2 Thessalonians Chapter 2:5-17
In verses 1-4 we have seen Paul start to explain in detail the matters related to the day of the LORD and our being gathered together to meet the Lord Jesus in the air when He returns to earth. The day of the Lord and our being gathered together around Him in the air at His Second Coming is a conjunction in the Greek text joining the two references of the Second Coming together as the one and the same event. Reports and letters had apparently been circulating supposing to be from Paul and his co-workers Silas and Timothy teaching doctrinal error related to the day of the LORD that had unsettled many of the assembly members at Thessalonica. Paul had to correct their thinking in these prophetic matters. We have seen in the last study that the rapture and resurrection of the faithful Body of the Messiah (the Church) cannot occur until the apostasy occurs and the man of sin is revealed. These two things must occur first before the rapture can occur. If the Body of the Messiah was to be raptured before the time of the apostasy and the coming of the antichrist then why would have Paul mentioned these things if believers were no longer on earth?
Now in this study we will also touch on the third thing that has to happen before the rapture and resurrection occurs, namely that the lawless one, the man of sin, will be revealed in accordance with the work of Satan displayed through all kinds of counterfeit miracles signs and wonders and in every sort of evil and wickedness. This satanic display of supernatural power will result in the spiritual deception of those who have apostatised and what their end will be when the Messiah our Lord Jesus returns to earth at his Second Coming, a public event, a divinely ordained appointment that everyone living on earth at that time will have to keep! (Revelation 1:1-7).
This satanic power is already at work within Christendom today and is connected to the mystery of lawlessness which those without the indwelling Holy Spirit will not discern this mystery of Satan. Those who have the indwelling Spirit if God will see this mystery of lawlessness and how it will be at work in the world and within wider Christendom and also within Israel. Spiritual discernment is only possible by the revelation of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:12-16). Those who have been saved and who have the Holy Spirit dwelling deep down on the inside of them will have the anointing of the Spirit from the Holy One our Lord Jesus and will know all there is to know to safeguard them spiritually from the antichrists with their false doctrines and manifestations that have always been around but will be an infestation in the last days (1 John 2:20).
(Vs.5) “Do you not remember that while I was still with you, I was telling you these things? And you know what restrains him now, so that in his time he will be revealed.”
Even though Rabbi the Apostle Paul had spent only a very short time with the Thessalonian assembly he had taught then a great deal about Biblical prophecy. His Bible of course was the Old Testament; however in the Old Testament he saw God’s prophetic end-time future plan and purposes for the nation of Israel, for the nations and for the Body of the Messiah, the faithful Church. Obviously the subject of eschatology was high on Paul’s list of priorities in his preaching and teaching especially in light of the severe persecution they were facing at Thessalonica where their only hope in this world was the return of the Lord Jesus to take them to Himself and to punish those who were persecuting them. To the faithful assemblies of the Body of the Messiah the pagan Roman emperors were all antichrists and they were correct. Paul now mentions again that one who is restraining the man of sin from coming to power.
(Vs.7-8) “For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way. Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming”
Paul mentions “the mystery of lawlessness is already at work;” A Mystery is a form of knowledge that is unknown and hidden from people unless there is special insight given to understand it. To unsaved people and those who have apostatised from the faith they cannot see this mystery of iniquity, rebellion and lawlessness that is at work in the world and in their own lives because the god of this age (Satan) has blinded the minds of unbelievers so they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of the Messiah, who is the image of God. (2 Corinthians 4:4). Those who are saved and have the oil of the Holy Spirit topped up in the lamp of their human spirit have light to understand the nature of this mystery and what is happening behind the scenes of the wicked things that are happening in the world, in Israel and within wider Christendom. These are represented by the five wise virgins in Jesus parable of the wise and foolish virgins. These wise virgins are staying spiritually alert, filled with the Spirit, not attached to this world and the things of this world, and waiting in anticipation of the bridegroom and the wedding feast to come.
