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2 Thessalonians study guide

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Preparation Prior to the study session, participants should read the entire book.
Orientation 2 Thessalonians is book #14 of 27 in the New Testament, and and is one of Paul's letters. For more information see the Bible Overview page.

Synopsis Paul's second letter to the church at Thessalonica (in Greece) continues the same advice as in his first letter. The church is so preoccupied with (what they believe to be) the imminent return of Christ, that they focus on that to the exclusion of everything else, not even taking time to work at their jobs.

Paul warns them about false reports floating around, and reminds them the time has definitely not come (2:2). There is a certain sequence of events that will precede the return of Christ. A rebellion will occur and the "wicked one" or the "man of rebellion" will appear, fooling many with counterfeit miracles, signs, and wonders (2:10). Jesus will then come and defeat him (2:8).

Paul warns the church against remaining idle (3:6). They were clearly taught if they did not work, they did not eat (3:10). They may be so caught up in the imminent return of Christ, they do not believe they have the time.

Activity Compile the overall sequence of events of the second coming of Christ, using Paul's writings in both 1 Thessalonians 4: 13-18 and 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12.

Compare the sequence of events to Jesus' description in Matthew 24: 4-31

Discussion points Bible scholars have various interpretations of the "wicked one":
  • a human, evil religious leader who is an antichrist;
  • a wicked spiritual being; or
  • a political regime such as the Roman Empire - or one that will come in the future.
How do you see the possibilities of each? Which do you believe most likely?

Connections Other prophecies about the second coming of Christ:
  • Daniel 11:36: An evil leader will emerge who will insult the only true God.
  • Matthew 24: 4-31: Jesus lists signs of the end of age, warns against false prophets and miracles.
  • 1 John 2:18: many antichrists will come.
  • Revelation 13: 5-8: a coming beast will claim to be God and rule the earth for a time.

For source citations see the home page. Revised April 11 2014

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