“Word for Today” – 2 Thessalonians 2 – www.concordialutheranchurch.com

December 1, 2009 at 4:45 am Leave a comment

Our last presidential election battle was a nail biter – at least on the Democrat side of the ticket.  Two candidates, neck and neck, dueling it out, and spending exorbitant amounts of campaign cash in hopes of becoming either the first African American or the first female president of the United States.

In her concession speech to now President Obama, now Secretary of State Hillary Clinton uttered some words that have become a rallying cry of sorts for those who continue to hold out hope that there will one day be a female president.  She said, “If we can blast 50 women into space, we will someday launch a woman into the White House.  And although we weren’t able to shatter that highest, hardest glass ceiling this time, thanks to you, it’s got about 18 million cracks in it” (Clinton, 6.7.2008).  Clinton was referring, of course, to her 18 million supporters who voted for her in the presidential primary.  And indeed, those glass ceilings, once so prevalent in circles of power, have lost much of their assumed invulnerability as both men and women have risen to meet the daunting challenges of the twenty first century.

In our reading for today from 2 Thessalonians 2, we meet a leader who is seeking to shatter the high, hard glass ceilings of this world’s positions of power, except that this leader is seeking to shatter them for his own sinister purposes.  The apostle Paul warns:

Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we ask you, brothers, not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by a spirit or a spoken word, or a letter seeming to be from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God. (verses 1-4, ESV)

Shortly before the return of Christ, there will come a man of lawlessness.  And this man of lawlessness, according to verse 4, will seek to “oppose and exalt himself against” the authority of the world’s most powerful leaders who, in the days referred to here, will consider themselves to be “gods.”  The Greek for the phrase “oppose and exalt” is antikeimenos kai hyperairomenos.  Notice the prefixes:  anti and hyperAnti for “oppose” and hyper for “exalt.”  This man of lawlessness, it seems, will be both contrary to others and consider himself better than others.  In the midst of many “so-called gods” (verse 4), all of whom have ego problems because they think of themselves as divine, this guy will have the ultimate ego problem.  And it is his ego problem that will relentlessly drive him to shatter the glass ceilings of this world’s power structures.

But for all of the glass ceilings that this man of lawlessness may be able to shatter, there is one glass ceiling through which he will never be able to rise:  the glass ceiling above which the true sovereign of the universe, God Almighty, sits.  Yes, this man of lawlessness might try to “proclaim himself to be God” (verse 4), but he will fail miserably.  For Paul continues:  “The lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming” (verse 8).  With just his breath, Jesus will destroy the coming man of lawlessness.  For although the man of lawlessness can stand against and rise above other wicked rulers of the world, he cannot stand against and rise above the good Creator of the world.  And although the man of lawlessness might be able to shatter the glass ceilings of this world’s power structures, when it comes to the glass ceiling of God, he won’t be able to put even a single crack in it, much less 18 million cracks.  And that’s good news.  Because for all the glass ceilings we might want to see shattered, God’s glass ceiling is one we want to see stand strong.  Because God’s highest, hardest glass ceiling means that our salvation is secure.  Praise be to God!

Entry filed under: Word for Today.

“Word for Today” – 2 Thessalonians 1 – www.concordialutheranchurch.com “Word for Today” – 2 Thessalonians 3 – www.concordialutheranchurch.com

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