Saturday, December 01, 2007

II Thessalonians 2:1-12


1 Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers and sisters, 2 not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by the teaching allegedly from us-whether by a prophecy or by word of mouth or by letter-asserting that the day of the Lord has already come. 3 Don't let anyone deceive you in any way, for [that day will not come] until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. 4 He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God's temple, proclaiming himself to be God.

5 Don't you remember that when I was with you I used to tell you these things? 6 And now you know what is holding him back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time. 7 For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. 8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming. 9 The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie, 10 and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie 12 and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.

This is the passage that is taken by many to speak of three things prophetically. FIRST--There will be a great apostacy--a massive departure from the faith, the truth. Although this kind of departure seems to happen in every generation, I do believe some day there will be a final apostacy from the faith--a final turning against the truth--against God. I believe the seeds are being planted today for this great apostacy. This is all tied together with the the teaching of the spirit of the anti-Christ...those who are following all that is "instead of" Christ and therefore against Him. The evidence for the spirit of anti-Christ not only exists in the world today, but also within the churches.

SECOND--The world-wide leader that will arise--the lawless one. There has been all sorts of teachings about a one-world leader that will arise at the end of time. Here this leader is called the lawless one. In other places this lawless one is referred to as the Anti-Christ. And this leader will raise himself up to be viewed as equal with God and will have some great powers--even miracles.

THIRD--The one who holds back this lawless one. What or who is it that is holding back this world-wide leader, the lawless one. It says that once this "holding back" is released, then the lawless one will be revealed to the world. For most of my life I've believed that the one who holds back the lawless one from being revealed and free to do his work against Jesus is called "the restrainer". It seems to make good sense to see the restrainer as the Spirit of God who indwells all believers in Jesus. This is what leads many to believe that the church of Jesus--all believers in Jesus--will some day be raptured up into heaven to be with the Lord. All those who have not yet believed in Jesus will remain here on planet earth. This is the under-girding of the "Left Behind" series. Some will be raptured and disappear while others will be left behind.

Whatever you believe about the rapture and the appearing of the Anti-Christ, there is one underlying message given here by the trio to the Thessalonians. DON'T BE SHAKEN OR MISLED BY ALL THE TALK ABOUT THIS BEING THE END. Not even Jesus knows the day or the hour. But what we are to do is to reject the false and hold on to the genuine one--Jesus, Himself. Another way of saying this is, "You will know the counterfeit of world events by only one thing--get to know the genuine very well. His name is Jesus.

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