Satan will use all sorts of lying signs and wonders to deceive the world during the end times. Many people will be deceived by false prophets and false Christs, but this is not the biggest deception that Satan has up his sleeve. I believe Revelation 17:8 reveals what will be Satan’s biggest end time deception which I will describe in this article.
Revelation 17:8 Overview
Revelation 17:8 says the beast (the man who will be the Antichrist) “was, and is not, and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit”.
“The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.” (Revelation 17:8)
In the vision (which I believe is being viewed from the perspective of those living in the future), the beast once lived (was). However, there is a paradox in phrasing because the beast also “is not”, which indicates that the beast presently does not live, and “yet is”, which indicates that the beast presently does live. This is in stark contrast to the description of God in Revelation 4:8 who lives forever: (“was, and is, and is to come”).
“And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.” (Revelation 4:8)
The beast ascends from the bottomless pit, a place described by the Bible where wicked souls go; his soul leaves the bottomless pit. At first glance, this event could be compared to the resurrection that the Bible teaches that Christ executed.
“He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.” (Acts 2:31)
To compare the resurrection of Christ to the accession of the beast, we need to look at the key verses of Revelation 1:17-18 where He said:
(17) And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last: (18) I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.
The beast and Christ will have both have faced temporary death because one already rose from it and another is foretold to rise from it. However the beast’s condition when he returns to earth is significantly different than when Jesus returned. Jesus was (after He rose) the “Living One” and will be living forever while the beast “is not” and “yet is”. The paradox of living for the beast suggests that what the beast will perform is not an authentic resurrection. Though the beast appears on the earth after rising from the bottomless pit, he is unable to do what Jesus did. A consequence of this false rise is that the beast can only be on Earth for a short time after his return. The beast “is”, but not always will be; the beast “will go to his destruction”. In contrast, Christ taught that those who are truly resurrected will not die again:
“(35) But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage: (36) Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection.” (Luke 20:35-36)
The Power of Satan’s Deception
Christians have to put faith in the resurrection of Christ and ask skeptics to have faith in it as well since we do not have physical proof (like a photograph of videotape) showing that Christ rose from the dead. It is far easier to get someone to believe in something when it seems there is tangible evidence “proving” it. A seemingly “resurrected” Antichrist is likely to get even the most skeptical people to believe in the concept of resurrection in regards to the Antichrist and to get most people to view Antichrist as an object of worship.
Revelation 17:8 tells us that people will be amazed when they see the beast. The beast will be visible to everyone on the earth because he has ascended from the abyss and “now is”. The people whose names are not in the Book of Life shall marvel at the beast because in their perspective the beast is what Christians believe Jesus to be: someone who died and rose from the dead. To capture this perspective, many people will ask:
“And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?” (Revelation 13:4)
It will be very difficult for the truth to get to people during that time because people will say: “Why should I believe in Christ’s resurrection when this man has demonstrated that he’s risen from the dead?” I believe false resurrection is going to be the most effective lying wonder in convincing people to follow Antichrist
I am not 100% sure how Satan will engineer this deception because this in my view is his biggest deception. I suspect Satan would want to keep information regarding this deception a secret because so much is at stake. Unfortunately for Satan (and fortunately for us), Revelation 17:8 warns that Satan is going to use a false resurrection to deceive people living on the earth. Therefore, some people on the earth will not be deceived when they see a recognizable man seemingly have his life restored.
If you would like to learn how to identify the Antichrist, click this link for my article on the topic.