Blessed Assurance

What if a church member came up to you  and shared that they were doubting their salvation or were wanting to be assured that they were saved?  Other than scripture, one tool that I would use would be to walk through what the 2nd London Baptist Confession has to say about assurance. Using this tool, I would begin and end by pointing to the gospel as the only message that has the power to save and give assurance.

Following along the format of the 2nd London Baptist Confession which you can read in full here , I would first let this person know that assurance is a real and true thing. We can have assurance of our salvation and that it is a good thing to have. Article 1 on the chapter of assurance in the Confession states: “. . .yet such as truly believe in the Lord Jesus, and love him in sincerity, endeavouring to walk in all good conscience before him, may in this life be certainly assured that they are in the state of grace, and may rejoice in the hope of the glory of God, which hope shall never make them ashamed.”
Knowing this, I would then try to probe with questions to see if the person is able to articulate the gospel. Jesus is the one that saves and therefore we must place our complete trust in what He did on the cross, in his resurrection, and what He does in us. The gospel is the foundation of assurance. There can be no assurance where the person has not experienced the life changing power of the gospel.

Secondly, I would point out that there are basically three ways that God gives us assurance. The primary way is by staying focused on the object of our faith. This once again comes back to the Gospel. We do not save ourselves; salvation is the work of God. This means that we can be assured because God has promised salvation to those who have repented and put their trust in Jesus. The second means of assurance is the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. The Bible says that “the Holy Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are the Children of God.(Romans 8:16)” The Holy Spirit does this by convicting us of sin and moving us to good works. We also have the internal witness that our faith is truly in Christ. The third means is related to the second in that the Spirit moves us to bear fruit(Galatians 5:22-23). We should examine our lives and be able to see where we have been changed by Christ. Do we desire righteousness more than sin? Are we growing in maturity and in the love of Christ for the things that Christ loves? Our works do not save us but they are the result of salvation. If we do not see these fruits than that may be cause for concern.

Thirdly, I would point out that we may at times lose not our salvation but our assurance. Grievous sin in our life can cause the Spirit of assurance to leave us. Christians will not remain in sin but we can fall into it at times. Sin can cause our hearts to lose the assurance we once had. We should repent and turn from this sin(Psalm 51:12). Sometimes, however, God may withhold assurance to cause us to seek after Him. He does not do this out of spite but out of love so as to motivate us to thirst for Him. God however will never leave us completely alone. And with much diligence and searching, God rewards us with the object of our search, Himself.
Assurance then should be sought after and cherished. Jesus must be the focus of our faith. He is the one we trust in, not a prayer that we have prayed or a walk down an aisle. We can only have assurance of salvation if we have truly repented and placed our faith in Jesus.  Then we can be assured:

Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!
Oh, what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.

Perfect submission, perfect delight,
Visions of rapture now burst on my sight;
Angels, descending, bring from above
Echoes of mercy, whispers of love.

Perfect submission, all is at rest,
I in my Savior am happy and blest,
Watching and waiting, looking above,
Filled with His goodness, lost in His love.

This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long;
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long.


No One Left Behind: The Coming of Jesus



In 1990, actor Macaulay Culkin made America fall in love with him as he played a little boy forced to grow up quickly when he was left behind accidentally by his family who had gone on a European vacation for Christmas. This movie called Home Alone became a blockbuster hit earning $533,800,000 worldwide and several awards for best comedy.1 What made this movie such a hit was that it gave a comedic twist to the fear of being left behind. The fear of being left behind or abandoned is a common theme in many movies and books. A popular book series with the title Left Behind has sold over 63 million copies according to the publisher’s website.2


The fear of being left behind is not just a modern conception. The church at Thessalonica was going through a similar fear. They had been looking forward to the promised return of Jesus to rescue them from the evil of the world and to resurrect their loved ones who had passed away. Some how the Thessalonians had received a message that Jesus had already come. The Thessalonians had been expecting a real physical return of Jesus and now they were faced with the message that Jesus’ return was spiritual and had already happened. The people there must have felt abandoned and hopeless. They were still undergoing suffering and their dead loved ones were not resurrected. If Jesus had returned then the Thessalonians were were either sorely mistaken about the nature of his return or they had been left behind. Either way, the outlook was not good.

