While writing about the judgment of God in the last chapter, Paul referred to the coming of the Lord. Now, Paul instructs the believers on the timing of this event. Apparently, some believers had been shaken by the false claim that the day of Christ has already come. Paul assures the believers that the day has not yet come by pointing out that the lawless one must first be revealed before the Lord returns. He also gives thanks to God for His election of the Thessalonians, encourages them to stand fast, and prays to God to comfort and establish them.
Did You Know...?
- “Shaken” (2:2): “The Greek for this verb was often used of a ship adrift from its mooring, and suggests lack of stability.” [ref]
- “The falling away” (2:3) translates the Greek word apostasia, from which the English word “apostasy” comes..
- “The son of perdition” (2:3) means “the one doomed to destruction” (cf. Jn 17:12).
- Man of Sin Yet to Come (2:1-4)
- Restraint and Revelation of the Lawless One (2:5-12)
- Thanksgiving and Exhortation (2:13-15)
- Prayer (2:16-17)
Compare the first two paragraphs with the last two. How do they contrast and relate to each other?Hide Answer
The first two paragraphs focus on the coming of the lawless one and the great rebellion that will take place in the unbelieving world. The last two paragraphs focus on the believers and God’s work of salvation in them.
The first two paragraphs speak of the lie, whereas the last two paragraphs speaks of the truth.
The first two paragraphs assure the believers by showing that the day of the Lord has not come. The last two paragraphs assure them through thanksgiving for God’s salvation and prayer for encouragement.
Read the following passages, which also refer to the lawless one, and record your observations: Dan 7:8,20; 8:24,25; Mt 24:15; 1Jn 2:18,22; 4:3; and possibly Rev 13:1-18; 17:8. Note the distinction in 1Jn 2:18 between “antichrists,” many of which have already come, and “the Antichrist,” which is yet to come.
Why would believers be shaken and troubled by the false claim that the day of Christ had come?Hide Answer
When the Lord comes for His saints, believers will receive rest from trouble while the persecutors will suffer tribulation (1:6-7). Perhaps those who made the false claim tried to persuade the believers that the day of the Lord had already come because of the increasing persecutions. If the claim that the Lord has already come was true, that means the hope of the Thessalonian believers would have been in vain, for the Lord did not give them rest from trouble or exercise judgment. To correct this misapprehension, Paul ensures them that God’s righteous judgment as well as the day of the Lord are still yet to come.
What three possible sources could the false claim come from?Hide Answer
Spirit (referring to prophecy); word; letter.
What two events must precede or initiate the day of the Lord? Explain these events.Hide Answer
1. The falling away (3)—Many will forsake the faith at this time (Mt 24:11,12,24; 2Tim 3:1-5; 4:3,4; 2Pet 2:1-3; Jude 17,18; Rev 13:11-18; 17:8)
2. The revelation of the man of sin (3)—This is the rise of the lawless one, or the Antichrist.
What are the nature and works of the man of sin?Hide Answer
See verse 4.
Why is the man of sin not yet revealed?Hide Answer
He is being restrained.
What is already present in the world?Hide Answer
The mystery of lawlessness is already at work. Even though the Antichrist has not yet come, his spiritual evil forces are already in the world (1Jn 2:18; 4:3). This lawlessness is a mystery because the Antichrist has not been revealed and the works of the evil spirit are subtle.
Have you witnessed its presence today? Give some examples.Hide Answer
False doctrines and ideologies; miracles or spiritual experiences that are not from the Holy Spirit; continual increase of sin.
What will be the end of the lawless one?Hide Answer
He is destined for perdition (3), and will be consumed by the breath of the Lord’s mouth and destroyed with the brightness of the Lord’s coming (8).
Who is behind the lawless one? What does he aim to accomplish?Hide Answer
The lawless one originates from Satan, and his objective is to lead the world to forsake the truth and rebel against God (9,10,12).
How will the lawless draw followers, and who will be his followers?Hide Answer
He will use power, signs, and lying wonders to deceive those who do not receive the love of the truth but take pleasure in unrighteousness (10,12).
In what ways do people today reject the love of the truth? Why do they refuse to believe in the truth?Hide Answer
Many people turn a deaf ear to the gospel but enjoy listening to false doctrines to suit their desires (cf. 2Tim 4:3-4). They scoff at the teachings of the Bible, choose ungodly lifestyles, and even advocate acts of sin. These people reject the gospel not because they do not know God or the truth but because they take pleasure in sin and do not love the truth.
What will God do to the followers of the lawless one? Why?Hide Answer
He will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie of the lawless one and be condemned (11-12). Since these people rejected the truth and God’s salvation, God gives them up to their sin (cf. Rom 1:24- 26). The delusion from God is not the cause of their disbelief, but the result of their disbelief , marking them out for condemnation.
How can we take this as a warning for ourselves so as to not fall under condemnation?Hide Answer
We must not deliberately choose to live in sin and reject the truth. If we do, God will give us up to our sins so that we will persist in doing evil while believing that we are doing the right thing. Then there will be no turning back (cf. Heb 3:12-13). Instead, we must encourage each other daily to remain true to Christ. If we have sinned, we ought to humbly repent of our sins, turn to God, and submit to the truth.
What does the word “but” in verse 13 indicate?Hide Answer
The word “but” is an indication that this verse transitions from discussion on those who perish to thanksgiving for those who are saved.
What does this paragraph teach about: a. Election; b. Salvation; c. Calling; d.Glory:Hide Answer
a. Election: God chose us for salvation from the beginning (13; cf. Eph 1:4).
b. Salvation: Salvation is through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth (13).
c. Calling: God’s calling comes to us through the gospel (14).
d. Glory: The ultimate goal of God’s election, salvation, and calling, is that we may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ (14).
What does it mean that God saves us through the sanctification of the Spirit and belief in the truth?Hide Answer
“Sanctification” means “set apart for holiness.” When we first receive salvation, God gives us the Holy Spirit as a seal to show that we are holy in his sight and have been set apart as His possession (Rom 15:16; 1Cor 6:11; Eph 1:13,14; ). As we continue our spiritual journey, the Holy Spirit works in our lives to help us put to death the sinful nature and to live holy and righteous lives (Jn 3:5-8; Rom 8:2,4-6,10-11,13; Gal 5:16-18,22-25; Tit 3:5-6).
“Belief in the truth” denotes faith in the gospel, which is able to save us (1Cor 15:1,2; 1Pet 1:22,23). Such belief is not just the initial acceptance of the gospel but also the life-long obedience to the truth (Heb 3:14).
How does the command in verse 15 relate to the preceding verses?Hide Answer
Because God has chosen us for salvation through belief in the truth (13) and has called us by the gospel (14), we need to stand fast and hold to the teachings of the gospel (15).
What “everlasting consolation and good hope by grace” has God given us (16)?Hide Answer
God’s gift and promise of eternal life to us gives us everlasting consolation and good hope by grace. Nothing can ever take away the salvation we have in Christ. With this consolation and hope, we can have assurance in Christ in the midst of the temporary sufferings of this life.
What kind of comfort and establishment is Paul praying for (17)?Hide Answer
In view of the false claim that could easily shake and trouble believers, Paul asks God to give them assurance and to strengthen them to hold on to and obey the teachings of the gospel.