There are several features in this portrait which I must ask you specially to notice. Observe the place occupied by the man of sin the “temple ” or house of God. This is not, and cannot be, any Jewish temple. Paul, who uses this expression in his prophetic portrait of Romanism, employs it both in Corinthians and Ephesians with reference to the Christian Church. In the second Epistle to the Corinthians, writing to Gentile Christians, he says, ” Ye are the temple of the living God ; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them.” In Ephesians he calls the Church “a holy temple,” a ” habitation of God through the Spirit ” ; and he would never have applied it to the Jewish temple, which, with all other Jewish things, he regarded as mere shadows of Christian realities. To Paul emphatically the temple of God was the Church of Christ. This is the temple in which his prophetic eye saw the man of sin seated. It is no question of his bodily location in any structure of wood and stone, but of something far higher. The temple of God is that ” spiritual house ” in which He dwells. It is built of ” living stones,” of true believers. It is here that the man of sin was to usurp the place of God. This is the “mystery,” the dread danger, the deadly evil, predicted by the Apostle. It is no person in a temple of stone, but a power in the Christian Church.
Observe next the character of the man of sin. He is at once an imitation of Christ, and a contrast to Him. He occupies His position, but is totally unlike Him, and opposed to Him. He has usurped His place and His prerogatives ; but, so far from truly representing Him, he represents His great enemy. As Christ acts for God, so the man of sin acts for Satan, who indeed produces him for this very purpose. His coming is ” after the working of Satan.” Christ and he are antagonistic powers : the power of light, and the power of darkness ; the majesty of heaven, and the might of hell. And as the Son of God humbled Himself, so the ” man of sin ” exalts himself. There is infinite self-abasement in the one, the Divine nature stooping to humanity ; and infinite self exaltation in the other, the human and satanic assuming to be Divine. Observe here that it is not asserted that the man of sin will say that he is God, but that he will show himself as such. The words are, ” He as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God” or is Divine, or a Divine being. There is no article here before the name God. The expression indicates that the man of sin would show himself by acts and professions to be possessed of superhuman and Divine dignity, authority, and power.
Observe the position of the man of sin. Notice the word [G2523, καθίζω kathizō] , “sitteth,” and connect with it [G2515, καθέδρα kathedra], a seat, a word which occurs three times in the New Testament. It is used twice with reference to the seats in the temple of those who sold doves, who turned the house of God into a house of merchandise and den of thieves ; and once in the sentence,” the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat.” From καθέδρα comes “cathedral,” the bishop’s seat,” and also the expression ex cathedra; as when we say the pope speaks ex cathedra, or from his seat, officially. There, in that exalted cathedral position, and claiming to represent God, the man of sin was to act and abide as the pretended vicar, but real antagonist, of Christ, undermining His authority, abolishing His laws, and oppressing His people. Observe the words, “who opposeth” It is possible effectually to oppose another without being his avowed antagonist ; so the professions of the predicted power might be friendly, while his actions would be those of an opponent of the gospel of Christ.
This article is a excerpt from the book: Romanism and the Reformation by H. Grattan Guinness
see related article The Restrainer
Walk in the Spirit and be led by the Spirit, our Creator calls His Elect to obey to His commandments, allow His Holy Spirit to bring forth the fruit of repentance in your life, “the good works which God has before ordained that we might walk in them.” If you cannot obey Him now, how do you think He will lead you when the time is critical? Learn to trust and obey Him now and you will be able to hear and obey Him through this Global Great Depression, coming world conflicts and Mark of the Beast Inquisition. Cross the Border into His Kingdom, obey the King and live forever, nothing is more important!
But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in. (Mat 23:13)