The Antichrist Is Coming
One day soon, a man is going to gallop onto the stage of human history. He will be a political leader. In the beginning, he will expand his empire through diplomatic ventures and subtle “peace” diplomacy (Rev. 6:2; Mt. 24:5; cp. Dan. 11:21). Only later will his true nature be revealed, as he turns to war to achieve his ambitious goals (Mt. 24:6; Rev. 13:4). And in the end, for a short period of time he will rule the world.
The Apostle John wrote of this man that “power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations” (Rev. 13:7). He will be the most persuasive and brilliant man the world has ever known. He will also be the most wicked and diabolical. His meteoric ascendancy and reign will be short-lived—a matter of only a few short years. But in those few years, through military power and economic control, he will bring the world to its knees and almost down to the pit of Sheol itself. That man is called, in the Word of God, the Antichrist.
THE ANTICHRIST IS COMING, and he will be the enemy of the true Christ. The Greek prefix “anti” means two things: against and in place of. That prefix describes perfectly the true motive of the false Christ. He will oppose Christ; therefore, he will be against Him. He will be a counterfeit Christ; therefore, he will seek to be in place of Him. Satan, through the Antichrist, wants for himself the worship of men that properly is due only to the true Christ.
The Apostle Paul carefully notes the direct opposition of the Antichrist to the true Christ: he wrote, “Who opposeth [that’s against] and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshiped [that’s in place of), so that he, as God, sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God” (2 Th. 2:4).
THE ANTICHRIST IS COMING, and he will be empowered by Satan. This is not Halloween. This is not ghouls and goblins. This is not make-believe – religious superstition – or literary license. This man, who is the enemy of God’s people, will be directly energized by Satan. The Apostle Paul wrote of that vile person this way: “And then shall that wicked one be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming, EVEN HIM WHOSE COMING IS AFTER THE WORKING OF SATAN WITH ALL POWER AND SIGNS AND LYING WONDERS” (2 Th. 2:8-9).
The Bible makes it clear that Satan himself will be expelled from Heaven at precisely the middle of the 70th week of Daniel (Rev. 12:7). He will be cast to the earth. His sphere of influence will then be limited. Of that future conflict in Heaven, the Word of God states, “And the great dragon [meaning cruelty] was cast out, that old serpent [meaning subtlety], called the Devil [meaning accuser] and Satan [meaning adversary], who deceiveth the whole world; he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him” (Rev. 12:9). The Devil is the enemy of the souls of men. Sometimes “Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light” (2 Cor. 11:14); and on other occasions he is spoken of as acting more overtly: “your adversary, the devil, like a roaring lion walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” ( 1 Pet. 5:8). Paul wrote concerning him, “Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles [strategy] of the devil” (Eph. 6:11). Concerning the expulsion of Satan from Heaven, John said, “Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! For the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time” (Rev. 12:12).
It is then, in the middle of the 70th week of Daniel, that Satan will directly empower this man called the Antichrist. So impressive will be the power of the Antichrist that of mankind it is recorded, “And they worshiped the dragon who gave power unto the beast [the Antichrist]; and they worshiped the beast, saying, Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?” (Rev. 13:4). The Lord Jesus Himself said of this man and his emissaries, “Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders, insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before” (Mt. 24:23-25).
Perhaps more than a hint of the method of this future, direct empowering of the Antichrist by Satan is given in the events surrounding the betrayal of the Lord Jesus Christ. “Then entered Satan into Judas, surnamed Iscariot, being of the number of the twelve. And he went his way, and conferred with the chief priests and captains, how he might betray him unto them” (Lk. 22:3-4). The Antichrist will be indwelt by Satan himself.
THE ANTICHRIST IS COMING, and he will rule over a revived Roman Empire. This coming empire is called by some “a Western Confederation of Nations.” It will, to a substantial degree, conform to the geographic boundaries of the ancient Roman Empire at its zenith of power in 127 A.D.
The Book of Revelation speaks of seven kingdoms which will arise throughout history. The common denominator of all of these empires is that they would oppose Israel. Writing of those seven kingdoms in his own day, John said, “And there are seven kings [kingdoms]: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space” (Rev. 17:10). The five that were fallen, all of which opposed Israel, are these: (1) Egypt, (2) Assyria, (3) Babylon, (4) Media-Persia, and (5) Greece. The sixth, the empire that still existed in John’s day, was Rome. However, he foretold a seventh nation that would arise. That seventh kingdom would come out of the geographic boundaries of the Roman Empire. It (the king and kingdom) would persecute the Jews, but its duration would not last long: “he [the king and kingdom] must continue a short space [a little time]” (Rev. 17:10c). Although that seventh kingdom would not last long, it is out of that demised seventh kingdom that the personal Antichrist will arise to revive the ancient Roman Empire.
