The Man of Lawlessness!

(NOTE: All Scripture verses are taken from the New International Version, unless otherwise stated.)

FOCUS: Watching for “the man of lawlessness” — a.k.a. the little horn, the beast coming out of the sea; the man who will set up on a wing of the temple an abomination that causes desolation (Daniel 9:27)

KEY SCRIPTURE: 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12

“Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to Him, we ask you, brothers, not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by some prophecy, report or letter supposed to have come from us, saying that the day of the Lord has already come. Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and THE MAN OF LAWLESSNESS 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.

“Don’t you remember that when I [Paul] was with you I used to tell you these things? And now you know what is holding him back, SO THAT HE MAY BE REVEALED AT THE PROPER TIME. For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so til he is taken out of the way. AND THEN THE LAWLESS ONE WILL BE REVEALED, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of His mouth and destroy by the splendor of His coming.

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 refuse 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.”

PROPHECY CONNECTIONS IN DANIEL:

The prophet Daniel had a dream, and visions of four great beasts passed through his mind …

Daniel 7:2-27 — “Daniel said: ‘In my vision at night I looked and there before me were the four winds of heaven churning up the great sea. FOUR GREAT BEASTS, each different from the others, came up out of the sea.

” ‘The first was like a lion [the national symbol of Great Britain] . . . And there before me was a second beast that looked like a bear [the national symbol of Russia] . . . and there before me was another beast, one that looked like a leopard [or panther; Germany used tanks in WW2 which they nicknamed “panzers”]. . . .

” ‘After that, in my vision at night I looked, and there before me was A FOURTH BEAST — terrifying and frightening and very powerful. It had large iron teeth; it crushed and devoured its victims and trampled underfoot whatever was left. It was different from all the former beasts, and IT HAD TEN HORNS.

” ‘While I was thinking about the ten horns, there before me was ANOTHER HORN, A LITTLE ONE, which came up among them, and three of the first horns were uprooted before it. THIS HORN HAD EYES LIKE THE EYES OF A MAN AND A MOUTH THAT SPOKE BOASTFULLY.

” ‘As I looked,
“thrones were set in place,
and the Ancient of Days took His seat.
His clothing was as white as snow;
the hair of His head was white like wool.
His throne was flaming with fire,
and its wheels were all ablaze.
A river of fire was flowing,
coming out from before Him.
Thousands upon thousands attended Him;
ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him.
And the books were opened.”

” ‘I continued to watch because of the boastful words THE LITTLE HORN was speaking. I kept looking until the beast was slain and its body destroyed and thrown into the blazing fire.1 (The other beasts had been stripped of their authority, but were allowed to live for a period of time.)

” ‘In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming on the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into His presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all people, nations and men of every language worshiped Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and His kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.

” ‘I, Daniel, was troubled in spirit, and the visions that had passed through my mind disturbed me. I approached one of those standing there and asked him THE TRUE MEANING of all of this.

” ‘So he told me and gave me THE INTERPRETATION of these things:

” ‘ “THE FOUR BEASTS ARE FOUR KINGDOMS THAT WILL RISE FROM THE EARTH. But the saints of the Most High will receive the kingdom and will possess it forever — yes for ever and ever.

” ‘Then I wanted to know THE TRUE MEANING OF THE FOURTH BEAST, which was different from all the others and most terrifying … I also wanted to know about THE TEN HORNS on its head and about THE OTHER HORN that came up, before which three of them fell — the horn that looked more imposing than the others and that had eyes and a mouth that spoke boastfully. As I watched, this horn was waging war against the saints and defeating them 2, until the Ancient of Days came and pronounced judgment in favor of the saints of the Most High, and the time came when they possessed the kingdom. 3

” ‘He gave me this explanation: “THE FOURTH BEAST is a FOURTH KINGDOM that will appear on the earth. It will be different from all the other kingdoms and will devour the whole earth [a.k.a. global government], trampling it down and crushing it. THE TEN HORNS are TEN KINGS who will come from this kingdom. AFTER THEM, ANOTHER KING WILL ARISE, different from the earlier ones. He will speak against the Most High and oppress His saints and try to change the set times and the laws. The saints will be handed over to him for a time, times and half a time [3 1/2 years or 42 months].

