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2Thessalonians:  Chapter 2

Setting

After addressing the judgments of the Lord upon those who oppose Him in the previous chapter, Paul now deals again with the “day of the Lord” and seeks to set them straight and remind them of what he taught them before.  He assures them that they are not in the end times.

Outline of this chapter

Verses Topic
1-2 Addressing a forgery
3-4 Two events before the day of the Lord
5-12 The Antichrist
13-17 Words of thanks, establishment, and encouragement

Addressing a forgery

In 2Thessalonians 2:1, Paul asks the Thessalonians to not be unsettled regarding the rapture of the church.  He points out that there are two parts to His return:

  • The coming of Christ in the clouds
  • The gathering of the church to His calling

In 1Thessalonians 4:13-18, Paul taught them of the rapture of the church (see 1Thessalonians 4 in this site for more information on this subject). This teaching on the rapture was to comfort the believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, since it would occur before the wrath to come.

Apparently they were either told, or received correspondence that was forged with Paul’s signature and endorsement, saying that the “day of the Lord” had come as indicated in 2Thessalonians 2:2.  Due to the increasing persecution of the church, as noted by Paul in these two letters to the church at Thessalonica, it is easy to see why the church reacted to this forged news, being confused, and concerned that they missed the rapture and were in the tribulation.  As the Apostle John wrote in his epistle, we are to test the spirits, or validate that the information we are receiving is from God by aligning it against His word, 1John 4:1-3.  To prove the authenticity of this letter, in the last verse of this letter, Paul is writing at least the salutation in his own hand as the validation of this letter, to be compared with any further correspondence that could ever be attributed to him, 2Thessalonians 3:17.

Two events before the day of the Lord

In 2Thessalonians 2:3-4, Paul gives a stern warning to the believers at Thessalonica, not to be deceived by any means.  One way of deception is through the confusion of terms.  The “day of the Lord” is not to be confused with the “day of our Lord Jesus Christ,” 1Corinthians 1:7-9. There are two pages on this site that discuss this issue, on 1Thessalonians 5, and on 1Thessalonians 5 timeline. In these passages, Paul details the conditions that will exist before the “day of the Lord.” There is apostasy (or a falling away from the faith) first, 1Timothy 4:1-3. Then, the man of sin is revealed, who is also called the son of perdition (this is only used one other time in scripture to describe Judas the traitor, John 17:12).

Concerning the apostasy, we are warned of the apostasy that will attempt to creep into the church, Jude. However, 2Thessalonians 2:3 is talking of the state in the world after the rapture of the church.  In Matthew 16:17-18, the Lord told His disciples that upon the rock of Himself that He would build His church, and the gates of hell would not overcome it.  Similarly, Paul made a dramatic contrast of those in the light against those in darkness, in 1Thessalonians 5:4-11, see 1Thessalonians 5, and on 1Thessalonians 5 timeline for more information.  

The man of sin who is to be revealed, is the Antichrist, which the Apostle John wrote of, that there are many antichrists in the world, but THE Antichrist, Satan’s man, will not be revealed until the church is taken away, 1John 2:18-19.  There are many men through history who were evil, but the one yet to come will be like Judas who betrayed Jesus, whom Satan indwelt, John 13:26-27.  This future Antichrist is the same person that Daniel spoke of in Daniel 7:25, and is typified by Antiochus IV Epiphanes in Daniel 8:23-25, and whom John spoke of in Revelation 13:1-6.  

In 2Thessalonians 2:4, the time Paul is describing is the midtribulation when the Antichrist will proclaim himself as God.  Jesus spoke of this time during the Olivet Discourse, Mark 13:14, where the Lord connected His statement with the passage in Daniel 9:27.  The Apostle John wrote of this time in Revelation when the false prophet would erect an image of the antichrist in a room in the tribulation temple in Jerusalem, Revelation 13:12.  In Daniel, world events would enable the antichrist to occupy Jerusalem, and setup his camp there, Daniel 11:45, see the page on this web site on Daniel 11 timeline for more information.

The Antichrist

In 2Thessalonians 2:5-6, Paul is pointing the Thessalonians to the teaching he gave them while he was physically present with them.  He is indicating that they now know who is holding back THE revealing of THE Antichrist, which is the Holy Spirit working through the church, which is the body of Christ, 1Corinthians 12:12-13.  The purpose for holding back the revealing of the Antichrist is that it is reserved for a specific time in history yet to occur, which will be the worst time the world will ever know, Matthew 24:21-22.  This is similar to the sixth trumpet when the four angels held in the area of the Euphrates are released for a specific time, Revelation 9:13-15.

In 2Thessalonians 2:7-8, Paul points out that it is the Holy Spirit that who restrains the mystery of lawlessness, which is already at work, but is unable to fully manifest the desires of Satan.  As long as the Holy Spirit is working through the Church to spread the gospel, the enemy has no authority or power to stop the church, Matthew 16:17-18, Luke 24:44-49.  Again, as shown above, the Apostle John wrote that there are many antichrist's in the world, and were around in John's day, 1John 2:18-25.  However, there is only one that will attain the full power and indwelling of Satan, as described in Daniel 7 (the little horn), in Revelation 13 (the first beast from the sea), and many other references to show that he will rule over the world for a season.  Only after the removal of the church will THE Antichrist will be able to be revealed, and come into his full satanic power for only a short period of time.  This is the Antichrist whom will be destroyed by the Lord’s breath, Isaiah 11:4 (the Davidic kingdom), Revelation 19:15 (the return of Christ), and John 18:4-9 (the arrest of Jesus).  The Antichrist and his kingdom will be destroyed by the brightness of the Lord's return, 2Timothy 4:1 (judging at His appearing), Exodus 40:33-35 (the Shekinah glory), 1Kings 8:10-11, Revelation 1:16,  and Matthew 17:1-3 (shinning like the sun).

2Thessalonians 2:9-10 lists the characteristics of the Antichrist:

The results of unbelief of those who reject the gospel of Jesus Christ today is shown in 2Thessalonians 2:11-12.  During the tribulation, they will incur the following:

Words of thanks, establishment, and encouragement

In 2Thessalonians 2:13-12, Paul is now focusing on their present time and the conditions the Thessalonians were facing. Paul again thanks the Lord for them because God chose them from the beginning for salvation, Ephesians 1:4-9, and that they were sanctified by the Holy Spirit and faith. 1Thessalonians 5:9. Because of this, they were called through the gospel and they gained the glory of Jesus Christ, 2Thessalonians 2:14

In 2Thessalonians 2:15-17, Paul is now encouraging the church in light of this recent incident of the forged correspondence. He encourages them to stand firm and hold to the traditions they were taught, and that they are in his prayers for their comfort and strength in every good work and word through God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, 2Thessalonians 2:17,  Matthew 5:13-16.


Copyright (c) 2001, 2005, 2008, 2014, J.E. Huntley.  All rights reserved.
last edited August 2014

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