The Man of Lawlessness
2 Thessalonians 2: 3-4 “Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshipped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.” NIV Bible
Extra Reading: 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12
Paul’s teaching is that at some stage in the gospel age, that is the time we are in now between the First and Second Comings of Jesus Christ, there will arise a great rebellion against God within the Christian church. The chapter we are dealing with now is one of the notable parts of the Bible in its dealing with “the Man of Lawlessness’ or ‘anti-Christ’. You will recall that John uses the term ‘antichrist’ and Paul’s term is ‘the Man of Lawlessness’. There is ‘the thing that is restraining him, so that he might be revealed in his time’. At the moment the ‘mystery of lawlessness’ is being held back, Paul says: ‘And then the lawless one will be revealed….(v.8). The most challenging moment is that before a miraculous ‘revelation’ of Jesus at the Second Coming, there is to be a wicked ‘revelation’ of the worst that Satan is able to do. The ruination of the Man of Lawlessness is imminent. Paul continues: ‘…..whom the Lord will slay with the breadth of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming’ (2:8). The Man of Lawlessness will be destroyed suddenly and easily. The ‘breath of his mouth’ is simply a powerful word of command. Praise God that the church lives by the word that proceeds from Jesus’ mouth. The Man of Lawlessness does not last long. It does not seem that there is a long period between his appearance and his destruction. The breath of Jesus’ mouth will soon destroy him.
Paul describes the power of the Man of Lawlessness as satanic. He says, ‘This is the one whose coming is by the activity of Satan’…..(2:9). Just as Jesus’ coming had miraculous activity behind it, so does the coming of the Man of Lawlessness. His rise to fame is satanic. He is able to work miracles. Paul goes on to say the Man of Lawlessness comes ‘with all power and signs and false wonders’ (2:9). That a man works signs and wonders does not prove much: so will the Man of Lawlessness! He has power over the unsaved. Paul continued: ‘…….and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved’. We have to be aware that within and around the church there will be those who are not truly saved. Such people are deceived by any miracle-working Man of Lawlessness who arises. It should be noted that the coming of the Man of Lawlessness is a punishment. God may justly hand unbelieving people over to the power of their own unbelief. This is what will happen when the Man of Lawlessness comes. ‘And for this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they might believe what is false……’ (2:11). God can punish unbelief by leaving the unbeliever in the power of his own unbelief. He allows the Man of Lawlessness to succeed for a while, ‘in order that they may be judged who did not believe the truth but took pleasure in wickedness’ (2:12).
Prayer: Heavenly Father, please help us to recognize the Man of Lawlessness. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen!
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