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Arno Clement Gaebelein

In the Public Domain



     This second Epistle to the Thessalonians was written at Corinth by the
Apostle Paul and in the joint names of Silvanus and Timotheus. How long
after the first epistle cannot be correctly ascertained. It was probably a
year after they had received the first document.

                       What Occasioned This Epistle

     From the second chapter we learn that they were greatly troubled about
something else. The first Epistle was written to comfort them on account of
those who had fallen asleep and to make known the great revelation
concerning the coming of the Lord for His saints. And now the apostle
writes: "Now we beseech ye, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus
Christ and by our gathering together unto Him, that ye be not soon shaken
in mind, or troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter, as if
it were by us, as that the day of the Lord is present" (2:1-2). Evidently
some one had troubled them and tried to convince them that the day of the
Lord, with its threatened judgments, was actually present. When they had
received the comforting first epistle, we can imagine how their waiting for
the Lord was stimulated. With what simple, childlike faith they must have
taken hold of the words, "We who are alive and remain shall be caught up in
clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so shall we ever be with the Lord."
Daily, no doubt, they expected this blessed promise to be fulfilled.

     Certain false teachers then appeared on the scene, telling them that
their hope was vain and that the day of the Lord was actually upon them,
that the threatened tribulation and judgment had begun and that they had to
pass through all the horrors of the times preceding the visible
manifestation of the Lord. They were passing through fearful persecutions
and tribulations that these teachers probably told them that these
sufferings were the indication of the beginning of the day of the Lord. It
was this which greatly agitated them and robbed them of the blessed hope.
If they were to pass through the tribulation and judgment which is in store
for the world and be on the earth when wrath is poured out, then the
blessed hope ceases to be that. And it seems these false teachers had gone
so far as to produce a document, which they pretended was a letter from
Paul, in which he confirmed their false teaching. For this reason, that
they might know that the letter they received now was really his, he added,
"The salutation of Paul with mine own hand, which is the token in every
epistle, so I write" (3:17).

     But who were these teachers who aimed at the joy and hope of these
earnest believers and troubled them with their false message that the day
of the Lord was present? They belonged unquestionably to the same class of
Judaizers who had sneaked among the Galatian churches. They attacked the
blessed hope given to the Church and put in its place the judgment and
tribulation of the day of the Lord. They swept aside the comforting
revelation of the coming of the Lord and the gathering of the saints unto
Him and put the Church on earthly, Jewish ground. What is in store for the
ungodly nations and for the Jews, they taught would also be shared by true
Christians; it would all come before the Lord comes for His own. To correct
this error the Spirit of God moved the apostle to write this second

                          A Fundamental Prophecy

     Chapter 2:1-12 contains the words of instruction to show that the day
of the Lord was then not present. It furthermore tells us what must precede
that day, which is nowhere related to the Church of God. It is a great
unfolding of prophecy, fundamental and most important. It is needed for the
correct understanding of what will take place when the Lord has taken away
His true Church. Here is the prediction of the apostasy, which will have
for its head and climax the man of sin, the final, personal Antichrist, the
same person of whom Daniel speaks (Dan. 11:36, etc.), who is described in
Rev. 13:11-18 and in other portions of the prophetic Word. Here we read of
the necessary condition before this apostasy can come and that lawless one
is revealed, and what will be the fate of all who received not the love of
the truth. The strong delusion of him, whose coming is, according to the
working of Satan, with all power and signs and lying wonders, will be
believed and accepted by the apostates of Christendom. We have given to
this portion of the epistle in our annotations the attention it deserves,
and we trust it will be, under God, a help, and comfort to His people.

