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Man of Lawlessness /Son of Perdition
Several people have either asked me about or referenced the ‘man of lawlessness
–doomed to destruction’ (NIV), aka ‘man of sin -son of perdition’ (KJV), aka ‘man of
lawlessness –son of destruction’ (NAS). (2 Thess. 2:3) As you can see, different versions
use different names but they all basically mean the same. In my experience, post-tribs
try to use this passage to say that the ‘antichrist’ comes before the ‘rapture’ but that’s
not what it says at all.
If you read 2nd Thessalonians, below, you’ll see that Paul was just trying to dispel
a rumor that the ‘gathering’ (or rapture), which Jesus spoke of in Matthew 24:31,
had already happened, which was untrue. Naturally, Paul used scripture (and some
of Jesus’ own words) to do that, which he was obviously familiar with, by that time.
Since Jesus said to watch for the ‘abomination’, from the prophet Daniel, that’s exactly
what Paul did when dispelling the rumors.
Naturally, to prove that a ‘mysterious’ event hasn’t happened yet, by deductive
reasoning, a person would give examples of more ‘obvious’ events that are known to
happen around the same time and show that those haven’t happened yet. That’s exactly
what Paul was doing by bringing up two examples from the Book of Daniel because he
obviously knew that the ‘gathering’ was around the ‘abomination’, just as Jesus taught.
(Matt. 24:15) Note: Matthew’s written version of end times might be slightly vague to us,
without Revelation, but Paul obviously had a clearer understanding: both verbally from
the disciples, and supernaturally from the Spirit. (more below)
2 Thessalonians 2: 1-3
“Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him,
we ask you, brothers, not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by some prophecy,
report or letter supposed to have come from us, saying that the day of the Lord
has already come.
3 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.
When Paul says, “until the rebellion occurs”, he’s talking about the “rebellion that
causes desolation”, in Daniel 8:13, which is the same as the ‘armed uprising’ and
“abomination that causes desolation”, in Daniel 11:31 (below), which also happens in
the ‘middle’ of the 70th Seven, as noted in Daniel 9:27 (below). Note, it was natural for
Paul to reference the “rebellion”, rather than the “abomination”, because that’s something
people could identify with (since Jesus never quite explained what the abomination was).
Secondly, the “man of lawlessness” is indeed the ‘antichrist’ but he exalts himself
after the abomination because Paul is clearly making a comparison to Daniel 11:36, where
the leader of the final empire exalts himself above God. (compare 2 Thess. w/ Daniel 11)
2 Thessalonians 2:4
“He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God
or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God's temple, proclaiming
himself to be God.” (NIV)
Daniel 11: 31, 33, 36
31 "His armed forces will rise up to desecrate the temple fortress
and will abolish the daily sacrifice. Then they will set up the
abomination that causes desolation.
33 "Those who are wise will instruct many, though for a time they
will fall by the sword or be burned or captured or plundered.
36 "The king will do as he pleases. He will exalt and magnify himself
above every god and will say unheard-of things against the God of gods.
He will be successful until the time of wrath is completed, for what has
been determined must take place.
Yet, the antichrist exalts himself in Daniel 11:36, after revealing himself by using
any means necessary to silence people in verse 33, after the abomination is set up
in verse 31. Therefore, he’s revealed ‘after the rapture’ simply because it’s ‘after the
abomination’. Besides, why else would someone be killing people for ‘instructing others’,
unless they were trying to suppress information about the ‘rapture’ that just happened?
After all, the rapture will prove that Christianity was correct and Islam was wrong so the
Shiite leader’s first instinct will be to deny what happened, just as many Muslims deny
that 9/11 ever happened. Since most Muslims in the Middle East probably don’t know
a Christian and the media can be censored, it’s no wonder that the antichrist will be
‘successful until the time of wrath is completed’. But first, he must kill or silence the
‘wise’, who are trying to ‘instruct others’, after the abomination (and rapture).
Also notice that the antichrist “sets himself up in God’s temple” (v.4 above) but since
that’s after the rapture, the temple could be built after the rapture too. Recall that the
two witnesses will be prophesying on the Temple Mount for 3.5 years (after the rapture)
so a temple could be built during that time because they can destroy anyone who oppose.
Then, the two witnesses are killed and ascend to heaven so the antichrist could take over
and ‘set himself up’ after that.
In any event, Jesus’ return is not dependant on a third Temple, just the abomination,
which is set on a ‘wing’ [of the temple], which is not necessarily a third temple.
