Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Antichrist

An audio overview of the lesson by Raul Diaz.

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The Antichrist

In the first chapter Paul gave words of ‘praise’ to the Thessalonians.  IN this way the blow is softened.  Christ did this in Revelation 2 and 3.  Each church had commendations before the reproach.  So, Paul follows this approach. 

Now, IN the first letter Paul clarifies about the coming of Jesus.  But, some misinterpreted what he said.  So, Paul corrects them. Ellen White says,

The instruction that Paul sent the Thessalonians in his first epistle regarding the second coming of Christ, was in perfect harmony with his former teaching. Yet his words were misapprehended by some of the Thessalonian brethren. They understood him to express the hope that he himself would live to witness the Saviour's advent. This belief served to increase their enthusiasm and excitement. Those who had previously neglected their responsibilities and duties, now became more persistent in urging their erroneous views.  {AA 264.1} 
     In his second letter Paul sought to correct their misunderstanding of his teaching and to set before them his true position. He again expressed his confidence in their integrity, and his gratitude that their faith was strong, and that their love abounded for one another and for the cause of their Master. He told them that he presented them to other churches as an example of the patient, persevering faith that bravely withstands persecution and tribulation, and he carried their minds forward to the time of the second coming of Christ, when the people of God shall rest from all their cares and perplexities.  {AA 264.2} 

The language Paul uses lets us know that Paul is referring to the previous letter.  He uses similar phrases.  Although Paul establish that no one knew the day and the hour of Jesus return in the previous letter, Paul spoke in such a way that many thought that they would see Jesus returning in their day.  But, Paul had to clarify this misinterpretation.

Again from Ellen White,

Paul's words were not to be misinterpreted. It was not to be taught that he, by special revelation, had warned the Thessalonians of the immediate coming of Christ. Such a position would cause confusion of faith; for disappointment often leads to unbelief. The apostle therefore cautioned the brethren to receive no such message as coming from him,
and he proceeded to emphasize the fact that the papal power, so clearly described by the prophet Daniel, was yet to rise and wage war against God's people. Until this power should have performed its deadly and blasphemous work, it would be in vain for the church to look for the coming of their Lord. "Remember ye not," Paul inquired, "that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?"  {AA 265.2} 

Paul wanted to make sure they stood fast in the truth.  He wanted to make sure that there faith remained strong.  Ellen White says,

Thus Paul outlined the baleful work of that power of evil which was to continue through long centuries of darkness and persecution before the second coming of Christ. The Thessalonian believers had hoped for immediate deliverance;
now they were admonished to take up bravely and in the fear of God the work before them. The apostle charged them not to neglect their duties or resign themselves to idle waiting. After their glowing anticipations of immediate deliverance the round of daily life and the opposition that they must meet would appear doubly forbidding. He therefore exhorted them to steadfastness in the faith:  {AA 266.3} 

Paul had commended the Thessalonians for their endurance during trials.  Their belief that Christ would come in their day, had some believing that deliverance was nigh.  This would disappoint and discourage many when Christ return took longer then they were expecting.  Paul needed to make sure that they remained strong.  Christ would not come as soon as they thought, so deliverance from this world would not be quick.  But, the promise of “I will not forsake you, I will be with you until the end,” still stood.  Christ would still give them what they needed to endure; therefore God would still be glorified. 

The Thessalonians also needed to be warned that this work of the man of Sin and the falling away had begun.  They were already false teachers in those days teaching heresy.  John identified this heresy as the belief that Christ sinned not because He did not come in the likeness of Sinful flesh (fallen flesh), that Christ was not tempted as we are, therefore He could not be touched with our infirmities, therefore He could not conquer Sin in the flesh ((Romans 8: 3; Hebrews 4: 15).  This is the opposite of what Paul taught.  John called these antichrists (1 John 4: 3; 2 John 1:7). 

Although, the man of sin and the falling away have been revealed, many still hide in the shadows preaching this heresy.  So, it would behoove us and take heed that we let no man deceive us by any means (2 Thessalonians 2: 3).  In other words, although the man of Sin and his organization have been revealed, what they teach is believed by others in all other denominations.  These men are also antichrists.  We should stay away from these.