2 Thessalonians 2:1–12 (NKJV)
1 Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, 2 not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come. 3 Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, 4 who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.II Thessalonians 2:1-5
5 Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things?
In this passage, Paul moves into a follow-up discussion from the first letter concerning the coming of Jesus Christ. Whereas the concern in the first letter was the order of rapture, in this case it addresses the possibility that Christians might miss the coming altogether, perhaps unaware of it. Paul gives them definite signs of the times that must come before the rapture. A great falling away will occur, the son of perdition (man of sin) must be revealed, and the desecration of the temple will happen prior to the coming of the Lord.
6 And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time. 7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. 8 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. 9 The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, 10 and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11 And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, 12 that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.II Thessalonians 2:6-12
Paul further lets the Thessalonians know that as long as the Holy Spirit is in the earth (He who now restrains) that none of the works of the antichrist will come to pass. After the restraint is lifted, the lawless one will be revealed, and will show signs, power, lying wonders in the earth in order to deceive those who do not stand for Christ. God will send strong delusions and allow the evil to believe the lie and be condemned for their rejection of Christ. Those who traffic in unrighteousness will be destroyed.
Paul seeks to encourage the Thessalonians in two ways. First, he wants to correct the untrue teachings that perhaps the day of the Lord had already come. Although the signs of the times are already happening in the day of Paul, the fullness of those fulfillments and the time for Christ’s return had not. He was not wandering in the wilderness, not was he in the city. The second thing was to encourage the Christians to hold true to their faith and follow Christ until He comes. This encouragement is still valid for us today. Do not stop believing. Don’t doubt His coming. Be watching and waiting, for His return is not many days away!