                   The Division of Second Thessalonians

     The scope and divisions of this Epistle are very simple. In the first
chapter the Apostle shows that while the Thessalonians had tribulation,
they suffered not in a punitive sense, but for the kingdom of God, and that
God would recompense tribulation to those who troubled them. The punishment
for the world comes when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven. While that
day brings this for the world, it will bring glory for those who have
believed. As already stated in the second chapter, the day of the Lord,
what must take place before that day comes is made known. Words of comfort,
prayer and exhortations conclude the Epistle. This gives us three




                         Analysis and Annotations


                                 CHAPTER 1

     1. Salutation and thanksgiving (1:1-4)
     2. The revelation of the Lord Jesus from heaven (1:5-10)
     3. The prayer (1:11-12)

     Verses 1-4. The opening words of salutation are the same as in the
first Epistle. Once more he gives thanks to God for them, because their
faith increased exceedingly and love abounded, the result of an increasing
faith. On account of this progress and spiritual condition he wrote, "So
that we ourselves glory in you in the churches for your patience and faith
in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure." The patience of
hope, which was mentioned in the first Epistle, is omitted by him. Their
hope had been dimmed through the false teachers and alarmists, who would
have them believe that they were heading for all the tribulations of the
day of the Lord. They endured persecutions and tribulations on account of
which they were greatly disturbed, because of the insinuation that these
were the judgments of the day of the Lord. They looked more to what was
happening to them than to the Lord. They were more occupied with these
conditions than with the blessed hope.

     Verses 5-10. He quiets these fears. Satan was pressing upon them,
terrifying their minds, and they were fearing everything, the enemy taking
advantage of the persecutions and sufferings he had instigated to distress
them. The Apostle tells them that all their persecutions and tribulations,
far from having a punitive character, were "a manifest token of the
righteous judgment of God" with this purpose, "to the end that ye should be
counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for the sake of which ye also

     They were children of God, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ,
and their path was to suffer with Him, that they also might be glorified
together (Rom. 8:17). A similar word he wrote later to the Philippians. "in
nothing terrified by your adversaries, which is to them an evident token of
perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God" (Phil 1:28). What was
happening to them was a seal upon them of their being worthy of the coming
kingdom. The persecutions they endured showed they were identified with the
Lord, who was "despised and rejected of men." Their sufferings were the
sufferings of Christ.

     And then the contrast. When the day of the Lord comes with the
revelation of the Lord Jesus from heaven, it will bring the punishment of
the wicked. Their persecutions were from the ungodly, who inflicted
suffering on them because they believed on the Lord. But when the day of
the Lord comes God will change all by recompensing those that troubled
them. "Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to
them that trouble you, and to you who are troubled rest with us, when the
Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels." In other
words, in His day they would have rest and peace, while their wicked
enemies will suffer the well deserved judgment. From this inspired
declaration they learned that the day of the Lord had not come.

     The day of the Lord brings the revelation of the Lord from heaven with
His mighty angels, "in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not
God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, who shall
suffer the penalty of everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord
and from the glory of His might, when He shall come to be glorified in His
saints, and to be wondered at in all who have believed (because our
testimony among you was believed) in that day." "In that day" is a phrase
which we find many times in the Old Testament prophetic Word. In most cases
it means the day of the visible manifestation of Jehovah to deal in
judgment with His enemies and to deliver those of His earthly people Israel
who wait for Him. "And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord
shall punish the host of the high ones that are as high and the kings of
the earth upon the earth" (Is. 24:21). "And it shall be said in that day,
Lo, this is our God, we have waited for Him, and He will save us" (Is.

