II Thess 2:11 The Lie 3/3/2002

 

 

 

#1. The Deceit of Unrighteousness (II Thess 2:8-12)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#2. The Abomination of Desolation (Matt 24:15, Dan 12:11, Rev 22:18)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#3. Kept Safe by Grace (II Thess 2:13)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please open your Bibles to the Second Epistle to the Thessalonians, chapter 2. II Thess 2:1. Last week I preached a sermon on this chapter, where I focused on verses 6-7, The Mystery of Iniquity. Today I want to focus on verse 11. The title of today's sermon is "The Lie" (2X).

Let me review what I said last week. God says here in this chapter that the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ will be preceded by a great falling away of the Christian Churches, and this falling away is also called "The Mystery of Iniquity".

The great falling away is also recorded in many other chapters in the Bible, such as in II Tim 3, and in Daniel, and in Rev. Let's begin to read II Thess 2:1-7,

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 Thessalonians 2:2 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.

2 Thessalonians 2:3 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;

2 Thessalonians 2:4 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.

2 Thessalonians 2:5 Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?

And now allow me to read what the Greek text says in verses 6 and 7,

2 Thessalonians 2:6 And now ye know the holding back, for him to be revealed in his time.

2 Thessalonians 2:7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only now, the holding back, until it comes out of the midst.

God says here that the mystery of iniquity, the falling away, is held back until it is spawned out of the midst of the congregations. Verse 7 is totally messed up in the KJV. The personal pronoun "he" does not occur at all in verse 7. You don't have to look in other translations of the Bible either. They all take their cues from the KJV. But you can see it clearly in any Interlinear Bible.

Then, in the following verses, God speaks about the Man of Sin, the son of perdition, which is Satan himself. And in those verses God speaks about "The deceit of unrighteousness".

#1. The Deceit of Unrighteousness (II Thess 2:8-12). Let's read verse 8,

2 Thessalonians 2:8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:

That Wicked one who shall be revealed is the Man of Sin, the son of perdition, the son of Hell, the Antichrist, Satan. These are all synonyms. God speaks in I John 4:3 about, "that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world". The Antichrist was already in the world in the first Century AD, and he will still be in the world at the second coming of Christ. Therefore, the Antichrist is Satan, who is named here a man, because he indwells a man. Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Satan can be only in one place at a time. Therefore his demons, his ministers, will indwell many other men, who will be disguised as ministers of righteousness, but they will be as evil as Satan himself. Then we read in verses 9-10,

2 Thessalonians 2:9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,

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.

Verse 9 confirms our understanding that the Antichrist is Satan. This is not immediately obvious. Throughout the centuries people have been looking for a man who fit the description of the Antichrist. Then, in verse 10 God speaks about "the deceit of unrighteousness". God speaks about those who are in the Church, but they are unsaved. Their absence of righteousness is hidden by deceit. They pretend to be saved. They have made a profession of faith, they have become members of the Church, they have been baptized in water, they partake of the Lord's Supper, they become deacons, or elders, or pastors, or seminary professors, or bishops, or popes, but they have never been born again, and they have never received the love of the truth of the Word of God. This gift from God they have never received. That is why they are falling away to embrace another gospel. They do not recognize Satan, who is disguised as an angel of light.

Are there such people in our Church? That is very well possible. There are unsaved people in every Church. Even among the disciples of Jesus there was one who was indwelt by Satan, and the other disciples never knew it until Jesus told them. Here in verse 10 God gives us one more sign how we can tell if we have been saved. Have we received the love of the truth of the Word of God? Do we have a love for hearing the Word of God, like a Bride loves to hear the voice of the Bridegroom? Have we received an urgent need to know the Word of God in every nook and cranny of the Bible? And do we have an urgent desire to obey the Word of God? This is not something that comes naturally.

2 Thessalonians 2:11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie (Lit: "the lie"):

2 Thessalonians 2:12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

Again, you can check any Interlinear Bible, the Greek text does not say "a lie", but it says clearly "The Lie". That is a BIG difference. There have been many lies floating around in the Churches since the beginning of the church age, and some of those lies are still around in many Churches. But what is The BIG Fat Lie, or "The Lie", spoken of here in II Thess 2:11?

