8. The Coming Antichrist (2 Thessalonians 2:1-3:5)

by Dr. Ralph F. Wilson
Audio (32:30)

The first chapter of 2 Thessalonians dealt primarily with preliminary greetings and encouragement in the face of persecution, though it included a pretty heavy section about the judgment of the wicked. Now Paul gets to the first of his two major themes:

  1. The coming of the Antichrist (2:1-3:5, Lesson 8), and
  2. A strong exhortation to idlers  not to be dependent upon others (3:6-18, Lesson 9).

The Day of the Lord (2:1-2)

In 1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:11 (Lesson 5), Paul had comforted the church concerning Christ's coming as it related to their members who had already died. But now the congregation seems upset about another issue related to Christ's coming.

"1 Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers, 2 not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by some prophecy, report or letter supposed to have come from us,[262] saying that the day of the Lord has already come." (2:1-2)

Apparently someone has brought them a message -- purportedly from Paul -- to the effect that Christ had already come, and that somehow they must have missed the rapture! It's amazing how false rumors can take on a life of their own.

So Paul patiently explains that the Antichrist must come first. Christ will come only after the appearance of the Antichrist. Without this chapter (and some information in Revelation 13), we wouldn't know much about the Antichrist, so I guess it's good for us that Paul had to give the Thessalonian church this explanation.

Paul begins with three terms that we've already met in our study.

  • "Coming" is parousia, "coming, advent." This word became the official term for a visit of a person of high rank, especially of kings and emperors visiting a province."[263] The term occurs several times in these two letters (1 Thessalonians 2:19; 3:13; 4:15; and 2 Thessalonians 2:1, 8).
  • Gathered.[264] The gathering of God's people is popularly known as the rapture. We discussed that at some length at 1 Thessalonians 4:17 (Lesson 5).
  • Day of the Lord. The "day of the Lord" (which we saw in 1 Thessalonians 5:2) refers to the day that Jesus will return. It has both a positive and negative connotation. For those who are under God's wrath, it will be a terrible day of judgment, but for those awaiting Christ's return it will be a day of joy, triumph, and reward. The phrase "day of the Lord" is used many times in the Old Testament prophets with reference to the day when God will come with judgment upon sin and sinners.[265] We also see the phrase in the New Testament.[266] 

The reason that Paul must write the congregation is because they are upset and confused about eschatology, the study of the Last Days. Look at the words Paul uses to describe their state:

  • "Unsettled" (NIV), "shaken" (NRSV, KJV) is saleuō, "to disturb inwardly, disturb, shake."[267]  
  • "Alarmed" (NIV) is throeō, "cry out, tell out, speak, announce," here in the sense "be inwardly aroused, be disturbed or frightened."[268]

What makes it particular disturbing is that someone has spread this false teaching that Christ has already come in a letter claiming to be from Paul. Paul dashes off this letter to set the record straight. You'll notice at the end of the epistle (3:17), he points to a final note in his own handwriting as an indication that this letter is authentic.

Now Paul explains the order of events surrounding Christ's coming.

"Don't let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction." (2:3)

Q1. (2 Thessalonians 2:1-3) In what way were the Thessalonians confused? What is the order of Christ's coming in relation to the revealing of the Antichrist?
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The "Man of Lawlessness" or Antichrist in the Bible

While Paul uses the term "man of lawlessness" to describe the evil figure that will be revealed in the last days, the generic term for this figure is the Antichrist.

The actual term "antichrist" occurs only in John's letters. "Antichrist" (a transliteration from the Greek word antichristos) means, literally, "adversary of the Messiah."[269]

However, in the apocalyptic literature of the Bible we see various mentions of this figure who will appear in the end times as an opponent of God and his Messiah.

  • Daniel seems to refer to this antichrist figure as "the ruler who will come," who will set up in the temple of God "an abomination that causes desolation" (Daniel 9:26-27).
  • Jesus warns, "So when you see standing in the holy place 'the abomination that causes desolation,' spoken of through the prophet Daniel," you are to flee (Matthew 24:15).
  • Paul, in our passage, seems to be referring to this same antichrist figure as "the man of lawlessness," who will set himself up in God's temple, proclaiming himself to be God (2:3-4). Paul insists that this figure has not yet appeared on the world scene (2:7).
  • John. The Apostle John, writing about 90 AD, notes that while the Antichrist himself had not yet come, his spirit is already in the world in the form of many antichrists (1 John 2:18, 22; 4:3; 2 John 7).
  • Revelation refers to the antichrist figure as the "beast coming out of the sea" (Revelation 13:1), who acts as a puppet of Satan (13: 4), makes war against Christian believers (13:7), and causes the unbelievers to worship him (13:8), aided by the "false prophet," the "beast out of the earth" (Revelation 13:11-18).

