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844: Alas, the day of the Lord is at hand – 4 – Lesson 1 Part 4 Book 71

Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 1 * PART 4 * BOOK 71

ALAS, THE DAY OF THE LORD IS AT HAND – 4

Joel 1:1-15

This is our fourth program number this afternoon. For those of you out in television, again we just want to invite you to an informal Bible study.  We are just comparing Scripture with Scripture. If you disagree, like we just said at break time, you know you can disagree with me on some points as long as it doesn’t affect your eternal destiny and you’re not fooling with God’s eternal plan of salvation. Why, there’s room for differences of opinion on a lot of things.

So anyway, today we’ve been talking all day about “the day of the LORD,” which was first introduced to us in the oldest book of prophecy back there in the Book of Joel.  All of the Old Testament writers speak of this period of time called “the day of the LORD.”  And in one place in Paul’s epistles he does too.  So, that’s why we’re going to look for these next few moments at II Thessalonians chapter 2. We’re going to start at verse 1, where, in all of Paul’s epistles, this is the only place that I’m aware of that he talks directly in a perfect parallel with the Old Testament prophecies concerning the day of the LORD and this man of sin that will be heading up the world government during that time.

II Thessalonians 2:1

“Now we beseech you, brethren, (Remember, Paul always writes to the believer.) by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him.”  Now of course, we’ve got to use the timeline that we had up there to start with, where we have the Church Age now opened up out of the line of Old Testament prophecy.  But for now we’re not going to do that. We’re just going to show how Paul is in perfect accord with the Old Testament.  All right, verse 2:

II Thessalonians 2:2

“That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, (In other words, Paul said, don’t be taken in by a forgery.) as that the day of the LORD is at hand.”  Now, what’s Paul saying?  Don’t get shook up because of the horrors of persecution that you’re going through and the Roman Empire with all of its pressures upon the civilizations, upon the citizens rather.  Paul says, don’t believe a forged letter that you missed the Rapture and that you’re in the Tribulation.  He said, don’t buy into that.  And here’s the reason, verse 3.

II Thessalonians 2:3a

“Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day (the day of the LORD) shall not come, (or begin) except there come (Now the King James and a lot of your translations have–) a falling away first,…”

Those of you that get my newsletter, for those of you out in television, be aware of our January newsletter. We have a guest article by a famous Greek scholar who teaches this verse exactly the way I did when I taught Thessalonians a few years ago.  And that is that there is a better translation and one that all the old manuscripts used instead of a falling away.  It is the departure—to leave from one place to another. That’s the way I look at the Rapture.

II Thessalonians 2:3b

“…that day (the day of the LORD) shall not come, except there come a departure first, (the Rapture, the leaving of the Church) and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;”

Now, those are all terms that Scripture applies to this “prince that shall come” spoken of in Daniel, and that John, we’re going to see in a little bit, calls the “anti-Christ.”  All right, let’s continue on in Paul’s dissertation concerning Old Testament prophecy.  So, this man of sin cannot be revealed until the Church is gone.  Now verse 4, this is going to be the character of this man, the anti-Christ.

II Thessalonians 2:4a

“Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God,…” Now, there’s only one Temple of God so far as earth is concerned, and where is it?  Jerusalem.

Fortunately, we talked about the Tribulation Temple in the last program.  It’s going to be built at the very beginning of the seven years, because the anti-Christ, as he makes that peace between the Muslim world and Israel, will give them permission to rebuild their Temple.  I think they’ll have it right beside the golden dome up on the Temple Mount.  All right, now when the anti-Christ goes in and defiles it, he will, I think, set it up as his headquarters in total opposition to everything Jewish.

II Thessalonians 2:4

“Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.” He’s going to be above every god, he thinks, that has ever been known, whether they’re pagan or whatever, and he is going to sit in the temple of God.  I think it’s the temple in Jerusalem, the one that Israel has just had defiled.  He’s going to show himself that he is God.

