Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: The Apostle Paul continues his comfort and correction by giving more information concerning the Day of the Lord. 1st, there will be the apostasy. 2nd, the Antichrist (vv. 3-4, 8) will be revealed. Here a 3rd mportant event is referenced that must also occ



The Apostle Paul continues his comfort and correction by giving more information concerning the Day of the Lord, specifically about the Man of Lawlessness. Some among the Thessalonian believers were discouraged. They were disturbed because of a counterfeit letter or perhaps a deviant prophecy that the Rapture had already taken place, and they had been left behind. They wondered if they were then entering into the Great Tribulation.

The Apostle comforted these believers by clarifying the timing for some of these pending events. Paul cautioned them that “the Day of the Lord,” the day of God’s judgment on the earth, will not occur until three events have taken place. First, there will be a rebellion against truth, the apostasy of the false church. Second, the Man of Lawlessness (vv. 3-4, 8) or the Antichrist will be revealed. The third event that will take place before the Great Tribulation is the removal of the restraint against lawlessness (vv. 6-7).

There has never been a more confusing time than the time in which we are living right now. Nations and governments are perplexed because they are unable to solve their problems. Crises after crises come so quickly that there is no time to recover from one before the next strikes and each one brings the world closer and closer to the brink of economic meltdown, anarchy, and military confrontation.

The spirit of the Antichrist is working overtime to destroy and deceive the hearts and lives of people at an unprecedented rate. Yet, this deception will grow much worse before Jesus returns to set up His kingdom of peace.

Paul has taught us that the Day of the Lord cannot come without the two phenomena previously indicated, “the apostasy” and the “revelation of the Man of Lawlessness.” Now a third important event is referenced that must also occur before the Day of the Lord will come: the removal of the restraint against lawlessness (CIT).





Verse 6 teaches that a Restrainer is holding back Satan’s dominion. “And you know what restrains him now, so that in his time he will be revealed.”

The conjunction and connects the previous description of end times and the Anti-christ. The subject of the Anti-christ continues, but the emphasis shifts to what is presently restraining the revelation of the Man of Sin. For this man of sin has been and is being restrained. For there is a controlling or providential plan in the affairs of men and Satan. Although the devil is ruler of this present world system. His activities are restrained by our Sovereign God.

Even when events seem out of control, the restraining hand of God is still at work. In the last days, God will act with deliberate purpose in holding back Satan's workman so that he may be revealed at the proper time. Just as Christ had an advent, entering history at the proper time ("when in the fulness of time," Gal 4:4), so the Antichrist will have a proper time for his revealing. This will be a strategic time in history, not only for this deceiver’s revealing but also for revealing what is in the heart of mankind fallne.

Paul said the Thessalonians knew what this restrainer was, but he did not identify it here. Perhaps he had told them in person. The first part of the verse concerns “what” is restraining. In the second part, “he” is going to be revealed. Something or Someone is holding back the culmination of lawlessness.

Verse 7 explains and expands on verse 6 revealing that the secret power of lawlessness was already at work. “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.”

The “secret power” or mystery (mystçrion) is one of the mysteries of the New Testament (Rom. 16:26; 1 Cor. 2:6-12; Eph. 1:9; 3:3-5; Col. 1:25-27). A mystery in the New Testament is a new truth previously unknown before its revelation (and only knowable by revelation). In this case the mystery is the revelation of a future climax of lawlessness in the world.

Though the coming of the "lawless one" is on the horizon, the power of lawlessness is already at work. This work is supernatural. It is designed and empowered by Satan, his minions, and all who do his bidding. Evil is being empowered by the energy of Satan.

Satan has great power and we should not ignore it. But God reigns over all, even Satan. That is why God restrains Satan's activities. That is why the culmination of history and time is settled. That is why there is no nail-biting anxiety as to whether Christ will triumph.

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