TUESDAY, MAY 19
SCRIPTURE: 2 THESSALONIANS 2
Author: Jeremy Witt
As we continue from yesterday, I needed more space to continue to explain the apostasy and some other things within chapter two. Also, I had a critique from a woman in my house as to how I can make this better for each one who reads this, so let’s see if you notice what she suggested to me.
Based on your translation, you may read the phrase “day of the LORD”. This can be interpreted in two ways. First, it may mean end times beginning with Jesus’ birth and continuing until today. Second, it may mean the final judgment day. When we read this phrase, this ultimately refers to future events that decisions today may or may not lead to results on that day. (Salvation, repentance, being faithful or disobedient, etc are what I am referring to.)
I promise that I am heading towards the apostasy. Understand throughout history, there have been and are still today, individuals who oppose Jesus Christ and do great evil upon others, and seek to cause harm, gain glory for themselves. These individuals are antichrists. Because Satan is not all-knowing, he has people ready should the time be right that he can use them as the Antichrist. Many scholars have listed such people in books and continue today who might fulfill the role as the one prophesied in Scripture. This person will fill the role of the Antichrist. This person is also the man of lawlessness as mentioned throughout Scripture (1 John 2:18; 4:3; 2 John 7) Daniel 7:7; 8:21; Matt 24:15; Revel. 13) This person will claim to be God. This person will be charismatic and fool many. He will oppose God and seek to claim His glory and defame the name of Jesus. He will appear to do good and perform miracles. He will win people’s favor. He is not Satan but will be his instrument.
THE GREAT APOSTASY
Verse 3 and its wording in the Greek speaks to a group of people who appear to be Christ-followers but are not true. They will “turn away from their faith” and turn to this Antichrist and follow him. Apostasy is a mixture of two Greek words and in its strictest sense it means “to place oneself away from or to stand away from someone.” It is used in 14 places in the New Testament. It means a turning away from something to another” thing in layman’s terms. It does not necessarily mean wholehearted belief or devotion to someone and then a turning away from or rejection of as many have translated in the past and still today.
If it were taken as the former meaning, it would be a major event in the Christian world. It would mean we could leave our faith and allegiance to Jesus. It would be leaving the Christian faith and rejecting Jesus if that were possible for a Christ-follower, which it does not in my understanding. Now some of you might be thinking that you have heard of people who have done this. It would also mean that Scripture would contradict itself. Understand that some Christians and denominations believe that this is possible. 1 Timothy 4:1 also uses this Greek phrase and is translated as such to support this theory.
Here is the question that we must ask in situations of apparent contradiction. What does the rest of the Bible say upon this subject? Point of note: it would go against John 10:28, John 17:12, and Romans 8:28-29. Could there be another explanation of this? Anyone can say that they are Christian. There is not a blood test or tattoo when you become a Christ-follower. (There will be in the future to eliminate confusion. See Mark of the beast in the future so that the Antichrist can know who are his. God will mark “His own” with His own mark, but that is another devotion for another time.) It is very possible to attend church and Bible studies and be lost. There are multiple Scriptures to support this.
Does going to church save you? No – it just allows you to hear the Gospel. Does reading the Bible save you? No – it just speaks God’s Word and tells His story. Does being a church member save you? No. Just because you hang out with Christians does not save you either, but it certainly should cause you to hear the Gospel and see it lived out. How many times did people walk away from Jesus Himself after He taught something difficult or that went against the commonly accepted ideas of the day? The Pharisees were around Jesus and were they saved? NO!
Going back to the passage. People walked away from those they were around. When the Antichrist comes, he will fool many, and it will appear to pull people away who were of the Christian faith. But they were not true. They will be sympathetic in ways but they will eventually fall away as 1 Timothy 4:1 refers to when persecution comes.
So what about this Antichrist? How is he tied to the apostasy? The keyword in verse 3 that Paul uses to tell the church that Christ’s return is imminent. This man of lawlessness is evil and equipped with Satan’s power as verse 9 tells us. Verse 4 tells us that he will go the Temple in Jerusalem (It was destroyed in AD 70 so it was still there then, but is not now, and it must be rebuilt first) and the Antichrist will declare himself god on the mercy seat of the Ark of the Covenant.
Verse 7 essentially means that God is restraining Satan with some of His angels until that time set by God comes. God is in control. The rest of the chapter is an encouragement to stand firm, be faithful, and to honor and obey our LORD God.
There is so much more that could be said here. I apologize for this getting out so late today. Tuesday is staff meeting days, and I simply did not get this done before we started. Keep our eyes up and on the LORD!