2 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, as that the day of Christ is at hand.
'The day of Christ' - his second appearing with power to set up the kingdom
Here is a plain evidence that Paul, late in his life, recognised and familiarly taught that certain events had to transpire in the ecclesiastical sphere before the appearing of Christ was a possibility in the purpose of God...
The events of the first century [Lk 17-the olivet prophecy] had a bearing on the friends of Christ who were contemporary with his life in the flesh; and this bearing he could not, and did not ignore; but, at the same time, he discoursed of them in a way that admitted of an application to the remoter crisis coming, even the time of the end afterwards foreshadowed in the Apocalypse, when a watching class would be waiting his re-appearing under the sixth vial -- even now.
Nazareth Revisited Ch 47
3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
...he set himself up as the VICAR OF CHRIST; that is, the Divinely deputed substitute of Christ, as indicated by the word Antichristos, from anti, in the place of, christos, the Anointed One, or Christ
... the Man of Sin substitute for Christ ... an order of ecclesiastical rulers, a Name, or Body, with its Eyes, Mouth, and subordinate members. Being an imperial spiritual human power, its chief ruler would be a man, the supreme representative for the period of his reign... "the god of the earth"... whom they create they worship.
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, shewing himself that he is God.
This in few words is highly descriptive of the popes. "God" in the passage signifies a ruler of whatever kind, for "God" in the Scriptures is applied to angels, magistrates, and the whole nation of Israel; as,
"I said, ye are gods; but ye shall die as one of the princes;" and, "worship him ye gods;"
the former being addressed to Israel, the latter, to the angels concerning Jesus. The "temple of the god" is St. Peter's at Rome. Now, the history of the papacy shows the applicability of the description to the popes, and to them exclusively.
They have systematically opposed and exalted themselves above every ruler, whether emperors, or kings, and above all bishops and priests; so that they have sat in St. Peter's as gods, exhibiting themselves thus, because they claim to be gods upon earth. The incarnate devilism of these blasphemers of God's name, and of His people (Rev. 13:6, 7; 18:24), and murderers of His saints, cannot be surpassed by any power that could possibly arise.
They are essentially sin corporealized in human shape, and therefore most emphatically the order of the man of sin; as "the holy, apostolic, and Roman Catholic Church" is the "mother of harlots, and of all the abominations of the earth."
Paul styles this dynastic order, the lawless one; and because of its destiny,
"the son of perdition."
In the apocalypse, it is represented by an eighth head (Rev. 17:11) of the beast, which divides "the habitable" with the dragon. Of this head, the Spirit saith, "it goeth to perdition."
It is a head, which exercised both civil and pontifical dominion over the west; and when resolved into other symbol, its conjoint dominion is represented by a two-horned beast (Rev. 13:11, 14, 15), and an image of the sixth head of the seven-headed beast (Rev. 17:3); the former symbolizing the Austrian power; and the latter his ally, the lawless one.
Elpis Israel 1.3.
That he would set himself up above all that is called god, or a power to which homage is paid; and that as a supreme power he would sit in the Temple of the Power, showing himself that he is a supreme power or god. The nucleus of this power had just been born [AD 313], as the Man-child of the Catholic Woman; and, although an unbaptized emperor, sat in the temple and exhibited himself there as the supreme power, or god.
He presided in the Nicene and other Councils, and made laws for his church; and punished with severe pains and penalties those who conscientiously refused submission to his decrees. He was constituted "Head of the Church," and determined all matters of discipline; and acted in all respects as the spiritual vicegerent of the Deity.
... He ordered the observance of martyr-festivals; dedicated churches with great solemnity; preached discourses in them; ordered the sacred observance of Sunday, to which he added that of Friday also, as the week-day of the crucifixion; and taught the soldiers of his army to pray by a form made for their use.
7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.
... these manifestations were late in the apostolic day... both Paul and John counselled increased strictness on account of these manifestations.-(See 2 John, 9, 10; 1 Tim. vi. 3-5; Gal. vi. 9-12.).
...In the first instance, there was no middle ground. It was a plain issue-Yes or No; did Jesus rise from the dead? and is he the Messiah, Saviour of the world, and judge of quick and dead? And as in every other fresh and prosperous movement, there would not be acute discrimination as to those brought in; but as time rolled on, the inferior elements drawn into the ecclesia began to work like leaven.