” ‘ “But the court will sit, and his power will be taken away and completely destroyed forever. 1 Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be handed over to the saints, the people of the Most High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey Him.” ‘ ”

PROPHECY CONNECTIONS IN REVELATION:

John saw a similar BEAST which resembled a combination of the lion, bear and leopard. It also had ten horns and was given AUTHORITY OVER THE SAINTS, WHICH HE EXERCISED FOR 3 1/2 YEARS

Revelation 13:1-8 — “And I saw A BEAST COMING OUT OF THE SEA. He had TEN HORNS and seven heads, with ten crowns on his horns, and on each head a blasphemous name. THE BEAST I saw resembled a leopard, but had feet like those of a bear and a mouth like that of a lion. The dragon [Satan] gave the beast his power and his throne and great authority…. THE BEAST [a.k.a. global ruler] was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies AND TO EXERCISE HIS AUTHORITY FOR 42 MONTHS [3 1/2 years].

“HE opened his mouth to blaspheme God, and to slander His Name and His dwelling place and those who live in heaven. HE was given power to make war against the saints and to conquer them 2. And HE was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation. All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast — all whose name HAVE NOT been written in the book of life belonging to the Lamb …”

PROPHECY CONNECTIONS IN DANIEL AND REVELATION:

An interesting time sequence can be found using prophecy connections in Daniel and Revelation, concerning THE GLOBAL RULER and THE ABOMINATION THAT CAUSES DESOLATION

Daniel 9:27 — “HE will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven’ [seven years]. In the middle of the ‘seven’ [approximately 3 1/2 years], HE will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And ON A WING OF THE TEMPLE, HE WILL SET UP AN ABOMINATION THAT CAUSES DESOLATION, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him 1.”

Daniel 12:6-12 — ” ‘How long will it be before these astonishing things are fulfilled?’ . . .

“The man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, lifted his right hand and his left hand toward heaven, and I heard him swear by Him who lives forever, saying, ‘It will be for a time, times and half a time [3 1/2 years; or 42 months]. When the power of the holy people has been finally broken, all these things will be completed.’

“I heard, but I did not understand. So I asked, ‘My lord, what will the outcome of all this be?’

“He replied, ‘Go your way, Daniel, because the words are closed up and sealed until the time of the end. Many will be purified, made spotless and refined, but the wicked will continue to be wicked. None of the wicked will understand, but those who are wise will understand.

” ‘From the time that the daily sacrifice is abolished and the abomination that causes desolation is set up [see Daniel 9:27] 4, there will be 1,290 days. [Not clear if the abomination will be set up immediately after the daily sacrifice is abolished OR there will be 1,290 days in between abolishing the sacrifice and offering ceremony and setting up the abomination on a wing of the temple.] Blessed is the one who waits for and reaches the end of the 1,335 days.’ ”

Revelation 11:1-3 — “I [John] was given a reed like a measuring rod and was told, ‘Go MEASURE THE TEMPLE of God and the altar, and count the worshipers there. But exclude THE OUTER COURT; do not measure it, because IT HAS BEEN GIVEN TO THE GENTILES. They will trample on the holy city for 42 months [3 1/2 years]. And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days [3 1/2 years + 1 month, according to the Jewish calendar], clothed in sackcloth.’ ”

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1. Revelation 19:19-20 “Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to make war against the rider on the horse and his army. But the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who had performed the miraculous signs on his behalf. With these signs he had deluded those who had received the mark of the beast and worshiped his image. The two of them were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur.”

2. Revelation 13:8-10 “All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast—all whose names HAVE NOT BEEN WRITTEN IN THE BOOK OF LIFE belonging to the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world. He who has an ear, let him hear. If anyone is to go into captivity, into captivity he will go. If anyone is to be killed with the sword, with the sword he will be killed. This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of the saints.”

3. Daniel 2:42-44 “As the toes [TEN of them] were partly iron and partly clay, so this kingdom will be partly strong and partly brittle. And just as you saw the iron mixed with baked clay, so the people will be a mixture and will not remain united, any more than iron mixes with clay. In the time of those [TEN] kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever.”

4. Matthew 24:15-21 “[Jesus speaking] ‘So when you see standing in the holy place “the abomination that causes desolation,”spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand [Daniel 9:27]— then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains…. For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again. If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened….

” ‘IMMEDIATELY AFTER the distress of those days “the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.” [See Isaiah 13:10; 34:4; Joel 2:31; Revelation 6:12-14]

” ‘AT THAT TIME, THE SIGN OF THE SON OF MAN WILL APPEAR IN THE SKY, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. And HE WILL SEND HIS ANGELS TO GATHER HIS ELECT, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.’ ”

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STAND FIRM: Paul rarely proclaimed a warning without offering a follow-up note of encouragement. In his letter to the Thessalonian church concerning “the day of the Lord” and “the man of lawlessness,” he also wrote: “So, then, brothers STAND FIRM and hold to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter. May our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, who loved us and by His grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word” (2 Thessalonians 2:15-17).

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