Anyone who has ever loved their only child has had their hearts break if they have ever had to give them up. Yet at infinite cost to Himself, this is what God the Father did when He gave up His only Son to fallen humanity, for Jesus has been given to us forever as our Elder Brother in human form. For in order to save fallen man from sin, the Son of God had to become one like us - fully divine, yet human, with His divinity veiled by humanity. For the agape of the Father and His Christ is such that the Father did not begrudgingly give the Son to us, but was instead given joyfully and without hesitation, for the only way be which fallen man could be saved, was for God to provide Himself as a sacrifice for sin, just as Abraham told Isaac as the knife flashed and was about to fall (Genesis 22: 8).
The risk which the Father and Son undertook on our behalf by providing the Son as a ransom for our sin, is beyond the comprehension of our finite minds. Yet, the eternal power and purpose of the Godhead has been revealed to us at Calvary, for in becoming one like us:
` . . . we see Jesus, who was made a liitle lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that by the Grace of God should taste death for every man.' (Hebrews 2: 9)
The death which Christ `tasted' for every man was the `second death', for in order to provide Himself as a sacrifice for sin:
` . . . it was necessary for him to be made in every respect like us, his brothers and sisters, so that he could be our merciful and faithful High Priest before God. Then he could offer a sacrifice that would take away the sins of the people.' (Hebrews 2: 17 NLT)
By willingly consenting to be `made in every respect like us', Christ was `tempted on all points as we are, yet without sin' (Hebrews 4: 15) and thus subjected Himself to the penalty which is due to all who break the Ten Commandments of God - which is the `second death'! Moreover, as all break the Commandments of God, then all are subject to the penalty of death, and all are in need of a Saviour! This is the death which Christ `tasted' for everyone, so that we might not taste it ourselves. For if Christ was exempt from the positive demands of the Law, He would have been merely an actor on a stage, wailing out His lines to all humanity - and humanity would have no sacrifice for sins. Yet what transpired on the cross was no make-believe theatre in which the actor is merely playing a part which insulates him from the real life experience of the character whose life he assumes on stage, for the infinite mercy which the Father and Son have for the fallen race determined that the only means by which fallen man could be saved, was for God Himself to descend from the heights of heaven, and instead of being made like the unfallen angels who are lofty in stature, Christ was instead made a man with the `flesh' of the fallen Adam.
Thus it was imperative that our Elder Brother closely identify with us by being tempted on all points as we are, for it was only by this means that He could defeat sin `in the flesh'. For the unconditional love of the Father and Son determined that the only way by which fallen man might be saved from the clutches of the Devil, was to place Christ in the stead of man, and take upon Himself the penalty of the `second death' which is due to fallen man, so that the breach in the Law which had been caused by sin and serves to alienate man from God might be repaired through the ministry of reconciliation - for at Calvary, God the Father has already reconciled Himself to man, through His Eternal Son Jesus Christ. Thus the Father and Son risked all for this one lonely planet, and the agape which the Father has for fallen man, is that He has forever given His only-begotten Son to all of humanity for eternity, for God:
` . . . has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.' (2 Corinthians 5: 18, 19.)
Yet the dogma that defines the Nicene Creed, or Trinity, as it is otherwise known, denies that in His pre-incarnate state, Christ was a literal Son to the Father, which is a conceptualization which is still influencing the theologies of most Christian Churches which partake of this Creed today. It is for this reason that the dogma of the Nicene Creed in a strictly primary sense refers to Christ as the Second Person of the Godhead, for if it referred to Him as anything other than the eternal Son of the Father, then this would imply that Christ was a literal Son to the Father in His pre-incarnation; for although this Creed defines Christ as the `eternal Son of the Father', the term `eternal son' does not necessarily imply a filial relationship to the Father in the sense of a true father-son relationship. This eventuated because the early Church Fathers were overtly concerned that if Christ were seen as a literal Son to the Father in His pre-incarnate state, then He would be seen to be subordinate to the Father replete with a depleted divinity, for the simple reason that a son is always younger than his father in calendar years. This of course implies that Christ had a beginning, and led Arius, a presbyter of Antioch at the beginning of the fourth century, to declare that although Christ existed before time itself, He did have a beginning for reason that He was a literal Son to the Father in His pre-incarnation. However, Arius is also thought to believe that this implied that Christ was created by the Father, was of a similar `substance', or `essence' as the Father, and should therefore be regarded as `strong god, but not full god'. Athanasius countered his teachings at the First Ecumenical Council at Nicea in 325 A.D, by teaching that Christ is fully divine, and as divinity is eternal, then the Son must also be of the the same `substance', or `essence' as the Father - which further determines that Christ is eternal, for divinity is by definition eternal, and therefore cannot have a beginning. Thus Trinitarians who are cognizant of what this Creed implies believe that Christ could not really be a Son to the Father in His pre-incarnate state at all, for if He were, He could not be completely divine. Therefore the orthodox interpretation of the filial relationship of the Son to the Father is known as the doctrine of the eternal generation of the Son in the Father. This implies that the Son was first generated in the Father from eternity, and is being generated in the Father at every single moment of eternity!
