(Chapter 34 from Dr. Hyle's excellent book, Meet The Holy Spirit)
II Thessalonians 2:1-12, "Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto Him, that ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by work nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is vacated God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity both already work: only He Who now letteth will let, until He be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming: even Him, Whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness." There are three main comings of our Lord to the earth. He came TO His own. John 1:11, "He came unto His own, and His own received Him not."
He is coming FOR His own in the air. I Thessalonians 4:13-18, "But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him. For this we say unto you by the Word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord Himself shall descend from Heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: an so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words."
He is coming WITH His own at the end of the seven-year tribulation period to put down the Antichrist and establish His kingdom. II Thessalonians 2:8, "And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming.'
To understand the Holy Spirit's part in the end time, one must understand the purposes behind the writing of the books of I and II Thessalonians. The apostle Paul had started the church in Thessalonica. He especially imparted to this church the truths concerning the coming of the Lord. They had become excited about the rapture and our Lord's returning FOR them. However, something unforeseen happened. One of their members passed away. They were not prepared for this, so they wrote the Apostle asking what would happen to there departed member when Jesus came for His own. The book of I Thessalonians is a letter from the Apostle to the church at Thessalonica explaining to them what would happen to the dead when Jesus comes.
Soon trials came to the church, trials that were so great that the members began to wonder if they were already in the tribulation period. They wrote to the Apostle inquiring concerning this matter. This book of II Thessalonians is a letter from Paul to the church at Thessalonica reminding them that they were not in the tribulation period and teaching them that they must transpire before the tribulation could come and teaching them in general concerning the order of events of the end time.
Following is that order:
1. The mystery of iniquity (that is, sin) will continue. That is, sin will continue to abound. II Thessalonians 2:7a, "For the mystery of iniquity doth already work."
2. The rapture of the saints must take place. 2nd Thessalonians 2:7b, "Only He Who now letteth will let, until He be taken out of the way." The work "let" here means "to hinder." There seems to be someone hindering the mystery of iniquity. This someone, of course, is the Holy Spirit. He does this hindering to His people who are the salt of the earth. Now notice the words inverse 7, "until He be taken out of the way." This means the Holy Spirit will continue to hinder the mystery of iniquity until that day comes when He is taken out of the way. This is the rapture when God's people are caught up to meet the Lord in the air; the dead will raise first, followed by those of us who are alive and remain. Now notice in II Thessalonians 2:1 the words, "by our gathering together unto Him," which speak of the same event-the rapture. Read further in 2nd Thessalonians 2:2, 3. The Apostle says that that day, that is, the tribulation period, cannot come "except there be a falling away first." The term "falling away" is also translated "departure." This, no doubt, speaks of the rapture.
3. The Antichrist will then be revealed. II Thessalonians 2:8, "And then shall that Wicked (wicked one) be revealed." Also note in verse 3, "and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition." In other words, the tribulation period will not come until the rapture has taken place and the man of sin is on the scene. This man is the Antichrist, who will be the main character of the tribulation period.
4. The tribulation itself will take place. This is that seven-year period when the saints are in the air with Jesus enjoying the marriage of the Lamb, the marriage supper, and appearing before the judgment seat of Christ. The tribulation period is divided into two parts. During the first 3 1/2 years the Antichrist is a peaceable person, deceiving the world by his flatteries. In the middle of the tribulation period the Antichrist becomes Satan incarnate, just as Jesus was God incarnate during his earthly ministry. The last half of the tribulation period, hence, will be the working of Satan incarnate for a period of time about the same as the period of time when our Lord ministered as God incarnate (3 1/2 years).
5. Then we have the coming of Christ WITH His own. II Thessalonians 2:8, "And then shall that Wicked be revealed, WHOM THE LORD SHALL CONSUME WITH THE SPIRIT OF HIS MOUTH, AND SHALL DESTROY WITH THE BRIGHTNESS OF HIS COMING." This is the time when Jesus comes back to earth with His saints to establish His kingdom of righteousness which shall last for 1,000 years. This is the time when the wolf shall lie down with the lamb, the little child shall lead the wild animals and play at the hole of the cockatrice den. This is the time when men shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. This is the time when the knowledge of the Lord shall cover the earth as the waters cover the sea. This is the time when God's people shall be kings and priests of God and shall rule and reign with Him for 1,000 years.
6. The millennium itself will take place. This is the aforementioned 1,000-year reign of Christ upon the earth.
Now let us trace the activities of the Holy Spirit during this time:
1. He is taken out of the way at the rapture. II Thessalonians 2:7, "For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only He Who now letteth will let, until He be taken out of the way." This does ton mean that he will not work at all on the earth. This does mean the end of His ministry as the church age has known it.
2. He will still convict sinners, and people will be saved during the tribulation period. Revelation 7:9, 14, "After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands. And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb." These people are those who received Christ during the tribulation period. There will be multitudes of them. Of course, they must be convicted by the Holy Spirit in order to be saved. These concerts are probably those who had never before heard the message of salvation. The Bible seems to teach that those who have heard the message of salvation and refused it shall be sent delusions during the tribulation period and will not be saved. II Thessalonians 2:9-12, "Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness."
3. The Holy Spirit will work in mighty power during the millennium. Isaiah, 11:1,2, "And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord." Here we have a summary of the work the Holy Spirit shall do during the kingdom age. It is He Who will lead us as we rule and reign on the earth. It will be His wisdom by which we rule and His power through which we rule.
Before this discussion is concluded, mention should be made of the counterfeit work that shall be done by Satan in the end time. This work will be manifested by the workings of miracles. When the Antichrist and the false prophet shall come, they shall come performing miracles. See Revelation 13. Satan, you see, has a trinity. Satan himself is the opposite of God the Father. The Antichrist, who shall head the political end-time confederation, is the opposite of God the Son. The false prophet, who will head up the ecclesiastical confederation in the end time is the opposite of God the Holy Spirit. Hence, in these three we have Satan's trinity. Revelation 13:1, 11, "And I stood unto the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon."
Notice also that this second beast (false prophet) will do great wonders and even call fire from the heavens. Revelation 13:13, "And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men."
Also notice that he will do miracles and by them will deceive the nations. Revelation 13:14, "And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power on earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by the sword, and did live." Now notice that he even makes an image, that is, a man-made replica of the first beast (Antichrist) and actually gives to that image life and the ability to speak! Revelation 13:15, "And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed."
Be not deceived, beloved, when those who are in error concerning the get doctrines of the faith suddenly perform miracles, for in the end time the performance of these miracles will not at all confirm that God is working. If a man comes to town and you see tumors disappear before your very eyes, this does not necessarily mean that is of God. There are people today who no doubt are seeing physical miracles take place who do not believe in the virgin birth, who pray to the virgin Mary, and who do not believe in the verbal inspiration of the Bible and other foundational truths. This doing of miracles is in no way an evidence of being genuine. Christians should not be deceived; there is a supernatural which is not of God. There are miracles which are not of God. There are miracles of the Antichrist and false prophet will intensify as we see the day approaching. Many will be deceived; do not be among them!