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13. Scripture Twisting and the Second Coming, Part 1 (2 Thessalonians 2:1-5)

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September 19, 2010

1 Now regarding the arrival of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to be with him, we ask you, brothers and sisters, 2 not to be easily shaken from your composure or disturbed by any kind of spirit or message or letter allegedly from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord is already here. 3 Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not arrive until the rebellion comes and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction. 4 He opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, and as a result he takes his seat in God’s temple, displaying himself as God. 5 Surely you recall that I used to tell you these things while I was still with you (2 Thessalonians 2:1-5).1


James Sire has written an excellent book entitled, Scripture Twisting: Twenty Ways the Cults Misread the Bible.2 In the preface to this book, Sire writes,

I wish I had been there. It would have made a good opening for the preface of this book. There he was – Swami Satchitananada, head of the Integral Yoga Institute, addressing a capacity crowd at the Masonic Auditorium in San Francisco. “‘Blessed are the pure in heart,’ Jesus said, ‘for they shall see God,’” quoted the swami. And moments later, he explained these words something like this: “Yes, blessed are those who purify their consciousness, for they shall see themselves as God.”3

Sire then calls attention to other similar twistings of Scripture by folks like Mary Baker Eddy and the Jehovah’s Witnesses.4 There are many others who twist the Scriptures. Some, for example, would twist Scripture in a vain effort to justify homosexuality, same sex marriages, or adultery. And then there are those professed evangelicals who would seek to sidestep Paul’s very clear teaching on submission or male leadership of the church.

Even respected biblical scholars twist the Scriptures. This may not be a conscious, sinister, attempt to alter the teaching of Scripture, but just human failure. D. A. Carson has written an excellent book entitled, Exegetical Fallacies.5 In this excellent work, he shows how scholars can fail in their efforts to interpret Scripture. What I like best about Carson’s work is that he wrote one chapter about his own exegetical failing (as I recall – it has been a few years since I read this great work, and it has gone through a good many printings).

My point is this: even godly scholars fail to interpret Scripture accurately. Or perhaps I should say, even godly scholars are guilty of twisting Scripture. If this is true of those who love God, honor His Word, and seek to “rightly divide the Word of truth,” then surely we should expect that those with much less noble motives would twist the Scriptures to mean something other than what God intended to convey to us. They may do this to gain a personal following,6 or to profit financially,7 which they do at their own peril:

5 And regard the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as also our dear brother Paul wrote to you, according to the wisdom given to him, 16 speaking of these things in all his letters. Some things in these letters are hard to understand, things the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they also do to the rest of the scriptures. 17 Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard that you do not get led astray by the error of these unprincipled men and fall from your firm grasp on the truth. 18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the honor both now and on that eternal day (2 Peter 3:15-18).

Scripture twisting posed a threat to the church at Thessalonica. Consistent with Peter’s words above, there were those who were twisting Paul’s words regarding the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus. This seems to be Paul’s primary concern when he wrote 2 Thessalonians, especially chapter 2. In our text, Paul exposes the error and sets out to correct it. In this message, I hope not only to focus on Paul’s dealing with false doctrine regarding the Second Coming, but also to show how we can learn to handle the Scriptures in such a way as to discern “twisting” when it occurs.

A Word of Warning from Paul

2 Thessalonians 2:1-5

1 Now regarding the arrival of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to be with him, we ask you, brothers and sisters, 2 not to be easily8 shaken from your composure or disturbed by any kind of spirit or message or letter allegedly from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord is already here. 3 Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not arrive until the rebellion comes and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction. 4 He opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, and as a result he takes his seat in God’s temple, displaying himself as God. 5 Surely you recall that I used to tell you these things while I was still with you (2 Thessalonians 2:1-5).

I understand Paul’s words in verse 1 to be a reference to what he had already taught the Thessalonians while he was with them, and which he reiterated when he wrote 1 Thessalonians 4:13—5:11.9 Paul’s attention in our text is on the timing and sequence of these events, rather than on the results, which are spelled out in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 and 2 Thessalonians 1:5-10.

