Summary: In this passage the Word of God shows us truth concerning the treachery of those things that are going to take place immediately after the Lord Jesus Christ comes for the Church. The Thessalonians were being told that the day of the Lord had already come
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In this passage the Word of God shows us truth concerning the treachery of those things that are going to take place immediately after the Lord Jesus Christ comes for the Church. The Thessalonians were being told that the day of the Lord had already come. They had this information on what seemed to be excellent authority. It was confirmed by spirit utterance, a prophetic word and a letter supposedly signed by the Apostle Paul. They were thoroughly ensnared by a three-fold deception.
It was confirmed by a spirit utterance, for that is the force of the word “spirit” here. It was also confirmed by a prophetic pronouncement. Paul says, “a word.” This was the gift of prophecy. The work of a New Testament prophet was to convey to a local gathering of believers, by a direct Holy Spirit illumination, truth that was already apostolically revealed.
Last, there was a forged letter which confirmed the deception was being foisted upon them. They had received a letter supposedly from the Apostle Paul. The letter was masquerading as a Pauline epistle. Paul takes this incident to unmask the deep things of Satan and incorporates them into Scripture.
FIRST, THE MAN OF SIN IS REVEALED
Paul relates three chronological events that will happen after the Rapture of the Church. First, the man of sin is revealed. This is found in verse three of our text. Paul said, “Let no man in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy come first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction.” Notice two major areas concerning the man of sin being revealed.
A) First, the Climate of His Coming -- The double negative in the Greek is used for emphasis. By using this, Paul is saying: “Let no man deceive you by no means.” In English we would not say it that way because a double negative equals a positive. For example, we would not say, “I do not want to hear you talk to me no more.” In other words, we would be saying, “I want you to talk to me.” What Paul is saying is, “Let no man deceive you by no means.” In other words, the coming deception will be so intense that we need to be doubly on guard against it.
There will be a falling away, a literal apostasy. There will be a forsaking of the faith. Many marks of this coming apostasy are already evident in our society today. Jesus directed us to Noah in Matthew 24:37-39, and Lot in Luke 17:28, as illustrations of what the world will be like in the end times.
Noah’s time represented a permissive society, the kind found in Genesis, chapters 4-6. But not only will the climate of the antichrist’s coming be a permissive society, it will also be during a perverted society. This is illustrated in Lot’s time in Genesis 19. That is the kind of society in which we live today. What used to be right is now wrong; and what was wrong is now right. What used to be good is now bad; and what was bad is now good. And it is not getting better; it is getting worse. Paul is saying that this is going to be the kind of climate that will be penetrating our world when the antichrist appears. Today, our society accepts God-dishonoring, God-daring, and God-defying practices.
B) The Clues to His Character -- Not only do we need to investigate the climate of his coming, but also the clues to his character. About his personality, Paul says he is the “man of sin” and the “son of perdition.” The antichrist will be the embodiment, the incarnation of sin itself. In fact, he will be the second person in a satanic trinity. As the Lord Jesus was the visible expression of the invisible God, so the antichrist will be the visible expression of the invisible devil. All the fullness of the Godhead dwelt bodily in Jesus, so much so that He could say to people that whoever had seen Him had seen the Father (John 14:9). The beast will likewise be the bodily manifestation of Satan on earth. He will be the man of sin glorifying incense, sponsoring sin, popularizing sin, enthroning sin, living in sin, and embodying sin. Sinful men will be drawn to him.
Notice also his appearance. Paul says in verse three, “…the man of sin will be revealed.” The phrase, “to be revealed,” comes from the Greek word “apocalypto” which literally means “to unveil so as to be visible to the eye.” “Apocalypto” is where we get the English word “apocalypse” today. Paul is saying that the antichrist is going to be unveiled and made visible to the eye. Who knows but what the antichrist could be right now plotting, planning, scheming, and putting together this system to eventually rise to the top to rule this world?