It is into this hopeless situation that Paul wrote his second letter to the church at Thessalonica. The apostle Paul had heard about the confusion in the church there and wrote a letter to correct their misunderstanding of Christ’s return and to assure them that Jesus had not returned and that when Jesus returned the wicked would be judged and the elect would not be left behind. The first twelve verses of the second chapter of 2 Thessalonians which is the text of interest in this study explains the confusion at Thessalonica and then gives Paul’s correction to the timing of the second coming.


Historical Context

Thessalonica named after the wife of Casander, the King of Macedonia, and half-sister of Alexander the great was founded around 315 BC. Located at the head of the Gulf of Therme on the best natural harbor of the Aegean Sea, Thessalonica, modern day Salonica, was the chief port city for the whole of Macedonia. Because of its strategic position, it was the largest most important city of Macedonia in Roman times.3 The city because of its size was some what autonomous and had a Greek character. Acts 17 implies that there was a sizable Jewish community located there.

Paul in a vision of a man from Macedonia left Asia Minor and became the first known Christian missionary to preach in Europe. While this may have not seem like a major step at the time because it was just another province of the Roman Empire, this helped set the course for the


westward turn to Christianity.4 Paul was not alone and was accompanied by Silas, Timothy and Luke. They first preached with success in Philippi before being forced to leave by the rulers there. Then according to Acts 17 they made their way to Thessalonica where they preached in the Jewish synagogue on the sabbath. “The account suggests that Paul’s primary success was among the God-fears, Gentiles who attached themselves to the synagogue, participated in Jewish worship, and observe to varying degrees Jewish purity and ritual practices.”5 Eventually this success led to persecution and Paul and Silas were smuggled out of the town quickly. This may have caused Paul to leave town before he had completed discipling the new converts. At any rate, Paul was concerned for the new Christians he had left behind and sent them a letter, 1 Thessalonians.6 He sent Timothy along with this letter to check on them. Perhaps it was Timothy who discovered that the Thessalonians had started to accept a false idea about the return of Jesus. When Paul7 heard that these Christians were losing heart he sent a second letter to correct their confusion. Paul was very concerned that the Thessalonians would lose hope in their salvation and so he set out to correct their confusion about the completion of Jesus’ coming.



The Text

(1)Now we beseech you, Brothers concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him (2) so that you not be quickly shaken in your mind and not be troubled either by a spirit nor by a a word nor by a letter as from us that the day of the Lord has come. (3) Let no one deceive you in any way because. . . unless the apostasy comes first and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction (4)who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called God or object of worship so that he sits in the temple of God declaring himself that he is God.(5) Do you not remember that while I was still with you I was teaching you these things (6)And you know what restrains him now, so that he will be revealed in his time.(7) For the mystery of lawlessness now is at work, only he that now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the midst (8) and then the lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord (Jesus) will slay with the breath of his mouth and will bring to the end by the appearance of his coming (9) [the man of lawlessness] who is the one coming with the working of Satan with all power and signs and false miracles (10) and with all the deception of unrighteousnous for those who perish because they did not receive the love of truth unto their salvation (11) and for this God will send upon them a deceiving influence so that they will believe what is false (12) In order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth but took pleasure in unrighteousnous. (2 Thessalonians 2:1-12, author’s translation.)


The Interpretation


This passage has several difficulties for interpretation including the use of an ellipsis. Jon Weatherly points out that the main theological problems center around four specific questions. “(1)What is the rebellion? (2)Who is the man of lawlessness? (3)What [or who] is it that is holding him back? (4)How does all this answer the question which Paul addresses, namely whether the ‘day of the Lord’ had already come?”8 This paper will seek to answer those questions according to careful exegesis of the passage.

