Who is the Man of Sin of 2 Thessalonians 2?

By COGwriter

The Apostle Paul wrote the following about the man of sin, the son of perdition, in 2 Thessalonians 2:

1 Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, 2 not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come. 3 Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, 4 who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.

5 Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? 6 And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time. 7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. 8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming. 9 The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, 10 and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11 And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, 12 that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2 Thessalonians 2:1-12)

This final man of sin will be a major player who will be involved with miraculous wonders that will affect the entire world.

Who is this man of sin? (As far as where the man of sin may sit, please check out the articles Church of God on Jerusalem's Western Hill and Why is a Jewish Temple in Jerusalem Not Required? as well as the video Does the 'Cenacle' deal have prophetic ramifications?)

Is this the King of the North of Daniel 11? Is this the Beast of the sea of Revelation 13? Is this the Beast of the earth of Revelation 13? What does the Bible actually teach? (Here is a link to a related YouTube video titled Who is the Man of Sin?)

Some Incorrectly Teach the Man of Sin is the Second Beast of Revelation 13

David Pack of the Restored Church of God (RCG) used to teach:

God does not just describe this false religious system as abominable, but refers to it as “the mother of...abominations.”

This religious leader is described in II Thessalonians and there referred to as the “man of sin.” Notice: “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day [Christ’s Return] shall not come, except there come a falling away first [a prophecy fulfilled in the twentieth century] and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition…Who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sits in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God” (2:3-4). ...

This is clearly the False Prophet of Revelation 16:13, not the Beast.

(Pack, David C. What Is the “Abomination of Desolation”? https://rcg.org/articles/witaod.html viewed 07/16/16)

This two-horned beast gives “power” to the first beast...So this beast, then, appears to be religious...Remember also, this two-horned beast possesses such awesome power that it inspires the world to worship the beast...

The second beast is able to perform miracles. He does this “in the sight of” the first beast—the Holy Roman Empire. These miracles are so extraordinary—so mesmerizing—that they allow him to deceive the whole earth! Finally, the beast is worshipped as a result. This future religious leader will lead the final resurrection of the Holy Roman Empire alongside a great civil leader.

In II Thessalonians 2:3, this same religious leader is called the “man of sin.” Revelation 19:20 refers to him as a “false prophet.”

(Pack, David C. Who or What Is the Beast of Revelation? http://rcg.org/books/wowitbor.html viewed 05/05/13)

But, as the Bible teaches, the two-horned beast is NOT the man of sin in 2 Thessalonians 2. David Pack's insistence that this is not "the Beast" (meaning the ten-horned Beast of the Sea) is not proof, but another false assertion. (Note: RCG changed its position later, and its new position is shown later in this article.)

The Living Church of God (LCG) sent out the following (bolding in source) in 2013:

Scripture reveals that at the end of the age, a major religious figure will come on the scene who will “intend to change times and law” (Daniel 7:25). This “lawless one” or “man of sin” will oppose and exalt himself “above all that is called God or that is worshipped”—he will do away with any semblance of biblical obedience (2 Thessalonians 2:3-10). This “man of sin” will ride on a European beast power and will be instrumental in causing separated “religious daughters” to return to the mother church (see Revelation 17). (Radical Pope Changing the Church? TW News & Prophecy. October 11, 2013)

One of the most vital yet neglected prophecies in all of the Bible is found in 2 Thessalonians 2...

In verse 8, Paul revealed that the “lawless one”—who obviously has various religious teachings that in fact do not involve obedience to the Ten Commandments—will be revealed, “whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of his coming. The coming of the lawless one is according to the workings of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders” (vv. 8-9). So no local “apostasy” in anychurch or small group of churches could possibly fulfill this awesome prophecy—and certainly not without the one who is in charge showing great power, signs and lying wonders.

For those of you who understand prophecy, it becomes obvious that this great “man of sin,” or “man of lawlessness,” ties in directly with the “second beast” of Revelation 13. For obviously describing the coming military/political leader of the final revival of the Roman Empire in Revelation 13:1-10, the Apostle John goes on to describe another “beast” who comes out of the earth and “he had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon” (v. 11). So this man looks like the “lamb,” Jesus Christ. Yet His message is that of the “dragon” identified in Revelation 12:9 as Satan the Devil! This coming powerful religious leader “exercises” all of the authority of the first “beast” and causes the revived Roman Empire to persecute the true saints...the great false religious leader—the “ false prophet” (Meredith RC. LCG co-worker letter, April 17, 2013)

On multiple occasions from 2008-2012, I sent Dr. Meredith detailed biblical information explaining why the man of sin was not the second beast of Revelation 13, and until I saw the above, I never really received a negative response from him (though he had previously published older information with a similar position).

The April 17, 2013 letter above suggests that if one does not agree with the conclusion that the false prophet is the "man of sin" of 2 Thessalonians 2, then one does not understand prophecy. He also calls knowledge of this chapter VITAL. But is the man of sin the false prophet, the second beast of Revelation 13, or not?

No, it is not, thus those who follow LCG (or RCG) are not following leaders that understand this element of biblical prophecy.

In the October 11, 2013 item, LCG appeared to be pushing what seems to be an attempt to justify its 'falling away' position, which though a heretical change, essentially has been claimed to acceptable be based upon its interpretation of mainly tradition (see The Falling Away: The Bible and WCG Teachings). In at least two areas of 2 Thessalonians 2, LCG DOES NOT UNDERSTAND PROPHECIES IT CLAIMS ARE VITAL.

Interestingly, in his heretical The Falling Away sermon (recorded on June 1, 2012), Dr. Winnail taught that the Beast, the King of the North, may be the son of perdition in 2 Thessalonians 2.  Yet it now seems that Dr. Meredith has clearly settled on another position to try to justify the 'falling away' change.

Dr. Meredith appears to be relying on tradition instead of the Bible for his church's teachings on the identity of the man of sin. Relying on improper tradition over scripture is not something that religious leaders are supposed to do per Jesus (Mark 7:8-9).

Like certain other groups, the United Church of God and COGWA teach that the false prophet is the man of sin:

So, some have speculated that Antichrist had become the popular terminology for what this prophesy was talking about. In fact an interesting prophecy over in of 2 Thessalonians chapter 2 talks about this. It says, "Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day"--talking about the Day of Christ's return--"that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition…who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God."

That's interesting because the word translated "opposes" literally means to be against, to be contrary to, or anti. No wonder this is why the man of sin that's mentioned here, is most often associated with the Antichrist. This end time False Prophet is a deceiver. (Meters S. Who is the Antichrist? http://www.ucg.org/beyond-today-program/news-and-prophecy/who-antichrist/ May 2011, viewed 05/18/13)

The apostle Paul explained how this deception would come about in writing to the church at Thessalonica. He wrote, “Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God” (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4). The popes have claimed the title “vicar of Christ,” which means “to stand in the place of Jesus Christ.”

The Adam Clarke Commentary describes this “man of sin” in verse 4 as “having the highest place and authority in the Christian Church, he acts as God—taking upon himself God’s titles and attributes, and arrogating to himself the authority that belongs to the Most High” (note on 2 Thessalonians 2:4). God reveals that prior to the return of Jesus Christ many will be deceived by this coming individual and the false religious system that is behind him.

Babylon the Great with its entire system centered in Rome and the final pope who is called a false prophet (Revelation 19:20) will come to a sudden end when Jesus Christ returns. (Haeffele J. What is Babylon? COGWA. http://lifehopeandtruth.com/prophecy/revelation/what-is-babylon/ viewed 06/03/14)

Speaking of the time just before the return of Jesus Christ, the apostle John wrote, “Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour” (1 John 2:18). . . .

The specific person to whom John referred has additional names in other passages of the Bible. These include:

Although we do not know who this specific individual is at this time, we will be able to identify him in the future because of the “power, signs, and lying wonders” that will be granted to him by Satan the devil to deceive humans into disobeying and rebelling against Christ (2 Thessalonians 2:9). (Swanson B. Antichrist. COGWA. http://lifehopeandtruth.com/prophecy/end-times/antichrist/ viewed 06/03/14)

But these, like the position of LCG and the earlier position of RCG, appear mainly to be based upon tradition.

I perhaps should mention that Aaron Dean, who is with UCG and on its Council of Elders agrees with my position on this that the 'man of sin' here is the Beast, the final King of the North, and not the false prophet as he has told me that personally.

The Position of the Philadelphia Church of God is Absurd

PCG's Gerald Flurry, in a chapter titled 'Man of Sin' in one of his books, no later than 1995 wrote:

Mr. Tkach was an innermost disciple—more so than other Church leaders—in those last seven years of Mr. Armstrong’s life. The leadership discussed in 2 Thessalonians 2 must be in Pasadena today (Flurry G. Malachi's Message. 1990, 1995, p. 99).

Gerald Flurry was referring to the Tkach Administration of the old Worldwide Church of God. This is wrong for many reasons, including the fact that J. Tkach , Sr. died without Jesus' return which is when the 'man of sin' is eliminated per 2 Thessalonians 2:8--nor have any members of the Tkach Administration been accompanied by the type of signs and lying wonders that the 'man of sin' would be. More on PCG can be found in the article Teachings Unique to the Philadelphia Church of God.

Notice also the following:

Revealing Satan

May 16, 2014

By Gerald Flurry

2 Thessalonians 2 records a spectacular end-time event in God’s Church. There is nothing like it in all the previous history of the Church!

“And now ye know what [restrains] that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now [restrains] will [restrain], until he be taken out of the way” (verses 6-7).

God has given the Philadelphia Church of God amazing understanding about this verse. On Jan. 16, 1986, a man was taken out of the way. From time to time, God reminds us how important the anniversary of that day is. We can read these scriptures and point out the specific individuals they refer to. What other church can do this?

“And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming” (verse 8). Verses 3-4 say the man of sin will be revealed, but verse 8 specifically says this Wicked (Satan) will be revealed as well.

“Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders” (verse 9). There are signs, lying wonders and power coming from the devil...

The court battle we fought against the Worldwide Church of God to gain the copyrights to Herbert Armstrong’s writings has been a gold mine of information about the devil...

In our court proceedings, Joe Tkach Jr. gave two depositions...

Tkach: “When someone tells you that they’re being used by God in a way that no other human being who has ever lived is being used, I would consider that to be a bit on the heresy side, to say that he received a message from God and then won’t share it with you.”

None of this happened. Mr. Tkach Jr. knew he was lying! ... He tried to picture me as a weird prophet you see in Hollywood movies...

When I sat listening to those words during the deposition, I didn’t understand what those lies were all about. But God later revealed to me what it all meant. God always has to reveal these truths to us.

2 Thessalonians 2:4 says this man of sin “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.”...

I don’t think Joe Tkach Jr. really understood what he was saying or from whom he got these lies. It was Satan talking to us...

“For the mystery of [lawlessness] doth already work: only he who now [restrains] will [restrain], until he be taken out of the way” (verse 7). That “mystery of lawlessness” was there before the man of sin came on the scene. Revelation 3:7-9 call it the synagogue of Satan. The devil was plotting and planning even while Mr. Armstrong was alive. He inspired and directed a group of people to get ready to take over the Church of God. And he succeeded!

The icc says, “[A]s the indwelling Christ works in Paul, so Satan operates in the [man of sin] with the result that his advent is attended by all power to work wonders.”

2 Thessalonians 2:8 shows that the work of Satan will be destroyed, but verse 9 reveals that, first, the man of sin will have “all power and signs and lying wonders.” This is what Joe Tkach Jr. said about me! What a lying wonder! It came right out of 2 Thessalonians 2.

Like false prophet Ronald Weinland, Gerald Flurry is much too much into allegory.  Whether or not Joe Tkach, Jr. lied, this does not qualify as the "signs and lying wonders" that the Apostle Paul was warning about.

And while many COGs do not understand who the 'man of sin' in 2 Thessalonians 2 is (and because of this they will not understand certain end time prophecies), Gerald Flurry may have the most absurd explanation of his alleged identity.

The New Position of the Restored Church of God is Absurd

In January 2017, I noticed that RCG's David Pack posted the following in what is called Sermon Transcript The Greatest Untold Story! Part 31:

II Thessalonians 3, verse 6: “Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw yourselves from every brother that walks disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us.”

Those in the splinters…There are thousands of them, brethren, who are in the splinters, who have the Holy Spirit. They’re not going to follow this man, and they’re the ones that are going to come back to God’s Church. I’ll have a lot more to say about them, in a way that will simply stun you—stun you. They’re going to escape, but not until they go through fire.

