The Man of Lawlessness(Sin)

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B.J.

Puritan Board Freshman
3 Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, 4 who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God. 5 Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? 6 And you know what is restraining him now so that he may be revealed in his time. 7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. Only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way.


This passage always comes up in eschatological conversations. Especially if your a Partial Preterist which I am. Most times people through up to me the fact that this is a future event. I often have subscribed to the Gentrian interpretation that the Man of Lawlessness, and the Beast of Revelation are the same person, Nero.

Quick to attack me are my Idealist brothers who claim that Nero never set himself up in the Temple of God, claiming to be God. For a while it stumped me until today. My question for Idealist, or anyone who does not think it is Nero, or a first century person is this....."Who, rather What, is the New Testament Temple of God?


My answer:

2 Corinthians 6:16 states...What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them,and I will be their God,and they shall be my people.


Also,

1 Corinthians 3:16 - 17 states...16 Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you? 17 If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy him. For God's temple is holy, and you are that temple.


As well as....


Ephesians 2: 19-22 states....19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. 22 In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.

I would like to submit that Nero did do such an act to the NT Temple of God. Furthermore, if this is a future event there must be a rebuilt Temple of some sort so that this Man of Lawlessness Can preform the act of setting himself up in the temple.
 

puritan lad

Puritan Board Freshman
I would like to submit that Nero did do such an act to the NT Temple of God. Furthermore, if this is a future event there must be a rebuilt Temple of some sort so that this Man of Lawlessness Can preform the act of setting himself up in the temple.
No one said that Nero was the "man of lawlessness", as far as I know. Nero was Revelation's beast, an entirely different person. The man of lawlessness was probably the Jewish High Priest.

All of this is covered in Antichrist: The Biblical View
 

B.J.

Puritan Board Freshman
*Cough, cough... (Historicism) cough...*


:rofl:


Actually, I just recieved an email response from Gentry.



My email: Could it be that Nero did do such an act to the "Temple of God" if we think of it as the New Testament temple, the Church?



Gentry responed:"That certainly is an option. My understanding, though, is that the verb tense here indicates a desire to do so, rather than an actual occurrence (cp. Lk 4:29). I understand this to mean that he would do so if he could, because of his meglomania."

Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr., Th.M., Th.D.
 

Kaalvenist

Puritan Board Sophomore
I would observe that, from an Historicist perspective, you're on the right track. :D

Historicism has always understood the "temple of God" in that passage to refer to the New Testament church. I must point out, though, that Nero never "seated" himself in the church, as has the Pope of Rome -- "the Romish See" actually refers to his "seat" in the Church.
 

puritan lad

Puritan Board Freshman
Oh well,

Gentry isn't perfect ;)

I believe he gets the beast correct, but hold that the man of lawlessness is probably the high priest.
 

CDM

Puritan Board Junior
I would observe that, from an Historicist perspective, you're on the right track. :D

Historicism has always understood the "temple of God" in that passage to refer to the New Testament church. I must point out, though, that Nero never "seated" himself in the church, as has the Pope of Rome -- "the Romish See" actually refers to his "seat" in the Church.

:up:
 

elnwood

Puritan Board Junior
[BIBLE]2 thess 2:8-9[/BIBLE]

So the Lord slew either Nero or the high priest with the breath of His mouth and by the appearance of His coming? And Nero or the high priest performed false signs and wonders by the power of Satan?
 

B.J.

Puritan Board Freshman
Historicism has always understood the "temple of God" in that passage to refer to the New Testament church. I must point out, though, that Nero never "seated" himself in the church, as has the Pope of Rome -- "the Romish See" actually refers to his "seat" in the Church.


Are you suggesting that Roman Catholics are Christians? As far as I know the Pope sits on a throne in the Vatican. I am certainly not a member of the Church of Rome. Do we Protestants consider the Pope to be involved with the Church? Certainly not! So how does he set himself up in the Church? Roman Catholicism is a cult, right? Your view presupposes that the Pope has some connection with the true Church. The text in question is refering to true believers. I guess I dont understand what you are saying. Please explain further. The passage is clear that whoever the "Man" (singular) is "he" (singular) is certainly alive in the first century. The line of Popes would render the text null and void becasue there has been more than one of them. According to the scriptures I supplied it is reasonable to hold that Nero "set himself up as God" among the first century Christians. The Church is made up of individuals, not a building. The Temple is a spiritual one, not physical.