(2:1) Ἐρωτῶμεν δὲ ὑμᾶς, ἀδελφοί, ὑπὲρ τῆς παρουσίας τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ καὶ ἡμῶν ἐπισυναγωγῆς ἐπ’ αὐτόν, Paul begins this passage with the verb to highlight the importance of the warning he is about to give. It is not a heavy handed imperative but a pleading with “brothers” to take heed with what Paul will say next. The word Ἐρωτῶμεν denotes a respectful request, coupled with the word “brothers”, it shows a concern for the welfare of the Christians in Thessalonica. This concern is about two things9, the coming of our Lord and the gathering together of believers. These two events seem to be linked together in Paul’s mind, and thus Paul seems to be saying that they are simultaneous events. The reason Paul writes is out of a loving care for the Christians over the confusion that they were experiencing about the second coming of Jesus. It is to this confusion that Paul turns next.

(2:2)εἰς τὸ μὴ ταχέως σαλευθῆναι ὑμᾶς ἀπὸ τοῦ νοὸς μηδὲ θροεῖσθαι μήτε διὰ πνεύματος μήτε διὰ λόγου μήτε δι’ ἐπιστολῆς ὡς δι’ ἡμῶν, ὡς ὅτι ἐνέστηκεν ἡ ἡμέρα τοῦ κυρίου. Paul does not want the Christians to let their minds be shaken from the truth. The verb he uses is in the aorist and describes a complete action. This shows that Paul was concerned they would be moved from the truth. Leon Morris says, “It is a verb that is often used of a liberal shaking; motion produced by wind and wave, and especially violent motion. Its use of a ship driven from its mooring shows us the kind of thing Paul had in mind.”10 James uses similar language in his epistle to talk about those who ask without faith, “But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind.”11

Paul uses the word νοὸς ,which means “mind”, to say that he does not want the Thessalonians to be shaken in their reasoning and mind. Since the days of Immanuel Kant and Friedrich Schleiermacher, some have sought to make Christianity about feelings only. Because of perceived difficulties with science, liberal Christians have abandoned the idea that Christianity is a rationally defensible belief. It is interesting then that Paul warns the Thessalonians not to be shaken in their minds. For Paul, Christianity is not just a feeling but a real defensible fact. It is important then to have a clear understanding of what will happen in the time before Jesus’ return so that one will not be shaken and tossed along the waves of false philosophy. More on this will be said later but first Paul now turns to the occasion of the confusion.

It seems that someone has told the people at Thessalonica that Jesus had already returned. Victor Furnish points out that Paul “himself may be uncertain the way this claim has been propagated, for he seems to take account of several possibilities.”12 Paul mentions three distinct possibilities for the spreading of this false teaching.

First, the false teaching may have came by prophesy. Paul uses the word spirit here to denote that someone may have prophesied in spirit to the effect that Jesus had returned. This mention of a false spirit here is reminiscent of Paul’s warning to the Galatians, “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! (Gal 1:8).” Paul also warned the church in Corinth that they were accepting a false spirit. “For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough (2 Corinthians 11:4)”

The second way that the Thessalonians may have heard this false message is through a false report. This may have been some kind of oral report supposing to be from the apostles. The final way that Paul was concerned was that someone was spreading a false document proposing that it was from him. Because Paul was concerned that this was the case, even though he dictated his letters to a writer, he made sure to end them with his own handwriting.

ὡς δι’ ἡμῶν strictly means “as through us.” The spirit, report, or letter was supposedly from Paul but he was denying that it was. “Some scholars feel that it is only the letter that purports to come from Paul (BDF presupposes an ellipsis), but there seems to be no good reason for restricting the application of the phrase in this way.”13 Either way the idea that Jesus had returned was false.

