2Th_2:1-2. Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, that ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.
In his former Epistle to the Thessalonians, Paul had written as if he expected Christ to come immediately, and the people seem to have taken his words so literally as to have lived in expectation of Christ’s advent, and perhaps to have exhibited some degree of fear concerning it. He now calms their minds by telling them that Christ would not come until certain events had happened. The history of the world was not complete, the harvest of the Church was not ripe; neither had the sin of man and especially the “man of sin” become fully developed.
2Th_2:3-4. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.
If this “man of sin” be not the Pope of Rome, we cannot tell who is the antichrist. Certainly, if this description were put in the Hue-and-Cry, and we were police officers, we should at once arrest the Pope as the man whose character agreed with the warrant in our hands. What does he call himself? “Vicar of Christ on earth.” What does he do but set himself up to be adored and worshipped as though he were divine, making himself out to be the fountain and channel of all grace. Beloved, this “man of sin” has been revealed. Now we may look for the coming of the Son of man; but the day and the hour when he shall come no man knoweth; no, and not even the angels of God.
This exposition consisted of readings from 2 Thessalonians 1; 2Th_2:1-4.