We call the antichrist by that name because he will imitate Christ in order to oppose him. As Christ carried out extraordinary and wonderful acts during his life on earth, so the antichrist will also do astonishing things. The antichrist receives his authority to do these things from the devil (verse 2). He will give that authority to the false prophet. A false prophet speaks on behalf of a false god; this particular false prophet will serve the antichrist as his god (2 Thessalonians 2:4). Although the antichrist and the false prophet will only be men, their power will be very great.
There is much in this passage that reminds us of the Book of Exodus. We can compare the relationship between antichrist and the false prophet with the relationship between Moses and Aaron in Exodus 4:15-16. Moses and Aaron, of course, were genuine servants of God. The antichrist and the false prophet will copy them in order to serve the devil.
The leaders of Egyptís false religion were able, by evil magic, to copy some of the acts of Moses and Aaron (Exodus 7:10-11; Exodus 7:22; Exodus 8:7). However, they could not copy everything that Moses and Aaron did (Exodus 8:18). There was a limit to their power.
The false prophet will even copy the astonishing act when Elijah caused fire to come down from heaven (1 Kings 18:36-39). We do not know how the false prophet will do this; we only know that he will do it by the devilís power. Elijah did it to convince Israelís people that God is the only real God. The false prophet will do it to persuade people that they should accept the antichrist as their god. The result, of course, is that they will be serving the devil.
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© 2016, Keith Simons.