DOOMED TO DESTRUCTION

Opening Prayer

As I pray today, gracious God, thank you for the assurance I have that you hear me; you will receive my praises and answer my needs as I bring them before you.

Read 2 THESSALONIANS 2:1–12

The Man of Lawlessness

2 Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers and sisters, not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by the teaching allegedly from us—whether by a prophecy or by word of mouth or by letter—asserting that the day of the Lord has already come. Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness[a] is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.

Don’t you remember that when I was with you I used to tell you these things? And now you know what is holding him back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time. For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming. The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie, 10 and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie 12 and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.

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Footnotes

  1. 2 Thessalonians 2:3 Some manuscripts sin

New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Meditate

‘Blessed are those who make the Lord their trust, who do not look to the proud, to those who turn aside to false gods.’1

Think Further

It’s easy to be misled by appearances. My friend uses an old disinfectant bottle to spray her house plants with water. One day, she unwittingly picked up the real disinfectant—which looked identical—and sprayed a begonia with it!

Evil can also be deceptive and harmful. We don’t know exactly what Paul means by the coming ‘man of lawlessness’ (v. 3) who will set himself up ‘in God’s temple’ (v. 4), though it seems likely that he may have been inspired by the Roman emperor Augustus, for whom a temple was built in Thessalonica as part of his imperial cult.2 However, it is clear that this ‘man’ symbolizes everything that is utterly opposed to faith – while presenting himself as something to be worshipped. All the way through this passage, Paul describes this ‘lawless one’ by using language that he normally uses only about God and Christ: he is ‘revealed’ (vv. 3, 8); his power is ‘secret’ (v. 7, the word used is the same Paul uses for the ‘mystery’ of God in various letters);3 he is ‘at work’ (v. 7); he is ‘coming’ (v. 9). Yet it is all a lie. Paul says that the power of lawlessness is ‘already at work’ (v. 7). Can you identify people or things around you that deceive others into thinking they are worthy of worship?

We might be concerned about being misled ourselves by Satan’s deceptions. However, Paul describes the ones who are deceived as those ‘who refused to love the truth’ (v. 10), not those who have accepted it. (My friend soon realized her mistake and the plant survived!) Paul’s message for the Thessalonians is to ‘remember’ what he has told them before (v. 5). We also have nothing to fear from the enemy, while we hold on to the gospel truth that we have received.

Apply

Who are unbelieving friends and family for whom you can plead God’s mercy?

Closing prayer

I praise you, Lord God, for your great power that overcomes any rebellion, that wipes out every sin. As I confess mine, thank you for your forgiveness.

Last Updated on February 14, 2024 by kingstar

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