The Mission of the Church – Lesson#2

The Testimony and Success of a Faithful Congregation

II THESSALONIANS

A word about II Thessalonians

This epistle from Paul follows the first letter he wrote to them by a very
short time. It was written to clear up any misconceptions these people might
have had regarding the tribulation and coming of Christ, rapture, etc. as a
result of reading his first letter.

Just as in I Thessalonians , we see here in verse 1:1 that Paul
was accompanied at the time of this writing by Silvanus, and Timotheus.

We know quite a bit about Timothy, and his identity is beyond
dispute. Bible scholars disagree, however, regarding the identity of Silvanus
here; most are convinced that “Silvanus” is Silas’ Latin name as a
Roman citizen, while a few believe this refers to another individual
altogether. The fact is, Silas did accompany Paul and Timothy on Paul’s second
missionary journey which began in Acts 15:36 . The mention of Timothy almost
certainly identifies Silvanus and Silas to be one in the same.

CHAPTER 1

Paul is thankful for their faithfulness, especially in the midst
of the tribulation they endure. This praise is appropriate (“it is
meet”), so much so that Paul is complimentary of them in the presence of
Believers in other churches. Their faithfulness has translated into an
abounding love toward one another.

What two groups of
people will the Lord take vengeance on?

____________________________________________________

____________________________________________________

____________________________________________________

 

Paul introduces the concept of judgment on the wicked in these
verses. Wicked people trouble the righteous; that troubling serves as a
“manifest token” (“evidence”) that they are in Christ.

The thought here is compatible with John 15:18-19 when Jesus said,
” If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If
ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of
the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth
you.”

Notice verse 6, “Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to
recompense tribulation to them that trouble you;” Paul specifically tells
the Thessalonians that, just as they are being caused tribulation now, there is
a time in the future when God himself will bring tribulation on the wicked.

As a matter of fact, Paul obviously was anticipating this
tribulation to begin within the normal span of his lifetime as he particularly
references “them that trouble you” in this verse.

That’s compatible with his statement in I Thessalonians 4:17 when
Paul wrote, “Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up
together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we
ever be with the Lord.”

Yup, Paul definitely anticipated that the rapture would take place
in his lifetime, and that the persecutors of his lifetime would experience the
wrath of the tribulation period.

However, notice that his phrase in verse 6 “them that trouble
you” would seem to exempt from the tribulation those who have trusted
Jesus Christ as Savior.

Two observations on verse 6 are worth making here:

(1) The rapture is imminent, nothing must be prophetically
fulfilled before this catching away of Believers.

(2) The Tribulation is only for the lost, not Believers.

Who will the true saints
glorify in that day?

____________________________________________________

____________________________________________________

____________________________________________________

 

How can we be counted
worthy of God’s calling?

____________________________________________________

____________________________________________________

____________________________________________________

 

II Thessalonians 1:5-12)

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.

11 Wherefore also we
pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and
fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power:

12 That the name of our
Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the
grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Paul introduces the concept of judgment on the wicked in these
verses. Wicked people trouble the righteous; that troubling serves as a
“manifest token” (“evidence”) that they are in Christ. The
thought here is compatible with John 15:18-19  when Jesus said, ” If
the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.

If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but
because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world,
therefore the world hateth you.” Notice verse 6, “Seeing it is a
righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble
you;” Paul specifically tells the Thessalonians that, just as they are
being caused tribulation now, there is a time in the future when God himself
will bring tribulation on the wicked.

As a matter of fact, Paul obviously was anticipating this
tribulation to begin within the normal span of his lifetime as he particularly
references “them that trouble you” in this verse. That’s compatible
with his statement in I Thessalonians 4:17 when Paul wrote, “Then we which
are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to
meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”

Yup, Paul definitely anticipated that the rapture would take place
in his lifetime, and that the persecutors of his lifetime would experience the
wrath of the tribulation period. However, notice that his phrase in verse 6
“them that trouble you” would seem to exempt from the tribulation
those who have trusted Jesus Christ as Savior.

Two observations on verse 6 are worth making here: (1) The rapture
is imminent i.e. nothing must be prophetically fulfilled before this catching
away of Believers. (2) The Tribulation is only for the lost, not Believers.

Before one can properly place the events of chapter 2, verses 7-10
of chapter 1 must be thoroughly understood in light of the event of John’s
Revelation. What is Paul specifically referencing in these verses?