`It is distinctive of the Father to exist from just himself, not from anything else, and to generate or have generated eternally the Son who is co-eternal with him. And it is distinctive of the Son to be generated or to have been generated eternally from the Father alone, not created, nor made, and not proceeeding but simply generated. And it is distinctive of the Holy Spirit to proceed from the Father together with the Son, but not to be created, nor made, nor generated, but simply proceeeding. Hence the distinction of the three Persons from each other is in virture of the distinguishing features of each.' (`Basic Issues in Medieval Philosophy', R. Bosley, M. Tweedale, 2006, p. 296.)
If these conceptions of the Son being `generated in the Father' and the Holy Spirit is seen to be `proceeding from the Father' at first appears to be bewildering, perhaps this is because this Creed teaches the strictly Platonic principle of generation, in which one essence, or substance is generated by the intellect of another, just as Plato believed, and just as this official Catholic publication teaches as orthodox theology:
`In the preceding chapter we considered the two "processions" in God - that of the Son and that of the Holy Spirit. At present we will confine our attention to the procession of the Son from the Father. We said that the Father "generates" the Son. How does the Father generate the Son if there is no sex in God? The Church, aided by her best theologians, teaches that the Father generates the Son by an act of intellect.' (`Fundamentals of Catholicism: God, Trinity, Creation, Mary', K. Baker (S.J.), 1983, p. 94. Original emphasis.)
It is in this principle of generation, that the essence of the Son and essence of the Holy Spirit reflect the pantheist principle of the generation of the Forms, of which the Greeks believed, for in this system each pair of Gods emanated from those preceeding them, God from God and thus sharing in the same divine essence that did not really differentiate their individuality at all, as each God was seen to be a part of the God that preceeded it. Now, while that might seem to be confusing, the implications of what it teaches are really very simple, for it implies that the term `Sonship to the Father' infers that the Son, the Father and the Holy Spirit are expressions, or modalities of the One God, which is not very far removed from the Greek conception of emanation from the One. In Trinitarianism, the modality, or expression of the Son is being generated by the modality, or expression of the Father for eternity, so that we can comprehend the plan of redemption. Thus:
`It may be inferred from the Scriptures that when the Godhead laid out the plan of salvation at some point in eternity past, They also took certain positions or roles to carry out the provisions of the plan.' (Magazine - `These Times, our Times', June 1, 1981, Art. `Frank Anwers to Questions')
If we are to think within the confines of the tenets which express orthodox theology which is associated with the Nicene Creed, then this Creed infers that the pre-incarnate Christ cannot really be regarded as being a true Son to the Father at all in the proper sense of a filial relationship, for this is instead a role which is performed by an actor in a theatre, which then demonstrates to us the plan of salvation:
`The Father, Son relationship in the New Testament, must always be understood in
the light of the event of Bethlehem. The only child born into this world with a divine
rather than a human father is Jesus. The title ‘son’ refers to His entry into time and
does not deny at all His eternal origins. There are references in the Old Testament to
‘Sonship’ but these are always in anticipation of the incarnation.' (Article ‘Is Jesus Jehovah God?’, J. R. Hoffman, `Ministry Magazine' June 1982, p. 24.)
