There are only two instances in the Bible where the son of perdition is mentioned, and those are found in John 17:12 and 2 Thessalonians 2:3. In John 17:12, this title was referred to Judas Iscariot:
“While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.”
Whereas in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 it refers to his end time counterpart:
“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.”
How did Judas Iscariot gain the title of “the son of perdition”? – By destroying God’s work through his betrayal of Jesus Christ! Let’s read the account in Matthew 26:14;
“Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests, And said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver. And from that time he sought opportunity to betray him.”
Judas’s greed and covetousness made him betray Jesus Christ. He wanted material increase through somebody’s demise and destruction. The same is true with his end-time counterpart as prophesied in Habakkuk 2:6;
“Shall not all these take up a parable against him, and a taunting proverb against him, and say, Woe to him that increaseth that which is not his! how long? and to him that ladeth himself with thick clay!”
Here is what Mr. Flurry wrote:
“Here is a man trying to increase what is not his. …This evil rebel has already been judged by God. How could he try to increase what’s not his except through the courts? He couldn’t come and forcibly take Mystery of the Ages from us – he needs the help of the court.” (p.15, Habakkuk booklet)
Through the course of the court case, that son of perdition had put forth his influence in the courts to gain what is not his. But in actual fact, it was Satan in the flesh through that son of perdition whom the Church had battled through the courts. Satan through the last end son of perdition is prophesied yet to exert his last ditch effort and final attempt to try to destroy God’s work by his cunning deceit and subtle wickedness through friendly persuasive counsel while seeking his own gain. Considering again Amos 7:10, we read; “Then Amaziah the priest of Bethel sent to Jeroboam king of Israel, saying, Amos hath conspired against thee in the midst of the house of Israel: the land is not able to bear all his words.”
“Bethel means ‘house of God.’ So here is a priest of God’s house. The Anchor Bible says: ‘The title is unique. It points to a head priest of a specific shrine. No other Israelite priest is so named, not for any temple or city ….’ This is the most important priest in a sinful Church of God. He is the priest of God’s house. There is a modern counterpart to this priest of Bethel.” (p. 38, The Lion Has Roared)
If we shall look closely, there shall be an end-time fulfillment of Amaziah – and he is a minister in the house of God! Could this prophecy also be referring to an end-time fulfillment of Diotrephes inside God’s Church? Indeed it could – even inside the Philadelphia Church of God! As Mr. Gerald Flurry told the ministry during the 2011 Ministerial Conference (Lecture #5) that “we are going to have Diotrephes in our midst – it’s prophesied!” That this end-time Diotrephes “wants to put himself on the spotlight; he loves preeminence and wants to have authority over the others; and that he wants to run the show”, Mr. Flurry added. Further on, quoting from The Last Hour booklet, he said:
“I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not” (3 John 9). Here is an example diametrically opposite that of Gaius. Diotrephes was a minister, a regional director. The Greek here shows that “he loves to be first.” Gaius loved to do anything he could to help the men who were serving John. Gaius put God’s servants and work first. Diotrephes just loved to put HIMSELF first! When everything was falling apart in God’s Church, he loved to be first! That attitude consumed him. And he probably lost his eternal life. He was eaten alive by vanity and that vulgar desire to be number one.… “Interestingly, the name Diotrephes means ‘nourished by Zeus.’ Does that give you a clue about what was happening to this man? He was just like a man in God’s end-time Church. And MOST PEOPLE TODAY THINK THIS MAN OF SIN HAS SO MUCH LOVE! THEY THINK HE SETS A MARVELOUS EXAMPLE OF LOVE BECAUSE HE TALKS ABOUT IT ALL THE TIME! – AS HE BUTCHERS GOD’S LAW OF LOVE. Diotrephes was a type of the end-time antichrist. His big problem wasn’t in rejecting doctrine. He lusted for power. His big problem was that he wanted the top office! That is exactly what Satan’s problem was! This evil man operates in the spirit of Satan. He may have been possessed by the devil.” (pp. 110-111)
Continuing in verses 11-13:
“For thus Amos saith, Jeroboam shall die by the sword, and Israel shall surely be led away captive out of their own land. Also Amaziah said unto Amos, O thou seer, go, flee thee away into the land of Judah, and there eat bread, and prophesy there: But prophesy not again any more at Bethel: for it is the king’s chapel, and it is the king’s court.”
