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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

Man of Sin

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( ἃνθρωπος τῆς ἁμαρτίας ), an impersonation of the sinful principle spoken of by the apostle Paul in an emphatic manner (2 Thessalonians 2:3). The context (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4) gives the following attributes or synonymous titles:

(1.) apostasy ( ἀποστασία, "a [rather the] falling away"), which precedes (πρῶτον ) the appearance (ἀπακαλυφθῇ );

(2.) son of perdition ( υἱὸς τῆς ἀπωλείας, i.e. one sprung from the fall (compare "that wicked"), and doomed to its penalty (comp. 2 Thessalonians 2:8);

(3.) a persecutor ( ἁντικείμενος ), especially of God's cause and government;

(4.) a blasphemer (ὑπεραιρόμενος, etc.), i.e. one arrogating divine honors, and claiming to work miracles (2 Thessalonians 2:9-10). This is evidently an assemblage of the most striking characteristics of former Antichrists in Scripture, especially the "little horn" of Daniel. As that prophecy referred particularly to Antiochus Epiphanes, this passage must be understood as employing the conventional Scriptural language symbolically to indicate a then (and perhaps still) future effort on the part of some hostile power to overthrow Christianity, and induce its professors to renounce it. Such a peril is clearly intimated in several other passages of the N.T. (e.g. Mark 13:22; 2 Timothy 3:1; 2 Timothy 3:13; Revelation 20:8). But we are not to confine the prophecy to any one type of Antichrist; "in whomsoever these distinctive features are found whoever wields temporal or spiritual power in any degree similar to that in which the Man of Sin is here described as wielding it-he, be he pope or potentate, is beyond all doubt a distinct type of Antichrist" (Ellicott, note, ad loc.). For a history of opinion on this passage, see Alford, Gr. Test. 3, proleg. p. 55 sq. (See ANTICHRIST).

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Man of Sin'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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