“Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come” (2 Thessalonians 2:1-2).
As we enter the central portion of the book of 2 Thessalonians, Paul the Apostle will offer some additional detail regarding several important end-time events. As we’ll see later in this chapter, this portion of Scripture will supplement some of Paul’s earlier teaching on this subject in order to protect the Christians at Thessalonica from some erroneous teachings that had entered the church.
In one sense, the opening verses of 2 Thessalonians chapter two are comparable to the experience of listening to one side of a mobile phone conversation. While we can gain a great deal of understanding regarding the subject of that conversation, we can only guess at the portion we can’t hear. In this analogy, the first twelve verses of this chapter serve as the portion of the conversation we can hear. What we don’t know is what Paul said earlier regarding “…the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him.”
Nevertheless, these verses provide an excellent framework for understanding the things Paul will go on to say later. For instance…
- They establish our subject for much of this chapter: “…the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him.”
- They explain the reason for Paul’s concern: “…Do not become easily upset in your thinking or afraid” (NCV).
- They identify the source of the issue: “…by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us.”
- They provide us with the nature of the problem: “…as though the day of Christ had come.”
Finally, one source summarizes the opening twelve verses of this chapter and offers some wise counsel that should guide our response to this passage…
“Paul describes the end of the world and Christ’s second coming. He says that great suffering and trouble lie ahead, but evil will not prevail because Christ will return to judge all people. Although Paul presents a few signs of the end times, his emphasis, like Jesus’ (Mark 13), is the need for each person to prepare for Christ’s return by living rightly day by day. If we are ready, we won’t have to be concerned about the preceding events or the timing of Christ’s return. God controls all events.” (1)
(1) Life Application Study Bible Copyright © 1988, 1989, 1991, 1993, 1996, 2004 by Tyndale House Publishers Inc., all rights reserved. [2 Thessalonians 2:1]