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by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord’s Day Evening, October 15, 2000

"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, shewing himself that he is God" (II Thessalonians 2:3-4).

On September 28, an Israeli political leader, Ariel Sharon, visited the Temple Mount area in Jerusalem. A Moslem shrine occupies the area where the Jewish Temple once stood. It is against Moslem law for a Jew to visit this site. Sharon's visit to the Temple Mount area sparked riots by Moslems throughout Israel. Last Monday's USA Today features a photograph on the front page which shows the Moslems burning an Israeli flag during a riot in Gaza City. The headline reads ISRAELI MILITARY POISED FOR WAR.
In the last few days, however, the violence has subsided. But this fact remains true: the Moslems do not want Jews in the area where the Temple once stood. And the Jews, at the same time, are looking toward a future date when they will rebuild the Temple on this site, as the Bible predicts both in the Old Testament book of Ezekiel and in the text in II Thessalonians 2:4 which I just read.
The big question is this: how can the Jews rebuild the Temple on the site of this Moslem mosque, since it can’t be built anywhere else? Even a visit by a leading Jew to this area nearly started a war. World War III could be triggered if the Jews started rebuilding the Temple at this time. But the Bible predicts that events will change. And we have seen in the last few days just how quickly they can change.

I. The coming Antichrist will make a treaty with Israel that will give the Jews the Temple area.

The Antichrist is the final world ruler. Herman Hoyt points out that he is given eight titles in the New Testament, including "false Christ," "the man of sin" (in our text), "the lawless one," "the Antichrist" in I John 2:18; II John 7, and the "beast" in Revelation 11:7 and 13:2 (cf. Herman A. Hoyt, The End Times, Moody Press, 1969, p. 119). The Antichrist will become the most powerful ruler the world has ever known.
Dr. Hoyt says:
He will make a treaty with the Jews in his own name (John 5:43), which will bring them into possession of the temple area where they can renew their long discontinued worship (Revelation 11:1-3). (Ibid., p. 128).

