II Thessalonians 2:1–12
The revelation of the man of sin is the last event to occur prior to the return of our Lord. No one knows when the Christ will come again, but by means of the signs of the times we arc given the approximate time of the second coming. The day and hour of his first coming were also unknown, but the prophecies of the Old Testament made quite clear the approximate time the people might look for him to appear. So will it be again.
The time of Antichrist will be the most difficult period in all history for the people of God. All respect for things truly religious will be gone. The unrighteousness of men during that time has been spoken of by Christ and the Apostles in many places. Antichrist will be their leader. He will oppose and exalt himself against all that is called God. He will occupy the seat of God. He has the audacity to call himself God and will demand that all men reverence him as such. He will come with Satanic power. Satan’s armory is at his disposal. He will do wonders and all manner of signs. These signs and wonders will not be for the benefit of men but to deceive them. This deceit stems from unrighteousness. He is all evil and has only evil in mind in all that he does. As Antichrist he opposes Christ and is the imitation of Christ.
The man of sin will “be revealed in his own season.” The question may arise, Why hasn’t Antichrist appeared on the scene earlier in the history of this world? Wasn’t it the nature of sin from the very beginning to produce this kind of an individual? Does it take so long for sin to develop the very embodiment of evil? Paul tells his readers that this mystery of lawlessness is already at work in his day. When Paul speaks of mysteries, he does not mean the things which cannot be known, but the things which arc not known now but will be revealed. The spirit of the final Antichrist has been at work throughout the ages. Yet, he will be revealed in his own season. Something is holding him back. The Apostle does not say what is holding the man of sin back, but there is a restraint placed on him. God will work out his own purposes first. He is still in control. Finally, that which restrains is taken out of the way and then shall be revealed the lawless one.
Even at the time when the restraints have been removed and Antichrist is ruling the earth, God has not withdrawn himself completely from this world. He will even then use the man of sin as a tool in his hand. God will send a working of error among unbelievers so that they will believe the lie. They spurned the truth when it was proclaimed to them. Now they will be judged for this sin. God now uses the man of sin as his rod of judgment to punish the sin of man!
Will the history of the world end on this note? Will the man of sin be the final ruler? By no means! The Lord Jesus will slay him with the breath of his mouth and will bring him to nought by the manifestation of his coming. Antichrist’s rule is a brief one (Rev. 20). He will appear invincible to men. Christ slays him by the breath of his mouth very easily! In former times he often rescued his people by sending a deliverer (Moses, the Judges, etc.). Sometimes he even used angels for tillS purpose. The deliverance from Antichrist takes place “by the manifestation of his coming.” When Christ appears the man of sin will be consumed. “Who can abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth” (Mal. 3:2)? How God’s people will long for their Lord to return! He will be their only hope. His deliverance will be complete.
1. What do you believe to be the restraints holding back the revelation of the man of sin? Give reasons.
2. What other powers of evil has God employed in the past for his own purposes?
3. Why isn’t there a greater longing in the church for the return of Christ?