Why then would a priest like Amaziah tell a prophet like Amos to go to Judah? Is it because that he himself being a priest in Bethel (God’s house) emphasizes an exclusive dominion over “the king’s chapel”, and “the king’s court”? That he himself thinks that he is more royal than the prophet basing his thoughts on his superior genealogy over that of Amos’ lineage – through which reasons Amaziah was reluctant to support Amos’ prophecy. In the Amos booklet, Mr. Flurry wrote about the prophet:
“Here is what the Anchor Bible Dictionary says about Amos and these different words: ‘He was variously described as anoqed, ‘shepherd’ (1:1), a bôqer, ‘cattleman’ (7:14), and a bôles, ‘gouger [of sycamore figs]’ (7:14). …“Thus, we would argue that Amos was not a royal or cultic figure…He had no religious credentials—“I was no prophet, neither was I a prophet’s son” (verse 14). But he was ready to be God’s prophet. He had some dynamic, God-given revelation to proclaim” (pp. 45, 49)
And just like Diotrephes, Amaziah wants preeminence and does not want to receive God’s messenger. Amaziah seeing an unknown prophet in front of him prophesying in Bethel was something that he could not allow – for he presumed greater eminence, an exalted rank above that of Amos. As Mr. Flurry put it, describing Diotrephes:
“His big problem wasn’t in rejecting doctrine. He lusted for power. His big problem was that he wanted the top office!”
Looking at it closely, this end-time Diotrephes is a totally different person from the one that the PCG has encountered at first during the court battle over Mr. Armstrong’s literature – the former end-time son of perdition has a problem with God’s doctrine. BUT TAKE A VERY CAREFUL NOTE THAT THIS LATTER LAST-END SON OF PERDITION HAS NO PROBLEM IN REJECTING DOCTRINE; HE ONLY WANTS MORE POWER AND THE TOP OFFICE! And he is in all likelihood inside the Philadelphia Church of God! Going back to Amaziah: his thoughts were in everything royalty – even insinuating it in Amos’ mind.
“But prophesy not again any more at Beth–el: for it is the king’s sanctuary, and it is a royal house.” (Amos 7:13, RSV).
One commentary says that Amaziah was both “a prince and a priest”. He could be thinking that he should have to be the appropriate one to proclaim God’s messages because of his great lineage. As the Apostle Paul, reminded Timothy about such mindset; “that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine, neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do” (1 Timothy 1:3-4) According to Mr. Flurry there shall be one last overturn before Christ returns as indicated in Isaiah 16:5. Could this end-time Amaziah thinks of himself as being the last overturn king upon consideration of his own genealogy? But the prophet humbly reasoned:
“Then answered Amos, and said to Amaziah, I was no prophet, neither was I a prophet’s son; but I was an herdman, and a gatherer of sycamore fruit:” (v. 14)
Amos was not a “professional” prophet as compared to others who have gone to the school of the prophets. He was not related to any of the prophets nor was his genealogy descended from any of the royal family, but was only a common man used by God to deliver His warning message to His people. (vv. 14-16).
“Also Amaziah said unto Amos, O thou seer, go, flee thee away into the land of Judah, and there eat bread, and prophesy there:” (v. 12).
Let us consider some bible commentaries regarding this verse. Let’s read what is written on Clarke’s Commentary:
“O thou seer – He pretends kindness to the prophet, and counsels him to go into Judea, and prophesy there and be safe, even in the time that he had accused him of high treason against Jeroboam. Hireling priests of this kind have ever been the great enemies of the true prophets of God; and when they could bring no charge of false doctrine or immorality against them, have accused them of conspiring against the government”
Read that again. This priest of Bethel (God’s house), Amaziah “pretends kindness to the prophet, and counsels him to go into Judea, and prophesy there and be safe”.
Counsel, according to the dictionary means;
“give advice to, something that provides direction or advice as to a decision or course of action.”
