The Fall of Satan and Rise of the Antichrist
© 2014 Craig C. White
The falling away of Satan
By Craig C. White
Israel suffered at the hands of every ancient world empire. Israel will also suffer under the next world empire. There is a terrible time of persecution and of God’s wrath coming upon the world, Israel, and most terribly upon Jerusalem. God has promised Church age believers that they would escape this terrible time of God’s wrath on earth by being taken up into heaven. This event is called the Rapture.
1Th 5:9 For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,
Since Jesus was resurrected believers in Christ have been saved from the penalty of sin which is death and hell. They will also be saved from the coming period of God’s wrath on earth.
Rom 5:7-10 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. 8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. 10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.
Early Church members in Greece in the city of Thessalonica saw the persecution of Jews and Christians under the Roman Empire and wondered if this terrible time of God’s wrath had come upon them? They worried that they had missed the Rapture.
Paul the apostle told the Thessalonians not to worry. Paul assured them that they would escape the Tribulation on earth. Paul told them that one event had to happen before the terrible time of trouble came upon Israel and also upon the whole earth. Something or someone must first fall away, and then the Antichrist must be revealed before God pours out his wrath on the world. When Christians see these things happen they can expect to be saved from God’s wrath. Christians can expect to be raptured (or taken) away from the earth. The question is “what or who must fall away”? I am going to tell you right now that Satan must fall from heaven before he empowers the Antichrist on earth. That means that the revealing of the Antichrist on earth is the sign of the coming Rapture of the Church!
2Th 2:1 Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,
The verse above describes the Resurrection of Christians and the Rapture of the Church.
The verses below describe the day of Christ. The day of Christ is the terrible period of Tribulation on earth.
2Th 2-3 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. 3 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;
What is “a falling away”? Some teach that this references a worldwide “apostasy”; in other words “a turning away from God”. While there will be a major corrupting of world religion, I don’t think it is referenced here. First the bible teaches that none seek after God (Psa 14:1-3, Psa 53:2, Rom 3:10-18), and that no nation follows after him. So the world is already “fallen away” from God. However I do admit that things will get worse. Also, how do you recognize when the Church or world has fallen away enough? If the phase “a falling away” refers to a turning away from God then how do you identify when this event is complete?
Second let’s take a look at the word “and” in the phrase “and that man of sin”. The word “and” usually means even, so, or then and sometimes means also or too. In our case “and” means “then”. So, “a falling away” and “that man of sin be revealed” are not two accumulative events. Instead, the second event relies on the first. The second event can only happen because the first event happened. A falling away happens then the man of sin is revealed.
God’s wrath won’t be poured out on earth until the man of sin is revealed. The man of sin can only be revealed because something or someone first falls away.
It is the same case in the phrase “the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him” in 2Thessalonians 2:1. In this case “and” also means “then”.
Jesus Christ comes; then because Jesus Christ came the Church will be gathered together to him”. Jesus is able to gather us together because first he comes. The second event can only happen because the first event happened.
We still haven’t defined “a falling away”. Let’s look at the surrounding statements. Verses 3 & 4 are jam-packed with descriptions of the “man of sin”.
2Th 2:4 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.
Obviously verses 3 & 4 are describing the “Antichrist”. The Antichrist is a wicked man empowered by Satan. The Antichrist will invade Israel and sit in the temple at Jerusalem. He will then preside over the persecution of Israel during the Great Tribulation period.
So the Antichrist will sit in the temple before the day of God’s wrath on earth. Early church members could recognize that this event hadn’t happened yet. They were assured that they were not currently going through the time of Great Tribulation. God had promised them that they would be taken into heaven during the time that he poured out his wrath on earth.
I’m not certain about this but Paul may have also been telling the church members at Thessalonica to look for this event (namely the man of sin sitting in the temple) so that they would know that the Rapture was eminent. Paul may have been saying that the man of sin or Antichrist would be exposed to Israel and the entire world, including the church members! Paul was definitely defining the sign of the Great Tribulation. Paul may have also been defining the sign of the Rapture of the Church. Like I said before I am not certain that the Church will see the Antichrist as he sits in the temple but I am much more certain that the Church will see the Antichrist. The Antichrist will also do many other identifiable things before he sits in the temple in Jerusalem.
