2 Thessalonians 2:1
Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, brothers,
Sermons
Caution Against ErrorW. Burkitt, M. A.2 Thessalonians 2:1
ReunionDean Vaughan.2 Thessalonians 2:1
The Advent as a MotiveProf. Jowett.2 Thessalonians 2:1
The Coming of ChristC. Hodge, D. D.2 Thessalonians 2:1
The Coming of ChristT. Manton, D. D.2 Thessalonians 2:1
A Great DelusionW.F. Adeney 2 Thessalonians 2:1, 2
A Misapprehension, Respecting the Time of the Second AdventT. Croskery 2 Thessalonians 2:1, 2
The Day of Christ not ImmediateB.C. Caffin 2 Thessalonians 2:1, 2
AntichristR. Finlayson 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12


The apostle's main design in this Epistle is to correct a most disquieting error that had arisen upon this point.

I. THE PANIC IN THE THESSALONIAN CHURCH.

1. It was concerning the date of the second coming of Christ. "Touching the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together unto him." The facts of this august event had been prophetically described in the First Epistle.

(1) It was the personal coming of Christ in "the day of the Lord" to judge the quick and the dead.

(2) It was an event involving their "gathering together unto him" to meet the Lord in the air: a happy meeting, a marvellously glorious sight.

2. The misapprehension caused a sort of panic. "That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled" - like a ship tossed upon a stormy sea. It was this deep agitation of mind, this consternation and surprise, which led to the unsettled spirit that manifested itself in the Thessalonian Church. Errors in the region of dispensational truth often have this tendency.

3. The panic was due to one or other of three sources. "Neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us."

(1) It may have had its origin in some pretended revelation or spiritual utterance in the Thessalonian Church. Our Lord had predicted false alarms of this sort. "Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe him not" (Matthew 24:23).

(2) Or it may have come "through word," that is, word of mouth, supposed to be spoken by the apostle during his visit to Thessalonica.

(3) Or "through letter as from us," apparently forged letters such as had already become rife in the early Church.

II. THE GROUND OF THE PANIC. "As that the day of the Lord is now present." This is the correct translation; not "it is at hand."

1. It could inspire no terror for the Thessalonians to know that the day was at hand, for this had always been the apostle's teaching, as well as that of all Scripture (Matthew 24.; Romans 13:12; Philippians 4:5; Hebrews 10:25, 37; James 5:8; 1 Peter 4:7). They had been already familiar with the doctrine, which ought rather to have filled their hearts with transcendent gladness.

2. Their disquietude and distress arose from the belief that the Lord had already come without their sharing in the glory of his kingdom. Their relatives were still lying in their graves without any sign of resurrection, and they themselves saw no sign of that transformation of body in themselves that was to be the prelude to their meeting the Lord in the air. The apostle tells them distinctly that the day has not come, and that the signs of its approach had not yet been exhibited. - T.C.







Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
I. THE NATURE OF IT. Christ came. He comes. He is to come.

1. He came in the flesh. The long line of predictions from Adam to Malachi were accomplished at last, after long delay and anxious expectation.

2. He comes continually.

(1)In the extraordinary manifestation of His presence and power, whether for judgment or mercy.

(2)In the special manifestation of Him self to His people.

3. He is to come.

(1)Personally and visibly.

(2)With power and great glory.

(3)The dead shall rise, the just and the unjust.

(4)The judgment will then be held.

(5)The world destroyed.

(6)The kingdom of God consummated.The consequences to His people will be —

(a)Their redemption, i.e., their final deliverance from the power of death.

(b)Their complete conformity to the likeness of Christ.

(c)Their perfect enjoyment of that kingdom prepared for them from the foundation of the world.

II. THE TIME.

1. It is unrevealed.

2. It is to be unexpected.

3. It will not be until the conversion of the Jews and the calling in of the Gentries.Did the apostles expect Christ in their day?

(1)They regarded His coming as they regarded the coming of death.

(2)It was revealed to them that there should be a falling away first.We must distinguish between their personal expectations and their teaching. The latter alone is infallible.

