Gary discusses the man of sin (or lawlessness) in 2 Thessalonians 2 with Pastor Joel Webbon.

Many believe that 2 Thessalonians 2 describes the end times leading up to the rapture of the church, the revealing of antichrist, and the second coming. Tim LaHaye, a representative of this perspective, writes: “Second Thessalonians 2:1–12 contains the rapture, Tribulation, and Glorious Appearing all in one chapter, the only time I find this in the Bible.”[1] While LaHaye claims to be certain, there are many who have gone before him who are not quite so confident.

Augustine was one of the first to admit that parts of 2 Thessalonians 2 are perplexing: “I frankly confess I do not know what [Paul] means.”[2] New Testament Greek scholar Marvin Vincent was puzzled enough to give the chapter only a cursory study: “I attempt no interpretation of this passage as a whole, which I do not understand. The varieties of exposition are bewildering.”[3] The renown Greek linguist A.T. Robertson finds that “the whole subject is left by Paul in such vague form that we can hardly hope to clear it up.”[4] P. J. Gloag, in his comments on the “Man of Sin” in the Pulpit Commentary, acknowledges that “there is an obscurity in the language” that “could not have been so great to those to whom the apostle wrote, for he had previously instructed his readers in the nature of the occurrence (ch. ii. 5, 6); but our ignorance of these instructions renders the passage to us enigmatical and difficult to understand.”[5] Gary W. Demarest writes that 2 Thessalonians 2:1–12, “is undoubtedly one of the most difficult in all of Paul’s writings. It has given rise to more speculative and diverse interpretations than any other section of Paul’s letters.”[6]

While there are some things in 2 Thessalonians that we do not know, there is a great deal we can figure out by putting the pieces together. By comparing Scripture with Scripture, Paul’s man of lawlessness will be revealed.

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In 2 Thessalonians 2, Paul speaks about the “man of lawlessness” (or “man of sin” in some older translations). There has been all sorts of speculation by interpreters about who or what this might be, and on today’s episode Gary discusses this section of Scripture—as well as the practical implications—with Pastor Joel Webbon.

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[1] Tim LaHaye, No Fear of the Storm: Why Christians Will Escape All The Tribulation (Sisters, OR: Multnomah/Questar, 1992), 73.

[2] Augustine (354–430), The City of God in A Select Library of the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church, ed. Philip Schaff (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1983), Book XX, chap. 19, 2:437.

[3] Marvin R. Vincent, Word Studies in the New Testament, 4 vols. (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, [1887] n.d.), 4:67, note.

[4] A.T. Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament, 6 vols. (Nashville, TN: Broadman Press, 1930), 4:51.

[5] P. J. Gloag, “II Thessalonians,” The Pulpit Commentary, eds. H. D. M. Spence and Joseph S. Exell (New York: Funk & Wagnalls, n.d.), 50.

[6] Gary W. Demarest, The Communicator’s Commentary: 1, 2 Thessalonians; 1, 2 Timothy; and Titus (Dallas, TX: Word, 1984), 116.