It may be hard to believe why the Thessalonians accepted the false idea that Jesus had returned. Paul indicates in a letter to Timothy that some were simply spiritualizing the teaching of the second coming. James Grant says, “some seemed to be saying that the second coming of Jesus Christ was not going to be a literal event but a spiritual event in one’s own life, perhaps when one becomes a Christian.”14 This would very disheartening for those under persecution who expected Jesus to rescue them and to bring the dead back to life. If this was only to be a spiritual or metaphorical coming then what good or hope was there in Jesus. Some modern Christians have taught that when one gets saved they are to receive wealth and healing of all sickness. While these teachers are not saying technically that Jesus has returned, they are, however, missing the point that salvation is an event that happens the moment when someone is born again but that it will not be completed until when Jesus returns. They are in effect spiritualizing Jesus’ second coming and applying the promises made to Christian’s for that time to now.

(2:3-4)μή τις ὑμᾶς ἐξαπατήσῃ κατὰ μηδένα τρόπον: ὅτι ἐὰν μὴ ἔλθῃ ἡ ἀποστασία πρῶτον καὶ ἀποκαλυφθῇ ὁ ἄνθρωπος τῆς ἀνομίας, ὁ υἱὸς τῆς ἀπωλείας,ὁ ἀντικείμενος καὶ ὑπεραιρόμενος ἐπὶ πάντα λεγόμενον θεὸν ἢ σέβασμα, ὥστε αὐτὸν εἰς τὸν ναὸν τοῦ θεοῦ καθίσαι, ἀποδεικνύντα ἑαυτὸν ὅτι ἔστιν θεός. Paul says let no one deceive you about the second coming of Jesus. Paul is emphatic here that the Thessalonians are not to let anyone in any way deceive them. He wants to reassure them that they have not been abandoned and the coming of Jesus is real and powerful. There have been many people through out history who have pointed to a certain date and claimed that Jesus will return on that day. However, Jesus himself taught that no one except God the father knows that day but that it will come quickly. Paul has said before in his first letter to the Thessalonians that it would come like a thief in the night.

Some have used those passages that deal with a quick return to come up with a theory called the Rapture. They teach Jesus will return silently to gather up his Church and then leave the wicked behind to fall prey to the antichrist. This is the subject of the Left Behind books mentioned in the introduction. This passage though does not teach that Christian’s will be called up at a separate time from Jesus’ triumphal return. Instead it teaches that two events must happen before that return.

Some have wondered how this teaching that two events must occur before Jesus returns harmonizes with the passages that teach a quick sudden return for Jesus. This passage does not discount however the suddenness of Christ’s return. Instead it points to signs that Christ’s return is imminent.

Paul points to two events that must happen before Christ’s return. The first event is a rebellion or apostasy. James Grant explains:

Though the word apostasia can refer to a political or a religious crisis, the latter in the only use in the Greek Old Testament and the New Testament and that is its meaning here. Such a meaning is apparent because of the immediate context of false teaching and the clear allusions to Daniels’ prediction of an end-time opponent who will bring about a large-scale compromise of faith. . . .15


The apostasy is a rebellion against God. Some commentators have explained it only within the community of faith, while others have seen it as a worldwide apostasy. Either way Paul does not explain here because he has already told the Thessalonians much of this when he was with them.

The second event and closely related to the first is the revelation of the man of lawlessness. Some translations have called him the man of sin but this seems to be a copiest error in writing the word anomias. This genitive describes the man. He is defined by lawlessness. This is not just a lack of law but rebellion against the law and ultimately the law giver, God. There have been many attempts through out the ages to point to a historical figure for this lawless man. The early church often pointed to the emperors of Rome, while the reformers saw him in the Pope. Paul does not give into speculation here but instead makes it clear that the lawless man will be revealed and Christians will have no problem identifying him when that happens.

