Well, just as I suspected, I had one person offer their opinion as to where to go next on our journey through the End Times [thanks Kurtitos!!]. So the plan for the next however many posts will be to take some Scripture, in both the Old and New Testaments, and relate them to the Last Days.
With that being said, we are going to start with a portion out of II Thessalonians 2...verses 1-12:
Paul starts off by correcting a report that was floating around then that the "day of the Lord has already come." From what I have researched, at that time, the people of Thessalonica were undergoing some intense persecution. And since Paul had taught them that the last days were to involve intense trouble and persecution, they were convinced by others [and evidently by a false letter supposedly written by Paul] that the Lord's second coming had already happened.
Paul corrected them by saying "that day will not come, until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness [the Antichrist, 'the man doomed to destruction'] is revealed...". Paul goes on to say a few verses later that the lawless one will revealed when the "one that is holding him back...is taken away."
So what is Paul talking about?
Well first off, the "rebellion" Paul talks about is the massive falling away that occurs during the last days [which we read about in Matthew 24]. This falling away is termed, apostasy. The word apostasy is defined as "departure, an abandoning of a position formerly held."
The next major event Paul describes is the unveiling of the "man of lawlessness." This person is the Antichrist. This person [and it will actually be a person] will "oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped." He will set up an idol of himself in the temple, which we know is the "abomination of desolation." Paul says that the "coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing." He will make everyone worship him and will claim to be God [Revelation 13]. The prophet Daniel [which we will go into greater detail later] describes this Antichrist in very intense detail. In Daniel 9 it says that this lawless one will sign a counterfeit universal peace treaty and 3 1/2 years into the false peace he will break the treaty. This, and the setting up of the abomination of desolation, will mark the beginning of the Great Tribulation.
Now what about this restrainer Paul talks about in verses 6-7? Some say that the restrainer is the Holy Spirit; that the Holy Spirit is the One who is holding the Antichrist back and then one day He will step out of the way and let the Antichrist do his thing. Now this may be the case, but I have a different idea.
I will pause here and say that these are MY thoughts. Please get into the Word, pray and ask questions as to the validity of what I am writing. If you have a contradiction, post a comment and we will discuss. I like discussion!!
I believe the one that is "holding him back" comes out of Revelation 17. The woman described here is a False Prophet that the Antichrist will use to gain his stronghold on earth. Another label this woman has is the "Harlot Babylon." This woman, or "prostitute", "sits on many waters." The angel that is showing John these visions says that the waters here are "peoples, multitudes, nations and languages" [Revelation 17:15]. It says that the prostitute "sits" on the waters and that the "inhabitants of the earth were intoxicated with the wine of her adulteries." To me this means that this woman is going to be very influential on earth. In verse 4, it describes her appearance: dressed in purple and covered in precious jewels. The color purple indicates royalty and the fact she had a lot gold and precious jewels on her could mean that she is very rich as well.
Also, it says in this chapter that the prostitute was riding on a "scarlet beast with seven heads and ten horns." The beast once was and "will come up out of the Abyss and go to his destruction", which Paul writes about back in II Thessalonians 2. The beast will be "overthrown with the breath of His mouth and destroyed by the splendor of His coming." Anyway, back to Revelation 17, the fact that she was riding on the beast means that they will be partnering together during the first 3 1/2 years of the final 7 years of this age. They will be partnering together in bringing about this false peace.
The ten horns on the beast's head are 10 earthly kings who will eventually give the beast all of their power and authority in order to "make war against the Lamb." These 10 kings will hate the prostitute and together with the beast/Antichrist will kill the prostitute [verse 16].
So, now with the prostitute out of the way, the Antichrist and all of his evil are revealed and unleashed. The false peace on earth is over and the Great Tribulation begins.
Comments are encouraged!
Grace and peace.