The Man of Sin
There has always been a “spirit of the age.” Each generation has its own vibes and informal codes of conduct to mark out their own place in history. The end times will be no different, but may not be obvious in its deviousness and deception. There is much debate about the Anti-Christ and if it is a person or a spirit that invades thinking and action.
The Scripture also talks about a “strong delusion” that will overtake the thinking patterns of the last generation. It will be so effective that it could almost trick God’s people. What this delusion will be is not specified in Scripture, but it will be so subtle as to be nearly truth. There are many false gospels around today, and those who believe them are lead astray. But perhaps the delusion will not be particularly religious in nature, perhaps it will be a subtle change in the world’s mindset that will open up the way for a world- wide sophisticated lie, that will dupe everyone, except those who truly know God and are devoted to Him alone.
For an idea like that to take hold, people would have to be more accepting and less suspicious of the powers that be. They would have to be able to obey orders and not question the motives or implications of what they are asked to do, or the outcomes of what they are being asked to do. Blind adherence is a very good commodity for the establishment of a dictatorial system. We can establish this through the education systems in our societies, and many have used this throughout history for their own ends. At the end time, it will be a world wide delusion of this sort and because we don’t see clearly nor question big reasons anymore, we are taken in by this great lie.
We have a world wide pandemic at the moment and we are being asked to give up huge civil liberties in the name of safety and security. This is rather worrying to some people. Is this some kind of softening up process for the last great push of evil in our world? The amount of fear that has roamed the streets has been palpable. The levels of fear that have resulted in people being shut in their homes, voluntarily, and covering their personal identity, has been huge. We have succumbed to it, and now a precedent has been set. We are being asked to do things without debate and following the necessary orders of authorities without question, in the name of safety. We generate fear and social compliance follows very easily.
Our education systems have been changed dramatically over the past recent decades, and we are now totally outcome orientated. Education is all about examinations and job opportunities, and not the development of the person. We have all acquiesced to this too, and we have generations that will follow orders easily and will avoid the fear element in difficult issues, and take the obvious remedy offered at any given time. Social engineering has taken place, but we do not see it that way. We see “progress” and “homogenous thinking” which makes a seemingly better situation in social terms, as first, but breeds compliance and complacency, on a grand scale. It also oversees the rise of prejudice and exclusive attitudes, which keep people who are different from our particular group, out of favour.
We can see how this leads to the possibility of misuse and the certainty that one day, someone, of something will turn this to their own personal advantage. We do not only fight the folly of humankind, but powers and influences that we cannot see.
“For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world’s rulers of the darkness of this age, and against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.”
The end times will show this Scripture in all its full force. The whole world will be affected and even the elect people of God could almost be deluded. They will only be rescued by putting on the full armour of God.
“Therefore, put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and, having done all, to stand…”
This error that is coming is already in the world, always has been. It is our natural inclination to reject God and His ways, and go after folly.
“Then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will kill with the breath of his mouth, and destroy 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 deception of wickedness for those who are being lost, because they didn’t receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. Because of this, God sends them a working of error, that they should believe a lie; that they all might be judged who didn’t believe the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”
2 Thessalonians 2:8-12
This “man of sin” has always been around, waiting in the shadows for his day when he will be used by evil forces to delude humankind. All will acquiesce to the temptation to believe this lie, except those who are safe in Christ. Only if we are believing the truth of God are we safe from swallowing this monumental error. It will be subtle and not necessarily obviously religious. It will be an acceptable social mindset that keeps us in fear and takes away the ability to say “No” to whatever current acceptable decrees are being meted out. We will not want to be different or stand out against anything much, and the idea of disobeying orders, that are wrong, or refuting evil laws, will have been undermined effectively.
This is the breeding ground for the man of sin, who will take the people of this world, and use them for his own ends. He will destroy their human sensibilities and depravity will result. We will become more and more accepting of evil, presented in the form of “goodness.” Bad will become good and good bad, and we will change language to fit our fallen human mindsets. Everyone will be for themselves, yet held together by this fearful thinking that makes us imagine we are free and able to choose.
“But the Spirit says expressly that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to seducing spirits and doctrines of demons, through the hypocrisy of men who speak lies, branded in their own conscience as with a hot iron; forbidding marriage and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be rejected, if it is received with thanksgiving. For it is sanctified through the word of God and prayer.”
1 Timothy 4:1-5
We have here the rise of legalism. Rules instead of repentance and therapy instead of the rejection of our transgressions. Righteousness becomes an unknown word and concept, and we do as we please. Yet, we are bound by unspecified rules, that keep us chained to doing what we are told by the prevailing authorities. It is a strange dilemma and illogical. The powers of reason have been put to flight and we are at the mercy of personal whim. This is a good situation for the establishment of an over- arching system of control. Divide the heart, rule the head.
