“The lawless one” is the description that God uses to describe the coming Anti-Christ in 2 Thessalonians 2:8. He will be lawless because he will have no regard for the laws of God. He will live in open rebellion against his Creator. Just like the serpent of old (Genesis 3) had no regard for the commandment not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, so too the Anti-Christ will have no regard for the commandments of God. He will be lawless regarding the laws of God.
However, the lawless one will make and enforce laws. In Revelation 12:9, the serpent of old will be cast down to the earth during the tribulation period and he will deceive the whole world. He will influence and control the coming lawless one, the Anti-Christ. As he makes and enforces various laws, they will represent the laws of Satan’s kingdom. In Revelation 13:12, a law is made regarding worship; only the Anti-Christ is to be worshipped. In verse 16, laws are made regulating commerce; no one can buy or sell unless they have the mark of the beast. From a human level, when the Anti-Christ rules the world during the Tribulation period his government will not be limited. There will be no Bill of Rights limiting the power of government; rather he will control all aspects of a person’s life by not allowing them even to buy food unless they become a worshipper of the creature, instead of the glorious Creator!
Back in 2 Thessalonians 2:7, we read that “the mystery of lawlessness is already at work.” There were things in Paul’s world nearly 2,000 years ago that paralleled the coming of the lawless one. Those parallels include the serpent of old deceiving people and nations and governments to disregard God’s laws and to establish laws that go against God’s truth. Since we are nearly 2,000 years closer to the coming of the Anti-Christ it should not surprise us to see those same parallels in our world today. However, during this time there is something restraining the lawless one. 2 Thessalonians 2:7-8, “For the mystery of the lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. 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.”
What is restraining the lawlessness today is the ministry of the Holy Spirit through the Church of Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth. The church is the pillar and ground of the truth and is sanctified or set apart from the world by belief in the truth (2 Thessalonians 2:13). But when the church is caught up in the air, the ministry of the Spirit of Truth through Christ’s church will also be removed from this world (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18) and the lawless one will be revealed.
It is important for Christ’s church to know the times in which we live. We must beware of the spirit of lawlessness which is currently at work. The serpent of old, who deceives the world, is still throwing his fiery darts at the church. He wants the church to doubt and disregard the Word of God, just like when he deceived the Woman in the Garden. But the church is to above all take the shield of faith (believe the truth of Christ and His Word) with which the believer will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one (Ephesians 6:16). In these “unparallel” days of the last 15 months in the history of the world, know there are “parallels” to the way the serpent of old has worked and the way the coming lawless one will work. Cling to Christ and His truth and do not be deceived by the laws of men that are contrary to God’s laws.