The Thessalonians Were Shaken. II Thessalonians 2:1-2.
The Thessalonians were troubled and confused in their thinking. They thought the Day of Christ or the Day of the Lord was at hand. In the verses that follow, Paul proceeds to outline events, which must take place before the Day of the Lord will come. The underlying question is why were they troubled and shaken? Had someone deceived them? There is much speculation on this subject. Many would say the Thessalonians thought they had missed the Rapture. Others would suggest they were again confused about the resurrection of the dead (I Thessalonians 4). Hymenaeus and Philetus, 2 Timothy 2:18, may have persuaded some the resurrection was past. Regardless of reason, they were shaken.
Paul begins by stating the following: The Day of the Lord was not impending; the final apostasy would need to take place first, and that he was not the author of the letters they had received. Paul then notes the possible sources of their confusion. He plainly states that they should not be shaken by spirit, word, or letter that the Day of the Lord had come. He makes it clear, if they receive a letter bearing his signature, and it stated the Day of the Lord is imminent or already took place, do not believe it. If someone says, I heard Paul deliver this teaching in Corinth, do not believe them. If someone says, I heard Paul deliver a prophetic utterance concerning the immediate return of Christ to judge the earth, know that it is a lie. Why? Paul had not changed his doctrinal position on when the Day of the Lord would take place. Paul had previously taught them that before the Day of the Lord could place, there would be a falling away (an apostasy), and the man of sin would be revealed v 3. The falling away suggests a specific happening rather than just a general state of lukewarmness or gradual apostasy. There will be some kind of global defection in turning from the word of God and turn to something else. I believe this defection will lead right into the embracing of the man of sin, the antichrist. It is very possible that some future event will be the impetus for both. The event will shatter the faith of most and will leave them open to believe the lie of satan.
Did the Thessalonians believe they had missed the rapture? Due to persecution, did the Thessalonians believe that they were already in the tribulation and the 2nd Coming of the Lord was about to happen? Were they questioning whether they misunderstood the order of the catching away of the saints and the return of the Lord in judgment? We could speculate much, but I would like you to remember this. These Christians only had some of the Old Testament books (maybe). The Old Testament scrolls were housed in the Synagogue. Paul’s letters were not on the internet or in general circulation. They relied on what they had been taught. Paul was only in their city for a short time. He preached in the synagogue for 3 Saturdays and then was sent away by the brethren to Berea. They had his first letter, but that letter does not establish a time line for rapture and the 2nd coming of Christ. John did not write the book of Revelations until about 40 years later. Realizing this, I understand their confusion. Even with all 66 books in the Bible, scholars differ greatly on the timing of future events.
Were the Thessalonians being exploited? To this question the answer is an emphatic, yes. Beware of any new teaching that causes you to be shaken and troubled in your faith. Shaken - as in an earthquake when all comes falling down around you. Troubled - as in agitated and confused, unable to concentrate on other matters. Which one of Paul’s teachings was being questioned; had he changed his mind? I believe the Thessalonians were troubled concerning when or at what time-slot in future history the Day of the Lord would take place.