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Rebellion and Man of Lawlessness (2 Thessalonians 2)

I am studying 2 Thessalonians 2 to teach in our Bible class at our assembly. This chapter is perhaps on the top five list of difficult texts in the New Testament. So I look forward to the opportunity to examine various points of view concerning the things that must take place before Jesus can return.

It seems from chapter 2, verse 2 that the Thessalonians had been taught by false prophets and false letters claiming to be from the apostles that the day of the Lord was already beginning. I think the NKJV is misleading in its translation which indicates that the day of the Lord had already past. The Thessalonian concern does not seem to be that they missed the day of the Lord. Rather, they had been misled to think that the day of the Lord had already started. One could easily guess that the reason they were so easily misled was because of the severe sufferings and persecutions they were enduring (1:4). These afflictions along with the false prophets and false letters caused them think that the day of the Lord was unfolding.

Paul writes to calm their minds and remind them that there were two things that must occur before the day of the Lord can arrive. “For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction…” (2:4). Paul identifies for them these two events: (1) the rebellion must occur and (2) the man of lawlessness must be revealed. Only after these two events occur will the day of the Lord come. There is much debate about what these two events are pointing toward. In the next few posts I will write the interpretation I believe fits best with the scriptures. The next post will examine the rebellion.