Wednesday: The Antichrist Revealed
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Read 2 Thessalonians 2:8-10.

Image © Lars Justinen from GoodSalt.com

How do we understand these events? What’s especially important in all this about the phrase, “they received not the love of the truth”?


The man of sin was introduced in 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4. Through much of Christian history he has operated to undermine God’s law (particularly the Sabbath) and to usurp powers that belong only to Christ. In passages such as Daniel 7:20-25 (the little horn) and Revelation 13:1-7 (the beast from the sea), this same power operates after the fall of the pagan Roman Empire, combining both religious and secular authority to persecute the saints of God. The only power in history that fits all the specifications of these prophecies is the papacy. Many interpreters from the Middle Ages, and even to this day, have designated this institution as the antichrist. (Only in the past century or two have the vast majority of Christians moved away from this interpretation, an interesting move in itself in light of our understanding of last-day events). This identification of the papacy fits the specifications of 2 Thessalonians 2 that the man of sin would be both masculine (a person) and neuter (a world power or institution).

In verse 7, “mystery of lawlessness” (NKJV), is an appropriate designation for his activity. But at the close of history, just before the Second Coming, there will be an even more world wide, open defiance of God and His laws. The continuity of powers, both in this passage and elsewhere (Daniel 7 and Revelation 13), indicates that the papacy will play a major role at the end of time, as well.

What earlier work of God in the course of history will the final deception counterfeit? Compare 2 Thess. 2:9 with Acts 2:22.


Today’s passage draws back the curtain to reveal an even greater antichrist behind the one that has operated among the nations in the course of history. Satan himself is the author and finisher of the deceptions of the end time. As the return of Jesus approaches, events will force him into a final act of desperation. He will throw caution to the winds and appear in person to mimic the earthly ministry of Jesus (see Friday’s lesson). Through counterfeit miracles he attempts to draw people’s attention away from the gospel (the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus) and even the Second Coming itself.

Dwell on this idea of “the love of the truth.” How do we “receive” it? Why is having this love so crucial for anyone who doesn’t want to get caught up in any spiritual deception, especially in the last days? How can we learn, even now, to “receive the love of the truth?”

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Wednesday: The Antichrist Revealed — 11 Comments

  1. Antichrist - Pauls sources and hope

    As far as antichrist is concerned, the apostle Paul is drawing information from Daniel and Ezekiel. Speaking of the the “little horn” as a power to “exalt and magnify itself above every God” (Daniel 11:36; 7:8,20,25) Paul is appealing to these statements visualizing this development beginning at the present time, continuing in future and climaxing at the coming of Christ for judgment (2 Thess. 2:4,6-8). It`s the same antichristian power all the time up to the end, alas Paul sees it.

    As prefigured by the king of Tyrus in the book of Ezekiel, this power will take its seat within the temple of God claiming to be God himself (Ezekiel 28:2; 2 Thess 2:4). As the temple in view is not the heavenly sanctuary, Paul applies it to the church (1 Cor. 3:16-17; 2 Cor. 6:16). Antichrist will develop from within the church in post-roman history (Daniel 7:7-8,19-20).

    The apostle Paul saw only the shadow of these events he expected to take place in future, alas the book of Daniel was sealed up to the time of the end, in which time knowledge regarding this prophecy would increase (Daniel 12:4). As history has developed, we see more clearly the development of antichrist in retrospect, casting its shadows into times to come.

    History is preparing the way for Christ`s coming, even the development of antichrist within church history. Our focus is the coming of Christ, the hope of glory. There is hope over against all darkness of history and church history preparing for the great climax of all history.

    Winfried Stolpmann

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    • If what you mean by, "Was done" as the antichrist having already come and not future then I wonder what John was saying in 1 Jn 2:18 when he refered to "many antichrists." Isn't that saying that there is more than one?

