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There are certain statements that sound like the truth but really aren't. Here are some that seemed to make sense to the kids who heard them:

* Give us this day our deli bread!
* Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Whole East Coast.
* We shall come to Joyce's, bringing in the cheese.
* Gladly, the consecrated, cross-eyed bear.
* Yield Not to Penn Station.
* He socked me and boxed me with His redeeming glove.
* Praise God from whom all blessings flow, Praise Him all creatures, HERE WE GO

There are things that sound like the truth but really aren't, they're just a mistakes. There are however things which are true, things which are there to direct us and even ensure our protection. The sign that blocks the highway saying . . .

There are certain statements that sound like the truth but really aren't. Here are some that seemed to make sense to the kids who heard them:

 

* Give us this day our deli bread!

 

* Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Whole East Coast.

 

* We shall come to Joyce's, bringing in the cheese.

 

* Gladly, the consecrated, cross-eyed bear.

 

* Yield Not to Penn Station.

 

* He socked me and boxed me with His redeeming glove.

 

* Praise God from whom all blessings flow, Praise Him all creatures, HERE WE GO  

 

There are things that sound like the truth but really aren't, they're just a mistakes. There are however things which are true, things which are there to direct us and even ensure our protection. The sign that blocks the highway saying ?Bridge Ahead is Washed Out? is a statement of truth, it is there for your direction and protection. There are declared statements of truth in Scripture that are like that, they proclaim what you can't see but at the same time, what really is. Then there's John 8:32, ?And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.? The function of truth is that it brings freedom and life. Okay, so why all this background about the importance of truth? It's because today we are going to look at the way deception erodes truth, culminating in a landslide of destruction in the figure of the anti-christ. Turn with me 2 Thessalonians 2 verse 6.

 

I.The Restraining Hand of God is Presently Preserving Truth.

 

Last week we talked about the anti-christ as a human being who will emerge as a world leader that not only opposes every form of worship on the planet but also proclaims himself as god. In verses 6,7 several things are inferred:

 

a)     There is presently a work of deception happening. The world is seduced to use logic and reason as its? compass, which sounds good until you realize that it makes man the top dog. It assumes he is intrinsically good and will come to the right conclusions just because he can reason. It ignores the selfish motive of his naturre, it is blind to the existence of a spiritual entity which speaks to and deceives his mind and it has lost sight of the existence of God's holiness that is the kidney and liver of God's kingdom. Not only do impurities then accumulate but there is nothing to revitalize an exhausted life. Deception in its? basic design is corrosive to the faith which springs from a love of the truth? 1 John 4:1-6.

 

b)    There has always been a man upon whom Satan has had his plan. The despotic figures over the history of mankind are countless, individuals that Satan would endeavor to possess and elevate to world dominance. None have been able to move to the forefront as Satan would have desired. In simple terms that sound fatalistic but are not?it was not his time. (1 John 2:18.)

 

c)     There is an action of Divine restraint at work. There are a number of conclusions regarding this, but let's look at two apparently contradictory terms. In verse 6 it describes the restraint as an object, ?you know what is restraining him?. In verse 7 it is, ?he who now restrains??.  Paul was likely thinking of government as that which restrains evil and the directing of that government by divine means such as angelic beings and the influence of Holy Spirit through the church. Certainly Romans 13:3,4 and Danial 10:13,20 were in Pauls mind as he wrote these things. The conclusion of the matter is that there is a divine restraint at work through governance, until God's appointed time deception and its? leader will not come to full effect.

 

IIII. The Revealing Hand of God Will Pronounce Defeat Upon Deception.

 

In just a few lines Paul declares that there will come a time when the anti-christ is allowed to reach fulfillment, when Satan will have permission to move with all power and signs and false wonders. Look at that phrase, ?for the mystery of lawlessness is already at work?, vs 7.  "Mystery" in Scripture does not mean that which always remains a secret, but that which is for a while hidden, but in due time manifested (Jamison, Faucett and Brown). Look at 1Timothy 3:16 or Ephesians 3: 4,5 to see the same usage of this term. In due time the deception of the anti-christ is revealed, and swiftly brought to an end. Specifically what will this look like?

 

1.     As the church grows around the world it will experience a time of great apostasy.

 

2.     As this hits it's peak a man will enter the spotlight of history with these characteristics:

 

a)     He will speak great words against the Most High and seek to change times and laws Daniel 7:8, 25

 

b)    He will be a willful king who shall exalt and magnify himself above every god   Daniel 11:36

 

c)     He shall at first be like a lamb, while he speaks as a dragon.  Rev 13:11

 

d)    His heart shall be against the holy covenant.  Daniel 11:21, 23, 28, 30

 

e)     He will make a covenant with key nations that has a seven year run. In the mid point of that time he will break the covenant and declare himself supreme ruler. Daniel 7:25; 9:27

 

f)      He will have no desire of women, He will be militaristic in his pursuits           Daniel 11:37, 38.

 

g)     He will deceive many into believing he is the awaited Messiah by performing various signs and false wonders, including an apparent resurrection from the dead.  Rev. 13:12-14

 

3. He will be the first person to be cast into the Lake of Fire at the Second coming of Christ. Rev. 19:20.

 

III. The Retributive Hand of God Will Confirm Deception and Judge It.

 

These next verses are difficult. People will perish in those last days because of an unwillingness to receive the love of the truth. The language of this phrase suggests that it comes as a gift of grace, it is the ground which leads to faith in salvation. The love of THE truth, not just truth in general, is also the key to our sanctification. It is the center of the phrase, ?If you seek Him with all your heart you shall be found of Him.? Many people in these days will reject that offer to receive a love of the truth of the gospel. Now verse 11. The obvious struggle is that we have just been saying that deception is what God seeks to defeat and now we see a deluding influence being sent by God upon unbelievers that obviously seals their fate. How do you handle this, do you draw back from God, do you see Him as cruel or capricious? Certainly there are similar passages: Exodus 7,8,9, Pharaoh hardens his heart and then God hardens it more. Romans 1:28, as people did not acknowledge God but rather indulged in idolatry and homosexuality, God gave them over to a depraved mind, and all sorts of wickedness resulted. Why would God do such a thing? If you follow the wording of 2 Thessalonians 2:12 and Romans 1:28- 2:4 you?ll see that the reason goes something like this:

 

1.     God invites man to a love of the truth.

 

2.     Man refuses it and claims to have understanding of his own.

 

3.     God experiences man deliberately turning to his own devices.

 

4.     God allows man to firmly believe in error even to mans? own peril.

 

5.     God reveals to man that his mind is depraved, and this is common to all men.

 

6.     God reveals that we, then, are ineligible to be judges of each other.

 

7.     God reveals that as man does what he will, his wrong doing will grow increasingly evident. Man on his own will be judged as such.

 

8.     God's intent at the outset of all this was that man receive the love of the truth, that God indeed loves them and that they repent and live.

 

9.     God has balanced His own holiness against His love for mankind?   Righteous Wrath against Almighty Love. God's solution was the death of Christ, His own Son, in His exact image, the radiance of His glory, pierced with three nails to a cross.

The Mystery of Life, which is presently hidden and soon to be revealed, is that God through the fall of man, through the pain of sin and a broken world, through the wonder of the cross, through the power of redemption, through the glory of Christ is making an old Adam into a New Adam that will glorify God as the other never could. To this end we urge you to receive a love of the truth, to receive Christ as Savior.

 

Rev. Spence Laycock pastors at Church of the Open Bible, Ponoka, Alberta, Canada.
www.churchoftheopenbible.ab.ca