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The revealing of the lawless one is the controversial subject of 2 Thessalonians chapter 2. It can be seen as a sign, because this revealing is presented as a special kind of evidence intended to assure us that the gathering to the Lord, in the Day of the Lord, has not yet happened. When the lawless one is revealed, that will be a sign to some that the ingathering of the Lord's harvest is impending. That cryptic passage of scripture further discloses to the observant student that there is a third element in the sequence of events which is directly related to the two that follow it. All this, we are told, will be shrouded in deception. If you have been paying attention, you will note that what I've written so far conflicts with what you've been taught, if you're like most readers, because even the meaning of this passage has been shrouded, for protection. Let me encourage you to give this important matter the attention it's due, because so much depends upon your not being deceived.
I count this study among the most important on this website! With this complete revision in this very late hour, at the end of March, 2014, I strongly encourage you to give your attention to the full scope of the study. If your custom is to skim the content, I don't recommend it here. It's a substantial document, granted, but worth at least two readings. And, much prayerful meditation. No kidding.
It was in 1988 or 1989 when the Lord pruned me off the religious system and took me as a student at His feet. As He began to deal with me regarding signs of the end times it was immediately apparent that, while I had some useful foundation, I had plenty of unlearning to do. I had been taught and in turn had been teaching the same popular doctrines held to be true by most evangelicals today. As I began to experience the Lord's company as a personal tutor, my wrong thinking about the revealing of the man of sin represented an obstacle beyond which I could not proceed. I needed help, and He provided it! What He taught me back in 1991 about the revealing of the lawless one has been validated many times in many ways. In recent years, and in recent weeks, He has granted more favor into understanding the dynamic surrounding the event, and this revisiting of this study represents a coming full circle that speaks to the lateness of the hour.
Have I mentioned how important this is? Okay. If I could be more emphatic, I would be. Read on. I'm going to demonstrate something very special.
Here's the key passage.
1 Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, 2 that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. 3 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, 4 who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God. 5 Do you not remember that while I was still with you, I was telling you these things? 6 And you know what restrains him now, so that in his time he will be revealed. 7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way. 8 Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; 9 that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, 10 and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. 11 For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, 12 in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness. ~ 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12
The sign involves a man who will be revealed in an identifying kind of event. The question of the day will be, “Who is he?” An answer will be presented. This revealing will be attended by supernatural phenomena and mass deception. The Apostle John saw this as a beast rising from the sea (Rev. 13:1), which is presented in other contexts as the return of an ancient god known to some as Apollo, Horus or Quetzalcoatl, as demonstrated in many exhibits on The Open Scroll Blog. What is astounding is how most of the saints will be deceived about his identity, even many of you reading here now.
The signal event is a revealing of a man, but this sign is not intended so much as an alert for the saints that our gathering to the Lord is impending but to give assurance that the appointed harvests of the age have not yet happened. Now, this might seem like a rather peculiar point to make, but it's very important. The signal event is of such a kind that our assurance comes in it's absence. That's a BIG DEAL. This huge insight contradicts popular theories, exposing them as lies that are serving to provide deceptive cover in advance of the critical hour, as the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. While this message does have some relevance in the present time, I've come to understand how it's primarily intended for the very near future - when the Antichrist beast is just about to be revealed. Yet, without having the proper preparation for that season, saints will be deceived, as the scripture reveals.
You should know that some already assert that the resurrection is past. Some even assert that the lawless one has already been revealed. With deep insight into Paul's message, those assertions are easily rejected.
While some suggest that being informed about the demonic nature of aliens is adequate assurance to exempt us from delusion, it is not. Neither is it enough that we might correctly identify the candidates for the two beasts of Revelation 13. And, neither is it sufficient to know the general timeframe when the beast will appear. You may be highly skeptical about these claims I'm making, but the Adversary has some tricks up his sleeve that are going to be very effective. His agents have been spilling the beans as they boast about this plan, validating a message I'm going to illustrate from the depths of 2 Thessalonians 2. If you're still trusting in the recognized church leaders to run point on this, you're in serious jeopardy.
When the critical hour arrives, those of us who have received the love of the truth and who are appointed for that day will have a key role to play, and we will not be deceived. Then will come the harvest, the resurrection events, each in their turn. The false messiah or antichrist will be correctly identified by only a small faction of the Body of Christ, which is why I label this revelatory event the sign for the Bride. She alone will be awake and watching, and God will exempt her from the deluding influence because she does love the Truth. This qualifies her for a special mission, and she will be found worthy at the coming of the Bridegroom for His Bride!
If you're not already familiar with these studies, they are recommended collateral reading.
