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ing of Christ and the day of Christ may be understood, either figuratively of his coming in judgment upon the Jews, or litterally of his coming in glory to judge the world. Sometinies indeed they are used in the former sense, but they are more generally employed in the latter, by the writers of the New Testament: and the latter is the proper signification in this place, as the context will evince beyond contradiction. St. Paul himself had planted the church in Thessalonica; and it consisted principally of converts from among the gentile idolaters, because it is said (1 Thef. I. 9.) that they turned to God from idols, to serve the living and true God. What occasion was there therefore, to admonish them particularly of the destruction of Jerusalem? Or (2) why should they be under such agitations and terrors upon that account? What connection had Macedonia with Judea, or Theffalonica with Jerusalem? What share were the Christian converts to have in the calamities of the rebellious and unbelieving Jews; and why should they not rather have been comforted than troubled at the punishment of their inveterate enemies ? Besides (3) how could the apostle deny that the destruction of the Jews was at hand, when it was at hand, as he faith himself, (1 Thef. II. 16.) and the wrath is come upon then to the uttermost? He knew, and they knew, for our Saviour had declared, that the destruction of Jerusalem would come to pass in that generation : and what a ridiculous comfort muft it be to tell them, that it would not happen immediately, but would be accomplished within less than twenty years? The phrases therefore of the coming of Christ and the day of Christ cannot in this place relate to the destruction of Jerusalem, but must neceffarily be taken in the more general acceptation of his coming to judge the world. So the phrase is constantly used in the former Epistle. In one place the apostle faith (II. 19.) IVhat is our hope, or joy, or Crown of rejoicing ? are not even ye in the presence of our
(2) At quis huic terrori locus, fi (3) Præterea, quo jure poteft apor. de Judæorum excidio agebatur? Quid tolus inficiari, Judæorum excidium Macedoniæ cum Judæa, Thessal. cum imminere, cum reipfa jam adeffet ; Hierof.? quid Commune Christianis uti liquet ex prioris epistolæ Cap. z. cum periculo rebellium Judæorum? ver. 16. Bocharti Examen libelli de &c. Simplicius in Poli Synopf. Antichrifto. Tom. 2. Col. 1049.
Lord Lord Jesus Christ at his coming? In another place he wisheth (III. 13.) that the Lord may establish their hearts unblameable in holine's before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his faints: And in a third place he prayeth, (V. 23.) that their whole fpirit, and foul, and body be preserved blameless unto the coning of our Lord Jesus Christ. These texts evidently refer to the general judgment: and if the phrase be constantly so employed in the former Epiftle, why thould it not be taken after the same manner in this Epiftle? In the former Epistle the apostle had exhorted the Thessalonians to moderate forrow for the dead by the consideration of the resurrection and the general judgment. (IV. 13, &c.) I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye forrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died, and rose again, even fo them also which seep in Jesus, will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord; that we which are alive, and remain unto the coming of the Lord, shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself fhall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ Mall rise first. Then we which are alive, and remain, Mall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and fo shall we ever be with the Lord. But of the times and the seasons of these things, as he proceeds, (V. 1, 2.) brethren, ye have no need. that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord fo cometh as a thief in the night. Some perfons having mistaken the apostle's meaning, and having inferred from some of these expressions, that the end of the world was now approaching, and the day of Christ was now at hand, the apostle fets himself in this place to rectify that mistaken notion: and it is with reference to this coming of Christ, to this day of the Lord, to this our gathering together unto him in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, that he beseeches the Thessalonians not to be shaken from their stedfastness, nor to be troubled and terrified, as if it was now at hand. Nothing then can be more evident and undeniable, than that the coming of Christ here intended is his fecond coming in glory to.
judge the world : and of this his second coming the apostle had spoken before, in this fame Epistle, and in the chapter before this. (ver. 6, 7, 8, 9, 10.) It is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you ; And to you who are troubled, reft with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Chrift: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power ; Fhen he mall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe in that day.
