Paul Derengowski, ThM
Let no one deceive you in any way. For [the day of the Lord] will not come, unless…the man of lawless is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God (2 Thess. 2:3-4).
The Bible speaks frequently about the character whom the Apostle Paul identifies as the “man of lawlessness.”
In the Book of Daniel, it speaks of him as an individual who “will speak out against the Most High [God Himself] and wear down the saints of the Highest One, and he will make alterations in times and in law; and they will be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time” (cf. Dan. 12:7; Rev. 12:14).
Moreover, Daniel tell us that he will be a king that is “insolent,” “skilled in intrigue,” powerful, and a man of destruction “to an extraordinary degree,” prosperous, shrewd, deceitful, influential, arrogant, opportunistic, obstinate, and a loser (Dan. 8:23-25).
Finally, Daniel describes, as the Apostle Paul does above, him as a person who “will do as he pleases,” exalting and magnifying himself above every god “and he will speak monstrous 1 things against the God of gods; and he will prosper until the indignation is finished, for that which is decreed will be done” (Dan. 11:36).
In John’s First Epistle, the man of lawlessness takes on a different designation. He is the Antichrist.
The Antichrist will be one of many who were at one time a part of the Christian church.
“They went out from us, but they were not of us; for it they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, in order that it might be shown that they all are not of us” (1 Jn. 2:19).
John describes him and them as liars, mainly due to their rejection of Jesus as the Messiah!
Their rejection of Jesus included a rejection of God the Father, which implies that they wished to not only separate Jesus from his office as the Christ, but to separate Jesus from his Father, thereby denying Jesus’ divinity (1 Jn. 2:18-22).
Denial of Jesus’ deity is later reiterated by John when he used the word “confession” 2 as an activity of commitment by those who agreed that Jesus not only came in the flesh, but that he was equal with God (cf. Jn. 1:1) in his person and teaching.
“[A]nd every spirit [prophet] that does not confess Jesus is not from God; and this the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world” (1 Jn. 4:3).
Appropriately placed between John’s opening comments about the antichrist coming and already being in the world is a discussion about the practice of sin as lawlessness, since “sin is lawlessness” (1 Jn. 3:4).
Although no one on earth will completely understand why Devin Patrick Kelley chose to take up arms and murder all those people in Sutherland Springs, Texas, one thing is clear: he was acting in concert with what the antichrist will be all about, when he orders the beheading of millions who refuse to bow to his diabolical ways (Rev. 20:4).
Probably the most famous description of the Antichrist and his rule is depicted in the Book of Revelation.
In Revelation 13:1-ff. we read of a character vividly described as “the beast.” He is the culmination of all that is evil. In fact, he gets his authority directly from Satan himself.
Being in abject rebellion against God, with God’s Spirit having been removed to clear the way for God’s final judgment upon wicked mankind, the Antichrist will not only exemplify what it means to be evil, he will garner a hearty approval from millions of human beings willing to worship him as God.
Since lawlessness, specifically that which is an affront to God, will rule the day, the Antichrist will know that absolute lawlessness is an impossibility, if the spiritually degenerate and naive are going to willfully follow him.
So, he will impose his own blasphemous standard upon everyone.
He will control the world’s finances and be instrumental in the world’s religious affairs. All things, events, and decisions will revolve around him.
It is the very thing Satan has wanted from time immemorial, as he finally gets to be “like God,” at least for a few, short, fleeting moments (see Isa. 14:12-15 cf. Ezek. 28:12-17).
Those bowing in obeisance will receive a mark in their right hand or on their foreheads.
It is the mark or symbol that represents man.
Those who take the mark will be allowed to buy or to sell. Those who refuse will not.
The implication is clear. It is difference between eating and starving to death.
Some have thought the mark is some kind of technological devise placed under the skin, but the context does not warrant such a conclusion.
Perhaps a better way of understanding what is going on with the mark is to view it as some kind of tattoo.
How many today glory in the idea of getting tattoos all over their bodies? How many will be willing to add “666” to their repertoire?
Every act of violence, tyranny, lying, cheating, stealing, apathy, indifference, “diversity,” “tolerance,” relativity, bigotry, and lawlessness only brings the world one step closer to introducing the granddaddy of evil to the stage.
Most will be totally oblivious as to who he is, when he arrives.
They will be too caught up in their own fantasy worlds to even know that hell is about to break loose on earth and they will have no recourse.
Until, it is only because God is restraining evil from blossoming into all the unlawful ugliness that it could be.
- The Hebrew word translated as “monstrous” is נִפְלָא֑וֹת (nifla’ot), which could also be rendered “extraordinary,” “wonderful,” or “incomprehensible.” Given the context, the wicked king will be so full of bravado and arrogance that he will not blush in his condemnatory attack upon the Almighty. His words will be so far over the top that they will be “extraordinary.” How many today are equally brash and boastful in their insults toward God? ↩
- Greek ὁμολογέω (homologeō), meaning “same word.” ↩