Cruelty and Violence
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2 Thessalonians 2
(2:2) "Be not soon shaken in mind ... by letter as from us."|
What letter is being referred to here? Is it 1 Thessalonians? If so, then should Christians not read it to avoid being "skaken
(2:2-9) If Paul wrote this letter (and many scholars think he didn't1), then he is changing his mind (since writing
1 Thessalonians) about the timing of the Christ's return. The day of the Lord is no longer at hand. In fact it's nowhere near. Many things
must happen first: there will be a great "falling away", a "man of sin" will be reveled, and Satan will show off his power by doing all kinds of signs and
Is the Day of the Lord at hand?
(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."
(2:3) "Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come, except that there come a
falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;"
"The Lord shall consume [the wicked] with the spirit of his mouth."
(2:9) "Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders."
Satan, not God, is all-powerful.
Can only God work wonders?
"God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might
God will cause us to believe lies so that he can damn us to hell.
Do humans have free will?
Does God lie?
Does God want some people to go to hell?
Who forces non-believers to disbelieve?
"God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation."
God selects those who are to be saved (or
damned) "from the beginning." It therefore makes no difference how
good, kind, honest, or loving we may be; if God hasn't chosen us, we will be
Do humans have free will?
What the Bible says about
Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and
by our gathering together unto him,
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.
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
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.
Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?
And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.
For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth
will let, until he be taken out of the way.
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:
Even him, whose coming
is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying
And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish;
because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
And for this cause God
shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:
That they all might
be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in
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:
Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of
our Lord Jesus Christ.
Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have
been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.
Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath
loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through
Comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work.
- Don't be deceived by people who say the end of the world will come before there's a falling away and the man of sin is revealed.
- 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. 2:3
- Believe whatever the author of Second Thessalonians tells you to believe.
- Stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle. 2:15
- Be of good comfort.
- Comfort your hearts. 2:17a
- Do good.
- Stablish you in every good word and work. 2:17b
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- Dwindling in Unbelief
- The Bible and the Quran agree: God and
Satan force nonbelievers to disbelieve (2 Thessalonians 2:11-12)
- Things on which the
Bible and Quran agree (2:11-12)
- What if we could edit the Bible?
(Opening Karl Giberson's can of worms) (2:11-12)
1Bart D. Ehrman,
The New Testament: A Historical Introlduction to the
Early Christian Writings, 3rd ed. (2004), chap.23