Tuesday, 3 October 2017
And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming. 2 Thessalonians 2:8
“And then.” In Greek it is kai tote. It is correctly translated… “And then.” So here we have a clear sequence of events –
1) The Restrainer (meaning the Holy Spirit, and thus the body of believers whom the Holy Spirit has sealed) will be “taken out of the way.”
2) And then the lawless one will be revealed, which will be in conjunction with…
3) The tribulation period (the day of Christ/the Lord)
The timeline is set. There is no reason at all to debate who the Antichrist is, and there is no need to wonder if Christians will have to endure some (mid-trib) or all (post-trib) of the tribulation period. Paul is the one to define these things. Going to the words of Jesus in the synoptic gospels to determine the timing of these events is inappropriate, because Jesus is not speaking to the church about these things. He is speaking to Israel about things which will affect them, including the tribulation period.
In using the words of the gospels to form a prophetic timeline for the church, one mixes dispensations. In doing so, a convoluted theology will always result. Stick to the epistles of Paul for proper church-age doctrine.
It is only after the removal of the Restrainer that “the lawless one will be revealed.” It is this Satan-filled person “whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth.” This is alluded to by John in the book of Revelation –
“Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations.” Revelation 19:15
Isaiah 11:4, which Paul is actually loosely citing, is another reference to this –
“But with righteousness He shall judge the poor,
And decide with equity for the meek of the earth;
He shall strike the earth with the rod of His mouth,
And with the breath of His lips He shall slay the wicked.”
One can see that this doesn’t merely mean that Christ will exhale and the Antichrist will evaporate. Rather, the symbolism of the sword and the rod reveals a destroying weapon which will come against the forces of Antichrist and destroy them all. They will be destroyed so easily that it will be as if He simply breathes out and they are vanquished. The details are explained in Revelation 19:19 & 21. It also is further defined by Paul with the words, “and destroy with the brightness of His coming.” The supposed power and majesty of the Antichrist will pale in comparison to the glory of Christ Jesus. After defeating the armies gathered together to make war against Him, it then says in Revelation 19:20 –
“Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone.”
Bad times lay ahead for this worker of iniquity. Instead of ruling the world, he should have been reading his Bible. Jesus said as much to us in Matthew 16:26. There he asked an obvious question, “For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?” The answer is, “None.” This vile person will have gained the whole world, and yet his soul will be eternally condemned. Not a very bright choice in the end.
Life application: The words, “And then” which open this verse show us that the Antichrist will only be revealed after the rapture of the church. Let’s not worry about who he is. All the idle speculation in the world on this matter is simply wasted time. Instead, try something new and fun… try going on out telling someone about Jesus. The hour you spend watching a video about the Antichrist is an hour that may have made an eternal difference in someone’s destiny.
Heavenly Father, for those of us who are redeemed by the blood of Christ, should we keep this a secret? Should we fail to tell others about the very thing that brought us back to You? Help us to set our priorities properly, and to be willing to simply open our mouths and speak. A moment of sharing may make an eternal difference in the life of another. Help us to speak! Amen.