     Judgment for the world is always connected with that coming day. Our
Lord, in His earthly ministry, also spoke of that day, the day of the
coming of the Son of man. "For the Son of man shall come in the glory of
His Father with His angels, and then shall He reward every man according to
His works" (Matt. 16:27). His visible coming out of heaven and bringing
judgment is still more fully described in Rev. 19:11-21. It will be the day
of vengeance after the acceptable year of the Lord is ended (Isaiah
61:1-2). The apostle's testimony tells us the same. Two classes are
mentioned by him. Those that know not God, which means the idolatrous
Gentiles and sinners in general, "and those that obey not the gospel of our
Lord Jesus Christ." (The text of the Authorized Version having omitted the
word "those" makes it appear as if it were only one class; but that is
incorrect.) These are the Jews and also nominal and apostate Christians.
The latter class will suffer the great punishment. The destruction
mentioned has been explained as meaning annihilation. But that is not true.
It is banishment from the presence of that glory upon which man has turned
his back and which he despised--hardening himself into a final, awful
incapacity for it and for communion with Him. What else is it but the
destruction "of one who was made at the first in the image of God?" They
will live on in eternal separation from God.

     The apostle mentions something else which is not found in the Old
Testament prophetic Word. When the Lord comes in that day He will be
glorified in His saints and then wondered at in all who have believed. When
He comes thus in judgment upon the world the true Church is no longer on
earth, but the saints, having been previously caught up to meet Him in the
air, come with Him in glory. It is the time of the manifestation of the
sons of God, transformed into His image, each reflecting His glory, who is
the leader and the first begotten. And so these poor, persecuted, despised
Thessalonians would then be the marvels for the inhabitants of the earth
when they appear with Him. Blessed future for all the redeemed to come with
the Lord in glory and to be like Him!

     These explanations concerning the day of the manifestation of the Lord
bringing judgment upon their enemies and glory to them, delivered them from
the concision into which the false teachers were leading them, and they
were now ready, after being put at rest in their mind, to receive the
needed additional instruction about that coming day. A prayer concludes
this chapter that, called with such a calling, God may count them worthy of
it, that their walk may be of such a nature as to correspond with that
calling and that the Lord might be glorified in them by the power of faith,
and that afterwards they might be glorified in Him, "according to the grace
of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.


                                 CHAPTER 2

     1. The gathering of the saints preceding that day (2:1-2)
     2. The apostasy and the man of sin (2:3-4)
     3. The revelation of the man of sin and his fate (2:5-8)
     4. His deceptions and the fate of Christendom (2:9-12)

     As this section of the Epistle is one of the most important of the New
Testament, we give it first of all in a corrected translation.

     "Now we beg you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and
our gathering together unto Him, that ye be not soon shaken in mind, nor
troubled, neither by spirit, not by word, nor by letter, as (if it were) by
us, as that the day of the Lord is present. Let not any one deceive you in
any manner, because it will not be unless the apostasy have come first and
the man of sin have been revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and
exalts himself on high against all called God or object of worship; so that
he himself sits down in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.
Do ye not remember that, being yet with you, I said these things to you?
And now ye know that which restrains, that he should be revealed in his own
time. For the mystery of lawlessness already works; only there is He who
restrains it until He be gone, and then the lawless one shall be revealed,
whom the Lord Jesus shall consume with the breath of His mouth, and shall
annul by the brightness of His coming; whose coming is according to the
working of Satan in all power and signs and wonders of falsehood, and in
all deceit of unrighteousness to them that perish, because they have not
received the love of the truth that they might be saved. And for this
reason God sendeth them an energy of error, that they may believe the lie;
that they all might be judged who believed not the truth, but had pleasure
in unrighteousness."

