In 1997, musician and author Michael Card released an entire album on the Book of Revelation. Titled Unveiled Hope, the album includes songs such as “To the Overcomers,” “The Song of the Lamb,” and “The New Jerusalem.” Its main purpose is to celebrate the completion of God’s plan of redemption and Christ’s final victory.
Paul didn’t keep the Thessalonians in suspense about what would happen next during the Day of the Lord. The days of the man of lawlessness were numbered—Christ would easily conquer him (v. 8)! The apostle also reminded them of his teaching on these matters during the short time he’d been with them in person (v. 5). This added an authentic touch to the letter, for no one else would have been able to make that claim.
If the man of lawlessness hasn’t yet arrived, why not? Something or someone is restraining evil and holding back his coming (vv. 6–7). There are various theories about this, but most likely Paul meant the Holy Spirit. The “secret power of lawlessness” or sin is already at work in the world, but the Spirit holds it in check. It’s “secret” only in the sense that the source and extent of its power (Satan) has not yet been fully revealed. At the proper time in God’s plan, the Spirit will be “taken out of the way.” This seems to be another indication of the Rapture, since believers’ exit would be a good time for the Spirit’s exit as well.
Then the “lawless one” will step forward and gain prominence through “all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie” (vv. 9–12). Unbelievers who have rejected the truth of the gospel will be ripe for his deceptive plucking. Those who delight in wickedness will fully earn their condemnation!
>> Eschatology, or the doctrine of the last things, can be difficult to understand. If you pursue additional study of the Bible’s teaching on the end times, we recommend the commentary on 1 and 2 Thessalonians by John Walvoord and Mark Hitchcock.