Okay, the New Testament zebras are still tromping around Thessalonica. Here is our grazing ground for the day:
We ask you, brothers, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our assembling with him, not to be shaken out of your minds suddenly, or to be alarmed either by a “spirit,” or by an oral statement, or by a letter allegedly from us to the effect that the day of the Lord is at hand. Let no one deceive you in any way. For unless the apostasy comes first and the lawless one is revealed, the one doomed to perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god and object of worship, so as to seat himself in the temple of God, claiming that he is a god — do you not recall that while I was still with you I told you these things? And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. But the one who restrains is to do so only for the present, until he is removed from the scene. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord [Jesus] will kill with the breath of his mouth and render powerless by the manifestation of his coming, the one whose coming springs from the power of Satan in every mighty deed and in signs and wonders that lie, and in every wicked deceit for those who are perishing because they have not accepted the love of truth so that they may be saved. Therefore, God is sending them a deceiving power so that they may believe the lie, that all who have not believed the truth but have approved wrongdoing may be condemned. (2 Thes 2:1-12)
What in the world is going on here?
This sounds to me to be like some of the other apocalyptic literature, what with the apostasy and the lawless one being revealed [the antichrist?], and also with the one being restrained (isn’t there something about Satan being allowed to act, but on a leash?)
I like, too, the distinction that Paul is making here. He talks of those who “have not accepted the love of truth so that they may be saved.” It seems to me that he is talking here about the necessity of changing your life so as to live in Truth in order to be saved. It doesn’t say, those who have accepted Christ as Lord and Messiah so that they may be saved, so it must mean that more is necessary. What is the love of Truth, then? I think it is more than merely knowing Truth. For example, I can know the 10 Commandments and still fail to obey them. But if I love the 10 Commandments, then I will incorporate them into my life, my being. They will not be seen as an oppressive yoke, but rather a freedom. To love Truth is to embrace it. So, those who “have not accepted the love of truth” are those who have failed to embrace Christ, whether or not they profess him as Lord.
The other notable thing is that Paul is telling them to not worry about people proclaiming the end times. Those who have heard Paul proclaim the Gospel know what will precede the parousia of the Lord.
I think additionally, there is a connection between these two thoughts. Those who do not truly love the Truth would be frightened and scrambling to try and atone for the way they have been living their life if the Second Coming were suddenly announced. However, true disciples of Christ would already be following a path of righteousness and would have nothing to fear. So, live well, for we know not the hour, and He will come like a thief in the night.