You are hereThe Man of Lawlessness, part one: The Connections with the King of the North
The Man of Lawlessness, part one: The Connections with the King of the North
The following is from my book, The Antichrist and the Second Coming: A Preterist Examination See reviews here http://www.amazon.com/Antichrist-Second-Coming-Preterist-Examination/pro... The chapter on the man of lawlessness is the last chapter of the book. Because of its length I will be breaking it up into four sections. Let me bring the reader up to speed a little.
The basic thesis of the book is that the Antichrist was ultimately a demonic spirit that worked through Titus in his three-and-a-half year destruction of Israel (Dan. 7:25; 9:26-27; 12:1-7; cf. Rev. 11:2; 13:5). Notice that the beast comes out of the abyss (Rev. 11:7; 17:8). This is a spiritual ruler, (cf. 1 John 4:3), just like the kings and princes of Persia in Daniel 10:13, 20-21 (although he would work through a specific man, cf. Rev. 13:18). This explains what was destroyed and thrown in the lake of fire at Jesus’ Second Advent in AD 70 (Rev. 19:11-21). It was obviously not the Roman Empire that was destroyed at that time, it was not the man Titus--it was the beast from the abyss working through Titus.
The Antichrist is the opponent of God/Christ that was to appear at the last hour of the old covenant age (1 John 2:18). He was destroyed by the parousia at AD 70 (Dan. 7:21-22; 2 Thess. 2:8; Rev. 19:11-21). For parallels between the little horn of Daniel 7 and the beast of Revelation see here http://www.theos.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=3203 Notice that this rules out Nero as the man of lawlessness. Nero died in mid AD 68; he can not be the one who was defeated by the AD 70 parousia. He had been dead for over two years by that time. Another thing that rules Nero out is the fact that the man of lawlessness takes control of the Temple and is worshipped there (2 Thess 2:4)—Nero never even set foot in Judea, let alone the Temple. It was Titus who captured the Temple and was worshipped there.
In talking about the man of lawlessness, Paul is teaching from Daniel 11:36-12:13 and the attack against Jerusalem by the king of the North (cf. Dan. 11:36-37 with 2 Thess. 2:4). This was the Antichrist, the coming prince who would destroy Jerusalem and the Temple (Dan. 9:26). I will discuss the parallels between Daniel 11:36-12:13 and 2 Thessalonians 2 below (note, in my book I go into detail on Daniel 11:36-12:13 in chapters 5 and 6).
THE MAN OF LAWLESSNESS
In 2 Thessalonians 2 Paul discusses the Antichrist and the day of the Lord. Paul refers to the Antichrist as the “man of sin” (NKJV) or the “man of lawlessness” (NASB). The man of sin/lawlessness would be the one who captures the Temple and is worshiped there; he would be revealed just prior to the Second Coming (Gr. parousia, vv. 1, 8) on the day of the Lord.
Now brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come. Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God . . . whom the Lord will consume with the breath of his mouth and destroy with the brightness of his coming.
2 Thessalonians 2:1-4, 8
I will be using the title “the man of lawlessness” in my discussion of the Antichrist here. Some Greek manuscripts contain the title “the man of sin”; the New King James Version, following the Majority text, uses this phrase. The New American Standard Bible, following the Nestle text, uses the phrase “the man of lawlessness.” The New Revised Standard Version, also following the Nestle text, uses the phrase “the lawless one.” I prefer the title “the man of lawlessness” to “the man of sin” because Daniel 11:36 (the passage which Paul references in 2 Thess. 2:3-4) says that the king of the North would “do according to his own will.” A person who does according to his own will is one who recognizes no superior law or authority; thus the title of the man of lawlessness is quite appropriate for such a person. Ultimately sin is lawlessness (1 John 3:4) so the two terms are essentially synonymous.
In this chapter I will first examine the context of 1 and 2 Thessalonians and the day of the Lord. I will then deal more specifically with 2 Thessalonians 2 and the man of lawlessness.
