Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. 2 Thessalonians 2:3(NIV).
The most celebrated villain in history has already appeared and he’s here among us now. He’s you. He’s me. He is antichrist.
It seems like a fantastic proposition, the stuff of apocalyptic fiction, yet Paul says it’s true. Perhaps he will be a single person. John mentioned many “antichrists” meaning false leaders, people who lead others to reject Christ because he (and they) are anti-Christ, against Jesus Christ. Yet, in this verse, Paul mentions one man, the worst of the worst. It won’t be Satan; it will be a human; verse 9 corroborates this. Millenialists and tribulation believers look for the coming of this one man as the definitive marker that humanity has entered the end times. They’re probably right.
Yet you and I are men of lawlessness. You and I are against Christ. You and I are still steeped in our sins and daily rebelling against God. Hopefully we aren’t leading legions of gullible people away from Jesus, but when we lead lives of hypocrisy we lead one or a few. When you think about it, that may be even worse. I’m a hypocrite; so are you; so is Pope Francis, Franklin Graham, your aunt Myrtle, and everyone we know.
We’re sinful. We commit lawless acts every day, things that try to tear us away from the redemption of Jesus. As we get closer to the actual end times, things will get worse. Things that society used to forbid will become acceptable. Heinous events and unspeakable evils will become more and more common. People will lead lives that directly contradict even the small things Jesus taught. We will embrace petty evil and reject common good. Come to think of it, maybe we’re in the end times after all.
Or maybe not. Yet in those coming days, the worst of the worst of humanity will rise up and cause unheard of destruction. Nuclear war, widespread murder, the most vile kinds of apostasy you can dream up: whatever it will be it will be awful. And the thoughts that give him birth are the ones that tempt and hurt each of us now. We side with the man of lawlessness with every sin we undertake. Our roles may not make us world leaders, but perhaps people are even more effective one on one, at a personal level. If we’re anti-Christ, that can have deadly consequences.
The way out of that? Cling to Jesus; cling to faith in Him. Do whatever it takes to turn from temptations by growing closer to God. Turn our everyday lawlessness to everyday righteousness by letting Him make that change in us. And that’s a tougher road to follow.
For further reading: Mark 13:5, Matthew 24:10-12, Daniel 7:25, Revelation 13:5-6, 2 Thessalonians 2:4, 9
Again, come Lord Jesus and quickly.