What does 2 Thessalonians 2:8 mean?
ESV: 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.
NIV: And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming.
NASB: Then that lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will eliminate with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming;
CSB: and then the lawless one will be revealed. The Lord Jesus will destroy him with the breath of his mouth and will bring him to nothing at the appearance of his coming.
NLT: Then the man of lawlessness will be revealed, but the Lord Jesus will slay him with the breath of his mouth and destroy him by the splendor of his coming.
KJV: 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:
NKJV: And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming.
Verse Commentary:
This passage explains certain events which must take place before the day of the Lord. This instruction is being given by Paul to reassure Thessalonian Christians who are experiencing doubts. Among the events preceding the rapture are a large-scale "rebellion," or a "falling away" (2 Thessalonians 2:3) and the rise of a figure referred to as the man of lawlessness.

When the Holy Spirit's influence is reduced on this earth (2 Thessalonians 2:7), the man of lawlessness will be revealed, but he will come to a destructive end. Revelation 13:11–17 reveals the extraordinary power of the man of lawlessness. The man of lawlessness has power to make the whole world worship the first beast (Revelation 13:12). He performs great signs, including calling down fire from heaven. He animates a statue that he erects in honor of the first beast—a powerful political figure. The person described in this passage also controls commerce, imposing the death sentence on those who do not worship the first beast. However, the man of lawlessness is no match for the Lord Jesus. When Jesus descends from heaven to earth at the close of the tribulation, He will put an end to the man of lawlessness's wicked ways. He will destroy him with "the breath of his mouth."

Revelation 19:11–21 captures the dramatic scene in which Jesus returns and destroys the first beast and the man of lawlessness.
Verse Context:
Second Thessalonians 2:1–12 discusses the ''day of the Lord'' as an event from which Christians are exempt. Some Thessalonian believers were confused, thinking they had entered this time of hardship and judgment. Paul tells them to put such thinking aside, regardless of the source. He assures them the day of the Lord will not commence until a rebellion or apostasy occurs, followed by the emergence of the man of lawlessness. This figure will try to take on the role of God and deceive those who are lost and had rejected the truth. Empowered by Satan, the man of lawlessness will deceive unbelievers by performing signs and wonders. But at His coming, Jesus Christ will destroy the man of lawlessness.
Chapter Summary:
The Christians of Thessalonica have not missed out on the events described in Paul's prior letter. Despite what some teachers apparently thought, they were not experiencing the ''day of the Lord,'' a time of God's great wrath and judgment. As proof, Paul offers instruction on events which had yet to occur, prior to the coming of the day of the Lord. The first is a rebellion, or a ''falling away.'' The second is the emergence of a ''man of lawlessness'' who will demonstrate satanic power. This will correspond with God removing His restraint, in some way, leaving sin freer rein to enable His judgment.
Chapter Context:
Chapter 1 praised the Christians of Thessalonica for their spiritual growth and acts of love. This chapter seeks to correct a discouraging error present in that same church. Paul encourages these believers by stating that they have not missed out on the events described in his prior letter and have not entered into the judgment of the ''day of the Lord.'' Before that catastrophic time can begin, certain events must occur. These include a widespread spiritual apostasy and the rise of a satanically-empowered figure. Chapter 3 commends the value of a strong work ethic, both in a spiritual and a secular sense.
Book Summary:
Second Thessalonians follows Paul's earlier letter to the same group of Christian believers. In 1 Thessalonians, Paul had praised them for their faithfulness and given them reassurances about the day of the Lord. This included teachings on the rapture and a description of death as ''sleep'' from a Christian viewpoint. In this second letter, Paul corrects possible misunderstandings about those ideas. Among his teachings here are the importance of a good work ethic and God's impending judgment on sin, including judgment on those who persecute the Christian church. Paul also provides the Thessalonians with reassurances that they have not somehow missed out on Christ's return.
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