2 Thessalonians 2:1-3
2 Th 2:1 (KJB)
Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,
Beseech - To question, ask, or request
By - Preposition which can also be understood as “for the sake of”
Paul begins this prophetic chapter with a question to the Thessalonians. This verse is divided up into two responses. The first response concerns the return of the Lord Jesus Christ and the second response concerns the “gathering together” or better known as the rapture of the Saints. These two events will be simultaneous. The word “rapture” is the Latin word “raptus” which means “a snatching away.” It describes the characteristics of the rapture.
(1 Th 4:16-17 KJV) For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: {17} Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
The biblical words for “rapture” is found underlying “caught up together” in 1 Thessalonians 4:17 (arpaghsomeqa) “arpagesometha” which comes from a root word (arpazo) “harpadzo” which means “a snatching away. In 1 Thessalonians 4:17, it is found in the future tense, which is only used once in the New Testament. So from 1 Thessalonians 4:17, Paul is now reiterating that the rapture of the Saints will be a future event. The question is when will that event take place, which was probably the main question the Thessalonians had.
2 Th 2:2 (KJB)
That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.
Soon - Quickly
Shaken - Dislodging, tottering
Troubled - Disturbed, troubled, or cry aloud
At hand - Is present, pending
Apparently, the Thessalonians had been wondering if the day of Christ is at hand or arriving very soon. There had been false teachers which came to Thessalonica and began to teach that the day of Christ was at hand. These teachings were believed and had actually started the Thessalonian church to waver. The word “shaken” in 2 Thess. 2:2 is the same word found in Acts 16:26 and used in the same inflection. (Acts 16:26 KJV) And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one's bands were loosed. We get an idea of how bad the Thessalonian church was wavering by looking at Acts 16:26. When Paul and Silas were in the jail at Philippi, they had sung songs and praised God and then at midnight there was a great earthquake. We have all seen the effects of earthquakes and many have seen first hand the catastrophic destruction they cause. The jail in Philippi had suffered the fate of many buildings subjected to an earthquake. The jail was ruined and the walls were knocked down to the point that the prisoners could have escaped if they wanted to. This was the same devastation that the Thessalonians were suffering because of the false teachings. Their strong understanding of spiritual things was shaken by the false teachings they were receiving.
They had allowed themselves to be placed into this situation by not referring to the Scriptures they had at that point and to Paul’s first letter. This is the problem when Christians do not go to the Scriptures to verify any teachings which they have been given. We never compare what someone is teaching to commentaries but we always compare them to the Scriptures. If they are found wanting, then we completely reject them. Now as for the Thessalonians, they wanted to know definitely if the day of Christ was at hand. The term “day of Christ” is a synonym for Judgment Day, which is the last day of earth’s history.
(Phil 2:16 KJV) Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.
(Phil 1:10 KJV) That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ;
The term “day of Christ” is strictly a Pauline term. He uses it to designate the last day or Judgment day. Both Philippians 1:10 & 2:16 are speaking of the future time of the day of Christ. Now does the Bible speak about when this event will take place? The answer is an unequivocal yes!
(Mat 13:39-40 KJV) The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. {40} As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world.
Mat 13:47-49 KJV) Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind: {48} Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away. {49} So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just,
(John 6:40 KJV) And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.
(John 11:24 KJV) Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.
Here we have four sets of verses showing that the rapture of the Saints is going to occur on the last day which will be simultaneous with the end of the world. There is no mistaking the timing of this event because the Bible makes it very clear when it will occur. So the Thessalonians had thought the return of Christ was imminent but we have seen that the Bible teaches the return of Christ and our gathering to Him will be on the last day. In the next verse, Paul goes into the major signs of what will happen just prior to the return of Christ.
2 Th 2:3 (KJB)
Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
Deceive - Deceive thoroughly or delude
Falling away - Apostasy, departure, rebellion
Revealed - Uncovered or disclosed
Perdition - Destruction, ruin, or waste
Man - Person, mankind, or a specific man (anthropos)
First, Paul begins this verse by telling the Thessalonians that they are not to be deceived or deluded on this subject by any means. In verse 2, he gave three of those means, spirit, letter, or word. He is admonishing them to reject the false teachings which they have accepted. Now Paul begins to go into the signs by which one may know that the second coming of Christ is very near.
Falling Away
The first major sign which Paul gives is that there must come a falling away. The word “falling away” is the word “apostasy.” The word “apostasy” carries with it the general idea of a departure or abandonment of what one has learned. In this case it would be the orthodox teachings of Scripture. Up until the mid 1800’s, there was a general orthodoxy in the churches and it did not matter what Protestant denomination, they basically taught the same things with the same Bible. Then Satan began to make his move and in 1859, Charles Darwin published his “Origin of Species” and many clergy began to adopt the teachings of his book and that began the concept of 1,000 years for each of the creation days, the gap theory between Genesis 1:1 and 2, the questioning of the first three chapters of Genesis. With these began the questioning and the rejection of significant parts of the Bible. Then on top of that apostasy, in 1870, in England, two professors, Hort and Westcott, both of whom accepted Darwin, had taken two of the most corrupt manuscripts, Vaticanus and Sinaiticus, and created their Revised Version which was published in 1881 and on the tails of that version, in America there was a translation made from the same corrupt manuscripts called the American Standard Version of 1901. Then in 1906 came the Azuza Street Mission phenomenon with the resurgence of the speaking in of tongues but these were not the tongues of Acts or Corinth which were legitimate languages, but these modern tongues were nothing but gibberish. Along with these tongues came signs, wonders, dreams, visions, and prophecies. The modern charismatic movement was now on its way with the founding of the Assemblies of God in 1914.
