The man of lawlessness in Jehovah’s temple. Part 1
The mystery has been revealed. The historical background.
Box of answers- for everyone
There are many opinions about the man of lawlessness from 2Th.2:2-4, but the historical background of his manifestation and the Biblical meaning of all spiritual concepts mentioned in 2Th.2:1-4,8 will help us to recognize the one. The apostle Paul writes about the expectation of the day when Jesus returns (Parousia) and the holy ones will gather unto him (in heavens, 2Th.2:1-3). But this day will not come until important events take place. Let’s list them in stages:
1) The apostasy will come to the temple of God (2Th.2:3a; it is about the Sovereign Lord Jehovah, the God, and the Father of Jesus Christ, Joh.20:17; Job.34:12; Rev.21:22; Ex.15:3);
2) the man of lawlessness will sit in Jehovah’s temple (2Th.2:4). After this, Jesus —
3) shall consume him with the spirit of his mouth and —
4) shall destroy with the brightness of his coming (2Th.2:8), which will mark the expected day of the meeting with Christ (the second coming of Christ).
Although the «day» from 2Th.2:2 is translated differently (Christ’s day, Lord’s day, Jehovah’s day, New World Translation), in the context, it is clear that it talks about the second coming of Christ (He returns and becomes king, 2Th.1-3,8). After the Great Tribulation (GT) and the second woe (Rev.11:14,15, see video 1.29), he will become king, appear on the clouds, and gather 144,000 to heaven (during the last 7th trumpet, Mt.24:29-31; 1Cor.15:52; 1Th.4:16,17; Rev.11:15).
To facilitate an understanding of such a complex theme as “The man of lawlessness in Jehovah’s temple,” let’s call the day of the second coming of Christ (presence, NWT), described by the apostle Paul in 2Th.2:1-3,8, as «Christ’s day» (the day of Christ, who came back to execute Jehovah’s judgments). And let’s display on the diagram all the stages of the events listed above.
Now, let’s clarify the meaning of each stage separately. Let’s start with 2) the man of lawlessness will sit in Jehovah’s temple.
After ascertaining the meaning of Jehovah’s temple, we will understand where to expect the appearance of the man of lawlessness and where to expect the apostasy (1st stage). This theme is complicated. Pay attention. So, what does the temple of Jehovah mean?
Clearly, it is NOT the literal temple of Jehovah in Jerusalem. This was destroyed by the Romans in 70 C.E. From then on, God does not live in temples built by human hands. In the New Testament era, He has a new, living spiritual «House,” which is the congregations of the followers of Christ (Mt.24:1,2; Ac.17:24,25; 1Pe.2:4,5; 1Cor.3:16).
Hence, before the second coming of Christ, there will be a temple where they will worship specifically Jehovah, the God of Israel and the Father of Jesus Christ (John 20:17), and no one else. With this «House» of Jehovah, the judgment will start before the end of this system of things (1Pet.4:17). There has never been, and there will never be, other temples of God.
The temple of God from 2Th.2:4 can be neither the whole human world, as some may think (God is far away from the world that does not recognize Him, Pr.15:29; 2Cor.6:14), nor a false religion, where Jehovah is not worshipped. The foundation of the living temple of God is His anointed ones and the knowledge foundations of sound Bible teaching about God, His Christ, and the purpose for mankind (1Cor.3:16; 2Tim.1:13; 1Joh.2:20,27; Mal.2:7; 1Pet.2:9).
Jehovah cannot be where there is no anointed Christians and the correct spiritual knowledge. Recall Jehovah’s people in the times of the Old Testament (OT). In that temple, people also were attracted by human teachings and retreated from Jehovah, but the temple in Jerusalem did not become a place of false worship because the basics of correct knowledge about Jehovah were always preserved there (Mark.7, John 4:22).
Considering places of false worship as the «temple of Jehovah,» where Jehovah is not worshiped, means to distort the very essence of the holiness of Jehovah, the God of truth, who is far from everything false. (The father of lies is the Devil, and what can the darkness have in common with light? John 8:44; 2Cor.6:14). If the temple in the times of the Old Testament and Judea had become a place of false worship, God would not have brought His Christ from there.
