2 Thessalonians 2:1-12
1 Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,
2 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.
3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.
5 Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?
6 And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.
7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.
8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:
9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,
10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:
12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
The biggest delusion today is EVOLUTION, that God does not exist, and that there was no flood. "All things continue as they were" is the psudo scientific principle of uniformitanianism, whereby they assume constant decay rates seen today can be extended into the past.
2 Peter 3:3-7
3Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,
4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.
5 For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:
6 Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:
7 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.
Most Chritians who are familiar with Bible prophecy generally believe that the future deception of the end times will be the antichrist who will come (2 Thess 2:3,4), that he will deceive people into believing he is Christ. However, I have not seen very many people give much thought as to the specifics of how the antichrist will deceive people.
The well known end times script is that Armageddon (the war against Jerusalem) will end with the return of Jesus who will then destroy Satan and the False Prophet, and the millennial kingdom will begin. Even the world knows that Armageddon is the end of the world, and that Christ comes back at that time, so if the antichrist came back before an armageddon-like conflict claiming to be god, I believe he would have an extremly hard time deceiving people.
The post tribulation rapture position is that the rapture will happen at Armageddon. Perhaps the post tribbers don’t realize how strong the deception will be, and that God is the one sending the delusion?
2 Thess 2:11 "...God shall send them strong delusion..."
Matthew 24:24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.
In order to almost be possible to deceive the very elect, the antichrist must appear to fulfill a great portion of scripture and have many scriptural claims and reasons (although false ones) to say he is the Messiah who has returned.
I believe the pretribulation rapture will happen at the Gog & Magog war of
Ezekiel 38-39, which will be falsely claimed to be the actual Armageddon. This war, along with many other events, will fulfill the basic elements of the standard end times script and might lead those who do not know their Bibles very well, or those who believe in a post trib rapture, to possibly be fooled by the antichrist, because so many things happen at the pretribulation rapture that such an event will look like the end of the tribulation according to the "post trib" theology.
The following points are how I see that scripture teaches end time events will actually happen. In addition, I will list likely "false explanations" the Antichrist might use to twist the truth which will become the end times deception. These "doctrines of devils"
(1 Tim 4:1) will likely be a part of the "delusion sent by God"
(2 Thess 2:11) for those left behind after the pretribulation rapture.
1. The Gog & Magog war (Ezekiel 38-39) will be the invasion of Russia and Arab allies (the armies of the north) against Israel. This can be misinterpreted by those left behind as Armageddon, particularly since Ezekiel 38 and 39 describe the two wars as one event.
2. The sun and moon will go dark and the stars will fall before the Day of the Lord (Joel 2:31), which is the beginning of the rapture. This can be misinterpreted as being the end of the tribulation, since many believe the Day of the Lord happens at the end of the tribulation based on a narrow reading of Matt 24:29-31. There might also be an earthquake at the pretribulation rapture, (Revelation 6:12) as an additional delusion and scriptural reason to cause people to think it is the end of the tribulation (Revelation 16:18)
3. An additional possibility: The pretribulation rapture will happen, taking all Christians into the air, but some people will be spewed from Christ’s mouth (Rev 3:16), and these might go up into the air and come right back down. I am thinking that these will most likely be the post tribbers. This will confirm to them their "yo yo" rapture interpretation at "Armageddon" at the time of the destruction of the wicked.
4. The raptured people who disappeared for good will be said to be "those wicked pretribbers" whose doctrine the post tribbers have rejected. This is not much of a stretch given that the media today paints the picture of Bible believing fundamentalists as bigoted, gay hating, intolerant, woman beating, terrorists. This idea of the "rapture of the wicked" is a theology which is supposedly supported by Matt 24:38-41 (one taken the other left), but this is really describing the pretribulation rapture. The word for "taken" is "paralambano", which is used in John 14:1-3 as "received" as how Christ says he will "receive you unto myself". One of the definitions for "left" means "abandonded." Another scripture passage used to support the "rapture of the wicked" is in Revelation 14:14-19
14 And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle.
15 And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe.
16 And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped.
17 And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle.
18 And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe.
19 And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God.
In many other places, the Bible is clear that Christ will destroy the wicked when he comes to set up his millennial kingdom. Therefore, in order for the Antichrist to have any credibility, he will need to kill those who oppose him. The most likely Satanic theological explanation for the pretribulation rapture would probably be that those who disappeared were the wicked ones. I find it amazing that even today, those who oppose the pretribulation rapture sometimes argue that if we are taken, we will be taken because our theology is wicked.