In describing the man of lawlessness, Paul uses a Hebraic mode of expression, “the son of perdition or destruction.” A.T. Robertson calls this a genitive of quality used to describe the quality of the person.16 The man is a destructive man causing destruction and eventually being destroyed. Moulton, Howard and Turner call it a Hebraic genitive, which is when a genitive is used with uios or teknon in a metaphorical sense.17 Judas is the only other person called the ‘son of perdition’ in the Bible. It is fitting then that this title for the antichrist would be used for someone who betrayed Christ and whom the Bible says was possessed by Satan.

Grammatically interesting in this verse is that Paul uses a future conditional clause without giving the apodosis or independent clause. Wanamaker says “the construction is first interrupted by the description of the person of rebellion, which begins in the last phrase of v. 3 and continues through verse 4, and is finally lost sight of because of the parenthetical remark in v. 5.”18 It is like Paul is so concerned and excited to stomp out the false ideas in Thessalonians that he keeps interrupting himself to provide asides or parenthetical remarks. This passage in particular goes against the idea that the letter is a painstaking work of a later writer trying to emulate Paul. Paul does not include a independent clause here because he does not need to, it is understood that he is talking about the coming of Christ and that it has not occurred yet because the man of lawlessness has not been revealed yet. It is not until that coming of the man of lawlessness that Jesus will return.

This man of lawlessness or the antichrist as described in the Apostle John’s letters will set himself up against everything that is called God and every object of worship. John Calvin here differs from many other commentators. He sees here a scribal error. “Where I have rendered–everything that is called God, the reading more generally received among the Greeks is, every one that is called. It may, however, be conjectured, both from the old translation and from some Greek commentaries, that Paul’s words have been corrupted. The mistake, too, of a single letter was readily fallen into, especially when the shape of the letter was much similar; for, where there was written panto, (everything,) some transcriber, or too daring reader, turned it into panta (every one.)”19 This causes him to render the passage to say that the man of lawlessness sets himself up against everything of God instead of every so called god. While this is an interesting theory by Calvin it is not held by many other theologians and even Calvin himself sees that it is not necessary. The point of the passage is that the man of lawlessness will set himself up to be the object of worship. The man of lawlessness will claim all of the glory due God. He will set himself up in the temple of God as God. There is much debate over the meaning of sitting in the temple. Some have claimed that a rebuilt temple in Israel will be the site of this act. Others claim this to be a mere metaphorical act. Either way the antichrist will declare himself over God and demand the worship of everyone.

(2:5) Οὐ μνημονεύετε ὅτι ἔτι ὢν πρὸς ὑμᾶς ταῦτα ἔλεγον ὑμῖν; Paul asks the Thessalonians to remember what he had taught them. It is important to work to learn and remember the things that one learns from God. In the Old Testament, God set up many festivals to help the Israelites remember the victories of God, yet time and again they forgot and turned to idols. Meditating and memorizing scripture will help defend off false doctrines and beliefs.

(2:6-7) καὶ νῦν τὸ κατέχον οἴδατε, εἰς τὸ ἀποκαλυφθῆναι αὐτὸν ἐν τῷ ἑαυτοῦ καιρῷ. τὸ γὰρ μυστήριον ἤδη ἐνεργεῖται τῆς ἀνομίας: μόνον ὁ κατέχων ἄρτι ἕως ἐκ μέσου γένηται. This passage also introduces another difficulty. Paul says that the Thessalonians knew what was restraining the antichrist from being revealed. He then later changes it from what to whom is restraining him. The commentaries are all over the place in trying to describe this restraining element. Early commentators attributed this to the Roman Empire while others like Wanamaker interpret To Katechon as not something that restrains but as something that possesses. In this case Wanamaker attempts to show that “the two participles as referring to a power or principle and an an individual hostile to God, offers the best solution.”20 This option which can make since grammatically seems to place the timing then of Jesus’ return until what ever hostile force is ready to reveal the antichrist.

