Also available as MP3: 2 Thessalonians 2:8-9 – A Really Short Prophecy
Paul sums up the seven-year career of the Antichrist in just two very short prophetic verses (v.8,9). This is the way God likes to reveal the future. Whenever He reveals something frightening, such as the Antichrist here, He jumps ahead to tell you that it will all end well. You or I would reveal the future step by step, “this will happen, then that,” but God never wants us to be apprehensive about the future, so chooses this method. Of course, if you are trying to figure out a timeline of prophetic events this can be confusing, but this is why we compare Scripture with Scripture!
In making this really short prophecy, Paul may have been thinking of Isaiah 11:4, where the prophet predicted that all “the wicked” would be slain. Paul, of course, is singling out the Wicked One, the Antichrist. This is a form of the doctrine of identification, Antichrist identifying with wicked people. Kind of like how Israel was the “vine” (Ps. 80:8), but Christ was “the true vine” (John 15:1), and Isaiah 49:1-5 speaks of an “Israel” that sounds like Christ. Similarly, wicked people identify themselves with Anticrist, and both will die at Armageddon (Rev.19:19-21).
Some hate God so much they will want to identify themselves with him and so will gather themselves to Armageddon (Joel 3:9-16). Others will have to be tricked into identifying with him by his miracles (Rev.16:13-16). Others won’t be fooled by his miracles, but because they are not saved they’ll be forced to identify with him in a reverse rapture (Lu.17:36,37), plucked up and taken to Armageddon.
There are lots of ways to “consume” things in the Bible (Deut.5:25; 28:42; Job 24:19), but one of these ways involves Antichrist (Dan. 7:10-26). The word “consumed” there refers to his defeat at Armageddon, but the word “destroyed” there speaks of his “everlasting destruction” in the lake of fire (IIThes.1:9). The fire of the Second Coming will expose Hell and ignite the lake of fire (Deut.32:22) where Antichrist is consumed (Rev.19:20). If you are not saved by that time, you’ll be consumed as well (Job 4:9).
Antichrist’s destruction is accomplished by “the brightness of His coming” (IIThes.2:8). The Lord’s brightness is His glory (Isa.60:19; Ezek.10:4; Rev.21:23). His glory is brighter than the noon day sun (Acts 22:6), and like a laser, it will ignite the lake of fire (IISam.22:9-13). By the way, you should know that when you sin, you identify with Antichrist, for Paul called a fornicated “that wicked” (ICor.5:13).
When Paul says that Antichrist’s coming will be “after” the working of Satan, he means according to, The parallelism in Psalm 28:4 will show the meaning of “after” in this way. His coming will be “after the working of Satan” in that he’ll do “power, and signs, and lying wonders.”
“Signs” are meant to signify something, and Antichrist’s signs are meant to signify that he’s Israel’s Christ. So he will no doubt do miracles that he knows people will look for in their Messiah, like being born of a virgin (Isa. 7:14). He can’t pull that off, but he may be born of a fallen angel (Dan.2:43) or Satan, and so a “giant” (Gen.6:1-4) of sorts. Remember, Saul was a giant (ISam.9:2) and was a type of Antichrist, who may use his height to claim to be virgin born. That might explain why he’s called “the beast.” If only two fallen angels father children in that day, and the other fathers the other beast, the false prophet (Rev.13:11), both would stand out among men, but False Prophet would identify the Beast as “Christ.” People also know Messiah will heal (Isa.35:4,5) and be associated with “peace” (Isa.55:12,13), as will Antichrist (Dan.11:21,24). Antichrist will also know that people expect their Christ to rise from the dead (Mt.12:39), so he will too (Rev.13:1-3).
When Paul says Antichrist will do “lying wonders,” that doesn’t mean the miracles he’ll work will be like the fake miracles like modern preachers perform, they will be legitimate miracles designed to get men to believe the lie that he is the Christ, and that Jesus Christ was a phony.