I understand Paul’s words to be a warning to the Thessalonians regarding a threat to the church which may not yet have reached them. Notice the rather weak “ask” of verse 1.10 Had the error already arrived in Thessalonica, we could expect stronger words from Paul. No one individual or group is named as the source of the error, and the falsehood is also described as coming from several possible sources. All of this appears to be a kind of fad or movement that is sweeping through the churches, something like the way Open Theology or the Emergent Church movement has infiltrated the evangelical church today. If Paul is in Corinth, the error may already have appeared there,11 and thus he is concerned that it will soon reach Thessalonica. It is possible, of course, that it has already reached Thessalonica, but the source does not appear to be clear to Paul if that is the case.

The error is not a direct attack of the gospel or of the Apostle Paul. It seeks to appear authentic and consistent with Paul’s teaching. It may even be conveyed as though it were Paul’s teaching. Thus, it appears as a kind of explanation or clarification of Paul’s previous teaching (as they heard it directly from Paul when he was with them, or as they read it in 1 Thessalonians). The main point is that this teaching would appear under the guise of being from Paul and his associates (“from us,” verse 2). It also may be represented as coming directly by way of divine revelation (a prophetic utterance, no doubt). No wonder Paul had instructed the Thessalonians to test such revelations.12

It would be worthwhile to call attention to the ways those who sought to introduce this new form of false teaching might seek to authenticate it. Someone might utter what they claimed to be a prophetic utterance as the church gathered. This utterance would convey the error, and the claim would be made that this came directly from God through the Holy Spirit. After all, Paul had instructed the church not to quench the Spirit by despising prophetic utterances.13 Another possibility would be that a false teacher could teach this particular error and claim that he had heard this directly from Paul. Yet another possibility would be for someone to claim to have received a letter from Paul containing this “new” teaching. The letter might not be produced, or it could be produced in the form of a forgery. No wonder Paul went to such great efforts to authenticate his epistles.14

The error which Paul sought to prevent or correct is this: “The Day of the Lord has come.” Paul has already employed this expression (“the Day of the Lord”) in 1 Thessalonians 5:2.

1 Now on the topic of times and seasons, brothers and sisters, you have no need for anything to be written to you. 2 For you know quite well that the day of the Lord will come in the same way as a thief in the night (1 Thessalonians 5:1-2).

In 1 Thessalonians 5, Paul speaks of the Day of the Lord as a future event, one that will take unbelievers by surprise. Believers on the other hand should be expectantly waiting for this day, living in a way that they will be prepared to meet their Lord. Now, Paul warns that there will be some who will seek to convince the Thessalonian saints that the Day of the Lord has come.

One has to wonder how this error would prove convincing to any Thessalonian believer, since they were doing so well in their Christian walk. I think there are several factors that the Scripture twisters would have sought to use to their advantage. First, it would seem that the persecution of the church was intense, and that the saints were more than eager for it to end. Based on what Paul has already taught the Thessalonians, they would naturally (and rightly) conclude that their suffering would now end and that their time of blessing had come. Paul’s teaching in 2 Thessalonians 1 taught just that.

Second, although Paul’s teaching plainly contradicted the false teachers, the Thessalonians – like all too many Christians today – were not calling Paul’s teaching to mind, and thus they had forgotten what they had been taught. Third, Paul was absent from Thessalonica and was not there to immediately contradict this new error. Fourth, the error was being promoted by those who claimed either divine authority, or Paul’s approval, or both.

It is interesting to note that Paul never actually commanded the Thessalonians not to believe or to embrace this error here. What Paul did ask was that the Thessalonian saints not become troubled or shaken by this false teaching. This implies that false teaching may not need to be fully believed or embraced in order for it to have an adverse effect on believers. Suppose that the mere possibility that this could be true (or wondering if it was true) was sufficient to create doubts or fears.

The terms “shaken” and “disturbed” convey thoughts of a strong and significant reaction to this teaching. While our text reads, “shaken in your composure,” the original text more literally reads, “shaken from your mind.” In other words, the Thessalonians should not panic so as to cease to think clearly, based upon the knowledge they have gained through Paul’s teaching. When we panic, we are not thinking clearly.

