2 Thessalonians: Chapter 2, Introduction (Daily Commentary)
In this chapter the apostle guards against a notion, as if the second coming of Christ was at hand; declares that, previous to it, there must be a great apostasy, and a revelation of antichrist; comforts the saints against fears of being included in this defection; exhorts them to stand fast in the faith, and closes this chapter with petitions for them. He entreats them in a most tender and solemn manner not to imagine that the day of Christ was at hand, and that they would not be disturbed and moved at it; and points unto the several ways, and cautions against them, they might be imposed upon and deceived by men with respect to it, (2 Thessalonians 2:1,2).
And assigns his reasons why it could not be yet, because before this time there was to be a general apostasy, and antichrist must appear; whom from his character, he calls the man of sin, and from his end, the son of perdition; and describes him as an opposer of God, an exalter of himself above all that is called God, as sitting in the temple of God and declaring himself to be God, (2 Thessalonians 2:3,4).
Of which things he had told them before, (2 Thessalonians 2:5).
Nor were they ignorant of what at present hindered the revelation of the man of sin, who was then in being, and was working and growing up apace; only there was something (the Roman empire) which hindered, and would continue to do so, until the fixed time of his revelation was up, (2 Thessalonians 2:6,7).
Then he should be manifest; though he should not always continue, being to be consumed and destroyed by the breath of Christ’s mouth, and the splendour of his coming, (2 Thessalonians 2:8).
And the appearance of antichrist in the world, being a matter of considerable importance, it is described by being after the working of Satan, and as attended with lying and false miracles, and with all deceitful and unrighteous doctrines and practices; which reprobate men would be left to give into, as a punishment of their not receiving cordially the truth of the Gospel; upon which account God would give them to such judicial blindness, as to give credit to a lie, which would bring on their final damnation, they not believing the truth, but taking pleasure in unrighteousness, (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12).
But lest this account of things should be discouraging to the saints at Thessalonica, the apostle styles them brethren; asserts them to be the beloved of the Lord; gives an instance of it, for which he gives thanks, namely, their election of God; the date of which was from everlasting; the means sanctification of the Spirit, and belief of the truth; the end salvation by Jesus Christ; and the evidence of which was their effectual calling by the Gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of Christ, (2 Thessalonians 2:13,14).
And then he exhorts them to stand fast in the doctrines that had been taught them, either in an epistolary way, or by the ministry of the word, (2 Thessalonians 2:15).
And concludes the chapter with petitions for them made to God the Father, and to Christ who had loved and comforted them, and given them good hope of everlasting things; that they might be comforted more and more, and be established in every good doctrine and practice, (2 Thessalonians 2:16,17).
John Gill (1697-1771) was a Strict and Particular Baptist preacher and theologian. He was appointed the Pastor of Goat Yard Chapel, Horsleydown, Southwark, serving this position for fifty-one years. He was the first Baptist to write an exhaustive systematic theology, setting forth High-Calvinistic views and a clear Baptist polity which became the backbone for the churches subscribing to them. John Hazelton wrote of him:
”[Augustus] Toplady held in high regard Dr. John Gill (1697-1771), and applied to him and to his controversial writings what was said of the first Duke of Marlborough—that he never besieged a town that he did not take, nor fought a battle that he did not win. Gill's book on the Canticles is a beautiful and experimental exposition of Solomon's Song; his "Cause of God and Truth" is most admirable and suggestive; and his "Body of Divinity" one of the best of its kind. His commentary upon the Old and New Testament is a wonderful monument of sanctified learning, though it has been so used as to rob many a ministry of living power. It is the fashion now to sneer at Gill, and this unworthy attitude is adopted mostly by those who have forsaken the truths he so powerfully defended, and who are destitute of a tithe of the massive scholarship of one of the noblest ministers of the Particular and Strict Baptist denomination. The late Dr. Doudney rendered inestimable service by his republication, in 1852, of Gill's Commentary, printed at Bonmahon, Waterford, Ireland, by Irish boys. Gill was born at Kettering, and passed away at his residence at Camberwell, his last words being: "O, my Father! my Father!" For fifty-one years, to the time of his death, he was pastor of the Baptist Church, Fair Street, Horselydown, and was buried in Bunhill Fields. His Hebrew learning was equal to that of any scholar of his day, and his Rabbinical knowledge has never been equalled outside Judaism. His "Dissertation Concerning the Eternal Sonship of Christ" is most valuable, and this foundation truth is shown by him to have been a part of the faith of all Trinitarians for about 1,700 years from the birth of our Lord. In His Divine nature our blessed Lord was the co-equal and co-eternal Son of God, and as such He became the Word of God. The Scriptures nowhere intimate that Christ is the Son of God by office, or that His Sonship is founded on His human nature. This is not a strife about words, but is for our life, our peace, our hope. Dr. Gill's pastoral labours were much blest; to the utmost fidelity he united real tenderness, and at the Lord's Supper he was always at his best.
"He set before their eyes their dying Lord—
How soft, how sweet, how solemn every word!
How were their hearts affected, and his own!
And how his sparkling eyes with glory shone!"