I don’t know how long this man will last, but we ought to, at least, pause and say…The next thing we’re looking for is not Christ revealed from heaven. It’s this evil blasphemer…revealed out of the splinters—that is coming first, and God is going to vacuum away all the tares and those who lost His Spirit and who will not come—and they’re not going to come later—they’re out. You know Luke 14. There are those who are invited and they don’t come. God said they were not going to come…They will in no wise enter this supper……

Let’s be clear…(II Thessalonians 2) verse 12, those who follow him are damned. They are condemned. I didn’t say that. God does. Why? Because they “believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” You cannot be saved if you follow a Satan-possessed, blaspheming, false Christ. Who knows? Maybe he says he’s God the Father. There’s a guy in Rome that calls himself the Holy Father. It’s not shocking that a human being might say that.

Salvation is lost to the people who follow this man…It just was never clear how far they would go, and how God would vacuum them out of the Church. God said in Haggai—I called for the desolation. I raise up the Foolish Shepherd. It’s something He’s doing. He hardened pharaoh. He used Judas. He can do that. He can use man for a righteous purpose like Cyrus, and others. ...

I began to realize that, after the apostates under Joe Tkach, there would actually be worse leaders that followed. ..

God raised up Joseph W. Tkach and a group of people around him to cause the apostasy. We all know that. Mr. Armstrong was not so deceived or weak a leader that he picked an evil man to follow him. He didn’t know. ...

Do you think the devil would need to be coaxed to enter a man among God’s people, in a way no man has ever done in 2,000 years—that we could ever see? Do you think the devil would have to be coaxed to do that? He’d be like a dog on a chain with his front legs off the ground, straining to snap the leash to do it!

God could probably just snap His fingers, and the devil would enter this man and knock him over when he did, so to speak. This is easy for God to do. We serve the God who can change out the universe with a bang. It’s easy for God to do. He has a purpose in it. It also draws tremendous attention to His Church in a right way. He raised up Joe Tkach to cause the apostasy. Without that, this man can’t rise out of it. Surely, brethren, we believe that He can raise up a man out of it to carry out the last part of it.

This is interesting for at least four reasons:

  1. This is a change from his earlier positions, which had been based upon improper tradition.
  2. In my view, the Bible makes David Pack and his covetous out as a blasphemer (2 Peter 2:1-3).
  3. David Pack originally claimed to stand for 'precision of doctrine' has totally flipped to a view closer to PCG on the man of sin (see also Who is the Man of Sin of 2 Thessalonians 2?).
  4. David Pack is warning that thousands will follow someone in another COG group. Thousands have came to the Continuing Church of God over the past 4 years (see CCOG reports 1900 attended its festival sites and has a total membership of over 2200).

David Pack is now claiming that someone who was in the Church of God will have Satan enter him to become the man of sin. David Pack, later, stated in his sermon "The Greatest Untold Story! Part 45":

The Man of Sin comes with some unique problems, in a way, that I want to clear up. Think of what could be called the “effective counterfeit” principle. The more effective he is as a counterfeit, the more people can be sucked into following him. There’s no excuse to follow him, because what he teaches is against God’s Law. But claiming to be Christ, as a man, of and by itself, is not wrong. It’s what he says. He’s lawless and his power is Satanic, but think of the “effective counterfeit” principle for a moment.

When Christ walked the earth, he was 33-and-a-half years old—some old leader in the splinters isn’t going to fit the bill.

The older the man is, the more likely…I mean, God could use anybody to be the first two wizards that introduce him. They can be older men. The wizards can have one résumé, if you will. The Man of Sin has to have another—younger, cleaner…Ready? Single. You probably can’t have him stand up as a married Christ. I’ll bet none of you ever thought about that—is the Man of Sin married? How could a married man, brethren, ever claim to be Jesus Christ—never mind if he had children who would thus be half-gods. You know, Hercules, and they’d be Mercury, whatever else. Do you see my point?

There seems to be no way this man can be married, or probably have ever been married, and claim to be Jesus Christ. Never mind have children who, forever after, would sort of be…you know, come from the messianic line when he was Christ. That would have been a problem in the first century. We’ve talked about that many a time. It was more than Christ didn’t want to just leave a widow. That would have been one problem. Or He would have left orphans. That would have been another, but they would have been born of God! Theoretically, we could say His kids would have been one-quarter God, half from Him and none from whoever had been His wife.

The fact that he is a single man, perhaps in his early 30s, introduces another possibility about why is he single. There is quite a powerful case behind that that would take longer to explain. I don’t want to get into it, but some of you may guess what it is. I’d like to do that in its own time and place, so we’ll just leave it at that. But he is going to have to be a single man, who got there into his thirties. Why he’s single is a different discussion, but that’s all we’re going to cover now. There’s probably more to the story, maybe much more to that story, but no time for it now.

So, the Man of Sin has to be a younger man. The older he is, the more he comes with a résumé that could be suspect—that’s subject to fact checking. You see my point? I’m trying to illustrate something here, because some more things have come clear. Young, single, clean…Does he have brothers and sisters? People can check up on him? Is this really Christ? This guy has to look like the real deal, and he does to such an extent that even the absolute perversions that come out of his mouth are not sufficient to keep some people, with God’s Spirit, from being fooled.

It may be that the idea that the 'man of sin' would be unmarried could be consistent with Daniel 11:37 and the King of the North, but David Pack did not cite that verse. His rationale is off. Nor do I believe that the man of sin will claim to actually be Jesus.

RCG's David Pack said that Herbert W. Armstrong would have been horrified if he understood the man of sin the same way that David Pack does::

Let’s suppose Mr. Armstrong knew about the rise of the Man of Sin. What would that have meant? Well, first of all, if you knew anything about the man, like I did, he would have raced to the nearest housetop, carrying the biggest bullhorn he had and warned the world with all the power he could muster. And if you doubt that, you will not doubt it at the end of this sermon, because THE MOST chilling things I have told you in the first 53 sermons come today--they started last week.

But if Mr. Armstrong had begun to explore--and understood--all of what I’ve taught you about this man, and what I’m going to teach you today, it would have horrified him. . .

He would have found it inconceivable and impossible that this man was going to sit in the Church. He would have done everything he could to prepare people to avoid it and block it. And I’m going to show you, in a moment, that would have been utterly--180 degrees--opposite to what God wanted. There is a people He wanted to know about it; there’s a people, a larger people, He did not. To imagine Mr. Armstrong, then having to face the question of “Well, I’ve got to appoint somebody who’s going to destroy everything”--you’re right back to that problem. He could never be allowed to know that. (Pack D. The Greatest Untold Story! Part 53. Sermon transcript. https://rcg.org/sep/the-greatest-untold-story-part-53 accessed 04/30/17)

Yes, David Pack, Herbert W. Armstrong would be horrified by you and many of your prophetic conclusions.

