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Just as Babylon is the antithesis of Jerusalem in Bible symbolism; so the man of sin, in all its manifestations, is the exact opposite of the Son of man. The two are irreconcilable, and yet the sin-power reveals purposeful likeness to its divine opposite in many ways, with the result that the multitudes are deceived, including some within the household itself. At times it is nearly impossible to distinguish between the real and the counterfeit - the true and the false - the legitimate and the impostor. Some masterpiece paintings have been copied by artists so precisely like the original that only the experts can tell the difference. Some gemstones can be produced with such authentic luster, that they are preferred over the original and are often worn to foil the thief.

But what has this to do with Scripture? Consider the following. In Revelation, chapter 12, the identity of Michael is key to the understanding of this section of the book. If the man child is in fact the Lord Jesus, then we are presented with yet another vision of the exaltation of the Savior as in chapters 7 and 14, and we are left with no introduction to the 13th chapter. On the other hand, if Michael, the man child, is the emperor Constantine - depicted as overthrowing the dragon of paganism and establishing Christianity as the State religion - then chapter 13 becomes an extension of 12, with the Sea Beast depicting the development of mainstream Christianity in its full blown apostasy. The man child "rules with a rod of iron" (Rev. 12: 5), and since the same is said of Jesus (Rev. 2: 27), it is asserted that the two must be the same. But this flies in the face of other facts which are even more important.

For example, when Michael is exalted to heaven and casts out the dragon, the saints are described as being killed (Rev. 12: 11). Similarly, when Michael is exalted, Satan is released in the earth (12: 12) to torment its inhabitants. However, when Jesus returns to set up his kingdom, the saints will be immortalized and Satan will be bound for a thousand years (Rev. 19:11-21; 20:2). So the conclusion - that Michael, the man child, and Jesus Christ are the same - appearing on the surface to be correct, is in fact a hasty and inaccurate interpretation. The differences between Jesus and the man child are seen, on closer observation, to be greater than their similarities.

Why are there similarities at all? Because the man child is claiming to be a messenger and representative of the Son of God. 2 Thessalonians 2 is a parallel passage to Revelation 12 and fills in the details of the "coming" or "revelation" of the "man of sin". By using similar terms to describe the system of sin and the Lord Jesus, the Spirit is telling us that to outward appearance the apostasy and the Truth would seem to be the same. Apart from "trying the spirits" or testing the teaching, we may be misled and believe that the Truth and the Church are reconcilable.

Apart from recognizing the great apostasy, Catholic and Protestant, as the system to which the prophet Daniel and the Lord Jesus in the Revelation direct such vehement condemnation, there would seem to be no justification for Christadelphians to remain a separate community.

The list of comparative Bible phrases appearing on pages 71-73 will establish the remarkable similarity between "the man of sin" in his several guises, and the Lord Jesus Christ and his Ecclesia. There are characteristic differences as well, which will be recognized by those who can discern them.

The apostle Paul warned against "false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ." "And no wonder," he writes, "for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light."1 The claim to be able to enlighten is typical of the power of sin - it began with the serpent in Eden. The serpent became in Scripture the epitome of sin and deception. Notice that in his conversation with the woman the serpent first contradicts God and then presumes to speak for Him. "You will not die", he insisted before offering further enlightenment, pretending to be in the confidence of the Elohim. "God knows", he reveals, "that when you eat of it (the forbidden fruit) your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God knowing good and evil." 2

The practice of deception had its origin in Eden, and the apostle Paul alludes to this in another warning. "I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere devotion to Christ."3 Paul uses the Greek word exapattao (to deceive greatly) in this passage, as he refers to the original action of the serpent. Sin itself deceives,4 we are told, and the word "deceive" is from the Greek word meaning "to lead astray" (Young). Paul again cautions against those "who create dissentions and difficulties, in opposition to the doctrine which you have been taught ... by fair and flattering words they deceive the hearts of the simple-minded."5 These figures - sin, deceit, the serpent - are brought forward into the Book of Revelation, where the ultimate power of deception is described. 6

In the twenty-first century the Ecclesia again faces a crisis. For more than a hundred years the apostolic truths have been maintained, and the errors of Christendom have been stedfastly resisted. The Ecclesia has seen remarkable fulfillments of Bible prophecy - as witness the miraculous return of the Jews to their ancient homeland and the rebirth of a nation called Israel. So many prophecies have been fulfilled that we tend to take them for granted, but now the stage is set for the divine drama to play itself out. As latter day prophecy is fulfilled, we see that our brethren of the last century could not anticipate all the details of unfolding events nor the length of time that would be required for their fulfillment. Nevertheless, the general theme of Bible prophecy, as it has been understood in our community from its inception, remains unchanged.