Indeed, the original Greek for person is personae, and means `mask'; thus implying that each member of the Godhead chose the part which He was required to play, so that we might understand the plan of redemption. Therefore in reality, the nonsensical structure of this Creed soon contradicts itself, for it implies that the Son was not really generated by the Father at all, but was instead generated by the entire One-in-all God, for there is no true Father, Son or Holy Spirit at all in relation to the proper sense of the word, for these terms signify modalites, or roles which these divine actors were designated to play! Thus, the First Person of the Godhead could have been the Son or the Holy Spirit, but instead chose to be the Father; the Second Person of the Godhead could have been the Father or Holy Spirit, but instead chose to be the Son; and the Third Person of the Godhead could have been the Father or Son, but opted to perform the role of the Holy Spirit, instead.
The Council of Constantinople defined the the Holy Spirit as proceeding from the Father, instead of being generated by the Father, for reason that generation implies Sonship, and the attribute of the Holy Spirit is not that of Sonship to the Father, but instead as a `giver of life', and therefore a co-redeemer with the Son:
`We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible . . . And in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of life, who proceedeth from the Father, who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified . . . ' (Nicene Creed - First Council of Constantinopel, 381 A.D.)
The defining of the Holy Spirit was the medium by which the Cappadocian Fathers sought to bridge a distinction between the Platonist conception of the Godhead, and the Catholic conception of the Godhead. The similarities can be seen as thus - the Catholic conception of the Godhead is that Christ, the Word, or Wisdom of God is generated by the Father, and the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father. The Platonic conception of the Godhead, is that the first two emantions which proceeded from the One-in-all pantheist God were Sophia, or the wisdom of God (for Sophia means wisdom in the Greek), and Adonis, her consort, was also known by the philosophers as the intellectual principle of God. Thus, the gnostics viewed Christ as female, and regarded Him as Sophia, and the Holy Spirit as her consort, the intellectual principle of the Godhead. In the Catholic system, the Father came to be regarded as the nous, or intellectual principle, Christ was substituted for Sophia, or the word, and the Holy Spirit was substituted for the pneuma, or breathe of life; which is why Gregory of Nanzanius stated in the Nicene Creed that the Holy Spirit is the giver of life; which of course completely ignored Christ as our Redeemer! Thus in accordance to the strict tenets of this Creed, Protestantism regards the Holy Spirit as being the `giver of life', and in Catholicism, Mary, the Mother of Jesus as being this same `giver of life'; which thus negates the atonement of Christ. While the majority of Christians will strenuously object to this summation of the Nicene Creed and regard it as a gross innacurracy, nevertheless, this Creed implicitly states that while the Holy Spirit is the giver of life, nowhere does it state that this same attribute is applied to Christ, which is indeed blasphemy.
This Creed subsumes the individuality and identity of each member of the Godhead, to the point that it is not very far removed from the Platonic conception of the Godhead, in which the first two emanations or divine expressions or the One, were considered to be divine. The only real difference, is that according to the tenets of this Creed, the Council of Constantinople defined the Godhead to be persons, not emanations - although strictly speaking, the three `persons' of the Godhead cannot be defined as `persons' at all, in accordance with how we tend to think of someone as a person:
`Because "person" means something different now, some of the familiar analogies for God break down rather quickly. We cannot, for example, think of God as a family of three, or a committee that always votes unaminously. This separates the persons and compromises God's unity. (`The Reign of God', R. Rice, 1985, p. 92.)
The procession of the Spirit from the Father is also known as the spiration of the Spirit. It implies that the Spirit is breathed is literally God-breathed by the Father, as the word spiration is derived from the noun breathe. Thus in the spiration of the Spirit we have the First Person of the Godhead breathing the Third Person of the Godhead upon all of Creation. Obviously, according to the tenets of the Nicene Creed, when we think of the three Persons of the Godhead, all normal conceptions of a `person' do not apply. So the question must be asked - does the Trinitarian definition of the three Persons of the Godhead really differ from the pagan conception of emanation? According to the pagan philosopher Celsus (early 3rd century), the answer is no!
