by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 2 Paragraph # 1 Study # 2 November 15, 2015 Dayton, Texas (Download Audio)
(033)Thesis:The Day of the Lord will not begin until after the Rapture and the revelation of the Lawless Man.
Introduction:In our previous study we saw that the issue that Paul is addressing in this extended paragraph is the conflict created by his teaching of The Rapture as an imminent event and the false teaching that The Day of the Lord has already begun. The main implication of this false teaching is that the darkness period of The Day of the Lord will be visited upon the believers. The main problem with this is that it undercuts the believers' hope and unsettles both their minds and souls, thus making it impossible for them to relate to God by faith. Additionally, anything that undercuts faith also undercuts God's entire plan for the individuals who are constantly being "called" to trust God in the midst of everything that comes their way 24/7.
This evening we are going to look into Paul's counter-teaching so that we may understand how he responded to the false doctrine.
I. The Gravity of the Conflict of Doctrine.
A. He has already declared that it has the potential to undercut the faith that must be alive and vital in order for believers to properly relate to God.
B. In our day, this declaration is flatly denied and the timing of The Rapture is dismissed as a minor issue that ought not to divide "brethren" in direct contradiction to Paul's thesis that a living faith must have a living hope in the mix.
C. Then, there are the opening words of 2:3.
1. The word translated "deceive" is a potent word, made more so by the addition of a prefix intensifier.
2. In the use of the word in the New Testament we find significant disaster coming upon the heels of the "deception".
a. In Romans 7:11, "deception" leads to death.
b. In 2 Corinthians 11:3, "deception" led to the entire body of corruption that is presently in the world.
3. Paul has an "according to the standard of..." phrase that insists that the Thessalonians not let any manner of argument lead them away from the basic thesis that "The Day of the Lord cannot begin before our gathering together unto Him".
a. That "Day of the Lord" has a "dark" period at the beginning of the final stage of God's plan of the ages and the Church has no part in that darkness.
b. There are two popular "deceptions" that have gained ground in our day.
1) The first is that we ought to understand the words "the apostasy" to refer to a latter day departure from the faith at the end of the Age of the Church.
2) The second is that we ought not to be of the conviction that these "timing" issues have any real importance.
c. Against these deceptions stands Paul's "do not let any manner of argument lead you into deception".
II. The Resolution of the Conflict.
A. Paul's first declaration to resolve the issue is that the "the disappearance" will come "first".
1. It is an interesting fact that Liddell and Scott Greek-English Lexicon defines the word "apostasia" as "departure or disappearance".
2. Against this fact, deceivers argue.
a. They say the word is "apostasy", but it is an incontrovertible fact that "apostasy" is a transliteration into English, signifying that English didn't have a one-word equivalent to the meaning of the Greek word that would suit for translation purposes.
b. They say that Paul taught a latter day "apostasy from the faith" in 2 Timothy 3:1 and that this is what he meant when he wrote to the Thessalonians in our text.
1) One problem with this argument is that Paul did not write 2 Timothy 3:1 until he was on the verge of martyrdom, many years after he wrote 2 Thessalonians 2:3 [to jump to a later letter that does not even use the word "apostasia" to describe a coming event is poor practice of exegesis].
2) Another problem is that some "latter day apostasy from the faith" is no help at all in solving the doctrinal conflict because "apostasy" has been around from the beginning and gives us no help at all in relation to the question of whether, in fact, the saints will be gathered to the Lord after the Day of the Lord begins.
3. The context is determinative: "the disappearance" is what is at stake and 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 is the only explanation we have for Paul's use of the term.
B. Paul's second declaration to resolve the issue is that "the Lawless Man is to be revealed".
1. This reference to "The Lawless Man" is a reference to Daniel's prophecies and Paul makes this known by saying "I told you these things when I was with you".
2. This declaration indicates that there is a "point in time" when this man will be "revealed" so that "The Day of the Lord" can be identified as to its "beginning" by this revelation.