As we indicated last time, the subject of the Antichrist must be taught in the church today.  The importance of this subject cannot be overemphasized.  The Apostle Paul had taught the Thessalonian believers all about the end time and the Antichrist.  The importance of the Lord’s return, the great day of the Lord, the great apostasy, and the rise of the Antichrist cannot be over stressed.  Scripture declares emphatically that these events are going to happen.

  • The Lord is returning at a point to gather His people together (2Thessalonians 2:1) in the most spectacular and joyful occasion of human history.
  • The great and terrible day of the Lord is going to fall upon the earth.  Also, upon unbelievers — all those who have cursed, rebelled, denied, ignored, neglected, and rejected the Lord Jesus Christ — are going to bear the justice of God.
  • The great apostasy [withdrawal from God’s truth] is going to be witnessed by the earth; millions are going to turn away from the Lord Jesus Christ.
  • The Antichrist is going to rise upon the world scene and bring a material utopia to the earth and some form of state worship – all in utter rebellion and denial of God Himself.

The point is this: the end times are coming upon the world. 

Therefore, people including Christians, must be taught so that some can be saved and escape the things coming upon the earth.  See Matthew 24:1-51 and review more of a picture as to what makes the tribulation of the last days worse than what men usually suffer upon earth.  A quick review of the area of Revelation chapters 6-18 will help you and show the difference.

Now let’s move to 2 Thessalonians 2:6-8 and the Antichrist.

We are now going to start a deep dive into the revelation of the Antichrist to the world.  There is to be a historical appearance of the Antichrist in the end time.  Note the words “revealed in his time.”  The time is set; he is going to actually appear upon the world scene.

1. Right now there is some power of restraint that holds back the Antichrist and keeps him from appearing (v. 7). However, the day is coming when the RESTRAINING IS TO BE “TAKEN OUT OF THE WAY,” THEN THE ANTICHRIST WILL BE REVEALED TO THE WORLD (v. 8).  Note that the restraining power IS NOT IDENTIFIED.  What or who is it?  Even the best Bible scholars differ.  Note three different significant points.

a. The words used are “taken out of the way,” BUT NOT TAKEN AWAY.  There is a vast difference: the power of restraint upon the Antichrist can step aside (v. 7) and allow the Antichrist to appear and still be at work in the world.  If the power of restraint was completely removed and taken away, then there would be no power of good whatsoever in the world.

Therefore, the words “taken out of the way,” must be looked at.  Whatever the power of restraint is, it is still present in the world working for good.  It only steps aside enough to allow the Antichrist to appear and to carry out his evil work.

b. The masculine pronoun “he” (v. 7) and the neuter pronoun “what” (v. 6) are both used for the restraining power.  Therefore, the restraining power can be referred to as both a person and as the very embodiment of the power of good that works throughout the world.

NOTE that the power is so strong that it controls the events of human history.  That is, the restraining power can determine the exact day to step aside and let the Antichrist appear.

c. Logic has to be used in determining who the restraining power is. When the identity is not given, and there are so many varied opinions, we must use the best logic we can.  In light of this, note the following:

  • What is the power that restrains evil upon earth?  The power of law?  Laws change from society to and from generation to generation.  What is evil to one society is good to another.  Many societies consider lying, stealing, cheating, and even murder to be good if it is for the purpose of forwarding the state or government or leadership of a nation (compare Rome, Communism, and many dictators).
  • What then is the true power that restrains evil upon the earth?  Is it not the power of God Himself?  God’s power and work against sin is the whole point of this passage.  Therefore, it is difficult to see how the restraining power could be anything other than the Holy Spirit of God upon the earth.
  • NOTE THIS AS WELL: The Holy Spirit is referred to in both the masculine and neuter genders in Scripture (John 14:16-17; 16:13).  He is pictured as the restraining force of evil in the Old Testament (Genesis 6:3).

2. The “mystery of iniquity” (that is, lawlessness) is now at work in the world. This is a terrifying verse, for it says that the power that restrains evil is going to be removed — evil is going to be turned loose upon the world.  God is going to remove much of the restrain that He now puts upon evil.

Note the word “mystery”: it means something that has been hidden but is now revealed.  There is, of course, so much that we do not know about lawlessness:

  • Why do we do things that we know are bad for us?
  • Why do we steal, cheat, lie, kill, curse and go to war?
  • Why are we so selfish that we allow barriers and feelings to build up toward husband, wife, child, parent, neighbor, friend, employer, and employee — barriers and feelings that end up destroying our lives and relationships and hurting all those around us?
  • Why do we indulge, hoard, bank, build, and build more and more, neglecting the reality of the world that reels under the weight of desperate needs?

The questions could go on and on.  We know better, yet we continue to do evil.  Why?  What is there about us that causes us to sin and then to continue sinning when it is so bad and does so much harm?  And is it that we cannot control sin and lawlessness within ourselves, much less within our world?  We cannot answer the question, not in and of ourselves.  That is the mystery of iniquity.

Sin is a mystery, and unknown factor of human life.  However, there is Someone who does understand sin, and there is Someone who has revealed what it is and why we are enslaved by it.  The Person is God.  The mystery of iniquity has been revealed to men by God through our Savior Jesus Christ and His Holy Word.

It is a matter of man listening to Christ and to the Word of God.  But that is a discussion for another time.

