Lesson 3: The Day of Christ, The Rebellion, The Antichrist - Part 22 Thessalonians 2:1-17 and 3:1-18
As we complete our study of 2nd Thessalonians, we conclude our look at what Paul tells us will be happening as we near the time of the return of Jesus. Paul gives us a "wake-up call" about our actions during that time, and the attacks that will come upon the Church and God’s holy people, specifically the nation of Israel.
Read 2 Thessalonians 2:1-17 and 3:1-18 and consider the following questions:
- What does the word Apostasy mean?
- What will the apostate believe in? Look at the following verses and list each thing you learn about the specific time of apostasy that Paul is writing about, the falling away, the rebellion, the teaching of a lie for the truth, etc. What will they believe? See 1 John 2:21-22, 1 Timothy 4:1-3, II Timothy 3:1-5 and 4:3-4, and 2nd Peter 3:3-6.
- Based on our reading, then, we can begin to develop a list of apostate beliefs: Abortion is okay; homosexuality is okay; divorce is okay, etc. They will also teach that: God is not sovereign; Christ was not born of a virgin; Christ is not the only son of God; there is no literal hell; and that each human being controls his or her own destiny. Do you think these things are being taught and believed today?
- In this portion of Paul’s letter, of whom is he talking about? Who will rebel, who will believe a lie for the truth, and who will be falling away? (No, it’s not the world around us; it’s the Church!) Paul is telling us that in end times, the Church will rebel and will fall away from the truth. Do we see this happening today? It will be the mission of the Laodicean church to attract people "with itching ears," and to teach apostasy. By the time Christ returns, the church will have completely adopted world beliefs and philosophies and will have completely abandoned the Gospel. No wonder they will think that the Antichrist really is God!
- Read again Daniel 7:23-27. You will see references to "changing times and laws." This refers to the Antichrist being allowed to actually change physical laws, seasons of the year, and so on. God will send a great delusion and allow the Antichrist to mislead all who have abandoned or rejected the gospel. What else can we learn about the Antichrist from this passage and Paul’s letter? Who are the saints he persecutes, and how long does he persecute them?
- Now have a look at Daniel 11:21 through 12:13. While you may not understand it all, this refers to the reign of the Antichrist. List some of the main things that he will do. Can you find the mid-tribulation point in this story? Can you also find specifically what Matthew 24:14-16 refers to?
- Paul states two things that we are to do in light of the end time information that we have been provided. Read 2 Thessalonians 2:13 through 3:5. What are the two things we are to do? (see especially verses 2:15 and 3:5)
- Make a list of the "teachings" or "traditions" that we are to hold on to. What are the teachings that are the most-likely to be challenged as the time of Christ’s second coming approaches? What are some of the ways that we can stand firm? And finally, as you consider these questions, consider that if you do not know what the fundamental doctrines of the church are and what God’s word teaches, how will you stand fast, and how will you know the truth versus a lie? If ever there is a time to study God’s Holy Word, it is now.
Paul warns us, then, to be vigilant. Grounded in God’s Holy Word and His love and perseverance, we look forward to His second coming. Furthermore, as followers of Christ, we look forward to living and reigning with Him. May this study encourage you as Paul encouraged the Church at Thessalonica.
Thanks for being faithful in studying with us.