This figure may also be mentioned by other prophecies -- we're not trying to be exhaustive here.

The Revealing of the Antichrist (2:3)

The term "man of lawlessness" is a typical Hebraic construction where "man of..." refers to a close association.[270]  

"Man of lawlessness" (NIV), "lawless one" (NRSV) describes the characteristic of the antichrist with the adjective anomia, "state or condition of being disposed to what is lawless, lawlessness," the opposite of dikaisynē, "righteous."[271]  

In our verse, "the man doomed to destruction" (NIV), "one destined for destruction" (NRSV) is literally "the son of perdition" (KJV). The noun is apōleia, "loss," here, "the destruction that one experiences, both complete and in process, ruin."[272] Observe that in this case, apōleia does not mean complete annihilation, since their punishment lasts forever:

"And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever." (Revelation 20:10; cf. 19:20)

The Nature of the Antichrist (2:3-5)

Now Paul begins to describe the Antichrist and what he will do.

"3 Don't let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. 4 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." (2:3-4)

The Antichrist exhibits several characteristic actions to indicate that there will be no mistake about who he is. He is seeking to take God's rightful place.

  1. Lawless (2:3). As we saw above, he rebels against God, becoming lawless -- a law to himself.
  2. Rebels (2:3b). He rebels against God -- indeed he leads a worldwide rebellion or apostasy. So Christ won't return until after the Antichrist appears, and the "rebellion" (NIV, NRSV) or "falling away" occurs. [273] The Antichrist, the one opposed to God, leads a rebellion against God -- the ultimate lawlessness!
  3. Opposes[274] (2:4a). He will oppose any and every deity and religion, whether the true God or false gods. 
  4. Exalts himself[275] (2:4b). He will be characterized by pride, and will seek to exalt himself above all deities that are worshipped here on earth. He will allow no equals. In Paul's day, Roman emperors had declared themselves as gods, but this is something far greater.
  5. Takes his seat[276] in the temple of God (2:4c), that is takes the place of God, whose presence in the temple was once indicated by the ark of the covenant.
  6. Proclaims[277] himself to be divine (2:4d). He will not only take God's rightful place in the temple, he will announce to all that he is indeed God himself.

You'll find another description of the Antichrist in Revelation 13:1-10, where he is known as "the beast coming out of the sea." Here he is portrayed as a puppet of "the dragon," that is, Satan (Revelation 12:9), and will be promoted by the "false prophet," "the beast coming out of the earth," who carries out the Antichrist's orders. Revelation 13:3 tells us that the Antichrist had a "fatal wound" that had been healed, inspiring awe throughout the world, probably one of his counterfeit miracles.

"The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise his authority for forty-two months. He opened his mouth to blaspheme God, and to slander his name and his dwelling place and those who live in heaven. He was given power to make war against the saints and to conquer them. And he was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation. All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast -- all whose names have not been written in the book of life belonging to the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world." (Revelation 13:5-8)

The Antichrist initiates a huge persecution against the church, since he is "allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them" (Revelation 13:7). The Antichrist will try to force everyone to worship his image. They won't be allowed to buy and sell unless they are marked with the mark of the beast (Revelation 13:16-17). As Jesus told us:

"If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened." (Matthew 24:22)

According to Revelation 13:5-7, this period of the Antichrist is the second 3-1/2 year period of the seven years of tribulation. Whether this a literal or figurative period of time, I'll leave to those who love to speculate.

Q2. (2 Thessalonians 2:3-5; Revelation 13:5-8) What are the characteristics of the Antichrist that Paul gives in this passage? What does Revelation 13:5-8 add to our basic understanding?
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The Restraint of the Antichrist (2:6-7)

Now Paul explains that something is restraining the Antichrist until he is finally revealed.

