Concerning II Thessalonians 2:1-8
1. Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,
2. that ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.
3. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
4. Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.
5. Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?
6. And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.
7. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.
8. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming.
From time to time, I receive inquiries about 2nd Thessalonians 2:1-8. As far as following exactly what Paul is saying, this passage is about as difficult as anything that he ever wrote. Keep in mind that if you had the original handwritten copy of Paul's epistle, and you were able to read his Greek as easily as you could read anything in your native tongue, you would find it difficult to understand. The scripture says so.
Speaking of Paul's epistles, Peter said this; As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction, 2nd Peter 3:16. Just how does anyone expect to produce a bible in which they are easy to understand? If such a bible was produced, it would be inauthentic. An authentic translation of the Pauline epistles will often be hard to understand and subject to being wrestled by unstable commentators.
2nd Thessalonians 2:1-8 is just such a passage. Pre-tribulation, post-tribulation, and mid-tribulation theologians all cite these verses to prove their particular persuasion as to when the church will be caught up together with Jesus Christ. The King James Bible fulfills two requirements here. It is exactly accurate as to what Paul is saying, and it is a difficult passage often wrestled to the destruction of those who wrestle it.
Compare the same passage in the ESV:
1. Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we ask you, brothers,[a]
2 not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by a spirit or a spoken word, or a letter seeming to be from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come.
3 Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness[b] is revealed, the son of destruction,[c]
4 who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God.
5 Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things?
6 And you know what is restraining him now so that he may be revealed in his time.
7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. Only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way.
8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming.
It really is much easier to understand and it is quite misleading. Do you want an easy to read map that will leave you lost in the woods, or do you want an accurate one that can lead you home? For one thing, in verse 2 Paul is speaking about the Day of Christ, not the Day of the Lord. The ESV would have you think that someone is alleging that the day has come and gone. The King James Bible says, "Day of Christ" and warns about people saying that it is at hand.
The King James Bible gives a far more precise preview of what is to come. It says, "a falling away". The ESV calls it "the rebellion". Your King James Bible shows us a time when people who have the truth fall away from it. The ESV pictures a specific rebellion. That is very misleading. A falling away is more like the leaves falling off of trees. Some turn and drop quickly, others take much longer but eventually turn and drop. We are seeing that today and have watched its progress for over a century.
Verse 3 in the ESV hides the obvious relationship between the antichrist and Judas Iscariot by obscuring the reference to John 17:2.
Verse 4 in the ESV hides the fact that the man of sin exalts himself against God himself as well as any pretenders. The ESV would have you think that the man of sin only contradicts false gods.
Verse 6 butchers the meaning. The key to the verse is "he who now letteth".
Verse 6 in the ESV is best thought of as a joke. Jesus kills the antichrist with his breath. We are not even sure even Jesus even comes back because it says, "the appearance of his coming". Does he come back then or not? You wouldn't know with the little kids toy called the ESV.
In the following paper which I will post below, I will give a way to look at those verses keeping them exactly as Paul wrote them and the King James Bible renders them. It may be that you disagree. That is not the point here. The point is that I can take his words exactly as written and come up with a coherent understanding. I sometimes object or disagree with other King James Bible believers, but I have the utmost respect for those who develop their ideas and thoughts about God and his works solely from within the pages of the King James Bible. I only post the following to show that it can be done.
Verse 1. Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, (Second coming)
and by our gathering together unto him. (Rapture)
Verse 2. That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor
by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.
( at this point you can insert Matthew 24: 25-27, Behold, I have told you before. Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not, For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. The good Apostle is merely reiterating what Jesus Christ himself taught about the Day of Christ. It is the day when the heavens reveal the wrath of God and Jesus returns with his saints. It is to this that Paul refers in the first chapter of II Thessalonians.)
Verse 3. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition.
( We see two requirements to be met before that day of which the Lord in Matthew 24 as well as all of the prophets spoke can come.
The Lord will not return as in Isaiah 63:1-4 until:
1. There is a great falling away.
2. The Antichrist appears.)
Verse 4. Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.
(This is again just reiterating what Jesus Christ already said. He is plowing no new ground here. When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:), Matthew 24:15. )
Verse 5. Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?
(See, nothing is new here. This has been the standard apostolic teaching received directly from Jesus Christ.)
Verse 6. And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.
(Aha! At last there is something new. There is now something new added to what has already been known. Concerning the antichrist, what is his time to be revealed? What is withholding that time? Now they know. The next verses will tell them. )
Verse 7. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.
(We know that the antichrist is spiritually active even now. John tells us that. Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time, I John 2:18. Why doesn’t the mystery of iniquity or the spirit of antichrist consume us all? Because the Holy Ghost is allowing men to depart from iniquity. Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity, II Timothy 2:19.
That’s quite a name for a seal.
We are sealed:
1. unto the day of redemption, Ephesians 4:30.
2. By the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts, II Corinthians 1:22.
By this seal we can depart from iniquity. This is a task that is beyond the ability of the adamic nature. We are not forced to depart from iniquity. The seal will LET us. How long will he let us? Until he be taken out of the way. You can be sure that when the Holy Ghost is taken away, the vessels in which he resides will also go.
Verse 8. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming.
(Now that man of whom we have heard and who the Lord will destroy in Revelation 19:11-15 can be revealed. He is given free rein to his destruction and to the destruction of the damned.
If you disagree with what I have written, please notice that I am trying to prove that a person doesn't need to dumb down the bible to get a coherent meaning. If you have taken these same verses and honored them in their context and come to a different understanding, I have great respect for you. We may disagree, but we don't disagree on the text. God bless you for that.