Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 3 * PART 1 * BOOK 43
They Will Believe the Lie!
II Thessalonians 2:9-14
You know I’m always pointing out that it isn’t so much what the Bible says, as what it does not say. Always remember the deception comes in when the counterfeiters come along and make it sound like the Bible says something when it really doesn’t. Let’s get started where we left off in our last lesson, and that was in verse 9 of II Thessalonians chapter 2.
II Thessalonians 2:9a
The wicked one of verse 8 who the Lord will destroy at the end of the Tribulation, is going to meet his doom. Remember he’s a man born of a woman, and he’s going to go to his eternal doom the same as other lost people, but of course this individual and the false prophet will be unique in that they will not have the benefit of pleading their case at the Great White Throne. Now if you know your Bible you know that all the lost people of the ages will have their moment with God, and before God as they appear at the Great White Throne, but these two men don’t get that chance. They’ll go straight from their earthly existence to the eternal Lake of Fire according to the Book of Revelation 19:20. But this man anti-Christ –
II Thessalonians 2:9b
“…whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders.”
And as we saw in our last program, and the Book of Revelation agrees with it 100%, the world will be deceived by this man anti-Christ. They’re going to fall for what this man offers hook, line, and sinker. Because after all, this guy is performing things that only God can do, so it must be God. I hope we’re making the point that Satan is such a master counterfeiter that he can do almost the same things that God can do. Now never forget that God is Sovereign, God is still in control, and Satan can never go any further than God permits him to go. However God is going to let him come awfully close to the original. You know I always like to use the analogy of counterfeiters of currency. The guy that can get by counterfeiting American currency is the guy that can come the closest to our original bills. And if he can come so close that the average American can’t detect it, he can go quite awhile before the experts can finally catch it. Well it’s the same way with spiritual things. These counterfeiters can confuse the masses, and the less they know of Scripture, the easier they are to confuse, and the longer they can hold them. So you’ve got to know what the truth is so that when you hear something that is not truth, it will bring up a red flag. So this anti-Christ is going to bring in signs, and lying wonders. Now verse 10.
II Thessalonians 2:10
“And with all deceivableness (or with all deceit) of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.” All right, what does the word perish imply here. Well you all know John 3:16 don’t you?
“For God so loved the world that whosoever believeth in him should not perish…”
Now you all know what that word is talking about. It’s eternal doom! It’s that eternal separation from God. Now that’s what the word perish here means, and Paul is using it here in the same way. These people are going to go to their eternal doom, having followed the signs and wonders and miracles of the counterfeit Christ, but the sad part is, many of them are going to be people who heard the Gospel in it’s full truth and rejected it. Now we’re going to take this real slow because this question is coming up more and more. “Is there an opportunity for salvation for someone who has heard the Gospel, missed the Rapture, and find themselves in the Tribulations?” The answer to that question is No! There will be no second chance if, and this is a big if, they have heard the true Gospel, have contemplated it, have been convicted of the need of it, and then turn around and say, “Thanks, but no thanks.” Or like King Agrippa who said-
“Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.”
King Agrippa wanted a more convenient time to think on these things, and people today are doing that also. Some say, “Yeah I know I should get saved, but I want to live the good life for a while, I’ll do that later.” Well you see this is exactly what this verse is saying. They’re going to come under a deceitful regime, they’re going to come under the deceitful power of Satan, and are actually going to enjoy unrighteousness. The wickedness of that period is going far beyond our comprehension. Well I was going to Revelation chapter 9, and just happened to flip to it. Here in Revelation this just fits hand and glove with what Paul is teaching in II Thessalonians. Now remember there’s going to be tremendous loss of life during the last 3 1/2 years of the Tribulation. After all, the whole world’s population is going to have to go down the tube with the exception of a very small percentage. Right now we have 6 1/2 billion that would be losing their life in these 7 years, and most of them in the last half. But look what it says in verse 20. As we come toward the end of that time we find these still haven’t lost their life.
“And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk;” Now watch it. These are going to be the common occurrences of every society around the planet in those closing months of the Tribulations.
“Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, (now what’s sorceries? Drawing on Satanic powers. It also means drugs. They’re not going to repent of these things. Remember the word sorceries in the Greek means pharm-I-kia from which we get pharmacy. So it will be a drug culture, and of course this verse almost describes it.) nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.”
There is going to be no moral integrity. There’s not going to be any honesty left, and they’re going to revel in their wickedness. Now coming back to II Thessalonians chapter 2 and verse 10.
II Thessalonians 2:10a
“And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness (they’re going to glory in their wickedness, but look who’s going to be primarily guilty. It’s going to be) in them that perish;…”They’re going to miss eternal life, and why?
II Thessalonians 2:10b
“…because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.”
