Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition…. (
2 Thessalonians 2:3)
I almost never carry cash. I whip out a plastic card. Gradually, the world is becoming a cashless society. The technology is in place. Because of identity fraud, as well as people stealing cards and PIN numbers, the card may soon be replaced with a computer chip implanted in the forehead or hand where a scanner will carry out the transaction. Is this what the Book of Revelation calls the mark of the Beast?
Paul is discussing that very person here—a coming world dictator. The world is poised on the threshold of welcoming such a leader. One of the driving forces behind the European Union is the “fiscal cliff” that not only the United States, but nations around the world are about to drive off. Combine this with the global implications of World War III breaking out in the
East—and we are on the brink of that—the world will
enthusiastically accept the solution of a charismatic leader with his promises
to solve these staggering problems.
To help us understand, it would be helpful for us to consider first THE REASON FOR THE EPISTLE. Paul sets the context for this teaching in the first two verses of
Thessalonians 2. He is
writing for their correction and comfort.
The saints at Thessalonica had come under persecution. This led them to
believe they had entered the Great Tribulation.
So, Paul speaks of “our gathering
together to Him”—that is, the rapture of the church (see 1 Thess.4:13-18). Although we may face the wrath of man, we
will not face the wrath of God. Paul
comforts them in telling them that such a judgment is for the wicked and not
His children. Christ would not treat His
Bride as He would His enemies.
So, Paul moves on to reveal THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE END (v.3). The Apostle provides an explanation as to why they could not be in the Tribulation Period as they feared. That would require apostasy and Antichrist to arise. There will be a final apostasy. The falling away is the great departure from the faith, which produces a final, world religious system—the apostate church described in Revelation as Mystery Babylon, the Great Harlot. The day of the Lord not only commences with the ultimate apostasy, but the ultimate Antichrist. The spirit of Antichrist was already at work in apostolic times—a spirit that at some point will become incarnate in the Antichrist (
I Jn.4:3). We, however,
aren’t waiting for the Antichrist, but Christ!
There in now THE RESTRAINT UPON THE EVIL (v.6-7). The special ministry of the Holy Spirit through the church is to restrain evil as Christians function as salt and light. The Restrainer must be taken out of the way before the Antichrist can be revealed. When the Rapture takes place and the church is removed, then earth will be fully demonized.
Then follows THE REVELATION OF THE ANTICHRIST (v.8-12). The apostle paints for us a portrait of the coming world dictator. The populace will acclaim him to be the evolutionary pinnacle of man. The Bible pictures him as the bottom of human depravity. He is the vice-regent of Hell. Antichrist will demand worship. What he receives is wrath—and all who follow him, will also. Things are moving this way. Are you looking to the skies? Jesus is coming!