All right, let’s go back, before we go any further, to the Book of Daniel chapter 11.  There are several references to him in Daniel’s book of prophecy.  But let’s just go to chapter 11, dropping down to verse 21.

Daniel 11:21

“And in his estate shall stand up a vile person, to whom they shall not give the honor of the kingdom: (In other words, they aren’t going to just glibly say, “Here, we want you to be the head of this kingdom.”) but he shall come in peaceably, and obtain the kingdom by flatteries.” He’s going to be the smoothest fast-talker the world has ever known.  And he’s going to wiggle his way in and become the chief governmental authority on the planet for these last seven years.

All right, now let’s see, I think I’ve got another one I want to use here in chapter 11, verses 36 and 37

Daniel 11:36

“And the king (This vile person that’s going to come in and take over the rule of the world through flattery.) shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, (See what kind of a person he is?) and magnify himself above every god, (be it pagan or whatever) and shall speak marvelous things against the God of gods, (the God of Scripture) and shall prosper till the indignation (or the day of the LORD, or the seven years) be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done.”  It’s going to happen!  God has spoken it.   He’s going to remain as head of the world government until he’s finally deposed at the end of the seven years.

Daniel 11:37

”Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, (Now you can make out of that whatever you want.) nor regard any god: for he shall magnify himself above all.”  Now, that says enough about him, doesn’t it?

All right, let’s come back to how Paul explains it in Thessalonians again.  Now, in light of Daniel, let’s read verse 4 again, II Thessalonians chapter 2 repeating verse 4.

II Thessalonians 2:4

“Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God (That’s what the world is going to reckon him as, that he is the God of Creation.  He’s the supernatural.) sitteth in the temple of God, (The one that he defiled, probably with hog’s blood.) shewing himself that he is God.”  Now verse 5—Paul is writing to these Thessalonian believers who’d only been with him a couple of weeks.  And, boy, he must have really unloaded on them, because what does he say?

II Thessalonians 2:5

“Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?”  Now imagine, here they’re fresh out of paganism and yet they were in such a spiritual state that they could comprehend all the things that Paul was teaching.  So now he could write some time later, don’t you remember that when I was yet with you I told you these things? 

Now, I use that as a reason to teach prophecy even today.  Now granted, you’re not going to get salvation by understanding prophecy.  But, it will enhance your spiritual life to have an understanding of what is out in front of us.  It’s coming.  Every day’s newspaper is screaming it.  Paul was doing the same thing with the Thessalonians.  He was telling them that all these things were just out in front of them and to be ready for it.  They had no idea that it would be 2,000 years.  All right, reading on in verse 6, now Paul writes:

II Thessalonians 2:6

“And now ye know what withholdeth (Or, that which restrains) that he might be revealed in his time.”  Now there’s a difference of opinion by some people on this verse.  I feel this is the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit is the restrainer.  He’s the One that’s holding back the forces of iniquity that are trying to come in even before the Tribulation begins. So, since you and I are indwelt with the Holy Spirit, that becomes part of our experience, to be a restrainer.  We’re not going to turn it around.  We’re going to hold it back.  All right, now verse 7:

II Thessalonians 2:7

“For the mystery (or the secret) of iniquity doth already work: (In other words, sinfulness and wickedness have been with us, especially since the Tower of Babel, and it’s increasing in its power and its control.) only he who now hindereth will hinder, (That’s why I feel this is the work of the Holy Spirit.) until he be taken out of the way.”

II Thessalonians 2:8a

“And then (There’s your time word again.  When the Church is gone, when the Body of Christ is gone.) shall that Wicked one be revealed,…”  That’s perfectly in accord with verse 3.  They both are saying the same thing. As soon as the Body of Christ is raptured and gone, and the Holy Spirit’s main vehicle for restraining sin is gone, “Then shall that Wicked one be revealed.”  The anti-Christ.  Daniel calls him “the prince that shall come.”  Paul calls him the “son of perdition, that man of sin.”  See, these are all references to this one supremely wicked individual.   All right, but the Lord’s going to consume him, verse 8.

