In 1 Thessalonians 2 Paul provides this warning for the people of God and for all humanity.
1 Thessalonians 2:1 Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, 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 a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition.
Let us consider Paul’s words.
He begins by saying that we are not to be shaken or disturbed by words that the end is near, because certain things must happen first. These things are our warning signs.
The first point is that there will be a general “falling away” from God and his commandments.
By assuming that he now had the power to bind and loose the Word of God; Popes place themselves over God and began to sit in judgment of God and His Word since the earliest time of Roman Catholicism. The Pope began to decide for himself what was right or wrong just like all other religions and in so doing he exalted himself ABOVE GOD.
There was a great falling away during the days of Constantine and there has been a great apostasy through to these latter days when Herbert Armstrong apostatized and adopted this false teaching that he or his organization has the right to bind or loose the Word of God.
This putting of anyone or anything between us and God is the SIN OF IDOLATRY. This was the beginning of a GREAT falling away of the early church from God, and a great falling away of today’s Church of God organizations as men began to focus on other men and not directly on God.
TODAY, those who claim to be the called out Ekklesia have fallen into idolatry. For they are loyal to the teachings of men and are not loyal to the teachings of Holy Scripture.
Today most of the various groups of the called out Ekklesia calling themselves the Church of God, have fallen very far away from the Eternal God. Right now there are only scattered individuals who are being faithful to the great God.
Only those who prove all things and hold fast that which is good (1 Thes 5:21); by the Word of God, are being faithful to the Eternal. A GREAT and TREMENDOUS and GENERAL falling away; has already happened in our time today!
Paul tells us that those who do not love the truth of God, which is every Word of God; enough to rely on and live by it, who do not prove all things by God’s Word; WILL BE DECEIVED.
2 Thessalonians 2:9: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, 2:10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 2:11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: 2:12 That they all might be damned [properly judged, punished and corrected in tribulation, and eternally damned if they will not repent] who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
Yes, those who do not love the truth of God above the words and false traditions of men; will be deceived, conned, taken advantage of, led about and eventually they will be destroyed for their willful ignorance.
As it is written:
Hosea 4:6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children. 4:7 As they were increased, so they sinned against me: therefore will I change their glory into shame
Those who swell with pride calling themselves God’s people, because they are faithful to the teachings of some man; have already been deceived and turned away from God.. Because they have allowed some person to come between them and God, they have gone astray. They are really blind, and wretched and spiritually naked; and they know it not.
Brethren; The Eternal is God, Beside Him There is NO Other.
God’s Word is supreme, NOT the words of ANY MAN!!! Test and Prove all things by the standard of the Word of God.
I urge you all to do a study on the words; safety, refuge, trust, faith, help. Read what the Psalms and Proverbs say about trusting in men. Your personal safety depends on it. Your eternal life depends on it. If you do not REPENT of putting anything between you and Almighty God, YOU WILL NOT BE IN THE FIRST RESURRECTION.
God has allowed a STRONG DELUSION to fall upon people to test them; whether they will put Him first, or whether they will follow some man instead. This delusion has deceive the whole world except for a very few called out by the Father in heaven. The delusion that any man can come between us and Almighty God.
The Keys to The Kingdom of Heaven
Christ speaking to Peter says, “And I will give unto thee the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven”. What are these mysterious keys? What do keys do? Keys lock and unlock things. They open doors. And in this case, we are talking about the Door to the Kingdom of Heaven.
If we turn to John 10, Jesus says, “Truly, truly I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbs up some other way, is the same as a thief and a robber. But he that enters in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the porter opens; and the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name, and leads them out. And when he puts forth his own sheep, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. And the stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him, for they know not the voice of strangers.
This parable spake Jesus unto them but they understood not what things they were, which he spake unto them. Then said Jesus unto them, verily, verily I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door. By me if any man enter in, he shall be saved and shall go in and out, and find pasture. The thief comes not but to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd.
The good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. But he that is an hireling and not the shepherd whose own the sheep are not, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep, and flees: and the wolf catches them, and scatters the sheep. The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and cares not for the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and I am known of them”.
Jesus Christ is the good shepherd. He is the Door; NOT some man.
