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"THE LAWLESS ONE REVEALED"
2 Thessalonians 2:1-12
Wednesday AM Bible Study
May 26, 2004
Paul taught the believers in Thessalonica a great amount of doctrine
in only three weeks time. Among the many things he taught them - as we
can clearly see from the things that he wrote in his letters - is the
doctrine of the end times. His careful instruction regarding end-times
events served as the basis for much of his encouragement to these persecuted
Apparently, however, false teaching regarding the end times had crept
into the church and was causing harm to God's people. Rather than bringing
comfort, this false teaching was upsetting and disturbing the people of
God. Paul wrote this section to correct those errors. His purpose is described
for us in verses 13-17.
Some had written false letters, making the claim that the Day of the
Lord had already come (that is, the Day of His return for the deliverance
of His people and the judgment of the wicked); causing many to fear that
they were suffering God's wrath rather than being refined by trial. To
correct that false teaching, Paul instructs the believers an important
feature of end-times teaching - that is, the doctrine concerning the Antichrist
("the lawless one") . . .
I. THE LAWLESS ONE'S TIME (vv. 1-3).
A. The concern of the people of God was with regard to two
things: the coming of the Lord, and the gathering together of believers
unto Him. (See 1 Thess. 4:13-5:11). Apparently some were writing letters
as if with apostolic authority and by a deceitful spirit; asserting
that the day of the Lord had already come. The effect of this was to
cause many believers to be "soon shaken in mind and troubled".
B. Paul's answer was to show them that the day of the Lord could
not have come yet, because two events had to preceded that day - events
which had not yet occurred: (1) the "falling away" (i.e., apostasy
of many who claim to be believers) must first occur (1 Tim. 4:1ff),
and (2) the "man of sin" (i.e., the Antichrist; also called "the son
of perdition" or "destruction") must be revealed. Paul's point seems
to be that they could be assured that the day of the Lord could not
yet have come, because these two things had not happened yet.
II. THE LAWLESS ONE'S NATURE (vv. 4-5).
A. He "opposes" all that "is called" or "worshiped" as God.
B. He "exalts himself" above God as well.
C. He sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he
D. Paul had apparently taught these things to the believers before;
probably from the book of Daniel (Dan. 9:26-27; 11:36-37; see also
III. THE LAWLESS ONE'S RESTRAINT (vv. 6-7).
A. What it is that 'restrains' may be the Holy Spirit; as
some have suggested. Others have suggested that it is Michael the Archangel
(Dan. 12:1). While we debate just who the restrainer is, the Thessalonians
knew who it was, and that the restrainer was even then restraining.
B. Whoever the restrainer is, this reminds us that the coming of
the antichrist remains under God's sovereign control. When the restrainer
is "taken out of the way" (literally, "comes out of the midst"), then
- and only then - will the antichrist be revealed (v. 8).
IV. THE LAWLESS ONE'S DESTINY (v. 8).
A. He will be consumed with the breath of the Lord's mouth.
B. He will be destroyed with the brightness of the Lord's coming
V. THE LAWLESS ONE'S POWER (v. 9).
A. His coming is in accordance with the working of Satan
B. His coming is accompanied with all power, signs and lying wonders.
Many will be fooled by him.
VI. THE LAWLESS ONE'S DECEPTION (vv. 10-12).
A. He will be the cause of many falling away (hence the apostasy).
They who fall away will be shown to be "those who perish", because they
did not love the truth but preferred the devil's lies.
B. The judgment of God is that they are sent "strong delusion" so
that they should believe what they wanted to believe.