in a very remarkable way in many countries and some of our most influential educational centers. Professing Christian men and women are not contending for the “faith once delivered unto the saints.” We are instructed here that there will be a complete apostasy. The faith on fundamentals and the doctrinal teaching of the Word is abandoned and we are coming to fulfil the truth of Christ when He said, “How be it, when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth.” The Holy Spirit teaches that there is a definite time when this present age of grace will close (2 Tim. 3:1-5; 2 Pet. 2). He emphasized this same truth in many other passages of Scripture. The Apostle considers the man of sin as the counterpart of Christ. As Christ was revealed so the man of sin will be revealed. This personality that is to be revealed (Rev. 13:1-10) is called the “beast from the sea” or the “beast out of the sea.” The son of perdition, the man of sin, is leading and directing the work of apostasy.

Ver. 4. He that (or the one that) opposeth and exalteth himself against all that is called God or that is worshipped; so that he sitteth in the temple of God, setting himself forth (or exhibiting the proof) as God.

This person and his mission is in direct opposition to God and His Word. He is superhuman and establisheth himself to be the Christ or God to be worshipped by humanity. He has set aside God and takes His place on the earth. There are many people today who are worshipping Christ as the man of flesh who in a Divine sense was above other men, but they only worship him in that exalted greatness as one above other men, They do not believe in Him as the Son of God who by one act of obedience died on the cross to save the world. The world is magnifying man and exalting the work of man and in this period, described as the revelation of the man of sin, the people will have an opportunity to worship the Anti-Christ, the superhuman, who sets aside God and takes his place.

“So that he sitteth in the temple of God.” Daniel tells us that he will have an influence and power over those who forsake the holy covenant (Dan. 11:30). Paul tells us here that ” the man of sin shall sit in God's Temple, showing himself to have taken God's place. Daniel speaks of an abomination of desolation being set up in the holy place of God (Dan. 11:31):Paul tells us that the man of sin shall oppose all that is called God and exalt himself as an object of worship. “And the king shall do according to his will: and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god and shall speak marvelous things against the God of gods and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished; for that that is determined shall be done” (Dan. 11:36). That which the Apostle teaches here is fully in harmony with the prophesy of Daniel and no doubt he had in mind the fulfilment of the teaching of the prophet. This prediction concerning the man of sin was of deep interest in the early church. The church fathers made frequent reference to it in their writing.

The Apostle in speaking of the temple of God does not have reference to the Church. This is a Jewish temple. He cannot have reference to the Church, the Body of Christ, because the Body of Christ will have been removed by Christ the Head before the man of sin shall sit in the temple of God. God had made a covenant with the Jews and had delivered His oracles unto them and because of their disobedience He had set aside this nation, because of the rejecting of His Son for a time. This time was during the period of grace, the forming of the Body for the Lord Christ. The Jewish people after this are once more restored to their own land and brought back to their own home. This indicates that they had not been brought into covenant relation with God and they are still in their unbelieving state and will erect another temple in which to worship (Isa. 66:1-4). God will be wonderfully displeased with their worship, having the man of sin to sit upon their throne to be worshipped. This man of sin will sit in that temple of the Jews demanding all to worship the image that he sets up and that image will be an image of himself to be worshipped. This all is to take place during Jacob's trouble and the great tribulation. This man of sin, the son of perdition will be under the direction of Satan and will have power given to him by Satan. All prophetic students are looking forward to this period for the fulfilment of many of the Old Testament prophetic utterances.


  • Is there danger in being deceived?

  • How can we know when we are deceived?

  • About what were the Thessalonians deceived?

  • Tell fully the deception now as to the Day of the Lord.

  • Is there any indication of apostasy at the present time?

  • Who is to come and take God's place?

  • What is the temple referred to in Ver. 4?


Had the Thessalonians remembered the instructions of the Apostle, individual members of the Church would not have been so soon shaken from their sober reason. The Apostle when he was in Thessalonica had told them of these things. He had instructed them in the nature of the apostasy and the coming of the man of sin.

Ver. 5. Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?

This is one of the subjects that was very clear in the Apostle's mind and he did not fail to teach it, among other important lessons to the Churches. These words are reproachful. The Apostle had instructed them concerning the nature of this apostasy and he calls attention to the fact that they themselves remember that he gave them this information.

Ver. 6. And now ye know that which restraineth (holdeth him fast), to the end that he may be revealed in his own season.

