Let no one deceive you.
2 Thessalonians 2 (English Standard Version)
The Man of Lawlessness
1Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we ask you, brothers, 2not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by a spirit or a spoken word, or a letter seeming to be from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come.
It seems the Thessalonian Christians were being victimized by false teachers who did not understand prophecy. Apparently, a misunderstanding of Paul’s teaching (or an incorrect application of it) had caused the Thessalonians to be shaken in mind and troubled. Their fears centered on the idea that the day of Christ had perhaps already come.
3 Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, 4who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God.
The specific ancient Greek word for temple indicates the most holy place and not the temple as a whole. “It is not that he (“the man of lawlessness,” or in other translations, “the man of sin”) enters the temple precincts: he invades the most sacred place and there takes his seat. His action is itself a claim to deity.” (Morris) This is the ultimate blasphemy that results in certain judgment, the abomination of desolation spoken of by both Daniel and Jesus.
One idea for building the “Third Temple” on top of Temple Mount in Jerusalem.
The coming of the day of the Lord will be marked by these two things: 1) the “rebellion” (apostasy) will come first — people will turn away from Christ and the truth of the Word of God — and 2) “the man of lawlessness” (the Antichrist) will appear.
Some scholars believe that the reference to him taking “his seat in the temple of God” means that a new Jewish temple will be built in Jerusalem. Indeed, there is an organization in Israel dedicated to this project. The Temple Institute’s ultimate goal is to see Israel rebuild the Holy Temple on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem, in accord with the Biblical commandments. To read more about their interesting plans, click HERE.
Other scholars believe that the New Covenant, brought by Jesus and marked by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the believer, means that the body is the temple, or that the temple has been superseded. Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians may suggest this:
Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?
This idea is related to the belief that Christ himself, having claimed to be and do what the temple was and did, is the new temple (John 2:19), and that his people, as a part of the “body of Christ” (meaning the church), are part of this temple as well (2 Corinthians 6:16; Ephesians 2:19-22; 1 Peter 2:4-5).
I have given you a couple ways of looking at these verses. Know that there are many other interpretations of these ideas as well, within Christian circles.
5Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? 6And you know what is restraining him (back to the man of lawlessness) now so that he may be revealed in his time. 7For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. Only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way. 8And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming.
Whoever the man of lawlessness is, he has not had his career yet. We know this because at the end of his career, he is destroyed by Jesus Christ Himself.
9The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders,
The Antichrist will come with power, with signs and with lying wonders. But all of this is according to the working of Satan, as described in Revelation 13:13-17. If someone has spiritual power, signs, or wonders, those are not enough to prove they are from God. Satan can perform his own powerful works, either through deception or through his own resources of power.
“He is Satan’s messiah, an infernal caricature of the true messiah.”
10and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, 12in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
13But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth. 14To this he called you through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Notice the contrast. Those who reject God (verses 9-12) will be condemned, but those who have been sanctified in the Spirit and living in the truth of God will gain everlasting glory with Jesus Christ (verses 13-14). This is what matters — that we are found in Christ, and that we live our lives in service to the Lord as a thank offering for what his death and resurrection has obtained for us.
15So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter.
16Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, 17comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word.
This is a prayer full of useful and important suggestions:
· Jesus is ours.
· God is our Father.
· God has loved us.
· God has given us much.
· We have everlasting consolation.
· It is all through grace.
“May Jesus . . . and God . . . strengthen you in every good deed and word” (verses 16-17).
“Take My Life and Let It Be” consecrated, Lord, to Thee . . . was written by Frances Havergal in 1874.
Frances had begun reading and memorizing the Bible at the age of four (eventually memorizing The Psalms, Isaiah and most of the New Testament). At seven she wrote her first poems. Several of her mature verses became hymns. In addition to “Take My Life,” she wrote such favorites as “I Gave My Life for Thee,” “Like a River Glorious,” and “Who Is on the Lord’s Side?”
Because her voice was lovely, Frances was in demand as a concert soloist. She also was a brilliant pianist and learned several modern languages as well as Greek and Hebrew. With all her education, however, Frances Havergal maintained a simple faith and confidence in her Lord. She never wrote a line of poetry without praying over it.
One of the lines of this hymn says, “Take my silver and my gold; not a mite would I withhold.” In 1878, four years after writing the hymn, Miss Havergal wrote a friend, “The Lord has shown me another little step, and, of course, I have taken it with extreme delight. ‘Take my silver and my gold’ now means shipping off all my ornaments to the Church Missionary House, including a jewel cabinet that is really fit for a countess, where all will be accepted and disposed of for me…Nearly fifty articles are being packed up. I don’t think I ever packed a box with such pleasure.”
HERE is a beautiful arrangement of her song.
English Standard Version (ESV) The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.
Images courtesy of: