“The Wiles of the Devil” series (post #19)
The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12, N.K.J.V.)
The term “the lawless one” in this passage refers to the coming Antichrist. The term “the lie” does as well. Once the Antichrist steps onto the stage of world power, he will be the great lie that Satan presents to the human race as a Satanic version of the Messiah.
Multiplied millions will fall for this lie, a primary reason being that Satan will empower the man to do signs and lying wonders. Revelation 13:2 symbolically depicts Satan as “the dragon” and the Antichrist as “the beast” and says that Satan will give the Antichrist “…his power, his throne, and great authority…” (N.K.J.V.). That’s what you call empowerment.
Last year I wrote a detailed, comprehensive 25-post series entitled “Bible Prophecy in Chronology,” and so I’ll not rehash all of that information here. (Please feel free to read any or all of those posts, especially the one entitled “The Antichrist.) But what I will do right now is list ten “career highlights” of the Antichrist. Here goes:
- Prophecies from the books of Daniel and The Revelation teach that the Antichrist will ascend to world power by way of an end-times version of the Roman empire. The current understanding is that this empire will be some variation of the politically reunited Europe — the European Union — we see now. At the time of the Antichrist’s rise, the empire will be led by a ten-king coalition, with the Antichrist cropping up as an eleventh leader that overthrows three of the ten and takes sole control of the empire. (Daniel 7:1-8, 23-24; Revelation 13:1; 17:1-12)
- The Antichrist will be a great orator (Daniel 7:8,11; Revelation 13:5) who will initially present himself as a man of peace. Bible prophecy portrays him as a rider on a white horse who carries a bow and rides out to conquer, but he doesn’t carry an arrow to go with the bow (Revelation 6:1-2). This means that he will come to power by way of political means rather than military ones.
- As further evidence that the Antichrist will be ushered in as a man of peace, he will sign a seven-year peace treaty with Israel (Daniel 9:27). The seven years of this treaty will serve as the clock for the seven years of the tribulation period.
- At the midway point of the tribulation period the Antichrist will survive an assassination attempt that will at least appear to end his life (Revelation 13:1-3,12,14). Some students of prophecy contend that he will literally die and be miraculously resurrected by Satan, but this interpretation is contested. (For both sides of the argument, read my post “The Midway Point of the Tribulation Period: The Antichrist Becomes a Beast.”) What isn’t contested is that the Antichrist’s survival of the assassination attempt will catapult him to even greater world power as the masses begin to look upon him as a divine, supernatural figure (Revelation 13:4).
- Evidently, the Antichrist’s healing/resurrection (depending upon which camp you favor) will be the result of a powerful demon — a fallen angel — entering into his body and possessing him for the last half of the tribulation period. This demon will ascend out of “the bottomless pit,” which will be opened during the tribulation period (Revelation 9:1-12). This “bottomless pit” is Tartarus, a place used exclusively for the imprisonment of fallen angels (2 Peter 2:4). The book of The Revelation refers to the post-possession Antichrist as “the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit” (Revelation 11:7; 17:8).
- Once the Antichrist becomes possessed by the demon, the man’s personality and conduct will dramatically change for the worse and he will make the last three and a half years of the tribulation period a veritable hell on earth. He will break his peace treaty with Israel (Daniel 9:27-28), claim the rebuilt Jewish temple as his own, and sit upon a throne in the temple as “God” (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4).
- The religious figure that prophecy calls “the false prophet” will serve as the Antichrist’s right-hand man (Revelation 13:11-13; 19:20). Just as the Holy Spirit’s job is to point people to Jesus, the false prophet’s job will be to point people to the Antichrist (Revelation 13:12). Satan will empower the false prophet with the ability to perform “great signs” (supernatural deeds, miracles) such as calling fire down from heaven (Revelation 13:13-14). These signs will make the man especially effective at his job.
- The false prophet will erect an image to the Antichrist inside the temple complex, and Satan will endue the false prophet with power to somehow make the image breathe, speak, and call for the execution of anyone who will not worship it (Revelation 13:14-15).
- The false prophet will also institute an economic program whereby everyone is required to take a certain mark either in their right hand or upon their forehead. This mark will be associated with the name of the Antichrist, and anyone not bearing it will not be allowed to buy or sell in the last half of the tribulation period (Revelation 13:16-18).
- The tribulation period will climax and end with the Battle of Armageddon (Revelation 16:12-16; 19:1-16). Even as this battle is raging, Jesus will return to walk the earth again (Revelation 19:11-14). He will win the battle by merely speaking the word and slaying all the soldiers of the world’s armies (Revelation 19:15-19,21), and in the aftermath of the carnage the Antichrist and the false prophet will be cast alive into the eternal lake of fire (Revelation 19:20). Jesus will then establish His 1,000 year kingdom reign upon the earth (Revelation 20:4).
Well, as you can tell from all this, when it comes to the Antichrist and the false prophet there is going to be a whole lot of empowerment taking place. And that empowerment will all be coming from Satan. Really, regardless of all the havoc and damage that Satan has inflicted upon this world down through the centuries, he hasn’t even had his heyday yet. That is still to come. But thank God that there is coming a time when God will at last deal with him and bring his unceasing reign of terror to a permanent end. That will be the subject of my next post, the concluding post to this series. As we will see, God is saving the best for last — the knockout punch — when it comes to His rounds with Satan. So stay tuned.