He is to appear at an appointed time. The Apostle had informed the Thessalonians when he was with them what hindered the man of sin from revealing himself more fully before the appointed time. The time had not yet come for his fuller appearance. We are told of a time or fulness of time when Christ shall appear, so there shall be a fulness of time when the man of sin shall be revealed. There are a series of events to happen, one after another, which will finally culminate in a full revelation of the man of sin. The nature of this restraining or withholding influence will be fully overcome.

“That which restraineth.” There is something that hinders this fuller revelation of the man of sin until the proper time. The Church of God is the salt of the earth and as long as the Holy Spirit abides in it the fuller revelation of the Anti-Christ cannot take place. The Holy Spirit is building up the habitation in the Body of Christ. The Church will cease this restraining and withholding influence when removed out of the earth and then this fuller revelation of the man of sin will take place.

Ver. 7. For the mystery of lawlessness (iniquity) doth already work: only there is one that restraineth now (holdeth fast to his possessions in the heavenlies), until he be taken out of the way (until he be cast out of the earth, Rev. 12:9-12, and stand upon the sand of the sea, Rev. 13:1).

This mystery of lawlessness is already working. This is what the Apostle Paul informs the followers of Christ. Sin is lawlessness and has been at work from the beginning. Man has always exalted himself and when he did this he set aside his duty and relation to the Creator. This works on until it becomes open lawlessness. This is out and out opposition to God and His Son, culminating in the man of sin, the false Christ, and will give humanity unrestrained liberty to work out its evil progress which under the present state of Christianity is impossible. “Only there is one—Satan—who at present holdeth fast his possessions as still in the Heavens.” The word “holdeth” in Ver. 6, and the word “let” in Ver. 7, in the authorized version, has the word “restrain” in the revised. It must, therefore, have an object after it which should be supplied in the translation. The verb means to have and to hold fast—to hold in secure possession. This can be better understood by referring to 1 Thess. 5:21, “Hold fast that which is good.” The idea is to keep and retain or hold fast to that which is proved to be good, so it is in all the passages where the word occurs. It means to hold fast something, but what is it that the man of sin holds fast? There is something valuable to which he is holding. It is something out of which he is revealed or ascends (Rev. 9:12; 11:7). He is holding fast his possession until the season arrives when he shall be openly revealed. Now before that takes place, his secret councils and plans are already at work preparing the way for his fuller revelation.

We have the revelation of two persons: the man of sin (Ver. 3), and the lawless one (Ver. 8). This harmonizes with the teaching of Rev. 13, regarding the man of sin or the beast from the sea. Open apostasy precedes and marks his revelation. The lawless one is called the beast from the earth. The working out of his secret councils will precede his revelation and the removal of Satan from Heaven brings it about.

“Until he be taken out of the way.” The lawless one at the present time is held fast in a pit while his secret councils are at work. The devil himself is holding on to his possessions in Heaven (Eph. 2:2; 6:12). Presently there will be war in Heaven (Rev. 12:7), and Satan will be cast out into the earth. “And I (Satan) stood upon the sand of the sea” (Rev. 13:1). Here he will call upon the lawless one whom John sees rising out of the sea to run his brief career and be destroyed by the glory of the Lord's appearing (Ver. 8). With these pictures of iniquity before us we now turn with the Apostle (Ver. 8) to see what the Lord will do for His own.

Ver. 8. And then shall be revealed the lawless one, whom the Lord Jesus shall slay with the breath of his mouth, and bring to nought by the manifestation of his coming. (Is. 11:4).

There is a time appointed for the revealing of the lawless one; wickedness unveiled in all its naked deformity no longer working secretly as it does now, but openly and in an undisguised form. In the former verse we were told that something or someone had the power to withhold this revelation for-a time. Who or what restrains it? Many answers have been given to this question. We have set forth the thought in the former verse that Satan has superhuman power in holding on to his possessions in the Heavenlies and as long as he is able to do this, the lawless one is not fully revealed. Others believe that the restraining comes from the Church and the Holy Spirit who is now the leader and agent in building up the Church. The Church and the Holy Spirit being taken out of the world, this restraining power is removed. The Church composed of true members of Christ, is gone and consequently the Holy Spirit, as a comforter, is no longer dwelling here, After this the apostasy takes place. All hindrances have been removed and the lawless one is manifesting himself in his fulness. Evil assumes a definite shape in him who is its head. While the man of sin is unveiled, the Apostle also announces his doom. Gross darkness has come upon the nations, the enemy of all good comes in like a flood, and the lawless one is here. Christ and the Apostles are very definite in teaching that the Church, the Body of Christ, will not be on the earth during the complete unveiling of evil, and when this is come to a close. No true believer will be in the final apostasy of the lawless one, nor will the true church pass through this great tribulation.

