Satan's Final Deceptions

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(Revelation 12 and 2 Thessalonians 2)
Lesson Number: 

Lesson 10

Satan’s Final Deceptions

(Revelation 12 and 2 Thessalonians 2)

Copr. 2023, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. If you normally receive this lesson by e-mail, but it is lost one week, you can find it by clicking on this link: Pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit as you study.

Introduction: One thing I’ve learned from litigating cases for nearly fifty years is that the predicted outcome of some cases is debatable. I’ve had cases where I absolutely should win. I don’t take cases where I absolutely should lose, but I take many cases where the odds are against me. Recently, I had a case before a state supreme court and every judge ruled against me - including ruling against me on an issue that I absolutely should have won. Can you imagine God’s feelings about our choice between Satan and Him? God should absolutely win. There is not even a reasonable debate. But most choose Satan. Why is that? One reason is that humans are sometimes deceived. This week we turn our attention to Satan’s last great deception. Let’s plunge into our study of the Bible and learn more!

  1. The Expert Deceiver
    1. Read Revelation 12:7-9. What is the one trait of Satan that is mentioned in this text? (He is “the deceiver of the whole world.”)
      1. In these verses, who has Satan just deceived? (Angels!)
      2. How difficult would it be to deceive angels? (They lived in heaven. They had no predisposition to sin. They lived in the presence of God.)
        1. How likely are you to be deceived by Satan?
    2. Read Proverbs 14:12 and James 1:26. Proverbs suggests that we might think we are doing right when in reality we are doing wrong. How does James explain that truth? (James explains that what we say can deceive our heart.)
      1. As we consider how to avoid deception, what should raise warning flags? (We know that Satan and his angels want to deceive us. But the danger arises much closer to home - we need to watch what we say because it can change us.)
      2. What do you say about yourself?
  2. Preparing Against Deception
    1. Read 2 Timothy 3:12-15. What work should we do right now to avoid future deception? (What you are doing at this instant - studying the Bible.)
    2. Read Titus 3:3-7. What aid is essential to correctly understand the Bible? (The Holy Spirit. We need to be washed in the renewal and regeneration of the Holy Spirit.)
    3. Read 1 Corinthians 3:18. Can we “outsmart” ourselves into deception? (Yes. Our conceit about being wise in the eyes of the world is a serious problem.)
    4. Read 2 Thessalonians 2:10-11. What essential change of our attitude is necessary? (If we want to be deceived, if we refuse to love the truth, then we will certainly be deceived. The Holy Spirit can change our heart if we ask.)
  3. The Great Deception
    1. Read 2 Thessalonians 2:1-2. What is the subject of this warning to believers? (A false claim that Jesus has returned.)
    2. Read 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4. What will happen before Jesus returns? (“The man of lawlessness” will take “his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God.”)
    3. Read 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17. What does this tell us about the way that Jesus will come the second time? (Jesus will come down from heaven to take us back to heaven with Him.)
      1. Think about the way in which Jesus will return, and the warning that Satan’s “man of lawlessness” will claim to be Jesus before Jesus’ Second Coming. What does that tell us that Satan will do? (He will put on a fake Second Coming of Jesus. Of course, he will have to do it before Jesus comes again. We see that this fake is one of the signs that Jesus is coming.)
    4. Read 2 Thessalonians 2:9. What will Satan do when he impersonates Jesus? (He will have “all power and false signs and wonders.”)
      1. Notice that the “lawless one” is “by the activity of Satan.” Does that mean the lawless one is not Satan?
      2. Observant Jews still expect the coming of the Messiah. Many Muslims expect a coming of the Mahdi (who will be accompanied by Jesus). Hindus believe that Vishnu will appear from heaven with a flaming sword to destroy evildoers. Some Buddhists expect the last Buddha, Maitreya, to appear from heaven to bring great spiritual blessings. What do these facts suggest about the nature of the “lawless one?” (Satan will undoubtedly claim through some being that the expectations of all the major world religions have been realized in the fake second coming!)
    5. Read Mark 13:21-22. How serious is the danger of being deceived?
      1. Is this telling us in a backhanded way that the elect cannot be deceived?
  4. Recognizing the Great Final Deception
    1. Read again 2 Thessalonians 2:9. What does the reference to “false signs and wonders” suggest about how long the fake Jesus will stay when he returns? (This seems like some period of time.)
    2. Read 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12. How long a period of time do you think this will take?
    3. Read 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4. How long will it take for the man of lawlessness to take “his seat in the temple of God?”
    4. Read 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17. How long does this take? (This tells us that when Jesus comes those who are dead will “rise first” and those who are alive “will be caught up together [with the formerly dead] to meet the Lord in the air.” That means that Jesus is not spending any time on earth. We rise to be with Him.)
      1. What is the strongest protection against deception? (If you are not rising up off the earth, it is not Jesus.)
    5. Read Matthew 24:24-27. What does this tell us about the real versus the fake Second Coming of Jesus? (If someone has to tell you about it, then it is not the real thing. Every eye will see Jesus’ Second Coming at the same time.)
      1. Think about this. If you see the Second Coming, and dead people start coming out of their graves, and you start rising into heaven, can you be sure this is the real Second Coming? (Yes! Take note of this.)
      2. Do you think it is possible for Satan to fake people coming out of their graves, you rising into heaven, and everyone seeing this at the same time?
    6. Friend, will you take the steps right now to prepare against deception? You have started down the path to avoidance. Why not ask the Holy Spirit, right now, to change your heart and focus your mind so that you will stand among the undeceived?
  5. Next week: The Seal of God and the Mark of the Beast: Part 1.