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2 Thessalonians chapter 2

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What does 2 Thessalonians chapter 2 mean?

The second letter written to the church in Thessalonica began much as did the first: with praise for that church's spiritual growth and love. The first chapter was mostly a reminder to the Thessalonian Christians that their behavior was evidence of their salvation. It also reminded the readers of the fate awaiting those who reject God. This chapter tackles a weak point in this church's faith. Despite their spiritual growth, and Paul's earlier letter, it seems that the church at Thessalonica was plagued with wrong thinking about "the day of the Lord." This phrase refers to a time of wrath and judgment by God, also referred to as the tribulation. So, here in this second chapter, Paul clarifies the subject.

Paul first asks his readers to put aside their concerns that they might have entered that day. He writes about the timing of that upcoming period and cites prerequisites that must be met before the day of the Lord begins. There are two particular signs which will precede this judgment. The first is described as a rebellion, the second as the rise of a notable figure.

The first occurrence which must precede the day of the Lord is a rebellion. This is described in Greek using the phrase hē apostasia. The Greek phrase uses a definite article, implying a particular thing. In contrast, an indefinite article would have implied "a" rebellion, rather than "the" rebellion. This suggests a distinctive, special event or movement, rather than a general, long-term trend (2 Thessalonians 2:1–3).

Secondly, restraint against lawlessness will be removed and the man of lawlessness will be revealed. The implication is that God will stop, to some extent, holding back evil, and allow sin freer rein on earth. This mysterious figure, the man of lawlessness, opposes all worship except the worship of himself. In part, this means sitting in the temple and declaring that he is God. Empowered by Satan, this figure will deceive unbelievers by showing signs and wonders. However, at His second coming, Jesus will destroy the man of lawlessness and all who refused the truth and reveled in unrighteousness (2 Thessalonians 2:4–12).

Paul closes this chapter by thanking God for the believers at Thessalonica, whom God called to obtain the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ. In view of this bright prospect, Paul appeals to his readers to stand firm and adhere to the truths they had been taught. He prays that Jesus and the Father would encourage the Thessalonians and strengthen them in every good deed and word (2 Thessalonians 2:13–17).

The closing words of this chapter preview Paul's teaching found in chapter 3, focused on the importance of a strong work ethic.
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