Christ is the Door to the sheepfold and the door to the Kingdom of Heaven. It is through that Door that we can enter the Kingdom of God. The Door is the way to the Kingdom of God. That Door is Christ. And it is the sacrifice of Jesus Christ paying the penalty for our sins that opens the door. And that sacrifice is applied to those who repent of sinning, who are aggrieved with their past behavior, and sorry enough to stop doing what they have been doing, to stop breaking the commandments of God, and to start keeping those commandments.
This is what repentance is. It means a change, a change from doing wrong to doing right. It means to stop sinning. And what is sin? I John 3:4 Whosoever commits sin transgresses also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.
We must repent of breaking God’s law, of breaking His commandments, of not living by every Word of God; and when we do that, the sacrifice of Jesus Christ will be applied to us. This is exactly what Peter said on the official birth of the New Covenant church.
We find this in
Acts 2:37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their hearts, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
These people were told to repent, to turn away from sin which is the transgression of God’s law, 1 John 3:4 Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.
We must repent of breaking any part of God’s Word and we must turn away from sin to embrace and live by every Word of God, to embrace the law of God; for Jesus himself tells us in Matthew 5:18 Truly I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle, one punctuation mark; shall in no wise pass from the law until all be fulfilled [kept by all].
The law will exist as long as matter exists. As long as the heavens and the earth exist, the commandments of God exist and must be fulfilled: They must be kept they must be obeyed.
In Matthew 19:17 our Lord also said, “Why callest me good? There is none good but one, that is, God”. Even Jesus Christ [when in the flesh] said, “Only God is good”. only the Father in heaven is good, not any man; and to enter into life, last part of the verse; “if you will enter into life; keep the commandments“.
What commandments? Every Word of God the Father!
We are even told to pray to God the Father, “Thy will be done”. And what is His will? It is his will that we do what He tells us, that we do what He says!
We are to keep His commandments and we are to pray that His commandments be kept by all that exists. We are to pray, “Thy will be done” and then we are to DO his will ourselves just as we have prayed, or we are hypocrites.
Repentance does not mean simply saying you are sorry in order to avoid punishment.
Repentance means to actually be sorry enough to stop doing the offensive thing.
If you were a parent and every time you had a problem with your child, your child said, “Sorry” and ran off, and you knew very well he was not sorry and will continue to do those things. And that child ignored everything you said and went out and did whatever he wanted, and did a great many very bad things and evil things. And every time you call him on, and he would say, “Oh I’m sorry and I’ll do better”, and he went away and did the same things again, it wouldn’t be long before you would throw up your hands in frustration and say, “What am I supposed to do with this child? How can I get him to stop hurting others, and stop stealing, or lying, or fighting, or abusing others or whatever it is”.
How it is that people think God is so very different? That God is just going to tolerate and put up with whatever we do, with us ignoring Him, with us ignoring His commandments, with us cheating, and stealing, and lying, and abusing, and hurting His other children.
That somehow God is going to put up with all that; and tolerate that; and smile on us; just because we say that little word “sorry” and do we think that God will say, “Bless you child. Go on and do what you want to do and inherit my kingdom”.
How do we think that we can get away with rebellion against our heavenly Father? Do we think that God doesn’t care? Don’t we realize that our behavior in the Kingdom of God, in the Kingdom of Heaven; is going to be exactly the same as our behavior now? That we are practicing NOW to be in God’s Kingdom; and how we behave at this time is how we will continue to behave in the future.
What we are doing now needs to be corrected before it becomes a permanently ingrained habit, a permanently ingrained pattern of behavior. We have to learn to do things right. We have to learn to stop hurting one another, to stop doing evil and to develop the habit of living by every Word of God; now!
People go around with this attitude, “Well I can do anything I want now and in Heaven or in eternity, things will somehow be different, there everyone is going to be so nice and so great”.
So they go and they make war, and they maim and kill people, and they think, “I hate these people. They are my enemies. I will slaughter them. And somehow we are all going to be in the Kingdom of God, we are all going to be buddy-buddy there”.
