The Reading of the Epistles in Real Time
Writer: Kepenes D. Evangelos (04/17/2017)
Biblical references from LXXE, AKJV, ESV2011 and others if they fit better to the Grk txt
Paul requests their prayers (First century)
"Now I beseech [...] that ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for me; that I may be delivered from them that are disobedient in Judaea ..."
By examining the Epistles in real time, we understand the struggle of the Apostles and the brothers in Christ, and the polemic they attempted against them, specially they of the circumcision, who had penetrated between them, introducing heresies of perdition - false teachings and refusing the Despot who bought them, creating divisions and scandals. Under these circumstances, Paul struggled, wrote, urging the saints of his age.
“And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God. For to you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake.” (Philip. 1:28-29)
After we perceive the prevailing situation in the church at that time, the struggle of the believers, their sufferings by the Jews, their sociopolitical environment, and their expectation of the imminent coming (parousia G3952) of the great God and savior Jesus Christ to punish Jerusalem’s wicked people and to be glorified in his saints, we can understand the scriptures more precisely.
The Second Epistle to the Thessalonians
Note that the red letters have been inserted by the translators and have no basis in the original Greek text.
“Now we beseech you, brothers, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together to him,  That you 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 (Grk: apostasy) first and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;  Who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sits in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.  Remember you not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?  And now you know (what withholds) that he might be revealed in his time.  For the mystery of iniquity does already work: (only he who now lets 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 with all delusion 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.” (II Thes. 2:1-12)
Notes to comprehend this part of scripture
I) AKJV verse 6: And now you know (what withholds) (Greek text: το κατέχον) that he might be revealed in his time
Since apostle Paul does not explicitly mention the katechon's identity, the passage's interpretation has been subject to dialogue and debate amongst Christian scholars.
Paul uses the present participle form of the verb katecho first in the neuter (to katechon/το κατέχον) and then in the masculine (ho katechon/ο κατέχων).
The Greek verb katecho [κατέχω] is polysemy, has multiple meanings. When we use it for circumstances - situations - conditions means // I possess the mind (Liddell - Scott).
When we use it on rulers means: I possess // have somebody or something under my authority // I have the control // the power [Liddell - Scott].
So this is what Paul wrote in verse 6: “And now you know “το κατέχον” the katechon [= the possessing evil power/the evil spirit, that he might be revealed in his time (It was acting secretly/invisible)].
II) AKJV verse 7: For the mystery of iniquity does already work: (Only he who now lets will let, until he be taken out of the way).
The last part of this verse, has been inserted by the translators, and has no basis in the original Greek text.
Greek text: "μόνον ο κατέχων άρτι έως εκ μέσου γένηται"
o κατέχων = He who possesses // he who takes control over a person’s mind [= “The prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience." (Eph. 2:1-2)]
άρτι = now έως = until εκ μέσου = out of the midst
γένηται (genetai): it is a second aorist, middle, deponent, subjuctive, of the Greek verb γίνομαι or γίγνομαι (ginomai) = to come into existence // come in to being // to cause to be // to be created // to be born //or to be produced.
So (έως εκ μέσου γένηται) means: until he comes into being out of the midst or until he comes forth out of the midst.
Here is an example for better understanding: “Water came forth from the hole in the wall”.
Let’s see now what Paul wrote: “For the mystery of iniquity does already work only until he who now is the possessor /the controller/the evil power/ho katexon, comes into being/comes forth out of the midst and then shall the lawless be revealed whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming.”
Paul describes the battle between the evil spirit and the Holy one. As God/the Spirit (John 4:24) is present in the midst of his faithful people, so, ho katexon/the evil spirit, was present in the midst of the sons of disobedience. And as God/the spirit was manifest in Christ Jesus, the Holy one, so this evil power was manifest in antichrist the lawless one. Jesus was from above, Antichrist was from beneath. (John 8:23)
The apostles were told them these things many times and the Christians knew that every spirit that did not confess Jesus Christ was not from God, but it was the spirit of the antichrist which they knew that it would come soon and it was already in the world at their time and acted among the sons of disobedience and perdition (antichrists), possessing their mind.
“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” (Eph. 6:12)
“Why I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.” (I Cor. 12:3)
“And every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already.” (I John 4:3 ESV 2011)
"We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error.” (I John 4:6)
“And you were dead in the trespasses and sins which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience.” (Eph. 2:1-2)
“But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world has blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine to them.” (II Cori. 4:3-4)
What the believers of Thessaloniki understood when they received the second letter from the apostle Paul
They understood that prior to the second presence (parousia) of Jesus for which they waited to take place in their generation and their assembly on him (I Thes. 4:13-18), the apostasy/separation from the church the body of Christ, would happen "first" and the man of lawlessness would be revealed, the antichrist, the man doomed to perdition, the one who would oppose and would exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshipped, the one who would set himself up in God’s temple [the earthly temple of Jerusalem, which the Jews admired (Mat. 24:1)], proclaiming himself to be God.
