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The Man of Lawlessness
[2 Thessalonians, chapter 2]

“Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day (the coming of Jesus) will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness (the man of sin) is revealed, the man doomed to destruction.  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.” 2 Thess. 2:3, 4

  • What is the rebellion that will occur? According to John’s gospel, the devil was not only “a murderer from the beginning,” but also “is a liar and the father of lies,” (John 8:44), and it was his desire to displace God as Ruler of the Universe. Could the rebellion referred to in this passage be similar to the rebellion that occurred in Heaven before creation of planet Earth as we know it, when the magnificent angel called Lucifer chose to discredit God by telling lies, and then led other angels to follow him instead of following God? Does the description of the devil match the description of the man of lawlessness who exalts himself over everything that is called God?  Is this individual the anti-Christ?
  • What and where is God’s temple?  Is it the Temple of the Dome in Jerusalem; the temple of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome; the Notre Dame Cathedral in France; the Westminster Abbey in England; the Crystal Cathedral in California; the Moorman Tabernacle in Utah; the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.; or any church building located anywhere on this globe?  Is it possible the temple being referred to is the temple, the mind, of each human being?  Paul, the apostle, wrote: “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you?” (1 Cor. 3:16).  “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?”  (1 Cor. 6:19).
  • When individuals make claims about themselves such as: “I’ve been saved!  I’ve been born again!” are those people usurping God’s prerogative?  Are they exalting themselves above God?  Can these individuals accurately read their own hearts and the hearts of other people?  How do the following statements made by Jesus relate to the claims that individuals make about themselves as quoted above?

“If I testify about myself, my testimony is not valid.”  John 5:31
“If I glorify myself, my glory means nothing.”  John 8:54
“He who speaks on his own does so to gain honor for himself.”  John 7:18    

“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.  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.” 2 Thess. 2:9-11

  • What are “all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders?”  Could physical healings be involved in these miracles?  Does physical healing mean that person has been “saved?”  Where do aberrations and sightings of Jesus and Saint Mary fit into the picture?  When something is declared counterfeit, doesn’t that mean it bears a striking resemblance to the real thing, and that careful consideration should be taken?  In the big scheme of things, what is “the work of Satan?”
  • Instead of believing truth, people perish because they bought into the lie perpetrated by Satan, the devil.  What is the lie that is so powerful a delusion?  Could the lie have anything to do with the original lie told by the serpent to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden?  Can people who are considered ‘messengers of God’ unknowingly belong to the ranks of the deceiver Satan? 
  • People perish because they refuse to love the truth.  What specifically is the truth that they refuse to love, and how is that truth distinguished from the lies and the falsehoods?

Conclusion

The Apostle Paul wrote a large part of the New Testament and recorded instances such as the one quoted in Thessalonians.  Bible students should carefully exam and study these as well as other warnings that depict the cunning attributes of Satan disguised as an angel of light who can do what seems like wonderful things.  His impersonation of God is not to be taken lightly because his deception is nearly unperceivable.  Satan’s primary focus is not that of atheists and others who are ignorant of God or who want nothing to do with God, because Satan is zeroed in on those people who acknowledge God and believe the truth about God.  He seeks to duplicate the things that pertain to God in an acceptable, deceivable way.  His motive is to confuse the issue and lead those who will listen to him down a path that is opposite of truth.

For the person who wants to know what truth is, Jesus said plainly “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.”  John 14:6.  He also said “It is written in the Prophets: ‘They will all be taught by God’.”  John 6:45.  For the ‘seeker of truth,’ Jesus is more than willing to share that information with anyone who is willing to listen. “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.”  John 6:37

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