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19 September 2019

The Man of Lawlessness - Missing Events (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4)

The Betrayal of Jesus by Judas
The Apostle Paul begins to explain why “the day of the Lord” has not commenced; two events must occur before its onset – the “apostasy” and the “revealing of the man of lawlessness.”
(2 Thessalonians 2:3-4) - “That no one may cheat you in any one respect. Because that day will not set in — except the revolt come first, and there he revealed the man of lawlessness, the son of destruction, The one who opposeth and exalteth himself on high against every one called God or an object of worship; so that he, within the sanctuary of God, shall take his seat, showeth himself forth, that he is God” (Source: The Emphasized Bible)
Paul insinuates that the men driving this controversy are deceiving the Thessalonians (“let no man cheat you”). The Greek verb for “cheat” or exapatao is used only by Paul in the New Testament with a basic sense “to deceive” (cp. Romans 7:11, 16:18, 1 Corinthians 3:18, 11:3).

18 September 2019

The Man of Lawlessness - The Problem (2 Thessalonians 2:1-2)

Judas Betrays Jesus - Courtesy www.clipart.christiansunite.com
In his second letter to the Thessalonians, the Apostle Paul addressed a claim that “the day of the Lord has set in.” This caused alarm among the congregation. Apparently, the rumor was spread by a “spirit,” word (logos) or a letter, “as if by us” (2 Thessalonians 2:1-17). In the process of settling this turmoil, Paul listed two events that must occur BEFORE the parousia or the “arrival” of Jesus: the “revealing of the man of lawlessness” and an “apostasy.”
The description from verse 2, “Whether by spirit or by discourse or by letter as by us,” is a verbal link that serves to mark the start and close of the literary unit (see verses 13-15). The entire chapter deals with the subjects of the “day of the Lord,” the “man of lawlessness,” and the “apostasy.” Additionally, it instructs the Thessalonians on how to respond to such claims.

17 September 2019

Jesus, the True and Greater Temple

Jesus and the Samaritan Woman at the well
Prophecy teachers often focus on an anticipated new or “third temple” to be built in Jerusalem before or during the Millennium. Such views stand in tension with the New Testament portrait of Jesus as the Greater and True Temple that was foreshadowed by the structures of the faith of Israel.
Prior to the Millennium, according to this view, the reconstruction of the temple will be a pivotal sign of the soon return of Jesus. In the millennium, the temple will be the location from which Jesus rules the earth and the global center of worship. The ancient feasts, sacrifices, and other Levitical rituals will be restored, and Israel will fulfill its role as the light of the world.

16 September 2019

The Christian Response to Persecution

Paul Speaks to a Hostile Crowd - www.clipart.christiansunite.com
By some accounts, the persecution of Christians around the world is on the rise. This raises the question: How are Christians to react to persecution, especially when implemented by governing authorities? Should they respond with indignation, civil disobedience, and public protests? Do they not have the “right” to do so in western-style democracies? Or should we follow the examples of Jesus and the apostles?
The Apostle Paul described how the church in Thessalonica had received the gospel in “much tribulation” (1 Thessalonians 1:5). By welcoming the gospel, despite local hostility, the Thessalonians became “imitators” of Paul and Jesus.

Abraham, Heir of the World (Romans 4:11-17)

Paul introduces Abraham as the great exemplar of faith, the model for all men who would live by faith, but, also, as the "heir of the world" (Romans 4:11-17). In the gospel of God's kingdom, the "land promise" from Genesis finds its fulfillment in the New Creation.
God declared Abraham “right” and reckoned his faith as “righteousness” while he was still uncircumcised and, thus, apart from the “works of the Law” or Torah. Consequently, Abraham is the father of every man and woman who is “from faith,” whether circumcised or not.

15 September 2019

A Sobering Conclusion to the Sermon on the Mount

Jesus Teaching on the Mount
Jesus ended his Sermon on the Mount with an ominous warning: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the kingdom of the heavens, but the one who does the will of my Father.” Many will defend themselves before him and claim, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name cast out demons, and in your name do many works of power?” Yet Jesus will declare, “I never knew you! Depart from me you workers of lawlessness!” (Matthew 7:21-27).
Why will some men who performed miracles and great works in the name of Jesus be rejected? They are not depicted in this passage as pagans or egregious sinners.