Top entertainers, no matter how personally charismatic and mesmerizing, often prepare their audiences with warm-up acts in order to work their magic more effectively when they finally burst into the spotlight. Many of these started out as warm-up acts themselves before they made the top billing.
Bible prophecy foretells this most charismatic personality of human history basking in the end-times spotlight:
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; 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. (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4)
This supremely arrogant “Beast,” as he is called by God’s Word in Revelation 13, will serve as his own sort of warm-up act immediately following the Rapture of the church. The “prince that shall come,” as Daniel terms him, steps onto the stage of geopolitical diplomacy as a purveyor of peace.
And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate. (Daniel 9:27) The Antichrist, empowered by Satan, will pave his own road for reaching his destiny as the object of forced worship by earth’s inhabitants. This warm-up act–a roadmap for peace, of sort–that he will perform himself, with the assistance of another “beast” (the false prophet)—will consist of impressive, if nefarious, accomplishments.
And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power: and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practise, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people. And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many. (Daniel 8:24-25a)
Actually, the Man of Sin, as Antichrist is also called, has already had a number of warm-up acts. These have been put upon the world humanistic stage by Lucifer, the master orchestrator of evil. Theologians and even philosophers and soothsayers through the ages have thought some of these warm-up acts to be Antichrist fulfilling his prophesied role.
Perhaps even Satan himself has believed some of these evil characters that seemed like the predicted first Beast of Revelation to be the foretold man whose number equals 666. Such lesser beasts as Nero, Hitler, Stalin, and others come to mind. Even U.S. presidents like Kennedy, Reagan, and Franklin D. Roosevelt before them have been thought as possible candidates for earth’s final and most terrible tyrant.
Concerning Antichrist’s eventual emergence, most all of today’s end-times stage props form the setting for the final act of human history: The Gog-Magog forces are coming together in a swiftly coalescing cabal determined to move against Israel when the time is right. The kings of the East, which will trouble the Beast as they will be a threat to his plans from the North and East, already can produce a two-hundred-million-troop military force. The European Union is almost certainly the reviving Roman Empire, out of which the dark “prince” will come.
Antichrist’s geopolitical “warm-up act” has been preparing the way for his prime-time prophetic performance for decades. The past several years have brought dynamic rearrangements in preparation for his appearance. One thing within the eschatological mix is often overlooked when thinking about how near Antichrist’s appearance might be. Again, this ingredient is found in the Apostle Paul’s second letter to the Thessalonians. The ingredient itself is difficult to identify because it involves deception from the father of all lies, which Satan will perpetrate upon those who reject God’s righteousness.
And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2 Thessalonians 2:10-12)
Satan’s present-day warm-up act, designed to mesmerize people of planet earth, has at its heart great deception that will delude most who are left behind following the Rapture. The Holy Spirit resident within the church (each Church-Age saint) will remove from acting on the consciences of mankind as He has been doing during this present Age of Grace.
Following the removal of the church, it will apparently be impossible for those who deliberately rejected the Holy Spirit’s call to salvation before the Rapture to have any chance for redemption. The Lord will not let those people escape the delusion Satan’s man, Antichrist, will produce. They will be doomed to believe a specific lie, Paul’s prophecy indicates.
Some prophecy watchers observe Satan’s preparations for bringing to the world’s attention the man who will be his most infamous protégé. These–and I include myself–consider decades of fascination with extraterrestrial sightings to possibly be key to the old serpent’s concocting the “lie” of 2 Thessalonians 2:11.
Documentaries continue to fill cable TV networks, raising questions about whether we are alone in the cosmos. Reports of UFO sightings titillate the imaginations of brains already prepped by fictional accounts of invaders from far-flung places in space, such as in TV shows like that titled V from some years earlier.
Another such silver-screen fiction about intruders from space was the film Skyline. Its story line is most fascinating, as the Star Trek Enterprise’s first officer, Mr. Spock, might say.
One official synopsis of that movie about visitors from space states the following.
After a late-night party, a group of friends are awoken in the dead of the night by an eerie light beaming through the window. Like moths to a flame, the light source is drawing people outside before they suddenly vanish into the air. They soon discover an otherworldly force is swallowing the entire human population off the face of the earth. Now our band of survivors must fight for their lives as the world unravels around them. (http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/skyline_2010/).
Sounds eerily familiar to something from the Bible we address frequently, doesn’t it? But God’s Word is nonfiction–absolute truth. Such a scenario is prophetically scheduled to actually happen. Revelation 12 foretells that Satan and his fallen angelic horde will be cast to earth for the final time. John was told to write “Woe to the inhabiters of the earth” when that happens.
The second Beast–the False Prophet—will call fire down from heaven (Revelation 13:13) in the sight of men. Many students of Bible prophecy who observe these strange times in which we live think these things will likely be part of the lie of 2 Thessalonians 2:11, which earth dwellers will believe–i.e., the major part of the lie will be that those who have disappeared from earth have been taken for reasons held by the “extraterrestrial” entities.
Today, we are being “entertained” by Antichrist’s warm-up act. But, it will be the Lord of Heaven –Jesus Christ—who will bring down the final curtain on Satan’s great imposter.
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. (2 Thessalonians 2:8)