Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 2 * PART 1 * BOOK 43
Then Shall the Wicked One Be Revealed
II Thessalonians 2:4-9
We’re going to jump in at II Thessalonians chapter 2, verse 4, and take a long hard look at this verse.
Remember as I began this series in Thessalonians, I mentioned over and over that the apostle Paul never spends much time on prophecy, because the Church is not tied to the prophetic program. The Church is an interruption, it’s a parenthetical period of time. But here in II Thessalonians, in just these few verses, Paul does let us know that he is in full accord with the prophetic program that comes out of the Old Testament, the four gospels, part of Acts, and the Book of Revelation. And this is what we have been showing, that Paul now, is in full agreement with everything that prophecy has said concerning the final seven years of Daniel’s 490 year prophecy. So, as we move on into verse 4, he speaks of the son of perdition in verse 3, which we described in the last program as the anti-Christ. He is also referred to in Paul’s letter right here as the wicked one. Daniel calls him the prince that shall come. It is all references to this man, anti-Christ, who is going to one day appear on the stage of world events and he is going to become the absolute totalitarian dictator of the world.
Alright, Paul goes on to explain that this man will oppose and exalt himself above all that is called God. He is going to be an arrogant individual. He is going to have no compunction about telling the world that he is the God that they are looking for.
II Thessalonians 2:4
“Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God, (see how plain that is? He is going to let the world know that he is claiming to be the God that the world is looking for) sitteth in the temple of God, showing (or declaring) himself that he is God.”
Now the first place that I think we can go back for an Old Testament reference would be back to Daniel chapter 9, where Daniel refers to him as the ‘prince that shall come.’ Now those of you who have been with me down through this series beginning almost with the Old Testament in Genesis and so forth, Daniel chapter 9, I always refer to, as the very bench mark of the prophetic program. If you want an understanding of prophecy, as it will unfold especially in the end times, you have to know Daniel chapter 9. He begins this prophecy down there in verse 24 where he says that, “70 weeks of years” or some of your newer translations have done the arithmetic for you – 490 years. Now you know that I am always reminding folks over and over that God, with the nation of Israel, would set a prophetic program and tie it in with a time frame.
For example, long before it happened, God, through the prophets, told Israel that they would be spending 70 years in captivity down in Babylon. And the time came when it happened. When the 70 years are expired, miraculously a Persian king made a decree, that the Israelites could go back to Jerusalem and rebuild their temple. A 70-year prophecy, wrapped in a time frame, and it came true.
When Abraham was first called out of Ur of the Chaldees, God told him “430 years would go by before his offspring would come in to the Promised Land.” We know now that it was exactly 430 years from the call out of Ur until Joshua took them over the river Jordan. So over and over through the Old Testament, this has been the format. Now here is another one.
“Seventy weeks (490 years God tells Daniel) are determined upon thy people (the nation of Israel) and upon thy holy city…”(and so on)
Well, we won’t repeat it again, but in this prophecy we realize that 483 of the 490 years were fulfilled at Christ’s first advent. When He was:
“…making an end of sins to make reconciliation for iniquity to bring in everlasting righteousness….”
The work of the cross was His first advent. But that was only 483 years. So there were 7 years that were yet unfulfilled, but which, according to the prophetic program, after Christ had been rejected and had been raised from the dead; had ascended back to glory then, would come the 7 years as Daniel is prophesying. And then Christ would come and set up the kingdom, and Israel would be the light of the nations and evangelize the pagan world. But, Israel didn’t accept the king, Israel didn’t believe that Jesus of Nazareth was the promised Messiah and consequently God sent them into a spiritual blindness and a dispersion in about 70 A.D. Not that He is through with Israel. I have no time at all for what they call replacement theology, it is a manifestation of the error of men. But rather, Israel has only been set aside. Not forever but for a period of time known only to God Himself. The closest we can come to when that being set aside will end is in Romans 11:25 where God through the apostle Paul says:
“I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness (spiritually) in part is happened to Israel, until (that’s a time word. They will remain blind spiritually to the fact of Who Jesus was until) the fullness of the Gentiles be come in.“
The fullness of the Gentiles we feel is the Body of Christ, the Church. And so when the Body of Christ is complete, God is going to pick up His prophetic program where He left off with Israel. And that of course, will be this final 7 years that Daniel spoke of in chapter 9:27. After the 483 years were fulfilled at the crucifixion and the resurrection of Christ, then we have in verse 27 the appearance of the prince that shall come, mentioned in verse 26 and now verse 27.
