When This Man Who Avoids Torah Comes
21 Kislev 5773
by David Weiss
"9 When this man who avoids Torah comes, the Adversary will give him the power to work all kinds of false miracles, signs and wonders. 10 He will enable him to deceive, in all kinds of wicked ways, those who are headed for destruction because they would not receive the love of the truth that could have saved them. 11 This is why G-d is causing them to go astray, so that they will believe the Lie. 12 The result will be that all who have not believed the truth, but have taken their pleasure in wickedness, will be condemned. 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12
Even in the 1st Century, within about 20 years of Yeshua's ascension to Heaven, there was concern among believers that they might miss the truth. In the earlier verses of this chapter, Rabbi Sha'ul comforts them they they have not missed the truth. Sometimes when we read the Bible, I think we neglect to think about context. Context does not change the message, but it does two important things. 1. It helps us understand the historical time it was set in and 2. It helps us understand how it makes it apply to us today. I do not know all the context here. Basically it was written to the group of believers in Thessaloniki Greece. Thessaloniki is a few hundred miles from Athens and it is one of the cities he stopped at on one of his journeys he took as he sought to spread the Gospel. We know from Acts, that Athens was a fairly superstitious or polytheistic society. They worshipped many gods there and Rabbi Sha'ul even spoke to them about the statue they had dedicated to an unknown god.
My point here is that Athens was superstitious and polytheistic, so it is likely that Thessaloniki had some of that as well. And yet Rabbi Sha'ul had been there and taught them in person, so they also had some teaching about truth. Yet here he is, having to remind them of the truth he taught them when he was there in person. Maybe it is because of their past exposure to so much superstition and how it made it hard to hang on to the truth. Even though we have had 2 millennia of enlightenment since then, does not mean we are immune to superstitions and false teachings. These words here to the congregation at Thessaloniki are as important and true as the day they were written.
It is interesting to me what Rabbi says here about the one who will bring deception. He calls him "the one who avoids Torah." Most English versions call him "the man of lawlessness." Those two descriptions are not antithetical to each other, but they certainly convey separate connotations. For those in the Kingdom who believe the "church" has replaced Israel as G-d's chosen people, or at least do not consider the effects of that teaching, lawless basically conveys the idea of sinful. They probably do not really think twice about it. But for a Jewish believer, the use of the word Torah here speaks a very different idea. First of all, it gives the idea that the Torah is still relevant and will continue to be until the 2nd Coming of Messiah. And it also speaks in the verses after it, that not only will this person seek to operate spiritually apart from the Torah, but they will also set themself up as G-d in the Temple. The fact that the Thessalonians were already concerned that they missed it tells me that this was likely written before the destruction of the Temple in 70.
So even since the early days after Yeshua ascended, the believers have been watching for his return and for false messiahs to come. It is not that we have to figure these things out or try to guess a date, but that we need to be aware of them so that we are not deceived. There are certain things that will happen when this deceiver comes. False teaching is one. (Separation from the Torah) And false miracles, signs and wonders are another. This last one is probably the hardest for many 21st Century believers. Many already believe that signs and wonders were only used in the "Bible Times" and so they do not really expect to see them today. So they already are suspect of anything that looks miraculous.
The bottom line here is pretty simple. Rabbi says in verse 12 that refusing to believe the truth and taking pleasure in wickedness lead to condemnation. Our job as 21st Century believers is to seek to understand G-d's truth more fully and avoid wickedness. We can do these quite simply by learning the process of walking in the 4 streams of healing: walking with G-d (discipleship) walking in G-d's intimate counsel (counseling) understanding the truth of G-d (spiritual warfare) and learning who we are to G-d (Deep restoration). You do not have to call it the 4 streams, or even memorize how they work. Just seek diligently to follow after G-d with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.
TAKE THE DAY OFF - PASTOR ROBERT MORRIS
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