So Amaziah the priest gave an advice to Amos the prophet to take a course of action while pretending to just being kind to him. That’s subtlety! This Amaziah only PRETENDS and DISGUISES himself kindness to Amos while in actual fact the opposite is true. The JFB Commentary echo the same insight regarding Amos 7:12
“Also — Besides informing the king against Amos …Amaziah urges the troublesome prophet himself to go back to his own land Judah, pretending to advise him in friendliness… “there eat bread — You can earn a livelihood there, whereas remaining here you will be ruined. He judges of Amos by his own selfishness, as if regard to one’s own safety and livelihood are the paramount considerations. So the false prophets (Ezekiel 13:19) were ready to say whatever pleased their hearers, however false, for “handfuls of barley and pieces of bread.”
Considering those commentaries above in light of its prophetic end-time fulfillment, it does seem to look like that this end-time Amaziah was the one who subtly gives the advice to this end-time Amos to take a course of action to deviate from God’s purpose for him to warn Israel but rather gave counsel to go back to his roots (i.e., to where he came from or his genealogy) and there prophesy and be safe – “pretending to advise him in friendliness.” Amaziah even pretended to have acknowledged Amos’ office of being a prophet (“O, thou seer”) to purportedly feed on the prophet’s ego. But all this delusive show of concern to Amos was only done to primarily protect Amaziah’s own source of livelihood, for he is a hireling priest. Could it be that this end-time Amaziah also pretends to be kind and seemingly concerned of the prophet’s safety, yet, he is to be used or already being used by Satan to provide a direction or to give an advice as to what decision or course of action to take, CONTRARY to the end-time Amos’ God given commission? Is this not the spirit of the antichrist which could destroy the very work of God?
This deviation from God’s commission has everything to do with a prophecy in Jeremiah 4:15 which the 25 men of Ezekiel 8 has concocted;
“For a voice declareth from Dan, and publisheth affliction from mount Ephraim.”
Currently, the Philadelphia Church of God has now locked their eyes on Ireland (Dan) and acquiring the estate in Bricket Wood (Ephraim). A VOICE has been heard from Dan (Ireland) accompanied by a Druidic originated IRISH DANCE; and now, that same VOICE is publishing nothingness and vanity from Ephraim (Britain and Australia).
Notice this vitally important fact: Not so long ago after Armstrong Auditorium was built, Mr. Gerald Flurry used to say that the next phase of God’s Work shall be focused to the cities of Judah (a Jerusalem work) referring to the prophecy in Isaiah 40:9
“O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God!“
The Philadelphia Church of God has even planned to establish a regional office in Jerusalem back in 2012:
On May 30, Trumpet executive editor Stephen Flurry, his family and five Herbert W. Armstrong College students and alumni arrived in Jerusalem. Their mission: establish a regional office for the church, a branch of the college and a base of operations for Trumpet reporting on location. Since then, the PCG’s work in the capital of Israel has grown in numbers and in impact. It now includes a crucial involvement in one of the area’s most important archaeological projects.
Here’s another note confirming the PCG Jerusalem work then:
God’s Work is definitely growing—and fast! Incredible doors are swinging wide open for this Work to finish its God-given commission before the return of Jesus Christ to the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem…
One final note—we have a Jerusalem mailbox! If you’d like to say “hello” the old fashioned way—through “snail” mail—the address is: Armstrong College, P.O. Box 8230, Jerusalem, Israel, 91081. We’d love to hear from you!
(Source: Stephen Flurry, Trumpet Weekly – Jun 22, 2012)
But what happened to that Jerusalem project? Why the sudden TURN AROUND? Well, it has something to do with this spirit of the antichrist which is the same principle behind the account written in Matthew 16:
“From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee. But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.” (vv. 21-23)
Let’s read what Clarke’s Commentary wrote concerning verse 23:
Get thee behind me, Satan -. Get behind me, thou adversary. This is the proper translation of the Hebrew word Satan, from which the Greek word is taken. Thou art an offense unto me – Thou art a stumbling-block in my (Christ’s) way, to impede me (Christ) in the accomplishment of the great design.
