"We see, in many a land, the proudest dynasties and tyrannies still crushing, with their mountain weight, every free motion of the Consciences and hearts of men. We see, on the other hand, the truest heroism for the right and the greatest devotion to the Truth in hearts that God has touched. We have a work to do, as great as our forefathers and, perhaps, far greater. The enemies of Truth are more numerous and subtle than ever and the needs of the Church are greater than at any preceding time. If we are not debtors to the present, then men were never debtors to their age and their time. Brethren, we are debtors to the hour in which we live. Oh, that we might stamp it with Truth and that God might help us to impress upon its wings some proof that it has not flown by neglected and unheeded." -- C.H. Spurgeon . . . "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:31, 32

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Saturday, March 7, 2015

PROPHETIC and PERSONAL Perspectives from 2 THESSALONIANS – PART 2B of 3

2 THESS. 2:8-17

Chapter 1 – James Fire
Chapter 2 – Danny Islas, supplemented by James Fire
Chapter 3 – Josh Boubion, supplemented by James Fire

Theme: The Day of the LORD (This phrase is also seen in JOEL 1:15; 2 PETER 3:10 and REV 19:19 and elsewhere). This phrase refers to that period of time when God actively and openly begins to deal with the people of the Earth in judgment, beginning with the Jew and then the Gentile as portrayed in REVELATION Ch. 6–19.
It begins with (1) the translation of the church or rapture (“bride of Christ”) from Earth to Heaven and culminates at (2) the Great White Throne Judgment with the 70th week of Daniel (“time of Jacob's trouble” JER 30:7) in which the world will see the 7 year reign of anti-Christ or “the man of sin” (2 THESS 2:3) occurring between those two points.

The saints at Thessalonica were anxious because they thought that the Day of the LORD was upon them, but Paul corrects this misunderstanding in explaining that two crucial events must first happen before this occurs; we will see what those things are in 2 Thess. Ch. 2.

Outline: Intro: 1:1-4
I – Comfort in persecution: 1:5-12
II – The Day of the LORD vs. the man of sin: 2:1-12
III – Exhortations and instructions: 2:13-3:15; 
Conclusion: 3:16-18

We now continue with our study in Chapter 2 of 2 THESSALONIANS, picking up in vs. 8, which in context deals with “the Day of the LORD vs. the man of sin” (2:1-12).



2 THESS 2:8-12
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.

Note that in 2 THESS 2:3-8, in verses 3, 6 and 8 the word “revealed” is used regarding the appearing of the anti-Christ; the word used is the same for the revealing of the LORD Jesus Christ – apokalupsis. Here is the great impersonator mimicking the one that he opposes by his very nature. The significant difference between the revealing of these two persons is that when the anti-Christ reveals himself, he will be very much a part of this world, appearing in the world by earthly means. When the LORD Jesus Christ is revealed, He will be so revealed in great glory and power (MATT. 24:30)!

The two are as unlike as is possible, the former extremely limited in power, the latter being the omnipotent God in bodily form. The former possessing prodigious knowledge for sure, but the latter having omniscience – all knowledge that there ever was, is and will be. Satan via all of his hordes of demonic princes has a sort of 'spiritual network' whereby he may keep tabs on this world, and seemingly possess omnipresence, but such is deception – only God possesses this power! There is no contest, no real war in which the outcome is uncertain; the LORD will destroy the Beast merely with the brightness of His coming and consume with His spoken word!

The coming of the Beast will indeed be with all power and signs and lying wonders – as Satan in his working is able to provide; of course these will be enough to deceive those who reject the truth, and such power will be formidable by human standards of course but such are mere parlor tricks compared to the Almighty power of the everlasting God! Still, for those who are not armored in the truth of God, these seductions shall accomplish their evil purpose.

As we look at the world today, we see that there is very little, if any love for righteousness. The citizens of the kingdom of darkness, being unsaved and unrepentant have pleasure in unrighteousness and are thereby deceived and open for deeper and greater deception which God in His righteous judgment upon them will send on its way, that is, “delusion” (vs. 11), meaning: fraudulent, to stray from the right path either doctrinally or morally (and the one will invariably affect the other, or vice-verse). Scripture speaks of the deceitfulness of sin (HEB. 3:13) and admonishes us to exhort one another daily. 

Rejection of the truth, having no love for it is a sin, and sin generally speaking will harden our hearts and cause deception; the particular sin of rejecting truth and believing “ . . . the lie . . .” (as it says in the Greek) will bring about the “strong delusion” which the LORD will pass on to all the world, seeing they want no part of Him or His kingdom. And what is “the lie” one might ask. I believe it's what's written in verse 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.”
The world will worship the Beast and bow the knee in adoration of him who claims to be 'God'! 

On the subjects of the body of Christ and the deceptive power of sin: we saints are dependent upon one another as the body of Christ, just as the members of our physical bodies require the aid of all its other members. None of us can stand alone; what the LORD has given to one member in wisdom, another member will have need of. What He has granted to one by certain perplexing experiences and the answer they were led to in Scripture, another shall likewise experience and find a need for that truth. Where one receives comfort from God in the midst of trials, another going through such trials will have need of that comfort. 

If we separate ourselves, or even allow the enemy to separate us from the body of Christ, we may expect that sin will lure us in and deceive us by its enticements. The enemy will persuade us that “ . . . it's not that bad; God will over look this!” Our hearts will become hardened, and sense the conviction of the Holy Spirit less and less – and we will be in need of spiritual plowing of such hardened hearts (HOS. 10:12).

Since the people of this world have forsaken the old paths of God's established truth (JER 6:16), they will willingly take the path to perdition and find themselves damned for the voyage. 
This world is prepared to take such a journey, being conditioned to accept (and has done so) a relativistic 'truth', a global system of politics, religion and economics, an embracing of evolution as factual science and an increasing appetite for wickedness and deception.

