2 Thessalonians 1:10, 2:1-10
If you have believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, you’re going to be among the saints with the Lord at His second coming. You’ll be among those made like the Lord Jesus. In your eagerness to find out what the future holds, don’t pass over that thought lightly!
In the church at Thessalonica, there had been a devilish deception. Someone had forged a letter, signed the apostle Paul’s name to it, and said in effect that the Rapture had already taken place and they were now in “the day of the Lord” (the tribulation).
These suffering saints thought, “Oh, we have missed the Rapture! Jesus has come, and we’re not a part of it!” They were shaken. Paul takes the occasion of this devilish lie to tell the truth.
Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto Him, 2 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. 3 Let no man deceive you by any means…” 2 Thess. 2:1-3
If you’re saved, Paul says, don’t get rattled by reading the newspapers and talking about all the things happening on earth. Rather than moaning, “What’s the world coming to?” start saying, “Look Who’s coming to the world. His name is Jesus.”
Charlatans and self-styled cult leaders are deceiving many today. You need not be disturbed and you must not be deceived. Paul comforts the flock by telling them what will happen and what to look for. Paul continues:
3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
Paul explains that before the tribulation, you’ll first see a “falling away,” an apostasy. Then the antichrist will come. Here he’s called “son of perdition.” That means judgment is coming for him.
This man will be the epitome of evil. Different Bible translations describe him as “the man of lawlessness,” “the incarnation of wickedness,” “the champion of wickedness,” “wickedness in human form.” A creature is coming upon this earth who will be the devil wearing human clothes. In Revelation 13 he is “the beast.”
When Jesus was here on earth, He said of His Father, “He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father.” When the antichrist comes, he could equally say, “He who hath seen me hath seen my father,” because he will be the devil incarnate.
Anti means against and it also means instead of. So he is coming against Christ and comes instead of Christ. He is a counterfeit Christ.
The word revealed in verse 3 literally means he’s going to be unveiled, exposed, uncovered. When the Rapture is near, the antichrist will be alive and well on planet earth, waiting to be disclosed. Today he is disguised. But if the Rapture were to come today, then tomorrow or very soon he would be unveiled.
What will he do?
4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. 5 Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?
It’s always been the devil’s burning ambition to be worshiped. “I will be like the Most High God,” Satan said in Isaiah 14. Satan wants to receive worship. He opposes God and exalts himself above God, and he will do it in the Temple.
Yes, the Temple in Jerusalem will be rebuilt. There is a great move today to rebuild the Temple on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem—and great furor about Mount Moriah, where the Temple was. Both Jews and Arabs lay claim to it. It is the international hotspot. The Bible says, “In the last days I will make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people” (Zechariah 12:3). We’re seeing that fulfilled today.
The apostle Paul makes it clear that the spirit of antichrist is already present. We see how far the human race has come. It began with the sin of man; it ends with the man of sin.
There is a spirit at work in the world today called “the mystery of iniquity.” Wickedness was already working in Paul’s time and continues today. We’re up against spirit beings, organized, brilliant, invisible, tireless demon spirits that the Bible calls “the mystery of iniquity.” It is a devilish conspiracy. And yet that conspiracy is going to come together in the last days under the antichrist.
But Bible says this conspiracy is being held back at this moment (v. 7). Who is the restrainer? Who has Satan on a leash?
Satan is not able to do everything today that he would do, could do, and will do one day, for Someone is restraining Satan. He cannot yet have his way. Who is doing the restraining? The Holy Spirit.
6 And now ye know what withholdeth that he [the antichrist] might be revealed in his time. 7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only He who now letteth [restrains] will let [restrain], until He be taken out of the way.”
The Holy Spirit has a ministry to help the saint and hinder Satan. He is both helping the saint and hindering Satan at the same time.
When Jesus comes, the Rapture takes place, and we’re caught up to meet the Lord Jesus in the air, the Holy Spirit, who lives in us, will be taken out of the way.
You see, the Church right now, filled with the Holy Spirit, is the great boulder in Satan’s superhighway. The devil would love to see the Church gone; to have Bible-based preaching and teaching gone. Satan would love to see you, your prayers, and the Holy Spirit in you taken out of the way. You are an impediment. You are a hindrance.
These verses speak of both a who and a what. The who is the Holy Spirit. The “what” is the church. You are the Church. Jesus said we are salt and light. What does salt do? Salt purifies. Salt preserves. Salt decontaminates. It also stings and irritates. And one of these days in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, we’re getting out of here. And when that salt is taken out, then putrefaction will begin.
We are the light of the world. When that light is taken out, darkness will engulf this globe. When the Holy Spirit who indwells the church is taken away and He just simply stands aside, hell will have a holiday.
This world’s people don’t like Bible-believing Christians. They think we’re odd, stubborn, weird—an impediment to “progress.” One of these days, we and the Restrainer will be gone. At that time you might as well try to dam up Niagara Falls with toothpicks as to hold back the flood of wickedness and evil that will come upon this world. The Bible calls it the great tribulation.
Remember what the apostle Paul is saying to the saints. “You need not be disturbed. Rest with us. Jesus is coming. Be not deceived. Don’t let someone write some bogus letter to you, some charlatan deceive you about the second coming of the Lord.”
If it bothers you that Jesus is coming and we’re going, you know what it tells me? You love this world more than you love the Lord Jesus. But, friend, if you love the Lord Jesus, you can hardly wait.
What a day that will be when He shall come with trumpet sound, and together we’ll be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, caught up to meet the Lord in the air, and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
And I want to say with the psalmist, “I’ll be satisfied when I awaken in His likeness.” Won’t you be as well?
In 2020 especially, give those you love the personal touch only a hand-signed Christmas card provides. And while you’re at it, send a card that speaks to the world’s greatest need, the love and salvation found only through Jesus Christ! INSIDE THE CARD: The real wonder of Christmas is that the answer to our most difficult questions came to us as a child. Jesus is the answer. He is the greatest Love worth finding.