"6 And now you know what is holding him back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time. 7 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." (2:6-7)

The word "holding back" (NIV), "restraining" (NRSV), "withholdeth" (KJV) is katechō, "to prevent the doing of something or cause to be ineffective, prevent, hinder, restrain," here, "to prevent someone from exercising power, restrain, check."[278] In verse 6 the Restrainer has a neuter gender, while in verse 7 the Restrainer seems to be a person (masculine gender). Paul had obviously explained all this to the Thessalonians when he was with them (verse 5). We can only wish that he had explained to us what the restraining force is. There are all sorts of speculations, which include:

  1. The Roman Empire, or the principle of law and government, which characterized the Roman Empire (Romans 13:3-4). I think this is the most likely explanation.
  2. Gospel preaching (Matthew 24:14),
  3. The binding of Satan (Revelation 20:2),
  4. The church,
  5. The Holy Spirit,
  6. An angel of God,
  7. The Jewish state,
  8. The providence of God, and
  9. Michael the Archangel

I could present the arguments given for several of these positions, but, frankly, we just don't know who the Restrainer is. People's interpretations of this question depend a lot on their general interpretation of the end times. To speculate about it doesn't lead us to further truth. Like some other Bible questions to which we'd like an authoritative answer, this one will have to wait until we get to heaven.

The Overthrow of the Antichrist (2:8)

Now Paul explains that Christ's coming will precipitate the downfall of the Antichrist.

"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." (2:8)

Though the Antichrist will finally be revealed after the Restrainer is removed, he won't stay in power long. Soon after that, Christ will return and destroy him. Paul refers again to "the splendor of his coming" that he had described in 1:7-10. Christ will come with blazing fire, powerful angels, the majesty of his power, and his glory in his people.

According to the text, the Antichrist's downfall will come about by Christ's two-fold action:

  1. Overthrown by the breath of his mouth.[279] Christ's power is so much greater, that when the time comes, Christ will literally "blow him away."
  2. Destroyed by the splendor of his coming.[280] Christ will come with all the hosts of heaven and utterly destroy the Antichrist and his forces.

To get a full understanding of this mighty confrontation, you need to read out loud in Revelation of this awesome dramatic scene -- heavy in symbolism -- where Christ's forces  are arrayed against those of the Antichrist ("the beast"). You can sense the drama and grandeur of Christ's victory and the Antichrist's downfall.

"I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. 'He will rule them with an iron scepter.' He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: 'King of kings and Lord of lords.'"

".... Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to make war against the rider on the horse and his army. But the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet.... The two of them were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur." (Revelation 19:11-16, 19-20)

The Deceit of the Antichrist (2:9-10a)

However, while he is yet active, the Antichrist will perform all sorts of signs and wonders and succeed in deceiving the world. The Antichrist is a master of deception, learned from Satan himself.

"9 The coming[281] of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work[282] of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit[283] miracles, signs and wonders, 10 and in every sort of evil that deceives[284] those who are perishing."[285] (2:9-10a)

Jesus himself had told his disciples to expect deceitful signs and wonders.

"For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect -- if that were possible." (Matthew 24:24)

The Gullibility of the Deceived (2:10b-12)

How can people be so deceived? Paul explains the reason they are perishing.

  "10b They perish because they refused[286] to love the truth and so be saved. 11 For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion[287] so that they will believe the lie 12 and so that all will be condemned[288] who have not believed the truth but have delighted in[289] wickedness." (2:10b-12)

It seems strange that the God of truth would encourage them to believe the lie. But this isn't the first time we see this. Twenty-five hundred years ago, Yahweh gave Isaiah this message -- later quoted by Jesus as to why he spoke in parables:[290]

"'Be ever hearing, but never understanding;
be ever seeing, but never perceiving.'
Make the heart of this people calloused;
make their ears dull and close their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
hear with their ears,
understand with their hearts,
and turn and be healed." (Isaiah 6:8-10)

The psalmist wrote:

"But my people would not listen to me;
Israel would not submit to me.
So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts
to follow their own devices." (Psalm 81:11-12)

Paul wrote something similar to the Roman church.

"Since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done." (Romans 1:28)

Though this is difficult for us to understand, it seems that people who reject the truth they are given, don't get an infinite number of chances. If we don't follow truth where it leads us, we will lose our ability to discern truth. This goes against our desire to never give up on people. Perhaps we take pride in being more tolerant than Jesus. But recall our Master's instructions to his disciples on their preaching mission:

"If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town. I tell you the truth, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town." (Matthew 10:14-15)

Jesus said:

"This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God." (John 3:19-21)

When speaking about the heathen -- and the Jew -- Paul told the Roman church:

"To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger." (Romans 2:7-8)

Pretty sobering words! Paul tells Timothy,

"The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron." (1 Timothy 4:1-2)

We make ourselves ripe for deception when we reject the truth and delight in wickedness, especially when we know in our heart of hearts that it is wrong. After a while, our grasp of the truth will have faded, our consciences will have been seared, and we are left believing our own lies. How sad! This is why we dare not put off responding to the call of God at the time he calls us.

