How do you respond to 2 Thessalonians 2:3–4?

“Let no one deceive you in any way; for that day will not come unless the rebellion comes first and the lawless one exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, declaring himself to be God.”

As with most passages in the Bible that deal with eschatology, this one is shrouded in mystery and thus has many possible interpretations. We need not discuss these now. Suffice it to say that the passage assumes that God knows that Satan will unleash his fury in an unprecedented way at the end of the age. One of his strategies will apparently be to possess an evil influential person and carry out the things Scripture says regarding the Antichrist. He will try to deceive the nations, perform miracles, enter the temple and proclaim himself to be God.

How reassuring it is to know that Satan never takes God by surprise. Such reassurance is rooted in God’s perfect knowledge of Satan’s evil character and in his wisdom in working the decisions of free agents to his desired ends. We need not assume that the future is exhaustively settled in God’s mind to have confidence in his wisdom, however. While a lesser god would have to micro-manage the cosmos to achieve his goals, the true God is so sovereign he is perfectly capable of outwitting all his foes without having to meticulously control and foreknow every detail about the future.

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