2Th 2:1-12; The Beast Writhes Below the Surface – He Seeks Your Mind.

Class Outline:

Sunday September 3, 2023


Theme: The mystery of lawlessness is working to rule you in every way in which Christ alone should be your Lord.


There is always something going wrong in this world. Kingdom after kingdom, community, family, people seem to always be failing in the ways of righteousness.


Our study this week will be the fulness of 2TH 2:1-12.


It gives us wonderful and important truth concerning what age we are in (important for orienting your life), what age is to come, and how the enemy of God has been at work for all history, and particularly in the age between the advents.


Key ideas are:

Do not be deceived.

The attack against you is going to be mental / psychological.

Do not let the lawlessness that God has allowed stress you out.


Much worse is coming and this is God’s will and timing.

Your Lord is going to destroy the lawless one.

The escape from the influence of lawlessness is faith in the gospel, the love of Christ, and the love of the truth.


2TH 2:1-12

Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, 2 that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. 3 Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, 4 who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God. 5 Do you not remember that while I was still with you, I was telling you these things? 6 And you know what restrains him now, so that in his time he will be revealed. 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 Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; 9 that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, 10 and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. 11 For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, 12 in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness.


Our focus is going to be “the mystery of lawlessness is already at work.”



Mystery: the concealed by now disclosed purpose of God.


The mystery of God was the full revelation of Christ and His work and what blessings that work would open to the saints in this age. The mystery of God was a hidden age, called the church, intercalated after the rejection of Christ by Israel. The mystery was the hidden plan of God to give to the Gentiles the spiritual blessings of the New Covenant (along with all believing Jews). The mystery was the full revelation of the Tribulation, which would allow the open manifestation of lawlessness and end the inter-advent age, the end of which would be the second coming of Christ.


The mystery: the disclosed purpose of God …

Riches of Christ to all saints.

Marriage to Christ (manifested in human marriage).

Christ in you.

The key to real godliness.


COL 1:25-27

Of this church I was made a minister according to the stewardship from God bestowed on me for your benefit, so that I might fully carry out the preaching of the word of God, 26 that is, the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations, but has now been manifested to His saints, 27 to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.


COL 2:1-3

For I want you to know how great a struggle I have on your behalf and for those who are at Laodicea, and for all those who have not personally seen my face, 2 that their hearts may be encouraged, having been knit together in love, and attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God's mystery, that is, Christ Himself,  3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.


1TI 3:16

By common confession, great is the mystery of godliness:


He who was revealed in the flesh,

Was vindicated in the Spirit,

Seen by angels,

Proclaimed among the nations,

Believed on in the world,

Taken up in glory.


The revelation of Christ would also manifest the adherence, by millions, to the headship of Christ, His authority.


REV 1:20

“As for the mystery of the seven stars which you saw in My right hand, and the seven golden lampstands: the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.”


Seven is the number of completion and fulfillment. This reference to Him would be to the whole church.


Lawlessness: ἀνομίας (anomia) - frequently translated “iniquity” it literally means without law.


It is not just being unlawful but also flagrant defiance of the known will of God.


Not just confusion and disorder (chaos or anarchy) but a concerted effort to overthrow divine government, i.e., God’s rule as Creator over mankind, all aspects and institutions of humanity, and the earth (1JO 3:4-9).


1JO 3:4-10

Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness. 5 You know that He appeared in order to take away sins; and in Him there is no sin. 6 No one who abides in Him sins; no one who sins has seen Him or knows Him. 7 Little children, make sure no one deceives you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous; 8 the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil. 9 No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. 10 By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother.


One of the wonderful aspects to the now disclosed mystery is our marriage to Christ and how God has made Christian marriage a potential visible manifestation of it to the world.


Its essential character is the rejection of the law, or will, of God and the substitution of the will of self.


It is a rejection of God’s right of authority over the creature and the law God puts upon them.


To throw Him off and to throw His law off, the creature must destroy God.


God is dead passage: Nietzsche: Famous for “God is dead.” He was insightful in basing this on man’s “enlightenment” thinking in which through science, technology, philosophy, etc., man did away with his need for God. It is the function of the mystery of lawlessness writhing under the surface.


God cannot literally be killed, so they (Satan and his man) attempt to do so in the mind of every man and all over the face of the earth.


Hindrances to the mystery of lawlessness:


Redeemed individuals who love the truth.

The existence of Scripture.

The Holy Spirit.




Paul tells us that the mystery of lawlessness is already at work but is restrained (literally “held down” katecho).


Paul is the only writer to state this and he does not say what it is that is restraining the plan to eradicate God from this earth.


The lawless one desires to eradicate God’s authority, law, Christ, the gospel, and the riches of Christ’s sanctifying work from this earth.


Conclusion / Application:


As long as the true mystery breathes in you it is not destroyed.


As long as it shines through you (maturity), it is not silent.


Working now, the mystery of lawlessness works on the mind of mankind. Paul warns the Thessalonians not to be deceived, and not to be shaken or disturbed in their minds (vs. 2).


When God allows the lawlessness to fully manifest itself, it will have physical and well as psychological power over the world, but still the problem for every person will be no faith, no understanding of the love of Christ for them. They did not believe the truth, but were well pleased with wickedness (adikia).




1TI 3:16

By common confession, great is the mystery of godliness:


He who was revealed in the flesh,

Was vindicated in the Spirit,

Seen by angels,

Proclaimed among the nations,

Believed on in the world,

Taken up in glory.