Then the lawless one will be revealed

Then the lawless one will be revealed
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AMERICA IN BIBLE PROPHECY_2 Thessalonians 2:3-11 Updated American standard Version (UASV)

The Man of Lawlessness

Now we request you, brothers, with regard to the coming[4] of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to him, that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a word or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. Let no one deceive[5] you in any way, for it will not come unless the apostasy[6] comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, showing himself as being God. 5 Do you not remember that while I was still with you, I was telling you these things? And now you know the thing restraining him, so that in his time he will be revealed. For the mystery[7] of lawlessness is already at work; but only until the one who is right now acting as a restraint is out of the way. Then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will do away with by the spirit of his mouth, and wipe out by the appearance[8] of his coming,[9] namely, the one whose coming[10] is in accordance with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, 10 and with every unrighteous deception[11] for those who are perishing, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. 11 For this reason God is sending upon them a powerful delusion[12] so that they will believe the lie, 12 in order that they all may be judged because they did not believe the truth but took pleasure in unrighteousness.

2 Thessalonians 2:8 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

Then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will do away with by the spirit of his mouth, and wipe out by the appearance of his presence,

When we think of the past year, in the news media, we have witnessed atrocious cases of lawlessness around the world. We have seen hundreds of young ones killed in gang violence here in the United States. We have witnessed videos of the Islamic terrorist group known as ISIS, where hundreds of women and children have been raped and murdered, Christians have been beheaded and burned alive. However, there has been a far more treacherous lawless element that has been at work behind the scenes, truly going unnoticed for many centuries. In the Bible, it is called, “the man of lawlessness.”

It is imperative that we identify this man of lawlessness. Why? His objective is to undermine the righteous standing of every genuine Christian and cost them their hope of everlasting life. How does the man of lawlessness accomplish such a task? He does so by getting Christians to abandon the truth for the lie. Jesus said, “true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth.” (John 4:23) It is the man of lawlessness’ mission to get us away from our pure worship. He is in opposition to God and His purposes and is adamantly opposed to his dedicated worshippers. If any of us is so bold as to believe we are above being misled, we are just the ones he is looking for, as “pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” – Proverbs 16:18, ESV.

2 Thessalonians 2:3 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

Let no one deceive[1] you in any way, for it [the Lord’s day of destruction of ungodly men] will not come unless the apostasy[2] comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction,

Paul prophesied that an apostasy would develop and before that apostasy would be brought to an end the man of lawlessness would come. In fact, in verse 7 Paul stated, “For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work …”  Notice that, just like the antichrist, in the first century, this man of lawlessness was already making himself known.

Origin of the Lawless Man

2 Thessalonians 2:9-10 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

but the one whose coming is in accordance with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, 10 and with every unrighteous deception[3] for those who are perishing, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved.

We see here that is Satan, who originated this lawless man. Satan, the father of the lie, is also the one who has and who will continue to sustain the lawless one. In addition, just as Satan is an enemy of God and his people, so too, this man of lawlessness.

2 Thessalonians 2:8 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

Then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will do away with by the spirit of his mouth, and wipe out by the appearance of his presence,

This man of lawlessness has but one future, i.e., destruction, along with anyone who goes along with him.

2 Thessalonians 1:6-9 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

since indeed God considers it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to give relief to you who are afflicted along with us when the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. These ones will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, from before the Lord[4] and from the glory of his strength,

Paul gives further information in helping his readers to identify this man of lawlessness.

2 Thessalonians 2:4 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, showing himself as being God.

Here we see that Satan will raise up this lawless man, making him a false object of reverence, who will even place himself above God. On this Knute Larson writes, “This man will oppose everything connected with the divine–not only Christianity but anything that has to do with theism. This man will wage war against everything that hints at religion, faith, or spirituality. He will try to eradicate worship of any kind: prayers, songs, gatherings, and shrines.”

He goes on saying, “The man of sin will set himself up in God’s temple, or more literally, put himself into God’s seat in the inner sanctuary of the temple,proclaiming himself to be God. This will be more than a taking over of some building. The man of sin will understand the implications and claims that attend taking his seat in the sanctuary of God. He will anoint himself as divine. He will usurp the rightful place of God and declare himself as the one to be worshiped.” (Larson 2000, 106)

This lawless one is a hypocrite, a false teacher claiming to be Christian, who “takes his seat in the temple of God,” namely, what such false teachers claim to be that temple.

