February 11, 2017
2 Thessalonians 2
2 Thessalonians 2
Shawn Bumpers / General
2 Thessalonians / Day of the Lord; Judgment; Salvation; Antichrist; Jesus
Two major themes of prophecy run consistently throughout all of Scripture: 1) Israel; and 2) the Messiah who comes to Israel and through Israel to the world as the Savior of all mankind.
Around these two central themes almost all other prophecies revolve and find their meaning, …
The Bible is absolutely unique in presenting these prophecies, which it records in specific detail, beginning more than 4000 years ago.
Dave Hunt made the observation that, “Prophecy is completely absent from the Koran, the Hindu Vedas, the Baghavad Gita, the Ramayana, the sayings of Buddha or Confucius, the Book of Mormon, or any other writings of the world’s religions.”
He observed this to be validation of the Holy Scriptures and the Christian faith.
Now, Wrapped up in those 2 running themes of prophecy in scripture is what the Bible says about End Times, including “The man of lawlessness” as Paul refers to him.
It seems like there is constant speculation about who the antichrist will be.
Paul referred to him as the man of lawlessness, and scripture hints at some things and details some other things that this evil man will do.
Of course, given the inherent mystery behind a man who will do all that the Antichrist will … there have been many books and articles speculating about who this man is or will be.
Some of the more popular names are Vladimir Putin, President Donald Trump, former President Barack Obama, and the Pope.
The prophets Micah, Isaiah, and Ezekiel refer to him as being “Assyrian.”
Nimrod in the Bible was the son of Cush, the great-grandson of Noah through the lines of Ham and Canaan.
The Bible describes him as the first of the Gibōr “mighty men” to appear on the earth after the great flood.
Before the flood, there had been giants and mighty men on the earth, and “also afterward” (Genesis 6:4).
Biblical texts and other ancient documents, make it clear that Nimrod was one of these mighty men.
According to the historian Josephus, Nimrod, “said he would be revenged on God, if he should have a mind to drown the world again; for that he would build a tower too high for the waters to reach. And that he would avenge himself on God for destroying their forefathers”
The reason for the flood was to judge people for their wickedness and rebellion, and we find here Nimrod leading the world in rebellion against God.
In his rebellion and fist shaking at God and leading the world in doing the same, we see a foreshadowing of the AntiChrist.
So, who is the Antichrist, and how will we recognize him?
Before we get further into this, we do need to make sure we understand the term “Anti.”
The prefix “anti” comes from the Greek language and has two meanings: 1) opposed to, and 2) in the place of or a substitute for.
The man of lawlessness will indeed oppose Christ.
He does it by pretending to be Christ and thus perverting “Christianity.”
2 Thessalonians 2:4 NKJV
who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.
Antichrist will substitute Himself for Christ and be worshiped by the world.
Led by this false messiah, this new Antichrist “Christianity” will embrace all religions and be embraced by all religions.
But the purpose of Bible prophecy is not for what most people think it is for.
It is to inform us so that we are moved to proper behavior … proper use of prophecy builds character rather than creates calendars.
Matthew 24:36 NKJV
“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.
Matthew 24:42 NKJV
Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming.
1 Thessalonians 5:20–21 NKJV
Do not despise prophecies. Test all things; hold fast what is good.
The persecution they were already enduring grew worse.
He appeals to them to calm down and remember what he had already taught them.
Well, this is what Paul again refers to in verse 1 as “the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him” … that is the rapture of the church.
Jump ahead a few verses to 6 and 7.
2 Thessalonians 2:6–7 NKJV
And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way.
So, looking at these verses … As soon as the church is removed from the world, Satan and his forces will jumpstart their work.
The rapture of the church will kick off that 7 years of God’s wrath upon the unbelieving world that is called the Day of the Lord or “The Tribulation” that we see spelled out in Revelation 6-19.
God is restraining the forces of evil that are in the world today.
Psalm 76:10 KJV 1900
Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee:
The remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain.
Paul does not tell us exactly who this restrainer is.
He probably told the Thessalonians when he was with them teaching, but of course we don’t have that.
In verse 6, Paul refers to the restrainer using “WHAT is restraining”, but then in verse 7 he switches to a “he” … “HE who now restrains.”
Some identify this restrainer as the Holy Spirit, which seems quite reasonable.
Of course … there is still the matter of the “what” … and that “what” is the church.
2 Thessalonians 2:3 NKJV
Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition,
The Hebrew word for “Falling Away” here is ἀποστασία Apostasia (ahpah-stah-SEE-yah) or Apostasy, which means “rebellion and abandonment.”
Here it refers to a falling away from the truth of the Word of God.
