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Paul’s Second Epistle to the Thessalonians, Part 2: Satan Revealed
The writing of book of Zechariah the prophet can be dated rather accurately to begin about 520 BC, during the reign of the Persian king known as Darius the Great. On the surface, the subject of Zechariah’s prophecy appears to be the rebuilding of Jerusalem in Judaea, as it is presented at the time of the building of the second temple where there is also an actual high priest with the name of Joshua. His is the same name, in its common Medieval English form, as Joshua the son of Nun from the time of Moses. But it is also the same name as the personal name of Yahshua the Messiah, who is more commonly known as Jesus Christ. Zerubbabel is also mentioned in Zechariah’s prophecy, several times in chapter 4. His name means sown in Babel, or Babylon, and he was the governor of Jerusalem at the time of the return of the remnant and the building of the second temple.
While the immediate subject in Zechariah appears to be Jerusalem in Judaea, that is not at all the ultimate purpose of the prophecy. Such is the nature of dual prophecies, that they are given in a manner which has both an immediate application and an ultimate meaning, The ultimate purpose of these early chapters of the prophecy of Zechariah is to describe the reconciliation of the people of Israel in their dispersions, the condition of their true High Priest before their sins are removed, and the propitiation which that Priest, Yahshua Christ, makes on their behalf. Joshua, the high priest of Zechariah’s time, is only a type for Yahshua Christ. Jerusalem, the actual city, is only a type for the true Jerusalem, the City of God come down from heaven, and the rebuilt temple is a type for the restored Body of Christ found in those of His people who are willing to hearken in obedience to Him.
We hope to establish these things more comprehensively and with greater clarity in an upcoming exposition of the entire prophecy of Zechariah, however with these assertions in mind, here we shall read Zechariah chapter 3. Once we do, then perhaps we may begin to see what any of this has to do with Paul’s words in 2 Thessalonians chapter 2:
The last passage of Zechariah chapter 2 reads: “13 Be silent, O all flesh, before the LORD: for he is raised up out of his holy habitation”, which also has a meaning pertaining to Yahshua Christ, and then, in Zechariah chapter 3 the prophet states: “1 And he shewed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him. 2 And the LORD said unto Satan, The LORD rebuke thee, O Satan; even the LORD that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire?”
Now these passages can be interpreted to represent the struggles which the Judaeans of Zerubbabel’s time had with the Samaritans and the Edomites in the environs of ancient Jerusalem. But they are more properly interpreted as a prophetic description of the overall history of ancient Jerusalem and a struggle which would not come to a head until the time of Jesus, or Yahshua Christ, when He had persistently rebuked His enemies in the temple in Jerusalem.
Zechariah continues: “3 Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the angel. 4 And he answered and spake unto those that stood before him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment.”
The filthy garments and the iniquity are representative of the sins of Israel born by Yahshua Christ, as it says in the 69th Psalm, which Paul also cited in reference to Christ (in Romans chapter 15): “9 For the zeal of thine house hath eaten me up; and the reproaches of them that reproached thee are fallen upon me. 10 When I wept, and chastened my soul with fasting, that was to my reproach. 11 I made sackcloth also my garment; and I became a proverb to them.” Concerning iniquity, we see in a Messianic prophecy in Isaiah chapter 53: “6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” When the children of Israel were put off in sin, it was the Name of Yahweh which had become polluted, as we see in Ezekiel chapter 39: “7 So will I make my holy name known in the midst of my people Israel; and I will not let them pollute my holy name any more: and the nations shall know that I am the LORD, the Holy One in Israel.” That is one aspect of how the reproaches of Israel had fallen upon Christ. Allegorically, the change of garments is evident in the Gospel, where it says in Matthew chapter 28, speaking of the risen Christ: “3 His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow...”
Continuing with Zechariah: “5 And I said, Let them set a fair mitre upon his head. So they set a fair mitre upon his head, and clothed him with garments. And the angel of the LORD stood by.”
The mitre was worn by the high priest, as it is often mentioned in Exodus and Leviticus. Speaking of when Moses had anointed Aaron as high priest, we read in Leviticus chapter 8: “9 And he put the mitre upon his head; also upon the mitre, even upon his forefront, did he put the golden plate, the holy crown; as the LORD commanded Moses.” While Paul does not mention a mitre, as the Levitical priesthood is dissolved, nevertheless the prophecy foretells the passing of the high priesthood to Christ, as we read in Hebrews (5:10) where Paul said that Christ was: “Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec.” Paul was referring to Messianic prophecies found in the Psalms. Because the order of Melchisedek incorporates kingship in addition to the high priesthood, we read in the Revelation (14:14) that: “I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown...”
Again continuing with Zechariah: “6 And the angel of the LORD protested unto Joshua, saying, 7 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; If thou wilt walk in my ways, and if thou wilt keep my charge, then thou shalt also judge my house, and shalt also keep my courts, and I will give thee places to walk among these that stand by.”