No, David Pack, the man of sin is not a current Church of God member--the man of sin will be the Beast of Revelation, a political leader who is also described in Daniel 11.

David Pack also wrote the following:

Brethren, you need to now…to understand what the less fortunate…That’s a bad word to use, but there are three categories of people under the Man of Sin. Those who get killed outright—butchered, but killed, because no authority on Earth has the power, or probably even the will, to block the death of people who have the Holy Spirit, which…They probably think “Good riddance.” It’s like getting rid of the Jews…Let’s get rid of them. That’s the best status. ...

I hate to have to say this. I hate to have to tell some of you, your friends are going to be butchered like hogs, but they’ll come back up soon…very soon. That’s the good news. And we haven’t talked about exactly how they fit into the resurrection of the dead and it’s very exciting. I would like to comfort you with those words. But they will not come up in the reckoning; but they do come up into a special status.

This video will be available, so I’ll just tell those in the splinters…I’ll name them. If you’re in the Living Church of God, PCG, UCG, COGwa, and others—take heed. You’re being warned. Brethren of God, now you know why Paul didn’t stop for three years—with tears, warned everyone day and night. You got a better picture of why? Be warned. This man you seek…Maybe you think I’m wrong or it’s a joke, or you don’t fear God or look at the Bible. If you’re in those groups or the little groups—he is coming for your throat! And unless you escape, he’s going to get there and he’s going to rip your carotid out as he tries to catch your jugular on the way out! That’s the way it’s going to be. If that makes me a cult leader, so be it. I believe God…I believe God.

There are other verses I’ve not had time to go to. You know, when Paul talked about grievous wolves who will not spare the flock, what do you think he meant? I thought “Well, they come in and…it’s terrible thing.” “Spare them”…not going to “pity” them. The Greek means pity…you read in Zechariah 11 “spare” and “pity” is the same word. Not going to spare them…not going to pity them. That’s what it says. Their own shepherds pity them not. They’re going to save themselves… They’re going to sell them out and “woe unto him” who leaves the flock and follows this guy. (Pack D. The Greatest Untold Story! Part 53. Sermon transcript. https://rcg.org/sep/the-greatest-untold-story-part-53)

While the man of sin will kill Christians in the end times (cf. Daniel 7:25; Revelation 13:1-18; see also Persecutions by Church and State), this man of sin is a political leader, not a Church of God minister. David Pack has many, many errors.

David Pack posted the following as part of his 2017 booklet "How God’s Kingdom Will Come The Untold Story!":

The prophet Habakkuk, whom Paul quoted in Hebrews 10 regarding the man of sin, adds to this man’s profile: “Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith. Yes also, because he transgresses by wine, he is a proud man, neither keeps at home, who enlarges his desire as hell, and is as death, and cannot be satisfied, but gathers unto him all nations, and heaps unto him all people” (Hab. 2:4-5). Here is a man who is of the devil, but who holds such awesome power that all nations of the world buckle to his will. No one is talking about this man because no one understands him or could believe the enormous reach and power that he will bring. A number of verses make plain that this counterfeit will be very short-lived. (Other helpful related verses to read include II Corinthians 11:4; all of Habakkuk 2; all of II Timothy 3; Zechariah 11:15-17; James 5:1-6; Matthew 7:15-23 and Luke 21:8, 35-36.)

Like many, David Pack does not understand the prophecy of Habakkuk 2 which has to do with the USA that will be destroyed for greed and indebtedness. David Pack should have realized what Habakkuk 2:6-8 states as he recommended that his readers would read the entire chapter--those that do will realize that David Pack misunderstands it (check out Do you take seriously the warnings God had the prophet Habakkuk record?). There were many. many other ways that David Pack erred in that booklet. He continues to veer further away from the truth. Some of his errors are in the article Why Not the Restored Church of God?

Herbert Armstrong on the Man of Sin

Some have pointed to the writings of the late Herbert W. Armstrong on this matter.

Here is what Herbert W. Armstrong taught quite a while ago:

Now notice the last battle of “the great day of God Almighty.” It is in Rev. 19:19-20. Here is pictured the beast —“and WITH him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, WITH WHICH HE DECEIVED them that had received the MARK of the beast, and them that had worshipped HIS IMAGE.     

Note it! Compare with the two-horned beast of Rev.13:11-17.

(1) BOTH perform miracles.

(2) BOTH perform them before, or in the sight of, the beast.

(3) WITH them, BOTH the false prophet and two-horned beast DECEIVE them that have the MARK of the beast — cause them to receive that mark (Rev. 13:16).

Certainly, then, this two-horned beast, the false prophet, the man of sin and the woman that rode the beast are all one and the same thing — the ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH with its pope, its other bishops, its priests and deacons, comprising the hierarchy of order! …

Compare with the WOMAN who rode the Beast in Rev. 17: “And I saw the woman DRUNKEN WITH THE BLOOD OF THE SAINTS, AND WITH THE MARTYRS OF JESUS. (Armstrong HW. Who is the Beast? 1960 p. 22,23)

Thus, at at least one time, Herbert W. Armstrong taught that “the man of sin” is the false prophet, yet he did not provide detailed rationale. However, he also noticed a lot of similarities between the Beast and the False Prophet. And I have not seen an in-depth analysis by him on this matter, and suspect that he was not certain.

For some support of that, notice what else Herbert Armstrong wrote:

II Thessalonians 2:3-4. The day of Christ -- and the coming of Christ -- shall not come, until there be a falling away, and a "man of sin" be revealed. He exalts himself above all that is called God. As God, he sits in a temple claimed to be the temple of God, showing himself to deceive people into accepting him as God. (Armstrong HW. Who or What is the Prophetic Beast? Part One: 1960; Part Two: 1952)

The above is very important as Herbert Armstrong realized that the man of sin wants to be worshiped as God. But the Bible shows that this is the first Beast and that the second Beast (called "another beast below") causes the world to worship the first Beast:

1 Then I stood on the sand of the sea. And I saw a beast rising up out of the sea...3... And I saw one of his heads as if it had been mortally wounded, and his deadly wound was healed. And all the world marveled and followed the beast. 4 So they worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, "Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?"...8 All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world…11 Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon. 12 And he exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence, and causes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. (Revelation 13:1,3,4,8,11-12)

Since the man of sin exalts himself above all that is called God (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4) and the second beast causes the world to worship, not himself but instead, the first beast (Revelation 13:11-12), the man of sin must be the first Beast.

