Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 1 * PART 4 * BOOK 43
2 Thessalonians 1:1-2:4 – Part 2
Now let’s get right back to where we left off in the last lesson, and we’ll look at II Thessalonians chapter 2:4 for a moment before we go back to Daniel. Now remember the whole reason that Paul is doing this is that even though the Church Age is not associated with these prophetic statements per se, he has been teaching the Thessalonians that this is all part of God dealing with the human race and bringing it down to the end of time as we know it, and to fulfill then Daniel’s 490 years of prophecy on the nation of Israel. We know 483 of those years were fulfilled when Christ was crucified, leaving 7 years remaining. Remember those 7 years were to begin, according to the Old Testament program, immediately after Christ’s ascension, but now we know God interrupted that program and brought in something that no one had ever dreamed of, and that was the Church Age.
None of the Old Testament prophets had any idea of it. The twelve disciples had no idea of it. We know Jesus never betrayed the secret of it. And when Paul comes on the scene and is sent to the Gentiles by our Lord, then the Church Age, this age of Grace, this calling out of the Body of Christ begins. But I don’t think Paul had any idea it would go on now for 2000 years. He was probably even of the mindset that it would be either in his lifetime, or shortly thereafter that the Rapture of the Church would happen, and then God would pick up and finish the Old Testament format. Now in II Thessalonians let’s continue on with what Paul refers to as the Day of the Lord up there in verse 2. Then let’s see what he says in verse 3.
II Thessalonians 2:3a
“Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come except there come a falling away first (the departure. We as believers have to be taken out of the way before) that man of sin, (the anti-Christ, the beast of Scripture will) be revealed,…” Now verse 4 Paul is in perfect accord with the Old Testament prophecies concerning this world ruler that’s coming on the scene.
II Thessalonians 2:4a
“Who opposeth (in other words he opposes the things of God) and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped:…”
At the end of the word worshipped in verse 4 you have a semi-colon so that covers the first half of this 7 years. This man of sin will come in (and by flattery Daniel said), and he’s going to usurp this worldwide consortium of governments which will be headed up primarily in Western Europe. The European union I think is already the format for a revived Roman Empire. He’s going to come in and he’s going to just wow the world with his promises of peace and prosperity, and he’s going to bring peace to the Middle-east. And in that 7-year treaty, as we’ll see back in Daniel in just a moment, he’s going to somehow or other get the Moslem world to permit Israel to re-establish temple worship.
Now today that is almost a ridiculous thought. But as I’ve said over and over as I teach prophecy, remember that at the minute that the curtain lifts on this final 7 years of human history, the supernatural becomes an everyday occurrence. Now when I talk about supernatural I’m talking about things that you and I could never imagine happening today. Who could ever imagine a peace treaty concerning Israel and Jerusalem, and the Moslems that would give the Jews permission to rebuild a temple. Now that doesn’t mean it’s going to be a great big glorious temple like Solomon’s or even like the second temple that was remodeled by King Herod the great. But it will be something that will be functional, whereby they can re-establish their priesthood, and their sacrificial worship. Now that’s going to happen according to Daniel! Now that will be miraculous. That’s super-super-natural because God is again entering into the everyday affairs, especially of the nation of Israel.
Now back to the text. So there has to be a departure of the Body of Christ so God can pick up where He left off with His dealing with the covenant people Israel, then the anti-Christ, the son of perdition, the prince that shall come according to Daniel or as Paul refers to him down in verse 8 the wicked one shall be revealed. Those are all names that are applied to this man of sin that will be coming on the world scene. Now verse 4 again.
II Thessalonians 2:4
“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, showing himself that he is God.”
This anti-Christ is going to be the god of this world, and the world is going to acclaim him as such. They’re going to call him their messiah. Even Israel will be taken in by this man. Even Israel, since this guy has been able to negotiate the re-establishment of temple worship, the Jews are going to acclaim him as their messiah, as God. Now both Paul and Daniel tell us that when this man gets that big headed, when he gets that arrogant, that he can claim that he is God, that he is the Messiah, then all of a sudden he let’s his power get away with him, and he goes to the temple in Jerusalem, and defiles it, and will not agree to temple worship of Israel’s God of Abraham. But rather he’s going to demand worship of himself. Alright look at it again in the last half of verse 4.
II Thessalonians 2:4b
“…so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself (to the whole world) that he is God.”
Now let’s go back to Daniel chapter 9 once again and just keep picking this up verse by verse comparing one with the other. Remember the prince that shall come is going to come out of the area of the old Roman Empire, and so Bible scholars already a hundred years or so ago, when they began to see all of these things coming on the scene, put the term on it, “the revived Roman Empire.” Now we know the Roman Empire died and disappeared from human history between 300 and 400 AD. It just disappeared, it rotted away from within. There was no outside force that defeated them, they just rotted away, they just imploded. Now as we approach the end times there has to be a Roman Empire back on the scene, but it won’t be the old empire of the Caesars of course, but rather it’s a revived Roman Empire.