The European Economic Community currently numbers 12 nations: France, England, Ireland, West Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Denmark, Luxembourg, Spain, Portugal, and Greece. They conform to a considerable part of the geographic boundaries of the Roman Empire. Citizens of the European Economic Community nations are now given passports that say “Europe,” rather than the particular nation of citizenry. Trade barriers between the member nations are scheduled to fall in 1992. A unified currency has already been developed and is awaiting implementation. This soon-to-become “United States of Europe” (the European Economic Community) will control more than 60 percent of the Western world’s economy. Giant American corporations are presently scurrying to set up offices in major member cities. They want to be ready, when the trade barriers fall, to do business, not with individual nations but with a giant conglomerate of nations united together. Some American officials are already concerned that unfair regulations might be imposed on the United States. If that were to occur, the United States’ economy could be quickly and dramatically affected. Out of that growing European Economic Community, one leader shall eventually arise to dominate the world – the Antichrist.
THE ANTICHRIST IS COMING, and he will be a composite of the beast nations that preceded him. Like Babylon, symbolized by a lion with wings, his kingdom will have strength and rapidity of movement (Dan. 7:4). Like Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, the Antichrist will eventually possess absolute, uncontested power. Of Nebuchadnezzar, Daniel wrote, “O thou king, the Most High God gave Nebuchadnezzar, thy father, a kingdom, and majesty, and glory, and honor; And for the majesty that he gave him, all people, nations, and languages trembled and feared before him. Whom he would he slew; and whom he would he kept alive; and whom he would he setup; and whom he would he put down” (Dan. 5:18-19).
Like the Medo-Persian Empire, symbolized by a bear and epitomized by the man Darius, his kingdom will be ravenous and fierce, devouring all in its path (Dan. 7:5).
Like the Grecian Empire, symbolized by a leopard with four wings which spoke of the swift and devastating conquest of Alexander the Great, the Antichrist will conquer with stunning swiftness (Dan. 7:6).
But Daniel was not yet finished with his vision. “After this I saw in the night visions, and, behold, a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly, and it had great iron teeth” (Dan. 7:7).
The fourth beast will be a composite of all those that preceded it. But with all those cumulative traits, it becomes far more ferocious. “And the beast which I saw was like a leopard, and his feet were like the feet of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion; and the dragon gave him his power, and his throne, and great authority” (Rev. 13:2).
THE ANTICHRIST IS COMING, but he has been here before. It has already been noted that the Antichrist will be empowered by Satan. But, more than that, he will arise out of the seventh empire which lasted for a little time and was, as were its predecessors, a persecutor of the Jews. To those facts must now be added the truth that the Antichrist will literally be the raised ruler of the seventh kingdom that lasted a little while. As such, he will establish the eighth or revised Roman Empire. He will be a recognizable personage who previously has ruled.
Concerning this raised ruler, the Word of God has much to say. “And I saw one of his heads [the seventh kingdom; the first six were Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Greece, Medo-Persia, and Rome] AS THOUGH IT WERE WOUNDED TO DEATH; AND HIS DEADLY WOUND WAS HEALED, and all the world wondered after the beast. And they worshiped the dragon who gave power unto the beast” (Rev. 13:3-4).
So astonishing is this fact that more details are provided: “And I beheld another beast [who directs men to worship the first beast – that is, the Antichrist] coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb [probably a religious leader], and he spoke like a dragon [with craft and cruelty]. And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them who dwell on it to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men [to counterfeit the Prophet Elijah, who is, according to the Old Testament, to be the announcer of the true Messiah (Mal. 4:5-6), and who also called down fire from Heaven], And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast, saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, that had the wound by a sword, and did live [again, a reference to his death and restoration to life]” (Rev. 13:11-14).
But John has more to say concerning this coming Antichrist: “And the beast that was, and is not [the seventh kingdom and king], even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition” (Rev. 17:11). Once again, the strong implication of the text is that the Antichrist once lived and ruled over a nation, then died, and will be raised to rule over the eighth or revived Roman Empire. This should not be surprising. Since the Antichrist seeks to be a false Christ, there will be a false resurrection. He will be raised, but he will die again – he will go “into perdition.” Jesus was not simply raised; He was resurrected, never to die again.
