NEW - THE LETTERS
ABOUT HIS COMING
A sequel to Day of Christ, Day of the Lord - What's the difference?
By John Aldworth
Published: August 27 2015
The Thessalonians already knew much about the Lord's second coming, even before the Apostle Paul wrote to them. But there was one vital key to the programme of end time events that remained hidden from them. It was to provide them with this clue, among other reasons, that the apostle wrote his second letter to the Thessalonians.
Sadly, however, to this day this clue remains hidden to all those who prefer modern Bible versions to the faithful King James Bible. For only the KJB in 2 Thess. 2:1-2 reports the apostle as beseeching the Thessalonian believers to be not soon shaken or troubled by word 'as that the day of Christ is at hand'. All the others depart from the original Greek text by making it read 'as that the day of the Lord is at hand'. This despite the fact that clearly in the Greek the word is Christos (Christ) not kurios (Lord). And, if you doubt that check it out for yourself in Strong's Concordance.
But does it matter, you ask? Well, it did to Paul, and it should to you and I. There is a huge and importance difference between the Day of Christ, the next major event on God's agenda for mankind, and the later Day of the Lord in which Christ will be revealed from heaven 'with his mighty angels taking vengeance on those that know not God and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ' (2 Thess. 1:7). For more information refer to the
earlier study on this website: Day of Christ, Day of the Lord - What's the difference?
That said it should be pointed that the major theme of both 1st and 2nd Thessalonians is the Lord's second coming. Indeed the word coming appears in no less
than seven verses - 1 Thess. 2:19, 3:13, 4:15, 5:23; 2 Thess. 2:1, 2:8 and 2:9. Of these 2 Thess. 2:1-2 is particularly important:
'Now we beseech you brethren by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and our gathering together unto Him, 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'.
Verse 3 then proceeds:
Let no man deceive you by any mean:
for ... except there come a falling away first and that man of sin be revealed,
the son of perdition ...
You will notice I have omitted the words in italic, for that day shall not come, because this is an ellipsis (words added supposedly to make better sense). The words are not in the received Greek text and in my view should not have been added. When left out it is clear that Paul is referring to the 'coming' of the Lord in verse 1, not the day of Christ as it properly reads in verse 2.
But what is 'our gathering together unto Him'? Charismatics sing, 'We are gathering together unto Him" and believe their own holy
huddle is that gathering. But comparing scripture with scripture reveals a very different picture.
The gathering is actually defined in Matt. 24:31:
'And He shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet and they shall gather
together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other'.
The same event is also spoken of in 1 Thess. 4:4:16-17 where again there is an angel and a trumpet and the 'dead in Christ rise first". Then
'we which are 'alive and remain' will be caught up (i.e. gathered) to meet the Lord in the air. Importantly, the gathering together is effected solely
by the Lord and his angels, not by humanly contrived meetings. What's more it's a special calling for those predestined to live again on earth with Christ
during the day of the Lord. Gentiles saved under the mystery gospel of Ephesians to Philemon have a different and heavenly calling: that of appearing with Christ in his heavenly kingdom (2 Tim. 4:1, Titus 2:13 and Col. 3:4)
In Heb. 10:25 Hebrews of the earthly calling are urged to be 'not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together as the manner of some is: but exhorting one another; and so much the more as ye see the day approaching'.
Here 'assembling' translates the Greek word episunagog, which is rendered 'gathering together' in 2 Thess. 2:1. The Apostle Paul was urging the Hebrews not to forsake the truth of the Lord's second coming in which He would gather them unto Himself but to exhort others about it all the more as they saw the 'day approaching'. He was not urging increased attendance at church services as many think.
You see, these Hebrews were called with an earthly calling. That is, they were predestined to live again on earth. The Day of the Lord was to be their day of resurrection when they would gathered unto the Lord, meeting Him in the air on his way down to rule personally and physically over a rebellious world from his throne in Jerusalem. However, it is not the hope of our calling today.
To reiterate, all those saved in the dispensation of the grace of God (Eph. 3:3) and enlightened with the mystery (Col. 1:27) look and hope for the appearing of Christ in heaven that they may 'appear with Him' (Col. 3:4).
Now to really understand what the Bible is saying, it's important to ask questions and, thankfully, the Father never tires of providing answers to those who study to show themselves approved (2 Tim, 2:15) and who diligently seek Him.
Two questions come to mind about 2 Thessalonians 2:
What did the Thessalonians already about the Day
of the Lord that Paul didn't need to tell them?
