CCOG, RCG, UCG, LCG, and PCG on the ‘Man of Sin,’ which is biblically correct?

Artist’s portrayal of the beasts of Daniel 7, is the last to be the final ‘Man of Sin’?


Because of the new insistence of one Church of God (COG) group on the identity of the ‘man of sin’ in 2 Thessalonians 2:4 earlier this Spring, we in the Continuing Church of God put together a YouTube video on it, which you can view titled Who is the Man of Sin?

Today’s post will briefly quote various real and claimed COG groups positions on this, with a few brief comments, and some scriptures.

Let’s start with some scriptures that the Apostle Paul wrote:

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)

Here are the positions of the Restored Church of God (RCG), United Church of God (UCG), and Living Church of God (LCG), as they all basically seem to agree:

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? viewed 05/05/13)

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? May 2011, viewed 05/18/13)

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)

The last position 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. But, according to the Bible, is the man of sin the false prophet, the second beast of Revelation 13, or not?

Now perhaps I should  should mention that Aaron Dean, who is with UCG and on its Council of Elders (and currently is also its treasurer) agrees with the position of the Continuing Church of God on this that the ‘man of sin’ here is the Beast, the final King of the North, and not the false prophet.  Also, in a “must-play sermon in 2012, LCG’s Dr. D. Winnail publicly indicated that the position that the ‘man of sin’ is the Beast, the final King of the North was possible, yet his group now has taken a differing view–so much so it claims that knowing the correct identity of this is basically necessary to understand prophecy.

Before getting to the scriptures, let us now look at what Philadelphia Church of God (PCG) leader 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 as the Apostle Paul wrote.

The teaching of the Bible should be the criteria.

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) like RCG, UCG, and LCG teach? 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 not really distinguish much between the ten-horned beast and false prophet (the two-horned beast).

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).

Notice 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.   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 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 as those verses specifically tie the Beast of the sea with perdition.  There are also biblical similarities between the King of the North Beast and Judas who is called the ‘son of perdition’ by Jesus is John 17 (for details, check out the article Who is the Man of Sin of 2 Thessalonians 2?).

Believe What the Bible Teaches

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).

Thus, the first beast, the final King of the North, is the ‘man of sin.’

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.  One COG, the Continuing Church of God, clearly and publicly teaches that the first beast, the final King of the North, is the ‘man of sin.’

So which COG really understands Bible prophecy?

Some rely on tradition, some rely on their own imaginations, yet we in the Continuing Church of God strive to boldly rely on the word of God.  That is part of why we in the Continuing Church of God are leading the final phase of the work.

Some articles of possibly related interest may include:

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: 主编: 谁是’大罪人’? Here is a link to a related YouTube video, in English, titled Who is the Man of Sin?
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?
Some of the Doctrines and Differences between the Living Church of God and United Church of God This article provides quotes information from the two of the largest groups which had their origins in WCG as well as commentary.
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 as led by Roderick C. Meredith 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?)
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.
How To Determine If Someone is a True Prophet of God There are many false prophets. How can Christians determine who is a true prophet? There is also a sermon-length video titled How to determine if someone is a true prophet of God. Here is a related link in Spanish/español: ¿Cómo determinar si alguien es un verdadero profeta de Dios?
Continuing Church of God The group striving to be most faithful amongst all real Christian groups to the word of God.
The Final Phase of the Work What is the final phase of the work? Who will lead it? Do you have the courage to support it? Here is a related YouTube video titled The Final Phase of the Work. The written article has been translated into Spanish La Fase Final de la Obra.

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