The identity of the son of perdition, the antichrist
1) He revealed himself, he was unveiled. The event denotes past secret action. The mystery of lawlessness was already acted and the lawless was revealed.
2) He was the man of lawlessness, a Jew who knew the law, but he was breaking it.
3) He was among those who left the primitive church, a renegade. The apostasy had to come for him to be revealed.
4) He was a false teacher, teaching heresies of perdition since he was the son of perdition.
5) He was a dissident, an antichrist, refusing the only despot and Lord Jesus Christ.
6) He was overpowered, he lifted himself above all deities or venerations. (the Roman emperors were also called "sebastoi = venerable ones," and the temples where the imperial cult was celebrated were called "sebasteia = venerable ones" --Ed.), therefore, he had no connection to them, as many claim that the antichrist could have been Nero or Titus or any other emperor, or the Pope of Rome in later assumptions.
7) He revealed himself to the generation of the apostles, sat in the temple of Jerusalem proving that he is a god before the destruction of the temple in 70 AD.
8) He was a false prophet; his coming was after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in all perished Jews.
9) He acted among the perished Jews who had heresies of perdition, they committed iniquity, they were against Jesus, they had not accepted the love of truth in order to be saved and they were possessed by the wicked spirit (the possessing and the possessor) that acted and had the power between the sons of disobedience (Eph. 2:1-2, I John 4:3).
10) This action of fallacy, the antichrist, was sent by God to the disobedient Jews (the perished ones) in order to believe in falsehood, and those who did not believe in the truth, "the heavenly Jesus Christ", but were in favor of injustice, to be judged.
“I am come in my Father's name, and you receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him you will receive.” [John 5:43]
The first brothers in Christ, who possessed the truth, knew that the geographical area of action of the antichrist was the land of Israel, where the temple was built, and the time of his action was their generation. They also knew that the role of the antichrist was not to replace the Roman empire or any other future empire in order to become a world leader, but to act among the perished ones with signs and lying wonders in order to believe in the lie and be judged, unlike the signs and true wonders that were acted by God through the apostles "upon the people."
“And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders worked among the people; and they were all with one accord in Solomon's porch.” (Acts 5:12)
The beast that comes out of the sea and the beast that comes out of the earth
“Daniel spoke and said, I saw in my vision by night, and, behold, the four winds of the heaven strove on the great sea. And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another.”(Dan. 7:2-3)
“ [As for] me Daniel, my spirit in my body trembled, and the visions of my head troubled me. And I drew near to one of them that stood by, and I sought to learn of him the truth of all these things: and he told me the truth, and made known to me the interpretation of the things. These four beasts are four kingdoms [that] shall rise up on the earth: which shall be taken away; and the saints of the Most High shall take the kingdom, and possess it for ever and ever.” (Dan. 7:15-18 LXXE)
The book of Daniel interprets that the four great beasts that came out from the sea are kingdoms that raised up on the earth of Israel. These four great kingdoms were Babylonian, Persian, Greek, and Roman.
The identification of the antichrist with the beast that had 7 heads and 10 horns (Rev. 13:1) lacks any biblical basis. The things described in the book of revelation are about Rome (the beast from the sea) and Israel (the beast from the earth of Israel, which had two horns like a lamb and it spoke like a dragon) that were in a state of war. The two horns of the beast from the earth are the political and religious power of Israel accompanied by false prophets. At that time, every Jewish power was Roman-friendly (he spoke like a dragon) and acted for the interests of Rome, thus achieving the preservation of its privileges. The narrative events have nothing to do with the end of the world; they tell us what happened during the period of the Jewish war against the Romans which was the cause of the fall of Jerusalem. They have to do with events of that time, such as:
1) Forced worship of Rome and its emperors (Rev. 13:11-12) as proof of submission to the then master of the earth of Israel and the overthrow and punishment of the revolutionary Jews. The worship of the emperors contributed to the political and religious cohesion of the Roman state, whoever denied it was characterized as his enemy.
The edict concerned only those who lived in the land of Israel to whom they had been given the right to worship their own God instead to worship Caesar and the goddess Roma and it was legislated by the beast from the earth. The other provinces of the Roman Empire worshipped the goddess Roma as a protector and benefactor and each Caesar willingly, pursuing the title of the Sebastian Neocorus (Neocora = the privilege of building an imperial temple), on which their financial strength and their cultural and social perspective depended.
[For more details about the worship of goddess Roma see the book of Mellor R. “The Goddess Roma in the Greek world (Hypomnemata) Gottingen 1975”].
