1 Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers, 2 not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by some prophecy, report or lettersupposed to have come from us, saying that the day of the Lord has already come. 3 Don't let anyone deceive you in any way, for [that day will not come] until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. 4 He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God's temple, proclaiming himself to be God. 5 Don't you remember that when I was with you I used to tell you these things? 6 And now you know what is holding him back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time. 7 For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. 8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming.- 2 Thessalonians 2:1-8
The text before us is one of the most difficult in all of Paul’s writings. Much has been written about this passage, and there is a range of varying views. I am reminded of a recent conversation with an older member of my congregation. He reminded me of days when pastors and preachers preached on the second coming of Jesus Christ. He also reminded me that it had been a while since he had heard a sermon on the subject.
I raced through my mind in a frantic effort to pull up the date of the last time I had preached on the Lord’s return. I could not remember the last time I had preached on the Second Coming. That’s not good because the second coming of Christ should be a part of our preaching and teaching today.
The word parousia means presence. Paul used the word to refer to the coming of Christ for His church.
Rather than focusing on what we don’t understand, let us focus on what we can understand. There are some clear and rather simple insights into this passage.
I. A false report is refuted (2 Thessalonians 2:1-4).
Rumors, lies and false reports can be the source of great fear. Word was out that the Lord had already returned. This seems to be at the heart of why Paul is writing this letter. His aim is to clear the air and to restore a proper and biblical perspective on the Lord’s return.
A. Don’t be shaken by what you feel or hear or read (2 Thessalonians 2:2).
A biblical understanding of the second coming of Jesus Christ will produce peace—not fear.
B. Don’t be deceived (2 Thessalonians 2:3-5).
The second coming of Jesus Christ holds a major place in biblical prophecy. There are clear and unmistakable signs pointing to His coming. God is not a God of confusion or deception. Keep your eyes on the biblical signs, and don’t be deceived by false teaching.
II. There are signs of His coming (2 Thessalonians 2:3).
A. The Falling Away (v. 3a)
The word used here is the word apostasy. It means rebellion or rejection.
We live in such a time. Studies indicate that there is no distinguishable difference between Christians and non-Christians in our contemporary culture. Studies show that only about 4 to 6 percent of today’s teenagers believe in absolute truth. We live in a time of moral decay. We live in a day in which the very name of Jesus evokes hatred and anger.
B. The man of sin will be revealed (2 Thessalonians 2:3).
This is an apparent reference to the Antichrist. Verse 4 describes the man of sin. "He opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped." Paul is saying that the Day of the Lord will not come until certain things happen.
III. God is still in control (2 Thessalonians 2:5-8).
Paul reminds the Thessalonians again of the things he had previously taught them. He is striving to turn their eyes to the One who is in absolute control of the affairs of heaven and earth.
A. The man of sin is restrained by God (2 Thessalonians 2:7).
B. The man of sin will be destroyed by Jesus (2 Thessalonians 2:8).
Charles Ryrie reminds us that the very appearance of Jesus Christ will put the devil out of business. I have often heard the noted Bible teacher John Phillips speak on the subject of the Second Coming as it relates to the Antichrist and the Battle of Armageddon. Phillips says that Jesus will speak two words, and the battle will be over. The two words are: "Drop dead!"
Brothers and sisters, fellow Christians don’t live in fear or confusion. Look up, the Lord is on the throne. He still holds the scepter of universal power. He is the Lord of lords and King of kings.