2 Thessalonians

The Events that Must Precede Christ’s Return

As mentioned in 2 Thessalonians 2:5, Paul gave the Thessalonians a detailed explanation of the events that must precede Christ’s return. We can also see the theme of the Day of the Lord in Paul’s letter of 1 Thessalonians 4-5. The Thessalonians were very interested in this topic, and as mentioned in 2 Thessalonians 2:3, some were concerned that Christ might appear very soon. But Paul assures them of a number of events that must precede Christ’s return, which include the revelation of the lawless One.

There is no reason to believe that Paul had a new revelation about the future. He appears to be simply interpreting the message of Daniel, which Christ also explained in Matthew 24.

7 and to give relief to you that are afflicted with us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, 

2 Thess 1:7
when the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty Angels – Christ as “the Captain of the Armies” (Daniel 8:11) of the Angels, as the Archangel Michael (1 Thess 4:16), who “stands up” in the last day, as recorded in Daniel 12:1, when there will be “a time of trouble as there was since there was a nation” (Daniel 12:1), (since, God first destroyed the earth with a flood).

in flaming fire – the Day of Christ’s return, and the Day of God’s wrath, “the Day of vengeance” (Isaiah 34:8) are also simultaneous events in 2 Peter 3:10,12. Christ’s quotation of Isaiah 34:15-16, that we find in Matthew 24:28: “Where the corpse is the eagles (aetoi) will be gathered there” also puts His return in the Day of God’s wrath. Isaiah puts the wrath of God, “their land shall be soaked with blood,” (Isaiah34:7), along with the resurrection of the saints, “His Spirit (Word, Targum) has gathered them” (Isaiah 34:16).

8 giving vengeance to those who don’t know God, and to those who don’t obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus,

2 Thess 1:8
to those who do not obey the gospel of Jesus Christ – those who have been deceived by Satan in the last days, per Rev 16:13-14.

9 who will pay the penalty: eternal destruction from the face of the Lord and from the glory of his might, 

2 Thess 1:9
these will pay the penalty of eternal destruction – those who obey another gospel.

10when he comes to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired among all those who have believed (because our testimony to you was believed) in that day. 

2 Thess 1:10
to be glorified in His saints – the Body of Christ is the Spirit of Christ, in whom Christ is glorified. Specifically Paul seems to refer to the “glorious man,” in Daniel 10:5-6, who speaking with the “voice of a multitude” (Daniel 10:6), represents the Body of Christ, His Church, that appears as the Rider on the White Horse in Revelation 19.

11 To this end we also pray always for you, that our God may count you worthy of your calling, and fulfill every desire of goodness and work of faith, with power; 12 that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

2 Thess 1:12
the name of the Lord Jesus will be glorified in you – the name of the Lord Jesus, “God Saves,” is the name of His Church, as John records in Revelation 3:12, “the name of the My God, and the name of the City of My God, the New Jerusalem.”

1 Now we beg you, brothers, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and our gathering together to him, 2 to the end that you won’t be quickly shaken in your mind, nor yet be troubled, either by spirit, or by word, or by letter as from us, saying that the day of Christ had come. 

2 Thess 2:1-2
that the Day of the Lord has already come – Paul is about to clear up any misinterpretation.

3 Let no one deceive you in any way. For it will not be, unless the departure comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of destruction, 

2 Thess 2:3
the falling away comes first – this refers to the departure from the truth in the second century.

and the man of lawlessness is revealed – this is identical to Jesus’ statement in Matt 24:15: “when you see the abomination of desolation.” In other words, the beast and his works must be revealed to the saints before the end comes.

4 he who opposes and exalts himself against all that is called God or that is worshiped; so that he sits as God in the temple of God, setting himself up as God. 

2 Thess 2:4
who opposes and exalts himself – the beast, who speaks through the Bishop of Rome, from Daniel 7:20, 25, 11:36, “he shall exalt himself above every god,” and as explained in Revelation 13:5, “a mouth speaking arrogant words.”

5 Don’t you remember that, when I was still with you, I told you these things?

2 Thess 2:5
do you not remember – there was a detailed explanation by Paul to the Church.

6 Now you know what is restraining him, to the end that he may be revealed in his own season. 

2 Thess 2:6
what restrains him – the expression “what” must mean the Holy Spirit, the anointing, the Spirit of truth poured out on the saints by Christ. “You have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things,” (1John 2:20).

7 For the mystery of lawlessness does already work. Only there is one who restrains now, until he is taken out of the way. 

2 Thess 2:7
the mystery of lawlessness – there are two mysteries at work, the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven and the mystery of lawlessness (the opposing force)

until He is taken out of the way – from Ellicot’s commentary for English readers,

More correctly, Only [it cannot be revealed] until he that now withholdeth disappear from the midst… Evidently to St. Paul’s mind there was a great obstructive power, which was gathered up in, and wielded by, the person so described:” he that withholdeth.”

The great obstructive power that withheld the lawless One was the Spirit of truth. The Spirit of truth was taken away by God, in 193, when the bishop of Rome exalted himself as high as Christ, and “the place of His sanctuary was cast to the ground” (Daniel 8:11).

8 Then will the lawless one be revealed, whom the Lord will kill with the breath of his mouth, and bring to nothing by the brightness of his coming; 

2 Thess 2:8
then that lawless one will be revealed – referring to the Bishop of Rome,who taught his own commandments as the commandments of the Church, beginning with Easter Sunday. He excommunicated the Churches of Asia in 193, when they did not accept his doctrine.

will kill by the breath of His mouth – the sword that proceeds from the mouth of the Rider on the White horse, as described in Revelation 19:15.

bring to nothing by the brightness of His coming – in Revelation 18:1-2, we see that the whole earth is illuminated with His glory, as He cries out “fallen, fallen is Babylon the great.”

9 even he whose coming is according to the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, 

2 Thess 2:9
with the activity of Satan – the false miracles, began immediately with Montanism, after 180 AD, by the spirit of the antichrist received by Tertullian.

10 and with all deception of wickedness for those who are being lost, because they didn’t receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 

2 Thess 2:10
because they did not receive the love of the truth – because they forsook the message of the Apostles, for the doctrines of Latin Christianity.

11 Because of this, God sends them a working of error, that they should believe a lie; 

2 Thess 2:11
God will send a deluding influence – false spirits, and miracles will be allowed by Satan, with no opposition from God, for the reasons described in verse 12. Daniel described Satan saying,  “a King will arise, insolent and skilled in intrigue. His power will be mighty, but not by his own power” (Daniel 8:23-24). Satan was given authority from God, as also mentioned in Revelation 13:5.

12 that they all might be judged who didn’t believe the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. 

2 Thess 2:12
who did not believe the truth but delighted in unrighteousness – truth and unrighteousness are opposed; one cannot say he is righteous if he does not embrace the truth.