“And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming.” (2 Thessalonians 2:8)
For decades, even centuries, men have been trying in vain to discover who the coming man of sin shall be, and what his name is. They have labored in such fervor, relentless in their pursuit of identifying the evil one, touting possible names such as Ronald Reagan, Henry Kissinger, George W. Bush, and many more, all attempting to solve one of the more intriguing mysteries this side of heaven. Yet with all of their fervor, all of their dedication in summoning something, anything that would reveal to the world, as well as the church, exactly who the coming man of sin is, they have failed to understand, nor even grasp that chances are, they will never know – until it’s too late. And for good reason, maybe they were never meant to in the first place?
It’s actually hard to fathom to think about, but there are two glaring possibilities at play that we need to keep in mind when we dwell on the prophetic future, especially to that which pertains to such events which will change the world as we know it; That one, God has purposely hid the future dark King from being recognized, and second (and very telling to say the least) is that the church won’t even know, nor even recognize him at all when he does appear onto the world stage!
Still, when we examine the word of God, it clearly states who this being is, as well as gives us his name, but shall the evil one go under his given name by which he continues to reign in the bottomless pit? Or shall he take upon himself a more human name, yet keeping his full identity in secrecy? We truly don’t know the full answer to this question, however, when we read scripture upon scripture, we know this, #1, He won’t be revealed until his time has been allotted. #2, He will not come in his own name, but by something else. Yet what bothers me more is the fact that when we study out the word, it’s not so much that God withholds this vital piece of information from us when that day arrives, it’s more that we won’t know when he comes because we will be so deluded by the cares of this life that virtually no one will even catch it until it’s too late. Don’t believe me? Ask those German’s who are still alive today who watched with amazement of the rise of one Adolf Hitler and then ask them, “Why didn’t you know? Couldn’t you see it?” Their answer will astonish you.
There is a very remarkable scene, actually it plays itself out throughout the entire film in “Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith” in which Anakin Skywalker becomes Lord Vador. In one pivotal scene, where Anakin discovers the truth about Senator Palpatine, that he is in fact a dark Sith – Lord Sidious. That Anakin realizes, but all too late, that the Jedi council, as well as the Senate, has been seduced, even blinded by this powerful dark being, that none of the Jedi even recognized who he truly was. That was the power of the dark side.
Although a fictional movie, there is still very much truth to this in real life. I had mentioned briefly about Hitler, asking the question many would pose to those still living who were there when Hitler rose to power, did they not know what Adolf was planning? Did they not see the darkness he desired for all of Germany? Why could they not see Adolf for who he was? An evil man who would thrust the world into a second world war, and cause the death of millions of Jews and Christians? The simple reason why most of the German people supported Hitler in his rise, as well as throughout the remaining weeks of the war, was due to his continuing promise to keep Germany, as well as the people safe. He promised them what they wanted to hear.
This leads us back to our question; Will the church recognize the man of sin when he arrives? And the answer is – probably not. The Apostle Paul mentions to us something interesting in 2 Timothy 4:3 “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions,” It is quite clear from the scripture Paul presents, that at some point in the last days just prior to the return of Christ, and just before the unleashing of the evil one upon the world, there will be such a departure from the faith that many will simply no longer have any desire for the things of God, or they will succumb to the lie that will unfold before all the world to see.
Jesus warned in Matthew 24:11 that many will rise up deceiving many. In 1 Timothy 4:1 Paul says that many who call themselves Christian, will follow after [strange] false signs and wonders. In 2 Thessalonians 2:3 Paul warns not to be deceived by what is coming in the last years on this earth. Do you notice the pattern? What are Jesus, Peter, James, John and even Paul warning about? They are warning us not to be swept away from strong delusion in the coming days which lay ahead. Yet unfortunately we can see in our current world the modern church being seduced, entangled into false signs and wonders, charlatans, and the rise of numerous false prophets in this late hour.
This is why, based on everything I am seeing today, that the church, and those who walk in it, who call themselves believers in Christ, will most likely not even recognize the man of sin when he arrives on the world stage. Not because God purposely hid him from sight, but because our eyes and ears (spiritually speaking) could not, nor will not recognize the very one who will make war with the church in the last days until it’s too late. Remember, the Jews never suspected Jesus when he arrived, nor did his disciples, even Peter, the only disciple surrounding Christ, like the other 11, only thru the Holy Spirit, did Peter recognize who Jesus was. Even John the Baptist was not sure, even though he baptized the Lord, John sent his own disciples to ask the Lord if he was indeed the one who was promised to come to redeem man from sin. Yet Jesus had to rebuke Israel for not knowing who he was, and he had to remind his own who he was, why? Because they could not discern.
God help us to keep our eyes and ears open to what is occurring throughout the world, for while I suggest that the church probably not recognize him when the evil one comes, still, I believe, there will be some, like Peter, who are filled with the power of the Holy Spirit, and will immediately recognize him for who he is – the greatest evil ever known to man.
From my desk in China,