Who is Paul referring to in 2 Thessalonians 2:7?

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The apostle Paul warned the believers of Thessalonica saying, “For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way” (2 Thessalonians 2:7). This “man of sin” (2 Thess. 2:3) or power is characterized by lawlessness. And was predicted to come by the prophet Daniel “He … shall intend to change times and law” (ch. 7:25).

In Paul’s day the apostasy had begun (2 Thess. 2:3). And as time passed, that apostasy took the form of papal pretensions, so that, from a modern historical point of view, “the mystery of iniquity” can be identified with the papal power and its popes.

But how has the papacy power attempted to change God’s law (Exodus 20:3-17)? The boldest change was in the matter of the weekly day of worship. The Catholic Church publicly admits it is responsible for the instituting the sacredness of Sunday worship, claiming that it has the right to make such changes.

An authoritative catechism for priests says: “But the Church of God [that is, the apostate church] has in her wisdom ordained that the celebration of the Sabbath day should be transferred to ‘the Lord’s day’” (Catechism of the Council of Trent, Donovan translation, 1829 ed., p. 358). This catechism was written by order of this great council, and published under the auspices of Pope Pius V.

About 300 years after Jesus’ resurrection, partially because of hatred against the Jews, the religious leaders of the Roman Church suggested that God’s holy day of worship be changed from Saturday to Sunday. Thus, Sunday-keeping is a tradition of men not God. From the beginning of time, God sanctified and blessed the seventh day Sabbath and made it holy (Genesis 2:2,3; Exodus 20:8-11). Jesus said, “You have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition. … And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men” (Matthew 15:6, 9).

For more on the change of Sabbath, check out Who changed the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday.

In His service,

BibleAsk Team

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