2 Thessalonians 2

 
Instructions Concerning the Day of the Lord
2 Thessalonians 2
 
2 Thessalonians 2. In the second chapter, Paul comes to the doctrinal correction of the error which the false teachers were pressing on the Thessalonian saints. There are really two proofs that are given that they day of the Lord has not come. The first is that the saints are still on earth (vv.1-2). The Lord must first come for the saints, and we be gathered to him, before the day of judgment can come. The second proof is that Antichrist, the object of the Lord’s judgment has not yet been revealed (vv.3-12). Already we know the mystery of iniquity or lawlessness is at work, but God has seen fit to reserve judgment until “the man of sin” is revealed, who will epitomize the whole principle of evil. A great apostasy is coming, and this will make way for the revelation of the son of perdition. This must take place before the day of the Lord comes. J.N. Darby summarized these two proofs using the illustration of a courtroom.1 To have justice served, you must first have the judges seated at the bench, and you also must have the criminal brought to the bar. In the New Testament the saints are reminded of their association with Christ in judgment (1 Cor. 6:3; Rev. 3:21; Rev 4:4; Rev 20:4). He will take His throne, and we will be seated on thrones with Him! The judgment will not begin until we all are there. And then, the evil that already works in a hidden form today must also come to its full height, personified in the man of sin. Then the Lord will appear, and His “day” will finally arrive! In the closing verses of the chapter, Paul encourages the saints to stand fast in what they had been taught.
 
 

The Saints Gathered to Christ must Come Before (2:1-2)

CHAPTER 2
1 Now we beg you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to him, 2 that ye be not soon shaken in mind, nor troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter, as if it were by us, as that the day of the Lord is present. vv.1-2 Paul now comes to the issue that troubled the saints; they were “shaken in mind”, “troubled”, by the thought that “that the day of the Lord is present”. Note: not “at hand” as if future, but “present” as in already here.2 This was a serious error, not only because of its effects on the hearts and minds of believers, but also because it ran directly contrary to what Paul had taught in the previous epistle. Some have questioned, “why doesn’t Paul come right out and state the truth of the pretribulation rapture?” It is because he already had in the first epistle, and now he references that again. In the first epistle Paul assured the saints that the Lord would descend from heaven, the dead would be raised, and all the saints would be caught up to be with the Lord (1 Thess. 4:15-17). On account of this, the saints would not experience the coming of the Lord in judgment (i.e. “as a thief in the night”) because the saints are “not appointed to wrath, but to obtain salvation” through Christ (1 Thess. 5:10). You couldn’t have a clearer outline of the pre-tribulation rapture. The saints had been convinced by false teaching to doubt this hope. This is why Paul says they were “soon shaken in mind”. It is obvious that they had fallen into error over something he had just taught them. Then, he references the rapture; “we beg you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to him”. Whenever we have the coming of the Lord for His saints, it refers to the rapture. When it is the coming of the Lord with His saints, it is the appearing. The two aspects of the second coming are distinguished. Here it is clearly the rapture. In other words, the maintaining of the truth of the Lord’s coming for His saints, and their being gathered to Him, would have a preserving effect on the saints, in view of the false teaching that the day of the Lord had come. The fact that the saints were still on the earth was proof that the day of the Lord had not come! Having the bright and imminent hope of the Lord’s coming before us will guard our thoughts, even in times of great persecution, from being convinced of false teaching that troubles the mind. Notice the emphasis on gathering; the greatest display of Lord’s power of unity will be in a fraction of a second when Christ returns! Paul mentions three ways the false doctrine had come in to shake the minds and trouble the hearts of the saints; (1) “by spirit” or a general attitude or movement among professing Christians, (2) “by word” or false teaching, or (3) “by letter, as if it were by us”; i.e. a forged epistle containing misinformation. It would seem that the Thessalonians were under attack from all three of these avenues. Note that the Spirit of God was at this time greatly using those with a prophetic gift to speak and write the truth of God for the saints who did not have the complete canon of scripture. It would be a suitable means for the enemy to disseminate error. 
 

