The Fall of Satan and Rise of the Antichrist
© 2014 Craig C. White
The falling away of Satan
By Craig C. White
It turns out that 2 Thessalonians chapter 2 is not about the apostasy of the Church or the removal of the Holy Spirit from the earth during the Tribulation period. It is about looking to the Old Testament prophets in order to recognize end time events!
Throughout history Israel has suffered at the hands of every ancient world empire. Israel will once again suffer at the hands of the next world empire. There is a terrible time of persecution coming upon Israel and most terribly upon Jerusalem. During this seven year period God will also pour out his wrath upon the entire world. This is called the Tribulation period. The Apostle Paul 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,
Ever since Jesus’ resurrection, believers in Christ have been saved from the penalty of sin which is death and hell. Christians 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 the Grecian city of Thessalonica saw the persecution of Jews and Christians under the Roman Empire and wondered if this terrible time of trouble was coming upon them? They thought that the Tribulation was beginning and wondered why the Rapture hadn’t happened yet. Paul told the Thessalonians that the Tribulation was not about to happen because two Old Testament prophecies had not yet been fulfilled! Paul told them that Satan must fall from heaven to earth and that the Antichrist must be revealed before Jerusalem’s great tribulation could begin.
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 verse below describes the day of Christ. The day of Christ is the terrible period of Tribulation on earth.
2Th 2:2 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.
Evidently there were some rumors circulating among the Thessalonian believers that the Tribulation was beginning. The Rapture was designed to save Christians from a terrible time of trouble on earth. So it follows that the Rapture must happen before the Tribulation begins. The Thessalonians were wondering why the Rapture had not yet happened. The Apostle Paul identified two Old Testament prophetic events that help us to recognize the the arrival of the Tribulation. They are the falling of Satan from heaven to earth and the revealing of the Antichrist as he sits in the temple at Jerusalem.
2Th 2:3 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.
Paul is not revealing new prophetic information here. He is reminding us about the prophecies of Isaiah (Isa 14:12) and Daniel (Dan 9:27).
Isa 14:12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!
Dan 9:27 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.
In 2Thessalonians 2:3 above, 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 during the end time, I don’t think that 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.
Second let’s take a look at the word and in the phrase “and that man of sin be revealed”. 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 will happen 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 will come first; then because Jesus Christ came it will be possible for the Church to be gathered together to him. Jesus is able to gather us together only because he will first come to earth. 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 that is 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 or at least before Israel’s great tribulation. Early Church members could recognize that this event hadn’t happened yet. So the time of great tribulation in Jerusalem had not yet come.
I don’t think that the Church will see the Antichrist as he sits in the temple but I am certain that the Church will see the Antichrist. The Antichrist will do many other identifiable things before he sits in the temple in Jerusalem.
In Matthew 24:43 the inhabitants of Judea are instructed to look for the Antichrist as he approaches. So the Antichrist will be identifiable before he sits in the temple at Jerusalem. I tell you that the Antichrist is already identifiable today! He is Turkish President Erdogan.
2Th 2:5 Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?
I am certain that Paul had previously taught the church members in Thessalonica about the prophecies in Isaiah (Isa 14:12) and Daniel (Dan 9:27) that help to identify the Tribulation period. 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. Satan’s fall precedes the revealing of the Antichrist!
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. Every past world empire has been configured by Satan. There is one more world empire coming. World empires are Satan’s attempt to make himself the god of this world. Things will get much worse when the Antichrist is revealed. The identity of the word he is in question here. 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 the word he refers to the Holy Spirit being 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.
John 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 the Tribulation period begins (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 2Thessalonians 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 2Thessalonians 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.
The idea that the Holy Spirit will be taken away during the Tribulation period is not taught anywhere else in scripture but the idea that Satan will be thrown out of heaven is taught in both the Old and New Testaments. 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.
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.
There are two events that must happen before Jerusalem is overrun by its enemies. These two events are the fall of Satan from heaven to earth and the Antichrist sitting in the temple at Jerusalem.
The revealing of the Antichrist on earth is the sign of the Tribulation. I think that there is already definite evidence of who the Antichrist is and present day circumstances exist that will allow his rise to infamy.
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 I think that it may apply especially to Islam. I think that the next world empire will be a revived Islamic Caliphate.
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 Christ’s 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.
In verse 15 above, the Apostle Paul instructs the believers in Thessalonica to “hold the traditions which ye have been taught”. Paul is referencing the Old Testament prophets Isaiah and Daniel to help identify two events that happen during the Tribulation. The fall of Satan from heaven and the revealing of the Antichrist as he sits in the temple in Jerusalem. The first day of Jerusalem’s Great Tribulation will be marked by the Antichrist sitting in the temple in Jerusalem (Mat 24:21).
Most Bible teachers think that the Great Tribulation will begin three and one half years into the seven year Tribulation period. Christians living during the Church age can be assured that they will not suffer through the time of the God’s wrath on earth. Most Bible teachers also sat that the seven year Tribulation period will begin with the signing of a seven year term security agreement between the Antichrist, Israel, and perhaps other world powers (Dan 9:27). Church age believers will not be on earth to see the signing of this treaty.
The world is prepared for the Antichrist. Christians should be prepared for the day of Christ. We must look to the Old Testament prophets in order to recognize prophetic end time events that are increasingly happening 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 (2Th 2:11-12).
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. Satan will be thrown out of heaven and fall to earth then the Antichrist will be revealed. Israel should know 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.