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I ended the last post with this verse - 2 Thessalonians 2:7-8 WNT 7) For lawlessness is already at work in secret; but only until the man who is now exercising a restraining influence is removed, 8) and then the Lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will sweep away with the tempest of His anger, and utterly overwhelm by the awful splendor of His Coming. I keep running these concepts through my mind, and, when possible, talk with my wife or a few close friends about what I think I see. Recently we had finished eating, and once again I brought up 2Thessalonians 2:3 where it says 2 Thessalonians 2:3 NASB “Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction,” I find myself breathing a heavy sigh as I read this passage. For me, the heaviness comes out of a sincere desire for the church body to be firmly grounded in an understanding of end times events and how those events will fall into place, but it also comes out of the reality that all these years later we are no more confident in our faith and comprehension that they were all those years ago. During a fifteen year period, I attended three churches, and I can tell that it is rare to find anyone that has a firm grasp on what Paul is saying here in 2 Thessalonians 2:3. When you begin talking to them about Paul words here, some respond with confused or distorted views of “the day,” while others seem to feel that you have challenged their long-held beliefs and therefore attack with a loud and caustic defense that demonstrates no logic, that they do not read for themselves, or that they choose not to think. The other side of Paul's teaching, not spoken of in verse three, is “hope.” Our comprehension that Jesus is coming back for His church is a part of this anchor we call hope. Since hope is integrated into our faith in Jesus' words that He will come back for us, wouldn't it be beneficial to understand why we have this hope, and where we place our assurance? John 14:3 WNT And if I go and make ready a place for you, I will return and take you to be with me, that where I am you also may be. [In case you did not notice, Jesus did go already] I primarily use the NASB and it refers to this man that is to come, as the man of lawlessness. Since verses three and eight have a common thread, the man of lawlessness, let's ponder this person for a few moments. The man of lawlessness He is also known as the son of perdition; the man who separates himself from Torah; the man of sin; the man of evil; the son of destruction; the wicked one. One last example comes from the Weymouth New Testament, a translation that, in this case, gives much more definition. Thayer's definition of lawless: Greek anomos 1) destitute of (the Mosaic) law; 2) departing from the law, a violator of the law, lawless, wicked 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 WNT 3) Let no one in any way deceive you, for that day cannot come without the coming of the apostasy first, and the appearing of the man of sin, the son of perdition, who sets himself against, 4) and exalts himself above, every so-called 'god' or object of worship, and goes the length of taking his seat in the very temple of God, giving it out that he himself is God. What do I know about this guy? “the appearing of the man of sin, the son of perdition.” This is merely an explanation and a title at this point; however, he will fulfill every aspect and detail of Biblical prophecy about himself in time. “who sets himself against, and exalts himself above, every so-called 'god' or object of worship,” To set oneself against God doesn't seem so bad, and yet we do it all the time. We do it with our money; vehicles; homes, and for some, trophy wives. First off you need to understand that EVERY thing in this world works in opposition to God. And yes, that includes religion. So what we are doing is committing adultery with the world. This guy takes it to the extreme as he exalts himself above God, and, every so-called 'god' or object of worship. Not even the Catholic church does that; there is, however, an ideology that does, and it is called Islam. Every nation in the world where Islam exists, the Muslim's that live there are under a mandate to infiltrate and put that nation under the Islamic laws of Sharia. Islam's 'god,' invented by Mohamed, is called Allah. “goes the length of taking his seat in the very temple of God, giving it out that he himself is God.” This idea of someone taking a seat in the temple, has, since 70 A.D., been difficult to grasp as there is no temple. At the time Paul wrote this letter the destruction of the temple was at least 20 years away. Short of a revelation by the Holy Spirit, Paul would not have known this. In May of 2018, the Israeli Prime Minister spoke openly that the temple would be rebuilt. As you can imagine, at the time of this writing, this borders on impossible, and if it were restored, the rioting would be horrendous. And yet, scripture tells us it will happen. What an absurdity it is to know that this man of sin will exalt himself above God and place himself in the most Holy seat, all the while decreeing himself to be God? Still under the heading of what we know about the man of lawlessness, comes the Islamic prophecies. Here is just a portion of what they expect to happen. The ten major signs known as alamatu's-sa'ah al-kubra (the major signs of the end).[note 56] They are as follows: The false messiah—anti-Christ, Masih ad-Dajjal—shall appear with great powers as a one-eyed man with his right eye blind and deformed like a grape. Although believers will not be deceived, he will claim to be God, to hold the keys to heaven and hell, and will lead many astray. In reality, his heaven is hell, and his hell is heaven. The Dajjal will be followed by seventy thousand Jews of Isfahan wearing Persian shawls.[note 57] The return of Isa (Jesus), from the fourth sky, to kill Dajjal. Ya'joo and Ma'jooj (Gog and Magog), a Japhetic tribe of vicious beings who had been imprisoned by Dhul-Qarnayn, will break out. They will ravage the earth, drink all the water of Lake Tiberias, and kill all believers in their way. Isa, Imam Al-Mahdi, and the believers with them will go to the top of a mountain and pray for the destruction of Gog and Magog. God eventually will send disease and worms to wipe them out.