The Apostasy and Unveiling of Antichrist must Come Before (2:3-12)

3a Let not any one deceive you in any manner, because it will not be unless the apostasy have first come, v.3a The Apostasy. As bad as the persecution was, it was not an indication that the day of the Lord had come. In spite of this, the false teachers were using the circumstances to deceive the saints into a false sense of fear. Before the day of the Lord comes, there will first be a complete apostasy of all that professes association with God. The prophets of the Old Testament, the Lord’s prophecies, and the prophecies of Revelation, all speak of a coming time of total rebellion, which will involve the governments of the world, the nation of Israel, and the Christian profession. This general time of moral darkness is called “the apostasy”, and it will precede the day of the Lord. Contrary to the notion of unlimited human progress, the Bible predicts a coming day of unparalleled doom. The Christian profession is already rife with the spirit of apostasy (1 Tim. 4:1-3; 1 John 2:18-19), but the time spoken of here is when there the true believers have been caught up, when the wheat has been gathered in and only tares remain, and the profession is given over to falsehood. It is at then that the false church is prepared to embrace the worship of the beast and antichrist. Certainly, we see the profession of Christianity on a downhill slide today, and we should be appalled by it. But we should not let the condition of things around us shake our confidence in Christ who promised to come again and receive us unto Himself.
 
3b and the man of sin have been revealed, the son of perdition; 4 who opposes and exalts himself on high against all called God, or object of veneration; so that he himself sits down in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. vv.3b-4 The Man of Sin. The great apostasy, having swallowed up the Christian profession, will culminate in the revelation of “the man of sin”. He is called “the man of sin”, “the son of perdition”, and “the lawless one” here, the “false prophet” in Revelation, the “king” who “shall do according to his own will” in Daniel. In 1 John 2 he is called “antichrist”. What unites all of these names together is a common theme: a prophetic person that is marked by extreme self-will in the things of God. He embodies the principle of sin; “sin is lawlessness” (1 John 3:4). He sets himself up as God. It is the final outcome of Satan’s original plan, when he told the woman, “ye will be as God” (Gen. 3:5). Read more… Antichrist is the only person, besides Judas Iscariot, who is referred to as “the son of perdition”. Antichrist will be the religious leader of the revived Roman empire, and also a political leader of the apostate nation of Israel. He will have civil authority, as Daniel 11 describes, but this will be largely restricted to Palestine, where he sits in the temple as God. In the larger sphere, he is a lieutenant of the true leader of the empire; the little horn of Daniel 7, who is simply “the beast”. The power of the beast is delegated to antichrist (Rev. 13:12) who uses the power to establish a new religion; the forced worship of the beast. The office of antichrist is largely religious, as he leads the world in the idolatrous worship of the beast.
 
He is the head of two apostasies: a Jewish apostasy, and a Christian apostasy. When the false church is destroyed by the ten horns of the revived Roman empire about the middle of the prophetic week (Rev. 17-18), a new religion will arise which will suck in the masses in the Christianized world. In regards to Christian truth, antichrist is he that “denies the Father and the Son”. He attacks the very center of Christianity, and sets up himself as God. Antichrist is the total antithesis of the true Christ. We find that Christ, though He was in the form of God, did not cling tenaciously to His rights as Divine, but instead humbled Himself, became a man – a servant even – and submitted to the death of the cross (Phil. 2:5-11). Antichrist is only a man, but he sets himself up as God; grasping at something he doesn’t have. This “man of sin” is the full blown results of the self-exaltation of the first man. But antichrist is also he head of a Jewish apostasy in that he “denies that Jesus is the Christ”. In other words, he denies that Jesus is the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies. He is the “false prophet” in that he speaks lies. He is the “false priest” in that he sits in the temple of God and directs the worship of men. And he is also the “false king” of the Jews. Jesus warned the Jews in John 5:43; “I am come in my Father’s name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive.” Antichrist will lead the apostate nation of Israel into their lowest low; a new form of their old idolatry… the worship of a diabolical man called “the beast”. Here it is the lawless one, the one who acts complete according to his will.
 
We read of him in Daniel 11:36-39 that he acts “according to his own will”, and that “he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and speak monstrous things against the God of gods”. He is marked by spiritual wickedness of the worst kind. He exalts himself above every god, whether false or true. But though he exalts himself, antichrist is still a man, and we find that in secret he also worships a strange god; “And in his place will he honour the god of fortresses; and a god whom his fathers knew not, etc.” The human heart must have some kind of religion, some object to worship – even the heart of Antichrist himself, so he will introduce to them a god outside himself. We cannot help but see how this aligns with Rev. 13:11-17 where the second Beast (Antichrist) causes the earth-dwellers to worship the first Beast. This time when Antichrist sits in the temple correlates with the Abomination of Desolation, spoken of in Daniel 11, which will “stand in the holy place” (Matt. 24:15).
 