The amazing thing is, that ever since World War II ended and the original ten nations of Western Europe got together and decided there in the late 40’s and early 50’s at least somewhere in that area that they were going to set up a Untied States of Europe. Now listen none of these men had any inkling that they were fulfilling Bible prophecy, or that they were setting the stage for it as I’ve put it. So they put together a system with these major ten nations of Western Europe (which we still call the Western European Union), and everything they’re doing is re-establishing politically, economically, and yes even spiritually a revival of that old Roman Empire.
This same consortium of nations is now wanting to establish a NATO like organization that will include all the nations along both sides of the Mediterranean, out across the Middle-east including India, and part of China. Well what are they talking about? Well that’s the exact border of the old Roman Empire. So everything these men are doing in that Western European setup is just setting the stage rapidly so that the Roman Empire as we knew it at the time of Christ is suddenly back on the scene. Oh it’s not the Caeser’s or a Latin speaking empire, and I don’t think they will necessarily put up their capitol in Rome, but whatever their political influence, their economic treaties, and so forth will encompass the same geographical area as the old Roman Empire. So out of that revived Roman Empire, and I think out of one of those ten nations of Western Europe will come this man, the prince that shall come. Now let’s drop down to verse 27, and here Daniel picks him specifically.
“And he (this prince that shall come) shall confirm (or make) the covenant with many for one week;…”
Not with just Israel, but with many. I can remember years ago when I used to read a lot of prophecy, and they would always refer to this treaty as between the anti-Christ and Israel. But I don’t agree with that, but rather this treaty is going to encompass all of the nations that are so called enemies of Israel. Let’s go back and look at a passage. I hadn’t intended on doing this, and hopefully I won’t run out of time. Come all the way to Luke’s gospel chapter 1. Keep your hand in Daniel, we’ll be back in a few minutes. See what Israel was expecting out of the Old Testament prophecies, and as God spoke would happen through this priest Zacharias. But we know Israel finally rejected all of this when they crucified Jesus of Nazareth, and everything fell through the cracks, but this is still basically at least what the religious element is still looking for, and I think it’s still appropriate to look at it in this light. This is what they’re still looking for! Let’s just drop down to verse 67. We may have looked at these verses before especially if you’ve been in my Oklahoma classes. Here the father of John the Baptist has now received his voice back miraculously and in verse 67 Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit. In other words everything he says is Spirit inspired. It’s not wishful thinking on the part of a good Jew. This is actually the Word of God to the nation of Israel.
“And his (John the Baptist) father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied, (or spoke forth) saying, (now watch the language. Look what it says, and not what you think it should say.) 68. Blessed be the Lord God of (whom?) Israel; (see this is confining, this is exclusive) for he hath visited and redeemed his people, 69. And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David; (see that’s all Jewish, there’s not Gentile’s in that.) 70. As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began: 71. That we should be saved from our (what?) enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us;”
See he’s not talking about being saved from their sins, but rather their enemies. Well for goodness sake, who were Israel’s enemies at the time of Christ? Well the same ones that hate the Jew tonight. Egypt, Syria, the Babylonians at that time, or the middle-eastern people. They hated Israel then just like they do today, and so the whole idea of Christ coming would be that He would save Israel from the hatred of their enemies. Verse 72.
“To perform the mercy promised to our father, and to remember his holy covenant; 73. The oath which he sware to our father Abraham, 74. The he would grant unto us, (the nation of Israel) that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him (the Messiah) without fear, 75. In holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life,”
Now that was what Israel was longing for then, and at least the religious element still is tonight. Oh they would like to have somebody to come in that would just simply drive their enemies away from their borders and let them live with peace and prosperity, now that’s their hope. Now come back to Daniel chapter 9, and this is exactly what this man will do. This man will come into power, in fact turn ahead a page or two to chapter 11, and let’s start at verse 21. Now you want to remember that Daniel is always prophesying near term events and they in turn leap the centuries to the end time.
“And in his estate shall stand up a vile person, (now the near term was Antiochus Epiphanes, that general that took over the Greek Empire which included Jerusalem. He was a picture of the anti-Christ because he brought in intense persecution on the Jew. He defiled the temple by offering a hog on the alter, remember that? Alright. Now that’s the first view, but he was also a picture of the end time man of sin, the anti-Christ) to whom they shall not give the honour of the kingdom: but he shall come in peaceably and obtain the kingdom by flatteries.”
He’s going to be a magnificent politician he’s going to accomplish with political maneuvering what most people would have to use war to do. Now come on over to verse 36, and this is a perfect analogy with what Paul says in II Thessalonians almost word for word.
