THE ANTICHRIST (1 THESS. 2:1-12). Lesson 12 for September 22, 2012. 2 THESSALONIANS 2:1-12 OUTLINE. The Day of the Lord has not come yet (1-2) “ Not to be soon shaken in mind ”. Deceitful prophecies, words and letters . The events that will happen before that day (3-4) Apostasy .
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Lesson 12 forSeptember22, 2012
“Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come” (2 Thessalonians 2:1-2)
The brothers in Thessalonica believed that the Day of the Lord “had come”, “has already come” (NIV). But that belief was actually a deception.
They could have heard that deception or bad interpretation from three different sources:
“Byspirit”. “By a prophecy” (NIV) of non-inspiredprophets.
“By word”. Preachers that taught a wrong interpretations of the Scriptures and of Jesus’ sayings.
“By letter, as if from us”. Paul had to sign every letter to avoid that kind of forgery (2 Thessalonians 3:17)
Although Paul had the hope of being alive when the Second Coming of Jesus would happen (1 Thessalonians 4:17), he knew that some signs had to take place before that great event.
“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, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God” (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4)
It’s hard for us to fully understand Paul’s message, since he is intentionally using ambiguous language in order to not to create problems among the believers in case his letter would arrive to the wrong people.
Nevertheless, this ambiguity helps us to understand that those verses may have more than one interpretation.
Paul is talking about “the man of sin” (v. 3) or “the lawless” (v. 8) as if he was a person, but also as if it was a thing: “the mystery of lawlessness” (v. 7)
In all the cases, the Greek word used here is the same: “anomía”, which has been translated as “sin”, “lawless” and “lawlessness”.
We can find the same issue when he talks about what can stop the lawless: it’s both a power (v. 6) and a person (v. 7).
Paul does not specify the form of apostasy, but it can be deduced from the above verses. Nevertheless, we can be sure that:
SDA Bible Commentary, on 2 Thessalonians 2:3
“Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He[d] who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way”
(2 Thessalonians 2:5-7)
When Paul said goodbye to the elders in Ephesus, he said, “For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock” (Acts 20:29)
The apostasy was beginning within the Church in Paul’s time.
Nevertheless, the hard persecutions of the Roman Empire prevented that apostasy from settling in the Church for some time.
That way the Roman Empire was stopping the apostasy that would begin again later, when the papacy would receive full power.
“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 coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders” (2 Thessalonians 2:8-9)
According to the historical interpretation, when the Roman Empire gave the papacy the political power over Rome, the true character of that apostate is “revealed”. It receives the throne from the Dragon (Revelation 13:2), that is, “according to the working of Satan”.
According the futuristic interpretation, when the Gospel is preached to the whole world, the spiritualism will be shown with great power, covered in religiousness (Revelation 16:13-14) and followed by Satan’s imitation of the Second Coming.
When the Lord will come, he will destroy those apostate powers (Revelation 19:20)
If we compare the Greek words used for the antichrist and the words used for Christ, we can see important resemblances:
“The lawless one will be revealed [apokalúptò]” (2Thss. 2:8)
“TheRevelation[apokálupsis] of JesusChrist” (Rev. 1:1)
“Thecoming[parousía] is according the working of Satan” (2Thss. 2:9)
“The brightness of His [Christ’s] coming [parousía]” (2Thss. 2:8)
The words “with all power, signs, and wonders” (v. 9) are also used for the miracles and minister of Jesus. But the wonderful miracles of the Lord were true, but those of the antichrist are “lying”.
The conclusion of all this is that Satan will try to imitate (to fake) the work of Jesus Christ, his Second Coming.
“This is the strong, almost overmastering delusion”
E.G.W. (Maranatha, September 25)
“And with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness” (2 Thessalonians 2:10-12)
The antichrist will drag everyone who “did not receive the love of the truth”.
At first glance, it may seem that God didn’t want to give them that love of the truth; but they actually didn’t want it: “they did not believe the truth” and “had pleasure in unrighteousness”.
We read in the Scriptures many times that it is said that God does what He doesn’t prevent (1 Samuel 16:14; 2 Chronicles 18: 18-21)
“As trials thicken around us, both separation and unity will be seen in our ranks. Some who are now ready to take up weapons of warfare will in times of real peril make it manifest that they have not built upon the solid rock; they will yield to temptation. Those who have had great light and precious privileges, but have not improved them, will, under one pretext or another, go out from us. Not having received the love of the truth, they will be taken in the delusions of the enemy; they will give heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils, and will depart from the faith. But, on the other hand, when the storm of persecution really breaks upon us, the true sheep will hear the true Shepherd’s voice. Self-denying efforts will be put forth to save the lost, and many who have strayed from the fold will come back to follow the great Shepherd. The people of God will draw together and present to the enemy a united front”
E.G.W. (Maranatha, July 13)