Jesus said that one of the signs of His return will be an increase in spiritual deception. He mentioned it four times in Matthew 24 (verses 4, 5, 11, 24). The apostle John said, “This is the spirit of the Antichrist which you have heard was coming and is now already in the world” (1 John 4:3). The spirit of antichrist was working two thousand years ago according to John and Jesus indicated that spiritual deception increasing would be a sign of His coming. The world is being prepared for the man of sin and when he comes the world will say, “We’ve been waiting for someone like you.” He will indeed be a superman...a political genius, a military genius, a religious genius who will “speak with great swelling words” that mesmerize the minds of people. He will be able to bring together many of the nations of the world and work out an agreement between Muslims and Jews that will allow for the rebuilding of the Jewish Temple where he will then go and proclaim that, “He is God.”
He will be the “self-actualized” man the humanists have believed we are able to produce who will lead humanity to the utopia they’ve promised. And for a few moments it will seem that he is going to pull it off but the Bible says, “When they say, ‘Peace and safety!’ then sudden destruction comes upon them” (1 Thessalonians 5:3). It will all come crashing down. Then, the true Prince of Peace will appear from heaven and cleanse the world of sin and establish His millennial kingdom on this earth.
The acceleration of evil and spiritual deception is indeed increasing with great rapidity in our world. We can see how the world is being prepared for the Antichrist. The world is looking for someone to solve our problems and bring world peace and true brotherhood. And the amazing thing is that this man of sin will be the epitome of evil. How is it possible that such a wicked and evil man will be able to deceive most of the world? Here is God’s answer from 2 Thessalonians 2:8-12.
"And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming. 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."
As this spiritual deception increases it will pose a special threat to the church for Jesus said, ”For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive if possible, even the elect” (Matthew 24:24). This powerful deception is Satan’s attempt to neutralize believers and in many ways it is working. The church is mired in apathy and powerlessness having very little influence on our culture. We are by and large isolated inside the walls of our churches and disconnected from the body of Christ.
However, the Holy Spirit is moving and waking many up to what is going on. He is calling us to prayer and to unity and to obedience and consecrated service to our Lord Jesus Christ. There is hope. We need to be “sober and vigilant” in these days of great evil and increased spiritual deception. We need to watch and pray. We need to be filled with the Spirit and boldly proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ. The world will mock us and the enemy will oppose us but “greater is He who is in us than he who is in the world” (! John 4:4).