“And he…” (this prince that is coming)
He is going to come out of the geographical area of the old Roman Empire. He will confirm or will make a covenant with many. Now for a long time, I always heard people teach that he would make this treaty with Israel. Well, Israel is certainly going to be involved but not singularly. It is going to involve all the nations, even as we have seen the last few weeks. My, how they are trying to bring peace to the Middle East and that is admirable. We all hate to see the sufferings and the turmoil of war and unrest. But, there will be no peace in the Middle East until this man of sin makes it happen. And he will. But we don’t know when. Alright, so Daniel says it so clearly, that this prince that shall come, who we know as the anti-Christ, the wicked one, the son of perdition.
“And he will confirm the covenant with many for one week; (or seven years) and in the midst of the week (or in the middle of the 7 years, that’s why I’m always dividing the seven year time line, 3 1/2 and 3 1/2. In the middle of the week) he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation (that is the temple worship) to cease,…”
Now I always have to remind people. You can’t stop something unless it’s what? Unless it is going! So this tells us that temple worship is going to be in full blast during this 7-year period. Israel will somehow or other get the temple back. We don’t know if it has to be on Mt. Moriah. It may be in some other area of Jerusalem. But she is going to have temple worship. That is going to be part of the peace agreement. Now that would have never happened a couple of weeks ago, they can’t even agree on what to do with Jerusalem, but this man is going to make an agreement between the Arab world and the Jews, that they can have temple worship. And they are ready, we know that. Whenever we take a tour to Israel we quite often go to the Temple Mount Institute where they have all the ramifications of temple worship ready to go. They have the clothing for the priests hanging on mannequins. They have all the shovels and all the various utensils for the sacrifices all ready. And they are going to be jumping right in, once this treaty gives them permission to rebuild a temple.
But Daniel prophesies that as great as it is going to be for Israel, they are going to be just euphoric to think that once again they not only have the homeland and Jerusalem but they are going to have the temple. But, look what horrible thing happens. In the middle of the week, this man is going to cause all this temple worship to stop.
“…and for the overspreading of the abominations (in other words the horrors that shall follow) he ( the anti-Christ) shall make it (the temple) desolate, (in other words he is going to shut it down. He is going to defile it. And it will stay defiled) even until the consummation (that is until those 7 years have finished) and that determined (in other words everything prophesied) shall be poured upon the desolate.” (or desolator, this man anti-Christ)
In other words, all of the horrifying judgements that are prophesied for these final 3 1/2 years will happen. Alright now, flip back with me to the New Testament to Matthew 24. Now these are the words of the Lord Jesus himself. If you have a red letter edition, these words are going to be in red – and let’s just drop down to verse 15. And Jesus is speaking to the twelve, as you see in the beginning of the chapter. Also remember the twelve are the representatives of the nation of Israel:
“When ye (the Jews, the Nation of Israel) therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, (in other words, the horrible defiling of the temple and the stopping of the temple worship)spoken of by Daniel, the prophet….”
Again, I always like to stop and emphasize. Most of you who know anything about Bible study at all, realize that the scoffers ridicule the book of Daniel as authentic scripture, because the prophesies are so accurate, the near and the far, that they say nobody could have written that unless they had seen it happen as a historian. Well you see those men know nothing of the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. And so Daniel wrote by inspiration, and his prophesies were as accurate as only God can make it. Jesus is putting his stamp of approval on Daniel the prophet. Now looking at verse 15 again.
When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (that is in the temple, then) (whosoever readeth, let him understand:) 16. Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains.”
And then as we have taught so often this is the calling out of the remnant of Israel. I feel they will go out to the mountains in unbelief. But, they are the surviving remnant, and they will be the seed stock of the nation of Israel going into the thousand year kingdom when Christ finally returns.
Alright, now all of these are references to this verse in II Thessalonians that the man of sin this anti-Christ, will come into the temple in Jerusalem and defile it and not only cause temple worship to stop but also will turn on the Jews with the most horrible persecution that Israel has ever, ever experienced. I always like to make the analogy that the Holocaust was awful and I think anyone that denies the Holocaust is unspeakable. It was a literal event. Millions of Jews were not only put to death, they were martyred. They suffered inexorably, but nothing compared to what they will in this last 3 1/2 years.
Remember a few programs back I went through the “Day of the Lord,” all the way up through the Old Testament. It is a horrifying picture of what is coming upon the earth in those final 7 years. But, Israel will be at the very core of the wrath of God. And I always teach from Revelation, it is also going to be the wrath of Satan. Because when he is cast out of heaven at the mid-point and he comes back to the earth, the book of Revelation says he knows that he has but a short time, and so he too, will be pouring out his wrath. I call it a double barrel wrath. The wrath of God, as well as the wrath of Satan, and it is going to be beyond human description.
Alright, so the verse says again that “he’s going to sit in the temple and declare himself as God.” Now then, let’s jump back to Daniel once again, and pick up some more of Daniel’s description of this usurper, of this arrogant egotist, of this man who will literally give himself over to Satan. He will be indwelt by Satan even as Judas was. And he is going to be the most despicable human being who has ever ruled this planet. This time let’s turn to chapter 11.
