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Father Callan’s Commentary on 2 Thessalonians Chapter 3

Posted by Dim Bulb on January 26, 2019

Text in red indicates my additions. Text in purple indicates quotations from other commentaries by Fr. Callan.

MUTUAL INTERCESSION
A Summary of 2 Thessalonians 3:1-5~The Apostle now requests prayers for himself and his companions (2 Th 3:1-2). He assures the Thessalonians of God’s faithfulness and of his own confidence in them (2 Thess 3:3-4), and prays once more for them (2 Th 3:5).

2 Th 3:1. For the rest, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may run, and may be glorified, even as among you;

For the rest. See on 1 Thess. 4:1. Here is what Fr. Callan wrote there: For the rest is a formula of transition often used by St. Paul, directing attention to something else that is to follow.”
 
That the word of the Lord, etc., i.e., that the teaching of the Gospel may spread rapidly without impediment in the world.
 
And may be glorified, i.e., may be acknowledged and may produce the fruit of life among all men, as it has done “among you.”

The Dei of the Vulgate should be Domini, to agree with the Greek.

2 Th 3:2. And that we may be delivered from perverse and evil men; for all men have not faith.

St. Paul’s second request is that he and his companions “may be delivered from perverse and evil men,” very likely referring to his Jewish opponents at Corinth at this time (Acts 17:13 ff., 18:6 ff.). It is not surprising that opposition should be encountered, “for all men have not faith,” i.e., comparatively few embrace the faith, and this for two reasons, namely, because faith is first of all a free gift of God, and secondly, because men are indisposed and do not want faith.

2 Th 3:3. But the Lord is faithful, who will strengthen and keep you from evil.

After requesting their prayers, the Apostle now turns his thoughts to the Thessalonians themselves, assuring them that, however strong their enemies may be, “the Lord is faithful” to His promises (1 Cor 1:9), and that, having called them to the Gospel, He will not be wanting in His grace to “strengthen” them in the pursuit of good and protect them against the incursions of “evil,” or better, “the evil one,” probably alluding to the last petition of the Lord’s Prayer (Matt 6:13; Luke 11:4).

Again, read Dominus for Deus in the Vulgate.

2 Th 3:4. And we have confidence concerning you in the Lord, that the things which we command you both do and will do.

We have confidence concerning you, etc. The Apostle is speaking in the present tense, and seems to be preparing his readers for the more severe counsels he will give them in verse 6. He means to say that he is relying on their good w^ill, assisted by God’s grace which is never wanting to the well-disposed, for he adds, “in the Lord,” the author of all grace.

2 Th 3:5. And the Lord direct your hearts into the charity of God and the patience of Christ.

After expressing his confidence in their good will to do all in their power, St. Paul now prays that God will make up to them whatever may be lacking on their part by moving and directing their hearts “in the charity of God, etc.” It is not certain whether there is question here of the love which God has for us and the patience of which Christ gave us an example, or of the love we have for God and the patient expectation of the coming of Christ. The latter opinion is thought to be more probable (Cajetan, Voste).

In charitate et patientia of the Vulgate should be in charitatem et patientiam, according to the Greek.

CORRECTION FOR DISORDERLY MEMBERS, AND EXHORTATION
TO THE LOYAL

A Summary of 2 Thessalonians 3:6-15~Idleness at Thessalonica on the part of many who were looking for the early arrival of the Parousia had become worse since the reception of 1 Thess. These disturbers are now more sternly rebuked by the Apostles, with an appeal to their own example, who worked for their own living while preaching the Gospel (2 Th 3:6-12). After rebuking the disorderly and troublesome, the Apostles address the good members, encouraging them to perseverance in works of faith and asking them to avoid the disobedient (2 Th 3:13-15).

2 Th 3:6. And we charge you, brethren, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw yourselves from every brother walking disorderly, and not according to the tradition which they received of us.

We charge you, brethren, etc. Speaking in the name and with the authority of our Lord, the Apostles now command the Thessalonians to avoid all those whose moral conduct (2 Th 3:11) is not according to the written and oral teaching which the Thessalonian Church has received. They therefore issue a species of excommunication against those idle and disturbing members of the Church, who, on pretext of the imminence of the Parousia, have given up their regular pursuits and are living on the charity of their neighbors. These directions, however, are to be executed in charity and for the spiritual benefit of the offenders (2 Th 3:14-15).

The tradition, etc. See above, on 2 Th 2:14.

They received. This is the older reading; but some authorities prefer another good reading, “you received.” There is little support for “he received,” as in the Authorized Version. For a more real excommunication, see 1 Cor 5:5; 1 Tim 1:20.

2 Th 3:7. For yourselves know how you ought to imitate us, for we were not disorderly among you;

In verses 7-9 the Apostles appeal to their own conduct and example while at Thessalonica as a model which the faithful should imitate.

Disorderly means idle, living on other people, as explained in the following verse.

2 Th 3:8. Neither did we eat any man’s bread for nothing, but in labor and in toil we worked night and day, lest we should be chargeable to any of you:

Eat any man’s bread is a Hebraism meaning “to partake of food,” “to feast,” “to live on.” In order not to be any burden to the faithful the Apostle and his comrades worked day and night to make their own living. Cf. 1 Cor 9:15 ff.; 2 Cor. 11:7 ff.; 1 Thess 2:9 ff.

2 Th 3:9. Not as if we had not power, but that we might give ourselves a pattern unto you to imitate us.

It was not that the Apostles had not the right to demand temporal support for their spiritual services, but that they might give the faithful an example of self-denial in things legitimate for the sake of the Gospel.

2 Th 3:10. For also when we were with you this we declared to you: that, if any man will not work, neither let him eat.

These things St. Paul and his companions had inculcated, not only by example, but also by their express teachings while at Thessalonica.

That, if any man will not work, etc. This was probably a proverbial expression, based on the rule of Gen 3:19: “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, etc.” It is to be noted that the Apostle says “will not work,” and not “can not work”; for the sick and disabled have a right to charity and care by others. Mere idleness for the sake of pleasure is here condemned authoritatively.

2 Th 3:11. For we hear there arc some among you, who walk disorderly, working not at all, but curiously meddling.
2 Th 3:12. Now we charge them that are such, and beseech them by the Lord Jesus Christ, that, working with silence, they would cat their own bread.

We hear, etc. The tense is present in Greek, as it should also be in the Vulgate, which shows that the Apostle had recent news from Thessalonica regarding those disturbing persons who, instead of working and attending to their own affairs, were going about interfering with the affairs of others. In solemn words he admonishes them to be quiet and to earn their own living.

2 Th 3:13. But you, brethren, be not weary in well-doing.

The Apostle now turns his attention to the faithful members of the Church at Thessalonica, and exhorts them to continue “in well-doing,” which most probably means simply perseverance in virtuous living (so Voste and moderns generally), though the older commentators, Knabenbauer and others think the Apostle is here referring to doing works of charity, giving alms, and the like.

2 Th 3:14. And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and do not keep company with him, that he may be ashamed:
2 Th 3:15. Yet do not esteem him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother
.

In these verses, while enjoining social and religious ostracism for the contumacious Christians, St. Paul makes it clear that his purpose is for the good of the guilty persons, that they may be led to see the error of their ways and won to better behavior. Therefore, 2 Th 3:6 is to be explained in the light of these verses.

CONCLUSION

Summary of 2 Thessalonians 3:16-18~In closing his letter St. Paul wishes peace and the divinepresence to all the faithful at Thessalonica; he salutes them in his own handwriting, as a sign of the genuineness of this Epistle, and embraces all in a final blessing.

2 Th 3:16. Now the Lord of peace himself give you everlasting peace in every place. The Lord be with you all.

In view of the disturbance which has upset the Thessalonian Church, St. Paul now asks our Lord, the author of peace, to give the faithful there lasting peace of mind and soul.
 
In every place. This is also the reading of the Gothic version and of the MSS., A,D,F,G; but the majority of the best Greek MSS. and the Syriac and Coptic versions have: “In every way.”
 
The Lord be with you all, including the disorderly.

2 Th 3:17. The salutation of Paul with my own hand; which is the sign in every epistle. So I write.

The salutation of Paul with my own hand. He means to say that he sends this greeting to them in his own handwriting, as a mark of the authenticity of the letter. It was the custom of the time to dictate letters to amanuenses, and this also seems to have been Paul’s uniform practice. But here he writes the greeting at the end so that there will be no danger of falsification on the part of anyone at Thessalonica, where a false letter, pretending to be from him, appears to have been in circulation (2 Th 2:2). It is probable that St. Paul wrote with his own hand the whole letter to Philemon (see Philemon 19), and perhaps that to the Galatians also (Gal 6:11). Cf. Voste, h. I.

Which is the sign in every epistle. The reason for this precaution is probably to be found in the forged letter that was being circulated by misguided members of the Thessalonian Church, who claimed that it had come from Paul himself (cf. Introduction, No. 3, b).

2 Th 3:18. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

The final benediction is the same as in i Thess. and in Rom 16:20, save that the word “all” is added here, so as not to appear to exclude the well-intentioned but disorderly members of the Thessalonian Church.

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Father Callan’s Commentary on 2 Thessalonians Chapter 2

Posted by Dim Bulb on January 26, 2019

Text in red are my additions. 

THE PAROUSIA IS NOT YET

A Summary of 2 Thessalonians 2:1-11~The faithful must not be disturbed about the Coming of the Lord, for certain signs, yet far off, must first precede that grand event. There must come first a great religious revolt, and then the man of sin. Antichrist, must appear, as was explained before in the Apostle’s preaching. This mystery of iniquity is already at work, but something holds back the full exercise of his power. He shall eventually be conquered by Christ coming in His glory, but he will first show great signs and wonders and seduce many.

2 Th 2:1. And we beseech you, brethren, touching the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and of our gathering together unto him:

Touching the coming of our Lord, etc., i.e., on behalf of the Parousia, or Second Coming of Christ to judge the world.

And of our gathering together, etc. Better, “and of our being gathered together, etc.,” referring to the reunion of the living and the dead at the coming of our Lord at the end of the world (1 Thess 4:17, 5:10).

The Vulgate nostrae congregationis should read circa nostram congregationem.

2 Th 2:2. That you be not easily moved from your sense, nor be terrified, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by epistle, as by us, as if the day of the Lord were at hand.

The Apostle asks the Thessalonians that they be calm and peaceful, that they do not lose their “sense” (i.e., their prudent and sober judgment), nor be greatly disturbed, as if the Parousia were at hand.

By spirit, i.e., by any pretended revelation or prophesy attributed to the Holy Ghost.

Nor by word, i.e., any utterance or teaching based on a pretended revelation or prophesy, or on some utterance of the Apostle, misinterpreted or falsely attributed to him.

Nor by epistle, as by us (ὡς διʼἡμῶν = hos di hemon), etc., i.e., any spurious letter circulated in the name of Paul, or false explanation of his first Epistle to the Thessalonians. Let none of these sources of error lead them to think the Second Advent is upon us.

The missam of the Vulgate is not expressed in the Greek.

2 Th 2:3. Let no man deceive you by any means, for unless there come the revolt first, and the man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition,

There is nothing in the writings of St. Paul more obscure and difficult of explanation than verses 3-11 here. This is due partly to the eschatological events here described as going before the Parousia, about which the Apostle speaks nowhere else; partly to the fact that he assumes his readers to be thoroughly familiar from his oral teaching with the obscure points in discussion; and partly to the veiled terms in which those mysterious events are apparently of set purpose expressed. As a result, we cannot be too certain of the correctness of some of the expositions given.

The first warning is, “let no man deceive you,” i.e., lead you into the mistake of thinking the Parousia is present.

By any means, whether by any of the three ways mentioned in verse 2, or in any other way; and the reason for this is immediately given by adding, “for unless there come a revolt first,” i.e., a falling away from God (ἀποστασία = apostasia, literally, “not standing”), etc. That “revolt” or apostasy here means a religious defection or falling away from God is the opinion of St. Thomas and all modern interpreters. It will be the first of the great events that shall precede the Parousia. The Apostle, becoming absorbed in a description of the “man of sin,” forgets to complete his sentence, “for unless, etc.”; but it is clear that its completion would be, “the Day of the Lord will not come,” or something similar. Such ellipses are frequent with St. Paul, who was accustomed to speak and to dictate his letters, as they are also common with many public speakers. The use of the definite article before “revolt” (η αποστασια = en apostasia) shows that the Apostle was referring to a definite religious falling away known to his readers: “For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am Christ,’ and they will seduce many, etc.” (Matt. 24:5 ff.).