A similar measure was taken during the war in Antioch as Josephus writes: “When the war was announced, the Jews were hated by everyone. One of them named Antiochus, his father was the ruler of the Jews of Antioch, renounced both Judaism and his father, and accused some Jews publicly of conspiring to burn Antioch. The result was that the Antiochians burnt the accused Jews to save their city. Then, he forced the Jews to sacrifice in the Greek way in order to reveal the conspirators, some sacrificed while others were killed. So with the consent of the Roman general, Antiochus became governor of the Jews, forcing them to work on the Sabbath day. The abolition of this holiday was soon spread to other cities.” (The Jewish War vii chapter 3, 4)
2) Control of trade in the land of Israel "economic blockade - sanctions" where nobody could buy or sell if he did not have the necessary certification "mark" that he was a friend of Rome rather than a foe.
3) The old-known and always up-to-date method of misinforming and deceiving by fake signs and miracles through the organs of the Roman-friendly Judaic power, the false prophets, aiming at the rescue of its privileges again.
The historical circumstances of that time made the primitive church face up to its own confession that Jesus Christ is the true God and eternal life (I John 5:20).
“And another angel, a third, followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast (Roman empire) and its image and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, he also will drink the wine of God's wrath, poured full strength into the cup of his anger, and he will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. (See 2 Thes. 1:7). And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name. Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus.” (Rev. 14:9-12)
Many Jewish Christians and ethnic Christians that refused to sacrifice and worship in the national idolatrous way were killed, blessed by the Lord.
“And I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from now on: Yes, said the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors; and their works do follow them.” (Rev.14:13)
Also, the Judaists that refused to worship the image of the beast were similarly killed, thus remaining faithful to Judaism, which was to be abolished (Heb. 8:13).
Some claim that the mark might have been a technical term of the imperial stamp or the emperor's own currency. However, we have a literal historical incident of mark during the reign of Ptolemy IV Philopator (222-204 BC), who forbade all Egyptian Jews to worship their God and enter into their synagogues. Instead, they had to be enrolled in the slaves' lists and be marked with burning iron, the sign of god Dionysus "ivy leaf" or be killed. Those who wanted to take part in the worship of the idols became equal citizens of Alexandria. Some succumbed, while others were killed or tried to avoid their registration on the slaves' lists with money (III Maccab. 2:25-33).
Six hundred and sixty six
Thus the Roman Empire (the beast from the sea) is not identified as "Antichrist" with the information given by the apostles, because they did not expect it to come, it already existed before Christ, it was already worshipped as "the goddess Roma, the benefactor and protecting dominant power," it was neither a part or member of the church of Christ nor it came out - it defected, it was not a man, but the number of that name was the number of a man, and the number of him was six hundred and sixty-six, and not 666, that is a triad of the same numbers (Rev. 13:17, Ezra 2:13).
To understand the difference between 666 and six hundred and sixty-six let's see a related article from the Christian magazine "Tyxikos, Sept.-Oct. 2002 Issue."
The number 666
“Regarding the secret number 666 that we find in the book of Revelation, many scholars get carried away with the similarity of the three digits of 6 that form the number as we understand it after the introduction of the so-called Arabic numbers - many centuries after the writing of the New Testament texts.
However, when the Revelation was written, a combination of three similar mathematical digits had not passed through the writer's mind. In fact, in the critical editions of the text, the number is not even attributed to the letters of the Greek alphabet - χξς - but the number is written in full, that is "six hundred and sixty-six." It is known that the people of that time if they wanted to express this number "numerically", they would not write "ςςς", but the Greeks would have to write ΧΞCΤ or χξς [as in the papyruses p18 and p47], and the Romans would have to write DCLXVI . They would never write 666.
Although the Jews applied a similar system after the Babylonian captivity, they never used it in the Bible, where the numbers are always written with whole words. (In I Kings 10:14, 666 is written in full as "six hundred and sixty-six talents of gold").
According to the above, none of the first-century Christians ever thought that one day the arithmetic expression "six hundred and sixty-six" would be depicted with three identical digits, tricking those who try to rely on the similarity of the three sixes and identify the number 666 with the bar code system that contains a 6 at the beginning, a 6 in the middle and a 6 at the end of it.
If they want to insist on any "disguised" meaning of 6, then they must know that there are not 3 but 111 sixes in 666 (111 x 6 = 666).
From the above, it seems that the claims of those who think they will "solve" the problem based on the number 6 either as a symbolic number of a human being or as a symbol of imperfection and other similar forms (tricks) appear to be unsubstantiated.” (Source: http://www.tyxikos.gr/02-9-28.html)
In closing, we would like to ask the brothers in Christ not to turn their attention to Hollywood's profitable film productions regarding antichrist, but to remember together the apostle Paul's statement.
“And now, brothers, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.” (Acts 20:32)
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with our spirit, brothers. Amen.
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