Friday, February 22, 2008

Ultimately, God is in Control

Today we start reading the second chapter of 2 Thessalonians. In the ESV the first section (first 12 verses) of this chapter is entitled "the Man of Lawlessness". I sometimes find section headings helpful and at other times, not quite so. This time it did as it gave me a good idea as to where this section was going. :)
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. 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. 5Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? 6And you know what is restraining him 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. 9The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, 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.
Paul addresses a real concern for the Thessalonican people. They were becoming alarmed by what some folks were telling them. Whether it be by "by a spirit or a spoken word, or a letter seeming to be from us" Paul reassures them that the day of the Lord has not yet come.

Then he tells them that the "man of lawlessness" must put in an appearance first. He then proceeds to tell them what such an individual will look like.
  • the son of destruction
  • opposes every so-called god or object of worship
  • exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship
  • proclaims himself to be God
  • will be revealed for who he is
  • is an activity of Satan
  • is a strong delusion sent by God for those who refuse to listen to the truth
This one must come first.
THEN Christ will come, and by his coming destroy the man of lawlessness by his breath.

I have to admit...I don't understand verse 6-8 very well. All I understand is someone is being restrained by some force until the timing is right. The commentaries I read weren't much help either! :) If you have any insight, please, feel free to share. :)

What I mostly get when I read these verses is an assurance that GOD is in control. Yes, Satan has "his stuff" that he is doing in his opposition of God, but when push comes to shove at the end times....all Jesus Christ has to do is breathe and all that lawlessness will become NOTHING! All the anger and hostility that surrounds us just goes. Pretty cool huh?

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