II Thes. 1:1-2:12
Shortly after writing the first epistle to the Thessalonians, it became necessary to follow it up with a second letter. Paul had attempted to correct some misconceptions about the final return of Christ, but had been misunderstood. The Thessalonians were still expecting Jesus to return soon and feared that some who had already died would not share in this glorious event. Some even feared that He had already come and that they had been left out.
The Thessalonian church was still under great persecution and Paul thanked God and praised them for their faith and perseverance in the face of such difficulties. He continued to use them as an example of faith to encourage other churches.
Paul pointed out again the judgment that is to come upon those who persecute God’s children and the rest that they will receive if they continue to endure. This punishment is described as a flaming fire with everlasting destruction and separation from God.
There were some events that must take place before the coming of Christ. Paul said that there would be the falling away. This falling away would be a period of time in which the world would refuse to follow God. In all likelihood, this apostasy would be led by the man of sin, the man of perdition (the antichrist).
Since that time the church has gone through a long period of apostasy and there have been many who have usurped God’s authority on earth. Even today there are those in the church who are teaching false doctrine. It is very possible that those events that Paul mentioned have already taken place.
Paul reminded the Thessalonians that he had told them those things when he was with them. Even at that time, there were lawless people beginning to undermine the church with false teachings.
The antichrist was described by Paul as an agent of Satan. His very being was in opposition to Christ. He would come with power, signs and lying wonders and deceive the people. God would allow those who would not love and receive His truth to believe the deceptions of the antichrist and be destroyed. (Stop! Look! Listen! Are we receiving and obeying the truth or are we being deceived by what some man is saying?)
Paul was thankful for the submissive attitude of the Thessalonians as they had shown their love for the truth. That was in contrast with those previously described as following after the antichrist. They had received the promise that was delivered at the beginning to all Gentiles who obeyed the call of the gospel.