Some people have suggested that it is the lie of Pelagianism. Well, that is a stab in the dark. As

you know, Pelagius was a 5th Century theologian who denied original sin, and proclaimed that man has perfect freedom to do good or evil. The Roman Catholic Church has followed Pelagius, even unto this day. About 1000 years later, in the 16th Century, Jacob Arminius tried to bring Pelagianism into the Christian Church, but he was condemned by the Synod of Dordrecht. Nevertheless, about 200 years later, John and Charles Wesley again raked up the Pelagian dirt, that man has a free will to do good or evil. Today most Churches have adopted that view, that we have a free will to accept the Lord Jesus and we have the free will to reject Him. As a result most people do not know any more what grace is, because they do not read the Bible. They only listen and believe what their Church is teaching them. In fact, most people do not want to know what God says in the Bible. They say to me: "I know what I believe, don't confuse me with you verses from the Bible".

Is "The Lie", spoken of in II Thess 2:11 is it the lie of Semi-Pelagianism, or Arminianism? Is it the lie that we are saved depending on our choice made by our own free will? No! God speaks in this chapter about events taking place shortly before Christ's second coming, which is the end of the world. And Semi-Pelagianism has been around since the 5th Century. Besides, we cannot interpret Scripture based on what we see happening in the world. Scripture must be interpreted with Scripture.

What then is "The Lie", spoken of in II Thess 2:11? Is it not "The Lie" spoken of in verse 9?

2 Thess 2:9, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,

Here is "The Lie" spoken of in verse 11. This lie is associated with signs and lying wonders. What does the Bible have to say about "Signs and Wonders"? Please turn with me to the Gospel according to Matthew, chapter 7. The Lord Jesus performed many miracles, signs and wonders. Then the Apostles also performed many miracles, signs and wonders. In fact, the signs of an Apostle were that they performed "signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds".

But today, signs and wonders in a Church are in no way signs of salvation. The Lord Jesus spoke of such people standing before the Judgment throne on the Last Day. Just listen to Matt 7:22-23,

Matthew 7:22 Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy name? and in Thy name have cast out devils? And in Thy name done many wonderful works?

Matthew 7:23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from Me, ye that work iniquity.

They have cast out devils and done many wonderful works in Jesus' name. These are people in Churches where such miracles take place. And yet, Jesus says: "I never knew you: depart from Me, ye that work iniquity". Those are terrifying words many people hear when they stand for Judgment.

But what has the Bible to say about signs and wonders near the end of time? When we search the Bible, we find that signs and wonders done near the end of time are always attributed to the actions of Satan. For example, please turn to Matt 24:24. Satan is very active near the end of time with:

In Matt 24 the Lord Jesus speaks about events near the end of time. We read in Matt 24:24,

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.

Near the end of time, Satan will come with gospels that feature signs and wonders, and these are gospels that are so close to the true Gospel that even the elect might be deceived, if that were possible. We have already seen II Thess 2:9, which also speaks of the end of time:

2 Thess 2:9, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,

Please turn with me to Revelations chapter 13. Here we see Satan first appearing as the beast that comes up out of the sea having seven heads and ten horns, and who was mortally wounded in one of his heads. And then we see Satan come as the beast that comes out of the earth having two horns like a lamb. In other words, the second beast is a false prophet looking like Christ.

Revelation 13:13 And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men,

Revelation 13:14 And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.

The second beast, Satan, comes with gospels that feature signs and wonders, and he is able to deceive almost all that dwell on the earth by those miracles. And he is urging people to make an image to the first beast, which is also Satan. Making an image is equivalent to making another god and worship him, which is the same as bringing another gospel that cannot save.

Please turn two pages to your right, to Rev 16. There we read in Rev 16:13-14,

Revelation 16:13 And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet.

Revelation 16:14 For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.