“Whom the Lord.” We have had the revelation of the lawless one. Here we have the revelation of another whom God said would bruise the serpent's head and be victorious over all manifestations of evil. The lawless one meets his doom. We have here the description of the power and irresistible might of Christ at His coming. The mere breath of His mouth is sufficient to consume the wicked. “He shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth and with the breath of his lips shall _he slay the wicked.” When He comes His appearance will be in such glory and brightness that it will mean destruction to the lawless one. This does not mean utter annihilation of the personal existence of the man of sin and those who are with him, for indeed he is cast into a lake of fire. When he comes to destroy by the spirit of His mouth and the brightness of His coming, the Church, His redeemed Body will be with Him by which God's power will display what has been accomplished during the period of the church age.


  • What did Paul do with the Church before?

  • What special thing did he tell them?

  • What did they know themselves?

  • What was to be revealed at a certain time?

  • What was this mystery of iniquity?

  • Is it a work now?

  • When will the wicked one be revealed?

  • What effect will Christ have upon Him?


In the former paragraph we have learned about the restraining influence of evil and the time when this withholding will cease and the revelation take place of the evil one. The Apostle is doing all this to show the difference between the coming of Christ for His own and the coming of Christ with His own in glory to meet the man of sin when fully revealed. In this paragraph the Apostle sets forth the methods used by the man of sin.

Ver. 9. Even he, whose coming is according to the working of Satan with all power and signs (miracles) and lying wonders (marvels).

The source of all this activity is Satan. Here we have more than simply human depravity at work. Satan himself is in this human depravity showing his influence and power. The lawless one, the Anti-Christ, will come directed by Satan. Christ spoke the truth, wrought miracles of truth. The miracles of the man of sin, the Anti-Christ will be miracles of falsehood. He will be in possession of energy and power to perform wonderful things and they will be so wonderful that the world will be deceived and many who live simply by profession will be deceived (Matt. 24:24). Many are waiting to be led by somebody who has power and can work miracles. God has for a long time set before the world, the Christ and the truth contained in His Word, but the world would not receive either, and now he allows the wicked one to have sufficient power to do wonderful things, and these are the things that will deceive the many who are looking to someone who manifests power, but it is for the purpose of giving to the human that which they admire. We are already in a time when men show by turning away from the Word of God that they desire God's truth no longer and are dissatisfied with the patient, long-suffering God, and therefore, see already the professing world deceived by these mysteries of iniquity that are already working.

The signs were to be as false as their author. Their design was to attest the truth of the man of sin. He speaks lies in hypocrisy (1 Tim. 4:2). The ministers of Satan can as easily transform themselves into ministers of righteousness as Satan himself can become an angel of light (2 Cor. 11:14-15). It is not possible to deceive those who have been chosen, elected, entered into the mystery of God in fellowship, and are among those who give their bodies as a living sacrifice wholly and acceptable. All who are blinded to the glory of the Gospel are in the way of easy deception (2 Cor. 4:3).

Ver. 10. And with all deceit of unrighteousness for them that are perishing; (Why?) because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

The man of sin works every form of deceit and falsehood and this he does by every possible method of unrighteousness. Satan is a liar and the father of lies. He cannot work in righteousness and, therefore, his whole mission is in unrighteousness. The Apostle gives a reason why these people perish. They did not receive the love of truth that they might be saved. They did not receive what God offered them. Everyone who wants to stand against principalities and powers and all wickedness in high places must have on the girdle of truth (Eph. 6:14). They did not receive the truth that was offered to them. They did that which was worse; they were destitute even of the love of the truth. Their hearts were accustomed to error and iniquity and, therefore, the truth of God did not appeal to them. They were led astray by numerous evils and allusions.