Of course, it is only Yahshua Christ who kept the commandments of God perfectly, as He attested in John chapter 15, speaking to His apostles: “10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love.” Therefore Paul wrote in Hebrews chapter 3: “1 Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus; 2 Who was faithful to him that appointed him, as also Moses was faithful in all his house. 3 For this man was counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as he who hath builded the house hath more honour than the house.” So Christ is also both High Priest and the God who built the house.
Where we continue with Zechariah, perhaps it is better elucidated that this is indeed a dual prophecy, and that Joshua the high priest is a type, or model, for Yahshua Christ, the ultimate High Priest: 8 Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, thou, and thy fellows that sit before thee: for they are men wondered at: for, behold, I will bring forth my servant the BRANCH. 9 For behold the stone that I have laid before Joshua; upon one stone shall be seven eyes: behold, I will engrave the graving thereof, saith the LORD of hosts, and I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day. 10 In that day, saith the LORD of hosts, shall ye call every man his neighbour under the vine and under the fig tree.” In Zechariah chapter 4 the seven eyes are mentioned again, where we are informed that they are “the eyes of the LORD, which run to and fro through the whole earth.” Then in Revelation chapter 5 we see that these also refer to Christ, as John says “6 And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.” The stone with seven eyes laid before Joshua must therefore be the Christ Himself, the same foundation stone of Psalm 118 and Isaiah chapter 28.
In Zechariah chapter 3, the prophet is depicting Joshua the high priest as a model for the coming Branch, Yahshua Christ, the future High Priest who would bear the iniquities of His people. The struggle with Satan depicted by the prophet actually unfolds over the entire history of the second temple period, where initially the enemies of God could not stop the rebuilding of Jerusalem, and eventually they were able to infiltrate and subvert Jerusalem, gaining control over the nation and the temple. The struggle which Christ would suffer is therefore depicted as a struggle with Satan for control of His people, where it says “1 And he shewed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him. 2 And the LORD said unto Satan, The LORD rebuke thee, O Satan; even the LORD that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire?” This rebuke of Satan happened by the mouth of Yahshua Christ during His earthly ministry.
After He was glorified in His Resurrection, the graving of the stone was engraved, and the iniquity of the land, as a type for the people of Yahweh, was removed. The fellows that sat before Yahshua Christ indeed became “men wondered at”, as they were His apostles. He told them, “I am the vine, ye are the branches”, invoking this very language. From this point on, the Gospel of Peace was declared to the people of God, as Yahweh says here in Zechariah that “In that day, saith the LORD of hosts, shall ye call every man his neighbour under the vine and under the fig tree.” But there is no peace to the wicked.
That His enemies, collectively, were themselves Satan is manifest in the Gospel in places such as John chapter 8 and Luke chapter 10. In Luke 10 Yahshua was speaking to His disciples: “18 And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven. 19 Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.” In John 8 He was speaking to His enemies, in this exchange where He said: “37 I know that ye are Abraham's seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you. 38 I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father. 39 They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham's children, ye would do the works of Abraham. 40 But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham. 41 Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God. 42 Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me. 43 Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word. 44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. 45 And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not.”
The enemies of Christ were Abraham’s seed, but they were also of the children of Cain, as only Cain could be labeled a “murderer from the beginning”. In a different way, Christ had identified them as descendants of Cain in Luke chapter 11 where He insisted that they were responsible for the blood of Abel. The only way that both statements could be true, that they were of both Abraham and Cain, is if they were the children of Esau, rather than the children of Jacob. Esau had mingled with the Canaanites, who in turn were mingled with the Kenites and the Rephaim, which is evident in the Old Testament (Genesis 15, 36). The historicity of this situation is elucidated in Book 13 of Josephus’ Antiquities of the Judaeans, that the Edomite population of Judaea were all converted to the religion of Jerusalem. It is explained in the prophecy of Ezekiel chapter 35 that the Edomites would move into the lands of both Israel and Judah after the deportations of Judah and the destruction of Jerusalem, and they did. After their conversions, eventually the Edomites took over the entire nation and put their own as its leaders and chief officers. Where these Edomites are recorded as saying here that “We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God”, there is a prophecy in Malachi chapter 2 where certain priests who “corrupted the covenant of Levi” are portrayed as saying “Have we not all one father? hath not one God created us? why do we deal treacherously every man against his brother, by profaning the covenant of our fathers?” And the answer from Yahweh God is this: “Judah hath dealt treacherously, and an abomination is committed in Israel and in Jerusalem; for Judah hath profaned the holiness of the LORD which he loved, and hath married the daughter of a strange god.” So these enemies of Christ are not Israelites at all, but rather, they are Canaanite-Edomite bastards. Cain was also a bastard. Those words in Malachi are a prophecy of those events of John chapter 8.
