For a youtube of this topic click Man of Lawlessness IDENTIFIED
Who is the Lawless one of 2 Thess. 2:8?
Then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will slay with the breath of His mouth and annihilate by the majesty of His arrival.
1 John 3 defines lawlessness as sin –
Everyone who practices sin practices lawlessness as well. Indeed, sin is lawlessness.
It further defines the practice of sin/lawlessness as being of the devil –
But you know that Christ appeared to take away sins, and in Him there is no sin…Little children, let no one deceive you: The one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as Christ is righteous. The one who practices sin is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the very start. This is why the Son of God was revealed, to destroy the works of the devil. I John 3:3-7
So, not only is the ‘Lawless One’ revealed (in 2 Thess. 2:8) but according to 1 John 3, the ‘Son of God’ was also revealed to destroy their works. The man of lawlessness, sin, the devil, Satan and serpent in Eden all relate to the same thing – Sin in its many forms. It seems that Paul and the writer of 1 John had their thoughts aligned. They were contrasting the practices of ‘The Son of Perdition’ – the liar (and followers) with ‘The Son of God’ (and followers) –
THE PARABLE OF THE LIAR
Although the man of Lawlessness sounds like one individual, we see from 2 Thess. 2:11 that all who believe the “Lie” are caught up in the same delusion –
“God will send them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie”
The parable of ‘The Liar’ begins in Genesis.
In Eden, a serpent – a ‘Beast of the Earth’ that spoke like a serpent, deceived Eve and caused her to sin-
In Revelation, the spirit of deception empowers another ‘Beast of the Earth’ that speaks like a serpent –
Genesis and Revelation are the bookends concerning the parable of the ‘Liar’ – The Beast of the Earth.
In Genesis the liar (serpent) intrudes into God’s Holy Garden – Eden.
Now the serpent was the most crafty of all the beasts of the earth. Gen. 3:2
In Revelation we are told that no liars will enter God’s Holy City – New Jerusalem
Nothing unclean, no one who does anything detestable, and no liars will ever enter it. Rev. 21:27
In a clear echo of the first lie and deception involving ‘Satan’ , it becomes apparent that the “man of lawlessness” of 2 Thess. 2 involves the same way of thinking as the serpent of Eden –
“The coming of the lawless one will be accompanied by the working of Satan (Satan same as Serpent – Rev. 20:2), with every kind of power, sign, and false wonder, and with every wicked deception directed against those who are perishing, because they refused the love of the truth that would have saved them (Jesus is the ‘Truth’ who saves). For this reason, God will send them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie (men loved darkness rather than Jesus the light of the world – “He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him” John 1:11), in order that judgement will come upon all who have disbelieved the truth and delighted in wickedness.” 2 Thess.2: 9-12
When 2 Thess. 2:4 tells us that the man of lawlessness seats himself in God’s temple and proclaims himself to be God it’s a reminder of the lie in Eden “you will be like God” – A reminder of those who make their own rules –
A GREATER CONTEXT
Paul’s comments to the Thessalonians didn’t rise in a vacuum. The language is reminiscent of Revelation and the Book of Enoch. Until the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls it was believed by some that the book of Enoch copied Revelation. Now it is recognised that the Book of Enoch was written prior to Revelation and it is Revelation that refers to Enoch (See ‘Book of Enoch – Is it Scripture?)
Revelation, Daniel, Peter and Thessalonians are full of ‘Enoch’ type language involving the abyss and fiery judgement of the lawless. Enoch describes the destruction of the final apostate generation of ‘lawless’ ones and gives greater context to Thessalonians –
THE FINAL GENERATION
Jesus gave us the sign of the fig tree (and all the trees) budding –
Look at the fig tree and all the trees. When they sprout leaves, you can see for yourselves and know that summer is near. So also, when you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near. Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have happened. Luke 21:29-32
It seems that this final generation is an apostate one, just as in the days of Noah. It is a generation that sees the re-gathering of Judah and Israel (the 2 Witnesses) to their land, and a new spirit given to their hearts – but not until they see Jesus
The days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah…I will put My laws in their minds and inscribe them on their hearts. Heb. 8:8-10 This is a future prophecy – not yet fulfilled.
The 2 Witnesses must also suffer defeat before they ‘rise to heavenly places’ and receive the ‘breath of life’ from God – at present they are witnesses in disbelief of Jesus –
“When the two witnesses have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up from the Abyss will wage war with them, and will overpower and kill them. Their bodies will lie in the street of the great city—figuratively called Sodom and Egypt—where their Lord was also crucified. For three and a half days all peoples and tribes and tongues and nations will view their bodies and will not permit them to be laid in a tomb. And those who dwell on the earth will gloat over them, and will celebrate and send one another gifts, because these two prophets had tormented them.
But after the three and a half days, the breath of life from God entered the two witnesses, and they stood on their feet, and great fear fell upon those who saw them. And the witnesses heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Come up here.” And they went up to heaven in a cloud as their enemies watched them.” Rev. 11:7-12
The final apostate (lawless) generation saw the return of Judah and Israel to their land – the witness of the 2 Witnesses. This apostate generation which still doesn’t recognise the promised Messiah as Jesus, will not pass away before all is accomplished that was foretold by the prophets. Get ready, be prepared to meet Jesus. A better world awaits those put their hope in God.
For an explanation of Israel as the harlot See: Revelation – A Message to Israel