Chapter 2: 5-12
“Do you not remember that when I was still with you, I told you these things? 6 And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time. 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 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming. 9 The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, 10 and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11 And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, 12 that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”
Last week we talked about The Day of Christ; this is that day we are to be looking for, living our lives each day expecting the arrival of our salvation through the air. We looked at the 2 events that will encompass the return of Jesus. One is the saints going to meet Him in the air, and the next part is Jesus coming in the clouds to judge the world. Paul encouraged the Thessalonian Christians that they had not missed The Day of the Lord. And in the same breath, we are encouraged to know that Jesus is coming, and we should not be dismayed, discouraged and dismissive of this promise. As Jesus was leaving, we got a promise from the angels in Acts 1: 9-11.
“Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, who also said, ‘Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.'”
We are promised that ‘this same Jesus’ will come back for us. This is the hope that we have that exceeds the evil and the trials and troubles of this world. Paul goes on to lay out for this sister church some more things that will happen as The Day of Christ comes closer and closer and he adds some more pieces that we are to look for. These things are not so much for the local church there in Thessalonica; as the Holy Spirit knew that Jesus’ return would be 2,000 years or more away, these are for us.
- Lawlessness is already working, verses 5-7
As we have mentioned a few times, Paul was with this church for just a few weeks (see Acts 17: 1-10). Some commentators put him there for maybe three months, but the idea is that he was there with them a very short time. Yet, Paul made sure to teach prophecy. Notice verse 5: he calls to remembrance the things that he taught them. Paul taught them the prophecies about the end time. This was as important as understanding the purity and simplicity of the Gospel.
This should be a challenge to us about the need to teach the prophets, to teach from Daniel and Jeremiah, and to delve into Isaiah and Revelation. There are many Pastors that have been at churches for years, decades even and have not once really taught through the prophecies of the Old Testament, and they have not touched The Revelation. This is wrong; Paul makes it clear that even new churches need to hear the prophecies, they need to hear that Jesus is coming again, that we should live ready to meet him, and try to tell as many as possible about the generous grace of God in salvation. But too many shy away. We weaken our people and deprive our churches of much needed spiritual food.
There is lawlessness working right in front of our eyes right now. We can see, and I think more so in the past 24 months, the sheer evil that is parading itself into every aspect of our lives. The case of the rich socialite and his pimp girlfriend (who was just convicted- I don’t want to use their names and bring any glory to them), who were supplying underaged girls to other rich and elite men, including political, royal and financial figures is appalling. It reminds us how evil this world is. I have 2 daughters: one in her 20s, the other just aged 9; I cannot imagine them being stolen away and being used for sex.
These people who promote themselves to be our moral judges on Climate change and helping the poor, and on and on, are just hypocritical pigs. And sadly, as we saw in the court case, the women are just as bad as the men, if not worse. Many of our political leaders have had women charge them with assaults, and many have used the public purse to pay for their sins.
Another part of the Lawlessness is the wanton disregard for the laws of our land. The wealthy and political class do not need to follow the rules. Here in Canada just last year, our PM told us to stay home for Thanksgiving only to fly off and be with his family. Just recently, the British PM and many of the government were caught in a party, many maskless, while telling us not to attend family events and limiting access to weddings, funerals and even visiting loved ones in the Hospital. They remind us they are above us, the general public. Not long after the ’embarrassing’ revealing of this social event, the PM of England announced that COVID restrictions will be ending in the Spring.
There is lawlessness that has existed for millennia; and now, because of TV and cable shows, it is being exposed for all to see.
Paul goes on to tell this new church that even though the level of Lawlessness is shocking, they had not seen anything yet. There will come a time when the restraining power of the Holy Spirit will be removed and the lawlessness will be even greater than anything we have seen until now. There is one other curious point (notice in verse 8): ‘the lawless one will be revealed.’ This is a sobering thought – the Man of Sin, the anti-Christ, is already in place and ready to go. Thus, as soon as the restraining power is removed (the Holy Spirit), the anti-Christ will be revealed shortly thereafter. This is another way that we can know that Paul was not talking to the church in Thessalonica as much as he was talking to us. Don’t try to figure out who the Lawless one is; he is an unknown until his very revelation.