In Romans chapter 9 Paul of Tarsus says: “For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel” and then he explains that “Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called.” Then further on he compares Jacob and Esau and he says “As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated”, quoting Malachi, and goes on to contrast “vessels of wrath fitted to destruction”, which are ostensibly the Edomites, with “vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory,” which are ostensibly the true Israelites. Here we will see Paul describe the Edomite rulers of Judaea as the “son of destruction”, which also must be a reference to the fact that they are Edomites, as he used the same term of Edomites when he wrote the epistle to the Romans. With all of this understanding for a foundation, we can truly begin to comprehend what Paul explains here in 2 Thessalonians chapter 2.
In 1 Thessalonians chapter 5, written only a short time before this epistle, Paul had also referred to the enemies of Christ when he wrote: “2 for you yourselves know thoroughly that the day of the Prince comes as a thief in the night. 3 When they say ‘Peace’ and ‘Security’, then suddenly destruction comes upon them, even as a labor pang to her who is with child. And by no means shall they escape.” Earlier in that same epistle, Paul had referred to “15 those who killed both Prince Yahshua and the prophets, and banished us, and are not pleasing to Yahweh, and contrary to all men.” The Thessalonians, reading that letter, must have wanted him to elaborate upon those lines, and in the opening chapter of this second epistle Paul informed them that their persecution was “a token of the righteous judgment of Yahweh, for which [they] are to be deemed worthy of the kingdom of Yahweh”. Then he explained to them further: “For indeed it is righteous with Yahweh to repay those afflicting you with affliction... at the revealing of Yahshua the Prince from heaven with the Messengers of His power, in a flame of fire providing vengeance to those who do not know Yahweh, and to those who do not obey the good message of our Prince Yahshua, those who shall pay a penalty: eternal destruction, from the presence of the Prince, and from the effulgence of His strength”.
In this second chapter of his second epistle to the Thessalonians, Paul continues his explanation, and begins by encouraging them not to be moved from their purpose, which is Christian community, by the enemies of Christ, referring once again to the “Day of the Lord”:
1 Now we ask you, brethren, concerning the presence of our [B wants “our”] Prince Yahshua Christ and our gathering to Him, 2 that you are not to be quickly shaken from this purpose; and you should not be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as if by us; as though the day of the Prince is present.
The Greek word νόος (or νοῦς, 3563) is literally mind, but here in this context it is properly purpose, as Liddell & Scott explain in their definition of the word see (νόος. 4. one's mind, purpose). Where Paul says “as though the day of the Prince is present”, he indicates that the Christian purpose should be focused upon consistently, as if Yahshua Christ may return at any given time. As Christ said in the Gospel, in Mark chapter 13: “35 Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning….”
In 1 Thessalonians chapter 5 where Paul spoke of this same “Day of the Prince”, he had explained that for reason of its coming they should “... not sleep as the rest; rather we should be alert and we should be sober… we being of day should be sober, putting on a breastplate of faith and love, and a helmet: an expectation of deliverance… On which account you encourage one another, and you build up one another, even just as you do… admonish the undisciplined, encourage those of little spirit, put up with those who are weak, be patient towards all. Watch that one does not render evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue good both towards one another and towards all. 16 Always rejoice. 17 Pray incessantly. 18 In everything, be thankful, for this is the will of Yahweh in Christ Yahshua for you. 19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not despise expounding of scripture, 21 but scrutinize all things. Hold fast that which is right. 22 Abstain from every sort of wickedness….” So these instructions, among others, represent the purpose to which Paul refers here.
In the following passage, in verses 3 and 4, Paul offers an ominous warning, and at least many of the denominational commentators imagine most of this warning, if not all of it, to be a reference to something which is still off in the distant future. But what Paul speaks of here had quite clearly already been present and ongoing in his own time. The King James translators interpreted the passage as if Paul were speaking of the future, and for that reason they added the words in italics which read “that day shall not come”, and the translators of newer versions such as the New American Standard Bible have done likewise, where they added the words “it will not be”. These are among the dishonest additions of men which pervert what Paul had actually intended to describe. The addition of multiple words, or even entire phrases, in order to make a translation readable should be the first sign that the translation is corrupt. We will discuss these verses in several parts, and then will repeat it:
3 You should not be deceived by anyone, in any way, because if apostasy had not come first,
The first Greek verb of this verse is ἐξαπατάω, which with the negative particle is “you should not be deceived” and it is in the aorist subjunctive tense and mood. Most grammars say that this form of Greek verb does not have a specific time. It could describe some action that began in the past, or that is expected to begin at present or at some point in the future, relative to the context in which it appears. In contrast, the aorist indicative always indicates an action which began in the past. Therefore it is frequently said that the aorist subjunctive relies on the main verb of a statement for its sense of time. In the Koine Greek grammar which is found at motorera.com we read of the subjunctive mood that “the time of the action of the subjunctive mood is relative to the time of the main verb”, and then of the aorist subjunctive that “the subjunctive does not have its own time, it borrows the time from the main verb.” We must remember this brief explanation below, when we discuss these aorist subjunctive verbs further.
