“…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“
Verse 2 gives us Paul’s occasion for writing chapter 2. The Greek shows that this is a purpose clause–”that you not be shaken in mind.” It is Paul’s purpose that the Thessalonians not be shaken in mind or troubled about going through the Tribulation.
not to be soon shaken in mind
The teaching that the Thessalonians were currently in the presence of the Day of the Lord shook the Thessalonians to the core. It destabilized their hope of the Rapture. The Day of Christ (Rapture) would keep them from the Day of the Lord [the Tribulation] because the Lord will translate them to Heaven before the Tribulation begins.
The Thessalonians were like ships in a calm harbor when suddenly violent waves come crashing on them. False teaching can shake our minds as a violent wind shakes a ship tossed with great waves at sea. The word “shaken” can mean to render insecure, stir up, to agitate, unsettle, cause to waver. Some teaching can so shake us up that it undermines our sense of security, composure and happiness (Acts 2:25; Hebrews 12:27).
The Thessalonians developed security in the future by 1 Thessalonians but they lost their settled conviction about the return of Christ before the Day of the Lord due to fakers who changed Paul’s teaching. They wavered about their position and this created a deep distress. They needed stability in prophetic truth.
The word “soon” shows the difference between mature and immature believers. Immature believers go into instability very quickly. If they hurriedly latch onto doctrine without careful examination, it will impact their perspective and emotions. All of us have triggers that exaggerate our reactions to truth. Once we experience this, we open ourselves to any faker that may come along. Our emotions dictate our response to a teaching rather than the Word governing our beliefs.
“Troubled” means to make an outcry, be inwardly aroused. The Thessalonians were disturbed inwardly and frightened about the Day of the Lord. Once we leave the sound teaching of God’s Word, we emotionally trouble our souls.
Three separate sources introduced the false teaching that the Day of the Lord had already come: 1) spirit, 2) word and 3) letter. When false doctrine comes from a number of sources then there is an inclination to believe it. Imposters can come from any angle.
First, some people claimed direct disclosure from the Lord by direct prophetic utterance. This was a fake utterance that affirmed that the church was in the Tribulation.
“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1).
or by word
Secondly, others recounted what they heard from others by some discourse they heard by word of mouth. Some teachers pronounced that the church was in the Tribulation in their public and private meetings.
or by letter,
Finally, someone forged a letter from Paul. They claimed that they received a letter purportedly from Paul’s gospel team indicating that the Thessalonians were in the Tribulation. Paul made sure that they knew 2 Thessalonians was a genuine letter in 3:17.
“The salutation of Paul with my own hand [handwriting], which is a sign in every epistle; so I write” (1 Peter 3:17).
as if from us,
False teachers represented their teaching as if it was from Paul’s gospel team. This was a forged letter misrepresenting the true teaching about the Day of the Lord. Prophetic fakers were in the church from the very beginning of the church.
We anchor our souls in the study of prophecy by significant study of God’s Word.
False doctrine can disturb our spiritual stability and spark uncertainties in our souls. Are you anchored in your understanding of biblical prophecy? Many fakers are out there today. Some are sensationalists. Others are inept in their understanding of Scriptures. Any of them can make a child of God disheartened and confused. Anchor your soul in the teaching of Scripture rather than in phony proclamations of men.
Immature Christians are vulnerable to people who prey on untaught Christians. People believe what they want to believe when they operate on their emotions.