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The Antichrist #2

17/10/2020

The Antichrist #2

John, while agreeing with Paul that there will be a final last ‘Antichrist,’ writes that there will be many ‘antichrists.’  They were there in his day, and they are still around!

Let’s Talk:-

  • The Thessalonians in 2nd Thess 2 were worried!  What was bothering them?
  • John writes about ‘the Antichrist’ – what dies Paul call him?
  • If there ARE ‘many antichrists’ today, what should the believer do to prevent them doing their work?

Last study, we noted the position of the Reformed Confessions, and noted that our forefathers earnestly believed that the Pope of Rome was the Antichrist.  We wondered if the uncapitalised word ‘antichrist’ could be a reference to the ‘office’ of antichrist rather than the final evil Man of Sin?  Did you decide if you think the Pope is an antichrist, or is ‘the jury still out?’  This study concludes our short examination of this subject…

READ: 2nd Thessalonians 2:6-11.

What’s Hindering Him1 Thess 2:6-8   

Now, it looks like there is something or someone holding the antichrist back, – something restraining him from appearing.  Many commentators think that Paul has in mind the secular authorities of that age, the Roman emperor and empire.  In Romans 13 (Read Romans 13) Paul has argued that the ‘Powers-that-be’ are ordained by God to punish wickedness and reward the good – even though they are wicked in and of themselves.  Paul may not have wanted to be more outspoken and explicit here, because of the outright wickedness of the Caesars of that time, but the Thessalonians knew who was talking about.   Hendriksen notes that the restraint is described in two phrases:-

  1. What is restraining. V6 A THING is restraining.
  2. He who now restrains. V7 A PERSON is restraining.

Hendriksen concludes that this is significant.  The Governor (as embodied in for example the Queen) and the system of law and order (The police, under the control of the legislature for example.).   Both of these are holding evil in check.  The Government and the forces of Law and Order are not ‘pro-Christian’ any more than the forces of Caesar were.  

Let’s Talk:

  • WHAT or WHO MIGHT RESTRAIN THE ANTICHRIST IN THIS AGE?
  • SHOULD A CHRISTIAN BE CONCERNED WITH THE TENDENCY TO ‘POLITICAL POLICING?’   Is evil being allowed to prosper by those who should hinder it?
  • Thomas Paine, an English born American philosopher, from the time of the break from England, wrote: “Society in every state is a blessing but government even in its best state is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one.”  Do you agree?

2 What’ll Happen to Him? 1 Thess 2:8  

There is no doubt that the Antichrist will be defeated at the last day, as will all those who work iniquity, but note the suddenness of this.  There are theories that the antichrist will wage war against Christ and the church and almost prevail.  That’s not what Paul is teaching us here.  On the last day, Jesus will return to this earth in victory, to judge the world, and to destroy everything that is evil.  As for the final ‘Man of Sin’ the very breath of the mouth of the Lord will consume him.   

3 Who’s Backing Him? 1 Thess 2:9 

There is no doubt where the antichrist will get his authority and the resources to do his evil work.  He is the very spawn of the devil himself.  He is working to the devil’s plan, even his appearance on the world’s stage is at a time when the devil thinks it will further his great plan.    Look at those resources as they are listed here:-

  • Satan’s power.  It’s seriously limited at the minute of course, for Satan is on a heavy chain!  But he does seem to have power over those who are in his grip, and the antichrist/s are most definitely acting out his commands.  
  • Satan’s signs and wonders.  There’s much talk about signs and wonders in the church of today – how many of them are false?  Miracle healings?  Raising from the dead?  
  • Satan’s lies.  He is the father of all lies, and the antichrist/s will have no problem with lying in order to achieve his/their ends.  Many Christians will be deceived by these people.

4 Who’s With Him? 1 Thess 2:11-12  

Now remember that the Antichrist is seated in Christ’s kingdom – in the church.   So those who are his followers claim to be Christians, but they are far from being faithful servants of Jesus Christ.  They are described by Paul:-

  • They are perishing.  It is through the TRUTH that sinners are saved – the gospel, but these apostates did not believe the truth!  Worse still, they wouldn’t RECEIVE it – they wouldn’t apply it to themselves, and act upon it.
  • They have been ‘given over’ by God.  God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie.  They know or have some awareness of the gospel, God has been patient with them, they have been warned and pleaded with, but they reject him out of hand.  But you can only fly in the face of God for so long.  God does not tolerate wilful sin.  Romans 1:20-25 
  • They enjoyed their wickedness.  And this really is a wilful rebellion.  These people are not only wilfully sinning against the Lord, but they are enjoying their sin.  They are revelling in it, proud of it, boasting about it.  They are openly in rebellion. 

So, we have learned a little bit more abut the Antichrist and the antichrists.  We haven’t named anyone, or pointed the finger at anyone in particular.    One final question remains to be discussed:-

Let’s Talk:-

  • Should we worry more about the coming antichrist, or about the antichrists who are troubling the church today?

© BobMcEvoy October 2020

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