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The Day in the Woods

... My Life Was Changed

By Ed Corley

And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish;
because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

II Thessalonians 2:10

 

Over fifty years ago, while serving as Pastor for three small churches, and after an unusual visitation of the Holy Spirit, I spent several weeks in the woods reading the Bible and praying. I had finished my formal education, but suddenly became aware there were some important things I had never been taught. So, every day I went to the woods, read the Bible and prayed.

The Apostle Paul became my “mentor.” One day as I was going through his Epistles, I came upon a certain passage in II Thessalonians 2 that changed the direction of my life. At the time, I was not fully aware of all that was taking place in me. That is, I didn’t come in from the woods saying, “Today the direction of my life was changed.” But now, in retrospect and over fifty years later, I know what happened that day was a turning point for me. This was so, even in light of the fact that the turn I took was so gradual I was not even aware of taking it. It’s my desire now for the same change to take place in your life—if it has not already taken place with you.

Before going further with this, let me tell you what happened. I became a lover of the Truth, as seen in II Thessalonians 2:10. That was in 1956. This has a stronger hold on me today than ever. I am now convicted that only those who receive the love of the Truth can go with peace and assurance into what lies ahead of us. Sure, I’ve made mistakes and wrong turns along the way, but what happened that day has never let go.

II Thessalonians 2 is one of Paul’s most difficult passages for interpretation. Peter may have had reference to this when he told that Paul had written some things hard to be understood (II Peter 3:16). He went on to say that there were unlearned (rudely ignorant people) and unstable (not steadfast in the faith) who would wrest (pervert) what Paul wrote, as well as other Scriptures, unto their own destruction. The thing that saves a person from doing what Peter was telling about is what we learn from Paul. He points us toward receiving the love of the truth.

There was another Word that soon began reaching for me—Proverbs 23:23. This says, Buy the Truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding. Adam Clarke said the following about this verse, “Acquire the knowledge of God at all events; and in order to do this, too much pains, industry, and labour cannot be expended.”

Then, there is this Word from Jesus in John 5:39Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of Me. The classical Greek poet Homer made use of the word here translated search when he told of a lion that had lost its whelps and then scoured the plains, and traced the footsteps of the man who had taken them. In like manner, we learn to search the Word of God, seeking to know Him—not just to know about Him.

As we search the Scriptures like that lion searched for the man who stole its whelps, we grow in our love of the Truth. Truth, along with Grace and Honor, becomes our life. From Heb 4:12 we discover the Word of God (the Scripture) is quick (za’o, living, active), and powerful (energees’,a source of divine energy). What God’s Word is works its way into what we are, with the force of eternity in it.

Through the decades that I’ve spent with Scripture, I still find passages that challenge my understanding. But the Holy Spirit continues leading me and teaching me. Some days I feel as though I have just begun. Each day—even today—is holding excitement to receive more from God’s Word.

While we wait for the unfolding of more Truth concerning the grace and the redemption that will greet us in the dawning of the Day of the Christ, I want you to go with me now toward the II Thessalonian passage that touched me that day in the woods. What happened to me came mostly from the last part of verse 2:10—which we’ll not fully discuss in this article. But, we will get a start.

As usual, we begin with the King James Version and add what we discover from the Received Text of the Greek New Testament.

II Thessalonians 2

1 Now we beseech you (Now we beg to question, you), brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ (concerning the *parousía of the Lord Jesus Christ), and by our gathering together unto Him (and concerning our assembling at the end of this age, like a great company, brought together in union, under one head),

2 that ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, (that you be not so quickly agitated in your perception as to how this age will end, nor be alarmed that it has already come to an end), neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us (neither by some seducing spirit, nor by some spoken word, nor by some written message with a claim that it came from us), as that the Day of Christ is at hand (trying to convince you that the Day of Christ has already come).

