To give assurance of deliverance from the “Day of the Lord” [which is a day or darkness]; and that we should not be troubled by the trials we go through.
Just how are we to know when the “Great Tribulation” or “The time of Jacob’s trouble” begins? There are some distinguishing signs which show us. There are some who teach that the Church will go through the ‘tribulation’. If so, why did Paul write verses one and two of this chapter? There were teachers [false teachers] teaching that the Church would go through this time of trouble, even then, and were even saying they were already in it. Not only was their teaching bad enough, but they were signing (forging) Paul’s name to the letters saying this was his teaching.
In this chapter Paul tells how we can know, and if the lost would pay attention, even how they can recognize the “Day of the Lord”. There must be something that begins the “Time of sorrow”. Paul says there will first of all be a great apostasy [falling way]. This will happen among many who profess Christ as Savior, but have only joined a club (Church membership). There has never been any relationship with Christ, no joy of salvation, no hope for life, and no exciting expectation of Jesus Christ return. The falling away will occur – I believe – because the Church will endure a time of purification [persecution] and the reprobate Church members will flee from the fire.
Of course there is not much need for the Church to know, because the “Day of the Lord” will begin the day Jesus calls out to us from the clouds (the heavens), “Come up here.” If you know the Lord Jesus as your personal Savior you need not fear the “Day of the Lord”.
“Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto Him, that ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.” 2 Thessalonians 2:1-2 (KJV)
There is going to be a gathering of the Church. It is stated quite clearly in verse one.
The Church was clearly troubled. They had been troubled by false teachers, and false letters from those teachers, by forging Paul’s name. In doing so they were confusing the people in the Church, and hoping to gain something for themselves. These teachers, and letters were telling the people that the “Day of the Lord” had already come, and they were living in it.
This false message contradicted what Paul was teaching. Paul’s clear teaching, and the Bible’s teaching is that the “Day of the Lord” is a time of great trouble, sorrow on the earth. The day is marked by a sudden disappearance of a certain group of people – namely the Church. Those fundamental, Bible believing, Jesus worshiping, “Blessed hope” watching, born again people will be taken out of the way in order for the progressive way of thought to prevail, and lawlessness to have its way.
The word of “Christ” in verse two is literally the “Day of the Lord.” Though Paul is not saying it was at hand, but that the false teachers were saying it.
“Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.” vv. 3-4
This letter was written partly to warn them against the deceivers. Deceivers have a way of robbing people of their hope, joy and peace. Do not let anyone deceive you.
The “Day of the Lord” is not the “Rapture of the Church”. “The day of the Lord” will not begin until after the rapture, or the “Catching away of the Church”; the “falling way” apostasy (which could occur before the rapture) due to persecution; and the revealing of the “Man of sin” (or Anti-christ) which will follow the rapture.
The apostasy is a rebellion against all that is godly. It will even involve professing Christians who do not know Jesus. They are Christians only because their parents were, or they were “Born in a Christian home”; not due to the new birth in Christ Jesus. These will see Jesus as any other religious leader. This christianity to them is only a religion of choice just as the others. Being a Christian is in fact a personal relationship into which one is called in – chosen by God; the Living God, and it is the only way to eternal life in Heaven.
The apostasy is in affect a militant uprising against all that is pure and for all things that are against God, Jesus and His Church. There is even today, an attempt to silence the Church and the Word of God; especially in the public forum; private owner businesses, and in political debate.
There is also, “the man of sin”, also called the “Son of perdition” who will be revealed, probably, very near to either side of the rapture. Jesus mentions “The son of perdition” in John 17:12. He was in the person of Judas Iscariot the betrayer. This man who will come on the scene will exalt himself, call himself “God”, and will sit in the temple of God – this in the city of Jerusalem. This man will be revealed as the Evil one when he breaks his covenant with Israel three and one half years into the tribulation period. His first introduction will be as a man of peace, and seeming ability to end world economic, religious, and environmental problems (See Revelation 6:1-2). He will be a world ruler.
“Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?” v. 5
These were things Paul had spoken to them about when he was with them. This is only a gentle nudge to call to remembrance what they had heard.
“And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only He who now letteth will let, until He be taken out of the way.” vv. 6-7
It is not yet time for the “Son of perdition” to be revealed. Really, only God knows when that time will be. When God removes the restraints, then and only then can this deceiver who is also the “Anti-christ” have a free hand.
