When natural disasters and wars occur in rapid succession, many people begin to talk about the End Times. They wonder what day the Lord might return, and which living person might be the promised Antichrist. According to the Moody Bible Commentary, the Antichrist who is controlled by Satan will be “a real person.” He will “offer himself for worship—a blatant claim to deity.” The Antichrist is a counterfeit Christ.
In today’s reading, Paul called the Antichrist the “man of lawlessness” (v. 3)—the only place in Scripture he’s given this title. His arrival will be a sign that the Day of the Lord has come. The Thessalonians were confused and alarmed about this issue. Some false teacher, or perhaps a fake letter supposedly from Paul, had them thinking that the Day of the Lord might have already started (vv. 2–3). This was definitely not true! Addressing this deception appears to have been Paul’s main and urgent purpose in writing this letter.
The Day of the Lord will be clearly signaled by several events. First, by the Rapture, “our being gathered to him” (v. 1). This is when the trumpet sounds and believers meet Christ in the air, as Paul had described in his previous letter (1 Thess. 4:17). Second, by rebellion or widespread apostasy (see Matt. 24:10–12). And third, by the coming of the “man of lawlessness” or the “man of sin,” also known as the Antichrist (v. 3; see Rev. 13).
The man of lawlessness will act “in accordance with how Satan works” (v. 9), which suggests he’ll be empowered by Satan himself. Like Satan, the “adversary,” he’ll oppose God. Like Satan, he’ll pridefully exalt himself over all creation (v. 4; Dan. 11:36–37). Like Satan, he’ll blasphemously proclaim himself to be God. Yet from the start, he’ll be “doomed to destruction” (v. 3).
>> God’s Word gives us some background about Satan’s original rebellion and his prideful spirit. To learn more, we suggest reading Isaiah 14:12–14 and Ezekiel 28:1–19.
Like the Thessalonians, we can easily be deceived by false teachers if we are not rooted in your Word. Keep our eyes focused so steadfastly on you that we cannot be lured away by lies.