Saturday in the Fourteenth Week of Ordinary Time

2 Thessalonians 2:3-8

The Man of Lawlessness

So Paul encourages the Thessalonians that they need not fear the ridiculous notion that somehow our Lord had already come.  Granted, the first time he came was in humility when only shepherds beheld his glory; but the second time he comes, every eye shall see him (Revelation 1:7).  This is the coming we await.

But what we learn in this place, and which is confirmed in other passages of Scripture, is that before our Lord returns, two things must happen.  First, Paul says that there will be a rebellion.  The scholars I read suggest that what is spoken of is not so much a great apostasy within the Church but a great rebellion of mankind in general against the Almighty.  This is certainly the picture which is presented in Revelation where regardless of the punishments God metes out to rebellious man, he would not repent of his evil deeds (9:20; 16:9-11).  The Christian might respond that man has been rebellious since the Garden.  Yes, but it seems that man only gets worse.  Not only so but as we see in our own day, the worse man gets, the more enlightened he thinks he is, dreaming he is making progress, when in truth the more he “progresses,” the further he slides into perdition.

The second thing which Paul tells us must occur is that the “man of lawlessness” must be revealed.  This is no doubt the “antichrist” of 1 John 2:18ff.  We learn there that this man does go “out from us,” meaning that he is an apostate—the arch-apostate, we might say.  He is practically the incarnation of Satan working signs and wonders.  He “takes his seat in the temple” which, in tandem with Revelation 13 and following, suggests that he shall have immense worldwide political and religious power.  The sense is that the whole world will be given over to evil.  The Apostle goes on to say that the only reason he has not yet appeared is that some force currently restrains him.  Many scholars see all of this as referring to some Roman emperor of the first century.  Indeed, many of these men were antichrists as John indicates in the cited passage above.  But Paul is here speaking of the end of the era in which we now live—anno domini—when our Lord returns, not in humility, but glory and quickly dispatches this pretender with his word (Revelation 19:11-21).  I agree with those who think that it is the Lord himself who restrains the appearance of the antichrist until the appointed time.  God has a plan—His plan.  And it is all for the display of his glory.  Things are going to get really bad—as is happening now.  But then they will get really good.  May God grant us strength and courage for the days ahead.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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