A Fresh Look at 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12—Was the Apostasy an Absolute and Complete Rejection of the God of Israel? (Revised)

by Mark Mountjoy

Introductory Remarks

Christians from a wide variety of traditions and creedal backgrounds normally entertain predictable and popular ideas and concepts about the apostasy directly preceding the Second Coming described by Paul in 2 Thessalonians the second chapter. In the four great Christian traditions these can be summed up as being either a past Roman, Catholic or future European figure as "the man of sin." Rote tradition (rather than critical studies) govern interpretations and the Apostle Paul's prophecy of the coming of the Lord in 2 Thessalonians is one of the more familiar yet (at the very same time) obscure of these.

But today, in the light of ancient Judæan history, we want to take a fresh look at it to grapple with this question: Does it portend a person claiming to be the true God himself, or does it predict a complete apostasy away from the God of the Hebrew Old Testament?

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Baptism into Christ—According to the Bible

by Mark E. Mountjoy

Introduction

Rampant confusion exists in the Christian world concerning the intent, purpose and mode of water baptism. Is it sprinkling, pouring, or immersion? Is baptism for infants or for those at the age of accountability? Should baptism be performed in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; or in the name of Jesus Christ'? The truth about baptism can be known only if men and women allow their conclusions to be defined according to the Bible.

Statement One:

According to the Bible, baptism into Christ was a command given by Christ after his resurrection.

"And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen" (Matthew 28:18-20).

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Who Were the Měḥaššěbê ̉ittōts?

Měḥaššěbê ̉ittōts. This is a technical word for Rabbinic Bible teachers and their enthusiasts.  These arose sometime after the A.D.70 Destruction of Jerusalem.  As the seventh decade (i.e., A.D.132) loomed they began to harold a false and misleading message to the Jewish world about the triumph of Judaism against the Roman Empire in a do-or-die military contest. The Měḥaššěbê ̉ittōts—Jewish “calculators of the time”—planned and then plunged the post-A.D.70 Jewish State into a cataclysmic war, a war that caused the immediate oblivion and disappearance of the nation for eighteen long centuries. No narrative of New Testament eschatology could or would be complete without the second century end of the political state of Judaea (which completion came about by the egregious errors and willful lies that caused the destruction of Jerusalem in the first place).

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What the Bible Really Teaches About the Invisible Material Soul

Scripture Text: "Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him" (Hebrews 10:38).

Introductory Remarks

Though the majority of Christian churches do teach Scripturally on the subject of the indestructability and immateriality of the human soul, a small, but vocal minority still insists (using philosophic texts from God's word) that men and women essentially cease to exist upon the expiration of their last breath.  We want to reach beyond a superficial understanding of this subject and ask: If a soul is a body, does God have such a body?  For, in our Scripture reading, above, God himself declares that a Christian must live by faith, but if any of us should draw back God's own soul will be displeased.  We want to suggest on today that the word "soul" does not always mean the entire physical person, but the immaterial person (as context determines and permits).  We will demonstrate this below.

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Using Bible Prophecy as a "Scare" to Motivate Obedience to God

Confronting the Apocalyptic 'Boogeyman'

Introductory Remarks

The understanding and perception of the Bible as a book detailing the fulfillment of prophecies only now getting ready to come true, means that specific sections of the Old and New Testament will come in handy as prooftexts that mankind needs to obey God for fear that the apocalypse could happen at any moment. Implicit in this notion is the ongoing worry that the very moment one backslides, that is the time when Jesus could come as a thief. Each generation of Christians keeps this belief alive; each generation looks upon the textual promise of a soon-coming Jesus as an event which might easily catch a believer with his or her work undone. And it is this multi-generational prospect of being caught unready that causes many people to hesitate to see the New Testament Second Coming for what it was intended to be: a public termination of a religious era which also began publicly.

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