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2 Thessalonians 2:1-12 The Inglorious Reign and Ruin of Antichrist

Dennis Mock
Sunday, February 21, 2010

Things really are going to get worse before they get better. Not just economically but the
spiritual condition of the world. 2 Tim. 3 previews that environment. There is coming a
time when the world will be ruled by spiritual evil in the person of the Antichrist. Things
will get ultimately better after that when Jesus comes back to defeat him and bring in His
own rule and reign for a thousand years of righteousness.

It is fascinating that some of the clearest and most important teaching on what is to
come is found in these little letters to the Thessalonians from Paul. Paul does not want
them (or us) to be disturbed or deceived, worried, or frightened by any of the things to

Read 2 Thess. 2:1-12

– 6 events in sequence that Paul talks about here.
– They are crucial for us to develop our eschatology (doctrine of end times)
– There is no antecedent to the Rapture.
○ Some false teachers saying they have missed the Day of the Lord had upset
○ Paul reassures them of some things including that the rapture must occur
before the “Day of the Lord”.
○ We believe the Church will be raptured before the wrath of God is poured
 There are mid-, ¾, and post-trib views of the rapture.
 There are other views of the 2nd Coning.
○ We believe that the Church will not bring in the new Millennium. The Church
is in fact becoming weaker.
○ We believe the Church will be raptured, the 7 year tribulation will happen,
then Christ will return to defeat the Antichrist and start His literal 1000 year
 During the Tribulation evidently there will be a rebuilt Temple in
○ The rapture is not the 2nd Coming!

