2 Thessalonians 2 Stand firm and hold fast!
There was a problem in Thessalonica! It seems that circulating round the church there was some prophecy, report or letter (either written down, or by word of mouth) that had originally come, some said, from Paul himself, stating that (v2) ‘the day of the Lord has already come’. Understandably, this was causing confusion and concern.
Paul explains that the day of the Lord (on which Christ will return to redeem his people and renew his creation) has not yet come, because before that day there will be both a rebellion (an increasing opposition towards God, his Word and his people) and a revelation (v3). Linked in with this rebellion, perhaps acting as a figurehead or spokesperson, there will appear a ‘man of lawlessness, doomed to destruction’, who will (v4) ‘oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshipped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God’. He will display remarkable power through false signs and wonders, deceiving those who are perishing (v9, 10). We should not get bogged down over the details of exactly who this person might be, or the precise timing of his revelation, and should also be wary of those who push their particular theories too dogmatically. Paul’s point is that Christ has not yet returned, because these events have not yet happened. In any case, v8 gives us great courage and hope – the Lord Jesus will overthrow this ‘lawless one’ with the breath of his mouth and destroy him by the splendour of his coming.
Once again, as in 1:3, Paul thanks God for the church in Thessalonica, because they have been chosen for salvation through the work of the Holy Spirt and belief in the truth of the gospel, enabling them to share in the glory of Christ (v13, 14).
We are living in strange times (‘unprecedented’, or even un-Presidented!) So many people are confused, or angry, or anxious, and we can understand why. However, as God’s people we are not to become worried or upset by these events. Rather, (v15) we need to stand firm and hold on to the clear and basic teachings of Scripture, the fundamentals of the faith. The best way to spot what is false is to know what is true. The Word of God teaches us that Jesus will one day return, and that when he does, he will overthrow and destroy the forces of evil. It teaches us that those who share in his suffering in this life, will share in his glory in the next. As Paul says (v16,17), ‘May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage our hearts and strengthen us in every good deed and word.’ Amen!