The "Man of Sin"
The "Man of
Sin" or the "Antichrist" is a teaching which was first
brought to the attention of Christians by the Apostle
Paul. The Apostle John added more information. From
the early days of church history, Christians of various
mind sets would throw the accusation at other Christians
that they were the fulfillment of these prophecies.
However, with the growth in power of the Church of Rome
following the Council of Nicea (about 325 A.D.), most
Christians who did not care to be under the domination
of Rome agreed that the "Holy Roman Church" was the
antichrist of Scripture. The Roman Church, of course,
returned the favor and applied "antichrist" to all who
were not in harmony with her teachings.
All of this
reached a climax at about the time of the Great
Reformation (1521 and following) when Protestantism
clearly proclaimed that the Roman Church was the
Scriptural antichrist and the Papal office was the "man
late 20th century editions of the King James Bible
(apparently in an effort to be "politically correct")
have omitted "The Epistle Dedicatory" from the front of
the Bible, its six long paragraphs plainly show the
vehement clarity with which the translators identify the
Papal system as the Man of Sin.
have things changed so that many Protestants no longer
accept this interpretation? Why do so many evangelical
denominations not believe that the Roman Church
fulfilled these prophecies but look forward to a FUTURE
antichrist and man of sin? Actually, the new view held
forth by contemporary Christian movements is an old view
proposed by the Jesuit Order of Roman Catholic priests
centuries ago in order to take the onus off of the
Papacy. In other words, the traditional (and
Scriptural) view of Protestants has successfully been
supplanted by the false view propounded by Catholicism.
What a victory for Satanís beguiling arts!
(We will use
the King James Version [KJV] in this discussion even
though its 1611 English beclouds some important ideas.)
meet "the man of sin" in II Thessalonians 2:3. In this
chapter, Paul summarizes about 2000 years of church
history. Verses 1 and 2 caution the Thessalonians not
to jump to the conclusion that the second advent of
Jesus was nearóno
matter who or what might suggest to them the contrary.
Verse three allows Paul to begin his explanation of what
must happen BEFORE THAT DAY. The first thing he lists
is a "falling away." This comes from the Greek word we
often use in Englishó"APOSTASY."
Paul is warning the church that there would be a great
migration away from the true faith they had learned at
the Apostlesí feet. He next shows that this falling
away would lead to the revealing of a great (but false)
religious leader who would dominate the apostate
Christian world. Paul adds another name for this
symbolic character, "the son of perdition
(destruction)." The Bible uses this name only for one
other character, Judas, who betrayed his master for
money. Thus, son of perdition not only describes a
characteristic of the man of sin, but also his ultimate
fate. When Paul says this "man" will be "revealed," he
means that he will be available for recognition BY THOSE
WHO UNDERSTAND. Such was the case in church history.
Once the apostasy (the Roman Church) grew, the Roman
emperor, Justinian, gave the Bishop of Rome a title that
only emperors had heldó"PONTIFEX
Religious Ruler. This happened in the 530s A.D., and
there was "revealed" that "man of sin." He still is
called "The Pontif."
important to note that NO INDIVIDUAL POPE is the man if
sin. It is the OFFICE of the Papacy which is this
symbolic "man." It is such because it falsifies its
authority. It claims things for itself which only
belong to the true Christ. It is sinful not because of
evils it might commit (although there is good record of
these), but it is sinful or anti-Christ because it is a
COUNTERFEIT. Note also that it is a "man."
Symbolically the Bible uses female terms for the
church: harlot, virgin, etc. (depending on whether the
church is true or apostate). But for the head of
the Church (Christ or the Pope) it uses masculine
terms: he, man, Michael, etc.
In verse 4
Paul carefully describes the usurped power of this
imposter claiming to be head of the church in Christís
place. First, it is necessary to know that the word
"god" in the Bible applies to any MIGHTY ONE
(particularly one with real or assumed spiritual
authority). It is, Old and New Testaments, applied not
only to the true God, but to angels, prophets, Satan,
and powerful men.
Papacy (verse 4) set itself to oppose all other
religious authority and to exalt itself to the very
pinnacle of power in the religious world (Chief
MAXIMUS). He thus seated himself in the seat of
Christian religious authority (the "temple") displaying
himself as the infallible interpreter of all things
explains (verses 5 and 6) that he had talked to the
Thessalonians about these things and that they know what
is DELAYING ("withholdeth") the revealing of this Papal
office. Paul could not openly explain in writing what
was delaying matters because it would have created
unnecessary political troubles for the church. What was
delaying the development of the Papacy was Rome. The
emperor in Paulís day was still considered divineóa
god himself. It would not be for over 400 years before
the Roman Empire would step out of the way and leave the
Pope in change of Western Europe with his new title of
Pontifex Maximus. But (verse 7), Paul explains that the
which would eventuate in the Papacyówas
ALREADY AT WORK in Paulís day. He calls it the "mystery
of iniquity." It was iniquitous because it was an enemy
of the true Christ. It was a mystery because it could
exist right in the midst of the Christian community and
not be recognized by many sleepy Christians.
The word "letteth"
in this verse is an old English word which means
"hinders" or "holds back." Thus Paul says, "The Roman
Empire now holds back the Papal development and it will
continue to hinder its development until Rome is taken
out of the way"óan
event which occurred in 539 A.D. when Justiniansís
troops left Italy, leaving the Pope in charge. And
THEN, Paul says, (verse 8), THEN you will see the reign
of Popes until the Lord Jesus weakens it by truth, and
ultimately destroys it.
That is the
Biblical and historical truth of the matter. In I John,
the Apostle helps to identify this antichrist movement
"already" working in Johnís day, thus agreeing with Paul
that the Man of Sin
concept is not for the end of the age, but through most
of the age.
is covered in considerably greater detail in
Volume 2 of STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES, available through this website.
Available Literature Link.)
concepts of a literal man deceiving the world at the end
of the age are both unreasonable and untenable in the
light of Scriptural testimony. Martin Luther and
reformers before and after him correctly identified the
man of sin, the antichrist. They were correct. The
incredible fantasies taught today are fiction for those
wanting their ears tickled. (II Timothy 4:3, 4)
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