II Thessalonians 2:4-7

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

Text: II Thessalonians 2:4-7

We are in the process of looking at -

I. THE DAY OF THE LORD - 2:1-12

We have already seen the -

A. False teaching in Thessalonica - 2:1-2

In verses 1-2 Paul deals with false teaching that made its way to Thessalonica. Apparently, someone had communicated a message to the church at Thessalonica that the day of Christ had already come and that they were in the tribulation. Of course, Paul had sent no such message. This false teaching upset these new converts.

There will always be false teaching, and the antidote for being upset by false teaching is knowing the truth as taught in the Scriptures.

II Thessalonians 2:1-2 - (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.

We are in the process of seeing -

B. Characteristics of the tribulation - 2:3-12

For anyone to be in the tribulation several things, which had not happened, would have to have taken place. There would be: 1) great apostasy (2:3), the manifestation of the antichrist (2:4), and the removal of the Holy Spirit, the divine restrainer (2:6-7).

We have already seen that there will be -

1. Great apostasy - 2:3a

II Thessalonians 2:3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first. . . .

We are in the process of seeing -

2. The revelation of the man of sin - 2:3b-5

II Thessalonians 2:3 b-5 - (3b). . . 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, shewing himself that he is God.

(5) Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?

We have seen that the man of sin, the son of perdition will be revealed. He is the antichrist. He is a child of hell and will have already forfeited any chance of ever being saved.

Perdition is the same Greek term translated damnable, destruction, pernicious, and damnation in II Peter 2:1-3 .

II Peter 2:1-3 - 1 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. 2 And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. 3 And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.

We continue the description of the man of sin with verse 4.

II Thessalonians 2:4 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, shewing himself that he is God.

Who opposeth and exalteth himself provides additional detail regarding the man of sin.

Who opposeth means the one who is opposed to, the one who is in opposition to, the opponent of, the enemy of, or the adversary of. The tense of opposeth indicates that its action is going on continually or repeatedly. It is something which is always (or repeatedly) happening.

And exalteth himself above means and (the one who) raises himself up (or rises up) over (or against). The tense of exalteth indicates that its action is also going on continually (or repeatedly). Again, it is something which is always happening. It is what the antichrist does repeatedly.

All that is called God or that is worshipped indicates what the antichrist is always setting himself in opposition to and exalting himself above (or against).

All that is called God indicates that His action is without limitation against everything that is in someway related to God.

All is each thing or everything.

That is called God is that is being called God or that is said (or is being said) to be God. It came to mean that is named (or that is being named) God. Everything referred to as God or as belonging to God is going to be opposed by this antichrist.

Isn't this being done today by many progressive secularists in our society? Our constitution provides for the separation of church and state, but the practice of many in the United States of America has changed the separation of church and state to the separation of God and state. We believe that people have the right to be atheists if they please, but atheism has been forced on many aspects of our society. As a consequence, our society is becoming more and more secularized and less and less Christian.

What else would we expect as the logical result of teaching evolution? People believe what they are taught, and evolution is a godless system which is attempting to explain how humanity came into existence apart from a creator. There is no room for a Creator in evolution. There can be no eternal reward or punishment if there is no God. There is no fear of God. There can be no absolutes.

This opposition to all that is called God or that is worshiped will include not only the God of the Bible but all false gods as well.

Or that is worshipped is literally that is called an object of worship, that is called a place of worship, or that is called a sanctuary. This means that the antichrist will also eventually exalt himself above (or against) absolutely everything that is called an object of worship.

So that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God is a most interesting statement.

So that is with the result that.

He refers to the antichrist, the son of perdition, the man of sin.

As God indicates that a comparison is being made. Although God is the One Who should be sitting in the temple of God, the antichrist is going to sit there as if he were God even though he is not God.

Sitteth in the temple of God is sits in the temple of God or sits down in the temple of God.

The tense of sitteth contemplates its action as a whole (i.e. sits) or in its beginning (i.e. begins to sit).

In the temple of God is the place where God is worshiped and is used in reference to a place which is presently not in existence. This place is going to have to be built in order to fulfill this condition, but it has not yet been built.

Shewing himself is making himself, rendering himself, proclaiming himself, or appointing himself.

Himself refers to the man of sin, the son of perdition, the one who exalts himself against God and the things of God, the one who opposes God and all that is called God (or all that is called an object of worship).

