The Son Of Perdition Of 2 Thessalonians 2
This Revelation Timeline Decoded Bible study focuses on Son Of Perdition, the Man Of Sin, of 2 Thessalonians 2.
2 Thessalonians 2 describes the transition of power from Roman Emperors to Roman Popes. The Roman Emperors had restrained the Popes of Rome from taking power. But when the last Roman Emperor was removed in 476 A.D., the Popes of Rome, the Son of Perdition, took power.
Jerome, a theologian and historian in the 4th century, in interpreting Paul’s Man of Sin, declares that he “is to sit in the temple, that is in the Church.” He adds, “It is only by assuming Christ’s name that the simpler ones of believers can be seduced to go to Antichrist; for thus they will go to Antichrist, while thinking to find Christ.”
In the 3rd century, Athanasius taught that the Antichrist of prophecy would prove to be a heretical ruler of the Roman Empire, making a Christian profession; and that Antichrist would come with the profession, “I am Christ,” assuming Christ’s place and character, like Satan transformed into an angel of light.
Cyril of Jerusalem, a distinguished theologian of the early Church, in the 4th century, says of Antichrist, “This man will usurp the government of the Roman Empire, and will falsely call himself the Christ.” “He will sit in the temple of God: not that which is in Jerusalem, but in the Churches everywhere.” Elliot, Horae, IV, p. 316
Even in the 4th century they were clearly describing the Popes of Rome, the antichrist, who proclaimed to be God.
The title of antichrist does not just mean ‘against Christ’, it means ‘in place of Christ’. The Popes of Rome have proclaimed the title of ‘Vicar of Christ’ which means ‘in place of Christ’ since the 5th century.
Here’s a recording of a webinar where we discussed the fulfillment of the Falling Away and the Son of Perdition of 2 Thessalonians 2. Note: Use the full-screen option to be able to read the text on the screen better.
2 Thessalonians 2:3 “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first“
When Emperor Constantine joined the idol worship of pagan Roman with Christianity, it created the beginnings of the Roman Catholic Church. Many Christians compromised their beliefs to be exalted in Rome, after several centuries of severe persecution.
Pure Christianity apostatized into a religion with pagan holidays, idols and theology.
2 Thessalonians 2:3 “and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition“
Both of the times that the phrase “son of perdition” is used in the Bible, it refers to someone who claimed to follow Christ, but was really antichrist in their beliefs and actions. Both Judas and the office of the Papacy have fulfilled this role. So the “son of perdition” is someone who would deceive within the church.
2 Thessalonians 2:4-5, “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, 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 worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.”
Keep in mind that when the Apostle Paul wrote 2 Thessalonians 2, the Jewish temple was still standing, as it wasn’t destroyed by the Romans until 70 A.D., so any reference to a physical temple would have been to that temple, not an end times temple.
So what does Paul mean?
To understand that, let’s look at how Jesus defined the word “temple.”
In John 2:14, Jesus spoke of the physical temple. The Greek word for the physical temple is hieron.
“And He found in the temple those who sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers doing business.”
Then just five verses later in John 2:19-20, Jesus spoke of the spiritual temple. The Greek word for the spiritual temple is naos.
“Jesus answered and said to them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” But He was speaking of the temple of His body.”
Whenever Paul used the word naos, he applied it to followers of Jesus, the Christian Church, which is a literal temple, but not a physical building.
1 Corinthians 3:16-17 “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.”
1 Corinthians 6:19 “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?”
2 Corinthians 6:16 “And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they shall be My people.”
Ephesians 2:19-22 “Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone, in whom the whole building, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.”
The spiritual temple is made up of followers of Jesus, Christians.
In 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4, where Paul is telling us about the Son of Perdition, he again uses the Greek word naos.
“Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, 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 worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple (naos) of God, showing himself that he is God.”
Paul is saying that the Son of Perdition would sit in the temple of God, that is, in the Christian church.
Paul is telling us that he would pretend to be Christian in order to deceive the world, which lines up directly with the Roman Catholic Church and the Pope who pretend to be Christian.
Instead of being an infidel who doesn’t believe in God, like so many pastors teach, the Antichrist does not reign outside of the Church, but in the very bosom of the Church.
Pope Innocent III declared “We may according to the fullness of our power, dispose of the law and dispense above the law. Those whom the Pope of Rome doth separate, it is not a man that separates them but God. For the Pope holdeth place on earth, not simply of a man but of the true God.” (Source: “Decretals of Gregory IX,” Book 1, chapter 3.)
