This chapter forms a chiastic structure with an interesting central axis:
2 The 2:1-17
1a) 2 The 2:1-2, Do not be shaken or troubled as though the day of Christ had come;
1b) 2 The 2:3a, Do not be deceived + falling away of the unfaithful:
— 1b.1) 2 The 2:3a, Let no one deceive you;
— 1b.2) 2 The 2:3b, For that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first;
1c) 2 The 2:3c-5, And the man of sin is revealed who opposes /exalts himself above God;
1d) 2 The 2:6, And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time;
central axis) 2 The 2:7a, For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work;
2d) 2 The 2:7b, Only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way;
2c) 2 The 2:8-9, And then the lawless one will be revealed according to the working of Satan;
2b) 2 The 2:10-15, The deception of those who perish + steadfastness of the saved:
— 2b.1) 2 The 2:10-12, The deception/ delusion to believe the lie among those who perish;
— 2b.2) 2 The 2:13-15, God chose you for salvation + stand fast + hold to what you were taught;
2a) 2 The 2:16-17, May Jesus Christ Himself comfort your hearts + establish you.
The mystery of lawlessness was already at work in the first century, and is still at work today. What is the mystery of lawlessness? Let’s let Scripture define Scripture:
“And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’”Mat 7:23
“The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness,” Mat 13:41
“Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.” Mat 23:28
“And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.” Mat 24:12
I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness. Rom 6:19
Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? 2 Cor 6:14
“You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You With the oil of gladness more than Your companions.” Heb 1:9
Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness. 1 Joh 3:4
Sin is lawlessness. The old King James translates 1 Joh 3:4:
Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.
The word in Greek is anomia, “without law;” it is from the root nomos, “law.” This is the word the translators of the Septuagint, the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek, chose when translating the Hebrew word torah.
Sin is the transgression of the law, or Torah — the law of God. The law of God is merely God’s definition of righteousness and sin … what is right to do, and what is wrong to do. A transgressor of the law is a lawless one, a man of sin. He has chosen his own definition of righteousness and sin and rejected God’s definition which is found in Torah.
God is the only One who can rightly define righteousness and sin for mankind. Beloved, we are fallen. Our knowledge is finite and our wisdom is finite, and our perception is skewed. God, on the other hand, is glorious in holiness (Exo 15:11), and all His judgments are just (Neh 9:13, Psa 19:9, Rev 15:3). The definition of what is holy and unholy, clean and unclean, righteous and unrighteous, true and false, good and evil, is found in the foundation of all the Scripture: in Torah, the Book of the Law.
The lawless one, the man of sin, will deceive many because of his working with all power, signs, and lying wonders. But he will be able to be identified because he will not agree with God or God’s Law found in Torah as to what is righteousness and sin. He will promote unrighteousness as righteousness, and lawlessness — precepts condemned in Torah – as good.
Beloved, let us beware that we are not deceived as well. Many of us who believe in Jesus Christ, have never read the Torah, the five books of Moses, because we have been wrongly taught that the Torah is not for today. Jesus said the Torah has not passed away (Mat 5:17-19). Jesus said that those who make a practice of those things which the Torah condemns as sin (lawlessness), He will command them to depart from Him for He never knew them (Mat 7:23). If we retain any ignorance or animosity toward the Law of God, we ought to repent, recognizing that such ignorance and animosity is according to the working of Satan. And we can humble ourselves before the holiness, wisdom, and judgment of God Almighty, which is far superior to our own, which is conveyed in Torah.
Do not fear to do so. God is love, and out of the abundance of love in His heart, He spoke the Torah from His Spirit (Luk 6:45). His Law is the Law of Love. ♥