So the Lord slew either Nero or the high priest with the breath of His mouth and by the appearance of His coming? And Nero or the high priest performed false signs and wonders by the power of Satan?

Don,
I am afraid to ask, but are you suggesting that Jesus is "literally" going to kill someone with his bad breath? I am sensing a little bit of literalistic sarcasm. As for the false signs and wonders, the idea is somewhat vague, to me at least.
 

elnwood

Puritan Board Junior
Don,
I am afraid to ask, but are you suggesting that Jesus is "literally" going to kill someone with his bad breath? I am sensing a little bit of literalistic sarcasm. As for the false signs and wonders, the idea is somewhat vague, to me at least.

Are you suggesting that Jesus has BAD breath?!?! Blasphemy.

I think that Christ will come back at the end of the age and slay His enemies with His word. I think 1 Thessalonians is talking about the event in Revelation 19 where a (nonliteral) sharp sword comes out of Jesus' mouth to strike down the nations.

In any case, all I really wanted was a preterist to support the idea that Jesus has already come to destroy the Man of Lawlessness at His coming. It doesn't appear that this has occurred yet.
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
This passage always comes up in eschatological conversations. Especially if your a Partial Preterist which I am. Most times people through up to me the fact that this is a future event. I often have subscribed to the Gentrian interpretation that the Man of Lawlessness, and the Beast of Revelation are the same person, Nero.

Curiosity question -- how does a partial preterist manage the dating of 2 Thessalonians with the accession of Nero when the revelation of the man of sin is said to lie in the future?
 

B.J.

Puritan Board Freshman
Are you suggesting that Jesus has BAD breath?!?! Blasphemy.




No. I thought you were subtly implying that I was missing out on the literal meaning of the text. I though the "bad breath" thing was funny. I also tell Dispensational's that there is a tattoo shop in heaven because they think that Jesus really has a tattoo on his hip in Rev.19, as well as a sword from his mouth that He will kill people with. I thought you might be one, sorry.



In any case, all I really wanted was a preterist to support the idea that Jesus has already come to destroy the Man of Lawlessness at His coming. It doesn't appear that this has occurred yet.


Why not?



5 Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? 6 And you know what is restraining him now so that he may be revealed in his time. 7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. Only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way. 8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming.



I see nothing in this text that indicates these events happening in the future. The notion of Paul teaching the Church at Thessaloníki a truth that takes place 2000 years and counting in the future is, In my humble opinion, preposterous. There are to many internal indicators that make this intelligible to the first century reader. For instance, restraining him now, already at work, and now restrains all seem to indicate a first century fulfillment. To be honest, the fact that I can't pin down every single detail gives me more comfort. Why? Because the letter was not addressed to me. All I can do in these situations is try to read it how a first century Christian might have. If you have not read any Gentry I would start there. You might even try DeMar.
 

Andrew P.C.

Puritan Board Junior
When I was listening to R.C. about the beast, he did clarify that Nero would be the best candidate.

As for Nero putting himself in the temple, from what R.C. was saying,(I still need to check the history on this one) Nero put a statue in the temple at Jerusalem.
 

elnwood

Puritan Board Junior
No. I thought you were subtly implying that I was missing out on the literal meaning of the text. I though the "bad breath" thing was funny. I also tell Dispensational's that there is a tattoo shop in heaven because they think that Jesus really has a tattoo on his hip in Rev.19, as well as a sword from his mouth that He will kill people with. I thought you might be one, sorry.

It was funny, and I'm not a dispensationalist. I was jesting as well.

I see nothing in this text that indicates these events happening in the future. The notion of Paul teaching the Church at Thessaloníki a truth that takes place 2000 years and counting in the future is, In my humble opinion, preposterous. There are to many internal indicators that make this intelligible to the first century reader. For instance, restraining him now, already at work, and now restrains all seem to indicate a first century fulfillment. To be honest, the fact that I can't pin down every single detail gives me more comfort. Why? Because the letter was not addressed to me. All I can do in these situations is try to read it how a first century Christian might have. If you have not read any Gentry I would start there. You might even try DeMar.