And the man of sin be revealed. This is the second great event that shall go before the Parousia. The “man of sin” is doubtless to be identified with Antichrist (1 John 2:18, 22, 4:3; 3 John 7), whose other-world character is evident from the fact that he is to “be revealed.” He is described: (a) as to his nature, “the man of sin”; (b) as to his fate, “the son of perdition”; (c) as to his ambition, which will be to take the place of God and to be worshipped as God (ver. 4).

In the best Greek MSS. “man of sin” is read as “the man of lawlessness,” who is spoken of in verse 7 below as “the mystery of lawlessness,” and in verse 8 as “the lawless one.” This “man of sin,” who will be the impersonation and personification of sin, this “man of lawlessness,” in whom will culminate the lawlessness and godlessness of a godless world, is not Belial or Satan, but some emissary of Belial or Satan, as is clear from verse 9 below.

Son of perdition is a Semitic expression indicating the eternal destiny in final damnation of Antichrist (John 17:12).

2 Th 2:4. Who opposeth, and is lifted up against all that is called God, or that is worshipped, so that he sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself as if he were God.

Who opposeth, and is lifted up, etc. The verbs here are present participles in Greek, but the meaning is best expressed by rendering with the Westminster Version, “who shall oppose and exalt himself against all, etc.” The object of this opposition will be Christ (St. Jerome and many moderns), and hence St. John in his First Epistle styles the adversary in question as Antichrist (1 John 2:18, 22, 4:3). This archenemy of Christ will deny the true God and spurn false gods, so as to appropriate all worship to himself, pretending that he is the one and only God to whose adoration and service all sanctuaries are to be devoted, or rather prostituted. St. Paul’s description of him recalls several similar characters of the Old Testament, namely, Antiochus Epiphanes (Dan 11:36-37), the prince of Tyre (Ezek 18:2), and the king of Babylon (Isa. 14:13-14).

So that he sitteth, etc. Better, “so as to take his seat in the temple of God.” The word “temple” here more probably is not to be understood literally of the Temple of Jerusalem nor of the Church of God, but should be taken as a mode of speaking by which the usurpation of all divine adoration and honor on the part of Antichrist is expressed (so Knabenbauer, Voste and others): he will have it appear that he is God Himself, the only true God, therefore “showing himself as if he were God.” On the deification of the Roman Emperors, see Findlay, hoc loco, in Cambridge Bible.

In the Vulgate supra omne would better be contra omne, and ostendens se tanquam, etc., should be gerens se ut Deus.

2 Th 2:5. Remember you not that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?

By way of mild rebuke St. Paul asks the Thessalonians how it is that they have so soon forgotten what he told them relative to these matters when he was preaching to them in person.

These things, i.e., the great apostasy and the manifestation or appearance of Antichrist. Until these things occur, the Parousia will not take place.

2 Th 2:6. And now you know what withholdeth, that he may be revealed in his own time.

In verses 6-7 the Apostle refers to what holds back the man of sin, and consequently the dawn of the last day. These verses are very obscure, because here again the Apostle is supposing his readers to be familiar with the instruction he had given them on this point.

Now is understood in a logical sense by some authorities, as if to say: things being so, “now” you know, etc.; but it is better to take the term in its strict temporal meaning, as opposed to the future revelation and working of Antichrist (Voste).

What withholdeth, i.e., what powerfully retards, or keeps back the appearance of Antichrist. What was this restraining influence (το κατεχον = ho katechon)? In verse 7 it is spoken of as present and as masculine in gender, ο κατεχων αρτι (= ho katechon arti); and so it would seem to be some personal force existing at the time this letter was written. St. Augustine confessed that he did not know what it was. According to the common opinion among the ancients, to which moderns are inclining, it was “the restraining power of law and order, especially as these were embodied in the Roman Emperor or Empire” (Jones, in New Com. on Holy Script. ) . In favor of this opinion it is said that the Apostle is assuming that his readers know well what he means from the instruction he had given them by word of mouth, and that here he only hints at it, refraining from open speech, so as not to compromise himself and his cause with the Imperial Government, which would be roused to persecution by any prediction of its downfall.

But if fear of Rome accounts for his veiled manner of speech in his letter, how could he have spoken more openly to the Thessalonians in oral discourse without being in danger of detection and exposure to the Roman authority? Theodoret thought the restraining agency was the Decree of God that Antichrist should not appear until the time appointed for him should arrive. Others have suggested the Holy Spirit as the restraining personal power. Fr, Prat in his Theol. of St. Paul, vol. I, pp. 114-117, thinks it is St. Michael, who, with his heavenly host, wages continual war against Satan on behalf of the elect, and who will be the herald of the resurrection and the final judgment. Still others think it is the preaching of the Gospel which must encompass the world before the end of time. Perhaps it is the living, fervent faith of Christians, which will dechne and grow cold before the end (Matt. xxiv. 11-13).

That he may be revealed in his own time, i.e., that he may appear at the time decreed by God.

2 Th 2:7. For the mystery of iniquity already worketh; only that he who now holdeth, do hold, until he be taken out of the way.

In this verse St. Paul says that Antichrist, here called “the mystery of iniquity,” or according to the Greek “the mystery of lawlessness,” is now operating in secret, and will continue to do so until the agency that restrains him be removed. His means of operation now are doubtless through heresies, errors, persecutions, and the like, which are but the preparation for his unbridled reign.

Only that he who now holdeth, etc. Far better, according to the Greek, “until he who now restrains be taken out of the way.”

In the Vulgate the phrase tantum ut, etc., should read, tantuni donec qui detinet. adhuc de medio fiat (Voste).

2 Th 2:8. And then that wicked one shall be revealed whom the Lord Jesus shall kill with the spirit of his mouth; and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming, him

In verses 8-1 1 St. Paul speaks of the coming of Antichrist, of his malevolent works, and of the reason why God will permit him so to harass the world.

And then, i.e., when the restraining Influence has been removed.

That wicked one, i.e., “the man of sin,” “the son of perdition” (ver. 3), Antichrist.

Shall be revealed, i.e., shall come forth from his mysterious concealment, from his other-world realm, whence now he works secretly.

Whom the Lord Jesus shall kill, etc. Again, as in verse 4, St. Paul reverts to the use of Old Testament language, referring now to the imagery of Isa. 11:4 to describe the fate of Antichrist and the triumph of Christ over him. This powerful enemy of mankind the Lord Jesus will destroy by the issuance of a simple command, by a glance of his countenance; as in the beginning the Almighty spoke and creation leaped into being, so at the end He will need but to speak, but to appear in His majesty, and the great enemy will be laid low forever.

The brightness of his coming refers to the Parousia or Second Coming of Christ (1 Tim. 4:14; 2 Tim. 1:10, 4:1, 8; Tit. 2:13).

2 Th 2:9. Whose coming is according to the working of Satan, in all power, and signs, and lying wonders,

The Apostle began to speak of the appearance of Antichrist in verse 8a, but immediately interrupted his description to portray his destruction by the command and presence of our Lord. Now he returns to the thought of 8a, and describes the coming and working of the great enemy. As Christ will have His glorious appearance, so will Antichrist have his contrary appearance, the operation of the latter being altogether opposed to that of the former : first, as to its principle, which will be “Satan”; secondly, as to its intimate nature, which will be “lying” ; and thirdly, as to its end or purpose, which will be “seduction” (cf. Voste, h. l.).

Whose coming is according, etc. The present tense is used for the future. Antichrist will be the instrument of Satan, whom Satan will empower to produce all kinds of signs and wonders for the purpose of deceiving his victims.

Power, signs, wonders. A miracle is said to be a “power” (δυναμει = dynamei), when considered as to its origin or cause; it is a “sign” (σημειοις = semeiois), when considered as to its purpose or end; it is a “wonder” (τερασιν = terasin), when considered as to its extraordinary nature, which excites the admiration of men.

2 Th 2:10. And in all seduction of iniquity to them that perish; because they receive not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. Therefore God shall send them the operation of error, to believe lying:

This verse describes the purpose of Antichrist and designates his victims. His activities will be directed to the deception and perdition of all men, but will be efficacious only with “them that perish,” i.e., those whose lives and works have fitted them for perdition; “because they receive not the love of the truth,” i.e., they refuse to accept and do not want the teachings of the Gospel; in punishment for which “God shall send them the operation, etc.,” i.e., God shall punish them by permitting them to be led to put their faith in errors and lies; they did not want the truth of the Gospel;
they refused to believe the miracles of Christ; so they will receive instead the wicked teachings and gross errors of powerful deceivers.

In the Greek, verse 11 begins with “Therefore God shall send, etc.,” and there are thus 17 verses in this chapter in Greek, instead of 16 as in the Vulgate and our version.

2 Th 2:11. That all may be judged who have not believed the truth, but have consented to iniquity.

The final reason is now given why God will permit the deception of the victims of Antichrist, namely, “that all may be judged, etc.,” i.e., that all may be condemned who have preferred iniquity to the truth of the Gospel. According to St. Paul, sin leads in its train its own punishment (cf. Rom. 1:24-28). The wicked who have preferred sin, iniquity, lies, will receive like things in compensation; and God will employ Satan and Antichrist as instruments for their punishment; they will be made the dupes of their own wickedness.

THANKSGIVING, EXHORTATION AND PRAYER

A Summary of 2 Thessalonians 2:12-16~St. Paul now turns away from the thought of the reprobate to think of the elect and the spiritual blessings of which they have been the willing objects, believing in the Gospel and consenting to the truth; and he says that for them who have been chosen by God and sanctified and ordained to eternal life, he and his companions ought always to give thanks to God (2 Th 2:12-13). He exhorts his readers to steadfastness in what they have received from him, whether by preaching or by letter; and then offers a prayer that they may be comforted and strengthened in faith (2 Th 2:14-16).

2 Th 2:12. But we ought to give thanks to God always for you, brethren, beloved of the Lord, for that God chose you firstfruits unto salvation, through sanctification of the spirit and faith of the truth

But we, i.e., Paul, Silas and Timothy.
 
Brethren, beloved of the Lord, as contrasted with the sad victims of delusion and unbelief.

For that God chose you, etc. The reading “firstfruits” here is according to the Vulgate, the Vatican, and some other good MSS., and means that the Thessalonians were among the first people in Europe to accept the Gospel (cf. Phil 4:15; Rom. 16:5; 1 Cor 16:15). Instead of “firstfruits,” we find in the Sinaitic, Alex., and other good MSS. the reading, “from the beginning,” which means that God chose the Thessalonians for the Gospel and salvation from eternity (Eph 1:4; Col 1:20).
 
Unto salvation. This is the end to which God’s eternal choice was ordained.
 
Through sanctification, etc. Behold the means of salvation, namely, the sanctifying grace of the Holy Ghost, on the part of God, and faith in the Gospel accompanied by good works, on the part of man. The expression “sanctification of the spirit” may be understood objectively, as meaning the sanctification of our souls; or it may be taken in a subjective and causal sense to signify the sanctification which is from the Holy Ghost. Both interpretations come to the same thing.

The Dei of the Vulgate should be Domini.

2 Th 2:13. Whereunto also he called you by our gospel, unto the purchasing of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Whereunto, etc., i.e., to which faith and sanctification God called the Thessalonians in time, through the preaching of the Apostles, “unto the purchasing, etc.,” i.e., to the end that they might have a share in the eternal glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

2 Th 2:14. Therefore, brethren, stand fast; and hold the traditions which you have learned, whether by word, or by our epistle.

Therefore, brethren, etc., i.e., since you are called to so great a destiny.

Stand fast in the faith and practice of your religion.

And hold the traditions, i.e., the instructions, the dogmatic and moral teachings, which we have given you, “whether by word” of mouth, “or by our epistle,” i.e., 1 Thess. In these last words we have a plain case against the teachings of Protestantism, that Scripture is the only source of divine revelation, to the exclusion of what has been passed down by word of mouth or tradition. On this passage St. Chrysostom says: “From this it is clear that the Apostles did not give everything through Epistles, but many things also not in writings; and these also worthy of faith. Wherefore, we also regard the tradition of the Church as worthy of faith. It is tradition, seek nothing further.”

2 Th 2:15. Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God and our Father, who hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation, and good hope in grace,
2 Th 2:16. Exhort your hearts, and confirm you in every good work and word
.

