By Dr. Lawrence Butler, The Bridge Church, Pembroke.
“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; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God” (II Thess. 2:3,4).
The “man of sin” is called the “son of perdition.” The term “son of perdition” was applied to Judas Iscariot (John 17:12) as well as to the children of Israel (“children of perdition,” Isa. 1:4).
It refers to lawlessness, probably describing the rebellious hearts of these people. They are determined to do things their way, not God’s. The man referred to by Paul certainly must be the Antichrist. The Antichrist attempts to do what Satan himself was once unable to accomplish, to set himself up for worship, to replace God in the hearts of men.
Paul says that he will be in the temple of God, thus proving that the temple of the Jews must be rebuilt. Currently, there is a Muslim mosque standing on the ancient temple site, but some set of events will apparently cause its destruction, and the Jews will rebuild their temple.
Perhaps this is part of the peace plan offered by the Antichrist that will bring a measure of peace to the struggling Middle East (see Daniel 9:27). It appears that the influence of this man will be far-reaching, and he will be seen as a peace-maker and a miracle- worker.
The Antichrist does not do this alone. There is an unholy trinity at work in this “mystery of iniquity,” as Paul called it. Revelation 13:4 reveals that behind the working of this beast (or man, called the “man of sin,” or the “Antichrist”) is a dragon. The world worships the dragon (Rev.13:4), which just happens to be none other than Satan (Rev. 20:2). He gives power to the beast (Antichrist), and uses a prophet and miracle-worker to deceive the world (Rev. 13:11-14).
These three symbolize the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost of the holy trinity in an evil, unholy trinity, to deceive and destroy the world. Through the person of the Antichrist, Satan tries to get the world to cast aside the worship of God, the name of Jesus Christ, and the power of the Holy Spirit. Satan desires to destroy the works of God and the very name of Jesus Christ. He uses the false prophet to support the Antichrist and bring about the worship of this wicked man. “And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed” (Rev.13:15).