- Evil to the Nth degree, verses 8-10
You and I have not seen evil yet. We have seen evil, as I talked about, with sex trafficking. If you take the time to get past the hype and study, you will see the evil in Hollywood, the sexual abuse of boys and girls, and the psychological pain inflicted by these moguls on the wide eyes and inexperienced youths that come seeking fame. When we see the financial abuse and the sheer abuse on children and adults alike, we think we have seen evil. But Paul tells us that this Lawless Man will bring a new level of evil accompanied by signs and wonders. Jesus warned the local church about seeking signs and wonders and tells us the only sign we need to be awed by in Matthew 12:38-40.
“Then some of the scribes and Pharisees said to Him, ‘Teacher, we want to see a sign from You.’ Jesus replied, ‘A wicked and adulterous generation demands a sign, but none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.'”
All we need is the Resurrection; that sign outweighs all others. If Jesus did not resurrect, then no number of signs will bring eternal life. Sadly, we have many churches that still promote signs and wonders and the proof that Jesus is who He says he is. Jesus tells us that the resurrection is His proof.
The world will be awed by the signs and wonders of this Lawless Man, and they will follow him and empower him. This, in turn, will lead to even more evil and more destruction and death (see Revelation 6: 1-17). This will give you an idea of what is coming. By the way, as proof that Satan often takes the Bible more literally than we do, the Lawless Man will either die and be resurrected, or Satan will perform a great fake. See Revelation 13:3,
“And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast.”
Somewhere along the line, the Lawless One will die or appear to die and resurrect; this is to offer the world proof that he is a god, and they will more readily follow him.
We need to preach the resurrection more and more; even the Devil knows this is the real proof of a deity. It will be a very sad time to be alive once the Restrainer is removed and the sum total of man depravity is left unchecked. I cannot imagine what the world will look like with evil unchecked and with man abandoned by God; it will be a living Hell on earth.
- The Great Lie, verse 11-12
What we have seen firsthand in the last 24 months is that if you tell a big lie and tell it often enough, when the truth comes out, very few will believe it. Lest I look like an idiot, COVID is real; I just had it, and I have had many loved ones in Christ die in the last 2 years. No one in their right mind can think COVID is not real. However, we are now beginning to realize the truths, things like it’s most likely manmade. There are emails from some of the leading scientists in the world telling us that it looks manmade, but we were told the opposite. For 20+ months, they’ve pushed cloth masks, and billions of dollars have been spent by people and companies to get their families and employees outfitted – only to now be told these are useless.
We’ve had a vaccine promoted and weaponized against us. At first, we were told that once we are vaccinated, life will go back to normal. Then, oh yeah, you have some protection; then no protection. Then it mitigates the symptoms if you do get sick to, oh, you can still spread and get COVID, to now we need a booster; and on and on. Lies, lies, lies, and we can see how an entire world can swallow the lies. Even saved people have swallowed the lies, and there is so much division in our churches and families. Imagine what lies they will tell once the Holy Spirit is removed and God allows their sinful, depraved minds to simply accept and not question. The lie will be that man has achieved ‘peace and safety’ without God, 1 Thessalonians 5: 2-3.
“For you are fully aware that the Day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, ‘Peace and security,’ destruction will come upon them suddenly, like labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.”
One of the great lies of our time is not that there is no God, but that you have all the time in the world to get right with Him – live your life; you have plenty of time to get right with God. But nothing could be further from the truth. Death comes to any at any age, and it comes often without warning. Are you ready to meet Jesus, or have you swallowed the lie as well?
God bless you,
Dr. Sean Gooding
Pastor of Mississauga Missionary Baptist Church
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