THE BOOK OF 2 THESSALONIANS
J. Deering, AncientPath.net
II. CORRECTION CONCERNING PROPHECY, 2:1-17
A. Relation of the Day of Lord to the Present, 2:1-2
1. The trouble, 2:1
1 Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him,
Paul has bolstered the Thessalonians' courage during their various persecutions and tribulations. Now, as he changes his subject, Paul gets down to the reason for his sending of this letter. The issue is doctrinal (a matter of proper teaching) and not moral (how they are living). He is now going to itemize the timing of one of the most important events of the Bible and the Lord's plans for the nation of Israel and mankind in general.
It should be noted here that there are two separate events listed in this part of the verse: (1) The Coming of Our Lord Jesus Christ and (2) Our Gathering Together to Him.
The Greek is clear that the word uper which is properly translated as "with regard" rather than "by" as it is in the KJV." The coming of our Lord Jesus Christ", the "Second Coming," is the first topic of this verse and then connected by "and" the "gathering together to Him." This indicates these two specific events are at the center of Paul's concern. Also of special note is that in this verse Paul refers to The Lord Jesus Christ as "Our Lord Jesus Christ." When Paul talked about Jesus in 1 Thess., Chapter 4:13-18, he did not personalize this term but here in 2 Thess. he does. Apparently something about the circumstances that has brought about this letter has made for the need to personalize the relationship between believers and "our" Lord. We'll look further into this difference in the next verse.
Review Study Questions:
1. Paul leads this paragraph with "Now," Why?
2. Why has Paul written this letter?
3. What two events does Paul describe?
2. The talk, 2:2a
2a that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us,
Paul speaks of a communication that has spread through the congregation that contains spurious (non-authenticated) doctrinal information. Apparently the Thessalonians were "quickly shaken" by the information contained in this communication and Paul warns them that this should not be the case. He has already taught them concerning these matters during his first visit there and they should not have become concerned by a false teaching. This teaching, apparently came through the congregation as a "rumor" for it's exact source is only hinted at (a spirit, a message, or a letter). Also, apparently, the message is reported to have come from Paul, and his companions. However, Paul's point is made that they have already been taught by him on this subject and they should have been more suspicious as to the source of this new teaching and rejected it.
While it might seem that one of our teacher's may change their minds about issues and timings, we must remember that Paul was teaching under the guidance of the Holy Spirit in the authoring of Scripture. What he taught - if later had to be changed - would make him a false prophet, a very serious charge indeed.
So it is now as well. We should always be shy of "new or strange doctrines." We have the finished word of God and thousands of years of historical interpretation that, by-and-large, is in agreement with itself. Certainly there are interpretive differences (that's why we have denominations), but the core beliefs are all shared among us. We should never be "quickly shaken from our composure or be disturbed by a spirit or message or letter."
Review Study Questions:
1. What has happened that has caused Paul to write?
2. What is special about Paul's teachings?
3. What do true believers share together?
4. Why shouldn't a strange new doctrine change the way we believe?
3. The truth, 2:2b
2b to the effect that the day of the Lord has come.
During our study of 1 Thess. we learned that the "Day of the Lord," not the "Day of Christ" as is written in some versions, is the term for the last "dispensation," or age, of the plan of God for our world before final judgment and the eternal state. It has two distinct features, one short, one long, which can also be broken down into many individual events.
The first feature is one of utter judgment and fortunately for all, it is the short event. It is called "The cleansing of Israel." Bible scholars have labeled it "The Tribulation." It is the 7 year period set aside for the persecution, judgment, and removal of unbelief in the nation of Israel and in the world.
The second feature is one of utter blessing, and again fortunately for all, it is the very long event (1,000 years). It is called by Bible scholars "The Millennium," which means, "the period of one thousand years."
These two features combine to make the bulk of "The Day of The Lord."
The rumor, or false document, that was being believed by some of the Thessalonians and causing concern by the others taught that "The Day of The Lord" had come and was the reason that the Thessalonian church, and other Asian churches, were in the midst of so much persecution.
It also must be noted that in the world today there are still those who declare that the period of tribulation has already begun and that we are in the midst of it - many of that group also teach that that we are already in the period of blessing. Those who teach these two viewpoints are generally called "a-millennialists," meaning no millennium. In order to have these beliefs they MUST deviate from the Normal-literal-historical reading of the Bible. Their theology is based upon what they think can happen, or has happened, rather than on the literal reading of the Bible. Apparently the Bible, as written, is too hard for them to believe! Also, among amillennialists there is a large following of those who do not believe in the Lord's return to the air (the Rapture) to gather His saints. They would have the Church go through the Tribulation making God's beloved "Body of Christ" suffer the effects of that great time of God's wrath.
Review Study Questions:
1. What new, and false, doctrine was introduced at Thessalonica?
2. What makes this doctrine false?
3. Why does having the church go through the Tribulation make no sense? (trick question)
 Outline: Ryrie, Charles Caldwell, First and Second Thessalonians, Everyman's Bible Commentary, Moody Press, Chicago.