Man of Sin

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The Man of Sin or Man of Lawlessness is a figure referred to in 2 Thessalonians 2:3, who is usually equated with the Antichrist.

Second Thessalonians, Chapter Two[edit]

In 2 Thessalonians 2:3–10, the "Man of Sin" is described as one who will be revealed after there come a falling away in Christ's Church before the Day of the Lord comes. The Codices Sinaiticus and Vaticanus have the reading, "Man of Lawlessness," and Metzger argues that this is the original reading.[1] Codices such as Alexandrinus, Boernerianus and Claromontanus have "Man of Sin".

This Man of Sin "will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God," and "set himself up in God's temple, proclaiming himself to be God" (verse 4). Something is said to be "holding him back" (verse 6), though that will be "taken out of the way" (verse 7). A "lawless one" will be revealed (verse 8), whom Jesus will destroy "by the splendor of his coming."

The Man of Sin is also described in verse 3 as the Son of Perdition who will rise to power at the close of the Sixth Seal and will remain in power until the opening of the Seventh Seal (translated in the NIV as "the man doomed to destruction"). This phrase is used of Judas Iscariot in John 17:12.


Nearly all commentators, both ancient and modern, identify the Man of Sin in 2 Thessalonians chapter 2 as the Antichrist, even though they vary greatly in who they view the Antichrist to be.[2] The "man of sin" is variously identified with Caligula,[3] Nero,[4][5] the papacy[6] and the end times Antichrist. Some scholars believe that the passage contains no genuine prediction, but represents a speculation of the apostle's own, based on Dan 8:23ff; 11:36ff, and on contemporary ideas of Antichrist.[3][7]


Roman Catholic church and Orthodox churches[edit]

The Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox traditions consider the Man of Sin to come at the End of the World, when the katechon, the one who restrains, will be taken out. Katechon is also interpreted as the Grand Monarch or a new Orthodox Emperor, inaugurating a rebirth of the Holy Roman Empire.

Other views[edit]

Various Protestant and anti-Catholic commentators have linked the term and identity to the Roman Catholic Church and the Pope. The "temple of God" is here understood to be the church; the restraining power the Roman empire.

Dispensationalist or Futurist view[edit]

Main article: Dispensationalism

Dispensationalists view this as a reference to a coming world ruler (Antichrist) who will succeed in making a peace treaty with Israel for 7 years (Daniel's 70th week) guaranteeing some sort of Middle East peace settlement with the Arab nations. This will occur after the rebuilding of the Third Temple in Jerusalem and the restoration of temple sacrifices. He will break his peace treaty with Israel 312 years into the plan, enter the "rebuilt Third Temple" and perform the Abomination of Desolation by setting up an idol of himself in the Temple and declare himself God.


  1. ^ Bruce M. Metzger, A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament (Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft: Stuttgart 1994).
  2. ^ Schink, W.F. "The Scriptural Doctrine of the Antichrist." Our Great Heritage: Vol. 3 Ed. Lange, Lyle and Albrecht, Jerome G. Milwaukee: Northwestern Publishing house, 1991. p. 572.
  3. ^ a b Net Bible: Man of sin
  4. ^ St. John Chrysostom, Homilies on II Thess., Nicene-Post Nicene Fathers
  5. ^ Man of Sin, Kurt Simmons
  6. ^ Albert Barnes, Notes on the New Testament, p. 1113
  7. ^ (compare Bousset, Der Antichrist, 93 ff, etc.)

See also[edit]