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      • The antichrists from historical perspective

        From the historical perspective the antichrists in johannine passages are described as liars who deny that Jesus has come into the flesh (1 John 4:3). As they believed that matter is evil they could not imagine that Christ could be incarnated. Further they differentiated between Jesus as the historical Jesus and Christ as a heavenly person. The heavenly Christ, according to the gnostics, had come upon the historical Jesus at baptism only to leave him before crucifixion. Hence they could not believe that Jesus is the Christ holding both to be two different persons (1 John 2:22).

        John knew hat the one antichrist was to come (1 John 2:18a). The antichrists of his own time were forerunners of the antichrist the apostle Paul was describing as springing up within the temple of God which is His church (1 Cor. 3:16; 2 Cor. 6:16; Eph. 2:21) and developing in a process of apostacy leading up to judgement at Christ`s coming (2 Thess 2:4-8). On the other hand, the antichrists in the johannine epistle do not operate within the church. They have left the church working from the outsinde (1. John 2:19).

        I hope this will help to understand the johannine passages from this historical background.

        Winfried Stolpmann

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        • I appreciate your treatment of this subject and I believe much in what you have said, however, I still have some questions.

          First, it is generally believed that John wrote his gospel as an apologetic against the concepts of Gnosticism but what he addresses seems to have been a precursor to the actual Gnostic movement. Wikipedia has this to say about Gnosticism:

          “In the past many scholars believed that gnosticism pre-dated Christianity, but now it is generally accepted that gnosticism developed into a coherent movement only in the second century CE. . . Although some scholars still postulate pre-Christian gnosticism, no evidence has been found to date” (Wikipedia, article on “Gnosticism” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gnosticism).

          In other words what existed in John’s time was highly unorganized much like the aberrant theology we sometimes find in Christian circles along with Adventistism.

          Second, John calls both groups antichrist so he apparently saw a definite connection between the two. If he didn’t he would have used different terms. For this reason I still feel that the term antichrist describes the base philosophy of that being against Christ. Therefore I personally don’t view 1 Jo 2:18 as being fragmented separating the two groups that much philosophically. To me there is a connection that denies Christ even though it is in two different ways. One says that the physical Christ didn’t really come and the other says that it is the physical representation of Christ that has come back as God on earth. So for me both groups are a form of antichrist which is descriptive of whose side they are on. We are talking here about a base philosophy that both groups manifest in different ways.

          Third, I think we need to remember that those that left were once in the church and left because they differed from what the apostles were teaching. John was talking about problems that started in the church and in all likelihood was still causing trouble since his Gospel came some time after his epistles. Whether its source came from outside as a theological influence or not is beside the point – it was still a thistle that grew up among the wheat.

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  2. I appreciate 'these lessons' very much; having a knowledge of the culture of the places and the people among whom the Apostle Paul and his helpers ministered--helps me to understand the Scriptures better, and see how they can benefit our particular Church, and us as individuals.
    Thanks to all of you who prepared these studies.
    May God bless you abundantly.
    Sincerely,
    Beverly Fleming.

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  3. I do understand these events which will continue until Jesus returns--but with Islam being a big part of the persecution of Christians now--could you tell me--Are there are any scriptures, or anywhere in the spirit of prophecy that speaks of THIS? Is Islam somehow connected to the persecution that all of us who remain true to ALL of God's 10 commandments (and are still alive)-will suffer?
    I would appreciate whatever light you can shed on that.
    God Bless,
    Beverly Fleming.

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  4. The love of Truth is key here! Truth itself for the sinner means change! When the phrase "received not the love of Truth" is used, He's saying received not Christ Jesus, Who is the Truth, the Life and the Way! We must be changed in every way to be like Christ. So when people say they love the Lord and He's their everything, but won't obey His Word, won't allow the Holy Spirit to make the changes in their carnal lives. They're lying to themselves and God calls their worship vain. Anyone which does not allow the Truth to correct their steps, received not the love of Truth!