More Tools and a Bigger Toolbox
For several years I had been under the impression that the Church would collectively be “raptured” without warning, having been schooled in pre-trib rapture doctrine. When the Lord pruned me off the religious system and took me as a student at His feet, I had begun to enjoy a season of being led into one passage after another to find precious insights. Then, I found myself confronted with 2 Thessalonians chapter 2 in a way I was not expecting. I perceived from my confusion that what I had been taught had error but I had no clue about how to resolve the passage. Since insight wasn't immediately forthcoming, my response was to move on, expecting that the Lord might prosper the unraveling of some other passage. I found myself being returned rather directly to 2 Thessalonians 2. After a few cycles it became apparent that I was stuck in a loop. I didn't know what to make of this new twist, so I gave the study a rest. It was maybe a day later when I had an epiphany! He knew I didn't have what it took! He wasn't running me around in circles for no reason. He intended to address my situation and I needed to have confidence in following Him beyond where I had previously been willing to be led. He was prompting me to join Him again at the computer - and so I did! I was eager to continue this marvelous adventure and to break ground where I hadn't yet dared! I needed more tools and a bigger toolbox and that's just what I got!
What the Lord showed me about the unlocking of the secrets of this cryptic passage has to do with context. It's a little technical. The insight is bound up in the way the text was written. Words and phrases repeat in simple ways to create patterns. The Lord's way is to communicate with us through patterns, in His works; in nature as pursued by those interested in the physical sciences, and in His Word, which includes that which is written. These linguistic patterns of thematic structures are found throughout the entire range of biblical text. This feature bears witness to the divine nature of the collection like as if the Author's fingerprints were left all over it! Yet, it is a stunning reality that when presented with plain evidence of the phenomenon it bears no weight of conviction for most folks. Wow! Also, as obvious as it is that the patterns exist, precious few among the saints can perceive that there is, in this surprising manifestation of divine order, anything of value for our instruction. Mind boggling. How can this be? Ahhhhh. The Lord has hidden his valuables. They are well guarded.
It must be said at this point that the difficulty in understanding II Thessalonians is due to the fact that it is cloaked, spiritually. It's not merely difficult but rather impossible to understand unless the Lord opens the eyes and ears. Because it is hidden, the translation from the Greek has suffered at the hands of the translators and confusion has reigned. Because insight is embedded in the linguistic structure, gaining access to it is like digging for buried treasure. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.
In this embedding of the interactive presentation in this page, I now invite you to explore according to the directions provided underneath the yellow bar. What you see on display below is the same passage you read earlier, exactly. If you're using a tablet or smartphone you can still interact by touching the bars and lines of text, but this is best explored with a mouse.
* If it doesn't appear on your screen, or if big spaces appear between some of the bars, you might want to see the presentation in a tab or window where it has more room: II Thessalonians 2: 1-12
So, what do we do with that? If this is new to you and you find it a little baffling, please explore Bible Code Revelations - Thematic Patterns Expose Riddles until you're satisfied. Because this particular passage's structure is essential to this important message being taught, I'll walk you through it.
If you hover your mouse over one of the elements in the display, you'll see blue highlighting appear. For many of these, you'll see a companion element highlighted at the same time. This highlighting makes it easy to find and compare the matched elements. Let's pick some of the low hanging fruit, so to speak. Hover over the gray bar just to the left of this line of verse 3: “and the man of lawlessness is revealed.” That line and the first line of verse 8 are both highlighted. “8 Then that lawless one will be revealed.” Almost word for word, what's in verse 3 is repeated in verse 8. Now, move your mouse cursor over the next gray bar down: “the son of destruction” pairs with “whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming.” Although the same words aren't used, it's not hard to see how they compare. Now, move your mouse cursor over the next gray bar down: “4 who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God” pairs with “9 that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan.” Again, it's not hard to see how these lines compare.
While there's nothing shockingly profound in those particular pairings, if you meditate upon them you should get a sense of how an awareness of the link between them, knowing their connection is divinely appointed, affords us access to more insight than when we were ignorant of the pairing. See, all things must be understood in context, and when we're able to confidently identify matched elements we have learned something very special about the context. When we're ignorant of the divine pairings inherent in a text we cannot help but to neglect this special provision. Unless the holy spirit specifically calls it out to our attention, we will derive no benefit from these divinely appointed guides for interpretation. I've learned that the Lord expects us to do our part, and that honest effort is required, and rewarded.
Peter makes an interesting point in his second epistle.