Now from Barne’s Commentary regarding the latter part of verse 23:
Thou savourest not – Literally, thou thinkest not upon; or your language and spirit are not such as spring from a supreme regard to the will of God, or from proper views of him, but such as spring from the common views entertained by people. You think that those things should not be done which God wishes to be done. You judge of this matter as people do who are desirous of honor; and not as God, who sees it best that I (Christ) should die, to promote the great interests of mankind.
Christ has come in the flesh to fulfill what has been written by the prophets which must be fulfilled. Even for a brief moment of time, Peter had that spirit of the antichrist or the adversary which means that even a Christian who would go against God’s will and plan could become an antichrist. We are all vulnerable to this “RULING SPIRITS OF THE UNIVERSE” if we don’t use God’s Spirit! We are prone to this spirit of the antichrist if we ourselves are puffed up and have ample amount of vanity in us. How did Peter arrive into that situation wherein Satan came in the flesh through him to try to thwart God’s plan? Let’s read what happened in the prior verses: In verse 1, Christ was being asked by the Pharisees and the Sadducees to show them a sign from heaven. Christ instead gave them a sign of the prophet Jonah (v. 4). Christ then went on to warn His disciples about the “leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees” (v. 6, 11). Jesus Christ then asked His disciples in verse 13, “Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?” and He again asked in verse 14, “But whom say ye that I am?”
“And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God” (v. 16).
Now notice carefully the progressive revelation that Peter received after giving that answer to Christ:
- “And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.” (v. 17)
- “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (v. 18)
- “And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” (v. 19)
- “Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ.” (v. 20)
Peter and the other disciples have just received through God the Father’s revelation that the SIGN FROM HEAVEN which the Pharisees and the Sadducees were seeking was Jesus Christ Himself –THE HEAVENLY FATHER’S VERY OWN SON who came in the flesh right in front of them! And that is a heaven and earth shaking revelation! Since Peter and the disciples have not yet received God’s Holy Spirit at that time, they are still very much carnal and very much prone to vanity, thus the proclivity of being puffed up. Remember that Christ warned them previously of the “leaven” of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees, in whom Christ gave only the sign of the prophet Jonah. While as for His disciples, He has shown them what shall take place, even the fulfillment of the sign of Jonah.
“From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.” (v. 21)
Now when we consider what Christ has given to those Pharisees, that is, the sign of the prophet Jonah, even that specific prophecy has been opposed with Peter’s interference. Here is what Matthew Henry Commentary noted: The offence which Peter took at this he said, Be it far from thee, Lord: probably he spake the sense of the rest of the disciples, as before, for he was chief speaker. He took him, and began to rebuke him. Perhaps Peter was a little elevated with the great things Christ had how said unto him, which made him more bold with Christ than did become him; so hard is it to keep the spirit low and humble in the midst of great advancements! Notice that in just a very brief moment, Satan was already able to come in to Peter to inject his very thoughts in order to provide a direction or give an advice as to a decision or course of action to take, CONTRARY to what has already been written by God through His prophets.
Because as the above commentary noticed that “Peter was a little elevated with the great things Christ had how said unto him” – he became vain and puffed up! The presence of the “leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees” was evident, which became an avenue for Satan to come in! And even though Peter’s concern may seem to be a valid friendly concern in man’s eyes, yet in God’s eyes, it was contrary to what He has been planning all along which has been written through His prophets. Consider what Barnes’ Commentary wrote about verse 22:
Then Peter took him – This may mean either that he interrupted him, or that he took him aside, or that he took him by the hand as a friend. This latter is probably the true meaning. Peter was strongly attached to him. He could not bear to think of Jesus’ death. He expected, moreover, that he would be the triumphant Messiah. In his ardor, and confidence, and strong attachment, he seized him by the hand as a friend, and said, “Be it far from thee.” This phrase might have been translated, “God be merciful to thee; this shall not be unto thee.” It expressed Peter’s strong desire that it might not be. The word “rebuke” here means to admonish or earnestly to entreat, as in Luke 17:3.
