He Sitteth In The Temple

He Sitteth In The Temple

2Thess. 2:3 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; 4 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.

The Apostle Paul wrote the passage above and like all of his letters it was written in Koine (common Greek). 

A lot has been written by a great many theologians regarding the meaning of the second chapter of II Thessalonians.

Paul used the word "temple" in only eight verses throughout all of his New Testament letters:

  • 1Co 3:16  Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and [that] the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
  • 1Co 3:17  If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which [temple] ye are.
  • 1Co 6:19  What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost [which is] in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
  • 1Co 8:10  For if any man see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol’s temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols;
  • 1Co 9:13  Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live [of the things] of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar?
  • 2Co 6:16  And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in [them]; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
  • Eph 2:21  In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:
  • 2Th 2:4  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.

In the case of 1Co 8:10 Paul uses the word εἰδωλεῖον (eidoleion i-do-li’-on) for temple to refer to an idolatrous physical temple.

In the case of 1Co 9:13 Paul uses the word ἱερόν (hieron hee-er-on) as a generic reference to a physical temple.

In every other case two facts prevail. First, the word ναός (naos nah-os’) is used and second, in each of these cases where ναός is used it is always to refer metaphorically to the human body as being the temple of God.

2 Thess. 2:4 is one of these cases. 

This is the same man with the same mind using the same word - ναός - to refer metaphorically to the human body as the temple of God five times explicitly by context and we have no reason to believe that the 6th case shown in 2Thess. 2:4 represents a change to this pattern.

This man of sin does not enter a physical "third temple" and proclaim himself to be God.

Satan enters a man whose body is the temple of God.

Anyone who teaches contrary to this is ignorant of scripture, for there is no physical building that is the "temple of God":

Ac 7:48  Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet,

Ac 17:24  God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;

And certainly, Paul saw no physical building as being such.

Alternately, the "body" could be the body of the church. Technically, this is outside of the strict pattern of Paul using naos as a metaphor for the human body, but it is within a wider context of using it as a metaphor for the metaphorical body of Christ.

This interpretation does harmonize with the "falling away" apostasy of the church that this man of sin will be the leader of (and maybe already is and has been).

If this is the correct interpretation, then the first interpretation is also still correct, since this man will be indwelt by Satan and the man of sin's body is in fact "the temple of God." 

But if you are waiting for a third temple to be built in order for prophecy to be fulfilled, then you have been fooled by the Scofield gang of crooked lawyers.

Touching briefly upon the falling away, it is true that the apostasy has been happening for a very long time. It began with Judas Iscariot. But all of the apostasy up to now and that which follows is just the groundwork and the backstory to the discrete event that Paul describes as the falling away. 

The falling away and the revealing of the man of sin happen together and in close proximity. All of what calls itself Christian in total shall cast off Christ all at once and claim this man,whomever he may be, as its god.

The falling away is a punctuated event that throws a spotlight on the man of sin like nothing else historically or otherwise ever could.

It is not the long drawn out process of apostasy. 

It's the exclamation point at the end of the process.

Without the process the event would and could never happen.

It is coming. On which side of the line will you stand?