One of the significant signs which we may overlook is the perpetuation of the Roman system. The papacy survives intact to play out its last scene, but its appearance in our day is so benign that we are apt to disregard its ominous presence along with its Protestant daughters. But the apostasy which was so distinctively Roman persists in its influence today, not only in the papal system itself, but in the spiritual darkness of our day in all its forms. Brethren in Christ must continue to resist its teachings and its influence. It is Daniel's fourth (Roman) beast which speaks great words against the Most High and wears out His saints ... until ... "the judgment shall sit, and the saints shall take away his (the fourth beast's) dominion, to consume and destroy it unto the end." 7

Jesus = King of Kings Rev. 19: 16 Nebuchadnezzar = a king of kings Dan. 2: 37
The Lord's is "the kingdom, power and glory." Matt. 6: 13 (Matt. 28: 18) Nebuchadnezzar had "kingdom, power ... and glory." Dan. 2: 37
God of heaven shall set up a kingdom ... it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms. Dan.2: 44 The 4th (iron, Roman) kingdom breaketh in pieces and subdueth all things. Dan. 2: 40
Kingdom of God is like a grain of mustard seed ... it grew, and waxed a great tree and fowls of the air lodged in the branches of it. Luke 13: 18, 19 Tree grew ... strong ... leaves fair ... fruit meat for all: beasts had shadow under it, fowls of heaven dwelt in boughs, all flesh was fed of it. Dan. 4: 11, 12
God ... changeth the times and the seasons. Dan. 2: 21 Little horn ... thinks to change times and laws. Dan. 7: 25
The Lord Jesus shall be revealed, (APOKA-LUPSIS) 2 Thess. 1: 7 That Wicked shall revealed, (APOKA-LUPTO) 2Thess. 2: 3, 6, 8
Christ has a coming, (PAROUSIA) 2 Thess. 2: 1 Man of Sin has a coming, (PAROUSIA) 2 Thess. 2: 9
Jesus of Nazareth, "a man approved by God among you by miracles and wonders and signs."Acts 2: 22(Cp. Acts 2: 43 - apostles)(Cp. Rom. 15: 18-19 - Paul) Man of Sin performs signs and lying wonders with power. 2 Thess. 2: 9(Cp. Matt. 24: 24)
Christ has many crowns on his head. Rev.19: 12 Beast has ten crowns on his horns.Rev. 13: 1
Son of man ... "given dominion, glory and a kingdom, that all people, nations and languages should serve him.."Dan. 7: 14 (Compare Rev. 5: 10) Beast is given authority over every tribe, people and tongue and nation. Rev. 13: 7
Christ = Lamb on Mount Zion Rev. 14: 1 Earth beast has two horns "like a lamb". Rev. 13: 11
Christ healed of a wound. Gen. 3: 15 Beast healed of a wound. Rev. 13: 12
"Fire came down from God out of heaven." Rev. 20: 9 Earth beast makes a fire come down from heaven. Rev. 13: 13
Christ has an image Rom. 8: 29 The Beast has an image. Rev. 13: 14
The Lord destroys with the sword of his mouth. Rev. 19: 15 Image of the beast speaks and kills those who do not worship him. Rev. 13: 15
Christ has diversified following - "Jew, Greek, bond and free, male and female." Gal. 3:28 Beast has diversified following -"small and great, rich and poor, free and bond". Rev. 13: 16
The 144, 000 have the Father's name written in their foreheads. Rev. 14: 1 Beast worshippers have a mark on their foreheads. Rev. 13: 16
Saints given a new name. Rev. 2-.17 Followers of the Beast have his name. Rev. 13: 17
Christ riding a horse clothed with a vesture dipped in blood. Rev. 19: 11, 13 Whore riding a beast clothed in purple and scarlet. Rev. 17: 3-7
Holy City/New Jerusalem, city of pure gold, foundations of precious stones, gates of pearls. Rev. 21 Harlot decked with gold, precious stones and pearls. Rev. 17: 4
"It is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven." Matt. 13: 11 Mystery, Babylon, The Great." Rev. 17: 5
Jesus ... is, was and is to come. Rev. 1: 4 Beast ... was and is not and yet is. Rev. 17: 8
Jesus = King of Kings Rev. 19: 16 Nebuchadnezzar = a king of kings Dan. 2: 37

Thus it is not inconsistent when we read ...

Christ and the saints to rule with a rod of iron.Rev. 2:27; Rev. 19:15 A "man child… to rule all nations with a rod of iron." Rev. 12:5

1 2 Cor. 11: 13-14.

2 Gen. 3: 5.

3 2 Cor. 11: 3.

4 Rom. 7: 11; Heb. 3: 13.

5 Rom, 16: 17-18.

6 Rev. 13: 14; 18: 23.

7 Dan. 7: 26.