The Greek clause ὅτι ἐὰν μὴ ἔλθῃ ἡ ἀποστασία πρῶτον is here rendered “because if apostasy had not come first”. The next Greek verb in this verse is ἔλθῃ, and with the accompanying negative particle it is rendered here as “had not come”. This verb is also an aorist subjunctive, an active 3rd person singular form of ἔρχομαι, which means either to come or to go, depending on the context.
The particles ὅτι and ἐὰν are rendered quite literally “because if”. According to the large 9th edition of the Liddell & Scott Greek-English Lexicon, the word ὅτι primarily “introduces a statement in fact”, and among other uses, it is “a causal Particle, for that, [or] because”. The word ἐὰν is often the conditional if in the New Testament, but is also sometimes rendered as except. According to Liddell & Scott it is “if haply” or “if, followed by subjunctive”, as it is followed by a subjunctive verb here. So the phrase, followed by a subjunctive verb, is “because if”, and we can understand what Paul wrote without adding words or phrases of our own to the text.
Returning to our discussion of these aorist verbs, grammarians frequently have differing viewpoints on the use of the aorist, a tense which we do not have in our English language. But they nearly all agree that generally the aorist indicative always describes an action which began at some point in the past. For that reason, it is often translated as a simple past tense verb. However in the rather incomplete explanation of the aorist which is found in his Greek Enchiridion, William MacDonald only explains that “The Greek aorist simply predicates action without indication of initiation or termination, completeness or incompleteness.” We mention this because when we translated the Christogenea New Testament, MacDonald’s rather concise manual was all that we had readily available. As a digression, the Aorist may sometimes be translated as a present tense verb in English, of an action which began in the past but is still ongoing, as it is on occasion in the Christogenea New Testament.
Something left unexplained by MacDonald is found in A Grammar of New Testament Greek, by James Hope Moulton and Nigel Turner, in Volume 3: Syntax, on page 107 where we may read the following (as it is cited at NTGreek.net): “The use of present or aorist subjunctive bears little or no relation to the Aktionsart (or time of action). In the papyri, the difference appears to be that the present indicates that the time of the subordinate clause is coincident with that of the main (or durative action, if relatively past), while the aorist indicates a relatively past time.”
In other words, with the present subjunctive, the action described by the verb occurs at the same time as the action described by whatever verb is found in the main clause. But with the aorist subjunctive, the action described by the verb begins before, or relatively, in the past of, the action described by whatever verb is found in the main clause. This is also important to our translation here.
We have already read of the aorist tense from another source that “the subjunctive does not have its own time, it borrows the time from the main verb,” so the difference in opinions is only a matter of differences in conveying a minute detail. But we shall indeed see that the case here is as Moulton and Turner describe it, that the action described by these verbs in verse 3 precedes the action described in the main clause, and then we shall see why we translated these verbs in the past tense. But the main clause does not appear until verse 4. So Paul says in the final clause of verse 3:
and the man of lawlessness been revealed; the son of destruction,
The Codices Alexandrinus (A) and Claromontanus (D) and the Majority Text have sin rather than lawlessness; the text follows the Codices Sinaiticus (א) and Vaticanus (B). Since all men sin, as Paul explains in Romans chapter 3, we prefer the reading of the earlier Codices. A sinful man may be expected to repent where there is law. A lawless man has no need or care for repentance.
And the verb for revealed, the third Greek verb of this verse, is also an aorist subjunctive, a form of ἀποκαλύπτω. As we have translated this passage, Paul is stating that the apostasy of which he speaks had already come, and that the man of lawlessness had already been revealed. If anyone is already deceived, or perhaps will be deceived, is immaterial, Paul is telling them that for these other reasons they should not be deceived.
All three verbs here, the verbs deceived, come and revealed, appear in the aorist subjunctive. We interpreted them in a manner which indicates that the action had, as Paul was writing, begun in the past because the context for their time reference is set by the verb in the main clause. It is our assertion that we have not yet encountered the main clause, which we shall find in the verse which follows where Paul describes this “son of destruction” as being in his own immediate present time, and he writes:
4 he who is opposing and exalting himself above everything said to be a god or an object of worship, and so he is seated in the temple of Yahweh [the MT interpolates “as a god” here; the text follows א, A, B, and D], representing himself that he is a god.
In this clause there are five verbs which appear in the present tense, the present active participles which are rendered as opposing, exalting and representing, and a present passive participle rendered as said, and the present active indicative verb for is. There is also an aorist infinitive rendered as is seated, which we may have translated as is sitting.
