Journal – May 30, 2021
THE GREAT APOSTACY
2 THESSALONIANS 2:1-4 (PART 1)
Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, 2 not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come. 3 Let no one deceive you by any means; for thatDay will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of [b]sin is revealed, the son of perdition, 4 who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits c]as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.
Paul now passes to one special purpose of this epistle, to check and correct the erroneous and premature anticipations of the Second Coming which had become prevalent in Thessalonica, and were doing damage, and producing confusion of mind which were leading to various irregularities. Therefore, he provides to them reassuring prophetic instruction.
Vs. 1, 2 Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, 2 not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had already come. The apostle gets right to the main point—the slight contrast being a transition from his request for them to his request of them. The Greek adelphos translates to brethren which he uses to gain their affectionate attention while it implies the momentous nature of the following charge. The KJV has “We beseech you by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto Him,” The beseech you of the KJV means to ask the Thessalonians urgently and fervently to consider the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ and their foolish actions, while the NKJV, now brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, Paul reminds the Thessalonians that they are brothers in Jesus as he told them of the Second Coming and the twin features of their converted state were turning from idols and waiting for the Son of God to return from heaven. In both the KJV AND NKJV we have our gathering together unto Him, at the present time in life, not us as living and the dead raised up as contemporaries, but us spoken of in the previous epistle as living and surviving till the Second Coming. The living in that time to be caught up, and the result is their gathering together unto Him. The dead in Christ are resurrected as Christ comes down to earth. These two events happen together at the same time. They all meet together, the Lord Christ and the resurrected dead, with the saints that are alive here on the earth, all arrive here at the same time. Now the aim or purpose of Paul’s request is the next thing stated. (Vs. 2)not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had already come. Paul knows the events that will occur at the Second Advent, and they are not happening, so the Thessalonians are not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled. The Greek saleua translated shaken in mind or troubled, to agitate, shake, primarily the actions of stormy winds, waves, and earthquakes; besides being mentally agitated or disturbed. Paul uses the Greek tacheos variously meanings—so soon after my exhortations to you either orally or written, so soon after my departure, or even perhaps so soon after they heard any doctrine of the Second Coming, it just took a small reason which implies a mental disturbance, quickly, easily, and without thinking brought about on this solemn subject, they are specially warned against it. Wycliffe has it “from you “witte (Brain Power),” Tyndale, “from your mind,” the Rhemish version “from your sense”. To put it in our vernacular it is to be taken in its general sense, as mind or reason, your sober or right mind—your common sense. The language implies that something like a panic had taken place, or that they were in imminent danger of falling into one. Some take it that a group or an individual in the Church at Thessalonica had a vison or dream based upon the prophecies and times of Daniel and bringing out the results that the day of the Lord was about to happen. Inasmuch as this is contrary to what is known in the Scriptures revealing the day of the Lord this position is groundless, along with all the other false documents and fictitious characters saying they were contained in an epistle from Paul etc. This warning apparently implies that forgery was at work early, and during the few months elapsing from the date of the first epistle to the second epistle a fictitious utterance and a letter had been circulated in the apostle’s name, teaching what the apostle in the last clause of this verse warned them about: as if from us, as though the day of Christ had already come. Summing up what we have covered in this verse, “The day of the Lord” is the day of the Second Advent—His, as He appears as Judge, His last and loftiest function—His as on it He crowns His work, and His church becomes complete in happiness and in numbers—His, as then, He is glorified in His saints and wondered at in all of them who believe. On that day He rises to a preeminence hitherto unwitnessed. Was the doctrine against which the apostle warns, and which he so solemnly disowns, only that the day of the Lord was at hand, for only the Father knows the day of the Lord. How could such a doctrine throw the church into such a panic and confusion—how could they be driven from their sense and alarmed as he calls it? For they were familiar with it; they were waiting for His Son from heaven, and His coming as referred to in the first epistle. The coming of the Lord was no new theme to them, and they could not be startled by it. They were waiting for His Son from heaven; and meanwhile characterized by works of faith, labors of love, and patience of hope; the word had wrought effectually in them; their faith had grown exceedingly, and their mutual love abounded; they were children of the light; they were the apostle’s joy, hope, and crown of rejoicing in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming. His prayer for them was that God would establish their hearts unblameable before Him at the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints, and that their whole spirit, soul, and body might be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He comes to be glorified in His saints and He comes suddenly as a thief in the night. But it may be asked—how could these early believers persuade themselves that the day of the Lord was come—how could they hold that the Lord had descended—that the trumpet had been heard—that the dead had been raised and the living had been caught up? They must have thought they had forfeited their share in the glory of the kingdom.