1 AND 2 THESSALONIANS AND THE DAY OF THE LORD
By those who accept its authenticity, it is generally agreed that Paul and his associates Silvanus and Timothy (1 Thess. 1:1) wrote 1 Thessalonians around AD 50-51, shortly after their first visit to Thessalonica. Appearing to have been written shortly after 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians was a response to a misunderstanding that arose from Paul’s teaching in his first letter. In 1 Thessalonians, Paul told his audience that the soon-coming day of the Lord would come as a thief in the night (5:1-6). As a result, an erroneous idea emerged that the day of the Lord had already begun (cf. 2 Thess. 2:2). It was for this reason—to counter this misconception about the day of the Lord and the Second Advent—that the second letter to the Thessalonians was written
In correcting the false teaching that the day of the Lord had already begun, Paul simply gives two events that would be markers of that Day (2 Thess. 2:3). The first is the “falling away” (Gr. apostasia), which can mean either a political revolt or religious apostasy. The second event is the revelation of the man of lawlessness. These events were not to take place thousands of years in the future in a rebuilt Temple as many futurists teach; they were to take place in the lifetime of Paul’s audience (cf. 1 Thess. 4:17; 2 Thess. 1:7) in the then standing Herodian Temple.
DOES 2 THESSALONIANS CONTRADICT 1 THESSALONIANS?
In comparing the teachings of the day of the Lord in 1 and 2 Thessalonians, some see a contradiction between the theology of the two books. For example, 1 Thessalonians (5:1-6) says that the day of the Lord would come secretly like a thief in the night. In apparent contradiction, 2 Thessalonians gives specific indicators that had to take place before the day of the Lord. This alleged contradiction (as well as a difference in writing style) has led some to wonder if 2 Thessalonians was really written by Paul. The seeming contradiction in theology between 1 and 2 Thessalonians is more apparent than real. The difference between 1 and 2 Thessalonians is one of emphasis, not theology.
That the falling away/revolt had to happen, after which the man of lawlessness would be revealed, did not contradict the fact that the day of the Lord would come as a thief in the night. When Paul gives these precursors to that Day in 2 Thessalonians, he reminds his readers that he had already told them these things would happen: “Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things?” (2 Thess. 2:5). Thus, the teaching of 2 Thessalonians was not something new or different from that of 1 Thessalonians; it was simply a different emphasis, a clarification on what Paul had already taught. Unfortunately, we do not have the totality of Paul’s original teaching and, as a result, this different emphasis can appear to be a different teaching.
Examining 1 Thessalonians, Paul writes that the day of the Lord would come unexpectedly: “For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, ‘Peace and safety!’ then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape” (1 Thess. 5:2-3). As the OT teaches consistently, the day of the Lord was to involve the nations of the world coming against Jerusalem and destroying the land of Israel (Is. 1-5; Dan. 11:40-12:7; Joel 2:1-11, 3:12-17; Zeph. 1; Zech. 14:1-9; Mal. 4 NASB; Luke 21:20-36). The sinners in the land would be destroyed at this time and God’s true people would be delivered (Zeph. 3). Thus, the “they” to whom Paul refers in 1 Thessalonians 5:3 are the Jews (cf. Matt. 8:10-12). The Jews of Thessalonica were violently opposed to the gospel and chased Paul out of town (Acts 17:1-15).
The fact that the “they” who would be destroyed in 1 and 2 Thessalonians refers primarily to the Jews is supported by 2 Thessalonians 1:9: “These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power”. This is taken from the Septuagint version of Isaiah 2:10, 19, 21, and speaks of the judgment of Jersualem:
Now therefore enter ye into the rocks and hide yourselves in the earth, for fear of the Lord, and by reason of the glory of his might, when he shall arise to strike terribly the earth . . . And every man shall be brought low, and the pride of men shall fall: and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day. And they shall hide all idols made with hands, having carried them into the caves, and into the clefts of the rocks, and into the caverns of the earth, for fear of the Lord, and by reason of the glory of his might, when he shall arise to strike terribly the earth. For in that day a man shall cast forth his silver and gold abominations, which they made in order to worship vanities and bats; to enter into the caverns of the solid rock, and into the clefts of the rocks, for fear of the Lord, and by reason of the glory of his might, when he shall arise to strike terribly the earth.