“And the king (this anti-Christ, this prince that shall come) shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, (see his egotistical personality?) and shall speak marvelous things against the God of gods, (the One True God) and shall prosper (he’s going to get away with it) till the indignation be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done.”
He will get away with it until those final 7 years are accomplished and then he’s going to meet his doom. Now verse 37. During his rule in these 7 years and especially the last half:
“Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, (so that pretty much tells you what kind of a man he’s going to be.) nor regard any god: for he shall magnify himself above all.”
My what an egotist. But you see that’s what it takes. And once an egotist gets a taste of power there’s no limit to their appetite. You know that as we’ve seen it all the way up through human history. I’m always amused when people rehearse to me how it is so easy to have this lust for power triggered. Someone was telling me here while back that he was in a set of circumstances where he just spoke a word and two hundred people almost jumped to attention. He said, “It was an exhilarating feeling that all I had to do was say something and this many people just quit talking and started paying attention.”
I told him that I got a little taste of that while I was in basic training. I was just a raw recruit, and I don’t suppose I’d been in the army over 4 or 5 weeks, and we had a reservist who was our cadre, and he was marching us to the post exchange. Well reservists sometimes, as you know, don’t care too much what the book says, and so half way to the post exchange he stopped our whole company and said, “Feldick fall out.” So I fell out, and he said, “Now march the men to the post exchange.” Well I got just a little glimpse of what it’s like to say, “Attention!” And what happened? 120 men clicked their heels. Then I said, “Forward march,” and had 120 men began to march. Well it gives you just a taste of what these politicians get when they get an inkling of power, and the more power they get the more lustful they get for more power, it just consumes them. So don’t ever wonder why these politicians want to run for office. Man I wouldn’t want to be in there, and I don’t think you would, but once they get a taste of it, it consumes them. Alright, now this man is going to be the greatest of all. He’s going to have such a lust for power that it will just consume everyone around him. Then verse 38.
“But in his estate shall he honour the God of forces: (military) and a god whom his fathers knew not shall he honour with gold, and silver, and with precious stones, and pleasant things.”
So he’s going to be an extreme egotist, and an extreme corrupter of power. Now coming back to chapter 9 and verse 27. Remembering what Paul says, “He will sit in the temple of God,” That is that Tribulation temple in Jerusalem that he instrumentally brought about with that 7-year treaty. I hope you can all see that now. That as he brought about this 7-year treaty between Israel and the Moslem world, permitting Israel to re-establish temple worship, which in turn will just make the Jews in a state of euphoria, because they will think, “evidently this man is the Messiah because he’s done what we’ve always wanted,” but in the middle of that Tribulation period, Daniel tells us first, and if we have time we’ll see what the Lord also says about it. So in verse 27, he’ll make this treaty for 7 years to fulfill the 490 that we have up here on the top line of our time line, but look what happens at the mid-point of that 7 years.
“…and in the midst of the week (or 7 years) he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease,…”
Now listen, all you have to do here is use common sense. If the sacrificial worship is stopped at the mid-point, what happened sometime before? Well it had to start! You can’t stop something that hasn’t been started. Now you know there’s no temple worship tonight! But someplace as this 7-year period begins the anti-Christ will permit sacrificial worship to begin in the temple that will be rebuilt in Jerusalem, and they will establish sacrificial worship. Then in the middle of that 7-year period he will stop that temple worship for the overspreading of abominations, which I’m sure will include sacrificing a hog or sow’s blood or something unclean for the Jew on the altar there at the temple. Now completing the verse.
“…and for the overspreading of the abominations he shall make it (the temple) desolate, even until the consummation,…”
Now turn to Matthew chapter 24. Now here the Lord Jesus Himself puts the frosting on this prophecy. So between Daniel, and The Lord Himself here, and Paul in II Thessalonians chapter 2, and then the other various verses in the Book of Revelation, it all comes together. When this final 7 years is triggered by the signing of 7-year treaty (re-establishing temple worship), the anti-Christ I’m sure will go back to his headquarters in Western Europe, but in the middle of the 7 years he will come and turn on the nation of Israel. Here in Matthew 24 Jesus Himself is speaking to the twelve concerning end-time events. Remember Jesus too is dealing on the top line of this time line. He hasn’t given any hint of a 2000 year hiatus, and look what he says.
“When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand.)”
Do you see how plain all that is? And above everything else don’t miss the point that Jesus called Daniel a prophet. Now the critics can call him whatever they want to, and they call the Book of Daniel what they want to, but the Author of this Book, the Creator of the universe, the One who programmed everything in the first place, He says, “Daniel the prophet” Then you’d better believe it, and when our Lord said, “When you (Israel) see this man of sin come in and defile the temple,” what’s the first word in the next verse say?
That of course is still future, but we’re getting closer and closer everyday!