Updated: May 17, 2019
By Peter McArthur
LOVING TRUTH ABOVE ALL ELSE
“His coming is according to the working of Satan in all power and miraculous signs and lying wonders, and in all deceit of unrighteousness in those being lost, because they did not receive the love of the truth in order for them to be saved. And because of this, God will send to them a working of error, for them to believe the lie, that all may be judged, those not believing the truth, but who have delighted in unrighteousness”. 2 Thess. 2: 9-12
Note the phrase “love of the truth” mentioned in verse 10. In His own time and way the Holy Spirit will guide us into all truth (John 16:13).
There are two requirements laid on us if we would come into all truth. We must become yielded to God’s Spirit as Teacher, and, we must love His written Word with a passion.
A strong conviction is also needed, that “all Scripture is given by inspiration of God” (2 Tim 3:16 and 2 Pet. 1:21). There is a parallel between what we find in 2 Thessalonians chapter 2 and what happened in Eden when the Satan beguiled Eve. It was there in the Garden that “the mystery of iniquity” (2 Thess 2:7) began its work that has continued through the ages till this day.
“Mystery” is from the Greek mustérion which means “a secret” known only to the initiated, or that will remain under cover until its time of revelation has come.
“Iniquity” is from he anomía, which means “the lawlessness” and has reference directly to the utter disregard for God’s Law. The small word he (pronounced “hay”) is a Greek Definite Article meaning “the.” It specifies the word it precedes as distinct.
Hence it is “the mystery of THE iniquity” which is an attitude toward God that denies He has any right to rule.
The iniquity began with an assault on the mind of Eve in Eden. It has continued through the ages with its hold on all humanity. This will continue till its final work when all its poison will be released toward the minds of those who have found redemption through the Seed of the Woman (Gen 3:15) — those who have trusted the Lord Jesus Christ.
“The wicked one” (Matt 13:19) will fix his strategic gaze on us who are set in the earth to “withstand” him (Eph 6:13). As the age winds down, he is working to throw our minds off kilter with the goal of disabling us for function with Christ in His Kingdom.
In 2 Cor 10:4-5 Paul makes it clear what will come in our counter strategy when we realize that the main end-time battlefield is our mind. See some of the powerful insights of the following passage in 2 Thess 2: 1-2.
“Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto Him, that you 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.”
Paul’s exhortation was with regard to the “coming” of the Lord. This word “coming” is from the Greek word parousía, meaning Christ’s return to earth to reign. At that time all true believers will be gathered together unto Him with no walls or divisions. This grand appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ is the end toward which this age is now moving. Paul’s concern for this was that believers “be not soon shaken in mind.”
Note where the attack is aimed! The deception of the enemy, coupled with the trauma of the age ending, could throw the mind of even a true believer into turmoil so that it lacks all sound judgment or understanding. It was Paul’s concern that this not be so.
There are 3 ways by which spiritual revelation may come by spirit, by spoken word, or by written word. True and pure revelation comes by the Holy Spirit, but there are also other spirits at work mimicking God’s Spirit. It is here we need that operation of the Holy Spirit called discerning of spirits (1 Cor 12:10). This is the ability given to us by God’s Spirit through which we put spiritual revelation to the test and discern whether it’s from the Lord or not.
There are three fundamental criteria by which we seek to judge any revelation that comes to us.
1. Is it in line with God’s Word?
2. Does it bring exaltation to the Lord Jesus Christ?
3. Is the anointing of the Holy Spirit upon it?
Our concern should be that no matter what happens or how it happens or when it happens, believers will not be thrown into tumult, drowned by discouragement, or lost to Christ’s Kingdom because they lose the stability of their minds. Teaching mixed with error can cause this, but revelation that is pure always brings stability.
One is holy; the other is not. The following verses (2 Thess 2:3-4) are heavy with revelation as Paul writes to the saints he loved dearly. “Let no man deceive you (beguile you from the path) by any means: for that Day shall not come, except there come a falling away (THE apostasy) first, and that man of sin (that man of THE sin) be revealed, the son of (THE) perdition (the one who wastes all things; the one who is set in the earth to mastermind a final great destruction); Who opposes (sets himself in opposition to) and exalts himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sits in the Temple of God, showing himself that he is God (a god).”
