Over the years I have struggled to find an exact definition of what “Man of Sin” (or, Lawlessness) actually means. [2 Thess 2:3] I know who he will be, but the term used to describe him in Thessalonians seemed vague. Also, what exactly does it describe about his actions?
We understand what a “Man of God” is, or for example, a “Man of Many Talents”. Therefore I feel what is lacking is a more precise definition of SIN itself. What does this man epitomize, and what is sin?
Not Sin As We Know It
Many people instantly identify sin as breaking the Ten Commandments. That is, doing things like stealing, killing, lying. That, however, is too broad and doesn’t really describe the Man of Sin precisely. It leads to a dangerous misunderstanding, too.
What happens if he comes with deceptions that are so very attractive and seemingly “good” for mankind, that are not seen as sinful in the eyes of many? (The same passage in Thessalonians speaks of a POWERFUL DELUSION. 2 Thess 2:11)
We know that he will come claiming to be “a god” and eventually even to BE God.
In the untrained and unbiblical view of the world (and sadly, much of the Church today) there is nothing sinful or evil about having god-like powers and being able to offer spiritual renewal, miraculous deeds, longed-for revival and transformation both for humans and the earth itself.
You only need to see the same performance of the devil in the Garden of Eden to understand that sin is not necessarily murder, adultery, theft and obvious wrongs but rebellion against the will of God (for something that seems right and good, as did the fruit to Eve.)
So we learn that sin is anything that is contrary to the will of God. Good or evil! Both!
Whenever mankind thinks it knows best, and can solve its problems without having to follow the directions of God, it’s falling into the same rebellion that started this whole mess in the first place.
Now we have come to a second Eden.
God says mankind and even the earth itself is heading towards disaster, but human beings are not ready to accept a higher call. They are determined to hang onto what they know and love at any cost.
To do so, they will have to rebel against God and adopt another savior, one who promises to deliver them from chaos and disaster. A god who comes with big plans for this world and for mankind, none of which entail worshipping the Lord of Heaven, the Creator.
To return to the original question, who and what is the Man of Sin, he appears to epitomize all that is (falsely) good and acceptable, both spiritually and materially (for wasn’t the fruit in Eden freely available, beautiful and sweet to the taste? And “desirable to make one wise”).
The Man of Sin will not come to exalt openly depraved and corrupt behavior – even though his offer leads in that direction. No, he will come with an enticing and exciting program of restoration that will be almost impossible to resist.
Sin is Forgetting Who is God
Many today are proclaiming and demanding victory over evil but forgetting that evil is anything outside the will of God.
They long for a perfect world but think they can organize it themselves, if only they can persuade God to agree with them! But who is the Master, and who is the servant? Jesus said, you are my friends if you do what I command you. John 15:14
Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name drive out demons and perform many miracles? Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you workers of lawlessness!”
There is that word, LAWLESSNESS, the alternative title of the Man of Sin.
Now I want you to consider the context of the word “lawlessness” – is it not that these people prophesied, did miracles, performed exorcisms and did many great things in the Name of Jesus, yet THIS is what the Lord described as lawlessness!
Lord, Lord, we did great miracles in your name! But Jesus says, who are you? You have not been my servants, but acted like the masters of the house, demanding that I obey you instead of the other way round.
What made you think I would be obliged to carry out your plans for the world? Is this not arrogance? What faith, what trust is this, if you did not submit yourselves to MY will but invented an alternative method of salvation that suited your better?
He says, you did not do my Father’s will. Having “good intentions” is not the plan of salvation, but trusting and heeding ME. You follow your own god, the Man of Lawlessness.
Many are busily prophesying themselves into a plan of action for changing the world despite all that the bible says to the contrary. They want perfection and righteousness, so they assume that God must approve of almost ANY earthly plan to achieve that.
Insisting that God does what they want, they bludgeon the doors of Heaven and demand God fall in with The Plan. They are no longer obedient servants, but overbearing masters insisting on their own way.
As time goes by and they don’t get what they want, they will hunger for another more compliant savior, one who does not mind making false promises, or inspiring outlandish prophecies, all in the name of renewal, revival and restoration. Global Glory! (But whose glory?)
Global Glory? Or Global Delusion?
The Man of Sin epitomizes sin, yes, but not in the way most people think of sin.
His sin will be pure rebellion against the declared will of God for the Church, the world, and all that it contains. Even today his message goes out over the internet and in many church meetings, when men and women powerfully proclaim their own ideas of changing the world, instead of warning mankind to “flee from the wrath to come”.
Eventually their Head, their Champion, will jump on the bandwagon they are creating for him, and bring to a tumultuous climax all the ideas he’s been inspiring.
Then, the persecution Jesus warned us about will begin, for all who resist.