However, the foolish virgins represent those who profess to be saved but do not stay filled with the Holy Spirit and cease to stay spiritually alert, being attached to this world and the things of this world and are not ready for the bridegroom our Lord Jesus when He comes back unexpectedly.
Those who have the Holy Spirit deep down on the inside of them can discern what is truly spiritual and of God from that which is carnal and fleshly and form the evil one. As Paul writes to the assembly at Corinth; “And this is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom, but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words. The natural man (human insight) does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God. For they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned (through the insight given by the Holy Spirit). The spiritual man (who has the revelation from the Spirit of God) judges all things, but he himself is not subject to anyone’s judgment” (1 Corinthians 2:13-15).
So then those who have the anointing from the Holy One know all things necessary to know from God for maintaining their spiritual life and discernment. These will be able to discern the spirit of antichrist at work and that mystery of lawlessness at work but hidden from the unsaved and apostates (1 John 2:20). It has been said that a ship in the water is alright but water in the ship isn’t. Today the mystery of lawlessness or rebellion that is in the world is clearly at work within Christendom and discerned by those who are walking by faith in the LORD, who know what God’s Word says and who by God’s enabling grace are keeping in step with the Holy Spirit. And then we read…
“…only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way;” There are three things that retrain, that hold back and hinder evil in the world. There is human government; the faithful Body of the Messiah, being the faithful Church, and the Holy Spirit Himself. At present the man of sin is restrained from coming to power by these three things. The restraining of the man of sin can be metaphorically speaking likened to a wild bull shut in by the gate of a coral. The bull is rampaging to get out but is prevented from getting loose by the strong wooden fencing of the coral. It may even be trying to force the gate to open but to no avail, because it is restrained by that strong gate as well as the fencing of the coral. No matter how hard that bull tries to get out it can’t, it is restrained. However, if the gate is opened then that rampaging bull will be let loose and the results of that mad enraged bull will have dire consequences for all who are confronted by it.
So it will be with the man of sin. When human government in the nations of the world have for the most part become evil and rebellious towards God and His laws, and Christendom by and large in an advanced state of apostasy, and Israel by and large away from God and rejecting the Messiah, the Holy Spirit will remove His restraining power and open the door for the man of sin to be revealed to work murder and mayhem for three and a half years on earth before being terminated by the Lord Jesus at His Second Coming.
There are those teaching that the restraining power is the Holy Spirit who is actually doing the restraining and I believe this is correct. The Holy Spirit being God the Spirit is monitoring everything that is happening in the world including what governments are doing and the state of Christendom and that He does nothing unless it is the will of God the Father and God the Son and all together as One God they have everything on earth, below the earth and above the earth, including the whole universe under control. When Paul speaks of the one who restrains being removed it does not mean He is taken from the earth at the rapture because He is living in believers and therefore He goes with them. This is an inference made by the proponents of the Pre-Tribulation rapture but is not in the text.
What the text is saying is that the Holy Spirit withdraws His restraining power. He opens ‘the gate of the coral’ to let ‘the raging bull’ loose but only for a short time. When the man of sin does come to power the Holy Spirit will have permitted it but He will still be on earth dwelling in the corporate Body of the Messiah, the faithful Church. So then the first thing that will precede the revealing of the man of sin will be the apostasy. The second thing will be the revealing of the man of sin himself and the third thing will be the manifestation of all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders empowered by Satan. These ‘signs’ are directly connected to the apostasy because as the spirit of antichrist and the mystery of lawlessness these are all part of the spiritual deception perpetrated on all who have apostatised. Paul now connects the false signs and wonders and the deception of wickedness to those who are unsaved in the world but primarily to those who are unsaved within Christendom. These will be deceived by the antichrist because there will be an abundance of all kinds of counterfeit miracles signs and wonders and spiritual manifestations of one sort or another. Let’s now look at this…
(Vs.9-10) ”…that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved.”
It was C.H. Spurgeon who said that “the time will come when instead of having our pulpits filled with shepherds feeding the sheep we will have pulpits filled with clowns entertaining the goats!” The laughing revival also called the Toronto blessing some years ago saw its leaders acting like clowns, a heresy perpetrated on the Body of the Messiah by the heretic and blasphemer calling himself “the Holy Ghost Bartender!”
Today we see an abundance of all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and false wonders which Satan is unleashing within wider Christendom. In the first century we see an abundance of genuine miracles, signs and wonders and the gifts of the Spirit flowing freely within the assemblies of the Body of the Messiah. In the last days this will also be a conspicuous mark of the end-time Body of the Messiah. Satan today, knowing that his time is now short, is working overtime within wider Christendom to manifest miracles, signs and wonders by occult power. We have seen everything from grave soaking, gold dust, floating feathers and glory clouds to people rolling around on the floor barking like dogs, laughing hysterically and gyrating with their bodily movements out of control and all encouraged by so called ‘pastors’ and ‘prophets’ putting on the show for their audience.
Now Satan is able to counterfeit the genuine miracles signs and wonders by occult power. We see this when the magicians of Egypt who were able to duplicate by occult power some of the miraculous deeds of supernatural power performed by the Spirit of God through Moses and Aaron. However, in the end these practitioners of the occult could only perform their miracles up to a point but in the end Moses and Aaron prevailed by the power of God and by this exposing the false satanic power working through these magicians which we see in Exodus Chapters 7 & 8. Paul mentions this contest in his second letter to Timothy and the context is set in the last days. These false workers of satanic deeds of power will also be exposed by those who have the power of discernment by the Holy Spirit and the spiritual wherewithal to dismantle and to expose these false deeds of power and those through whom they are being manifested (2 Timothy 8-9). Those who will be able to demolish Satan’s stranglehold on people will be those who have been furnished with spiritual weapons by the Holy Spirit designed to dismantle Satan’s strongholds in the lives of believers and unbelievers alike (2 Corinthians 10:3-5).
In these last days we are going to see a growing contest between the power of God and the power of Satan. This is why it is vitally important to know God’s Word and to know the Holy Spirit’s power resting upon us. Everything said and done within the local assembly of New Covenant believers must be tested by the Word of God and by those who do have the genuine gifts of prophecy and spiritual discernment of spirits (1 Thessalonians 5:21). As Paul also writes; “The spirits of prophets are subject to prophets; for God is not a God of confusion but of peace, as in all the assemblies of the saints” (1 Corinthians 14:32-33).
Wherever the Spirit of God is at work there will not be chaos and disorder within the local assembly when they meet for worship but order and peace. Many ‘churches’ today are exhibiting anything but peace and order. While worship at times will be lively and spontaneous there will still be self-control and orderly worship and meetings free from manipulation. People will not be ‘out of control.’ As New Covenant believers we have been given a spirit of love, power and self-control or a sound mind and way of thinking and acting, and this form of self-control is one of the fruits of the Spirit (2 Timothy 1:7) (Galatians 5:22).
Those who do not receive the love of the truth that is the mark of all who are truly saved will fall for these false deeds of miraculous power that is a counterfeit of the real power of God. We know that in these last days there will be those within the Body of the Messiah who will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own fleshly desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths and stories and supposed visions and dreams that have been made up to control the audience (2 Timothy 4: 3-4).
We see this infestation today with the hyper faith, feel-good, have it good in this world, money preachers, hype artists and enchanters on television and especially on the internet, raised up by Satan to deceive even the very elect saints of God. Our Lord Jesus himself spoke about this trend when He said that those with a false anointing and false prophets will show great signs and wonders, being deeds of supernatural occult power insomuch that, if it were possible, to deceive the very elect (Matthew 24:24).
There are three sources of spiritual power. There is the power of God. There is the power of Satan and there is the latest power of the soul which can be released in certain highly emotionally charged meetings where displays of supposedly supernatural power are manifested that all have a mesmerizing effect on the congregation when in fact it is the result of this soul power and not God’s power. Soul power is not satanic power but Satan can use it in his spiritual deceptive activities and strategies to deceive even the very elect saints of God if he can. This is why just having some sort of an undefinable euphoric mystical spiritual experience in a meeting must be checked by the Word of God. Not all supernatural deeds of power are from the Spirit of God. If we are truly saved, having the Holy Spirit living down on the inside of us, we will be willing to receive the love of the truth which we have in the Word of God which in itself is the sum of all truth and fully manifested in the Messiah our Lord Jesus (Psalm 119:160) (John 14:6) (John 1:14). If we really love our Triune God then we will love His Word and delight in receiving it. To persistently and wilfully reject the Word of God is to invite God to send into one’s mind a deceiving influence by a lying spirit.
(Vs.11-12) “ For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness.”
Those who refuse to receive the love of the truth and in reality reject God’s Word and set their entire being to continue in it will ultimately be given a deluding influence from God so that they will no longer be capable of receiving the truth even when they hear it, their conscience having been seared as with a hot iron that can no longer be stimulated or felt spiritually. We see this in a situation in the Old Testament where King Ahab was in this situation where he was practicing wickedness and in a state of mind and heart where his will was set in rejecting the Word of God. Added to this, he was married to Jezebel a witch and practitioner of the occult. She had occult power over Ahab. While Ahab had been confronted with the truth he had chosen to reject it. Because he had decided to choose Satan’s way rather than God’s way, God Himself sent an evil spirit being to manifest itself as a lying spirit in the mouths of Jezebel’s prophets who also had power over Ahab. Ahab believed the lie and went to his death. He was mortally wounded by enemy arrows in the ensuing battle and as he lay dying in his chariot it was sunset which is the Bible’s way of showing that he died unsaved (1 Kings Chapter 22). In the Bible the sun setting represents death whereas the sun rising represents resurrection. God calls rejecting the truth taking pleasure in wickedness.
All of us at times disobey God’s Word because we still have our sinful nature to contend with daily while we live in our physical bodies, and there will be times when we do miss the mark and sin and need to confess it to the LORD to receive His forgiveness and cleansing through the blood of the Messiah our Lord Jesus (1 John 1:9). Sometimes we will even feel angry and rebellious against God in certain very trying circumstances or situations that have happened to us yet still in the very deep recesses of our mind want to receive and to respond to and to love the truth, and this is part of learning to walk in step with the Holy Spirit and standing by faith in God’s wise, faithful and loving providence for us as His blood redeemed, Spirit sealed children.
We are most vulnerable to spiritual attack when we are feeling physically tired or discouraged or are feeling spiritually weak and vulnerable when the passions and desires of our fleshly nature are demanding to be satiated. Often these will come late at night. At such times, by faith, not by feelings, we must ask God to cover us by the blood of Jesus, the most powerful spiritual weapon we have to drive Satan out of our affairs. When we confess what the bible says the blood of Jesus does for us we overcome Satan every time by that confession (Revelation 12:11).
Always remember He is our loving and patient Heavenly Father who always and only ever has our best interests at heart and that despite our circumstances still has everything under control even when it does not look or feel like it. After all we walk by faith and not by sight! And God is always pleased with faith and rewards it (Hebrews 11:6).
In mentioning those who do not receive the love of the truth which God calls taking pleasure in wickedness Paul is not speaking about this struggle all of us have with the desires of the flesh constantly at war with the desires of the Spirit of God in us but about a deliberate and wilful rejection of the truth, hating it, despising it and metaphorically speaking “busting hell wide open” as it were, which God defines as taking pleasure in wickedness. If a spiritually backslidden believer still has a pang of conscience and a desire to return to the LORD, even though they are struggling with their will crossing with God’s will, there is still hope for them if there is a willingness to confess and to forsake their sin through asking for God’s enabling grace to do so and to come back to Him to be cleansed by the blood of Jesus. Now let’s move on…
(Vs.13-14) “But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth. It was for this He called you through our gospel, that you may gain the glory of our Lord Jesus the Messiah.”
Paul now addresses those who are genuine New Covenant believers. He gives God thanks for them knowing that they are staying steadfast and faithful to the LORD and that they are loved by Him because He has chosen them from the beginning for salvation which they had received when God in His eternal foreknowledge of all things set them apart to Himself through the ministry of the Holy Spirit producing in them that faith in the truth, being fully centred in the Messiah our Lord Jesus, and by which they had been saved. They had received the love of the truth. Through the preaching of the gospel they had been spiritually reborn by the Holy Spirit of God and were now progressively manifesting the glory and spiritual life of our Lord Jesus the Messiah. They were being changed from one degree of God’s glory to another progressively.
As Paul writes to the assembly at Corinth; “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3:17-18). Ultimately every born again, blood redeemed, blood washed, Spirit sealed New Covenant believer will be fully transformed to have an eternal resurrected immortal fully glorified body that will be the same as the Lord Jesus has Himself and pulsating with His indestructible divine life and power forevermore! These are those who have received the love of the truth.
Paul writing to the assembly at Philippi draws a contrast between those who do not receive the love of the truth with those who do. He writes; “Brethren, join in following my example, and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us. For many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of the Messiah, whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things. For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ; who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself” (Philippians 3:17:21).
The apostle John also writes; “Behold what manner of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God. And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know Him. Beloved, we are now children of God, and what we will be has not yet been revealed. We know that when the Messiah appears, we will be like Him, for we will see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as the Messiah is pure” (1 John 3:1-3).
We may not see what we shall be right now because we are in this world and are subject to temptations, depression, anxiety, physical ailments of one sort or another, prone to get sick at times, persecuted for righteousness sake, constantly harassed by wicked spirits bombarding our minds and at times struggling to believe that God really loves us. Spurgeon likened our wrestling every day with our fallen fleshy nature with its appetites and desires like being chained to a corpse. This is why we need to avail ourselves every day and sometimes more than once a day of the power of Jesus blood to cleanse and to keep us, and the Word of God to spiritually fortify us against spiritual attacks, and the power of the Holy Spirit to enable us to walk in step with Him moment by moment and that by faith. One day these mortal bodies will be transformed and we will receive immortal bodies that will never get sick, or age or die (1 Corinthians 15:50-56). And then Paul continues…
(Vs.15) “So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth or by letter from us.
In light of what Paul has just shared with them concerning their spiritual standing with God he encourages them “to stand firm” The Greek text says; “to persist in perseverance, to keep one’s standing in their faith” and “to hold to the traditions which they were taught.” To “hold” in the Greek text means “to have power, to be powerful, to get possession of, to become master of, to hold firmly and not to discard what one has in their hand” and “to keep carefully and faithfully, to be chief, to be the master of, to rule.” They were to “lay hold and keep close” the traditions which they were taught. The word “traditions” carries the idea of “a giving over which is done by word of mouth or in writing, i.e. tradition by instruction, narrative, or precept.” Paul’s Bible of course was the Old Testament and his teaching was based on this and being a Jewish scholar par excellence in the Word of God was able to rightly divide the Word of truth and apply it appropriately by the direct spirit-breathed revelation of the Holy Spirit.
He understood that “all Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). If the Thessalonian assembly kept standing firm and holding fast to what Paul and his fellow-workers had taught them by word of mouth or by letter then God’s glory and power, His light and His love would shine increasingly brighter and their witness growing more powerfully as an example and encouragement to the other assemblies also being persecuted and harassed in other Roman provinces. Paul continues…
(Vs.16-17) “Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace, comfort and strengthen your hearts in every good work and word.
The saints at Thessalonica and all of God’s saints are loved by the Messiah our Lord Jesus and by God our Heavenly Father who have given us “eternal comfort” being “without beginning and end, that which always has been and always will be and never to cease or change” This is an eternal comfort not the comfort as defined by the world which is temporary in nature and changeable according to circumstances. This comfort is given through the scriptures as it is written; “For everything that was written in the past was written for our instruction, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures, we might have hope” (Romans 15:4).
Not only are the saints of God given an eternal never ending source of God’s comfort but are also given “a good hope.” This hope is a good hope. “Good” being; “a pleasant, agreeable, joyful, happy excellent, distinguished upright and honourable hope.” This “hope” that we have in us that is good is “a joyful and confident expectation of eternal salvation.” This hope we have for our eternal destiny is not “I hope so” but a hope that will not end in disappointment because of the love of God has been shed abroad in our hearts by the blessed Holy Spirit whom God has given to live in us and who has sealed us for the day of complete redemption at the rapture and resurrection (Romans 5:5).
What a comfort to hear these things in the midst of afflictions, trials, adversity and persecution that these beloved redeemed saints of God were experiencing at Thessalonica. What an encouragement to us in these last of the last days when the Body of the Messiah will pass through their darkest hour but come forth as a bride, clean and pure, unspotted by the world and ready for the wedding feast of the Lamb, their beloved bridegroom. Only through the blood of the Messiah our Lord Jesus will we be able to overcome everything the devil throws at us and as already mentioned earlier as we testify to what the Bible says the blood of Jesus does for us and seek God’s enabling grace not to love our lives in this world even if we have to lay our lives down (Revelation 12:11).
So then, our Triune God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit who loves us and is able to do in us and for us far beyond anything we can even imagine of think of by the might of His spiritual power within us. God has given us eternal comfort and good hope by His unmerited and unearned favour towards us who do not deserve it because of our sinful and rebellious ways before we were saved by faith in the Messiah as our sin bearer. The Messiah our Passover Lamb was made to be sin with our sin, so that we might be made to be righteous with His righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21). This of great comfort to all of us who are conscious of our past sins and offences which sentenced us to death, but that sentence of death that condemned us was nailed to the cross.
When Paul wrote the assembly at Colossi he said; “When you were dead in your trespasses and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with the Messiah. He forgave us all our trespasses, having cancelled the debt ascribed to us in the decrees that stood against us. He took it away, nailing it to the cross! And having disarmed the powers and authorities, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross” (Colossians 2:13-15). Our Triune God Himself has written across the document listing our sins “Paid in full” written in the blood of His beloved Son the Messiah our Lord Jesus. What Paul had taught them about the grace of God was in order to comfort and strengthen their resolve in their hearts to persevere and persist in every good work and word.
The word “to strengthen” is “to make stable, to place firmly, to set fast, to stay fixed on a set course without turning to the right or the left, to strengthen, make firm to render constant, and to confirm one’s mind.” This is the supernatural strength of God given by His grace to all of his beleaguered, tried, tested, tempted and persecuted saints, and that grace is freely given without measure! In the days to come when the faithful Body of the Messiah faces its darkest hour of tribulation at that time the saints of God will know His grace beyond anything they can ask or think or even imagine.
There is a historical account of two believers who were in prison who were to be burnt alive at the stake the next day. One was a spiritually mature seasoned believer and the other a young unseasoned believer. There was a candle alight on the window seal of the window through which they could see the stake sitting in the courtyard. Both of these brothers in Jesus tried to put their fingers into the flame of the candle trying to see what it might be like to have their flesh burnt but quickly pulled their fingers out of the flame.
The next morning the jailors came to take them out to the stake. The seasoned believer was to go first and he said to his brother in Jesus that if the Lord was with Him he would raise his right hand. Well they marched him out and tied him to the stake and lit the faggots. The fire started to burn him and it burnt through the ropes holding his hands and as that young brother watched intensely and with some trepidation at the fiery scene before him he saw that veteran of many spiritual campaigns raise both hands signifying that a double portion of God’s enabling grace was resting upon him in abundance and he went into the presence of the LORD with the sound of victory on his lips!. This act greatly encouraged this young believer who was also marched out to be burnt at the stake and he died knowing a double portion of God’s enabling grace resting upon him. Through God’s love they knew in abundance eternal comfort and good hope by grace, and were comforted and strengthened in every good work and word as they faithfully testified to this empowering and comforting grace from God in that hour of their fiery ordeal!