5 minutes with the general director Feb/Mar 1977
Will The Real Antichrist Please Stand Up
One day, perhaps soon, a man is going to appear on the stage of human history. He will successfully navigate a meteoric ascendency to international power. His coming will be accompanied by intense catastrophic judgments hitherto unknown on Planet Earth. God’s Word refers to this sinister man through the use of more than twenty-five different names. Among the ominous titles which can be assigned to him are: the bloody and deceitful man (Ps. 5:6); the adversary (Ps. 74:8-10); the little horn (Dan 7:8); the vile person (Dan. 11:21); the willful king (Dan. 11:36); the man of sin (2 Thess. 2:3); the son of perdition (2 Thess. 2:3); the beast (Rev. 11:7); the antichrist (1 John 2:22). With dictatorial power he will rule a ten-nation confederation comprising the Western world.
The dramatic and continuous growth of Soviet military might — the oil-producing nations seeming ability to intimidate the oil-consuming nations at will — movement toward a unified monetary system (the U. S. is being prepared for a change to the metric system) — trade barriers falling between the Common Market nations — countries like England and Italy facing possible bankruptcy — the rising, unacceptable and unchecked crime rate — the competition and pressure from third world nations — solutions to these and other problems may prove to be the catalysts which will force the Western nations to merge. When that occurs, the stage will be set for the dramatic entrance of a satanically empowered superman who will purport to be able to “put it all together.”
Who is this man? How does he come to power? What is his goal? These are some of the questions being asked by Bible-believing Christians. They are intelligent questions — particularly in the light of the days in which we are living.
WHO IS THIS MAN?
Attempts to identify the antichrist are not new. Among the names that have been suggested are Nero, the Pope, Judas Iscariot, Mussolini, Hitler and, in recent days, the ex-Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger. Bible teachers have always sought to substantiate their particular candidate. Obviously, most must be wrong. In the case of Kissinger, his nationality, his place of birth, his rapid rise to power as a world wide “peace” negotiator, and as we shall see, the interesting fact that his name can have a numerical value of 666, have made him a prime suspect for some.
The prophet Daniel wrote, “Neither shall he (antichrist) regard the God of his fathers . . .” (Dan. 11:37). It has been suggested that only a Jew can disregard the God of his fathers; however, the word “God” in the text in question is plural and should be translated, “Neither shall he regard the ‘gods’ of his fathers . . .” This can characterize any man and, when properly understood, gives no hint to the racial identity of the antichrist. However, in Revelation 13, two beasts are referred to. It is generally agreed that the first beast is the antichrist and the second the false prophet. The first beast comes out of the sea (Rev. 13:1), the second out of the earth (Rev. 13:11). The “sea” is repeatedly used in Scripture for the Gentile nations (Rev. 17:15); whereas the “earth” or land has reference to Israel. It would appear then, that the antichrist is a Gentile and his chief lieutenant, the false prophet, is a Jew.
It has been pointed out that Kissinger is a naturalized American who was born in Germany. The antichrist must come from within the boundaries of the old Roman empire (Dan 9:26), and Germany falls within that sphere. But obviously, millions of people have been born within the boundaries of the Roman empire, and unrelated to other factors, Kissinger’s place of birth simply allows him to meet that one requisite.
His ascendancy from relative obscurity to worldwide influence is certainly impressive. Sadat called him “a man of miracles.” Pompidou of France called him “a magician.” Golda Meir of Israel called him “a man of many unique talents.” Egypt’s President Sadat, who embraced Kissinger during the latter’s 1976 shuttle diplomacy, was doubtless not the first Egyptian to embrace a Jew. One can well envision Pharaoh of Egypt embracing Jacob’s son, Joseph, who foretold the coming famine and saved the land of Egypt. From obscurity in an Egyptian dungeon, Joseph vaulted to the position of prime minister of the most powerful nation of his day. Kissinger’s rise to fame and power then, is not unprecedented and in the present context may be instructive simply in that it demonstrates that a man can move rapidly from obscurity to worldwide power.
The number of antichrist is 666 (Rev. 13:18). Some have attempted to show that Henry Kissinger possesses that number and is therefore the antichrist. A chart prepared below gives the letter “A” the numerical value of “six” and increases each letter by six.
A – 6 N – 84 K = 66
B – 12 O – 90 I = 54
C – 18 P – 96 S = 114
D – 24 Q – 102 S = 114
E – 30 R – 108 I = 54
F – 36 S – 114 N = 84
G – 42 T – 120 G = 42
H – 48 U – 126 E = 30
I – 54 V – 132 R = 108
K – 66 X – 144 666 = ANTICHRIST = KISSINGER
L – 72 Y – 150
M – 78 Z – 156
Some have strongly suggested that Kissinger is the antichrist, based on this numbering system. This concept, however, has a number of major problems. Firstly, using this system, thousands of names add up to 666. Secondly, why use the English alphabet? When John wrote, Rome was the dominant world power and had a numerical value for each letter of its alphabet, so why not Latin? Or better still, why not use the Hebrew of the Old Testament or the Greek of the New? Why not the German alphabet of Kissinger’s birth? Thirdly, there is no basis for allocating the numerical value of six for each letter of the alphabet. Such schemes may seem spectacular but should be shunned by Bible-believing Christians.