Aaron Dean spent more time with Herbert Armstrong in his later years than anyone I am aware of in any of the COG groups. He told me that on some of the prophetic matters, that Herbert Armstrong was simply not certain about them, and that there were some that he hoped to look at again. Although Aaron Dean said (4/19/13) that he did not recall Herbert Armstrong getting to this 'man of sin' matter, if he would have, Aaron Dean strongly felt that he would have accepted the biblical teaching that the man of sin in 2 Thessalonians 2 was the first, not second beast, of Revelation 13. Herbert Armstrong was not a prophet, so his prophetic teachings need to be understood in light of scripture (as do all teachings, even from a real prophet--see also How To Determine If Someone is a True Prophet of God).

In terms of not being a prophet, Herbert W. Armstrong taught:

I have definitely NOT been called to be a PROPHET...Emphatically I am NOT a prophet, in the sense of one to whom God speaks specially and directly, revealing personally a future event to happen or new truth, or new and special instruction direct from God -- separate from, and apart from what is contained in the Bible. And I never have claimed to be.

Herbert W. Armstrong, The 19 Year Time Cycles. The Good News of Tomorrow's World. February, 1972, Personal pg.1

Of course also taught, Herbert W. Armstrong taught:

Don't believe me BELIEVE YOUR BIBLE BELIEVE GOD!

Herbert W. Armstrong, Plain Truth magazine, Sept. 1963, Personal pg.1

And that is good advice, and believing what the Bible actually teaches is something that all real Christians should do.

What Does the Bible Teach?

Is the description in 2 Thessalonians 2 describing the false prophet (also known as the two-horned beast and final Antichrist)? While various ones have various opinions, doctrine is to come from the Bible:

16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

So what does scripture teach?

To answer that, first let's look at the verses in the New Testament that use the term “false prophet,” which are below:

13 And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs coming out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. 14 For they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty (Revelation 16:13-14).

20 Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone (Revelation 19:20).

10 The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever (Revelation 20:10).

The above verses do show the similarities that Herbert W. Armstrong claimed, such as both will have unclean spirits coming out of their mouths which perform signs. Yet, those do not really distinguish much between the ten-horned beast and false prophet (the two-horned beast).

Nor have I seen a scripture-based explanation in any Radio Church of God/WCG literature that truly explains why this applies more to the two-horned beast than the ten-horned beast (though there may be one).

However, it seems that the description of the King of the North in Daniel closely fits the description of that man of perdition:

36 "Then the king shall do according to his own will: he shall exalt and magnify himself above every god, shall speak blasphemies against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the wrath has been accomplished; for what has been determined shall be done. 37 He shall regard neither the God of his fathers nor the desire of women, nor regard any god; for he shall exalt himself above them all. 38 But in their place he shall honor a god of fortresses; and a god which his fathers did not know he shall honor with gold and silver, with precious stones and pleasant things (Daniel 11:36-38).

What Daniel 11:36-38 and 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 say about this man is essentially the same--this is the same man.

Notice also that the King of the North exalts himself above all the gods.  This includes the god of fortresses, which (as I have long suggested) is apparently the Roman (Catholic) god. And this would also have to include the two-horned beast of Revelation 13.

Furthermore, notice that the two-horned beast of Revelation 13 gets people to worship the first beast and that it is the first beast that Satan has given great authority to:

1 Then I stood on the sand of the sea. And I saw a beast rising up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his horns ten crowns, and on his heads a blasphemous name…
2 The dragon gave him his power, his throne, and great authority….
6 Then he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven. 7 It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation. 8 All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world…
11 Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon. 12 And he exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence, and causes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. 13 He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men. 14 And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who was wounded by the sword and lived. 15 He was granted power to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed (Revelation 13:1,2,6-8,11-15).

Notice clearly that the two-horned beast (who is THE false prophet, cf. Revelation 19:20) gets people to worship THE FIRST beast, the ten-horned beast (with accompanying signs--that he does so in the presence of the FIRST BEAST--cf. 2 Thessalonians 2:9-10).  Hence the two-horned beast is NOT putting himself above all gods as he has people worship the ten-horned beast.  It is the ten-horned beast who blasphemes, as he is also the blasphemous King of the North (Daniel 11:36-40).  And it is the ten-horned beast who is granted "great authority," not the two-horned beast.

There is simply no verse that says that the second beast gets the worship that the first one does.  The false prophet clearly promotes false worship, as opposed to being the object of it himself.  While popes have long let people kneel down before them, I have found no scriptures that indicate that the false prophet himself tries to make himself the object of worship.

The Old Testament clearly concurs. Notice something that Daniel also wrote:

24 The ten horns are ten kings
Who shall arise from this kingdom.
And another shall rise after them;
He shall be different from the first ones,
And shall subdue three kings.
25 He shall speak pompous words against the Most High,
Shall persecute the saints of the Most High,
And shall intend to change times and law.
Then the saints shall be given into his hand
For a time and times and half a time (Daniel 7:24-25).

It is the ten-horned beast who speaks the pompous words against God, he is the one who exalts himself above all that is called God (2 Thessalonians 2:4).

Also notice that in the Bible, people are warned against worshipping the first beast:

9 Then a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, "If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, 10 he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation (Revelation 14:8-10).

2 So the first went and poured out his bowl upon the earth, and a foul and loathsome sore came upon the men who had the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image…10 Then the fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and his kingdom became full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues because of the pain (Revelation 16:2,10).

Even if the image is related to the Catholic Church (which to a degree it is), notice that it is the beast and HIS image and HIS kingdom that worship against is warned as opposed to mainly that of the false prophet.  The beast is clearly above the false prophet and is the one that exalts himself above all that is called God.

If we let the Bible interpret itself, it suggests, that the description in 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 fits very closely to the first beast, the King of the North, and not nearly as closely the second beast, the false prophet.

Notice that the first beast also fulfills the following:

15 Then he said to me, "The waters which you saw, where the harlot sits, are peoples, multitudes, nations, and tongues. 16 And the ten horns which you saw on the beast, these will hate the harlot, make her desolate and naked, eat her flesh and burn her with fire. 17 For God has put it into their hearts to fulfill His purpose, to be of one mind, and to give their kingdom to the beast, until the words of God are fulfilled. 18 And the woman whom you saw is that great city which reigns over the kings of the earth." (Revelation 17:15-18)

Notice that the harlot (the ecumenical Church of Rome) is devoured at this time.  This is one additional way that the first beast, the ten-horned beast does not regard the desire of women as Daniel 11: 37 mentions (with the harlot church symbolized by a woman in Revelation 17) and exalts himself above all that is called god.

