Explore God's Word Daily

A daily blog on Christianity.com

The man of lawlessness

This is one of those passages which isn't completely clear!

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PRAY

Pray that God would enable you to understand enough in these verses for you to be encouraged and equipped to love His Son today.

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Read 2 Thessalonians 2 v 3-12

Speculation abouns as to the identity of the "man of lawlessness." It may partially refer to the Roman general who overthrew Jerusalem and desecrated the temple in 70 A.D.. It may refer more generally to false teachers, as in John's letters (see 1 John 4 v 1-3). These may well be limited fulfillments of his coming, but v 6-8 suggests hte ultimate "man of lawlessness" will appear shortly before Jesus returns (v 8). In other words, not yet!

What is most important now is what we can see in our passage.

  • - What do we learn about the man of lawlessness in vereses 3-10? 

The temple of verse 4 could mean the physical temple in Jerusalem. But given that Jesus replaces that builiding as the way to meet God (John 2 v 19-22), it's more likely that Paul is using the temple to mean "God's place of rule"--so the man of lawlessness will set himself up in God's place, claiming for himself all that God deserves.

No wonder Paul elswhere commented that there would be "terrible times in the last days!" (2 Timothy 3 v 1)!

  • - But what comforts can you find in these verses?

While it is clearly not possible to put times and dates on all this, it is possible tosee three stages in God's plan:

  1. a time of restraint
  2. a time of rebellion
  3. a time of retribution
  • - What can you see in these verses about each of these stages?
  • - How is it reassuring to know that, ultimately, God is in control?

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TIME OUT

Read Mark 13 v 5-37.

  • - What instructions does Jesus give His followers here?

Pray that you, and others you know, will "watch out."

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APPLY

  • - Are there any ways in which you're coming under pressure not to stand firm in your faith, not to obey God? What practical steps do you need to take? Talk to God about your answers.

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This devotional is taken from Explore—a daily Bible-reading devotional from The Good Book Company which enables you to engage with Scripture and which will encourage, equip and inspire you to live for Christ. Explore features contributions from pastors such as Dr Timothy Keller, Mike McKinley and Tim Chester.

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About Explore God's Word Daily

Explore God's Word Daily helps you open up the Bible to be refreshed and encouraged in your walk with God. "Explore" is the daily Bible-reading devotional from The Good Book Company (www.thegoodbook.com). Contributors include: Dr Timothy Keller, Senior Pastor at Redeemer Presbyterian Church, New York; Mike McKinley, Senior pastor of Guilford Baptist Church; Tim Chester, author and pastor of Crowded House, Sheffield, UK; Mark Meynell, Senior Associate Minister at All Soul’s Langham Place, London, UK. Editors: Tim Thornborough and Carl Laferton.

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