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5 Things to Know about the Man of Lawlessness

5 Things to Know about the Man of Lawlessness

If you are going to study the last days, you are going to be confronted with this person known as the man of lawlessness, which is another name for the antichrist. I remember back in the 1980s, (that makes me feel so old saying that) there was a buzz in the air among Christians because many believed Jesus was going to return in that decade. During that time, I remember having a conversation with a friend trying to figure out who the antichrist was. We went through our speculations, trying to identify different prospects, and of course, they were all wrong. As I have gotten older (and hopefully wiser) I have stopped trying to figure out who is the man of lawlessness in the Bible. The reason is the Bible does not give us his exact name or identity, however, what it does give us are some of his characteristics and some of the circumstances surrounding his appearance. From that viewpoint, I want to share with you five things we know about this man of lawlessness.

Here are 5 things we know about the man of lawlessness:

The main chapter in the Bible that speaks about the man of lawlessness is 2 Thessalonians, specifically in chapter two. I encourage you to read that chapter because this is where these five things come from.

1. The man of lawlessness will appear suddenly.

"Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction." - 2 Thessalonians 2:3

One thing to recognize about Satan is that he mimics everything God does. The relationship between the man of lawlessness and Satan will be an unholy mimicking and reflection of the relationship between God the Father and Jesus Christ. As Christ represented the Father on the earth, the man of lawlessness will represent Satan. He will follow his lead and do his bidding in the last days of the earth. This man of lawlessness will even appear in the earth in a similar pattern to Jesus. For example, Jesus lived 30 years in relative obscurity before his ministry began, and then he was thrust onto the world scene and became known. The same will be true of the man of lawlessness. I am not saying he will live 30 years before he is revealed, but he will be a person in relative obscurity before he is made known to the world. He will quickly ascend to notoriety on the world stage, and many will look to him as the hope for the world.

2. The man of lawlessness will oppose God.

"He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God." – 2 Thessalonians 2:4

Taking another page from the Satanic playbook this man will set himself up as God. He won’t do this immediately, but he will do this eventually which ties back to Satan’s desires from the beginning. Remember the one thing Satan has always wanted was to sit on the throne and to be worshipped as God. This has never changed. The man of lawlessness will oppose and attempt to tear down everything that is Godly, making himself the one who should be worshipped and followed. It is important to note this spirit of lawlessness is already at work in the earth. Whenever there is rebellion or opposition against anything that is Godly, this reflects the spirit of lawlessness at work. We are seeing the impact of this in the world today.

3. The man of lawlessness is held back by the Holy Spirit.

"And now you know what is holding him back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time. For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way." – 2 Thessalonians 2:6-7

The thing that prevents this man from being revealed at this time, is the Holy Spirit and the presence of the church, meaning the true body of Christ. The Spirit of God is now at work in the hearts of men calling them to repentance. The Holy Spirit is keeping this man from being revealed but at the proper time, the Holy Spirit will allow this man to step forward and rule in the earth. For those who believe in a pre-tribulation rapture, which I do, I believe this holding back will continue until the church is raptured. Once the rapture of the church happens the man of lawlessness will be allowed to make his presence known. Until that time even if he is alive right now, which is possible depending on when the rapture happens, he will remain in obscurity until the church is out of the way.

4. The man of lawlessness will operate in deception.

"The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie, 10 and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved." – 2 Thessalonians 2:9-10

The man of lawlessness will be a master deceiver, just as Satan is. Remember Satan likes to mimic God and the antichrist will mimic everything Jesus did. He will come with signs, wonders, and displays of power, but his motivation will be quite different. While Jesus came to die and redeem mankind, this man will come to deceive and destroy. His goal is to assist in sealing the eternal fate of those who hate the truth and refuse to follow God. Just as Satan is great at what he does, so will the antichrist be.

5. The man of lawlessness is doomed for destruction.

"And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming." – 2 Thessalonians 2:8

This man’s reign will be short-lived. The reign of the antichrist will occur during the Great Tribulation, he will have seven years to make his impact on the earth. However, his end is already determined. When Christ returns, the man of lawlessness will be destroyed and sealed to the eternal doom that is awaiting him.

Stop looking for the antichrist.

As I have shared with you some things about who is the man of lawlessness in the Bible, I want to encourage you to do something. Stop looking for the antichrist. I will take it a step further, don’t even try to figure out who it could be. I have yet to find a place in scripture that tells us we should be looking for the man of lawlessness or even trying to figure out who he is. What we should be doing is looking for Jesus Christ and anticipating his return. When you are looking for Jesus to return you will be motivated to live right and hopefully do what he wants you to do before he returns. Looking for the man of lawlessness can lead you to discussions and debates that can distract you from what God wants you to do. Before Jesus left, he gave us signs to look for, but these signs were the signs of his coming, not for the coming of the man of lawlessness. For this reason, let your heart and eyes be looking for Jesus to come back because even though it seems like every generation says this, his return could happen at any moment. Let the focus of your heart be looking for and anticipating his return and doing what he has asked you to do until he comes.

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Clarence L. Haynes Jr. is a speaker, Bible teacher, and co-founder of The Bible Study Club.  He is the author of The Pursuit of Purpose which will help you understand how God leads you into his will. He has also just released his new book The Pursuit of Victory: How To Conquer Your Greatest Challenges and Win In Your Christian Life. Do you want to go deeper in your walk with the Lord but can’t seem to overcome the stuff that keeps getting in the way? This book will teach you how to put the pieces together so you can live a victorious Christian life and finally become the man or woman of God that you truly desire to be. To learn more about his ministry please visit