Since the Thessalonians could not of their own strength continue firm in their faith, St. Paul now prays God to give them the necessary grace.
 
Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, etc. Our Lord is here mentioned before the Father, as in 2 Cor 13:13 and Gal 1:1, because He is the way to the Father. On these words St. Chrysostom remarks: “Where now are those who say that the Son is less than the Father, because He is named after the Father in the grace of washing?” St. Paul heartens his readers by reminding them that our Lord and God the Father have loved them from all eternity, and have given them “everlasting consolation” in the midst of tribulations through the “good hope” they have of possessing one day the joys of heaven; and this divine love God has for them, as well as the hope He has given them, is “in grace,” i.e., is gratuitous, the result of pure mercy on His part. Therefore the Apostle prays that God would “exhort,” i.e., comfort their hearts in the midst of tribulations, “and confirm,” i.e., strengthen them in the pursuit of every good work. It is to be observed that the verbs “exhort” and “confirm” here are in the singular, following the mention of our Lord and God the Father, which shows that the action of our Lord is identical with that of the Father, and therefore that He is one with the Father in nature and substance.

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Father Callan’s Commentary on 2 Thessalonians Chapter 1

Posted by Dim Bulb on January 26, 2019

THE APOSTLE GREETS THE THESSALONIANS AND CONSOLES THEM

A Summary of 2 Thessalonians 1:1-12~After saluting the faithful at Thessalonica (2 Thess 1:1-2), the Apostle first thanks God for their faith, charity, and patient endurance of persecutions (2 Thess 1:3-4), and then describes the just judgment of God, which will reward them for their virtue and punish their oppressors (2 Thess 1:5-10). He concludes by assuring them that their Apostles are always praying for them, to the end that God may make them worthy of the call He has given them (2 Thess 1:11-12).

2 Th 1:1. Paul and Silvanus and Timothy to the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.
2 Th 1:2. Grace unto you, and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 

The greeting here is the same as in 1 Thess., save that the more intimate word “our” precedes “Father” in this inscription, and the added words “from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” here designate the source of divine “grace and peace.

In the Vulgate of verse 2 nostra should be omitted, according to the best Greek.

2 Th 1:3. We are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren, as it is fitting, because your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of you all towards each other aboundeth: 2 Th 1:4. So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith and in all your persecutions and tribulations, which you endure,

We are bound, etc. The Apostles feel they are under a personal obligation of thanking God at all times for the great increase in the faith and charity of the Thessalonians, which remain steadfast and progress in the face of persecution.

So that we ourselves, etc. It was the patience of the Thessalonians in the midst of sufferings and afflictions—a patience that arose out of their firm faith—that gave St. Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy their reason for glorying; these Apostles had co-operated with God in giving them their glorious faith, which has become an example and a model “in the churches of God,” i.e., throughout the whole Christian Church, “not only in Macedonia and in Achaia, but also in every place” ( 1 Thess. 1:8)
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In the Vulgate of verse 4 et before nos should be suppressed.

2 Th 1:5. A sign of the just judgment of God, that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of   God, for which also you suffer;

 A sign, etc. These words are in apposition to what has just been said about the sufferings of the faithful. The Apostle wishes to say that the patient sufferings of the Christians for their faith are a token “of the just judgment of God, etc.,” i.e., they are a proof that present conditions are not the final order of things, that a day will come when goodness shall have its reward and sin its punishment.

The kingdom of God here means the kingdom established by Christ, with special reference to the hereafter.

The Vulgate in exemplum would better be simply indicium or argumentum. See on Phil. 1:27-28.

2 Th 1:6. Seeing it is a just thing with God to repay tribulation to them that trouble you, 

In verses 6-10 the Apostle shows that in the life to come God will give an eternal reward to those who have suffered for His sake, and, contrariwise, eternal punishment to unrepentant sinners. The general, solemn and liturgical character of these verses, consisting of parallel members, is thought to point to a primitive Christian hymn of which St. Paul was making use in this passage.

Seeing. Better, “indeed” or “since indeed,” expressing not doubt but absolute certainty; the justice of God demands that He requite sinners for the sufferings they inflict on the just. It is an application of the lex talionis.

2 Th 1:7. And to you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven, with the angels of his power.

Affliction is in store for those who afflict the faithful (ver. 6b), and relief for those who are afflicted; sinners are to be paid in their own kind: “And Abraham said to him: Son, remember that thou didst receive good things in thy lifetime, and likewise Lazarus evil things, etc.” (Luke 16:25 ; cf. Matt 26:52; Rev 13:10). And this is to take place “when the Lord Jesus, etc.,” i.e., at the Second Coming of our Lord to judge the world.

With the angels of his power, i.e., attended by angels as ministers of His power and executors of His will.

2 Th 1:8. In a flame of fire, giving vengeance to them who know not God, and who obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:

In verses 8-10 the judgment of the wicked is described in language and imagery which reflect the Old Testament, and, as said above, in a rhythmical structure which has led many scholars to think we may have here an adaptation of a primitive Christian hymn. 

In a flame of fire, or as another good reading has it, “in a fire of flame.” The sense is the same in either reading. It is better to join these words with what has just preceded, as descriptive of the manner in which our Lord will appear at the final judgment. In the Old Testament flaming fire often accompanied the manifestations of God as legislator and judge. Here it is a symbol of the divine majesty and anger, of His glory and power which nothing can resist.

Giving vengeance, etc., i.e., dealing out punishment to all wilful unbelievers in God and in the Gospel of Christ, whether Jews or Gentiles: “He that believeth not shall be condemned” (Mark 16:16); “He that doth not believe is already judged, etc.” (John 3:18-19). God’s vengeance, or revenge, means nothing more than doing justice to sinners, who have wilfully brought on themselves all their woe. This is why God reserves revenge to Himself : “Revenge is mine, I will repay, saith the Lord” (Rom. 12:19; Deut. 32:35 ; Heb. 10:30). When we undertake to revenge a wrong, we are often influenced by passion, and so are more than likely to be unjust ; not so God, whose essence is justice itself, and whose ways are altogether righteous.

2 Th 1:9. Who shall suffer eternal punishment in destruction, from the face of the Lord, and from the glory of his power,

Who shall suffer, etc. Better, “who will pay the penalty in eternal ruin.” The Greek for “eternal punishment” (ὄλεθρον αἰώνιον = olethron aionion) means “destruction without end.” The term ὄλεθρον (olethron) is found elsewhere only in the apocryphal work 4 Macc. 10:15, and it corresponds to the “everlasting fire” of Matt 18:8, 25:41, and Jude 7; to the “eternal punishment” of Matt. 25:46; and to the “eternal judgment” of Heb. 6:2. See Voste, hoc loco, and on Phil. i. 28, iii. 19. From the face of the Lord, words borrowed from Isa. 2:10, 19, 21. The meaning, according to St. Chrysostom and others, is that the appearance of the Lord will cause the destruction and punishment of the wicked : “The sight of their Judge and His Almightiness, robed in fire and attended by His host of angels, will drive these wicked men, terror-stricken, into ruin” (Findlay). But the common opinion, which is that of St. Thomas, Bisping and many others, understands the foregoing words to refer to the pain of loss or exclusion from the divine presence: the wicked will suffer everlasting punishment far removed from the presence of the Lord; thus, their punishment will consist principally in the loss of God, the source and fountain of every good that can contribute to man’s happiness and satisfy the ceaseless longings of his soul.

And from the glory of His power, i.e., the wicked shall be removed far from that divine glory which has its source in God’s infinite power, and which Jesus Christ will communicate to His elect according to their capacity to receive it.

2 Th 1:10. When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be made wonderful in all them who have believed (because our testimony among you was behaved) in that day.

When He shall come, etc. The punishment of the wicked just described will take place when our Lord comes “to be glorified in His saints,” i.e., when, at the end of the world, He appears in His glory and imparts that glory to those faithful souls who have believed in Him and proved their faith by the performance of good works, and who will be, as it were, the mirror of His own glory: ‘T am glorified in them” (John 17:10) ; “But we all beholding the glory of the Lord with open face, are transformed into the same image, etc.” (2 Cor. 3:18) ; at which same time He will “be made wonderful in all them who have believed,” i.e., the saints at that glorious time, seeing with astonishment the undreamed-of blessedness which their faith has brought them, will marvel at their Saviour through whose grace they have attained their sanctity and amassed their merits.

Because our testimony among you was believed, I.e., the Thessalonians will reap this great reward because they believed the Gospel which St. Paul and his companions had preached to them. This sentence is a parenthesis, and it should be so indicated in the Vulgate.

In that day. With great emphasis these words are placed at the end of the verse, in order again to remind the readers of the time of the solemn manifestation of the Lord and the fulfillment of the events just described in this and in the preceding verses.

2 Th 1:11. Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would make you worthy of his vocation, and fulfill with power all the good pleasure of his goodness and the work of faith;

In verses 11-12 St. Paul says that his continual prayer for his readers is that they may be made worthy of their lofty vocation, and that Jesus Christ may be glorified in them and they in Him.

Our God, i.e., the God of us all.

Of his vocation, i.e., of the call He has given you, so that one day you will be found worthy of the reward of glory to which you have been chosen.

And fulfill with power all the good pleasure, etc., i.e., power fully fill you with a desire of every good that a righteous will could wish for (St. Thomas) and that faith can effect.

2 Th 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.

The final purpose of the Apostle’s prayer and of the sanctification of the faithful is that our Lord may be glorified in them, and that they in turn may be glorified in Him through the outpouring of His glory upon them in the beatific vision (cf. John 17). The name stands for the person, according to Semitic usage.

According to the grace, etc. The grace of God, communicated through Jesus Christ, is the source of the sanctification of the faithful

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Father Callan’s Introduction to 1 and 2 Thessalonians

Posted by Dim Bulb on December 23, 2018

INTRODUCTION

1. Thessalonica. Thessalonica, the modem Saloniki, in ancient times was called Thermae, from the hot mineral springs found in its vicinity. It was situated on the northwestern part of the Thermaic Gulf, and the Via Egnatia, the great Roman highway of trade, ran through it from East to West. The Athenians occupied and destroyed it during the Peloponnesian War in 421 B.C., but about a century later (circa 315 B.C.) it was rebuilt by Cassander, who gave it the name of his wife, Thessalonica, the half-sister of Alexander the Great. After the Battle of Pydna on the plains of Philippi in 168 B.C., Thessalonica surrendered to the victorious Romans, and it was made the capital of the second of the four districts into which Macedonia was then divided. Later, when these four districts were united into one province, Thessalonica became the capital and metropolis of all Macedonia. In 42 B.C. the Romans made it a free Greek city with the privilege of electing its own magistrates, whom St. Luke, with noteworthy historical exactitude, called by the unusual and technical name of politarchs, or rulers of the city (Acts 17:6).

In the time of St. Paul, Thessalonica was the most flourishing and populous city of Macedonia. Its inhabitants were chiefly Greeks, but the Romans were also there in large numbers, besides a numerous colony of Jews, who had their own synagogue (Acts 17:1, 4).

2. The Church of Thessalonica. St. Paul with Silas, and perhaps Timothy also, came to Thessalonica during the first part of his second missionary journey, following his expulsion from Philippi (Acts 17:1 ff.). On the Sabbath he entered the synagogue there, and began to preach to the Jews that Jesus was the Messiah as foretold in their Scriptures. Though his efforts were largely unavailing, he continued thus to reason with them for three weeks, winning some of them over to the faith, and converting a large number of Greek proselytes and not a few leading ladies. But the majority of his fellow-countrymen were steadfast in resisting him, and, being moved with jealousy, they finally compelled him to leave the synagogue. He then continued his ministry in private homes and through personal interviews, and it seems that the house of one Jason (Acts 17:5) became the chief place of worship and instruction for the Gentiles who desired to hear him.

How long the Apostle remained at Thessalonica, we do not know. But from the Epistle we can see that his stay there must have been longer than the three weeks implied in the narrative of Acts 17:2. Some few months, at least, must have been required for the establishment of a Church so flourishing as this afterwards proved to be. He could not devote all his time to preaching either, because he and his companions, by personal manual labor, had to earn their own living besides (1 Thess 2:9; 2 Thess 3:8). And his preaching was thorough and effective, as we shall see from the analysis of the Epistle. So fruitful, indeed, was the ministry of Paul and his fellow-workers in that Macedonian capital that the envy of the Jews forced them out before their work was finished. These enemies of St. Paul accused him to the magistrates of the city of preaching a king contrary to Caesar, and nothing was left the Apostle and his co-workers but to withdraw. This they did under cover of darkness, proceeding to the neighboring town of Berea.