Now the world even likes to make a lot of truth. A lot of our universities will have over their main building, “The truth will make you free!” Well they’re not making reference to Biblical truth, but rather from the philosophical point of truth. But nevertheless, what is the truth that these people will have rejected previously? Ok, let’s chase down what the truth of the Gospel really means. Come back to Ephesians chapter 1. Also remember that these people which Paul is writing about and that Revelation describes, are people that have rejected the truth. They’ve said, “Thanks, but no thanks, I don’t want it!” And they’re going to find themselves in the Tribulation even though mom and dad have prayed for them, and pleaded with them, they’re going to have rejected all that, and they’re going to find themselves in the horrors of the Tribulation, and they’re not going to suddenly come to their senses and say, “This is what mom and dad was talking about.”
I had husbands with unsaved wives and wives with unsaved husband who have asked this question. “Now Les when we go up in the Rapture will my spouse suddenly wake up and realize that he or she or he has missed what I’ve tried to tell them? And the answer is No! When the news flashes that this man anti-Christ has now gone to Jerusalem and has signed a 7-year treaty with the Middle East, the wife or husband who has missed the Rapture is going to say, “There’s the one that I’m looking for.” See that’s going to be their response. Now you may think I’m stretching it, but let’s look. Turn to Ephesians chapter 1 and verse 13. In fact look at the word “Christ” up in verse 12 .
“That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. 13. In whom (in Christ) ye also trusted, (placed your faith) after (watch this because it’s meticulous) in whom you placed your faith (when) after you heard the word of (what) truth….”
And what’s the truth. The Gospel! See how plain that is? You don’t have to be a theologian to understand this. You placed your faith in Christ after you heard the Gospel, the word of truth. Now let’s go on. After you heard the word of truth and you believed it for your salvation:
“In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: (that One) in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise.”
Not a month later or year later, but immediately you are saved, and sealed. Now that’s the whole modus operandi of God’s plan of salvation. That we hear the Gospel, we believe it, we are into the body of Christ and at the same time the Holy Spirit puts his mark of identification on us – that we’re His. Instantaneously. You don’t have to go through a trial to see if you’re worthy of it. It’s an immediate response to our faith. But the point I want to make here is, what is the word of truth? The Gospel! We’re going to come to the Gospel in a minute but let’s turn back a page or two, and I’m doing this to take it easy on your Bible. Come back to Galatians and then we’re going to go on back to I Corinthians. But right now, Galatians chapter 2. And remember in this chapter Paul has been out there being confronted by these false Judaisers who were literally submarining his teaching with the teaching that these people could not be saved unless they were circumcised according to the Law of Moses, and kept the commandments. Legalism!
And so Paul had to write this little book of Galatians to confront legalism, in whatever shape or form it might be. Now, he began that line of teaching in about 40 AD. Now here we are 12 years later and the twelve apostles in Jerusalem are still, I think, grossly unhappy with what Paul is doing. Because they cannot reconcile these Gentiles, claiming salvation, just by believing Paul’s gospel. Faith in the death, burial and resurrection plus nothing. And so they too, have been adding to this pressure to the Gentile believers to be circumcised, to keep the commandments, and otherwise to embrace Judaism to a degree. Acts 15:1-12 And so they bring Paul up to Jerusalem to confront the twelve with what he’s preaching. And now look what he says.
“And that because of false brethren unawares (secretly) brought in, who came in privily (secretly) to spy out our (what?) liberty (or lack of legalism) which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into (what?) bondage:”
Now if you’ve ever talked to someone who has come out of a legalistic religion and they step in to the glorious Gospel of Grace, what’s the first thing they realize? They’ve come out of bondage! Now those of you who have never been in it, you won’t understand what it is. You talk to some of these people when they’re scared to death that if they break one of the commandments, they’re doomed. They are scared to death if they don’t keep the Saturday Sabbath, they’re doomed. That’s legalism. Or you can put any other twist on it that you want.But when legalism holds the heavy thumb upon an individual it’s bondage! And Grace is freedom. Paul now has to go to Jerusalem to defend his Gospel of Grace and not put those Gentile believers back under a bondage. Got it? Now let’s look at verse 5. These people in Jerusalem, and I think it was the 12, as well as some of the other leaders, were trying to pressure Paul to put his Gentile converts back under the Law, or back under bondage. He says in verse 5:
“To whom we gave place (gave in) by subjection….”
What does the word “subjection” imply? They were pressuring him. “Look Paul, we can never put our stamp of approval on what you’re doing until you agree to put your converts under the Law.” And the poor man is almost alone. Now I know Barnabas was with him, if I remember right. But nevertheless, for the most part, it was the Apostle Paul against maybe 12 or 15 or who know how many others. (you can read the account in Acts chapter 15) Now listen, that’s no fun place to be. I don’t want to be up against 15 people trying to drive me down. One on one I’m comfortable. But one against 15 or 20 – that’s enough to get anybody down. And this is what he’s talking about. When he came up to Jerusalem, after these 12 years of ministering to the Gentiles, and they were pressuring him to put them back under the Law, or under bondage, he said, “I did not give in to them. I stood my ground.” Now let’s read on.
