I started writing this blog in 2014. I am writing this because I woke up one morning, years ago, and began listening to the late J. Vernon McGee talking on the radio about this very passage. If I heard him correctly, he implied that 2 Thessalonians 2:5-6 was talking about the removal of the church, an event that allows for the man of sin to be revealed. If this is true, and I want it to be, the things that Paul was saying in this letter to the Thessalonian’s make so much more sense to me. Without that understanding is the possibility that the man of perdition can and will show up just before the church leaves the earth. That, of course, opens the door to a world of hurt coming.
As you should already know, Paul opens the second chapter by restating what he had already told the church in Thessalonica on a previous occasion. There will be a point in time, in which we will all be gathered together, as we meet Him in the air, but that has not happened yet. And, Paul seemed to be aware that this event, though it could happen any minute, was for the distant future. I happen to believe that we are living in that “distant future” now.
Paul goes on to admonish the church at Thessalonica that false information should not easily shake them, whether it be from a spirit(??), or a spoken word or letter represented as coming, in this case, from Paul. This admonition causes me to think. Since the only words we have from Paul are embedded in scripture, where might false information come from today?
Paul’s instructions to this church body are, don’t let anyone deceive you, in any manner, “For the Day will not come until after the Apostasy has come and the man who separates himself from Torah has been revealed.” (What day? In verse three, Paul is specifically talking about the time when Jesus returns to the earth as the Warring Messiah. This time frame is proved out by the terminology used, terminology which becomes more apparent when you see it in the Complete Jewish Bible.)
As you move into the next few verses, you come to understand that something is restraining this man that fulfills every job requirement of the false prophet we know is coming.
2 Thessalonians 2:3,4 CJB Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way. For the Day will not come until after the Apostasy has come and the man who separates himself from Torah has been revealed, the one destined for doom. 4.)He will oppose himself to everything that people call a god or make an object of worship; he will put himself above them all so that he will sit in the Temple of God and proclaim that he himself is God.
So, there are two requirements for that day to come.
The revealing of the man of lawlessness.
I opened this post by telling you that J. Vernon McGee implied that this information applied to the removal of the church. However, verses three and four do not sustain that theory, as the events, described by Paul, primarily happen at the midpoint of the seven-years of wrath.
There is an exception if this phrase “and the man who separates himself from Torah has been revealed,” means that the man of lawlessness will be revealed before the church is caught away. Even then the majority of us will not recognize who this man is because we are all looking for him to come from Rome; that or, we think he will pop on the scene moments before his introduction to the world.
Get serious; this is just like cooking a lobster. We are all in the stewing pot with the heat being turned up slowly, and most of us don’t realize it. Having a better comprehension is why I give you the Complete Jewish Bible translation, as it spells out clearly, that the guy we are looking for (to fill the role of the false prophet) will be a Jewish priest that will have access to the new temple.
Just recently 05/28/2018, a headline from a Jewish news source, quoted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as saying, “the temple will be rebuilt.” That’s interesting, but where and when. Knowing that the plans are in place for a tilt-up temple, wouldn’t the plans be in place for a high priest to preside over that temple? Israel has a high priest even now, is he the man?
And the apostasy must take place.
Apostasy simply means:
An abandonment of what one has professed; a total desertion, or departure from one’s faith or religion. The desertion from a party to which one has adhered. (Webster’s)
Since what we profess can be taken several ways, including our freedoms, ask yourself, have we lost or given up those freedoms? California, along with several other states, have, or are in the midst of passing laws against “books” and the usage of such, if they advocate or enforce gender change (The implications are that freedom of speech is gone.) So, a school district can force your child and you to endure their attempts at advocating gender identity change, but you cannot stand against them. Sadly, much of this came out modern-day exorcisms, where the person in question is taken a hostage in an attempt to regain or enforce their original gender identity.
There is no doubt about it, we are neck deep in apostasy, and it’s getting deeper.
About “the day”.
I find that, like many of you, I am continually stopping as I try to figure out which day is being referenced. Just off the top of my head, I can think of four clear points in time, each of them being referenced in some way, to “the day.”
Some of the many examples of “the day” are found in:
Ezekiel 30:3 NASB Even the day of the LORD is near; …, A time of doom for the nations.