Isaiah 2:10, 17-21 LXX (underlined emphasis mine)
Regarding this passage, Beale notes:
The phrase from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power [in 2 Thess. 1:9] comes from Isaiah 2:10, 19, 21, where the same phrase is repeated three times (Isaiah adds “the fear of” before “the Lord”), though it appears nowhere else in the entire Old Testament.
That Paul is alluding to the second chapter of Isaiah in 2 Thessalonians 1:9 is quite significant. The context of Isaiah 2 (as well as the rest of Isaiah 1-5) is the judgment of Jerusalem: “The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem . . . For Jerusalem stumbled, and Judah is fallen, because their tongue and their doings are against the Lord” (Is. 2:1; 3:8; cf. Is. 5 with Matt. 21:33-45). It should be no surprise that Paul is taking his language for the soon-coming day of the Lord from a prophecy concerning the judgment of Jerusalem; he is teaching that the day of the Lord would involve the man of lawlessness executing God’s judgment by capturing Jerusalem and the Temple (“. . . he sits as God in the Temple of God . . . .” 2 Thess. 2:4).
“PEACE AND SAFETY”
Also consistent with my assertion that Paul is making reference to the Jews in his discussion of the day of the Lord in 1 and 2 Thessalonians is his mention of the false proclamations of peace and safety that those hostile to the gospel would make: “For when they say, ‘Peace and safety!’ then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape” (1 Thess. 5:3). The proclamation of peace and safety right before the day of the Lord alludes to OT references describing the false prophets of Israel proclaiming that peace was coming when, in truth, what was coming was God’s judgment (Jer. 6:1, 12-15; 23:14-40; Ezek. 13:1-16). These false prophets were those “who prophesy concerning Jerusalem and who see visions of peace for her when there is no peace” (Ezek. 13:16).
What seemed to be the imminent collapse of the Roman Empire in AD 68-69 lent itself to Jewish false prophets proclaiming “peace and safety” for Jerusalem. The Roman assault on the Jews had started in early AD 67 with Vespasian and Titus’ invasion of the Holy Land. In AD 67 and the first half of AD 68, Vespasian and Titus were systematically destroying Judea, making their way toward Jerusalem. Midway through AD 68 Nero committed suicide, plunging the Roman Empire into chaos (cf. Rev. 16:10) and putting the planned Flavian assault on Jerusalem on hold as the empire experienced two back-to-back civil wars. Three short-lived emperors (Galba, Otho, and Vitellius) came and went in the space of a year-and-a-half (AD 68-69; cf. Dan. 7:8). It was uncertain whether the Roman Empire would survive this upheaval intact; according to Tacitus, the year AD 69 was “nearly Rome’s last.”
The near-collapse of the Roman Empire, along with the chronology of the prophecies of Daniel which showed the kingdom of God intervening in history during the reign of the tenth ruler of the Roman Empire (i.e., Vespasian, Dan. 2:44; cf. 7:19-22), presented ample fodder for Israel’s false prophets to declare that God was interceding on the Jews’ behalf. The Jewish prophets’ false message of peace and safety was that Rome was about to fall and Israel would triumph; these prophets were predicting “peace and safety” up to the very end. Josephus indicates that during this time a number of these false prophets proclaimed that God’s deliverance was at hand:
The people [6,000 Jews who had gone up to the Temple to be “delivered” by God] owed their destruction to a false prophet who had, on that very day declared to the people of the city that God ordered them to go up to the Temple courts to receive there the signs of their deliverance. Many prophets had been induced in these days by the rebel leaders to deceive the people by exhorting them to wait for help from God and thereby to reduce the flow of deserters, as well as buoy up with hope those who were beyond fear or precaution. (emphasis mine)
The unidentified prophet Josephus references, deluded six thousand people to go up to the Temple even as it was going up in flames, resulting in a deadly inferno. These people were deceived so that they believed the lie (2 Thess. 2:11) that God was on the side of the Jews and would deliver them from the iron grip of Rome.