3 Let no man deceive you by any means (let no person delude you, or take you from the right path, by any means): for that Day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, (because [that time shall not be upon us] unless the apostasy, that is, the denial of faith on the part of some believers, shall have come) and that man of sin be revealed (and that man of the sin, the anti-Christ, be made openly known), the son of perdition (the one who brings sin and abomination to its fullness),

This is the one who brings the overspreading of abominations mentioned in Dan 9:27, and that Jesus mentioned in Matt 24:15. This is the vile person of Dan 11:21 whose object it is to corrupt the saints of the Most High. It is the anti-Christ himself.

4 who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God or that is worshipped (who sets himself in opposition to all that is holy, and claims himself to be a god that everyone should worship); so that he as God sitteth in the Temple of God (who makes it his aim to seat himself in the most holy place as a god, perhaps even as the Lord God), showing himself that he is god (seeking to make an open manifestation that will prove he is a god  or, perhaps, the Messiah of the Lord God).

What he wants is the Kingdom already promised to the only Begotten Son of God—Ps 2:7,8.

5 Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? 6 And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. (I expect you remember now how I talked about this when I was with you. You will probably also remember how I used to talk about a “restraining power” which would operate until the time should come for the emergence of this man. Evil is already insidiously at work but its activities are restricted until what I have called the “restraining power” (of God) is removed.)JB Phillips

7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work (For the mystery of the iniquity, that is of the lawlessness, is already in operation): only He who now letteth (hinders) will let (will continue to hinder), until he be taken out of the way (only there is a divine restraint, a hindering force at work until he—the lawless one, the anti-Christ—comes into existence, from out of the midst of humanity.)

What happened with me that day in the woods was not that I received all truth, but, I received a love of the Truth. There’s quite a difference. That’s the reason I encourage you to search for Truth, never stopping at any difficulty.

II Thessalonians 2 is by no means the easiest writing to interpret. Verse 7 is the most difficult of all. And it is, I believe, poorly translated in most versions of the Scripture. Yet, it is one of the most important string of words in the Bible. For that reason we’re spending time searching its words, investigating every possibility of meaning, while waiting for the prompting of the Holy Spirit. I say this with the realization that there is imperfection yet with me that God’s Spirit Himself must overcome in me.

In verse 7, the main words in question are until he be taken out of the way. This interpretation is from the King James version. Even though this understanding of the phrase seems not right in light of what the Greek text says, most other popular versions interpret the same phrase in a similar manner. I’ve looked through about twenty different versions and found this to be so. The words translated until he be taken out of the way are from the Greek 1e’os 2ek 3me’sou 4gen’etai.

1)The general meaning of e’os is “until.” 2)The little word ek is a Preposition that clearly means “from out of.” 3)The word me’sou means “midst.” 4)The interpretation of the verse hinges on the word gen’etai, the Aorist Subjunctive form of gin’omai. Some form of this word appears in the Received Text of the Greek New Testament a total of 677 times! It generally carries the meaning “to become” or “to come into existence.” Only in II Thessalonians 2:7 is this word gin’omai interpreted as be taken out of.

We find a form of the same word in Gal 4:4 with reference to the birth of the Lord Jesus. See this: But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman (“having been born” or “having been brought into existence out of woman”), made under the Law (the same meaning as above). Both times the word made is from the Greek genom’enon, the Aorist Participle of the word gin’omai. In II Thessalonians 2:7 we find gin’omai translated as until he be taken out of the way. Here its form is that of an Aorist Subjunctive. Greek words may change their spelling slightly when used in different ways. One Verb can be spelled about 400 different ways to emphasize different shades of meaning.

The above terms in both verses are from the same Greek word. Could not this be evidence that Gal 4:4 gives reference to the birth of Jesus while II Thessalonians 2:7 gives reference to that of the man of sin, the son of perdition? We met him in II Thessalonians 2:3.

What a challenge we face as we seek under- standing in these Scriptures! We have two helps as we move on. •One is the Holy Spirit. We must never turn from seeking the guidance of the One Jesus said would lead us into all Truth (John 16:13). •The other help must come from the flow of revelation as it comes to us from other Scriptures, just some of which we can observe in this article.

