The Man of Sin in Second Thessalonians

     So although the tribulation would continue for the Christians in Thessalonica and in Jerusalem and elsewhere during the then-immediate future, it would finally be terminated altogether — for God's elect.   But then, "tribulation" and indeed even the wrath of God would be meted out in earnest on the reprobate — "when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from Heaven together with His mighty Angels, in flaming fire, taking vengeance on those who do not acknowledge God, and on on those who do not obey the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.   They shall be punished with everlasting destruction, away from the presence of the Lord, and away from the glory of His power — when He shall come to be glorified in His saints, and to be admired in all those who believe (because our testimony among you was believed), in that Day."3911 

     Indeed, on that Great Day, God will "pay back tribulation to those who trouble you.   And to you who are being troubled, [He will reward you with] rest, together with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from Heaven."3912 

     The second point concerns the nature of the increasing opposition to the Gospel — which the Christian Church would ultimately overcome before Christ would come in Final Judgment.   This opposition would come from both Judaists and Gentiles.   For the persecution the Thessalonian Christians were then suffering, especially from Judaists but also from Gentiles, would not soon end.  

      To the contrary, it would first even increase in intensity.3913   Indeed, the "Day of Christ" — that is, not only the coming of the Millennium but also the Final Day of the Lord (which terminates all tribulation for all Christians everywhere) — was still in the then-far-distant future.3913    

     Furthermore, the visible Final Coming of Christ could not take place — until quite some time after the arrival "first": (a) of "the falling away" (or "hee apostasia"); (b) of the subsequent unveiling of the "man of sin" [or ‘man of lawlessness’]; and (c) of Christ's later consuming "the lawless one…with the Spirit of His mouth"3914 (by Christians proclaiming His Spirit's Word).   Hopefully it does not need to be demonstrated that the "apostasia" is a great "ethical falling away downwards"; and not a "physical rapture upwards"! 

     It should be noted that "the falling away" is never stated to be a falling away of baptized people from Christianity.  Initially, it could very possibly be the then "falling away" of circumcised though Christ-rejecting Jews from Jesus Christ as the one-and-only promised "Minister of the circumcision for the truth of God in order to confirm the promises made to the fathers."3914  Thus: Whitby; Vitringa; Westcott & Hort; Warfield; and Boettner. 

     That would certainly agree with the known facts of the first-century Judaistic apostasy from the True Religion of the Older Testament.   And it would also agree with the known fact of first-century apostate Judaism's vicious persecution of Christianity as the one-and-only orthodox continuation of the True Religion of the Older Testament.   For Paul warned the Thessalonian Christians that it would apparently be some time after "the falling away" of the Judaists from the True Religion of the Older Testament — yet long before the visible and Final Return of Christ at the Last Judgment — that the "man of sin" or "man of lawlessness" would be unveiled. 

     Paul gave an urgent warning to the Thessalonian Christians.   Said he: "We beseech you, brethren, by the presence [or coming]3907 of our Lord Jesus Christ and by our gathering together unto Him, that you don't soon be shaken in mind or be troubled (either by spirit or by word or by letter from us) — as if the Day of Christ is present;3913 or even 'nearby' or 'close at hand.'   

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