The image of labor pains that Paul uses in 1 Thessalonians 5:3 (“For when they say, ‘Peace and safety!’ then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape”) is often used in the OT as a symbol of the gut-wrenching terror produced by a mighty nation executing God’s judgment against another nation. This image is used in the context of Babylon coming against Jerusalem (Jer. 6:22-26; 22:18-23) and the Medes coming against Babylon (Is. 13:1, 6-9, 17-19; Jer. 50:41-43). The mighty nation executing God’s judgment on the ultimate day of the Lord was Rome; the Roman Empire would be coming against the doomed Jewish nation.
Jeremiah 6 is especially pertinent to 1 Thessalonians 5:3 in that it is the one place in the OT that references both the false proclamations of peace and safety (Jer. 6:14) and labor pains (Jer. 6:22-26). It is no coincidence that this section of Scripture is talking about the soon-coming destruction of Jerusalem (in the sixth century BC):
For thus has the Lord of hosts said: “cut down trees, and build a mound against Jerusalem. This is the city to be punished. She is full of oppression in her midst . . . For I will stretch out My hand against the inhabitants of the land,” says the LORD. “Because from the least of them even to the greatest of them, everyone is given to covetousness; and from the prophet even to the priest, everyone deals falsely. They have also healed the hurt of My people slightly, saying, ‘Peace, peace!’ when there is no peace.” . . . Thus says the Lord: “Behold, a people comes from the north country, and a great nation will be raised from the farthest parts of the earth. They will lay hold on bow and spear; they are cruel and have no mercy; their voice roars like the sea; and they ride on horses, as men of war set in array against you, O daughter of Zion. We have heard the report of it; our hands grow feeble. Anguish has taken hold of us, pain as of a woman in labor. Do not go out into the field, nor walk by the way. Because of the sword of the enemy, fear is on every side. O daughter of my people, dress in sackcloth and roll about in ashes! Make mourning as for an only son, most bitter lamentation: for the plunderer will suddenly come upon us. I have set you as an assayer and a fortress among My people, that you may know and test their way. They are all stubborn rebels, walking as slanderers. They are bronze and iron, they are all corrupters; the bellows blow fiercely, the lead is consumed by the fire. The smelter refines in vain, for the wicked are not drawn off. People will call them rejected silver, because the Lord has rejected them.”
Jeremiah 6:6, 12-14; 22-30 (underlined emphasis mine)
In Jeremiah’s day Jerusalem had rejected the Lord (Yahweh); as a result, he was going to depart from her and make her desolate (Jer. 6:8; cf. Matt. 23:37-24:1). This paralleled the Jews’ rejection of the Lord (Jesus) and the desolation of Jerusalem that would come at AD 70 (Matt. 23:31-39; cf. Dan. 9:26-27).
Beale notes additional parallels between 1 Thessalonians 5:3 and Jeremiah 6:
Commentators (and margins of translations) often cite Jeremiah 6:14 (“‘Peace, peace,’ they [false prophets] say, when there is no peace”) as a parallel to 5:3, but they rarely comment on it. Jeremiah 6 also includes reference to the following elements in common with 1 Thess 5:3: (1) the sound of a trumpet signals the visitation of God (6:1, 17; see 1 Thess 4:16); (2) the sudden report of calamity for Jerusalem has the result that “anguish has gripped us, pain like that of a woman in labor” (Jer. 6:24), and (3) the sudden coming of the destroyer (6:26), “even terrible destruction” (6:1), which occurs not during the light of “day” but by “night” (6:4-5; see 1 Thess 5:4-8). (brackets in original)
By having Jesus killed, the Jews had rejected the Lord (1 Thess. 2:14-16), and as a result they were left desolate. What awaited them was the sudden coming of the destroyer (cf. Dan. 11:44-45), the coming of Antichrist, to annihilate Jerusalem and her Temple (Dan. 9:26-27).