So, the conclusion about God’s temple from 2Th.2:4 is: This is the living “House” of Jehovah, congregations of His worshippers, existing before the second coming of Jesus Christ and the end of this system of things. Having learned the meaning of the temple of God, we determined the place of the appearance of the man of lawlessness from the prophecy of Paul. (Who does not accept Jehovah and believes that the true temple of God is the church he goes to – expect the man of lawlessness there.)
Since two temples of Jehovah were shown in the New Testament – congregations of Christ’s followers in the first century (devoured by the apostasy) and congregations of Christ’s followers in the 20th century (restored worship of Jehovah,Isa.2:2; Mic.4:1,2), let’s find out the time of the apostasy in Paul’s prophecy. It will point to one of these two temples in which the man of lawlessness will be destroyed with the brightness of Christ’s coming. Let’s recall the stages (after we clarify the meaning of the temple).
So, in which of the two temples should the apostasy from 2Th.2:3 be expected? Let’s determine the time of the lawless one’s presence, knowing these events will coincide in time: Great Tribulation and the second woe, gathering of the 144,000 to heaven; Jesus’ consumption of the man of lawlessness with the spirit of his mouth, and his destruction with the brightness of Christ’s coming (2Th.1-4,8). Also, other events of the historical background of the apostle Paul’s prophecy will be added. (We’ll learn about them later.)
The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society teaches that 2Th.2:3 talks about the apostasy in God’s temple in the first century, which made its way into true Christianity after the death of the apostles. (After the Council of Nicaea in 325 AD, people began to worship not Jehovah, but His Christ.) Therefore, according to the teaching of the Watch Tower Society, the man of lawlessness is the clergy of unfaithful Christendom.
And exposing the false teachings of the clergy of Christendom by Russell and his close associates at the turn of the 19th and 20th century should be considered “the consumption of the man of lawlessness with the spirit of Jesus’ mouth”(2Th.2:8a) by means of the two witnesses from Rev.11:3-6. But is it really so? In this teaching, the chain of the events and the meaning of the “consumption of the man of lawlessness with the spirit of Christ’s mouth» (3rd stage) is consistent with the Bible.
The consumption of the man of lawlessness with the spirit of Jesus’ mouth actually means the exposing activity of the two prophets from Rev.11:3-6 (Jesus himself will not expose the man of lawlessness literally), walking the streets of Jerusalem-Sodom (the capital of the man of lawlessness, the center of the leadership of the people of Jehovah, Rev.11:8). However, the time of the history of the fulfillment of these events in the Watch Tower Society is not defined correctly. Why?
The historical background of the man of lawlessness in the temple of God shows that, besides the events listed above (Great Tribulation, the second coming of Christ, the gathering of the 144,000 to heaven, the exposure of the man of lawlessness and his destruction, 2Th.1-4;8), there will be others. For example, the two prophets will be killed by the beast from the abyss by the last king of the North (Rev.11:7, 13:3,5-7; Dan.7:25; 11:45; watch video 1.25 about the king of the North, the governor of the Russian Federation).
At this time, the temple of God, where the man of lawlessness will be exposed by two prophets, has two spiritual courtyards (the anointed and people with earthly hope.Rev.11:1,2). And after the Great Tribulation and after the two prophets have been killed, Jesus will appear on a cloud and gather the 144,000 along with the two prophets (Matt.24:29-31; Rev.11:12,14,15; 1Th.4:16,17; 1Cor.15:52).
Аs we can see, many events must coincide from the historical background of the manifestation of the man of lawlessness in the temple. But at the turn of the 19-20 centuries AD, there were neither two courtyards in the temple where the man of lawlessness was, nor the last King of the North, nor the appearance of Christ on the clouds, nor the gathering of the 144,000 to heaven. A remnant of the 144,000 are yet alive on earth. (Brothers from the Governing Body believe they are the anointed remnant.) Here is the diagram of the four stages of the manifestation of the man of lawlessness.
