2 Thessalonians 2:1-12

2 Thes. 2:1 “Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, 2 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. 3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; 4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. 5 Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? 6 And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. 7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. 8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: 9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, 10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: 12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”

The setting of a text is very important for us to know in order that we may know what is being talked about. First, we ask ourselves, “What coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” is the apostle referring to? In the first chapter Paul in verses 7-10 alluded to the time of the Lord’s second coming to take his children home and to execute judgment upon those who are not his: 2 Thes. 1:7-10 “And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.” This is obviously the Lord’s coming in the morning of the resurrection of the dead both of the just and the unjust. Moreover, in the above text Paul ties together his coming with the saints “gathering together unto him.”

Clearly we can conclude that Paul is not addressing the coming in timely judgment against the Jews at the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple. Furthermore, the church at Thessalonica was primarily a church made up mostly of Gentile believers. Thus, the destruction of Jerusalem at 70 A.D. would not have had significance to them.

Moreover, many people have held the belief that the apostles thought that the Lord was returning in their day. However, this passage of scripture does not support that idea. Plainly Paul is setting forth that the day of the Lord was not at hand at that time and for the disciples at Thessalonica were not to be troubled either by spirit or by word or by letter from him that the day of the Lord was at hand.

However, Paul did give us some clues as to the circumstances that would be present when that day will be at hand. First, there would be a falling away first. Here we have to be careful, because there has been a falling away of some in every generation. For instance, none of the churches that Paul wrote epistles to exist today, nor any of the churches mentioned by John in Revelations chapters 2 and 3 are in existence today. They all fell away. This has been the history of the Lord’s church throughout the ages. The church has died out in locations only to spring up in other locations. When we see the falling away of the Old Baptists in the United States, we must remember that at one time there was a very strong contingent of Old Baptists in England and Wales before there were any Old Baptist churches in the United States. Additionally as we observe a continually falling away of the Lord’s churches in the United States, we see an establishing of the Lord’s churches in the Philippines and in Africa for instance. The above text implies there would be a general falling away from the faith throughout.

The next circumstance Paul alludes to is the revealing of that man of sin known as the son of perdition. A general search of the scriptures concerning the “son of perdition” yields only Judas Iscariot as being called the “son of perdition.” Obviously the above text is not pointing to Judas Iscariot. The word, perdition, means destruction. Thus, the man to whom Paul is referring would be associated with destruction. The key to our understanding is the phrase, “Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped;” There is a general theme in the scriptures of the goals of Satan and of kingdom builders.

The goals or desires of Satan are set forth for us in Isaiah 14:12 “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! 13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.” The desire of Satan or Lucifer is set forth for us in the form of five "I wills" showing us what Satan is trying to accomplish.

The first is "I will ascend into heaven." This is consistent with the doctrine the serpent set forth in the Garden of Eden when he told the woman, "Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil." Thus, he said to the woman that by an act of the creature the creature could attain to be like God. This is also the doctrine of most of the religious world today. They believe that by an act of will or action that man can attain to eternal life. This is a satanic doctrine and is a lie. The truth is that eternal life is the gift of God and the creature cannot do anything to get it.

The second is "I will exalt my throne above the stars of God." This shows forth the desire of Satan to reign over the stars of God. In the scriptures, the "stars" frequently depict God's children. It is Satan's desire to reign as a King over the children of God. In order for Satan to reign over the children of God, he must convince them that he is the true King and that they should obey him in his kingdom. This requires much subtlety and deception.

The third is "I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north." In the scriptures, Mount Zion is known as the "mount of the congregation." We read about the "sides of the north" in Ps. 48: "Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of the great King." The "sides of the north" are therefore, "the city of the great King." The church is known as the "city of God." Satan desires to sit at the top of the kingdom of God and be worshipped by the Lord's church. Again, this can only happen where people are deceived and believe that Satan is God.

The fourth is "I will ascend above the heights of the clouds." In the scriptures, the clouds are associated with the glory of God. It is Satan's desire that he have more glory than God does in that he desires to ascent "above" the heights of the clouds, which depict the glory of God. Again, this is done through subtlety, as God's children would not glorify Satan unless they believed Satan to be God.

The fifth is "I will be like the most High." The obstacle that Satan has in being like the most High is that Satan is a fallen creature and God is the creator. Satan is also an imitator. He uses the mirror image principle to be like the most High.

I will illustrate the mirror image principle by using myself as an example. When I look in the mirror in the morning, I see what at first glance appears to be the almost perfect image of myself. However, the image in the mirror is the closest to being the exact opposite of me. My left ear in the mirror is my right ear. My left eye in the mirror is my right eye. Everything in the mirror is exactly opposite of me.

In order for Satan to attempt to accomplish his five “I wills” he must use fallen man. I will attempt to show how Satan works according to the scriptures using fallen man in trying to accomplish his goals in the next several essays.