The coming of the Lord is of upmost significance to those who love and long for Him. The events of this unfolding are precursors for the culmination of God’s ordained plan for the ages. Every turning of scripture announces some aspect of Christ’s coming and how manifold these hidden mysteries are. I rejoice today in the Spirit of Truth who is leading many of my fellow brothers and sisters out of the dry and weary land of our former experience into all the riches of the new day. To every son who has heard that call in their spirit to come up higher into a third day experience, there is an open invitation by the Lord to draw from the fountain of water that springs up into everlasting life. Beloved, let us press on to drink deep from the fountain of His life that proceeds from within.
As a recap to our last message, we saw that the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ was to take peace from the earth with a great sword (Rev. 6:4, Mat. 10:34). The kingdom must come on earth as it is in heaven and any adversary which opposes this mandate must be conquered. Thus, the purpose of His coming with a sword is to bring death to the carnal man that has corrupted the world. The rider on the red (fire like) horse of Revelation 6:4 is a picture of the Lord Jesus who goes to conquer and to purge the earth (our soul) with the manifestation of fire. Jesus declared: “I came to send fire on the earth and how I wish it were kindled!” (Luk. 12:49). Praise God, this fire has now been kindled in the apprehended company of His sons. This fire is the Consuming Fire of His personage which is even now increasing within a people who are now experiencing His purifying work through His various dealings, trials and processings.
The Lord is a mighty warrior! Moses and the children of Israel sang of Him: “The Lord is a man of war” (Exo. 15:3). Isaiah also prophesied: “the Lord shall go forth like a mighty man; He shall stir up His zeal like a man of war.” (Isa. 42:13). He is the Lord of hosts. He is the Commander of an enumerable company of saints that make up the heavenly and earth armies who bear His mark. For “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints, to execute judgment” (Jud. 14). John the revelator saw a vision of the Lord who goes into battle: “Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war” (Rev. 19:11). How we need to be experientially acquainted with this side of the Lord.
Though the book of Revelation is rich with symbols, even an unenlightened man who reads the book will recognize that conflicts, wars and battles thread through the entire book. Indeed, the day of the Lord is a day of great battle. “For the day of the Lord is great and very terrible; who can endure it?” (Joel 2:11). For “the day of the Lord is one of darkness and not light” (Amos 5:18). But the regular believer has a general assumption that they will have no participation in this aspect of the day.
Escapist doctrines and rapture theology have swayed many from laying hold of the spiritual significance of this day. Though many will sing about the bliss of heaven, few will recognize themselves as having any part in any warfare or great tribulation. While many will rejoice over the gentle, meek and loving Lamb, few will sing about the One out of whose mouth goes a two-edged sword. Who will dare stand before their congregations to preach of the Lord Jesus who comes with fire and sword to divide and kill? Even some reading this will object saying that God does not kill. But rest assured that “the Lord kills and makes alive; He brings down to Sheol and raises up” (1 Sam. 2:6).
Contrary to popular belief, the mystery of the battles and wars that play out in the book of Revelation relate to His inworking, first in the saints and then in all men. Dear precious saint, this conflict is first and foremost your story. This war of which I speak is not the events of an imminent Armageddon where God’s enemies are obliterated in some battle ground in the Middle East. Nor is this warfare against an anti-Christian government or anti-Christian religion. Rather it is the account of our Lord Jesus Christ encountering our carnal condition to cleanse and purge us of all that is in conflict with Him. Paul reminds us that “the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish” (Gal. 5:17). Indeed the carnal mind is in a constant fight with the mind of Christ, for it is enmity against God (Rom. 8:7).
Paul relays his challenge with this internal conflict: “now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good” (Rom. 7:20-21). Is this not the warfare for which we are all instructed to put on the armor of God and to be strong in the Lord? Surely, the weapons of this warfare are not carnal. The kingdom will advance to have universal dominion by the individual regeneration of men’s hearts. Despite this truth, many today assume that the Lord will come back with a literal army bearing the carnal weapons of men? This is utter foolishness. I need not reiterate that physical combat is not the means by which the kingdom is established.
Spiritual warfare takes place in the battle ground of man’s mind. This is a battle for preeminence between the Lord and the man of sin in each man. This adversary for whom the sword of the Spirit is sharpened is the very man Paul referred to as the “lawless one” (2 Thes. 2:8). Consider the full text: “and then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the spirit of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming” (2 Thes. 2:8).
This section of scripture (2 Thes. 2:1-10), if you will read it in its entirety, concerns the day of the Lord – the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and the removal of the lawless one, the man of sin. “Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come except there come a falling away 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 worshiped in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.” (2 Thes. 2:3-4)
A precursor for the spiritual reality of the day of the Lord is the falling away of the man of sin. Again, this man of sin, the son of perdition is not some antichrist entity who will rise to dominance one day. The truth is that this man refers to the Adamic man that resides in every man. The carnal nature within every person is that man who opposes and exalts himself above God. He is enmity against God (Rom. 8:7). How this man has deceived many to look everywhere else but within for the evil that has corrupted the world.
Notice also where this man opposes and exalts himself above God – it is in the temple of God. This is not the temple in Jerusalem but the temple where God now resides – you and I. It is in us that this man opposes and exalts himself above God. Whenever your own self-interest, fleshly visions and desires dominate your life and direct your steps, then this man has exalted himself above God in you. Is this not why Jesus said: “not My will, but Yours, be done” (Luk. 22:42) and rejected that man in Peter saying: “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men” (Mat. 16:23)?
Consequently, 2 Thessalonians 2:3 is a reference to the revealing of this man of sin in men. For those who are now experiencing the day of the Lord, the Adamic nature and its religious efforts and activities are being revealed by the day. They are being consumed by the continual manifestation of His presence that is increasing from glory to glory within them. This is the present and ongoing inworking of His Lordship in each of His sons.
The man of sin or the son of perdition is destroyed by “the spirit of His mouth” (2 Thes. 2:8). The word ‘mouth’ is the Greek ‘stoma’ which is used to plainly refer to the mouth but according Strong’s Concordance, it also implies the “edge of the sword”. The usage of the word in this regard appears in Luke 2:16, but more plainly in Revelation 2:16 where Lord admonishes the church in Pergamos saying: “repent, or else I will come to you quickly and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth”. The sword that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord is the anointed word of the Spirit of God that doesn’t return to Him void. This is the very impartation of Christ’s life that comes by the revelation of His word. His word is what establishes Truth and Righteousness in us. His word finding its reality in us is what does away with carnality.
In light of this, the diminishing love for God’s word which we witness in the church system is concerning. This condition is itself the effect of the preeminence of the lawless one who causes “unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth” (2 Thes. 2:10). Indeed there is a strong delusion in the land and it’s not among the unconscious heathen but among those who regard themselves alive, rich and well.
Notice also that the lawless one is destroyed by “the brightness of His coming” (2 Thes. 2:8). Young’s Literal translation reads: “then shall be revealed the lawless one, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the manifestation of his presence”. It is His presence within and His manifestation as our life that empowers us to overcome the flesh, Satan and the world.
May the Lord of hosts come to overcome sin and death and to usher in His kingdom in its fullness!