3. Clarifications About the Coming of Christ
After the man of lawlessness is revealed and the great rebellion begins, Christ will come to deal out eternal punishment to unbelievers, but share His eternal glory with His saints.
”1 Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we ask you, brothers, 2 not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by a spirit or a spoken word, or a letter seeming to be from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. 3 Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction,4 who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God. 5 Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? 6 And you know what is restraining him now so that he may be revealed in his time. 7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. Only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way. 8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming. 9 The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, 10 and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.11 Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, 12 in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12
I. Clarification 1: The Leader of the Great Rebellion
II. Clarification 2: The Form of the Great Rebellion
III. Clarification 3: The Dynamics of the Great Rebellion
Quick Thought: “The movement of the antichrist already at work in Finland. Really?”
Verse 7 of our text today reminds us that “the mystery of lawlessness is already at work.” This means that the anti-Christ’s work is already at work in our very midst, and our task as Christians is to oppose this work and proclaim Christ into it. But, what about the person who says, “but not in Finland (or the West). We are, after all, a Christian country.” Here is how we might respond:
There is no earthly culture that is Christian or even neutrally disposed to Jesus. While Jesus has been given all authority in heaven and on earth (Matthew 28:18), what we see at present is a world opposed to his authority. (see, for example, John 15:18–21; Revelation 13:1–7). When Paul wrote of people who “suppress the truth because of their unrighteousness” and so “worship and serve the creation rather than the Creator” (Romans 1:18–25), he was describing not just his contemporaries but ours as well. We must not think that we live in a “Christian country” or that Western culture ‘is “Christian culture”. Instead, we must see how the gospel speaks a word of judgment and of hope to our culture of individualism and materialism, sexual permissiveness etc. just as much as it speaks into, say, Saudi culture or Chinese culture. Then we shall see that, just like the early church, our task is to proclaim Christ’s lordship and the forgiveness of sins to our rebellious society (see, for example, 1 Corinthians 15:1–4). We have been entrusted with the gospel message of reconciliation and have become Christ’s ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:17–21). In this sense, we are all missionaries; all sent to make disciples of Jesus (Matthew 28:19–20) until the man of lawlessness is finally revealed and the Lord returns for His church.
Post-Service Online Coffee Fellowship
Please join us on a zoom call for our Virtual Coffee Fellowship (bring your own coffee!). We’d love for you to say hi, whether you’re a first-time visitor to United Community Church or a longtime member. All are welcome!
The call will be open for more or less an hour after the service finishes – you can join by clicking here! If you can’t join with the link, the Meeting ID is 998 7707 5071, and the passcode is 221309
Life Group Questions
The doctrine of the antichrist is one of the most misunderstood and misapplied in the church today. Have you thought much about this doctrine? What have been your sources of knowledge?
Review of the Text
- What has been happening at Thessalonica according to Paul ‘s report in 2:1-2 and why did it mater?
- Read Matthew 24:1-31. What are the parallels with 2 Thessalonians 2?
- What can we learn about the timeline of events described in verses 3-8?
- What are the reasons people might perish according to verses 9-12?
Apply the Text
- In what ways is Satan still active in our day?
- what difference should knowing the future (e.g. 2:8 and 2:14) make to the way we think about difficulties and struggles that the church faces?
- Should Christians avoid trying to identify the antichrist? Why or why not?
- How should we pray for the church to be be protected from satanic deception?
- How could you strengthen your hold on god’s Word in order to avoid being deceived?