Pope Pius V blasphemed, “The Pope and God are the same, so he has all power in Heaven and earth.” (Source: Pope Pius V, quoted in Barclay, Cities Petrus Bertanous Chapter XXVII: 218.)
Pope Leo XIII declared, “We hold upon this earth the place of God Almighty.”
(Source: Pope Leo XIII Encyclical Letter, June 20, 1894)
Pope John Paul II said “Don’t go to God for forgiveness of sins: come to me.”
Current Pope Francis I said “You cannot find Jesus outside the Church.”
Paul places the Son of Perdition nowhere else than in the very sanctuary of God.
The Pope sits (assumes a position of authority) as God in the temple of God.
The Pope is called the ‘Vicar of Christ’ which means ‘substitute for Christ.’
He proclaims to forgive sins.
He proclaims that salvation is only available through the Roman Catholic Church.
He preaches a message of ‘salvation by works’, instead of through the blood of Jesus.
Today the Pope of the Roman Catholic Church misleads 1.2 Billion Catholics into believing that salvation is through them, not Jesus Christ.
An end times rebuilt Jewish temple with bloody sacrifices would be blasphemous.
Jesus is our High Priest whose blood atoned for all of our sins by His sacrifice.
If they ever do rebuild a temple in Jerusalem and restart bloody sacrifices, it will be a denial of Jesus Christ’s sacrifice and a blasphemy to God.
Such a temple could never be called “the temple of God.”
Paul’s prophetic words in 2 Thessalonians tell us that the Antichrist Son of Perdition would usurp the authority of Messiah by assuming an unauthorized position of power inside the Church.
2 Thessalonians 2:6 “And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.”
The Apostle Paul had reminded them of what he told them in person, that they should recall that it is the Roman Emperors who withheld the power of the Popes of Rome.
Pope Pius IX (1846-1878) gave this remarkable testimony, which when examined in conjunction with Daniel chapter 7, precisely identifies the little horn, the man of sin, the Antichrist power:
“The Catholic Church which was founded and instituted by Our Lord Jesus Christ to procure the eternal salvation of men, has, by reason of this divine institution, the form of a perfect society. Therefore, she must possess liberty such that she cannot be subject to any civil power in the execution of her sacred ministry.
To act with freedom, as it is just she should, she has always needed the assistance which was suitable to the conditions and the necessities of the age. It is, therefore, by a particular decree of Divine Providence that, at the fall of the Roman Empire and its partition into separate kingdoms, the Roman Pontiff, whom Christ made the head and center of his entire Church, acquired civil power.
2 Thessalonians 2:7 “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.”
Up to the beginning of the 4th century, Rome was a pagan city, and the Emperor was the high priest, called the Pontifex Maximus, of its religion.
As long as the Roman Emperor was in power, the Papal Pontifex Maximus could not take power. The last Roman Emperor was removed in 476 A.D. Shortly thereafter, in 538 A.D., the Roman Catholic Church gained religious and civil power when Eastern Emperor Justinian issued a decree making the Pope head of all churches.
Pope Pius IX proclaimed to take the place of the Roman Caesar: “The Caesar who now addresses you, and to whom alone are obedience and fidelity due.” (Pope Pius IX, in his “Discorsi” I., p253)
Roman Cardinal Manning, in his said: “From the abandonment of Rome (by Caesar) was the liberation of the Pontiffs.: “He was elevated to be, in his Divine Master’s Name King of Kings and Lord of Lords.” “The abandonment of Rome… left them free to become independent sovereigns, and to take up the sovereignty the Emperor had just laid down.” (“Temporal Power” by Cardinal Manning, Preface, p 42-46) )
2 Thessalonians 2:8, “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:”
“For true and righteous are his judgments: for he hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand.” Revelation 19:2
“And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. 20 And the beast was taken, 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 worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.” Revelation 19:19-20
2 Thessalonians 2:9, “Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,”
Revelation 13:2 “and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.”
The antichrist beast of Revelation is speaking of the same man, the office of the Papacy, the Popes of Rome.
Revelation 13:3, “And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast.”
The deadly head wound happened when the last Roman Emperor was removed from power in 476 A.D. When the Popes took his place as civil and religious leader of Rome, and took his title of Pontifex Maximus, the deadly head wound was healed.
Revelation 18:23, “And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived.”
2 Thessalonians 2:10-12, “And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”
This is speaking of those who fell away from Scriptural truth, and compromised with Rome, some of which took positions of power in Rome.