     Verses 1-2. He begs them "by the coming of the Lord and our gathering
together unto Him" not to be disturbed by the rumours these false teachers
were circulating, as if the day of the Lord is present. The Authorized
Version has the misleading translation, "the day of Christ." (Equally
incorrect is the translation, "the day of the Lord is at hand." The meaning
is "present," that it had actually come. The same Greek word is also used
in Rom. 8:38, "things present.") There is an important difference between
the day of Christ and the day of the Lord. The day of Christ concerns the
Church, the saints of God. The day of the Lord concerns the earth--Israel
and the nations. The day of Christ begins when He takes His saints in glory
and they are with Him. The day of the Lord will bring, as stated before,
the visible manifestation of the Lord from heaven. The day of Christ comes
first and the day of the Lord follows at least seven years later. The
following passages speak of the day of Christ, and it will be seen that
that day is for God's people only (1 Cor. 1:8; 2 Cor. 1:14; Phil. 1:6-10,
2:16). The day of the Lord does not concern the saints at all; it falls on
the world. Before the day of the Lord can come, His saints have to be
gathered together unto Him. The promise of 1 Thess. 4:16-18 needs first to
be fulfilled. He uses this hope of being gathered to Christ, when He comes
for His saints, as a motive why they should not listen to those who said
the day of the Lord is present. He reminds them of the fact that their
gathering unto Him had not yet taken place. How, then, could the day of the
Lord be present? And this opens the way for still more important teaching.

     Verses 3-4. The false teachers were deceiving them. Before the day of
the Lord can come there must be the falling away first and the man of sin,
the son of perdition, must be revealed. No such conditions need to be
fulfilled before the Lord comes for His saints. But before the age closes
with the visible manifestation of the Lord from heaven these two solemn
things must be on the earth. A falling away from the God-given faith has
been going on throughout this Christian age. But that is not the apostasy
of which the apostle speaks. The complete apostasy means that the entire
faith will be abandoned by Christendom, even as our Lord indicated when He
said, "Nevertheless, when the Son of man cometh, shall He find the faith on
the earth?" That this present age closes in apostasy is more than once
mentioned by the Spirit of God. See 1 Tim. 4:1-3; 2 Tim. 3:1-5; 2 Peter 2;
Jude. Evidences to that effect are abundant in our own days. The
destructive Bible criticism rejecting inspiration and revelation, the
denial of the person and work of Christ and of every other article, denials
which are rapidly increasing, made the way for this final apostasy. The
many cults in which Satanic powers are manifested, under the garb of angels
of light, such as Christian Science, Spiritism, Theosophy, etc., are also
harbingers of the time of which the apostle writes. Satan is surely
actively at work to bring about this apostasy, and his ministers are
transformed as the ministers of righteousness (2 Cor. 11:15), advocating
reform, better living, but denying and antagonizing the doctrines of
Christ. We shall hear later that this final apostasy is held back from its
full manifestation by One who restraineth; only when He is taken out of the
way can this predicted apostasy and renunciation of Christianity come with
its leader, the man of sin.

     Who is the person whom Paul mentions as the man of sin? it would take
many pages to give the views and opinions of expositors as to who is meant.
The Roman Empire, the Roman Emperors, Mohammed, the Pope and the Romish
Hierarchy have been given as being the man of sin. During the French
revolution many thought it was Napoleon, as some today say the German
Emperor is the man of sin. Inasmuch as the great apostasy is not yet here,
the person whom Paul describes has also not yet come. First there must be
the apostasy before there can be the leader and head of that apostasy. And
before the revelation of Christ comes from heaven the world, which rejected
Christ, will get its Antichrist. John mentions the man of sin. "Who is the
liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is Antichrist that
denieth the Father and the Son" (1 John 2:22). It may be learned from this
description that he will be the leader of Jewish unbelief and the unbelief
of Christendom. Denying that Jesus is the Christ--that is Jewish; denying
the Father and the Son, that is rejection of the Christian revelation. He
will therefore take the leadership of Jewish and Christian apostasy. The
most common interpretation that the Pope and the Papal system is this man
of sin is incorrect, for the Pope does not deny that Jesus is the Christ,
nor does the Pope claim to be the Christ. That the Pope has certain marks
of the Antichrist about him no one can deny; but that he is the Antichrist
is not true. (Certain Roman Catholic writers have charged Protestantism
with being Babylon and anti-Christian. A so-called Protestant who denies
the Virgin birth, the deity of Christ, surely is an antichrist.)