The Lord Jesus referred to this same thing in Matt 23:11-12. “And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many (lead many down the path of falsehood). And because iniquity shall abound (the iniquity shall be multiplied), the love of many shall grow cold”.
That we may abide in the truth in this trying time is our desire and the purpose of any true Berean! Paul used the word náos for Temple in the above Thessalonian passage. It means the Most Holy Place in the Temple.
Another word hiéron also means “temple,” but it always signifies the Temple as a building. Paul was clear in his conviction that it was not a building of stones, but of living members, redeemed people, believers.(See Acts 17:24; 1 Cor 3:16-17; 1 Cor 6:19; 2 Cor 6:16; Eph 3:21).
The anti-Christ’s scheme is to spoil this Temple so it cannot be useful in Christ’s Kingdom. But this activity will only push us to learn more of what is called prevailing grace! The grace and power of God will far exceed the determination of anti-Christ to ruin us for the Kingdom. Take note of the statement “he as God sits in the Temple”.
The little word in comes from the Greekeis, which means “into, or unto”. This presents a picture of the “son of perdition” pushing in toward the Temple, contending for the Holy of Holies. But it does not say he becomes seated in it.
At the very instant it seems the enemy might accomplish this grand feat and make his parousía on the world’s scene, the Lord Jesus makes His glorious appearing and consumes Satan. Paul was clear in warning the people that spirits of deception would keep an eye on believers to get them away from the Lord and His purpose for them.
2 Thess 2:5 “Don’t you remember that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?”
The Greek word in this verse from which we get “I told” is a Greek phrase spelled in a way to let us know it was Paul’s practice to speak time and time again of these important matters. The energy of the wicked one has been in operation in the world as “the mystery of iniquity” ever since the deception in Eden. But there has remained a restraint on the iniquity until the antichrist himself, not just his spirit, is on the scene.
“And then shall that Wicked (the wicked one) be revealed (uncovered; disclosed), whom the Lord shall consume (use up; destroy) with the spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy (render powerless) with the brightness of His coming (the glorious manifestation of His presence)” 2 Thess 2:8
Following the long period while iniquity has been under restraint, it will make a final breakout on earth. The destruction to which this verse points comes when sin has come to its full. Then, a final act of rebellion against God calls for the return of the Lord Jesus. The wicked one will determine to take the Throne of Christ’s Kingdom by mimicking the Lord Jesus, and will attempt a glorious burst on the scene to make his presence known in all the earth. He will be energized in his own parousía by Satan himself.
See the following revealing statement in 2 Thess. 2:9-10. “Even him (the anti-Christ himself), whose coming is according to the working (energetic power) of Satan with all power (dynamic power) and signs and lying wonders (terrifying lies), and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish (them that are perishing); because they received not (laid not hold on) the love of the truth, that they might be saved”.
The word parousía occurs 18 times in the Greek New Testament. Every time it is with reference to the Lord Jesus. This word describes the appearance on the scene of a majestic ruler. What a brazen insubordination the devil will attempt this with his man, the antichrist!
Let us stress this again: antichrist’s plan is to win the throne belonging to the Lord Jesus. His only hope is to deceive the followers of Jesus as he deceived our parents in Eden. His aim is to capture our minds and our hearts. According to the teaching of Scripture those who would lose their way in the final days would be those who received not the love of the truth.
Let’s not be deceived; let’s be the ones who receive a love for the Truth. There’s a powerful statement in 2 Cor 10:4-5 that lays out the very principle of renouncing THE LIE and releasing our minds for the Truth that is in Christ.
“…for the weapons of our warfare are not fleshly, but powerful to God to the demolishing of strongholds, the demolishing of arguments and every high thing lifting up itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought into the obedience of Christ…”
Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to usher truth into your inward parts. This is a strategy by which we bring our own minds under subjection to Christ. It is very effective as hearts become open to the Word of God’s Kingdom.
Now let these things of prime importance be settled with us:
We acknowledge that Jesus Christ is our Lord
We choose to believe the Word of God
That it is inspired by the Holy Spirit
That its truth abides