The gospel of repentance and faith is no longer preached or even spoken about. Jesus will heal your diseases, physical and social, and make you feel better. There is no need to turn from sin and make any kind of sacrifice of yourself to God. Do what you think is ok. The social gospel has almost completely taken over and the people of God are entertained.
But some will turn back. Turn back the error and turn back to the Living and true God. They will not be popular. They will persist in the truth and God will honour them.
“These things have I spoken to you, so that you wouldn’t be caused to stumble. They will put you out of the synagogues. Yes, the time comes that whoever kills you will think that he offers service to God. They will do these things because they have not known the Father, nor me.”
Those who follow Christ are not necessarily or maybe ever, included…
“To the angel of the assembly in Smyrna write: “The first and the last, who was dead, and has come to life says these things:
“I know your works, oppression, and your poverty (but you are rich), and the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews, and they are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. Don’t be afraid of the things which you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested; and you will have oppression for ten days. Be faithful to death, and I will give you the crown of life. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the assemblies. He who overcomes won’t be harmed by the second death.”
The true Christian will have deep and searching testing times. There will be personal oppression and persecution. People will not understand, even those who call themselves Christians, but are really not. They will be church people, and seem good in many ways, but lack the personal power of the Holy Spirit to overcome the evil in their own lives. This is the breeding ground for error and the infiltration of the enemy in the church as in the personal life. Evil church leaders will be complacent and accepting of rules and regulations that oppress the saints of God and cause them grief and eventually exclusion from the social setting, reserving the membership,of the group for the totally compliant.
We must be strong in the Lord our God alone, and serve Him only.
Jannes and Jambres (ancient sorcerers in Egypt) opposed Moses, the man of faith, and mimicked his miracles from God. They were shown to be imposters, since they couldn’t do some of the things Moses could do. Mimicking God’s ways and making counterfeit miracles is a good way to infiltrate the house of God and lead people astray. We recognise them through their hardness of heart.
“But know this, that in the last days, grievous times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, fierce, no lovers of good, traitors, headstrong, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God; holding a form of godliness, but having denied its power. Turn away from these, also.”
2 Timothy 3:1-5
If I look at certain people around me, wherever they are, whatever they are involved in and I see these traits, I know they are not the Lord’s people. It doesn’t matter what code of conduct they sign up to, or declaration of doctrines that they say they hold, if the Christian character is not there, they are false people. We need such courage in these days to stand for God, often alone, and be true to Him. Don’t be deceived, God will work all things out for His Beloved people. And we will not loose out.
“But let each man test his own work, and then he will take pride in himself and not in his neighbor. For each man will bear his own burden. But let him who is taught in the word share all good things with him who teaches. Don’t be deceived. God is not mocked, for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption. But he who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.”
We work out our salvation in the fear of God, so that we will be secure in our faith. We share and build each other up in love and faith…if I sow in faith, I will reap in faith, and have a bumper harvest for the Lord. We must ensure our harvest is spiritual and not for our flesh, or just the flesh of another. I must be particular about my allegiance to causes, my cause is Christ and no other. If we stick to the tenets of the Holy Word, we are fine and happy. When we go against conscience and justify ourselves, we become unhappy. We leave ourselves open to error creeping in and we will be deceived.
The Man of Sin will attack small things first and slowly attack bigger issues as we become more and more complacent. Soon we will be overcome with error and we will not notice. It won’t be all doctrinal heresy, but the undermining of our Christian lifestyle, mindset and character. We will be like the world, only worse. We will harden our hearts against the needy and those who are perishing and hide in our enclaves of religious duty and habit. It will destroy us. We will build our own empires in the name of God, and become our own stumbling blocks…
But we are not children of the law, children of Sinai, but children of the promise. We are set free by Christ to live righteous lives in the power of the Holy Spirit of God, and to love others, as we love ourselves.
“Stand firm therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and don’t be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.”
We stay away from sin and all semblance of it. Keeping ourselves in the love of God and in obedience and faith. Dealing with out sin and keeping our lives pure. We spread the good news that through repentance and faith, we receive the promise of eternal life and the daily comfort of the Spirit of Gods within us. This is the life of peace. There is no other way.
“I exhort therefore, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and givings of thanks, be made for all men: for kings and all who are in high places; that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior; who desires all people to be saved and come to full knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all;”
1 Timothy 2:1-6
Perhaps this world will go on some time longer, and more people will be brought into the kingdom, but it is only through personal faith in Christ that this will happen. Only Christ can save us, and it is His work, so we live godly lives before God, walking in a living and active faith and proclaiming Christ to everyone we know.
God will take care of the Man of Sin….