  • Verse 7 – The appearance of Jesus Christ from Heaven
    accompanied by his mighty angels (Greek: “angelos” means
    “angels” or “messengers”)
  • Verse 8 – With a “flaming fire,” Jesus takes
    vengeance on the living unsaved.
  • Verse 9 – “everlasting destruction” follows
    verse 8 for the unsaved.
  • Verse 10 – Jesus (at that time) will be
    “glorified” and “admired” by Believers
    (“saints”).

Without question, verses 7-10 describe the events of the
tribulation period concluding with the Battle of Armageddon found in Revelation
19:11-21 . Verses 7-10 do not describe the rapture where the sum total of the
event only involves the disappearance of saved (born again) people, according
to I Thessalonians 4:13-18 . In verses 11-12, Paul encourages them to make
certain they are part of the “Believers” of verse 10 and not the
“unsaved” of verses 8-9.

CHAPTER 2

Who is the lawless one?

____________________________________________________

____________________________________________________

____________________________________________________

In chapter 2, we’ll see
a great deal of specificity regarding this seven-year period that is
characterized by the “vengeance” of verses 8-10. That vengeance
culminates with the Battle of Armageddon. The whole period is figuratively
referred to as “that day” in verse 10, a common phrase used to
describe a period of time characterized by an event (both past and future) by
the Old Testament prophets

 

Who must be taken out of
the way before the lawless one is revealed?

____________________________________________________

____________________________________________________

____________________________________________________

 

Who are the ones that
receive the delusion?

____________________________________________________

____________________________________________________

____________________________________________________

 

How are we sanctified by
the Spirit?

____________________________________________________

____________________________________________________

____________________________________________________

 

How are we chosen for
salvation? ____________________________________________________

____________________________________________________

____________________________________________________

Are we in the tribulation? (II Thessalonians
2:1-12)

IMPORTANT NOTE: You cannot understand the scenario of chapter 2
without thoroughly understanding the setup to the passage in II Thessalonians
1:7-10.

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?

6 And now ye know what
withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.

7 For the mystery of
iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken
out of the way.

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:

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

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.

One more understanding is vital here. There is a difference
between “tribulation” and “THE tribulation” in scripture.
The Greek word for “tribulation” is “thlipsis” which is
translated “trouble” or “tribulation.” It’s the word for
general trouble in one’s life.

However, the prophecy regarding Daniel’s seventieth week in Daniel
9:27 describes a seven-year period which is commonly called “THE
tribulation.” That is the period described by Paul in this chapter.

Whatever misconceptions the Thessalonians may have had regarding
where they were in relation to the tribulation, Paul seeks to clear it up right
here in chapter 2 Thessalonians 2:

You will recall that Paul assured them that they were not
“appointed to wrath” in
I
Thessalonians 5:9
, but from the answers
supplied in this epistle, they still seem to be kinda worried about that.

2 Thessalonians 2:1 frames the concern: What about the
“coming” (Greek: “parousia” – also often rendered “presence”)
of Jesus Christ AND “our gathering together unto him?” Here’s the
issue: If they were not “appointed to wrath” what’s all of this
“tribulation” that they’re experiencing about?

2 Thessalonians 2:2 helps us understand how this concern
escalated; let’s look at it closely:

Don’t be shaken in mind
or troubled.

Disregard contrary
statements that SUPPOSEDLY came through someone’s revelation by the
“Spirit” or SUPPOSEDLY through someone’s “word” of
knowledge or even SUPPOSEDLY, AND NOT SO, as though it came in the form of a
“letter” purported to be from us (Paul).

(For more
information regarding the spiritual gifts cited, read I Corinthians 12.)

 

The erroneous belief:
That the day of Christ has come (KJV “is at hand”)

The Greek verb
“enistemi” is perfect active indicative in form and should be
understood as an action that “has” been completed.

The verb means “to
come.” Therefore, “has come” correctly captures the essence of
the false teaching described in this verse. They apparently believed they might
be in THE tribulation already.

That false teaching to which these people had been exposed stated
that the trouble they were experiencing meant that they were in the midst of
THE tribulation. Paul’s mission is to prove to them that they are NOT in THE
tribulation.

So, Paul lays some heavy-duty prophecy on them regarding the
tribulation period and the “beast” of
Revelation
13
who is commonly referred to
today by people as the “antichrist.”

Biblical correctness would require us to refer to this
puppet-leader of Satan as the “beast,” but popular reference leads us
to refer to him as “the antichrist.” In actuality, the only
references to “antichrist” in the New Testament are found in
I John
2:18,22; 4:3; II John 1:7 .
These may be references to
the tribulation personality of Revelation 13 called the “beast,” but
it is not certain.