I think that it will happen in the future because it talks about Jesus' return, which has not yet occurred. Yes, I've heard the preterist theory that there are multiple "comings" of Christ before the actual coming, but this has never been presented to me convincingly.

Prophecy takes a long time to fulfill. Is it any more preposterous for Isaiah to prophecy about a child born to a virgin centuries in the future? I don't see how the restraining and mystery already at work means that there is a first century fulfillment. I see the power of Satan throughout history, and yet God is restraining Satan.

And if it has been fulfilled, who is the fulfillment? Nero or the high priest? When did Jesus return to slay him? There are too many unknowns in preterist theology. It seems to be the nature of prophecy that they are understood after they occur, and yet even among preterists they can't even agree who the Man of Lawlessness is. It's one thing to disagree how prophecy will play out in the future, but it's another thing to be confused about fulfilled prophecy in the past. :2cents:

But I admit, I have not read Gentry, and many people I respect, including my own pastor, are preterists. I just don't see it.
 

B.J.

Puritan Board Freshman
Curiosity question -- how does a partial preterist manage the dating of 2 Thessalonians with the accession of Nero when the revelation of the man of sin is said to lie in the future?


2 Thess. was written during the reign of Claudis, Nero's Uncle. Nero had not taken his throne yet. Nero took his Uncle's placeafter he posioned him. Read Gentry on this.
 

B.J.

Puritan Board Freshman
BJ,
Read J.A. Wylie's The Papacy is AntiChrist". It's a very compelling argument.


Thanks Jim. I will try to get around to it. Although I am already convinced of Nero being the "AntiChrist" or Beast of Revelation. Just by way of preface,"Antichrist" is someone who denies the Resurrection and claims of Christ. There really seems to be no need to speak of a non first century "Antichrist." Unless it falls under the definition above.
 

B.J.

Puritan Board Freshman
Prophecy takes a long time to fulfill. Is it any more preposterous for Isaiah to prophecy about a child born to a virgin centuries in the future? I don't see how the restraining and mystery already at work means that there is a first century fulfillment. I see the power of Satan throughout history, and yet God is restraining Satan.


Don, I dont really think that Isaiah's Prophecy concerning the Meassiah was evn in the same ballpark as Paul's Man of Lawlessness. Isaiah 11:1 - 10 speaks of things (figuratively) that will take place. The word will appears throughout the text. Thus, indicating a completely future event.

Paul' s Man of Lawlessness is already around. We know this because he indicates that someone is holding him back.

My commentary:

5 Do you not remember that while I was still with you, I was telling you these things?
What things? Well, Paul is going to refresh their memories in the preceding verses.


6 And you know what restrains him now, so that in his time he will be revealed.


They must know what restrains him because Paul told them when he was with them.


7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way.


A couple of thiings:
1) Lawlessness is at work now.
2) Someone will be taken out so that the Man can appear in his true colors, but not until an apostasy takes place. All these things are things that Paul assures to the reader they will see. Thats why he gives so many tell-tell signs.


3 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,


Why would Paul attach so many contemporary events to their day if they will not be the ones who see it? This is not anything like what Isaiah is doing in his prophecies. D you agree?
 

elnwood

Puritan Board Junior
Don, I dont really think that Isaiah's Prophecy concerning the Meassiah was evn in the same ballpark as Paul's Man of Lawlessness. Isaiah 11:1 - 10 speaks of things (figuratively) that will take place. The word will appears throughout the text. Thus, indicating a completely future event.

Paul' s Man of Lawlessness is already around. We know this because he indicates that someone is holding him back.

My commentary:

5 Do you not remember that while I was still with you, I was telling you these things?
What things? Well, Paul is going to refresh their memories in the preceding verses.

6 And you know what restrains him now, so that in his time he will be revealed.

They must know what restrains him because Paul told them when he was with them.

7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way.

A couple of thiings:
1) Lawlessness is at work now.
2) Someone will be taken out so that the Man can appear in his true colors, but not until an apostasy takes place. All these things are things that Paul assures to the reader they will see. Thats why he gives so many tell-tell signs.

