-by Tony Warren
2nd Thessalonians 2:1-4
Many Theologians have privately interpreted this man of sin to be everything from The Pope, Hitler, Stalin, to a new born devil man himself. It makes for entertaining movie fodder, and for intriguing stories around the camp fire, but as far as Biblical Theology, it's all worth nothing. There is a better way to determine who this passage is referring to. How about we let the scriptures themselves tell us. And the scripture tells us "clearly" that the man of lawlessness is, anthropos hamartia, which literally means man of lawlessness. It is man who refuses to be subject to the laws of God! This is the definition of the lawless man. He is a transgressor of the laws of God. When satan comes, he will come revealing himself through mankind.
It seems clear to me that these verses are not referring to one particular man, but to man, "in particular." Man who being led by the spirit of Satan, forsakes the Lord to transgress the law of God in the Holy Temple. This is the prophesy of the time preceding the second advent of the Lord, when man refuses to be subject to the authority of God's Law, and will instead exalt "himself" to rule in God's Holy Temple. In other words, forsake the law of God for his own precepts and rules and authority. A time when iniquity will abound as it ushers in the return of the Lord. Matthew 24 speaks of this time as one of "Great tribulation" for believers. This would follow, for the believers are those who will "Keep" the Law of God faithfully, and so will be persecuted by the man of lawlessness.
This is a time when the transgression of Abomination occurs and many of the Church are deceived by false prophets ruled by Satan. Man of lawlessness who sits to rule in the Holy Temple of God (Church) as if he was God. Iniquity shall "abound" [plethos] (from a root word meaning, "come to the full"), and the love of God shall grow cold. In fact, right here in 2nd Thessalonians 2:6-8 it tells us this iniquity was being restrained or held down (when the text was written) until a time when He who restrains it is taken out of the midst. In other words, iniquity (Lawlessness, Sin, Wickedness, Transgression) was being held down, but the prophesy was that at sometime in the future (spoken of as when he who restrains it would be taken out of the midst) this iniquity would be loosed and then the lawless man revealed. Many will be deceived by this iniquity and it gives the reason as, "Because they refused to receive the love of truth! -2nd Thess. 2:10" They don't want to be obedient to the law of God, therefore they will not receive God's word and are deceived by the words of man (lawless man) in the Holy Temple of God. Man saying God declares you can divorce. Man saying God declares Women can rule and have authority over men in the Churches. Man saying that God declares Homosexuality is not an abomination. Man saying God declares abortion is not murder, etc., etc. This is man of lawlessness who is ruling as God in the Holy Temple. Remember, after the cross, the Holy Temple was no longer a building in Jerusalem. It is either one of three things.
#1.The Lord Jesus Christ
Those are the only three things possible after the cross to be prophesied as the Holy Temple of God. You cannot have a "shadow" which has been fulfilled by Christ, returning returning as the Holy Temple again. Therefore, the building in Jerusalem no longer qualified to be prophesied as the Holy Temple of God after the cross. It is a shadow that was fulfilled.
So since abomination cannot stand in christ, nor in the body of a believer where Christ dwells and will never leave nor forsake them, it can only stand in the churches. You see the Holy Temple is built not only with Gold, and silver and precious stones, but also with wood, hay and stubble. i.e., all in the Churches are not Saved.
1st Corinthians 3:10
Jesus is that Corner stone of this holy temple and we are built upon Him, but all are not precious building material. these who are wood, hay, and stubble are the unfaithful in the Church. Because of these, near the second advent, abomination will stand in the Holy Temple as the Churches fall away or apostasia (divorce) themselves from God.
It is clear this coming time when iniquity will abound (come to the full or multiply), coincides with Satan being loosed (Revelation 20). Man, being deceived by the spirit of antichrist coming with all power, and signs and Lying wonders, will think to change times and laws and rule as if he were God in the Temple. As Judas was one of the 12, yet betrayed our Lord, so many false prophets and false teachers will deceive many, and many will betray Christ in the Church. When man sets himself up as the authority in the church, the law replacing God's Word, this is abomination. We have a false Christ, and this abomination leads to it's Desolation.
The "mystery of lawlessness" was already at work at the time Paul was writing this (2nd thess. 2:7), but it was being restrained that it could not come to the full until it's time. Just as we can read the Anti Christ was already in the world at the time of Paul (1st John 2:18), but would also come in the future. It all refers to the Spirit of Satan who indwells "man" and deceives him and causes him to fall away from the law of God. Since the cross, this (The Great Tribulation period) has not been allowed to occur, for Christ restrains it as He was building His Church. But near the return of the lord (verse 1-4) then this Apostasy must take place. As it is written, Judgment must begin at the House of God. Christ Restrained it by the Cross. Bound Satan! Verse seven refers to that, saying it would continue to be restrained until He be taken out of the midst. When a church (The Holy Temple of God) falls away from the faith, it has no Spirit of God in the midst (i.e., where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst -Matt. 18:20). When the Spirit is no more in the midst of a Church, iniquity abounds. Apostasy (a divorcing from God) sets in and man rules in the place of God by following his own laws instead of God's. This is what 2nd thessalonians 2 speaks about.
Simply put, the man of sin is the man of sin. Not an individual, but man of sin. Just as I would say the man of lawfulness or faithfulness worships in the Temple. It's not a reference to one single man, but to the man who is faithful or follows the laws of God. Likewise, the man of lawlessness is just the opposite! Any betrayer of Christ, just as Judas was deceived of Satan to betray Christ. Any false teachers that seek to establish themselves as authority "over" the teaching of God, abandoning His Word for their own private interpretations, this is the man of lawlessness. We are seeing this falling away right now in the Churches. There are many Churches today ruled by the man of lawlessness instead of God. Not a few, many! These are those who make up their own rules and laws to govern themselves, rather than humbly receive God's laws. And can the Coming of the lord be far off? even so, Come Lord Jesus!
(NOTE: for a verse by verse overview, see the 2nd Thess 2 Study. You may get some insight into the man of sin from The Antichrist Study also.)
Copyright 1998 Tony Warren
Created 8/10/98 / Last Modified 2/20/00
The Mountain Retreat / firstname.lastname@example.org