Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? (2 Thess. 2:5 NKJ)
The Thessalonians remembered “what” (2 Thess. 2:6) and “who” (2 Thess. 2:7) Paul said “restrained” the “mystery (3466 μυστήριον musterion) of lawlessness” which gives birth to “the Lawless One” (2 Thess. 2:8).
We do not. Like Sherlock Holmes we must induce the identities from clues in the context.
The “secret power (3466 μυστήριον musterion) of lawlessness” fuels the revelation of the “Lawless One”. This “secret power” is the “working (1753 ἐνέργεια energeia) of Satan “with all power signs and lying wonders” and it characterizes “the coming of the Lawless One” (2 Thess. 2:9).
The “secret power of lawlessness” was “already at work” (2 Thess. 2:7). Satanic energy inspiring the lie (2 Thess. 2:7-9) the “Day of Christ had come” had “shaken…troubled” the Thessalonians. “Spirit…word…letter as if from us” (2 Thess. 2:2) claimed the Thessalonians were “left behind”, that the “Day of Christ” had come and the Rapture/”resurrection is already past” (2 Tim. 2:18; 1 Thess. 4:14; 2 Thess. 2:1; Rev. 14:14-16; 20:4-6).
Another clue, the antithesis. Two forces are opposed to each other, one produces Antichrists, the other Christians.
The “mystery of lawlessness” (2 Thess. 2:7-12) versus the “mystery of Godliness” (2 Thess. 2:13-14; 1 Tim. 3:16).
2 Thessalonians 2:7-12 – The Mystery of Lawlessness:
The Mystery of Lawlessness telepathically (Lk. 8:12; 2Cor. 4:4; Jam. 1:13; Jer. 14:14) inspires rebellion against God’s law. It is a working (1753 ἐνέργεια energeia) of Satan (2 Thess. 2:9) that inwardly deludes, a “strong (1753 ἐνέργεια energeia) delusion” (2 Thess. 2:11) the “Lawless One” is Christ (2 Thess. 2:3-4, 7, 9-11; 1 Tim. 4:1; 1 John 2:18-19; Rev. 6:2; Mat. 7:22-23; 24:4-5).
1 Timothy 3:16 – The Mystery of Godliness:
The Mystery of Godliness is the secret power of the Holy Spirit inspiring “lawfulness”, “the working (1753 ἐνέργεια energeia) which works (1754 ἐνεργέω energeo) in me mightily” (Col. 1:29) to obey “the word of God, which also effectively works (1754 ἐνεργέω energeo) in you who believe” (1 Thess. 2:13). Sanctification by the Spirit and obedient belief in God’s Word of Truth (2 Thess. 2:13-15; John 17:17; 1 John 2:20-21; 1 John 4:6).
Only God the Holy Spirit has the power to “restrain” Satan, only what He ordains restrains Satan’s signs and wonders on earth.
God Will Send a Strong Delusion:
Therefore, God the Holy Spirit is “He” who restrains. “What” restrains is God’s ordinance holding down the tsunami of satanic ENERGEO. When that ordinance is ‘taken out of the way’ (compare ἐκ τοῦ μέσου Col. 2:14), then the Lawless One will appear, doing great signs and wonders to deceive the “temple of God”, the Church (2 Thess. 2:3-4).
The antithesis in the context will play out in the End Time. The ENERGEO of lawlessness in Antichrists who love not the truth, VERSUS the ENERGEO of Godliness in Christians who love God’s Word of Truth, which in the 1st century before the canon was set, existed in both Apostolic word or epistle:
7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work (1754 ἐνεργέω energeo); 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 (1753 ἐνέργεια energeia) 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 (1753 ἐνέργεια energeia) 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.
13 But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth,
14 to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
15 Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle.(2 Thess. 2:7-15 NKJ)
How does the mystery of lawlessness produce such a strong delusion?
God’s Spirit communes with the human spirit only (Romans 8:1-16; 9:1), not the flesh (Rom. 7:18). The satanic counterfeit works in the flesh, body and brain with physical sensations and telepathic messages (Luke 8:12; 2 Cor. 4:3-4). Working inwardly, demonic “energy” excites the production of endorphins etc. to produce experiences that become accepted as “the leading of God” (1 Cor. 12:2). Subjectivism overpowers the intellect, “spiritual experience” becomes the arbiter of truth, scripture and reality forced to conform to it. Like animals led (71 ἄγω ago) to the slaughter (1 Cor. 12:2), the deceived are led anywhere the spirits desire they go. Truly, a strong delusion (2 Thess. 2:11-12).
The “secret power of lawlessness” is a deluding influence that works inwardly causing belief in falsehood. Hence some versions translate:
a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false. NET
a power that deludes people so that they believe what is false, NJB
an inworking of error, to the end they should believe in the falsehood ROT
an influence that will mislead them so that they will believe the lie. CEB
1 Timothy 3:16 vs II Thessalonians 2:7
The “mystery of lawlessness” is the polar opposite of the “mystery of godliness” (1Tim. 3:15 versus 1 Tim. 4:1; Compare 2Th. 2:9-12 versus 2Th. 2:13-15).
Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away (520 ἀπάγω apago) unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led (71 ἄγω ago) (1 Cor. 12:2) KJV
While speaking about spiritual gifts Paul warns the Corinthians to remember how deceived they were by the deluding influence of demons that led them (by the nose) against all rational thought, even going to deaf and dumb idols to hear their pleas. They were led anywhere the spirits wanted them to go (71 ἄγω ago: like animals to the slaughter)(1Cor. 12:1-2).
Satanic “energy inworking error” employs telepathic suggestion and “experiences” to supplant critical thinking (Isa. 8:20-22; Jer. 14:14; 23:21-28; Mat. 7:22-23; Luke 8:12; 1 Cor. 12:2-3; 2 Cor. 11:4, 14; 2 Thess. 2:2, 7, 9-12; 1 Tim. 4:1; 1 John 2:18; 4:1-6).
These hear the gospel but the Devil telepathically argues against it preventing belief:
“Those by the wayside are the ones who hear; then the devil comes and takes away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved. (Lk. 8:12 NKJ)
3 But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing,
4 whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them. (2 Cor. 4:3-4 NKJ)
The “secret power of lawlessness” inspires heresy and false prophecy:
Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, (1 Tim. 4:1 NKJ)
1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
2 By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God,
3 and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world. (1 Jn. 4:1-3 NKJ)
The “delusion causing energy” Satan can disguise itself so well some imagine God is tempting them to do evil:
13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone.
14 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.
15 Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death. (Jas. 1:13-15 NKJ)
Everyone living has experienced the deluding energy of Satan at one time or another:
1 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins,
2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works (1754 ἐνεργέω energeo) in the sons of disobedience,
3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. (Eph. 2:1-3 NKJ)
When speaking about the End Time Lawless One, there is an antithesis of those led by demons versus those sanctified by the Holy Spirit. That picture of the Church is exactly as Christ predicted:
24 Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field;
25 “but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way.
26 “But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared.
27 “So the servants of the owner came and said to him,`Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’
28 “He said to them,`An enemy has done this.’ The servants said to him,`Do you want us then to go and gather them up?’
29 “But he said,`No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them.
30 `Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.”‘” (Matt. 13:24-30 NKJ)
By the “secret power of lawlessness” magicians had the miracle working power to deceive Pharaoh God could successfully be resisted (Ex. 7:11-13, 22). This prefigured that God will send a strong delusion upon the end time generation (2 Thess. 2:11), so they believe what they delight in, the powers of darkness.
Sign and wonder working TARES do their powerful works by another Spirit (2 Cor. 11:4), Jesus never knew them:
22 “Many will say to Me in that day,`Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’
23 “And then I will declare to them,`I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ (Matt. 7:22-23 NKJ)
Satan and his Nephlim Fallen Ones walked among men during his war against the Woman’s Seed (Gen. 3:15). As this war is often discussed in the early Church (Rev. 12:1-4; Gen. 6:1-4; 2 Pet. 2:4-5; Jude 1:6-7; Lk. 17:26; Mt. 24:29), its likely among the things Paul told the Thessalonians.
History testifies God forbade Satan and his angels from appearing physically on earth after the flood. That “ordinance” will be taken “out of the way” in the End Time (2 Thess. 2:6-9). The “three woes of demonic manifestation” (Rev. 9:12; 12:12) symbolically shows this restraint removed. What held this angel up is removed and he “free falls” (4098 πίπτω pipto) to the earth to release the demons from the abyss (Rev. 9:1-3). The Nephilim “Kings of the sunrising” are unbound and the symbolic boundary of the Euphrates separating our realm from theirs is dried up (Rev. 9:14-15); Woe to the earth for Satan and his angels appear on earth disguised as “extraterrestrials” after being cast down out of heaven (Rev. 12:7-12).
Satan has been preparing humanity for this “invasion” via UFO spectacle and “contactee evil spirits”. Scientific Atheism, Ancient Alien Theory sheds light on how the Son of Perdition can oppose everything called God or worshipped today, yet exalt himself as God in the Temple of God the church. He will blaspheme God and the inhabitants of heaven (Rev. 13:6) claiming they are a competing faction of ELOHIM, but as he is a hybrid Elohim-human seed of Satan he is above God Himself.
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. (2 Thess. 2:4 KJV)
In “scientific atheism” there is no god, all appearing in human history are said to be extraterrestrial beings or myth. That is how the Antichrist opposes the historic definition of God (Dan. 7:25; 8:11-12). It is claimed the Antichrist is a hybrid both “elohim” and “human”. The Antichrist will claim to be superior to all other Designer hybrids in history, and therefore higher in nature than even the “elohim Designers” themselves. Thus he exalts himself above all called God and claims to alone be God.
36 And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done.
37 Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any god: for he shall magnify himself above all. (Dan. 11:36-37 KJV)
So the Antichrist claims to be the Christ, but in such a way that denies everything Christians believe about God the only begotten Son and His Father, including the incarnation (1Jn. 2:22-23; 4:3. 2Jn. 1:7).