Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 1 * PART 3 * BOOK 43
2 Thessalonians 1:1-2:4
It’s so good to have our son Todd and his wife Kim, and their four precious children, ages 3-8, with us today. The kids are home schooled, and Todd helps with the ranch, and also does wood working, making custom-made hand-hewn chairs on the side for extra income, because you can’t make a living on cows alone. If you’ve ever called the ministry, more than likely, if you didn’t talk to Iris or myself, then you’ve talked to Kim. She started helping with the ministry just when we need help so badly. She’s a whiz on the computer and can put out more work in half day then most people can in a week. So they are, as are the rest of our children, such a blessing, and we’re just tickled to death to have all the kids real close and they all help in the ministry. We’re just a family operation, and all the kids are involved in the ministry in one way or another.
Now back to where we left off in the last lesson and then we’ll go right back to where we were in the Book of Daniel. So II Thessalonians chapter 2 where Paul makes it so plain that the Day of the Lord, the Day of Wrath and vexations, and judgment cannot come until there is a departure first of the Church Age believers.
II Thessalonians 2:3
“Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come except there come a falling away (departure) first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;”
Right there in one verse, Paul uses two of this fellow’s titles, if you want to call them that. He calls him “the man of sin and the son of perdition,” and then in the last lesson we also found he’s also called the anti-Christ, the great counterfeiter, but most of the time in Scripture he’s referred to as “the beast.” And of course the main reason for that is, he will be so heartless, he will be so bestial in his power because he’s getting his power from Satan. So always remember that these terms all apply to this great world political ruler that is going to come on the scene. Personally I think he’s already alive, and probably in some government in Western Europe even as we speak. But whatever, these are the Scriptural terms for this leader to come. Now if you’ll go back to Daniel 9 again where we were when we left off in the last lesson we find Daniel refers to him as the prince, small letter ‘p.’
“…and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary,…”
If the Bible says he’s going to come, then you’d better believe that it’s going to happen, because he’s going to arrive on the scene! So let’s begin our study in verse 24. I realize the daily listeners were in Revelation not too many months ago, but I’m going to spend a certain amount of time in prophecy here in II Thessalonians chapter 2, because in the overall format you see we’ve covered a lot of the Bible since we studied prophecy in Revelation and Daniel. Daniel by inspiration is writing, and God tells Daniel to say-
“Seventy weeks (of years, or 490 years) are determined (or already established in God’s program) upon thy people…”
Now it’s interesting that when Israel is in the good graces of God, He refers to them as what? My people. But when they’re out of His good Grace, He calls them, “your people” whether He was speaking to Moses or Daniel. Now you want to realize that at the time God is speaking to Daniel, Israel is in captivity in Babylon which means they are out of the place of blessing in Jerusalem. They have no temple, they have no priesthood – consequently what are they? They’re not God’s people, but rather they’re your people Daniel. Now when Christ returns and Israel once again becomes God’s covenant people, then God will say, “You will be My people, and I will be your God!” But at this writing He says to Daniel –
“Seventy weeks (of years, or 490 years) are determined upon thy people…”
It’s interesting, and I’ve made these points before, and I’m going to keep repeating them, that whenever God deals with Israel with regards to prophetic statements, almost without exceptions, because somebody may find an exception, but almost without exception, God puts that prophetic statement in a time frame. For example when He called Abraham out of Ur of the Chaldees what time frame did He give to Abram? 430 years! After that time Israel would become a nation, and come out of Egypt. There would be 430 years go by from the call of Abram until Moses would lead them out of Egypt. Then the next predetermined period of time was from the day Joshua took over the leadership of Israel until King Saul made the first king of Israel, was 490 years.
Then from the time King Saul was commissioned as king of Israel until Nebuchadnezzar came in from Babylon and put the Israelites under servitude was another 490 years. God always deals with Israel in specific time frames. In between you have the Babylonian captivity in which Daniel is writing, and long before it happened, what did God tell Israel?“You’re going to spend 70 years outside the land.” The purpose for this was to restore the sabbatical years. So again for 490 years Israel had forgotten the sabbatical year, they didn’t keep it. God had told them to let the land rest 1 out of 7 years. So divide 7 into 490 years, how long did Israel have to go into captivity in Babylon? 70 years.
