by Dr Pence Dacus
(Church History Correspondence Course)


  • Introduction
  • Who is the Man of Sin?
  • Are the Characteristics of the Man of Sin Found in Popery?
  • Student Instructions

  • The Great Return is necessary to-day because the Church of Christ fell away into Apostacy.

    "... it will not be (the second coming of Christ), except the falling away come first, and the MAN OF SIN be revealed, the Son of perdition, he that opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that be sitteth in the
    temple of God, setting himself forth as God." -- II Thess. 2:3-5


    In Lesson 9, we were introduced to the apostacy. The "falling away" was more than just a casual slipping away from the teachings of Christ. What came as a direct result of the falling away was of earth-shaking significance. In his second letter to the Thessalonians, Paul warned that following the falling away would come an absolute rebellion against the authority of God and Christ, a great ecclesiasticism, and a disruption of the Christian religion. (Howard, p.28). The purpose of this lesson will be to make a study of the MAN OF SIN -- the antichrist of whom the Scriptures have so much to say. By studying the features and characteristics of the Man of Sin we will be better equipped to identify its (his) counterpart in history.

    Who is the Man of Sin?

    The church of Christ in Thessalonica was deeply disturbed about the second-coming of Christ. Paul writes to them that, "... it will not be, except the falling away come first, and the man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition, he that opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he sitteth in the temple of God, setting himself forth as God. Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? And now ye know that which restraineth, to the end that he may be revealed in his own season. For the mystery of lawlessness doth already work: only there is one that estraineth now, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall be revealed the lawless one, whom the Lord Jesus shall slay with the breath of his mouth, and bring to nought by the manifestation of his coming; even he, whose coming is according to the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceit of unrighteousness for them that perish." (II Thess. 2:3-10).

    In this passage he (the Man of Sin) is referred to variously as the "son of perdition", "that wicked'', "him whose coming is after the working of Satan", "him who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God", and "him who sitteth in the temple of God, setting himself forth as God".

    There are two alternatives. He is either an individual or succession of individuals.

    An Individual

    The Pulpit Commentary says: "The prediction of St. Paul concerning the Man of Sin made a deep impression upon the early Fathers, and the reference to it in their writings are numerous. There is also a comparative unanimity in their sentiments. In general they considered that the fulfillment of the prediction was future; that the Man of Sin was Antichrist, and an individual; and that the restraining influence was the Roman Empire ...".

    The early Fathers, then, believed the Man of Sin to be a certain person to come at a specific period of history sometime in the future.

    A Succession of Individuals

    This view holds that the Man of Sin does not represent one man, but rather a principle of disobedience which presumes to set aside God's order and establish one of its own. The Man of Sin will assume the law-making rights which God reserves for Himself, and thereby set himself forth as God, in the place of God. In effect this is a denial of Jesus Christ as Lord and Master. (See Jude 4-6 and II Peter 2:1). (Carrell, p.131).

    * The Early Reformers In general, they adopted this opinion Those who held this view were Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, Melancthon, Beza, Bucar, Cranmer, Ridley, Latimer, Hopper, and Jewell. According to them, the apostacy is the falling away from the evangelical doctrine to the traditions of men and the corruptions of popery; the Man of Sin, or Antichrist, is not, as the Fathers conceived, an individual, but the succession of popes; and the restraining power is the Roman Empire, out of whose ruins the papacy arose. (Phillips, p. 349).

    * Lutheran Church An article of their creed -- the Augsburg Confession of Faith -- supports this opinion.

    * Westminister Confession One of its articles asserts that the pope is Antichrist and the Man of Sin. "There is no other head of the church but the Lord Jesus Christ; nor can the Pope of Rome in any sense be head thereof, but is that Antichrist, that Man of Sin and son of perdition, that exalteth himself in the church against Christ and all that is called God" (ch. 25:6).

    * Translators of the King James Version of the Bible -- 1611 They assume that the pope is the Man of Sin, and King James is complimented for writing in defense of the truth, which gave "such a blow unto that Man of Sin as will not be healed."

    * Later Reformers Hooker, Hurd, Newton, Turretin, Benson, Bengel, Doodridge, Macknight, Michaelis, Elliott, and Words-worth advocated this interpretation.

    Consider  Throughout history there have been many individuals and successions of individuals who were believed to be the Man of Sin, the Anti-Christ. To name a few: Diocletian, Nero, Napolean, Hitler and various religious and non-religious historical figures.

    Are the Characteristics of the Man of Sin Found in Popery?

    The Apostacy is Predicted In Catholicism there was a change from the pure gospel to the traditions of men. Examples are: the doctrines of purgatory, transubstantiation, the sacrifice of the mass, and the adoration of the Virgin Mary and Saints -- none of this found in the Bible.

    The Man of Sin Opposes and Exalts Himself Against All that Is Called God In other words, he sets himself up as an object of worship.

    * Some popes have exalted themselves above all human and divine authority.
    * Some popes have claimed the Title: "King of Kings and Lord of Lords".
    * Some have applied the words of Isaiah 49:23, "All kings shall bow down before thee", to himself.
    * Some have styled themselves universal bishop.