1 Timothy 4:1 NKJV
Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons,
Paul promises the rise of a world dictator, the “man of sin … son of perdition” (v. 3).
He is not talking about a world system, but a person who will head up a world system.
BUT … the word Antichrist is Biblical.
The term “Antichrist” is used by John in both 1st and 2nd John.
As was the case when he fell, Satan wants to be worshipped and served as God.
(1) The church will be raptured; (1 Thessalonians 4; 1 Thessalonians 5; Revelation 14)
(2) The Antichrist will begin his rise to power in a peaceful way; (Daniel 9)
(3) He will unite many nations and make a seven-year covenant with Israel to protect it (see Daniel 9);
(4) After three and one-half years he will break that covenant and invade Israel; (Daniel 9)
(5) He will abolish all religion and set himself up to be worshiped (Rev. 13);
(6) At the end of the seven-year tribulation period (Day of the Lord), Christ will return to earth and destroy the Antichrist and his system. (Matthew 24; Revelation 19)
Both the OT and NT predict the return of the Jews to Israel and the rebuilding of the Jewish temple.
Daniel 11:31 NKJV
And forces shall be mustered by him, and they shall defile the sanctuary fortress; then they shall take away the daily sacrifices, and place there the abomination of desolation.
Matthew 24:15 NKJV
“Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand),
Daniel 9:24–27 NKJV
“Seventy weeks are determined
For your people and for your holy city,
To finish the transgression,
To make an end of sins,
To make reconciliation for iniquity,
To bring in everlasting righteousness,
To seal up vision and prophecy,
And to anoint the Most Holy.
“Know therefore and understand,
That from the going forth of the command
To restore and build Jerusalem
Until Messiah the Prince,
There shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks;
The street shall be built again, and the wall,
Even in troublesome times.
“And after the sixty-two weeks
Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself;
And the people of the prince who is to come
Shall destroy the city and the sanctuary.
The end of it shall be with a flood,
And till the end of the war desolations are determined.
Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week;
But in the middle of the week
He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering.
And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate,
Even until the consummation, which is determined,
Is poured out on the desolate.”
The 69th week ended with the ministry of Jesus Christ.
The 70th week will start with the rapture of the church and the arrival of the Antichrist.
Paul says in verse 5 that he already told the Thessalonians these things about the coming of the Antichrist.
Satan’s mystery of iniquity is already working in the world, and we can see its godless activities increasing rapidly.
What, then, holds back Satan’s evil program and the rise of the Antichrist?
As Paul wrote in chapter 5 and verse 1 of his first letter, God has “times and seasons” marked out.
The Holy Spirit will still be working on earth, though, since people will continue to believe and be saved after the rapture of the church.
However, His hindering ministry through the body of Christ will end.
In the end, the Antichrist is a tool of God … His messenger.
That lie is that God is not God and WE can be gods.
Romans 1:18 NKJV
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,
But the Antichrist will face judgment from God as well.
Look back to verse 8 which makes it quite clear that the Antichrist nor his ruler, Satan, are any match for the LORD Jesus.
2 Peter 2:4 NKJV
For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment;
Jude 6 NKJV
And the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day;
Later, after Jesus has ruled for 1000 years, Satan and these evil angels are released to deceive the nations.
Before we move on, let me point something else out to you.
2 Thessalonians 2:7 NKJV
For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way.
The Greek word μυστήριον mystērion (MEE-stayrion) speaks of a secret plan which God shares only with his people.
Remember that God is in control and nothing happens that He does not allow.
Here, it seems, scripture indicates that God allows lawlessness and that it is working as part of His plans.
2 Peter 2:8 NKJV
(for that righteous man, dwelling among them, tormented his righteous soul from day to day by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds)—
They Bible condemns all sin.
So, we are left with the question, “Why would God allow lawlessness?”
2 Peter 3:9 NKJV
The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
There are two agendas at work today.
There is (a) God’s program of salvation and (b) Satan’s program of sin.
Romans 3:23 NKJV
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
Ezekiel 33:11 NKJV
Say to them: ‘As I live,’ says the Lord GOD, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?’
Romans 5:8–9 NKJV
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.
Here Paul moves from prophecy to practical Christian living.
We can easily get wrapped up in what God will do tomorrow to the neglect of what God is doing today.
And so Paul makes a wonderful application for us here: Stand fast!
But God is still on the throne.
As the end of the age draws near, it will be more and more difficult to live for Christ and serve Him.
What should Christians do?
• Hold on to the Word of God.
• Also, we must keep on working.
2 Peter 3:11–12 NKJV
Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat?
As long as the church is in the world, Satan’s program of wickedness is held back.
But once the church is gone, Satan will have more freedom.