2 Thessalonians 2

2 Thessalonians 2 has Paul addressed questions raised by his first letter, where he instructed the Thessalonians about the raising of the church to be with Jesus.  He cautions them to “not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by a spirit or a spoken word, or a letter seeming to be from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come”.  A misunderstanding of Paul’s teaching (or an incorrect application of it) had caused the Thessalonians to be shaken, and Paul warns them not to let anyone use their fear to cause them to do foolish things.

Paul will not describe events which must precede the rapture, but events that are concrete evidence of the Great Tribulation – the day of Christ.  “Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God,  proclaiming himself to be God”.  Paul’s point is clear: “You are worried that we are in the Great Tribulation and that you missed the rapture. But you can know that we are not in the Great Tribulation, because we have not yet seen the man of sin which is required before it happens.

It will come, and Paul makes it clear that the enemy will bring it to be.  “The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved”.  The coming of the lawless one is according to the work of Satan: The Antichrist will come with power, with signs and with lying wonders. The lawless one is Satan’s parody of the true Messiah. Yet in the end, the lawless one can only show himself that he is God – he’ll be full of false signs and wonders but it is deception. The coming of Jesus and the judgment of God will make it clear that the lawless one is not God at all.

The enemy will try and rattle us in lots of ways, but Paul encourages the Christ Followers to stay the course.  “So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to  the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter”.  The command to stand fast implies a location, and this tells us what Christ Followers must stand fast upon. They must keep standing on God’s Word, delivered both by the spoken word of Paul and his team, and the letters of the apostles which is the written Word.  We have to know God’s Word and make it the foundation of how we can stand against the enemy.  It is our rock!

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