This is the main clause of the sentence. It is from these verbs that the aorist subjunctive verbs of verse 3 must get their time reference, as we have read in the grammars which we have cited that “the time of the action of the subjunctive mood is relative to the time of the main verb”, and we have also read of subjunctive verbs that the “present indicates that the time of the subordinate clause is coincident with that of the main (or durative action, if relatively past), while the aorist indicates a relatively past time.” So those aorist subjunctive verbs of verse 3 are in the past tense relative to the present active and present participle verbs of verse 4. This is relatively simple Greek grammar which cannot honestly be otherwise interpreted. Let us repeat these verses and discuss the concepts they represent once more:
3 You should not be deceived by anyone, in any way, because if apostasy had not come first, and the man of lawlessness been revealed; the son of destruction, 4 he who is opposing and exalting himself above everything said to be a god or an object of worship, and so he is seated in the temple of Yahweh, representing himself that he is a god.
As Paul is writing his epistle, some time around 50 or 51 AD, the man of lawlessness is sitting in the temple of God and pretending to be a God, and opposing and exalting himself above everything said to be a god or object of worship. This is all happening as Paul writes this, as he is writing in the present tense. This clause in verse 4 is the main clause of the passage because it explicitly defines what Paul had referred to in the preceding clauses in verse 3. If the aorist subjunctive verbs must get their time reference from a main clause, this clause in verse 4 must be that main clause, because there is no other. The aorist subjunctive verbs of verse 3 get their time reference from the five present tense verbs in verse 4, and therefore according to what we have read from several Greek grammars, they describe actions which began to happen before the actions which are described by those present tense verbs.
The aorist subjunctive verbs are dependent on the present tense verbs for their time, yet most Bible translators defy the grammar and make the present tense verbs dependent upon the aorist subjunctive verbs, imagining the aorist subjunctive to be a mere replacement for the future tense, in an attempt to turn the whole statement on its head and push it’s context far off into the future! But Greek has a future tense, and Paul could easily have used it, if that were what he had meant.
If Paul understands that the son of destruction is sitting in the temple as he writes, then the revelation of the son of destruction must have already occurred. If Paul understands that the man of lawlessness is exalting himself above God as he writes, then the man of lawlessness must have already been revealed. This was indeed one purpose of the ministry of Christ, and Yahshua Christ Himself had done these very things.
As we had observed in Zechariah chapter 3 earlier, Zechariah was not prophesying of some Jesus in heaven standing alongside Satan before God in heaven. Rather, Zechariah was describing the struggle which Christ would have against Satan here in this world, during His earthly ministry, and that Satan was the Edomite Jew sitting in the temple of God and pretending to be as God, exalting himself above everything which had anything to do with God. Zechariah described the enemies of Christ before the fact, and Paul here is describing them after the fact, while in John chapter 8 and elsewhere Christ had told us precisely who His enemies were.
As Christ told His enemies in John chapter 10: “26 But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.” Those who denied Christ were not His sheep, and Judaized Christians who reject these words, imagining the Jews to be the people of God, also reject Christ. As Christ told His enemies in John chapter 8: “I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father…. If ye were Abraham's children, ye would do the works of Abraham…. If God were your Father, ye would love me…. Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not.” Judaized denominational Christians reject the notion that those who rejected Christ are devils, and therefore they also reject Christ.
Paul is telling us here that those Judaeans who rejected Christ and who therefore exalted themselves above God are the “man of lawlessness” and the “son of destruction”. As we have seen, Paul said in Romans chapter 9 that not everyone in Israel, as he was also writing in the present tense, was of Israel. He went on to compare Jacob and Esau, quoting Malachi, and describing the one as vessels of mercy, in the plural referring to Jacob’s descendants, and the other vessels of destruction, in the plural referring to Esau’s descendants. Malachi was prophesying the future of the priesthood from his own time, which was also at the beginning of the second temple period. So he describes the corruption of the priesthood and compares the people of Judah to their ancient patriarch, who also had one Canaanite wife, and he says that Judah “hath married the daughter of a strange god.” This is how the people of Judah married the daughter of a strange god: Esau had intermarried with Canaanites, who had mingled with Kenites and Rephaim, and during the second temple period, the remnant of Judah had grown to be quite powerful, and had eventually gone out and conquered all of the Edomites and other Canaanites who were dwelling in the ancient lands of Israel, forcibly converting them to Judaism. Malachi prophecies the exchange which Christ had with his enemies, who insisted that they were not children of fornication, that they all had God as their father, and Christ rebuked them, telling them that their father was Cain, who was a devil. Zechariah describes the adversary of Joshua as Satan, and he too is referring to Christ.
So the “man of lawlessness” and the “son of destruction” is Satan and the devil, but Paul is using those terms to describe the Edomite Jews of Judaea in his own time. Thus Christ says in the Revelation: “and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.” In the first epistle of John, the apostle describes much the same thing which Paul had described in Romans chapter 9, where he writes in 1 John chapter 2: “18 Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. 19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.” As Paul describes and as the histories of Josephus prove, they were Edomites, and not Israelites, so John says “they went out from us, but they were not of us”. Then John concludes and says: “22 Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.” The Jews are Satan, the Devil, the man of lawlessness, the son of destruction, and the antichrist. All of these may be labels describing those who oppose Christ at any given time, however they are all also collective terms for the Jew.