It was a point of great importance for the Theffalonians not to be mistaken in this particular; because if they were taught to believe that the coming of Christ was at hand, and he should not come according to their expectation, they might be staggered in their faith, and finding part of their creed to be false, might be hasty enough to conclude that the whole was so. Where by the way we may observe Mr. Gibbon's want of judgment in assigning the notion of Christ's coming speedily as one of the great causes of the growth and increase of the Christian church, when it appears from this passage that it had a contrary effect, and tended to shake and unfettle their minds, and to disturb and trouble instead of inviting and engaging them. The apostle therefore cautions them in the strongest manner against this delusion; and affures them that other memorable events will take place before the coming of our Lord. (ver. 3 and 4.) Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of fin be revealed, the son of perdition; IV ho opposeth and evalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; .. So that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, thowing himself that he is God. The day of Christ shall not come, εάν μη ελθη αποφασια πρωτον, except there conie the apoftafy first. The apostasy here defcribed is plainly not of a civil, but of a religious nature; not a 'revolt from the government, but a detection from the true religion and worship, a departing from the faith, (1 Tim. IV. 1.) & departing from the living God, (Heb. 111. 12.) as the
himself abo, the son of perdition.yfirft, and that no
word is ufed by the apostle in other places. In the original it is the apostasy with an article to give it an eihphasis. The article being added, as Erasmus (4) re-, marks, signifies that famous and before predicted apoftafy. So likewife it is ο ανθρωπος της αμαρτιας the man of tn with the like article and the like emphasis: and St. (5) Am. " brose, that he might express the force of the article, hath rendered it that man, as have likewife our English translators. If then the notion of the man of fin be derived from any ancient prophet, it must be derived from Daniel, who hath described the like arrogant and tyrannical power: (VII. 25.) He shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and again (XI. 36.) The king mall do according to his will, and he shall eralt himself, and magnify himself above every God, and shall Speak marvellous things against the God of Gods. Any man may be satisfied, that St. Paul alluded to this description by Daniel, because he hath not only borrowed the ideas, but hath even adopted some of the phrases and expreffions. The man of sin may fignify either a single man, or a succession of men. A succession of men being meant in Daniel, it is probable, that the same was intended here also. It is the more probable, because a fingle man appears hardly sufficient for the work here assigned: and it is agreeable to the phraseology of fcripture, and efpecially to that of the prophets, to fpeak of a body or a number of men under the character of one. Thus a king (Dan. VII. VIII. Rev. XVII.) is often used for the fuccession of kings, and the high priest (Heb. IX. 7, 25.) for the series and order of high priests. A single beast (Dan. VII. VIII. Rev. XIII.) often reprefents a whole empire or kingdom in all its changes and revolutions froin the beginning to the end. The woman-clothed with the fun (Rev. XII. 1.) is designed as an emblem of the true church; as the woman arrayed in purple and scarlet (Rev. XVII. 4.) is the portrait of a corrupt communion.
(4) y articulus additus fignificat (5) D. Ambrofus, ut explicaret insignem illam et ante prædictam de- vim articuli, legit bomo ille, &c. Erafm. fectionem. Erasm, in locuin. ibid.
No commentator ever conceived the whore of Babylon to be meant of a single woman: and why thien should the man of sin be taken for a single man? The man of fin feemeth to be expressed from Daniel (VII. 24.) according to the Greek translation, és ÚTEPOLOG Xaxous TE AUTOS 785. Eu poobsv, he shall c.rceed in evil all who went before him i and he may fulfil the character either by promoting wickedness in general, or by advancing idolatry in particular, as the word fin frequently fignifies in scripture. The son of perdition is also the denomination of the traitor Judas, (John XVII. 12.) which implies that the man of fin fhould be, like Judas, a false apostle, like him betray Christ, and like him be devoted to destruction. Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped: this is manifestly copied from Daniel, He mall eralt himself, and magnify himself above every God, and speak marvelous things against the God of Gods. The features, you fee, exactly resemble, each other. He opposeth and exalteth himself above all, te Tavto, above every one, that is called God, or that is worThipped, noebaoua, alluding to the title of the Roman emperors, gebasos, august or venerable. He shall oppose, for the prophets speak of things future as present; he shall oppose, and exalt himfelf not only above inferior : magistrates, who are sometimes called Gods in holy writ, but even above the greatest emperors, and shall arrogate to himself divine honors. So that he as God stteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God: By the tema ple of God the apostle could not well mean the temple at Jerusalem, because that he knew very well would be to, tally destroyed within a few years. It is an observation of the learned Bochart, that (6) after the death of Christ the temple at Jerusalem is never called by the apostles the temple of God; and if at any time they make mention of the house or temple of God, they mean the church in general, or every particular believer. It is certain,
(6) Verùm a Christi obitu tem- genere, vel fingularem quemque fideplum Hierofolymitanum nunquam lem, iis vocibus intellecta volunt. Bo. ab apostolis templum Dei vocatur; et charti Examen Libelli de Antichristo, fi quando de Dei æde vel templo ser- Tom. 2. Col. 1047. monem habeant, tum vel eccleliam in