“To whom we gave place by subjection, no, not for an hour; (we usually use the term “minute.” “I didn’t give in for a minute) that the truth of the gospel might continue with you.”
Do you see that? Paul says he did not give in to legalism, nor to the pressure from the 12, so that the truth of the gospel might continue with you. And he qualifies the Gospel that he’s talking about there in verse 2, that “Gospel that I preached among the Gentiles.” So he’s not talking about the same gospel that Peter and John preached at Israel in Acts 2:38, but rather he’s talking about his Gospel – the Gospel of Grace. And he says he did not give in for a minute so that the truth of the gospel might continue with you. Now think about that for a moment. Think hard. What if the Apostle Paul would have given in? Think about that! What if the man would have given in to that subjection. Our Gospel of Grace would have gone down the tube. Now, of course, God is Sovereign and we know He would not have permitted it. But nevertheless, Christianity as we know it, was on the line right here in Jerusalem in 51 or 52 AD. And had it not been for the strength and character of this Saul of Tarsus, now the Apostle Paul, you and I wouldn’t sit here reveling in the Grace of God. But he didn’t give in. He stood his ground so that the truth of the Gospel might continue with you.
Alright, what Gospel is Paul talking about that he calls “my Gospel.” Let’s go back to I Corinthians chapter 15. What Gospel does he call, “my Gospel?” What Gospel does he call, “That Gospel which I preached among the Gentiles?” What Gospel does he call “The Gospel of the Grace of God?” What Gospel does he call “The Gospel of Christ?” Here it is in this chapter and it’s not John 3:16. John 3:16 doesn’t have this gospel in it. Oh, some parts of it are certainly appropriate. We know that unless we’re saved, we’re going to perish. But there’s no death, burial and resurrection in John 3:16. It hadn’t even happened yet. And the disciples had no idea he was going to be going to a cross and die. But HERE, we have the gospel. I think Iris and I are being encouraged, because we’re seeing this Gospel in print more and more in articles, and books like I’ve never seen it before. In fact, I was so amazed the other day, it was in one of the major Christian magazines in which I have never read it before, but bless their hearts, they delineated the two gospels in the New Testament. The Gospel of the Kingdom to the Jew and the Gospel of the Grace of God that the Apostle Paul preached. In fact, a believer in Florida wrote and told us, “Did you see the article?” Well, yes, I’d already read it. But you see, it’s encouraging, not because of me, but because I think the Spirit is beginning to open eyes other than mine, to some of these truths that have been just laying there dormant. I know I didn’t grow up with it. But here it is. This is the Gospel. I Corinthians 15, beginning at verse 1.
I Corinthians 15:1-2
“Moreover, brethren, (Paul is writing to believers at Corinth) I declare unto you (what’s the article?) the (not “a.” What does that signify? Singular!) gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand: 2. By which also ye are saved,…”
You know I’ve put it on the program before that our Gospel is exclusive. Of course it is. Our Gospel isn’t just one of many. There’s only one. People don’t like to admit that, but the Word of God says there’s only one and here it is. And it’s that Gospel by which you are saved. This is the Gospel that saves lost people. Now you’re saved if you keep in memory, and I always put it this way, if you understand what you believe, unless you have believed in vain, because you just can’t take a “head knowledge” and agree to something. You have to have it in the heart, believe it with all your heart, that this is what you’re placing your faith in. And here it is in verse 3 & 4. This is the gospel of the Grace of God. This is what Paul calls, “My gospel.” This is the Gospel, again, that is referred to as “that Gospel that I preached to the Gentiles.”
I Corinthians 15:3
“For I delivered unto you first of all (they didn’t hear it first from Peter, or Christ, they heard it only from this Apostle to whom this Gospel was given) that which I also received, how that (here it is now) Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures. (It wasn’t an afterthought. It was planned from before anything was ever created that Christ would pay the sin debt of lost humanity.) Now verse 4.
I Corinthians 15:4
“And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.”
It wasn’t a fake death. It wasn’t just an unconscious state. He was dead to the point that he was buried and that he arose again the third day according to the scriptures. The Old Testament was full of it. But in such veiled language, nobody could understand it. Nobody had an idea that this is how God was going to bring salvation to the whole human race until it was revealed to the Apostle Paul. And now Paul is commissioned to take this Gospel, first and foremost to the Gentile, but a Jew can certainly be saved by it. We’re all on common ground today. And so this is the Gospel that he refers to constantly as “The truth of God. The Gospel how that Christ died for our sins and rose from the dead.”
Now you all know the verse and you won’t have to look it up in John’s gospel. That grace and truth came how? By Jesus Christ! But the truth of this Gospel was not revealed until God poured it out on the Apostle Paul and sent him out into the Gentile world. And so this is what we have to understand. That people who have heard this Gospel, that Christ died for them and rose from the dead, and they have rejected it and suddenly find themselves under the regime of the anti-Christ, they’re not going to be able to say, “Well, Mom and Dad were right. I remember that preacher was right. I’m going to go and get saved.” No beloved, it’s not going to happen.