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Mankind Exalted

I’ve been going through the epistle of Second Thessalonians.  In my last post, I began talking about the “Man of Lawlessness”.  I said that this verse could be talking about the lawlessness of mankind being revealed for what it truly is.

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.
2 Thessalonians 2:3

Paul tells us, in these writings, that as we approach the end, lawless man will finally be uncovered for all to see.  There will be no question about the evil within.

It will be crystal clear that mankind is lost and in need of a Savior.  That’s why he also calls mankind doomed to destruction.  This literally means that without Christ, mankind is the child of ruin or child of loss.

But Paul doesn’t end his discussion there.  He goes on to describe why mankind will be so lawless in the end times.

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.
II Thessalonians 2:4

The first thing we’re told is that mankind opposes God, or sets himself opposite to God.  I believe that this is a description of lawless mankind as we see them in the world today.  They set themselves in opposition to God.

As a matter of fact, it’s not just our God, but anything that’s even called “god”.  These arrogant, “learned” men and women don’t believe in the supernatural anymore.  They say it’s only childish superstition.

Not only do they oppose God, but they exalt themselves over what is called God.  That’s humanism, pure and simple.  “God is dead.  I’m God now.  I’m on the throne.”

That’s lawless man in a nutshell.  Scripture warns us that it will get to the point where this worship of lawless man even sets itself up in God’s Temple.

There are some people who say that this is talking about the Temple in Jerusalem and that the Anti-Christ is going to set himself up as God in that temple.  I wouldn’t be so dogmatic as to say that’s impossible, but I don’t believe that this verse supports that argument.

Scripture itself points me in this direction.  In Paul’s writings, the only times he ever uses the term “God’s Temple”, is if he’s talking about one of two things.  The first is the body of Christ as the temple of the Holy Spirit.  The second is the believer’s physical body as God’s temple since the Holy Spirit dwells in each of us.

So in Paul’s mind, personally I am God’s temple and collectively we are God’s temple.  Those are the only two ways Paul uses the term “God’s Temple.”

If that’s the case, then this is talking about a large segment of the church in the USA.  In my next post, I’ll go into this in more detail.

Question: What do we need to do in order for the Holy Spirit to lead the church?

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on October 29, 2018 in Ministry, Return of Christ, The Church

 

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Lawless Man

I’m continuing to look at Paul’s second letter to the Thessalonians.  In my last post, he predicted a major falling away of the church.  I believe that this was fulfilled during the Dark Ages.

I now want to look at the other things predicted in this epistle.  Here’s the passage we looked at in the last post.

Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers, not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by some prophecy, report or letter supposed to have come from us, saying 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.
II Thessalonians 2:1-3

Paul says, in verse 3, that the man of lawlessness is going to be revealed – the man doomed to destruction.  Most people believe that he’s talking here about a man that we term the “Anti-Christ.”

As I read this section of Scripture, I’m not 100% certain that Paul is talking about a solitary man.  One reason is that the word he uses here for man, is the Greek word, anthropos.

When it says the man of lawlessness, he isn’t using the Greek word, aner which means a male.  The word anthropos is where we get our word anthropology.  It’s a more general word used to mean mankind.

Anthropos is not a word that you usually use to mean a man but a group of men.  If I say something like, “The American man is independent,” it’s obvious that I am not talking about one person, but a group of people.  In the same way, it looks like Paul is talking about lawless man, as lawless mankind.

He writes that in the Last Days lawless man will be uncovered.  I believe that he’s talking about the fact that without Christ, human beings are a lawless people.  In my own desires and wants, I’m lawless.

I don’t want anybody to tell me what to do.  I want to do what I want to do.  But when I came to Jesus, that all changed.  I had to submit to Him as Lord.  My will is not supreme anymore; it’s the Lord’s will.  I had to turn it all over to God and establish Him as King.

What about the rest of humanity?  It’s clear from Scripture that anybody who hasn’t bowed their knee to Christ is lawless.  The problem is that our society does such a great job of covering it up.

We’ve created laws on the outside that hold many of our evil desires in check.  There are laws that tell us not to get drunk and drive a car, or we’ll be punished.

Laws are holding most of us back from doing the things that our natural inclinations would cause us to do.  But, as we approach the Last Days, mankind will be uncovered for what he really is.  Even now it seems that the trend is to enact laws that give us more and more permission to act lawlessly.

Society likes to think that man is basically good.  They teach that it’s the environment or upbringing that creates criminal or abusive behaviors.  If we could only do away with poverty, neglect, and prejudice, then society would be a utopia.

Unfortunately, this is not the answer.  It’s clear from Scripture, experience, and history that man is basically evil.  The more freedom and opportunity we’re given, the more depraved we become.

It’s only the life-changing power of a holy God that can make a person a “new creation.”  Only when God’s laws are written on the tablets of our hearts will we truly live up to the high standard of righteousness we were created for.

Question: What examples have you seen that reinforce the fact that Man is basically evil?

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on October 26, 2018 in Return of Christ

 

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