“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“
With this verse, Paul returns to a discussion about the career of the “lawless one” (the antichrist). This one verse embraces his entire career and its total destruction. We find both the unveiling of “the lawless one” and the Lord Jesus destroying him and his career in this one verse. Verses 9-12 develop the theme of his career further.
After God removes the restrainer (the Holy Spirit indwelling the church) then “the lawless one” will come on the scene (Daniel 9:26-27; 11:36-12:1). The Day of the Lord (beginning with the Tribulation) will start closely after the Rapture of the church.
the lawless one will be revealed,
The “mystery of lawlessness” will manifest itself in the “lawless one.” The world will know him by his spirit of lawlessness. When God raptures the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the church, the “lawless one” will come on the world scene.
The church itself restrains evil in the world. When Jesus raptures the church, this leaves a great vacuum in the world. The “lawless one” will come to fill that vacuum. This “lawless one” is Satan’s superman of the Tribulation.
whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth
The Lord Jesus will “consume” the “lawless one with the breath of His mouth.” The idea of “consume” is to condemn, abolish, kill or slay. Jesus will condemn this man with a word. The Lamb moves into His role of the Lion. Jesus condemns this man to eternal damnation.
“And I saw the beast [the lawless one], the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army. Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone. And the rest were killed with the sword which proceeded from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse. And all the birds were filled with their flesh” (Revelation 19: 19-21).
The word “destroy” means to render inoperative. Not only will Jesus kill the “lawless one” but also He will render inoperative his agenda for the world.
with the brightness of His coming
We get our English word “epiphany” from the Greek word for “brightness.” Literally, it means shining upon. The New Testament uses this word for the coming of Christ in a number of passages with the idea of a splendid appearing. The shining forth of the presence of Jesus will manifest the gleam of His wonderful person.
“I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom…” (2 Timothy 4:1).
”…looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13).
Christians should acquire a love for the appearing of Christ.
“Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing” (2 Timothy 4:8).
The influence of the church in the world puts a lid on lawlessness.
The church’s influence extends far beyond its work of evangelism for it reaches into society itself. We should never undervalue this. Hospitals, the rise of the status of women, education and free enterprise all stem from Christianity.
The presence of the church also puts a monitor on lawlessness. If it were not for Judeo-Christian values in society, the world would break out in anarchy. Today, the central value of democracies is liberty. Liberty in itself is not adequate for society. Societies and nations must hold transcended values if they are going to carry on with order.
When the church wins significant numbers of people to Christ, it makes a further impact on society. These new believers will live changed lives.