2 Thessalonians 2:1-4: The Man of Sin

December 20, 2016

 

In Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians, he wrote as if expected Christ to come immediately, and the people seem to have taken his words so literally as to have lived in expectation of Christ’s advent, and perhaps to have exhibited some degree of fear concerning it. Then some false teacher’s taught that the “Day of the Lord” had already come. And since they were going through a time of persecution and trouble, many of them thought they were in that time of tribulation. This worried the church. Now Paul calms their fear telling them that Christ would not come until certain events had happened. The history of the world was not complete, the harvest of the Church was not ripe; neither had the “man of sin” been revealed.

 

Once rumors get going of what the false teacher said, or someone’s interpretation of what was being taught swept through a church, it caused confusion and division. Paul had an God-given duty correct the situation decisively.

 

Paul maintains that it the “Day of the Lord” will certainly come, but that it will come like a “thief in the night.” He says nothing of the time when it is to arrive; he simply refutes those who taught that it had  already happened.

 

Verse 1a: “Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and

 

Paul addresses questions raised by his first letter, where he instructed the Thessalonians about the rapture, the catching away of the church to be with Him (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18). Jesus said: “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:3).

 

Verse 1b: “…our gathering together to Him…”

 

“Gathering?” “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air” (1 Thessalonians 4:16,17).

 

The gathering together with Christ in the air was a demonstration of the impossibility that the “Day of the Lord” being already come.

 

Verse 2a:  “…not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled…”

 

“Shaken” in Greek is saleuo which means to be tossed violently to and fro like a stormy wind (especially of the waves agitated by a storm).

 

Again we address the purpose of this letter. A misunderstanding of the coming of the “Day of the Lord,” or at least a misapplication of Paul’s teaching. This cause much consternation among the church. They were “shaken in mind and troubled.” They were upset. In Southern California where we live, earthquakes are not unusual, the shaking is a sudden jolt. What was occurring in this church was not just simple questioning about how things might work out but an earthquake of theological doubt that is leaving vast destruction in its wake.

 

“The word to be shaken, signifies to be agitated as a ship at sea in a storm, and strongly marks the confusion and distress which the Thessalonians had felt in their false apprehension of this coming of Christ.” –Clarke

 

This means “thrown off the course of sound reasoning and thinking.” –David Hubbard

 

John MacArthur comments that “The young believers had been shaken loose from their mental moorings and were adrift on a tossing sea of anxiety and fear, their faith, hope, and joy devastated by deception.”

 

Verse 2b: “…either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come.”

 

More than likely “…either by spirit” suggests that false teachers can get their false message from lying spirits (Satan, demons, other false teachers, their own fallacious thinking). This is a clear contrast with Paul and all teachers of truth for they receive their message from the Holy Spirit.

 

John writes: “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. By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world” (1 John 4:1-3).

 

Verse 2c: “…or by word or by letter, as if from us…”

 

There seems to have been someone within the church, or who came to the church at Thessalonica who had presented himself as speaking and writing for Paul, as his representative. Note that the “us” refers to "Paul, Silvanus and Timothy.  Listen to what Paul writes to the church in Ephesus: “For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves” (Acts 20:29,30).

 

Verse 2d: “… as though the day of Christ had come.”

 

The false teaching that had shaken and troubled the saints at Thessalonica was that the “Day of the Lord” had come and they were caught unexpectedly, without warning, but this did not fit with what Paul had taught them in 1 Thessalonians 5 about the “Day of the Lord.” But like many today, they did not listen to the point of understanding what the preacher was saying. Paul certainly had taught them well, so there was no need for anyone to fear the “Day of the Lord.”

 

1. “But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you.  For you yourselves know perfectly that the “Day of the Lord” so comes as a thief in the night” (verses 1,2). 

 

 2. For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, them (not us)  as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape” (verse 3).

 

3. “But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief” (verse 4).

 

4. “You (not they) are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness” (verse 5).

 

5. “For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,” (verse 9).

 

I admonish you to listen to God’s called preachers! Actually listen! It is God’s word to you. Think about the last message you heard from your pastor. What did he say? What scripture did he use? What point could you apply to your life? Oh I know you may remember some funny story or anecdote. But did you listen carefully to God’s word?

 

Verse 3a: “Let no one deceive you by any means…”

 

What was the deception? The Thessalonian church was being deceived to believe they were in the horrible time of the Tribulation as described in detail in Revelation 6-19.

