GK Beale on the Frog in the Kettle & the Mystery of Lawlessness

I have been digging deeply into 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12 for my exegetical research paper in Hermeneutics. While I am not in agreement with Beale on his Amillennialism, I do appreciate his scholarship. I found this description of the “mystery of lawlessness” leading to the final apostasy particularly sobering for the contemporary church.

What is it that continually energizes the lawless and worldly spirit of the age throughout history? Why do culture and some sectors of the church promote moral and religious relativity? What is it that makes the spirit of worldliness so attractive and compelling? Paul explains in 2:1–12 that the spirit of the antichrist, “the man of lawlessness,” is already presently working to influence and deceive not only our culture but also the church about the truth. This spirit will effectively deceive some throughout the age, and the deception will reach a climax at some future point. Like the proverbial “frog in a kettle” that is unable, because of its cold-blooded nature, to sense gradual increases in water temperature until it is too late (and it is boiled), God’s people sometimes fail to perceive subtle shifts away from God’s truth. When the spiritual heat of false teaching or deception comes, we sometimes do not readily recognize it because of our spiritual cold-heartedness. Are we like the frog that is beginning to boil? If people have not truly believed that Jesus suffered on the cross the punishment they deserve and that he rose again from the dead to give life, they are presently in a state of deception that could be the beginning of final punishment. Those genuinely having believed need to keep recalling the truth of God’s Word in order to prevent deception.[1]

[1] G. K. Beale, 1-2 Thessalonians, The IVP New Testament commentary series (Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 200), 224.

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Logos Apologia is the ministry of Cris D. Putnam. The mission of Logos Apologia is to show that logic, science, history and faith are complementary, not contradictory and to bring that life-changing truth to everybody who wants to know.