3. Occasion and Purpose of These Letters, (a) 1 Thessalonians. St. Paul’s ministry at Berea was short but rich in results (Acts 17:10-13), and he left Silas and Timothy there to continue the work he had begun, as he proceeded to Athens. In the latter city his preaching was nearly a failure. He therefore soon sent word to Silas and Timothy to come to him at once (Acts 17:15). They came without delay, bringing news of continued or fresh persecutions at Thessalonica, so that both Paul and his two companions had a mind to return there forthwith to console and encourage the faithful, but they could not (1 Thess 1:6, 3:3, 2:17-18). So Paul and Silas decided to send Timothy to the troubled Church, while Paul passed on to Corinth and Silas returned, perhaps to Berea or some other part of Macedonia (1 Thess. 3:2; Acts 18:1).

Not long after St. Paul had arrived at Corinth, he was rejoined by Timothy, who brought a report of conditions in Thessalonica. On the whole the news was favorable. Notwithstanding persecutions, the faith had continued strong, so that the brethren there were an example to all that believed in Macedonia and Achaia ( 1 Thess 1:4 ff.). But there were also some errors and abuses that needed
correcting. It seems that the Apostle’s authority and the methods of his ministry had been questioned in certain quarters (1 Thess. 2:1-12). Some were in danger of lapsing back into their pagan vices, while others were idle and restless, waiting for the Parousia (1 Thess 4:1-12). Still others were troubled over the fate of relatives and friends who had died before the Coming of the Lord; and certain ones had grown careless as a result of the Parousia being too long delayed (1 Thess 4:13—5:11). It seems there was also some disorder or lack of respect for those in authority (1 Thess 5:12-15).

It was upon receipt of such news as the foregoing that St. Paul, in company with Silas and Timothy, wrote the present letter. He and his two associates hope to come to Thessalonica soon; but in the meantime they send this letter to express their satisfaction at the good news reported, to defend their own conduct and authority, and to correct the existing abuses and errors.

(b) 2 Thessalonians. Shortly after the receipt of the first letter to the Thessalonians word was brought St. Paul at Corinth, perhaps by the bearer of that Epistle, about the most recent conditions in Thessalonica and the eflfect in that city of the letter just received. Persecution had continued to rage more furious than ever, and yet faith and charity were increasing (2 Thess 1:3-5). But the Parousia was still a disturbing question, and in this respect the first letter seems to have made matters worse, instead of better. Some of the faithful had become so convinced of the imminence of the “Day of the Lord” that they had abandoned their daily duties, and had given themselves over to prayer and meditation, living on the charity and bounty of others. In their assemblies there were excitement and disorder, and there was danger that the whole Church would be thrown into confusion. These misguided members claimed the authority of St. Paul for their beliefs and teachings, and it seems there was in circulation a forged letter, purporting to be from the Apostle himself (2 Thess. 2:2, 3:6-14). In view of these conditions, St. Paul, with Silas and Timothy, writes this second letter to the Church at Thessalonica to comfort and encourage the faithful there, to clear up misunderstandings regarding the Second Coming of the Lord, to strengthen discipline, and to recall the idle to their accustomed daily duties and labors.

4. Date and Place of Writing. All authorities, ancient and modem, are pretty well agreed that these two letters were written at Corinth during the Apostle’s long stay in that city of over eighteen months on his second missionary journey (Acts 18:1 ff.). The precise dates will depend on the system of chronology one adopts. But in our Introduction to Philippians we have said that Paul founded that Church around 51 a.d. He then passed on to Thessalonica, where, as observed above, he must have tarried for several months in order to establish so flourishing a Church. Being forced to leave, he next went to Berea and thence to Athens, spending but a short time in each of those cities, and finally came to Corinth. His arrival, therefore, in this last-named city was not very long after he had left Thessalonica. But before he would write this first letter we must allow time for Timothy’s mission to Thessalonica and his return to Paul at Corinth, for the spread of the faith of the Thessalonians to various parts of Macedonia and Achaia and their manifestation of charity to all the brethren in all Macedonia, for the occurrence of a number of deaths in the Thessalonian Church, etc. (1 Thess 1:7-8, 3:6, 4:10, 13). All this would require some time. But, on the other hand, we cannot make the writing of this first letter too late, as sufficient time must be allowed for the dispatching of the second letter also from Corinth during the Apostle’s same sojourn there. Of course, it is clear that no great length of time intervened between the composition of the two letters, and this is admitted by all authorities who concede the genuineness of the second letter. Thus, Paul had the same associates in writing the second as in writing the first letter, and the situation at Thessalonica was about the same. It seems reasonable, therefore, to conclude that 1 Thess. was written some time during 52 A.D., and 2 Thess. in the latter part of the same year or in the first part of the following year. These dates fit in with the chronology we have adopted, and they are as likely as any others that might be given, if not a little more so. At any rate, these are the oldest of St. Paul’s letters, unless we hold the rather doubtful opinion that Galatians was his first Epistle. See Introduction to Galatians in vol. I.

The opinion of some ancient authorities and codices that 1 Thess. was written from Athens is based on a misunderstanding of 1 Thess 3:1-6, and is contradicted by the express statements of Acts 18:1, 5. Equally unfounded is the view of Baur, Ewald, Bunsen, and certain other non-Catholics, who hold that our second letter preceded the first to the Thessalonians. A simple examination of the two letters is sufficient to refute such a theory; for it is plain that the first letter treats of the foundation of the Church at Thessalonica while the second is dealing with its development, and the teachings of the latter presuppose those of the former.

5. V. Authenticity, (a) 1 Thessalonians. The external and the internal evidence in favor of the genuineness of this Epistle is so strong as to place it beyond all question ; and consequently among modern exegetes there is now practically no one who has any difficulty on this point.

The first and oldest testimony for 1 Thess. is 2 Thess., which presupposes it, and which was written not long after it. Next come the Apostolic Fathers and early Christian documents, such as Ignatius Martyr, Polycarp, The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles, and The Pastor of Hernias—in all of which can be found citations from or pretty certain allusions to this Epistle (cf. Funk, Patres apostolici, pp. 640 flf.). After these, we find explicit reference to it in the Muratorian Fragment; Marcion included it in his Canon; it is frequently cited by Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, St. Justin Martyr, and Tertullian ; and Eusebius, the faithful witness of primitive tradition, included it among the fourteen Epistles of St. Paul (cf. Comely, Introd., III., pp. 480 ff.). This Epistle is also found in the best ancient MSS., and in the old Latin and Syriac versions.

Internal evidence is not less conclusive in establishing the authenticity of this letter. The style and doctrine are Paul’s throughout, and the Apostle’s character, as known from his other Epistles, is clearly manifested here. It is true that Baur and his followers of the Neo-Tiibingen School rejected this letter on purely internal Internal evidence is not less conclusive in establishing the authenticity of this letter. The style and doctrine are Paul’s throughout, and the Apostle’s character, as known from his other Epistles, is clearly manifested here. It is true that Baur and his followers of the Neo-Tubingen School rejected this letter on purely internal grounds ; but the reasons they brought forward in support of their position are not worthy of any serious consideration. For example, they said it was lacking in doctrine; that 1 Thess 2:14-16 was an exaggeration, or else referred to the destruction of Jerusalem in the year 70; that the eschatological teaching given here was not to be found in the Epistles that are admittedly Pauline, etc.

As to the first objection, we need only look at the Epistle to see that just the contrary is true. For here all the leading doctrines are characteristic of St. Paul, such as the death and resurrection of Jesus (1 Thess 1:10, 4:14, 5:10), His Divinity and Sonship (1 Thess 1:9-10), the resurrection of the body (1 Thess 4:15-18), sanctification by the indwelling Holy Spirit (1 Thess 4: 8), the call of the nations to the kingdom of Christ, the Church (1 Thess 2:12), the mediatorship of Christ (1 Thess 5:10), etc.

In 1 Thess 2:14-16 St. Paul is simply saying that the converts in the Thessalonian Church are suffering the same things from their fellow countrymen as the converts in Judea suffered from their compatriots, and that the blindness and perfidy of the latter have brought upon them the curse of God for time and eternity. There is nothing un-Pauline in this method of argumentation.

If eschatology occupies a larger place in this and in the following Epistle than in the other later Epistles of St. Paul, it is simply because there was a need for it in the Thessalonian Church which did not exist to the same degree elsewhere, or that, since his hearers and readers so grossly misunderstood him in these Epistles, he thought it best to say less about it in later times. The Apostle always adapted his letters to the needs and conditions of the particular Church to which he was writing and to the requirements of circumstances. These difficulties, therefore, are purely subjective and worthless; and they are rightly disregarded by modern scholarship.

(b) 2 Thessalonians. The external evidence in favor of the authenticity of this letter is even stronger than that in support of the first one. The testimony of the MSS. and of the versions is the same, but the early Fathers and apologetic writers are clearer and more explicit in regard to this Epistle. The internal evidence here is also very strong; so strong, indeed, that such critics as Harnack and Julicher have admitted the letter to be Paul’s on purely internal grounds. Thus, the contents of the Epistle is closely linked with 1 Thess; the vocabulary, style, and structure are remarkably similar; the transitions, outbursts of prayer, and other characteristics are unmistakably Pauline. In fact, the similarity between these two Epistles is so marked that certain critics, like Holtzmann, Weizacher, Schmiedel, and others have denied the genuineness of 2 Thess, for that very reason, maintaining that it is the work of some clever forger of the second century. But, as there is no other support for such an opinion, it can be simply set aside as unwarranted.

The greatest objection to the authenticity of this letter is based on the difference in its teaching regarding the Parousia. The objectors tell us that the two Epistles are in contradiction on this question—that 1 Thess. teaches the imminence of the Parousia, whereas 2 Thess. makes it far removed. To this we reply, in the first place, that St. Paul had no definite revelation regarding the time of the Second Coming of the Lord, and hence did not and could not teach anything definite about it. In the second place, there is no contradiction in what he has to say on the subject in the two Epistles: he merely makes clearer in the second letter what was misunderstood in the first.

Another difficulty is that 2 Thess. is more Jewish than 1 Thess., and so must either be the product of a forger, or it was written first. Even if we grant the reason for this objection, it proves nothing more than that there were Jews at Thessalonica, which we admit, and that Paul had them more in mind in writing the second letter than when he wrote the first one ; perhaps they were causing more trouble. Harnack explains this difficulty by saying that 1 Thess. was directed more expressly to the Gentile section and 2 Thess. to the Jewish group in the Thessalonian Church. But it seems hardly necessary to say so much; for, on the one hand, the Jewish element in 2 Thess. is only slightly more pronounced than in 1 Thess., and we know, on the other hand, that the Thessalonian Church was predominantly Gentile from the beginning.

We conclude, therefore, by accepting the verdict of all the best modern scholars that the authenticity of these two Epistles to the Thessalonians can be admitted without hesitation. They stand among the best attested letters of St. Paul. And this we can hold in spite of the fact that in certain notable respects these Epistles are the least Pauline of all the letters that have come to us from the great Apostle. For here we search in vain for such characteristic Pauline doctrines as justification by faith, the propitiatory death of Christ, the abrogation of the Law by grace, the relation of the Law to grace, and the like. Personal and historical elements abound in these letters, especially in 1 Thess., as we shall see from the following analysis.

6. Division of Contents, (a) 1 Thessalonians. Besides a salutation (1 Thess 1:1) and a conclusion (1 Thess 5:25-28), we may divide this Epistle into two main parts, one personal and historical (1 Thess 1:2-3:13), and the other hortatory and doctrinal (1 Thess 4:1—5:24).

A. The salutation here (1 Thess 1:1) is unusually familiar and friendly, omitting all titles and references to controversy. The Apostle and his companions are addressing friends.

B. In the personal and historical section (1 Thess 1:2—3:13) the writers first give thanks for the good condition of the Church in Thessalonica (1 Thess 1:2-10), and then in a general way defend the character of their ministry in Thessalonica against certain charges that have been circulated to their discredit (1 Thess 2:1-12). After that follow renewed thanks for the success of their preaching among the Thessalonians, who have withstood persecution as boldly as did the Christians of Judea (1 Thess 2:13-16). Having been obliged to leave their new converts, the Apostles would have gladly returned to them, had that been possible (1 Thess 2:17-20) ; and in their anxiety they did send Timothy, who, on his return, brought most consoling news (1 Thess 3:1-10). The Apostles, therefore, pray that God may soon grant them a visit to the Thessalonians, and that in the meantime the faithful there may increase in spiritual perfection (1 Thess 3:11-13).

