Sunday, May 6, 2012

The Prophecies of Paul: 1 and 2 Thessalonians

For B. B. Warfield's view of Paul's predictions about the "Coming of the Lord", "Man of Sin", "Restraining Power", and "Restrainer" -- read pages 30-44 of his article on "The Prophecies of Paul:1 and 2 Thessalonians" (here)

The salient points of the article are summarized in a power point slide show (here).

If you want the bottom line only, here it is. For comparison I have inserted Gary DeMar's views from his book "Last Days Madness".

Man of Sin: Single emperor or line of emperors? Probably the latter.

(While a political man of sin is plausible, a better fit is a religious man of sin, ie., Jewish religious leaders led by the high priest – DeMar)

Restraining Power: appears to be the Jewish state.

(Roman civil government – DeMar)

The Restrainer: possibly James of Jerusalem

(possibly King Agrippa – DeMar)

The Apostasy: obviously the great apostasy of the Jews.

(DeMar agrees with Warfield on the Apostasy.)

Rev. Joe Morecraft's sermon on 2 Thessalonians 2 is connected with Warfield's views and is helpful. (here)


  1. This is such an interesting lesson, Dr. Sullivan. Thanks for presenting it at church and here. You pointed out that we don't know how to interpret 2 Thess. 2:5 because we don't know what Paul was referring to. Of course the dispensationalists have this passage all explained away, but that is not proper exegesis. I also love the end of that chapter that emphasizes grace, comfort and establishing us in every good word and work by our God and our Christ.

  2. OK, so i have a question. Has Saul/Paul actually made any prediction or prophecy that has come to pass, especially within his own lifetime?

    1. Wayne, look at the Prophecies of 70 AD--the fall of that Jerusalme temple. In January of 2009 this Prophecy was briefly addressed on this blog. Also Puritan Ladd answers some of these questions in February of this year.

    2. Apparently the 'mystery of lawlessness' was already at work during Paul's life time and Paul had identified the 'restraining power' ('what is restraining') --

      see 2 Thessalonians 2:5-7a

      5 Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? 6 And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time. 7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work;

      If Warfield is correct, the events Paul identified as preliminary to Christ's Second Advent were fulfilled in the judgment brought on Jerusalem in its destruction in AD 70.

      Scripture does not tell us when Paul died. But if he was executed prior to AD 70 he would not have lived to see the final fulfillment of his prophecies.

      Of course Paul did not claim to know the timing of the Second Advent of Christ, only that it would be sudden and unexpected. In fact, the Second Advent of Christ is still future to us.


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