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Author Topic: 2nd Thessalonians Title Study  (Read 198 times)

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Hidden In Him

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2nd Thessalonians Title Study
« on: March 28, 2019, 08:28:55 PM »
Know God's Prophetic Timeline, To Avoid Being Deceived

     What's your reaction when you click on a sensationalistic Youtube video or visit a website where someone is proclaiming "the Day of the Lord is here!" and the return of the Lord Jesus Christ, the rapture of the church, and the apocalypse are just days, months or years away? Do you watch it out of curiosity to see if there might be something to it, or dismiss it out of hand as over-hyped nonsense? Do you watch it with enthusiasm, believing the same thing yourself, or glance at it to see what the buzz is about but know in your heart before even watching it that what they're saying can't be true because the time hasn't come yet?
     Every 3-5 years somebody comes out with some new theory claiming that the apocalypse is upon us, and invariably well-meaning but naive believers get swept up into thinking this might actually be the one. Let me just say at the outset here that it's a good thing to believe in Bible prophecy, and that the time when the Lord Jesus Christ is going to return from Heaven is drawing closer. The problem is that Satan can use your faith against you if you are not careful, and if you fail to educate yourself in what the scripture actually teaches about, because he often takes joy in deceiving believers into thinking the day of the Lord has come when it actually hasn't yet. Such theories appear to do people some good at first, and they start living more for the Lord more and for eternity, even witnessing and evangelizing more than ever before. Unfortunately what follows is humiliation and embarrassment when the day comes and nothing happens, and they are left to grapple with the fact that that they allowed themselves to be deceived  into believing in a falsehood. Their witness becomes crippled, and in worst case scenarios they end up totally disillusioned with the faith, and walk away from God altogether never to return.
     The Lord gave us way to protect ourselves from deceptions like this. Both Jesus and the apostle Paul taught that there were specific signs believers needed to watch for before the Day of the Lord could come, and until those signs came to pass they had no need to worry that the Day of the Lord had come yet. We will be covering some of those signs in this study. Those who are armed with a knowledge of God's word are far less susceptible to being deceived by the enemy.

Famous Delusions Of The 21st Century

     First there was the "Y2K" scare, with Y2K standing for the year 2,000. This was probably a deliberate hoax on the part of Time Magazine just to sell copies, but it worked like a charm because the article just scared the living daylights out of people. Time published an issue in January of 1999 specifically dedicated to Y2K, and the potential apocalyptic scenario that could be looming. The cover showed a man dressed in Jesus garb standing on a busy street, holding up a cross and wearing a placard that said "Is this the end of the world?"


     According to the article, supposedly the computers we're going to shut down because programmers hadn't accounted for the turn of the century, and the suggestion was that this would cause the world's economies to crash, and within weeks the planet might devolve into anarchy and mob rule as governments resorted to martial law to control the rioting. This would usher in an apocalypse of Biblical proportions, or at least that's what the cover art insinuated.
     Well, when the time came the clocks turned over and all the fear-mongering turned out to be unnecessary. So little actually happened that over the next few days newspapers took to posting cartoons making fun of the whole Y2K scare, saying the devastation was so widespread that "7 ATMs actually shut down, somebody's automatic toilet wouldn't stop flushing for hours," and other similar sarcastic jabs. 


     The problem was, it was not a joke for the Christian ministries who bought in and ran with it, and ended up telling national audiences on televise and radio they needed to take it seriously. They should have known better, and it cast a cloud of doubt on their trustworthiness to even be teaching on end-times prophecy.
     Fast forward 10 years later and we come to Harold Camping. Harold Camping was a radio host who gained control over a radio station called Family Radio, and began making predictions about the rapture of the church. The first prediction he made was for 1994, and when that one didn't come to pass he went back to normal Christian teaching and things settled back down. But in 2003 he began predicting that the return of the Lord and the rapture of the church were going to take place on May 21, 2011, and many people began to get swept up in it.



     This one was tragic because many sold homes and donated their life savings to advertise for this thing. Over 100 million dollars were sent in for advertising. Much of it was spent on billboards and signs at bus stops. Vans and buses were purchased and painted with advertisements, which others then toured the country with, warning the people to prepare for Christ's return. Some sold their houses and sent in their life savings to pay for this advertising, and were left disillusioned in the aftermath when nothing happened. But the truth is they too should have known better, and especially those close to Harold Camping. It was reported afterward that he was supposedly enamored with Jim Jones, the notorious cult leader who convinced hundreds of his followers to drink cooled laced with cyanide. Camping actually had equipment used in the People's Temple, and used to show it off to people, which is really creepy when you think about it. He would supposedly laugh about donators who asked to get their money back after it had already been spent.