Why would the Thessalonians have such a strong reaction to this particular error? In a word, it is because the Second Coming has played such a dominant role in Paul’s teaching, especially in his Thessalonian epistles. The Second Coming is when our Lord comes and we are “gathered to be with Him” (verse 1). It is when our Lord returns that the bodies of the dead in Christ will be raised, and that all the saints will be reunited with Christ and each other.15 It is when the Thessalonian saints are united with Christ at His return that Paul will experience his joy, because the Thessalonians are his glory and joy.16 The Second Coming is the goal of our sanctification process:

11 Now may God our Father himself and our Lord Jesus direct our way to you. 12 And may the Lord cause you to increase and abound in love for one another and for all, just as we do for you, 13 so that your hearts are strengthened in holiness to be blameless before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints (1 Thessalonians 3:11-13).

It is only then that we will truly be like Christ (1 John 3:2-3; 2 Peter 3:10-13). The certainty of the Second Coming of our Lord is the basis for our hope, and thus for our perseverance.

Just how might this false teaching that the Day of the Lord has come impact the Thessalonian saints? Let me suggest two possibilities. First, this teaching would likely cause a Christian to conclude that he or she had missed the Second Coming, thus causing them to doubt their salvation. If the Day of the Lord has come, then my suffering should have ceased, and my blessings should have begun. Those who persecute me, however, should now be under divine condemnation. But things continue as they were. I am suffering for identifying with Christ, and unbelievers are persecuting me for doing so. They are not being punished; they are prospering. Beyond this, the Day of the Lord was said to catch unbelievers by surprise. If I didn’t realize that the Day of the Lord has come, then it has caught me by surprise. So, how can I possibly be saved?

There is yet another way that believing the Day of the Lord has come could cause a Christian to panic. At this point, I remind you of our Lord’s words in Matthew 24:

3 As he was sitting on the Mount of Olives, his disciples came to him privately and said, “Tell us, when will these things happen? And what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” 4 Jesus answered them, “Watch out that no one misleads you. 5 For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will mislead many. 6 You will hear of wars and rumors of wars. Make sure that you are not alarmed, for this must happen, but the end is still to come” (Matthew 24:3-6, emphasis mine).

Here is what I understand our Lord is saying in Matthew 24 (which is exactly what Paul is saying in our text as well): “You are eager to know when I will return to establish My kingdom on earth. Beware, for there is great danger of being deceived (especially for those who are eagerly looking for it to come). When times get particularly difficult, you will be tempted to become alarmed and panic. In these difficult days, many will arise who falsely claim to be the Messiah, but don’t be deceived. Don’t believe them. There are more troubles ahead, but when I do come, no one will be able to miss it! I will not appear in some remote area to a handful of hopeful people; I will be seen by all.

So, I believe that those who twist the Scriptures (in this case, Paul’s teaching and writings) will do so in order to convince many that they are the Messiah. Overzealous Christians who are tired of suffering and persecution will be all too eager for Messiah to come, and thus they will be tempted to follow one of these false messiahs.

Now someone is certain to object, “But how could anyone believe in one of these false messiahs if they did not accomplish what Paul had promised – raising the dead saints, rewarding the righteous, and punishing the wicked?” No wonder Paul has to devote an entire chapter (and not a small one at that!) to refuting the error of those who claimed that there was no resurrection from the dead:

Now if Christ is being preached as raised from the dead, how can some of you say there is no resurrection of the dead? (1 Corinthians 15:12)

Others seem to have handled the resurrection differently – they taught that the resurrection had come:

16 But avoid profane chatter, because those occupied with it will stray further and further into ungodliness, 17 and their message will spread its infection like gangrene. Hymenaeus and Philetus are in this group. 18 They have strayed from the truth by saying that the resurrection has already occurred, and they are undermining some people’s faith (2 Timothy 2:16-18).

The only way I can think of to justify this claim would be to insist that the resurrection was not a bodily (physical) resurrection, but rather a “spiritual” resurrection.

Paul’s Correction: Why the Day of the Lord Has Not Come

2 Thessalonians 2:3-5

3 Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not arrive until the rebellion comes and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction. 4 He opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, and as a result he takes his seat in God’s temple, displaying himself as God. 5 Surely you recall that I used to tell you these things while I was still with you (2 Thessalonians 2:3-5).

