Mystery of Lawlessness

2 Thessalonians 2:6-7

“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 who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way.” 2 Thessalonians 2:6-7.

This section has been particularly disturbing to me because of the variety of explanations as to “what is restraining” and who “He who now restrains” is.

Many have jumped on the fact that the apostle tells the Thessalonians in verse 5, “Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things?” And then adds in verse 6, “And now you know what is restraining…” as though this is something that he taught the Thessalonian church but it was not to be revealed to the rest of the body of Christ. God either reveals something to the church or He does not. There is none of this, this is for them only.

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The Man of Sin

2 Thessalonians 2:4-5

“…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 2:3b-4.

The end of verse 3 has been included here for context, so we can pick up where we left off. The last study dealt primarily with the falling away of the church after the rapture when at that time it will embrace all religions and minimize Christ to nothing but a prophet, if anything at all. The word for this falling away is apostasy, which is the word used in the New American Standard Bible in this verse.

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The Falling Away

2 Thessalonians 2:1-3

“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.

It is important to understand that these verses are speaking of two different events; the rapture, “…the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him”.

And the day of the Lord, which is the tribulation period, “…as though the day of Christ had come.” The day of the Lord and the day of Christ have the same meaning in this case.

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Everlasting Destruction

2 Thessalonians 1: 6-12

“…that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you also suffer; since it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you…” 2 Thessalonians 1:5b-6.

The Thessalonian Christians were allowed to be persecuted by men so that they might grow in Christ and that they might display the power of the Holy Spirit working in them before men and angels.

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Righteous Judgment

2 Thessalonians 1: 1-5

“Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, to the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Thessalonians 1:1-2.

There is a slight difference between the salutation in 1 Thessalonians and this letter. The first letter starts out, “To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ…” this second one changes it to, “To the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ…”

The probable reason for this is that in the interim between the two letters, the Christians in that church had gone through such trials and tribulations that they had seen the difference between having God as the Father, someone distant and austere, and the God who was now their Father, someone close at hand, unlike the pagan gods they were used to worshipping.

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