False doctrine began to be ventilated, and (through familiarity) the authority of the apostles grew weak, while the influence of the brawling dogs (Phil. iii. 2) increased among the mediocratic majority. But this did not prove omission in the first instance, to exact from these a clear profession of their faith before immersion. It only proves that they came in "unawares," as a man may do under the strictest examination.
An examination only ascertains his conformity for the time being to the truth recognized. It does not detect the shallow or the fleshly-minded man, who afterwards proves weak, and easy to be an instrument of evil in the ecclesia.
Ambassador of the Coming Age, Aug 1868
8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:
'...the kingdom promised to the saints could not be established so long as the Man of Sin Power were undeveloped; and, secondly, that the Man of Sin Power could not be manifested upon the scene of the fourth beast habitable so long as the constitution of this beast-dominion continued pagan. The former necessity of the situation is thus expressed by Paul:
"He that now hinders will hinder until he be taken out of the way; and then shall the Lawless One be revealed."
When Paul wrote these words the Power that hindered the manifestation of the Lawless One he had described in a previous verse, and whom he styles "the Man of Sin, the Son of Perdition," was the same power that exiled John to Patmos -- the Pagan Roman. It was necessary that the Pagan Roman power should be "taken out of the way."
Now, Paul teaches in 2 Thess. ii that the Man of Sin-power to be developed after the taking out of the way of the pagan Roman, should continue till the time for its consumption and utter destruction by the glorious manifestation of the YAHWEH NAME -- "whom the Lord shall consume," saith he, "with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy by the manifestation of his presence."
11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:
The Gentiles did not gladly and modestly enjoy the privilege brought to them by the ministry of the apostles, and Paul foretold that, for this cause, God would send them strong delusion that they should believe a lie.
The principle illustrated in this general and large way, is without doubt, of individual application. Where men despise the goodness of God, or arrogantly make use of the powers bestowed upon them, whether of faculty or of control of means, sooner or later, God may work against them and impel them into courses that will bring about their own destruction, after the example of the seven nations of Canaan, utterly destroyed by the sword of Joshua.
The Ways of Providence ch 12.
13 But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:
It is the truth that will save us, not error, however innocently held. Paul says so:
...What is the truth? The answer is: The teaching of the inspired apostles and prophets of God (Ephes. 1:20). Is it needful for us to know the whole of their teaching in order to become the children of God or heirs of salvation? No, otherwise there would be no room for growing in knowledge, which is the life-long duty of saints (Phil. 1:9; 2 Pet. 3:18). What, then, have we to believe at the start? We are told:
"The first principles of the oracles of God" (Heb. 5:12: 6:1).
What are the first principles? We have no formal statement of them, but a very small amount of research will reveal them. The references to the apostolic presentment to the Gentiles of the gospel supply the information.
The preaching comprised the things concerning the only true and living God (Acts 17:23-28: 14:15; 1 Thes. 1:9); Jesus Christ, his death for sin, his resurrection, and temporary absence from the earth (Acts 18:28: 26:23; Rom. 10:9; 1 Cor. 1:18: 15:3-4; 1 Thes. 1:10; 2 Tim. 2:8); the kingdom of God (Acts 28:31); Repentance (Acts 26:20); Resurrection and Judgment (Acts 10:42; Rom. 2:16); Eternal life (Acts 13:46, 48: 11:18); Baptism (Acts 8:12); the extension of Israelitish promises to the Gentiles (Ephes. 6:19).
Let the comprehensiveness of all this doctrine be intelligently grasped, and there will be little complaint about the Christadelphians requiring too much in the way of knowledge from candidates for immersion.
Bro AT Jannaway
The Christadelphian, Sept 1900
15 Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.
Inspiration a First Principle
-The doctrine of the Inspiration of the Bible is a question naturally the very first of first principles. It is of no modern origin. It is an apostolic tradition that "all scripture is given by inspiration," and it is an apostolic command to withdraw from every man who refuses submission to apostolic teaching whether delivered by word or epistle-(2 Thess. 3:14.)
The Christadelphian, Feb 1886