How do you respond to 2 Thessalonians 2:3–4?

“Let no one deceive you in any way; for that day will not come unless the rebellion comes first and the lawless one exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, declaring himself to be God.”

As with most passages in the Bible that deal with eschatology, this one is shrouded in mystery and thus has many possible interpretations. We need not discuss these now. Suffice it to say that the passage assumes that God knows that Satan will unleash his fury in an unprecedented way at the end of the age. One of his strategies will apparently be to possess an evil influential person and carry out the things Scripture says regarding the Antichrist. He will try to deceive the nations, perform miracles, enter the temple and proclaim himself to be God.

How reassuring it is to know that Satan never takes God by surprise. Such reassurance is rooted in God’s perfect knowledge of Satan’s evil character and in his wisdom in working the decisions of free agents to his desired ends. We need not assume that the future is exhaustively settled in God’s mind to have confidence in his wisdom, however. While a lesser god would have to micro-manage the cosmos to achieve his goals, the true God is so sovereign he is perfectly capable of outwitting all his foes without having to meticulously control and foreknow every detail about the future.

Related Reading

Hearing and Responding to God: Part 1

A reader contacted Greg asking about making “right decisions” assuming an open future and in light of the fact that God seems to rarely speak clearly. In this first response, Greg acknowledges that even with the best of intentions, our decisions can have outcomes that are unexpected even to God! How can we move forward…

What’s the significance of Acts 17:26-27?

This passage is frequently cited by determinists, for Paul here states that God “marked out” the “appointed times in history and the boundaries” of nations (Ac. 17:26). This doesn’t entail omni-control on God’s part, however. It only entails that God is involved in setting temporal and geographical parameters around nations. Moreover, nothing suggests that God…

Topics:

How do you respond to Acts 17:26?

“From one ancestor he made all nations to inhabit the whole earth, and he allotted the times of their existence and the boundaries of the places where they would live.” (cf. Dan. 2:21) In this passage Paul is preaching to Epicurean and Stoic philosophers (17:18). His goal is to show them that, in contrast to…

The Logical Hexagon Made Simple

by: Greg Boyd The Hexagaon in a Nutshell For those of you who don’t have the twenty to thirty minutes it will probably take to read this essay but who nevertheless would like to have some idea of what the Logical Hexagon is all about, here is my two sentence elevator speech: The Logical Hexagon…

Can a Christian be demonized?

I along with most evangelical scholars and pastors do not believe it possible for a Christian to be “possessed” by a demon or by Satan. Christ in principle defeated Satan, and all who are “in Christ” share in this victory (e.g., John 12:31; Col. 2:13–15; 2 Thess. 3:3; Heb. 2:14–15; 1 John 5:18). Colossians 1:13…

Podcast: Was THIS World the Most Likely World and Wouldn’t God Have Anticipated It?

Greg considers what God might have risked and might have expected for this world.   http://traffic.libsyn.com/askgregboyd/Episode_0224.mp3