Wednesday, July 2, 2014

2Thessalonian 2:1-12 comments: the Antichrist to come


1 ¶  Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, 2  That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.


Paul here is speaking generally of the events of the end of history,  that the Thessalonians should not worry. He now begins to correct a misconception that some of the Thessalonians apparently had, that this event was being predicted as an immediate occurrence. We find out in the next chapter of this letter that some people must have stopped working and, like many European Christians just before the end of the first thousand years after Christ, were just waiting for the end without being productive.


Paul here exhorts the Thessalonians not to be upset by someone or some thing trying to stir them up to quit living as they should. Jesus also warned His Jewish disciples.


Matthew 24:23  Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. 24  For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. 25  Behold, I have told you before. 26  Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. 27  For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.


3 ¶  Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;4  Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.


Speaking of Christ’s return, the day referred to in 1Thessalonians 5:2, Paul says that several things will happen first. The beginning is a “falling away.” What does it mean to “fall away”?

By comparing verse to verse and phrase to phrase assuming the Holy Spirit is the source of the wisdom the Bible writers had we see a form of that phrase one other place in the Bible.


Jeremiah 37:13  And when he was in the gate of Benjamin, a captain of the ward was there, whose name was Irijah, the son of Shelemiah, the son of Hananiah; and he took Jeremiah the prophet, saying, Thou fallest away to the Chaldeans. 14  Then said Jeremiah, It is false; I fall not away to the Chaldeans. But he hearkened not to him: so Irijah took Jeremiah, and brought him to the princes.


To fall away means to go over to the enemy, to be a traitor. There are only two sides in this struggle, the children of God and the children of wrath. Many will turn away from Christ and stop following Him. See the 666 in the following verse from John.

John 6:66  From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.

The great majority of Christians have already turned their back on Christ. Most church organizations believe that they determine what Christian doctrine is based on changing social mores. They will ignore even the clearest statements in the Bible to conform their church to prevailing cultural standards to make their church more acceptable to the world at large, what they call more relevant.


Christian scholars changed the way they viewed the Bible two centuries ago, regarding it not as a work of the Holy Spirit through the understanding and wisdom given to the men who wrote but as just another ancient text, no more specially prepared or inspired by God than a work of Plato, to be judged by the same standards.


Christian translators, for over a century, have been using humanistic and secular approaches to translating, not trying to show word for word what the document says but inserting their own opinions and prejudices with attempting to state what they thought the original document in their hands meant by what it said rather than literally what it said. Verses that were used by Christians for nearly two thousand years were deleted, as were words. Doctrines and meanings were changed to suit humanistic scholarship and changing cultural standards.


Christians engage with the world in the same way the world engages with itself, enjoying vulgar entertainments, violent sports, and glorying in wars of conquest. It’s all justified as, “making the world a better place,” or ,”making the world safe for democracy,” or some other nonsense.


In America, left wing and right wing Christians both whine incessantly about their rights, which is why we can call this the Laodicean, or the people’s rights, Age of the church. The left glories in “rights” like abortion and no restrictions on sexual behavior and the right wing demands the right to wear their AR-15 across their back when they go to McDonald’s or to deny someone a place to live or to work based on a lifestyle that’s legal but the right wing doesn’t approve of. Both approve of oppressive government as long as it’s their preferred party’s oppressive government.


But, few are talking about God’s rights over the Christian.


Acts 20:28  Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.


1Corinthians 6:20  For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.


1Corinthians 7:23  Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men.


2Peter 2:1  But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.


Historians of religion write about the piety and spiritual nature of previous generations. Even if that piety was superficial and accompanied by moral failure like racial slavery there was a general respect for religious belief and faith. There is no such general attitude today. Even among the so-called Christians there is an almost an embarrassment about Christ and the Bible. To believe what the Bible actually says, to whom it says it, and why it was said is no longer fashionable. Darwin is more of a spokesman for modern Christians than Paul, Freud is more of an authority than Moses, and Marx is more of a prophet than Daniel.