 

“The Thessalonians had been ensnared in a threefold cord of deception. They were the victims of wrong information, and wrong information is always dangerous. For a traveler to be told to turn left when he should turn right, for a doctor to prescribe medicine when he should prescribe surgery, and for a financial advisor to suggest buying when he should suggest selling is the giving of wrong information. In each case, it could be disastrous. For a preacher to teach one thing when he should be teaching the opposite is equally dangerous-more so, in some instances, because it imperils immortal souls.” –John Phillips

 

It seems there is always a group in the church who believe themselves to be super-saints, who think they have some special connection to the Almighty, where they get direct information from heaven. They don’t think they need to study the Word of God; they imagine they get their information directly through dreams or visions or special revelations.

 

We have examples of this kind of deception in our own day. The Mormons and the Watchtower (Jehovah witnesses-so called) are deceived by false books and false doctrine that is widely distributed, cleverly advertised, and totally a lie.

 

Verse 3b: “…for that Day will not come unless the falling away (Apostasy) comes first…”

 

What day? The “Day of the Lord” includes all prophetic activity, beginning with rapture, the seven-year tribulation period preceding the second advent of Christ (the revelation) as well as the whole millennial reign of Christ, the battle of Armageddon, and it will culminate in the judgment of the great white throne, then a new heavens and a new earth. The “Day of the Lord” is an extended period of time lasting for more than one thousand years.

 

“The falling away,” the apostasy: “Apostasy” in Greek is apostasia, from aphístemi which is derived from apo, “away from” and histemi, “stand, departure, implying desertion;” literally, “a leaving, from a previous standing.

 

As in this verse it is usually defined as a “falling away.” But a better definition would be to “stand away,” apostasy is a definite, deliberate stand. It is not an accidental slip or fall. No one stumbles into apostasy! It is a defection from the faith, an act of unpardonable rebellion against God and His truth. The sin of apostasy results in the abandonment of Christian doctrine and conduct, defiance of an established system or authority; revolt, and rebellion; an abandonment or breach of faith. In the first-century world, apostasy was a technical term for political revolt or defection. And just like in the first century, apostasy threatens the Body of Christ today.

 

“The ancient Greek wording for falling away indicates a rebellion or a departure. Bible scholars debate if it refers to an apostasy among those who once followed God, or a general worldwide rebellion. In fact, Paul may have both in mind, because there is evidence of each in the end times (1 Timothy 4:1-3, 2 Timothy 3:1-5 and 4:3-4). Nevertheless, Paul’s point is clear: ‘You are worried that we are in the Great Tribulation and that you missed the rapture. But you can know that we are not in the Great Tribulation, because we have not yet seen the falling away that comes first.’” –David Guzik

 

Verse 3c,4: “…and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition (Antichrist), 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 is mentioned by that name 4 time in the New testament:

 

1 John 2:18, “Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour.”  

 

1 John 2:22,  “Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son.”

 

1 John 4:3, “And every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.”

 

2 John 7. “For many deceivers have gone out into the world who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.”

 

However, There were many antichrists in the world when John wrote First John. And even today there are many antichrists. “Every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.” (1 John 4:3, 2 John 7).

 

The Antichrist is the “man of sin,” mentioned in verse 3. He is Satan himself. And when Satan comes as the Antichrist he will appear in a glorious body. People will not recognize him as the Devil. He will claim to be God and most people will believe that he is God.

 

Speculation has been going on for centuries as to the identity of the Antichrist. Martyn Luther thought it was the pope, the pope thought it was Martyn Luther. Other names include Adolph Hitler, Mussolini, Nero, Stalin, Attila and Caesar just to name a few. While these people were evil and are most likely now in Hell awaiting the Great White Throne Judgment, these tyrants were not the Antichrist. I have even heard it aid that he is John F. Kennedy reincarnated (based on Revelation 13:3). I have even heard that it is our current president Barrack Obama.

 

We know that very shortly after the Rapture, the Antichrist will be unveiled. He may be somewhere on the scene right now. But after the Rapture occurs, he will then assume his final role as world dictator and those who become believers after the Rapture and are biblically aware will be able to recognize him for who he is. Speculation as to his identity will only be speculation until then,

 

Some Bible scholars speculate that he will come from a confederacy of ten nations and/or a reborn Roman empire (Daniel 7:24-25; Revelation 17:7). Others see him as having to be a Jew in order to claim to be the Messiah.

 

The Antichrist will be a political leader, described in the Book of Revelation as “the Beast.” He will poison the minds of his followers with half-truths, false love, and, above all else, sheer charisma. Most importantly, he will gain much of his power and influence by being endorsed by the False Prophet, a mighty religious leader with nefarious goals.

 

He will be admired. People on earth will be deceived into thinking that this person is indeed a savior of humanity. “And they that dwell on the earth shall wonder (be in awe), whose names have not been written in the book of life…” (Revelation 17:8).