THE POINT IS THIS:  IN THE LAST DAYS WHEN IT IS TIME FOR THE ANTICHRIST TO COME, God is going to remove much of His restraint upon lawlessness.  Lawlessness will be allowed to run rampant over the earth, and the rampage will be part of the judgment falling upon the earth.  Men will be allowed to do their own thing and live as they desire to live.  The day is coming when men will get their wish and be left to themselves without God interfering.

3. The Antichrist will be revealed. He will “appear unveiled in all his naked deformity — no longer working secretly, but will work openly and in an undisguised form; no longer the mystery, but the revelation of Lawlessness” (Pulpit Commentary, Vol. 21, p. 25).

The spirit of sin and lawlessness will find its fulfillment in the Antichrist and his government.  He will vent the rage of men against God that has built up for centuries upon the world.  He will rise upon the earth, and the terrible rage of lawlessness will be let loose upon mankind.

Men will suffer the results of their own sin.  They will sin and sin and live lawless lives and burn in their lusts for more and more.  But they will never be satisfied with what they have, not with the good and normal and natural.  They will have more than enough, but they will lust in their passions for more and more and they will bear the terrible inner punishment of more and more…

*dissatisfaction                          *purposelessness

*emptiness                                 *disturbance

*loneliness                                  *conflict

*unfulfillment                            *sorrow

*insecurity                                  *restlessness

On the surface these things may not look all that bad, but think about them for a moment; imagine the depth and intensity of each inner punishment when God is not present to help people through them. NOTE the horror and fear, despair and insecurity that will be consuming the souls of men.  It cannot be described, for men have never had to live without the presence of God upon the earth to help them.

“And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.  And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.  And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold” (Matthew 24:10-12).

“Then God turned, and gave them up to worship the host of heaven…” (Acts 7:42).

“Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.  Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools” (Romans 1:21-22).

“Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonor their own bodies between themselves: who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed forever.  Amen.  For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: and likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.  And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful” (Romans 1:24-31). 

“But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God” (Romans 2:5). 

“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (Galatians 6:7). 

“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the LATTER TIMES some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron” (I Timothy 4:1-2). 

“This know also, that in the LAST DAYS perilous times shall come.  For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebeakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such TURN AWAY” (2 Timothy 3:1-5).

“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall TURN AWAY their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” (2 Timothy 4:3-4).

“So I gave them up unto their own hearts’ lust: and they walked in their own counsel” (Psalm 81:12).

Now let’s move again to:

2 Thessalonians 2:8- Key Word ANTICHRIST: THE END OF THE ANTICHRIST.  As we have seen, the Lord will make quick work of the Antichrist; this is the point of this verse.  Remember, that the Antichrist will be destroyed when Christ returns to earth.  How is that done?  Remember, we have seen that the Lord Jesus will slay the Antichrist with the spirit of His mouth.

He will be destroyed with the brightness of His coming.  Please review the previous study of 2 Thessalonians 2:8.

Now let’s move to 2 Thessalonians 2:9 and the work of the Antichrist, which is to carry on the activity of Satan upon the earth.  Note that the coming of the Antichrist will be after the working of Satan.  This means…

  • that he will be the very embodiment of Satan himself.
  • that he will carry on all the lying power and signs and wonders of Satan.
  • that he will carry out the very activity and work of Satan on earth.

FACT:  The point to see is that Satan will have complete control over the life of the Antichrist.  He will be totally surrendered to Satan, and Satan will be energizing him.   Do not forget that part of his job is to turn as many as possible away from the true and living God.

The Antichrist has many claims that seem proper and good.  The problem of his claims is that they go no further than the grave.  The fact is that men die (Hebrews 9:27).  It doesn’t matter how much peace, good, clothing, shelter, and material possessions we are able to enjoy, it all ends. Humans are only on earth for a few years — barring accident and disease — and then we are gone.  Fact: when compared to eternity, the few years we live on the earth is not very much time.  But not God – not the living and true God.

Fact:  God is interested in interacting with men while they live.  Why?  Because He is interested in saving men eternally — forever and ever.  This is the mammoth difference between the lies of Satan and the truth of Jesus Christ.

FACT:  No matter the lies of the Antichrist and Satan, if a person could solve the problems such as peace, hunger, and unemployment, it would be miraculous.  But again, when a person, Satan through the Antichrist, claims they can solve all of man’s problems, don’t listen.  His works would prove to be lying powers and signs and wonder.  Why?  Because they are temporary.  Satan’s works still leave people in the grave.  They do not and cannot impart eternal life to anyone.  ONLY THE TRUE AND LIVING GOD CAN DO THAT!  See John 3:16 and Romans 10:9-13).

“And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it” (Luke 4:6).

“But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: in whom THE GOD OF THIS WORLD {SATAN} hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them” (2 Corinthians 4:3-4).

“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12).

“Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders” 2 Thessalonians 2:9).

“Be sober, be vigilant; because YOUR ADVERSARY THE DEVIL, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour”   (I Peter 5:8).                                           

If you have never accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Savior please go to John 3:16 and Romans 10:9-13.

Write down the principles you find in those verses and ask yourself if you have followed them.  They will lead you to the walk that will bring Salvation (Matthew 7:13-14).  In addition, you will find the joy and blessing of eternal life that God promises for those who trust His Son for salvation.  See also Ephesians 2:8-9 and rejoice as you receive God’s promised “free gift of salvation.”

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