III. POINTS OF ANALOGY BETWEEN THE FIRST AND SECOND COMINGS.

1. Both predicted.

2. Anxiously and long expected.

3. The subjects of much speculation as to time and mode.

4. Disappointing in the one and the other.

IV. THE STATE OF MIND WHICH THE DOCTRINE SHOULD INDUCE.

1. A firm belief in the revealed fact that He is to come. This faith should not be shaken by long delay. How long Abraham waited and died without the sight.

2. Earnest desire. The hopes of the ancient people were concentrated on the coming of the Messiah. This led them to bear patiently what they had to suffer. To set their hopes on the future and not on the present. The same effect should be produced on us.

3. Watchfulness and anxiety, lest that day should overtake us as a thief in the night. We should have our lamps trimmed and our lights burning. It would be a dreadful thing for Christ to come and find us immersed in the world.

4. Prayer and waiting.

5. Solicitous efforts to prepare others for His coming, and to prepare the way of the Lord. He will not come to the individual nor to the Church till His way is prepared. This includes —

(1)Taking out of the way obstructions to His coming.

(2)The accomplishment of the ingathering of His people.

(C. Hodge, D. D.)

I. THE COMING OF CHRIST TO JUDGMENT IS A TRUTH —

1. Well known by all the saints (Jude 1:14; Psalm 96:13; Psalm 98:9; Ecclesiastes 12:13, 14).

2. Firmly believed (2 Peter 3:3-5; Titus 2:11-13).

3. Earnestly desired (Song of Solomon 8:14; Revelation 22:20). Why?(1) In respect of Him who is to come — that we may see Him who is our great Lord and Saviour. All who believed anything of Christ before He came desired to see Him (John 8:56). And now Christians (1 Peter 1:8; 1 Peter 2:3).(2) In respect of the persons desiring — there is that in them which moves them to it.(a) The Spirit of Christ (Revelation 22:17). The Holy Ghost creates this desire: it is His great work to bring Christ and us together.(b) The graces planted in us — faith, which takes Christ at His word (John 14:2); hope, which is faith's handmaid (1 Peter 1:3); love, which is an affection of union (Philippians 1:23).(c) Christian privileges; believers then find the fruit of their interest in Christ, and have their reward (Revelation 22:12; 2 Timothy 4:8; 1 Peter 5:4).

II. WHEN CHRIST SHALL COME ALL THE SAINTS SHALL BE GATHERED WITH HIM. There shall be —

1. A congregation (Matthew 25:32; 2 Corinthians 5:10). Adam will then meet all his posterity at once. All distinctions of age, quality, wealth, nation, etc., will disappear.

2. A segregation (Matthew 25:32, 33). There may be some confusion now, but there shall be a complete separation then (Matthew 13:49).

3. An aggregation: believers are gathered together for several ends.(1) To make up the number of Christ's attendants (Jude 1:14; Zechariah 14:5; 1 Thessalonians 4:17).(2) To be presented to God by head and poll. We were given to Christ to be preserved for glory (John 17:6). Christ is to give an account (John 6:40). The form of presentation (Hebrews 2:13).(3) To be brought in one troop to heaven (John 14:3). Conclusion: There is much comfort in this.

1. Real Christians seem few (Luke 12:32): but when there assembled they shall be a multitude that no man can number (Revelation 5:9; Revelation 7:9).

2. Christian friends are now separated — then they shall meet to part no more (Matthew 24:31; 1 Thessalonians 4:17).

3. The Church seems in a degenerate state — then it shall be without spot.

(T. Manton, D. D.)

1. The exact word occurs only again in Hebrews 10:25, and that gathering is typical of this. When we meet in the House of God, for prayer, praise, instruction and communion, we are practising for that other gathering, which shall be perfect. The verb, however, occurs in two other places: one is where our Lord reminds Jerusalem how He would have gathered her children together. That idea of safe keeping, cherishing under the wing of the mother, is involved in the "gathering" of the Second Advent. The other text is Mark 13:27, the interpretation of the text before us.

