2 Thessalonians.


In the first of these verses Paul tells the brethren to be not deceived by any who shall come declaring that they are the Christ: for Christ shall not come except there be a falling away first, and the son of perdition be revealed. This son of perdition shall come and sit in the temple of God as God, and by great signs and wonders he shall deceive the people. He is not Christ, but he is the false prophet which shall be disclosed before the coming of Christ. When he thus sits, the iniquity of the Amorites will be full, and the transgressions near the end. Iniquity works on to its own fulness, and it is let work until that fulness is complete. In the fall of man, "sin became exceeding sinful," and in the persecution of the Messiah during the days of his flesh, the mass was greatly added to; but in the end, when the son of perdition sits as God in the temple of God, then the measure of iniquity will be full, and destruction shall come upon the workers thereof.

It is the purpose of the Father to reconcile all things unto himself, whether they be things in earth or things in heaven; therefore it does not follow that the son of perdition shall appear unto man as sitting in the temple of God, but rather that he shall sit there in the presence of the other hosts whom he has deceived, and to whom the way of justification is open. According to the book of Daniel, it is evident that the evil element of the present age or creation of men shall be judged and destroyed before the second advent of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the record of Paul seems fully to confirm this view: for the coming of the Lord is after the working of Satan with his signs and lying wonders, wherewith he deceived the people. The truth has been preached unto all hosts, but the long-suffering of the Most High undoubtedly has been mistaken for weakness, and the apparent success of the Adversary for strength. If, however, they that perish had loved righteousness and truth, they would not have been destroyed: for the way of life was open unto them: hence the text states, "Because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. "And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: "That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness."

When Christ comes he shall come in the clouds of heaven, and there can be no mistaking him. False prophets and false Christs come simply from the earth; for the whole host of evil is cast down to the earth, and they cannot return to heaven that they should make their appearance from thence to deceive the people. But Christ comes in the clouds of heaven. It is stated in St. Matt. xxiv. 23, "If any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there: believe it not;" and also again in the same chapter, "Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be." Again it is said, "They shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory."

These records are given that none be deceived by false Christs or false prophets. No matter what signs and wonders may be performed by any one calling himself Christ, the record is, believe him not: for the Son of man comes only as stated above.

After the wonderful works performed by the Messiah during his ministry, it is now possible that Satan can give his power to the son of perdition, that he may work signs and wonders to deceive the people into a belief that he is the Christ who shall come and reign; therefore, owing to the great power of the Adversary and the weakness of the people, the sign of the second advent of the Saviour Jesus Christ is positively given as above, and admits of no change.

The text continues, "But we are bound to give thanks alway 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:

"Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
"Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle."

In this part of the text Paul calls attention to the fact that from the beginning man was chosen to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth. And, moreover, that man was called according to "our gospel," which means "his gospel," to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. Two classes and conditions of beings are clearly called for by this chapter, and the gospel of Paul is to both. Paul stated that man was predestinated and called according to a purpose, and it is now his mission to make manifest the mystery connected with this purpose. He has made it manifest that belief in the truth is absolutely necessary: for they are damned who believe not the truth. Belief is faith, and faith is counted for righteousness: unbelief, therefore, shall be counted for unrighteousness, and because of unbelief many shall be destroyed. That the preaching of Paul is to those who are called according to a purpose is clear enough, and if to them, how great must be its bearing upon those which made the purpose necessary! Why should not a way of escape be opened for the return of those which fell before man? There is no good reason, but, on the contrary, the perfection of the Divine character calls for it. This has been hidden from ages and from generations for a wise purpose, but is now made manifest to the saints, that they may know what "Christ in them" is to the Gentiles. Christ died once for all, and it is absolutely certain that through him lies a way of escape for all who repent and believe, no matter to which age or generation they belong.

Faith is great, grand, and glorious, covering a man's sins; but charity covers a multitude of sins.