Daniel 11: 21
“And in his estate shall stand up a vile person, to whom they shall not give the honour of the kingdom: (because he is so rotten, but he is going to overcome all of that) but he shall come in peaceable and obtain the kingdom by flatteries.”
He’s going to be the smoothest tongued rascal you have ever dreamed of and even though they want to oppose him because of his vileness, yet he is going to overcome all that with his flattery, and his smooth silver tongue oratory. Alright, and then verse 22 in that same chapter,
“And with the arms of a flood shall they be overflown from before him and shall be broken; yea, also the prince of the covenant.”
And then he goes on to say in verse 23 how he “works deceitfully.” Now we sometimes think politics are pretty deceitful, but listen, present day politicians know nothing of deceit as this man is going to pull on them. Alright come over to verse 36.
And the king (again in reference to this man anti-Christ, who by this time is the world ruler) shall do according to his will, he shall exalt himself, (see how that fits with what Paul just said) and magnify himself above every god,…”
What did Paul say? He sets himself in the temple as God and declares himself as God. Alright, Daniel is in full agreement and so he is going to put himself as God of gods, and shall prosper until the indignation or this final 3 1/2 years are accomplished. And then just like Jesus said in Matthew 24, once that abomination starts in the middle of the tribulation, it’s going to continue on until it is consummated. Alright, this says the same thing. And yet he shall come to his end and none shall help him.
Well, now let’s go all the way back to the book of Revelation and let’s see how John describes him in this great book of prophecy. Come all the way back to Revelation chapter 13.
Remember now, I am just trying to show parallel references that agree totally with what Paul is writing in II Thessalonians chapter 2 verse 4. Now in Revelation chapter 13 verse 1 John writes.
“And I stood upon the sand of the sea, (which I think is symbolic of the sea of humanity, the masses of people ) and saw a beast (now, not some animal but it’s an empire and an emperor. It’s a two fold meaning here in Revelation. Sometimes it speaks of the empire of the beast and sometimes it speaks of the man himself. But he sees a beast, an empire, a government) rise up out of the sea, (of humanity) having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his head the name of blasphemy.” (this anti-God individual who will proclaim himself as God.)
Then the picture of the empire is in verse 2 and it is going to be likened to a compilation of all the great gentile empires beginning with Babylon, the Medes and the Persians, the Greek, the Roman and our present day Western European revived Roman Empire. Alright, now then lets come down to verse 3 and 4. We are still describing this man who will come into the temple in Jerusalem and set himself up as God.
“And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast.”
Now here again, I think it is the empire. The revived Roman Empire that is miraculously coming back in the Western European Union. Others feel it’s a reference to the man himself. So, I’m not going to get in any argument over that, but I do feel that here we are talking about the empire, the government.
Revelation 13: 4a
“And they (the people of the world) worshipped the dragon…“
Now what is that? That’s Satan worship. And we are seeing it come in like a flood. You know I like to remind my American people, back in 1926, if I am not mistaken, somewhere in there, one of the heads of Satanism from Europe, took sail and came to New York with the idea that he was going to start promoting Satan worship in America. After two or three weeks, even in New York City now, believe it or not, he came to the conclusion that he would never get to first base with Satanism in America. Because Christianity and the power of the Spirit was too powerful and he took ship back to Europe. And so, consequently, America was kept free of this onslaught of Satanism and Satan worship, until now recently. Now it is coming in with a flood, it is everywhere you look. Even our rural areas are not immune to it. Alright, so here we have it, that the world is going to worship the dragon. They are going to become Satanists.
“And they worship the dragon who gave power to the beast: (or the man anti-Christ or the government, however you want to look at it) and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? (or the man anti-Christ) Who is able to make war with him?” And now verse 5 in full agreement with what Paul said in II Thessalonians:
“And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemy…”
This man is going to be Satanic from the word go, and will have power. Now you see God is sovereign and God can permit. And God will permit this to happen and so He permits him to have power “to continue 42 months.” Well how long is 42 months? Three and one half years! So from the time that he defiles the temple and turns against the nation of Israel, there will be 3 1/2 years to finalize the 7 years of Tribulation.
And as that 7 years is ended with the return of Christ now this man will finally meet his doom. He cannot, he cannot usurp the coming of Christ. Remember, I always like to point out in Matthew chapter 4 when he tempted Christ and said, “Jump down off this mountain and I will give you all the kingdoms of this world. Fall down and worship me.” And you know what I am always saying. Were they his to give? Yes, they were his to give. But the Lord isn’t going to have to fall down and worship Satan to get those kingdoms. He will get them by virtue of this Second Coming, when he comes as King of Kings and Lord of Lords, and he is going to be the ruler, not only the planet but of the universe!