The lesson we could extract from this is that we must not go against what has already been written by God through His prophets – that which was written must be fulfilled according to His will and plan, and not to be interfered by any man or Satan, else we become an antichrist – an adversary. God wants us to see that He is in full control of the situation concerning His Family plan even sending Jesus Christ in the flesh – the SIGN FROM HEAVEN – in front of Peter and the other disciples! Jesus Christ is coming in the flesh in this end time to make sure that His Father’s will and plan will be fulfilled no matter what men or Satan shall do to interfere. Again this is the same principle as what the end-time Amaziah the priest is prophesied to do to the end-time Amos –“pretending to advise him in friendliness” (op. cit). If may appear to be a friendly advice, but the intention and outcome could be a deviation from God’s commission and plan. We must remember that Amaziah is a priest of Bethel – a prominent minister in God’s house – just like Diotrephes who was a regional director, thus making this prophecy ever more mind-boggling! Moving on, during Christ’s last Passover supper, He gave His disciples a sign of who shall betray Him: “He that dippeth his hand with me in the dish, the same shall betray me”
“Now when the even was come, he (Jesus) sat down with the twelve. And as they did eat, he said, Verily I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me. And they were exceeding sorrowful, and began every one of them to say unto him, Lord, is it I? And he answered and said, He that dippeth his hand with me in the dish, the same shall betray me” (Matthew 26:20-23).
According to Clarke’s Commentary:
“He that dippeth his hand – As the Jews ate the passover a whole family together, it was not convenient for them all to dip their bread in the same dish; they therefore had several little dishes or plates, in which was the juice of the bitter herbs, mentioned in Exodus 12:8, on different parts of the table; and those who were nigh one of these, dipped their bread in it. As Judas is represented as dipping in the same dish with Christ, it shows that he was either near or opposite to him.”
Christ said in a parallel verse in John13:18,
“I speak not of you all: I know whom I have chosen: but that the scripture may be fulfilled, He that eateth bread with me hath lifted up his heel against me.”
This passage came from Psalm 41:9
“Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me.”
With just the recent Church history as our reference, Mr. Joseph Tkach Sr. did eat spiritual bread with Christ through Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong during the Philadelphia era, yet when he succeeded as the next leader of the Church, he lifted up his heel against Christ through betrayal– like Judas, the first century son of perdition. Would history repeat itself one last time? Would this latter son of perdition be eating spiritual bread with Christ once again on the same spiritual table as what had happened during the WCG’s recent history when Mr. Armstrong was about to be removed or taken away by God? (2 Thes. 2:7) Let us go back to 2 Thessalonians 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.”
Could it be possible that there is a duality in the fulfillment of this falling away in two separate circumstances? – The first one has happened after Mr. Armstrong died on January 16, 1986, which started the last end and the other one WILL happen in the latter part of that last end.” That “man of sin” has already been revealed through the court case battle between the Philadelphia Church of God and the Worldwide Church of God which was written and documented in the Raising the Ruins book by Mr. Stephen Flurry. But, how about this latter “son of perdition”? One thing is sure though: Just as the former son of perdition, Judas Iscariot did betray Christ before; a latter son of perdition will again betray Christ, who comes in the flesh through That Prophet, and that betrayal would eventually result in his eventual removal.
“In that day, saith the LORD of hosts, shall the nail that is fastened in the sure place be removed, and be cut down, and fall; and the burden that was upon it shall be cut off: for the LORD hath spoken it.” (Isa. 22:25)
According to Strong’s Concordance, the Hebrew word for remove is muwsh (4185); to withdraw:–cease, depart, go back, remove, take away. The Hebrew word for cut down is
gada’ (1438); a prim. root; to fell a tree; gen. to destroy anything:–cut (asunder, in sunder, down, off), hew down.
And the Hebrew word for fall is
naphal (5307); a prim. root; to fall, cast (down, out), cease, die, fail, fugitive, be judged by mistake, overthrow, overwhelm, perish, slay, smite out, throw down.
Just like Christ at the end of His earthly ministry, the result of Judas’s betrayal was His removal, destruction that led ultimately to His death. So shall the fate of That Prophet in the hands of the last end son of perdition.