"Now is the acceptable time; see, now is the day of salvation!" (2 Corinthians 6:2, NRSV)

Q3. (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12) What makes people so gullible that they believe the Antichrist's deceptions? What is the reason that God gives them over to this deception? Why is a fearless seeking of God's truth so important to us? How can a preaching of the truth set people free?
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Saved by God's Election, the Sanctifying Spirit, and Believing the Truth (2:13-14)

"13 But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers loved by the Lord, because from the beginning God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth. 14 He called you to this through our gospel, that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ." (2:13-14)

  Both predestination and prevenient grace (God's grace that comes before man's decision) is seen here, especially if you accept the phrase "from the beginning" as being part of the earliest test.[291] Notice the three elements in our salvation. The first is the active cause, the second and third are the means:[292] 

1. Active cause: God's choice or election "from the beginning" (haireō, "choose, prefer"). We weren't selected on the basis of our performance or action, but solely on the basis of his grace (1 Corinthians 2:7; Ephesians 2:8-9). As Paul wrote to Timothy:

"God ... has saved us and called us to a holy life -- not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time...." (2 Timothy 1:9)

2. Means: the sanctifying work of the Spirit. The word is hagiasmos (which we've seen in 1 Thessalonians 2:13; 4:3-4, 7), "personal dedication to the interests of the deity, holiness, consecration, sanctification; the use in a moral sense for a process or, more often, its result (the state of being made holy)."[293]

"To God's elect ... who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work (hagiasmos) of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by his blood." (1 Peter 1:1-2)

3. Means: belief in the truth. On God's side is election and the work of his Spirit. But on our side must be a belief in the truth. We must hold it tight and not let it go. God honors those who seek his truth.

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16)

Hold Fast (2:15)

Paul has just finished talking about the deceptions of the Antichrist. The church has also been victim of some forged letter supposedly from Paul. So he winds down this section with an exhortation to hold fast the teachings he had given them.

"So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter." (2:15)

Notice the powerful verbs that should encourage us also to hold fast to the Word of God that we have received.

  • "Stand firm" (NIV, NRSV), "stand fast" (KJV) is stēkō, literally, "stand," figuratively, "to be firmly committed in conviction or belief, stand firm, be steadfast in something."[294]
  • "Hold fast" (NRSV), "hold" (NIV, KJV), is krateō, "hold" with one's hands. Here it is used figuratively, "to adhere strongly to, hold, hold fast."[295] 

As in Paul's day, so it is in ours. The teachings of Christ and the apostles have been watered down and distorted, corrupted by mixing them with various humanistic precepts and eastern religions. We must be determined to stand our ground and hold the precious Word of God with steadfastness, boldness, and love. Especially love, so that we don't become defensive and withdrawn, but compassionate and outgoing, spreading the Word to all we know.

A Benediction of Hope, Strength, and Encouragement (2:16-17)

 Now Paul prays for the church a beautiful benediction for encouragement, hope, and strength.

"16 May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement[296] and good hope, 17 encourage[297] your hearts and strengthen[298] you in every good deed and word." (2:16-17)

Protection from the Evil One (3:1-5)

Paul asks the church (adelphoi, "brothers" can also refer to "brothers and sisters") to pray for his ministry.

"1 Finally, brothers, pray for us that the message of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honored, just as it was with you. 2 And pray that we may be delivered from wicked[299] and evil[300] men, for not everyone has faith." (3:1-2)

He asks them to pray that the "message," literally, "the word,"[301] will "spread rapidly" (NIV, NRSV) or "have free course" (KJV). The verb is "run, rush, advance."[302] Paul is impatient. He wants to see the gospel surge past the obstacles that both the "evil one" and "wicked and evil men" put in the way to obstruct the furtherance of the gospel. We have those same enemies today. Paul asks prayer for deliverance[303] from these enemies of the gospel. And he asks prayer for receptivity,[304] the same kind of honor the Word had received in Thessalonica in the early days (1 Thessalonians 1:4-10). Notice the detailed way that he is teaching them to pray for the Christian mission.