Paul’s choice of words in verse 3 is significant when he writes, “Let no one deceive you in any way.” This indicates that Paul expects deception to come from a very wide range of possibilities. Let’s remind ourselves just who this could include. First, we can expect false teaching from heretics, such as those who deny the deity and/or the humanity of the Lord Jesus.17 There are those highly respected leaders who have departed into some form of error in order to attract a following.18 And then there are those who claim to speak for Paul, with his authority (such as we find in our text). No wonder we read these words from Paul in Galatians:

6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are following a different gospel – 7 not that there really is another gospel, but there are some who are disturbing you and wanting to distort the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we (or an angel from heaven) should preach a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be condemned to hell! 9 As we have said before, and now I say again, if any one is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, let him be condemned to hell! (Galatians 1:6-9)

Paul writes here that he and his fellow apostles were bound to abide by the Scriptures, so that if he or one of his fellow apostles taught what was contrary to God’s Word, it should be rejected as error. This has profound implications, because it means that even though someone might claim to speak for Paul, or to have an epistle from Paul, if what is taught as from Paul departs from what has already been received as Scripture, it must be rejected as false. No wonder Paul instructs the Thessalonians not to be deceived by anyone by any means. That covers it all, as it should.

So just what is it that has already been taught as God’s Word that proves those wrong who claim that the Day of the Lord has come? Paul’s argument is based upon a simple sequence of events which culminates in the coming of the Day of the Lord. This sequence can be seen in Daniel’s prophecies,19 from the teaching of our Lord,20 and can be remembered from what Paul has previously taught the Thessalonians.21

And so, given this required sequence of events, there are two things which precede the Day of the Lord which have not yet been fulfilled: (1) the great apostasy; and, (2) the appearance of the “man of lawlessness.”

For that day will not arrive until the rebellion comes and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction (2 Thessalonians 2:3b, emphasis mine).

The first prerequisite for the Day of the Lord is the great “rebellion” or “apostasy.” The Greek word translated “rebellion” above is the word apostasia, from which we get the word apostasy. Indeed, the NASB and the CSB both translate this word “apostasy” in 2 Thessalonians 2:3. Other translations seem to favor “rebellion.” Both the KJV and NKJV versions render these terms “falling away,” but even this rendering is a far cry from anything that could be understood as pointing to the gathering of the saints.22 Paul is speaking of the apostasy that occurs as this world rebels against God’s Word and the offer of salvation through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. I believe this is part of what Jesus was speaking about in Matthew 24:

3 As he was sitting on the Mount of Olives, his disciples came to him privately and said, “Tell us, when will these things happen? And what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” 4 Jesus answered them, “Watch out that no one misleads you. 5 For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will mislead many. 6 You will hear of wars and rumors of wars. Make sure that you are not alarmed, for this must happen, but the end is still to come. 7 For nation will rise up in arms against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these things are the beginning of birth pains. 9 “Then they will hand you over to be persecuted and will kill you. You will be hated by all the nations because of my name. 10 Then many will be led into sin, and they will betray one another and hate one another. 11 And many false prophets will appear and deceive many, 12 and because lawlessness will increase so much, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But the person who endures to the end will be saved” (Matthew 24:3-13, emphasis mine).

I believe that our Lord is also referring to the great apostasy or falling away (from the faith) when He speaks these words in Luke 18:

1 Then Jesus told them a parable to show them they should always pray and not lose heart. 2 He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected people. 3 There was also a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ 4 For a while he refused, but later on he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor have regard for people, 5 yet because this widow keeps on bothering me, I will give her justice, or in the end she will wear me out by her unending pleas.’” 6 And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unrighteous judge says! 7 Won’t God give justice to his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he delay long to help them? 8 I tell you, he will give them justice speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” (Luke 18:1-8, emphasis mine)

I believe that our Lord is speaking of a significant reduction in the ranks brought about by the tribulation of those difficult days.

In addition to the great apostasy of the last days, there must also be the revelation of the “man of lawlessness.”

3 Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not arrive until the rebellion comes and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction. 4 He opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, and as a result he takes his seat in God’s temple, displaying himself as God (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4, emphasis mine).

Due to differing Greek manuscripts, the “man of lawlessness” is identified as the “man of sin” in the KJV and NKJV. The difference is really not significant, as we can see from John’s words in 1 John 3:

Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; indeed, sin is lawlessness (1 John 3:4).

For the moment, let us consider the way that Paul has characterized the “man of lawlessness.” I take Paul literally and thus conclude that this man is just that, a man – not Satan, and not some kind of demonic being (though he is empowered by Satan, as we shall see later). This man is also “the son of destruction.” This is exactly the same expression that we find in John’s Gospel:

“When I was with them I kept them safe and watched over them in your name that you have given me. Not one of them was lost except the one destined for destruction [literally, the “son of destruction”], so that the scripture could be fulfilled” (John 17:12, emphasis mine).