Identifying the Lawless Man

Just like the antichrist, we have to ask, are we looking for a single individual? Was Paul speaking of just one person, who would be this man of lawlessness? No, for if he were just one person, he would have to be able to go without dying. Paul had stated that the man of lawlessness was “already at work” in Paul’s day, and would be at work up unto the Lord’s day of the destruction of ungodly men, that is, beyond the day of the penning of this book, which would make the lawless one almost 2,000 years old. Apparently, no ordinary man has lived that long. Therefore, the expression man of lawlessness must be composite, standing for a body or class of people.

Who are these ones that have been “at work” since Paul’s day and are still “at work” in our day? Clearly, they are a body of arrogant, proud, self-important, self-righteous, ambitious leaders within false Christianity, who over the centuries have had great power within Satan’s world, placing themselves above God and his Word. This author has written extensively about the fact that 41,000 different Christian denominations call themselves the truth and the way. Consider the fact that, they all have ministers, clergy, priests, elders, pastors, yet each conflicting with the others in some aspect of doctrine or practice. Many are actually in opposition to God’s law, personality, standards, ways, and will, so, in effect, they are in opposition to God himself. (See Mark 3:24; Romans 16:17; 1 Corinthians 1:10) Many of these denominations do not keep hold of what the Bible really teaches. They have violated the principle of what Paul spoke of, ‘not going beyond what is written.’ (1 Cor. 4:6, ESV) In principle, the words of Jesus to the Jewish religious leaders of his day, wherein there were many different sects of Judaism, has much to offer us. He said, “And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?” (Matt 15:3, ESV) He went on to say, “in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.” (15:9) Lastly, Jesus said, “they are blind guides. And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.” – Matthew 15:14.

So, again, this man of lawlessness is a composite person. The false religious leaders within Christianity, who are being used by Satan whether they are aware of it or not. Of these lawless ones, be it the Pope, Cardinals, Bishops, preachers, ministers, elders, or pastors, they will share in the destruction of the man of lawlessness, for their sins. Worse still, those within the churches, who make up the flocks of these false religious leaders of Christendom, will also share in the Lord’s day of the destruction of ungodly men. King David wrote, “I do not sit with men of falsehood, nor do I consort with hypocrites.” (Psa. 26:4, ESV) If one of God’s holy ones are in one of these false denominations that call themselves Christian, God will offer them deliverance. The Palmist also wrote, “Hate evil, you who love the Lord, Who preserves the souls of His godly ones; He delivers them from the hand of the wicked.” (Psa. 97:10, NASB) Jesus spoke of those who believed they were on the correct path, but, in fact, they were not. Jesus said,

Matthew 7:21-23 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you who practice lawlessness.’

Learning a Lesson from the Apostle Paul

The actual way to God was through the Israelite nation for over 1,500 years. When Jesus arrived he began what would become known as Christianity, his followers being called Christian.

Matthew 9:16-17 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

16 But no one puts a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; for the patch pulls away from the garment, and the tear becomes worse. 17 Nor do they put new wine into old wineskins. If they do, then the wineskins burst and the wine spills out and the wineskins are ruined. But they do put new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.”

Jesus was making a point to the disciples of John the Baptist that no one should expect the followers of Jesus Christ to try to retain the old practices of Judaism, such as a ritualistic fasting. A Christian can fast if he chooses to do so, but there are no obligations to do so. Jesus did not come to patch up the old ways of worship by way of Judaism, which would be set aside on the day of Jesus’ ransom sacrifice. Christianity is not to conform to the old way of worship, to the form Jewish religious system, with the traditions of men.

As Jesus said, Christianity was not going to be a new patch on an old garment or a new wine in an old wineskin. Any Christian or so-called Jewish Christian, who tries to suggest the mixing of the two is nothing more than false prophets. – Matthew 24:11.

We can define antichrist as anyone, any group, any organization, or any government that is against or instead of Christ, or who mistreat his people. Thus, we are not just looking for one person, one group, one organization, or one power. The Bible does not refer to just one antichrist. The greatest misidentification has been the interpretation that the Antichrist and the man of lawlessness is just one particular person.

Our Point Begins with Paul

Paul, who as we know was known as Saul before becoming the apostle Paul. Nevertheless, the objective way of believing certain Bible doctrines as being the truth is as follows. The biblical view of the doctrine __________ is ___________, and it is the truth, unless, enough evidence comes along to say otherwise. If we grow in knowledge and understanding, our conclusions based on previous knowledge may need to be revised. For increased knowledge can require adjustments in one’s thinking. We must remember the Apostle Paul studied under the renowned Pharisee Gamaliel, who was the grandson of Hillel, the Elder (110 B.C.E.[5] – 10 C.E.), the founder of one of the two schools within Judaism. Paul describes himself as “circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless.” (Phil 3:5-6) He also states, “But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ” (Phil. 3:7-8) Thus, we know that the Israelites were God’s chosen people and the only way to God for some 1,500 years.

