The Man of Lawlessness


Dr. John Hoole – February 17, 2019



Almost every day, it seems, we hear of a new scam to cheat victims out of their money, leaving them angry, embarrassed and in financial straits.  Occasionally, even established and respectful institutions are fooled by polished and practiced presentations that convince them to invest in a surefire opportunity.  Too late they discover it was a well-executed fly-by-night con job.


One of the reasons such fraudulent schemes flourish is because they play on what people want to hear.  “Here’s a quick way to make you money.”  “I can save you a lot of time and trouble if you give me your Social Security Number.


Nobody likes to admit that he has been conned.  Our world is filled with con artists, liars and thieves who seek to defraud us.  But the Bible warns us about the greatest deceiver of all—Satan, the Devil.  He is a liar and the father of all lies (John 8:44).


But Satan’s biggest con jobs is yet to come.  The apostle Paul wanted his Thessalonian readers to expect a “falling away” in the last days.  And after that, a truly golden-mouthed man will be revealed to the world.


2 Thessalonians 2:3 NKJV


3       Let no one deceive you by any means; for that day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition,


The Greek word for , “falling away,” is APOSTASIA, from which we deriver our English word, apostasy.  Paul’s message to Timothy was similar.


1 Timothy 4:1 NKJV


1.      Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons,


The increasing apostasy will culminate in the rise of a powerful figure who, as we will see, is known by several titles.  Once the foundation of lawlessness is laid and apostasy has reached a climax, this figure will appear not as an evil, despotic ruler but a winsome world-class leader who promises peace.  He is a con man par excellence, but we can piece together his true nature by examining his names and key references to him throughout Scripture.




The most common name for this figure is “The Antichrist” in 1st and 2nd John.  As we read a moment ago, Paul calls him the “Man of Sin,” in 2 Thessalonians 2:3, and in the same verse, he calls him “the Son of perdition.”  The apostle John identifies him as “The Beast” in Revelation 13:1-10.  There are at least 5 additional titles given of this figure in the Bible.


You might wonder how the world could be so fooled by this imposter.  We must not think, however, that just because these names are used of the Antichrist .that when he comes upon the world scene, he will appear to be very repulsive.  Rather, he will talk about justice and love and peace and prosperity.  He will be both brilliant and eloquent.


Daniel 7:8 tells us he has a “mouth speaking great things.” (Rev. 13:5 says the same)  In short, like Satan himself, this man will appear as an angel of light.  He will be hailed by millions as a superman who will save mankind.  The truth is that countless people will have been held under a cloak of darkness all along.  The reason we see lawlessness in the world today, and increasing is because, 1 John 4:3 tells us that the spirit of Antichrist is now already in the world.


It appears in our country that the “spirit of antichrist” is getting stronger by the day.  I scan the world’s news every morning, especially the Middle East and America.  I am often tempted to think, ΅I am no longer in America.”  I am exaggerating, of course, but only a little,


Although I know that things will get worse and worse in this world, it is happening at such a pace that it really surprises me.  The focus of our present lawlessness is:  If it is mentioned in the Bible, it will be rejected.  Christianity is the largest target of this rebellion and lawlessness.  Almost weekly I see changes I never thought I would see in my lifetime.  There has always been a stark difference between a godly life as the Scriptures describe it and life in our fallen world, but lately the contrast has grown even more stark.  The changes we have experienced in the United States and the world have been more numerous, more consequential and more threatening than any in my lifetime,


When we receive Christ, we receive the Holy Spirit and we are then able to see and understand spiritual things.  But those without Christ cannot see these clear truths.  We read in Scripture that the gospel is veiled “to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded” (2 Corinthians 4:3-4)


2 Corinthians 4:3-4 NKJV


3       But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing,

4       whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.


I quote Dr. David Jeremiah, from his book, “I Never Thought I Would See the Day;”


“These unprecedented times demand unprecedented discernment from Christians.  I don’t know what the future holds, but my commitment to God is to do whatever I can to bring biblical light to bear on these challenging times.”


I want you to now ponder something.  What would happen if God’s people were no longer around to combat the growing lawlessness of those whom the truth remains veiled?  That is the significance of an event commonly referred to as the Rapture.  Some of the details of this event is mentioned in 1 Thessalonians 4.


1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 NKJV


16     For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.

17     Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.


The phrase “caught up” is the translation of the Greek word HARPAZO, pronounced, Har-Pod-zo.  This phrase literally means “to take by force.”  We get our English word, rapture, from the Latin word for the same term.  These will be days of foreboding on the face of the earth as the “mystery of lawlessness” that was spoken about ages ago is now coming to pass.  What started with the fall of Lucifer will have intensified and reached a new level.


2 Thessalonians 2:9-12 NKJV


9       The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders,

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.