This destruction of the harlot also suggests that the man of sin, the son of perdition in 2 Thessalonians 2, is not the false prophet, but the ten-horned beast, and he and his supporters have the power and are taking actions on his behalf. 

However, since the false prophet is still alive at this stage (Revelation 19:20), it appears that he either is a captive of the ten-horned beast or that he also betrays his church. But I strongly suspect the latter (as the second beast clearly promotes the worship of the first beast per Revelation 13:12)--he is complicit in the betrayal of the Church of Rome--which is another reason that I teach that the false prophet is a type of anti-pope.

The Man of Sin Endorses Sin

A major difference between true Christians and others in the end time is that true Christians will be keeping the Ten Commandments.

Jesus disciples asked Him what to expect for the end times (Matthew 24:3). Here is some of what Jesus said to expect:

12 And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But he who endures to the end shall be saved. (Matthew 24:12-13)

Lawless is to abound and less love. Less reverence for God’s commandments. Yet, the faithful that endure to the end will be saved.

Notice what sin is:

4 Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. (1 John 3:4, KJV)

4 Whosoever committeth sin commmitteth also iniquity; and sin is iniquity. (1 John 3:4, DRB)

The man of sin will promote sin. He is involved with the 'mystery of lawlessness' also called the 'mystery of iniquity' because he will feign being religious and moral (see also Mystery of Iniquity. Two related sermons are also available: The Mystery of Iniquity and The Mystery of Lawlessness.)

The Book of Revelation is clear that real Christians who are keeping God’s commandments will be persecuted by those misled by Satan (the dragon) and followers of the Beast:

17 And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. (Revelation 12:17)

25 He shall speak pompous words against the Most High, Shall persecute the saints of the Most High, And shall intend to change times and law. Then the saints shall be given into his hand For a time and times and half a time. (Daniel 7:25)

Notice also the following:

9 Then a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, 10 he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. 11 And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.”

12 Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.

13 Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’”

“Yes,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them.” (Revelation 14:9-13)

End time Christians keep the Ten Commandments. These are not just “believing Jews” like some claim.

With the man of sin Beast power, we see someone who opposes those who keep the Ten Commandments.

The Bible provides support that the man of sin will violate all ten of the commandments. This power will put himself above all gods.

As far as the first commandment, notice the following:

36 “Then the king shall do according to his own will: he shall exalt and magnify himself above every god, shall speak blasphemies against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the wrath has been accomplished; for what has been determined shall be done. 37 He shall regard neither the God of his fathers nor the desire of women, nor regard any god; for he shall exalt himself above them all. (Daniel 11:36-37)

The king above is the King of the North, who is called the Beast “of the sea” in Revelation 13:1 and the “first beast” in Revelation 13:12.

The Antichrist is the second “beast,” and is the beast “of the earth” (Revelation 13:11). The final Antichrist will be supporting the first Beast, will try to force people against keeping the first commandment:

12 And he exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence, and causes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. (Revelation 13:12)

As far as the second commandment goes, notice the following the beast will do:

38 But in their place he shall honor a god of fortresses; and a god which his fathers did not know he shall honor with gold and silver, with precious stones and pleasant things. (Daniel 11:38)

The Antichrist will try to force people against keeping the second commandment:

14 And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who was wounded by the sword and lived. 15 He was granted power to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed. (Revelation 13:14-15)

Idolatry is definitely a mark of the beast (though the Beast power may use symbols, like crosses, that many will consider acceptable).

As far as the third commandment goes, notice the following:

25 He shall speak pompous words against the Most High, (Daniel 7:25)

36 “Then the king shall do according to his own will: he shall exalt and magnify himself above every god, shall speak blasphemies against the God of gods, (Daniel 11:36)

5 And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he was given authority to continue for forty-two months. 6 Then he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven. (Revelation 13:5-6)

As far as the fourth commandment goes, notice the following about the beast and the Antichrist:

25 He … shall intend to change times and law. (Daniel 7:25)

16 He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, 17 and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. (Revelation 13:16-17)

11 they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name. (Revelation 14:11)

Perhaps the Beast will modify the calendar and change the days of the week somehow. Many have felt that Sunday-keeping was a or the ‘mark of the beast.’

The ‘mark of the beast’ involves commandment breaking.

As far as the fifth commandment goes, notice the following:

37 He shall regard neither the God of his fathers (Daniel 11:37).

This implies dishonoring his parents, though that is not explicit. Furthermore, the beast will betray his harlot spiritual mother—and not be repentance:

16 And the ten horns which you saw on the beast, these will hate the harlot, make her desolate and naked, eat her flesh and burn her with fire. 17 For God has put it into their hearts to fulfill His purpose, to be of one mind, and to give their kingdom to the beast, until the words of God are fulfilled. 18 And the woman whom you saw is that great city which reigns over the kings of the earth. (Revelation 17:16-18)

As far as the sixth commandment goes, the beast will kill as a military leader:

4 So they worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?” (Revelation 13:4)

The Beast will also cause others to be killed:

15 … the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed. (Revelation 13:15)

32 Those who do wickedly against the covenant he shall corrupt with flattery; but the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits. 33 And those of the people who understand shall instruct many; yet for many days they shall fall by sword and flame, by captivity and plundering. (Daniel 11:32-33)

As far as the seventh commandment goes, the beast will be among those that commit fornication with Mystery Babylon the Great:

1 …”Come, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters, 2 with whom the kings of the earth committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth were made drunk with the wine of her fornication.”

3 So he carried me away in the Spirit into the wilderness. And I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast which was full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. 4 The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the filthiness of her fornication.  5 And on her forehead a name was written:

MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. (Revelation 17:1-5)

The Beast will participate in and promote spiritual adultery (cf. James 4:4; Ezekiel 23:37).

As far as the eighth commandment goes, the beast will takeover other countries and take what they have:

39 Thus he shall act against the strongest fortresses with a foreign god, which he shall acknowledge, and advance its glory; and he shall cause them to rule over many, and divide the land for gain.

