My sincere prayer for the reader is that the Lord would bless you in your desire to serve Him and that he would lead you in all truth. For despite the multitudes who profess a faith in Christ today, there seems to be a real lack of servants who earnestly desire to know and abide in the truth. This saddens me greatly, for surely Jesus is the Truth, and if we are not seeking the truth we are not seeking Him.
And yet this is evidence of the truth of Scripture which foretold such an apostasy would take place as the man of lawlessness is revealed before the coming of our Lord. For before the parousia or coming of the true Jesus whom we so anxiously await (2 Thess 2:1) is the coming of a false Jesus (2 Thess 2:9). And for those who are longing for the day of the Lord (2 Thess 2:2) but not discerning this counterfeit Christ, Amos reminds us that such will be a day of darkness and not light (Amos 5:18-20).
From the very beginning, in opposition to Christ’s work in the true sons, this man of lawlessness has been revealing himself in the false sons (2 Thess 2:7). For surely just as Christ is revealed in the sons of righteousness, so is that man of lawlessness, the antichrist, revealed in the sons of disobedience. And as the mystery of godliness is great (1 Tim 3:16), which is Christ in you, the hope of glory (Col 1:27), so too is the mystery of lawlessness (2 Thess 2:7), which is a false Christ in you, a false hope of glory (Eph 2:2, 1 Thess 5:2-3). And as the true sons are the image and glory of Christ, who is the image and glory of God, so are the false sons the image and glory of the antichrist, the man of lawlessness, who is the image and glory of Satan, the false god of this age.
I have come to believe that this is the Christ in whom the multitudes have put their faith, so that although he opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship and takes his seat in the temple of God, which is the Church (1 Cor 3:16), displaying himself as being God, still they do not see nor understand. For because they have rejected righteousness and holiness and their hearts are in agreement with him (cf. Eph 4:20-24) they are completely deluded to believe the lie that he is the Christ.
For just like the golden calf, that image of the beast which so many declared to be the god who delivered them from their bondage in Egypt and to whom they bowed down at the foot of the holy mount while awaiting Moses’ return–which things were written down for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come (1 Cor 10:11)–so is this man of lawlessness, this spirit of antichrist who with a form of godliness masquerades as the true Christ but in fact is the very image of the beast Satan. For in like manner have the multitudes today declared him to be the god who has delivered them from their bondage to sin (although they are yet slaves to sin) and bowed down to him at the foot of Mount Zion (Heb 12:22) while awaiting Jesus’ return. Just like that golden calf he is a god they do not have to serve in faith–the faith that, in opposition to everything in the carnal realm which tells them otherwise, believes that God’s grace does enable them to walk above the world and its ways in righteousness and holiness. For he is a god they can see with the eyes of their flesh–those eyes that see no farther than the carnal realm where it is impossible for men to walk in righteousness and holiness. And just like the golden calf he is a god more pleasing to their flesh, indeed, who is given to them in accordance with the deception of their own fleshly desires. For as Paul told us would happen, his coming has been in accord with all the activity of Satan: “with every deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved.”
And it is for this reason–because they have not loved the truth so as to crucify their fleshly desires and be united with the true Jesus in his death so they may likewise be united with Him in His life and thus truly be saved from their sins–that God Himself sends upon them a deluding influence so that they might believe what is false. God gives them over to believe the lie their hearts so earnestly desire–that they are saved and have peace although they walk in the stiff-necked, stubborn rebellion of their hearts‑‑in order that they all may be condemned who will not believe the truth, but, in truth, take pleasure in wickedness (2 Thess 2:7-12).
May our God and Father deliver each of us from all error and deception, that we might be counted among those beloved by the Lord for whom Paul gave thanks, whom God has chosen from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth (2 Thess 2:13).