Sunday, September 21, 2014
Man of Sin (3) – Part 25 of Riddles, Enigmas & Esoteric Imagery of Revelation
When we were last together we continued our study of the identity of the Man of Sin, as revealed by the Apostle Paul in his prophecy recorded in II Thessalonians Chapter 2. The subject of Paul’s prophecy is…concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him…verse 1.
The believers he is speaking to wanted to know when Jesus would return for them, so Paul is explaining…that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition…verse 3. Then Paul says…and now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time…verse 6.
If we keep Paul’s prophecy in context, with the subject of his message the return of Jesus, we will understand that he is delineating to the believers…what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time. Jesus is being restrained from returning, because the falling away has not as yet occurred, and the Man of Sin has not been revealed when Paul spoke this prophecy.
The Apostle Paul continues to describe “what is restraining” the return of Jesus Christ in verse 7 & 8…for the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way…and then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming.
Twenty five years ago, when my prayer partner and editor of my manuscript first discussed Paul’s prophecy, which had been misinterpreted in the commentary of the Scofield Study Bible, and countless others that copied from him, she said, “Studying this prophecy contextually and diagramming the sentences correctly sheds light on the truth of the message. But, hearing the false interpretation of it in every church I have attended, has created a groove – deep rut – that is hard to fill in with the truth that I now see. When you hear only one end time doctrine over and over your whole Christian life, it is challenging to replace it – even with the truth – it feels awkward.”
Let’s summarize what Paul has said so far.
1. Who is restrained? — Jesus Christ
2. What is restraining? — falling away and the Man of Sin – lawless one
3. Who will be revealed in his own time? — Jesus Christ
According to Paul’s prophecy, the mystery of lawlessness was already at work in his society. This lawlessness would define the Man of Sin, who will restrain the return of Jesus Christ — until the Man of Sin is taken out of the way…who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God…verse 4.
The falling away must come first – what does this mean? It means that believers will abandon the faith of their forefathers – apostasy. While every era of history records great apostasy, including the 21st century, never in recorded history has there ever been a protracted falling away of the faith, than during the thousand-year reign of the Holy Roman Empire — Dark Ages.
No one will understand the identity of Man of Sin…until he is taken out of the way…verse 7. How is he taken out of the way? The Man of Sin…the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming…verse 8. What does this mean?
The Man of Sin will be taken out of the way because he will be consumed with the breath of God’s mouth. When God speaks – breath of His mouth – it is His word that comes forth to our ears. The great Reformation was kindled because the truth (breath) of God’s word was revealed and received by the spiritually ignorant populous for the first time in a thousand years. While faithful believers had preached God’s truth during this protracted period of apostasy, it was not time for God to expose the Man of Sin until 1517.
The preaching of the gospel by God’s very brave servants, symbolized the ‘breath of His mouth’ by the truth they were speaking in God’s stead. Jesus called men to preach His word, which will reveal and consume, false religious doctrines – light of the truth extinguishes the darkness of lies.
What did Paul mean in this prophecy when he said the lawless one will be revealed and…the Lord will…destroy with the brightness of His coming? Stay tuned…
God’s sheep question men’s doctrines…sheeple follow without question…