Many have misunderstood the usage of the word “day” in
this and similar passages.

They only understand the usage of this word in the context of
describing a 24-hour period of time. Therefore, it seems to them that the word
must describe the “day” the rapture takes place or the
“day” Jesus returns to earth, etc.

Actually, the word “day” of verse 3 is used figuratively
like we use that word ourselves (i.e. “back in my day…” or
“there’s coming a day…”).

You may find it helpful to read the notes on Philippians
1
regarding the usage of the word
“day.” There is a consistency in scripture (Old and New Testaments)
regarding the usage of this term, “day of the Lord.”

Whether it is talking about the attack of the Assyrians, Babylonians,
Beast (aka Antichrist) or the tribulation itself, it usually refers to an event
or series of events accompanied by severe judgment(s) upon people.

In keeping with the essence of this scriptural usage, Paul is
referring to a time (longer than 24 hours) with distinct unpleasant
characteristics, specifically, the events of the tribulation.

So, here’s what he says about that “day” (the
tribulation period) of 2 Thessalonians 2:3

A “falling
away” (Greek: “apostasia” also translated “apostasy) must occur
(2 Thessalonians 2:3).

From Revelation
6
this
appears to take place during the first 3 1/2 years of the tribulation.

 

The “man of
sin” AND “son of perdition” (aka “beast” aka
“antichrist”) must be revealed (verse 3).

 

He will insist on being
worshipped as God (verse 4). This coincides with
Daniel
9:27 (see notes)
; Daniel
11:31 (see notes)
; Daniel
12:11 (see notes)
and Matthew
24:15 (see notes)
known as the “abomination of desolation. “We therefore
know that this takes place in the middle of the seven-year tribulation period,
based primarily on Daniel 9:27.

 

We understand that these
written comments follow up on specific instructions Paul had given them
regarding this issue when he was with them (verse 5).

 

The “beast”
cannot be revealed until the restrainer (“what withholdeth”) is
removed. The KJV phrase, “only he who now letteth” of verse 7 should
not confuse us. It’s still a reference to the restrainer/withholder of verse 6.

As a matter of fact,
those who play tennis know that when one’s serve grazes the net while landing
in play, it is called a “let.” In 1611, the word “let”
(Greek: “katecho”) was commonly used (and properly so) to mean,
“to hinder,” and still is defined that way in the English dictionary
as a secondary definition.

I, along with most
fundamental Bible teachers, believe that the restrainer here (verses 6-7) is
the Holy Spirit. The presence of God will be removed from the earth when
Believers are raptured just prior to the tribulation.

That’s because Believers
are the sum total of the presence of God on this earth, because we are the
temples of God according to
I
Corinthians 3:16-17
and I
Corinthians 6:19-20

 

Until there are new
converts (beginning with the 144,000 of
Revelation
7
the
presence of God will have been removed from the earth to leave it wide open for
the antichrist to gain control. He’ll garner that control for the first 3 1/2
years until he feels he has enough clout to proclaim himself God and worthy to
be worshipped as such.

 

The beast (aka
antichrist) will be destroyed by Christ in
Revelation
19:11-21
at the final battle of Armageddon (verse 8).

 

People who reject
Christ’s salvation before the rapture will not choose to be saved during the
tribulation (verses 9-12). Of course many will be saved during the tribulation,
but no one who previously rejected Christ as savior. That’s what these four
verses seem to say. What else can could he mean by these comments?

Don’t be confused (II Thessalonians 2:13-17)

13 But we are bound to give thanks always 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:

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

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

16 Now our Lord Jesus Christ
himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us
everlasting consolation and good hope through grace,

17 Comfort your hearts, and
stablish you in every good word and work.

Paul encourages them (and us) to rest in the facts of the first 12
verses to recognize that we are to be delivered from these events through the
pre-tribulation rapture of Believers.

In verse 13 he acknowledges their salvation (as a community of
Believers) by referring to them as “chosen,” inasmuch as God had
directed Paul to take the Gospel to them on his Second Missionary Journey).

As a result of the “sanctification [Greek:
“hagiasmos” means “set apart”] of the spirit” and
“belief of the truth,” they were saved. Subsequently, verse 14 tells
them that they were called to “glory” – that which is experienced by
Jesus Christ himself in Heaven.

That being the case, they are encouraged to “hold the
traditions which ye have been taught” in verse 15.