Again, these are false gospels coming out of the mouth of Satan, and working miracles, to deceive almost all that are upon the earth. And here God connects all this satanic activity near the end of time with "the battle of that great day of God Almighty". It is a worldwide spiritual battle that is fought within the Churches and congregations. A battle that we have already seen in II Thess 2:4,

2 Thessalonians 2:4 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.

And when people think they are worshipping Christ, but worship Satan in the Churches, is it not:

#2. The Abomination of Desolation (Matt 24:15, Dan 12:11, Rev 22:18)

Please turn back to Matt 24, where the Abomination of Desolation is mentioned. Matt 24:15,

Matthew 24:15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the

prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)

The Lord Jesus quotes here the prophet Daniel. The Abomination of Desolation is mentioned three times in Daniel. I will only mention one of them. Just listen as I read from Dan 12:11,

Daniel 12:11 And from the time that the daily (sacrifice) shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days.

What is the abomination that makes desolate? It is an abomination that is associated with signs and wonders. Signs and wonders are not new to the Christian Church. Signs and wonders have been assigned to saints in the Roman Catholic Church for many centuries, but only recently have they played a dominant role in the Charismatic Movement. The Charismatic Movement has adopted signs and wonders as their banner. Wherever you encounter signs and wonders today, you will also see people speak in tongues, and visa versa. And from where do people get this urge to speak in tongue? They think it comes from God the Holy Spirit, but it comes from Satan. God does not bring any more Divine revelation after the Bible was completed. Just listen as I read from Rev 22:18,

Rev 22:18 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:

Is this not the abomination that makes desolate? If anyone shall add to the words of the prophecy of this Book, the Bible, God shall add to him the plagues that are written in this Book, the Bible. The Bible is one Book. If anyone believes that a message spoken in a tongue has come from God the Holy Spirit, he has heaped insults on God the Holy Spirit, and if he does not repent he will be cast into the lake of fire. God promised that He would not bring any more messages after Rev 22:21 was written. Therefore, "The Lie" that God speaks about in II Thess 2:11 is the lie that God is still bringing Divine revelations today. Therefore people who believe that God still brings messages in a tongue have bought in to this lie, and they demonstrate their beliefs by clinging to signs and lying wonders.

All this is the abomination that makes desolate. It is the last battle that I mentioned in Rev 16:14.

What do we know about the last battle? The last battle between Christ and Satan is not a battle that takes place in a few hours, or in a day, like at the cross. The last battle takes many years. These are the years of the Final Tribulation Period (FTP). Just like at the cross, it seems that Satan will have won, but in the end he will lose. There are many passages in the Bible concerning this last battle. We can get a good grip on it by just comparing three passages. The first we have here, in Matt 24:15-16

Matthew 24:15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)

Matthew 24:16 Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:

This abomination of desolation is the Charismatic Movement, which is taking the churches by storm. But let us compare this passage with the parallel passage in Luke 21. Hold one finger in Matt 24, and please turn in your Bibles to the Gospel according to Luke 21:20-21 (2X). The Lord Jesus is describing exactly the same event but in different terms. Again the period of the Final Tribulation is in view. God says in Luke 21:20-21,

Luke 21:20 And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh.

Luke 21:21 Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter there into.

In Matt 24 God says that it will be the abomination that makes desolate, stand in the holy place. But in Luke 21 God says that Jerusalem will be compassed with armies, leading to its desolation. Both statements are true; both statements must complement each other. Where is the holy place? Ever since the curtain in the Temple was rent when the Lord Jesus Christ died on the cross, the physical city of Jerusalem is no longer the holy city, and the physical temple is no longer the holy place. Wherever the saints are there God is present, and there is the holy place. This means that the ground on which we stand is holy ground. Moreover, we have become citizens of the Jerusalem that is above. In fact, the physical city Jerusalem that exists East of the Mediterranean is under a curse, according to Gal 4. Therefore, when we see the Charismatic gospel take over the Church where we are, it means that the abomination that makes desolate is standing in the holy place and we must leave that Church, and by leaving it, it becomes an unholy place. Whenever we see the Charismatic gospel take over the Church where we are, it means that the citizens of the Jerusalem that is above are compassed with armies and we must leave that Church, and by leaving it, it becomes a cursed place. Please turn to the Revelation of Jesus Christ, chapter 20. It is not unusual for God to speak about our spiritual battles in this way. God speaks about our being compassed with armies in Rev 20 where again the same battle during the FTP is in view. God says in Rev 20:7-9,

Revelation 20:7 And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison,

Revelation 20:8 And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.