NATION WILL RISE AGAINST NATION
In addition to the OT references, Paul’s use of labor pains in 1 Thessalonians 5:3 also borrows from Jesus’ use of labor pain imagery in the Olivet Discourse. Jesus indicated that the action of nation rising against nation would be the beginning of the “birth pangs” at the end of the age.
You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes. But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs. Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name. At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another. Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many. Because lawlessness is increased most people’s love will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved.
Matthew 24:6-13 NASB
(underlined emphasis mine)
The “end” to which Jesus refers is not the end of the world but rather the AD 70 end of the old covenant age when the Jewish nation would be shattered (cf. Dan. 11:40-12:7; 1 Cor. 10:11; Heb. 1:2). The upheaval of nations would mark the beginning of birth pains of the end of the age. This began in AD 68 as the various principalities that made up the Roman Empire vied for supremacy after Nero’s death. Wellesley, speaking of the worldwide upheaval of AD 69, writes the following:
The year 69, ‘that long but single year’ as Tacitus had earlier called it, offers a wealth of dramatic incident. After the solid and prosperous security of the first or Julio-Claudian dynasty, the ground opens. The vast edifice of the world empire is shaken. Pretender rises against pretender. The frontier armies move on Rome from Spain, Germany, the Balkans and the East. The frontiers themselves are breached by the barbarian. There are palace conspiracies, sudden assassinations, desperate battles, deeds of heroism and perfidy. The scene shifts continually from one end of the empire to the other, from Britain to Palestine, from Morocco to the Caucasus. Three emperors—Galba, Otho, Vitellius—meet their end. The fourth, Vespasian, survives by fate or chance or merit, and founds his dynasty for good or ill.
The end of the old covenant age in AD 70 would come about two-and-a-half years after these labor pains of nation rising against nation began. Those in Israel who had rejected Jesus would face sudden destruction as they would be cut off (physically and spiritually) at that time (1 Thess. 5:3; cf. Matt. 8:10-13; 21:33-45; Luke 2:34). These were the “days of vengeance” on the Jews (Luke 21:20-36). As the OT had often warned, the ultimate day of the Lord would happen at the time judgment fell on Israel. This culminated in AD 70 when the (Roman) eagles gathered around the corpse (i.e., devoid of the Spirit) that Jerusalem had become (Matt. 24:26-28).
The “sudden destruction” coming on the Jews that 1 Thessalonians 5:3 speaks of is borne out by the events of AD 70. When Vespasian was established as sole emperor in December of AD 69, the Roman Empire was suddenly resurrected from its death throes (cf. Rev. 13:1-3) and the assault on the Jewish nation was unexpectedly resumed (it had been on hold for about a year). Just as the Christ was to come quickly to the Temple (Mal. 3:1) so did the Antichrist. Titus came suddenly on the heels of the Jewish pilgrims who went up to Jerusalem for the Passover of AD 70. The city was full of Jews from all over the Land (an indication of a feeling of safety on their part) who found themselves trapped by Titus’ unexpected parousia. Josephus writes the following on this:
All the prisoners taken captive throughout the entire war totaled 97,000; those who perished during the long siege [of Jerusalem], from its early stages to the end were 1,100,000. Of those, the largest number consisted of Jews by race, but not native of Jerusalem; they had assembled from the whole country for the Feast of Unleavened Bread; and had suddenly been caught up in the war.
Just when it appeared that Rome was going to fall and the Jews would have peace and safety, the Roman Empire suddenly came back to life. This resulted in the second coming of Titus (this time from Egypt, cf. Dan. 11:40-45) and the sudden destruction of the Jewish nation. It is no coincidence that forty years to the day after the Jews rejected the Christ (he was killed during Passover in AD 30; Matt. 26:17-19; 27:15-25), the Antichrist came. This fulfilled Daniel 9:26: “And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself; and the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary . . . .”