11     And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie,

12     that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.


It may surprise you that it is God who sends the “strong delusions” on the inhabitants of the earth.  This is in response to their denial of the truth and rejection of Christ.  In place of the truth, they will now believe a lie, as we just read.  We see a similar action on the part of God in the book of Isaiah.


Isaiah 66:4 NKJV


4       So will I choose their delusions, and bring their fears on them; Because, when I called, no one answered, When I spoke they did not hear; but they did evil before My eyes, and chose that in which I do not delight."


People in the last days will be looking for a savior of the world, and, having rejected Jesus Christ, will gladly welcome the Antichrist and yield to his authority.  Isn’t this exactly what Christ prophesied would happen,


John 5:43 NKJV


43     I have come in My Father's name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, him you will receive.


They are deceived by identity theft in the highest level.  All too soon will the world discover that its newly chosen leader, who promised peace and prosperity, is actually a pawn of Satan, who quickly reverts to his true nature of evil and violence.  And it will be violence at a level the world has never before seen.


The influx and acceptance of the demonic into our culture will pave the way for entrance of this individual so sinister that he will make all the despotic rulers of the past look like amateurs.


For generations – even for centuries – Satan has been waiting to empower someone as a puppet whom he can control to rule over the world.  He tried to tempt Jesus in the wilderness with his hollow offer of all the kingdoms of the world (Matthew 4:8-9).  But Jesus refused to settle for an earthly kingdom when a heavenly one awaited Him.


Already in this world are we seeing an unprecedented wave of lawlessness.  We see it in all areas of this globe, including here in America.  The scope and complexity of terror networks will soon make its impossible for local law officials to monitor and quell the rising tide.


It is rather quite easy to see how effortlessly and quickly a person could rise to worldwide power with promises of peace and security against the global threat of terror coupled with economic prosperity.  Our world seems ripe for the coming of the man of lawlessness.




It is rare, if not outright unheard of, for groups to discuss matters of the last days (end times) without speculating when the events might take place.  As soon as Jesus had broached the subject of future events with His apostles, they were already asking Him if now was the time (Acts 1:4-7).  He immediately reminded them of something He had already told them, that it was not theirs to know God’s timeline (Matthew 24:36).  Yet He did caution them to keep watch of the signs (Matthew 24:37-44).


The apostle Paul refers to “knowing the times” (Romans 13:11), and knowing how we are to act in an appropriate manner.  The Greek word for “time” has a different meaning from our normal concept of passing hours, days and weeks.  It refers, instead, to a specific, God-appointed moment in time.


Two primary words are translated “time” in the Bible.  The first is chronos, from which we derive our English word, chronology, which refers to the passing of time.  It is how we mark history and plan our future.


The second word is Kairos, which refers to an appointed time, strategic moments and sign of Jesus’ return.  We need to be watchful for God-appointed times (Kairos) within the passing of time (chronos).


The Bible is very exact in bringing light to these two terms.  When we differentiate between the two, we unlock the deeper meaning of what Scripture is saying.  Consider this example of how the two words are used in the context of the days prior to the return of the Lord.


1 Thessalonians 5:1-4 NKJV


1       But concerning the times(chronos) and the seasons (kairos), brethren, you have no need that I should write to you.

2       For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord (2nd Coming of our Lord)  so comes as a thief in the night.

3       For when they say, "Peace and safety!" then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape.

4       But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief.

         5       You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness.


There are several important messages in this passage.  First, note that chronos and kairos are used in tandem.  When you know where you are in God’s time (Kairos), you will not be shaken by the passing of time (chronos).


Now, notice the pronouns in this passage, which refer to two different groups.  The first groups is represented with the pronouns you, yourself and we, referring to those who have been truly born again.  The second group, represented by they and them, comprises those who do not know the Lord and will fall under a great delusion we have read about in 2 Thessalonians 2:11.


The secular mind tends to view religion, specifically Christianity, as outdated and unable to contribute to society in a meaningful way.  Among the most pronounced evidence of this is the lack of understanding about the future of mankind.  In contrast, believers have a realistic understanding of day-to-day life as well as special insight into what is happening at the specific time in which we live.  Such special insight is necessary because of the coming Day of the Lord.


We are living in times that demand we know the “times,” awake from our sleep and realize that darkness is advancing.  People who lack the ability to understand the times are easily shaken by the turn of world events.  They question God and worry about the rise of evil in our day.  Those with spiritual discernment and a working knowledge of the Word, can stand strong and see God’s hand in world events.  G0od wants us to be secure in our faith and able to move in the spirit realm with power and confidence.


After all, the demons seem to be aware of God’s timetable, although they do not know the exact date.  One time, as Jesus approached two men who were demon-possessed, they shouted at Him, “Have you come here to torture us before God’s appointed time?” (Matthew 8:29).