Vs. 3, 4 Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition. The anxiety of the apostle on the facts regarding the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ causes him to repeat the warning let no one deceive you by any means. This doctrine that the day of the Lord had already come was a deep deception; whatever might be the motives of those who taught it, it was a perilous error full of danger and risk, and the Thessalonians were to guard against being its dupes. The prophecy, Paul took from the Old Testament books of Daniel and Ezekiel and repeats them here, that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of [sin is revealed, the son of perdition. Paul’s mind is firmly fixed on the event which must take place before the Lord comes the second time. This clearly shows that a spiritual defection that will come first; the revealing of the man of sin, hamartia; his inner element and outer characteristic is sin and nothing but sin, who has his being, plans, and activity in sin and in nothing else; who is the living embodiment of it, is known and recognized as the man of sin. The person so described is a man, a single man, and not a series or succession of men, not the personification of evil influences or the head of any human organization. This man, made of sin, and the idea of a Satanic incarnation is not to be admitted. Is it Satan? By no means, but some man that admits Satan is working in him. (4) Who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. After Paul had written this epistle (about 3 AD), the Man of Sin became a popular discussion among the Jews and heathen Gentiles, and someone wrote the Church of Thessalonica a letter saying Christ had already come, this word got to Paul, hence this answer. When a lie of this magnitude gets started everyone that desires to see the failure of Christianity writes a letter hoping to advance the lie. All these opinions and objections answering these lies are so many comments that would overflow this journal. It is enough to say that none of them realize to the full the statements left unanswered made in the prophecy. The Man of Sin, the Adversary, the lawless one replacing God in His own temple and claiming the homage due God, beguiling the world with lying wonders and all deceivableness of unrighteousness had not happened, hence not a Second Coming. These arguments persisted until the thirteenth century, because the haters of Christianity could not accept all the prophecies that had to take place before the Lord returns. Our Lord called Judas Iscariot the son of perdition, but he was not the Man of Sin mentioned in these verses.
A few years back there was a man named “Howard Camping,” that ran a radio station named Family Radio, it was located in California. He was able to convince some of his listeners that Christ was coming back on a certain day because of his numerology. I understand that the ones convinced of his computations being right, went out on a hill and waited for the Lord’s return, they had adjusted their funds and finances accordingly and when Christ was a no show, several lost savings. Camping died shortly thereafter and now Family Radio is located in Nashville, TN. I told you all this to inform you of the absolutely correct TIME OF THE DAYOF THE LORD. When the last elect has been born and redeemed, then Christ will come, and not one minute before!
KEEP TO THE WORK OF GOD
Keep about your work that God has given you. Do not flinch because the lion roars; do not stop to stone the devil’s dogs; do not fool away your time chasing the devil’s rabbits. Do your work. Let liars lie, let corporations resolve, let the devil do his worst; but see to it that nothing hinders you from fulfilling the work that God has given you.
He has not commanded you to get rich. He has never bidden you to defend your character. He has not set you at work to contradict falsehood about yourself which Satan and his servants may start to peddle. If you do those things, you will do nothing else; you will be at work for yourself and not for the Lord.
Keep at your work. Let your aim be steady. You may be assaulted, wronged, insulted, wounded and rejected; you may be abused by foes, by friends by friends, and despised and rejected of men. But see to it with steadfast determination, with unfaltering zeal, that you pursue the great purpose of your life and object of your being until at last you can say, “I have finished the work which Thou gavest me to do.” —Anonymous
Catechism Question 66 next week.