15 and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation; just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you, 16 as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction. ~ 2 Peter 3:15-16
This epistle of 2 Thessalonians is one of Paul's letters. The observation Peter made by the inspiration of the holy spirit is certainly applicable here! If we disrespect the inherent structure, whether with or without knowledge of it and regardless of our intent, distorting the scriptures will naturally result. While it would be silly to argue that any interpretation that has not been derived from a sound structural analysis can be dismissed on that basis, it would be just as silly to suggest that interpretations that conflict with a sound structural analysis is on equal footing with those that do not. Destruction, and conversely, salvation, is, in no small way, dependent upon giving proper respect for what is written and how it is written. It should already be apparent that structural analysis is beneficial, and wisdom dictates that we take advantage of every benefit in this most challenging endeavor.
Now, if you continue exploring the highlighted pairings of the interactive display you'll notice that the other pairings aren't quite so obvious as the “low hanging fruit” in the examples I described. If there weren't some obvious pairings it would be so difficult to discover those that are less obvious. The easy sets help us build the foundation for discovering what kind of structure is present. When you learn to respect the natural symmetry and become familiar with how certain kinds of structures are balanced and woven together, the more difficult pairings become recognizable in relationship with those that are more obvious. We're not just going after random sets of structures in our efforts to break the code, we're going after a cohesive whole, where every word is weighed and set into place.
If we hover the mouse cursor over the bar on the left of the first line in verse 3, “3 Let no one in any way deceive you,” it will be highlighted together with its companion, “5 Do you not remember that while I was still with you, I was telling you these things?” This pairing is slightly less apparent but it can be seen how they both provide some narrative. What Paul was telling them when he was still with the saints in Thessalonica was precautionary, so that they would not be deceived. (We know the message was for them, then, but it will be seen to be prophetic, ultimately intended for another time and people.)
The great benefit of discerning the thematic structure comes in comparing the divinely linked elements. Do you see it? When we have rightly discerned a pairing, we may know with confidence this link has been made with intent, to guide the one who inquires so diligently into the Author's own purposes. If context provides meaning, which it most certainly does, context is very specially identified in this matter of paired elements. The context of one is most particularly its thematic partner. Again, THE CONTEXT OF ONE IS MOST PARTICULARLY ITS THEMATIC PARTNER. You did catch that, right? I don't want to be accused of being too subtle here. One element is provided to shed light on the other. In the case of simple and obvious constructions, the pair may just be provided to guide the student to discover the structure that will expose those gems buried more deeply. In availing ourselves of this special provision of insight into the context, we find ourselves probing the depths of His Word for what the Author might be pleased to grant, as the holy spirit leads the way in this hunt for buried treasure.
With all that said, here's an image of the structure of matching elements in the set we just walked through together, with the pairing I omitted being highlighted to make comparison easy. I saved this pairing for last because it's the most obscure match.
This kind of structure is sometimes referred to as an extended alternation. There are five themes listed, then they are repeated in order, like ABCDE, then A`B`C`D`E`. A simple alternation describes two themes, A and B, repeated in order as A`B`. When a list of 3 or more items is repeated it can be called an extended alternation. I've analyzed enough of the wider scope of the passage to determine that this extended alternation in 5+5 parts is a single unit, which is an important observation because we need to have confidence that it may be considered in isolation. You'll notice how this highlighted pairing departs from the norm. This is not the familiar one line match to another of roughly similar word count or structure. This calls attention to the pairing because it stands out as unique. Let's give this matter some thought. If you need to break for some coffee or tea, I'll wait. ;)
Ready? Okay. Let's ask the hard question. How do these components compare? We know they do because we've analyzed the structure. This is what the Lord brought me to so memorably, for the purpose of discovering and resolving this riddle. This is why He put me in a loop by causing me to return to this passage until I was adequately confronted with my inability to grasp the real meaning. This is why He invited me back when I realized He was going to teach me something new, providing a tool that could be used to mine for the deeply buried treasure. So, how do these components compare? If you have been trained in the doctrines of devils, like I had in my excursion through Mystery Babylon, your mind will go flying on auto-pilot while navigating some convoluted distortions - and find no satisfactory resolution. When you set all that aside, if you're able, and with fresh eyes let the scripture interpret itself in context, with respect to the divinely paired elements, you're going to be led into some startling revelation! What I laid out in the lengthy introduction to this study was not speculative but based upon some special insight. Access is denied, to most, but granted to a few.
What does apostasy, a falling away, rebellion or revolt, according to the rendering of popular versions, have to do with anything verses 6 and 7 have to offer? Honestly, nothing. There is a whole lot of confusion swirling about and you're going to have to take a fresh look at it. If you're not willing to do some unlearning, you're in the wrong place - this is not for you. There's plenty more about verses 1-12 that needs to be factored in eventually, but this is where we must begin, with the Greek word, “apostasia.” We're going to work toward the end of understanding how one thematic element matches the other and guides us to the meaning the Author has buried like great treasure.