5
Do ye not remember that, being yet with you, I said these things to you?
v.5 Prior knowledge. Evidently Paul had spoken of the outline of prophetic events when he was in Thessalonica a short while before. They knew about the man of sin, and about the apostasy. The saints should have known that the day of the Lord was not present.
 
6 And now ye know that which restrains, that he should be revealed in his own time. 7 For the mystery of lawlessness already works; only there is he who restrains now until he be gone, vv.6-7 The Restraint and the Restrainer Removed. Even at the time Paul wrote, everything was in place for the man of sin to be revealed, except it was not yet God’s time. God has put something in this world that is restraining the course of evil, such that the man of sin would not be revealed before “his own time”. It isn’t that the restraining provisions are given to prevent the man of sin from being revealed at all, but from being revealed before the time is right. Paul explains this, that the principle that will eventually lead to the man of sin being revealed is already working; “the mystery of lawlessness already works”. It is a “mystery” because it is hidden. The mystery of lawlessness is Satan’s effort to corrupt the things of God, especially the doctrine of Christ, through man’s self will.3 It came in very early after the day of Pentecost (Acts 20:29-30), arising from Satan’s opposition to the mystery of Christ. Man refuses anything that would restrain his will. In the secular realm, we see this in the rebellion against civil authorities. In the ecclesiastical realm, we find corrupt men in the Christian profession who turn the grace of God into lasciviousness, using God’s grace as a license to sin. The Thessalonians should have known what it was that restrained the course of evil. 
 
The wording as to the restraint is somewhat abstract, and this may be because the means of restraint could be different in one time or place from another. Nevertheless, there is much we can learn from what is said. In order to identify what Paul is referring to, we must note several things. First, the restraining influence is both a power (“that which restrains”) and a person (“he who restrains”). Second, the restraining influence was something familiar to the newly converted Thessalonians. Third, the restraining person would be removed from the earth in some way before the man of sin could be revealed. Let us deal with the person first (v.7), “he who restrains”. What person would the saints have known about, that was also a power capable of restraining the energy of Satan; the very powers of darkness? There is only one Person it could be: the Person of the Holy Spirit.4 When the church is taken to heaven, the Spirit and the bride are removed together (Rev. 22:17). This aligns perfectly with the statement here that the restraining Person will be “taken out of the way”. Let us deal secondly with the power (v.6); “that which restrains”. There is something else that God has given to restrain evil in the earth. It was a thing which the Thessalonians knew, but could take a different form today. The principle of government, ordained by God, but committed to the hand of man, restrains evil. God instituted government when Noah came off the ark (Gen. 9), when, for the first time, the responsibility to execute judgment was committed to man, and it has never since been taken away; “Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man” (Gen. 9:6). That authority has been abused often, especially by the Gentile governments, but the power is ultimately from God (see John 19:11), and He is using it to restrain the progress of evil (see Rom. 13:1-3). In the first century it was the Roman government that the Spirit of God was using, but today it is other governments.567 In what way is the Spirit of God connected with human governments? The Holy Spirit is often connected with the power of God, and it truly is God’s power at work through the instrument of human government that restrains evil.
 
In addition to this, God has a special object here in this world, that has His special protection. The progress of evil culminated once in casting out the Son of God. On the day of Pentecost, the Spirit was sent to form and inhabit the Church. The Spirit acts as the Comforter or Paraclete, working to attend the needs of the saints on earth during the time of Jesus’ absence. No doubt the Spirit is personally involved with restraining the mystery of iniquity, although accomplished providentially through human government, not through Christian activism.8 In Revelation 4 and 5, the Holy Spirit is viewed as “the seven spirits of God”, pictured by “seven lamps of fire” (Rev. 4:5) and as “seven eyes” (Rev. 5:6), and which are “sent forth into all the earth”. This pictures the Spirit of God with perfect discernment, searching out evil in the earth. It indicates that the Spirit of God will still have an influence here on the earth after the rapture, just as the Spirit did before Pentecost. By comparing other scriptures, we know that the man of sin will not be revealed until the middle of Daniel’s seventieth week, which means that after “he who restrains” is gone (the rapture), “that which restrains” will continue a short time, until Satan is cast down to the earth, the man of sin steps forward, and the government of the beast comes up “out of the abyss” (Rev. 17:8).910
 
