The church at Thessalonica was hearing some incorrect doctrine regarding Christs return. Some taught that He had already come. Of course, this was not truewhen Jesus comes, He will take His children out of this world, prepare to judge the world and the Antichrist and settle this question once for all. Paul wrote to the church to correct their misunderstanding of the doctrine of the return of Christ. He outlined and delineated a portion of history yet to come. Note several important facts that Paul presented in the second chapter of II Thessalonians:
1. The Restraining of
the Antichrist (2:1-7)
The "man of lawlessness" is the Antichrist. He cannot appear until some specific events take place.
A. The Apostasy
There must first be an apostasy; the church will rebel against Christ even as the world rebelled against Him. This is already happening in the church through the denial of Gods Word, the rejection of Christ as the only way of salvation and the acceptance of evil behavior as being consistent with the Christian life. The church will not be destroyeda remnant of faithful believers will remain.
B. The Antichrist.
Before the Antichrist can be revealed "he that letteth will let until he be taken out of the way." That is, the One who is restraining the wicked works of Satan must be removed before the Antichrist can be revealed. He is the Holy Spirit! When Christ returns for the church and raptures us out of this world, the Holy Spirit will be removed with us. Only then will the Anti-Christ be unrestrained.
2. The Recruiting of
the Antichrist (2:9-12)
After the church has been removed and Her members carried to the Judgment Seat of Christ. It is at that time the Antichrist will begin a great recruiting process. He will seek to get the entire world to follow him.
The Antichrist will display feats of great power. He will have a charismatic personality. The world will receive, enthrone, and declare him to be god.
He will use lies and deceit to mislead the people. Those left behind will not know to reject him, there will be a great delusion just before the great damnation. Many, who have never heard of Christ, will be saved and will not follow Antichrist. But any person who has heard the gospel will be deluded and will follow the Antichrist right to destruction.
2. The Resisting of the
The spirit of Antichrist is already at work in our world. By these means we must resist him:
A. Stay Involved.
Remain in fellowship with Jesus. Walk and talk with Him daily. Dont give up. We must get up! We must not back up, let up, or shut up till we are taken up!
B. Stay Informed.
t become ignorant of Satans devices. Learn and practice the Word of God. Stand in the armor of Godresist the devil and he will flee from you.
C. Stay Encouraged.
Keep on praising and keep on praying!
3. The Revelation of
the Antichrist (2:8a)
The period of time between the rapture of the church and the destruction of the Antichrist will be seven years. This is divided into two sections:
A. The First Three And One-half Years.
During this period, Anti-Christ will consolidate the political, economic and religious sectors under his control. At the end of this period, he will set himself up in the Temple in Jerusalem (rebuilt by that time); pull off the mask he has been wearing and declare himself to be god!
B. The Second Three And One-half Years.
During this period, horrible events will take place on earth: oppression, starvation, torture and war. The world system has sought to expel God and do things in an humanistic way; it will have an opportunity to do so. The results will be so terrible that people will beg to die but they cannot!
4. The Removing of the
Jesus will eventually gather His armythe saved of all agesand come to the earth. We will not actually do any fighting, we will watch, not war. Our war with Satan is in the present, once we are with Christ; we will never have to resist Satan again (hallelujah!). Jesus will destroy him and his forces with the breath of His mouth and cast them into the lake of fire! Jesus will reign with His saints forever! With the Antichrist, you have defeat, death, damnation and destruction to look forward to. With Christ you have grace, glory and goodness forever! Which will it be for you? Who will you serve?
Closing Devotional Thought: Second Thessalonians 2:16-17 contains a beautiful benediction. This blessing penned by Paul to the Christians at Thessalonica is instructive and. inspirational. In it we observe how good God has been to each of us and how we should be conscientious in return.
A. The Source of This Blessing
Personal Interest Of Jesus
Our blessings are in Christ. Sinless, He left Heaven for us and resisted every temptation in order to qualify to die for us, bearing our sins in His body. He intercedes for us before the Father. He sent the Holy Spirit. He will return to take us to be with Himself forever! Every true blessing to the Christian comes through Jesus Christ!
Paternal Interest of the Father
Some people look at God the Father as angry and mean, while looking at Jesus as loving and kind. The Bible teaches us that this is not true. God is love! God so loved the world that He sent His Son! We are blessed through the Son because of the love of the Father. God loves you!
B. The Sweetness of This Blessing
Paul declared three sweet blessings: a. His Love for us. The idea here is of love, which exists, not due to the life of the loved, but due to the life of the Lover. God is the Lover and as long as He lives, His love for you is secure.
His Life to us.
Paul spoke in this passage of "everlasting consolation," possible only in eternal life. Sometimes we find consolation in our thinking, think you are going to die, however the Doctor says you are going to live, you will have temporary consolation. In Christ, you have the assurance that you will live forevermore! That is everlasting consolation!
His Long-suffering with us
Our hope is not based on wishing, for we could not wish ourselves to be good enough for God. Our hope is not based on our condition. We are hopeless sinners, even after we are saved. There is no experiential eradication of sinour hope is based on grace! God is long-suffering with us! He will not desert us to our foes!
C. The Subject of This Blessing
Paul addressed two subjects in this beautiful benediction:
Born In Prayer and Kept By Power