by Robert Brow  February 1999

2 Thessalonians

In 1 Thessalonians I thought of 3 explanatory models that could be connected with the word -parousia- I adopted the model that the - parousia- refers to the Lord's coming to be present in the destruction of the temple and religious establishment of Jerusalem in AD 70.

Now in 2 Thessalonians Paul uses that same word -parousia- three times, twice referring to the Lord (2:1, 8) and once referring to the coming of Satan (2:9). So I wonder how the model I adopted would fit here?

The word -parousia- simply meant a coming to be present with a friend, or at a banquet. Or it could refer to "the visit of a person of high rank, esp. Of kings and emperors visiting a province" (Arndt & Gingrich Lexicon).

Paul says the -parousia- coming of their Lord (2:1), would be preceded by an -apostasia- (2:3). This -apostasia- would result in the revealing of the - anthropos tys anomias, o uios tys apoleias- the evil man due for destruction (2:7) who is energized by Satan (2:9). And the -mustyrion- of this -anomias- is already at work (2:7)

As the Christians in Thessalonica already knew -to katechon- (2:6) who is actually a male person -o katechon arti- (2:7) is preventing -o anomos- from -apokaluphthysetai- being made visible (2:7). But when eventually - o anomos- is revealed (2:8) the Lord (Jesus) will -anelei- take him out (as in ice hockey) by -to pneumati tou stomatos autou- the Spirit who speaks for him and will -katargysei- make him powerless by the -epiphaneia tys parousias autou- (2:8)

If we used Schweitzer's model (1) from 1 Thessalonians, Paul would be as totally wrong as Jesus was. If we use a rapture model (2), then we need to look for an antichrist before the rapture occurs, and all sorts of candidates have been offered for this (Hitler, Stalin, Yassar Arafat, etc.).

Until someone shows me a better model, I assume that Paul was speaking of the coming of the Lord (1 Thessalonians 2:1, as he kept on coming again and again in Old Testament days of the Lord, for example to destroy Babylon in Isaiah 13:1, 6-13). He came in the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70, and in this model there is not just one second coming, but many comings as he reigns till the final coming to roll up our universe.

Say Paul was writing from Corinth about AD 50, there would still be twenty years before the Lord's coming to destroy the temple in AD 70. Nero, then aged 23, was not yet on the horizon. He would become Emperor four years later in AD 54, and he reigned till AD 68 just as Jerusalem was about to be surrounded and decimated after a terrible siege.

That model might make historians look for an antichrist, perhaps Nero himself, in those twenty years. But I don't have to look for one now before Y2K. All I have to do is beware of false prophets -dia pneumatos myte dia logou myte di epistolys- claiming apostolic authority (2:2). At first sight that seems easy because of their incredible kookiness.

 1 Timothy .....