     A year or so later, the whole Mayan Calendar scare gained national attention. It was based on a few lines of extremely obscure prophecy found in some Mayan inscriptions, that read there would come a display of B ľolon-Yokte', the Mayan god of war and the Underworld, "in a great investiture." Well, that could have meant anything. It could have simply meant that he would parade himself around in an elaborate costume, since this was usually how the Mayans depicted their gods behaving anyway. But this didn't stop various groups from interpreting the expression any way they wanted to.


     The New Agers said the prophecy predicted the coming of a great spiritual awakening on earth. Of course, the New Agers always predict that various events will signal the coming of a great spiritual awakening on earth. But Hollywood decided to go the opposite direction and portray how the Mayan god of the Underworld was going to kill us all. So in late 2012 a major motion picture was released depicting scenes of apocalyptic destruction as natural disasters swept across the earth and brought about the end of mankind.


     The numbers in this date were even made to have mystical significance, but despite all the hype once again nothing happened. Life went on as usual.


     Then in 2017, two men named William Tapley and Scott Clarke began posting videos on Youtube claiming that the tribulation would come on September 23rd of 2017. Supposedly 12 stars that would align themselves over the constellation of Virgo and this would fulfill a prophecy found in Revelations, Chapter 12, where it talked about the woman with 12 stars over her head being attacked by the dragon. Unfortunately for those Christians who bought this fabrication, once again nothing happened, and life went on as usual, leaving those who took their predictions seriously to try and save face after getting worked up over nothing.


Satan's Objectives In Propagating Hoaxes

     What is Satan's objective in inciting men to play off apocalyptic themes for financial gain, or induce them to make end-time predictions that end up being false? As I've already mentioned, he seeks to subject believers to humiliation and embarrassment, and if possible cause them to become disillusioned with the faith altogether. But underneath it all there is an even deeper motive at work. As much as possible, he wants to discredit the word of God. Just as he did in the garden of Eden, Satan essentially wants to get people to question "Has God said?"

     Now the serpent was the most crafty of all the creatures on the earth which the Lord God made, and the serpent said to the woman, "Has God said, 'Eat not of every tree of the garden?'" And the woman said to the serpent, "We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden, but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God said, 'Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.'" And the serpent said to the woman, "You shall not surely die. For God knew that in whatever day you should eat of it your eyes would be opened, and you would be as gods, knowing good and evil." (Genesis 3:2-6 LXX)

     Satan asked Eve, "Has God said you shall surely die?," thereby insinuating that God might be a liar. And by getting Eve to question God's trustworthiness, Satan was ultimately able to seduce her to her destruction. Likewise, the truth of what God has said in His word regarding end-time events will be proven out, and Biblical prophecy has been given by God to warn humanity that a great apocalypse is coming at the end of the age. But for those who get seduced by these repeated failed predictions into thinking it's all a farce will ultimately be led to their own destruction for believing the word of God was little more than a myth that only the gullible believed.
     The answer to not being deceived by false end-time predictions is in knowing what the Lord Jesus Christ and the apostles actually taught about the Day of the Lord, and the conditions under which His return would take place, and we will cover that next.

The Apostasy Must Take Place First

     Here is what Paul told the Thessalonians in Chapter 2 regarding why they should not become concerned if anyone told them that the Day of the Lord was already here:

     Now we implore you, brothers, by the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together unto Him, that you not become quickly disturbed in mind nor troubled, neither by spirit, nor by report, nor by letter as if written by us [intimating] that the Day of the Lord is here. No one should deceive you in any way if the apostasy has not [yet] come first and that man of lawlessness has been revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above everything that is called God or is worshipped, so as for him to sit down in the temple of God, exhibiting himself that he is God. Do you not remember that when I was with you I was telling you these things? (2 Thessalonians 2:1-5)

     What specifically was he telling them when he was with them? Paul likely taught them Matthew 24, which stated that there were several events that would have to take place before the Day of the Lord could come.
     The following is what the Lord Jesus Christ taught His disciples when they asked Him what the signs of His coming would be:

     Nation shall raise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there shall be famines and earthquakes in [diverse] places. But all these are the beginning of birth pangs. Then they will deliver you up to affliction, and will kill you. And you will be hated by all nations for My name's sake. And then many will be scandalized, and deliver one another up and hate one another... When therefore you shall see standing in the holy place the abomination that causes desolation, that having been spoken of through the prophet Daniel, then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains... for then shall be great tribulation such as was not since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever shall be. And if those days were not shortened, no flesh would be saved, but on account of the chosen those days shall be shortened... but immediately after the tribulation of those days, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken. And then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in the heaven, and then shall all the tribes of the earth wail, and they shall see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. Learn the parable of the fig tree: When its branch becomes tender and puts forth leaves, you know that the summer is near. Thus, you also, when you see all these things, then know that it is near, even at the doors. ... Then two will be in the field, with one being taken and one left behind; two grinding at the mill, with one being taken and one left behind. (Matthew 24:7-9, 15-22, 29-33, 40-41)