6 Events:
1. The Rapture – v. 1
a. 1 Timothy 4:13-18
b. The believing Church is rescued from the coming wrath of God about to be
poured out on the Earth.
c. The dead in Christ will be resurrected first then those believers alive at the
time will be transformed in the twinkling of an eye.
d. We will all be caught up in the air and will be with the Lord forever.
e. What do believers do in heaven during the 7-year tribulation?
i. Bema seat judgment of believers.
ii.Marriage Ceremony of the Lamb to His Bride.
iii.The Marriage Supper of the Lamb will happen at the beginning of the
1. The sheep from the “sheep and goat” separation enter into this
celebration at the inauguration of the Millennial Kingdom.
f. The Rapture allows the clock to start ticking but the Tribulation does not
have to occur right away.
g. Paul wanted the Thessalonians to know it hadn’t happened yet.
2. The Rebellion (Apostasy) – v. 3
a. A time when there is an intentional falling away from truth and faith.
b. The rebellion or “falling away” leads to a church which is liberal, pluralistic,
and an embracer of sin and rebellion.
i. They are not true believers!
ii.They do not hold to sound doctrine.
iii.Antichrist will use this church as part of the way he rises to power.
(The Scarlet Harlot form Revelation)
iv.I believe today the church is being set up for this apostasy. What
would happen if every true Christian suddenly disappeared?
v.This church will only survive for 3 ½ years. Antichrist will destroy it
halfway through the tribulation. (Rev. 16-18)
vi.The birth pangs of this apostate church may be being felt right now.
c. The Tribulation:
i. First half is characterized by the Antichrist rise to power.
ii.The rise of the apostate church.
iii.The second half is described as:
1. 1260 days.
2. 42 months.
3. Times, time and half a time.
4. 3 and ½ years.
iv.For an apostate church to be there, all true believers must be gone!
3. The Revealing of Antichrist – v. 3
a. The man of lawlessness is revealed. (Also man of iniquity or sin)
i. He is the man doomed to perdition/destruction (like Judas)
b. He will rise to power politically.
c. He will exalt himself above God and set himself up to be worshiped in the
i. The rebuilt Jewish Temple would be assumed to be built right before
the Rapture or during the first 3 ½ years of the Tribulation.
d. Parallel passages to reference.
i. Daniel 9:24-27
ii.Matthew 24:15
iii.Revelation 12 and 13
e. He will be resurrected form a fatal head wound.
f. He will lead a 10-nation federation.
g. He will make a covenant with Israel and other nations then break it after 3 ½
h. He is a man whose number is 666. No one has yet figured out how this
number applies to this future man.
i. He is called the “Beast out of the sea” and is empowered by Satan.
j. The False Prophet assists him.
k. This week read:
i.Isaiah 14
1. 5 “I Wills” of Satan.
ii.and Ezekiel 28
l. There will be a literal rebuilt Temple because regular sacrifices must be
established then abolished by the AC.
i. Perhaps AC will bring about the way for this to be built which at this
point seems impossible.
m. He will appear to be the savior of all mankind.
n. The world will worship him.
4. The Removal of the One who Restrains – v. 5-7
a. The “Restrainer” is referenced as a neuter noun in v. 6 but then as a
masculine noun in v. 7.
b. His removal will allow the secret power (mystery) of lawlessness to rule.
c. There are many different theories of who or what the Restrainer is.
i. It is not the state or government.
ii.It is not societal norms.
iii.It is not the impotent institutional church.
iv.It is not man in his “innate” goodness. We are in fact “innately” sinful.
d. The most reasonable interpretation is that this is the Holy Spirit.
i. He does not “leave the earth” but ceases His particular ministry of
restraining and convicting of sin (John 14:15-17; 16:5-11)
ii.If all true believers are gone then the restraining influence in and
through us is gone as well.
e. The Antichrist and false prophet are simply tools of Satan and they cannot
arise until the Church is gone.
5. The Reign and Rule of Antichrist – v. 9-12
a. This will be an unholy and ungodly regime in full power and control of the
b. It will be characterized by:
i. Signs and wonders.
c. Rev. 9 – we will see people aware of the fact that they are in direct
opposition to God and yet will shake their fists in His face rather than repent
d. God will send a powerful delusion to the dwellers on the earth so they
believe the lie.
e. His reign will be 7 years long.
f. He will be empowered by Satan to perform great signs and wonders.
g. When the rapture occurs there will be no saved person left on earth. No
saved person will enter the tribulation but there will be many who come to
know Christ during the tribulation. Most will be Jews (144,000, etc.) but there
will also be gentiles who come to faith in Christ.
i. Those who do and survive to the end will enter and populate the
Millennial Kingdom.
h. What characterizes his reign?
i. Rev. 12:1-8
1. The Last Bowl judgments are finished at end of Ch. 11.
a. One of those is darkness over AC kingdom.
2. (v. 3-4) The Dragon is Satan the stars are angels.
3. (v. 4-5) Refers to Jesus’ first coming and ascension
4. (v. 6) The woman is Israel
5. (v. 6-9) War in Heaven, Satan (the Dragon) and his angels are
cast down to the earth. They have one last run at Israel and the
people on the earth.
a. (v. 13) He persecutes Israel to a greater extent during the
2nd half of the tribulation than has ever occurred before.
6. (v. 14) Israel is preserved for 3 ½ years.
ii.Rev. 13
1. The Dragon (Satan), The Beast (Antichrist), and the Second Beast
(False Prophet)
2. All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast (v. 8)
3. (v. 11-18) The second beast is the false prophet.
a. He will give life to the image of the beast.
b. He causes everyone who refuses to worship the beast
image to be killed.
c. He will institute the economic system that requires the
mark of the beast to buy or sell.
4. This should sound a little like Daniel 2 and 3.
i. The really good news is that we will not be here for all this!
j. God will save a remnant of Israel through this time.
k. Satan has been judged at the cross but the execution of that judgment is
held until this future time.
l. There will have been 7 seal, bowl, and trumpet judgments. There will have
been signs in the sun, moon and stars.
m.Rev. 19:
i. (v. 11) The clearest picture of Jesus 2nd Coming in all of scripture! (See
also Zech. 14)
1. He comes as judge and warrior. It will be a devastating time of
judgment when all the enemies of God will be defeated and
ii.(v. 12-21) Jesus returns.
1. Satan is bound for 1000 years.
2. The Beast and False Prophet are cast into the Lake of Fire.
n. All this occurs because God has willed it to occur this way.
i. This is when unmitigated righteousness and holiness confront sin, evil,
Satan and ultimately defeat them.
ii.Things will get really, really bad, worse than they have ever been. But
then they will get really, really good, better than they have ever been.
6. The Ruin of Antichrist – v. 9-12
a. Now look back at 2 Thessalonians 2:8
i. Jesus will destroy the AC by the “breath of his mouth, and the splendor
of his coming”.
1. He will overcome him by His . . .
2. Splendor – this is the word for “epiphany”. It represents the
complete revelation of the shekina glory of God! Nothing evil can
even exist in its presence.

None of this has taken place yet, but it will! Don’t be disturbed instead relax and trust
the Lord. He will bring this all to its ultimate and perfect conclusion. Praise the Lord that
we are not destined for this time of wrath.

Jesus is coming to reign!