Those traditions include, not only his personal teaching to them
(“by word”), but also “by letter,” undoubtedly a reference
to the guarantee that they were to be delivered from the “wrath” of I
Thessalonians 5:9. These comforting words are to be their “consolation”
in verses 16-17.

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER 3

(II Thessalonians 3:1-5)

1 Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may
have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you:

2 And that we may be
delivered from unreasonable and wicked men: for all men have not faith.

3 But the Lord is faithful,
who shall stablish you, and keep you from evil.

4 And we have confidence in
the Lord touching you, that ye both do and will do the things which we command
you.

5 And the Lord direct your
hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ

Who are we to withdraw
ourselves from?

____________________________________________________

____________________________________________________

____________________________________________________

 

How should we treat the
one who does not obey the Word?

____________________________________________________

____________________________________________________

____________________________________________________

He asks that they pray for his ministry on two counts:

  • That the Word of God will have free course (verse 1)
    i.e. “spread rapidly”

    (Greek:
    “trecho” is used 20 times in the New Testament and is always
    translated “run” except here)

    In the Greek
    subjunctive mode as here “that the Word of God may run”

    His desire is to
    see the “Word” exalted just as it is among the Thessalonians.

  • Deliverance from ” unreasonable and wicked men”
    in verse 2.

    You must agree that
    Paul encountered more than his share of these during the course of his
    ministry.

He expresses confidence in them and the Lord in keeping them from
evil along with an exhortation to remain patient in the midst of the tribulation
they are experiencing. The “patient waiting for Christ” is a
reference to the rapture (I Thessalonians 4:13-18).

Warning against busybody deadbeats (II Thessalonians 3:6-15)

6 Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus
Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly,
and not after the tradition which he received of us.

7 For yourselves know how ye
ought to follow us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you;

8 Neither did we eat any
man’s bread for nought; but wrought with labour and travail night and day, that
we might not be chargeable to any of you:

9 Not because we have not
power, but to make ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us.

10 For even when we were
with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he
eat.

11 For we hear that there
are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are
busybodies.

12 Now them that are such we
command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and
eat their own bread.

13 But ye, brethren, be not
weary in well doing.

14 And if any man obey not
our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he
may be ashamed.

15 Yet count him not as an
enemy, but admonish him as a brother.

You’ve heard the verse, “Idleness is the devil’s
workshop.” I hate to break this to you, but that’s not a scripture.
However, that does seem to be the essence of this passage on keeping busy.
Everyone is encouraged to work. He points out that when one has idle time on
his hands, he has a tendency to use that time negatively.

It seems likely that these verses are intended to put a stop to
the bad teaching Paul has been dealing with in chapters 1-2. Consider this
scenario: They had heard teaching that the persecution and trouble they were
experiencing meant that they were in THE tribulation. People with idle time on
their hands were spreading the word – the incorrect, false word.

Assuming that to be the case, Paul tells them to avoid those
who do not embrace the solid teachings of Paul (verse 6). He refers to them as
“busybodies” and “disorderly” in verse 11. They don’t work;
they meddle.

Paul offers himself as an example inasmuch as he worked his trade
while he was among them and offers this rule of thumb designed to put a
screeching halt to this idle spreading of bad tales and doctrine, “if any
would not work, neither should he eat.”

Incidentally, in verse 9 he remarks that it was not for lack of
“power” (Greek: “exousia” means “authority”) that
he chose to work rather than receive their support while there. Because of
these that were “disorderly,” he did so as an example. In verse 13 he
encourages them to not become discouraged as they strive for excellence in the
midst of their difficult times.

How are Paul’s letters to be viewed? People have often asked me,
“Did Paul know he was writing scripture when he wrote his letters?”
Verses 14-15 demonstrate that he did, “And if any man obey not our word by
this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be
ashamed.

Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a
brother.” You can see that Paul was adamant that fellowship with Believers
should only be maintained with those who embraced the teachings in Paul’s own
letters.

(II Thessalonians 3:16-18)

16 Now the Lord of peace himself give you peace always by all
means. The Lord be with you all.

17 The salutation of
Paul with mine own hand, which is the token in every epistle: so I write.

18 The grace of our Lord
Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

<><<><><><><><><><><><><<><><<><><><><<><><><><><><><><><

Let Us Begin Our Journey

Many of you are concerned about
the events that are taking place, at this time, in our world.

We will study these prophecies
from the books of Revelation, Daniel and also from the Olivet Discourse
(Located in the Gospels)

Lesson #1 Prepared for April
15,2011

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