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  5. To my brother Fleming, we are not here to attack people or to call them names but the bottom line is simple - antichrist refers to a person/sect/belief that does not believe in Jesus as God that He was born, died to save the whole human race, and resurrected - that is the whole gospel and message of our salvation.

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  6. Beverly,

    Your question is interesting and important:

    "with Islam being a big part of the persecution of Christians now–could you tell me–Are there are any scriptures, or anywhere in the spirit of prophecy that speaks of THIS? Is Islam somehow connected to the persecution that all of us who remain true to ALL of God’s 10 commandments (and are still alive)-will suffer?"

    It should be noted that in recent events it is NOT Islam persecuting Christians. When someone calls himself/herself "Adventist" and commits atrocities against humanity such David Koresh did, we did right and telling the Word that he was not one of us.

    Sincere, peace loving Muslims have done the same. You may have seen them risking their own lives on the streets with big banners which read: "Those thugs are not us."

    What does the Bible really say about the descendants of Abraham through Ismael?

    Ishmael: meaning God hears, was the son of Abraham and Hagar, the Egyptian maid of his wife Sarah. When Sarah had found herself not having children, she arranged to have a child with Abraham by Hagar acting as a surrogate mother (Genesis 16:1-4), even though God had specifically stated that a child (i.e. Isaac) would be born to Sarah in due time.

    Ishmael was born at Mamre, when Abraham was 86, 11 years after Abraham's arrival in what would become the land of Israel (Genesis 16:3). He grew up to be a man of the desert wilderness, with a wild and hostile attitude toward people, exactly as God described him to his mother before he was born:

    "Behold, you are with child, and shall bear a son; you shall call his name Ishmael; because The Lord has given heed to your affliction. He shall be a wild ass of a man, his hand against every man and every man's hand against him; and he shall dwell over against all his kinsmen." (Genesis 16:11-12 RSV).
    When a feast was held to celebrate the weaning of Isaac, who was born 13 years later, Ishmael caused trouble by insulting and mocking his little brother (Genesis 21:8-9). After Sarah, who by then had come to dislike both Hagar and Ishmael, saw what he was doing, she said to Abraham "Cast out this slave woman with her son; for the son of this slave woman shall not be heir with my son Isaac." (Genesis 21:10 RSV)

    Abraham opposed Sarah's demand - despite Ishmael's difficult personality, Abraham loved him and did not want to see him go. God however settled the matter:

    "But God said to Abraham, "Be not displeased because of the lad and because of your slave woman; whatever Sarah says to you, do as she tells you, for through Isaac shall your descendants be named. And I will make a nation of the son of the slave woman also, because he is your offspring." (Genesis 21:12-13 RSV)
    Hagar and Ishmael were sent away, but they were not abandoned. God appeared and spoke to Hagar, assuring her that He would watch over them and see them prosper (Genesis 21:17-19). "And God was with the lad, and he grew up; he lived in the wilderness, and became an expert with the bow. He lived in the wilderness of Paran; and his mother took a wife for him from the land of Egypt" (Genesis 21:20-21 RSV).

    The descendants of Ishmael occupy a vast territory (i.e. all of the Arab nations) in the Middle East, about 150 times larger (and including rich oil reserves) than the descendants of Isaac have in Israel.

    Muslims have been blessed BUT they still need the saving truth of the Gospel in Jesus. I am actively seeking to become friends with my Muslims brothers in my neighborhood in Washington. Please pray for me.

    jimmy munoz

    ps. there are Muslims who are accepting Christ, today in 2012! and becoming Adventists, take a look at http://gmeuadventist.org/

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  7. I couldn't help wondering when the identinty of the man of sin would be revealed until I read this lesson. Most people shun prophecy these days and instead prefer to hear what pleases there ears, but the Bible has given adequate warnings and only those who don't heed the warnings will perish. The text in 2 Thessalonians 2 is very clear about the man of sin and the protestant churches once proclaimed this but a dramatic shift has come clearly pointing to the impending doom. I have been blessed.

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