C. In the hortatory and doctrinal part (1 Thess 4:1-5:24) the Apostles warn the faithful against all forms of impurity, and exhort them to brotherly love and to an active, industrious life which will secure them independence and respect (1 Thess 4:1-11). They need not worry about their friends who have died before the Coming of the Lord, for all good Christians are united with their Risen Saviour, and those who have died first will meet Him ahead of those who are alive when He comes (1 Thess 4:12-17). The time of the Parousia is uncertain, and so it behooves all to hold themselves ready (1 Thess 5:1-11). Let all, subjects and superiors, be faithful in the fulfillment of their respective duties (1 Thess 5:12-15). Finally, some various injunctions regarding joy, prayer, and other spiritual matters, with a special prayer for the Thessalonians, terminate this part of the Epistle (1 Thess 5:16-24).

D. The conclusion contains a request for prayers, a final salutation, a special recommendation, and a benediction (1 Thess 5:25-28).

(b) 2 Thessalonians. This Epistle has only three short Chapters, and these are so divided in our Bible as fitly to represent the thought.

A. Again the Apostle and his companions first salute the faithful of Thessalonica (2 Thess 1:1- 2). Then follow thanksgiving for the faith and love of the Thessalonians, and an assurance that God will reward them for their patient endurance of suffering and punish their persecutors in His own good time (2 Thess 1:3-10). The Apostles assure their converts that they are always praying for their spiritual progress and perfection (2 Thess 1:11-12).

B. The Second Chapter is doctrinal, and deals with the Parousia, which is the main subject of this letter. Let the faithful not be deceived into thinking that the Day of the Lord is at hand (2 Thess 2:1-2); for certain extraordinary signs must precede, and until these appear there is no reason for alarm (2 Thess 2:3-11). Meanwhile, let the Thessalonians continue steadfast in their faith and in the performance of good works (2 Thess 2:12-16).

C. The Third Chapter contains first a request for prayers, and an expression of confidence in the spiritual progress of the Thessalonians (2 Thess 3:1-5). Then the Apostles warn the brethren against certain disorderly members who were indulging in idleness; and they support their censure by appealing to their own contrary conduct of laboring for their living while preaching the Gospel in Thessalonica (2 Thess 3:6-12). Let the brethren, therefore, continue in welldoing, and endeavor to correct the disorderly (2 Thess 3:13-15).

D. The Epistle closes with good wishes, a final salutation written by Paul with his own hand, and a blessing (2 Thess 3:16-18).

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Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on 2 Thessalonians 2:16-3:5

Posted by Dim Bulb on October 10, 2016

To help provide context this post includes Fr. MacEvilly’s brief summaries of chapters 2 & 3. Text in purple indicates his interpretive paraphrasing of the scripture he is commenting on.

SUMMARY ANALYSIS OF 2 THESSALONIANS CHAPTERS TWO AND THREE

Chapter 2: 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).

Chapter 3: The Apostle had been informed that, notwithstanding his instructions, when at Thessalonica, and his injunctions conveyed in his former Epistle, some able-bodied men among the Thessalonians continued to go about, begging, when they might procure means of support by manual labour; indulging in idle curiosity, prying into the concerns of others and neglecting their own, to the great disedification and estrangement of the unbelievers. Hence, in this chapter, after recommending himself to their prayers (1, 2); and promising them the aid of the Almighty (3); and praying to God in turn for them (4, 5); he repeats his former injunctions on this important subject, and conjures these disorderly men, in the most solemn manner, to devote themselves to a life of labour.

He quotes himself as an example in this matter, and refers to the laborious life which he led amongst them; but should any person, after this admonition, continue refractory, he enjoins on the rulers of the Church to separate such a one from the society of the faithful. He tells them that severity should, however, be blended with tenderness and brotherly compassion (6–15). He concludes, by wishing them the abundance of peace and grace.

2 Th 2:16 Exhort your hearts and confirm you in every good work and word. ‎

May he, I say, increase your consolation and strengthen your hearts (amidst the persecutions you endure), and confirm you in the belief of sound doctrine, and in the practice of all sort of good works.

May he “exhort your hearts.” The Greek word for “exhort” (ταρακαλέσαι), means also to console. Hence, it means, may he increase in your hearts that “eternal consolation,” which in the preceding verse he says, has been already imparted to them.

“In every good work and word.” The order is inverted in the common Greek, which runs thus: The Codex Vaticanus has the order of the Vulgate.

2 Th 3:1 FOR the rest, brethren, pray for us that the word of God may run and may be glorified, even as among you:

For the rest, brethren, pray for us (ministers of the Gospel), that the word of God, the true doctrine of Christ, may be successfully propagated by our ministry, and may be received with reverence and honour elsewhere, as it has been with you.

“For the rest.” A form of transition from one subject to another, usual with the Apostle.

‎2 Th 3:2 And that we may be delivered from importunate and evil men: for all men have not faith.

Pray, therefore, that we may be delivered from the annoyance caused us by importunate and wicked men, who everywhere oppose us, and resist the progress of the Gospel; and no wonder, for all men to whom the Gospel is preached, do not believe; or, all who profess the faith, do not in reality believe.

“Importunate.” The Greek word, τῶν ἀτοπων, unsteady; remaining in no one place. He probably alludes to the Jews, his chief adversaries, who persecuted him from place to place, and everywhere excited commotions against him. Others understand him to refer to the Judaizantes and false Christians, by whom the name of Christ was brought into disrepute.

“For all men have not faith.” If we understand the word “importunate,” of the obstinate and unbelieving Jews; then, these words mean, all to whom the Gospel is preached, do not believe: if, of bad Christians, then, they mean, all who profess the faith externally, have not faith in reality.—(Vide Paraphrase).

2 Th ‎3:3 But God is faithful, who will strengthen and keep you from evil. ‎

(Still, notwithstanding the many domestic and foreign enemies whom the faith has to encounter, you should not be afraid), for God is faithful to his engagements, and will confirm you in the faith, and deliver you from the power of the wicked adversary (Satan).

“God is faithful.” In Greeks, the Lord is faithful. God will perfect what he began in those whom he has elected to salvation: hence, as each one should hope, that God has predestined him, so ought he trust that God will strengthen him in faith, guard him from the wiles, and protect him from the power of Satan, the evil one, by nature.

2 Th 3:4 And we have confidence concerning you in the Lord that the things which we command, you both do and will do. ‎

But we have the greatest hopes regarding you, and we trust, that aided by God’s grace and succour, you fulfil, and will continue to fulfil, the precepts which we have given you.

But, nevertheless, all does not rest with God, human co-operation is required; hence, we should not grow idle or apathetic, in reference to our salvation. “You do,” shows that their co-operation is required; and “will do,” shows that they must co-operate perseveringly, to the end of life. “In the Lord,” i.e., by the aid of God’s grace and succour, “we command.” In Greek, command you.

2 Th 3:5 And the Lord direct your hearts, in the charity of God and the patience of Christ.

But may the Lord direct your hearts unto the love of God, and the patient expectation of Christ’s coming.

He again recurs to God, the source of all justice and the author of our salvation; and he prays him to grant them, to arrive straightway at salvation, by observing God’s precepts, which is the test of the “love of God,” and by patiently enduring the evils of this life, after the example of Christ. “Patience of Christ,” probably means the patient expectation of Christ’s coming to remunerate us. In this, however, patient suffering of evils is implied; so that the meaning is the same, whether we make it the patience of Christ in enduring suffering, or the patient expectation, &c. (as in Paraphrase), “in the charity of God.” In Greek, unto the charity, &c.

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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.

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St John Chrysostom’s Homiletic Commentary on 2 Thessalonians 1:1-12

Posted by Dim Bulb on August 26, 2012

The following post contains St John Chrysostom’s Second Homily on 2 Thessalonians 1:1-8 in it’s entirety. It also contains an excerpt from his third homily, encompassing 2 Thessalonians 1:9-12.

CHRYSOSTOM’S SECOND HOMILY ON ST PAUL’S SECOND LETTER TO THE THESSALONIANS
(On 2 Thess 1:1-8)

2 Th 1:1  Paul and Sylvanus and Timothy, to the church of the Thessalonians. In God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ,
2 Th 1:2  Grace unto you: and peace from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

The greater part of men do and devise all things with a view to ingratiate themselves with rulers, and with those who are greater than themselves; and they account it a great thing, and think themselves happy, if they can obtain that object. But if to obtain favor with men is so great an advantage, how great must it be to find favor with God? On this account he always thus prefaces his Epistle, and invokes this upon them, knowing that if this be granted, there will be nothing afterwards grievous, but whatever troubles there may be, all will be done away. And that you may learn this, Joseph was a slave a young man, inexperienced, unformed, and suddenly the direction of a house was committed to his hands, and he had to render an account to an Egyptian master. And you know how prone to anger and unforgiving that people is, and when authority and power is added, their rage is greater, being inflamed by power. And this too is manifest from what he did afterwards. For when the mistress made accusation, he bore with it. And yet it was not the part of those who held the garment, but of him who was stripped, to have suffered violence. For he ought to have said, If he had heard that thou didst raise thy voice, as thou sayest, he would have fled, and if he had been guilty, he would not have waited for the coming of his master. But nevertheless he took nothing of this sort into consideration, but unreasonably giving way altogether to anger, he cast him into prison. So thoughtless a person was he. And yet even from other things he might have conjectured the good disposition and the intelligence of the man. But nevertheless, because he was very unreasonable, he never considered any such thing. He therefore who had to do with such a harsh master, and who was intrusted with the administration of his whole house, being a stranger, and solitary, and inexperienced; when God shed abundant grace upon him, passed through all, as if his temptations had not even existed, both the false accusation of his mistress, and the danger of death, and the prison, and at last came to the royal throne.

This blessed man therefore saw how great is the grace of God, and on this account he invokes it upon them. And another thing also he effects, wishing to render them well-disposed to the remaining part of the Epistle; that, though he should reprove and rebuke them, they might not break away from him. For this reason he reminds them before all things of the grace of God, mollifying their hearts, that, even if there be affliction, being reminded of the grace by which they were saved from the greater evil, they may not despair at the less, but may thence derive consolation. As also elsewhere in an Epistle he has said, “For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son: much more, being reconciled, shall we be saved by his life” (Rom 5:10).

“Grace unto you and peace,” he says, “from God the Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.”

2 Th 1:3  We are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren, as it is fitting, because your faith groweth exceedingly and the charity of every one of you towards each other aboundeth.

“ We are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren,” he says, “as it is fitting.”  Again a sign of great humility. For he led them to reflect and consider, that if for our good actions others do not admire us first, but God, much more also ought we. And in other respects too he raises up their spirits, because they suffer such things as are not worthy of tears and lamentations, but of thanksgiving to God. But if Paul is thankful for the good of others, what will they suffer, who not only are not thankful, but even pine at it.

2:3 cont. “because your faith groweth exceedingly and the charity of every one of you towards each other aboundeth.”

And how, you say, can faith groweth?That is when we suffer something dreadful for it. It is a great thing for it to be established, and not to be carried away by reasonings. But when the winds assail us, when the rains burst upon us, when a violent storm is raised on every side, and the waves succeed each other—then that we are not shaken, is a proof of no less than this, that it grows, and grows exceedingly, and becomes loftier. For as in the case of the flood all the stony and lower parts are soon hidden, but as many things as are above, it reaches not them, so also the faith that is become lofty, is not drawn downwards. For this reason he does not say “your faith groweth;” but “groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you towards each other aboundeth.” Seest thou how this contributes for the ease of affliction, to be in close guard together, and to adhere to one another? From this also arose much consolation. The love and faith, therefore, that is weak, afflictions shake, but that which is strong they render stronger. For a soul that is in grief, when it is weak, can add nothing to itself; but that which is strong doth it then most. And observe their love. They did not love one indeed, and not love another, but it was equal on the part of all. For this he has intimated, by saying, “of every one of you toward each other.” For it was equally poised, as that of one body. Since even now we find love existing among many, but this love becoming the cause of division. For when we are knit together in parties of two or three, and the two indeed, or three or four, are closely bound to one another, but draw themselves off from the rest, because they can have recourse to these, and in all things confide in these; this is the division of love—not love. For tell me, if the eye should bestow upon the hand the foresight which it has for the whole body, and withdrawing itself from the other members, should attend to that alone, would it not injure the whole? Assuredly. So also if we confine to one or two the love which ought to be extended to the whole Church of God, we injure both ourselves and them, and the whole. For these things are not of love, but of division; schisms, and distracting rents. Since even if I separate and take a member from the whole man, the part separated indeed is united in itself, is continuous, all compacted together, yet even so it is a separation, since it is not united to the rest of the body.

