“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” (2 Thessalonians 2:8).
In one sense, 2 Thessalonians 2:8 returns us to the opening verses of this chapter: “…let us clarify some things about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and how we will be gathered to meet Him. Don’t be so easily shaken or alarmed by those who say that the day of the Lord has already begun. Don’t believe them, even if they claim to have had a spiritual vision, a revelation, or a letter supposedly from us” (2 Thessalonians 2:1-2 NLT).
We can follow the Apostle Paul’s God-inspired thought process through the first eight verses of this chapter in the following manner …
- Some members of the Thessalonian church were concerned that the Day of The Lord had already begun (verse two).
- However, that Day will not occur “…until there is a great rebellion against God and the man of lawlessness is revealed” (2 Thessalonians 2:3).
- There is a force restraining the man of sin and preventing his appearance (verse six).
- That restraining force has not yet been removed (verse seven).
- Therefore, the congregation at Thessalonica could be assured that the Day of The Lord had not yet begun regardless of what they may have heard.
- As a further comfort, Paul assured his readers that the Lord will completely annihilate the man of sin who is to come (verse eight).
Therefore, the intensity of the persecution against the Thessalonian church was not connected to Jesus’ return but attributable in part to the fact that “…the secret power of lawlessness is already at work” (2 Thessalonians 2:7 NIV). This also recalls Paul’s counsel to a young Pastor named Timothy: “Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Timothy 3:12 ESV).
Given Paul’s deep familiarity with the Old Testament Scriptures, it should not come as a surprise to learn that the imagery he used in 2 Thessalonians 2:8 also appears in the book of the Biblical prophet Isaiah: “He will give justice to the poor and make fair decisions for the exploited. The earth will shake at the force of his word, and one breath from his mouth will destroy the wicked” (Isaiah 11:4 NLT).
In the context of 2 Thessalonians 2:8, we might understand this passage to mean that the Lord is so overwhelmingly powerful that a simple puff of His breath will be sufficient to dispatch this coming man of sin.