      Paul used the word "apostasia" to describe this time when many would betray the Lord and deliver each other up to their deaths. This word meant "apostasy" just as it does today. Many Pre-tribulationists want to translate the term as "the departure" to make it out to refer to the rapture of the church, but this is not what the word meant. It was used of those who distanced themselves from religious or political groups, hence its only other New Testament use was of people accusing Paul of "apostatizing from Moses." In other words, the accusation was he was teaching that none of the law of Moses had to be kept.
      Apostasia is also sometimes translated as "falling away," and interpreted to mean a time when Christians will be seduced into backsliding back into the world. But this is not what's being referred to either. Paul was referring to a time of mass apostasy when Christians be persecuted by all nations, and deliver one another to their deaths to save their own lives.

The Nations Must First Turn Against Believers

     Is persecution on such a wide scale happening yet? No, it is not. Certainly there is Christian persecution - even severe persecution - in many regions of the world today, like N. Korea, or the Muslim countries of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sudan, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, and Somalia. But in the Western Hemisphere, Mexico and Columbia are the only two nations to even make the Top 50 of those who are persecuting Christians. This prophecy states that Christians will be hated by all nations, and that the persecution they bring against the saints will be so severe it brings God's vengeance down upon them. Thus the Day of the Lord is referred to as the Day of His Vengeance against the nations for what they did to His people:

     Come near, you nations, to hear. And heed, you people! Let the earth hear, and all that is in it; the world and all things that come forth from it. For the vengeance of the Lord is against all nations, and His fury against all their armies. He has utterly destroyed them. He has given them over to the slaughter. Also their slain shall be cast out. Their stench shall rise from their corpses, and the mountains shall be wet with their blood. All the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled up like a scroll. All their host shall fall down as the leaf falls from the vine, and as fruit falling from a fig tree. (Isaiah 34:1-4)

     In another place in Isaiah, it says, "I trampled [the nations] in My anger, and trod them down in My wrath... It was for Me a Day of vengeance; the year for Me to redeem had come." (Isaiah 63:3-4)

     Vengeance for what? For afflicting the saints of God, and causing multitudes to betray one another and Him to save their lives.
     So here again we see a sequence of events: All the nations will turn to persecuting the Christians, the great apostasy from the faith will take place, and then the Lord will return in vengeance to punish those who sought to annihilate His people.

The Fourth Beast Must Also Arise First

     Both Paul and the Lord Jesus Christ made reference to the Antichrist coming first. Paul referred to him as "the lawless one" who would take his seat in the temple of God in Jerusalem, and Jesus referred to him in telling the disciples that when they saw "the abomination of desolation standing in the temple," they were to flee to the mountains. This was a reference to the statue that the Antichrist would set up in the temple after he left, as a permanent reminder to the Jews that if they were going to worship anyone it would be him now.
     But in order for the Antichrist to arise first, there will already have to be an empire established in the earth that he will take power over. We know this from how it is described in Daniel, Chapter 7:

     As for me Daniel... I drew near to one of them that stood by, and I sought to learn of him the truth of all these things. And he told me the truth, and made known to me the interpretation of these things. The four beasts are four kingdoms that shall rise up on the earth, which shall be taken away, and the saints of the Most High shall take the kingdom and possess it for ever and ever. Then I enquired carefully concerning the fourth beast, for it differed from every other beast, being exceedingly dreadful. Its teeth were of iron and its claws of brass, devouring [its victims], and utterly breaking them to pieces, and it trampled the remainder with its feet, and concerning the ten horns that were in its head and the other that came up, and rooted up some of the former. That horn had eyes, and a mouth speaking great things, and his look was bolder than the rest. I beheld, and that horn made war with the saints and prevailed against them until the Ancient of days came, and He gave judgment to the saints of the Most High, and the time came on that the saints possessed the kingdom. And he said, "The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom on the earth, which shall excel all other kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth and trample and destroy it. And the ten horns are ten kings that shall arise, and after them shall arise another who shall exceed all the former ones in wickedness, and he shall subdue three kings. And he shall speak words against the Most High and wear out the saints of the Most High, and think to change times and law. And power shall be given into his hand for a time and times and half a time. But judgment has sat, and they shall remove his dominion to abolish it and utterly destroy it. And the kingdom and power and greatness of the kings under the whole heaven were given unto the saints of the Most High, and His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all powers shall serve and obey Him. (Daniel 7:15-27, LXX)