2. The text is used not as a terror but as an attraction. "We beseech you by it," as those who would not part with it for their life. The Advent, as a regathering, is full of consolation. But it implies —

I. DISPERSION. There are senses in which this is tolerable. The severance of nations by dividing seas and deserts, and by the Babel judgment of divided tongues, is no affliction. It is as a type that we must read it to enter into its significance for sorrow.

1. It tells of sons and mothers parted for a lifetime by calls of duty or self-made necessities; of friends closer than brothers bidding each other a long farewell at a noisy station or a sea-washed pier; of vows of lifelong friendship broken in sudden passion; of discords which a breath would have healed; hence severance.

2. There is a dispersion of divided tongues concerning Christ in God's behalf. Men made offenders for a word; men unable to read in identical phrase some microscopic doctrine; men, kneeling in the name of one Saviour, imputing wilful blindness to one another.

3. Then the uncharitableness of individual men must be made the watchwords and heirlooms of parties and Churches. Creeds and articles must adopt the quarrel, and anathematize the deviation as a crime. So Christ's house is divided.

4. Behind and beneath all these dispersions there lurks the giant disperser, Death. Those unaffected by the other dispersions are all doomed to suffer from this.

5. But the greatest is sin. Brothers and friends may part and not part; even in this life they may be divided, and yet know that they have one home and Father. But sin divides even in its joining. Where sin is there is selfishness, and selfishness is severance.

II. THE REGATHERING. To Paul, and to all whose hearts are large and deep, there was a peculiar charm in the thought of this. "I beseech you," as though no motive could be more persuasive.

1. The scene thus opened is august even to oppressiveness. Expanded from one end of heaven to the other, enhanced by multiplication of generations, till it has embraced all the living and dead who have possessed the one Divine faith which makes the communion of saints, it overwhelms and baffles the soul's gaze.

2. But we must seek to refine and decarnalize our conceptions. "There is a spiritual body," doubtless like that of the risen Jesus which entered the room whose doors were shut. We must reassure ourselves by thoughts of the possibility of a communion in which mind shall touch mind, and spirit breathe into spirit, and soul kindle soul with no cumbersome machineries or limiting measurements.

3. Even now we feel within ourselves an instinct of the regathering. There are those who profess to have the key of death, and to hold commerce with the departed. We could better believe them if we found in their supposed communications profiting or solemnity. But the instinct of reunion is there; we read it even in its follies.

4. Still more do we long and yearn in ourselves for that kind of union which can come only to the immortal. Here we meet and part with a sense of unrest which leaves us to the end hungry and desolate. To the friend of our souls we cannot say one half of what we meant to say, and that was not fully understood. Our love he read not, and our passing humours he took as a changed affection. But then friend shall meet friend in absolute oneness, knowing as known, because loved as loving.

5. The condition is "unto Him." There are many human heavens for one Divine. We picture to ourselves a future bright with earth's joys, and cloudless of earth's troubles; but have we remembered that "the light thereof" is the Lamb. The promise of the text is vocal only to the Christian. Conclusion: Make now the great decision. If we will here trifle together, live for the world, neglect Christ, mock at sin, we must look abroad for some other hope: there is none for us in the gospel. The Advent regathering is for those only who in life "have loved the appearing."

(Dean Vaughan.)

"By" is not a formula of adjuration. There would be no point in saying, "I beseech you by the day of the Lord, not to suppose that the day of the Lord is at hand." It must be taken in the sense of "on behalf of," as though he were pleading in honour of that day, that the expectation of it might not be a source of disorder in the Church.

(Prof. Jowett.)

I. THE ERROR WHICH THE APOSTLE DISPROVES — that the day of Christ was then at hand.

II. THE EFFECT WHICH THIS ERROR MIGHT PRODUCE — trouble and unsettledness of mind. This implies —

1. That errors breed this disquietude.

2. That Christians should be firmly established against them.

III. A REMOVAL OF THE FOUNDATION OF THIS ERROR. The brethren were not to be shaken either by spirit, by word, or by letter.

(W. Burkitt, M. A.)

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