It is said that the Scriptures provide for themselves the best possible commentary. I have attempted in my study of Scripture to use them as such. Primarily I have always tried to allow the particular book I’m studying to provide the help needed. However, there are times when Scripture from other books and even other authors are helpful in determining the particular meaning in the text. In the case of 2 Thessalonians 2 I believe this is the case.
When I read 2 Thessalonians 2 my mind wanders over to Revelation 13. From studying both sections I have concluded they are in reference to the same thing. When we look at the criterion of the Man of Sin (see this post) and compare it to the details in Revelation 13 this exegetical hunch seems to be warranted.
When you read Revelation 13 we have a figure who opposes God, makes himself to be God, seeks worship, practices lying wonders, and deceives people on the earth. Thus I think the figure in Revelation 13 is the same figure in 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12. Revelation adds to the story the idea that the figure (the beast) brings persecution on the people of God, but the details seem so clear that we need to see these two sections of Scripture together.
However, the journey does not end there. Once we connect 2 Thessalonians 2 with Revelation 13, then we cannot fail to see that Revelation 13 uses imagery from the book of Daniel. The ten horned beast is seen in Daniel 7:7. It is the fourth beast in a progression of beasts in that chapter. Daniel 7 interprets each of these beasts as kingdoms. Specific interpretation of this fourth beast is seen in Daniel 7:19-25.
In my mind identifying the fourth beast of Daniel 7, will help us identify the beast in Revelation 13, which will then help us understand the man of sin in 2 Thessalonians 2. This we will do in our next post.