16. God Is Holding Back The Man Of Lawlessness.
Paul in his writings to the Corinthians and in his first letter to the Thessalonians explains the mystery. We shall not all sleep, but at the time of the resurrection we will all be changed at the same time, from that which is perishable into that which is imperishable. Paul also makes it very clear that those who are still alive when the Lord returns, will not be caught up to meet the Lord in the air before those who have died knowing the Lord.
But it would appear others were preaching and teaching that the resurrection had already taken place (2 Timothy 2:16 –18), some even saying that they were sent by Paul, Silas and Timothy to teach these things. It was to counter these wrong teachings that Paul writes his second letter to the Thessalonians, reminding them of the things he had already taught them.
One of the things that Paul had already taught them, was that the day of the Lord’s coming and our being gathered to him, will not happen until the rebellion occurs and the man of sin (the anti-christ) is revealed.
II Thessalonians 2:1 Now brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and our being gathered together unto him, we ask 2 that you not be so quickly shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. 3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come except there first comes a falling away (Or as the N.I.V. put it, “until the rebellion occurs”), and that man of sin (the anti-Christ) is revealed, the son of damnation; 4 who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. 5 Do you not remember that, when I was still with you, I told you these things? (Words in Italics added.)
According to verse 3, the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, will not happen before these two things happen.
1: The rebellion occurs.
2: The man of sin (the anti-christ) is revealed.
In Daniel chapter 8 verses 8 to 12, we are told both who will be in rebellion and how the man of sin (the anti-christ) is revealed.
Daniel 8:8 Therefore the male goat (Greece) became very great; but when he strong, the great horn (Alexander) was broken off; and in its place came up four notable ones towards the four winds of the sky. 9 And out of one of them (Turkey) came a little horn (the anti-christ), which grew exceedingly great, toward the south (Egypt), toward the east (Syria), and toward the pleasant land (Israel). 10 And it grew great, even to the host of the sky; and it cast down some of the host and some of the stars to the ground, and trampled them. 11 He even magnified himself, even as (God) the Prince of the host; and by him the daily sacrifices were taken away, and the place of His sanctuary was cast down. 12 Because of rebellion (the rebellion of the Jews) an army was given over to the horn (the anti-Christ) to oppose the daily sacrifices; and he cast the truth down to the ground. He did all this and worked and prospered. (Words in Italics added)
The N.I.V. translates verse 12 like this,
Because of rebellion, the host [of the saints] and the daily sacrifice were given over to it. It prospered in everything it did, and truth was thrown to the ground.
It is the Jews, the host of the saints, who by their rejection of Jesus Christ as their Lord and Deliverer are in rebellion against God. It was because of this rebellion, that God allowed Jerusalem and the temple to be destroyed in 70 AD. (Luke 19:41 – 44 & 21:20 – 24). In a time still to come, the Jewish leaders will reconfirm their rejection of Jesus Christ as their Lord and Deliverer, once again bringing the Jews (the host of the saints) into rebellion against God.
Because of this rebellion, half way through the seven-year covenant, the Jews and the daily sacrifice will be given over to the anti-christ. Then the anti-christ will set himself up to be as great as the Prince of the Host. He will do this by opposing and exalting himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.” (11 Thessalonians 2:4)
The anti-christ, or an image placed by the anti-christ in the temple as God, is the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel. Jesus Christ tells us, that the abomination is a sign that he will be returning soon. Paul tells us that we will see this event before both the resurrection of the saints and before the return of Jesus Christ. Paul also tells us, that it is by this event that the man of sin, the anti-christ will reveal himself.
II Thessalonians 2:6 And now you know who is withholding him (the anti-christ), that he may be revealed in his (God’s) own time. 7 For the mystery of injustice is already work; only he who now withholds him will do so until he is taken out of the way. (Words in Italics added)
Who is holding back the anti-christ? Who is the anti-christ? Jesus Christ is God in the flesh. The anti-christ is Satan in the flesh. Who holds back Satan? God by His own power and authority holds back Satan. This truth is revealed to us in the first two chapters of Job. Satan wanted to test God’s servant Job. Twice Satan goes to God to seek permission to test Job.
The first time:
Job 1:12 So the LORD said to Satan, "Look, all that he has is in your power; only do not lay your hand on his person.” - - - - - - -
From that moment on, Satan, the mystery of lawlessness was at work against Job. But God was holding Satan back, to the extent that Satan could not lay a hand on his person
Again Satan seeks permission to test Job.
Job 2:6 And the LORD said to Satan, "Look, he is in your hand, but spare his soul."
From that moment on, the hand of God that had held back Satan was all but lifted. There was now nothing holding Satan back. Satan had God’s permission to do all he could to Job, except take his soul. God does not give Satan permission to take or destroy man’s soul.
Although Satan has come for to steal and to kill and destroy (John 10:10), it is only God who is able to take and destroy man’s soul.
Matthew 10:28 “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in the fires of Sheol.
Every man who has ever sat on the throne, as ruler over the kingdoms of the world, and has exalted himself over both state and religion, (no matter whether he is or was a good king or a bad king) sits on Satan’s throne, and is a type picture of the anti-christ. Such a man was the Pharaoh of Egypt.
When the children of Israel left Egypt, the Lord went before them in cloud and fire.
Exodus 13:21 And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way, and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light, to go by day and night. 22 He took not away the pillar of cloud by day, or the pillar of fire by night, from before the people.
On coming to the sea.
Exodus 14:19 And the angel of God, who went before the camp of Israel, moved and went behind them, and the pillar of the cloud went from before their face, and stood behind them. 20 And it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel. It was a cloud and darkness to one but it gave light by night to the other, so that the one came not near the other all the night.
All night long, the Angel of God (that is God) stood between the children of Israel and the Egyptians, holding back Pharaoh and his army. In the morning, the children of Israel set out across the Red Sea, with the waters mounted up either side of them. At that time, the Angel of the Lord who had been holding back Pharaoh and his army was taken out of the way. Although the Angel of the Lord (God) is no longer holding back the Pharaoh, God does not allow Pharaoh or his army to destroy those who pass through the waters. God does not abandon those who put their trust in him.
Exodus 14:23 And the Egyptians, all Pharaoh's horses, his chariots, and his horsemen pursued, and went in after them to the midst of the sea. 24 And it came to pass, that in the morning watch the LORD looked unto the host of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and of the cloud, and troubled the host of the Egyptians, 25 And took off their chariot wheels, that they drove them heavily: so that the Egyptians said, Let us flee from the face of Israel; for the LORD fights for them against the Egyptians.
When the Angel of the Lord (who was holding back the Pharaoh and his army), was taken out of the way, only those who passed through the waters made good their escape. The Angel of the Lord was taken out of the way, but he remained with those who passed through the waters. God did not abandon his own.
When the Angel of the Lord (who was holding back the armies of Rome in 70 A.D.), was taken out of the way, he remained with the baptized believers who made good their escape. Again God did not abandon his own.
So it will be in the last days. It is the Angel of the Lord (none other than God Himself) who is holding back the anti-christ and his army, that he (the anti-christ) may be revealed in his (God’s) own time. When God takes the Angel of the Lord away, the anti-christ and his armies will come against the children of Israel. At that time the baptized believers in Christ will make good their escape, and the Angel of the Lord will stay with them. God will not abandon his own.
Written by Kenneth Allan Clark and printed and published by
VICTORIOUS CHRISTIAN MINISTRIES INTERNATIONAL. P.O. BOX 144 WYNNUM QLD 4178 AUSTRALIA.
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Scripture taken from the “Clarks English Translation” © Copyright 2011 by Victorious Christian Ministries International. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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