That raises a question. Who or what is the restraint? Whoever or whatever it is must be the greatest power in all the Universe. He is like the wind; unseen, but you can hear Him at work; you can feel Him touch the cheeks of your soul; you hear His still, small, sweet voice, and you can see His effects upon the lives of people. It is a Person who is restraining. Yes! It is the Person of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God.
There is already, and has been since the garden of Eden; the working of iniquity. When the presence and power of the Holy Spirit is gone iniquity will have a free hand for a while. The Holy Spirit is present and powerful in the Church which is being sanctified by Him for the glory of Christ Jesus. Since Jesus said, “I will not leave you Comfortless” (John 14:18), then He will not leave the Church here without His Spirit (the Comforter). The restraining of the Holy Spirit will continue until the Church is stolen away from this earth, “As a thief in the night.”
“And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming…” v. 8
After the Spirit of God is removed with the Church, the son of perdition the Antichrist, who is the devil incarnate (counterfeiting what Jesus did), will be revealed.
Notice, though, Paul’s encouraging words, “…Whom the Lord will consume…” (See Revelation 1:16; 19:11-21). This, of course, will take place after he deceives the people of the earth; the ones who had rejected the truth of the Lord Jesus.
Out of the Lord’s mouth comes a sharp two-edged sword. The two-edged sword is the Word of God (Ephesians 6:17; Hebrews 4:12). The “Breath of His mouth” referring to the work of the Spirit and the Word. The glory of the Lord is His brightness at His coming.
“…Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.” vv. 9-10
The son of perdition will come in the power of Satan. Remember Satan is only a created being, a creature. He will use signs, and miracles to deceive the nations (Revelation 13:13-14). These “Miracles” will have the influence to deceive only “Those who are perishing”. These are people who will have heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but had no use for God, His Spirit, or His Word. They are people who are independent of God, and depend solely on themselves.
“And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” vv. 11-12
Because they refuse to love the truth God will cause them to believe the lie. Even today when someone hears the message of the gospel, and rejects it just one time; his/her heart will grow a little harder toward the gospel. Each time they hear and reject it the chances of their being saved grows weaker. To say again: That is so even in this day of grace.
God can at any point in the Christ rejecters life harden the heart. When God hardens the heart it is late, very late for saving grace, and very near to judgment. Do not harden your heart. Believe and receive Jesus as Lord and Savior before it is too late.
This seems – in its context – to apply to those who have rejected “the truth” after the requirement of the “Mark”. Only those receiving the “Mark”, ie. rejecting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior will receive this “Strong delusion” believing “the lie”.
These are also those who, “Had pleasure in unrighteousness” (See Romans 1:18-32). They worshiped and served the creature [self] rather than the Creator.
“But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: whereunto He called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.” vv. 13-14
We should all be thankful for God choosing us for salvaation – if indeed we have been chosen. How we are chosen, just as all believers are: 1.) Set apart by the work of the Spirit; and 2.) Believing the truth.
It is done by the gospel, and for the purpose of obtaining the glory of Jesus.
These messages to the Thessalonians are as much a part of the gospel as the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. Receive, and believe the whole gospel or perish.
“Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle. Now our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work.” vv. 15-17
“Stand fast” or do not be shaken from – do not be moved from your stand of faith.
“Hold the traditions” is not speaking of religious man made traditions, but truths of God’s Word. Paul is here saying to pass along what I have written to you as being from God – it is Scripture. Pass in on from your generation to the next generation, and on to the next, and the next.
Man made tradition most often goes against the Spirit’s intent of Scripture, and we are to shun those. Many times though we want to hold to these and forsake the Scriptural tradition. God forbid.
There is comfort in heeding the Word of God. We find comfort in His grace, knowing that in Him we have everlasting life.
Our lives are to be established in good words and works; established in God and His grace.
Are your works done to glorify Jesus, and to reflect His image to a condemned, dying, and lost world? Does the lost world look at you and me and see comfort peace, or fear and torment?
May the words of this hymn be also our lives:
“My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness; I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
On Christ, the solid rock, I stand; all other ground is sinking sand, all other ground is sinking sand.”
May the lost, condemned world see Christ, and His love, peace, joy, and all the fruit of the Spirit of God in us and know that something is missing in their hearts and lives…
The “Day of the Lord” is not for those who believe, but for those who do not believe. In this is comfort. Believe!