However, Jesus brought a new way, Christianity. Saul/Paul was slow to accept this because he could not see Jesus Christ as the long-awaited Messiah. Nevertheless, after Jesus visited Paul on the road to Damascus and Ananias, a Christian disciple of Damascus, visited Paul, he saw the Old Testament Scriptures pointing to the Messiah accurately, he was able to humble himself and accept a different belief, i.e., Christianity was the truth and the way.

To believe without enough support, to believe in the face of contrary evidence is irrational. Therefore, we must humbly examine the facts behind what we believe, to establish the truth continually. Just as the apostle Paul exhorted the Christians at Corinth to “examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves.” (2 Cor. 13:5) We could say the very same thing about our beliefs. We could say, ‘examine our beliefs, to see whether they are the truth, test our beliefs.’

Now, this is not to suggest that our beliefs are to be ever changing, but that they should be able to stand up to scrutiny when they are challenged by something we have heard or read. However, this refinement of our beliefs should not be confused with allowing unfounded, damaging doubts to grow in our hearts and minds, doubts that can destroy our confidently established beliefs and our relationship with our heavenly Father. Unfounded doubt is defined as something that is not supported by any evidence or a minuscule amount of evidence, to cause uncertainty of belief or opinion that often interferes with our decision-making skills.

Our Point Ends with Us

We need to dig deeper into biblical truths, not as a sign of unfounded doubt but to make sure what we believe is so. If we think that we can survive off the basic Bible knowledge that we acquired in the beginning and the simple snacks we receive at each Christian meeting, we are sadly mistaken because our spiritual health will deteriorate. It would be similar to our believing that we could maintain our physical health by only eating here and there.

Acts 17:10-11 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

Paul and Silas in Berea

10 The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. 11 Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.

Note that they (1) “received the word with all eagerness,” and then went about (2) “examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.” If the apostle Paul was to be examined to see if what he said was so, surely uninspired commentators must be examined as well.

1 Timothy 1:13 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

13 although formerly I [Saul/Paul] was a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and a violent man. But I was shown mercy because I had acted unknowingly with a lack of trust,

Suppose we do not realize that our particular Christian denomination or our Christian leader is a false teacher. Does our failing to reject it necessarily free us from further responsibility in the matter? If God continues to send us holy ones who attempt to share biblical truths be it by book, magazines, the internet, or even in person and we ignore such ones, we are sharing in the sins of others, which is a sin in and of itself. – 2 John 1:9-11.

Romans 10:2-3 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

2 For I [Saul/Paul] bear them witness that they [the Jews] have a zeal for God, but not according to accurate knowledge.[6] For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness.[7]

What has been demonstrated here thus far? Just because one is very active in their Christian denomination or church, this activity does not guarantee that they are receiving God’s approval or that they are doctrinally correct. See Jesus words below for those who believed that they were in an approved relationship. It takes real heart and character to accept that one may be on the wrong path when it comes to long-held biblical beliefs. It takes an act of humility to accept that we may need to make an adjustment in our view of a certain doctrine. Jesus words from above bear repeating.

Matthew 7:21-23 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you who practice lawlessness.’

It was Saul/Paul’s zeal and his conscience that was pricked to defend what he thought was the truth, and yet he openly admitted that he was over-zealous, that his zeal was misdirected, because of ignorance. This should cause us to pause and reflect. The presence of false teachers in the Christian congregation from the first century onward means that one cannot just naively accept that they are getting the truth. It would be foolish to assume such.

1 Thessalonians 5:21 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

21 But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good;

The Greek word dokimazete rendered simply as “test” in the English Standard Version or the Holman Christian Standard Bible denotes a careful examination of “everything.” If one is to make a careful examination of everything, it will require that they are not just passively going along, but rather, one should be buying out the time, to have an accurate understanding of God’s Word, by doing an in-depth study of what they believe to be true.

Certainly, if what Paul had to say about the Scriptures was under examination, no one else is above having their beliefs examined. The Jews of Berea did not just accept what Paul was saying about the death and resurrection of Jesus, as being so. Moreover, Paul commended them for their due diligence. (See 17:3) This was no brief or superficial examination of the Scriptures either; they met daily to examine the Scriptures. For the above reasons, it is only through living by faith and accurate knowledge that we can receive God’s favor.

Pride and Haughtiness Is an Identifying Marker

The man of lawlessness throughout history has evidenced such pride, arrogance, and haughtiness that they have controlled world leaders. They have used the pretext of God’s Word and Bible doctrines, they have controlled the masses, as well as an intermediary between the world leaders and God. For centuries, these false Christs have crowned and dethroned kings and emperors. In many ways, their words and deeds have been similar to those of the Jewish religious leaders of Jesus’ day, “We have no king but Caesar.” (John 19:15, ESV) However, Jesus words were far different, “My kingdom is not of this world.” – John 18:36.

