Seated in the Sanctuary

Jesus will not “arrive” to gather his “elect” until two events occur - The “Apostasy” and the “Revelation of the Man of Lawlessness,” and they are inextricably linked. It is not just the presence of this figure but his unveiling in the Assembly that will signal the imminence of the “Day of the Lord.” Not only will he cause many to apostatize, but his identity will be unveiled when he “sits down” in the “Sanctuary of God.”

Based on Paul's consistent usage, his words do not describe the appearance of this deceiver in the Temple in Jerusalem, but his presence in the Body of Christ where he will perform lying signs and wonders to deceive those members who refuse to welcome the love of the truth.

Country Church - Photo by Harry Miller on Unsplash
[Photo by Harry Miller on Unsplash]

The Apostle was reacting to deceptive voices and rumors troubling the Thessalonian congregation. Nowhere in the larger context did he express any interest in Israel, the city of Jerusalem, or its Temple building.

False reports claimed that the “Day of the Lord had set in.” The Greek verb translated as “set in” suggests the belief that this event had commenced already. Paul responded by reminding the Thessalonians of two things that must precede that Day.

  • (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4) - “That day will not set in, except, first, the apostasy comes, and there be revealed the man of lawlessness, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself on high against everyone called God or any object of worship, so that he, within the Sanctuary of God, will sit down, showing himself that he is God.”

The Greek term translated as “revealed” represents the verb apocalyptô, meaning, “unveiled, disclosed, revealed.” It denotes the disclosure of something hidden, which fits the context well. This man will not appear as who he truly is until the “Mystery of Lawlessness” has finished running its course preparing for his arrival, “and then the Lawless One will be revealed” - (2 Thessalonians 2:8).

The clause translated as “he will sit down in the Sanctuary” corresponds to the verb “revealed.” His “seating” in the House of God will be his “revelation,” the moment when his identity will be exposed, at least, for those with “eyes to see.”

The sentence tells us the WHEN and the WHERE of his exposure. This does not mean he will be an unknown figure before that moment, but his identification AS the “Man of Lawlessness” will remain hidden until he places himself front and center in the “Sanctuary of God.”

The Greek phrase translated as “Sanctuary of God” occurs five times in Paul’s letters (ton naon tou theou). Naos means “sanctuary.” In biblical Greek, it referred to the inner sanctum of the Tabernacle and the Temple building.

The Apostle applied the term to the Body of Christ four times in his letters to the Corinthians, and once in Ephesians he used naos by itself for the Assembly, the “holy SANCTUARY to the Lord”- (1 Corinthians 3:16, 3:17, 6:19, 2 Corinthians 6:16, Ephesians 2:19-22).

The scriptural source for this “Man of Lawlessness” is the Book of Daniel and its malevolent king who persecuted the Jewish people, the “Little Horn,” the “King of Fierce Countenance,” and the “Contemptible Person” – (Daniel 7:21-25, 8:9-13, 8:23-26, 9:26-27, 11:30-36).

He “exalted himself above every god and spoke marvelous things against the God of gods.” He waged “war against the saints,” causing many in Israel to abandon the faith. He desecrated the “Sanctuary” by erecting the “Abomination that Desolates,” and banning the daily burnt offerings. All that made him the perfect model for Paul’s “Lawless One” who will attempt to destroy the Church from the inside and through deception.


This “Man of Lawlessness” is linked to the coming “Apostasy.” This word translates the Greek term apostasia or “defection, apostasy, falling away, departure, abandonment.” Consistently in Scripture, it refers to the abandonment of the true religion.

This man will lead believers away from the faith of Jesus and the Apostles. Satan will energize him with “all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceit of unrighteousness for them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth.”

These last words echo the warning of Jesus about “false prophets” and “false anointed ones” who employ “great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, the elect.” They will cause “lawlessness” and the hearts of many to “grow cold” – (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12, Matthew 24:24).

This “Lawless One” will “sit down in the Sanctuary.” This points to his imitation of Jesus. “Sit down” translates the Greek verb kathizô, the one used each time the New Testament quotes Psalm 110:1 when Yahweh said to his Messiah, “SIT DOWN at my right hand until I make your enemies your footstool” - (Matthew 22:44, Acts 2:34-36, 7:55).

That he seats himself demonstrates his presumptuousness. In the ancient Tabernacle, only the High Priest entered the “Holy of Holies” once a year and he NEVER “sat down.” The only one who is ever said to have “sat down” in God’s house and presence was Jesus following his Ascension – (e.g., Hebrews 1:1-4, 8:1-2).

Considering Paul’s usage elsewhere, the phrase “Sanctuary of God” must refer to the Church, the “Assembly” of God. The passage is a warning to believers to watch for the appearance of this deceiver in the congregation. He will counterfeit the true Messiah and thereby lead many believers astray.

  • The Apostasy - (Paul warned the Thessalonians of a future apostasy and linked it to the unveiling of the Man of Lawlessness, the Son of Destruction)
  • Two Missing Events - (Two events must occur before the Day of the Lord comes, the Apostasy and the unveiling of the Man of Lawlessness)
  • The Mystery of Lawlessness - (The Mystery of Lawlessness is preparing the way for the unveiling of the Lawless One who will cause many believers to apostatize)



Second Trumpet

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