[note 58] This information comes from Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamic_eschatology What do Islam prophecies and what Muslims believe, mean to me? Since we know from scripture that the plan of redemption was written long before Mohamed had this message about Allah delivered to him in a cave, is it possible that this information, much like everything else Satan has done, is a fraudulent and intentional misrepresentation of truth? While we are aware that someone, in the role of the Anti-Christ, will come, but that is not who Paul spoke of when he used the phrase, the man of lawlessness. We should also be aware that one we know as the false prophet, will show up, but not until the mid-point of the seven years of tribulation. According to Islam, both of these are known to them. The man of lawlessness to us, is the return of Isa ibn Mariam, the Islamic Jesus. This is the information I presented above as the first and second points of their major prophecies. I will add that Islam believes this man, will be a Jew; a descendant from Aaron and therefore have a legitimate right to the priesthood; that he will pledge his allegiance to the Mahdi (I believe that this Mahdi person fulfills the role of Anti-Christ); he will perform great signs and wonders (Sadly, this will cause many to follow him. In other words, he causes many to also give their allegiance to Islam.) And, this Isa bin Mariam will be the enforcer of Sharia. What does this last aspect concerning Sharia mean to any of us? As followers of Christ, the Church will be caught up to meet Him in the air. Now many believe, such as the man who leads our Monday morning Bible study group, that everyone in that room will be able to bypass the wrath that will be poured out upon the earth. Sorry, but that is not necessarily true. I know this because of the parable of the ten virgins. This parable was an aspect of Jesus response when the disciples asked, "when will these things happen and what will the sign of your coming?" Matthew 25:1-13 NASB "Then the kingdom of heaven will be comparable to ten virgins, who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2) "Five of them were foolish, and five were prudent. 3) "For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, 4) but the prudent took oil in flasks along with their lamps. 5) "Now while the bridegroom was delaying, they all got drowsy and began to sleep. 6) "But at midnight there was a shout, 'Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.' 7) "Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. 8) "The foolish said to the prudent, 'Give us some of your oil, for our lamps, are going out.' 9) "But the prudent answered, 'No, there will not be enough for us and you too; go instead to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.' 10) "And while they were going away to make the purchase, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding feast; and the door was shut. 11) "Later the other virgins also came, saying, 'Lord, lord, open up for us.' 12) "But he answered, 'Truly I say to you, I do not know you.' 13) "Be on the alert then, for you do not know the day nor the hour. Notice, how all the virgins got the same invitation, and, all got ready, but there is an exception, for five of them merely grabbed their lamps off the shelf, while the others took the time to refill their lamps and take extra oil. This oil or the act of taking extra seems to play a critical role in this equation. Sadly, I cannot tell you with precision what that oil represents. It may be in the preparation, as it demonstrates looking intently for Him to come; while for others, it may mean study; and still, others, seem to emphasize desire. My experiences have included a pastor that told me NOT to study eschatology and another brother in Christ who called me a firebrand that momentarily excites people; He went on to say, "besides that, we have been looking for Jesus to return for over two-thousand years." I suppose that pastor who told me not to study, and that brother in Christ feel as though Jesus will not come back for perhaps another forty plus years. May I say that I believe He is riding upon the winds as we speak. I have seen this imagery in my spirit, and I can hear the sound of the trumpets in the distance (not the phony Haarp sounds the governments are playing with.) Know this, this man, whatever you wish to call him, will be NOT be announced as the man of lawlessness. Because he is a Jew and will have access to the Holiest of Holies within the temple, he will probably be a high priest, and he probably a well-respected man right now. We are there! “but only until the man who is now exercising a restraining influence is removed, and then the Lawless one will be revealed,” (WNT) This statement above is an excerpt from 2 Thessalonians 2:7-8. When I read this, there is an intense clarity about the timing in which the church; the restraining force that is removed; and “the man of lawlessness” that will be revealed. Since there is no doubt in my mind that the restraining influence is the Church, then the emphasis, therefore, is on the removal of the church before to God's wrath is poured out. Because of this information, I cannot for the life of me figure out how people can assert that the time of wrath upon the earth is something that the church must go through. How do I rationalize verse 3 and verse 8 as they both indicate that this man will be revealed? As I pointed out, verse three seems to be our introduction to the man, although it will not be as “the man of … .” In a sense, he will be quite normal. Since we understand that he will be a Jew that turns his back on the Law of God, then we can better understand why Jesus would say that “he” will cause the best of them to be deceived, and He meant the Jewish leadership. 2 Thessalonians 2:9 GNB The Wicked One will come with the power of Satan and perform all kinds of false miracles and wonders, In general, I can safely say that the church will not see unleashing of Satan's power, because all this is designed to happen 1240 days into the time of wrath. 2 Thessalonians 2:10 CJB He (the adversary/Satan) will enable him to deceive, in all kinds of wicked ways, those who are headed for destruction because they would not receive the love of the truth that could have saved them. This statement “those who are headed for destruction because they would not receive the love of the truth that could have saved them,” is primarily speaking to the Jews. Could I apply it to the nations? Indeed, for many of them would not receive the love of the truth that could have saved them. 2 Thessalonians 2:11 NASB 11) For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, Imagine a gathering of Pharisees, like Paul so intensely trained in the laws of God, that God must send a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false. Suddenly, it seems like this is all God's fault, is that the case? Hardly, as they turned their backs on when He sent a steady stream of mercies coming to their direction. Israel, since Egypt, has been entrenched in the idolatrous ways of the nations around them, and verse 12 proves that out. 2 Thessalonians 2:12 NASB 12) in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth but took pleasure in wickedness.