The Bible Monthly vol 1
This coming person is mentioned in the Second Epistle to the Thessalonians as the "man the sin," whose presence in the world will precede the introduction of the day of the Lord.
When the Lord Jesus was first brought into the world as the meek, suffering, Saviour of men, His immediate coming was announced by a man distinguished by his qualities of meek selflessness and humble subordination to the Messiah about to appear. In the Lord's estimation John was truly greater than any born of women—but he was nothing in the eyes of the world.
Before the Lord Jesus appears in the power and glory of the Son of Man to repress iniquity in the world, His advent will be preceded by the revelation to the world of the " man of sin, the son of perdition," in conjunction with the great apostasy from the faith once delivered to the saints. For the day of the Lord shall not come, said the apostle, " except there come a falling away [the apostasy] first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition " (2 Thess. 3).
This harbinger therefore is not sent of God as the Baptist was, but is rather. an emissary of Satan, charged with a full measure of diabolic power and wisdom (2 Thess. ii. 9) to destroy the faith of God in the earth. It is then when the man of sin is in the plenitude of his power and infatuated with the success of his corrupting influence that the Lord Jesus will be revealed, and the . wicked one consumed with the spirit of His mouth, and destroyed by the brightness of His coming.
A special feature of this personage is his lawlessness. The " wicked one " of verse 8 should be " lawless one," and there is good ground for reading " the man of lawlessness " instead of " the man of sin," while the term "mystery of iniquity," spoken of in verse 7 as already working, should be translated " the mystery of lawlessness."
Sin is mentioned in Scripture as occurring in many forms of violence and corruption, but here we learn that the propensity of the evil heart of man to abandon all forms of authority and order will develop in the widest degree and to the fullest extent. One malevolent person will be at the head of the movement, and will gather to himself the con summation of their various aims and ambitions in this respect.
The man of sin will be exalted, and will exalt himself, but his evil work is all carried on in the name of religion. He " exalteth himself exceedingly against every one called god, or object of veneration ; so that he sitteth down in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God " (verse 4). The man of sin reaches the summit of j1rofanity and blasphemy. Is it any wonder that his end is by the summary infliction of the wrath of God?
Satan, we learn, will exalt a man who will be an absolute contrast with the Lord Jesus, Whom God has exalted to the throne of heaven for the worship of man. Of Him we read, " Thou hast loved righteousness and hated iniquity [lawlessness] ; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows " (Heb. 9). Satan's champion will love lawlessness and hate righteous ness, and on that account will be exalted above his fellows for their admiration and adoration.
But this man of sin is also named the "son of perdition," and is herein a contrast again to Him who was the salvation of God. His origin is from that evil one whom the Lord said comes to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. His name is Apollyon the Destroyer, and this powerful emissary is the son of perdition who leads his devotees on to destruction, and will himself be destroyed with the personal judgments of the Lord Himself.
The mystery of lawlessness, however, is already working and in the midst of the profession of Christendom rears up its head against all forms of constituted government. The authority of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit is questioned and denied, as well as that of Holy Scripture. This is the spirit of lawlessness which will find its fullest exponent in the man of sin.
But now " the powers that be are ordained of God, and do. act as a bulwark against that spirit of lawlessness to which the corruption of Christianity gives an immensely increased impetus. It matters not whether we look at the clerical party or the radical, they both help on self-will, and are each unfriendly to civil government when it opposes either. Outside both, yet in the bosom of Christendom, rise up ever increasing masses of men whom it would be unjust to class with either churchism or dissent ; men perhaps baptised, certainly animated with hatred of all restraint, yet not withstanding their religion or infidelity, skilful and eager to avail themselves of Scriptural words, facts and principles, in order to overthrow not only all recognition, and honour of God, but all reality of human government.
" This is among the premonitions of the approaching apostasy, and the man of sin. But as yet there is that which restraineth that he may be revealed in his own season.' God is meanwhile gathering out His, children, the members of Christ's body, as He is sending His gospel to the ends of the earth."