II Thessalonians 2:2b

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

Text: II Thessalonians 2:2 b

We are in the process of looking at -

I. THE DAY OF THE LORD - 2:1-12

We are also in the process of looking at -

A. False teaching in Thessalonica - 2:1-2

In verses 1-2 Paul deals with false teaching that made its way to Thessalonica. Apparently, someone had communicated a message to the church at Thessalonica that the day of Christ had already come and that they were in the tribulation. Of course, Paul had sent no such message. This false teaching upset these new converts.

There will always be false teaching, and the antidote for being upset by false teaching is knowing the truth as taught in the Scriptures.

II Thessalonians 2:1-2 - (1) Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,

(2) That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.

We are in the middle of verse 2. Paul wrote in verse 1 that they were not to begin to be quickly (or easily) shaken in mind and were to stop being troubled, regardless of how this may have been taking place.

Neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter indicates three ways in which this false message may have come. The Apostle Paul does not want the Thessalonian believers to even begin to be shaken and also wants them to stop being troubled.

Neither by spirit is literally through spirit, indicating through the intermediate agency of some spirit. In this context spirit refers to some spirit being which had supposedly revealed this message to them.

Remember that if some spirit revealed this to them, it would constitute a prophecy. It could not, however, be the Holy Spirit of God Who had revealed this because it would have contradicted His earlier revelation given to them through Paul in I Thessalonians. It was a lie and must, therefore, be a false spirit or demon who had revealed this to someone who then passed it on to them.

Let's review what we have seen in I John 4:1-3 , which indicates that the way to distinguish between the Holy Spirit and a false spirit is by discerning whether the prophecy harmonizes with the Scripture.

I John 4:1-3 - (1) Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.

(2) Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:

(3) And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.

Nor by word suggests nor through (a) word or nor through (a) message. Paul does not want anyone to be able to claim that Paul, in a private conversation, gave him a message and, thereby, shake the Thessalonian believers up, trouble them, or unsettle them. The source of this false message is not specified, but someone may have been claiming to have received it from Paul.

Nor by letter is nor through (a) letter (or (an) epistle).

As from us is as through us or as by means of us, where us refers to Paul, and is to be understood as describing both word and letter. Paul has not privately communicated any such message with anyone and has also not written any such letter.

As that the day of Christ is at hand indicates the content of the false message which someone has delivered to the Thessalonian believers which is confusing them.

The day of Christ is the day of Christ's return for believers at the rapture.

Although many Bibles have marginal references or notes which state that the day of Christ should be the day of the Lord, without telling the readers that the day of the Lord is the reading of the Westcott-Hort text, the Textus Receptus (or the Received Text), i.e. the text underlying the King James Bible, reads the day of Christ and is to be regarded as the correct reading.

The day of Christ has reference to the day of Christ's return for believers at the rapture; whereas, the day of the Lord refers to the tribulation and millennium and includes the great white throne judgment at the end of the millennium.

Is at hand is the translation of a verb whose action has occurred in the past and whose result continues on. It is literally has come, but it has been translated in a way which emphasizes its existing result.

Remember that the rapture is instantaneous and will be over immediately after it begins.

Those who are unsaved at the time of the rapture will pass immediately into the tribulation. If the day of Christ had already come, it would mean that the day of Christ was already past and that these believers were now in the tribulation period, which begins immediately following the rapture.

Theologically, as I see it, it really doesn't matter if it is the day of Christ or the day of the Lord. It really doesn't affect my view that the rapture occurs before the tribulation begins, even though some teach that it does. In either case, the meaning of the false message is that the rapture (i.e. the day of Christ) had already taken place and that they were now in the tribulation (i.e. the day of the Lord).

These believers should not begin to be shaken in their thinking and should stop being troubled with any word that might come to them through a spirit, or by a message supposedly (but not actually) sent by Paul or by a letter also supposedly (but not actually) written by Paul, indicating that they were now in the tribulation. It was not true. They were not in the tribulation.

The rapture, which precedes the beginning of the tribulation, had not yet occurred; and the fact that they as believers were still on the earth was proof that it had not yet occurred.

Although they were undergoing severe persecution, this did not mean that they were experiencing the persecution which will take place during the tribulation.

If the rapture had occurred, then the Thessalonian believers would be in the presence of the Lord rather than on earth enduring the tribulation while waiting for Christ's second coming.

False doctrine such as this would do nothing positive for these recent converts and would only cause them great confusion.