Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction,2 Thessalonians 2:3(NASB)
Over the past decades, the apostasy in Christendom has exploded dramatically, as the Word of God is distorted, in thousands of ways.. and the Word of truth is fragmented into a multiplicity of heretical teachings and demonic doctrines - in order to cause division in the Body, and to deceive, if possible, even the elect of God.. and those that are well-grounded in the faith.
A direct assault on Jesus Christ and the Christian faith, is raging today.. as Satan, who is the enemy of our soul, not only assaults us as a roaring lion, but also comes as an angel of light. He not only tries to devour us, but seeks to seduce us.. and entice us away from the gospel, with smooth-sounding philosophies, that have a semblance of truth but deny biblical facts.
In this passage, Paul sets out to clarify a misunderstanding about the coming of Christ.. our being gathered to Him, and the Day of the Lord, which not only incorporates the future, 70th week of Daniel's great prophecy and the concurrent time of Jacob's trouble - but also the thousand-year millennial reign of Christ.
Paul had already taught these believers the comforting truth about the rapture of the Church, the devastation and destruction during the first seven years of the Day of the Lord and the glorious second coming of Christ to set up His millennial kingdom on earth. But we discover, that in the meantime, false teachings had been introduced, to deliberately cause confusion and fear, to overtake these believers.
False teaching, false prophecies and fabricated letters - which were allegedly from Paul, had been circulated - causing these Christians to worry, that they had missed the rapture of the Church, whilst believing that the Day of the Lord had already arrived! But Paul set out, point by point, the exact sequence of events in this passage, in order to comfort their hearts and allay their fears - reminding them of his earlier teaching, and warning them not to be worried or deceived, by the false teachings... that the Day of the Lord had already begun.
Although the book of Revelation had yet to be written, numerous descriptions of the Day of the Lord are given in Old Testament scriptures, which tell of that terrible time when God's wrath will be poured out on a God-hating, Christ-rejecting sinful world. Let no one in any way deceive you, were Paul's heartening and encouraging words, for the Day of the Lord will not come.. until three things occur.
FIRST, gross apostasy in the church (v3). SECOND, the revealing of the man of lawlessness (v3 and v4,8) and THIRD, the removal of the Restrainer of evil (v6-7). However, before that terrible day of the Lord's wrath is poured out on a world in turmoil, the man of sin must be revealed and the Restrainer of evil must be removed.
Today evil is being held back by the Restrainer of evil, and the One that restrains evil today is the Holy Spirit, within the Church. He indwells every born-again believer, during this dispensation of grace, but will be taken out of the way - at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him.. i.e. at the rapture.
Although apostasy has been present throughout the history of the Church, it has exploded dramatically, over the past decades, as the Word of God is distorted and fragmented into a multiplicity of heretical teachings and demonic doctrines. The day when Christ comes to gather His church is closer than ever before, as apostasy marches on unabated, and heresies multiply with increasing intensity. Nevertheless, as Paul taught.. evil will continue to be restrained by the prayers of the righteous - until that terrible day arrives.
Today the evil of the world is being held back by the prayers of a righteous remnant, through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit. But the day is fast approaching when He (the Restrainer), will be taken out of the way. And in a world, where almost every semblance of righteousness has been removed.. the man of sin will be revealed - that man of lawlessness, who is the son of destruction.
As saved saints, we are not appointed to wrath, but have a solemn task ahead of us, as we occupy ourselves, in the things of God, until the Lord Jesus comes to take us to be with Himself. Let us be vigilant to guard our hearts against the increasing apostasy within the Church.. through an ever deepening knowledge and understanding of the Word of truth.. and let us earnestly share a knowledge of that truth, with those that are lost in their sins.. so that others may be snatched from the teeth of the enemy, before that great and terrible Day of the Lord - when seven years of God's wrath will be poured out on a Christ-rejecting world - and then the Day of the Lord will continue for a further 1000 years, during Christ's millennial rule on earth.
Heavenly Father, we thank You for Your comforting words of grace and Your solemn words of warning against the rampant apostasy within Christendom. May we hold fast to the truth and never take our eyes off the Lord Jesus.. in a world that is on the fast-track to God's punishment. Cleanse Your church we pray, and turn many hearts back to the way of righteousness - we ask this in Jesus name, AMEN
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