Eschatology Video Commentaries

Who is the Man of Lawlessness? (Man of Sin)

Who is the Man of Lawlessness (Son of Perdition)?
The only place we see the “man of lawlessness” title in Scripture is in 2 Thessalonians 2. Writing in the early 50’s AD, Paul shifts from discussing Christ’s return on the last day (sometimes called Judgment Day, 2 Thessalonians 1:5-12) and now addresses a more immediate concern for the young church in Thessalonica. Time is running out: 20 years have passed since Jesus sat upon the Mount of Olives and predicted a time of terrible tribulation.

In this lesson, Matthew Schoenherr takes a closer look at the man of sin and identifies a few candidates.
Session notes:

2 Thessalonians 2:1-12

Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,
2 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.
3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.
5 Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?
6 And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.
7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.
8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:
9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,
10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:
12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

One reply on “Who is the Man of Lawlessness? (Man of Sin)”

1. The man of lawlessness will be destroyed at Christ’s “Parousia” (2 Thess. 2:8).
2. The Parousia is when the resurrection occurs (1 Cor. 15:22-23).
3. So the Preterist must either claim there are two “Parousias” or that the resurrection already occurred in 70 A.D.

Since Hebrews 9:28 teaches that Christ “will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him,” we can conclude Jesus doesn’t come 3 times as partial preterists claim.

You also have serious problems with your understanding of “this generation.” Jesus uses it as a pejorative, not a chronological time period of people. This is why Jesus rebukes His own disciples in Mark 9:19 as an “unbelieving generation.” Jesus wasn’t linking His disciples to a time period but to a quality of people who always reject the prophets and promises of God in unbelief. All who disbelieve are in corporate solidarity with “this generation” regardless of when they lived.

Another problem, with any form of preterism, is how Joel 3 and Zechariah 14 depict the day of the Lord. These texts teach that Jerusalem will be rescued and the nations surrounding her will be destroyed (Rev. 19 as well). What do you think Joel means when he writes that the Lord will bring “all the nations down to the valley of Jehoshaphat” (Joel 3:2)? Did that happen in 70 A.D.? The nations will be forced to worship the Lord in Jerusalem after this day of the Lord battle according to Zech. 14:16-17. Did that happen in the 1st century?

(I appreciate your desire to exegete this passage). The first century, however, doesn’t work for this future man of lawlessness that is linked to the future abomination of desolation (Matt. 24:15). The reason for this is the abomination in Matthew 24:15 is connected to the worst time period ever in human history (Matt. 24:21). Anyone who believes the 1st century was the worst tribulation in human history has no idea about what transpired in the 20th century. Revelation 6-19 describes events that have never occurred before. When did a 1/3 of the waters turn to blood in 70 A.D.? When did 1/3 of humanity die in the 1st century? When were 1/3 of the ships destroyed in the 1st century? When was 1/4 of the earth killed by sword, famine, pestilence, and wild beasts in the 1st century? Since these things describe the worst time period ever, and Jesus is describing these same events (Matt. 24:4-8; 21-22) then Jesus’ abomination of desolation (24:15) must be future.

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