     The final Antichrist, the man of sin, the son of perdition, is the
heading up of the apostasy. He fills up the measure of the apostasy of
humanity. He opposeth and exalteth himself against all that is called God
or object of worship. He takes the place of God on earth. He will be the
superman who is expected by the world to make his appearance in the near
future. In the book of Revelation his number is given as 666. "For it is a
man's number; and the number is six hundred and sixty-six" (Rev. 13:18).
There is no need to speculate on this number. The meaning is very simple.
Seven, in Scripture, is the complete number, used in connection with what
is divine and perfect. Six is incomplete, and is man's number. The number
666 signifies man's day and man's defiance of God under Satan's power
reaching its climax. This "superman" takes a seat in the temple of God and
sets himself forth that he is God. From this we learn that he claims a
religious character. He must therefore not be identified with the little
horn in Daniel's prophecy (Daniel 7).

     This little horn is another Satan-possessed person who takes the
leadership politically of the coming federation of nations, the revived
Roman Empire. He is "the prince that shall come" of Daniel 9:26. The beast
out of the sea in Rev. 13:1-10 is the revived Roman Empire; the ten horns
on that beastly empire correspond to the ten horns on Nebuchadnezzar's
prophetic dream image and the ten horns on the fourth beast of Daniel's
vision. The little horn, the domineering head of the revived Roman Empire,
comes first into prominence and is soon followed by the second beast out of
the earth, having two horns like a lamb, but speaking as a dragon. Rev.
13:11-18 describes this second beast and the work he does, in which he is
helped by the first beast. This second beast is the man of sin, the son of
perdition. Read now Daniel 11:36-39, This is another description of the
same person. He is called a king because, as the false Christ, he will
claim kingship among the Jews. He is also called in Revelation "the false
prophet." He is the one of whom our Lord spoke in John 5:43, "I am come in
My Father's name and ye received Me not; if another shall come in his own
name, him ye will receive."

     But what is the meaning of "he sitteth in the temple of God, setting
himself forth that he is God?" The temple of God does not mean the Church.
It is a Jewish temple. When the true Church is gone the Jewish people,
restored once more to their own land, established there as a nation, though
still in unbelief, will erect another temple and institute once more the
temple worship. (See Isaiah 66:1-4). God will despise their worship. The
man of sin will sit in that temple, demanding worship for the image he will
set up for himself. This will be during the time of Jacob's trouble, the
great tribulation. The man of sin, the Antichrist, will be undoubtedly a
Jew. He will be filled with the energy and power of Satan. The nearness of
the reestablishment of the Jewish people in Palestine in unbelief is an
indication that all these prophecies are about to be fulfilled.

     (For a closer study of the interesting details of the tribulation we
refer our readers to "Exposition of Matthew," "Daniel," and "Exposition of
Revelation," all by the author of The Annotated Bible.)

     Verses 5-8. When the apostle was with them he had spoken to them about
those things. "The mystery of lawlessness (not iniquity) already worketh,"
he informed the Thessalonians. Sin is lawlessness, and that has been at
work from the beginning, man having forsaken God and exalted himself in
self will. This works on till it works out into open lawlessness in an
out-and-out opposition to God and His Son, culminating in the man of sin,
the false Christ, "to give the world its long-sought liberty from divine
restraint and bring its vaunted progress to perfection, which under
Christianity it has found impossible to attain." The mystery of lawlessness
will cease to be a mystery when the lawless one, the man of sin, is
manifested. But what keeps back the manifestation of this lawless one? Who
or what is it that restrains it? Who is to be taken out of the way before
the lawless one can be revealed? Many answers have been given to this
question which we do not need to investigate. It is self evident that that
which restraineth must be a power superior to man and Satan and of a nature
totally different to the man of sin. The restraining one is a power and a
person. It is the Holy Spirit of God.

