Antichrist: The Ultimate Deceiver
Antichrist: The Ultimate Deceiver — Jay Zinn
Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, “I am the Christ [Messiah],” and will deceive many. At that time [of the end] if anyone says to you, “Look, here is the Christ!” Or, “There he is!” do not believe it. For false Christs [Messiahs] and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect—if that were possible (Matt 24:4-5, 23-24). —NIV
Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers, not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by some prophecy or report … saying that the day of the Lord has already come. Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion [apostasia] occurs, and the man of lawlessness [son of perdition] is revealed, the man doomed to destruction (2 Thess 2:1-3). —NIV
The coming of the lawless one [the antichrist, or son of perdition] will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs, and wonders, and in every sort of evil to deceive those who are perishing (2 Thess 2:9-10a). —NIV
Now the Holy Spirit tells us clearly that in the last times some will turn away from the true faith; they will follow deceptive spirits and teachings that come from demons (1 Tim 4:1). —NLT
In their survey, Lifeway Research discovered that more than half of Americans had read little or none of the Bible. Lifeway’s executive director said: “Most Americans don’t know first-hand the overall story of the Bible—because they rarely pick it up. Even among worship attendees, less than half read the Bible daily.” These findings are startling.
The prophet Amos spoke to a time when there would be a famine not of food or water but the words of the Lord (Amos 8:11-12). The people would run everywhere looking for God’s words, but not find it. Though we are blessed and have access to God’s words in the Bible (the average household has 4.4 Bibles), what good does it do if it stays on the shelf, and no one reads it? It is as though there is a famine of the Word today among Christians though the table is laden with food (57 percent of Americans only read their Bibles four times a year or less).
The increase of Biblical illiteracy in the church is staggering. A generation of Christians has emerged who don’t know the Bible (only one in five Americans read the Bible on a regular basis). Many go to church to hear the words of God from the pulpit, but what will happen on that day when preachers are no longer accessible under a socialist-dominated government or the future reign of the antichrist? Church gatherings and or online streaming will become outlawed. What would the recent lockdown of churches look like if social media and live streaming hadn’t been made available? Take China, for example. How do the saints meet there when non-sanctioned gatherings are illegal, and big brother monitors their social media online activity? They would have to turn to the words of God in the Bible and know how to feed themselves.
The prophet Hosea said, “My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge.” They perished because they rejected knowledge and ignored the law of God (Hosea 4:6). Let’s forward that to the future. If we live to see the coming about of a globalist society [i.e., socialist-dominated governments on a world scale like China], how will a generation of biblically illiterate saints resist the unparalleled power of deception the antichrist will use to deceive the elect? Not only will he know the Word of God (as does Satan), he’ll demonstrate supernatural miracles. In short, the lack of knowing God’s Word (ignorance) will destroy any ability to stand up to the deception of his knowledge, his claims about himself, and his false signs and wonders.
In the verses quoted at the beginning, the warnings are clear regarding the potential for Christians to be deceived, abandon the faith, and “fall away.” Not only today but by the “lawless one” who is coming. In 2 Thessalonians 2, Paul used the Greek word apostasia to describe the state of many Christians in the last days. Apostasia means divorce or defection from the truth and commonly translated as “rebellion, apostasy, or a falling away.” In context, Paul wrote that Jesus would not return until a significant defection from the truth occurred first among the saints, after which the antichrist appears. When he does, he will deceive those who are already perishing [i.e., from lack of knowledge]. They’ll perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved from ultimate destruction (2 Thess 2:10).
Given the status of the vast majority of Christians who receive a brief amount of Bible knowledge once a week from the pulpit, or through periodic sound bites on social media [but rarely, if ever, pick up the Bible to feed themselves], how will they ever learn to discern truth from error? How will they resist the temptation in the future to fall in line with other saints who will swallow the bait and get hooked in with the masses of those who follow the beast, receive his mark, and renounce their allegiance to Christ?
Ignorance of the Word is Satan’s greatest weapon to deceive the elect because ignorance is the mother of deception. He’ll exploit ignorance to cause the saints to defect from the truth. How did Jesus resist and defend himself from scriptural quotes Satan threw at him in the desert? He used his knowledge of God’s Word. So if Jesus read and used scriptures to resist temptation from Satan and the deception of man, shouldn’t we follow his example? The antichrist will be the ultimate deceiver. Do you know the Word of God well enough to discern and reject the lies of the man who will one day rule the world? How can anyone defeat an enemy like him unless they are well-read enough to know how he operates (2 Cor 2:11)? His ability to deceive the saints is my greatest fear for the church in that generation (2 Cor 11:3-4).
Grace and Peace!