The major mistake that most commentators take is that they attempt take the neuter article of the word to make it to mean an object. MHT however says that the neuter gender may refer to a person provided the emphasis is not on the individual but on some outstanding general quality about the person.21 This means that the thing that restrains or holds back is also the one who restrains and holds back. It becomes fairly obvious from context and other biblical passages that the one who holds back the revealing of the antichrist and who holds the timing of Jesus’ coming is God. Some have said that if this is referring to God or the Holy Spirit then how could Paul talk about the restrainer be taken out of the midst. This however does not mean that Holy Spirit leaves the Christians or that God leaves the world but instead that He removes his restraining power holding back the lawless one from rushing forward into full rebellion.

Jonathan Edwards talks of God’s restraining power in another way in Edward’s famous sermon Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.

That world of misery, that lake of burning brimstone is extended abroad under you. There is the dreadful pit of the glowing flames of the wrath of God ; there is hell’s wide gaping mouth open; and you have nothing to stand upon , nor anything to take hold of, there is nothing between you and Hell but the air; tis only the power and pleasure of God that holds you up. . . There are the black clouds of God’s wrath now hanging directly over your heads, full of the dreadful storm , and big with thunder; and were it not for the restraining hand of God it would immediately burst forth upon you. The sovereign pleasure of God for the pleasant, stays his rough wind; otherwise it would come with fury, and your destruction would come like a whirlwind, and you would be like the chaff of the summer threshing floor. (emphasis added)22


The power restraining sinners from being immediately thrown into hell will not keep restraining forever. This is the same restraining power that holds back the lawless one from his coming. It is God’s mercy that holds the end from coming because when the lawless one is revealed and Jesus comes there will be many who will not be happy on that day. This is ultimately the message that Paul is saying. While Christ’s return means joy for those who love him, it means destruction and judgment for those who do not have the love of truth.

While God is holding back the end from happening and holding back the lawless one, what Paul calls the mystery of lawlessness is at work. Evil is at work in the world and will continue to work all the way up the coming of Jesus. This was the reason for the suffering that the Thessalonian Christians were going through and is the reason that suffering still continues. The mystery of lawlessness began in the garden of Eden when Adam and Eve sinned and goes on till this day. Jesus predicted that as the time would near for his return this evil would continue to a high pitched fever until the antichrist has finally come and been revealed.

(2:8) καὶ τότε ἀποκαλυφθήσεται ὁ ἄνομος, ὃν ὁ κύριος [Ἰησοῦς] ἀνελεῖ τῷ πνεύματι τοῦ στόματος αὐτοῦ καὶ καταργήσει τῇ ἐπιφανείᾳ τῆς παρουσίας αὐτοῦ, Now that Paul has corrected the misunderstanding that Jesus had come, he sets forth the picture of the completion of that coming. Jesus had not come yet because the man of lawlessness had not been revealed but will be coming. That time comes with good news for Christians and bad for news for the lawless. The bad news begins with the coming of the antichrist but in this verse Paul can barely contain himself. Just as the lawless one is revealed, Jesus will come back and slay the antichrist with the pneumati of his mouth. This word means spirit or breath. The same breath that brought life into Adam also will bring destruction to Satan and his evil. God created with just his word and will destroy with his word. Satan is no match for Christ’s power. This is amazingly good news for Christians who look forward to that day when Christ returns and when they are called to assemble with Him. For those though who do not love Christ is a grim picture.

(2:9-10) οὗ ἐστιν ἡ παρουσία κατ’ ἐνέργειαν τοῦ Σατανᾶ ἐν πάσῃ δυνάμει καὶ σημείοις καὶ τέρασιν ψεύδους καὶ ἐν πάσῃ ἀπάτῃ ἀδικίας τοῖς ἀπολλυμένοις, ἀνθ’ ὧν τὴν ἀγάπην τῆς ἀληθείας οὐκ ἐδέξαντο εἰς τὸ σωθῆναι αὐτούς. Paul returns to describe the Anti-Christ. Paul uses the same word παρουσίαto describe the coming of the son of destruction. Plummer notes that this is to emphasize the parallel with Christ’s coming.23 The Antichrist will come not in his own power but will be with the activity of Satan. The word for activity here is the root word Energeia where English gets its word “energy”. It usually refers to God’s power but here refers to Satan’s power which he will use to perform false miracles and wonders. This will be to deceive people into believing the lie that the Antichrist is to be worshiped. The Apostle John wrote that there will be many people who will worship the Antichrist saying “Who is like the beast, and is able to wage war with him?” (Rev 13:4) He will mislead, deceive, and lie to the everyone with all deception and wickedness.24

