CEG’s ‘man of sin’ fact is not biblical–other groups are also in scriptural error

The Sea Monster and the Beast with the Lamb’s Horn.
15th century woodcut by Albrecht Dürer

COGwriter

In its newsletter today, after making attacks against me (but without mentioning my name) CEG (Church of the Eternal God) a group whose leaders were once part of the old Global Church of God, then published the following:

the fact that the man of sin is not the beast, but the false prophet,

Fact?

It is certainly not a biblical one.

This ‘man of sin’ identity is a doctrine that most groups once part of the old GCG have wrong.

The man of sin is the ‘beast” and not the false prophet.

Those in CEG, LCG, RCG, etc. really need to pay more attention to the scriptures related to that.

Furthermore, groups such as COGWA, PCG, and UCG also have the identity wrong.

For details on each of those groups errors on this, check out the article: Who is the Man of Sin of 2 Thessalonians 2?

Now let’s examine scriptures which demonstrate the biblical truth about the identity of the ‘man of sin.’

Let’s start out by quoting what 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 end time ‘man of sin’ will be a major player exalts HIMSELF above all that is called God.

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, true 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 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 would apply more to the two-horned beast than the ten-horned beast (though there may be one I have not located).

However, it is the description of the King of the North in Daniel that 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.

Notice also that the King of the North exalts himself above all the gods. The fact is that the Bible never says that about the false prophet.

This exaltation would also have to include being above the two-horned beast of Revelation 13.

Furthermore, notice that the two-horned beast (who is also the one called the ‘false prophet’) 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 FACT is that 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 is noted to blaspheme, and 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 primary 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 ultimate object of worship.

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

2 Daniel spoke, saying, “I saw in my vision by night, and behold, the four winds of heaven were stirring up the Great Sea.
3 And four great beasts came up from the sea, each different from the other. (Daniel 7:2-3)

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 of the sea who speaks the pompous words against God, he is the one who exalts himself above all that is called God (2 Thessalonians 2:4).

This same beast is also shown as exalting himself in another chapter in Daniel:

25 “Through his cunning He shall cause deceit to prosper under his rule; And he shall exalt himself in his heart. He shall destroy many in their prosperity. He shall even rise against the Prince of princes; But he shall be broken without human means. (Daniel 8:25)

It is the Beast of the Sea that is exalting himself in his heart as is the man of sin in 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4. He is eliminated by non-human means in Revelation 17:14.

Repeatedly, we see that the Beast exalts himself. The main references we have to the False Prophet show him getting people to exalt the Beast of the Earth, not himself.

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 shows, 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 and changed 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 destructive 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.

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)

Revelation 17 certainly supports the position that the ten-horned beast is the son of perdition. Those verses in Revelation 17 specifically tie the Beast of the sea with perdition.

The man of sin is also called the “lawless one” in 2 Thessalonians 2:8).

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 Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness. (1 John 3:4, NKJV)

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.)

In our free online book: The Ten Commandments: The Decalogue, Christianity, and the Beast, we document how the Beast will promote the violation of each of the Ten Commandments.

Perhaps it should be noted that outside of the Bible, we do not seem to have available early writings from true Church of God Christians that discuss the identity of the man of sin.

However, we do have a writing from Irenaeus, a man who claimed to know the Church of God leader, Polycarp of Smyrna. He wrote the following:

he wishes himself to be proclaimed as a king. For he being endued with all the power of the devil, shall come, not as a righteous king, nor as a legitimate king, [i.e., one] in subjection to God, but an impious, unjust, and lawless one; as an apostate, iniquitous and murderous; as a robber, concentrating in himself [all] satanic apostasy, and setting aside idols to persuade [men] that he himself is God, raising up himself as the only idol, having in himself the multifarious errors of the other idols. This he does, in order that they who do [now] worship the devil by means of many abominations, may serve himself by this one idol, of whom the apostle thus speaks in the second Epistle to the Thessalonians: “Unless there shall come a failing away first, and the man of sin shall be revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he sits in the temple of God, showing himself as if he were God.” The apostle therefore clearly points out his apostasy, and that he is lifted up above all that is called God, or that is worshipped — that is, above every idol — for these are indeed so called by men, but are not [really] gods; and that he will endeavour in a tyrannical manner to set himself forth as God. (Irenaeus. Against Heresies Book V, Chapter 25, Verse 1)

While Irenaeus had many misunderstandings, the fact that he also considered that the man of sin was a king (which would be the King of the North) is supportive of the idea that this seems to also have been the position of early true Christians.

