ultimate clash of kingdoms

SCRIPTURE: 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12

OBSERVATION/APPLICATION:

  1. When God’s world (kingdom) was thrust into the chaos and misery of sin, it began a process of slow but certain destruction. Because of sin, everything is devolving towards everlasting destruction. Only God’s restraining Spirit is keeping sin from fully unraveling His creation. But the Spirit will not restrain evil forever, everything is moving to the final crisis/judgment, when sin will be fully realized in the epitome of evil, ‘the man of lawlessness’. Jesus is on the throne, and all things are working out according to His plan, but His plan include the final battle between Himself as God’s champion, and the ‘the man doomed to destruction’.
  2. Apparently some people were thinking that Jesus had already came back. Paul dismisses this, and says that Jesus’ return will occur when evil produces its ultimate champion, the antichrist. There will be no doubt for believers when this happens. This antichrist will do satanic things, and followers of Jesus will know who he is. But a powerful delusion will keep those who reject God and His champion from seeing the antichrist for who he is.
  3. We may dismiss this prediction of a coming antichrist, but history offers many examples of powerful world rulers who attempt to establish one world government, supposedly in the name of God, but in accordance with the work of Satan. Think of Hitler and his dream of the 3rd millenium (reich), think of Stalin and Lenin and communism, think of the church in the middle ages, think of Napoleon, think of the Caesars… and many more! These are all antichrists (see (1 John 2:18).
  4. In summary, Paul affirms that Jesus is God’s appointed champion, and that sin in this world is being restrained for a time while He gathers His followers, but that evil will one day be fully unleashed in the form of the ultimate antichrist (all the other antichrists put together). Those who rejected God will be deluded into following him, and then Jesus will return, the final conflict and judgment will occur, and those worthy of the kingdom will finally enter the perfected kingdom of God.
  5. Again, it is those who choose against God and His way (i.e. who prefer, or delight, in wickedness [2:12]) that will inherit that choice for eternity.
  6. It is not just those who go to church or who ‘say the prayer’ or do good deeds, that will inherit the everlasting kingdom. It will be those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, who desire to live like God, for God and for others in selfless, generous, compassionate and merciful love. This desire will be evident in how we live.

PRAYER:
Lord, I am not yet clear on what it means to follow You, to live for You and Your kingdom. Help me to understand and live the kingdom life better.

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