Although the restraining power has not been removed, we see events ripening around us. Even today, government has grown corrupt, and in many cases now operates on cronyism, warmongering, bribery, and propaganda. The Spirit too (indwelling the church) is certainly grieved by the church’s failure. When the rapture occurs, the special object of the Father’s love, and of the Comforter’s care, will be gone. When the restraint of God-ordained government is removed, the course of evil will progress at a rate not seen since before the flood, when there was no government. Governments will spiral into ruin, and this will make way for the government of the beast. The power behind that kingdom is Satanic; “and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority” (Rev. 13:2). But this knowledge is not merely for our intellect. It should have an effect on our conscience. The mystery of iniquity is already working, but it will be complete in that day. How careful we need to be that our wills are not at work in the things of God!
 
8 and then the lawless one shall be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus shall consume with the breath of his mouth, and shall annul by the appearing of his coming; v.8 Judgment of antichrist. Paul jumps straight from the appearing of Antichrist to the appearing of Christ. The “Lord Jesus” will suddenly judge “the lawless one” when He appears. The Lord is referred to in a tender way, as “the Lord Jesus”, which combines His Lordship and Manhood name, and is often used to convey great tenderness of affection (Luke 24:3; Acts 7:59; 20:24,35; 1 Cor. 12:3; 16:22; Gal. 6:17; Heb. 13:20; Rev. 22:20). Two aspects of this judgment are given. First, the Lord Jesus will “consume” him “with the breath of his mouth”. This agrees with what Isaiah says in Isa. 11:4 about the character of the Lord’s judgment when He appears; “he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.” This imagery speaks of the relative ease with which the Lord will defeat antichrist; His breath being expressive of His power (Job 4:9). The Lord spoke to create in Genesis 1, and He will speak in judgment. The Lord is pictured in Rev. 19:15 as a victorious conqueror, “And out of his mouth goes a sharp two-edged sword, that with it he might smite the nations”. Second, the Lord Jesus will “annul” him “by the brightness [or, appearing] of his coming”. Antichrist will be annulled, or instantly rendered powerless when the Lord appears. The word translated “brightness” is really ‘epiphaneia’ in Greek, which is “advent” or “appearing”. It refers to the Lord’s visible manifestation. The following noun is ‘parousias’, which means “coming” or “presence”. When the Lord – who is “holy and true” (Rev. 6:10) – appears, His very presence will fully expose the false pretension of the man of sin. Opposites cannot co-occupy, similar to how Eliakim replaced Shebna in Isa. 22:15-25. The book of Revelation provides additional details about the destruction of antichrist, or the false prophet. He will meet his end along with the Beast and his armies. The Lord will come upon them suddenly, and the armies will be slain, but the Beast and the False Prophet, will be “cast alive into the Lake of Fire” (Rev. 19:20). In Isa. 30:33 we find that “Topheth” or the Lake of Fire, was “prepared of old; for the king also [i.e. the Antichrist, as well as the Assyrian] it is prepared: he hath made it deep and large; its pile is fire and much wood; the breath of Jehovah, like a stream of brimstone, doth kindle it.” So ends the Antichrist.
 
