Online Bible Commentary
2 Thessalonians 2:6 And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time. 7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. 8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming. 9 The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, 10 and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11 And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, 12 that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (NKJV)
In the previous passage Paul has introduced the Antichrist. Now Paul describes the Antichrist’s coming and his going, and those who are deceived by him.
The Antichrist is currently being held back and will be “revealed in his own time” (v.6). It is not yet his time to appear on the scene. Certain things must happen first, such as the falling away of the church from Biblical teaching. However, his power has been at work even since the days of the early church, and before (v.7a). The power behind the Antichrist is Satan, and Satan has been at work since even before his fall from Heaven.
The One who is holding back, restraining, the Antichrist is the Holy Spirit (v.7b). It has been His restraint that has kept the Antichrist from revealing himself. But His restraint will be lifted by God, “taken out of the way”, to allow the Antichrist the power to reveal himself (v. 8a), just prior to the Rapture.
The Antichrist will reign and do his work on earth for seven years, the time of the Tribulation. After the Tribulation, Christ will come, and “will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming” the Antichrist (v. 8b).
But prior to Christ’s coming the Antichrist will be allowed to cause great damage. He will perform miracles, like Christ, and many will be deceived into thinking he is Christ (vv.9-10a). He will set himself up in the Temple in Jerusalem as God (2 Th 2:4). Those who believe him will “perish”, end up in Hell, because they refused to “receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved” (v. 10b).
The Lord will send this “strong delusion” (v.11), the Antichrist, because the people “did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness” (v.12). This action by the Lord fulfills Scripture, “I have come in My Father’s name, and you do not accept Me, but if someone else comes in his own name, you will accept him” (Jn. 4:43).