2 Thessalonians 2

Antichrist will come before Jesus returns

1 Our friends, we must explain something now about the time when our Lord Jesus Christ will return. You know that, at that time, he will bring us all together to be with him. But we ask you something very strongly. 2 You must not let yourselves become confused or afraid easily because of false messages about the Lord's return. Those messages say that the day of the Lord has already happened. Perhaps somebody might say that God's Spirit has shown him a message like that. Or somebody might report that we said it. Or they might say that we wrote it in a letter.

2:2The ‘day of the Lord’ is not a 24-hour day but a longer time. It includes many events. It will be a time when God will beat all his enemies (Zephaniah 1:14-18). He will be angry with them and so he will kill them all (Isaiah 13:9). This will cause trouble on the earth (Isaiah 13:11; Amos 5:18-20). But it will be a very good time for those who love God. It is a way to talk about the time when God will make Israel's people free (Jeremiah 30:7-9; Joel 3:16). It also is a way to speak about the time when Jesus will return. And then he will start to rule on the earth.
2:2When he was with them, Paul had taught the Christians at Thessalonica about Jesus' return. See verse 5. He had said more about it in his first letter to them. See 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17; 5:1-10. But other people had taught that it had already happened. So, Paul is explaining that certain things must happen first.

3 Do not let anyone cause you to believe something false in any way. That day will not happen until certain other things have happened first. Before that day, there will be a time when many people will turn against God completely. Also, before that day, people will see the man who completely refuses to obey God. He is the man that God will certainly kill. 4 This man will be God's enemy. He will be the enemy of everything that people call God. He will be the enemy of everything that people worship. He will think that he is much greater than any god. As a result, this man will even go into God's special house and he will sit down there. And he will tell people that he himself is God.

2:4The ‘man who completely refuses to obey God’ is God's great enemy. Another name for him is ‘Antichrist’. See 1 John 2:18, 22; 4:3. The book in the Bible called Daniel tells about a very bad ruler like this. See Daniel 7:25-26; 9:26-27; 11:31-39. The Bible describes a strange wild animal that may also be like a picture of this person. See Revelation 13:1-8.

5 I told you these things when I was with you. I am sure that you remember that. 6 This man will come at the time that God has chosen. But something makes it impossible for him to come yet. And you know what it is. 7 Already Satan is working secretly to turn people against God and against God's rules. But there is someone who is making it impossible for Satan to work like that freely. And that someone will continue to make it impossible, until God takes that someone away. 8 Then people will see the man who completely refuses to obey God. But when the Lord Jesus will come, he will kill that man. Jesus will kill him with the words that he speaks. Jesus will kill him with the very bright, powerful light that shines from Jesus himself.

2:8Something (verse 6) or someone (verse 7) is making it impossible for Antichrist to come yet. Paul had taught the Christians at Thessalonica about this. So, they knew what Paul meant. But we do not know certainly what Paul means here. He may mean the government or governments that rule people in this world. God chooses to let governments rule people. And good governments make good rules. Those rules help people do what is right.

9 Satan will cause this very bad man to come. Also, Satan will cause this man to be very powerful. So, this very bad man will do all kinds of things that people cannot usually do. Those things will surprise people very much. Those things will cause people to believe this very bad man. They will cause people to believe things that are not true. 10 This very bad man will also do all kinds of bad things. He will cause bad people to believe what is not true. So, God will certainly kill those bad people. Those bad people will believe false things because they refused to love the true message. They refused to love the true message so that God could save them. 11 For this reason, God causes them to believe wrong things very easily and very strongly. So then they will believe what is not true. 12 The result is that God will decide to punish them. They refused to believe what is true. And instead, they enjoyed doing wrong things. So God will punish all of them.

The Christians at Thessalonica must continue to believe what Paul taught them

13 But you are like brothers and sisters to us, and the Lord loves you. We must thank God always because of you, because God has chosen you. God chose you to be among the first people that he would save. He saves you because his Spirit makes you God's special people. God's Spirit makes you separate from everything that is bad. God saves you because you believe him. You believe what is true. 14 God asked you strongly to become his special people. You heard him when we told you the good news. He wanted you to become special people who would live always with our Lord Jesus Christ. You will live in the beautiful place with Christ, who is so very great. 15 So, our friends, you must continue to believe Christ strongly. Continue to believe the true things that we taught you. God first taught those things to us. And we taught them to you when we spoke to you. We also taught them to you when we wrote our letter to you.

16 We pray about you to our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and to God, our Father. They have shown how much they love you and us. And they have promised to give good things to us all. So, we can continue to be brave and strong for all time. We can hope strongly for these good things. They will give these things to us because they are so very kind. 17 We pray that our Lord Jesus Christ and God, our Father, will make you brave. We pray that they will continue to make you strong in your minds. So you will always do what is good. And you will always say what is good.