9 whose coming is according to the working of Satan in all power and signs and wonders of falsehood, 10 and in all deceit of unrighteousness to them that perish, because they have not received the love of the truth that they might be saved. 11 And for this reason God sends to them a working of error, that they should believe what is false, 12 that all might be judged who have not believed the truth, but have found pleasure in unrighteousness. vv.9-12 The anti-Christian deception. Paul now expands on the power behind the man of sin. Antichrist comes “according to the working of Satan”. There is no doubt that Satanic power will energize the man of sin. But he will bring a great deception, through Satanic energy, “in all power and signs and wonders of falsehood”. When we first have antichrist in Revelation, we see him as “a fallen star” in Rev.9, with a key to unlock the abyss, and release a cloud of smoke to darken the sun. This cloud represents the deception that antichrist will bring. We have explicit details of this in Rev. 13, that the second beast (the false prophet), “works great signs, that it should cause even fire to come down from heaven to the earth before men. And it deceives those that dwell upon the earth by reason of the signs which it was given to it to work before the beast, saying to those that dwell upon the earth to make an image to the beast” (Rev. 13:13-14). This powerful deception will convince even the greatest skeptics of the earth. Those who demand evidence – “unless I see it, I will not believe” – will be given something for their eyes to see, but it will be a deception. 2 Thessalonians reveals that this deception is the government of God on “them that perish, because they have not received the love of the truth that they might be saved”. It is no mere coincidence that the truth-rejectors are deceived, but “for this cause, God shall send…”. It isn’t that they are merely neutral when it comes to the truth, because they also “have found pleasure In unrighteousness”.  The lie of Antichrist no doubt has to do with what came earlier in the chapter; claiming to be God, denying the true Christ, claiming to be the Lamb, etc. In Rev. 13:11 we have the second beast (antichrist) having two horns like a lamb. But when he opens his mouth, it reveals who he is; “he spake as a dragon”.
 

Encouragement to Stand Fast in the Light of our Destiny (2:13-17)

13 But we ought to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, that God has chosen you from the beginning to salvation in sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: 14 whereto he has called you by our glad tidings, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. vv.13-14 The Portion of the Saints. Paul now turns to speak of the saints; totally different from the unbelievers in vv.9-12. Paul was thankful for the saints, especially as he considered their place in the sovereign purpose of God. They were beloved of God! They were chosen of God. Election is the truth that believers in Christ were elected, or chosen, by God for blessing. Read more… It says they were chosen “from the beginning”. What beginning is referred to? I believe it is the beginning in the sense of Eph. 1:4; “chosen in Him before the foundation of the world”.11 But now we get how God’s choice is worked out for our blessing in time. The very first thing required is the “sanctification of the Spirit”, which is the action of the Spirit of God to separate a person to God. This occurs in new birth, and it is coupled with “belief of the truth”.12 In John 3:5 we read that new birth means to be “born of water and of Spirit”, the water referring to the truth of God’s Word, and this coupled with the action of the Holy Spirit. The sanctification here is a positional sanctification, and it is followed by practical sanctification or holiness. Read more… It was to this place, as set apart for God, that the saints in Thessalonica were called by the gospel that Paul and his companions preached. But the end results was that the saints would obtain “the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ”. This refers to the believer’s portion of being glorified with Christ, when He is glorified; “if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together” (Rom. 8:17). This is the end of the pathway for every believer; “we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2). This exceeds our highest thoughts!

15
So then, brethren, stand firm, and hold fast the instructions which ye have been taught, whether by word or by our letter.
v.15 Instructions. In light of the saints’ glorious election, calling, and destiny, Paul exhorted the Thessalonians to “hold fast the instructions which ye have been taught”. These instructions could have come in two different ways: (1) “by word”, which would be the inspired and spoken word, or (2) “by our letter”, which refers to the inspired and written epistles. There has been some confusion about this word which is sometimes translated ‘traditions’.

The word "traditions" is used several times in the New Testament, not only for the added sayings of men (Matt. 15:1-7), but for what the apostles exhorted the saints by inspiration, first orally, then in writing while the canon was in building and not yet complete (Rom. 6:17; 2 Thess. 2:15; 1 Cor. 11:2).The word could also be translated "directions" or "instructions". In either case, these "instructions" were commandments from the Lord; "if any man thinketh himself to be a prophet or spiritual, let him acknowledge the things that I write unto you, that they are the commandment of the Lord" (1 Cor. 14:37). We have those same "instructions" with us today, in the completed canon of scripture. The idea that there is a separate set of "traditions" (man's word) that are to be valued equally or superior to God's Word is very dangerous.

Read more… The point is, the saints were to follow the instructions of the apostle, even though there were those around them who were seeking to deceive them.

16
But our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and our God and Father, who has loved us, and given us eternal consolation and good hope by grace, 17 encourage your hearts, and establish you in every good work and word.
vv.16-17 God’s Encouragement. Paul’s prayer for the saints is that God, who had encouraged Paul and his companions, would likewise encourage the hearts of the saints. Read more… Notice that he uses the full title of Christ, and refers to Him personally. It was “our Lord Jesus Christ himself” who encourages the saints, as well as “our God and Father”. The saints thus are connected with the Lordship, manhood, and glory of Christ, as well as with knowing God as their Father. Paul speaks of God’s love, “eternal consolation” (or, peace), and hope. These same things would encourage the hearts of the saints, and establish them in their practical walk. Notice that the order is “work” first, then “word”. Our walk speaks louder than our talk!
 
