Journal – June 6, 2021
7 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.
THE GREAT APOSTASY (PART 2)
2 THESSALONIANS 2:5-12
Do you not remember that when I was still with you, I told you these things? 6 And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time. 7 For the [d]mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. 8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming. 9 The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, 10 and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11And forthis reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, 12 that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
Vs. 5 Do you not remember that when I was still with you, I told you these things? 6 And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time. Paul finally reminds the Thessalonians that when he had spent those three weeks with them, when they were grasping the truth so rapidly (that I told you these things?) he had opened up the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus to them. He knew that they would have to endure several peculiar afflictions and trials in their Christian walk, so he got them acquainted with the end times set forth in the book of Daniel, have you forgotten so soon? This point of doctrine was of more importance to the apostle then to you and me because we have a complete Bible in or hands and know how everything is going to work out in the end. (vs.6)And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time. The apostle had told them from his previous personal teaching, now you know what is restraining; therefore, he obviously determines it is not necessary to repeat it, now they know who it is that restrains but you and me will know when he is revealed in his own time. However, for us there are two important questions that remain, what is the restraining power and from what does it restrain? Various answers have been given but none are worthy of repeating. We can know there is a restraining power, in order that he may be revealed in his own time—not before it, a set time appointed by God for the manifestation of the Man of Sin—a time that neither is to be antedated nor postponed, and the retaining power which prevents his immediate appearance is also in God’s hand. The revelation of the Man of Sin is so prearranged that it was not impending and does not come by chance or at any self-selected epoch. Christ came in the fullness of the time, and his great dark and last counterworker comes also in His own time.
Vs. 7, 8 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. (vs. 8) And then the lawless one will be revealed, The Man of Sin will step forth from his concealment, and then the lawless one will be revealed. It is not something incomprehensible, but here is something veiled and hidden and apparently as yet unknown to the church yet working its way towards that awful consummation. He, the Man of Sin, is to step forward from concealment at the time fixed for him, measured out to him by God. As we read the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; having a strong desire to break forth but is limited at the present time until God removes the one actually restraining, He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. This reminds me of John 6:70 when Jesusaddressed His disciples, did I not choose you, the twelve, and one of you is a devil? Judas was there with the twelve, but it was not revealed until the time came, remember while waiting his time he preached the Kingdom of God and healed the sick. (vs.8) Now we have the revealing of the lawless one. The Man of Sin will step forth from his concealment, and then the lawless one will be revealed. The time fixed by God will arrive, the Man of Sin is withheld during the present time, as our Lord came to earth born of the virgin at the set time Galatians 4:4. Paul wants us to know that these events are still future, and Christ will destroy the Man of Sin when He comes in His glory, the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming.
Vs. 9, 10 The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders. Now after Paul has shown the end of the wicked one, he goes back to the events that lead up to these descriptions. We see the coming of the Man of Sin is according to the working of Satan. Satan gives him power as the Father does to Christ. The working of Satan is to bring about a salvation (in lying wonders) without repentance and a cross but in great, power and signs does he work. Satan putting forth all power that has been given to him is able to make false christs and false prophets that will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect, Matthew 24:24. These false prophets are anti-christs prophets, they are able to make fire fall from heaven and deceive men which results in a false belief as if the sign was performed by Divine power. Without any working of the Holy Spirit men will be deceived and these miracles of falsehood will lead to the destruction of many—salvation is to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and rest in His completed work. (vs.10) and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. It appears that all that will happen in these false miracles that will be performedis a magician’s deceptive trick. Paul shows us the mark of the Man of Sin, besides false miracles, the profanity of his spirit and walk, and besides lying (which is an intentional falsification of knowledge), aletheia truth used objectively, signifying the reality of lying as the basis of a matter especially of Christian doctrine. But such as are perishing, are actually on the way to perdition, and that through their own fault, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. Notice it does not say they received not the truth, they did not receive the love of the truth. From this we understand that the natural man by himself is not merely destitute of the truth but has not so much as the love of the truth; even this must be implanted within him. For a long while a man may go along undecided; antichrist will drive him to a decision. God does not force the truth on man, who suffers it not to grow in his heart.
Vs. 11, 12 And forthis reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, 12that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. Referring to this cause—as punishment—this refers to what came before it in the previous verses than to what follows. He sends it to them, but it does not signify now, but is taken as doctrinal truth without regard to time. Does God send strong delusions? Yes, the apostle is describing the actions of a Judge that is punishing evil by evil. Not to believe the truth is sin, to refuse the love of the truth is darker sin, to have to believe the lie is the punishment of sin God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie. He gives them up to uncleanness, letting then slide down the sloping push of their own desires, and that because they would not have it otherwise. The object of the sending is that they should believe the lie. (vs.12) Look at more of the reason that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. The ultimate and secret source of all evil which results in condemnation over against the having had pleasure in unrighteousness. A powerfully warning conclusion; the apostle has thus more exactly defined the nature of the judgment already spoken of in chapter one. The appearance of the Man of Sin must help to bring about the complete separation. It is true, therefore, that the matter does not proceed so swiftly and smoothly as one may fancy; but yet with all terrible earnestness it will proceed gloriously.
A TIME FOR DIVINE JUDGMENT
And the Lord said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he is also flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years Genesis 6:3.
God determined a day of judgment for the antediluvian world of Noah’s time. He gave them one-hundred and twenty years to prepare for judgment, but they took no heed. They lived life as they always had, until the flood took them to a watery grave under Divine condemnation:
37 But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be. 38 For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage until the day that Noah entered the ark. 39 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so, shall also the coming of the Son of man be (Matthew 24: 37-39).
Every swing of Noah’s axe, the fall of every tree, every hit of Noah’s hammer peached of final judgment—yet they took no heed. And so, it is today. Judgment approaches, the gospel is preached, but the vast majority heed it not.
Catechism Question 66
Q: What is forbidden in the fourth commandment?
A: The fourth commandment forbids the omission or careless performance of the duties required, and the profaning the day by idleness, or doing that which is in itself sinful, or by unnecessary thought, words, or works, about worldly employments or recreations.
26 Her priests have violated my law, and have profaned mine holy things: they have put no difference between the holy and profane, neither have they shewed difference between the unclean and the clean, and have hid their eyes from my sabbaths, and I am profaned among them.