It doesn’t work that way. We have to learn to behave now while we are physical, before we become spiritual adults. When we are spiritual adults, when we are mature in the things of God, when we are living by every Word of God, that is when we will be allowed into God’s kingdom; and not before.
If we are NOT living by every Word of God, if we are not repentant of sin; if we are NOT repenting and turning away from breaking those commandments; the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, which is the key to opening the door to God’s Kingdom and letting us in: will NOT be applied to us and we will not be allowed entry into God’s eternity. For it is written:
Revelation 22:14 Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they may have a right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city [New Jerusalem].
The eternal Jerusalem, the New Jerusalem, only those who live by every Word of God will have the right to enter that Holy City and the Right to ETERNAL LIFE.
The apostle Paul tells us this in I Corinthians 7:19 Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the commandments of God.
It is the keeping of the commandments of God, that is important. If we have a mark in our flesh, it doesn’t mean anything unless we keep the commandments of God.
If we are splashed or immersed in water; it means NOTHING unless we also obey our God, and live by every Word of God with enthusiastic zeal!
We need to repent of breaking those commandments and we need to start keeping them, we need to start listening to God our Father in heaven and to start doing what He says in his Word, start doing His will.
And then our Father’s heart will be turned toward us, as our hearts are turned towards Him.
Then the prophecy of Elijah in Malachi chapter 4:6 will be fulfilled, and he shall turn the hearts; speaking of the Elijah to come. “Behold I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with destruction”.
The only way to peace between men is for all to first be reconciled to and at peace with God! The foundation to peace between men, including parents and children is to bring both parents and children into sincere repentance from all sin, so that all will then turn to live by every Word of God which is the way to ultimate peace.
Living by every Word of God is the foundation to peace between men, therefor Elijah will turn parents and children to each other by calling all men to God, and building the only true foundation to peace between men; which is peace between man and God!
It is talking about turning the hearts of the children of men toward God, for we are told in another place that John the Baptist was a type of the Elijah to come. And it is written in Luke 1:76 And thou, child [speaking of John] shall be called the prophet of the highest for you shall go before the face of the Eternal to prepare His ways; to give knowledge of salvation unto His people for the remission of their sins [Elijah will preach the true Gospel of Salvation], through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the days spring from on high hath visited us, to give light to them that sit in darkness, and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.
It is the job of Elijah the prophet to turn men toward God to turn them toward repentance, to give them knowledge of salvation, to shine the light of God’s Word in the darkness of this world, and to show us the way to peace, which comes through living by every Word of God.
It is God’s laws which lead us to proper harmonious peaceful coexistence with one another and with God.
Jesus is recorded by John in John 15 as saying, I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that bears not fruit He takes away: and every branch that bears fruit, He purges it, that it may bring forth more fruit.
Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine, the trunk of the tree; no more can you, except you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches: He that abides in me, and I in him, the same brings forth much fruit: for without me you can do nothing. If a man does not abide in me, he is cut forth as a branch, and is withered and then gather them and cast them into the fire, and they are burned up.
There are NOT many paths to the same God. That is a damnable LIE.
The ONLY path to God our Father in heaven is through his son, Jesus Christ, for he is the ONLY Mediator between mankind and God.
1 Timothy 2:5 For there is one God [the Father], and one mediator between God [the Father] and men, the man Christ Jesus [The one who became Jesus Christ gave up his Godhood, and as a physical man came and gave his life for us, after which he was resurrected to spirit and returned to God-hood as the ONLY Intercessor between men and God the Father.]; 2:6 Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.
This is talking about the second death, the lake of fire. Anyone who does not abide in Christ, that is, who has not sincerely repented and has not been covered by the atoning sacrifice of Christ; cannot bear good fruit and will be cast into the fire.
John 15:7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, you shall ask whatsoever you will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.
To be a disciple of Jesus Christ, we must abide in Him. We must be like a branch grafted into a tree, which bears fruit, not by its own ability or power, but through the power and the ability and the strength given to it from the trunk of that tree, from the vine, from the main foundation, which is Jesus Christ.
And in order to have a relationship with Jesus Christ, we must repent of our commandment breaking.
Then He will apply His atoning sacrifice to us, opening the door to God’s Kingdom, opening the door to the resurrection to life. In Revelation 12:17 it is written, “And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ”.
