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our gathering together unto him, that ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter, as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means, for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first ” (II Thess. 2).

The Falling Away “The falling away” referred to here by Paul, we have already shown to be the falling away of the house of Israel in the latter days after the second exodus in which they will be brought up from among the nations, after the manner of Egypt. And after the rebellious element is again purged out from among them in the wilderness, as of old, they will then be planted again in their own land as a righteous nation, and their falling away is their falling again into the iniquities of their ancestors. And it is during the times of this apostacy that the man of sin will make his appearance in Israel, who will not only astonish his own people with his marvelous exploits, but he will make the deep seas of nations boil like a pot: he will make the sea like a pot of ointment. He will make a path to shine after him; for upon the earth there will not be his like, who is made without fear.

The children of Israel insolently and imperatively demanded a king at the hands of Samuel, and the Lord said, "Hearken to their voice, and give them a king.” But the Lord has declared his purpose in many ways and in different places, that before they finish up their rebellious career in the latter days, among the many wonderful things that he will do to punish them for their iniquities he will raise them up a king that will so far transcend their utmost expectations of a king, and of what a king should do to and for them, that the Lord says, “And ye shall cry out in that day, because of your king which

shall have chosen you, and the Lord will not hear you in that day" (I Sam. 8:18).

Again the Lord says, and he says it not in vain, “I will no more pity the inhabitants of the land, saith the Lord. But I will deliver the men every one into the hand of his king, and into his neighbor's hand. And they shall smite the land, and out of their hand I will not deliver them” (Zech. 11:6). And he says again (verse 16), “For lo, I will raise up a shepherd (one of the names by which kings are called) in the land which shall not visit those that be cut off, neither shall seek the young one, nor heal that that is broken, nor feed that that standeth still, but he shall eat the flesh of the fat, and tear their claws in pieces."

But when his work is done, and the day of his own overthrow has arrived, then the Lord says of him, "Woe to the idol shepherd that leaveth the flock; the sword shall be upon his arm, and upon his right eye; his arm shall be clean dried up, and his right eye shall be utterly darkened." This is, therefore, a shepherd in Israel, who will demand divine honors and exalt himself as a god to be worshipped. But he will in the end prove to be a broken idol, and no god.

The Revelation of the Man of Sin There will be a falling away first, and then will that “man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition, who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that

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is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he, as God, sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God."

Now we might inquire, Whence did Paul gather such knowledge and information as this? for he himself affirmed that he said none other things than those which Moses and the prophets did say should come. In the Book of Daniel we find a prophecy concerning a king who answers to Paul's " man of sin." In this prophecy of the things which shall befall Israel in the latter days, he speaks of one of the kings, as follows, “ And the king shall do according to his will, and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvelous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done. Neither shall he regard the desire of women, nor regard any god, for he shall magnify himself above all ” (Dan. 11:36-37).

Here is a character which answers Paul's description of the man of sin. In fact Paul quotes the very language that Daniel here employs to describe the character of this idol shepherd. The Lord says by Hosea, "I have also spoken by the prophets, and I have multiplied visions and used similitudes, by the ministry of the prophets." We will therefore refer to one of the similitudes that the Lord employs to speak of this man of sin, under the name of the Prince of Tyrus, as was shown to the prophet Ezekiel in chapter twentyeight, where he says, “ The word of the Lord came again unto me saying, Son of man, say unto the Prince of Tyrus; Thus saith the Lord God, because thine heart is lifted up, and thou hast said, I am a God, I sit in the seat of God (in the holy of holies in the Temple), in the midst of the seas (of nations), yet thou art a man, and not God, though thou set thine heart as the heart of God.” As God gave to King Solomon great wisdom and largeness of heart above all men, so will he give to this king, and therefore the prophet says of him (verse 3), “Behold, thou art wiser than Daniel; there is no secret that they can hide from thee: with thy wisdom and thine understanding thou hast gotten thee riches, thou hast gotten gold and silver into thy treasures: by thy great wisdom, and by thy traffic, hast thou increased thy riches, and thine heart is lifted up because of thy riches.

