Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 3 * PART 3 * BOOK 43
2 Thessalonians 2:9-14
Turn with me to II Thessalonians Chapter 2. I want to go back for just a moment to review our last lesson. In that lesson we studied the verses that I feel concern people who have heard the Gospel and the Rapture has taken place and they are still unbelievers, and they find themselves in the 7-Year Tribulation. Now, a lot of people, especially those who have read the series Left Behind, are of the opinion that if you have spurned the Gospel and you go into the Tribulation that you are going to have a second chance. Well, I would hope that’s true but I can’t see it according to Paul’s letters to the Thessalonians where he makes it so plain, that if they have spurned the truth they have no chance.
II Thessalonians 2:10
“And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.” Then the next thing is that for that cause, because they rejected the truth of the Gospel, and they have missed the Rapture:
II Thessalonians 2:11
“And for this cause God shall send them a strong dilution, that they should believe a lie.”
Remember, I am always stressing whenever I teach prophecy or the Book of Revelation, the 7-year period is a time of supernatural activities. Today we don’t experience the supernatural. But as soon as those seven years begin, the supernatural will become almost common place. Now when I say supernatural, we know that it is impossible to get a peace treaty in the Middle East today. But we are seeing them try and try and try. Well, they might as well give up because they are not going to establish a good solid peace treaty in the Middle East until the man anti-Christ comes in. And the only reason he will accomplish it is because it’s going to be a time of supernatural work of God. So God will cause this man to supernaturally bring about a peace treaty in the Middle East that is unthinkable today. I mean it’s going to be such that you just say “Hey, it can’t happen.” But it will because it’s now time for God to move in and bring things to its culmination.
And so, these people who have spurned the Gospel during this Age of Grace will be the first, by a sovereign act of God, to embrace this man as the answer to the world’s problems. Now it isn’t because they have been taught that way previously, but it is because God will supernaturally (now I know I’m overloading that word.) bring things to pass that today would be utterly impossible. And so they, because of their rejecting the Gospel during the Age of Grace, will be sent a strong delusion that they should believe the lie. Well, what’s the lie? That the anti-Christ is the true Messiah, that he is God. You know the lie from day one back in the Garden of Eden. What was the lie? Well, if you eat of the tree you can become God. And that’s Satan’s ploy all the way up through human history. That if we follow him, then we can become gods.
That’s the whole forte of most of your oriental religions. That’s the whole idea of reincarnation. Iris had a chance while we were out east to visit with a lady of one of the oriental persuasions and she was just so excited about the fact that if she lives a good life now and dies that when she comes back next time she’ll be in a higher level than she is today. And if she can do a good job in that next sojourn on earth then she will die and come back still higher. And, of course the whole premise is that if you can live and die and keep doing it good enough that sooner or later you become God.
Well, that’s the lie. And so when the anti-Christ makes his appearance, these folks who have spurned the Gospel will be the first to accept the lie. Then their doom is mentioned in verse 12, that they will be condemned because they believed not the truth. See that’s the whole crux of the matter. We don’t ever see anyone go to their eternal doom for any other reason but unbelief. They won’t go because they are drunkards. They won’t go because they were immoral. They won’t go because of anything else. They’ll go to their doom because of their rank unbelief.
Alright now verse 13 starts with one of my favorite three letter words in scripture. What is it? Flip side! But. Do you see that? We are not in that company who have rejected the Gospel. We are not that company who will be condemned.
II Thessalonians 2:13a
“But, we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you…” Because, of course these folks were believers. They had been recently brought out of paganism. And so, he says –
II Thessalonians 2:13b
“… we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning (now that goes back to Ephesians 1. We will look at that.)chosen you to salvation through the sanctification of the Spirit and belief…”
What’s the other words for belief? Faith. Trust. Believe. See those three, all synonymous. Alright, why are these Thessalonians outside of paganism and now in God’s salvation? Because of their faith. Faith plus nothing. You never see anything added to faith in Paul’s letters. And so here again it’s so plain, that God chose them from the beginning so they could have their salvation through the sanctification of the Spirit and their faith or their belief.
II Thessalonians 2:13b
“…of the truth” All through Paul’s epistles, what basically is the truth? The Gospel! And what’s Paul’s Gospel? That Christ died for the sins of the world. He was buried and he arose from the dead. This message keeps coming together constantly. Alright, let’s read verse 14, and then we are going to go back into verse 13.