There are question marks on the diagram. They are placed near events that must be fulfilled in the historical background of the Biblical meaning of the man of lawlessness but have not been fulfilled in the explanation of the Watch Tower Society. (Great Tribulation and the second woe must coincide with the time of the last King of the North, video 1.29.) Plus, the murder of the two prophets in 1918 (according to the explanation of the Watch Tower Society) is also wrong. They would’ve been killed before 1914. (According to the Bible, first they are «killed», and after, Jesus becomes king (Rev.11:7:15). Let’s look at the diagram:
As we can see, although the Watch Tower Society showed the chain of the events of the manifestation of the man of lawlessness, the turn of the 19-20 centuries AD for his exposure does not correspond to the historical background predicted by Paul and clarified by John (2Th.2:1-4,8, Rev.11:1-7). Hence, Paul was not speaking about the temple of the 1st century AD but about Jehovah’s temple, restored in the 20th century AD (Mic.4:1). So, the apostasy will penetrate Jehovah’s people nowadays.
What then was fulfilled in the 4th century? At that time, Acts 20:29.30 and Amos 8:11.12 came true. After the death of the apostles, a tremendous spiritual hunger came with the impossibility to know the truth, which was possible before. According to the book of Moses, kept at the priesthood of the temple of the OT, up to the first century AD, it was possible to learn the truth about Jehovah and His requirements if desired (the example of Hezekiah, Josiah).
After the apostasy penetrated Christianity, none of the people on Earth (from 4th to 20th centuries AD) had the opportunity to know the truth about Jehovah for 16 centuries because of the false worship that annihilated the truth and the lack of free access to the Bible. The worship of Jehovah was destroyed (after 325 AD, people began to worship Jesus Christ), and in this period of time, Jehovah did not have His congregations (temple).
But in the last days, the worship of Jehovah began to be reestablished, and the spiritual hunger could be satisfied again (Is.2:2; Mic. 4:1). And this opportunity to learn the right foundations of the Bible truth will remain until the end of this system of things (at least up to the 4th bowl of the anger, Matt.24:14, Rev.16:8, 9). This fact is another note to the historical background of the manifestation of the man of lawlessness.
The opportunity to learn the truth in the restored «temple» of Jehovah until the end of this system of things (Mic.4:1; Mt.24:14) indicates that the exposure of the man of lawlessness by two prophets before the end of this system of things can be fulfilled only in the era of the worldwide preaching work, because it also occurs before the end of this system of things (which could not have happened at the turn of the 19th and-20th centuries AD in the beginning of the restoration of Jehovah’s worship).
So, the second coming of Christ, exposing the man of lawlessness in Jehovah’s temple, and prognosticating the end of this system of things (2Th.2:8) will take place against the background of the worldwide preaching work (Matt.24:3;14), after which the end of this system of things will come. The second coming and the worldwide preaching are in one segment of the historical background. Let’s display these thoughts on the diagram:
It remains to find out the meaning of stage 4): the destruction of the man of lawlessness with the brightness of Christ’s coming (2Th.2:8b). This moment is described in Rev.11:13a: During the manifestation of Christ on a cloud at the 7th trumpet and the gathering of all the 144,000 (including the two prophets), Jerusalem-Sodom will «split» … Part of the leadership of Jehovah’s people will reject two prophets (7,000 will die); the rest will recognize them, glorifying God (Rev. 11:12,13a,15; 1Cor.15:52; 1Th.4:16,17).
These 7,000 will be recognized as the man of lawlessness. The split will show that the man of lawlessness is identified and sentenced; the death of the 7,000 means his extermination (Jehovah’s rejection of them forever) at the time of the split. If they die before Armageddon, they will not be resurrected. And if they live, they will die in Armageddon along with the rest of the wicked of the Earth (Matt. 25:41-46).
Total: the man of lawlessness, from 2Th.2:2-4, should be found in the temple of Jehovah nowadays, since all events of the historical background in which he will be exposed will coincide in time, including the worldwide preaching work (Matt.24:14), which could not have been at the turn of the 19-20th centuries AD, when Jehovah’s worship had just begun to be restored. See the full historical background diagram:
In the following video, if God wills, we will learn the meaning of the man of lawlessness and the fruits of the activities resulting from his work.
Jehovah’s Witnesses , “Box of answers”.