Those that will be deceived are those who will perish. The ones who will perish and be deceived are those who did not have the love of truth and thus did not receive salvation. Paul uses an objective genitive here to talk about those who love the truth. In John 8:31&32, Jesus says that those who abide in his word, know the truth. Jesus also said that he is the truth. It is only those who love Jesus then who will not be deceived and will not perish.

(2:11-12) καὶ διὰ τοῦτο πέμπει αὐτοῖς ὁ θεὸς ἐνέργειαν πλάνης εἰς τὸ πιστεῦσαι αὐτοὺς τῷ ψεύδει, ἵνα κριθῶσιν πάντες οἱ μὴ πιστεύσαντες τῇ ἀληθείᾳ ἀλλὰ εὐδοκήσαντες τῇ ἀδικίᾳ.These final two verses here in this passage show again that ultimately in control and in all power is God. While it is the anti-Christ and Satan who come to deceive it is only by the divine decree of God that they are able to do that. Echoing his letter to Romans, Paul here explains that God will punish those who hate the truth by sending them what they want a deceiving spirit to deceive them and lead them into judgment. In Romans 1, Paul says that people have exchanged the truth for a lie and have chosen to worship the creation instead of the creator. God then gives them over to what they really want. His punishment is to let people have the evil that they desire. In this passage, since those who love unrighteousnous hate the truth, God will give them what they want, a lie. The coming of the lawlessness one in deception is part of the judgment upon sinners. God will cause those who don’t love the truth to believe a lie and to rush head long into destruction.

The coming of Jesus is for Christians a thing to be looked forward to with anticipation of deliverance and salvation. Christians have no need to worry that they will be decieved by the antichrist because Christians love the truth. The message that Paul had for the Thessalonians was that Jesus is coming in a real and tangible way and that he will not leave any believer behind.

The Thessalonians had allowed themselves to begin to accept a lie about Jesus’ coming. Their hope was faltering and God did not allow it to fade. God through Paul made it clear to the Thessalonians that Jesus had not come back yet and that the hope of their salvation will come. Paul wrote to clear up the confusion and to show that God will complete his promises. Paul’s message still rings loud today. Jesus’ return is a sure thing. As evil seems to gain ground in the world, Christians need to look to the heavens and be prepared. Christians need to cling to the truth with their mind and spirit. For those who are not Christians, they need to accept the truth of Jesus Christ. They need to confess their sins to him and make him Lord of their life. The day of the Lord is coming and it will be terrible for those who do not love the truth.

1 “Home Alone (1990) Imdb,”, (accessed November 29, 2012).

2 “Left Behind,” Left, (accessed November 29, 2012).


3 Charles A. Wanamaker, The Epistles to the Thessalonians: a Commentary On the Greek Text (Grand Rapids, Mich.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1990), 3.

4 Leon Morris, The First and Second Epistles to the Thessalonians, Revised ed. (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Pub Co, 2009), 1.

5 Wanamaker, 6

6 Wannamaker and some scholars have postulated that the second epistle of Thessalonians

was written first and that it was this letter that was sent with Timothy. While it is an interesting

theory, the external evidence seems to be against it.

7 There is some debate that Paul was the author of 2 Thessalonians. Alfred Plummer says, “One of the objections brought against the Epistle is that it is too Pauline and looks like the laboured production of an imitator.” Alfred Plummer, A Commentary On St. Paul’s Second Epistle to the Thessalonians (London: Wipf & Stock Publishers, 2001), viii-ix Plummer also points out that this is a recent attack and that the external evidence for Paul’s authorship begins early and is cited often. As will be revealed in the exegesis portion of the paper, the idea that the letter is a laboured production will fall apart.

