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!

I. The Expert Deceiver

A. 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?

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.)

a. How likely are you to be deceived by

B. 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?

II. Preparing Against Deception

A. 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.)

B. 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.)

C. 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

D. 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.)

III. The Great Deception

A. Read 2 Thessalonians 2:1-2. What is the subject of
this warning to believers? (A false claim that
Jesus has returned.)

B. 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.”)

C. 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.)

D. 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!)

E. 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?

IV. Recognizing the Great Final Deception

A. 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.)

B. Read 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12. How long a period of
time do you think this will take?

C. 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?”

D. 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.)

E. 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?

F. 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?

V. Next week: The Seal of God and the Mark of the Beast:
Part 1.

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.