II. The rebuilt Temple will then be taken over by the Antichrist.


After the Jews have rebuilt the Temple and reinstated sacrifices there with the Antichrist's help, he will break his covenant with the Jewish nation. The Temple sacrifices and worship will then be stopped. The Antichrist will deify himself, proclaiming that he is God, and demand that divine honor and worship be paid to him as we saw in our text in II Thessalonians 2:4.
The Antichrist will then order a huge statue of himself to be placed in the Temple area, and order that this image be worshipped (Revelation 13:14-15; Matthew 24:15). It is at this time that the Jews will realize that this is the "abomination of desolation" spoken of in Daniel 9:27 and 12:11. Jesus said, "…ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place" (Matthew 24:15). This verse clearly reveals that the Temple, with its "holy place" (i.e. the Holy of Holies) will be rebuilt.
New evangelical author Richard W. DeHaan correctly wrote:
Scripture passages, including II Thessalonians 2:4 and Revelation 13:14-18, indicate that an image will be erected by the coming Antichrist, and that refusal to worship this idol will trigger a period of dreadful persecution, primarily for the Jews, but for all the other inhabiters of the earth as well (Richard DeHaan, Israel and the Nations in Prophecy, Zondervan Publishing House, 1968, p. 89).
That's what the Bible is talking about in II Thessalonians 2:3-4, in our text this evening. Let us examine these verses carefully.
Take the first part of verse 3, "Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first…" (II Thessalonians 2:3). This verse tells us there will be a great apostasy (falling away) among Christians. We are going through that right now. It refers to the apostasy of Christianity. The words translated "a falling away" could be translated "the apostasy." In the last one hundred and fifty years, since the time of Finney, the great Protestant and Baptist groups have experienced unprecedented apostasy. The denominations have turned away from the Bible and from the authority of God. Most church members are lost. And the charismatic/pentecostal movement is an even worse form of apostasy in many ways. So, we are living in the first half of verse three right now!
Then, the verse continues, "…and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition" (II Thessalonians 2:3). This refers to the Antichrist. He will be "revealed." He will suddenly appear and rather quickly become the universal dictator of the world.
Verse four tells us that this man "opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped…" (II Thessalonians 2:4a). His true nature will come out - he is against God and Jesus Christ, the Son of God. That is why he is called "the Antichrist" in the First and Second Epistles of John. The word "antichrist" has two parts. "Anti" means "against" and then "Christ." So the name "Antichrist" means "against Christ." This man will be against Christ because he, himself will want to be worshipped in the place of God and Christ (II Thessalonians 2:4a).
Our text ends with these words, "So that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God" (II Thessalonians 2:4b). He will enter the rebuilt Temple in Jerusalem and declare himself to be God.
You may say, "Why would anyone believe that a man is God?" The answer is given in II Thessalonians 2:11-12,
"For this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness" (II Thessalonians 2:11-12).
God Himself will punish the unbelieving world by sending them "strong delusion." The word "strong" is from the Greek "energion" (strong, effective). The second word "delusion" is from the Greek word "plané," which means "a straying from orthodoxy, deception, error, delusion" (Strong's Concordance #4106). So, God Himself will punish people by sending them a strong, effective spirit of error.
This is called "judicial judgment" by theologians. It is what happened to the Romans in ancient times (Romans 1:24,26,28). It is what will happen to you if you go on fooling around like you're doing: "God gave them over to a reprobate mind" (Romans 1:28). And when God gives up on you, and when God punishes you by permanently blinding you spiritually, then you can never be saved.
You can only go on so long living in sin the way you do. You can only go on so long drinking and dancing and drugging yourself with marijuana. You can only go on so long missing church on Sunday. Soon God will say, "That's enough! He crossed over the deadline. He went too long and too far. I'm giving up on him. I'm giving up on her." And when God says that it's forever too late for you to get saved. God will send you "strong delusion that (you) should believe a lie."
When God gives up on you, you will spend the rest of your life believing Satan's lies concerning religion - until you die and go to Hell.
John Lennon once said that the Beatles were more popular than Jesus Christ, and he said they would eventually replace Christ. Hundreds of thousands of young people believed John Lennon's lie - just as people in the future will believe the Antichrist. They will be given up by God. They will believe a lie. They will worship a man instead of God. All of this will happen after the next Temple, the third Temple, is built in Jerusalem.
So, the following events will happen:
1. The Antichrist will make a treaty with Israel.
2. The Antichrist will then break that treaty, go into the
Temple and proclaim that he, himself is God.


III. The great events of the second half of the Tribulation will then unfold.

The Tribulation is the coming seven-year period in which the Antichrist will rule the world. Several negative events will occur during the second half of this period.
First, the wrath of Satan will be fully unleashed on mankind. The Bible says:
"And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon (Satan); and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels (i.e. demons) were cast out with him" (Revelation 12:7-9).
"Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time" (Revelation 12:12).
Satan will no longer have access to Heaven (cp. Job 1:6-12). He can now come and go. At this point in the Tribulation, he will be totally barred from the presence of God. This will enrage Satan. His fierce wrath will cause him to move the Antichrist (i.e. the Beast) to force the world to worship him and to blaspheme God:
"And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world" (Revelation 13:6-8).
The Devil will be so filled with rage and anger that he will move the Antichrist to "make war" against every Christian living on earth (Revelation 13:7), and he will "overcome them." It will be a virtual holocaust, with hundreds of thousands of Christians being murdered.
Count the cost! It will cost you something to become a real Christian! It may cost you your very life!
Second, an unprecedented activity of demons will occur. The bottomless pit will be opened (Revelation 9:1). Thousands of new demons will pour forth from this pit. Some demons are in the air about us now. But then all the demons will be loosed. There will be even more demons than there are now! (Revelation 9:1-12). The demonic activity will be so great that people will think about suicide constantly (Revelation 9:6). All of this is coming very soon! People will think about suicide day and night because they are so tormented by Satan and demons.
Dr. John R. Rice told this story about a time when he was in the Army during "The Great War":


During World War I, one time I did guard duty over some criminally insane in a hospital. One poor, troubled, demented man would put his thumbs in his eyes and try to pull them out, and we frantically pulled his hands away. He would pull out his hair by handfuls until his head was perfectly bald. At the midnight hour I sat near his cot with an Enfield rifle, on guard duty. He whispered to me, "Leave your gun there for just a little bit and go out in the hall. Go for a drink of water. I promise I won't hurt anybody else but myself. Oh, give me a chance to kill myself!" He pleaded with me (to) shoot him, he was in such torment (Dr. John R. Rice, Behold, He Cometh, Sword of the Lord, 1977, page 171).