The “falling away” is already upon us and has been for some time.


The man of sin, also called son of perdition, has not been revealed yet, however. The only other time the phrase, “son of perdition,” is mentioned is a reference to Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Jesus.


John 17:12  While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.


When Judas died he was said to, “go to his own place.” See 1Samuel 5:11; 2Samuel 19:39; and Job 2:11 to see the meaning of, “his own place.”


Acts 1:25  That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.


We link the, “son of perdition,” called here, “the man of sin,” to the Beast of Revelation as they seem to be the same character, popularly called “The Antichrist.” Revelation, chapter 13 is the great chapter on this Beast and on his false prophet and the miracles, signs, and wonders they seem to perform to fool the world are noted in the book of the Revelation.


Rather than claiming too much knowledge and understanding over incomplete references to events that we are to know only in a general sense let us go on to the verses at hand. This man of sin, literally, will sit in a rebuilt temple in Jerusalem and declare that he himself is the God who must be worshipped. There is a great deal to be said here regarding interpretation of prophecy in both the Old and the New Testament, about ritual cannibalism, a future Jewish holocaust, and a one-world government but I’ll leave that up to lectures on the possible prophetic meaning of those passages.


What is said here in its most simplest form is that Paul has told them about a future person, perhaps a world leader from reading Revelation and Daniel, who will declare himself to be God, perhaps not like the Roman emperor who declared that he was a god in the flesh but that this man of sin will claim to be the very God himself. He will do this from the temple at Jerusalem which will have to be rebuilt for this to happen.


We all know from organizations like the Temple Mount Faithful ( that many Jews long for that temple to be rebuilt where they can perform what they believe is their true worship of God.


5  Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?


Apparently, Paul had talked at length about these things he is mentioning here only briefly.


6  And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.

7  For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. 8  And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:

9  Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, 10  And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11  And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: 12  That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

The Thessalonians had been told and Paul reminded them about what was preventing these events from taking place. The word, “withholdeth,” is important to keep in mind as we look at these verses.


“Withholdeth,” clearly means to keep something back, to hold it back.


Job 12:15  Behold, he withholdeth the waters, and they dry up: also he sendeth them out, and they overturn the earth.


Proverbs 11:24  There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth; and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty. 25 The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that watereth shall be watered also himself. 26  He that withholdeth corn, the people shall curse him: but blessing shall be upon the head of him that selleth it.


Something is in the way, holding back the manifestation of the Beast, the Antichrist, the man who sets himself up in the temple of God as God. Who or what could this be?


“The Mystery of Iniquity,” Paul says, was already at work in his time. Many kings and emperors laid claim to being gods on earth. This is one important reason to understand the phrase, “only begotten Son,” in reference to Jesus Christ. In the form of man, Jesus Christ was the only time that God walked in human flesh which, for some reason, modern scholars feel led to remove this reference from the Bible and replace it with, “only Son.” Yet, this desire of the most highest of men to declare themselves God on earth went on long after the Roman Empire morphed into the Roman Catholic Church with its Pope replacing the emperor, its Cardinals the Senate, and its priests the bottom level magistrates. Who would have been known as another God on earth or the vicarious Son of God?


For someone to make such declarations is not simply a matter for ancient times. We’ve had Sun Yung Moon and a number of other notables call themselves the awaited Messiah and Mohammed regarded himself as the Comforter sent from God, the final prophet. So, this is not a new thing, this claiming deity for one’s self.


So, what is holding back the final manifestation of this false god-man to sit in the temple at Jerusalem and declare himself to be God? Keep in mind that the Papacy in the 1920’s signed the Lateran Treaty which withdrew itself from any resistance to Mussolini. The same thing was done for Hitler by the Reich Concordat made possible by Papal Nuncio, Eugenio Pacelli, who later became Pope Pius XII.


