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The "MAN
of SIN, the
Lawless One,

2 Thessalonians 2:1-12

Powerful Protagonist present on the World Stage of the 21st century who assures the continued fulfillment of relevant biblical prophecies
on the "little time" and the Last Day of Time.

An image with multiple graphics and texts in a wide PowerPoint slide projects important elements of the study on The "Man of Sin, the Lawless One, the Son of Perdition," of 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12.

Atheists, secularists, and all other intelligent human beings who do not believe in YAHWEH, the God of the Bible, would be wise to take note: Fulfilled prophecies of the Bible are FACTS as valid as any other “FACTS” and more important than most since they confirm the legitimacy of their authors, namely, YAHWEH and his SON, JESUS CHRIST.

The “MAN of SIN, the LAWLESS ONE” is not a common criminal but a deceived and deceiving power that arises within apostate Christianity. So visible and influential is he that hordes of uninformed unbelievers hold him to be the face of Christianity. And so “LAWLESS” is he, that is, above the spiritual “New Covenant” of Jesus Christ, not submitting himself to it though he professes to, that unbelievers ridicule and dismiss Christianity altogether, unaware that True, Legitimate Christianity is the opposite, in almost every respect, to how the Man of Sin represents it.

The texts of the above composite graphic

Copied here to facilitate reading them. First, the timeline at the top that begins with the Millennium and ends with the Last Day of Time. 1000 years (Millennium) of religious liberty guaranteed by nations not deceived.

The “thousand years,” a number that does not have to be taken literally, of religious freedom, popularly called the “Millennium,” is preceded by the first stages of the Common Era (“Christian Age” to Christians).

That of the birth of Jesus Christ, his growth to maturity, and his ministry.

That of his church during the time when the pagan Roman Empire was in power, from 30 CE, when it was established, to 312 CE when the Roman emperor Constantine I was converted to the Christianity of his time.

The long period when the church, entering fully into the prophesied “rebellion,” also translated “falling away” and “apostasy,” allowed itself to be controlled by “Christianized” emperors, kings, and princes. From the first Nicaean Council convoked and dominated by Constantine I in 325 CE, through the Dark Ages and most of the Renaissance-Reformation. To the time when the “ten horns” (nations) were conquered by Christ (Revelation 17:12-14) and turned on the Roman Catholic hierarchy, repudiating its rule and exploitation, thus initiating the “thousand years” when nations, no longer being deceived, would guarantee religious freedom. Revelation 20:1-10

The TRANSITION from the Millennium of religious freedom to the “little time” when it may be rescinded in part or altogether.

The “little time” of nations once again deceived

Armageddon. The Last Day of Time.

Powerful Protagonists present on the World Stage of the 21st century whose beliefs, agendas, and actions assure the continued fulfillment of relevant New Testament prophecies to, and including,
the Last Day of Time.

An abstract painting of a man composed of geometric elements illustrates the study on The "Man of Sin, the Lawless One, the Son of Perdition," of 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12.

The “Man of Lawlessness” 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12

Personified on his throne shadowed by the ghosts of Constantine, Charlemagne, and Justinian.

He is any “MAN” who opposes and exalts “himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.

He is the “LAWLESS One: Above the law. His titles: Vicar of Christ, Supreme Pontiff (High Priest) of the Universal Church, Pope.

His vast religious empire shaken by horrific sexual scandals and weakened by worldwide secularization, he no longer puts on his triple-crown tiara, claiming to be “Ruler of the World,” but still sits on his throne

and retains his highly pretentious titles. It seems unlikely he will deceive and rule governments again, but he will last through the “little time,” for “the Lord Jesus will overthrow” him and destroy” him “by the splendor of his coming.”

The individual graphics

The left, bottom side of the large composite graphic, at the beginning.

A stage with scarlet curtains that represents the “World Stage” of the 21st century.

In the center, an artistical representation by Francis Bacon of a Roman Catholic Pope seated on his throne in the Vatican.

To the left of the throne, a papal tiara with three crowns symbolizing the three powers the Popes claim for themselves, to wit: “Ruler of the World,” “Father of Kings,” and “Vicar of Christ.”

This painting of an angry Pope sitting on his paper throne illustrates the study on The "Man of Sin, the Lawless One, the Son of Perdition," of 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12.
This photograph of a triple tiara, crown of Popes, illustrates the study on The "Man of Sin, the Lawless One, the Son of Perdition," of 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12.
This photograph of an ornate, jeweled pastoral staff used by Popes illustrates the study on The "Man of Sin, the Lawless One, the Son of Perdition," of 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12.

