Events Prior to the Lord’s Second Coming: 2:1-7.
Paul wants to correct the misunderstanding concerning the second coming of Lord Jesus Christ in this chapter. He did not want Thessalonians to be shaken and troubled by the false message that the Day of the Lord had already begun. And they should not be fooled by the forged letter they received supposedly from Paul (2:2). Paul’s letters are recognized by the closing greeting written with his own hand (3:17). Paul wants to assure them that the Day of the Lord was near and it will start with the coming of Christ to receive His own (1 Thess 4:15-17; Phil 4:5; John 14:1-3). At Christ’s first coming the dead in Christ will be raised and those who are alive will be caught up together to meet the Lord in the air. This should encourage them to live in holiness. Paul provides further details about the “Day of the Lord”. It will not begin without the final falling away led by the man of lawlessness and his revelation (2:3). The spiritual apostasy must precede the Day of the Lord (2 Tim 3:1-4). Sin is lawlessness (1 John 3:4). The man of sin is against Christ. It is not certain who this person will be. The antichrist of the book of Revelation is the most logical conclusion. He is the “beast rising up out of the sea” (Rev 13:1). The “little horn” of Daniel 7:8. He will force his power and authority upon the whole world (Rev 13:15-17). Antichrist opposes God and exalts himself above all. He demands worship of himself. He will sit in the Temple of God and will claim that he himself is God (2:4). Paul recalls his teaching about this to Thessalonians during his stay with them (2:5). Paul also wants them to know what is holding back the appearance of antichrist. It may be the law and order in the Roman Empire. Many scholars suggest that it may be the Holy Spirit who works in the church now holding back the appearance of antichrist. When the church is taken out of the way, the antichrist will manifest his plan of world dominion (2:7). Believers can find comfort in their suffering by remembering that Christ will have ultimate victory over Satan.
The Mystery of Lawlessness: 2:8-12.
The mystery of lawlessness that opposes the gospel is already at work secretly (2:7). It will remain secret until the church holding him back, steps out of the way. Then the man of lawlessness will be revealed (2:8). The Lord Jesus will consume the wicked one with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming. Christ will have the final victory. Antichrist will come to do the work of Satan with counterfeit signs and miracles. All his activities are satanic, perverted and false (Mat 12:24). He will use every kind of deception to fool those who are on their way to destruction by refusing to believe the truth. In the Bible, “believe” does not mean mental assent but to trust and receive Christ in spite of consequences (1 Thess 2:13). God will send strong deception upon those who reject Christ to believe what is false (2:11). They will be condemned for not believing the truth but have pleasure in unrighteousness (2:12). It is clear in this passage that they made a rational choice to believe unrighteousness rather than righteousness. The believers may have to endure suffering for a while but they will experience glorious relief when Christ victoriously returns to conquers the evil one.
Believers Should Stand Firm: 2:13-17.
Paul and his fellow workers thank God for the believers. They are the beloved of the Lord. Paul gives thanks because God has chosen them from the beginning to experience salvation. In salvation, God always takes the initiative. All three persons in Godhead involve in our salvation. Father has planned our salvation, Christ procures it by his death and the Holy Spirit produces it by new birth. They are called by the gospel to be conformed to the image of Christ (Rom 8:29-30). Those who are chosen are justified and sanctified by the Holy Spirit and by truth (John 17:17). They are called to share in the glory of our Lord Jesus (2:14). God saved us to be his own people to receive Christ’s glory (5:9; 1 Pet 2:9; 1 John 3:1-2). Christians should know that their identity is in Christ. They are loved, chosen, called, set apart in Christ. They are destined to share Christ glory. Having assured them of these blessings, Paul exhorts believers to stand firm in the things they were taught by Paul either by spoken word or by his letter (2:15). Paul was confident that they will be strengthened and comforted by God who is faithful to his promises. Spiritual stability comes only when we grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ (2 Pet 3:18; Ephesians 4:13). Only then we become true disciples of Christ and have victory over sin (John 8:31-32). Paul includes a doxology to encourage and comfort the Thessalonians for every good work. Our prayer will always be a source of encouragement and comfort to others. We are exhorted to abound in good works so that God may be glorified (Mat 5:16; Titus 3:14). Pray that we may stand firm in Christ.