Christ died to save. They did not accept the truth that God had concerning His Son for the saving of their souls. God's truth is not given to reform or to make the world a better place in which to live, but by accepting truth men become regenerate. The rejectors of the truth will receive God's judgment. None of us can even imagine what will be the fate of millions who will not receive the truth and the love of the truth. They have pleasure in unrighteousness as described in other places in the Word of God. While we do not like to think of the fate of the millions who are following the wicked one yet as believers in God and His Word we cannot help but know that He will do according to His Word.

Ver. 11. And for this cause God sendeth them a working of error, that they should believe a lie.

This secret council of iniquity is working in the world and in the professing church during this age. God will allow them to have just what Satan wills that they should have. The period has come when conditions are such in the world that God will gradually remove His restraint and Satan will have an opportunity to deceive further those who choose to be deceived. This great mystery of iniquity is already manifesting itself and has tremendous influence against the truth of God. Error is accepted instead of truth.

“God sendeth.” This is the ordinance of God that the wicked by their wicked actions fall into greater wickedness and so sin itself is punished by greater sinning. The flesh would rather be directed by error. God will permit sufficient error to bring destruction when first it was received because it brought pleasure. The lie will have greater attraction to these people than the truth. This is the secret council of iniquity that is working for them now. God opens their minds to all kinds of falsehood and delusion. Here we have the practical lesson that God has the ability and power to increase truth to those who obey and love the truth, to deal out the good to those who love the good, but to those who despise the truth and love the influences of evil He is able to increase the evil and to magnify iniquity to those who love iniquity. God is all and in all, and no one can limit God's power for judgment. Those who delight in this mystery of iniquity are living under the leadership of the man of sin and will finally stand condemned before the God who is all truth.

Ver. 12. That they all might be judged who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

The Word says that all will stand condemned before God who do not believe the truth. Those who prefer unrighteousness and the way of evil to that of holiness will learn by experience that God's Word is true. “There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” (Prov. 16:25). The Bible is constantly emphasizing the necessity of a complete separation between the Body of Christ and those who make up the class that prefers to live in unrighteousness. When the man of sin, the Anti-Christ appears, this will bring about complete separation. Those who do not obey the truth and love the truth as it is in Christ Jesus and are yet enjoying many of the blessings of God now offered unto all, when this time for complete separation takes place, will find themselves belonging to the company made up by the man of sin, and no longer be permitted to enjoy at least some blessings that God has for those who are with Christ in glory.

“Pleasure in unrighteousness.” They have pleasure and joy in iniquity. These verses contain wonderful warnings given by God to the entire human race. Humanity is at the present, divided into but two classes: those who love and obey the truth, the regenerate, who abide in Christ; those who do not love the truth, the unregenerate, who have pleasure in unrighteousness. It is a great privilege to live in assurance that you are on the side of truth, to live that life of faith, love, and patience in hope, and know that some day you will hear Him whom you serve say, “Well done good and faithful servant—enter into the joys of thy Lord” (Matt. 25:21).


  • Whom is Satan directing?

  • What was this wicked person able to perform?

  • What is the result of their unrighteousness and deception?

  • Explain the meaning of “love not the truth.”

  • What part does God have in the further manifestation of this error?

  • What is the condemnation and why?


The Apostle gives his reasons here for his thanksgiving unto God. He is conscious of what God did for us who believe. It is well that the believer is frequently reminded of the purposes and plans of God which bring about the expectation and joy unto those who are called and kept according to God's purposes. We have here a marked contrast between that which the believer expects to receive from God and what the unbeliever is bringing upon himself by following the pleasures of unrighteousness, as presented in the former verse.

(1) The Divine Election, 2:13-14

Ver. 13. But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, for that God chose you from the beginning unto salvation in sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth.

Paul's heart goes out in gratitude to God that the saints at Thessalonica are not led away by the man of sin. He is conscious of the fact that there are false teachers and that terrible wickedness is in the world at the time he is writing this letter. False teachers are even among the church members to whom he is writing the letter, and yet Paul has abundant reasons to thank God that His grace is so wonderfully manifested that it is sufficient to keep and separate them unto the Gospel of God and make them to abound in faith and love. In the former epistle he calls those to whom he is writing “beloved of God” (1 Thess. 1:4); here, “brethren beloved of the Lord.” These are indirect proofs in these epistles of the divinity of Christ.