To place themselves above God’s people, these false religious leaders, these men of lawlessness have adopted different clothing, which is usually black, and in some cases a white color around the neck. Keep in mind, others dress in $5,000 suits while their flocks are fleeced. Jesus and his disciples did no such thing. In fact, when Jesus was being arrested, Judas had to kiss him because he could not be distinguished from the others with him. Moreover, they have bestowed upon themselves titles such as “Father,” “Holy Father,” “Reverend,” “Most Reverend,” “His Excellency,” and “His Eminence,” when Jesus said, “call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven.” (Matt. 23:9) Remember, these ones are wolves in sheep’s clothing.

In Matthew Chapter 7, Jesus started out by talking about two paths and false teachers. False teachers imply false teachings. Again, what did Jesus say he would say to those who thought they were doing the right thing or thought they were teaching the right thing but were not? ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ (Matt. 7:23)

We have false teachers, who are difficult to recognize, as they appear as innocent as sheep. Recognizing them can only be accomplished by recognizing their fruit (words and deeds), as well as knowing the true will of the Father. Does it not then seem prudent on our behalf that we should apply,

2 Thessalonians 2:10 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

10 and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved.

2 Corinthians 13:5 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

5 Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?–unless indeed you fail to meet the test!

Yes, the ones, who are deceived by these false teachers, will perish because refused to be receptive to the truth. Therefore, we need to be in a constant mode of examining ourselves, as well as our beliefs, to see whether we are really in the truth. We would be wise if we heed the insight from Paul to the Corinthians,

2 Corinthians 11:13-15 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

13 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is not a great thing if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds.

Rejection of the Truth Is an Identifying Marker

The apostle Paul said that this man of lawlessness was going to grow with apostasy (rejection of the truth). Actually, the first sign Paul gave as to the identity of this lawless class is that “the day of the Lord [i.e., the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men] … will not come unless the apostasy comes first.” (2 Thess. 2:2-3) What exactly did Paul mean by “apostasy”? He meant to stand off from the truth, i.e., to not only fall away from the faith but to then turn on the faith, rebellion. On this apostasy, Knute Larson writes,

Before that great day comes, Paul declared, the rebellion must occur. The word used here is apostasia, or apostasy. Before the day of the Lord, there will be a great denial, a deliberate turning away by those who profess to belong to Christ. It will be a rebellion. Having once allied themselves with Christ, they will abandon him. Within the recognized church there will come a time when people will forsake their faith. Throughout history there have been defections from the faith. But the apostasy about which he wrote to the Thessalonians would be of greater magnitude and would signal the coming of the end. (Larson 2000, 106)

15 Comments

  • Troy Day
    Reply September 11, 2018

    Troy Day

    When? Is this happening right now Ricky Grimsley

  • Robert Erwine
    Reply September 11, 2018

    Robert Erwine

    Its Judas

  • Ricky Grimsley
    Reply September 11, 2018

    Ricky Grimsley

    It’s not Judas. That’s silly. It could be getting started.

  • Troy Day
    Reply September 11, 2018

    Troy Day

    Could it be Trump? It is imperative that we identify this man of lawlessness. Why? His objective is to undermine the righteous standing of every genuine Christian and cost them their hope of everlasting life. How does the man of lawlessness accomplish such a task? He does so by getting Christians to abandon the truth for the lie. Jesus said, “true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth.” (John 4:23) It is the man of lawlessness’ mission to get us away from our pure worship. He is in opposition to God and His purposes and is adamantly opposed to his dedicated worshippers. If any of us is so bold as to believe we are above being misled, we are just the ones he is looking for, as “pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” – Proverbs 16:18, ESV.

  • Ray E Horton
    Reply September 11, 2018

    Ray E Horton

    “It is the man of lawlessness’ mission to get us away from our pure worship. He is in opposition to God and His purposes and is adamantly opposed to his dedicated worshippers” That obviously doesn’t describe Trump, who, while only a baby Christian himself without a lot of fruit, and with the need of character adjustment, supports the Christian cause and God appears to be using to restore America, in spite of the typical news media drizzle. The establishment hates him because he has the guts to bring real change. Our economy is booming, and, with unpre4cidented low unemployment, we are just beginning to see improvement in real wages that have been stagnant for 40 years.

  • Troy Day
    Reply September 12, 2018

    Troy Day

    Wouldnt that be exactly what the man of lawlessness want you to think? I havent seen any improvement in wages BTW

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