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Saturday, March 9 2013
2 Thessalonians: The Falling Away Of The Son Of Perdition
Paul's second epistle to the Christians of Thessalonica was written not long after his first epistle to them (see 1 Thessalonians: Prove All Things, Hold Fast What Is Good) - a few months, or perhaps a year. As with the first letter, 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:
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). That "falling away" from true Christianity will bring about "perdition" - a word that refers to the "hell fire" that will consume the enemies of the LORD: "3:7 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men" (2 Peter 3:7 KJV) and "17:8 The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is" (Revelation 17:8 KJV). Hence Paul's prophecy about the "son of perdition":
"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)
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.
Studies For The Book Of 2 Thessalonians
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, March 9
141 BC: Liu Che, known as Emperor Wu of Han, assumed the throne of the Han Dynasty of China.
632: The last public sermon of Muhammad, the founder of his religion of Islam (see A History Of Jerusalem: Constantine and Muhammad).
1074: Pope Gregory VII excommunicated all married Roman Catholic priests.
1230: Bulgarian tsar Ivan Asen II defeated Theodore of Epirus at the Battle of Klokotnitsa.
1276: Augsburg became an Imperial Free City.
1496: Jews were expelled from Carintha, Austria.
1796: Napoleon Bonaparte married Josephine de Beauharnais, widow of a French officer who was executed during the revolution.
1812: Swedish Pomerania was taken by Napoleon.
1831: The French Foreign Legion was founded in Algeria by King Louis Philippe.
1873: The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) was established.
1888: Wilhelm I, Emperor of Germany and King of Prussia from 1861, died.
1916: Pancho Villa and 1,500 Mexican cavalry troops raided New Mexico.
1933: State Police ("Gestapo" is the German abbreviation for "the State Police") in Nazi Germany opened the Dachau concentration camp, near Munich.
1936: The German press warned that all Jews who voted in the upcoming elections would be arrested.
1945: The Bombing of Tokyo by the U.S. Army Air Force began; it became one of the most destructive bombing raids in history.
1961: The Russian Sputnik 9 carried a dog into orbit.
1968: General William Westmoreland requested 206,000 more U.S. troops to become involved in the Vietnam civil war (earlier French imperialism in southeast Asia resulted in the ancient nation of Vietnam being divided into North and South Vietnam, a foreign-imposed partition of the Vietnamese people that did not end until the early 1970s after the U.S. had involved itself in the Vietnamese civil conflict for over a decade).
1986: U.S. Navy divers found the crew compartment of the space shuttle Challenger, along with the remains of the astronauts, nearly 6 weeks after the disaster.
1992: Former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin died at age 78. He and President Anwar Sadat of Egypt were awarded the Nobel peace prize in 1978 for the Camp David Peace Accord.
1995: A Canadian Coast Guard ship fired upon and arrested the fleeing Spanish ship Estai after pursuing it out into international waters off the Grand Banks of Newfoundland. The Spanish ship was observed violating Canadian law within Canadian waters; as well, a Canadian Navy submarine later recovered the net that the Spanish ship cut while being pursued and found it to have an illegal small-mesh liner that was "vacuuming the ocean" of fish of all sizes, thereby exterminating future fish stocks. The seizure of the Spanish ship and its crew led to weeks of political tension and an escalating high-seas warship standoff between Canada and the rising-superpower European Union (which forced Britain to chose between its European Union membership and "the Canadians that have always been there for us during two world wars" - to which the British government chose Canada; as well, during the crisis hundreds of British fishing boats flew Canadian flags while working off the coast of Europe).
1997: A solar eclipse permitted people in China, Mongolia and eastern Siberia to see the Hale-Bopp Comet during the day.
2010: The first homosexual "marriages" in Washington, D.C. were conducted.
2011: The Space Shuttle Discovery made its final landing after 39 flights.