“For that God chose you from the beginning.” We learn in the epistle written to the Ephesians that God called those who were to be His before the foundation of the world. God's election is eternal and only the accomplishment of it means that the call takes place in time. In your call God hath shown the purpose that He had from the beginning, to call the Gentiles to the same high privileges to be enjoyed by individual Jews in this age of grace. It is not through service or obedience to the law but by faith in Christ that they were brought to enjoy the blessings of adoption. This is very different from those who are not saved and receive not the Gospel of God. They were not only chosen for salvation, they received their salvation through faith in Christ, and through faith in Christ, they received sanctification of the Spirit. Christ is the believer's righteousness and sanctification. They had to believe the truth of Christ when it was preached. They received the Spirit of God in believing the truth, and that Spirit was to them sanctification and holiness. It was to these an inward purity and holiness which would manifest itself in outward conformity to God.

Ver. 14. Whereunto he (God) called you through our gospel (the gospel preached by us), to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

This verse again calls our attention to the whole clause of the former verse, being chosen to salvation in sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth. Whom God elects from eternity, He calls in time. The good news preached by the Apostle, if obeyed, would permit them to obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. We as believers and joint-heirs with Christ are to anticipate being sharers in the glory of Christ. This is the consummation of the redemption promised the saints when in possession of the glorified body. The inducements and promises held forth to the Christian are confirmed by the exhortation that follows.

(2) Exhortation and Prayer, 2:15-17

Ver. 15. So then, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions (Apostle's instructions) which ye were taught, whether by word, or by epistle of ours.

They were elected by God, therefore, it is perfectly consistent to call their attention to their Christian walk and conduct. This was especially needed at Thessalonica because of the agitation and disturbance caused by some misunderstanding as to the coming of Christ. Believers not knowing the truth, were carried about by every wind of doctrine, and influenced by the errors of the wicked. They had received instruction from the Apostle at the time he reasoned with them out of the Scriptures.. The tradition spoken of here was not what Christ condemned in the Jewish Church. The traditions then were not the teachings and written Word of God, but that which was added by man contrary to the teaching of the Word. These instructions here are under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and, therefore, are fully in harmony with what God sets forth in other parts of His Word. The Apostle engages in prayer after giving these words of exhortation.

Ver. 16. Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God cur Father which loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace.

The root of all is the unmerited love of God. Grace has been bestowed upon us by God through Christ, so the power that is necessary to keep us and strengthen us and confirm us unto Him comes through the same channel of grace. God gives us eternal comfort. He does this by our acceptance of His Son by faith. God's eternal purpose was concerning Himself personal, that His Son might become head over all and those who are in His purpose, called when His Son was called, might become the Body of Christ. The Head of the Church and the Body of Christ are everlasting.

“Good hope through grace.” The hope of the Gospel was the resurrection of the body and the final glorification of it

and the soul through eternity. The resurrection of the Body of Christ, which is made up of individual believers in Christ, takes place when these saints are perfected. The Apostle says, “I have not yet attained.” There are two things he had not yet attained that he was hoping for. One was the meeting of Christ at His coming for the saints and the other the receiving of His glorified body at the time when the redeemed shall come forth in resurrection, or those so fortunate as to be alive at the coming of Christ shall be translated and meet with Christ in the air.

Ver. 17. Comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word.

We are to stand fast and to hold fast the truth and these are two very essential things for those who are the called of God. Paul frequently speaks of comfort after discussing some very important teachings for the followers of Christ. He did this after discussing the subject of the coming of the Lord to give glorified bodies to those who had passed through death and to translate into glorified bodies those who are still on the earth at his coming. After giving these plain and careful instructions he concludes by saying, “Comfort one another with these words.” When God comforts, He strengthens a soul. It is not enough that we be alive to the truth, we must live the truth. Only in this way can we be established while we are living in the world. We are in a period of restlessness and uncertainty, and yet when we pray to God we are assured that He will answer us. God loves us, God chooses us, God keeps us. Paul prayed for this church to be comforted. He prayed that God would establish them in every word of truth and the work that has on it God's approval. The Apostle presents many valuable lessons for the Christian who is faithful to the Word of God. In the midst of dangers there is comfort for the saints. God hath chosen them, therefore, they are under His keeping power. God is the only one that can give eternal comfort.


  • Why is Paul bound to give thanks?

  • What is the meaning of “our Gospel?”

  • What will be our source of glory?

  • When were these Christians chosen?

  • What was. Paul's instructions to these Thessalonians (Ver. 15)?

  • For what specific thing did Paul pray at the close of this chapter?

  • How may the stability of the Christian be increased?