The Jewish understanding knew it was a day of punishment, but for the nations, and not for them. Why would this be a time of doom? Because, for the most part, the nations will be those rising up against the Lord in battle. Those who choose to fight will cease to breathe in short order. Ah, but what of those who do not fight? They will endure mandatory obeisance throughout the 1000 years. But let’s say, with the veil lifted, they come to acknowledge the Lordship of Jesus. We can only assume that they will be able to partake of the leaves of the tree of life and obtain eternal salvation. I could go on with this for several pages and I prefer not to right now.
Matthew 12:36 NASB “they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment.
Jesus, speaking to a Jewish audience, spoke of a time of accounting. While the audience related what he said to the nations, He was talking to Israel as well.
Luke 17:30 NASB “It will be just the same on the day that the Son of Man is revealed.
When will Christ be revealed? At the end of the seven-years of wrath.
1 Corinthians 5:5 NASB so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.
Paul, speaking about a “Christian” who decided to return to his debauchery, talks like this man has an eternal salvation with God, but is still subject to the pains of this earth.
Ephesians 4:30 NASB by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
Since Paul is speaking to the church, albeit a church with the majority being Jewish converts, he would have brought them to the understanding that, for the church, the day of redemption would be the catching away. Outside of the church redemption can only come when the Lord resurrects the martyred saints at the end of the seven years.
1 Thessalonians 5:4 NASB are not in darkness, that the day would overtake you like a thief;
Again, Paul is speaking to the church. The modern church will tell you that we are in darkness, not having a clue when Christ will return for the church, but that is not what this says, is it? Although we may not know the precise timing, we can indeed be in the ballpark. This ability to understand the times and seasons will give us the advantage as we put wisdom to work and speak intelligently about what is going on in the world around us. While this can be taken two ways my first logical assumption would the catching away of the church. Lacking that understanding, then I would have to be looking for Jesus to come back as the conquering Messiah at the end of the seven years.
2 Peter 3:10 NASB the day of the Lord will come,… the heavens will pass away … the elements will be destroyed … and the earth and its works will be burned up.
And this too will be a day.
1 Corinthians 15:52 NASB 52) in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.
The point of writing this was to comprehend what is going on in 2Thessalonians 2:5-8, so let’s continue our pursuit of understanding.
2 Thessalonians 2:5-6 NASB 5) Do you not remember that while I was still with you, I was telling you these things? 6) And you know what restrains him now, so that in his time he will be revealed.
The Greek word for restrain is katechō and means to hold down (fast), in various applications (literally or figuratively): – have, hold (fast), keep (in memory), let, make toward, possess, retain, seize on, stay, take, withhold.
“And you know what restrains him now, so that in his time he will be revealed.”
What restrains him is the church, plain and simple. Remove the church and the onslaught is unleashed. What do I mean by the onslaught? While God’s wrath is being poured out upon the earth, so is the wrath of mankind.
Daniel 12:1 NASB “… And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; …
Why would any of this be the least bit important to any of us?
We need, now more than ever, to understand the importance of our prayers and actions. In other words, we need to be proactive in our opposition toward the enemies actions.
But, it also tells us that, based upon verse six, there is a time in which nothing will restrain the man of lawlessness/the man who separates himself from the Torah.
Should that information cause us to stop resisting? Not unless you have no breath in you.
You must understand that God has a plan and nothing will stop it. His plan and intent all along were that all things would be redeemed and restored and that the church would resist the enemy.
The second reason this is important is that there is so much confusion.
I know this because I sit with men who have been involved with religion for fifty plus years, and they are no less confused than the person on the street who has no religious comprehension. Why would that be, because they have allowed themselves to be shaken by a spirit or a message? We, as a Bible study group, get this perverted teaching every week. When Paul instructed them to not “be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us,” what were the chances that someone would show up 2000 years later, with a new letter from Paul, stating something in opposition? Not likely, so what do we hear constantly? “Now what Paul is saying it this.” That’s odd since Paul’s words, (which may not make much sense to our Gentile ears with their Western mentality,) are printed right there on the page. Having listened to many of these, when they say, now what this is saying, I start voraciously looking up words in my concordance, and find that the speaker has frequently skewed those words to make their point. So, the “teacher” is presenting their interpretation, as though it is Paul’s heart.
For the angry skeptic, not all teachers are false teachers, but if I feel something is amiss, I check it out, as I will not accept anything as though correct unless you can back it with the Word of God. Even then, I will examine the context of the scripture they used.
If I wanted a passage that spoke powerfully about an entity holding back the man of lawlessness, it would be this one.
