This Falling Away of 2 Thessalonians 2 study shows how the Popes of Rome fulfill the role of the man of sin and son of perdition.
In the 4th century Athanasius taught that the Antichrist of prophecy would prove to be heretical ruler of the Roman Empire, making a Christian profession, “I am Christ,” assuming Christ’s place and character, like Satan transformed into an angel of light.
Cyril of Jerusalem, a distinguished theologian 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 Jerusalem, but in the Churches everywhere.” Elliott, Horae, IV, p. 316
2 Thessalonians 2:3 “for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first“
That is, there shall be a general falling away from the purity of the faith.
When Emperor Constantine joined the idol worship of pagan Roman with Christianity, it created the beginnings of the Roman Catholic Church. After several centuries of severe persecution in Rome, many Christians compromised their beliefs to be exalted in Rome.
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“
The Pope’s of Rome have historically committed grievous sins of lying, sexual perversion, deception, murder, idolatry, worshiping other gods such as the Baal Sun god and the Queen of Heaven, etc.
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 “who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped,”
The Popes have proclaimed to be God, so they are opposing and exalting themselves above the one true God.
The Popes have proclaimed to be Jesus Christ in the flesh, so they are opposing and exalting themselves above the true Christ.
The Popes have proclaimed to provide forgiveness of sins, so they are opposing and exalting themselves above the true Messiah.
The Popes have proclaimed to provide salvation, so they are opposing and exalting themselves above the true Redeemer.
2 Thessalonians 2:4 “ 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 2:3-4, 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.
“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.”
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.
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.
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; and proclaiming to be God.
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.”
Pope Pius V blasphemed that “The Pope and God are the same, so he has all power in Heaven and earth.”
Pope Leo XIII declared, “We hold upon this earth the place of God Almighty.”
(Source: Pope Leo XIII Encyclical Letter, June 20, 1894)
Paul places the Son of Perdition nowhere else than in the very sanctuary of God.
Human ambition could rise no higher. The Pope boldly laid claim to the attributes and prerogatives of Deity.
He represented the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. He claimed to rule in three worlds, Heaven, Earth and Hell; and in token thereof was crowned with a triple crown. He paraded himself before the world as the infallible Teacher of faith and morals. Exalted above bishops, above councils, above kings, above conscience, from his decisions there was no appeal.
He was the supreme Judge of mankind. Lifted up to sit on the high altar of St. Peter’s, the chiefest Church in Christendom, he was publicly adored, cardinals, the princes of the Church, kissing in turn his feet; bishops bending log before him in deepest reverence; and nations worshiping him as the visible representative of the Godhead, possessed of power to pardon sins on earth, to canonize saints in heaven, to loose souls from the pains of purgatory in the world beneath; to judge, to govern, to bless, to save mankind; whose sentences, clothed with the authority of God, were inherently, irreversible, irrevocable, final and everlasting.
An end times rebuilt Jewish temple with bloody sacrifices would be blasphemous, as Yahshua 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 Jesus Christ by assuming an unauthorized position of power inside the Christian Church.
That is exactly what the Popes of Rome have done for the last 1,400+ years.
2 Thessalonians 2:5-6 “Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time. ”
Paul had given the Thessalonians more information in person, when it was safe to share it. But in his letter he could not point directly to the Roman Empire, as that would have incurred more persecution from Rome.
So he was reminding them that the Roman Emperors were restraining the antichrist Son of Perdition from coming to 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.”
During the 1st – 3rd centuries, the Roman Bishops were working to establish themselves in the Roman Empire.
And now they had opportunity to influence the commands of Emperor Constantine, as he created Roman Christianity, which would pervert the teachings of the Holy Scripture, under the guise of Christianity.
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.
With the Roman Emperor out of the way, the Popes of Rome seized power.
They reigned as the sea beast of Revelation 13, for 1,260 years, from 538-1798 A.D.
To see how the Popes of Rome fulfill the prophecies in Daniel and Revelation,
read All Roads Lead To Rome.
2 Thessalonians 2:8 “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”
Paul is telling them that once the Roman Emperor is removed the lawless one, the man of sin, the son of perdition, the Pope of Rome; would be revealed.
The office of the Papacy fulfills the role of the Antichrist beast of Revelation 13, who will be captured and thrown into the pit.
2 Thessalonians 2:9 “The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders,”
With the Roman Empire collapsing internally and then being attacked by army after army, Satan lost his power over this great empire.
He responded by empowering the Popes of Rome, to take control of Rome, to seek to destroy the Church of Christ from within.
The Popes of Rome have claimed that many miracles are the sign that they are the true church; such as appearances of the Virgin Mary, tears from the statue of the Virgin Mary, etc.
There is the power claimed of performing a miracle at the pleasure of the priest by the change of bread and wine into the “body and blood, the soul and divinity” of the Lord Jesus.
2 Thessalonians 2:10 “and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.”
Those who clung to the Word of God as their authority were not deceived by the teachings of the Popes of Rome.
Those who did not love and search out the Word of God, embraced the teachings of the Popes, and so were deceived and lost.
Jerome (347-420 A.D.), in interpreting Paul’s Man of Sin, declares that he “is to sit in the temple, that is in the Church.” “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.”
2 Thessalonians 2:11-12 “And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”
The deception of Rome continues today, and those who simply trust the Catholic Pope and priests, believe the lies of a false salvation message of the seven sacraments; instead of by faith in the atoning work of Christ.
The deceptions of Rome permeate the Protestant Churches so, and many Christians are strongly deluded about the Sabbath, the Holy Feast Days, the names of the Father and Son, and about prophecy fulfillment.
Next Study: Easter Replaced The Holy Feast Day Of Passover