And he does great wonders, so that he makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men,…
Miracles have ever been the chief evidence of the presence of what is worshipful and Divine. It is by these especially that men's faith is begotten and controlled. It is by seeing and experiencing what is manifestly above and beyond all natural human power, and what cannot be accounted for on natural principles, that the human mind is forced to a conviction of the presence of some great and worshipful potency superior to Nature. And this arch-prophet of falsehood knows well how needful and mighty is the force of miracles to establish his credit, and to secure belief in his claims. The religion of God is a religion of miracles, and to make his infernal deception appear the only true and rightful religion he needs to mimic and counterfeit all that supernaturalism on which the true faith reposes. To this, therefore, he sets himself, and becomes one of the greatest workers of signs and wonders the earth has ever seen. Nor need we be surprised at this. There is a supernatural power which is against God and truth, as well as one for God and truth. A miracle, simply as a work of wonder, is not necessarily of God. There has always been a devilish supernaturalism in the world running alongside of the supernaturalism of Divine grace and salvation. "The magicians of Egypt also did in like manner with their enchantments; for they cast down every man his rod, and they became serpents." Here was devil miracle in imitation of the Divine. The test of a miracle is its supernaturalness; the test of its source is the doctrine, end, or interest for which it is wrought. If in support of anything contrary to God and His revealed will and law, it is no less a miracle; but in that case it is a work of the devil, for God cannot contradict Himself (1 John 4:1-3). It is also plainly intimated in the Divine Word that, in judgment upon the wicked world for its refusal of Christ, and its setting at naught of all the Divine miracles, the present bonds and limitations of satanic power will be relaxed, the devil and his demons allowed freer range upon this planet, and those in love with falsehood and unrighteousness given over to delusions then so much stronger than ever before (1 Kings 22:18, 22; 2 Chronicles 18:18, 22; Isaiah 6:9, 10; Ezekiel 14:9; Romans 1:21, 25, 28; 2 Thessalonians 2:11, 12).
(J. A. Seiss, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men,