While the expression, “man of lawlessness,” describes the character and conduct of this man who is yet to appear, the further description of him as “the son of destruction” describes both his nature and his destiny. Just as Judas brought about the arrest and crucifixion of Jesus, he ended up killing himself. The “man of lawlessness” is a “son of destruction,” so that his destiny is clear and certain.

He opposes and exalts himself above every object of human worship, so that he may install himself as God. How Satan-like he is:

12 Look how you have fallen from the sky, O shining one, son of the dawn! You have been cut down to the ground, O conqueror of the nations! 13 You said to yourself, “I will climb up to the sky. Above the stars of El I will set up my throne. I will rule on the mountain of assembly on the remote slopes of Zaphon. 14 I will climb up to the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High!” (Isaiah 14:12-14).

1 The word of the Lord came to me: 2 “Son of man, say to the prince of Tyre, ‘This is what the sovereign Lord says: “‘Your heart is proud and you said, “I am a god; I sit in the seat of gods, in the heart of the seas” – yet you are a man and not a god, though you think you are godlike’” (Ezekiel 28:1-2).

“Then the king will do as he pleases. He will exalt and magnify himself above every deity and he will utter presumptuous things against the God of gods. He will succeed until the time of wrath is completed, for what has been decreed must occur” (Daniel 11:36).

Students of the Scriptures differ over what to do with Paul’s reference to the temple in our text (verse 4). The problem is that there is not a temple in Jerusalem now, since it was destroyed by the Romans in 70 A.D. In my mind, the most likely explanations are: (1) that the temple is used metaphorically, and thus Paul is referring to the church; or, (2) a literal temple will be built in Jerusalem before this time. While some impressive scholars argue for the metaphorical interpretation,23 I am more inclined to take Paul’s words literally. That would require the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem.

Paul’s words in verse 5 are surely a reminder, but it is hard not to see them as a mild rebuke because believing the false claims of the Scripture twisters requires the Thessalonians to either forget or forsake Paul’s previous teaching. How easy it is to forget God’s Word and to embrace something else as the truth. Thus, God found it necessary to continually remind His people of the truths of His Word:

Again, however, pay very careful attention, lest you forget the things you have seen and disregard them for the rest of your life; instead teach them to your children and grandchildren (Deuteronomy 4:9).

Be on guard so that you do not forget the covenant of the Lord your God that he has made with you, and that you do not make an image of any kind, just as he has forbidden you (Deuteronomy 4:23).

10 Therefore, brothers and sisters, make every effort to be sure of your calling and election. For by doing this you will never stumble into sin. 11 For thus an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be richly provided for you. 12 Therefore, I intend to remind you constantly of these things even though you know them and are well established in the truth that you now have. 13 Indeed, as long as I am in this tabernacle, I consider it right to stir you up by way of a reminder, 14 since I know that my tabernacle will soon be removed, because our Lord Jesus Christ revealed this to me. 15 Indeed, I will also make every effort that, after my departure, you have a testimony of these things (2 Peter 1:10-15).24

1 Dear friends, this is already the second letter I have written you, in which I am trying to stir up your pure mind by way of reminder: 2 I want you to recall both the predictions foretold by the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles (2 Peter 3:1-2).


Let us begin by reminding ourselves of the purposes of biblical prophecy:

    1. Prophecies are given and fulfilled to give us great confidence that God’s promises will always be fulfilled.25

    2. Prophecy is given to God’s people so that they know what to expect (1 Thessalonians 5:1-11; 2 Peter 3:17).

    3. Prophecy is given so that God’s people may know all they need to know about the future, but not more than this (see Deuteronomy 29:29). It is often the desire to know more about the future than God intends that gets people into trouble.

    4. Prophecy is given to the people of God so they will not be deceived by those who make false claims regarding the present or the future (2 Thessalonians 2:5; 2 Peter 3:17).

    5. Prophecy is given to God’s people to give them hope, which enables them to persevere in difficult times (Romans 15:4).

