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 The Antichrist's Deception.

      Continuing our series on what Jesus and the Bible have to say about living in this world, today we take a second look at the Biblical term, “antichrist.” Previously we looked at St. John’s expression of “many antichrists” which have come, and he also speaks of “the” antichrist as an individual figure who is still to come (e.g., 1 Jn 2:18).

      In St. John’s second letter he refers to the antichrist as “the deceiver.” He writes, “For many deceivers have gone out into the world, men who will not acknowledge the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh; such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist” (2 Jn 7). So “the deceiver” is another name for the antichrist. St. John says we can know him by his denial that Jesus Christ is God incarnate – God who assumed our human flesh.

      Christ uses similar language when He warns us to beware of false Christs. “Many will come in my name saying, ‘I am he!’ and they will lead many astray.,,, And if any one says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘Look, there he is!’ do not believe it. False Christs and false prophets will arise and show signs and wonders, to lead astray, if possible, the elect.” (Mk 13:6, 21-22; cf., Mt24:5, 11, 23-26.) Of course, the antichrist is the deceiver precisely in his purpose of leading those called to faith in Christ Jesus away from Christ. We have been warned.

      St. Paul goes into some specificity about this deceiver, this antichrist. Paul calls him the “man of lawlessness,” the “son of perdition” who exalts himself and proclaims himself to be God (2 Thes 2:3-4). The prophet Daniel had said a similar thing, of the ungodly one who exalts himself and pretends to take the place of God (Dan 11:36-37). This antichrist has to be revealed until “the rebellion” or “apostasy” occurs, and both must occur before Christ returns (2Thes 2:3) to destroy the lawless one (2 Thes 2:8).

      St. Paul writes, “The coming of the lawless one by the activity of Satan will be with all power and with pretended signs and wonders and with all wicked deception for those who are to perish, because they refused to have the truth and so be saved” (2 Thes 2:9-10). Those who are deceived will be so because they refuse to love the truth and they instead take pleasure in unrighteousness (2 Thes 2:10, 12). So St. Paul refers to a “strong delusion,” a lie, that God “sends” or allows. We all have free will to chose. Those who fall for this delusion, deception, and lie, are already unrighteous (2 Thes 2:12). They do not have pure hearts. The pure of heart, the humble and meek, cannot be seduced into this deepth of deception against God.

      The prophet Daniel warned of desolating sacrilege, or an abomination that makes desolate, that will come and be placed in the holy sanctuary, profaning the temple (Dan 9:27, 11:31, 12:11). St. Paul speaks of the same, of this lawless deceiver taking his seat in the temple of God (2 Thes 2:4). Jesus also specifically refers to Daniel’s desolating sacrilege (Mt 24:15; Mk 13:14) as a sign of terrible tribulations to come.

      Since 70 AD, the Jewish Temple is no more. However, in God’s providence of salvation history, that Jewish Temple, formerly the place to worship God and manner of worshiping of God, has been replaced by the Body of Christ, the Church, and so the Church understands these passages as referring to itself. The Catechism of the Catholic Church says the “man of lawlessness” alludes to a specific incarnation of satan, the devil, in the world to unleash the final assault. “Before Christ’s second coming the church must pass through the final trial which will shake the faith of many believers” (CCC 675, ref. to Lk 18:8; Mt24:12), which the Catechism says (CCC 675) “will unveil the “mystery of iniquity” in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth.” The deception of the antichrist, then, is the means by which man will glorifies himself in place of God and Christ – humanitarian religion in which man saves himself (cf., CCC 676).

      We see that everywhere already today, don’t we?

Dibby Allan Green

Originally published in the print edition of the Mojave Desert News dated October 20, 2022.
Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church is located in California City, CA. Visit our website at
Dibby Allan Green has a BA in Religious Studies (Westmont College, 1978) and MA in Theology (Augustine Institute, 2019), is a lay Catholic hermit, and a parishioner of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish.