Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God. 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4
Paul is speaking here of the coming of the antichrist, but let’s put this all into context so we can understand exactly what Paul is describing in this chapter.
In 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17, Paul describes the removal of the bride on the Feast of Trumpets (“the feast of the shout,” “the last trump” of 1 Corinthians 15:52), and finishes out that letter speaking about believers looking forward to that day, and how the bride should be living in anticipation of it.
Then, in 2 Thessalonians, he opens in chapter 1 with a salutation, and a continuation of what he had explained in his first letter about the bride, and also about the judgment. But, in chapter 2, he discusses the coming antichrist who will be revealed after the bride has been taken to the wedding chamber.
He says in verses 3 and 4 (above) that the antichrist will not come until after there has been a falling away (“apostasy”); and then, starting in verse 6, he explains also that the antichrist will not be revealed until the restrainer is taken out of his way. The restrainer is the Holy Spirit, and as He indwells Messiah’s bride as the covenant (seal), He will be taken out of the way when the bride is removed from the earth (verse 1). The covenant (of marriage–”ketubah”) will no longer be on the earth.
So, from the time Paul was writing his letter until the time the antichrist is revealed, two things must happen—the falling away and the removal of the bride. So, how can we know what the falling away is?
After explaining some of what the antichrist will accomplish, Paul ties together those who will fall for the lies of the antichrist with those who have refused to believe the truths of the Holy Spirit, and who have been deceived by the falling away mentioned in verse 3.
He goes on to say that, to those who refuse to believe the truth, and are not saved because they believe the lies, Yah will send a strong delusion, by which they will not even be able to see the truth.
And, this is VERY important! In verse 15, Paul explains to the Thessalonians how they can avoid being overtaken by the lies and false teachings of the “falling away” he mentioned in verse 3. He tells them to KEEP THE TRADITIONS he had taught them.
Now, Paul was one of the most highly educated Pharisees, and he was an expert in the law of Moses, and in the Jewish traditions (Sabbaths, wedding traditions, temple ordinances and practices), and as “paradosis” refers to the Jewish traditions, that is what Paul taught the Gentiles.
So, Paul’s warning is that there is coming a falling away before the antichrist will be revealed, and the way to keep oneself safe from being led astray by the false teachings of the falling away is to “keep the traditions.”
He makes a clear distinction between remaining in the faith by keeping the traditions, and being led into lies and deception, risking even being sent a strong delusion from Yah that will keep one from even being able to see the truth, which is what happens by NOT keeping (holding, guarding, possessing) the traditions. The actual meaning of the word “keep” is that one will make the traditions a part of who he is. They are a means of family identification.
On one side is the falling away, and on the other side is keeping the traditions.
What movement occurred after Paul died, and before the bride will be removed, and it is something one can guard himself against by keeping the traditions? Well, that, of course, would be the teachings of that which abolished the traditions. It couldn’t be any more obvious.
When Paul spoke of a coming “falling away,” and he stated that the way to guard oneself from being deceived by it is to keep the traditions, he was quite clearly warning against the coming of christianity, which was invented after all the New Testament writers had died, and was codified in the 4th century.
The laying of the foundations of christianity was in the rejection of the traditions, replacing them with paganism and humanism (SUNday assembling, christ-mass, easter/ishtar, salvation by decision, etc.).
And, sadly, I see it all the time—folks who are otherwise intelligent being shown the truths of the Holy Spirit concerning the traditions, and no matter how many different ways it is shown to them, they simply cannot see what the truth is, as they are so immersed in and blinded by the false teachings of christianity.
They mock and ridicule, and declare the truths of the Holy Spirit to be foolishness, to be “old testament” (as if Elohim (God) somehow changed), or they assert that the Holy Spirit’s truths are a form of “judaizing,” not understanding the differences between the law of Moses and the Father’s traditions (Ezekiel 20-22).
Paul observed the traditions himself (Acts 18:20-21, Acts 20:6, Acts 20:16, Acts 27:9, 1 Corinthians 16:8), he taught the Gentile converts to keep them (1 Corinthians 5:7-8, 1 Corinthians 11:2, 2 Thessalonians 2:15), and he said the Sabbaths are a shadow of things that ARE TO COME, which means they reveal the prophetic calendar (Colossians 2:17).
Obviously, Paul understood the importance of the traditions in understanding the truths of the Holy Spirit, and for staying true to the faith. And, he clearly warned that, eventually, those who stubbornly refuse to believe those truths about the Father’s traditions will be sent a strong delusion by Yah, and they will no longer even be able to see the truth.
We see those lost christians in Matthew 7:21-23. They wholly believed they were saved because of the false teachings of the falling away, but Messiah does not know them because they were never given the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:9). They believed the false teachings of the falling away—christianity—which taught them they were saved by their human decision, and that the Father’s traditions no longer exist.
For more information: The Feasts After Passover