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Notes on Daniel: 2 Thessalonians 2 – Who is the Man of Sin?

By Jay Rogers
Published September 8, 2019

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; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God (2 Thessalonians 2:3,4).

This is supposedly a difficult chapter for postmillennialists and especially preterists who put the Great Tribulation in the first century. Admittedly, 2 Thessalonians 2 seems at first glance to be difficult from a postmillennial perspective, but when compared to Revelation 20, it is very consistent with a postmillennial view.


In the Days of These Kings (Book)

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“And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever” (Daniel 2:44).

The overarching message of Daniel is that Jesus the Messiah is even now ruling over the nations. He is the King of kings. Daniel tells us that Messiah’s kingdom will advance in the whole world from “generation to generation” (Daniel 4:4,34). Christ’s dominion is “given to the people of the saints of the most High” (Daniel 7:22). Our purpose then is to see “all people, nations, and languages … serve and obey him” (Daniel 7:14,27).

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I would interpret the Man of Sin as a type of apostate man here, not the Antichrist, not a single person, although many interpreters have seen a single Antichrist here. If you doubt that the “Man of Sin … who sits in the Temple of God” can be figurative, compare the language with Isaiah 14.

For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven. I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north. I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High (Isaiah 14:13,14).

In 2 Thessalonians 2:4, Paul is alluding to Isaiah where the king of Babylon is compared to Lucifer. Admittedly, Isaiah 14 is primarily about a king or the kings of Babylon, but the Man of Sin is neither the king of Babylon, Lucifer, nor a contemporary king of Paul’s day. The man of sin plainly interpreted are those controlled by the original sin of man. The end-times apostasy will not be contained nor epitomized in one man, but in men in general whose love will grow cold.

The whole context of 1 and 2 Thessalonians, depicts the end times not as a time of wars, tumults, pestilence, plagues and famine (which were first century judgments on Judea) but a time of “peace and safety” (1 Thessalonians 5:3) when men will grow cold because they are not expecting the Lord to come.

Kenneth Gentry, David Chilton and other preterists interpret this passage as a first century event, the man of sin being either Nero Caesar or the High Priest at Jerusalem. However, 1 and 2 Thessalonians are eschatological teachings made to correct the Thessalonians who had been taught that there is no future resurrection (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 5:1-11) and that the Second Coming of Jesus Christ had already occurred (2 Thessalonians 2:1-12).

According to Revelation 20, there is to be a great falling away that will occur at the end of the millennium, which is before Christ returns according to the postmillennial view. In 2 Thessalonians 2, Paul writes that the Second Coming will not come unless there is a great falling away first. This final apostasy is also spoken of in Revelation 20. The man of sin of 2 Thessalonians 2 is the apostate man – one who through ease and complacency has fallen away from the true faith – one who has exalted himself to be God. This is the original sin of Adam – to be like God, to exalt oneself above God.

Thus the “man of sin” speaks of the “original sin of man.” The man of sin is the man – any man – deluded by Satan when he will be unleashed at the end of the millennium. The Antichrist is a spirit – any spirit – that denies Jesus is the Christ. There will be an Antichrist spirit that will be revealed in the hearts of many people just prior to the Second Coming. This is consistent with Revelation 20 and 1 John 2.

Satan has been bound from deceiving the nations anymore (Revelation 20:1-3). Note that he is bound now, but he will be let loose for a time to deceive the nations once again and then will come the mystery of iniquity that will be revealed in the hearts of men (2 Thessalonians 2:7).

I do not see anywhere in Scripture a future Antichrist figure in the person of one man who is a world ruler. The Beast of Revelation is not a future Antichrist. Nowhere do John or Paul in their epistles explicitly say that the “antichrist” or the “man of sin” is anything more than a spirit or a man deluded by a spirit.

That sums up my position on 2 Thessalonians 2. I realize that many preterist writers disagree with me on this topic. However, the context of 1 and 2 Thessalonians is to correct eschatological errors in the church at Thessalonica, not to predict events of the first century. Paul was warning against a proto-Gnostic teaching that said that the Lord had already come “spiritually” and that the carnal who were looking for a bodily return of Christ had missed Him. Instead Paul explains in these two epistles the correct order of eschatological events. To interpret this to have a first century fulfillment is to turn the whole context of 1 and 2 Thessalonians on its head.


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Go Stand Speak (DVD)

With “preaching to the lost” being such a basic foundation of Christianity, why do many in the church seem to be apathetic on this issue of preaching in highways and byways of towns and cities?

Is it biblical to stand in the public places of the world and proclaim the gospel, regardless if people want to hear it or not?

Does the Bible really call church pastors, leaders and evangelists to proclaim the gospel in the public square as part of obedience to the Great Commission, or is public preaching something that is outdated and not applicable for our day and age?

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The Real Jesus: A Defense of the Historicity and Divinity of ChristThe Real Jesus: A Defense of the Historicity and Divinity of Christ (DVD)

Who is the Real Jesus?

Ever since the dawn of modern rationalism, skeptics have sought to use textual criticism, archeology and historical reconstructions to uncover the “historical Jesus” — a wise teacher who said many wonderful things, but fulfilled no prophecies, performed no miracles and certainly did not rise from the dead in triumph over sin.

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Martin Luther: Digitally Remastered 1953 Classic (DVD)

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The Four Keys to the Millennium (Book)

Foundations in Biblical Eschatology

By Jay Rogers, Larry Waugh, Rodney Stortz, Joseph Meiring. High quality paperback, 167 pages.

All Christians believe that their great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will one day return. Although we cannot know the exact time of His return, what exactly did Jesus mean when he spoke of the signs of His coming (Mat. 24)? How are we to interpret the prophecies in Isaiah regarding the time when “the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea” (Isa. 11:19)? Should we expect a time of great tribulation and apostasy or revival and reformation before the Lord returns? Is the devil bound now, and are the saints reigning with Christ? Did you know that there are four hermeneutical approaches to the book of Daniel and Revelation?

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Dr. Francis Schaeffer - How Should We Then Live? (DVD)

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