To the right of the throne, the Pope’s pastoral staff made of gold, silver, precious stones, and symbolical figurines.

To the right of the staff, a richly adorned image of the Virgin Mary with a great crown of gold, silver, and precious stones.

Behind the papal throne, specters of Constantine I, Charles the Great, first emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, and the emperor Justinian, of the Eastern Roman Empire in the 7th century. Justinian constructed the enormous Holy Wisdom cathedral in Constantinople, adorning it with

literally tons of gold, silver, precious stones, elegant statues, and treasures brought from a number of countries of that time.

This photograph of a richly attired Virgin Mary with a huge crown illustrates the study on The "Man of Sin, the Lawless One, the Son of Perdition," of 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12.

Why these three emperors? Because they represent the many secular-political-religious rulers who enabled the creation and development of the Latin papacy in western Europe and that of the Grecian episcopal hierarchy in the Orient, holding themselves to be appointed by God himself to advance the cause of “Christianity” in the world.

Let us keep in mind that no bishop in the western Latin Roman Empire, including the city of Rome, was recognized as “Universal Bishop of the Church” until about 608 CE when Boniface IV was allowed to take that position by the usurper emperor Phocas in Constantinople.

The right, bottom side of the composite graphic.

The shield of the Holy See, the Vatican.

1955. Pope Pius XII, crowned with his papal tiara, is transported around Saint Peter’s Basilica in the Sedia Gestatoria on the shoulders of Catholic primates, that chair being a type of portable throne.

This photograph of Pope Pius XII, crowned with his papel tiara and transported on his portable throne illustrates the study on The "Man of Sin, the Lawless One, the Son of Perdition," of 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12.

The Text of 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12 with Brief Notes

“Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers and sisters, not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by the teaching allegedly from us—whether by a prophecy or by word of mouth or by letter—asserting that the day of the Lord has already come. Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction.”  A number of translations readman of sin.”

Notes. Clearly, the apostle Paul affirms that the day of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ had not already come nor was it even near when he wrote to the church in Thessalonica in the 1st century, in about the year 50. He explains that Christ would not return until after the “rebellion,” that is, as other translations read, “the falling away, or the “apostasy” during which the “man of lawlessness” would be “revealed.

He proceeds to elucidate the subject, observing that, although “the secret power of lawlessness is already at work,” the “man of lawlessness” would not quickly show himself because there was something that was “holding him back.” Once “the one who” was holding “it backis taken out of the way” then “the lawless one” would “be revealed.” In Paul's own words…

4 “He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God. 5 Don’t you remember that when I was with you I used to tell you these things? 6 And now you know what is holding him back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time. 7 For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. 8 And then the lawless one will be revealed…”

The man of sin is portrayed in this somewhat abstract painting of a Roman Catholic Pope, illustration for the study on The "Man of Sin, the Lawless One, the Son of Perdition," of 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12.

Notes. ¿What was the “what” or who was “the one” that was detaining the entrance on the World Stage of that powerful, arrogant, audacious, perverted being that dared to set “himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God?” Paul says the Christians in Thessalonica knew what the “what” was, the identity of the restraining “one. “And now you know what is holding him back…” When he was with them personally, he identified for them the “what,” “the one,but does not state the identity in his letter. With them in private, yes, but not in a letter that could well fall into enemy hands. So then, what was it or who was it?

My opinion: probably the PAGAN Roman Empire itself. The Roman governors were zealous defenders of their gods and goddesses. The Roman emperors projected themselves as “divine.” Some of them, as “gods.” They were the “high priests” of religion in the Empire, holding themselves to be in charge of religion in general throughout their domains. Logically, they would not tolerate the arising within Christianity of some person who would attribute to himself the “powers of God,” even “proclaiming himself to be God.”

In this painting, the Roman emperor Constantine the Great, converted to Christianity, invokes the First Nicean Council, presides over it, and determines its decisions, becoming an encarnation of the Man of Sin.

More or less 312 years of the Common Era go by when all of a sudden one of their own converts to Christianity! No less than a powerful emperor they called the “Savior of the Empire” that was in danger of disintegration because of devastating civil wars. That emperor was Constantine the Great!