THE ANTICHRIST IS COMING, and he will make a covenant with the sons of Jacob. Israel is God’s covenant nation. From that people came not only the Word of God but the Son of God. Jesus is literally a descendant of Abraham through Jacob according to the flesh (in His humanity).
The covenant nation one day will enter into a covenant with the Antichrist. He is in direct opposition to the true Christ, to whom Israel gave birth. That event will constitute the apostasy. The “falling away” or “total abandonment” of their covenantal relationship with their God is referred to by the Apostle Paul. He wrote, “Let no man deceive you by any means; for that day shall not come, except there come the falling away [apostasy] first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition” (2 Th. 2:3). The Prophet Darnel describes that future covenant in these words: “And he [the Antichrist] shall confirm the covenant with many [from within Israel] for one week [seven years]” (Dan. 9:27). .
The present scenario is menacing.. Israel is surrounded by predominantly Arab Muslim nations with a population numbering in the hundreds of millions. By contrast, the Jewish population of lsrael is less than four million. They are a small island in the midst of an ocean of hostility. For Israel, the ongoing wars and essential military preparation have wearied her physically, drained her emotionally, and taxed her economically. But still she has not called out to her God -the Holy One of Israel.
Simultaneously, in Europe movement and rumblings toward the revival of the ancient Roman Empire can clearly be seen. America’s economic dominance is diminishing and moving rapidly toward Europe and Asia. The world is changing. America, by its ungodliness (a wrong mental attitude toward God) and unrighteousness (wrong actions against God), is hastening a time of divine chastening. People may not like to hear it – but only fools will ignore it. The planet is in crises. Neither President Bush nor any other president can stem the tide. Perhaps, if God wills it, the tide can be slowed. But for God’s people to be unaware of the changing geographical, political, and, above all, spiritual realities is to court disaster. To hide one’s head in the sand like the ostrich is cowardice. Things can become very bad before the 70th week begins. A Pretribulation Rapture does not preclude stormy days before the Church is removed. Spiritual preparation for what is coming does not have the luxury of awaiting a more convenient time. Believers must gird up the loins of their minds now.
Out of the emerging European power block will come the Antichrist. Soon, perhaps sooner than many believe, he will confirm a covenant to protect Israel – and they, wearied of the surrounding, humanly insolvable problems, will respond in the affirmative. Without awareness, they will reach out, not to their long-promised Messiah, but to the Antimessiah for deliverance. For that precise reason, the Prophet Isaiah calls that covenant a “covenant with death” (Isa. 28:18).
THE ANTICHRIST IS COMING, but he will not honor the covenant he makes with Israel. He will promise peace and security – seven years of protection (Dan. 9:27a). And for three and one half years, he will keep that commitment. He will enter the Middle East to fight against Egypt, Syria, and other nations (Dan. 11:40-44). But halfway through that seven-year period, he will break his word: “and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease” (Dan. 9:27b). He will ruthlessly end the Jewish sacrificial system that will be reinstated at the Temple. “And he shall plant the tabernacles of his palace between the seas [the Dead Sea and the Mediterranean Sea] in the glorious holy mountain [Mount Moriah at Jerusalem]; yet he shall come to his end, and none shall help him” (Dan. 11:45).
Speaking of the Antichrist and that future abomination, Paul wrote, “Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshiped, so that he, as God, sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God” (2 Th. 2:4 ). Because men loved not the truth that they might be saved, “God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie” (2 Th. 2: 11). It is a specific lie, a definitive lie, an identifiable lie, the lie that began in the Garden of Eden at least 6,000 years ago when Satan said to the first couple, “For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as God, knowing good and evil” (Gen. 3:5). The lie of the Antichrist will be the lie of Satan. Men will be asked to worship the image of a man. That’s humanism in its ultimate manifestation – the deification of man by men. That breaking of the covenant in the middle of that seven-year period will be the catalyst for the “great tribulation” (Mt. 24:21).
THE ANTICHRIST IS COMING.
Fortunately, there is one glorious place of refuge -and only one. It is found in Jesus. He is a shelter in the time of storm – an ark of safety along the treacherous shoals of life. Jesus is the true Christ, and He alone deserves the worship, praise, and adoration of man.