THE CONNECTIONS BETWEEN THE MAN OF LAWLESSNESS AND THE KING OF THE NORTH
In his discussion of the man of lawlessness, the one “who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God” (2 Thess. 2:4), Paul expounds on the king of the North of Daniel 11:36-45, the one who would “exalt and magnify himself above every god [and] speak blasphemies against the God of gods” (Dan. 11:36). Thus, both the king of the North and the man of lawlessness oppose God and try to exalt themselves above God. Both are vanquished at the time of the Second Advent (2 Thess. 2:8; Dan. 11:45). Although Daniel 11:36-12:13 does not actually depict the parousia, it shows the events that the NT associates with it, that is, the great tribulation (Dan. 12:1; cf. Matt. 24:21), the abomination of desolation (Dan. 12:11; cf. Matt. 24:15), and the resurrection and judgment (Dan. 12:2-3; cf. Matt. 25:31-32). All of these events are shown as happening at this time, at the end of the age attack by the king of the North on Jerusalem.
Both the man of lawlessness and the king of the North are defeated after laying siege to the Temple in Jerusalem (2 Thess. 2:4; Dan. 11:45). As I mentioned previously, the Antichrist’s defeat at this time is not talking about the death of a man but the destruction of a demonic ruler that worked through a man (cf. Rev. 11:7; 17:8). This was the end of the spiritual ruler that worked through Titus in his destruction of the Jewish nation. This resulted in the casting of this demonic ruler of the Roman people (Dan. 9:26; cf. Dan. 10:13) into the lake of fire (cf. Dan. 7:11; Rev. 19:20).
The king of the North/man of lawlessness would be a man who would do as he pleased; he would “do according to his own will” (Dan. 11:36). In the words of Paul, he would be a “man of lawlessness” (2 Thess. 2:3 NASB). The king of the North/man of lawlessness would “destroy and annihilate many” (Dan. 11:44); in Paul’s words, he would be “the son of destruction” (2 Thess. 2:3 NASB). Both Daniel and Paul are talking about the ultimate day of the Lord in their discussion of the king of the North/man of lawlessness. This is made clear by the fact that the great tribulation and resurrection are shown as occurring at the time of the king of the North’s attack on the Temple (Dan. 11:45-12:2). In his discussion of the man of lawlessness, Paul also talks about the time of the resurrection on the day of the Lord. Compare Daniel 12:2 (“And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake”) with 1 Thessalonians 4:14 (“For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus”). Both contexts are speaking about the resurrection that was to happen at the end of the age.
Added to all this, both Daniel and Paul speak of Michael the archangel (cf. Jude 9) being active at this time (Dan. 12:1; 1 Thess. 4:16), and both writers speak of it as a time of severe tribulation (Dan. 12:1; 1 Thess. 3:3-4). This great tribulation would be completed by the time of the destruction of the Jewish nation in AD 70 (Dan. 12:7; cf. 1 Thess. 5:3). According to Daniel (12:10-11 LXX) this would be a time when lawless ones would commit lawlessness (cf. Matt. 24:11-12). Drawing from this, Paul writes about the ultimate “lawless one” (2 Thess. 2:8). Beale elaborates:
The expression man of lawlessness (anthrōpos tēs anomies) echoes Daniel 12:10-11 which . . . refers to the end-time trial as a period when “the lawless ones [anomoi] will do lawlessness [anomeō], and the lawless ones [anomoi] will not understand” (i.e., they will mislead, be misled or both). (brackets and emphasis in original)
THE MAN OF LAWLESSNESS AND THE COMING WRATH ON ISRAEL
Daniel 11:36 talks of the Antichrist bringing God’s wrath on Israel. The king of the North would “prosper till the wrath has been accomplished . . .” (cf. Dan. 9:26-27). Paul, referring to this wrath, tells the Thessalonians that it would be directed at unbelievers (the Jews in particular, cf. Luke 21:20-23) not God’s people: “When they say ‘Peace and safety!’ then sudden destruction comes upon them . . . [but] God did not appoint us to wrath but salvation . . .” (1 Thess. 5:3, 9; cf. Jer. 6:10-30). In 1 Thessalonians 1:10 Paul tells his first-century audience “to wait for His [God’s] Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.” Approximately two decades earlier, John the Baptist warned the Jewish leaders of this coming wrath:
But when he [John the Baptist] saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, and do not think to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones. And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly cleanout His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”
Matthew 3:5-10; cf. 22:1-14; 2 Thessalonians 2:1
(underlined emphasis mine)
Indeed, the Jews who were troubling the Thessalonian believers (either directly or by proxy; cf. 1 Thess. 2:14-16; Acts 17:1-15) would be repaid “with tribulation” on the day of the Lord (2 Thess. 1:6). This tribulation—the great tribulation mentioned in Daniel 12:1—was the coming judgment of God on the Jews (cf. Matt. 21:33-45; Rev. 15:1; 16:19):
Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Because you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous, and say “If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.” Therefore you are witnesses against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. Fill up, then, the measure of your father’s guilt. Serpents, brood of vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of hell? Therefore, indeed, I send you prophets, wise men, and scribes: some of them you will kill and crucify and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues and persecute from city to city, that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. Assuredly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.