The apostle Jude also described these enemies of Christ, in a much more poetic manner where he wrote: “4 For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.” Peter describes them similarly in his second epistle. They are both describing the Jews, those enemies of God, of Christ, and of man, who had actually descended from the Kenites, the Rephaim, and all the other bastards of antiquity.
This is the Satan of the apostles and the prophets, connected to “that old serpent” of Genesis chapter 3, which can be traced through the Bible and ancient history. Today they are known principally as Jews, but also go under many other names. At some point in the early development of the Roman Catholic Church, somehow men exchanged this real Satan for a perceived Satan in heaven, a spirit Satan, in spite of what Jesus Himself had told us in the Revelation: that Satan had already been cast out of Heaven, and “neither was their place found any more in heaven.” We are then informed that “when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child”, referring to Christ. The Jews have persecuted that woman, who represents the White nations of Christendom, ever since. But the Judaized churches refuse to acknowledge the identity of Satan as the Jews, something which was clearly taught by the apostles of Christ. They would rather remain comfortable with their invisible bogeyman, while – as the apostle Peter warns us, “your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.”
In 1 Thessalonians chapter 2 Paul told his readers “14 For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judaea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews: 15 Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and the prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men:” Discussing that passage, we noted that their own countrymen afflicted them only at the instigation of the Jews, as it is recorded in Acts chapter 17. Reading Peter again, we see that the Jews afflicting Christians are Peter’s devil, as he wrote in 1 Peter chapter 5: “8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: 9 Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.” Comparing these statements by Paul and Peter, Paul’s Jews are Peter’s devil. To Christians everywhere, there should be no question.
Here we shall continue with 2 Thessalonians chapter 2, where Paul is reminding his readers that he had taught them these things which he had repeated here when he was with them:
5 Do you not remember that, yet being with you I had told these things to you? 6 And you know that which now prevails, for him to be revealed in his own time [א, A, and I have “revealed in his time”; the text follows B, D, and the MT].
The pronouns here in verse 6 follow the gender of the corresponding Greek words precisely, where Paul uses both the neuter and the masculine. We will discuss our translation after presenting verse 7:
7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already operating, he prevailing only presently, until he should be out of the way,
The Greek word κατέχω (Strong’s # 2722), is to prevail here in verses 6 and 7, but it is translated in the King James Version as to withhold in verse 6, and to let in verse 7. According to Liddell & Scott, the verb κατέχω means “to hold fast… to hold back, withhold… to detain… to have in possession, possess, occupy… to hold down, overpower, oppress, afflict… [and in the] intransitive:… to hold, stop, cease… to prevail… [or] to have the upper hand...” The verb is intransitive here in these verses, and therefore it is to prevail, as Liddell & Scott offer in their definition. Although it is quite a versatile word I can not account for the King James Version rendering of the word as let in verse 7, except to say that the translators must have been confused.
It seems that the King James Version translators took the subject of Paul’s statements here to be God Himself, and the result is a confused translation where they distorted the meaning of the verb κατέχω in both places where it appears, and had also inserted words which are not found in the text (i.e. “will let”) in order to try to make sense of the statements.
The form of κατέχω in verse 6 is a present tense participle accompanied by an adverb which means now. In verse 7, the verb for operating, ἐνεργέω, is also in the present tense, accompanied by another adverb meaning now or already. Where κατέχω appears again it is also in the present tense, and the aorist subjunctive verb which follows, a form of the Greek word γίγνομαι, which is to be or to become, relies on the present tense verbs for its time reference, so it also describes an action which actually began in Paul’s past, but here it is rendered as “he should be”. As we have seen in the definitions which we have provided from the Greek grammars, the aorist tense can describe an action which has begun but which is not necessarily completed. Here it is evident, from verse 3, that the “man of lawlessness” had been revealed, but that revelation is an ongoing process. So while Christ in the Gospel had already made the revelation, most Christians still do not understand it, in spite of Paul’s explanations.
The King James translators seem to imagine that God is the subject of verses 6 and 7. So they translated a verb as let which does not mean let., and translated κατέχω as a transitive verb when it is used as an intransitive verb. To the contrary, the subject of Paul’s statements here has not changed since verses 3 and 4, and it is that same “man of lawlessness” and “son of destruction” sitting in the temple in Jerusalem as Paul wrote. The terms here are used collectively. Paul’s intent is clear, and there should be no confusion, keeping Paul’s statements in the context in which they were written. Paul is describing the man of lawlessness who was still sitting in the temple of God and exalting himself above God. That man of lawlessness was therefore prevailing at Paul’s present time, and would prevail until he is finally taken out of the way. So that “man of lawless” was described earlier by Paul as the reason why the Christians of Thessalonika as well as those of Judaea were being afflicted, in 1 Thessalonians chapter 2. The explanation of that affliction, which began in the first epistle to the Thessalonians, is the very reason why Paul is describing the “man of lawlessness” here.