40 “At the time of the end the king of the South shall attack him; and the king of the North shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter the countries, overwhelm them, and pass through. … 43 He shall have power over the treasures of gold and silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt; also the Libyans and Ethiopians shall follow at his heels. (Daniel 11:39-40, 43)

The Beast will take land and precious items.

As far as the ninth commandment goes, the beast will cause deceit to prosper:

25 “Through his cunning He shall cause deceit to prosper under his rule; (Daniel 8:25)

23 And after the league is made with him he shall act deceitfully, for he shall come up and become strong with a small number of people. (Daniel 11:23-24)

People who do not have proper “love of the truth” will believe the lie (2 Thessalonians 2:12). A lie encouraged by ‘miracles’ (2 Thessalonians 2:8-11; Revelation 13:11-15), economic blackmail (Revelation 13:16-18), and persecution (Daniel 11:31-35; Revelation 13:7).

As far as the tenth commandment goes, notice the following:

25 … He shall even rise against the Prince of princes; But he shall be broken without human means. (Daniel 8:25)

24 He shall enter peaceably, even into the richest places of the province; and he shall do what his fathers have not done, nor his forefathers: he shall disperse among them the plunder, spoil, and riches; and he shall devise his plans against the strongholds, but only for a time. (Daniel 11:24)

The Beast is covetous of power and possessions and will devise plans to take what is not his. He even wants God’s power.

The Beast will violate all of God’s Ten Commandments and expect his followers to do so as well.

Scripture refers to the violation of each of the Ten Commandments as sin. e.g.: 1st 1 Samuel 15:24-25 ; 2nd Exodus 32:22-30; 3rd Job 2:9-10 (cf. Psalm 39:1); 4th Nehemiah 9:14, 28-29; 5th Luke 15:18 (NIV; cf. 1 Samuel 24:11); 6th Genesis 4:7; 7th Genesis 39:9; 8th Matthew 5:30 (cf. Genesis 31:30,36); 9th Deuteronomy 23:21; 10th Romans 7:17.

Consider also that the Bible calls this commandment breaker “the man of sin … the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped” (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4).

Signs Will Accompany the Beast

One major difficulties for many to see "the man of sin/lawlessness" as the King of the North (First Beast) instead of the False Prophet, is because they seem to not connect the "lying wonders and SIGNS" to him as they clearly can to the "false prophet" in Revelation 13:13.

BUT ... Revelation 16: 13-14 shows an actual connection:

13 And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs coming out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. 14 For they are spirits of demons, PERFORMING SIGNS, which go out to the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.

Again notice 2 Thessalonians 2:9:

9 The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, SIGNS, and lying wonders,

So now we have not only 2 Thessalonians 2:9 showing signs will accompany the 'man of sin,' but also Revelation 16:13-14 clearly showing that the BEAST literally performs SIGNS as well.

The Man of Sin is Also Called the Son of Perdition

In 2 Thessalonians 2:3 the man of sin is also called the son of perdition.

Perhaps it should be noted that the only times the term “perdition” (Strong's #684) are mentioned in the Book of Revelation are in the following passages:

7 But the angel said to me, "Why did you marvel? I will tell you the mystery of the woman and of the beast that carries her, which has the seven heads and the ten horns. 8 The beast that you saw was, and is not, and will ascend out of the bottomless pit and go to perdition. (Revelation 17:7-8)

11 The beast that was, and is not, is himself also the eighth, and is of the seven, and is going to perdition. (Revelation 17:11)

While the above is not absolute proof that the ten-horned beast is the son of perdition, it certainly seems to be supportive of that concept. Those verses in Revelation 17 specifically tie the Beast of the sea with perdition.

Now the Bible also teaches that Judas Iscariot was an earlier 'son of perdition':

2 While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name. Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. (John 17:12)

1 When Jesus had spoken these words, He went out with His disciples over the Brook Kidron, where there was a garden, which He and His disciples entered. 2 And Judas, who betrayed Him, also knew the place; for Jesus often met there with His disciples. (John 18:1-2)

While Judas probably for a while thought he was a follower of Jesus, he also was deceptive and betrayed him.

Similarly, the King of the North, the Assyrian in Isaiah 10, will not think he means to destroy, but it is in his heart to do so:

5 "Woe to Assyria, the rod of My anger
And the staff in whose hand is My indignation.
6 I will send him against an ungodly nation,
And against the people of My wrath
I will give him charge,
To seize the spoil, to take the prey,
And to tread them down like the mire of the streets.
7 Yet he does not mean so,
Nor does his heart think so;
But it is in his heart to destroy,
And cut off not a few nations.
8 For he says,
'Are not my princes altogether kings?
9 Is not Calno like Carchemish?
Is not Hamath like Arpad?
Is not Samaria like Damascus?
10 As my hand has found the kingdoms of the idols,
Whose carved images excelled those of Jerusalem and Samaria,
11 As I have done to Samaria and her idols,
Shall I not do also to Jerusalem and her idols?'" (Isaiah 10:5-11)

Furthermore, the Bible shows that Judas used deceptive intrigue for thievery:

4 But one of His disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, who would betray Him, said, 5 "Why was this fragrant oil not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?" 6 This he said, not that he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and had the money box; and he used to take what was put in it. (John 12:4-6)

The Bible also tells that the King of the North will use deceptive intrigue to gain power:

21 And in his place shall arise a vile person, to whom they will not give the honor of royalty; but he shall come in peaceably, and seize the kingdom by intrigue. (Daniel 11:21-22)

34 Now when they fall, they shall be aided with a little help; but many shall join with them by intrigue. (Daniel 11:34-35)

23 "And in the latter time of their kingdom, When the transgressors have reached their fullness, A king shall arise, Having fierce features, Who understands sinister schemes...25 "Through his cunning He shall cause deceit to prosper under his rule; (Daniel 8:23,25)

The Bible shows that both Judas, 'the son of perdition' that betrayed Jesus, and the King of the North, the 'son of perdition' who will betray basically the world both used deceptive tactics. The Bible shows that both attempt to prosper through deceitful words.

The end time 'son of perdition' is the ten-horned Beast of Revelation 13 and the final King of the North of Daniel 11.

The End Time Philadelphia Remnant Must Not Misidentify the Man of Sin

The understanding of the identify of the man of sin in 2 Thessalonians 2 is not merely an academic matter of doctrine as some believe it is. Actually, if certain non-biblical 'prophecies' are correct, the Philadelphia remnant of the Church of God must not misidentify the 'man of sin' as most COG groups seem want to do.