And while they were in captivity God said, “the land of Israel will now get it’s rest that it should have had all along.” So you see everything that God does with Israel is in a prescribed time frame. Now when you go back to Daniel chapter 2 and Nebuchadnezzar’s dream concerning the Gentile empires that would be coming down the pike one right after the other. And if you remember he saw the head of God which would be his own Babylon Empire followed by the chest of silver which would be the Medes and Persians. Next he saw the Belly of brass, which represented the Greek Empire, and the legs of iron, the Roman Empire.
Now with these empires there is no definitive time frame. In other words God didn’t say, “Babylon you’re going to rule 400 years. Then I’m going to let the Medes and Persians rule for 300 years.” No God doesn’t do that, but rather all God is saying is, “one Gentile empire will be followed by another.” But when He makes prophetic statements concerning Israel it’s always in a time frame. Now I hope I’m making my point. Now this time frame here in Daniel is more interesting than the others because God, through the prophet Daniel, puts two breaks in this time frame. The first one after 49 years. Now it wasn’t a great lapse of time, it was just simply at the end of the 49 years of this prophecy, Israel dedicated the rebuilt temple put up by Ezra and Nehemiah and those that went back to Jerusalem with them from Babylon. That’s all it was, but it was a time break. Then you go on for another 434 years and again there’s another little time break, and that is at the crucifixion. Because remember Daniel’s prophecy says –
“Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks; the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous time. 26. And after three score and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off…”
At the crucifixion, this is all delineated. This is prophecy. At the crucifixion that would conclude 483 years of the 490 years that God had declared on the nation of Israel. That 483 years took place from the decree to Ezra from Artaxerxes the king of the Medes and Persians to go back and rebuild the city walls until Palm Sunday which was just a few days before the crucifixion, and archeology has substantiated it. Now that’s how meticulous God is with His time frame with Israel. Now the whole prophecy on Israel was 490 years and after 483 of those years were complete we have a break which means there’s 7 years that still must take place. Now as we are looking at it 2000 years later we can see so clearly that after this 7 years takes place it will conclude with the return of Christ at His Second Coming, and the setting up of His kingdom here on the earth. Now let’s look at just a little bit more of this in Daniel as this is foundational, and let’s begin with verse 26.
“And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, (He was crucified. Now that includes of course the 7 weeks mentioned earlier or for a total of 483 years) but not for himself: (He didn’t die for anything He had done, but rather He died for the sins of the world.) and the people (now here comes the secret to our end time prophecy as we are now looking at it) of the prince that shall come…”
“…and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary;…”
In other words this prince, this man of sin, is going to come out of the people that destroys the city of Jerusalem and sanctuary – and we know that was Titus the Roman general, and he did that in 70 AD. Now all that is telling us that from Daniel’s perspective, the city of Jerusalem would be completely destroyed including the temple, and we know that the Romans did that. But so far as we’re concerned the important part of this prophecy is, that out of that same empire that destroyed Jerusalem would come some day this man anti-Christ, the man of sin, the wicked one, the son of perdition, will come out of the empire that destroyed Jerusalem.
Now I’ve got to put my timeline back up here again, and I’m going to do like we’ve been doing a lot lately. I’m going to come back to the Old Testament timeline which comes up through all the Old Testament prophecies concerning Christ’s first coming, and it’s all to the Jew. This line is dealing with Israel, the Jew only with a few exceptions. Now the Old Testament format beginning in Psalms chapter 2 and all the Old Testament prophecies spoke of Christ’s first coming, He would be rejected, and then according to the prophecies the next thing that was to come after His ascending back to glory as we see in Psalms 110:
“The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.”
Now that was the call of Christ back to glory after His death, burial, and resurrection. After that was to come the wrath and vexation of God for that final 7 years that we saw with all those terrible things that was attendant with the Day of the Lord we studied about in book 42. Notice there’s not a word about the Church, not a word about this Age of Grace, but rather everything is based on prophecies made with Israel in this 490 year time frame that begin back in 454 BC. So at the cross 483 years of that prophecy was completed, and immediately on the timeline was to come those final 7 years that would culminate then with Christ coming back and finishing the 490 years. Does that make sense to everyone? Alright then everything in prophecy was looking forward to His crucifixion, His ascension, and then would come then wrath and vexation, the out pouring of God’s judgment “the Day of the Lord.” Then He would return as Psalm chapter 2 says He will.
“Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.” Remember the twelve disciples asked about that kingdom to come in Acts chapter 1 before He ascended back to glory.
“When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?”
You all know those verses, and this was the Old Testament format. Now when Peter was preaching on the day of Pentecost, he had no idea that God was going to postpone that 7 years, and bring in the Church Age with the apostle Paul. Remember Peter and the twelve were part and parcel with the nation of Israel. So Peter on the day of Pentecost says everything that the Jews had seen up until that time including the presence of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost was what Joel had prophesied. So Peter goes on in Acts chapter 2 and quotes Joel’s prophecy.
“But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel.
Peter also included these 7 years of wrath and vexation that will happen during the Tribulation in verses 19 and 20, because Peter thought the Tribulation was ready to begin, and after that Christ would set up His kingdom on the earth, and Peter and the eleven would then rule over the twelve tribes of Israel as the Lord had told them they would in Matthew 19:27-28.So always remember, anyone who mixes the Second Coming of Christ with the end of the Tribulation, and places the Church Age in the Tribulation, does not separate the Scripture correctly.
In this Old Testament timeline there is not even a hint of God setting Israel aside as we see in the last chapter of Acts, blinding them Spiritually, and turning to the Gentiles. Not a word until we get to the apostle Paul. Now then the apostle Paul can help us understand that all of this 7 years of wrath and vexation was postponed. In other words, it isn’t that God’s program fell apart, but rather it’s just simply that God opened up this timeline where the 7 years of wrath and vexation were supposed to have happened and God has set Israel aside for a season, and for the past 1900 + years God has been saving Gentiles with a few Jewish exceptions during this Church Age. Now that 7 years that has been postponed will still come about when God is finished with the Church Age.
Now I would like to make this comment. “When Israel is out of the place of blessing, like they were in that 70 years of captivity in Babylon, God’s time clock on the nation stopped. God doesn’t count those years that He has decreed on Israel when they are out of the land.” In fact, that confused the chronologies for a long time in the Old Testament chronology. They were always getting gummed up for years until some of the smart ones realized that whenever Israel was out of the place of blessing, God didn’t count those years. Just as soon as God opened this timeline and sent Israel into a dispersion, permitted her temple to be destroyed in 70 AD, the priesthood dismantled, and He goes to the Gentiles, God’s time clock stopped. It’s not ticking today.
Just like with the Gentile empires back in Nebuchadnezzar’s day and following, God did not put them in a time frame so also with the Gentiles Church Age we are not in a time frame. Do you follow me? So God’s clock does not tick when He’s dealing with Gentiles or when Israel is out of the place of blessing. That makes sense doesn’t it? But just as soon as God has finished His time with the Gentiles, and the Church is complete and removed at the Rapture then yes, God is still going to fulfill those final 7 years which the Bible always splits in half, 3 1/2 and 3 1/2. And yes, Christ is still going to return to the Mount of Olives, and yes, Christ is still going to be King of Kings and Lord of Lords, but God in His Sovereignty has opened the timeline, and nobody in that Old Testament format could see it, as Peter couldn’t on the Day of Pentecost.
In fact, here I like to use some verses in I Peter chapter 1, and this says it all. Probably 90% of church members, even Bible studying church members do not know these verses are here. These verses are just sort of hidden away, but oh they’re so graphic. All of the Old Testament writers (Jesus in His earthly ministry, Peter on the Day of Pentecost) were all looking forward to this progressive timeline. After Christ was crucified, and ascended, in would come the wrath and vexation, then Christ would return, and yet set up His kingdom. Now that’s all the Old Testament knew. Now look why I can say that here in I Peter chapter 1 – and Peter is writing to Jews.
I Peter 1:10
“Of which salvation the prophets (the Old Testament writers) have inquired and searched diligently, (these same writers) who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you:”But they couldn’t understand it. They just couldn’t put the whole picture together. Now verse 11.
I Peter 1:11
“Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them (the Holy Spirit that was in them as He inspired these Old Testament writers to write) did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.”
Now here it is. They could see that there had to be a suffering Saviour. They knew Psalms 110:1. They knew that Christ would go back to glory somehow or other and be seated at the Father’s right hand, but they just couldn’t put it all together. They also knew that not only would He suffer, not only would He bring in wrath and vexation, but that the glory that should follow was still to come.