Monday, 23 October 2017
For we hear that there are some who walk among you in a disorderly manner, not working at all, but are busybodies. 2 Thessalonians 3:11
The words “For we hear,” are an indication that some were at the church in Thessalonica, and they were personal witnesses of those who were being lazy and sponging off of others. It was probably the carriers of his first letter back to the church. They took the letter and had a visit, probably a bit horrified that those who had accepted Paul’s gospel presentation and instruction were already departing from it, and receiving false words from others.
The source may have been someone from the church itself as well, dispatched to get Paul’s thoughts on what was going on. Either way, he has been giving direction, instruction, and correction based on this saddening news, which is “that there are some who walk among you in a disorderly manner.”
He has already instructed that the church members were to “withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly” among them (verse 3:6). Now he shows that this wasn’t just an arbitrary statement of instruction, but a preparation for specific accusation, which is now given. Those who were disorderly (and they were already there in the church) were to be withdrawn from. Here they were, repeating false doctrines which had been received from unreliable sources, and they were spreading them around like a growing virus. The way to end this was to end any contact with them.
While most in the church were being productive, living their lives out in a sound and reasonable manner, these sensationalists were “not working at all.” Instead, they were “busybodies.” In the Greek, there is a play on words which is wholly lacking in the English translation. The word “working” is ergazomai. The word “busybodies” is periergazomai. It is used only here in the Bible, and it is a superlative word. Peri means “all around,” and so one gets the idea of “working all around,” and thus meddling.
Instead of doing what should be done, they had their noses in the work of everyone else, fixating on what they were up to. In this, one can almost see then what they would do next. “Gee, you are too busy making a living. Don’t you know that the Day of the Lord has come (or the rapture is going to happen on 23 September). Why are you wasting your time? But, seeing as how you have your wages coming in, why don’t you give me a bit for lunch…”
Whatever attitude was demonstrated in these people, it included a theological misunderstanding (or intentional falsification) of the sequence of events concerning the return of Christ and the tribulation period. In their mishandling of what was to occur, they were not being productive, and they were leeching off of those who were. And doesn’t this sound like the rapture date-setters of today! They put out video after video, monetizing those videos, robbing people of their time which would otherwise be spent more productively, and leading those uninformed in Scripture down unsound paths of doctrine. And with the link to the DONATE button, they rake it in at the expense of people who are too unclear in their life and doctrine to see they are being duped.
Paul has set the timeline of events in his writings; but because people are unwilling to study the word, they get caught up in the false teachings of these people who should otherwise be, as Paul directly commands, stayed away from. How sad it is that people won’t take the time to simply learn the Bible. If they did learn the Bible, the would stop speculating. Instead, they would learn to devote their time, work, and resources to productive things. Rapture-schmapture. It will happen when it happens, and so we can cherish the thought in our heart without becoming duped into false hopes by these abhorrent people.
Life application: Still watching videos and reading commentaries about a particular date for the rapture? Try reading your Bible instead.
Lord God, there have been enough false-predictions about the return of Jesus that maybe it’s time we should just stop paying attention to this nonsense. Maybe… maybe we should instead just read our Bibles each day, and then get out to our jobs, be industrious and hard working there, and then devote our free time to something worthwhile, like telling people about their need for Jesus. What an innovative idea… maybe we should. Amen.