Quotes from our forefathers of the faith, about the Son of Perdition, the Popes of Rome:
Arnulf (991), the Bishop of Orleans, proclaimed the Pope as the Antichrist, sitting in the temple of God, and showing himself as God.
“deplored the roman popes as “monsters of guilt” and declared in a council called by the King of France in 991 A.D. that the pontiff, clad in purple and gold, was, “Antichrist, sitting in the temple of God, and showing himself as God.” (Phillip Schaff, History of the Christian church, 8 vols., reprint of the 3d (1910)ed. (Grand Rapids Mich.: Wm. B Eerdmans Publishing Co., n.d.)
Matthias of Janow was a fourteenth-century Bohemian ecclesiastical writer. Matthias came to be known as the Bohemian Wycliffe. He received his doctorate from the University of Paris and in 1381 became the canon in the Cathedral of Prague. His writings paved the way for the Hussite movement.
He based his conclusions about the Antichrist on II Thessalonians 2, Daniel 7 and Revelation 13 and 17. Here is one of his statements:
“The Antichrist has already come. He is neither Jew, pagan Saracean nor worldly tyrant, but the ‘man who opposes Christian truth and the Christian life by way of deception;—he is, and will be, the most wicked Christian, falsely styling himself by that name, assuming the highest station in the church, and possessing the highest consideration, arrogating dominion over all ecclesiastics and laymen;’ one who, by the working of Satan, assumes to himself power and wealth and honor, and makes the church, with its goods and sacraments, subservient to his own carnal ends.” Froom, PFF, volume 2, p. 40.
The year following that of the martyrdom of Huss and Jerome in 1416, witnessed the burning of Lord Cobham, at Smithfield.
When brought before King Henry V and admonished to submit to himself to the Pope as an obedient child, this was his answer, “As touching the Pope, and his spirituality, I owe him neither suit nor service, forasmuch as I know him by the Scriptures to be the great Antichrist, the son of perdition, the adversary of God, and an abomination standing in the Holy Place.”
For his testimony Lord Cobham was drawn on a hurdle to St. Giles Fields, and “hanged there by the middle in chains of iron and so consumed alive in the fire, praising the name of God as long as life lasted.”
Sir John Oldcastle (died in 1417) was an English Lollard leader, who was also known as Lord Cobham, was knight of Herefordshire, and a prominent follower of Wycliffe. He unequivocally stated:
“But as touching the Pope and his Spirituality, I owe them neither suit nor service, for so much as I know him by the Scriptures to be the great Antichrist, the Son of Perdition, the open Adversary of God, and the Abomination standing in the holy place.” (Froom, PFF, volume 2, p. 88.)
He spoke of the Pope in these words: “I know him by the scriptures to be the great Antichrist, the son of Perdition… Rome is the very nest of Antichrist, and out of that nest come all the disciples of him.“ Guinness, op. cit., p. 134
John Huss (a.k.a. Jan Huss, 1372-1415) was a well-educated man from Bohemia, who came under the influence of Wycliffe’s writings, which caused him to break with the church of Rome.
“The Pope is … the true Antichrist, of whom it is written, that he sitteth in the temple of God, among the people where Christ is worshiped…”
John Calvin (1509-1564) was an influential French theologian and pastor during the Protestant Reformation. Trained at the University of Paris for the priesthood, he later he studied at Bourges where he became converted, and joined the reformation cause against the Roman Catholic heresy.
“Daniel and Paul had predicted that Antichrist would sit in the temple of God…we affirm him to be the Pope…Some persons think us too severe and censorious when we call the Roman pontiff Antichrist. But those who are of this opinion do not consider that they bring the same charge of presumption against Paul himself, after whom we speak.” L. Froom, Prophetic Faith of our Fathers Volume 2 (Washington D.C: Review and Herald, 1948): 437.
Martin Luther, father of the Lutheran Church, declared “We here are of the conviction that the papacy is the seat of the true and real Antichrist.” (Source: The Prophetic Faith of Our Fathers, by LeRoy Froom. Vol. 2., pg. 121.)
“Oh Christ, my Lord, Look down upon us and bring upon us thy day of judgment and destroy the brood of Satan in Rome. There sits the man of whom the Apostle Paul wrote (2 Thess 2) That he will oppose and exalt himself above all that is called God, that man of sin, son of perdition. What else is papal power but sin and corruption? It leads souls to destruction under thine own name O Lord! I hope that day of judgement is soon to dawn. Things can and will not get worse than they are at this time. The Papal See is practicing iniquity to its heights. He suppresses the Law of God and exalts his commandments above the commandments of god.”
