Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on 2 Thessalonians 1:11-2:2
Posted by Dim Bulb on October 30, 2013
In order to help provide context this post opens with the bishop’s brief analysis of 2 Thessalonians chapters 1 and 2. His notes on 1:11-2:2 follow. Purple text indicates the bishop’s paraphrasing of the scripture he is commenting on.
ANALYSIS OF 2 THESSALONIANS CHAPTER ONE
In this chapter, the Apostle, after the usual Apostolic salutation, returns thanks to God for the exalted virtues of faith and charity which his grace enabled the Thessalonians to display in the midst of sufferings and persecution (1–5). He consoles them, in the next place, by pointing to the rich rewards in store for them—to attain which, however, suffering is necessary—and to the heavy anger reserved, as is meet, for their persecutors, on the day of judgment, when Christ will come in majesty to judge the world (5–8). He describes the coming of the Judge for the twofold purpose of punishing his enemies, and rewarding his faithful servants, in whose exaltation, after suffering persecutions and humiliations, he shall be glorified, and his power and goodness rendered conspicuous—(8–10). Lastly, he prays God to grant the Thessalonians perseverance, and the grace to perform good works worthy of their vocation.
ANALYSIS OF 2 THESSALONIANS CHAPTER TWO
It appears, that certain expressions employed by the Apostle in chapters 4, 5, of the preceding Epistle, as implying the near approach of the day of judgment, produced feelings of terror and alarm in the minds of the Thessalonians. They, in consequence, became indifferent about their temporal concerns and their duties to society. This state of feeling had been artfully employed by the false teachers, to confirm them in these erroneous impressions; these also alleged certain expressions and epistles as emanating from the Apostle, to the same effect. To remedy this state of things, the Apostle beseeches them to be no way affrighted, and to pay no attention to any assertion or epistle purporting to emanate from himself, on this subject (1, 2).
In the next place, he gives two precursory signs, that are to usher in the day of judgment viz., a general apostacy, and the coming of Antichrist (3). He describes the sacrilegious impiety and wicked morals of Antichrist, and reminds the Thessalonians of his oral instructions on the subject, when amongst them, and also of the cause which, he told them, was to retard the public appearance of this impious man, who, at present, works clandestinely and privately by means of his wicked precursors, until the obstacle to his public appearance is removed (4–8). But when this obstacle, whatever it be, is removed, then, this wicked impostor will appear, performing wonders and prodigies, and leading into error those who, in punishment of their resistance to God’s light, will be delivered over by him to the spirit of error (9–11).
He calms any apprehension which the character given of Antichrist might be apt to beget in the minds of the Thessalonians, by assuring them, that there is room for dread on the part of the incredulous, but none whatever as regards those, who are the first fruits of the faithful, or of God’s elect (12, 13). He exhorts them to persevere and firmly hold to the traditions which they have learned (14). He, finally, wishes them perseverance in grace and good works (15, 16).
2Th 1:11 Wherefore also we pray always for you: That our God would make you worthy of his vocation and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness and the work of faith in power:
Wherefore, we always pray for you, that our God may render you worthy of his call (to this glory) by giving you perseverance to the end of your life, and so may fulfil the benevolent designs of his will (in electing you), and perfect by his all-powerful grace the work of your faith (by consummating it in glory).
“Wherefore,” i.e., in order that you may arrive at this exalted glory. We pray him so to perfect in you the work of faith, &c. “Of his vocation.” In Greek, of the vocation, referred to.
2Th 1:12 That the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and of the Lord Jesus Christ.
And that our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and you may in turn be glorified, and this owing to the gratuitous goodness of our God, and the merits of the Lord Jesus Christ.
“Jesus Christ may be glorified in you.” The final end of his prayer is, that Christ would be glorified in them; and the secondary end is, that they would be glorified in Christ, as the glory and dignity of the master tends to render the servant exalted and glorious.
“According to the grace of our God,” &c., lest they might attribute anything to themselves, the Apostle refers all the praise of these blessings and favours to the gratuitous bounty of God.
2Th 2:1 And we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and of our gathering together unto him:
We earnestly beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ (which you dread so much), and by our gathering together unto him;
“And of our gathering together,” &c.—(See First Epistle. 4:17). “We shall be taken up into the clouds to meet Christ.” To this, reference is made in the present verse.
2Th 2:2 That you be not easily moved from your sense nor be terrified, neither by spirit nor by word nor by epistle. as sent from us, as if the day of the Lord were at hand.
Not to be easily moved from the settled faith and persuasion of your mind (and among other points, regarding the day of judgment), nor to be seized with terror or perturbation, either by any person pretending to a spirit of prophecy, or by any words or Epistle said to emanate from us to the effect, that the day of the Lord was at hand.
“As if the day of the Lord.” In Greek, the day of Christ. The Vulgate is preferred by critics generally.
- Bishop MacEvilly’s Commentary on Romans 13:11-14 (thedivinelamp.wordpress.com)
- Bishop MacEvilly’s Commentary on 2 Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18 (thedivinelamp.wordpress.com)
- Bishop MacEvilly’s Commentary on Colossians 3:12-21 (thedivinelamp.wordpress.com)
- Bishop MacEvilly’s Commentary on Romans 8:31-39 (thedivinelamp.wordpress.com)
- Bishop MacEvilly’s Commentary on Philippians 1:6-11 (thedivinelamp.wordpress.com)