Note: The KJ and other versions don’t even mention a temple in this verse but
the NIV does [in brackets]. (below)
“He will confirm a covenant with many for one 'seven.' In the middle of the
'seven' he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on a wing [of the temple]
he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is
decreed is poured out on him.”
One mistake that people have made is thinking that this ‘covenant’ has
something to do with the ‘sacrifice and offering’ but the Bible doesn’t say that.
Only the sacrifice and offering are brought to an end, not the covenant.
In fact, a ‘desecration of the temple fortress’ (or Western Wall) could temporarily
stop the daily sacrifice (prayer), in Daniel 11:31 (above), which makes perfect
sense given the current disputes involving Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount.
However, that dispute doesn’t involve this ‘covenant’ because this covenant is
between the Shiites and Russia, the ‘iron & clay’ from Daniel 2, not Israel.
‘rebellion’ occurs ...
the antichrist is
revealed soon after
Back to 2nd Thessalonians 2
It’s easier to explain the next few verses side-by-side. Please note how much
Paul’s summary actually reflects Revelation, which hadn’t even been written yet.
(*Everything agrees and makes no contradictions when the Seals are understood.)
2nd Thessalonians 2: 5-12
5 Don't you remember that when I was with you
I used to tell you these things?
6 And now you know what is holding him back,
so that he may be revealed at the proper time.
7 For the secret power of lawlessness is already
at work; but the one who now holds it back will
continue to do so till he is taken out of the way.
8 And then the lawless one will be revealed,
whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with
the breath of his mouth and destroy by the
splendor of his coming.
9-10 The coming of the lawless one will be in
accordance with the work of Satan displayed
in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs
and wonders, and in every sort of evil that
deceives those who are perishing.
They perish because they refused
to love the truth and so be saved.
11-12 For this reason God sends them
a powerful delusion so that they will
believe the lie and so that all will be
condemned who have not believed the
truth but have delighted in wickedness.
Paul was clear that he was not giving a full explanation of end times but just
following up on what he had said before and perhaps giving a little summary.
Jesus rode out as a “conqueror” in the 1st Seal, about 2000-years ago,
and continues to hold Satan back, until the proper time. (Paul could also
be talking about the Spirit who arrived at Pentecost but couldn’t come until
Jesus left (John 16:7). In a way, they are the same but different. (Trinity)
Revelation 12 explains that there was a war in heaven, when
Jesus was born, and Satan was cast to earth for good, where
he continues to reside and search for those he can devour.
(1 Peter 5:8) Notice that Jesus (or Spirit) must be taken out of the way
because only the Father knows the proper time.
Revelation 19 paints a picture of Jesus defeating the beast and
false prophet, with their armies, with the “sword from his mouth”,
which is the same as His ‘breath and splendor’ because the Word
is like a two-edged sword. (Heb 4:12)
Revelation 13 explains how Satan gives his authority to the beast
so it grows in power and looks invincible to everyone on earth.
Then the false prophet will appear and perform miraculous signs
and wonders to deceive those who refused to be saved.
Notice how Paul switches to past-tense, like the ones
perishing missed their chance to be saved. That would support
my explanation of Revelation 20 that shows no indication
of gentiles being saved after the rapture. (con’t below)
On that topic, I’ve heard many people say that they would
never take the ‘mark of the beast’, even if they missed the rapture.
However, that won’t work because only the 144,000 Jews, with God’s
Seal (Rev. 7:2-4), won’t be fooled by the false prophet (Matt. 24:24)
because everyone else will be under a powerful delusion.
In a nut shell, Paul’s writings support ‘pre-tribulation’, just like everything else
in the Bible, (if you understand the Seals and take Revelation as it was written).
Either way, there’s no second chance for ‘regular people’ (other than the 144,000)
after the rapture. (see related Q&A page: Will people be saved after the rapture?)
Related Q&A page:
What about a Third Temple?
Related Q&A page:
Who are the two witnesses?
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by
International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House.
© Copyright 2010 - 2015 All rights reserved.
Daniel 11 Explained
(condensed ‘one page’ commentary)
‘Matthew 24’ Explained
(must match Revelation)
The ‘Seals’ Explained
(Revelation timeline revealed)
Seven Churches Explained
(Past & Present Church Prophecy)
Note: ‘Sitemap’ shows a complete list of all pages (by category).
‘Homepage’ gives 3 simple steps + timelines + summary.
Current Events from Daniel 11 (matching the Middle East)
ISIS - Saudi - Turkey
(Daniel 11: 24-27)
to the Abomination
(Daniel 11: 28-30)
Shiites re-take Persia
+ America’s Role Begins
(Daniel 11: 21-23)