“Is not this to sit in the temple of God, to profess himself to be ruler in the whole Church? What is the temple of God? Is it stones and wood? Did not Paul say, The temple of God is holy, which temple ye are? To sit – what is it but to reign, to teach, and to judge? Who from the beginning of the Church has dared to call himself master of the whole Church by the pope alone?“ (Source: “Works” vol. ii., p. 385)
“Likewise in 2 Thessalonians 2, Paul clearly says that the man of sin shall rule in the Church, exalting himself against the worship of God, etc. But it is manifest that the popes do rule in the Church, and under title of the Church in defending idols. Wherefore I affirm that no heresy hath arisen, not indeed shall be, with which these descriptions of Paul can more truly and certainly accord and agree than to this Papal kingdom.”
Thomas Cranmer (1489-1556) was the Archbishop of Canterbury, he was responsible for establishing the first doctrinal and liturgical structures of the reformed Church of England.
Cranmer was tried for treason and heresy, imprisoned for two years. He was set in a tower and forced to watch the execution of Hugh Latimer and Nicholas Ridley.
He fainted at the sight of the burnings and under pressure, he renounced his faith.
At his execution on March 21, 1556, he withdrew his forced confession, and proclaimed the truth of the Protestant faith, and testified against the Pope;
“And thus he sitteth in the temple of God, as if he were a God; and nameth himself God’s vicar, and yet he dispenseth against God. If this be not to play antichrist’s part, I cannot tell what is antichrist, which is no more to say, but Christ’s enemy and adversary; who shall sit in the temple of God, advancing himself above all others, yet by hypocrisy and feigned religion, shall subvert the true religion of Christ, and under pretence and colour of Christ’s religion, shall work against Christ, and therefore hath the name of antichrist.”
“After all these sprung up the pope, that triple-crowned monster, and great antichrist, which took upon him authority, not only over the clergy but also climbed above kings and emperors, deposing them at his pleasure, and settled himself in the temple of God, that is, in the consciences of men, extolling himself above God, dispensing with good laws, and giving men leave to break them, and to regard more his decrees than the everlasting commandments of God.” Froom, PFF, volume 2, p. 392.
He was taken to where Latimer and Ridley had been burnt six months before and set on fire. He placed his hand in the fire, the hand with which he had falsely signed his renouncement of his beliefs, and said;
“This hath offended!” He held his hand in the fire never pulling it out until the fire took all of him.
John Knox (1505-1572) was a great leader of the Reformation in Scotland. He too believed that the papacy was the predicted Antichrist of Daniel. Notice his own words:
“First, then, not only are all the impious traditions and ceremonies of the papists taken away, but also that tyranny which the pope himself has for so many ages exercised over the church, is altogether abolished; and it is provided that all persons shall in the future acknowledge him to be the very antichrist, and son of perdition, of whom Paul speaks. . . . The mass is abolished, as being an accursed abomination and a diabolical profanation of the Lord’s Supper; and it is forbidden to all persons in the whole kingdom of Scotland either to celebrate or hear it.” John Knox, The Zurich Letters, p. 199.
“As for your Roman Church, as it is now corrupted… I no more doubt but that it is the synagogue of Satan, and the head therof, called the Pope, to be the man of sin of whom the apostle speaketh.” Knox, The Zurich Letters, p.199
William Fulke (1538-1589) was an English Puritan who clearly understood the identity and work of the Antichrist:
“The see being found, it is easy to find the person by St. Paul’s description; and this note especially, that excludeth the heathen tyrants, ‘He shall sit in the temple of God’: which when we see to be fulfilled in the Pope although none of the eldest Fathers could see it, because it was performed after their death, we nothing doubt to say and affirm still, that the Pope is that ‘Man of Sin,’ and ‘Son of Perdition,’ the adversary that lifteth up himself ‘above all that is called God’; and shall be destroyed by the spirit of the Lord’s mouth, and by the glory of His coming.” Froom, PFF, volume 2, p. 423.
