Monday, September 10 2012
The Epistles: Second Thessalonians
The apostle Paul's second epistle to the believers of Thessalonica was written not long after his first epistle to them (see The Epistles: First Thessalonians), a few months, or perhaps a year. Like the first, Paul provided detailed information, and warnings, about the return of the Messiah - and what they had to do, as a matter of living a truly Christian life (see Christ Died For Repentant Sinners), in order to be found acceptable to be saved on that day (see also What Was The Lesson Of John 3:16? to understand what, and when, being "saved" and being "born again" truly mean).
Paul began the epistle with a greeting that included two of the foremost associates of Paul, Silvanus and Timotheus (i.e. Timothy), who continued on after the LORD permitted the Romans to martyr Paul - as Paul wrote to Timothy when he saw it coming i.e. "4:6 For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. 4:7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: 4:8 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing." (2 Timothy 4:6-8 KJV).
"1:1 Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church [see Can You See The Church?] of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:
"Let no man deceive you by any means"
Even in that early time, there were already those who were preaching the return, not as a matter of the Truth, but as a means of a following for themselves. The Church of Rome did not yet exist (it was an invention of the Roman Emperor Constantine, centuries later; see Constantine's Crusades In History And Prophecy). What did exist at that time, when Paul said it was already happening, was a great empire that claimed "the divine right" to rule the world. The "church" that it later created, as an image of itself, was merely a part of that "beast" - his blasphemous mouth that falsely claims, not only to be Christian, but to be the "leader" of Christianity (see the Fact Finder Question below).
"2:1 Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him [see When And Where Your Eternal Life Will Begin], 2:2 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. 2:3 Let no man deceive you by any means [see The Two Signs Of Christ's Return and The Messiah's Warning About Christian Charlatans]: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; 2:4 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 [see The Holy Place In History And Prophecy and the Fact Finder question below], showing himself that he is God." (2 Thessalonians 2:1-4 KJV)
Paul was reminding them of what he had already taught them i.e. "Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?" He reminded them, and us, of the power of the dazzling deception, by Satan, that will come upon the whole world (and the whole word, as Satan attempts to pervert every word of Holy Scripture).
"2:5 Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? 2:6 And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. 2:7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. 2:8 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: 2:9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders [see Who's Hiding On Your Wall?], 2:10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 2:11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: 2:12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness." (2 Thessalonians 2:5-12 KJV)
The immunity from the deception comes "through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth."
"2:13 But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: 2:14 Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. 2:15 Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word [see What Does Word of God Mean To You?], or our epistle. 2:16 Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, 2:17 Comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work." (2 Thessalonians 2:13-17 KJV)
"If any would not work, neither should he eat"
The epistle (as Paul did in all of his epistles) was also an encouragement to endure, for "the Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep you from evil." He wasn't saying that they wouldn't have trouble, the normal trials and tribulations common to all, as well as the persecutions that will surely come to those who do their very best to live by the Truth in a world that, as of now, hates the Truth, but rather as a journey through the darkness to the Light.
"3:1 Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord [see What Does Word of God Mean To You? and Who Is The LORD? to understand that "the Word of God" and "the LORD God" are Jesus Christ] may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you: 3:2 And that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men: for all men have not faith. 3:3 But the Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep you from evil. 3:4 And we have confidence in the Lord touching you, that ye both do and will do the things which we command you. 3:5 And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ." (2 Thessalonians 3:1-5 KJV)
Some were apparently taking the "end time" prophecies as a justification to sit and do nothing. The Fourth Commandment isn't just about resting; the Fourth Commandment commands to work for the first six days of the week (see The Fourth Commandment, Part One: Work), and then to rest on the seventh day of the week (see The Fourth Commandment, Part Two: Rest). Able-bodied people, of the working years of their lives, who refuse to work on the work days of the week are just as much violating the Fourth Commandment as those who refuse to rest on the seventh day of the week (see also When Is The LORD's Day? and Why Observe The True Sabbath?).
"3:6 Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us. 3:7 For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you; 3:8 Neither did we eat any man's bread for nought; but wrought with labour and travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you: 3:9 Not because we have not power, but to make ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us. 3:10 For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.
Paul was always "uplifting" in his preaching. Not "uplifting" by parroting lies and propaganda that make ego-addicts happy, but truly uplifting by telling them the Truth.
"3:16 Now the Lord of peace himself give you peace always by all means. The Lord be with you all.
Fact Finder: (a) What are the "Abrahamic" religions? Why do they all claim Jerusalem for their own religions? (b) What is the "abomination of desolation" that happened, and will happen again, in Jerusalem?
This Day In History, September 10
210 BC: Emperor Qin Shi Huang of China died at age 49.
506: The Church of Rome bishops of Visigothic Gaul met in the Council of Agde (see also Constantine's Crusades In History And Prophecy).
1224: The first Franciscan missionaries arrived in England. The Roman Catholic monks, also then known as "Grey Friars," were founded by Francis of Assisi 15 years before. England officially split with the papacy during the time of King Henry VIII (reigned 1509-1547), who established himself, and all future monarchs right to the present day, as head of the Church of England.
1419: John the Fearless, Duke of Burgundy, was assassinated by followers of the Dauphin, the future Charles VII of France.
1547: The Battle of Pinkie Cleugh, the last full scale battle between England and Scotland, resulted in a decisive victory for Edward VI.
1588: Thomas Cavendish returned to England, becoming the third man to circumnavigate the earth.
1846: Elias Howe patented his "sewing machine," a device that permitted greater industrial production of clothing at lower cost.
1897: The Lattimer Mine Massacre: At a coal mine in Pennsylvania, a sheriff's "posse" (from the ancient Latin posse comitatus, in effect meaning posing as official) killed 19 unarmed striking miners; dozens more were wounded.
1898: Empress Elizabeth of Austria was assassinated.
1912: Jules Vedrines of France became the first pilot to reach 100 m.p.h. in flight.
1914: The six-day Battle of the Marne ended during the First World War, halting the German advance into France.
1918:During the Russian Civil War, the Red Army captured Kazan.
1939: At the beginning of the Second World War, Canada declared war on Nazi Germany, joining the United Kingdom and France.
1948: US-born Mildred Gillars, accused of being Nazi wartime radio broadcaster "Axis Sally," was indicted in Washington, D.C., for treason.
1952: The Treaty of Luxembourg was signed between Israel and Germany, whereby Germany agreed to make reparation payments to Israel for German crimes against the Jews in during the Second World War. Conrad Adenauer signed for Germany. Ironically (as news events in the coming years will plainly show), the ceremony was held at the Luxembourg City Hall, a site dictated by Adenauer's presence that day to initial the pact establishing the European Coal and Steel Community - one of the first steps that led to the formation of the new, but ancient, European Union.
1963: President John Kennedy federalized Alabama's National Guard to prevent Governor George Wallace from using guardsmen to stop public-school desegregation. 20 black students were enabled to enter college that year.
2002: Switzerland, a traditionally a "neutral" country, became a member of the United Nations.
2003: Anna Lindh, the foreign minister of Sweden, was fatally stabbed while shopping.
2007: Former Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif returned to Pakistan after seven years in exile.
2008: The Large Hadron Collider at CERN, described as the biggest scientific experiment in history, was powered up in Geneva, Switzerland.