Now he encourages their faith.

"But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen[305] and protect[306] you from the evil one. " (3:3)

Jesus teaches his disciples to pray for this same protection and deliverance.

"And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one." (Matthew 6:13)

Finally, Paul expresses confidence in the Thessalonian believers that they will indeed obey what he has commanded and calls them to continued perseverance and love.

"4 We have confidence[307] in the Lord that you are doing and will continue to do the things we command. 5 May the Lord direct[308] your hearts into God's love and Christ's perseverance." (3:4-5)

The ability to "hang in there" is essential. "Perseverance" (NIV), "steadfastness" (NRSV), "patient waiting" (KJV) is hypomonē (which we see in 1 Thessalonians 1:3 and 2 Thessalonians 1:4; 3:10), "the capacity to hold out or bear up in the face of difficulty, patience, endurance, fortitude, steadfastness, perseverance."[309]

If you've been around congregations very long, you know how important the quality of perseverance is. There are seasons of growth and joy and harvest. There are also seasons of difficulty and strife and decline. One important key to seeing Christ's church flourish is to persevere, to "hang in there," to stand in the face of difficulty. If your congregation is going through tough times right now, your perseverance is Christ's gift to move it towards health!

Q4. (2 Thessalonians 3:1-5) Why is perseverance so important as we see wickedness increasing? What happens if we stop believing and being patient? How can we help one another persevere? What part does faith and perseverance have in our salvation? What part does God's redemption and grace have in our salvation?
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Lessons for Disciples

This lesson has been to teach disciples to patiently await Christ's return in spite of persecution and tribulation. Christ return will be preceded by the rise of the Antichrist, accompanied by a time of false signs and wonders and widespread persuasive deception. But, praise God, that evil man's reign will be gloriously interrupted by the coming of Christ, who will overthrow him, bring judgment, and set up the reign of the Son of Man and the Son of God that has been prophesied from of old:

"He was given authority, glory and sovereign power;
all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him.
His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away,
and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed." (Daniel 7:14)

His kingdom is coming, even if all around you is the influence of antichrist spirits.

"For the revelation awaits an appointed time;
it speaks of the end and will not prove false.
Though it linger, wait for it;
it will certainly come and will not delay." (Habakkuk 2:3)

Until that time, dear friend, we follow the Apostle Paul's directive:

"We have confidence in the Lord
that you are doing
and will continue to do the things we command.
May the Lord direct your hearts into God's love
and Christ's perseverance." (3:4-5)

Prayer

Father, thank you that the spirit of Antichrist that we see around us will not be the last word. We look forward to your coming, Lord Jesus! In the meantime, we ask for your grace that we might be faithful, obedient, and persevere -- for your glory. In Christ's holy name, we pray. Amen.

Key Verses

"Don't let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness 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." (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4)

"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." (2 Thessalonians 2:8)

"Finally, brothers, pray for us that the message of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honored, just as it was with you." (2 Thessalonians 3:1)

"But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one." (2 Thessalonians 3:3)

End Notes

[262] "Supposed to have to come from us" (NIV) uses the particle hōs, "as, like," here, "marker introducing the perspective from which a person, thing, or activity is viewed or understood as to character, function, or role, as," in our verse with focus on what is objectively false or erroneous, "alleged to be from us" (BDAG 1103, 3c).

[263] Parousia, BDAG 780, 2bα.

[264] "Being gathered/gathering together" is episynagōgē, "meeting," here refers to "the action of assembling" (BDAG 382, 2).

[265] The phrase "day of the Lord" is found in these Old Testament passages: Isaiah 13:6, 9; Jeremiah 46:10; Lamentations 2:22; Ezekiel 7:19; 13:5; 30:3; Joel 1:15; 2:1, 11, 31; 3:14; Amos 5:18, 20; Obadiah 15; Zephaniah 1:7-8, 14, 18; 2:2; Zechariah 14:1; and Malachi 4:5.

[266] The phrase "day of the Lord" appears in the New Testament at Acts 2:20; 1 Corinthians 5:5; 2 Corinthians 1:14; 1 Thessalonians 5:2; here, and in 2 Peter 3:10.

[267] Saleuō, BDAG 912, 2.

[268] Throeō, BDAG 460.

[269] Antichristos, BDAG 91; The Greek word antichristos is made up of two words: the prefix anti-, "acting in the place of" and" opposed to" + christos, "Christ." See also Duane F. Watson, "Antichrist," DLNT 50-53.