     "The Holy Ghost was here below; the Church, be its condition what it
might, was still on earth, and God maintained the barrier. And as the
porter had opened the door to Jesus in spite of all obstacles, so He
sustains everything, however great the energy and progress of evil. The
evil is bridled: God is the source of authority on earth. There is one who
hinders until he be taken out of the way. Now, when the Church (the Church,
that is, as composed of the true members of Christ) is gone, and
consequently the Holy Ghost as the Comforter is no longer dwelling here
below, then the apostasy takes place, the time to remove the hindrance is
come, the evil is unbridled, and at length (without saying how much time it
will take) the evil assumes a definite shape in him who is its head. The
beast comes up from the abyss. Satan-not God-gives him his authority; and
in the second beast all the energy of Satan is present. The man of sin is
there" (Synopsis of the Bible).

     When the Church leaves the earth then this restraining power and
person, who dwells in the Church and therefore is here on earth, will be
taken out of the way. As the result, in due time, the lawless one will be
revealed. The Holy Spirit, who came down from heaven on the day of
Pentecost to form the Church, the body of Christ, will be withdrawn when
that body is complete and taken to glory to be joined to the Head, the Lord
Jesus Christ. The light being gone, gross darkness will settle upon the
nations, the apostasy will be here, the enemy comes in like a flood and the
lawless one appears. Here we have the best evidence that the true Church
cannot be on the earth during the final years with which this age closes.
No true believer will be in the final apostasy under the lawless one, nor
will the Church pass through the great tribulation. How this should fill
our hearts with holy joy and our lips with praises!

     Before he speaks of the lawless one with his lying wonders, he tells
us at once of his fate. The Lord Jesus, in His visible manifestation, will
consume him with the breath of his mouth and annul him with the brightness
of His coming (Isaiah 11:1-5 and Rev. 19:11-21).

     Verses 9-12. This lawless one, the Antichrist, will come in the energy
of Satan with all power and signs and wonders of falsehood and in all
deceit of unrighteousness to them that perish, because they have not
received the love of the truth that they might be saved. And for this
reason God sendeth them an energy of error, that they may believe the lie,
that they all might be judged who believed not the truth, but had Pleasure
in unrighteousness. This shows us what is coming upon the so-called
"Christian nations," with their boast of progress and civilization. This is
the future of the destructive critics, the Bible-rejecting,
gospel-neglecting masses of Christendom, as well as of apostate Judaism.

     "Scientific infidelity now avouches with a sneer that we never see a
miracle, and Hume's argument against all evidence in favor of such is its
contradiction of universal experience. But it is soon to be matter of
extensive experience that miracles there are; only in a very opposite
interest to that of Christianity. These things are even now showing
themselves in a more or less tentative and doubtful way; they are yet to
throw off all reserve and challenge the faith of the world. 'Powers and
signs and wonders' are the threefold designation of miracles in Scripture:
'wonders,' which excite attention and admiration; 'signs,' or things that
have meaning and doctrine; 'powers,' that are evidently beyond human. These
have borne witness in past time to the truth--never proved it, apart from
the truth itself with which they were connected; and this is the mistake of
so many at all times that a real miracle--something that could be rightly
spoken of as all these--is an absolute guarantee of the message that it
brings. Thus they are ready at any time to follow what is thus supported.
Yet, if there are heavenly beings--'angels that excel in strength'--it is
evident that, if permitted, and if evil enough to attempt it, they could at
any time lead us thus according to their mind. Now that is the very thing
which God has declared He will permit, when the time shall have arrived.
When men have shown that they desire the truth no longer and the patient,
long-suffering God has at last no justification further, that will have
come to pass for the professing Christian world which we recognize as
coming to pass in the history of individuals: God will say again, 'Ephraim
is joined to his idols; let him alone.' And then will rise up one 'whose
coming is according to the energy of Satan, with all power and signs and
wonders of falsehood'--no longer in the interest of truth, but of a
lie--and in all deceit of unrighteousness for those that perish; because
they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

