This epistle seems to have been written soon after the former, chiefly on occasion of some things therein which had been misunderstood. Herein he, Congratulates their constancy in the faith, and exhorts them to advance daily in grace and wisdom. Reforms their mistake concerning the coming of our Lord And, Recommends several Christian duties.
The parts of it are five:
I. The inscription,................................ C. i. 1, 2
II. Thanksgiving and prayer for them,.................... 3-12
III. The doctrine concerning the man of sin,...... C. ii. 1-12 Whence he comforts them against this trial,........ 13,14 Adding exhortation and prayer,..................... 15-17
IV. An exhortation to prayer, with a prayer for.. C. iii. 1-5 them, to correct the disorderly,............... 6-16
V. The conclusion,.................................... 17,18
It is highly observable, that the apostle wraps up his praise of men in praise to God; giving him the glory. Your faith groweth - Probably he had heard from them since his sending the former letter. Aboundeth - Like water that overflows its banks, and yet increaseth still.
Which ye endure - "That ye may be accounted worthy of the kingdom."
A manifest token - This is treated of in the sixth 2Th 1:6 and following verses.
It is a righteous thing with God - (However men may judge) to transfer the pressure from you to them. And it is remarkable that about this time, at the passover, the Jews raising a tumult, a great number (some say thirty thousand) of them were slain. St. Paul seems to allude to this beginning of sorrows, 1Th 2:16, which did not end but with their destruction.
Taking vengeance - Does God barely permit this, or (as "the Lord" once "rained brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven," Gen 19:24) does a fiery stream go forth from him for ever Who know not God - (The root of all wickedness and misery) who remain in heathen ignorance. And who obey not - This refers chiefly to the Jews, who had heard the gospel.
From the glory of his power - Tremble, ye stout - hearted. Everlasting destruction - As there can be no end of their sins, (the same enmity against God continuing,) so neither of their punishment; sin and its punishment running parallel throughout eternity itself. They must of necessity, therefore, be cut off from all good, and all possibility of it. From the presence of the Lord - Wherein chiefly consists the salvation of the righteous. What unspeakable punishment is implied even in falling short of this, supposing that nothing more were implied in his taking vengeance!
To be glorified in his saints - For the wonderful glory of Christ shall shine in them.
All the good pleasure of his goodness - Which is no less than perfect holiness.
That the name - The love and power of our Lord may be glorified - Gloriously displayed in you.
Our gathering together to him - In the clouds.
Be not shaken in mind - In judgment. Or terrified - As those easily are who are immoderately fond of knowing future things. Neither by any pretended revelation from the Spirit, nor by pretence of any word spoken by me.
Unless the falling away - From the pure faith of the gospel, come first. This began even in the apostolic age. But the man of sin, the son of perdition - Eminently so called, is not come yet. However, in many respects, the Pope has an indisputable claim to those titles. He is, in an emphatical sense, the man of sin, as he increases all manner of sin above measure. And he is, too, properly styled, the son of perdition, as he has caused the death of numberless multitudes, both of his opposers and followers, destroyed innumerable souls, and will himself perish everlastingly. He it is that opposeth himself to the emperor, once his rightful sovereign; and that exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped - Commanding angels, and putting kings under his feet, both of whom are called gods in scripture; claiming the highest power, the highest honour; suffering himself, not once only, to be styled God or vice - god. Indeed no less is implied in his ordinary title, "Most Holy Lord," or, "Most Holy Father." So that he sitteth - Enthroned. In the temple of God - Mentioned Rev 11:1. Declaring himself that he is God - Claiming the prerogatives which belong to God alone.
And now ye know - By what I told you when I was with you. That which restraineth - The power of the Roman emperors. When this is taken away, the wicked one will be revealed. In his time - His appointed season, and not before.
He will surely be revealed; for the mystery - The deep, secret power of iniquity, just opposite to the power of godliness, already worketh. It began with the love of honour, and the desire of power; and is completed in the entire subversion of the gospel of Christ. This mystery of iniquity is not wholly confined to the Romish church, but extends itself to others also. It seems to consist of, Human inventions added to the written word. Mere outside performances put in the room of faith and love. Other mediators besides the man Christ Jesus.
The two last branches, together with idolatry and bloodshed, are the direct consequences of the former; namely, the adding to the word of God. Already worketh - In the church. Only he that restraineth - That is, the potentate who successively has Rome in his power. The emperors, heathen or Christian; the kings, Goths or Lombards; the Carolingian or German emperors.
And then - When every prince and power that restrains is taken away. Will that wicked one - Emphatically so called, be revealed. Whom the Lord will soon consume with the spirit of his mouth - His immediate power. And destroy - With the very first appearance of his glory.
Because they received not the love of the truth - Therefore God suffered them to fall into that "strong delusion."
Therefore God shall send them - That is, judicially permit to come upon them, strong delusion.
That they all may be condemned - That is, the consequence of which will be, that they all will be condemned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness - That is, who believed not the truth, because they loved sin.
God hath from the beginning - Of your hearing the gospel. Chosen you to salvation - Taken you out of the world, and placed you in the way to glory.
To which - Faith and holiness. He hath called you by our gospel - That which we preached, accompanied with the power of his Spirit.
Hold - Without adding to, or diminishing from, the traditions which ye have been taught - The truths which I have delivered to you. Whether by word or by our epistle - He preached before he wrote. And he had written concerning this in his former epistle.
May run - Go on swiftly, without any interruption. And be glorified - Acknowledged as divine, and bring forth much fruit.
All men have not faith - And all men who have not are more or less unreasonable and wicked men.
Who will stablish you - That cleave to him by faith. And guard you from the evil one - And all his instruments.
We trust in the Lord concerning you - Thus only should we trust in any man.
Now the Lord - The Spirit, whose proper work this is. Direct - Lead you straight forward. Into the patience of Christ - Of which he set you a pattern.
That walketh disorderly - Particularly by not working. Not according to the tradition he received of us - The admonition we gave, both by word of mouth, and in our former epistle.
Neither let him eat - Do not maintain him in idleness.
Doing nothing, but being busybodies - To which idleness naturally disposes.
Work quietly - Letting the concerns of other people alone.
Have no company with him - No intimacy, no familiarity, no needless correspondence.
Admonish him as a brother - Tell him lovingly of the reason why you shun him.
The Lord of peace - Christ. Give you peace by all means - In every way and manner.