Then came the rise of liberalism in the church with men like Harry Emerson Fosdick and another liberal unbeliever named William Sloan Coffin. By this time already, the true Bible and Biblical truth was already under attack from many different areas. Then came the rise of women preachers in the church and the feminization of the male clergy. Now the truth of the Gospel was being replaced with the emotional gospel which would appease the hearers. In 1948, when the political nation of Israel was founded, the dispensationalists claimed it was a fulfillment of prophecy and since it was formed, it has become an idol in most churches and has usurped the place of Christ. In 1967, Satan made another major move and that was the introduction of the New Testament of the NIV, which was completed with the Old Testament in 1973. This counterfeit Bible was going to replace the King James Bible in the majority of Churches. Then with the false versions coming into the church, the old hymns have been expunged. Now the same churches which sang the old hymns are now using overhead projectors and rock bands to lead the singing.
As we can see by this short history, that the age of apostasy is in full session. This means, based upon this verse which teaches that the falling away must come first, we are living in the day when this apostasy is alive and well, not only in the churches but also on TV and radio ministries because many of the programs are based upon what many churches teach and use these mediums for outreach. So we are living in a day when the true teachings of Scripture have been set aside for many spurious teachings. This is why the return of Christ could not have happened at any time before our day. Now this first part of the verse, dovetails right into the second half of this verse.
And that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
Since I became a believer in 1980, and for many years before that we were taught and will be taught that the man of sin is going to be an individual who is going to be indwelled with all forms of satanic power and that he is going to rule the world by setting himself up in a newly built temple in Jerusalem. They call him the Anti-Christ. Fantasy preaching can yield billions of dollars for the publishers and authors, and these false teachings have been the catalyst for launching many ministries. The teaching of an Anti-Christ is alive and well in every dispensational church in the world. However, based upon the line of thought in these verses in 2 Thessalonians, no such world ruler is in view.
The word in the Greek for “be revealed” is in the subjunctive mood which means it is a mood of condition. The condition being is that the man of sin will be revealed based upon the fact of the apostasy happening first. Well as we saw that the apostasy started really early in the church but it never came to fruition with the zeal it has today. Let us go back to the words “be revealed“ Not only is it in the subjunctive mood but it in the aorist tense. The aorist tense speaks about an action without specific reference to it duration, repetition, or completeness. It has little or no emphasis on time. So with this word being in the aorist tense, it shows us that the revealing of the man of sin is not a one time event which will break out onto the world scene, but it is a continuing event.
Before we “reveal” who the man of sin is, let us look at the second title which is “son of perdition.” As soon as we hear that title we think of Judas.
(John 17:12 KJV) While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.
Now let us look at how he became the son of perdition. First of all, the Lord had prophesied that Judas would be the only lost one among His disciples. This gives us good insight into predestination. Judas walked with the Lord for three years, so why didn’t Judas become saved and why didn‘t the Lord save him? The answer is simple. He was not one of God’s Elect. (Rev 13:8 KJV) And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. The names of all those who were to be saved were written in the Lamb’s book of life from eternity and since the name of Judas was not written there, the Lord could not save him because he was not named.
Now back to the son of perdition. Since Judas was the only unsaved man walking with Jesus, he was open to satanic suggestion.
(Luke 22:3 KJV) Then entered Satan into Judas surnamed Iscariot, being of the number of the twelve.
At the Last Supper, Satan had entered into Judas and with that entry, he caused Judas to betray the Lord into the hands of the religious leaders. Isn’t that interesting that the Lord was betrayed into the hands of religion. Just like today, religion usurps the rightful place of the Lord Jesus Christ. So after Judas betrayed Christ, he was filled with remorse and tried to return the money and then hung himself. The son of perdition can be called the son of ruin or destruction.
Now since we have seen that the revealing of the man of sin is a continual thing and not a one time thing, then we can state firmly that there will be many who will be men of sin and sons of perdition. The man of sin can be found, as we have previously seen, rejecting the truths of Scripture and replacing them with false teachings which can only bring destruction to a person’s life. (2 Pet 2:1 KJV) But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. 2 Peter 2:1 speaks of damnable heresies and the words “damnable” and “destruction” are the same words as “perdition” in 2 Thessalonians 2:3. The man of sin in a church can be a false preacher or even a woman preacher since the word for man is the general term for mankind “anthropos.” The man of sin can be found on the radio bringing a false gospel. The man of sin can be found on TV bringing a false Gospel. The man of sin on the Internet can be found bringing a false Gospel. There have been men of sin all during the present church age but in our day, it has mushroomed tremendously to the point that you can scarcely find a ministry which is teaching the truth. These are the men of sin and the sons of perdition who bring false gospels to keep the unbelievers in unbelief through satanic influence of false gospels. In the next verse, we will learn how these men of sin attempt to be God.