[270] Anthrōpos, with a qualifying genitive (BDAG 81, 4c). "Son of" refers to one whose identity is defined in terms of a relationship with a person or thing, denoting one who shares in it or who is worthy of it, or who stands in some other close relation to it. (huios, BDAG 1024, 2cβ).

[271] Anomia, BDAG 85, 1. This word is found in some of the best ancient Greek manuscripts, such as Aleph, B, 81, 88mg 1739 copsa,bo arm, Marcion, Tertullian, etc. The KJV "man of sin" represents the Greek noun hamartias, "sin," which is supported by A, D, G it, vg, K, L, P and others. One of the ways scholars determine which is most likely the original text is what copyist scenario seems most likely. Here, Bruce Metzger concludes, "on the whole it appears that the early Alexandrian witnesses preserve the original reading anomias, a word rarely used by Paul, which was altered by copyists to the much more frequently used word, hamartias. Furthermore, "for the secret power of lawlessness" in verse 7 seems to presuppose anomias here." The Editorial Committee of the United Bible Societies' Greek New Testament give anomias a {C} rating, indicating some degree of uncertainty (Metzger, Textual Commentary, p. 635).

[272] The word is apostasia (from which we get our word "apostasy"). It means, "defiance of established system or authority, rebellion, abandonment, breach of faith," literally, "a falling away, defection, apostasy" (apōleia, BDAG 127, 2).

[273] Apostasia, Thayer 67, from apo, "from" +stasis, "standing, station, position, current state of affairs."

[274] "Oppose" (NIV) is antikeimai, "be opposed to someone, be in opposition to" (BDAG 89).

[275] "Exalts" is hyperairō, "to have an undue sense of one's self-importance, rise up, exalt oneself, be elated" (BDAG 1031). "Object of worship" (NRSV) is sebasma, "something that relates to devotional activity, devotional object." The word is used of Athenian idols (Acts 17:23).

[276] The verb is kathizō, "to take a seated position, sit down" (BDAG 492, 3).

[277] "Proclaims" is apodeiknymi, literally, "to 'point away' and 'direct attention' to a specific object. Here it means, "to show forth for public recognition as so and so, make, render, proclaim, appoint," especially as administrative term (BDAG 108, 1).

[278] Katechō, BDAG 533, 1c. Danker explains it as "what prevents God's adversary from coming out in open opposition to God, for the time being."

[279] "Overthrow" (NIV), "destroy" (NRSV) is anaireō/anelō,"to get rid of by execution, do away with, destroy someone," mostly of killing by violence, in battle, by execution, murder, or assassination" (BDAG 64, 2). The KJV translates a textual variant with "consume" (KJV), analiskō, "to do away with something completely by using up, destroy, consume" (BDAG 67). Metzger (Textual Commentary, p. 636) selects anaireō/anelō over analiskō chiefly on the quality of the external evidence (A B P 81 88 451).

[280] "Destroy" (NIV, KJV), "annihilating" (NRSV) is katargeō, "to cause something to come to an end or to be no longer in existence, abolish, wipe out, set aside" (BDAG 525, 3). "Splendor" (NIV), "manifestation" (NRSV), "brightness" (KJV) is epiphaneia. The basic meaning is "appearing, appearance," especially a "splendid appearance." As a technical term relating to transcendence it refers to a visible and frequently sudden manifestation of a hidden divinity, either in the form of a personal appearance, or by some deed of power or oracular communication by which its presence is made known (BDAG 386, 1b). The word "coming" is parousia, which we saw in 1 Thessalonians 2:19; 3:13; 4:15; and 2 Thessalonians 2:1 (BDAG 780, 2b).

[281] "Coming" in 2:9 is parousia, the same word used to describe Jesus' coming.

[282] "Work/working" is energeia, "the state or quality of being active, working, operation, action, activity" (BDAG 335).

[283] "Counterfeit" (NIV), "lying" (NRSV, KJV) is pseudos, "a lie, falsehood" (BDAG 1097).

[284] "Evil that deceives" (NIV), "deceivableness of unrighteousness" (KJV) is better rendered "wicked deception" in the NRSV.

[285] "Perishing/perish" is appollymi, "perish, die," especially in the New Testament of eternal death (BDAG 116, 1bα). The present tense indicates that they are in the process of perishing right now.