Matthew 23:29-36 (underlined emphasis mine)
This coming wrath is clearly described by Luke in the context of the AD 70 judgment and dispersal of the Jewish nation.
But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those who are in the midst of her depart, and let not those who are in the country enter her. For these are the days of vengeance that all things which are written may be fulfilled. But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! For there will be great distress in the land and wrath upon this people. And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations. And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.
Luke 21:20-24 (underlined emphasis mine)
When Saul was persecuting believers he did so under the authority of the high priest (Acts 9:1-2, cf. 22:4-5). With the fall of Jerusalem, the institutions of the priesthood and the Temple were destroyed. In fact, when Titus captured the Temple he had all the surviving priests put to death. After AD 70, the Jews throughout the empire would not trouble believers as they had before; they (the Jews) would have to worry about their own safety. The end result was that Jesus’ parousia gave his followers rest from Jewish persecution: “it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you, and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels” (2 Thess. 1:6-7). It may be hard to fathom that this coming of Jesus with his angels happened at AD 70, but it is what Jesus taught:
For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works. Assuredly, I say to you, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom. 
If, as futurists claim, the Second Advent is still future, then Paul’s first-century audience at Thessalonica never lived to see the rest that Paul had promised them at the soon-coming parousia.
THE TWO INDICATORS GIVEN FOR THE DAY OF THE LORD
IN DANIEL 12 AND 2 THESSALONIANS 2
Finally, seeing as how Paul is elaborating on the end of the age spoken of in Daniel 11:36-12:13, it seems quite likely that the two indicators he gives to identify the timing of the day of the Lord are related to the two indicators given in Daniel 12 for the countdown to the end of the age. The two markers given in Daniel 12:11 are (1) the taking away of the daily sacrifice and (2) the abomination of desolation (i.e., the coming of the one who would make Israel desolate, cf. Dan. 9:27 NKJV). The two markers that Paul gives in 2 Thessalonians are (1) “the rebellion” (Gr. apostasia) and (2) the revelation of “the lawless one” (2 Thess. 2:3 NRSV).
The Jewish rebellion (which was referred to as an apostasia) began in AD 66 with the taking away of the daily sacrifice for the emperor (or any foreigner). The Roman response to this resulted in the coming of the one who would make the Jewish nation desolate. This was the abomination of desolation, the coming of the Antichrist (Dan. 9:27, 12:11); it equates with the second of Paul’s markers, the revelation of the man of lawlessness.
Notice that Paul, in his teachings in 1-2 Thessalonians, is not only drawing from Daniel 11:36-37 in his discussion of the man of lawlessness and the day of the Lord, he is drawing from the whole final section of Daniel (Dan. 11:36-12:13). This should not be a surprise, as both Daniel and Paul are speaking of the same subject, the attack of the king of the North/man of lawlessness against God’s holy mountain and his capture of the Temple (Dan. 11:36-37, 45; 2 Thess. 2:4). This would happen on the ultimate day of the Lord; it would be the time of the great tribulation and the beginning of the resurrection (Dan. 12:1-3; 1 Thess. 4:16; 2 Thess. 1:6-7).
