SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 7 (EGW)

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2 Thessalonians

Chapter 2

1-4 (see EGW on 1 John 2:18). The Man of Sin and the Second Advent—In the days of the apostle Paul, the Thessalonian brethren were laboring under the erroneous impression that the Lord would return in their day, and Paul wrote to correct this false impression, stating what events must transpire before the advent could take place. He declared: “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.” 7BC 910.1

The man of sin was to arise, and do his work of exaltation and blasphemy, before the brethren could look for the coming of Christ. That great event was to be preceded by a falling away. There would be revealed a form of Antichrist, and the leaven of apostasy was to work with increasing power to the end of time (The Review and Herald, July 31, 1888). 7BC 910.2

3, 4 (Matthew 5:17, 18; see EGW on 1 Timothy 2:5; Revelation 13:11-17; 14:8, 9-12; 18:1-5). The Representative of Satan—There is one pointed out in prophecy as the man of sin. He is the representative of Satan. Taking the suggestions of Satan concerning the law of God, which is as unchangeable as His throne, this man of sin comes in and represents to the world that he has changed that law, and that the first day of the week instead of the seventh is now the Sabbath. Professing infallibility, he claims the right to change the law of God to suit his own purposes. By so doing, he exalts himself above God, and leaves the world to infer that God is fallible. If it were indeed true that God had made a rule of government that needed to be changed, it would certainly show fallibility. 7BC 910.3

But Christ declared that not one jot or tittle of the law should fail until heaven and earth should pass away. The very work that He came to do was to exalt that law, and show to the created worlds and to heaven that God is just, and that His law need not be changed. But here is Satan's right-hand man ready to carry on the work that Satan commenced in heaven, that of trying to amend the law of God. And the Christian world has sanctioned his efforts by adopting this child of the Papacy—the Sunday institution. They have nourished it, and will continue to nourish it, until Protestantism shall give the hand of fellowship to the Roman power. 7BC 910.4

Then there will be a law against the Sabbath of God's creation, and then it is that God will do His “strange work” in the earth. He has borne long with the perversity of the race; He has tried to win them to Himself. But the time will come when they shall have filled their measure of iniquity; and then it is that God will work. This time is almost reached. God keeps a record with the nations: the figures are swelling against them in the books of heaven; and when it shall have become a law that the transgression of the first day of the week shall be met with punishment, then their cup will be full (The Review and Herald, March 9, 1886). 7BC 910.5

The Man of Sin and the Rival Sabbath—The man of sin has exalted himself against God, sitting in the temple of God, and showing himself to be God. He has trampled underfoot God's great memorial of creation, established to commemorate His work; and in its stead he has presented to the world a common working day. This day he has set up as a rival Sabbath, to be observed and honored. Thus the world has been turned against God; for the Lord declares that He has sanctified the day of His rest. 7BC 910.6

But though every member of the human family should accept this child of the Papacy, in no case would this invalidate the holy Sabbath of Jehovah. Those who accept the false sabbath exalt the man of sin, and assail the government of God. But the man of sin cannot annul what God has declared shall stand fast forever. The work now to be done in our world is to exalt the law of the Lord, and call the attention of the people to it. The time has come when the truth is to be proclaimed against falsehood and error (The Review and Herald, July 26, 1898). 7BC 910.7

God's Estimate of the Papal Power—By their treatment of His Word the popes have exalted themselves above the God of heaven. This is the reason that in prophecy the papal power is specified as the “man of sin.” Satan is the originator of sin. The power that he causes to alter any one of God's holy precepts, is the man of sin. Under Satan's special direction the papal power has done this very work. 7BC 911.1

Although those standing at the head of the Papacy claim to have great love for God, He looks upon them as haters of Him. They have turned the truth of God into a lie. Tampering with God's commandments and placing in their stead human traditions, is the work of Satan, and will divorce the religious world from God; for He declares, “I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me.” God will fulfill this word (Manuscript 126, 1901). 7BC 911.2

7-12 (see EGW on Matthew 7:21-23; Revelation 14:9-12; 17:1-5). Satan's Miracles “Right in your Sight.”—The time is coming when Satan will work miracles right in your sight, claiming that he is Christ; and if your feet are not firmly established upon the truth of God, then you will be led away from your foundation. The only safety for you is to search for truth as for hid treasures. Dig for the truth as you would for treasures in the earth, and present the word of God, the Bible, before your Heavenly Father and say, Enlighten me; teach me what is truth.... You should store the mind with the word of God; for you may be separated, and placed where you will not have the privilege of meeting with the children of God (The Review and Herald, April 3, 1888). 7BC 911.3

(2 Corinthians 11:14; James 5:13-16; Revelation 13:13, 14.) Miracle-working Deceptions of Satan—None need be deceived. The law of God is as sacred as His throne, and by it every man who cometh into the world is to be judged. There is no other standard by which to test character. “If they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” Now, shall the case be decided according to the Word of God, or shall man's pretensions be credited? 7BC 911.4

Says Christ, “By their fruits ye shall know them.” If those through whom cures are performed, are disposed, on account of these manifestations, to excuse their neglect of the law of God and continue in disobedience, though they have power to any and every extent, it does not follow that they have the great power of God. On the contrary, it is the miracle-working power of the great deceiver. He is a transgressor of the moral law, and employs every device that he can master to blind men to its true character. We are warned that in the last days he will work with signs and lying wonders. And he will continue these wonders until the close of probation, that he may point to them as evidence that he is an angel of light and not of darkness (The Review and Herald, November 17, 1885). 7BC 911.5

(Hebrews 12:26, 27; Revelation 12:11; 14:5.) Ordeal of the Sifting Time—Satan will work his miracles to deceive; he will set up his power as supreme. The church may appear as about to fall, but it does not fall. It remains, while the sinners in Zion will be sifted out—the chaff separated from the precious wheat. This is a terrible ordeal, but nevertheless it must take place. None but those who have been overcoming by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony will be found with the loyal and true, without spot or stain of sin, without guile in their mouths.... The remnant that purify their souls by obeying the truth gather strength from the trying process, exhibiting the beauty of holiness amid the surrounding apostasy (Letter 55, 1886). 7BC 911.6