`On the great elementary principle of Christianity, the Unity of the Supreme God, this approximation had long been silently been made. Celsus, in his celebrated controversy with Origen, asserts that this philosophical notion of the Deity is perfectly reconciliable with Paganism.' (`History of Christianity', vol. 2, H. Milman, 1886, p. 185.)
The sad fact of the matter is that although the early Church Fathers tried to divorce the more pagan conceptions of the unity of the Godhead from the dogma of the Nicene Creed, in actual fact the Roman Church was still left with a paganized conception of a Creed which differed little from the pagan conception of the character of God, which is to say that God is `eros'. This is confirmed by the fruitage of this Creed, in which doctrines such as vicarious substitution and original sin imply that God is `eros', and the souls of men are purified by faith plus works, so they can then be saved by the sacraments of the Church.
The development of the Trinitarian conception of a divine `person' did not take place overnight, but took centuries of vigorous debate. Tertullian (c. 160 - 220 A.D) is known as `The Father of Latin Christianity', for it is thought that it is he who first conceived of the Trinity, for he was the first to conceive of the distinctive formula of `tres Personae, una Substantia', which is Latin for `three Persons, one substance'. His idea of how the three Persons related to each other was not unlike that which later gave rise to the modalism of Sabellius, and was further refined by Boethius (c. 480 - 524), who was:
` . . . the first Latin translator of Aristotle [the renowned student of Plato, and], adopted Aristotle's definition of a person as an individual substance with a rational nature (personae est naturae rationalis individua substantia). With this definition three persons would suggest three substances.' (`The Word of Truth', D. Moody, 1990, p. 123.)
However, the problem with Boethius's interpretation of the three Persons of the Godhead being `three substances' sat uncomfortably close to Tritheism, and although it was adopted as official doctrine by the Fourth Lateran Council in 1215 A.D., it was not until half a century later that Thomas Aquinas (1225 - 1274) sought to avoid the inherent problems of Modalism and Tritheism, by proposing that:
` . . . the Tritheism advocated by Joachim of Flora [c. 1135 - 1202] . . . led him to speak of "a distinct subsistent in an intellectual nature." This has remained the standard for Roman Catholicism . . . It is no wonder that Luther and Melancthon shifted from the long debates on the Holy Trinity to the work of Christ in redemption.' (ibid, p. 124.)
No wonder indeed! One can just imagine the dry theological debates which took place about the ontological relationship of the Godhead, while ordinary men and women who followed after Luther's simple, but eloquent teaching that one is justified by faith alone lived in fear of their lives, for at this time thousands were being burnt at the stake, for daring to disagree with the tenets of the Church!
This conception of the three-in-one God of the Trinity tends to bounce like a ping-pong ball between tritheism, which is the worship of three separate Gods, and modalism, or as it is more correctly known, Modal Monarchianism, or Sabellianism, for reason that it was first proposed by a Sabellius, who is regarded as a rather shadowy figure who first concocted this theory in about 250 A.D. In recent years, Modalism has eclipsed the traditional orthodox Trinitarian model which is the basis of Catholic faith, as Karl Barth (1886 - 1968), who was perhaps the most influential theologian of the twentieth century, has influenced the manner by which many Protestant Churches have come to view the Nicene Creed since World War I:
`After the decline of Protestant orthodoxy, the doctrine of the Holy Trinity became a secondary doctrine, and many times it was rejected outright. It is no exaggeration to say that this eclipse of Trinitarianism did not pass until Barthianism came on the scene after World War I. Karl Barth, with his emphasis on special revelation and the psychological analogy, began to speak of God the Father as Revealer, God the Son as the Revelation and God the Holy Spirit as the subjective Revealedness of the objective Son. He, of course, would reject the suggestion that this is a psychological analogy! His whole system was organized around the three modes of the Holy Trinity, with God as Creator, the Son as Reconciler, and the Holy Spirit as Redeemer . . . Indeed, this Trinity of Revelation has overtones of Sabellius and Joachim of Flora, but the details defend an eternal Trinity of Father, Son and the Holy Spirit.' (`The Word of Truth', D. Moody, 1990, pp. 124, 125.)
