God has even stricter requirements than just believing and obeying the truth. You also have to LOVE the truth. Refusing to do so will cost you your eternal life. So let’s examine a subject that I have never in my 30 years in the Worldwide Church of God (WWCG) heard a sermon on. The Bible spells out the deadly consequences of not LOVING the truth, obeying and believing what your Bible says, even if it contradicts what some “authority” SAYS it says.
Philippians 2:12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
1 Thessalonians 5:21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.
Do not these two verses direct you to keep your nose in the Bible with in-depth study, proving or disproving what you have heard men SAY about the Bible, instead of showing up in services each week to be SPOON FED without paying any further attention to the BOOK itself?
Let’s look at the subject of delusion. “Delusion” is only mentioned twice in the Bible, once in the New Testament (2 Thessalonians 2:11), and once in the Old Testament (Isaiah 66:4) where it is plural, “delusions.”
2 Thessalonians 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. 11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: 12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
This is clearly marked as “end-time.” Read the first nine verses of 2 Thessalonians 2. In verse 10, Paul talks like this is a done deal. People will perish because they receive not the love of the truth, so that they might be saved. Is this not saying that if you do not love the truth, you will not be saved?
Let’s look at verse 10 in detail.
“Perish” is Strong’s # 622, meaning ‘to destroy fully…”
“Receive” is Strong’s #1209, meaning “to receive…”
“Love” is Strong’s #26, agape, meaning “love, i.e., affection or benevolence…”
“Truth” is Strong’s #225, meaning ‘truth…”
Now the question must be asked, “What is truth?”
John 17:17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.
If we accept ANYTHING LESS than the pure word of God, we are flirting with disaster. Remember, we are judged by what is written in the books, according to our works, NOT by what any man says is written in the books.
Revelation 20:12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is [the book] of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their (our) works.
2 Thessalonians 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.
“Saved” is Strong’s #4982, meaning “safe, to save, i.e., deliver or protect…”
God’s word means what it says. If we do not love the truth with this “agape” love, we will perish. But this “agape” love is the culmination of the conversion process which begins with FEAR, grows to GRUDGING RESPECT, progresses with experience to FULL RESPECT, and only after more experience in putting the ways of God into daily practice, do we achieve true “AGAPE” LOVE.
2 Thessalonians 2:11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:
“Send” is Strong’s #3992, meaning “to dispatch…”
“Delusion” is Strong’s #4106, meaning “fraudulence; deceit, delusion, error…”
“Believe” is Strong’s #4100, meaning “to have faith, (in, upon, or respect to a person or thing)…”
“Lie” is Strong’s #5579, meaning “falsehood…”
In verse 11, this sending of “strong delusion” is not your typical “stumblingstone.” In this verse, God PUSHES you down. You don’t stumble. By making you believe a lie, then after you are down, you have to recognize, repent, overcome it, and then LOVE the truth. This strong delusion to believe fraudulence or a lie is hand picked and directly sent by God to the person who does not love truth. What God does in verse 11 is the direct result of what humans do in verse 10. If God in His thoroughness and efficiency causes you to believe a lie, as described in verse 11, your chances of repenting and accepting the truth are lessened. Also, your chance of obtaining salvation is lessened.
Not believing and loving the pure word of God is a deadly serious thing!.
2 Thessalonians 2:12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
“Damned” is Strong’s #2919, meaning to “distinguish, i.e., decide mentally or judicially, by imp. to try, condemn, punish…”
“Believe” and “truth” are the same as in verse 10.
“Pleasure” is Strong’s #2106, meaning “to think well of, i.e., approve (an act) spec. to approbate (a person or thing)…” Verse 12 shows the end result of not loving and believing the truth–believing what a man says instead of what the Bible itself says.
Now turn to Isaiah 66:1-5:
Isaiah 66:1 Thus saith the LORD, The heaven [is] my throne, and the earth [is] my footstool: where [is] the house that ye build unto me? and where [is] the place of my rest? 2 For all those [things] hath mine hand made, and all those [things] have been, saith the LORD: but to this [man] will I look, [even] to [him that is] poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.
3 He that killeth an ox [is as if] he slew a man; he that sacrificeth a lamb, [as if] he cut off a dog’s neck; he that offereth an oblation, [as if he offered] swine’s blood; he that burneth incense, [as if] he blessed an idol. Yea, they have chosen their own ways, and their soul delighteth in their abominations. 4 I also will choose their delusions, and will bring their fears upon them; because when I called, none did answer; when I spake, they did not hear: but they did evil before mine eyes, and chose [that] in which I delighted not.
5 Hear the word of the LORD, ye that tremble at his word; Your brethren that hated you, that cast you out for my name’s sake, said, Let the LORD be glorified: but he shall appear to your joy, and they shall be ashamed.
This passage is clearly marked end time in the last part of verse 5, talking about the Lord appearing.
Now, let’s look at these verses in more detail.
Isaiah 66:2 For all those [things] hath mine hand made, and all those [things] have been, saith the LORD: but to this [man] will I look, [even] to [him that is] poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.
“Poor” is Strong’s #6041, meaning “depressed in mind or circumstance…” Three other translations that I looked at use “humble.”
“Contrite” is Strong’s #5223, meaning “smitten, i.e. (lit.) maimed, or (fig) dejected – contrite.”
“Trembleth” is Strong’s # 2730, meaning “fearful; also reverential;-afraid, trembling.”
The last part of verse 2 describes the childlike attitude which we must have to please God. Verse 2 also makes it plain that God will only pay attention to this attitude.
Look at verse 3 in The Amplified Bible.
“[The acts of the hypocrite’s worship are as abominable to God as if they were offered to idols.] He who kills an ox then will be guilty as if he slew and sacrificed a man; he who sacrifices a lamb or a kid, as if he broke a dog’s neck and sacrificed him; he who offers a cereal offering, as if it were swine’s blood; he who burns incense to God, as if he blesses an idol. Such people have chosen their own ways, and they delight in their abominations.”
There are two kinds of worship going on in the end time church which God is trying to deal with here. Now do not try to assign this to the world. This is specifically speaking of people in God’s church, whom he is dealing with and getting different responses from at the end time. Notice in verse 5 that they are brethren, and they will both see Christ in the resurrection when he appears. They have been sitting in the same congregations. One group is cast out. This is not the WCG apostasy, since the overwhelming majority of us left of our own free will.
Isa 66:4 I also will choose their delusions, and will bring their fears upon them; because when I called, none did answer; when I spake, they did not hear: but they did evil before mine eyes, and chose [that] in which I delighted not.
“Delusions” is Strong’s #8586, meaning “caprice (as a fit coming on), i.e., vexation.” Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary defines “caprice” as “an abrupt change in feelings, opinion, or action proceeding from some whim or fancy, a fantastic notion.” Now God is saying that He will give these Christians over to “caprice,” to abruptly change position on previously held convictions.
Why does God do this? “Because when I called, none did answer; when I spoke, they did not hear…” (verse 4).
How does God “call” and “speak”? Primarily, God SPEAKS through His written word, the Bible. The Bible is the purest form. ANYTHING going through a MAN’S mind and mouth can be polluted or deformed. Remember that Revelation 20:12 clearly shows our judgment is based on the WRITTEN WORD. Will you listen to the voice of the Shepherd or choose “that in which God delighted not”? (Last part of verse 4)
Isa 66:5 Hear the word of the LORD, ye that tremble at his word; Your brethren that hated you, that cast you out for my name’s sake, said, Let the LORD be glorified: but he shall appear to your joy, and they shall be ashamed.
“Tremble” is Stong’s #2730, meaning “fearful, reverential, afraid, trembling.”
“Brethren” is Strong’s # 251, meaning “brother…”
“Hated” is Strong’s # 8130, meaning “to hate…”
“Cast out” is Strong’s # 5077, meaning “to toss, fig. to exclude, i.e., to banish, postpone, prohibit, cast out, drive out, put far away.”
“Appear” is Strong’s # 7200, meaning “to see, lit. or fig. in numberous applicatons.”
Let’s look at a way that we can guarantee ourselves a spot in the lake of fire. If you are in authority in any of the congregations of God at this point in time, if you fence the sheep out of that congregation and close the door of fellowship, you will guarantee your spot in the lake of fire.
Here are the true sheep, the ones who tremble at God’s word, the ones He is pleased with. Right along side them are other church members who HATE those in the first group, the true sheep. How do we know that the second group are church members? They are called “brethren,” and both groups are in the resurrection which occurs at the time of the Lord’s appearing. It is quite obvious what happens to these “haters.”
We need to be on a crash course proving or disproving what we are taught. This will deepen our conversion, so that we will develop this “agape” love. God has laid down rules much stricter than we have ever imagined, and HE has a purpose for bringing this to your attention, which you will gradually become aware of as time goes by if you believe the pure truth as it is presented to you. If not, the above article spells out your future.
Published November 16, 1996
© Edgar Y. Bennett
PO Box 509
Black Hawk, CO 80422 USA