others to be faithful unto death. It has been suggested that Satan "holds fast" his place in the celestial spheres, for when he is cast out the apostasy commences. His ejection does mark the crisis between the secret and open manifestation of the apostasy, but that which is restrained is evidently the apostasy, not a place in the celestial realms. The apostasy is restrained by the presence of the saints. When we are taken out of the midst by our assembling with Christ in the air, then the apostasy and all its terrible train of afflictions will deluge the earth with fire. Thus the apostle proves that their own presence on earth is conclusive evidence that they were not enduring the afflictions of the Lord's day.
9 Nothing is more necessary in these declining days of this dispensation than to warn the saints of the danger of being deceived, not by that which appears evil, but by that which has all the outward evidences of good. Satan is transformed into a messenger of light and his servants are servants of righteousness (2Co.11:14-15). But, for the next era, God has warned of the deception. The false prophet will do the very signs which, in Elijah's day, proved the deity of Jehovah (lKi.18:24; Un.15:13), and he is empowered even to give a spirit to the image of the wild beast (Un.13:15) so that it will actually speak. Thus will the man of lawlessness demonstrate his divinity.
13 The Thessalonian saints (and all who believe in Christ) need have no fear of the terrible trial which is coming on the earth, for God has not sent them a deception, to condemn them, but prefers them for salvation through belief of the truth and for the procuring of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. What a glorious contrast!
1 Paul desired their prayers that he might lead others into the blessed position which they occupied.
5 The appreciation of God's love would destroy the idea that He was pouring out His indignation upon them. The contemplation of the endurance of Christ would help them to endure.
6 Discipline was necessary even in such a warm-hearted, zealous ecclesia as Thessalonica. The occasion was not doing wrong but doing nothing. Just as the grace of God provides for our salvation from all trial and all affliction in the future, but brings both in the present, so it will also bring rest and relaxation in that day but calls for toil and labor until then. We should not shirk our work. He who does not work has no right to eat. And if anyone goes about as a busybody, seeking his food from his friends, we should avoid him, yet treat him with all the grace necessary to correct his disorderly conduct.
7 "Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn" is the divine law for God's servants. They have a right to require support, for the Lord has appointed that those who are proclaiming the evangel should live of the evangel. But Paul did not use this right, but availed himself of the higher privilege of making the evangel absolutely free (1Cor.9:1-19). He pursued the same course in Corinth and doubtless wrote this letter in an interval between evangelistic labors and tent making, for he worked with Aquila and Priscilla at that trade (Ac.8:1-3). Thus he was able to point to his own conduct as a model for the disorderly. The power of such an argument is apparent.
16 In closing Paul once more tenderly touches the theme of the epistle. Their Saviour is "the Lord of peace" and He will never visit them in judgment but give them peace through all their trials by all the means at His disposal.