[Duncan McKenzie, The Antichrist and the Second Coming: A Preterist Examination (Xulon, 2009), 329-344]
For part II go here: http://planetpreterist.com/content/man-lawlessness-part-two
1. Beale has the following comments on why he thinks man of lawlessness is the original designation for the opponent of Christ in 2 Thessalonians 2: “Some good manuscripts, as well as the majority, have ‘man of sin’ instead of man of lawlessness. The latter reading is also attested by quality witnesses and is more probable for at least two reasons: (1) lawlessness (anomia) is relatively rare in Paul (five times outside of 2 Thess 2), so a scribe more likely would have changed an original lawlessness to ‘sin’ than vice versa; (2) reference to the mystery of lawlessness in 2:7 appears to presuppose an earlier mention of lawlessness.” G. K. Beale, 1-2 Thessalonians, The IVP New Testament Commentary Series, series editor Grant R. Osborne (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarstiy Press, 2003), 204, footnote.
2. F. F. Bruce, 1 & 2 Thessalonians, Word Bible Commentary, vol. 45, gen. eds. Bruce Metzger, David Hubbard, and Glenn Barker, N.T. ed. Ralph P. Martin (Waco, TX: Word Books, 1982), xxxiv-xxxv.
3. See Charles A. Wanamaker, The Epistles to the Thessalonians: A Commentary on the Greek Text, 17-28.
4. Bruce, 1 & 2 Thessalonians, 152.
5. G. K. Beale, 1-2 Thessalonians, 189.
6. Tacitus, Histories, Book 1, 11.
7. Josephus, The Jewish War, 6, 5, 2, trans. Gaalya Cornfeld, 424.
8. Beale, 1-2 Thessalonians, 142-43, footnote.
9. Kenneth Wellesley, Tacitus: The Histories (New York: Penguin Books, 1975), 9-10.
10. Jerusalem became a dead body--a corpse--when God’s Spirit left her after she rejected Jesus (Matt. 23:37-38). Just as the body without the spirit is dead (James 2:26), so Jerusalem was dead without God’s Spirit.
11. Josephus, The Jewish War, 6, 9, 3, trans. Gaalya Cornfeld, 450.
12. This probably has the dual connotation that he would be one who destroys (Dan. 11:44) and be one who would be destroyed (Dan. 11:45; cf. Rev. 17:11).
13. It should be noted that the partial preterist distinction between the great tribulation (which they say happened at AD 70) and the resurrection (which they say occurs at a future final advent) does not hold up to scrutiny. Daniel 12:1-2 depicts the two events as occurring sequentially; the resurrection commences at AD 70, right after the great tribulation. The resurrection, of course, continues from that time for those who are in Christ. It is therefore more correct to say that the resurrection began at AD 70.
14. In his teaching on Daniel 11:36-12:13, Paul is not reinterpreting a second-century BC event to describe what he was expecting in the first century (unless one wants to say the resurrection happened in the second century BC; Dan. 12:2). In 2 Thessalonians 2, Paul is elaborating on the soon-coming fulfillment of Daniel 11:36-12:13.
15. Beale, 1-2 Thessalonians, 206.
16. Some try to connect this with the transfiguration. To say only some would be alive for the coming that Jesus was talking about does not fit the transfiguration, however; it would happen a mere six days later. Moreover, the transfiguration was not the time when Jesus came with the angels and rewarded each man according to their works. That is a reference to the judgment at the end of the old covenant age (cf. Dan. 12:1-3; cf. James 5:7-9), not the transfiguration. Jesus was saying that this judgment would happen in the lifetime of some of his hearers (cf. Rev. 22:10-12).
17. The Greek word that Paul uses for the “falling away” in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 is apostasia; it is the same word that Josephus uses for the Great Revolt of the Jews in AD 66. I discuss this in greater detail later in the chapter.