II Thessalonians 2:14a
“Whereunto he called you by our gospel…”
Now everywhere we go we run into one or two people invariably who at one time detested the Apostle Paul until they heard us teach otherwise. We had a gentleman again the other day, I think it was out in Pennsylvania and he said “Les, if it weren’t for you I would still detest the Apostle Paul. For years I thought he was arrogant. I thought he was egotistical. And, I just had no time for him. But now, I understand whenever Paul seemingly is egotistical, it’s the Spirit that is speaking and we can’t give Paul the blame for that. And so now, I agree with you 100%. It’s either Paul, or we are going to be left out in the dark.”
Paul is constantly referring to this as ‘my’ Gospel, or that which I preach. He is constantly bringing up the fact that he’s the one that brought this Gospel of the Grace of God to the human race. Now that doesn’t take anything away, in fact it’s just emanates the work of the cross. See, Paul over and over says, we preach Christ crucified, and risen from the dead.Paul doesn’t ever say we’re saved by believing in him, he’s only edifying that work of the cross.
II Thessalonians 2:14
“Whereunto he called you by our gospel, (and the end result of it all is) to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Now there again, in our human element, we can’t begin to comprehend the glory that we will one day enter in to. Paul alludes to it in Romans Chapter 8, where he says –
“For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worth, to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”
Now come back up to verse 13. We are not going to rush through these verses because everyone of them is a gold mine, once we start digging. And so he says, since the beginning…
II Thessalonians 2:13b
“…God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification (or the setting apart work) of the Spirit and the belief of the truth:”
Let’s go back and chase that word chosen for just a few moments. We are not going to be overbearing, I trust. But, come back to Ephesians Chapter 1. It’s a verse that throws a curve at lots of people, because, either they can’t comprehend it and they skim over it or they interpret it totally wrong. And, those folks I have to disagree with when they say that when God chose us to salvation then he also chose lost people to their eternal doom. I don’t agree with that. I do not think that God said to some “you’re going to heaven” and to others “you’re going to hell.” There is no way I can agree with that, because I always have to go back to the other premise and that is that Christ died for how many? He died for all. And we are going to see that as well. But here in Ephesians Chapter 1, it’s in full accord with what he just said in II Thessalonians, where he says:
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places (or probably the original would say in the heavenlies) in Christ” (That’s our position in Christ.) 4. According as he hath (past tense) chosen us in him (when?) before the foundation of the world…”
I always like to teach it this way. Back before anything was ever created the Triune God came together and literally drew the blueprint for creating the universe. The creating of the planet earth and the creation of the human race and just set everything in motion. And even though he has not made us robots, He has left the human race with a free will. Nations, as I have said so often, were free to raise armies and navies and to conquer and be defeated, and so forth. And yet 6,000 years later, where is the whole ball of wax? Exactly where God determined where it would be. We are exactly where God wants us to be at the end of 6,000 years of history. But nevertheless, every believer was to a certain extent chosen before anything was ever created. In other words, God knew. God knew what we would do when we heard the Gospel.
Now then, to confirm what I just said a moment ago, that Christ died for the whole human race. Come back to John’s gospel, chapter 1. The Word I am going to shock some people here. Now this is what the Book says. It’s not something that I have dreamed up. It’s something that is in your Bible as well as in mine.
John’s gospel chapter 1 verse 9. And of course, John is speaking of the Light of the world, about Jesus of Nazareth, at this point in time. As John the Baptist announced him, then he comes down to verse 9 speaking of Jesus of Nazareth.
“That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world”
Do you see what that says? The pygmies of Australia have received the light. I know we have a hard time with that don’t we? Now this is not knocking missions. This is not saying we don’t have to send missionaries. This is not saying we don’t have to send the Gospel to the darkened areas of the world. But, the Bible does say that every human being that has ever been brought into the human race has received enough light that they could have escaped their hell fire damnation. That’s what it says, he “lighteth every man that cometh into the world.”
Alright for comparison, I’m going to take you back to what Paul writes in Titus chapter 2. And let’s just drop down to verse 11. Now these statements are hard for us to reconcile. But, just because they are hard to reconcile is no sign we can gloss over them and say they are of no account. It’s the Word of God. The Spirit has moved these men to write what they wrote. And, look what Paul writes. Almost the same thing as what you see in John’s gospel.
“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to (unto how many?) all men.”
Not just to some. Not just to Israel. Not just to the Church. The grace of God which brings salvation which is associated with that light that came into the world, has appeared unto how many? Every human being that has ever been born. Don’t ask me how. I’m just going by what the book says. Alright, now as a result of that, I can bring you back to Romans chapter 1 which has a verse that has always been hard to teach. But, after looking at these verses, it’s a little less difficult. Put all these together and there is no argument left. The argument just falls away.