2Th 2:5 Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?
Evidently Paul had previously told the church members in Thessalonica about the events that mark the beginning of the Great Tribulation. Jesus also explained these events in the gospels (Matthew 24, Mark 13, Luke 17&21).
2Th 2:6 And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.
The word “withholdeth” means to hold fast or stay. To stay means to prevent, to come first, or to delay.
Seeing the Antichrist sitting in the temple is the event that comes before or delays the Great Tribulation. But the term “a falling away” is describing the event that is delaying the revealing of the Antichrist. So the stay (or delay) of “a falling away” is preventing the Antichrist from being revealed. According to Paul we should already understand what he is saying! But don’t jump to conclusions!
2Th 2:7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.
The “mystery of iniquity” is simply the working of wickedness in the world. Specifically it is the working of Satan’s plan to make himself God of this world. That would include the formation of a world government (or empire) as well as the formation of a world religion. Things will get much worse when the Antichrist is revealed.
The word he refers to a singular person and obviously does not refer to the Church as a group. So a falling away does not refer to the apostasy of the Church as most teach.
The identity of the word he is in question here. The word he refers to a singular person and obviously does not refer to the Church as a group. So a falling away does not refer to the apostasy of the Church as most teach. Whoever he is, prevents (or delays) the Antichrist from being revealed until he is “taken out of the way”. Most Christians read this verse and immediately think that he refers to the Holy Spirit taken away in the raptured Church. I don’t think so. The word he is still referring to someone who has yet to have “a falling away”! The words “letteth” and “let” are the same word as “withholdeth” in verse 6. The word “taken” can also be translated as “fall”. So he prevents the Antichrist from being revealed until he falls!!! The Holy Spirit is not taken out of the way before the Antichrist can be revealed. The Holy Spirit is not taken out of the way at all. People are saved during the Tribulation period (Rev 7:9-14), and their spirits are in heaven! Jesus said that the Holy Spirit is active in the salvation of a person. So the Holy Spirit is active on earth during the Tribulation period.
Joh 3:5 “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God”.
2Th 2:8 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:
So after he falls, the Antichrist will be revealed. Jesus will kill the Antichrist when he returns to the earth at the end of the seven year Tribulation period. This is not to be confused with Jesus’ coming in the air to gather his church before or during the Tribulation period (which is described in verse 1 at the top of our study).
2Th 2:9-10 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, 10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
This verse is still talking about the Antichrist. However another person is mentioned. That is Satan. BINGO! We finally have the last piece of our puzzle! The identity of he is Satan. The phrase “a falling away” in 2Th 2:3 is describing Satan’s fall out of heaven. So Satan will fall from heaven then the Antichrist will be revealed on earth!
In 2Th 2:3 the original Greek word for “falling away” is “apostasia”. Apostasia means to divorce, or to move something away in order to disassociate from it. In our case Satan is moved away from heaven because he has no place there anymore. The Antichrist is a man who is empowered by Satan after Satan falls to earth. Did you know that there will be a war in heaven and God will throw Satan out?
Rev 12:7-12 And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, 8 And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. 9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. 10 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. 11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. 12 Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.
When the devil is cast out of heaven he will empower the Antichrist to do false miracles and deceive all who have rejected God. At that time the Church will enter the kingdom of God. That is to say, the Church will be resurrected bodily and raptured into heaven!
Do you mean that Satan can enter heaven? Yep he can now, but soon he will be thrown out for good. He will be thrown to earth. That’s why we need to be warned to look out for the man that Satan will empower! Today Satan travels between heaven and earth. He also accuses believers of committing sin. Job chapter 2 illustrates Satan’s travels between heaven and earth.
Job 2:1-2 Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the LORD. 2 And the LORD said unto Satan, From whence comest thou? And Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.
