A FALLING AWAY
2 Thessalonians 2:1 ¶ Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, 2 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. 3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; 4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. 5 Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?
The Greek word, here translated a falling away, only appears one other time in the New Testament. We find it that only other time in Acts 21:21. And they are informed of thee, that thou teachest all the Jews which are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, saying that they ought not to circumcise their children, neither to walk after the customs. It is seen as those English words to forsake. Therefore we see that it is a time of forsaking, or falling away from the professed belief in Christianity.
Listen to Isaiah 1:4. Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken the LORD, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backward.
And in 1Timothy 4:1 we read that this happening is a revelation of the Holy Spirit. Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; For the unconverted church membership will not have within themselves the strength of perception to recognize, nor the power of perseverance to endure the “strong delusion” which the Lord shall send upon the earth, and they shall finally fall away! Matthew 24:24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.
2 Thessalonians 2:10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: 12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
They only remain as part of the religious community while both themselves, as the tares, and the wheat are growing together. For the tares (unconverted religionist) and the wheat (true believers) can only remain “together” while they are both in the ‘growing’ phase. But when gospel growth is completed the tares are removed. For the gospel is required to both provide the tare that which he is to be apostatized from, and the wheat for him to be formed thereby. Matthew 13:30 Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn. 1 John 2:18 Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. 19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.
These true believers at Thessalonica are said to have that growing faith. 2 Thessalonians 1:3 We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth; And they had been previously taught concerning the second coming of the Lord. 2 Thessalonians 2:5 Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? 15 Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.
Therefore as this was the point of attack by Satan and his false prophets, both the Apostle Paul and the Apostle Peter found it necessary to refresh their pupils in these matters. 2 Peter 1:12 Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth.13 Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance; 3:1 This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance:
Even Jude found it essential to change the intended subject of his epistle from what he first determined to write due to the fact of false teachers plaguing the flock. Jude 3 Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. 4 For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.
For as with those of Thessalonica, the believers had assurance of the Lord’s return as their hope of deliverance from such afflicters. Therefore to remove this matter of faith was to reduce them to hopelessness. 2 Thessalonians 1:4 So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure: 5 ¶ Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer: 6 Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; 7 And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, 8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: 9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; 10 When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.
This was also a matter of instruction by the Apostle John in his epistle. 1 John 4:1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. 2 Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: 3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.
The believer has both the right, and the responsibility to try the spiritual gifts that set themselves up as preachers and pastors. For that is what the Apostle John is saying in that verse one. – “try the spiritual gifts, because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” And the believer has two allies to prove those who are the true ministers of Christ. They have the Holy Spirit within them. 1 John 2:20 But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things. 27 But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.
And they have the other true preachers to reveal those who are, and who are not called of God. 1 Corinthians 14:29 Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge.
Now let us turn our attention to our verse in 2 Thessalonians 2:3. We must make sure to take careful notice of the fact of there being two men mentioned therein. First there are those deceiving men. Let no man deceive you by any means: Then there is that mysterious “man of sin.” “… and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;” It shall be worth our time to give attention to both of these.
First there are those deceiving men. They have gifts, but not grace! Satan can counterfeit various spiritual gifts. It is the love of God in the heart which makes the true believer.
1 Corinthians 13:1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.
That 1611 King James word “charity” is speaking of love. 1 John 4:8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. 16 And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.
Listen to these verses on these deceiving men. 2 Peter 2:17 These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever. 18 For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error. 19 While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage. 2 Timothy 3:13 But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. Jude 16 These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men’s persons in admiration because of advantage.
In the Book of the Revelation chapter nine we read of the masses of these “locus men” of deception set forth. Revelation 9:1 And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit. 2 And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit. 3 And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power. 4 And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads.
God’s heavenly luminary is removed as his ‘star’ (Rev. 1:20) and all the remaining effects of the sun are put out. Then these ‘locust preachers’ deceive those who are not marked with God’s electing love. And in verses eight and nine of this passage we see that they have the alluring hair of the woman, in order to attract, but the breastplates of iron, as they have no true care for their victims.
Then we see the mention of another man in our 2 Thessalonians 2:3 verse. He is listed as the “man of sin.” This is that advanced kind of sinner that can only come forth after the advanced light of the affect of Calvary brings forth. For the gospel light has shined upon humanity and therefore those who reject its greater illumination set themselves up for greater condemnation. John 3:19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. Luke 12:47 And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.
The only affect of the gospel upon him was to cause him to seek morality! But he never attained righteousness! His life was ‘swept’ clean of former immoralities, but he was left ‘empty’ of righteousness. Matthew 12:43 When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none. 44 Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished. 45 Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation.
Peter states that it would have been better for them never to have heard the gospel as far as the results upon their souls. But the gospel is the Spirit’s sword (Ephesians 6:17) for God to conquer every soul, whether to their salvation, or to their damnation!
They do ‘escape the pollutions of the world,’ becoming more moral than they ever were, but they have not a new nature, so they return to their old immoralities, becoming even worse than before. 2 Peter 2:20 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. 21 For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. 22 But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire. Matthew 23:15 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.
Pastor Gene Breed
October 30, 2020