5. At the same time as the rapture, fire from heaven will destroy the armies from the north as the destruction of Gog & Magog in Ezekiel 39:6 "And I will send a fire on Magog...", and will be the "sudden destruction of 1 Thess 5:3 that happens at the start of the Day of the Lord, but this can be mistaken as the destruction at Armageddon. As Israel burns the weapons for seven years (the length of the tribulation) after the Gog & Magog war, and the antichrist ushers in his false peace, this can be misinterpreted as a sign of the millennium, making peaceful use out of weapons, "swords to plowshares".
Ezekiel 39:9 And they that dwell in the cities of Israel shall go forth, and shall set on fire and burn the weapons, both the shields and the bucklers, the bows and the arrows, and the handstaves, and the spears, and they shall burn them with fire seven years:
Isaiah 2:4 And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.
6. The antichrist will confirm the post trib theological position, and say that Armageddon is over. The antichrist will lie and say he is the one who made the fire come down from heaven at the end of the Gog & Magog war, and he will prove that he has this power by repeating this sign and wonder.
2 Thessalonians 2:9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,
Revelation 13:13 And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men,
7. The antichrist will come on the scene making peace (Dan 9:27) and setting up a world government (Daniel 2, the iron and clay feet, & Daniel 7:23), just as Christ is seen to return after Armageddon and establish peace and set up a world government. (Isaiah 9:7, Daniel 6:26, Luke 1:33)
8. The two witnesses will be seen as those few who reject the reign of Christ in the "new" millennium. The two witnesses have the power to not let it rain. Rev 11:6 "These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy..." This "no rain" can be misunderstood as the divine punishment for not worshiping the antichrist. Zech 14:17 "And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain."
9. When the two witnesses are killed at the middle of the tribulation, the world will rejoyce (Rev 11:8-10), because they will be so inclined to worship the antichrist as god (2 Thess 2:3,4), and the two witnesses will be seen as the rebellious evil ones. How will the antichrist explain their resurrection? Rev 11:11,12. Many theorize this mid trib rapture will also involve the 144,000 of as seen in Rev 14. Will this be again explained with the same lie, the "rapture of the wicked" at the end of the trib, all over again?
10. Some people say that the antichrist/beast may have a false death, to imitate the death and resurrection of Christ. Zechariah 11:17, Revelation 13:3,14
11. Rev 11:13, the great earthquake at the middle of the tribulation, as the two witnesses rise, can be misinterpreted as the great earthquake at the end of the tribulation when Christ returns in glory, (Zech 14:4,5 Revelation 16:18). Thus, those who did not yet believe the antichrist was god before will have more scriptural reasons to do so now. Also, the events and plagues of the previous 3.5 years will fit into a 3.5 year tribulation mistake, so that there are even more reasons to believe the antichrist is now god.
12. The antichrist will impose his "mark of the beast" (Rev 13) but he will call it "the seal of God".(Rev 7:2,3 & 9:4)
13. Those who take "the seal of God", which will really be the "mark of the beast", will suffer torment (Rev 9:5), but they will not be able to kill themselves. Rev 9:6 "And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them." This can be misinterpreted as those who took the seal of God as having received a kind of immortality, but it just happens to be a painful process, because, in this theology of deceit, we all must suffer as Christ suffered, somewhat like pennance. It can also be seen as "the next step of the process of evolution", or any number of explanations. All who love not the truth will line up to receive the "seal of God" (mark of the beast), the pain and torture, and false immortality.
14. Those who worship the antichrist, thinking he is god, will gladly follow his orders to search and destroy those left behind who have come to repentance, and not fallen for the delusion. The "war on the saints"Rev 13:7, Dan 7:21,25
John 16:2 They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.
15. The antichrist will need an excuse to persecute the Jews, and he might say that they only claim to be Jews but are not. Even today, anti-Jew propaganda makes use of this tactic, saying that the Jews of today are not really Jews, but are really from a mongolian tribe from Asia.
Revelation 2:9 I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.
16. The antichrist, the beast, will turn and destroy the harlot woman of Rev 17. This can be misinterpreted as the destruction of Satan and the false prophet, whom Jesus will destroy, as shown in Rev 20:2,10 and 2 Thess 2:8
17. The antichrist will try and get all of his followers to gather together at Jerusalem, (Rev 16:14,16) just as Jesus says he will gather together all of his saints at Jersusalem.(Isaiah 27:12,13; 2 Thess 2:1)
I’m sure there are probably other delusions, and additional scriptural "proofs" the antichrist will try and use to justify his claims to be god.