2 Thessalonians 2 The Antichrist

This lesson is part of a series of lessons on the book of 2 Thessalonians. In this lesson I’m going to look at chapter two and talk about the Antichrist.

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Thanks for visiting Bible Mountain. This lesson is part of a series of lessons on the book of 2 Thessalonians. In this lesson I’m going to look at chapter two and talk about the Antichrist.

Antichrist is one of the terms we use in Christianity. This term is used as part of our doctrine of eschatology, which is the study of future things. 

The concept of an antichrist was first mentioned by the prophet Daniel. This would have been roughly 500BC. This concept is mentioned twice in the book of Daniel. 

According to Daniel 7, in the first year of Belshazzar the king, Daniel had a vision in which he saw several beasts. Then he saw 10 horns and out of those 10 horns came a single horn. The single horn represented a king who someday will speak out against the Most High and wear down the saints. The saints will be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time. That appears to refer to the Antichrist during the tribulation period. 

In Daniel chapter nine we read about something called Daniel’s 70 weeks. As part of his 70 weeks, Daniel referred to someone who will make a firm covenant with the many for one week. That one week is the 70th week, which is a group of seven years, that appears to refer to the tribulation. The one who will make a covenant is an individual in the tribulation time period who will make a covenant with the Jewish people and appears to be the Antichrist. 

After Jesus died, rose again, and went back to heaven, His apostles started fulfilling the Great Commission. The apostle Paul traveled around the Roman world and preached the gospel. This was in the first century AD. He wrote a couple letters to the church in Thessalonica. In 1 Thessalonians he wrote about future events. He specifically talked about what’s going to happen to believers who die before Jesus comes back again. He also talked about the Day of the Lord that’s coming in the future and how it’s going to come like a thief in the night, at a time when we won’t be expecting it.

That brings us to 2 Thessalonians. In chapter one of  2 Thessalonians Paul made reference to the fact that the Thessalonians were undergoing some tribulation and persecution. He reassured them that someday Jesus is going to come back and bring vengeance upon those who were persecuting them. He also said that those who do not know God and those who do not obey the gospel of Jesus will receive retribution from Jesus. 

With that as some context, let’s start reading at verse one of 2 Thessalonians chapter 2 and see what this passage says about the Antichrist.

2Th. 2:1 Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, 2 that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come.

As I said in previous lessons, I believe this is the main impetus that motivated Paul to write 2 Thessalonians. The church at Thessalonica had received a message, supposedly from Paul, saying that the Day of the Lord had come. That was not true. Paul wrote this letter to correct that false message.

2Th. 2:3 Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, 4 who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God.

We see in verse three a reference to the man of lawlessness. This is in line with this concept we saw in Daniel about the individual in the future who is going to have interactions with the nation of Israel. Paul assured the Thessalonians that the Day of the Lord cannot come until after the man of lawlessness is revealed. Paul described the man of lawlessness. He will be a son of destruction. He will oppose and exalt himself above every so-called God or object of worship. He will take his seat in the temple of God. He will display himself as being God. 

This very much fits the concept of an antichrist. The Antichrist is someone who is anti- or against Christ. Certainly what we see here in verse three and four is someone who will be against Jesus Christ.

2Th. 2:5 Do you not remember that while I was still with you, I was telling you these things? 6 And you know what restrains him now, so that in his time he will be revealed.

Verses five and six tell us that right now the man of lawlessness is being restrained. He’s being restrained now, but at some point in time he’s going to be revealed.

2Th. 2:7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way. 8 Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; 9 that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, 10 and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved.

In verse seven we see that there is a restraint on the man of lawlessness right now, but at some point that restraint is going to be taken out of the way. Then the man of lawlessness will be revealed and eventually slayed by the breath of the mouth of Jesus. We also see in verse nine that the coming of the man of lawlessness will be in accord with the activity of Satan. He’s going to have power. He will be able to perform signs and false wonders. We see the word deception. There will be a lot of deception surrounding the man of lawlessness. 

We also see that part of the reason people will be deceived is because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. In some ways, the people who will be deceived, will be at fault. It’s going to be their own fault that they are deceived. 

2Th. 2:11 For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, 12 in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness.

The pronoun them refers to those who did not receive the love of the truth. Since there are people who aren’t receiving the love of the truth, God’s going to send a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false. After they believe what is false, then they will be judged. Paul repeated that the ones who are going to be judged are the ones who do not believe the truth, but take pleasure in wickedness. 

2Th. 2:13 But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth.

Notice the Thessalonians were chosen from the beginning for salvation. Notice also their salvation is through sanctification by the Spirit; and it’s also through faith in the truth. Notice the word truth. Truth is very important. We saw in previous verses that a lot of people are going to be deceived. One of the reasons they’re going to be deceived is because they don’t know the truth. As Christians, it’s important for us to know the truth. We need to read the Bible, study the Bible, and know what the Bible says so that we have a solid grounding in the truth, and so that we are not deceived. 

2Th. 2:14 It was for this He called you through our gospel, that you may gain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. 15 So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth or by letter from us.

2Th. 2:16 ¶ Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace, 17 comfort and strengthen your hearts in every good work and word.

That is the end of chapter two. Again, the Thessalonians had heard that the Day of the Lord had already come. Paul wrote 2 Thessalonians to correct that misunderstanding and assure them that the Day of the Lord had not come yet. Paul told the Thessalonians some things that have to happen before the Day of the Lord can come. 

What should we learn from this? One, we should be skeptical of what we hear. We saw in verse two that the Thessalonians heard that the Day of the Lord had already come, but that was not true. Likewise, we have a lot of people in our day who are claiming that they are the Christ or they’re claiming that the rapture is going to happen on such and such a day. There are many things being proclaimed out there that are not in agreement with the Bible. We have to know the Bible well enough to be able to recognize those false statements whenever they are made. 

Second, we should be thankful that the evil in our world is not as bad as it could be. Yes, there’s a lot of sin, stupidity, and nonsense in our world. However, if the restrainer was not restraining the man of lawlessness, it would be much worse.

Third, we should be fearful of being deceived. Satan is the Great Deceiver. The man of lawlessness, the Antichrist, is going to be a deceiver. At some point in the future, God is going to send a deluding influence on those who do not love truth. 

Meanwhile, there is a lot of deception in our world today. The greatest defense against deception is truth. We as Christians need to love truth and pursue truth so that we are not deceived.

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“All Scripture quotations taken from the New American Standard Bible®,
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