     Some people teach that this "Beast" will be an amalgamation of church and state, with the Catholic Church wielding political influence over the world, but this is not what this passages suggests at all. This will be an empire characterized by military conquest unlike anything the world has ever seen before. Teeth, horns and claws are the means by which animals kill and destroy. When it says, "Its teeth were of iron and its claws of brass, devouring [its victims], and utterly breaking them to pieces," it's victims here are nations. It means it's weapons will be strong, and it will use them to utterly break nations to pieces, and trample the remainder with its feet, meaning that nothing will be left. The nations they conquer by overwhelming military force will be completely assimilated into the empire as conquered territory and cease to exist as nation-states.
     But more importantly as far as the timing is concerned, when it says, "and there were ten horns in its head, and another came up that rooted up three the former," this means that when the Antichrist arises he will usurp rule over three of the former kings who were leading this empire. That means the empire will need to already be in place before he can arise.


     As will be covered in later studies, Paul believed this empire was Rome, and that an emperor would soon arise to fulfill all that was prophesied. Did they have legitimate reasons that Rome was the 4th Beast of Daniel, and that the return of Christ was near? Yes. The empire the Antichrist would arise to assume power over already appeared to be in place.
     Do we have the same legitimate reasons to believe the Antichrist could arise at any time? No, we do not. There are signs this empire might eventually shape among the prominent Muslim nations of the Middle East, but it still has a long way to go. But until we see an empire of military conquest unlike anything this world has seen before taking shape in the earth, we have no need to be concerned that the Day of the Lord is at hand yet.

False Christs Must Also Appear First

     Another sign that must precede the Day of the Lord are false Christs and false prophets who will perform signs and wonders powerful enough to deceive even those closest to God away from the truth:

     Then if anyone says to you, "Behold, the Christ is here, or there," do not believe it. For there will arise false Christs and false prophets, and they will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead if possible even the elect. Behold, I have foretold you. If therefore they say to you, "Behold, He is in the wilderness," do not go forth, or "Behold, He is in the private rooms," do not believe it. For as the lightning comes forth from the east and appears as far as the west, so shall the coming of the Son of Man be." (Matthew 24:23-26)

     Paul repeated this teaching to the Thessalonians when he told them the following later in Chapter 2:

     The coming of [the lawless one] will correspond with the demonic activity of Satan, [manifesting] in all the power, signs and wonders of falsehood and in all the deceitfulness of unrighteousness unto those who are perishing, on which account they have received not the love of the truth for them to be saved. And it is for this reason that God is sending them this demonic activity which endorses error for them to believe the lie: So that all may be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in unrighteousness. (2 Thessalonians 2:5, 9-12)

     More will be covered on this passage in later studies, but do we see these false prophets and false Christs operating in the earth today who can call fire down from heaven, or levitate into the sky, or other powerful signs strong enough to deceive even devout Christians if it were possible? No, we do not. And until we do we shouldn't be concerned that the Day of the Lord has come.

Are You Susceptible To Falling For A Delusion?

     I know some may be telling themselves that they would never fall for the end-time delusions I have mentioned in this study; that they are far to wise to get caught up into believing in such things. But just because you wouldn't fall for them now doesn't mean you might not get deceived if life got considerably harder for you down the road, and you began secretly hoping for the Day of the Lord to come. As hatred from the nations towards Christians increases and circumstances become grow darker for them, many are going to increasingly hope Christ's return is coming sooner rather than later, and there will be increasing temptation to put hope in false predictions about it. For those who do not become educated in the word of God regarding these things, the potential will exist for them to fall prey to delusions and be humiliated, and potentially even be defrauded and become disillusioned with the faith altogether.



     This is Title Study For an entire set I will be doing on 2nd Thessalonians. The following is a brief rundown of the studies that will followed their contents:

Study #1: The future location of the Lake of Fire
Study #2: The return of Christ to avenge His own in flaming fire
Studies #3-5: The Antichrist's coming reign of genocide
Studies #6-7: Several things that remain before the Antichrist can be revealed
Studies #8-10: The false Christs that will come, and what they will likely teach
Study #11: Satan's coming attack on the Christian traditions
Study #12: Remaining pure of heart despite the enemy's attacks
Study #13: About combatting the financial exploitation of the Church

« Last Edit: April 23, 2019, 02:40:39 PM by Hidden In Him »