Is this something that withholdeth the Holy Spirit of God like the Southern Baptists would say or is it something evil holding back a greater evil until the time is right? Let’s dig further. To “let” means to permit or allow in almost every reference in the Bible. However, there are some times where it means to hinder or delay, which is one archaic meaning we no longer use.


Romans 1:13  Now I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that oftentimes I purposed to come unto you, (but was let hitherto,) ...


It is clear that this “letteth,” refers to someone, a “he,” who is holding something back until he “be taken out of the way.” What does the phrase, “taken out of the way,” mean?


The only other time in the Bible it is used is here;


Job 24:22  He draweth also the mighty with his power: he riseth up, and no man is sure of life.

23  Though it be given him to be in safety, whereon he resteth; yet his eyes are upon their ways.

24  They are exalted for a little while, but are gone and brought low; they are taken out of the way as all other, and cut off as the tops of the ears of corn.


It appears that to be taken out of the way means to be killed. In the context it appears that someone is holding back the time when that Wicked shall be revealed. When this individual is killed, it is then that the Beast of Revelation, who the “Wicked” seems to be representing, will be revealed. There is more information about him in the book of the Revelation. The Wicked is that one who sets himself up in the temple as God.


You can’t say that the Spirit of God leaves the earth so that the Antichrist will be revealed for;


Psalm 139:8  If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.

But, whichever you believe it is look at this passage from the verses…


“…whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: 9  Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, 10  And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11  And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: 12  That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”


In the past God has removed His hand from mankind to allow them to think on and believe things that were untrue because of their own insistence on such belief.


Psalm 81:11  But my people would not hearken to my voice; and Israel would none of me.

12  So I gave them up unto their own hearts’ lust: and they walked in their own counsels.


Isaiah 29:9 ¶  Stay yourselves, and wonder; cry ye out, and cry: they are drunken, but not with wine; they stagger, but not with strong drink. 10  For the LORD hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep, and hath closed your eyes: the prophets and your rulers, the seers hath he covered. 11  And the vision of all is become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one that is learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I cannot; for it is sealed:12  And the book is delivered to him that is not learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I am not learned. 13  Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men:14  Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, even a marvellous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid.


John 9:39 ¶  And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind.


And therein lies a lesson for American Christians. Willful disobedience leads to spiritual blindness. If you substitute paranoia and right-wing or left-wing bigotry and fear for the fruit of the Spirit given in Galatians, chapter five, then you can expect to have the Bible shut to your mind and you will wind up as a poster child for why an unbeliever shouldn’t believe the gospel.


Paul has laid out God’s precepts for we Christians in the letters he wrote to the Gentile churches. If you get more of a thrill by going back to the Law and imagining how you can elect someone to office who can make us all tenth century BC Hebrews then the Bible will mess you up but good.


In the same regard, if rather than being a Pharisee who thinks he’s all that and a bag of chips spiritually you are a Sadducee who is constantly worried that the government doesn’t have enough control over our private lives and decisions then God will let your mind take off in the direction you want it to go.


Romans 1:21  Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22  Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, 23  And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. 24  Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: 25  Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. 26  For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: 27  And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. 28  And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; 29  Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, 30  Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31  Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: 32  Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

    2:1 ¶  Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same…

If you will not submit to God’s words in His Book even if they go against your country, your political party, your family’s opinion, your church, or your personal views then God is perfectly justified in giving you over to the rancid mindset you’ve chosen. Whether you believe that America is the Promised Land, the new Israel, and is not capable of error or sin with the Constitution being inspired by God and the flag a sacred symbol or whether you believe that all personal choices are equal and neutral and the rest of us should relieve you of the consequences of those choices with our tax dollar and celebrate those choices you make with our acceptance makes no difference. You will live under a delusion because you have chosen it whether it be evolution from molecules to man or, “my country right or wrong,” which could read, “my country, godless or not.”
The truth, the only thing that can save a man or woman, is Jesus Christ. This truth is what they are rejecting.
John 14:6  Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

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