“Therefore thus saith the Lord God, Because thou hast set thine heart as the heart of God, behold, therefore, I will bring strangers upon thee, the terrible of the nations, and they shall draw their swords against the beauty of thy wisdom, and they shall defile thy brightness. They shall bring thee down to the pit, and thou shalt die the deaths of them that are slain in the midst of the seas (of nations). Wilt thou yet say before him that slayeth thee, I am God? But thou shalt be a man, and no God, in the hand of him that slayeth thee.” And then as this man is a circumcised Israelite, the Lord says of him, “Thou shalt die the deaths of the uncircumcised by the hand of strangers: for I have spoken it, saith the Lord God.”

And in the lamentation that follows for this prince, the Lord says (verse 14), “ Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth, and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God (in Jerusalem); thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee. By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned. Therefore will I cast thee as profane, out of the Mount of God, and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire.

" Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee. Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries (the temple) by the multitude of thine iniquities, by the iniquity of thy traffic; therefore will I bring forth a fire from the midst of thee; it shall devour thee; I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee. All they that know thee among the people shall be astonished at thee: thou shalt be a terror, and never shalt thou be any more." This is the Lord's parable of the man of sin, by the hand of Ezekiel, in which he says, “I am a God, I sit in the seat of God.” Now God's seat is in his holy Temple. Paul quoting this oracle says of him, “He exalteth himself above all that is called God, or is worshipped, so that he as God, sitteth in the Temple of God, showing himself that he is God." As we shall have more to say concerning this remarkable character, as he is brought to view in different places in the Scriptures, what we have already said will suffice for our present purpose.

That Which Hindered

Now what was it that existed in Paul's day which hindered, and had to be removed out of the way before the man of sin could make his appearance? The Thessalonian Christians knew, for Paul says so, in these words, “Remember ye not that when I was with you, I told you these things? and now ye know what withholdeth, that he might be revealed in his time." But the interpreters, who are under the veil which is now spread over all nations know not, neither do they understand. And their speculations concerning these things are as far from the truth as the east is from the west. The Protestant interpreters commonly say that the man of sin is the Pope of Rome, and that that which in Paul's day hindered the manifestation of papal Rome was pagan Rome, and they charge upon the popes of Rome, past, present, and future, all that Paul lays at the door of the man of sin. Now while the popes and their people are bad enough, and their bishops, cardinals, and priests are proud, haughty and presumptuous, abounding in error and things which are contrary to the truth and sound doctrine, as well as their Protestant dissenting brethren, yet neither among Roman Catholics, or Greek Catholics, nor among Protestants, can anything be found to answer to, or to fulfil the word of God by the hand of Paul touching these things.

That which hindered, in Paul's day, was Judah. Judah had not yet been removed out of God's sight, as the prophets had foretold, as follows (11 Kings 21: 10-15), "And the Lord spake by his servants the prophets saying. Because Manasseh, king of Judah, hath done these abominations, and hath done wickedly above all that the Amorites did, which were before him, and hath made Judah also to sin with his idols, therefore, thus saith the Lord God of Israel, 'I am bringing such evil upon Jerusalem and Judah, that whosoever heareth it, both his ears shall tingle. And I will stretch over Jerusalem the line of Samaria, and the plummet of the house of Ahab, and I will

wipe Jerusalem, as a man wipeth a dish, wiping it and turning it upside down. And I will forsake the remnant of mine inheritance, and deliver them into the hand of their enemies, and they shall become a spoil and a prey to all their enemies; because they have done that which was evil in my sight, and have provoked me to anger since the day their fathers came forth out of Egypt, even until this day.”

The Line of Samaria, and the Plummet of the House of Ahab" What was the line of Samaria, and plummet of the house of Ahab that the God of Israel threatens that he will stretch over Jerusalem? The answer to this is found in the following record,

“In the twelfth year of Ahaz, king of Judah, began Hoshea, the son of Elah, to reign in Samaria over Israel, and he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, but not as the kings of Israel which were before him. Against him came up Shalmaneser, king of Assyria; and Hoshea became his servant and gave him presents. And the king of Assyria found conspiracy in Hoshea: for he had sent messengers to So, king of Egypt, and brought no present to the king of Assyria, as he had done year by year: therefore the king of Assyria shut him up and bound him in prison. Then the king of Assyria came up throughout all the land, and went up to Samaria and besieged it three years.