Revelation 20:9 And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.

This too is the worldwide final battle between Christ and Satan. The "camp of the saints" is where the saints are. The "beloved city" is where the citizens of the "Jerusalem that is above" are. God describes it in these terms to indicate the pressure that will be brought upon the saints to conform to the Charismatic gospel. This spiritual battle is continuing until the end of time. It does not mean that all Churches will cave in to the Charismatic gospel. But it does mean that the pressure is great.

Will our Church in the future also become unholy ground? Well, that depends entirely on the grace

of God. But are we willing to take a stand and do what is necessary to keep this "holy ground"? Will we continue to preach in this Church the Gospel of grace alone? Will we continue to hear in this Church that all mankind is in rebellion against God, is born in sin, and continues to live in sin?

Will we continue to hear that God's righteousness requires that every sin be paid with an eternity in Hell? Therefore, all mankind is on a slippery slide into Hell, the eternal lake of fire.

Will we continue to hear that God, in His great mercy for us, decided before the foundation of the world to save certain individuals? God delights in mercy, but only for those He chose to be His sheep.

Will we continue to hear how God saves? God saves by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm. God sent a Substitute to take the place of those He intended to save. God sent His only begotten Son into the world to take upon Himself the sins of those individuals whom God chose from before the foundation of the world, and endure the full penalty for their sins. He alone was able to endure the wrath of God as the stand-in for those He chose to save. This is the only way sins can be forgiven. The Lord Jesus Christ finished that payment almost 2000 years ago, on the cross.

Will we continue to hear that God the Holy Spirit opens the spiritual eyes and ears of those for whom Christ was crucified? God the Holy Spirit causes this Gospel to be preached unto them and gives them a new soul and gives them faith, so that they joyfully believe this Gospel.

Will we continue to hear that God saves to the uttermost, and that God does not rescind His gift of salvation to those whom He chose from before the foundation of the world? But will we also continue to hear that this Church must evangelize and continue to be a witness for the Lord Jesus Christ?

Will we continue to hear that the Word of God, the Bible, is One Book, not 66 books? Anyone who tampers with the Bible by adding there onto or take away there from is still unsaved and heading for the lake of fire. What is the danger to our Church? The danger is that we will not continue to hold that the Bible is One Book, and thereby we will have made the first step toward the Charismatic's claim that Rev 22:18-19 only applies to the book of Revelation.

Will we continue to hear in this Church that speaking in tongue is from the Devil? Will our children be taught these truths continually in Sunday School and in Bible Studies?

Please return now to II Thess chapter 2. Will we ever compromise on these issues? I warn you, if you ever let your guard down, the Devil will sift you like wheat. But by the grace of God, we are:

#3. Kept Safe by Grace (II Thess 2:13)

In the beginning of this chapter God comforted His saints at Thessalonica that they should not be shaken in mind or be troubled by the impending return of the Lord Jesus Christ. Then God disclosed to them a rather scary passage about the Antichrist and about the great apostasy in the Church. Now, God returns to comfort them again in their salvation. We read in II Thess 2:13,

2 Thessalonians 2:13 But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of

the Spirit and belief of the truth: (2X)

The Apostle says: "We thank God for you brethren, beloved of the Lord". It is only by the grace of God that we do not perish with the apostates. We are kept safe by His grace. Thank God that He loved us first. God has from the beginning chosen us to salvation. "From the beginning" means that God chose us from the beginning of creation. He knew us before Adam and Eve sinned. Their sin did not catch God by surprise. Our sinful state in the beginning of our life did not catch God by surprise. God allowed us to go our own sinful way for a long time, for His purposes. He could have saved us early in life, but He did not. Is it not wonderful that our great God is a merciful God? When we think of God's mercy, which means withholding what we do deserve, we have to think of the cross. Only because the Lord Jesus Christ took our sins upon Himself can God withhold from us what we do deserve: Hell is all we deserve. But God is holding the penalty of Hell from us, because we have already gone through Hell for our sins, while we were in Christ.

