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  • Writer's pictureJan Weihl

Antichrist Revealed (2 Thessalonians 2)

The Apostle Paul established the church in Thessalonica in just three weeks. During that time he taught these new believers about the Rapture and what must happen before the Day of the Lord would begin and the Antichrist would be revealed.

I wonder if most people think End-Times Bible Prophecy is just in the book of Revelation. I wonder if they realize there are unique pieces of the End-Times Bible Prophecy puzzle which are only revealed in other books of the Bible such as: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Daniel, 1 & 2 Thessalonians, Ezekiel, Joel, Zechariah, Isaiah, and even in the Psalms.

In fact, if we want to avoid End-Times Bible Prophecy all together, we would have to ignore almost every one of the 39 books of the Old Testament and the 27 books of the New Testament.

But could it be that God sees End-Times Bible Prophecy as so important, He has included it throughout the Bible, from beginning to end. He wants us to understand His wonderful plans for us and the blessings He has in store, even in the End Times.

That was certainly the mindset of the Apostle Paul. He saw End-Times Bible Prophecy as so important that he taught it to the Thessalonian church in the first 3 weeks of them becoming new followers of Jesus.

In Paul's first letter to the Thessalonian church, he gave them more information about the Rapture to alleviate their fears and misconceptions. But then due to the persecution and hard times they were facing, they thought the 7-year Tribulation had come and they had missed the Rapture.

So Paul wrote 2 Thessalonians to set their mind at ease and tell them what must happen before the Day of the Lord (the 7-year Tribulation) begins and the Antichrist is revealed.

Paul tells them, "no the Tribulation has not started yet because: 1) the great rebellion against God has not started and 2) the Antichrist has not been revealed yet."

2 Thessalonians 2:1-4 [1] Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, [2] that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. [3] Let no one in any way deceive you, for it (the Day of the Lord aka the 7-year Tribulation) will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, [4] who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God.

By the way, we know that the Antichrist will not "take his seat in the temple of God" until the middle of the 7-year Tribulation according to Revelation 13:5. So that is not the point at which he is revealed. We are told in Daniel 9:27 that the Antichrist is revealed when he makes the 7-year covenant with the Jews which kicks off the 7-year Tribulation. That covenant will allow the Jews to resume sacrifice and grain offerings. Note this also tells us there will be a 3rd temple on the temple mount during the 7-year Tribulation.

But before the Antichrist can be revealed, something else has to happen:

2 Thessalonians 2:7-8 [7] For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way. [8] Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming.

The Antichrist (the lawless one) cannot be revealed until the restrainer is taken out of the way.

Who is the restrainer?

Who is the only one powerful enough to prevent the Antichrist from being revealed?

There are a lot of different thoughts on this that don't really make any sense to me. Clearly only God has the supernatural power to restrain Satan from bringing the Antichrist on the scene.

God the Holy Spirit resides within the followers of Jesus (Ephesians 1:13-14). So it is the Holy Spirit who indwells the true believers of Jesus, who is preventing the Antichrist from being revealed today. If the Antichrist came on the scene today, believers would be pointing a finger loudly proclaiming "Antichrist, Antichrist!" So he can't be revealed until the believers are taken out of the way which happens at the Rapture.

So first Jesus will rapture His followers, those who have chosen to submit to Him as the Lord of their lives. Then the Antichrist will be revealed.

Notice that Paul does not tell us how long after the rapture (the restrainer is taken out of the way) before the Antichrist is revealed. We just know the rapture has to happen first.

Also note that the Holy Spirit, who is God, cannot actually be taken out of the way. This is just Paul's way of saying, the followers of Jesus who have the Holy Spirit within them are taken out of the way. Once the followers of Jesus have been removed from this world, there will be no one left to point out who the Antichrist is and he will deceive the whole world.

Yet even during the 7-year Tribulation, there will be people who hear the gospel and choose to repent and trust in Jesus as their Lord God. That's God's purpose for the 7-year Tribulation; to give those who have refused Him one last chance to experience life with evil reigning, realize their need for a Savior, and choose to repent and be saved.

Dear Lord, Thank you for never giving up on us and giving us chance after chance to realize our sins and our need to repent and trust in Jesus. Lord, I pray that many more would hear your message of salvation and choose to repent and believe in You today so that they don't have to experience one more day living without your peace, joy, and strength. In Jesus' name I pray, amen.

Jan Weihl

Living Word Ministries

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