 

He will be a man of the people, a man of great charisma, a man of peace (so-called), and a man who will seem to be world problem solver. He will solve the race problem by bringing an end to terrorism and race wars (at least for 3½ years). He will set himself up to be worshiped as God. “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” (verse 4).

 

He will perform miracles. “The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders” (verse 9).

 

He will claim to have been killed and resurrected from the dead. The False Prophet will promote this lie. “And he (the false prophet) required all the earth and its people to worship the first beast, whose fatal wound had been healed” (Revelation 13:12). “The beast you saw was once alive but isn’t now. And yet he will soon come up out of the bottomless pit and go to eternal destruction. And the people who belong to this world, whose names were not written in the Book of Life before the world was made, will be amazed at the reappearance of this beast who had died” (Revelation 17:8).

 

He will have great power. “And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he was given authority to continue[a] for forty-two months (3½ years, ½ of the tribulation). Then he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven. It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation.  All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Revelation 13:5-8).

 

He will control the world’s economy.  “He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads,  and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name” (Revelation 13:16,17).

 

He will muster an army to fight against God. “And I saw the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army” (Revelation 19:19).

 

His end. “Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone” (Revelation 19:20).

 

Paul calls him the “son of perdition.” “Perdition” in Greek is apoleia, meaning “destruction, loss,  eternal ruin,” in this context it refers to an everlasting state of torment.”

 

The number of the beast (Antichrist). “He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads,  and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or[a] the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666” (Revelation 13:16-18).

 

One can only speculate about the meaning of the mark of the beast. It is a common  believe among prophecy teachers that “the mark or number of the beast will be a financial identification system that the Antichrist will establish during the tribulation. He will use the mark as a tool for controlling all aspects of society. The Antichrist will make it compulsory for everyone to have a tiny microchip implanted under the skin of the right hand or on the forehead. The microchip will hold various amounts of data pertaining to each person who receives the implant. Right now, the technology exists to fully implement this system. From here on out, the only changes will be in how much information those microchips will be able to hold.” –raptureready.com

 

Another explanation is that the Bible associates the number six with man; God made him on the sixth day of creation week. The number 666 is a triple repetition of the number of man and emphasizes that this beast represents a government whose base is human authority, as opposed to God’s authority.

 

Our current economic system is about to collapse. America is currently (2016) 20 trillion dollars in debt. Out of the ruins will come a single world currency, an electronic cashless society, and a New World Order ruled by the Antichrist as the head of a ruthless one-world government.  Prepare yourself, for End Times prophecies are coming to pass faster than we imagined!

 

I believe we are living in the last days. Jesus coming is imminent! What does God say? “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come…” (1 Peter 3:1). “Perilous’ means hard to endure, dangerous, or difficult to bear. Troubles, difficulties, and stressful situations will mark the last days. Just look at today’s news. Murder, rape, and robbery are the new norm for our world. Indeed, “perilous times are here! 

 

“But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.  For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be” (Matthew 24:37-39).

 

“Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; 29 but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. 30 Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed” (Luke 17:28-30).

 

What was it like in Noah's day and Lot's day? We need to go to two other Bible verses to see what it was like. Genesis 6:13 tells us that in Noah's day the "earth was filled with violence." And in Jude 1:7 it says that in Lot's day, “They had given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh.” So violence prevailed in Noah's day and sexual immorality (including homosexuality) prevailed in Lot's day. And this would be a sign of the end times before Christ Jesus returns.

 

What do we do? If you have not been born again, then repent of your sin and ask Jesus Christ to come into your life. If you are a believer then give yourself completely to Christ, knowing full well, you are not your own, you are bought with a price (1 Corinthians 6:19). Finally, “Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near” (Luke 1:28).

 

People get ready Jesus is coming

Soon well be going home

People get ready Jesus is coming

To take from the world His own

–Crystal Lewis–

 

PERHAPS TODAY! Our Daily Bread, February 17, 2009

 

“When the disciples asked Jesus about the date of His return (Matthew 24:3), He told them that only God the Father knows: ‘But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only’ (verse 36). Then He urged them to be prepared so that they would not be taken by surprise. ‘Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect’ (verse 44).

 

We don’t know when Jesus will return; He may come at any time. Dr. M. R. De Haan, founder of RBC Ministries, kept a two-word motto in his office: “Perhaps Today.” When we make our daily plans, are we aware that Christ may return? Are we prepared to meet Him?

 

The darkness deepens! Yes, but dawn is nearer!

The Lord from heaven may soon be on His way;

The “blessed hope” in these dark days grows dearer,

Our Savior Christ will come—perhaps today!

–Smith–

 

If Christ comes today, will you be ready to meet Him?”

 

 

 

 

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