2 Thessalonians 2:1, 5-12
As the previous article explained, Paul had to write this urgent second letter to the Thessalonians because they were greatly distressed by false teaching they had been given. Paul reminds them,
5 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 [the antichrist] may be revealed in his own time. 7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He [the Holy Spirit] 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.
When you come to understand through the study of Scripture what the antichrist can and will do, you will praise God for the “Restrainer,” the Holy Spirit. The antichrist will be the devil incarnate. His intellectual genius will be great. His authority will be overpowering. His hatreds will be extraordinary. His techniques will be superb. Men will be willing to die for the antichrist. Women will swoon and faint at his feet. Little children will breathe his name with praise. He will come as a great world leader, part of Satan’s master plan, which is tied to Satan’s master man.
He will turn this world into a vast concentration camp with all of the inmates numbered. Everyone must receive a number to buy or sell. No sign, no sell. No mark, no merchandise. He will be evil wickedness distilled, all of the Hitlers, Napoleons, Stalins, and Saddam Husseins melded into one man.
By computer, all people still on earth at that time will be registered. And they will be regimented with no escape. The more machines act like men, the more men will act like machines, and they will do that during the great tribulation. There will be days of torture and terror for those remaining here.
Will they then repent? Paul continues,
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.
People who do not receive the Lord Jesus Christ now in our day and age will believe the lies of the antichrist. Once the Restrainer is taken away, people will be sitting ducks for delusion. They will willingly believe a lie.
“How is that possible?” you ask. We see it everywhere today. People believe untruths about a vast array of subjects, from questioning the inerrancy of Scripture to denying biblical Creation, to life in the womb and God’s definition of marriage. People today even question that there is absolute truth. Mark Twain once observed, “A lie travels around the world while Truth is still putting its boots on.”
Delusion will prevail once the Holy Spirit is removed. When that happens, and the antichrist is revealed and has had his day, God will then dispatch him. Remember verse 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.”
“The brightness of His coming” refers to the Battle of Armageddon. In some translations, “lawless one” is written “Wicked One”—capitalized. In the original text, the word has a masculine, singular ending. Antichrist is a person.
What does “whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of His mouth” mean?
From the Lord’s perspective, the Battle of Armageddon is going to be fought with a word that comes from Jesus’ mouth. Do you know what that will be? “Drop dead.” Christ will consume him with the spirit of His mouth and the brightness of His coming. You need not be disturbed, you should not be deceived, and you will not be disappointed. Jesus Christ is coming again.
TWO ASPECTS OF THE SECOND COMING
The Second Coming is not so much a point of time as a series of events that take place.
First, He’s coming for His bride—that coming will be sweet and secret.
And now we beseech you brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and our gathering together unto him. 2 Thessalonians 2:1
Earlier Paul had told them, The Lord himself shall descend from heaven, with the voice of the archangel and the trump of God, and the dead in Christ shall rise first. And we which remain and are alive shall be caught up to meet them in the air. 1 Thessalonians 4:16
Next He is coming with His bride. He comes first at the Rapture to take His bride out. After the tribulation, verse 8 says He comes back in glory and power with His bride to rule and reign.
First He comes sweetly as a bridegroom. Then He comes sovereignly as a king in all His majesty. This is when King Jesus is going to destroy the antichrist.
Look at the difference between the first time Jesus came and His Second Coming.
- When Jesus came the first time, He suffered in shame. The second time, He will reign in glory.
- The first time, they crowned Him with thorns. The second time, He will wear a crown of glory.
- The first time, He came to die in the sinner’s place. The second time, He will execute judgment on the unsaved sinner.
- The first time, He came to seek and save those who were lost. The second time, He’s coming in flaming fire, to take vengeance on those who know not God and who obey not the Gospel.
- The first time, He came in the greatest humility, riding on a donkey. The second time, He’s coming in power and glory.
- The first time, He was rejected of men. The second time, every knee shall bow. Even the knee of every unbeliever will bow and confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
- The first time, He was judged guilty and sentenced to die. The second time, He will be both Savior and Judge. “The Father judges no man, but has committed all judgment unto the Son” John 5:22.
This world is like a Shakespearean tragedy. When you read one of Shakespeare’s tragedies, you know to anticipate an untimely end, and there’s nothing that can stop it. That’s the way our world is, apart from Jesus. Friend, if I did not know Bible prophecy, if I did not understand who Jesus is and what God has planned for us, I would be a world-class, industrial-strength pessimist.
But I am a glowing optimist. We will not be disappointed. You can bank on it. Jesus Christ, who came the first time, is coming again. “That same Jesus,” the angel said, “which is taken up from you into heaven shall so come in like manner as you have seen Him return to Heaven.”
What does this mean to us? The days in which we live are actually glorious days. We’re living in the beginning of the end. These are not days to let up, back up or shut up until we’re taken up. We need to press the battle right to the gates.
I want to go up as a growing Christian. I want to be a better Christian tomorrow than I am today. I want to love Jesus more this afternoon than I do this morning. I want to be growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The great apostle Paul at the end of his life said, “I’m reaching for the prize of the high calling of God” (Philippians 3:14). At the end of his life, he’s still climbing. He’s still moving up. We need to be moving one step higher.
HOW DO WE MOVE “ONE STEP HIGHER”?
If Jesus Christ is coming, we ought to be praying for unsaved loved ones that don’t know Jesus. We ought to be getting as many ready for the Rapture as we can by winning souls to Jesus Christ.
Be telling people about Jesus. We need to be winning souls.
Teach your children. Build Bible truth into your children. Become familiar with Bible prophecy yourself and then teach them. This world is becoming so vile, so wicked so fast, they must be prepared for what is coming on the earth.
There is great comfort in knowing that this is not the end. What you see today is not all you can expect. This is not all there is. Jesus is coming to this world and this world is coming to Jesus.
Thank God we can say, “Even so, come Lord Jesus.”
In this message, Adrian Rogers shares seven secrets of lasting love in marriage.