2009-02-23_1049_BangaloreGarbageHeaps

In the last three posts, we’ve been looking at an event that Scripture tells us must occur before Jesus returns: the coming of someone called the man of lawlessness or the man of sin. We’ve considered the truth that in the Bible lawlessness usually means moral laxity and sin, both of which are increasing in the world. We’ve also looked at passages in Revelation that indicate this man of lawlessness, called the second beast in Revelation, will make war with Christians, defeat them, and enforce economic control over the world. He will force people to worship an image he makes. We put forth the prediction that in order for an individual to be invested with such economic and political power, turning-the-world-on-its-head events must occur in order to precipitate that investment. People and nations do not easily give up their sovereignty. When the two beasts show up in Revelation 13, if the Book of Revelation has proceeded chronologically, some terrible things have already happened on the earth, catastrophic events: earthquakes and plagues to name only two. The world will be yearning for a deliver.

Then will come a man on the scene who will perform impressive signs and wonders.

Paul wrote about him in his second letter to the Thessalonian Christians:

“The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders…” (2 Thessalonians 2:9). 1

This is how Revelation 13 speaks of him:

“It performs great signs, even making fire come down from heaven to earth in front of people, and by the signs that it is allowed to work in the presence of the beast it deceives those who dwell on earth, telling them to make an image for the beast that was wounded by the sword and yet lived” (Revelation 13:13–14).

One of the common criticisms of God is that He doesn’t act when we need Him to or in ways that help or please us. The question asked is often, “Where was God during the Holocaust?” We could add many other human disasters, both personal and national, to the list that question God’s goodness or power. If He is good, He wouldn’t have allowed it. If He is powerful, He could have stopped it. He is either evil, powerless, or both. Atheists proclaim that when they stand face-to-face with God and are asked why they didn’t believe in Him, they will answer, “You didn’t give me any evidence of your existence.” This is the response of a fool, as Psalm 14:1 says. All creation speaks of His existence, as Paul wrote: “For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse” (Romans 1:19–20).

After some world-shaking calamities, the world will be looking for and in need of a savior, someone to provide answers to the terrible reality they will be facing. Will there be lack of safety? Lack of food? This man of sin will speak great swelling words and will back them up with astounding supernatural acts. He will portray himself as the one who has the ability to make all things well. None of this, “Where is God when you need him?” stuff. He will be present. Active. And supernaturally powerful in obvious ways.

He will make it all “good.” Peace, peace. Finally, peace.

This passage from Deuteronomy has made me think for very many years now:

“If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or wonder that he tells you comes to pass, and if he says, ‘Let us go after other gods,’ which you have not known, ‘and let us serve them,’ you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams. For the LORD your God is testing you, to know whether you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul” (Deuteronomy 13:1-3).

The Lord told Israel that He would allow a prophet to do signs and wonders to test His people.

Christians should take notice. When Paul wrote about the coming of the lawless one and his false signs and wonders in the passage from Second Thessalonians quoted earlier, he also said this:

“Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness” (2 Thessalonians 2:11–12).

Please pause for a moment and consider. God Himself will send a strong delusion so they will believe in the man of lawlessness. Will you be wondering why people think the crazy way they do? Perhaps you wonder this even today. Paul wrote in Romans, “And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done (Romans 1:28). This is the hard truth: God Himself is deluding them.

This will never be you? Fellow Christian, be not high-minded, but fear. You and I are not immune. If we are still here in those ending days, we will be subject to some difficult times. We will be tempted to call out to anyone for rescue, especially one who can do amazing miracles.

Establish your strong Christian life now. You have no reason to wait.

1All Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2001). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

Thanks to Ben Williams for the photo.

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