Let’s read 2nd Thessalonians 2:1-3 from the New American Standard Bible: “Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or letter as if from us, to the effect that THE DAY OF THE LORD has come. Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the MAN OF LAWLESSNESS is revealed, the son of destruction.”

The saints at Thessalonica had been deceived into thinking that the “Day of the Lord” (the time when God will judge this earth and His Son will appear to set up His Millennial Kingdom) was upon them. Their minds had been greatly disturbed by rumors that the Apostle Paul himself was teaching this. Thus Paul had to correct their thinking by reminding them (in verse 1) that before the Day of the Lord comes, the Lord Himself will come to take them home. We call this great event the Rapture and it is explained by these words, “the coming of Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him.” Paul had already written of this in 1st Thessalonians 4:16-17, “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.” So, Paul was seeking to calm their fears by saying, “Don’t worry, the Rapture will take place first and you won’t even be here when the dreadful Day of the Lord comes.”

Paul then goes on to add other events that must happen before the Day of the Lord occurs, the first being “the apostasy.” The word “apostasy” means “a FALLING AWAY.” We believe it speaks of the time when the Christian faith will be totally rejected and abandoned. This will take place at the same time that “the man of lawlessness (or ‘sin’) is revealed,” for he will be the one who leads men to abandon the truth of Christianity. He is labeled the man of sin or lawlessness because he will be the epitome of sin and rebellion against God. He is also called “the son of destruction” because he will be “doomed to destruction.” (Judas Iscariot was also called the “son of perdition” for he too was doomed to perish for his betrayal of the Lord Jesus….see John 17:12.)

We learn something else about the man of sin in verse 4, “who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God.” This man will oppose every religion and proclaim that HE IS GOD! This will be the worst case of idolatry the world has ever seen, for he will sit in the newly built temple in Jerusalem and demand worship for himself. He is none other than the Antichrist, for he will OPPOSE the true Christ and will also set himself up IN PLACE OF Christ. He will actually be accepted by the Jews as their Messiah/King (see 1st John 2:18; John 5:43 and Daniel 11:36-37). This event will happen in the middle of the Tribulation Period and it will signal the Great Tribulation. The Lord Jesus spoke of this in Matthew 24:15 & 21, “Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing the holy place …then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world.”

Now let’s read verses 9-12, “The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness” (NKJV). The man of sin will be energized by Satan to perform miracles and by these he will deceive all those who had rejected the gospel of Jesus Christ. God will allow “the lie” (that the Antichrist is God) to be proclaimed and believed by all Christ-rejecters.

His “reign of terror and deception” will last 3 ½ years and then he will be judged by the Lord Jesus Christ at His Second coming, as we see in verse 8: “whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming.” Revelation 19:20 teaches us that he will be “cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone.” A fitting end for the most lawless man who ever lived! (284.5) (DO)