“In the ninth year of Hoshea, the king of Assyria took Samaria, and carried Israel away into Assyria, and placed them in Halah and in Habor by the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes. For so it was that the children of Israel had sinned against their God, which had brought them up out of the land of Egypt, from under the hand of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and had feared other gods, and walked in the statutes of the heathen, whom the Lord cast out from before the children of Israel, and of the kings of Israel, which they had made. And the children of Israel did secretly those things that were not right against the Lord their God, and they built them high places in all their cities, from the tower of the watchmen to the fenced city. And they set them up images and groves in every high hill, and under every green tree: and there they burnt incense in all the high places, as did the heathen whom the Lord carried away before them; and wrought wicked things to provoke the Lord to anger. For they served idols, whereof the Lord had said unto them, Ye shall not do this thing.

Yet the Lord testified against Israel and against Judah, by all the prophets and by all the seers, saying, Turn ye from your evil ways, and keep my commandments and my statutes, according to all the law which I commanded your fathers, and which I sent to you by my servants the prophets. Notwithstanding, they would not hear, but hardened their necks, like to the neck of their fathers, that did not believe in the Lord their God. And they rejected his statutes and his covenant that he made with their fathers, and his testimonies which he testified against them; and they followed vanity, and became vain, and went after the heathen that were round about them, concerning whom the Lord had charged them, that they should not do like them. And they left all the commandments of the Lord their God, and made them molten images, even two calves and a grove, and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served Baal. And they caused their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire, and used divinations and enchantments, and sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the Lord to provoke him to anger.

“Therefore the Lord was very angry with Israel, and removed them out of his sight: there was none left but the tribe of Judah only. Also Judah kept not the commandments of the Lord their God, but walked in the statutes of Israel which they made. And the Lord rejected all the seed of Israel, and afflicted them, and delivered them into the hand of the spoilers, until he had cast them out of his sight. For he rent Israel from the house of David ; and they made Jeroboam the son of Nebat king: and Jeroboam drave Israel from following the Lord, and made them sin a great sin. For the children of Israel walked in all the sins of Jeroboam which he did ; and they departed not from them, until the Lord removed Israel out of his sight, as he had said by all his servants the prophets. So was Israel carried away out of their own land to Assyria unto this day" (II Kings 17: 1-23).

This ancient record shows that the line of Samaria and the plummet of the house of Ahab, consisted in delivering his rebellious people into the hand of spoilers, into the hands of their enemies, who carried them away captives out of their own land and placed them in the Assyrian countries, in the lands of their enemies, because of their transgressions. The Lord cast them out of his sight, and they have disappeared to such an extent that they are spoken of as the lost tribes to this day.

After the Lord had rejected all the seed of Israel and removed them out of his sight, Judah still remained in the land, but they followed hard after the evil ways of the children of Israel, whom the Lord had cast out, and the Lord suffered their manners for a period of about one hundred and thirty years after he had cast out the ten tribes. And although Josiah arose, a good king in Judah, yet the wrath of God against Judah could not be restrained, as it is said, “And like unto him (Josiah) was there no king before him that turned to the Lord with his whole heart, and with all his soul, and with all his might according to all the law of Moses, neither after him arose there any like him. Notwithstanding, the Lord turned not from the fierceness of his great wrath, wherewith his wrath was kindled against Judah because of all the provocations that Manasseh had provoked him withal, And the Lord said, I will remove Judah also, out of my sight, as I have removed Israel, and will cast off this city Jerusalem which I have chosen, and the house (Temple) of which I said, My name shall be there ” (II Kings 23: 25-27). To fulfil this word the Lord sent against Judah, Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, who destroyed the Temple and the holy city, and burned them up with fire, and brake down the walls and carried the people captives to Babylon, as it is testified in the twenty-fourth chapter of II Kings, and elsewhere.

This captivity, however, was only for a limited period of seventy years, whereas the captivity of the ten tribes has continued without interruption from the time that they were carried away into Assyria until the present day. When Judah was carried away to Babylon for seventy years, they had to be returned again before entering upon that long dispersion that they are now undergoing, or the Scriptures would have been broken. Christ had not yet

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