In relatively recent history Modalism has increasingly become the filter by which many Christians view the ontological relationship of the Father to the Son. While the modalism of Karl Barth (1886 - 1968) is the primary conception of the unity of the Godhead which unites all Churches, both Catholic and Protestant under the banner of ecumenicalism, this is in fact considered to be heresy by the Catholic Church, as the orthodox doctrine is considered to be the eternal generation of the Son in the Father, the procession of the Spirit through the Father, and the Father, Son and Holy Spirit each having individual attributes, yet without division. This was further refined when St. Augustine wrote in `De Trinitate' sometime between `400 - 418 A.D, that the Father and Son are equally the source of the Holy Spirit, for until that time, Trinitarianism still carried overtones of subordinationism. One can only assume that the First Person of the Godhead breathes the Third Person of the Godhead upon the Second Person of the Godhead, and voila, all of the Godhead are members of the Godhead are co-redeemers with Christ, for all assist in the redemption of men.
In reality, we have already seen enough evidence which indicates that this Creed is nothing other than the Greek Platonic conception of the One-in-all pantheist God, which has been further adorned by a few Christian refinements; for the basis of this Creed is the assumption that the soul is of divine origin, and the souls of men are but a dim reflection of the Trinity. This is, in itself, a thorough condemnation of this Creed, for it ensures that the agape love of the Father and Son is obscured by this doctrine, for although the heart of the gospel lies in the giving of the Son to fallen humanity, according to the manner by which this doctrine presents itself, the Son was never really given to us at all! `How can this be?', one would ask! After all, as there is the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, then there must be also be a Trinity, and to deny the Trinity is to deny Christ!
Such is the standard objection one encounters whenever one questions the validity of this doctrine. We have already seen that the basis of this doctrine has its roots in the Platonic philosophies of the Greeks, while paying lip-service to Christ. For Lucifer has determined that fallen man shall not know the true selflessness which constitutes the character of God, for he knows that when the human race as a corporate entity perceives this, then his time is short, for this will herald the return of Christ. It is for this reason that Lucifer has by subterfuge appropriated worship within the Christian Church which the sincere Christian believes is being directed to Christ, when it is being subtly misdirected to him instead, in the guise of a counterfiet Holy Spirit. He has used precisely the same ploy in substituting the Sunday for the Sabbath day, so that by subterfuge he might be worshipped, instead of Christ, by positing himself as a co-redeemer with Christ who (together with Christ) is adored on his appointed day of the sun. At the same time he has introduced a host of daughter doctrines which fall within the umbrella of Trinitarianism, which (as we shall see) further expand upon this doctrine by presenting us with a doctrinal picture which indicates that God is indeed eros and is either too impotent or too uncaring of the plight of fallen humanity, to provide the fallen race with a completed atonement that saves us from sin. Instead of openly revealing himself to humanity, he instead chooses to present himself as another Christ preaching another gospel, so that millions are deceived by his sophistries. For he knows that if he were to directly reveal himself to humanity, he would not receive the worship he covets, for men would see him for the liar and harbinger of death and destruction that he is.