II Thessalonians 2:8b-9a

“…whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, (at the end of the Tribulation) and shall destroy him with the brightness of his coming: 9. Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan…”

All right, now I think I have to stop here a minute. Let’s go all the way up to the Book of Revelation.  I just have to do this.  Come up with me to Revelation chapter 12.  Since we’ve been introduced to Satan, now, as being a major player during this last three and a half years, let’s see what happens.  Revelation chapter 12 and let’s drop in at verse 7.  Remember why I came here.  Paul refers to Satan as coming during the last half of the Tribulation with power and signs and lying wonders.  All right, here’s where he comes from, chapter 12 verse 7.

Revelation 12:7-8

“And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; (Now remember, who is the dragon throughout all of Scripture?  Satan. This is a real war.) and the dragon fought and his angels, 8. And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.”  Michael is the winner.

Revelation 12:9a

“And the great dragon (Satan) was cast out,…” (of heaven) Oh, now people have a problem with that.  Satan in heaven?  Yes.  Satan has access to heaven.  Absolutely!  I think that’s why we’ve got to have a new heaven and a new earth at the end of everything, because Satan has defiled everything that God ever made.

Revelation 12:9b-10a

“…that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, who deceiveth the whole world: (He is the master deceiver.) he was cast out (of heaven) into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. 10. And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God,…”  Well, what’s it telling us?  As soon as the Tribulation has run its course, it’s going to end with the Second Coming of Christ.  He’s going to set up His kingdom, and we’re going to have that thousand-year reign.  It all fits.  Now continue on:

Revelation 12:10b

“…and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, who accused them (That is, the believers.) before our God day and night.”  Now, have you ever been aware of that?  Every time we fail, every time we give somebody a sharp tongue, the old Devil is right there with the Lord, and he says, see what he just did?  See what she just did?  He’s accusing the believers constantly – day and night.  All right, verse 11, but of course Michael and his holy angels:

Revelation 12:11-12a

“And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. (All right, now here is why I came back here, verse 12.) Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea!…”  Now remember, who’s down on the planet?  The lost who were left behind. Now some of them are being saved, of course, by the 144,000 preaching, but the vast majority is still in total rebellion.  They’re under the control of the anti-Christ.

Revelation 12:12

“Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! (Here it is now.) for the devil (Satan) is come down unto you, having great (What?) wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.”  That’s what’s making him so angry?  He knows he only has a short time.  So what do I call this last three and a half years?  It’s a double-barreled wrath.  The wrath of God because of unrighteous men; the wrath of Satan because he suddenly realizes his time is about over.  And it’s going to be beyond human description.  That’s why Jesus said it the way He did, that there has never been a time in human history like those last three and a half years.

All right, let’s come back to Thessalonians and again pick up Paul’s dealing with these things, in full accord with the Old Testament prophets and the Book of Revelation.  All right, verse 9 again:

II Thessalonians 2:9

“Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan (Who has now been cast out of heaven.  He’s in full force in the planet.  I think he will indwell the man anti-Christ like he did Judas, and he will empower that wicked individual like no human being has ever been empowered.) with power and signs and lying wonders,”  What does he use them for?  To convince the masses that he is what he claims to be because he can perform miracles.  That’s why I am so frightened by the miracle working, because it deludes too many people.  All right, now read on in verse 10.

II Thessalonians 2:10a

“And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish;…”  Now stop and think a minute about what we’ve covered today.  What did Jesus claim would be the main factor in the opening days of the Tribulation?  Deception. Remember?  Deception.  Deception.  The master deceiver is now coming to the fore.

Always remember that the term anti-Christ is really a misnomer.  He’s not against Christ so much as he is a counterfeit Christ.  He is going to claim to be even more than Jesus Christ Himself.  He’s a counterfeit.  All right, read on.