3 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,

Why would Paul attach so many contemporary events to their day if they will not be the ones who see it? This is not anything like what Isaiah is doing in his prophecies. D you agree?

Many (most?) commentators think that Isaiah's prophecies had both present and future fulfillments. Even the most conservative commentators think the child in Isaiah 7:14 was talking about an actual child in Isaiah's time as well as pointing ahead to the messiah.

The nature of biblical prophecy is that it can multiple fulfillments, with the greater fulfillment coming far in the future. The Jews sought a promised land, and they received a physical promise land, but ultimately the promise is fulfilled in a spiritual promise land.

That the nature of prophecy is that it is often fulfilled in both present and future circumstances is a huge blow to the Preterist view because even if you can prove conclusively that the prophecies were fulfilled in the first century, you still cannot eliminate the possibility that the prophecy will be fulfilled in the future in a greater sense.

As far as your interpretation, I see where you're coming from, but I think you are reading too much of your understanding into the passage. For example, you say that the man of lawlessness is already there, but the passage doesn't say that. It says the mystery of lawlessness is already present. It's not the same, and I think that there is a mystery of lawlessness even today.

The big question is the identity of the restrainer. I believe the Preterist view is that the restrainer is the civil government, but I believe the restrainer is more directly God Himself, and that God is still waiting to reveal the man of lawlessness.

I don't think that Paul is giving them tell-tale signs because he expects for them to see it. He is telling them about the tell-tale signs because he wants to reassure them that the Day of the Lord has not come. The people are worried that the Day had already come, and they missed it! They had been influenced by what we could call "Full Preterists" today who said that Christ had already come.

[BIBLE]2 Th. 2:1-3[/BIBLE]

Paul's argument is that since the signs have not come, the Day of the Lord has not yet come. The implied argument is that the Day of the Lord will come soon after those signs come.

If you say the signs have already been fulfilled, then you need to either say that the Day of the Lord has not yet come, and is separated by 2000 plus years from those signs, or you need to say that the Day of the Lord has already come. The latter is precisely what the Thessalonians feared, and if that is the case, then we ought to be "shaken and alarmed" as the Thessalonians are that we missed Christ's coming.
 

B.J.

Puritan Board Freshman
That the nature of prophecy is that it is often fulfilled in both present and future circumstances is a huge blow to the Preterist view because even if you can prove conclusively that the prophecies were fulfilled in the first century, you still cannot eliminate the possibility that the prophecy will be fulfilled in the future in a greater sense.


I am not of the persuasion that Idealist and Preterist approach are diametrically opposed to one another. I think they can be buddies. However, Idealist must draw the line somewhere just like Preterist as to what constitutes the final fulfillment of said prophecy. For example, could Isaiah's prophecy about Messiah be fulfilled more than once? Furthermore, I don't understand how a prophecy about Messiah could relate to anything in Isaiah's present day.


The nature of biblical prophecy is that it can multiple fulfillments, with the greater fulfillment coming far in the future. The Jews sought a promised land, and they received a physical promise land, but ultimately the promise is fulfilled in a spiritual promise land.


Not sure this helps your case. The land promise was made by God, not a prophet. It was a promise, not a prophecy. Hence, the phrase land promise. I think this is a catergorical mistake.



As far as your interpretation, I see where you're coming from, but I think you are reading too much of your understanding into the passage. For example, you say that the man of lawlessness is already there, but the passage doesn't say that. It says the mystery of lawlessness is already present. It's not the same, and I think that there is a mystery of lawlessness even today.


The fact that the text refers to "he" that restrains him, presupposes his existence in the first century. In order to restrain, there must be one who is restrained, and one who is restraining.


The big question is the identity of the restrainer. I believe the Preterist view is that the restrainer is the civil government, but I believe the restrainer is more directly God Himself, and that God is still waiting to reveal the man of lawlessness.


Some preterist may have concluded that the restrainer is the civil goverment. Gentry thinks it is Claudis, Nero's Uncle.


The latter is precisely what the Thessalonians feared, and if that is the case, then we ought to be "shaken and alarmed" as the Thessalonians are that we missed Christ's coming.


I'll have to do some thinking on this. It is an interesting point.

Nice conversation, Don. Thanks.:cheers2:
 
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