For what advantage is it, that thou lovest a certain person exceedingly? It is a human love. But if it is not a human love, but thou lovest for God’s sake, then love all. For so God hath commanded to love even our enemies. And if He hath commanded to love our enemies, how much more those who have never aggrieved us? But, sayest thou, I love, but not in that way. Rather, thou dost not love at all. For when thou accusest, when thou enviest, when thou layest snares, how dost thou love? “But,” sayest thou, “I do none of these things.” But when a man is ill spoken of, and thou dost not shut the mouth of the speaker, dost not disbelieve his sayings, dost not check him, of what love is this the sign? “And the charity,” he says, “of every one of you all toward one another aboundeth.”

2 Th 1:4  So that we ourselves also glory in you in the churches of God, for your patience and faith, and in all your persecutions and tribulations: which you endure

“So that we ourselves also glory in you in the churches of God.” Indeed in the first Epistle he says, that all the Churches of Macedonia and Achaia resounded, having heard of their faith. “So that we need not,” he says, “to speak anything. For they themselves relate to us what manner of entering in we had unto you.” (1Th 1:8-9) But here he says, “so that we glory.” What then is it that is said? There he says that they need not instruction from him, but here he has not said that we teach them, but “we glory,” and are proud of you. If therefore we both give thanks to God for you, and glory among men, much more ought you to do so for your own good deeds. For if your good actions are worthy of boasting from others, how are they worthy of lamentation from you? It is impossible to say. “

So that we ourselves,” he says, “glory in you in the Churches of God, for your patience and faith.”  Here he shows that much time had elapsed. For patience is shown by much time, not in two or three days. And he does not merely say patience. It is the part of patience indeed properly not yet to enjoy the promised blessings. But here he speaks of a greater patience. And of what sort is that? That which is shown in persecutions. “For your patience,” he says, “and faith, and in all your persecutions and tribulations which you endure.” For they were living with enemies who were continually endeavoring on every side to injure them, and they were manifesting a patience firm and immovable. Let all those blush who for the sake of the patronage of men pass over to other doctrines. For whilst it was yet the beginning of the preaching, poor men who lived by their daily earnings took upon themselves enmities from rulers and the first men of the state, when there was nowhere king or governor who was a believer; and submitted to irreconcilable war, and not even so were unsettled.

2 Th 1:5  For an example of the just judgment of God, that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which also you suffer.

“For an example of the just judgment of God.” See how he gathers comfort for them. He had said, We give thanks to God, he had said, We glory among men: these things indeed are honorable. But that which he most seeks for, who is in suffering, is, deliverance from evils, and vengeance upon those who are evil entreating them. For when the soul is weak, it most seeks for these things, for the philosophic soul does not even seek these things. Why then does he say, “an example of the just Judgment of God”? Here he has glanced at the retribution on either side, both of those who do the ill, and of those who suffer it, as if he had said, that the justice of God may be shown when He crowns you indeed, but punishes them. At the same time also he comforts them, showing that from their own labors and toils they are crowned, and according to the proportion of righteousness. But he puts their part first. For although a person even vehemently desires revenge, yet he first longs for reward.

For this reason he says, “that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which also you suffer.”  This then does not come to pass from the circumstance that those who injure them are more powerful than they, but because it is so that they must enter into the kingdom. “For through many tribulations,” he says, “we must enter into the kingdom of God.” (Acts 14:22)

2 Th 1:6  Seeing it is a just thing with God to repay tribulation to them that trouble you:
2 Th 1:7  And to you who are troubled, rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with the angels of his power:

The phrase “seeing it i a just thing” here is put for “because,” which we also use, in speaking of things that are quite evident and not to be denied; instead of saying, “Because it is exceedingly righteous.” “If so be,” he says, “seeing it is a just thing” with God to punish these, he will certainly punish them. As if he had said, “If God cares for human affairs,” “If God takes thought.” And he does not put it of his own opinion, but among things confessedly true; as if one said, “If God hates the wicked,” that he may compel them to grant that He does hate them. For such sentences are above all indisputable, inasmuch as they also themselves know that it is just. For if this is just with men, much more with God.

“To repay,” he writes,  “tribulation to them that trouble you, and to you who are troubled, rest with us.” What then? Is the retribution equal? By no means, but see by what follows how he shows that it is more severe, and the “rest” much greater. Behold also another consolation, in that they have their partners in the afflictions, as partners also in the retribution. He joins them in their crowns with those who had performed infinitely more and greater works. Then he adds also the period, and by the description leads their minds upward, all but opening heaven already by his word, and setting it before their eyes; and he places around Him the angelic host, both from the place and from the attendants amplifying the image, so that they may be refreshed a little. “And to you who are troubled, rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with the angels of his power.”

2 Th 1:8  In a flame of fire, giving vengeance to them who know not God and who obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

If they that have not obeyed the Gospel suffer vengeance, what will not they suffer who besides their disobedience also afflict you? And see his intelligence; he says not here those who afflict you, but those “who obey not.” So that although not on your account, yet on His own it is necessary to punish them. This then is said in order to full assurance, that it is altogether necessary for them to be punished: but what was said before, was said that they also might be honored, because they suffer these things on your account. The one causes them to believe concerning the punishment; the other to be pleased, because for the sake of what has been done to them they suffer these things.

All this was said to them, but it applies also to us. When therefore we are in affliction, let us consider these things. Let us not rejoice at the punishment of others as being avenged, but as ourselves escaping from such punishment and vengeance. For what advantage is it to us when others are punished? Let us not, I beseech you, have such souls. Let us be invited to virtue by the prospect of the kingdom. For he indeed who is exceedingly virtuous is induced neither by fear nor by the prospect of the kingdom, but for Christ’s sake alone, as was the case with Paul. Let us, however, even thus consider the blessings of the kingdom, the miseries of hell, and thus regulate and school ourselves; let us in this way bring ourselves to the things that are to be practiced. When you see anything good and great in the present life, think of the kingdom, and you will consider it as nothing. When you see anything terrible, think of hell, and you will deride it. When you are possessed by carnal desire, think of the fire, think also of the pleasure of sin itself, that it is worth nothing, that it has not even pleasure in it. For if the fear of the laws that are enacted here has so great power as to withdraw us from wicked actions, how much more should the remembrance of things future, the vengeance that is immortal, the punishment that is everlasting? If the fear of an earthly king withdraws us from so many evils, how much more the fear of the King Eternal?

Whence then can we constantly have this fear? If we continually hearken to the Scriptures. For if the sight only of a dead body so depresses the mind, how much more must hell and the fire unquenchable, how much more the worm that never dieth. If we always think of hell, we shall not soon fall into it. For this reason God has threatened punishment; if it was not attended with great advantage to think of it, God would not have threatened it. But because the remembrance of it is able to work great good, for this reason He has put into our souls the terror of it, as a wholesome medicine. Let us not then overlook the great advantage arising from it, but let us continually advert to it, at our dinners, at our suppers. For conversation about pleasant things profits the soul nothing, but renders it more languid, while that about things painful and melancholy cuts off all that is relaxed and dissolute in it, and converts it, and braces it when unnerved. He who converses of theaters and actors does not benefit the soul, but inflames it more, and renders it more careless. He who concerns himself and is busy in other men’s matters, often even involves it in dangers by this curiosity. But he who converses about hell incurs no dangers, and renders it more sober.

But dost thou fear the offensiveness of such words? Hast thou then, if thou art silent, extinguished hell? or if thou speakest of it, hast thou kindled it? Whether thou speakest of it or not, the fire boils forth. Let it be continually spoken of, that thou mayest never fall into it. It is not possible that a soul anxious about hell should readily sin. For hear the most excellent advice, “Remember,” it says, “thy last things” (Sirach 28:6), and thou wilt not sin for ever. A soul that is fearful of giving account cannot but be slow to transgression. For fear being vigorous in the soul does not permit anything worldly to exist in it. For if discourse raised concerning hell so humbles and brings it low, does not the reflection constantly dwelling upon the soul purify it more than any fire?

Let us not remember the kingdom so much as hell. For fear has more power than the promise. And I know that many would despise ten thousand blessings, if they were rid of the punishment, inasmuch as it is even now sufficient for me to escape vengeance, and not to be punished. No one of those who have hell before their eyes will fall into hell. No one of those who despise hell will escape hell. For as among us those who fear the judgment-seats will not be apprehended by them, but those who despise them are chiefly those who fall under them, so it is also in this case. If the Ninevites had not feared destruction, they would have been overthrown, but because they feared, they were not overthrown. If in the time of Noah they had feared the deluge, they would not have been drowned. And if the Sodomites had feared they would not have been consumed by fire. It is a great evil to despise a threat. He who despises threatening will soon experience its reality in the execution of it. Nothing is so profitable as to converse concerning hell. It renders our souls purer than any silver. For hear the prophet saying, “Thy judgments are always before me.” (Psalm 17:22, Septuagint). For although it pains the hearer, it benefits him very much.

For such indeed are all things that profit. For medicines too, and food, at first annoy the sick, and then do him good. And if we cannot bear the severity of words, it is manifest that we shall not be able to bear affliction in very deed. If no one endures a discourse concerning hell, it is evident, that if persecution came on, no one would ever stand firm against fire, against sword. Let us exercise our ears not to be over soft and tender: for from this we shall come to endure even the things themselves. If we be habituated to hear of dreadful things, we shall be habituated also to endure dreadful things. But if we be so relaxed as not to endure even words, when shall we stand against things? Do you see how the blessed Paul despises all things here, and dangers one after another, as not even temptations? Wherefore? Because he had been in the practice of despising hell, for the sake of what was God’s will. He thought even the experience of hell to be nothing for the sake of the love of Christ; while we do not even endure a discourse concerning it for our own advantage. Now therefore having heard a little, go your ways; but I beseech you if there is any love in you, constantly to revert to discourses concerning these things. They can do you no harm, even if they should not benefit, but assuredly they will benefit you too. For according to our discourses, the soul is qualified. For evil communications, he says, “corrupt good manners.” Therefore also good communications improve it; therefore also fearful discourses make it sober. For the soul is a sort of wax. For if you apply cold discourses, you harden and make it callous; but if fiery ones, you melt it; and having melted it, you form it to what you will, and engrave the royal image upon it. Let us therefore stop up our ears to discourses that are vain. It is no little evil; for from it arise all evils.

If our mind had been practiced to apply to divine discourses, it would not apply to others; and not applying to others, neither would it betake itself to evil actions. For words are the road to works. First we think, then we speak, then we act. Many men, even when before sober, have often from disgraceful words gone on to disgraceful actions. For our soul is neither good nor evil by nature, but becomes both the one and the other from choice. As therefore the sail carries the ship wherever the wind may blow, or rather as the rudder moves the ship, if the wind be favorable, so also thought will sail without danger, if good words from a favorable quarter waft it. But if the contrary, often they will even overwhelm the reason. For what winds are to ships, that discourses are to souls. Wherever you will, you may move and turn it. For this reason one exhorting says, “Let thy whole discourse be in the law of the Most High.” (see Sirach 9:15) Wherefore, I exhort you, when we receive children from the nurse, let us not accustom them to old wives’ stories, but let them learn from their first youth that there is a Judgment, that there is a punishment; let it be infixed in their minds. This fear being rooted in them produces great good effects. For a soul that has learnt from its first youth to be subdued by this expectation, will not soon shake off this fear. But like a horse obedient to the bridle, having the thought of hell seated upon it, walking orderly, it will both speak and utter things profitable; and neither youth nor riches, nor an orphan state, nor any other thing, Will be able to injure it, having its reason so firm and able to hold out against everything.