That's the way people will be during this time because of such intense activity by Satan and the demons.

Third, God will pour out seven "bowls" of wrath and judgment on the world.

"And I heard a great voice out of the temple saying to the seven angels, Go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth.
The first vial.
And the first went, and poured out his vial upon the earth; and there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his image.
The second vial.
And the second angel poured out his vial upon the sea; and it became as the blood of a dead man: and every living soul died in the sea.
The third vial.
And the third angel poured out his vial upon the rivers and fountains of waters; and they became blood. And I heard the angel of the waters say, Thou art righteous, O Lord, which art, and wast, and shalt be, because thou hast judged thus. For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy. And I heard another out of the altar say, Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are thy judgments.
The fourth vial.
And the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun; and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire. And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, which hath power over these plagues: and they repented not to give him glory.
The fifth vial.
And the fifth angel poured out his vial upon the seat of the beast; and his kingdom was full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues for pain, And blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds.
The sixth vial.
And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared.
(Parenthetical, vs. 13-16.)
And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty. Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame. And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.
The seventh vial.
And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done. And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great. And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath. And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent: and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; for the plague thereof was exceeding great." (Revelation 16:1-21)
Fourthly, there’s an important application of all of this to the life of every unconverted person. Look at the second chapter of II Thessalonians again. In verses three and four we are told that the Temple will be rebuilt and that the Antichrist will then come into it and proclaim himself God. Now drop down to verse seven:


"For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth ("hindereth," Scofield) will let ("hinder," Scofield), until he be taken out of the way"
(II Thessalonians 2:7).
This shows that God "restrains" these events. He "hinders" or holds them back. That’s why World War III didn’t break out last week! That’s why everything quiets down again after each of these uprisings around the Temple area. But notice the end of the verse, "…until he be taken out of the way." God will not be removed (as some falsely teach), but will rather not be "in the way" anymore! When God steps aside, all these events will come crashing down on the world.
New-evangelical commentator John MacArthur says:
It must be God’s power in operation that holds back Satan, so that the man of sin, the son of destruction, won’t be able to come until God permits it by removing his restraining power (MacArthur Study Bible, note on II Thessalonians 2:6).
It seems like these events are going to happen right away! There’s a turmoil, bombings, fighting. Then everything returns to normal. I’ve seen that happen over and over in Jerusalem.
But one of these days God is going to step aside, and get "out of the way." Then all Hell will break loose in Israel and mankind will be plunged into the Great Tribulation.
Now notice verse eleven:
"And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie" (II Thessalonians 2:11).

Verse ten tells us that the reason God sends "strong delusion" is because "they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved" (II Thessalonians 2:10b). These people refuse to be saved, so God sends them strong delusions "that they should believe a lie."

That’s a prophetic picture of people committing the unpardonable sin in the Tribulation period. Dr. John R. Rice said,
Those who take the mark of the beast thereby commit the unpardonable sin and doom themselves forever in Hell…in the Great Tribulation, yet future, men will cross the deadline, will commit the unpardonable sin (Crossing the Deadline, Sword of the Lord, 1953, pp. 16, 11).

And you can commit the unpardonable sin right now!