Let's go back to The Beginning in Genesis and see its connection with The Ending in Revelation. It is in the third chapter from the beginning of the Bible that we see the beginning of Satan’s work, and in the third chapter from the end that we see his ending. That leaves us with four chapters in the Bible in which there is no devil—the first two and the last two. It is in Gen 3:15 that we hear the first Prophecy and the first Promise of God’s Word. It is called by some the Proto- evangelium, or the “First Gospel.” It is God speaking to one whom we come to know first as the serpent.

See it: And I will put enmity between thee and the Woman, and between thy seed and her Seed; it (lit. “He”) shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise His heel. This tells of the conflict between the One anointed to reign—The Seed of the woman— and the one who opposes His reign—the seed of the serpent.

If we have doubted who, or what, this one is to whom God was speaking, we learn for certain in the third chapter from the end of the Bible.

Revelation 20:1 And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. 2 And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent (that serpent of old), which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, 3 and cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.

Later in this chapter we learn of his eternal reward—And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever—Rev 20:10.

In the conflict between the Seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent, one shall be attacked on his head. The head is the vital part, where the wound shall be mortal. The heel is the part of the body that can cause pain with a temporary disabling, but not a place of mortal wound.

It is my wonder, does this hold reference to the crucifixion of Christ, with His burial from which He came forth alive? Or, is it a reference to the wounding that shall come upon His Body, the Church?

Interpreting Scripture by Scripture, and listening for the prompting of the Holy Spirit, it has become my deepest conviction that it is a reference to the Body of Christ which shall endure tribulation at the time of the end. But—let us know this!—it shall not be a mortal wound upon His Body. The great Healer, the One Who leads us from triumph to triumph in the train of His Own triumph shall bring us forth whole from any and every assault of the enemy, made better for the purposes of His eternal Kingdom.

The Prophet Daniel gives us the most precise revelation as to how this wicked one comes on the scene of humanity. In his four prophetic visions in Daniel, chapters 7 through 12, we find various terms by which that man of sin is designated. It would require too much space for us to discuss him in so short an article. But we are in the process of republishing—both in writing and in CD recording—the unfolding interpretation of the Daniel prophecies. We will also give some attention to the Apostle John as he takes up the anti-Christ matter in The Book of Revelation.

There have been many interpretations as to what is the meaning of the words be taken in II Thessalonians 2:7. One popular interpretation is that they have reference is to the rapture of the Church, with the removal of the Holy Spirit from the earth. This lends itself to the idea that the Church—all people who have been born again—will be snatched away to be with the Lord while all unbelievers are left on earth to deal with the anti-Christ. This idea, however, can be found in Scripture only if it is “read into” certain passages. It is a dangerous procedure to read any idea of our own into Scripture. I do realize many hold the doctrine of the rapture dear. I think you will agree with me, however, that if we’re going to be wrong one way or the other, it will be better for the saints to be prepared to go through the great tribulation. Should we all be suddenly raptured, that would be wonderful. But, what if that doctrine is wrong? Then what?

There is the other matter which I have already mentioned that I do ask you to embrace with me. I was considering II Thessalonians 2:10, that verse in which Paul spoke of those who would perish because they received not the love of the Truth.  Deep conviction hit me. It had never occurred to me to open myself to receive the love of the Truth. I had simply believed that whatever my Pastor, Teachers and instructors taught was all the Truth. The Holy Spirit had recently come upon me in a way that I had never been taught. So it came to me that perhaps there were other things waiting which I would never know unless I opened myself to this love of the Truth.

There was nothing spectacular about that moment, but I do know I came away a different person from that place of visitation. And I had a different respect and hunger for the Word of God.

I was by a tree full of leaves when I was praying that day. On returning the next day, all the leaves were gone. This wasn’t so of any other trees around. I made little of it, except to note it must have been more of a visitation than I had been aware of. Half a century later, I know it was, indeed, a visitation of the Holy Spirit. I’ve not been the same since.

As we close this section let me beg of you, even now, to receive the love of the Truth. You may simply say to the Lord God, “At this moment, I renounce the Lie and its stronghold in my spirit. I open myself to receive the love of the Truth. In the Name of Your Son, Whom I acknowledge as my Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen.”                                           

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