“The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, and in every sort of evil that 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” (2 Thess. 2:9-12).

Whoever the “lawless one” is, he is identifiable in that his coming will be in accordance with the work of Satan. His characteristics are then spelled out: counterfeit miracles, signs, wonders—every sort of evil that deceives.

Satan has always worked this way and is working this way now. The first three look good to almost everyone, and the fourth, every sort of evil, doesn’t look bad because by very nature Satan is deceptive. Jesus said, “When he lies he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44).

It is the nature of a lie to appear as a truth. If a lie appeared as a lie, it would not be a lie. It is therefore our responsibility to discern between miracles and miracles, truth and truth, angels of light and angels of light, ministers of righteousness and ministers of righteousness.

It is my observation that Christians take things at face value. If they have discernment, they do not exercise it because of a fear of “judging,” as if that were wrong. It is not wrong; it is a commandment. “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them” (Matt. 7:15- 20).

Written January 1984.