As the apostle Peter said, “16 Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.” Why would Christians be persecuted and suffer at the hands of those who deny Christ, if God prevails on earth? Agreeing with Paul’s statements here, the apostle John had said in the final verses of his first epistle: “We know that we are from of God and the whole world lies in the power of the Evil One.” As Paul describes here, it is the Evil One which prevails. In Ephesians chapter 2 Paul mentioned the “spirit that is now operating within the sons of disobedience”, and described them as “children of wrath”. In John 14:30 Christ spoke of His enemies and said “the ruler of Society comes, and he does not have anything in Me!” Then later in John 16:11 Christ had said that “the ruler of this Society has been judged.”
But even though Christ had said they were judged, as Paul writes perhaps as many as 18 years later they are still sitting in the temple of God and pretending to be above God. So that demonstrates our assertion, that Paul is describing their being taken out of the way as an ongoing process. Therefore we read in verse 3 here that the man of lawlessness had been already revealed, relative to Paul’s own time, and here in verse 6 Paul says that he would “be revealed in his own time” because the revelation was still ongoing through the spread of the Gospel. However even there, the word for revealed is an aorist subjunctive, reliant on the main verb for its time reference. The main verb is “you know”, and that is a perfect tense indicative. Therefore the revelation of “that which now prevails” is complete for those who know the Gospel.
But it seems that both situations are true. Yahshua Christ and His apostles have explained the identity of the “man of lawlessness”, the devil, Satan, the “son of destruction”, the antichrists, and whatever other terms they used to describe the enemies of God. But the people of God are still to this day, for the most part, blind to the meanings of the plain words of Scripture in relation to these things. There are other prophecies which explain this dilemma. One of them is found in the opening verses of Malachi.
Jerusalem and the second temple were already rebuilt when the prophet Malachi had written, and since it was thrown down and made desolate by the Romans in 70 AD, only one people have returned to rebuild it. So we read in Malachi chapter 1: “1 The burden of the word of the LORD to Israel by Malachi. 2 I have loved you, saith the LORD. Yet ye say, Wherein hast thou loved us? Was not Esau Jacob's brother? saith the LORD: yet I loved Jacob, 3 And I hated Esau, and laid his mountains and his heritage waste for the dragons of the wilderness. 4 Whereas Edom saith, We are impoverished, but we will return and build the desolate places; thus saith the LORD of hosts, They shall build, but I will throw down; and they shall call them, The border of wickedness, and, The people against whom the LORD hath indignation for ever.” The Jews who cry poverty, and who have returned to rebuild the desolate places (as Christ had told His enemies, “your house is left to you desolate) are these same Edomites. And the White Christians who truly descended from Jacob have more care for the Edomites than they do for themselves, as the prophet depicts them to say “Was not Esau Jacob's brother?” This is Christian Zionism in prophecy, and Judaized Christians are worshipping the eternal enemies of God.
This is Satan revealed, and this is the devil of the Scriptures as Paul here continues to discuss in verse 8:
8 and then will the lawless be revealed, whom Prince Yahshua [B and the MT have only “whom the Prince”; the text follows א, A, and D] will destroy [א, D, and the MT have “consume”; the text follows A and B] with the breath of His mouth, and abolish at the manifestation of His presence.
And here the verb for revealed is a future tense verb, which along with the verb for destroy are the only future tense verbs in the first 10 verses of this chapter. The man of lawlessness, Satan, the Devil, has been revealed in the Gospel and the writings of the apostles, but will also be revealed at the second advent of the Christ. Ostensibly, Christians remain blind. Ostensibly, that is because vengeance belongs to Yahweh, and He has waited for a long time.
Here Paul’s words invoke the Word of Yahweh at Deuteronomy chapter 32, which he had also cited in Romans chapter 12: “35 To me belongeth vengeance, and recompence; their foot shall slide in due time: for the day of their calamity is at hand, and the things that shall come upon them make haste. 36 For the LORD shall judge his people, and repent himself for his servants, when he seeth that their power is gone, and there is none shut up, or left. [Compare Isaiah 26:11-18.] 37 And he shall say, Where are their gods, their rock in whom they trusted, 38 Which did eat the fat of their sacrifices, and drank the wine of their drink offerings? let them rise up and help you, and be your protection. 39 See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god with me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal: neither is there any that can deliver out of my hand. 40 For I lift up my hand to heaven, and say, I live for ever. 41 If I whet my glittering sword, and mine hand take hold on judgment; I will render vengeance to mine enemies, and will reward them that hate me. 42 I will make mine arrows drunk with blood, and my sword shall devour flesh; and that with the blood of the slain and of the captives, from the beginning of revenges upon the enemy. 43 Rejoice, O ye nations, with his people: for he will avenge the blood of his servants, and will render vengeance to his adversaries, and will be merciful unto his land, and to his people.”