God has chosen us unto salvation. But election is not salvation. Election leads unto salvation, "through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the Gospel". Those who have been elected must be given a new soul, and be called by God the Holy Spirit to a true repentance from their sins, and be given a faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. God the Holy Spirit is the agent and the Word of God is the seed of faith. Together they perform in us the work of faith.

How does God sanctify us? What does it mean to be sanctified? To be sanctified means to be set apart. How does God set us apart? We were set apart by God the Father before the foundation of the world. We were set apart and made unblameable by the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross of Golgotha. We are set apart by God the Holy Spirit in this life, who made known to us the mystery of salvation through Jesus Christ, who gave us a new soul, and who also progressively sanctified us through the Word of God and through the presence of His Holy Spirit in our souls. Then we read in verse 14:

2 Thessalonians 2:14 Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

If you were chosen, then you were also called. Just listen as I read what God says in Rom 8:30,

Rom 8:30, Moreover, whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

The outward call of God is by the Gospel. The general Gospel call goes out into the entire world. But for those who were chosen the call is made effectual by the inward operation of the Spirit. The Gospel call is glorious. The Gospel call tells us about the Lord Jesus Christ, who voluntarily gave Himself for our sins. It tells us about the incredible love of God for us. It sounds so incredible, that NONE of mankind will believe it. We can only believe it if God makes us believe it. The Gospel call is an invitation to honor and glory. And it is also bringing glory to the Lord Jesus Christ. It is the glory He has purchased and it is a glory He is authorized to give unto He will. It is by and through the Gospel that men are called to share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. Incredible, but that is what we read.

How beautiful it is to be the instrument that God is using to send out the Gospel. "How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace" (Isa 52:7). We will have peace with God now and indescribable glory in the life hereafter. To us, who have been chosen to salvation, it is a mystery how anyone could reject such a great gift of honor and glory. We also cannot understand the mystery of iniquity, how so many people who should know better, will abandon the only true God and adhere to a gospel that cannot save; it is a gospel of Satan.

2 Thessalonians 2:15 Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.

The Apostle says: "Therefore brethren, stand firm in the faith and hold fast to the truth, which you have been taught through these messages and epistles". The traditions spoken of here refer to the instructions from the Apostles that were passed on through their preaching. Before the Bible was completed this was the method of teaching in those days. To some extent, this method also applies in our days. Our traditions have been written down in the Bible. God chose to preserve only these words from the Apostles. Now we have the whole Bible, so we can check out what the pastor is preaching. Therefore, we must study the Bible, so that "The Lie" of II Thess 2:11 will not overtake us as a thief in the night. Remember, we are in a spiritual warfare. Just listen as I read to you from Hos 4:6,

Hosea 4:6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: Seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.

Let us study the Bible and seek to understand it, so that we may be priests unto God. Let us pray that God may give us wisdom as we read the Bible. This is one request that is certainly in accordance to His will. And let us not forget His commandments so that God will remember our children.

I have seen many people sucked away by the Charismatic gospel. The experience is so exciting that they cannot let go of it. As time goes on they are more and more sucked into it. But what is at the core of their problem? They are not studying the Bible because they are not saved. The desire to study the Bible is an unnatural urge that only saved people have received from God.

Keep in mind that we seek to understand the Bible and apply it to our daily lives. If we do not intend to obey God's Word, if we only study the Bible to know what it says, then be sure that our children will pick up our attitudes. Let us stand firm in the faith, teaching our children what the Last Battle is, and what "The Lie" is of II Thess 2:11. Then we can turn to the Bible and understand the many passages that refer to this Last Battle. And let us pray for God's grace, that we may not lose in this Last Battle, because the pressure is great. Let us pray.