I am working on the chiastic structure for 2 Thessalonians. However, in this chapter there is a recurring phrase repeated over and over: the lawless one. Such an interesting description. I want to use Scripture to interpret and define Scripture, and investigate this characteristic of the one many describe as the antichrist.
… or that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, … 2 The 2:3
For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; … 2 The 2:7
And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming. 2 The 2:8
The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, … 2 The 2:9
… and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. 2 The 2:10-12
The man of sin is also called the lawless one. Later in the chapter he is described as coming with unrighteous deception among who did not receive the truth. So sin is contrasted with righteousness, and the lie is contrasted with the truth. The lawless one will promote unrighteous deception, through the work of lawlessness (vs. 7).
What is lawlessness? This is not the first time in the New Testament “lawlessness” appears:
“And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'” Mat 7:23
“The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness,” Mat 13:41
“Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.” Mat 23:28
“And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.” Mat 24:12
I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness. Rom 6:19
Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? 2 Cor 6:14
“You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You With the oil of gladness more than Your companions.” Heb 1:9
Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness. 1 Joh 3:4
John declares outright that lawlessness is sin … while Jesus and Paul contrast lawlessness as opposite of righteousness. In fact the old King James translates 1 Joh 3:4:
Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.
The word in Greek is anomia, “without law;” it is from the root nomos, “law.” This is the word the translators of the Septuagint, the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek, chose when translating the Hebrew word torah.
Sin is the transgression of the law, or Torah — the law of God. The law of God is merely God’s definition of righteousness and sin … what is right to do, and what is wrong to do. A transgressor of the law is a lawless one, a man of sin. He has chosen his own definition of righteousness and sin and rejected God’s definition which is found in Torah.
God is the only One who can rightly define righteousness and sin for mankind. Beloved, we are fallen. Our knowledge is finite and our wisdom is finite, and our perception is skewed. God, on the other hand, is glorious in holiness (Exo 15:11), and all His judgments are just (Neh 9:13, Psa 19:9, Rev 15:3). The definition of what is holy and unholy, clean and unclean, righteous and unrighteous, true and false, good and evil, is found in the foundation of all the Scripture: in Torah, the Book of the Law.
The lawless one, the man of sin, will deceive many because of his working with all power, signs, and lying wonders. But he will be able to be identified because of one thing: he will not agree with God or Torah as to what is righteousness and sin. He will promote unrighteousness as righteousness, and lawlessness — precepts condemned in Torah – as good.
Beloved, let us beware that we are not deceived as well. Many of us who believe in Jesus Christ, have never read the Torah, the five books of Moses, because we have been erroneously taught that the Torah is not for today. The Torah has not passed away — Jesus said that (Mat 5:17-19). Those who make a practice of those things which the Torah condemns as sin (lawlessness) Jesus will command them to depart from Him for He never knew them — Jesus said that (Mat 7:23). We can repent of our ignorance, and even animosity, toward Torah, recognizing that such ignorance and animosity is according to the working of Satan … he had tried to deceive even us. And we can humble ourselves before the holiness, wisdom, and judgment of God Almighty, which is far superior to our own, which is conveyed in Torah.
And I have learned over the course of my years of Torah study, that God is love, and out of the abundance of love in His heart, He spoke the Torah from His Spirit (Luk 6:45). His Law is the Law of Love. Not everything we have been told about the Torah has been the truth.