What is the unpardonable sin? Dr. John R. Rice said:
The unpardonable sin is such a sin as any man or woman might commit after great enlightenment, after many calls (to salvation) are refused, after many pleadings of the Holy Spirit are mocked and resisted and insulted (Ibid., p. 17). The sinner (committing the unpardonable sin) becomes hardened, set against God, against salvation, and so will never repent (Ibid., p. 24). God’s Spirit does not call the forsaken sinner (Ibid., p. 25). The man who has set his heart against God forever and has insulted and driven away the Holy Spirit will never come for the cleansing which is offered (Ibid.). So one who has driven away the Spirit of God and has passed the boundaries of mercy cannot repent (Ibid.).
You are in great danger of committing the unpardonable sin. When you commit it, you can never get saved; never can you be converted. You may live for many years, but God will give up on you for ever if you step over the line and He is "taken out of the way" in your life (II Thessalonians 2:7).
When that happens, God will give you "over to a reprobate mind" (Romans 1:28). Given up by God! You can never be saved!
"…because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth"
(II Thessalonians 2:10-12).
One young man said to me, "I’m not as interested in becoming a Christian as I was before I heard all your sermons. I was interested at the beginning, but am less and less interested now." He was trying to make it sound like my sermons were too poor to convince him. But I know his case. The fact is that he is rejecting the sermons, so God is slowly beginning to reject him. Soon God will give up on him completely, and when God does that, this young man will have committed the unpardonable sin. He won’t be interested at all any more. He won’t want to come back to church – because God will have given him up. The Holy Spirit will leave him forever. It will forever be too late for him to be saved then.

You have waited so flippantly, refused Him so lightly,
You have sinned long and dreadfully, your heart is so wrong;
Oh if God grows impatient, the sweet Spirit offended,
If no longer He calls you, doom is yours when He’s gone.

Then how sad facing judgment you’ll recall with no mercy,
That you tarried and lingered till the Spirit was gone;
What reproaches and mourning if when death finds you hopeless,
You have tarried and lingered and have waited too long!
("If You Linger Too Long," by Dr. John R. Rice, 1895-1980).

Dr. John R. Rice once told about a man who came to hear him preach night after night in evangelistic meetings. The man sat at the back and laughed and mocked after the sermons. Then the evangelist moved on and the meetings were over. The years passed but the man never did get saved.
One night Dr. Rice spoke with his sister on the telephone. She said, "John, do you remember Mr. (So and so)?" He said, "Yes. I remember that he came to the services, but he didn’t get saved. He mocked and joked and laughed about the sermons."
Then Dr. Rice’s sister told him what happened to that man. He got sick to the stomach and they took him to the doctor. The doctor said, "It’s too late. There’s nothing I can do. Go home and write a will. You won’t live long."
It was hot that summer in Dallas. It was before they had air conditioning. They left the windows open to let in a little breeze. That man lay in his house dying for weeks. No one could comfort him. They sent for the Baptist preacher, but he couldn’t seem to lead the man to Christ. The dying man kept saying it was too late, he had waited too long. They say you could hear him screaming for blocks during those hot summer nights in Dallas. They say you could hear him screaming, "Oh God, I need more time! Oh God, I’m not ready to die! Oh, God, I’m not ready to die! I’m not ready to die! I’m not ready to die!"
And that’s the way you will die if you go on rejecting Jesus Christ - until it’s too late for you to be saved.

You can read Dr. Hymers' sermons each week on the Internet
at Click on "Sermon Manuscripts."

Scripture Read Before Sermon: II Chronicles 3:1-2; II Chronicles 36:18-19;
Ezra 6:3-7; Matthew 24:1-2; Revelation 1:19; Revelation 11:1-2.
Solo by Benjamin Kincaid Griffith: "In Times Like These"
"If You Linger Too Long" by Dr. John R. Rice (1895-1980).



by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

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, shewing himself that he is God" (II Thessalonians 2:3-4).

I.   The coming Antichrist will make a treaty with Israel that 
will give the Jews the Temple area, John 5:43; Revelation 11:1-3.

II.  The rebuilt Temple will then be taken over by the Antichrist,
Matthew 24:15; Daniel 9:27; 11:31; Revelation 13:14-15;
Revelation 13:8; II Thessalonians 2:11-12.

III. The great events of the last half of the Tribulation will then unfold
(1) The wrath of Satan, Revelation 12:12; 13:5-8.
(2) The unprecedented activity of demons, Revelation 9:2,6,11.
(3) The bowl judgments, Revelation 16:1-21.
(4) The application to you, Romans 1:28; II Thessalonians 2:10-12.