Keeping the Father’s commandments makes the Dragon, the devil, Satan, very angry. He doesn’t like it because he doesn’t like God. He is jealous of God, he wants to replace God in our lives. Because he wants to replace God in our lives, he doesn’t like it when we keep God’s commandments. Satan wants us to keep his ways in rebellion against our Creator and God the Father in heaven.
This verse also shows that there is a difference between the commandments of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ.
You cannot come and say, “Well, this is referring to some vague commandment by Christ to love one another”. The testimony of Jesus Christ and the commandments of God are different yet they are the same, for the testimony of Jesus Christ is His example and His instruction.
Christ’s testimony, His instruction is to live by every Word of God the Father [Mat 4:4] as Jesus did and does. We see this again in Revelation 14:12 Here is the patience of the saints: Here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.
The faith of Jesus Christ is deeply involved with keeping God’s commandments. If we love Jesus Christ, if we follow the testimony, the example, of Jesus Christ, we will be living by every Word of God as Christ did. For He Himself said, “I have kept my Father’s commandments”.
At this time in history, one can look around and find very many different groups calling themselves God’s people.
The truth is that most of these people don’t have a clue what a Christian is.
It is human nature to want to think well about ourselves. People want to feel comfortable with themselves. They want to think that they are pretty good folks, that God has no criticism for them. And so they just read through the Bible and they say, “Wherever there is a good guy, that must be us. Wherever there is a good group, that must be our group”.
Most people tend to overlook any criticism and reject it as only applying to others. This was never the intention of Scripture. Scripture was intended to be a mirror of ourselves to show us what we are really like in the eyes of God
What is important is that we read all of these messages and apply every single one to ourselves and say, “Could we be doing better? Could we be learning more? How can we be closer to God?” And apply every one of these messages to ourselves and strive to be closer and more God-like, to have a better relationship with God.
Because, in the ultimate end of things, it doesn’t matter a grain of dust what we label ourselves. God will call us what we really are in His eyes. We can go around patting ourselves in the back and saying, “We are good Christians, we are righteous and good people”. But God may call us something very different indeed. God calls things what they are. Unfortunately, people do not.
We need to look at all the Scriptures, apply it all to ourselves, profit from all of it, for it is all written for our instruction, and our profit; all of it, not just the good things, every Word of it.
What does God or Jesus Christ here really have to say about who can save us?
Let us read in Revelation 3 :7 And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; these things sayeth he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that opens, and no man shuts; and shuts, and no man opens.
WHO shuts and no man opens? And WHO opens and no man shuts? WHO has the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven?
Is it Peter? Is it some apostle? Is it some prophet? Is it some minister? Is it some man somewhere? Is it a Pope?
Or is it Jesus Christ of Nazareth, the son of the Most High Father in Heaven?
Read it in verse seven of Revelation 3. It is Jesus Christ who has the keys to eternal life; and the keys are; on our part, repentance, and the diligent keeping of all the commandments of the heavenly Father, and all the instructions of Jesus Christ; and a diligent following of the example of Chris in pleasing the heavenly Father in all things.
And on God’s part forgiveness, and the application of Christ’s sacrifice; that is the key to the Kingdom of Heaven. And without sincere repentance He will shut that door and no man can get through it. But with repentance, which is the STOPPING of our sin and rebellion against God, the STOPPING of deciding for ourselves what is right and wrong an d instead relying on our Father to direct our paths. Then Jesus Christ will open that door, apply His sacrifice, bless us with His loving forgiveness, and open the door to God’s kingdom for us. And He goes on in verse eight, “I know your works: behold, I have set before you an open door that no man can shut”.
The Door of Christ has been opened giving access to the Father for those who know and use the Keys to The Kingdom Heaven; and the keys which unlocked that Door were wholehearted repentance from sin, and a diligent keeping of all of God’s commandments from that time onward.
What then does this mean?
Matthew 16:19 And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
It means that the disciples are given the Holy Scriptures and the Gospel of Salvation through sincere repentance; and that in temporal disputes they must bind or loose disputes between brethren according to every Word of God.