Notice again something from 2 Thessalonians 2:

9 The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, 10 and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11 And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, 12 that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2 Thessalonians 2:1-12)

There are Roman and Eastern Orthodox Catholic 'private prophecies' that say their leader, often referred to as the "Great Monarch" will come with signs and be confirmed by wonders.

Notice one from the Eastern Orthodox:

Anonymou Paraphrasis (10th century): The one true King…is destined to become manifest [be revealed]…by means…of signs… The King will hear the voice and instructions by an Angel appearing to him…he has foresight and is cognizant of the text of the prophecies…the name of the King is hidden [concealed] among the nations…And the particular manner of the king’s manifestation to the public [to the world] will take place as follows: A star will appear [will become visible] for three days long and during the third hour of the night, on the eve of the feast day of the Morther of the Most High (it will become visible) in the Middle of the City. And this star is not one among the planets…And a herald speaking with a very loud voice in the course of the three days will summon and unveil the hoped for one…There will become visible in the sky a ‘nebulous firmament of the sun’…under that image will be suspended a cross…And the invisible herald from Heaven with his thunderous voice will say to the people: Is this man agreeable to you?  At that moment everybody will be taken by fear and terror...they will elevate him on a high spot and will proclaim him (their) hereditary Monarch (Tzima Otto, H.  The Great Monarch and WWIII in Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Scriptural Prophecies. Verenika Press, Rock City (SC), 2000, pp. 30, 31, 32, 50-51,52,53).

The display of a cross associated with the Great Monarch (called the 'one true King' above), if it happens, will deceive people into following the Beast--the Bible warns that all the world will worship this Beast (Revelation 13:4,8) and most have not considered that a cross might be used by Satan.

A Catholic 'brother' claimed to learn the following from 'Mary':

Before the great tribulation, there is going to be a sign. We will see in the sky one great red cross on a day of blue sky without clouds…This cross will be seen by everyone: Christians, pagans, atheists, etc., as well as all the prepared ones… who will be guided by God in the way of Christ. They will receive grace to interpret the significance of the cross. (Flynn T, Flynn M. The Thunder of Justice. MaxKol Communications, Inc. Sterling (VA), 1993, p. 349)

So, the above coming supposedly through a Marian apparition says that people will be led to understand something about a cross in the sky. But as the Bible does not foretell such an event as a good thing, this, presuming it happens, should be understood as coming from Satan. Crosses were not even symbols for early Christians (see What is the Origin of the Cross as a 'Christian' Symbol?).

Notice that according to another one of those 'prophecies' people will implore the 'immaculate heart of Mary' (Marian matters is in the article Mary, the Mother of Jesus and the Apparitions) and the 'King' (the biblical King of the North) is to rise up. 'Mary' and the 'Great Monarch' will be credited for bringing in 'peace.'

The Ecstatic of Tours..."The revolution will spread to every French town. Wholesale slaughter will take place. This revolution will last only a few months but it will be frightful; blood will flow everywhere because the malice of the wicked will reach its highest pitch. Victims will be innumerable. Paris will look like a slaughter-house. Persecutions against the Church will be even greater, but it will not last long...Many bishops and priest will be put to death. The archbishop of Paris will be murdered...At this juncture, the French people will turn back to God and implore the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Mary Immaculate...

"The French people will ask for the good King, he who was chosen by God. He will come, this saviour whom God has spared for France, this King who is not wanted now because he is dear to God's Heart. He will ascend to the throne; he will free the church and reassert the Pope's rights..." (Dupont, Yves. Catholic Prophecy: The Coming Chastisement. TAN Books, Rockford (IL), 1973,p.37)

The Bible also warns:

3 For when they say, "Peace and safety!" then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. (1 Thessalonians 5:3)

People will be deceived by claims, signs, and lying wonders, and some may well appear in the sky.

Because the Continuing Church of God correctly knows the identity of the man of sin, it will be easier for us to explain to those who are willing to listen that if a 'cross' is a sign that identifies the Great Monarch that this is not referring to a man that God chose, but instead to one that Satan chose (see also the article Satan's Plan).

Believe What the Bible Teaches

Those who do not know who the 'man of sin' is will not realize that certain end time prophecies are being fulfilled when they are. Because they will not recognize him, they will not be able to properly warn their people nor the world what is happening. Those who do not know the identity of the man of sin are most likely not going to be protected from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world.

Jesus only promised to protect the true Philadelphians from that (Revelation 3:7-10) and not those who simply call themselves that (cf. Revelation 3:9). Most in the various COG groups do not know the proper identity of the man of sin. Since most Christians in the end are not truly part of the Philadelphia remnant of the Church of God, they will not be protected--but end up being subject to Satan's wrath per Revelation 12:17.

Most are relying on improper tradition as opposed to what the Bible teaches.

Jesus condemned religious leaders who relied on tradition over the word of God:

8 For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men...All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition. (Mark 7:8-9)

So, in summary, what does the word of God teach on the identity of the man of sin?

He will be one to mysteriously promotes sin.

The New Testament teaches that the man of sin "exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped" (2 Thessalonians 2:4).

The Old Testament teaches that the King of the North "shall exalt and magnify himself above every god" (Daniel 11:36).

The New Testament teaches that "All who dwell on the earth will worship" (Revelation 13:8) the first Beast, the ten-horned beast (Revelation 13:1).

This worship is not directed towards the false prophet. And the Bible teaches that the false prophet, the second beast of Revelation 13 "causes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast" (Revelation 13:12).

Read it for yourself in your own Bible.

Even though people will likely worship both beasts, the descriptions in the Bible that describe the ten-horned beast/King of the North are much closer to the man of sin discussed in 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 than any about descriptions the false prophet. 

Those who truly understand prophecy and who prayfully study the word of God for doctrine should realize this.

Here is a link to a related YouTube video titled Who is the Man of Sin?

Here is a related link to a version of this article in Spanish/español: ¿Quién es el Hombre de Pecado de 2 Tesalonicenses 2? Here is a version in Mandarin: 主编: 谁是'大罪人'?

As far as where the man of sin may sit as discussed in 2 Thessalonians, please check out the articles Church of God on Jerusalem's Western Hill and Why is a Jewish Temple in Jerusalem Not Required? as well as the video Does the 'Cenacle' deal have prophetic ramifications?)

Thiel B. Who is the Man of Sin of 2 Thessalonians 2? http://www.cogwriter.com/man-of-sin.htm COGwriter (c) 2013/2014/2015/2017 0430

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