The truth about the identity of the man of sin is one that the CCOG has restored.

In closing, let me add that leaders in both LCG and UCG told me in the past that the position that the ‘man of sin’ in 2 Thessalonians 2 is the King of the North Beast and is NOT the false prophet, even though their respective organizations teach the opposite, essentially because of a misunderstood tradition.

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 are some FACTS the word of God teaches related to the identity of the man of sin?

One FACT is that he will be one to mysteriously promotes sin.

Another FACT is that 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).

Another FACT is that the Old Testament teaches that the King of the North “shall exalt and magnify himself above every god” (Daniel 11:36).

Another FACT is that the New Testament specifically ties the beast with perdition in Revelation 17:8 & 17:11.

Another FACT is that 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.

Do not be misled by traditions that are in conflict with the Bible.

The biblical fact is that the ‘man of sin’ is not the false prophet. CEG (and many others) are in error about this.

To learn even more, please, with your Bible, check out the following:

Who is the Man of Sin of 2 Thessalonians 2? Is this the King of the North, the ten-horned beast of Revelation 13:1-11, or the two-horned Beast of Revelation 13:12-16? Some rely on traditions, but what does the Bible teach? Here is a related link in Spanish/español: ¿Quién es el Hombre de Pecado de 2 Tesalonicenses 2? Here is a version in Mandarin: N;ÿ Œf/’Y’jNº’ÿ Here is a link to a related YouTube video, in English, titled Who is the Man of Sin?
What About the Living Church of God? Are there Doctrinal Differences with the Continuing Church of God? This article explains some information and doctrines of the Living Church of God, now led by Gerald Westin, and some concerns about them. (En el idioma español: ¿Qué hay acerca de la Iglesia de Dios Viviente? ¿Hay diferencias doctrinales con la Continuación de la Iglesia de Dios?)
Differences between the Living Church of God and United Church of God This article provides quotes information from two of the largest groups which had their origins in WCG as well as commentary.
Concerns about Church of God, a Worldwide Association Known as COGWA, this is the largest group that came out of the United Church of God.  Here is some history and concerns about it. UCG’s former president Clyde Kilough and UK CEO Peter Hawkins are part of it.
Teachings Unique to the Philadelphia Church of God Simply calling oneself ‘Philadelphia’ does not make one so (see Revelation 3:7-9), nor does Gerald Flurry calling himself “that prophet” make it so. This article provides many quotes from this group which tries to look faithful.
Why Not the Restored Church of God? This group, led by David Pack, claims to be the most faithful. The information in this article suggests otherwise. Here is a version in the Spanish language: ¿Por qué no la Iglesia de Dios Restaurada?
Who is the King of the North? Is there one? Do biblical and Roman Catholic prophecies for the Great Monarch point to the same leader? Should he be followed? Who will be the King of the North discussed in Daniel 11? Is a nuclear attack prophesied to happen to the English-speaking peoples of the United States, Great Britain, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand? When do the 1335 days, 1290 days, and 1260 days (the time, times, and half a time) of Daniel 12 begin? When does the Bible show that economic collapse will affect the United States? In the Spanish language check out ¿Quién es el Rey del Norte? Here is a link to a video titled: The Future King of the North.
The Philadelphia Church Era was predominant circa 1933 A.D. to 1986 A.D. The old Radio Church of God and old Worldwide Church of God, now the remnant of that era is basically the most faithful in the Church of God, like who hold to the beliefs and practices of the Continuing Church of God.
The Laodicean Church Era has been predominant circa 1986 A.D. to present. The Laodiceans are non-Philadelphians who mainly descended from the old WCG or its offshoots. They do not properly understand the work or biblical prophecies and will face the Great Tribulation if they do not repent. One video of related interest is 17 Laodicean Errors in Prophecy.



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