     "Dangerous would it be, as well as foolish, to assert that this is of
the past, and not the future; that it has been fulfilled in Romanism, or in
any like way. Has the power of Rome, whatever its pretension to fabulous
miracle may be, exhibited itself after this fashion? No doubt, there is a
class at all times ready to be duped in this way, as we see in the rapid
progress of such transparent absurdities, as, for instance, 'Christian
Science'; but in all this there is only the feeble anticipation of a
delusion which will yet carry away the multitudes of unbelieving
profession. The arch deceiver is not in the Vatican, nor elsewhere at the
present time; he is to be revealed in his time. And yet we may indeed
discern the foreshadows of this tremendous iniquity and realize that his
way is being prepared in many events and movements that are taking place
under our eyes" (Numerical Bible).

     Then the rejectors of the truth will receive their judgment. No one
can even imagine what will be the fate of the millions who received not the
love of the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. Horrible as the
events are today, that coming time of Antichrist, the time when the lawless
one reigns, energized by Satan, will be far worse. As it has been said,
"Sin will be allowed to be its own terrible witness against itself, a
witness at which eternity will shudder."


                            CHAPTERS 2:13-3:18

     1. Thanksgiving and prayer (2:13-17)
     2. Prayer for the Word and for deliverance (3:1-5)
     3. Exhortations (3:6-15)
     4. Conclusions (3:16-18)

     Verses 13-17. What blessed reasons are stated here to give thanks to
God for what He has done for us and for all who believe! Brethren, beloved
of the Lord, this is what believers are. Chosen we are to salvation through
sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth. And glory is before
all who have believed "the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus
Christ." And that glory may burst upon us at any time. For this God's
people wait. Therefore we are "to stand fast and hold fast." The word
"traditions" means the instructions they had received from the apostle;
that is, the truth of God. To stand fast and to hold fast the truth are the
two necessary things for God's people. He also prays for them that their
hearts might be comforted and that they might be established in every good
word and work.

     Chapter 3:1-5. As in other Epistles, so here the apostle requests
prayer for himself, "that the Word of the Lord may run and be glorified."
His great ambition was to spread the gospel and the Word of God everywhere.
When sinners are saved by grace, are added as members to the body of Christ
and walk in the Spirit, then the Word is glorified. Enemies were on all
sides then, as they are now, obstructing and hindering the word, "for faith
is not the portion of all." He counted on the faithfulness of God to
establish and keep them. It is a comfort for His people to know that their
keeping rests in His hands. If God be for us, who can be against us? "And
the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the patience of
Christ." Christ, in infinite patience, waits in heaven, and His people on
earth wait for Him and with Him until the appointed time comes when His
waiting and their waiting ends.

     Verses 6-15. Exhortations follow. It seems there was considerable
disorder among them. "For we hear that there are some which walk among you
disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies." This was no doubt the
result of their unsettled condition brought about by the false teachers. He
therefore exhorts them to withdraw from any brother who does not hearken to
the instructions he has given and who continued in a disorderly walk. Once
more he cites his own exemplary life among them (1 Thess. 2:9-10). "For we
behaved not ourselves disorderly among you; neither did we eat any man's
bread for nought (as charity); but wrought with labor and travail night and
day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you. Not because we have not
authority, but that we might give you an example to imitate us." He exhorts
such who were disorderly, doing nothing but living in idleness, that with
quietness they should work and no longer live from the labors of others,
but eat their own bread. If there is refusal from the side of such, no
obedience to this rule, he is to be noted and no company kept with him. Yet
he is not to be treated as an enemy, but to be admonished as a brother. How
well it would be if this course would always be followed.

     Verses 16-18. "And the Lord of peace Himself give you peace
continually in every way." This is the final prayer in these two Epistles.
It must be noticed how prominent prayer is in both of these Epistles. And
the Lord, who is with His people, will give peace continually in every way,
if they walk in obedience, subject to Himself.

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