A King of Fierce Countenance

(2 Thessalonians 2:3b) “… and the man of sin (lawlessness) is revealed, the man doomed to destruction” (the son of perdition KJV)

          In his second letter to the assembly of believers at Thessalonica Paul wrote to them about the coming man of sin or lawlessness who was to be revealed. It raises this question, “If the faithful Church is to be raptured before the man of sin is revealed then why would Paul have written to the believers assembled at Thessalonica about this man if the faithful Church was no longer on earth, having already been raptured?” It is clear from what Paul wrote that his view of eschatology did not include a pre-tribulation secret rapture occuring before the man of sin had been revealed.

       Before the Lord Jesus comes Paul mentions that the apostasy must happen and that there will be counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders that will precede and open the way for the man of sin to be revealed before the rapture and resurrection happens. (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4, 9) In fact some had been teaching that the Lord Jesus had already come and taken some believers but had left the believers at Thessalonica behind and this was further compounded by the persecution they had been enduring. (1 Thessalonians 1:6) (2 Thessalonians 2:1-2)

       Paul had only spent about two weeks with them before he was forced to move on but in that time had taught them quite a lot about the end-times. This is reflected in his two epistles to the assembly there. (1 Thessalonians 5:1-4; 2:5)  Clearly Paul expected that before the return of the Lord Jesus the faithful Church would be able to recognize the apostasy or falling away, the manifestation of all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders and the revealing of the man of sin also called the antichrist.

        Today we see the apostasy in full-swing with a global ecumenism on the horizon and many within wider Christendom wanting to see miracles, signs and wonders from those purporting to have them but what about the man of sin? How will we recognize him? What will he be like?  About 2,600 years ago the prophet Daniel described his character…

(Daniel 8:23-25) “…a king of fierce countenance and understanding dark sentences shall stand up. And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power: and he shall destroy (corrupt) to an extraordinary degree, and shall prosper, and practise, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people. And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many: he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand.”

There are seven things we can discover about his character…

He will be A king of fierce countenance.” He will have an arrogant, militant and haughty countenance which he will be able to mask to a degree but will be seen by many.

“He will have an understanding of dark sentences and shall stand up. And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power:” He will be a practitioner of the occult or one who is under the influence of occult power and because of this power he will be prominent among the leaders of nations and influence many political leaders to rally to his cause. He will be able to ingratiate himself into political circles. In many ways he will resemble Adolph Hitler who was able to mesmerise the German masses to follow his agenda. They thought he was wonderful and his speeches created a euphoria rarely seen in mass rallies at that time but his speech was virulent and aggressive and marked with military militancy and conquest. The ‘mark’ of this beast empire was the Swastika, a twisted cross. Adolph Hitler was just one on many antichrists.

“He shall destroy (corrupt) to an extraordinary degree, and shall prosper, and practise.” He will have the ability to corrupt peoples thinking and to destroy their capacity to see through his subterfuge and deception. He will also use military power to expand his kingdom. (Daniel 11:38-40) He will prosper in his endeavours and become very wealthy receiving support from those nations that follow him as their leader. (Daniel 11:38-39)

“He shall destroy the mighty and the holy people.” Many leaders of nations will fall to his military conquests and weaponry and he will persecute faithful Jews and Christians throughout his empire which will be vast and one of global proportions. (Daniel 7: 21, 25) (Revelation 13:5-7)

He, through his policy also shall cause craft to prosper in his hand.” His craft and ability to deceive will be satanic as Satan himself will be living on the inside of him. He will be the master of Taqiyya, being the Islamic art of lying and giving out disinformation to the enemy in a time of Jihad. In 2nd Thessalonians the man of sin or lawlessness is also called “the son of perdition.” (KJV) The only other person to be called this was Judas Iscariot into whom Satan entered. Only the Lord Jesus saw through Judas. (John 17:12) (John 13:27) The other disciples at the time could not see this. (Matthew 26:20-21)  Satan used craft in his approach to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden and the man of sin will have this ability.

“He shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many.” He will in fact proclaim himself to be God and to be worshipped as God in God’s Temple. (Daniel 11:36) (2 Thessalonians 2:4) When people are at ease or at peace he will destroy many. His words may be as alluring as dripping honey but in his heart he has a sharp sword. He will show subservience until he has the upper hand and when people’s backs are turned to him he will strike like a serpent.

“He shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand.” Ultimately he and his empire will stand against the Lord Jesus Himself and when the Lord Jesus comes back He will make short work of this man of sin and lawlessness and annihilate his empire.

As Paul writes; “And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendour of his coming.” (2 Thessalonians 2:8) The Messiah our Lord Jesus will defeat him and his armies on the plain of Megiddo. (Revelation 16:12-16) (2 Thessalonians 2:9) (Revelation 19:11-21) (Daniel 11:45)

       The believers at Thessalonica needed to be encouraged and re-affirmed in what Paul had taught them. In Paul’s thinking he knew that an understanding of the end-times was crucial to their faith standing firm under fire from the enemy of their souls being Satan and those he was using to persecute them.

       In these last days we too need to ask wisdom to recognize this man when he comes and to give us the strength and the endurance to weather the spiritual storm he will create for Israel, for the faithful Church and for the whole world.  As I watch the man from Turkey

       I cannot get away from what the apostle John said to the believers at Pergamum when he wrote; “I know where you live where Satan has his throne…the city where Satan lives.” (Revelation 2:13) Pergamum was located in modern day Turkey. On the basis of scripture and history I am still persuaded that the last empire of the antichrist will not be a resurrected Roman empire but a resurrected Islamic empire that will be so powerful that only the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus will put an end to it! (Daniel 2:44-45)