There are two biblical warnings at the heart of Stand Firm. They are the reasons I believe followers of Christ need to be spiritual preppers. These warnings aren’t merely future possibilities but, due to the nature of Biblical prophecy, we can know with certainty these are future headlines. The events warned about will happen. They don’t have to happen to you, but they will happen to many as the warnings say.
I previously wrote about the first of these two warnings found in Matt. 24:10 — that “many will turn away.” This turning away isn’t a vague in-general event, but the context surrounding the prophecy says it will be due to persecution even unto death that causes the turning away. As we go throughout the rest of the New Testament, this warning and its context takes on more flesh and we see this persecution as the beheadings that come with the rise of the Antichrist. The remedy of the turning away is found later in verse 14, which urges believers to stand firm.
The second warning is found in II Thessalonians: “The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie, and all the ways that wickedness 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” (II Thess. 2:9-12).
The warning found in verse 11 is that there will be a great delusion or deception. Like the dangers of the Great Apostasy, there will also be a Great Deception. Likely hearing about such a warning, your mind jumps to other New Testament warnings — like the warning that people will no longer listen to the truth. There are also many other warnings in Scripture to beware of false teachings and deceptions. This world constantly faces dangerous deceptions for it’s the M.O. of Satan. He is the Father of Lies, as Jesus said.
Though there are warnings in Scripture that people will no longer listen to the truth and that false teachers will arise, this Great Deception in II Thessalonians is specific. Just like the Great Turning-Away is tied to particular events, so is the Great Deception. Like that warning in Matt. 24:10, the context of the Great Deception is with the rise and reign of the Antichrist.
In verse 9, Paul refers to the Antichrist as the Lawless One and says that with his rule there will be “all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie.” Paul goes on to say that people’s belief in Satan’s lies through the Antichrist and their wickedness will lead to God giving them over to that deception.
This isn’t the only place within Scripture where we see signs and wonders connected to the Antichrist and the deception of people in the last days. Jesus warned of this in the Olivet Discourse: “At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you ahead of time. So if anyone tells you, ‘There he is, out in the wilderness,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here he is, in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man” (Matt. 24: 23-27).
Jesus indicated that in these last days there will be false messiahs and false prophets performing great signs and wonders that deceive. The order of events of Matthew 24 indicates this to be the same time of the Antichrist’s rise and rule. The Lord provides even more detail of this specific deception in His revelation to the Apostle John.
“Then I saw a second beast… It had two horns like a lamb, but it spoke like a dragon. It exercised all the authority of the first beast on its behalf, and made the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast… And it performed great signs, even causing fire to come down from heaven to the earth in full view of the people. Because of the signs it was given power to perform on behalf of the first beast, it deceived the inhabitants of the earth” (Rev. 13:11-14).
In Revelation, John refers to the Antichrist as the First Beast or Beast Out of the Sea and with the Antichrist is another figure that has become to be called the False Prophet. John the Apostle called him the Second Beast or Beast of the Earth.
The False Prophet performs miracles and great signs on behalf the Antichrist which deceives the world to worship the Antichrist. This deception performed by the False Prophet parallels the warning in Matthew 24, as well as the details of the Great Deception in II Thessalonians.
Future headlines won’t point out that a False Prophet is performing miraculous signs in the desert, rather they will proclaim the true Messiah has been found. This miracle-performing Messiah claims to only be a prophet to the true Messiah. Unfortunately, the future headlines won’t tell that this false messiah is the Antichrist. As this event occurs, the world will be deceived on a level never seen in history.
A Great Deception is coming. We need to know the truth. We need to be prepared to Stand Firm. Even if we’re not the generation to face the Great Deception, there is a coming generation that will. Let’s faithfully pursue the Lord and truth now so we can help them prepare.
Jake is available for revivals and preaching learn more at standfirmministries.com.