By these discourses let us regulate as well ourselves as our wives too, our servants, our children, our friends, and, if possible, our enemies. For with these discourses we are able to cut off the greater part of our sins, and it is better to dwell upon things grievous than upon things agreeable, and it is manifest from hence. For, tell me, if you should go into a house where a marriage is celebrated, for a season you are delighted at the spectacle, but afterwards having gone away, you pine with grief that you have not so much. But if you enter the house of mourners, even though they are very rich, when you go away you will be rather refreshed. For there you have not conceived envy, but comfort and consolation in your poverty. You have seen by facts, that riches are no good, poverty no evil, but they are things indifferent. So also now, if you talk about luxury, you the more vex your soul, that is not able perhaps to be luxurious. But if you are speaking against luxury, and introduce discourse concerning hell, the thing will cheer you, and beget much pleasure. For when you consider that luxury will not be able to defend us at all against that fire, you will not seek after it; but if you reflect that it is wont to kindle it even more, you will not only not seek, but will turn from it and reject it.

Let us not avoid discourses concerning hell, that we may avoid hell. Let us not banish the remembrance of punishment, that we may escape punishment. If the rich man had reflected upon that fire, he would not have sinned; but because he never was mindful of it, therefore he fell into it. Tell me, O man, being about to stand before the Judgment-seat of Christ, dost thou speak of all things rather than of that? And When you have a matter before a judge, often only relating to words, neither day nor night, at no time or season dost thou talk of anything else, but always of that business, and when thou art about to give an account of thy whole life, and to submit to a trial, canst thou not bear even with others reminding thee of that Judgment? For this reason therefore all things are ruined and undone, because when we are about to stand before a human tribunal concerning matters of this life, we move everything, we solicit all men, we are constantly anxious about it, we do everything for the sake of it: but when we are about, after no long time, to come before the Judgment-seat of Christ, we do nothing either by ourselves, or by others; we do not entreat the Judge. And yet He grants to us a long season of forbearance, and does not snatch us away in the midst of our sins, but permits us to put them off, and that Goodness and Lovingkindness leaves nothing undone of all that belongs to Himself. But all is of no avail; on this account the punishment will be the heavier. But God forbid it should be so! Wherefore, I beseech you, let us even if but now become watchful. Let us keep hell before our eyes. Let us consider that inexorable Account, that, thinking of those things, we may both avoid vice, and choose virtue, and may be able to obtain the blessings promised to those who love Him, by the grace and lovingkindness, &c.

AN EXCERPT FROM CHRYSOSTOM’S THIRD HOMILY ON ST PAUL’S SECOND LETTER TO THE THESSALONIANS
(On 2 Thess 1:9-12)

2 Th 1:9  Who shall suffer eternal punishment in destruction, from the face of the Lord and from the glory of his power:

There are many men, who form good hopes not by abstaining from their sins, but by thinking that hell is not so terrible as it is said to be, but milder than what is threatened, and temporary, not eternal; and about this they philosophize much. But I could show from many reasons, and conclude from the very expressions concerning hell, that it is not only not milder, but much more terrible than is threatened. But I do not now intend to discourse concerning these things. For the fear even from bare words is sufficient, though we do not fully unfold their meaning. But that it is not temporary, hear Paul now saying, concerning those who know not God, and who do not believe in the Gospel, that they “shall suffer eternal punishment in destruction.” How then is that temporary which is everlasting? “From the face of the Lord,” he says. What is this? He here wishes to say how easily it might be. For since they were then much puffed up, there is no need, he says, of much trouble; it is enough that God comes and is seen, and all are involved in punishment deed will be Light, but to others vengeance.

2 Th 1:10  When he shall come to be glorified in his saints and to be made wonderful in all them who have believed; because our testimony was believed upon you in that day.

“And from the glory of his power,” he says, (at the end of verse 9), “when he shall come to be glorified in his saints and to be made wonderful in all them who have believed.”

Is God glorified? Yea, he says, in all the Saints. How? For when they that puff so greatly see those who were scourged by them, who were despised, who were derided, even those now near to Him, it is His glory, or rather it is their glory, both theirs and His; His indeed, because He did not forsake them; theirs, because they were thought worthy of so great honor. For as it is His riches, that there are faithful men, so also it is His glory that there are those who are to enjoy His blessings. It is the glory of Him that is good, to have those to whom He may impart His beneficence. “And to be made wonderful,” he says, “in all them that believed,” that is, “through them that believed.” See here again, “in” is used for “through.” For through them He is shown to be admirable, when He brings to so much splendor those who were pitiable and wretched, and who had suffered unnumbered ills, and had believed. His power is shown then; because although they seem to be deserted here, yet nevertheless they there enjoy great glory; then especially is shown all the glory and the power of God. How? “Because our testimony was believed upon you in that day.”

2 Th 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 also we pray always for you.” That is, when those are brought into public view, who have suffered unnumbered ills, deigned to make them apostatize from the faith, and yet have not yielded, but have believed, God is glorified. Then is shown the glory of these men also. “Call none blessed,” it says, “before his death.” (Sirach 11:28) On this account he says, in that day will be shown those who believed. “Wherefore also we pray,” he says, “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.”

“That God would make you,” he says, “worthy of his vocation”; for they were not called. Therefore he has added, “and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness .” Since he also who was clothed in filthy garments, was called, but did not abide in his calling, but for this reason was the more rejected. “Of his vocation,” namely that to the bride-chamber. Since the five virgins also were called. “Behold” it says, “the bridegroom cometh.” (see Matt 25:6) And they prepared themselves, but did not enter in. But he speaks of that other calling. Showing therefore what calling he is speaking of, he has added, “and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness and the work of faith in power.” This is the calling, he says, that we seek. See how gently he takes them down. For that they may not be rendered vain by the excess of commendation, as if they had done great deeds, and may not become slothful, he shows that something still is wanting to them, so long as they are in this life. Which also he said in his Epistle to the Hebrews. “For you have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.” (Heb 12:4) “And fulfill all the good pleasure,” he says, that is, His gratification, persuasion, full assurance. That is, that the persuasion of God may be fulfilled, that nothing may be wanting to you, that you may be so, as He wills. And every “work of faith,” he says, “with power.” What is this? The patient endurance of persecutions, that we may not faint, he says.

2 Th 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.

(He spoke there of glory, he speaks of it also here. He said, that they are glorified, so that they might even boast. He said, what was much more, that they also glorify God. He said, that they will receive that glory. But here too he means; For the Master being glorified, the servants also are glorified. For those who glorify their Master, are much more glorified themselves, both by that very thing, and apart from it. For tribulation for the sake of Christ is glory, and that thing he everywhere calls glory. And by how much the more we suffer anything dishonorable, so much the more illustrious we become. Then again showing that this also itself is of God, he says, “according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ ”; that is, this grace He Himself has given us, that He may be glorified in us, and that He may glorify us in Him. How is He glorified in us? Because we prefer nothing before Him. How are we glorified in Him? Because we have received power from Him, so that we do not at all yield to the evils that are brought upon us. For when temptation happens, at the same time God is glorified, and we too. For they glorify Him, because He has so nerved us; they admire us, because we have rendered ourselves worthy. And all these things are done by the grace of God.

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Father Callan’s Commentary on 2 Thessalonians 3:6-10, 16-18

Posted by Dim Bulb on August 23, 2012

To help provide context this post opens with Father Callan’s Summary of 2 Thess 3:6-15 and 2 Thess 3:16-18, followed by his notes on the reading. Text in red are my additions.

CORRECTION FOR DISORDERLY MEMBERS, AND EXHORTATION
TO THE LOYAL

A Summary of 2 Thess 3:6-15~Idleness at Thessalonica on the part of many who were looking for the early arrival of the Parousia had become worse since the reception of 1 Thess. These disturbers are now more sternly rebuked by the Apostles, with an appeal to their own example, who worked for their own living while preaching the Gospel (ver. 6-12). After rebuking the disorderly and troublesome, the Apostles address the good members, encouraging them to perseverance in works of faith and asking them to avoid the disobedient (ver. 13-15).

CONCLUSION OF THE LETTER

A Summary of 2 Thess 3:16-18~In closing his letter St. Paul wishes peace and the divine presence to all the faithful at Thessalonica; he salutes them in his own handwriting, as a sign of the genuineness of this Epistle, and embraces all in a final blessing.

6. And we charge you, brethren, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw yourselves from every brother walking disorderly, and not according to the tradition which they received of us.

We charge you, brethren, etc. Speaking in the name and with the authority of our Lord, the Apostles now command the Thessalonians to avoid all those whose moral conduct (2 Thess 3:11) is not according to the written and oral teaching which the Thessalonian Church has received. They therefore issue a species of excommunication against those idle and disturbing members of the Church, who, on pretext of the imminence of the Parousia, have given up their regular pursuits and are living on the charity of their neighbors. These directions, however, are to be executed in charity and for the spiritual benefit of the offenders (2 Thess 3:14-15).

The tradition, etc. See above, on 2:14. Here is what Father Callan wrote on that passage:

Therefore, brethren, stand fast; and hold the traditions which you have learned, whether by word, or by our epistle.

Therefore, brethren, etc., i.e., since you are called to so great a destiny.

Stand fast in the faith and practice of your religion.

And hold the traditions, i.e., the instructions, the dogmatic and moral teachings, which we have given you, “whether by word” of mouth, “or by our epistle,” i.e., 1 Thess. In these last words we have a plain case against the teachings of Protestantism, that Scripture is the only source of divine revelation, to the exclusion of what has been passed down by word of mouth or tradition. On this passage St. Chrysostom says: “From this it is clear that the Apostles did not give everything through Epistles, but many things also not in writings; and these also worthy of faith. Wherefore, we also regard the tradition of the Church as worthy of faith. It is tradition, seek nothing further.“

They received. This is the older reading; but some authorities prefer another good reading, “you received.” There is little support for “he received,” as in the Authorized Version. For a more real excommunication, see 1 Cor 5:5; 1 Tim 1:20.

7. For yourselves know how you ought to imitate us, for we were not disorderly among you;

In verses 7-9 the Apostles appeal to their own conduct and example while at Thessalonica as a model which the faithful should imitate.

Disorderly means idle, living on other people, as explained in the following verse.

8. Neither did we eat any man’s bread for nothing, but in labor and in toil we worked night and day, lest we should be chargeable to any of you:

Eat any man’s bread is a Hebraism meaning “to partake of food,” “to feast,” “to live on.” In order not to be any burden to the faithful the Apostle and his comrades worked day and night to make their own living. Cf. 1 Cor 9:15 ff.; 2 Cor 11:7 ff.; 1 Thess 2:9 ff.

9. Not as if we had not power, but that we might give ourselves a pattern unto you to imitate us.

It was not that the Apostles had not the right to demand temporal support for their spiritual services, but that they might give the faithful an example of self-denial in things legitimate for the sake of the Gospel.

10. For also when we were with you this we declared to you: that, if any man will not work, neither let him eat.

These things St. Paul and his companions had inculcated, not only by example, but also by their express teachings while at Thessalonica.

That, if any man will not work, etc. This was probably a proverbial expression, based on the rule of Gen 3:19: “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, etc.” It is to be noted that the Apostle says “will not work,” and not “can not work”; for the sick and disabled have a right to charity and care by others. Mere idleness for the sake of pleasure is here condemned authoritatively.

16. Now the Lord of peace himself give you everlasting peace in every place. The Lord be with you all.

In view of the disturbance which has upset the Thessalonian Church, St. Paul now asks our Lord, the author of peace, to give the faithful there lasting peace of mind and soul.

In every place. This is also the reading of the Gothic version and of the MSS., A, D, F, G; but the majority of the best Greek MSS. and the Syriac and Coptic versions have: “In every way.”

The Lord be with you all, including the disorderly.

17. The salutation of Paul with my own hand; which is the sign in every epistle. So I write.

The salutation of Paul with my own hand. He means to say that he sends this greeting to them in his own handwriting, as a mark of the authenticity of the letter. It was the custom of the time to dictate letters to amanuenses, and this also seems to have been Paul’s uniform practice. But here he writes the greeting at the end so that there will be no danger of falsification on the part of anyone at Thessalonica, where a false letter, pretending to be from him, appears to have been in circulation (2 Thess 2:2). It is probable that St. Paul wrote with his own hand the whole letter to Philemon (ver. 19), and perhaps that to the Galatians also (Gal 6:11). Cf. Voste, h. I.

Which is the sign in every epistle. The reason for this precaution is probably to be found in the forged letter that was being circulated by misguided members of the Thessalonian Church, who claimed that it had come from Paul himself (cf. Introduction, No. III, b). See below.