2 Thessalonians 2:7 NASB 7) 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.
You have eyes allowing you to see that the world is falling apart and lawlessness is taking control. How long any of us live in civilized nations, is hard to say, but I can see the anarchy coming. Sadly, the methods of control will turn each nation into a police state under martial law. The obvious thing is that no one person is restraining the enemy. The Murdock translation puts it this way.
2 Thessalonians 2:7 (Murdock) For the mystery of the evil One already, begins to be operative: and only, if that which now hinders shall be taken from the midst;
Simply put, whether we read of the ones doing the restraining as “he” or “that” there will be a point at which the hinderer will be taken from the midst; this is a direct association with the snatching away we call the rapture.
For the next couple of verses, I am going to use the Complete Jewish Bible. There is a strong reason for that, and I will explain momentarily. I include verse seven because it uses the terminology “For already this separating from the Torah is at work secretly.”
2 Thessalonians 2:7-8 CJB For already this separating from Torah is at work secretly, but it will be secretly only until he who is restraining is out of the way. 8) Then the one who embodies separation from Torah will be revealed, the one whom the Lord Yeshua will slay with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the glory of his coming.
Try to grasp the complexity of what is being said here. Everyday life goes on, while in the background, this horrific, Satanic plan, is already happening.
I always assume that I have new readers, and, that they have not read anything like what I am about to say. Consider that we are talking about a somewhat unified, global entity. The explanation of what is to come was defined as, a kingdom, but it is a kingdom that is not like any other. Is the Islamic empire like a standard kingdom? NO, it is more like a chain of department stores, in which there are independent managers; most of whom don’t even like each other. History has demonstrated that the Ottoman Empire most closely fulfills almost every definition of this last beast/kingdom. The Ottoman Empire lasted the longest, only to be stopped to the point that many presumed its demise. Founded in the 1300’s the Caliphate was effectively abolished on March 3, 1924. Unfortunately, it rose again. In previous posts, I have mentioned that Islam has its own set of prophecies, one of which includes a man who is a descendant of Aaron and will function in the temple. This man will turn his allegiance away from Jehovah to Allah. It also informs us that this man will do powerful miracles, signs, and wonders and that he will become the ENFORCER of Sharia. Many followers of Jesus Christ will die because of this man.
Revelation 13:12 NASB He exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence. And he makes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose fatal wound was healed.
In Daniel 7:17-27 we see that Daniel desired to understand what he saw, and the explanation came. ‘These great beasts, which are four in number, are four kings who will arise from the earth.
The standard explanation for the fourth kingdom typically points to the Roman Empire; however, that does not work. Daniel desired to know the meaning of the ten horns that were on its head and the other horn which came up. A part of the explanation concerning the last horn was that it had eyes and a mouth uttering great boasts.
What was described to Daniel parallels Revelation 13:5 NASB
“There was given to him a mouth speaking arrogant words and blasphemies, and authority to act for forty-two months was given to him.”
That horn was waging war with the saints and overpowering them.
Revelation 13:7 NASB It was also given to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them, and authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation was given to him.
Under the leadership of the horn with a mouth, the saints were being killed in horrific numbers until the Ancient of Days came and judgment was passed in favor of the saints of the Highest One, and the time arrived when the saints took possession of the kingdom.
Daniel 12:1 NASB “Now at that time Michael, the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people, will arise. And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued.
Revelation 11:18 NASB “And the nations were enraged, and Your wrath came, and the time came for the dead to be judged, and the time to reward Your bond-servants the prophets and the saints and those who fear Your name, the small and the great, and to destroy those who destroy the earth.”
The explanation continued, ‘The fourth beast will be a fourth kingdom on the earth, which will be different from all the other kingdoms and will devour the whole earth and tread it down and crush it. ‘As for the ten horns, out of this kingdom ten kings will arise; and another will arise after them, and he will be different from the previous ones and will subdue three kings. ‘He will speak out against the Most High and wear down the saints of the Highest One, and he will intend to make alterations in times and in law; and they will be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time.” Daniel 7:24,25.
The idea of making alterations in times and law, come out of Islamic Sharia law. Islam has only one desire that the world submits to Allah and Sharia Law, this, of course, means that we all run on the Islamic calendar. ‘But the court will sit for judgment, and his dominion will be taken away, annihilated and destroyed forever.
Revelation 19:20 NASB And the beast was seized, and with him, the false prophet who performed the signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image; these two were thrown alive into the lake of fire which burns with brimstone. ‘Then the sovereignty, the dominion and the greatness of all the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be given to the people of the saints of the Highest One; His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all the dominions will serve and obey Him.’