"But I thought you said, Wait, what? I need some help clarifying something." We say these words and phrases when communication may not have been as clear as the other person had thought. This is the case with 2 Thessalonians. This letter is written just a few months after 1 Thessalonians to clarify Jesus' return further.
When Paul first wrote to the Thessalonians, they were in danger of losing hope in the second coming. Now, they have shifted to the opposite extreme- some of them thought that Jesus would be coming at any minute, and this mindset had produced believers who were being idle and using it as an excuse not to do anything… "Well, Jesus is coming soon, so there's no need to finish that; I better not start that project…" The main focus of this chapter is to correct this false impression made on the minds of the Thessalonians regarding the second coming of Jesus, either by Paul's letter or by one forged in his name. They had the impression that this event was about to occur or that they were even in its midst.
This belief had produced worry or anxiety in their minds; 2 Thessalonians 2:2 says, "Don't be so easily shaken or alarmed by those who say that the day of the Lord has already begun. Don't believe them, even if they claim to have had a spiritual vision, a revelation, or a letter supposedly from us."
It is crucial to notice that the Thessalonians would be shaken or troubled by the thought of being in the Great Tribulation only if Paul had taught them that they would escape that period through the rapture. Otherwise, they would, in a sense, welcome the Great Tribulation as a necessary prelude to the Second Coming. But Paul had clearly taught them that they would escape God's judgment on this Earth during the period known as the Day of the Lord. (1 Thessalonians 4:14–18).
As we read through these scriptures, sometimes it can produce fear, but what we have to remember when looking at the details of Jesus' second coming is that Jesus wins, as do all the believers, so as believers have nothing to fear because God is with us and will continue to be with us.
Paul tries to restore the balance between the two views by describing certain events that would happen before Christ's return. One of those signs would be the arrival or coming of power of the antichrist. Here, Paul describes the man of lawlessness. A person who uses the power of satan will perform counterfeit miracles to gain control and power and draw believers away from God. We have to watch and inspect miracles and supernatural activity because Paul says they will produce miracles, but one of the signs of real vs. counterfeit is where the credit is going.
We must continue to look at the purpose of the miracles we see. In scripture, we see Jesus drawing the attention back to God, salvation, and forgiveness of sins, but the anti-Christ will draw all attention back to himself. If we encounter people who draw attention back to themselves, it is something we need to keep our eyes on. The anti-Christ will claim to be God and demand our worship, but we already know the signs of the times and will not worship anyone other than the one true God. Paul encourages these individuals to keep their eyes on Jesus and not let themselves be deceived even by miracles!
Paul concludes this chapter with the encouragement to stand firm; his encouragement to the believers was that they already knew the truth because he shared it with them. They don't have to be misled or worried about being deceived if they "stand firm and hold to the traditions which they were taught, whether by word of mouth or by letter" (v. 15).
Paul was telling the believers to know the Bible even before it was called the Bible. In other words, the only way to know the truth is by learning God's Word for ourselves. We see Paul often speaking of those who turn away or refuse to listen, and it is an excellent reminder for us to keep our eyes on the Word and Jesus so that we will not be led astray by the events of the days, either by teachings or by supernatural power.
Today, let us STAND FIRM in our faith, knowing that Jesus is coming back and winning in the end.