  1. As long as, on the one hand, those who are to be on the seat of judgment are not gathered together (the saints above), and while, on the other hand the criminal is not brought to the bar, there can be no judgment. – Darby, J.N. Notes on the Epistles to the Thessalonians.
  2. J.N. Darby, in his Notes on the Epistles to the Thessalonians, remarked that “If we change the word ‘present,’ the whole epistle becomes unintelligible.” This shows the importance of accurate Bible translation.
  3. W. Kelly remarked; “‘The mystery of lawlessness’ is the hidden energy of Satan meanwhile in mingling error with truth under Christ’s name, either swamping grace by legalism or prostituting it to license.”
  4. Evidently, then, we find here a power that hinders the manifestation of the lawless one — a power which is also a person. Where do we find one that effectually checks the plans of Satan, a person no less than a power? We need not consider long, but answer, without hesitation, the Spirit of God. – Kelly, W. Lectures Introductory to the New Testament.
  5. 2 Thessalonians 2 shows that before his manifestation there must be the coming of our Lord Jesus, and our gathering to Him. Now, the powers that be are ordained of God, and exercise a restraint upon the full outbreak of lawlessness, headed up in the lawless one. Then they will be removed. “Ye know what withholdeth,” verse 6, and then besides “He who now letteth” (or hindereth) “will let until he be — taken out of the way” — namely the Holy Ghost in the Church, before the manifestation of the man of sin. – Trench, J.A. The Beast and the False Prophet.
  6. That which hinders it therefore is the power of God acting in government here below as authorised by Him. The grossest abuse of power still bears this last character. Christ could say to Pilate, “Thou couldest have no power against me, except it were given thee from above.” Wicked as he might be, his power is owned as coming from God. – Darby, J.N. Synopsis of the Books of the Bible.
  7. “That which restrains;” the Greek means a thing. What is it? God has not told us what it is, and this, doubtless, because the thing which restrained then is not that which restrains now. Then it was, in one sense, the Roman empire, as the fathers thought; who saw in the power of the Roman empire a hindrance to the revelation of the man of sin, and thus prayed for the prosperity of that empire. At present the hindrance is still the existence of the governments established by God in the world; and God will maintain them as long as there is here below the gathering of His church. Viewed in this light, the hindrance is, at the bottom, the presence of the church and of the Holy Spirit on the earth. – Darby, J.N. Notes on the Epistles to the Thessalonians.
  8. I do not think the “he” applies to the church, although certainly the church ought to have a preserving effect as righteousness in the earth; as Jesus told His disciples, “Ye are the salt of the earth… Ye are the light of the world” (Matt. 5:13-14). Yet this preserving effect is more of a passive thing, not active, like the restrainer of 2 Thess. 2:7. Also, the Lord warned that the salt could lose its savor, and we can certainly admit that the salt is beginning to lose its saltiness.
  9. The withdrawal of the obstacle, of Him who restrains, leaves the door open for the man of sin to make his appearance in Satan’s power. – Kelly, W. The Epistles of Paul to the Thessalonians.
  10. At a certain given moment, which the Revelation clearly defines, Satan will be cast down from heaven, and will then bring forward his long-meditated plan. The empire that has disappeared from among men for so long, that the wise men of the world think its resurrection impossible — the Roman empire will come forward clothed with a diabolical energy. This is the moment when the Spirit ceases to restrain. – Kelly, W. Lectures Introductory to the New Testament.
  11. The context appears to decide that “from the beginning” must be interpreted in the largest sense, not merely from the beginning of the gospel or of Christ’s manifestation on earth, but from of old from everlasting. – Kelly, W. The Epistles to the Thessalonians.
  12. Here I conceive there cannot be a doubt that sanctification of the Spirit means, that mighty separative act of the Holy Ghost, by which a soul is first livingly set apart to God; and so it is accompanied by faith of the truth. Kelly, W. The Epistles to the Thessalonians.