The conversion of Constantine the Great was not, however, a great triumph for Christianity, rather a baneful event that would soon lead to its incredible corruption on a vast scale, that would open the flood

gates to the prophesied “rebellion… falling away… apostasy.” “Taken out of the way” that persecuting PAGAN Roman Empire that held back the appearing of the “man of lawlessness” in the very heart of the church, within the short lapse of only 12 or 13 years there arose in the church the first such “man, haughty and domineering, in the person of Constantine the Great himself, the first “Christianized” emperor!

This very powerful man who united the entire Roman Empire under his sole rule is the very one who convoked and presided over the First Nicaean Council in 325 CE. He it is who coerced the bishops to vote not their own convictions but his. Before his conversion, he was the High Priest of all religion in pagan Rome. In the Nicaean Council, he acts as if he were the great High Priest of all Christians. Though a substantial majority of the attending bishops were of the Arian persuasion, the unveiled threats of Constantine caused all but two of those present to vote in favor of the Trinitarian doctrine of Athanasius of Alexandria, Egypt.

After the Council, Constantine, then his sons who followed him, unleashed fiery persecutions against hundreds of thousands of Christians across the empire who did not agree with dictums laid down in Nicaea by bishops who dared not contravene the

impositions of the emperor. Wars of extermination were carried out "in the name of God" against those Christians, some of the most extensive and terrible of the whole history of the Common Era.

Thus, it came to pass that the first “man of lawlessness” rose up and trod fiercely upon the church, involving hundreds of bishops in his religious persecutions and pogroms. The persecuted now became the persecutors. Those in danger of being martyred now became the executioners of their own brethren who did not agree with them on every point of doctrine.

“Man of lawlessness” should be taken, I think, as a generic term for all people who, calling themselves “Christian,” think and act in accordance with the model presented by the apostle Paul in his letter to the Christians in Thessalonica. A model epitomized by Constantine the Great.

“…whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming. 9 The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie, 10 and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie 12 and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.”

Notes. So then, “the man of lawlessness” – “man of sin,” generic for all human beings who incarnate him, once he does arise he continues to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, to the Last Day of Time. And parallelly so does the “rebellion… falling away… apostasy” in which he plays a central role.

Today, in the first half of the 21st century, the “apostasy, which is truly a “rebellion” against God, his authority, and will, continues to develop, the “man of sin” is still very much alive, and Jesus Christ is yet to “appear the second time without sin, that is, in total, final triumph over all the powers of darkness great and small. Hebrews 9:28. To the frustration and shame of so many arrogant, self-proclaimed prophets who have set exact dates for his return, boldly challenging the Bible doctrine that only God the Father knows that time. Matthew 24:36; Acts 1:7; 1 Timothy 6:12-16

Esteemed reader, do you see that Man of Sin, that Lawless One, sitting there alive today on the World Stage of the 21st century? Though in different countries, cultures, and settings he may dress in different ways and take different positions, titles, and strategies or roles, the informed person does not fail to recognize him for who and what he is.

Do you understand that his presence confirms the relevance and progressive fulfillment of biblical prophecies, especially those of 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12 and several chapters of Revelation?

Is it possible you follow him and support his actions of opposing and exalting “himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped?” I really hope not, for if you do your destiny will be the same that most certainly awaits him, to wit: Eternal death and destruction! He is the one “…whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming.”

If you do understand all this, your knowledge can be validated for eternal life and absolutely spectacular blessings by believing in the Author and Mediator of the New Covenant, the prophet Jesus Christ of Nazareth, affirming your faith in him, repenting of your own rebellions against right, justice, and divine truth, and being immersed in water, that is, baptized “for the forgiveness of sins. Instructions that are found in the following New Testament Bible texts, plus many similar ones not included in the list.

Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16; Acts 2:36-47; 8:26-40; 16:25-40; 17:16-32; Romans 6:3-7; Romans 12:1-2; Galatians 3:26-29; Colossians 3:1-15; 1 Peter 3:21.

Text and Document Composition by the author Homer Dewayne Shappley. All rights reserved. The only restrictions on the use of this document are the sale of it in any format and proper identification of its origin.

Facts and Fictions regarding the Duration of the Roman Empire. The highly deleterious impact of the false Narrative that says “The Roman Empire Ended in 476 CE” on the interpretation of prophecies in Revelation and Daniel.

Revelation: Its Ongoing Relevancy and Fulfillment. CONTENT of this 21st Century commentary.

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