This is Episode #348 and today we’ll read 2 Thessalonians chapters 1-3 together. The Great Tribulation and the Man of Lawlessness.
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Joy: You’re listening to Season 2 of the Lifting Her Voice podcast. This is Episode #348 and today we’ll read 2 Thessalonians chapters 1-3 together. The Great Tribulation and the Man of Lawlessness.
Welcome to the Lifting Her Voice podcast, Season 2! I'm your host, Joy Miller, and I invite you to grab your Bible and join me - from the beginning - simply reading God's word together. We built some spiritual muscles in 2020 with just the New Testament. But this year we’re going all out, cover-to-cover, Old Testament and New. So, whether with your first cup in the morning, your commute to work, or as the last thing on your mind before sleep, God’s Word will equip you for every good work. I’m really glad you’re here!
Intro to 2 Thessalonians
Yes, we’re starting a new book today but don’t blink! You might miss it. This is Paul’s second letter to the church in Thessalonica. Apparently, the problems that existed that Paul wrote to them about in his first letter, not only still existed, but had gotten worse. Each of these three little chapters addresses one of those problems. The Thessalonians were still suffering horrible persecution for their faith in Christ, the false teachers were still sewing fear in the Thessalonian church about the Day of the Lord. To make it worse, they credited Paul with the lies they were spreading. Finally, Paul admonished those who were idle.
The book is nicely ordered – one problem per chapter and each chapter ends with a prayer for that particular problem. So let’s dive in.
2 Thessalonians Chapter 1:
Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy:
To the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
God’s Judgment and Glory
We ought to thank God always for you, brothers and sisters, and rightly so, since your faith is flourishing and the love each one of you has for one another is increasing. Therefore, we ourselves boast about you among God’s churches — about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and afflictions that you are enduring. It is clear evidence of God’s righteous judgment that you will be counted worthy of God’s kingdom, for which you also are suffering, since it is just for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you and to give relief to you who are afflicted, along with us. This will take place at the revelation of the Lord Jesus from heaven with his powerful angels, when he takes vengeance with flaming fire on those who don’t know God and on those who don’t obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will pay the penalty of eternal destruction from the Lord’s presence and from his glorious strength on that day when he comes to be glorified by his saints and to be marveled at by all those who have believed, because our testimony among you was believed. In view of this, we always pray for you that our God will make you worthy of his calling, and by his power fulfill your every desire to do good and your work produced by faith, so that the name of our Lord Jesus will be glorified by you, and you by him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.
2 Thessalonians Chapter 2:
The Man of Lawlessness
Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him: We ask you, brothers and sisters, not to be easily upset or troubled, either by a prophecy or by a message or by a letter supposedly from us, alleging that the day of the Lord has come. Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way. For that day will not come unless the apostasy comes first and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he sits in God’s temple, proclaiming that he himself is God.
Don’t you remember that when I was still with you I used to tell you about this? And you know what currently restrains him, so that he will be revealed in his time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work, but the one now restraining will do so until he is out of the way, and then the lawless one will be revealed. The Lord Jesus will destroy him with the breath of his mouth and will bring him to nothing at the appearance of his coming. The coming of the lawless one is based on Satan’s working, with every kind of miracle, both signs and wonders serving the lie, and with every wicked deception among those who are perishing. They perish because they did not accept the love of the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a strong delusion so that they will believe the lie, so that all will be condemned — those who did not believe the truth but delighted in unrighteousness.
But we ought to thank God always for you, brothers and sisters loved by the Lord, because from the beginning God has chosen you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and through belief in the truth. He called you to this through our gospel, so that you might obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold to the traditions you were taught, whether by what we said or what we wrote.
May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us eternal encouragement and good hope by grace, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good work and word.
2 Thessalonians Chapter 3:
Pray for Us
In addition, brothers and sisters, pray for us that the word of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honored, just as it was with you, and that we may be delivered from wicked and evil people, for not all have faith. But the Lord is faithful; he will strengthen you and guard you from the evil one. We have confidence in the Lord about you, that you are doing and will continue to do what we command. May the Lord direct your hearts to God’s love and Christ’s endurance.
Warning against Irresponsible Behavior
Now we command you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to keep away from every brother or sister who is idle and does not live according to the tradition received from us. For you yourselves know how you should imitate us: We were not idle among you; we did not eat anyone’s food free of charge; instead, we labored and toiled, working night and day, so that we would not be a burden to any of you. It is not that we don’t have the right to support, but we did it to make ourselves an example to you so that you would imitate us. In fact, when we were with you, this is what we commanded you: “If anyone isn’t willing to work, he should not eat.” For we hear that there are some among you who are idle. They are not busy but busybodies. Now we command and exhort such people by the Lord Jesus Christ to work quietly and provide for themselves. But as for you, brothers and sisters, do not grow weary in doing good.
If anyone does not obey our instruction in this letter, take note of that person; don’t associate with him, so that he may be ashamed. Yet don’t consider him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother.
May the Lord of peace himself give you peace always in every way. The Lord be with all of you. I, Paul, am writing this greeting with my own hand, which is an authenticating mark in every letter; this is how I write. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.
In his second letter to the Thessalonians, Paul continues to expand on his discussion of the end times which he began in his first letter. 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12 contains a lengthy introduction to “the Man of Lawlessness,” otherwise known as the Antichrist.
The appearance of The Antichrist ushers in the second half of the 7-year period called the Tribulation, a time of horrible distress known as the Great Tribulation. The Antichrist is a truly evil agent of Satan who will establish himself as the focus of worship on earth. In fact, he will claim to be God Himself.
There has been a great deal of speculation about the Antichrist and whether the term refers to an individual or a system. Personally, I think the evidence points to the Antichrist being an individual who carries out the will of Satan on earth.
But who could it be? There have been guesses made at various times throughout history. Some have thought it might be the Pope. Others pointed to Hitler when he was alive and rampaging Europe. One thing is for certain, when the Antichrist finally appears, there will be no doubt among believers of Christ about his identity.
Let’s pray. Lord, the times can be confusing and there is so much misinformation out there. It is so important that we keep our focus on You and Your word. Help us to remember that we are not to keep our focus on the end times but instead are to continue to do the work of spreading the Gospel here and now. Help us to reach the unsaved, Lord. Amen.
Are you confused about what will take place during the end times? Tell me about it at Lifting Her Voice.com, Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.
Thank you for joining me here today. I pray that by spending time in His Word every day, you will be changed. Visit me at Lifting Her Voice.com with your comments and questions. And don’t forget to visit the Blog page while you’re there. If you like the podcast, it would be great if you’d give it a five-star review and share it with everyone you know. Don't forget to subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. See you tomorrow!
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible(r), Copyright (c) 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible(r) and CSB(r) are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.