By Dr. Lawrence Butler, The Bridge Church, Pembroke.
“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: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved” (II Thess. 2:8-10).
Remember verses 6-7 told us that whoever was “letting” (hindering) the revelation of the Antichrist was going to be removed.
When this occurs, then the “Wicked” shall be revealed. This refers to the Antichrist. He is the “Wicked” of verse 8. It is pronounced that he will be revealed, and then just as quickly it is presented to us that he will be destroyed by the Lord.
However, he is permitted to be on the world’s scene for a short period of time and manages to blaspheme God, tries to completely destroy people who believe in Jesus, and attempts to take the place of God by demanding worship. The Antichrist is able to do this because God allows it, and also because Satan helps him. He is assisted with “all power and signs and lying wonders.” We are not told what these signs will be, but Revelation 13 does give us a glimpse into the deceptions that will occur. “And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men…” (Rev. 13:13). The Antichrist is not actually the one performing these miracles, but one known as the False Prophet. He is an accomplice of the Antichrist and helps bring him to power. He wows men, and probably frightens them, into acceptance and worship of the Antichrist.
Together they institute not only a religious system, but an economic one as well.
To participate, meaning to be able to buy or sell and thus meeting basic needs, a person had to accept a mark in the hand or on the forehead. The receiving of this mark bears witness the individual has accepted the Antichrist’s authority and thus worships him as God.
The Lord takes a dim view of this act. It is more than just trying to survive, it means a rejection of Jesus Christ as Savior. “And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone” (Rev.19:20).
Receiving the “mark of the beast” is to be deceived and to worship the wrong thing. Revelation 20:4 shows us that those receiving this mark will not reign with our Lord in the Millennium but will suffer eternal torment (Rev.14:9-11).