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While reading 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12 NASB

1Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, 2that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. 3Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, 4who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God. 5Do you not remember that while I was still with you, I was telling you these things? 6And you know what restrains him now, so that in his time he will be revealed. 7For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way. 8Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; 9that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, 10and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. 11For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, 12in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness.

I was struggling with these terms (the ones in bold):

1) Verse 10 may be talking about unbelievers or apostates that did not receive properly the love of the truth by xtians.

2) Verse 12 the unbelievers or apostates took pleasure in wickedness instead. Possibly right after having a taste for it. As if being born with the pleasure for wickedness.

Am I understanding that some are born with such a selfish ambition that have no obedience to Christ. No hope. No matter how much love is shown to them.

Or, they never had a chance because the Christians around did a bad job showing them true love.

I mean I'm always thinking that the people that don't love me are ones that don't talk to me or see me when I walk on the street or ride the bus. The one that said hi to me loved me. Even the one that was rude to me. I mean hate and love are the same thing right? And then [Matthew Henry][1] wrote on his commentary about 2 Thessalonians 2:5-12, "God leaves them to themselves". I think he meant to say they were hopeless.

Does 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12 confirm that some are born with a nature to disobey, thus cannot be saved?

Like the narrow gate and the broad road?

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All of us are born with a nature to not obey; it's called sin! :) Somewhere along the way these people in your passage were just hardened to commit to their sinful ways, and the way of God could not turn their hearts. People who take pleasure in wickedness find it stupid to believe they'll have a good time by restraining themselves from doing what they like to do. –  Steve Mar 15 at 0:40

3 Answers 3

According to Ephesians 2:12, we learn "that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world." This tells me that the whole world is without the hope of a glorious future apart when from Christ.

It is Christ's blood sacrifice for our sins and bodily resurrection that jump-starts hope in us: "But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been made near by the blood of Christ" (Eph. 2:13).

Short answer: yes, people are born without hope. Through the gospel, our disobedience can be repented of through faith in Jesus, and hope begun. The people in your passage have chosen to not believe and take the way of escape.

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In order to understand those passages, we have to take several other things into mind. Paul was writing this letter to the Thessalonians after having gotten word back from them following his first letter.

Also remember in Acts where everyone was getting together selling their possessions and living in a communal group, the reason for that was that those people expected Christ to return for them right away. Paul especially thought that Jesus return would be during his lifetime.

After years had passed and Christ had not returned as most of his disciples expected, many rumors began to circulate and among them were some which declared that Jesus had returned already.

Paul's second letter to the church in Thessalonica is a plea to not listen to those rumors. So let's break down his letter and see what we can extract from it.

Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,

Here Paul is referring to the rapture of the church as described in his first letter to them.

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.

Here Paul is saying don't pay any attention to all these rumors.

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;

Or; don't let people fool you, remember that before Christ returns the prophesy of:

Daniel 11:31 and 32

And arms shall stand on his part, and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate. And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries: but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits.

Must be fulfilled, (This same event is referred to in Revelation and is the beginning of the great tribulation)

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 is the Antichrist.

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.

Don't you remember me explaining these things to you, so now you know why there is a delay.

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 wonders,

And see it is already started, and God will let these things continue even including the coming of the Antichrist, who will even perform miracles.

So now let's take a look at where you where you have your trouble understanding.

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 unrighteousness.

I believe where your confusion comes, is because you need some clarification on predestination:

Predestination is the concept that some people are predestined by God to not receive Salvation and receive eternal damnation.

Predestination is greatly misunderstood; That some will be eternally damned is not the will of God.

Matthew 18:14 Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.

Predestination is based on the fact that God is All Knowing. Or in other words God knew even before Creation who would and who would not accept Salvation. And based on that fore knowledge during the Great Tribulation, God will allow those who you indicated to be deceived by the Antichrist, since Satan does not really have any power, to accomplish anything unless God permits it.

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I think that's it. Predestination is not God's fault or mine. It's a tough cookie to swallow. –  deleteMe Mar 14 at 16:00
    
Calvinists of course will disagree. –  curiousdannii Mar 14 at 21:14
    
Correction: From Romans 8:29, we find that God has predestined a process of conformity to His Son for those who choose the way of faith; in this context, it's not to be understood as God choosing people beforehand. Predestination in that chapter is based on the buildup of Paul's arguments throughout chapters 1-8, and they don't mention anything about God choosing people beforehand. 6:16 shows that we can sin to death or to righteousness through holiness; 8:13 tells us we can tend to death or life by our choices as Christians. –  Steve Mar 15 at 0:36
    
@Steve somehow I think you have misread what I said. Predestination is not what God chooses it is what we choose! Predestination is really a misnomer, it would better be called pre knowledge. The pre knowledge of God as to what we will choose. Known as our free will. –  Bye Mar 15 at 1:15
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@curiousdannii I have spent most of my day trying to understand how to align those two chapters with predestination, but have not been able to quite get it through this thick skull of mine. I even went so far as to compare those to chapter 13 of Matthew, but only confused myself further. Please explain what you are extracting from them that I cannot. Thanks Cecil –  Bye Mar 15 at 22:32

2 Thessalonians 2;1-12, is referring to the delusions and chaos in the last days, and the rampant wickedness that will prevail.

Mathew 24;37 But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

Genesis 6;5 And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughtsof his heart was only evil continually.

I believe it a reasonable assumption, that the wickedness of present times far surpasses that of Noah's days. However, the plan of salvation is open to all, even the most wicked. No one alive is excluded or without hope. Only, those who have died in their wickedness.

1 Thessalonians 4;13 But I would not have you to be ignorant brethren,concerning them which are asleep, that you sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.

John 5;28-29 28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, 29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, to the resurrection of damnation.

As for man's birth, we are all prone to rebellion and wickedness.

Psalms 51;5 Behold, I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.

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