2 Thessalonians 2:3
Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first…
The man of sin and his awful character and career, here described by St. Paul, are subjects of such deep and dreadful mystery, that we may well take warning from the intricate confusion of the interpretations put forth by those people who profess to expound the fulfilment of prophecy, and content ourselves with accepting the prediction as it stands without attempting to identify it with particular historical events. Though some of its terms apply well to certain explanations, and others to different explanations, no explanation has yet been furnished which fairly and without any straining of words covers the whole of them. From Nero to the pope, from the days of the siege of Jerusalem to those of the yet future millennium, certain odious persons and systems have been selected for a realization of the prophecy. Leaving these dubious identifications, let us look at the main outlines of the picture.
I. THERE IS A MAN OF SIN. Whether he lived in the past or has yet to appear, a man to whom this awful name belongs is described in inspired Scripture. The Bible does not ignore the awful depths of human wickedness. It is dreadfully significant that this evil being is a man, not a devil. Humanity, which was created in the image of God and intended to be a temple of God, may be degraded into the image of Satan and become a haunt of iniquity. As good works through human sympathies, so does evil. A bad man is more dangerous than a fallen angel, because he is nearer to his fellow men.
II. THE MAN OF SIN FOLLOWS AN APOSTASY.
1. Spiritual apostasy leads a man to moral corruption. The man who has forsaken Christ is tempted to fall into gross sin. Faith is the great preservative of morals.
2. Apostasy lays the Church open to attacks from her enemies. The "man of sin" could not arise before the Church had fallen, nor if he had appeared could he have had any power against a faithful Church.
III. THE MAN OF SIN PRECEDES THE SECOND ADVENT OF CHRIST. It was a mistake on the part of the Thessalonian Church to suppose that "the day of the Lord" had arrived, because the dreadful appearance of the man of sin which was to precede that day had not yet been seen. St. Paul warns us that apostasy and the frightful life of this wicked man - whoever he may be - must come before Christ returns. He does not encourage us to look for a gradual, unbroken progress of Christianity. The growth of the harvest fruit is arrested and delayed by frost and storm. Christ even wondered whether he should find any faith left on the earth at his return (Luke 18:8). The glorious consummation of all things to which the Christian looks forward is not to be expected as the result of quiet improvement without relapse. Between the present and that "great Divine event" dark chasms of iniquity yawn. Every age has thought it could detect signs of this evil in its midst. So the unbelief and corruptions of our own day are taken by some to be "signs." Unhappily the language of the apostle warns us to expect more terribly demonstrative signs than any yet seen.
IV. THE APPEARANCE OF THE MAN OF SIN IS A SGN OF THE APPROACHING ADVENT OF CHRIST. Here is some encouragement for the Church to endure the trials of the darkest times. These times are to usher in the great and glorious day of the Lord. Evil, when most triumphant, is nearest defeat. Dreadful as may be its transient success, it will soon be swept away. When the horror of sin is blackest, the judgment which is to sweep it away is nearest at hand. Christ will come again when he will be most needed. - W.F.A.
Parallel VersesKJV: 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;