“2 Thessalonians 2:1-12”
Categories: 2 Thessalonians
“Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, 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. Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, 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. Do you not remember that while I was still with you, I was telling you these things? And you know what restrains him now, so that in his time he will be revealed. 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. 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; that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness.”
---End of Scripture Verses---
This is one of the most difficult passages in all the Scriptures to get a good handle on. I have read a number of commentaries and heard many people’s opinions on the meaning, and all the views are numerous and varied. While every theory presents its own problem or set of problems, I like Wilson Adams’ take on this passage the best (right now). I will be quoting from Wilson’s Courageous Living series workbook on 1 & 2 Thessalonians for today on “the apostasy,” and tomorrow on “the man of lawlessness” Lord willing.
When we think about general apostasy, please keep in mind that a “falling away” had already begun to take place in the first century, and the inspired writers wrote about various departures in the New Testament. People and congregations were deviating from the authorized pattern for the church and its teaching as is attested to by the Apostle Paul in his epistles, and by the Apostle John in his epistles (Gnosticism), and in Revelation chapters 2-3 (the seven churches of Asia).
But this is what Wilson had to say about “The” specific “Apostasy” that Paul wrote about in 2 Thessalonians chapter 2:
“Not long after Paul’s departure and the end of the apostolic era, churches began to defect from the simple teaching regarding organization. Originally, each church was autonomous and under their own elders (Phil. 1:1). Each time elders were mentioned, there was always a plurality (Acts 11:30; 14:23; 20:17; Titus 1:5). There was never a ‘head-elder’ as each leader was co-equal.
“Eventually, however, one elder from a congregation was chosen as ‘head’ over the others and deemed a ‘bishop.’ Acts 20:17, 28 reveal the terms ‘elders,’ ‘overseers’ (bishops) and ‘shepherds’ (pastors) refer to the same men—each word describing something unique about the same office.
“In time the ‘head-elders’ (bishops) of the larger city churches were considered more important than those in smaller outlying churches. Ultimately, the bishops in the five leading cities (Alexandria, Antioch, Jerusalem, Constantinople, and Rome) took the lead. It wasn’t long before there was infighting among the five for ultimate supremacy. In 606 the title was bestowed upon Boniface III, the bishop of Rome.
“For the first time, one man was recognized as head of the church on earth. It was a far cry from the simple New Testament teaching and pattern.”
Stay with 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12 for tomorrow and we will read about “the man of lawlessness”.
Have a blessed day!
- Louie Taylor