The sacrificial system which pointed forward to Christ, had always been the thorn in Lucifer's side - for it pointed forward in time to a Saviour to come. The adherents of the pagan religions were his by default, for in these religions he was either openly worshipped, or instead worshipped as the God of the Sun. He had to deal with Christianity differently - for these were the people of the Most High who would not worship Lucifer openly - and would indeed by shocked to learn of the adulteration of their religion by his principles of disguised selfishness. In order to appropriate worship which would be subtly misdirected to himself, Lucifer needed to nullify the atonement of Christ by introducing an entire set of doctrines which denied that Christ came in the flesh, but was impossible for Him to die the equivalent of the `second death' for fallen man. At the same time, he borrowed from the pagan religions by setting up a counterfeit religion in which not only was the soul immortalized; in the sense that it is of divine origin, and thus echoes the first lie spoken to Eve in the Garden of Eden - i.e `Thou shalt not surely die', but by also abolishing the Seventh-day Sabbath and surreptitiously appropriating worship to himself by setting the adoration of the sun (purportedly in honour of the resurrection of Christ) - while at the same time abolishing the `feast days' as memorials which testified of and pointed forward to the atoning work of Christ, so that knowledge of the saving power of the gospel might be adulterated and lost. It is no accident that in reference to Daniel 7: 25, which testifies of the `little horn' power `that had eyes, and a mouth that spoke very great things' that some modern translation of Daniel 7: 25 translate the verse as such:
`He will defy the Most High and oppress the holy people of the Most High. He will try to change their sacred festivals and laws, and they will be placed under his control of a time, times and half a time.' (Daniel 7: 25 NLT)
Perhaps the crowning achievement of the manner in which he appropriated worship to himself, was the way in which he directed the early Church Fathers to set up the doctrine of the Trinity in regard to the formulation of the Nicene Creed; for in the pagan pantheon, Tammuz was worshipped as the reincarnation of Nimrod - and it is Tammuz who intercedes for the sins of men. This was adapted straight into the Christian religion in the Council of Constantinople in 381 A.D, in which the doctrine of the Trinity was finalized, by presenting the Holy Spirit as co-eternal, co-equal and con-substantial with the Father and Son - which means that the Holy Spirit is of the same substance, or essence as the Father and Son, and should therefore be worshipped in precisely the same manner as the Father and Son are worshipped. Thus, in the Trinitarian formula, the Holy Spirit is depicted as the Third Person of the Godhead, instead of the Biblical teaching that the Holy Spirit is the Personal presence of Christ, Who comes to us by His Holy Spirit:
`And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it sees him not, neither knows him: but all of you know him; for he dwells with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.' (John 14: 16: - 18.)
Note that it is Christ Who at that time dwelt with His disciples and knew them. He did not say that He would sender `another Comforter' to the disciples in the form of another person, or in the form of the `Third Person of the Godhead', but that He Himself would come to the disciples and comfort them, for after His accension, He could no longer be with them in bodily form. The following illustration helps to clarify this thought:
`It's like asking someone for "another glass of water." You don't expect them to give you a different glass with water, but to use the same glass but give you more water. Christ said, "I will pray the Father and He will give you more of the same Comforter (as you now have); that He may abide with you forever.' (`A Close look at the Trinity', G. H. Strong, 1993, p. 45.)
However, the dogma of the Trinity dictates that the mysterious Third Person of the Godhead is a co-redeemer with Christ, for as `He' is a Person Who is not Christ, but is nevertheless worshipped in exactly the same sense in which Christ and the Father are worshipped, then the Holy Spirit is worshipped to and prayed to as God Himself. Pentacostals quite rightly recognize the co-eternal aspects of this Creed, and as a result many pray to the Holy Spirit (as the Nicene Creed instructs one to do), instead of for the Holy Spirit, as the majority of Christians do. Particularly when Romans 8: 26 states that:
`Likewise the Spirit also helps our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.' (Romans 8: 26.)
However, strictly speaking it is unlawful to regard the Trinitarian Holy Spirit as a co-redeemer with Christ; for only One Who has experienced the `second death' for the faithful can provide a completed atonement for sin, and thus `qualify' as our Redeemer. The `Third Person' of the Trinitarian Godhead (or co-redeemer with Christ) has not done this, and thus does not possess the necessary `credentials' needed to qualify as our Redeemer - for only Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, was crucified at Calvary for our sins. Thus the Holy Spirit of Christ - His Personal Presence which comes to us when we pray, became confused very early on in the fledgling Church with a mysterious Third Person of the Godhead, which was transferred straight into Christianity from the worship of Tammuz in ancient Babylon, with the modification that the Holy Spirit became seen as a co-redeemer with Christ in Protestantism, and the adoration of Mary as the co-redeemer of Christ in Catholicism. If this doctrinal confusion seems absurd - then so it should, for it makes far more sense to believe that the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Christ and the Father, which comes to us by the Personal Presence of the Son. Thus, when the `little horn' power which is depicted in Daniel 7: 25 achieved the supremacy which it sought over all other Churches, it then sought to sit in the Church in the place of God, just as the apostle Paul warned it would, after there had come a great `falling away' from the truth of the gospel of the `agape' love of God and His Christ in the Christian Church:
`Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sits in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. Remember all of you not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? And now all of you know what withholds that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity does already work: only he who now lets will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.' (2 Thessalonians 2: 3 - 12.)