John Napier (1550-1617) was lord of Merchiston. He was a distinguished mathematician who invented logarithms and was also an ardent defender of the Protestant cause. In 1593 Napier completed his Plaine Discovery of the Whole Revelation of Saint John. This was the first significant Scottish work on the interpretation of Scripture, particularly the prophecies. He identified Rome as the whore of Revelation:
“There is one particular Apostalik kingdome, who is the chief and principall of all Antichrists, and is that great Antichrist, whom Paul calles the man of sinne, and the sonne of perdition, adversary to God, and an extoller of himself above all that is called God, with divers other epithets conteined. . . . Leaving therefore all other smaller Antichrists, this great Antichrist and chiefe heade of all Antichrists, is he whome here we have to trie out, whom (for remooving of all doubts) wee say cannot be the Mahomet, neither any Turk, lewe, or Ethnick.” Froom, PFF, volume 2, p. 461.
The Church of Scotland Confession of Faith declared the Pope as the Antichrist, the man of sin and son of perdition.
‘ There is no other Head of the Church than the Lord Jesus Christ, nor can the Pope of Rome be in any sense the Head thereof ; but is that antichrist, that man of sin and son of perdition, that exalteth himself in the church against Christ, and all that is called God.’ Ch. xxv. s. 6. (Ibid, p. 44)
The Confession of the Westminster Assembly of Divines in 1647 (a confession ratified and established by Act of Parliament in 1649) states, “There is no other Head of the Church but the Lord Jesus Christ. Nor can the Pope of Rome in any sense be head thereof, but is that Antichrist, that Man of Sin, and son of perdition, that exalteth himself in the Church against Christ, and all that is called God.”
The Articles of the Church of Ireland, drawn up in 1615, declare “The Bishop of Rome is so far from being the Supreme Head of the Universal Church, that his works and his doctrines do plainly discover him to be that “Man of Sin” foretold in the Holy Scriptures, whom the Lord shall consume with the Spirit of His mouth, and abolish with the brightness of His coming.”
The London Baptist Confession of 1689, proclaims that the Popes of Rome is the antichrist, that man of sin, and son of perdition, that exalteth himself in the church against Christ.
“The Lord Jesus Christ is the Head of the church, in whom, by the appointment of the Father, all power for the calling, institution, order or government of the church, is invested in a supreme and sovereign manner; neither can the Pope of Rome in any sense be head thereof, but is that antichrist, that man of sin, and son of perdition, that exalteth himself in the church against Christ, and all that is called God; whom the Lord shall destroy with the brightness of his coming.” (Ibid.)
Westminster Confession of Faith states that the Popes of Rome is the antichrist, that man of sin, and son of perdition, that exalteth himself in the church against Christ.
This confession was ratified and established by Act of Parliament in 1649.
The Westminster Confession of Faith declared, “There is no other head of the church but the Lord Jesus Christ, nor can the Pope of Rome in any sense be head thereof, but is that antichrist, that man of sin, and son of perdition, that exalteth himself in the church against Christ, and all that is called God.” (Source: Chapter 25, Point 6)
Roger William (1603-1683), who lived in the early Colonial period, the first Baptist Pastor in America, was a staunch defender of civil and religious freedom. He had to flee the Massachusetts Bay Colony in the dead of winter because he believed in the strict separation of church and state. In fact, the “wall” metaphor can be traced back to Roger Williams long before it was used by Thomas Jefferson.
He spoke of the Pope as “the pretended Vicar of Christ on earth, who sits as God over the Temple of God, exalting himself not only above all that is called God, but over the souls and consciences of all his vassals, yea over the Spirit of Christ, over the Holy Spirit, yea, and God himself…speaking against the God of heaven, thinking to change times and laws; but he is the son of perdition (II Thess. 2).” Taken from The Prophetic Faith of Our Fathers by Froom, Vol. 3, pg. 52.
John Wesley (1703-1791), an Anglican cleric and Christian theologian, was largely credited, along with his brother Charles Wesley, as founding the Methodist movement.
“He is in an emphatical sense, the Man of Sin, as he increases all manner of sin above measure. And he is, too, properly styled the Son of Perdition, as he has caused the death of numberless multitudes, both of his opposers and followers… He it is…that exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped…claiming the highest power, and highest honour…claiming the prerogatives which belong to God alone.” (Source: Antichrist and His Ten Kingdoms, by John Wesley, pg. 110.)
“The whole succession of popes from Gregory VII. are undoubtedly Antichrist. Yet this hinders not, but that the last pope in this succession will be more eminently the Antichrist, The man of sin, adding to that of his predecessors, a peculiar degree of wickedness from the bottomless pit.” (Explanatory notes upon the New Testament, John Wesley, Vol. II, 1813, p. 431)
Next Revelation Timeline Decoded Bible Study: The Iron/Clay Feet Of Daniel 2