[286] "Refused" (NIV, NRSV), "received not" (KJV) is two words, ou, "not" and dechomai, "receive," hereit has the connotation, "to indicate approval or conviction by accepting, be receptive of, be open to, approve, accept" (BDAG 222, 5).

[287] "Delusion" is planē (from which we get our English word "planet," seen to be a "wandering" star) "wandering from the path of truth, error, delusion, deceit, deception" (BDAG 822). "Powerful" (NIV, NRSV), "strong" (KJV) is energeia, which we saw in verse 9. It is an active delusion, "a deluding influence" (BDAG 335).

[288] "Be condemned" (NIV, NRSV), "be damned" (KJV) is krinō, "select, judge," herewith a negative connotation, "to engage in a judicial process, judge, decide, hale before a court, condemn, also hand over for judicial punishment," herewith the emphasis on the verdict, "condemn, punish" (BDAG 568, 5bα).

[289] "Delighted" (NIV), "had/took pleasure" (NRSV, KJV) is eudokeō, "to take pleasure or find satisfaction in something, be well pleased, take delight," also, "delight in, like, approve" (BDAG 404, 2b).

[290] Matthew 13:13-15.

[291] "From the beginning" (NIV, KJV, ap' archēs), "as the first fruits" (NRSV, aparchēn) indicate a textual variant in the early manuscripts. The difference in the Greek text is slight and Metzger, who prefers "from the beginning" over "as the first fruits," gives his preference only a {C} or "considerable degree of doubt" confidence level.

[292] These means are introduced by the preposition en, as a marker introducing means or instrument, "with" (BDAG 328, 5b).

[293] Hagiasmos, BDAG 10.

[294] Stēkō, BDAG 944, 2. Also in 1 Thessalonians 3:8.

[295] Krateō, BDAG 565, 6a.

[296] "Encouragement" (NIV), "comfort" (NRSV), "consolation" (KJV) is paraklēsis, here, "lifting of another's spirits, comfort, consolation." In our verse "everlasting"= "inexhaustible" (BDAG 766, 3).

[297] "Encourage" (NIV), "comfort" (NRSV, KJV) is the corresponding verb, parakaleō, "to instill someone with courage or cheer, comfort, encourage, cheer up" (BDAG 765, 4).

[298] "Strengthen" (NIV, NRSV), "stablish" (KJV) is stērizō, literally, "set up, support," figuratively, "to cause to be inwardly firm or committed, confirm, establish, strengthen" (BDAG 945, 2). We see this word several times in 1 Thessalonians 3:2; 3:13 and 2 Thessalonians 3:3.

[299] "Wicked" (NIV, NRSV), "unreasonable" (KJV) is atopos, "out of place," here, "pertaining to being behaviorally out of place, evil, wrong, improper" (BDAG 149, 2).

[300] "Evil" (NIV, NRSV), "wicked" (KJV) is ponēros, "pertaining to being morally or socially worthless, wicked, evil, bad, base, worthless, vicious, degenerate" (BDAG 853, 1aα).

[301] "Message" (NIV), "word" (NRSV, KJV) is logos, "word." Here it refers to "the Christian message, the gospel" (BDAG 600, 1aβ).

[302] Trechō, BDAG 1015, 3. Here it has the figurative idea, "to proceed quickly and without restraint, progress."

[303] "Delivered" (NIV, KJV), "rescued" (NRSV) is rhyomai, "to rescue from danger, save, rescue, deliver, preserve someone" (BDAG 908).

[304] "Be honored" (NIV), "be glorified" (NRSV, KJV) is doxazō, "praise, honor, extol" (BDAG 258, 2). Danker prefers a second definition for this verse: "to cause to have splendid greatness, clothe in splendor, glorify"), though I think the idea of "honor" is best here.

[305] "Strengthen" (NIV, NRSV), "stablish" (KJV) is stērizō, which we saw above in 2:17.

[306] "Protect" (NIV), "guard" (NRSV), "keep" (KJV) is phylassō, "to protect by taking careful measures, guard, protect" (BDAG 1068, 2b).

[307] "Confidence" is peithō, "convince," here, "to be so convinced that one puts confidence in something, depend on, trust in" (BDAG 792, 2a).

[308] "Direct" is kateuthynō, "'make/keep straight', lead, direct" (BDAG 532).

[309] Hypomonē, BDAG 1039, 1. Danker sees this as "Christ-like fortitude," that is, a fortitude that comes from association with Christ.


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