Reading through the Bible together
matter how carefully a pastor may watch over a church, there are multiple ways
in which false ideas can take root. It is sometimes easier for members to
accept a report or rumor than to carefully examine the Scriptures for
themselves. Sometimes the new ideas may even be biblical, but are promoted out
of balance with complementary teachings. The latter seems to have been the
problem in Thessalonica. So in
this text Paul’s goal is not to lay out his whole eschatology (2:5), instead his
goal is pastoral, to calm them down and persuade them to be more patient
regarding the events of the End-time.
verses 3 through 7 we can see that Paul is outlining three stages of history
from his time until the end. The final stage is at the Second Coming. This is
mentioned briefly in verse 8. Before that stage is the revelation of the man of
sin (verse 4), the lawless one (verse 8). And before that stage, going back all
the way to Paul’s day, is a time of mystery and restraint (2:6-7).
of sin/lawless one was introduced in 2:3-4. The power in history that best fits
all the specifications of these prophecies is the medieval papacy. But
Second Thessalonians 2:8-10a draws back the curtain to reveal an even greater
Antichrist behind the one that has operated among the nations in the course of
history. Satan himself is the author and finisher of the deceptions of the
counts as we approach the End is not the extent to which we have calculated
just when and how this revelation will come, but whether we have received and
shared the love of the truth. The showdown may be world-wide but the choice is
still personal for you and for me.