“The coming of the lawless one is based on Satan’s working, with all kinds of false miracles, signs, and wonders” (2 Thessalonians 2:9 HCSB).
While it is possible that the coming man of lawlessness will employ a series of highly developed illusions that appear to be miraculous, it seems more likely that he will be imbued with genuine supernatural power of a Satanic origin. Consider the analysis of this passage offered by the following commentary…
“Paul employed three terms to describe the supernatural power this man will demonstrate. Miracles (dynamei) emphasizes the inherent power behind the works he will perform. Signs (semeiois) refers to the fact that they will have significance. Wonders (terasin) indicates the attitude of awe that they will evoke when people behold them. He will, in short, perform such powerful miracles that it will be evident to all that he has supernatural power, and people will stand in awe of him. One such miracle and the people’s awe are mentioned in Rev_13:2-4 and Rev_17:8.” (1)
This is important to remember if we encounter something that purports to be miraculous. The issue is not that God is incapable of performing miracles. Instead, we would be wise to examine such things before we assume they originate with Him. Jesus’ teachings are highly instructive in this regard…
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'” (Matthew 7:21-23, emphasis added).
“…false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand” (Matthew 24:24-25).
Another sources summarizes this precautionary approach with the following insight…
“Here it is important to note that not all miracles are of God. The devil and his agents can perform miracles. The man of lawlessness will also perform them (Rev_13:13-15). A miracle indicates supernatural power but not necessarily divine power. The miracles of our Lord proved Him to be the promised Messiah, not simply because they were supernatural, but because they fulfilled prophecy and were of such a moral nature that Satan could not have done them without harming his own cause.” (2)
We’ll consider some additional steps that can help us separate the true from the false in this regard next.
(1) John F. Walvoord and Roy B. Zuck, Bible Knowledge Commentary [2 Thessalonians 2:9]
(2) William MacDonald, Believer’s Bible Commentary 2 Thessalonians 1:6, pg.2055