The Greek word being translated is apostasia, Strong's G646. According to that scholarly authority, it means “Forsake: "an apostasy, defection, revolt," always in NT of religious defection, is translated "to forsake" in Act 21:21, lit., "(thou teachest) apostasy (from Moses);" in 2 Th 2:3, "falling away." ” According to Vines Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, "a defection, revolt, apostasy," it means, “Fall, Fallen, Falling, Fell:” and “is used in the NT of religious apostasy; in Act 21:21, it is translated "to forsake," lit., "thou teachest apostasy from Moses." In 2Th 2:3 "the falling away" signifies apostasy from the faith. In papyri documents it is used politically of rebels.” Well, that's all pretty consistent and plain, right? Yet, there's error in it. I don't dispute that the word is used politically of rebels in papyri documents, but that's not how it's used in 2 Thessalonians, which is not political. The translation of apostasia as “falling away” is pretty fair, but when that is taken by extension to mean “religious apostasy,” a grievous error has been made.
Who am I to insist that the recognized authorities are in error here? Someone who chose to cease from arguing with the Author about what it is He really said and meant. I also happen to be someone to whom the Lord revealed the celestial sign of His return in judgment, to be frank about it. Stick with me here, I'm going to provide some simple evidence to back my assertion, and this will open access into the real meaning, in context. It will be seen that the Lord Himself has hidden this matter to achieve his higher purposes.
The Greek word apostasia is a positional word that simply describes a “standing away from.” Men, do the homework, your due diligence, and make up your own mind about it. You can easily discover that apostasia is the feminine form of the neuter gender, apostasion (G647). This is from a derivative of aphistemi (G868). That word is composed of apo (G575) and histemi (G2476). Look at the meanings provided, the uncolored basis.
How do they get religious apostasy from apostasia? It's imported, from foreign contexts. The 3 occurrences of apostasion in the Bible simply deal with divorce, where a husband and wife are separated, put apart, where one party then stands away from the other in positional relationship. This is just how apostasia should be understood, but it's not used in the context of the marriage relationship. Aside from our passage in 2 Thessalonians 2, the word is found in only one other place.
and they have been told about you, that you are teaching all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children nor to walk according to the customs. ~ Acts 21:21
If you can justify painting the word with additional meaning and transmitting it into 2 Thessalonians 2, you can probably justify claims that the apostasy of the church is somehow involved as a sign - but that's a bad thing. Very, very bad. When you see how this develops, it should become apparent that, while the church is most certainly apostate, the notion makes no sense whatsoever in 2 Thessalonians 2. The importing of the notion of apostasy, revolt or rebellion actually negates the message and renders the passage nonsensical. The word in context presents something altogether different, which is quite stunning as an exhibition of the Master's work of concealing and revealing!
With the structure of the focal passage already having been discerned with confidence, we have the advantage of knowing the context. We know which pond to fish in. The thematic companions are intended to shed light on each other. Verses 6 and 7 are going to help us understand this cryptic positional relationship that is apostasia and explain how this helps us understand it as a sign. Well, if only verses 6 and 7 weren't equally cryptic. Now what? We will do what we have done, looking at the words used and letting them interpret themselves in the context. But that's not enough. We've reached the point where more help is required. Revelation insight - there's no substitute. An understanding of the nature of the subject is required. The only chapter and verse I can offer on this matter is from John 16.
12 “I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. ~ John 16:12-13
The secret to understanding the sign is in recognizing how this revealing is modeled on another. This lawless one will be an impostor. Known also as the Antichrist, he will claim the identity of the true messiah. He's a fraud, a poser, a mimic. An anti - christ is not just against Christ but is opposite Christ, in the sense of a likeness as a kind of counterpart, a counterfeit. The word “Christ” is the same as Messiah, literally meaning anointed. Jesus literally became the Christ when he was anointed, which occurred during his baptism. That's what revealed him, as the Christ, as I'll illustrate shortly. Because a counterfeit is modeled on a genuine, there must come a similitude, an anointing with a counterpart of unholy spirit in a ceremonial baptism that serves to reveal him. With this insight, the thematic components of interest in 2 Thessalonians 2 will be seen to make perfect sense! What is being described in verses 6 and 7 is the unseen dynamic. It supplements the descriptions of the “seen” activity in the adjacent context. The word apostasia neatly encapsulates the description of the unseen activity in its thematic companion. Sure, the Author could have told us all this in a straightforward way, but that wouldn't serve His purposes. It is hidden by intent. If at some point, you get it, rejoice, friend!
As He said these things, He would call out, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” 9 His disciples began questioning Him as to what this parable meant. 10 And He said, “To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but to the rest it is in parables, so that seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand. ~ Luke 8:8b-10
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There's plenty more to follow, which will be posted soon, Lord willing.