For more about the anti-Christ, and the preparations that have been underway for more than a century in welcoming him into a world that is now ripe for his reception, visit The RED PILL Consortium and read this article: The One World Order.
Knowledge of the truth is not what will keep us from error and deception; it is the love of the truth and keeping the knowledge of such as precious, that will keep us from such dangers!

Note that the LORD requires to do very little to vanquish His foe; we often hear about 'the battle of Armageddon' the great and climatic battle in the long war between God and Satan, but in all actuality, it will hardly be a contest! The LORD shall return, and with but a spoken word “the spirit of His mouth” and “the brightness of His coming” he shall be consumed; utterly destroyed. Our LORD will hardly have to 'break a sweat' to take out this terrible dictator that will hold this world under the heel of his foot!

HEBREWS 2:14-15
14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;
15 And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.

In coming in the weakness of human flesh, Satan no doubt thought he had the distinct advantage over this would-be Messiah-King of Israel; yet in this apparent weakness, the LORD assumed His lofty position on the cross, not only demonstrating the glory of God, but soundly vanquishing Satan who then lost the power of the “fear of death” from us mortals, formerly in bondage, who simply trust in Christ our Savior!
He proclaimed His inevitable victory over Satan many times during His earthly ministry:

LUKE 10:17-19
17 And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name.
18 And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.

19 Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.

JOHN 12:30-31
30 Jesus answered and said, This voice came not because of me, but for your sakes.
31 Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.

JOHN 14:30
30 Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me

And the apostle John further testifies:

1 JOHN 3:8
8 He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil

And this truth was given to us from the very beginning, a proverbial hour after the dawn of creation:

GENESIS 3:14-15
14 And the Lord God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:
15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

Just as Lucifer was created, and thus had a beginning in this world, he will have his last day and then be no more; likewise evil had it's beginning, and one day evil will no longer exist. The Eternal and Almighty God Who inhabits eternity (ISAIAH 57:15) will have the inevitable victory over all evil, and scour away oppression, and every loathsome element in this fallen and depraved world! This is great cause for rejoicing, even in the midst of present sufferings! During such times it's wise to fix our attention towards our glorious future with eternal vision!

REVELATION 20:10
10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever

ISAIAH 11:9-10
9 They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.
10 And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious.

MATTHEW 13:38-43
38 The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one;
39 The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels.
40 As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world.
41 The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity;
42 And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
43 Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.

Now let us continue and finish our exposition on this chapter:

2 THESS. 2:13-14
13 But we are bound to give thanks always 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:
14 Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Believing the truth of the Gospel and receiving it has brought to us the greatest and highest blessings and gifts as could never be possible in this world of sin: salvation, sanctification, and even the obtaining of the glory of our LORD Jesus Christ (JOHN 17:22)! These things are the inheritance of the saints (EPH 1:18) which the LORD God has chosen from the beginning. He who has predestined us saints firstly foreknew us from the realm of eternity, being both omnipresent and omniscient, and so from His lofty domain chose those who within the realm of time were presented with the Gospel, repented of their sins, and received Christ as their LORD and Savior. Thus we observe God's sovereignty and the free will moral agency of man working in harmonious conjunction.

May we be mindful as the return of our LORD draws ever nearer, that we as His children seek His will in becoming more and more like Jesus in our daily lives – and this only by the Holy Spirit Who enables us to walk in the manner as the LORD Jesus Himself (1 JOHN 2:6). On the subject of sanctification, we have a series you can study on TTUF.  

Let us always express our thanks to God for the salvation of those souls that we have labored over in our prayers, and for those whose hearts have been opened and indwelt by the Spirit of God! Paul again gives thanks for such, just as he did in Chapter 1:3 for the faith of these saints that “grows exceedingly” and for their love toward each other.

2 THESS. 2:15-17
15 Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.
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,
17 Comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work.

Thus far in this epistle we have witnessed the exhortations of Paul towards the Thessalonian saints to remain steadfast in the midst of persecution and hardships (1THESS 1:4, 6-7) and here again we see him admonishing them to stand fast and to hold fast to the “traditions” which they have been taught either by direct teaching from Paul or by his letters. The word used here in the Greek for traditions means: “teachings and ordinances (paradosis)” as given by the apostles (See 1 COR 11:2) as well as “instructions for daily, practical conduct” (2 THESS 3:6).

In such turmoil and sufferings as we saints may experience in this fallen world of sin, we are afforded the greatest measure of God's limitless comforts – His “everlasting consolation” for the present, as well as the “good hope” of our certain future in the glories of heaven with our precious LORD Jesus Christ and our heavenly Father!

The comfort of our hearts is not the sort that provides ample and lush surroundings of soft accommodations and ease but rather the provision of strength (com – fort: “with strength”) so that we may indeed “stand fast” as certainly in the midst of our trials as we “stand” against the power of the enemy (EPH 6:11, 13-14) and hold onto the teachings of truth with Holy Spirit-empowered tenacity!

 Paul desired that the saints would be established in every good word and work; not merely words, but works also. The very test of truth is when the words we speak are matched by the works we do – both employed in the truth of God, anointed of the Spirit in humble ministry to the LORD and His saints, and accomplished by the willing hearts of Christ's doulos – that is, the willing bond slaves bound not by chains but cords of love! May we never be found speaking words of “sweet water” one moment and “bitter” the next (JAMES 3:10-12).

Here ends the second half of Chapter Two in this study. Next time we will complete the book of 2 Thessalonians with our study in Chapter Three with Josh Boubion! Until then, the LORD bless and keep you: and keep your eyes on the skies, and don't believe the lies! For the LORD returns from on high!

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