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.” Now, you want to remember that we’re dealing in a period of time of only seven years.

So, all of these people that are living in this seven year period had opportunity to hear the Gospel.  Right?  They had every opportunity, especially with the technology that we’ve got today. They’ve had every opportunity to hear the Gospel.  So, why are they in the Tribulation?  They refused it.  That’s what Paul is talking about.  These people who are suffering under the deluding power of Satan are there because they rejected the Gospel before the Rapture took place.

All right, now then, for those who heard the Gospel and understood it and perceived it and still said, “Thanks, but no thanks,” their doom is sealed even worse than those who had never heard before.  And remember, the 144,000 are going to go into every tongue and tribe.  Nobody will be able to say I never had a chance.  But these people who heard the Gospel and rejected it, here it is in verse 11.

II Thessalonians 2:11

“And for this cause (Because they heard it, and they rejected it.) God shall send them a strong delusion, (He’s going to mix their brain. And what are they going to do?) that they should believe the lie.”   They’re going to believe the lie.  I prefer the over a lie, because it’s the primary lie that they’re going to believe.  And what is it?  That the anti-Christ is God.  That’s what they’re going to believe. Why are they going to believe it?  Because God has made them think that way.

Now, let’s read it again, because this is a big question that comes in all the time, “Les, who are these that Paul is talking about in II Thessalonians 2?”  Well, these are people who heard the Gospel of Grace of I Corinthians 15:1-4. They’ve considered it and rejected it.  Now, you’ve got to stop and think.  There are multitudes of people who have never heard “the Gospel” to consider it—church people.

They go to church every Sunday.  They don’t hear the True Gospel.  But IF they’ve heard it and they’ve contemplated it, the Spirit has opened their understanding and they still reject it, then God will send them a strong delusion. They’re going to believe that the anti-Christ is who he says he is.  That will seal their doom.   All right, so for that reason then:

II Thessalonians 2:11b-12

“…God shall send them a strong delusion, that they should believe the lie.  12. That they all (those who have been deluded) might be condemned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”  They’d rather live in the wickedness of the world as to come in to God’s saving Grace.

All right, now in the couple of minutes we have left, let’s go back to Revelation and pick up this man anti-Christ who is going to be revealed shortly after the Church is taken out. He’s going to become a great world ruler.  Let’s start at verse 1 of chapter 13. Here we are going to look at this person who is going to come, and through the power of Satan, rule the planet.

Revelation 13:1-2a

“And I stood upon the sand of the sea, (That is the sea of humanity.  We’re not talking about the Atlantic Ocean or the Pacific.  We’re talking about the sea of humanity, with all of its teeming millions.) and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. 2. And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard,…” Now remember, this is merely a symbolic picture of this empire as well as the emperor.

Revelation 13:2

“…and his were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, (or throne) and great authority.”  Now, this is the coming into human view of this man anti-Christ.  He’s going to have all the powers of previous empires at his disposal.  All right, we’ve got to do this quickly.

Revelation 13:3

“And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast.”  Again, there are two ways to look at it – is the Empire the Roman Empire which died and came back, or does this man die and miraculously come back?  But whatever – he’s going to come out of the masses of humanity. He’s going to become a tremendous world ruler. But before we let this half-hour run out, I have to show what’s going to happen to him, and that is back in chapter 19.  We are still in Revelation, got to do this quickly!  Got 50 seconds left!  Revelation 19, the Second Coming of Christ defeats all the armies of this man anti-Christ, now verse 19.

Revelation 19:19-20

“And I saw the beast, (the anti-Christ, this world ruler) and the kings of the earth, (who have been cooperating with him) and their armies, gathered together to make war against him who sat on the horse, and against his army. (That’s Christ at His Second Coming.  So, this is after the horrors of the battle of Armageddon and Christ has destroyed the armies.) 20. And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them who had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image.  These both were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone.”