I was watching Paul D’s latest video (he won’t agree with one word I say below, by the way):
He places a great deal of importance on Matthew 24:12 and Jesus’ prediction there of the state of men’s hearts at the end times:
And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.
But he doesn’t see you could basically translate that into modern English as
And because Paulinism will abound, the love of many will grow cold.
When you think of lawlessness, you immediately think of Paul.
But how can that be? David, are you saying that Paul is the man of lawlessness? But Paul is the one who tells us about the man of lawlessness. Well, who better to know about the man of lawlessness than himself. Let’s look at what Paul says on the subject:
2 Thessalonians 2
2 Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, 2 not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ[a] had come. 3 Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin[b] is revealed, the son of perdition, 4 who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God[c] in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.
5 Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? 6 And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time. 7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He[d] who now restrains will do so until He[e] is taken out of the way. 8 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. 9 The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, 10 and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11 And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, 12 that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
The mystery of lawlessness is already active in Paul’s day, which basically means the man of lawlessness is someone living in Paul’s day. So its not the pope; sorry diehard anti-papists. And its not Mohammed; sorry diehard anti-Muslims.
Who is it then? Well, he is restrained, but Paul says the one restraining him will be taken out of the way. And eventually after that restrainer is removed, after the safety is off and the man of lawlessness runs full steam ahead (or his ideas begin to be accepted without restrain) then he will be exposed.
So who is it? Its Paul himself. The one restraining is Peter, or James, and Paul is the one being restrained. The good thing in the story is the man of lawlessness will be consumed by the Lord’s breathe in the end, so Paul will get his.
But come on…how can it be Paul when he’s the one writing about it? Well, he loved unrighteousness more than the truth so much that he was deceived by the very deception he was spewing. He didn’t even realize he was writing about himself.
Now, the pope was never in the temple of God. Paul was. Paul entered the temple, remember, with Trophimus the Gentile, and was arrested for it. Paul entered the temple setting himself up above God and everything that is called God. The Law clearly said nobody uncircumcised was to enter that temple, but seeing himself greater than God, Paul took uncircumcised Gentiles into the temple, setting himself up above God. In a certain way he was exposed right then! But for most of us his exposure has been centuries in the making.
The other things is, there’s no temple now. And I don’t believe there ever will be again; I don’t think that the temple is to be rebuilt. Now, if that’s the case, then there’s no way this man of lawlessness can be anyone else. Because what temple can we get this guy into? There isn’t one. But there was Paul, highhandedly in the temple flouting his opposition to circumcision in a way that basically declares himself greater than God.
Now, that Paul makes the love of many grow cold is obvious in various ways. (1) People are constantly at each others throats arguing about what this horrible writer even meant. (2) His support of unrighteousness and easy believism gives all sorts of antichristians, Jews, atheists, Muslims, etc. ammunition against Christianity. (3) He’s rather mean spirited and hateful towards anyone who disagrees with him, especially when they are right. And this breeds the same sort of attitude in those who hold him up as the standard. (4) His simply generally disagreeable nature and the pessimism in his view of humanity just simply turns people off. (5) The coupling of Jesus with Paul as if they are inseparable makes people hate Jesus……I could go on and on.
Now, what about this that Paul says about the man of lawlessness?
The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, 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.
Mohammed admits openly that he did no miracles. The only miracle he offers is the literary quality of the Koran (which was clearly put together by an illiterate).
The pope has done no miracles. The only miracle he offers is transubstantiation, which is nothing but an assertion.
But Paul let a demon-possessed girl follow him for 4 days and finally on the 4th day cast the demon out, because he was annoyed (not because he had compassion).
Paul healed people with handkerchiefs. Paul preached so long that it literally killed people, and he presumably healed that guy that fell out of the window.
How can Paul not be a true apostle when he did all these miracles? Paul himself tells us the man of lawlessness will do a lot of miracles. And people will buy these miracles (he says) because they don’t love the truth but rather love pleasure in unrighteousness! But isn’t that the exact reason people keep hanging onto Paul? Its the idea that we don’t have to obey God at all, ever, not even once, because “Paul said faith alone.”
But that passage says the man of lawlessness will do miracles by Satan! Surely you’re not saying that’s Paul? Well, look, Jesus said you’ll know them by their fruits. What are the fruits of Paul? Faith alonism, Gnosticism, Calvinist, and legalism. Yes, I blame legalism on Paul, because many go the opposite direction trying to fix the faith alone problem he created, and that’s where legalism comes from! With those fruits, its believable that his miracles were from Satan, not to mention casting a demon out simply because he was annoyed, (Acts 16:18) not due to any compassion for the girl. If you read Acts 20 about the guy that fell out the window, you’ll see a lack of compassion there too. Paul goes out and sees the guy is still alive, goes back in and continues his sermon, then they come out and take the guy up after Paul finished his sermon! I’ll bet you never noticed that before. I’ve witnessed something similar in a church where a guy passed out and the preacher continued the sermon as if nothing had happened…and I know where he got the idea.
This doesn’t mean Paul doesn’t belong in the canon, because the strong delusion that Paul says God will send to those who don’t want the truth, is Paul himself. That strong delusion has got to be in there for those who want it; for those who take pleasure in unrighteousness and hate the truth.
Also we learn as much from negative examples as from positive. Most of the examples in the Old Testament are certainly negative, what we should not do. Paul fits in the same class. He’s the Baalam of the New Testament, as is clear from Revelation chapters 1-2. He’s also both Baalam and the rebel Korah in Jude 11. He’s the Nadab and Abihu of the NT. We have to learn from him what not to do, what false doctrine not to teach, by seeing the disastrous results of his errors.
[That even a false prophet would be forced by God to reveal certain truths is found in the story of Baalam, so its not that big of a surprise that the man of lawlessness would be the one to prophecy of the man of lawlessness. This also explains why a pretty decent amount of what Paul writes actually is true. He wouldn’t be much of a deceiver if he just came at you completely 100% wrong.]