The demonic world has knowledge of who Jesus is and the certainty of their coming judgment.  This knowledge causes Satan to increase his activity to prepare the way for the man of lawlessness.  The devil is advancing toward an end-time scenario that he still believes he can win.  He really has no choice in the matter.  There is no redemption for fallen spirits, only judgment.  Driven by his evil nature, Satan seeks to bring a path of destruction and despair.


John 8:44 NKJV


44     You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.


Worldwide acts of lawlessness seem to be random to the untrained eye, but for those who know how to navigate in the spirit realm and read culture, the picture is crystal clear.  These are the last days, so we should expect an escalation of lawlessness.  The enemy knows that his time is short, and we should be aware of that fact as well.




Earlier in the lesson I mentioned Paul’s warning of a “falling away” from the faith prior to the return of the Lord (2 Thessalonians 2:3).  Let’s consider further what that will look like.  As we have noted several times in this series, people will hold to a form of godliness but deny its power.  As they depart from a true faith in the living God, demonic spirits will find an easy entrance into the thinking and the actions of humankind.  Again, consider 1 Timothy 4:1.


1 Timothy 4:1 NKJV


1       Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons,


This explains how the spread of lawlessness can occur as quickly as it does and why countless people are blinded to what is happening in our world.  The term, “deceiving spirits,” (planos) can also be understood as “roving spirits” or “imposter spirits.”  The King James translates it as “seducing spirits.”  The Bible mentions that when a “strong man” is not bound (Luke 11:21; Matt 12:43), demonic spirits are free to roam in places that were previously protected by believers, who faithfully stewarded the presence of God.


As those spirits “roam,” they deceive and mislead those who are not well grounded in the faith.  They introduce new “doctrines of demons” that are not in keeping with the Word of God.


As lawlessness increases, people will look for a solution, any solution, to control society and bring back law and order.  This will lay the groundwork for what is to come at the end of days.  People naturally crave security and will do almost anything to possess it.  This is why we move to what we deem are safer neighborhoods, install alarm systems, and seek ways to protect ourselves.  The enemy will leverage this fear to cause us to give up our freedom and rights in exchange for feeling safe and protected.


Lawlessness will eventually reach a tipping point at which the people of the earth will cry out for someone to restore stability and safety.  That intense fear is the opportunity that will allow the lawless one to seize control of the world.,


What does all this mean for God’s people?  I do not believe believers taken to heaven will be here during the time of the Antichrist.  But, for those of us who are aware of the bleak outlook for the world, what does all this mean right now in these ever-increasing days of lawlessness?


To begin with, we need to remember that “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7).  The Lord provides a spirit of knowledge and understanding from His Word and by His Spirit.  As we learn to depend on the Lord, we will discover new levels of confidence and peace, even in the midst of the powerful storms of lawlessness blowing throughout the world.


As we move closer to the end of this age, we are reminded that “evil men and imposters will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.” ( 2 Timothy 3:13).  The King James of that verse says that “evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse.”  That phrase, wax worse, caught my attention.  It is not an expression you often hear in our day.  In the original Greek, the word means “to strike forward,” or “to make progress” or “to advance.”  (Think of the mon in it “waxing” phase and opposed to “waning.”)  It is the same word used by Paul in Romans 13:12, when he says, “The night is far spent, the day is at hand.”


Romans 13:12 NKJV


12     The night is far spent (pro-kop-to), the day is at hand. Therefore, let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.


He is saying that darkness can only advance in the areas where we (Christians) provide access.  The Word of God is strong and sure, and as we stand against the darkness, God is faithful to dispel it before it overtakes us.


What is God trying to tell us in these passages?  We are told evil will not be abated by an improved government or increased education.  Those options cannot combat the spirit of lawlessness that is waxing worse…advancing … pressing forward…and will increase day by day.  Lawlessness is an insidious antichrist spirit that seeks to distort and destroy the work of God in our world.  The apostle John reminds us to “test the spirits” and to be alert for the “spirit of the Antichrist which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world (1 John 4:1, 3).


We do not know when or how the man of lawlessness will appear.  One thing we do know is that he is coming.  He will give man religion but not God,  He will unify the world, create one-world currency and perform signs and wonders, but there will be no peace on the earth.


As that day approaches, we can expect an intensifying of lawlessness, yet that is no cause for panic or alarms among Christians.  When Jesus was trying to prepare His chosen friends for the world’s most lawless act of all, the cruel, callous and unwarranted crucifixion of the very Son of God, He encouraged them to hold on to their faith, to keep His commandments, and to look ahead to a powerful movement of the Holy Spirit (John 14).  Twice He urged them – Let not your heart be troubled” (Verses 1 & 27).  That is still the best advice for how to maneuver through these increasingly lawless times.