8 Jon A. Weatherly, 1 & 2 Thessalonians (Joplin, MO: College Press Publishing Company, Inc., 1996), 233.

9 Wallace points out that some theologians have been a little too quick to point to the sharp rule to make the passage refer to one event instead of two. “Since the TSKS construction involves impersonal substantives, the highest degree of doubt is cast upon the probability of the terms referring to the same event. This is especially the case since the terms look to concrete temporal referents (the parousia and the gathering of the saints), for the identical category is unattested for concrete impersonals in the NT.” This does not mean that the text is not pointing to two simultaneous events but that the words do not have an identical referent Daniel B. Wallace,. Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics: An Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament with Scripture, Subject, and Greek Word Indexes (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1996),290

10 Leon Morris, The First and Second Epistles to the Thessalonians, Revised ed. (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Pub Co, 2009), 214.

11 James 1:6

12 Victor Paul Furnish, Abingdon New Testament Commentary – 1 & 2 Thessalonians (Abingdon New Testament Commentaries) (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2007), 154.

13 Morris, 215

14 James H. Grant Jr., 1 & 2 Thessalonians: the Hope of Salvation (preaching the Word) (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2011), 173.

15 Grant, 174

16 A. T. Robertson, A Grammar of the Greek New Testament in the Light of Historical Research. (Nashville: Broadman, 1934), 497

17 James Hope Moulton, Wilbert Francis Howard, and Nigel Turner. A Grammar of New Testament Greek, 4 vol. (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1906-76), 23 Paul uses these Hebraic Genitives also in 1 Thess 5:5

18 Wanamaker, 243

19 John Calvin, “2 Thessalonians 2: 1-4,”, (accessed November 29, 2012).


20 Wanamaker, 252

21 MHT, 21 & 151

22 Jonathan Edwards and others, Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God and Other Puritan Sermons, Dover ed. (New York: Dover Publications, 2005), 176-177.


23 Plummer, 65

24 John MacArthur, 1 & 2 Thessalonians (Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2002), 27.

Our Desires

Psalm 145: 16 You open your hand;
you satisfy the desire of every living thing.

          What are the desires of my heart? In Psalm 145 verse 16 it says that God opens His hand and satisfies the desires of every living thing. We all have desires. Desires are more than just wants. Wants come and go. Sometimes I want to eat a Reese Peanut Butter cup. Sometimes I want to read a certain book or go see a certain movie. To want something is more shallow in feeling but to desire something is deep. To desire is a much deeper feeling, almost a feeling that can’t truly be expressed in words. Desire influences want. Our choices are based on our strongest desire at the moment of the decision. So what does the Bible mean when it says God satisfies the desires of every living thing. Does this mean that God is like a wishing well or a magic genie ready to fulfill your ever command? No. Instead it means that God in the end will give us what we most desire. While this might sound like a great thing it can also be a very tragic and unfortunate thing. The bible teaches that our natural desire is for evil. In proverbs 21:10 it says that the soul of the wicked desires evil. Proverbs 13:2 says the desire of the treacherous is for violence. God is good in that He gives us our desires but our desires are ultimately for evil. People always ask how a loving God could send anyone to Hell and the answer is that God is only giving people what they ultimately desire namely evil. In Romans 1:25 it talks about God giving people over to their evil desires, “Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.” The good news that I am grateful is that God can change our desires. God can give a new heart and make us a new creation with Godly desires. Psalms 37:4 says “Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” It is only by God’s grace that I can have new desires. God is good because He fulfills our desires whether they be for life or destruction. God is great because He made a way through Jesus to give me a desire for God. I desire to spend my life knowing God and becoming more like Him. It is a joy to know that God who gave me that desire will fulfill it.