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Vol. XIX No. 25
20 March 2022


“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; 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, shewing himself that he is God.” (2 Thess 2:3–4).

The Lord Jesus Christ is coming back soon. The “mystery of iniquity” is already at work (2 Thess 2:7). “The day of Christ is at hand” (2 Thess 2:2). What must happen before Christ returns? From 2 Thessalonians 2:1–12 we discover that the Second Coming of Christ will be preceded by a falling away from the faith and the coming of the Antichrist.

The Apostasy

Before Christ returns, there will be “a falling away first” (2 Thess 2:3). The words “falling away” come from the Greek apostasia (literally, “to stand away from”). It speaks of a rebellion against the Standard, the Truth, the Law, or the Word of God. Who are the rebels? And against whom or what are they rebelling?

Jesus reveals who they are in Matthew 24:10–12, “And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.” There are those who call themselves “Christian” but are not truly Christian. They profess to be Christians but were never regenerated in the first place. They do not have true faith.

And since these rebels stubbornly and repeatedly choose to go against God and His Word, God gives them up (1) to uncleanness, (2) to vile affections, and (3) to a reprobate mind (Rom 1:24–28). This is judicial hardening or blinding. “And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” (2 Thess 2:11–12). Now, understand that it is not God that sends the lie. God is not a liar, and does not deceive. This is the permissive will of God; since they desire to believe in Satan’s lie, and be deceived, God allows them thus to be.

The Antichrist

The Antichrist is described as the lawless one. The word “lawless” occurs three times in 2 Thessalonians 2. In verse 3, he is called the “man of sin” (lawlessness); in verse 7, the “mystery of iniquity” (lawlessness); and in verse 8, the “Wicked” (Lawless). This lawless person is also called “the son of perdition” (v3). This same term is used in John 17:12 of Judas Iscariot the traitor.

From this we see that the man of sin is (1) an individual (not an institution, a nation, an influence), (2) like Judas—someone who professes Christ but in all his deeds he undermines Christ and works against Him, (3) an Apostate with a capital ‘A’; and (4) one who “opposeth” Christ (v4), a Counter-Christ and a Counterfeit Christ. The Antichrist seeks to take the place of Christ, to usurp Him as Lord and King. He possesses the Satanic ambition to be God Himself (cf Isa 14, Ezek 28).

In verse 8, we are told that this Satanically-inspired person will be revealed. The Antichrist will imitate the coming of Christ. He will present himself as the Messiah and Saviour, and deceive many. He will say, “You are looking for your coming Messiah and Saviour: I am he.” That was why Jesus warned, “Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many” (Matt 24:4–5). Know that Jesus Christ will not return until the Antichrist is revealed.

How will the Antichrist capture the allegiance and adoration of the whole world? In verse 9 we are told that his coming is “after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders.” He will be empowered by Satan to perform deceptive miracles.

In 2 Thessalonians 2:5–6, people are warned not to be caught unawares. The Antichrist can appear at any time. For although the person of lawlessness has not yet come, the principle of lawlessness is already at work (v7). In other words, this work of opposing Christ and His Church is already going on. 1 John 2:18 tells us, “Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.” There are many antichrists running around in the world today. Satan will spare no effort to destroy or corrupt the Word of God, to hinder the Church from preaching the Gospel, to attack God’s servants and His saints. So we must be ever diligent in preaching the Gospel, and ever vigilant in defending the Faith.

The Restrainer

What prevents the Antichrist from appearing right now is the work of the Restrainer. 2 Thessalonians 2:6 says, “And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time,” and verse 7b, “only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.”

Who or what is this Restrainer? It is the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is presently doing this work of convicting the world of sin, of righteousness, of judgment (John 16:8). He is not only active in the Church, but also in the world in restraining evil, preventing evil from running amok. Not just the Spirit, the Word of God and the Lord’s angels etc are also doing the restraining work. Thus, once the Lord withdraws His restraining hand, this sin-cursed world will take its natural course, and evil will reach its ultimate height with the Antichrist leading the way.

Which Coming?

There will be two comings: The coming of Christ, and the coming of the Antichrist. Antichrist will come first before Christ returns. And when Christ returns He will destroy all His enemies by “the spirit of his mouth”, and “brightness of his coming” (2 Thess 2:8).

For which coming are you waiting? Whose side are you on? Christ or Antichrist? May you be found on the Lord’s side, for it is the winning side. Those who attack our Perfect God and His Perfect Word today are on the losing side. “And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness” (2 Thess 2:11–12).

If you are still not a Christian, I plead with you dear reader to believe in Jesus Christ and be saved. JK

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