    6. Prophecy is given to instruct us how we should behave (see 2 Peter 3:11-13).

    7. Prophecy is given to us to remind us that God is in complete control, and that He will fulfill all of His purposes and promises (2 Peter 1:16-21).

    8. Prophecy not only informs Christians about what the future holds for us, it also instructs us concerning what the future holds for unbelievers, thus giving us incentive to evangelize.

Given Paul’s description of the “man of lawlessness,” I believe that our world is ripe for the appearance of this individual. We live in an age of autonomy, when no one wants to be told what to do, even regarding such horrible acts as abortion. This is an age of rebellion against authority and of believing that one’s own assessment of what is true is the truth – for them. The “man of lawlessness” would fit right in to our culture, and our culture is ready to receive him.

We should learn from our text to beware of “new revelation” that changes or sets aside what has already been revealed in God’s Word.

I have applied these things to myself and Apollos because of you, brothers and sisters, so that through us you may learn “not to go beyond what is written,” so that none of you will be puffed up in favor of the one against the other (1 Corinthians 4:6).

18 I testify to the one who hears the words of the prophecy contained in this book: If anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. 19 And if anyone takes away from the words of this book of prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city that are described in this book (Revelation 22:18-19).

As Paul has clearly indicated in the first chapter of his Epistle to the Galatians, neither he nor any of the apostles has the freedom to change what has been previously taught as God’s Word. No teachings contrary to God’s Word can be true, even those which may be presented as having come from Paul himself. This means that Christians must know God’s Word in order to discern error and its consequences. Let us know the truth so well that error is readily evident.

1 Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are from the NET Bible. The NEW ENGLISH TRANSLATION, also known as THE NET BIBLE, is a completely new translation of the Bible, not a revision or an update of a previous English version. It was completed by more than twenty biblical scholars who worked directly from the best currently available Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek texts. The translation project originally started as an attempt to provide an electronic version of a modern translation for electronic distribution over the Internet and on CD (compact disk). Anyone anywhere in the world with an Internet connection will be able to use and print out the NET Bible without cost for personal study. In addition, anyone who wants to share the Bible with others can print unlimited copies and give them away free to others. It is available on the Internet at:

2 James W. Sire, Scripture Twisting: Twenty Ways the Cults Misread the Bible (Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 1980).

3 James Sire, p. 6.

4 Sire, p. 7.

5 D. A. Carson, Exegetical Fallacies (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Academic, 1996).

6 Acts 20:29-30.

7 Acts 20:33-35; 1 Thessalonians 2:5-6; 2 Peter 2:1-3.

8 I believe that the sense of this term is consistently “quickly,” rather than “easily.” The translations are fairly evenly split between these two options in their rendering of this verse.

9 I understand that Paul’s teaching in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 may have been new to them (verse 13), but it is clear that his words in 5:1-13 were not new (see 5:1-2).

10 Contrast “beseech” in the KJV and “beg” in the NRS.

11 See 1 Corinthians 15:12. I will shortly seek to show the connection between the denial of the resurrection and the error which Paul speaks of in our text.

12 See 1 Thessalonians 5:20.

13 1 Thessalonians 5:19-20.

14 See Romans 16:22; 1 Corinthians 16:21; Galatians 6:11; Colossians 4:18; 2 Thessalonians 3:17; Philemon 19.

15 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

16 1 Thessalonians 2:19-20.

17 See 1 John 2:18, 22; 4:3; 2 John 7.

18 See Acts 20:29-30.

19 See Daniel 7, 9, 11.

20 See, for example, Matthew 24.

21 2 Thessalonians 2:5.

22 For Paul’s choice of words regarding this, see 1 Thessalonians 4:17; 2 Thessalonians 2:1; Philippians 3:14.

23 See G. K. Beale, 1-2 Thessalonians (Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 2003), pp. 209-210.

24 See also Exodus 13:9; 2 Kings 17:36-39; Psalm 103:2ff.; 119:16, 83, 93, 1-9, 141, 153, 176; Jeremiah 2:32; 23:26-27; Hosea 4:6; Romans 15:14-16; 1 Corinthians 4:17; 2 Timothy 1:6; 2:14; Titus 3:1; 2 Peter 3:1; Jude 1:5.

25 Isaiah 48:3-8; see also Matthew 2:17; Mark 15:28; Luke 22:21-22; 24:44; Acts 1:16; 3:18; Revelation 17:17.