So I write, i.e., this is my handwriting.

Here is what Fr. Callan wrote concerning the occasion of the Letter in his Introduction:

“Shortly after the receipt of the first letter to the Thessalonians word was brought St. Paul at Corinth, perhaps by the bearer of that Epistle, about the most recent conditions in Thessalonica and the eflfect in that city of the letter just received. Persecution had continued to rage more furious than ever, and yet faith and charity were increasing (2 Thess 1:3-5). But the Parousia was still a disturbing question, and in this respect the first letter seems to have made matters worse, instead of better. Some of the faithful had become so convinced of the imminence of the “Day of the Lord” that they had abandoned their daily duties, and had given themselves over to prayer and meditation, living on the charity and bounty of others. In their assemblies there were excitement and disorder, and there was danger that the whole Church would be thrown into confusion. These misguided members claimed the authority of St. Paul for their beliefs and teachings, and it seems there was in circulation a forged letter, purporting to be from the Apostle himself (2 Thess 2:2, 2 Thess 3:6-14). In view of these conditions, St. Paul, with Silas and Timothy, writes this second letter to the Church at Thessalonica to comfort and encourage the faithful there, to clear up misunderstandings regarding the Second Coming of the Lord, to strengthen discipline, and to recall the idle to their accustomed daily duties and labors.

18. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

The final benediction is the same as in 1 Thess. and in Rom 16:20, save that the word “all” is added here, so as not to appear to exclude the well-intentioned but disorderly members of the Thessalonian Church.

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Father Callan’s Commentary on 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3a, 14-17

Posted by Dim Bulb on August 23, 2012

To help provide context for today’s reading this post begins with Fr. Callan’s summaries of 2 Thess 2:1-12 and 2 Thess 2:13-17. His notes on the reading follow. The verse numbering of some translation differ from what is found here.

THE PAROUSIA IS NOT YET

A Summary of 2 Thess 2:-11~The faithful must not be disturbed about the Coming of the Lord, for certain signs, yet far off, must first precede that grand event. There must come first a great religious revolt, and then the man of sin. Antichrist, must appear, as was explained before in the Apostle’s preaching. This mystery of iniquity is already at work, but something holds back the full exercise of his power. He shall eventually be conquered by Christ coming in His glory, but he will first show great signs and wonders and seduce many.

THANKSGIVING, EXHORTATION AND PRAYER

A Summary of 2 Thess 2:13-17~St. Paul now turns away from the thought of the reprobate to think of the elect and the spiritual blessings of which they have been the willing objects, believing in the Gospel and consenting to the truth; and he says that for them who have been chosen by God and sanctified and ordained to eternal life, he and his companions ought always to give thanks to God (2 Thess 2:13-14). He exhorts his readers to steadfastness in what they have received from him, whether by preaching or by letter; and then offers a prayer that they may be comforted and strengthened in faith (2Thess 2:15-17).

1. And we beseech you, brethren, touching the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and of our gathering together unto him:

Touching the coming of our Lord, etc., i.e., on behalf of the Parousia, or Second Coming of Christ to judge the world.

And of our gathering together, etc. Better, “and of our being gathered together, etc.,” referring to the reunion of the living and the dead at the coming of our Lord at the end of the world (1 Thess 4:17, 1 Thess 5:10).

The Vulgate nostræ congregationis should read circa nostram
congregationem.

2. That you be not easily moved from your sense, nor be terrified, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by epistle, as by us, as if the day of the Lord were at hand.

The Apostle asks the Thessalonians that they be calm and peaceful, that they do not lose their “sense” (i.e., their prudent and sober judgment), nor be greatly disturbed, as if the Parousia were at hand.

By spirit, i.e., by any pretended revelation or prophesy attributed to the Holy Ghost.

Nor by word, i.e., any utterance or teaching based on a pretended revelation or prophesy, or on some utterance of the Apostle, misinterpreted or falsely attributed to him.

Nor by epistle, as by us (ως δι ημων), etc., i.e., any spurious letter circulated in the name of Paul, or false explanation of his first Epistle to the Thessalonians. Let none of these sources of error lead them to think the Second Advent is upon us.

The missam of the Vulgate is not expressed in the Greek.

3. Let no man deceive you by any means.

There is nothing in the writings of St. Paul more obscure and difficult of explanation than 2 Thess2:3-12 here. This is due partly to the eschatological events here described as going before the Parousia, about which the Apostle speaks nowhere else; partly to the fact that he assumes his readers to be thoroughly familiar from his oral teaching with the obscure points in discussion; and partly to the veiled terms in which those mysterious events are apparently of set purpose expressed. As a result, we cannot be too certain of the correctness of some of the expositions given.

The first warning is, “let no man deceive you,” i.e., lead you into the mistake of thinking the Parousia is present.

By any means, whether by any of the three ways mentioned in verse 2, or in any other way; and the reason for this is immediately given by adding, “for unless there come a revolt first,” i.e., a falling away from God (ἀποστασία
apostasia), etc. That “revolt” or apostasy here means a religious defection or falling away from God is the opinion of St. Thomas and all modern interpreters. It will be the first of the great events that shall precede the Parousia.

14. Whereunto also he called you by our gospel, unto the purchasing of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Whereunto, etc., i.e., to which faith and sanctification God called the Thessalonians in time, through the preaching of the Apostles, “unto the purchasing, etc.,” i.e., to the end that they might have a share in the eternal glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

15. Therefore, brethren, stand fast; and hold the traditions which you have learned, whether by word, or by our epistle.

Therefore, brethren, etc., i.e., since you are called to so great a destiny.

Stand fast in the faith and practice of your religion.

And hold the traditions, i.e., the instructions, the dogmatic and moral teachings, which we have given you, “whether by word” of mouth, “or by our epistle,” i.e., i Thess. In these last words we have a plain case against the teachings of Protestantism, that Scripture is the only source of divine revelation, to the exclusion of what has been passed down by word of mouth or tradition. On this passage St. Chrysostom says: “From this it is clear that the Apostles did not give everything through Epistles, but many things also not in writings; and these also worthy of faith. Wherefore, we also regard the tradition of the Church as worthy of faith. It is tradition, seek nothing further.”

16. Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God and our Father, who hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation, and good  hope in grace,
17. Exhort your hearts, and confirm you in every good work and word.

Since the Thessalonians could not of their own strength continue firm in their faith, St. Paul now prays God to give them the necessary grace.

Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, etc. Our Lord is here mentioned before the Father, as in 2 Cor 13:13 and Gal 1:1, because He is the way to the Father. On these words St. Chrysostom remarks: “Where now are those who say that the Son is less than the Father, because He is named after the Father in the grace of washing?” St. Paul heartens his readers by reminding them that our Lord and God the Father have loved them from all eternity, and have given them “everlasting consolation” in the midst of tribulations through the “good hope” they have of possessing one day the joys of heaven; and this divine love God has for them, as well as the hope He has given them, is “in grace,” i.e., is gratuitous, the result of pure mercy on His part. Therefore the Apostle prays that God would “exhort,” i.e., comfort their hearts in the midst of tribulations, “and confirm,” i.e., strengthen them in the pursuit of every good work. It is to be observed that the verbs “exhort” and “confirm” here are in the singular, following the mention of our Lord and God the Father, which shows that the action of our Lord is identical with that of the Father, and therefore that He is one with the Father in nature and substance.

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This Weeks Posts: Sunday Nov 7- Saturday Nov 13

Posted by Dim Bulb on November 13, 2010

Some posts are prepared in advanced and scheduled for publication; they will not be available until the time indicated. Posts without time indicators or which are labeled “Link” are already available.The phrase “More posts pending” means I hope to publish more on a given day than what is listed, however, it’s no guarantee that I will do so.

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Sunday, Nov 7
32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time.

Last Weeks Posts: Sunday Oct 31-Saturday Nov 6.

Resources For Sunday Mass, Nov 7. A weekly feature of this blog, the post focuses on the Scripture readings. The post for this coming Sunday’s Mass will become available on Wednesday the 10th.

Father Callan on 2 Thess 3:7-12 for Sunday Mass, Nov 14. Available 12:05 AM EST.

Bishop MacEvily on 2 Thess 3:7-12 for Sunday Mass, Nov 14. Available 12:10 AM EST.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Luke 21:5-19 for Sunday Mass, Nov 14. Available 12:15 AM EST.

MONDAY, NOV 8.

Readings. Link.

Father Callan’s Commentary on Today’s 1st Reading (Titus 1:1-9) Available 12:05 AM EST.

Pope John Paul II on Today’s Psalm (24). Originally posted for All Saints Day. This commentary/meditation was delivered as part of the Pontiff’s catechesis on the Psalms and Canticles used in the morning and evening prayers of the Divine Office.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel (Luke 17:1-6). Available 12:10 AM EST.

UPDATE: Bishop MacEvily on Today’s 1st Reading (Titus 1:1-9).

TUESDAY, NOV 9
Feast of the Dedication of the St John Lateran Basilica, Rome.

Readings. Link.

Father Callan on Today’s 2nd Reading (1 Cor 3:9c-11, 16-17). Available 12:05 AM EST.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel (John 2:13-22). Available 12:10 AM EST.

Father MacRory on Today’s Gospel (John 2:13-22). Available 12:15 AM EST.

My Ten Most Popular Posts.

WEDNESDAY, NOV 10
Memorial of St Leo the Great, Pope and Doctor of the Church.

Readings. Link.

Father Callan on Today’s 1st Reading (Titus 3:1-7). Available 12:05 AM EST.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel (Luke 17:11-19). Available 12:10 AM EST.

Augustine’s Homily on Today’s Gospel. Available 12:15 AM EST.

Aquinas’ Homily Notes on Luke 17:11-19.

Catholic Encyclopedia on Pope St Leo the Great. Link.

The Sermons of St Leo the Great. Link.

Letter of St Leo the Great. Link.

Excerpts from the Writings of St Leo the Great. Link. Contains a brief biography followed by links to numerous passages excerpted from his writings.

UPDATE: Bishop MacEvily on the Second Letter of John. Available 12:20 AM EST.

UPDATE: Change I Can’t Believe In. Link.

UPDATE: IG Report Shows Obama WH Rewrote Gulf Spill Report To Supposr Moratorium. Link. I guess if you’re going to increase the budget of the EPA 124% you need a justification and, apparently, in “the most open and honest administration in history” even a concocted one will do.

UPDATE: Happy Birthday to the US Marine Corp! link.

MORE POSTS PENDING?

THURSDAY NOV 11
Memorial of St Martin of Tours, Bishop.

Readings. Link.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel. Available 12:05 AM EST.

Father Callan on Today’s 1st Reading. This is actually his commentary on the entire short Epistle. Available 12:10 AM EST.

Pope John Paul II on Today’s Psalm. link.

Catholic Encyclopedia on St Martin of Tours. Link.

Some Interesting Things About St Martin. Link. Among other things, this post tells how his memorial is celebrated in various parts of the world.

Sulpicius Severus on St Martin of Tours. Link. This excerpt is taken from the Office of Readings for St Martin’s day.

MORE POSTS PENDING!

FRIDAY NOV 12
Memorial of St Josaphat, Bishop and Martyr.

Readings. Link.

Bishop MacEvily on Today’s 1st Reading (2 John 4-9). This is actually a post on the entire shore Epistle, it was originally posted on Wednesday.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel (Luke 17:26-37). Available 12:05 AM EST.

St Josaphat and the Internal and External Unity of the Church. Link.

 

SATURDAY NOV 13
Memorial of St Frances Xavier Cabrini, Virgin.

Readings. Link.

Bishop MacEvily on Today’s First Reading (3 John 5-8). Available 12:05 AM EST. This is actually a commentary on the entire epistle.

Cornelius a Lapide on Today’s Gospel (Luke 18:1-8). Available 12:10 AM EST.

Bernardin de Piconio on 1 Corinthians 6:1-11.

Father Charles Callan on 1 Corinthians 9:19-27.

News and Views Roundup. Link.

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Posted in Bible, Catechetical Resources, Catholic, Christ, Devotional Resources, fathers of the church, Latin Mass Notes, liturgy, Notes on 1 Corinthians, Notes on 2 Thessalonians, Notes on Luke's Gospel, Notes on the Gospel of John, Notes on the Lectionary, Notes on Titus, Quotes, Scripture, SERMONS, St Thomas Aquinas | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

 
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