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Who is the Man of Sin? ~ Part 2

05 Apr
Man of Sin - 2

from Google Images

We are discussing the identity of the Man of Sin (see part 1 HERE), of whom Paul wrote in 2Thessalonians 2:3. We have also discussed the coming of Jesus, that he returned in the first century, cir. 70 AD, after the abomination that made desolate was set up. In previous studies I had shown that Stephen’s death in Acts 7 represents the setting up of the abomination that makes desolate. In other words whatever was done to shed the blood of Stephen, the first martyr of Jesus, indicates that the abomination had been set up.

Many scholars who embrace dispensational theology point to Antiochus Epiphanes as the type of the Man of Sin who is to come (or so they think he is to come). They have the period correct for the type, but Antiochus Epiphanes does not represent the Man of Sin. He is rather a type of the Roman army or the Roman Emperor. Remember in a previous blogpost (found HERE) I had shown that Caligula was about to set up an image of himself in the Jewish Temple to be worshiped. If he had done so, there surely would have been war between Rome and the Jews and Jerusalem and the Temple would have been destroyed sometime in the thirties AD rather than 30 to 35 year later in 70 AD. Nevertheless, “repentance” was made and God’s mercy was seen in that Caligula was removed and a new emperor reigned. But what was the abomination and who was the Man of Sin?

If we can agree that Antiochus Epiphanes looks more like a type of Caligula or he whom God would use to carry out his judgment upon his people, then we should be able to see from history what the abomination is and who or what was the type of the Man of Sin who was to come. If we can agree that this is a logical approach, what occurred back in the 2nd century BC? Well, Antiochus had removed Onias III (the legal high priest) from the high priesthood, replacing him with his brother Jason who bribed the king with a sum of money, saying he would Hellenize the Jews.

Long-story-short, Menalaus, a relative of Jason, offered the king even more money, if he would make him the high priest, so he could Hellenize the Jews. The king agreed, and there was a great political struggle in Jerusalem over who should be the high priest, although these two imposters were no high priests at all. Meanwhile, the ordinary priests became so interested in the games at the gymnasium that was built for the Greek athletic competition that they had left off their duties in the Temple. In other words, there was a national movement away from God and toward a way of life that opposed God. This was the abomination, and Antiochus’ sacrificing swine’s flesh on the altar was merely God’s judgment upon his people over what was occurring. God made obvious what the spiritual condition of his people had become. He pronounced it “abominable!”

Now, if this was the scene in the 2nd century BC of the type of the abomination and of the Man of Sin in the 1st century AD, then what do we find about the time of Stephen’s death to about the time of Caligula’s reign that moved God to the point where he would have destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple 30-35 years before he actually had done so?

We really need to understand the gravity of Stephen’s death and what it represented. God was involved in a new movement and those who struck out at Stephen, struck out at God (cF. Acts 9:4-5). The high priesthood in Jerusalem had challenged God himself by beginning a persecution against the Jesus Movement among the Jews. At this time only the Hellenistic Jewish believers were persecuted to the death. The Apostles and conservatives were most likely interrogated, threatened and perhaps even beaten, but by and large they were permitted to remain in Jerusalem (Acts 8:1). It is my contention that the Gospel of Luke was written during the 30s AD and presented to Theophilus, the then reigning high priest, in an effort to get him to stop the persecution of Jesus’ people (cf. Luke 1:1-4). Once Theophilus saw Petronius, the Roman governor, coming to set up a statue of Caligula in the Temple (cf. Luke 21:20), he “repented” and left off the persecution (Acts 9:31). Sadly, however, this wasn’t the end. “Repentance” was short lived, as we shall see in my next and final blog on the identity of the Man of Sin.

 

 
2 Comments

Posted by on April 5, 2011 in Man of Sin

 

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2 responses to “Who is the Man of Sin? ~ Part 2

  1. Eddie

    September 28, 2015 at 08:52

    Greetings Shari and thank you for the link and for your comment. I’ll look at the link after our discussion.

    I, too, believe Josephus was a member of Annas’ family, and I also believe he used Luke as his source for common events between the two (but both don’t always agree at those points). Josephus was Annas’ great grandson, and the son of Matthias (son of Theophilus), the final high priest before the Jewish war with Rome. Josephus says as much in his “Life of Flavius Josephus” and also hints of his relationship with his father in “Wars of the Jews” when Josephus was already a captive of Rome. Josephus was no friend of Christianity, however. I wrote about how he might have changed Luke’s account of Acts 12 to accommodate the memory of the Jews’ beloved king, Herod Agrippa, HERE. There is also a contradiction between Luke and Josephus at Acts 5:36 and Josephus: “Antiquities of the Jews” 20.5.1, and of course Luke **must** be wrong. Josephus has been found to err on several occasions but never when in conflict with Luke. I find that very telling. I believe I wrote about Luke’s and Josephus’ common ground elsewhere too, but I cannot remember where at the moment.

    One thing about your first paragraph, I didn’t mean to imply that a Jewish war with Rome in the 30s was planned by God. The plan of God would have been when it actually occurred (if the Jews didn’t repent). I meant to say the Jewish war would have come earlier than planned if the Jews continued in their efforts to destroy the Hellenistic wing of Jewish believers in Christ.

    Lord bless you, Shari, and thank you for the link. I’ll now read what it says. :-)

    P.S. I have challenged others to show me how Luke (if indeed he wrote late in the century) could have obtained a copy of Josephus’ work “Antiquities of the Jews.” However, if I am correct about the time and reason for Luke’s Gospel, I am able to place a copy of Luke’s Gospel in the hands of Josephus (Life of Flavius Josephus; paragraph 75 : “I had also the holy books by Titus’s concession”).

     
  2. librarygeek

    September 27, 2015 at 19:04

    I thought this blog and your other blog about Caligula https://smoodock45.wordpress.com/2010/07/23/caligula-and-antiochus-epiphanes/#comment-4348 really interesting – that Luke wrote to one of Annas’ sons and succeeded in changing his heart with the gospel & the resulted in the time of the Temple’s destruction being pushed back to a later date after persecutions were restarted.

    If Josephus was a member of Annas’ family as some say, it makes it very interesting that he may have heavily relied on Luke’s gospel for his “Testimonium” or Jesus passage. Recent study of both Luke & Josephus in the Greek has found word similarities that are statistically unlikely to have been coincidental and point to both passages coming from the same source. For Josephus to have written his history and used Luke as a source for his Jesus passage makes it very interesting. If he was indeed part of this family, it lends credence to your theory that the High Priest Theophilus was the audience of Luke’s gospel.

    If you’re interested in the study you can find it here:
    http://www.josephus.org/LUKECH.html

     
 
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