“For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, (or created) even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they (the whole human race) are without excuse:”
Now it has to be that way, otherwise, when the lost of all the ages would come up before the Great White Throne Judgment and they stand before Christ as the judge (not as the Savior but as the judge), are they going to able to argue and say, “Well I never had a chance?” No. You know that. The first thing that he is going to show is that their name is not in the Lamb’s book of life and they are not going to be able to say, “Well I never had a chance” because the Scripture tells us that some how or other they were enlightened.
I don’t care where they were, but I also don’t want to ever give excuse for not pushing missions. Yes, we have to take the Gospel to the ends of the earth, as far as we can. But that does not remove the fact that the lost masses of humanity will one day stand before Christ and be faced with their name not in the Lamb’s book of life. The books will be opened and they will be judged by their works. Evil, good or whatever. But it will never keep them from their eternal doom. This is Scripture! This is what the Bible teaches, and so these are the things that Paul is referring to. Now coming back to II Thessalonians chapter 2, so that we don’t lose our jumping off place. Look at verse 13 again. And so he says-
II Thessalonians 2:13b
“…God hath from the beginning chosen you…” These people had entered into God’s saving Grace. These were believers. Recently out of paganism.
II Thessalonians 2:13b
“…God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and the belief of the (what?) truth..”
Now again the only way we can put these things together is to compare Scripture with Scripture. What is, what Paul calls, the truth? In fact, I’m going to take you all the way back again to John’s gospel. John Chapter 1. It’s a verse that fits perfectly with what Paul writes here in his epistle. John Chapter 1 verse 17.
“For the law was given by Moses, (anybody that knows anything about the Bible knows that. But here is another big flip side, it’s something that is totally different from the law and legalism. And what is it? Grace.) but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.”
Yes, the old economy came by Moses, the system of law and legalism and dealing with the Nation of Israel. But the big flip side now, Grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. But we have to be careful. The Age of Grace didn’t automatically kick in the moment Christ rose from the dead. Everything that was needed was done, but it hadn’t been revealed to the human race how to appropriate that Grace and truth until, I feel, we get to the Apostle Paul. Now then, some years after Pentecost, God strikes that man on the road to Damascus and announces to Ananias within the city –
“But the Lord said unto him (Ananias) Go thy way: for he (Saul, later to be changed to Paul) is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles,…”
You all know the account after his conversion, how he had to escape over the wall in a basket, because they were out to kill him. Because he had suddenly turned from being a religious zealot of Judaism to one who was now proclaiming that Jesus of Nazareth was indeed the Christ.
Then the Scripture tells us that he went for three years out into the Arabian Desert and from that we gather that he received all these nuggets of truth concerning the Gospel, how that Christ died for the whole human race and that he was buried and that he arose again the third day in power and victory over sin and death and Satan. And now this man was able to go out to the whole race, not just to Israel, with this amazing truth. What was that truth? The Gospel. And what was the Gospel? That Christ died and rose from the dead. It just comes full circle. Alright now then let’s look at Grace and truth. For that now let’s come back to Ephesians chapter 1, and we’ll begin with verse 12.
“That we (as believers as members of the body of Christ. That we) should be to the praise of his glory, (and I am going to put the pronoun ‘we’) who first trusted in Christ.” Now here it comes.
“In whom ye also trusted, (placed your faith, you believed it) after that ye heard the word (of what?) of truth, ( See? Same word. So now we have to pick from this, what is the truth that Jesus Christ introduced and that Paul brings to the human race. And it is right in the next part of the verse. The truth which is) the gospel of your salvation…”
See how beautiful that is? The truth is the gospel of your salvation. A lot of universities like to put over their Administration building “The truth shall make you free.” Would to God that they knew what it was talking about. But, they don’t.
Absolutely, Paul’s Gospel is the only thing that sets men free. That’s what the truth is!
The world has totally adulterated the term. And they no longer even associate the work of the cross with truth. Truth is just something that you can have a good conscience with and write it up and live with it. Anything that goes is now truth. But, Biblically there is only one definition of truth. And what is it? The Gospel. Read on:
“…the gospel of your salvation: (the truth) in whom also (speaking of Christ back in verse 12 remember) after that ye believed,…”
Plus anything? See? These are the things you have to be aware of. It doesn’t add anything in here. We receive the Gospel of truth and the power of it, not when we believe plus something but when we believe plus nothing. How plain. So after you believed then-
“…ye were sealed (branded is the word I like) with (what?) that Holy Spirit of promise,”
That’s God mark of ownership. The moment we believe the truth, the Gospel, then we are branded with the indwelling Holy Spirit. Now, I Corinthians 15 where we have what Paul calls “my Gospel.” The first four verses are Paul’s Gospel, but let’s start with verse 3.
I Corinthians 15: 3-4
“For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4. And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:”