Summary: Satan has power to perform miracles. Just because someone claims to perform a miracle, doesn’t necessarily mean they are from God.
There have always been religious people who are a little wacky announcing that the end of the world is near. Somebody emailed me a joke about two preachers standing beside the road holding a sign that said, “The End is Near. Turn Yourself Around Before It’s Too Late.” A driver rolled down his window and said, “You’re just a couple of religious nuts!” Then he drove on.
A few seconds later the preachers heard the sound of screeching tires and then a big splash. One preacher turned to the other and said, “That’s the third one this morning. Maybe we should have just written ‘Bridge Out’ on the sign.”
The Apostle Paul lived almost 2,000 years ago, but he believed and preached that the return of Christ was near. None of us know when Jesus will return, but if Paul believed he was living in the last days, then we must be living in the last of the last days. Paul wrote this second letter to Thessalonian believers because someone produced a fake letter, supposedly from Paul, saying that the second coming had already happened. So Paul wrote to correct their misunderstanding. In this chapter he introduces us to a future diabolical leader who is most often called the Antichrist.
2 Thessalonians 2:3-12. “Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God. Don’t you remember that when I was with you, I used to tell you these things? And now you know what is holding him back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time. For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way.”
“And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming. The coming of the lawless one 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 that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.”
“Look! Up in the sky! It’s a bird, it’s a plane. No, it’s Superman.” Chances are you’ve seen a Superman movie or read a comic book. The Superman comic books debuted in 1938. The cost of the comic book was ten cents.
This past summer, David Gonzales bought a rundown old house in Minnesota for around $10,000. While he was removing a wall, he found an original 1938 Superman comic book that had been stuffed behind the walls for insulation. It wasn’t in great shape after 75 years, but he sold it to a collector for $175,000.
In 1958, the writers introduced a character called Superman Bizarro. He was the antithesis of Superman. Superman used his superpowers for good, but Bizzaro used his powers for evil.
It’s not fair to compare Jesus to Superman because Superman is a fictional character and Jesus is real. And Jesus is more than a Superman: He’s the Supernatural God-man. But what Bizzaro was to Superman, the Antichrist will be to Jesus. Jesus is the Prince of Peace and the Antichrist will be a pseudo-peace maker. In Isaac Watts hymn “Joy to the World” he writes that Jesus will “rule the world with truth and grace.” That’s referring to the thousand-year reign of Christ. But during the Tribulation, the Antichrist will rule the world with lies and disgrace.
In the last message we learned that the Apostle John used the term “antichrist” four times in 1 and 2 John. But in Revelation 13, John calls the Antichrist a beast, because his behavior is inhumane. When Jesus comes to rapture His church, millions of Christians will mysteriously disappear. You can imagine the global chaos that will ensue. But out of this chaos, a world leader will appear who will appeal to the world for “peace.” He will orchestrate the most consolidate all the world’s governments into one.
One of my friends and mentors was Adrian Rogers. He had a unique way of expressing truth. Here’s how he describes the antichrist: “World history began with the sin of man; it will end with the man of sin. There are some people who tell us that man sprang from the beast. Man did not spring from the beast; man is headed to the beast. Man is headed to the Antichrist, that last world ruler, who is Satan’s superman.”