    The Man of Sin Seats Himself in the Temple of God, and Shows Himself as God The temple of God is understood to be the Christian church.

    * Most popes allow themselves to be venerated as the supreme head of the Catholic church, and the Vicar of Christ.
    * Most popes since 1870 show themselves as God by claiming divine powers:

    They claim to be holy and infallible.
    They claim the power to forgive sins.
    They claim they can open and close the doors of the kingdom of heaven.

    * Most popes permit divine titles for themselves:

    Some allow "Our Lord God the Pope"
    Some allow the title "Another God on Earth".

    * At his election, popes are usually placed on the high altar at St. Peter's, and receive the adoration of cardinals.

    The Coming of the Man of Sin Is after the Working of Satan -- With All Power, and Signs, and Wonders of Falsehood

    * Consider the miracles endorsed by the papal system.
    * Notice the teachings about indulgences and purgatory.
    * Think of the wonders done by sacred images moving, speaking, or bleeding.
    * Consider the supposed benefits bestowed by sacred relies
    * Know that the church of Rome professes to have the power of working miracles today.

    The Marks of the Falling Away Are Given. (See I Tim. 4:1-3).

    Some of the following marks are evident in papal teaching.

    * Giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils
    * Speaking lies in hypocrisy
    * Forbidding to marry
    * Commanding to abstain from meats

    Consider The marks of apostacy are observed in other religious bodies as well.

    False Apostles Fashion Themselves into Apostles of Christ "For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, fashioning themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel for even Satan fashioneth himself into an angel of light" (II Cor. 11:12, 14).

    abomination- abhorrance, detest, loathe.
    indulgences - remission of temporal punishment for sins. Also, grant of certain liberties or a special favor.
    confessional box - where sins are confessed to a priest.
    pompous- haughty, arrogant.
    absolutions - an absolving, or setting free from guilt, or pronounced by a priest.
    temporal- earthly.
    papal - having to do with the pope, or Roman church.

    Carrell, William, Bible Correspondence Course.
    Howard, V.E., Gospel Radio Sermons, "What Is the Church Christ?'', Vol. II, Greenville, Texas.
    Phillips, Thomas W., The Church of Christ, The Standard Publishing Co., 1915, Cincinnati, Ohio.
    The Pulpit Commentary.

    Student Instructions
    1. Study the lesson text carefully till you understand its meaning. Then answer the Questions to this lesson.
    2. Submit your answers to us through the Internet. Your graded answers will be returned to you through your e-mail address.
    3. Make sure that you save each lesson [including your answers] you completed or simply print a copy for future reference.
    4. "Bookmark" our web site or "add to favourites" so that you may readily return for future lessons.

    Please answer the following questions by typing your answers into the spaces provided or, where a choice of answers is given, click against the button for the correct answer.

    You will find answers to the questions in the lesson material as well as the Scripture references that are cited.

    When you have completed all the required answers and information, simply click "Submit Form" and your answers will automatically be sent to us.

    I. Put TRUE or FALSE before each of the following statement. (Example: True -- The falling away was a rebellion against God's authority.)

    1. The early church fathers were not very interested in Paul's references to the Man of Sin.

    2. In the opinion of the Reformers, the Man of Sin was a succession of individuals, rather than one particular person.

    3. The Man of Sin was identified in one denominational creed, or confession, as the pope.

    4. King James opposed the Man of Sin in his day.

    5. The marks of the falling away are usually observed only in the Roman Catholic church.

    6. It is not difficult to tell who is true, and who is false in religion.

    7. God has the law-making rights in matters of religion.

    8. If a man, or group of men, assumes these law-making rights, this is actually a denial of the power of God.

    9. The restrainer, the Roman emperor, never reached the point where he was unable to control all church powers.

    10. The Man of Sin is also spoken of as a principle of disobedience.

    II. Complete the following statements by choosing the proper word or phrase. (Example: Babylon the Great; the beast; God is a disturber of nations.)

    11. If the Man of Sin is not an individual, the pope, he must be:
    another religious person
    a succession of individuals
    the devil

    12. The "restraining influence" mentioned in II Thess. 2:3-10, is considered by many scholars to refer to:
    the Roman Catholic pope
    the Roman Empire
    the Bible
    the church

    13. One of the following is not a "mark" of the failing away:
    speaking lies in hypocrisy
    forbidding to marry
    forbidding the eating of certain meats
    teaching salvation by faith alone

    14. The Roman Catholic church intends that all churches will:
    be united together on the Bible
    be absorbed into the Roman Catholic church
    be free to pursue their own course

    III. Fill in the blanks with a word from the list below:

    15. That which is abominable, is .

    16. A pompous person is .

    17. Temporal is the some as .

    18. When a person is set free from guilt, his sins are .

    19. Papists call those who will not honor their images .

    IV. List four ways in which the papal system of succession of popes seems to be characteristic of the Man of Sin.
    20. First way:
    21. Second way:
    22. Third way:
    23. Fourth way:

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    Your answers will be graded and returned to you through your e-mail address. Thank you for your interest in God's Book. May He bless you in the study of His Word.

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