Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers, not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by some prophecy, report or letter supposed to have come from us, saying that the day of the Lord has already come… That day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed. 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3
Rumor had it that the day of the Lord had already come, and this had shaken the believers. But the apostle Paul was writing to set the record straight—the day of the Lord is the day when Christ will overthrow the lawless one (2:8). Here was Paul’s point: The lawless one will be revealed first, and then the day of the Lord will come.
Who is the man of lawlessness? We are told three things about him: First, he is coming (2:9), second, he will be revealed (2:3), and third, he will perform counterfeit miracles (2:9). When you hear these three words—coming, revealed, and miracles—who do you think of?
These words relate directly to our Lord Jesus Christ. We are told that Jesus is coming again, that He will be revealed, and that He works true miracles, signs, and wonders. So, the lawless one will be a parody of everything Jesus is. He is sometimes called the antichrist (1 John 2:18).
William Hendriksen says, “Satan… cannot become incarnate, [but]… He yearns for a man over whom he will have complete control, and who will perform his will as thoroughly as Jesus performed the will of the Father.” That man is the man of lawlessness.
What one thing did Paul say must happen before Jesus returns?