THE BOOK OF 2 THESSALONIANS
Getting ready for the Antichrist
2 Thessalonians 2:1-5 SCC 7/26/14
GOD’S REVEALED HIS FUTURE PLANS IN WHICH WE CAN PLACE OUR CONFIDENCE
1. It’s in our interest to understand what God has revealed about future events related to us v 1
“We ask you brothers and sisters” a word used of a request from a friend.
“Regarding” or “with reference to” was not simply writing about this subject, but in the interest of its truth and what that truth means to believers.
“Coming of the Lord” is used here of His coming for the church before the day of the Lord is evident with the phrase, “and our gathering together to Him.”
“Gathering together” is clearly a reference to the event described in 1 Thess 4:17, the rapture. Thus, the subject of the passage concerns the coming of Christ at the time of our being gathered together to meet Him in the air at the rapture or the snatching. This needs clarity Paul says.
2. This understanding protects us from alternative information attempting to deceive us v 2
First is their shaken condition: “That you not be easily shaken from your composure,” “Easily” is “quickly, hastily, soon” or too quickly without due thought and study. Carefully reflecting on the teaching Paul had given them should have protected their minds from such instability v 5.
“From your composure” is “from your mind.” It can refer to “one’s attitude, way of thinking,” or one’s “opinion, viewpoint, perspective.” “And be disturbed,” are the result of what happened because they had been shaken in their understanding of God’s truth. They were disturbed and frightened.
Second is its Cause: The cause of the disturbance is three distinct sources of information:
(1) The first was, “neither by a spirit.” This refers to the claim of some to a prophetic utterance made in the power of the Spirit of God.
(2) The second, “nor by a word” is distinguished from the claim to a spirit of prophecy or divine revelation. It may have been just someone’s opinion in view of the conditions.
(3) “Nor by a letter as from us.” Some had evidently forged a letter claiming it was from Paul and his associates, but it was in direct contradiction to what they had taught them.
Third is the nature of the claims: “to the effect that the day of the Lord is already here (or present).” The Thessalonians believers were being told the day of the Lord had arrived and was present. The apostle had already taught these believers about the nature of the day of the Lord in 1 Thess 5:2. They knew that it would be a time of the wrath of God poured out on the world and a time of intense persecution for tribulation saints. Thus, in view of the intensity of their own persecution, someone was attempting to convince them that they were then in the day of the Lord—that time of Gods wrath upon the world.
A FUTURE ANTICHRIST WILL LEAD A GLOBAL REBELLION IN THE DAY OF THE LORD 3-5
1. The future Antichrist will be fully revealed as the ultimate apostate v 3
“Let no one deceive you in any way.” Deception will create anxiety. Deception will create certain fear. The cause of their being shaken and losing their composure, the cause of their being disturbed and distressed was that somebody had come along and deceived them. They told them something was true that was not true.
“For unless the apostasy comes first” This is an event. This is not a general spirit or a general flow or a trend, this is an event...specific, identifiable, unique, this is the consummate apostasy, the ultimate apostasy. This is the event of final evil blasphemous magnitude. It is “abandonment, revolt, and rebellion.” The apostasy or rebellion clearly refers to a special departure and rebellion against the true God. The apostasy is associated with the revealing of the man of lawlessness. Whatever this event is it involves someone called the man of lawlessness. This is the person who lives without any regard for God's law, no regard for the will of God, and the rule of God at all. "Revealed," stands in the emphatic position which points to a definite time when he's revealed.
So the Antichrist is going to come and he's going to do something that is the ultimate act of apostasy. He is further called "the son of destruction, or perdition." This man is so totally associated with destruction that he can be called a son of destruction. He belongs to torment. He belongs to punishment. He belongs to judgment. The Antichrist is a hundred Judases, the ultimate blasphemer. Judas simply went to the temple and threw the money down. The Antichrist goes in the Holy of Holies and pronounces himself God. Satan controlled both men. John 13:2 say of Judas, "Satan entered into him." Revelation 13 says of the Antichrist that Satan controlled him in the vision that John saw.
2. The Antichrist’s rebellion will culminate in exalting himself alone for global worship v 4-5
(a) He is the ultimate egotist. He will be worshiped. By the way, this is simply a human being fulfilling some massive way the desire of the heart of Satan. When Satan fell, what prompted him? Isaiah 14 says he said this, "I will ascend to heaven, I will raise my throne above the stars of God, I will sit on the mount of assembly, in the recesses of the north, I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will make myself like the Most High." Satan has always wanted to be in God's place. And this Antichrist will move in, blaspheme God, and set himself up as God. He then takes his seat in the temple of God, in the inner most part, the sanctuary. It indicates to us that when he does this there will be a temple in Jerusalem. There will be a temple. He goes into the temple of God and he puts himself up as God, displaying himself as being God.
(b) Everything about this future person reeks of Satan in opposition to God and his attempt at self-exaltation even above God. This puppet of Satan seeks to exalt himself above anything that is worshipped. These two things—opposition to God and self-exaltation—will be the prominent features of this future person. As an outgrowth of his demand to be worshipped, he will develop a religious system that will find its center in the temple of Jerusalem.
(c) So he says in verse 5, "Don't you remember, while I was still with you I was telling you these things." You're not in the day of the Lord. Before the day of the Lord comes all this has to happen...the apostasy, the man of lawlessness. You're neither of the darkness nor of the night. The day of the Lord will not overtake you as a thief. You're looking for our gathering together to Jesus Christ. You're looking for the Rapture when the Lord comes from heaven to take us to the place He's prepared for us. You're waiting for the Son, not the Antichrist. The day of the Lord isn't for us. Be comforted. Don't let anybody deceive you and don't be forgetful of what you know.
First, if we do not continue to study, retain, and stay occupied with the truth of Scripture, it can’t protect us from the winds and currents of false doctrine. The unsettled condition that occurred among the believers in Thessalonica was the result of failing to remember and reflect on what they had been taught.
Second, the fact that the apostle repeatedly taught on the subject of prophecy should show us this is an important theme of Scripture that needs to be taught and never ignored in discipling of believers.
Third, we are not just on a journey but heading toward a destination. God is a God of order and his plans include bringing down the curtain on human history. Along the way he has revealed enough of those plans to keep the informed enlightened and confident each generation to live faithfully in light of it.
Fourth, all of the rebellion against God and His word, and His will, and His existence are microcosms that converge into the ultimate rebellious state of mankind. In every generation man has rebelled against God and the Antichrist encapsulates this rebellion in one final global form. It should not surprise us, then, that our generation mimics that unified rebellious spirit.