Perhaps there is sufficient basis to keep abreast of the exploits of Henry Kissinger — but a preoccupation that drives men to search, to speculate, to devise schemes to identify him, or anyone else, as antichrist is premature. In this writer’s mind, the antichrist will not be identifiable until the ‘Day of the Lord’ begins (2 Thess. 2:2), which follows the Rapture of the Church, and he signs the covenant with Israel (Dan. 9:27).
HOW DOES HE COME TO POWER?
The Bible has a great deal to say about the individual who will appear at the end of this age. What he will be like and what he will do are truths presented in a number of Scripture passages: Ezek. 28:1-10; Dan. 7:7-8, 20-26; 9:26-27; 11:36-45; 2 Thess. 2:3-10; Rev. 11:7; 13:1-10; 17:8-14. A composite of these truths reveal that: (1) He rises from the revised Roman empire, since he is a ruler of the people who destroyed Jerusalem (Dan. 9:26); (2) His influence will be worldwide (Rev. 13:8); (3) In part, it will come through alliances which he enters into (Rev. 17:12); (4) He will be involved in warfare (Dan. 7:8, 24); (5) He will be characterized by great intelligence and persuasiveness (Dan. 7:8, 20); (6) He will rule with dictatorial power (Dan. 11:36); (7) He will enter into a seven-year peace treaty with Israel, which he will break after 3 1/2 years (Dan. 9:27); (8) He will set himself up as God, seeking the worship of man (Dan. 11:36-37; 2 Thess. 2:4); (9) He will be energized by Satan (Rev. 13:4); (10) He becomes the supreme enemy of Israel (Dan. 7:21, 25; Rev. 13:7); (11) He will be aided in his initial rise to power by the false religious system of that day (apostate Christendom), which he will then destroy (Rev. 17:16-17); (12) He will rule for a seven-year period, but will possess Satanic power for only the final 3 1/2 years (Dan. 7:25; 9:27; Rev. 13:5); (13) His rule over the earth will be ended by direct judgment of God (Dan. 11:45; Rev. 19:19-20).
Clarence Larkin, in his helpful commentary on Revelation, has written concerning the antichrist, “He will be a ‘composite’ man. One who embraces in his character the abilities and powers of Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, Xerxes of Persia, Alexander the Great of Greece, and Ceasar Augustus of Rome. He will have the marvelous gifts of attracting unregenerate men, and the irresistible fascination of his personality, his versatile attainments, superhuman wisdom, great administrative and executive ability, along with his powers as a consummate flatterer, a brilliant diplomat, a superb strategist, will make him the most conspicuous and prominent of men. All these gifts will be conferred on him by Satan, whose tool he will be . . .” Let it be added that Larkin’s superlatives are not an overstatement. For negative purposes, here will be the consummate superman.
And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High. . . (Dan. 7:25); And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself. . . (Dan. 11:36); (He) opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God (2 Thess. 2:4)
When one contemplates the power and persuasiveness of this Satanically controlled man, the words of our Lord somehow take on an even more realistic and ominous ring,
For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders: insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect (Matt. 24:24).
WHAT WILL BE HIS GOAL?
The name antichrist comes from two Greek words, “anti” which can be translated “in place of” or “against”; and “Christos” meaning “Messiah” or “anointed” and which has reference to the Lord Jesus Christ. Antichrist, then, is a man who will seek to “stand against” and “in place of” the One who is the anointed of God. The beloved apostle John said that the antichrist existed in his day (1 John 2:18). Evidently John saw manifested the attitude which will be personified by the antichrist – an overt denial of the death, burial and resurrection of the Son of God. But more than that, he will seek to receive the worship of man, which Christ alone is worthy to receive. Pride is the supreme sin in the universe. Satan fell through pride. Of him it is written,
Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee (Ezek. 28:17).
Humanity, represented in Adam and Eve, fell through pride. Satan said,
For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil (Gen. 3:5).
Men today reject God’s provision of life because of pride. God says,
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast (Eph. 2:8-9).
Whatever men may call it, it is pride that makes most of humanity reject God’s grace.
So, in the final hours of human history, an unholy trinity generated by pride will emerge — a counterfeit deity composed of the antichrist, the false prophet and the dragon (Satan), who will empower both the antichrist and false prophet. The invisible dragon is a counterfeit father. The beast, or antichrist, is the counterfeit son, appropriately referred to as the “son of perdition”. The false prophet is the counterfeit holy spirit, who will direct man’s worship toward the antichrist. Of this unholy trinity, John writes,
And they (humanity) worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast, saying. Who is like unto the beast? Who is able to make war with him? . . . And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world . . . And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed (Rev. 13:4, 8, 12).
For the true believer, however, it is comforting to know:
- That the true Church will be caught up to be with Christ before the manifestation of antichrist.
- That his power, and that of the false prophet and dragon, is limited by the sovereign permissive will of God.
- That Jesus Christ, who alone is worthy of man’s worship and who is the only legal heir to the Planet Earth, will in the end consign all three to eternal torment. (Rev. 19:20; 20:2-3).
The real antichrist will one day stand up — but the real Christ, returning from heaven in glory, will appear to knock him down.