The world is crying out for a savior—screaming at the top of its lungs for someone to deliver it from the chaos that surrounds us. However, the problem looks very different from person to person and it seems very difficult to know what exactly they need deliverance from. One thing seems very evident, many are running to and from seeking whomever will step into what they perceive as a void to save them from their enemies, while all along ignoring the only One who can save us—God!
Professor Gary Harris of the Baptist Theological Seminary wrote that “[God’s] judgment on a rebellious world will take many forms with deception being only one of them. In all cases of His use of deception, He exposes falsehood by presenting His truth. His particular opponent in the future will be “the man of lawlessness” (2 Thess 2:3) who will offer “the lie” (2 Thess 2:11) in place of the truth. This agent of evil will have a very wide following because of his use of deceptive methods. God will then add to the deception of this man’s followers by sending them the “deluding influence” that will move them beyond the possibility of receiving the truth.”
In 1 Kings 22, the Kings of Judah and Israel (Jehoshaphat and Ahab) inquired of the Prophet Micaiah about whether they should go to war against Ramot Gilead. Micaiah’s response was that Adonai has allowed a deceiving spirit to speak through the false prophets and “entice Ahab to go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead” (v. 20) with the declaration that the deceiving spirit would prevail in the deception (v. 22). We may focus so much on the deceiving spirit that we miss the fact that Ahab has already set his heart on going to war and was ready to accept the word of false prophets. Ahab was searching for a reason to go up and Jehoshaphat only delayed the process by seeking the word of God through a real prophet.
In like manner, the world is settling on the direction it wants to travel and people have already settled their hearts on the deception they wish to follow. All that remains is someone to justify these desires and to step into the void they perceive. The Antichrist spirit is already very much active, and the deception is in motion. If the Antichrist wanted to do a test to see if the world would accept him what would that look like? Would he surround himself with those who would allow him to run afoul of the laws that govern the land? Would he seek to overturn precedent and use his power to feed deception even when the truth is clear? Will he appeal to those who proclaim to follow Yeshua (Jesus)? Would he appeal to Israel to garner favor with the church? Would the church follow him as one sent directly from God to save the nation from their perceived enemies?
The goal of the devil from the start was to usurp God’s throne, and he hasn’t given up on that goal. He may be defeated but he doesn’t quit and hasn’t conceded defeat. Wherever God rules, the enemy seeks to overthrow for he wants to be in God’s place. When the seventh angel of Revelation 11:15 trumpeted, “there were loud voices in heaven saying, “The kingdom of this world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Anointed One””. Now the adversary’s efforts to usurp this kingdom is in full force, for he wants to be in the place of God wherever God places His name.
The world is crying out for a savior, and Revelation 13 tells us that many will follow someone who will masquerade as the Messiah. Will this false messiah just appear out of nowhere without a desire on the part of people to accept him as Messiah? Or will the times make this great deception possible?
I believe we are in such a time. The Prophet Daniel tells us that the Antichrist “will throw truth to the ground and prosper in what [he] does” (Daniel 8:12) and that by “By his cunning he will cause deceit to prosper under his hand and he will consider himself superior” (Daniel 8:26a). How could the Antichrist succeed in throwing truth to the ground and succeed if people are not willing to go along with the lie? We see that this is the case today. We continually run after lies and conspiracy theories, even when the truth is revealed. The Antichrist will succeed in what he does because we will go along with the lie to sooth our own desires.
We have learned a lot since the days of the prophets (Daniel 12:4). Information is a click away on the computer but so is the opportunity to spread deception. We have information at our fingertips but are still so easily deceived. I believe this is the spirit of Antichrist active in the world and Yeshua’s warning that we stay alert (Matt 24:42) is even more imminent than ever!