Let's take a look at 2 Thessalonians 2:14-17 in its Hebraic context:
The biggest misunderstanding of the Pauline Epistles is that Paul's encouragements nullified or superseded Torah rather than complemented Torah, and most of this is due to erroneous Greek translations, such as in this verse which reads: "So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the paradoesis (traditions) which you were taught, whether by word or epistle." Paradoesis could mean "traditions" but may also be rendered "teachings" as in the NIV. However, there are BIG problems with both phrases as they imply a new "wisdom" has supplanted the Eternal Word. Many theologians suggest that Paul the Jew is saying to the Gentiles, "Don't concern yourself with Torah, it's just a Jewish thing; just listen to me (Paul) and follow to the new teaching." However, Aramaic reads: "Henceforth, my brethren, stand fast and hold to the Commandments which you have been taught, either by word or by epistle." (Lamsa) The Aramaic porqadona, unlike the Greek paradoesis, can only mean "Commandments".
The question is then, what commandments? According to Matthew 5:19, Y'shua taught Torah and the Commandments of YHWH from the very beginning of his ministry. According to Matthew 15:3, Y'shua warned the Pharisees against making void the "Commandment of Elohim" by their traditions. In Matthew 19:17 Y'shua spelled out the Commandments to the rich young ruler, teaching that "if you will enter into Life, keep the Commandments." The rich young ruler asked which ones? Y'shua gave him Torah Commandments! Being led by the Ruach haKodesh to observe YHWH's Torah (instruction in righteousness) is a perquisite to entering the Malchut Elohim; in fact, Torah is magnified (made great) by Y'shua according to Yesha'yahu/Isaiah 42:21. In 2 Peter 2:21, 22, Peter levies a sharp rebuke; "…it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than after having known (it), to turn back from the Set Apart commandment that was delivered to them." John teaches in 1 John 2:4; "For he that says I know him and does not keep his Commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him."
There can be NO doubt these are YHWH's Commandments because John teaches in 1 John 3:22: "And whatever we ask, we receive from Him because we keep His (YHWH's) Commandments and do acceptable things before Him." But some theologians teach that if you "love" you don't need to keep any Commandments; however, this is the tradition of the Laodicean Church who interprets "love" according to religious tradition (see Definition of Love in Appendix). "And the dragon was enraged against the woman; and he went to make war upon the residue of her seed who keep the Commandments of Elohim and have the testimony of Y'shua." (Revelation 12:17). The true remnant, the Israel of Elohim, keep the Commandments of Elohim and they know Y'shua is Mashiyach ben Yoseph.
The evidence supporting Torah Observance among Y'shua's followers is overwhelming, but there are multitudes of doctrines and church traditions that make war against the Word of YHWH. It's one thing for a person to choose to disobey YHWH's Commandments, but it's quite another to teach others to also be disobedient. Y'shua warns that it would be better for a millstone be hung around your neck and be sunk into the sea than to be guilty of causing one of his little ones to stumble (Matthew 18:6). Paul and all of Y'shua's disciples, even the Pharisees knew that the "Word of Elohim" can only mean Torah! Therefore, this verse clearly demonstrates that Paul is determined to bring everyone including the Gentiles, the Tribes of Israel, and all Jews into the Grace of Y'shua so they could have Torah written upon their hearts. Grace is power given by YHWH to live as a Kedoshim (holy people).
Most Gentiles are unaware of the fervent debates between Netzarim Jews (Nazarenes) and traditional Jews regarding Y'shua being Mashiyach or his divinity. In particular, the issue that frequently comes up is the idea that Christians exalt a man as God. As we will see, part of the problem again lies with inaccurate Greek translations and, of course, there is a marked difference between Catholic, Protestant, "Messianic Jewish" and Netzarim beliefs. It is most intriguing that some traditional Jews would label Paul's letters as pagan, given his admonition to a pagan audience: "Let no man deceive you by any means; for that day shall not come unless it is preceded by a rebellion, and the man of sin be revealed as the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called Elohim or that is reverenced; so that even in the Temple of Elohim, he sits as a god, and shows himself as though he were a god." 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 (Lamsa). The phrase "son of perdition" in Aramaic, breh d'abadana is the same as the Hebrew abaddon, meaning "destruction" and is torn from the pages of the Dead Sea Scrolls, alluding to sons of light and sons of darkness.
Of course, such a metaphor makes little sense in Greek. However, more pointed to our discussion is the fact that Paul is describing a great deception whereby "Christians" would be entrapped into worshipping a man! "And with all deceitfulness of unrighteousness in those who perish, because they received not the love of the truth that they might be saved thereby. For this reason Elohim shall send them a strong delusion that they should believe a lie, that all who did not believe in truth but preferred unrighteousness might be damned." 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12 (Lamsa).
Since the Wicked One in 2 Thessalonians 2:8-12 is clearly a man sent from Satan, we can rightly infer that this sort of man-worship is heartily and forcefully condemned by the Shaliach/Apostle Paul. That being said, it is odd that his critics would continue to accuse him of being an idolater himself, when all evidence in Scripture points to his keeping Torah! Furthermore, if the heresy is as Paul says, "a strong delusion" it seems likely that it is a popular one as well! Certainly this vision of the distant future from Paul's era drives a spike in the coffin to Replacement Theology (Supercessionism) and Dispensationalism, which are as "fathers" to polytheistic Christianity.
In the end, the true Good News is linked inextricably to the Word that came before, while the "other Gospel" teaches Torah is done away with, and/or that paganism rules the day. As we will also see later on, since Paul condemned as heretical the "man-god" idea, it seems very unlikely that the Shaliach would simply substitute the agent of Satan with the Hellenized "Jesus" who essentially does the same thing. It was Paul who made statements as in 1 Corinthians 12:3 that "Y'shua is YHWH!" We must certainly differentiate between a man who would wrongly aspire to be YHWH, with a pure understanding of Aramaic/Hebrew and Torah that demonstrates how YHWH can take on any form He desires. One is the age old pagan counterfeit from haSatan which entered the world by confusion in the Greek "New Testament" while the other is the ultimate understanding of Mashiyach as revealed in Torah and the prophets of YHWH as truth, and it's Jewish to the very core.
-Andrew Gabriel Roth