What he shows, appoints, or proclaims is that he is God; but he is not God. He is the antichrist who will attempt to take the place of God so that people will worship him rather than God.

In Matthew 24:15-21 and Mark 13:14-19 Jesus referred to the antichrist setting himself up in the temple as if he were God. It marks the middle of the tribulation, which begins the great tribulation, i.e. the last three and one-half years of the seven-year tribulation.

Matthew 24:15-21 - (15) When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)

(16) Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:

(17) Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house:

(18) Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes.

(19) And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!

(20) But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day:

(21) For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.

Mark 13:14-19 - (14) But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not, (let him that readeth understand,) then let them that be in Judaea flee to the mountains:

(15) And let him that is on the housetop not go down into the house, neither enter therein, to take any thing out of his house:

(16) And let him that is in the field not turn back again for to take up his garment.

(17) But woe to them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!

(18) And pray ye that your flight be not in the winter.

(19) For in those days shall be affliction, such as was not from the beginning of the creation which God created unto this time, neither shall be.

II Thessalonians 2:5 Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?

In verse 5 Paul asks the Thessalonian believers a question which indicates that he had told them that these things were going to happen while he was still with them.

Remember ye not? anticipates a positive answer. They did remember this. You do remember, don't you? Yes, you do.

What they remembered is that . . . when I was yet with you I told you these things.

When I was yet with you means while I (Paul) was still with you (in Thessalonica).

I told you these things is understood in the sense of I was telling (i.e. kept on telling or repeatedly told) you these things.

These things refers to the things mentioned in verses 3-4 which occur in the tribulation.

3. The removal of the restrainer - 2:6-7

II Thessalonians 2:6-7 - (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.

Verse 6 indicates that the man of sin has not yet been revealed. Therefore, the Thessalonian believers were not experiencing the persecution of the tribulation period. They should not be confused about this.

And now (i.e. at the present time) ye (i.e. you Thessalonian believers) know (i.e. see, perceive, or recognize) what withholdeth (i.e. what is holding back or what is restraining).

That (i.e. in order that or for the purpose that) he (i.e. the antichrist) might be revealed in his time.

Might be revealed is might be made known or might be disclosed.

In his time is in his own time or in the time belonging to himself, where his is understood as referring to the man of sin. God has appointed him a time when the antichrist is going to be made known to the world, and he is not going to be revealed a moment sooner or later. He will be revealed at the exact time of God's choosing.

Although Paul wrote that the Thessalonians knew what or who was restraining the man of sin from being revealed, he did not identify the restrainer in this epistle.

A number of guesses have been made regarding the identity of this restrainer, ranging from the Roman Empire or a particular Roman emperor to Satan. Some excellent expositors have stated frankly that they do not have any idea who or what the restrainer is.

In my view, the restrainer is the God Holy Spirit.

II Thessalonians 2:7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.

For the mystery of iniquity doth already work

As translated, for introduces an explanation of the previous statement. It might instead be understood in the sense of now or in the emphatic sense of indeed, in fact, or certainly.

The mystery is the secret or the secret teaching.

Of iniquity is of lawlessness and describes the mystery. It is the mystery (i.e. the secret or the secret teaching) characterized by lawlessness.

Doth already work means is already at work, is now at work, or is by this time at work. Sin has been around a long time and has been opposing the work of God from the time of the rebellion of Lucifer against God, but sin has always been checked or restrained.

Only describes will let (or will restrain).

He who now letteth is the one who at the present time holds back (or restrains) and in my understanding refers to the Holy Spirit of God Who restrains sin.

Letteth is the same word translated withholdeth in the previous verse. The Holy Spirit is restraining the advance of the mystery of iniquity. The antichrist will not be revealed as long as the Holy Spirit restrains his advance.

Will let is used to mean will restrain or will check and suggests that the One who is presently restraining sin will continue to restrain sin until he be taken out of the way.

Until he (i.e. the restrainer) be taken (i.e. is removed) out of the way (i.e. out of the middle).

The time that the Holy Spirit will be taken out of the way as the Restrainer of sin coincides with the rapture.

Although the Holy Spirit presently indwells believers in this church age, He will apparently not be indwelling tribulation saints. The rapture will produce a reversal of Pentecost. When believers are removed at the rapture, the Holy Spirit will no longer restrain evil through them. The Holy Spirit will continue to be active during the tribulation, but He will no longer be restraining the advance of the antichrist.