What was it they didn't know that Paul now felt
necessary to tell them?
Now the Thessalonians did not need teaching about the 'times and the seasons'; they already knew the day of the Lord would 'come as a thief in the night'. Paul says so in 1 Thess. 5:12. Also they already knew the man of sin had to be revealed before the day of the Lord could come because, again, Paul had already told them that. 'Remember ye not that that while I was yet with you I told you these things' (2 Thess. 2:5).
What they didn't know was what and who was holding back the great 'falling away' and the revelation of the man of sin that together would
usher in the day of the Lord and its judgement. The key to understanding that this is so is found in 2 Thess. 2:6: And now ye know what withholdeth that he (i.e. the man of sin') might be revealed in his time.
Evidently Paul, in his second letter to the Thessalonians, had just disclosed something that explained who or what the withholder, the 'letter' (or 'hinderer') was.
And, clearly, the only new information cited in chapter two concerns the Day of Christ. It was this day that our Lord describes as 'my day' in John 8:56, where
He told the Pharisees: 'Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my Day: and he saw it and was glad'.
So it is this day of Christ that 'withholdeth' the revealing of the man of sin and it is Christ as the King of Glory who is 'He that letteth (hindereth) until He be
taken out of the way'. Consequently, unless your Bible retains the corrected rendering 'day of Christ' in 2 Thess. 2:2, you will search in vain for the key to understanding the answer to the Thessalonians' dilemma. You will not be able to solve the puzzle; you will not grasp the order of end time events.
Given all this, it is easy to understand why Paul was anxious the Thessalonians should not be 'soontroubled' about the day of Christ as if it were 'at hand'. Certainly it was not imminent in their lifetime. Nor has it come in the last 2,000 years. It is still awaited by us who are 'looking for his appearing' (Titus 2:13).
Nevertheless, it is the indeed the next big next thing on God's agenda. We need to understand then that the day of Christ will precede the day of the Lord.
And because it comes first in the order of end time events, it acts as a buffer restraining evil - indeed the Day of Christ will bring in a
world of peace and righteousness; as the Lord Himself declares in Numbers 14:21:
But as truly as I live all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord.
The Lord also promises that in the day of Christ He will: '... punish the host of high ones that are on high and, and the kings of the earth on the earth'.
No room then for the man of sin to appear as long as the glory of that day continues. But, as Paul teaches in 2 Thessalonians, eventually there will come a falling away in the day of Christ and the revelation of the man of sin - Satan's full incarnation in a human being - will take place when 'He that letteth is taken out of the way'.
In other words, when the Lord withdraws the fullness of his glory from the scene in the latter stages of the day of Christ, the obstacle to the full manifestation of the 'mystery of iniquity' will be removed.
And Satan, having served his time of punishment as one of the 'high ones on high' at this time, will instigate a widespread rebellion that will be put down when 'the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not God and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ'.
But if this is so why were spirits, false prophets and writers of forged letters (2 Thess. 2:2) seeking to persuade the Thessalonians 'as that the day of Christ is at hand'? Answer: because the devil is a dab hand at getting man to sin by anticipating something God has neither called them to nor intended for them.
Case in point is Lucifer's temptation of Eve in the garden of Eden. He tells Eve (Gen. 3:5):
'For God doth know that that in the day ye eat thereof, then shall your eyes be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil'.
At the time of this temptation Adam and Eve and other creatures were still holy and innocent in 'in the day that the Lord God made heaven and earth'. God had not commissioned, nor spoken of another day. So who was the serpent to suggest there would be one? Answer: he was the father of lies.
In just the same way the devil working through false spirits, prophets and scribes in the 1st century AD sought to switch the Thessalonians' resurrection hope away from the day of the Lord in which time span the Lord had promised they would live again, to the day of Christ which would only
be given the Apostle Paul to preach after the end of the book of Acts, when Israel and her earthly resurrection hope was set aside upon the sending of
salvation to the Gentiles (Acts 28:28).
In the purposes of God it was not a hope held out to the Acts period believers, for as Paul explains in 1 Cor. 15:23, each man (or calling of believers) must be resurrected in his own order. Thus Israel and Acts period believers comprise 'they that are Christ's at his coming' while believers saved later through the gospel of the grace of God and revelation of the mystery are the 'Christ the firstfruits'; that is the body of Christ.
The question of who '... that Wicked, the son of perdition' is we will leave to a later study.
©John Aldworth August, 2015.
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