It is possible that Satan and his angels have already been thrown out of heaven. This may be evidenced by the turbulent uprisings in the Middle East. The Heathen are raging, (Read my commentary titled “Why do the Heathen Rage?”) and we may be waiting only for the revealing of the Antichrist before the Rapture and Tribulation.
Now we can summarize 2Thessalonians 2:1-3.
2Th 2:1-3 Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, 2 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. 3 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;
Hey Church members don’t worry that you may have missed the Rapture and are now in the middle of the Tribulation period. Don’t let anybody tell you differently, the Tribulation will not come until Satan is cast out of heaven and falls to earth and then the Antichrist is revealed on earth.
The revealing of the Antichrist on earth is the sign of the Tribulation. It may also be a sign to the Church of the coming Rapture. The Church may never see the Antichrist sitting in the temple or maybe it will? Whatever the case, I think that there is already definite evidence of who the Antichrist is and present day circumstances that will allow his rise to infamy.
Like the church members in Thessalonica we can be assured that we are not now suffering through the Tribulation. We can also be sure that we haven’t missed the Rapture. Unlike the church members in Thessalonica we are much closer to both events.
Church age believers in Jesus Christ will not suffer through the Tribulation period on earth. As Christians we are looking forward to Jesus Christ coming in the air to raise the dead and catch up the living into heaven! Alleluia!!!
2Th 2:11-12 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: 12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
Because people have rejected God’s love for them, and have rejected God’s son sent to die for them (Joh 3:16), God will “send them strong delusion”. The word “delusion” means “a straying from orthodoxy or piety”. All people who have rejected the truth of salvation by Jesus’ blood will be persuaded of their own righteousness by another way. This of course is true of all false religions; but it reminds me of the emerging church and also of the unity movement being spearheaded by the Pope. The emerging church is an all-inclusive so called “Christian” movement that contains eastern philosophy and ritual; including yoga, meditation, and contemplative prayer as a means to personal holiness. It denounces bible teaching, and is being promoted by some of your favorite “Christian” leaders. Even without the influence of the miracle working Antichrist, most people I know are eagerly awaiting this kind of religion (including most pastors). The fact that the emerging church and the unity movement is on the move persuades me to think that Satan’s fall and the exposing of the Antichrist is eminent. Don’t allow yourself to be deceived!
2Th 2:13-14 But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: 14 Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
I hope you believe the good news of salvation through Jesus’ blood shed for you.
Mat 26:28 For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.
Joh 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
1Jn 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
2Th 2:15-17 Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle. 16 Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, 17 Comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work.
This chapter tells us which event will launch the Great Tribulation. Satan will fall from heaven to earth and then empower the man of sin. The first day of the Great Tribulation will be marked by the Antichrist sitting in the temple in Jerusalem.
The Great Tribulation begins three and one half years into the seven year Tribulation period. Christians living during the Church age can be assured that they are not yet living in the time of the God’s wrath. Israel’s seven year Tribulation period begins with the signing of a seven year term security agreement between the Antichrist, Israel, and perhaps other world powers (Dan 9:27). Will Church age believers be on earth to see the first half of the seven year Tribulation period? I don’t know.
The world is prepared for the Antichrist. We should be prepared for the sign of the day of Christ. We must be aware of the prophetic end time events that are rapidly playing out today. Each one of us must make certain that we possess a sure and steadfast faith in the salvation of soul and body that Jesus has wrought. We must also be prepared so that we are not deceived by the offer of an unorthodox way to reconciliation with God that a false religion will soon tender (2Th 2:11-12).
Mat 24:24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.
The following verses were written to Jewish believers. They also apply to all believers in Jesus Christ especially those living in present day.
Heb 10:23-25 Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) 24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: 25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
Now let me see if I have this straight. Jesus will return in the air then Church age believers will be resurrected from the dead and taken into heaven (or raptured). Satan will be thrown out of heaven and fall to earth then the Antichrist will be revealed. Christians can be assured that the Great Tribulation will not begin until the man of sin (or the Antichrist) sits in the temple in Jerusalem. Wow, I probably should have said that in the first place. Amen.