So when the people of God follow the enemies of God, He allows the natural punishment which results. But eventually He shall deliver His people and destroy His enemies, who are that same “man of lawlessness” which Paul describes here in 2 Thessalonians chapter 2, and the Satan and children of the devil which Yahshua Christ had confronted during His earthly ministry. This event of which Paul speaks is described in Revelation chapter 19: “11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. 12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. 13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. 15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 16 And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS…. 19 And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. 20 And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. 21 And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.”
In Revelation chapter 13 we see one characterization of the devil, where it is also describing the enemies of God who had come to rule over the people of the earth, as Paul describes “he who now prevails” earlier in this chapter, and it says: “11 And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. 12 And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. 13 And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, 14 And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live….”
In that manner Paul continues here, where he is still speaking of the “man of lawlessness” and the “son of destruction”:
9 Whose presence is in accordance with the operation of the Adversary [or Satan] in all power and signs and wonders of falsehood, 10 and in every trick of unrighteousness in those who are perishing, because they accepted not the love of the truth, for them to be preserved.
Here the King James Version translators took a noun, παρουσία, which means presence, and translated it as a verb, coming, evidently in support of their poor interpretations earlier in this chapter.
Here Paul himself has connected the concept of Satan to the “man of lawlessness” and “son of destruction”, those who in his own time were sitting in the temple of God and exalting themselves above God. The Jews who opposed Christ are therefore “in accordance with the operation of Satan”, and all Jews throughout modern history have descended from these same Jews who had opposed Christ. It is of them that it was said “His blood be on us, and on our children.” They all continue to operate “in accordance with Satan” to this very day.
But while devils have no chance of salvation, here Paul is also speaking of those who are deceived, “because they accepted not the love of the truth, for them to be preserved”, making it evident that he is also speaking of people who had a chance of being preserved. However these words must also be understood in Paul’s own historical context.
In Romans chapter 9, written perhaps 7 or 8 years after this epistle, Paul had expressed concern for the Israelites in Judaea, those who had not yet accepted Christ, where he said: “1 I speak the truth among the Anointed, I lie not, my conscience bearing witness with me in the Holy Spirit, 2 that grief for me is great, and distress incessant in my heart, 3 for I have prayed that I myself would be accursed from the Anointed for the brethren, my kinsmen in regards to the flesh; 4 those who are Israelites, whose is the position of sons, and the honor, and the covenants, and the legislation, and the service, and the promises; 5 whose are the fathers; and of whom are the Anointed in regards to the flesh, being over all blessed of Yahweh for the ages. Truly.”
While Paul in that chapter went on to explain that not everyone in Israel was an Israelite, because many of them were of the accursed Edomites, he nevertheless shows great concern for the remaining true Israelites who were deceived, not having accepted Christ. In Romans chapter 16 Paul informed the Romans that “the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly”, so he evidently understood that Jerusalem was about to be destroyed by the Romans, as it is prophesied in Daniel chapter 9. So he was concerned that some of his own kinsmen would continue to be deceived by the operation of Satan, and as a result they would perish in the judgement coming against Jerusalem.
11 And because of this Yahweh sends to them an operation of error, for them to believe in that which is false, 12 that all those should be judged who believing not in the truth [D interpolates “of Christ”, or alternately, “of the Anointed”], rather have satisfaction in unrighteousness.
When men have no love for the truth, for their punishment Yahweh God makes certain that they hear and believe even greater lies. There is an example of this in 1 Kings chapter 22, where because Ahab would not believe the words of Micaiah the prophet, who told him the truth, Yahweh purposely put a lying spirit into the mouths of the prophets with whom Ahab had consulted, which led to his own destruction.
Likewise, we have this as a model, or a type, where Mystery Babylon falls and it is said in Revelation chapter 18, “4 And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. 5 For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.” Ostensibly, there will be people punished at that time as well, because they have no love for the truth and instead have satisfaction in unrighteousness.
Those Edomite Jews who were deceiving the true Israelites in Judaea of whom Paul was concerned, were also the merchant dragons who gave their power to the ancient empires and then to the papacy - which were, demonstrably, the beasts of Revelation chapter 13, and they are also those international mercantile Jews of Mystery Babylon today. Like the devil in Luke 4 who boasted of having control of all the world, these devils have always sought to control all the world. Christ is the only solution and for that reason they have sought to destroy true Christianity these two thousand years. When they cannot destroy Christianity they have infiltrated it and deceived Christians from within. All men Christian or otherwise who love not the truth and who for that reason are deceived by them shall ultimately suffer the punishment coming upon them.