The Antichrist and his kingdom
The Antichrist is symbolized by the rider on the white horse in White Horse (Rev. 6:2), as the first seal judgment. Emperors such as Napoleon, Alexander the Great, and many other would be conquerors rode on horses. The purpose of this rider is clearly stated: “a conqueror bent on conquest.” This is none other than “the little horn,” that “willful king” that Bible students have been anticipating for many years. Ushering in a false peace, he will be the superman who promises to solve all the world’s problems.
A good deal of confusion exists among many splendid Christian people relative to the ministry of the Holy Spirit during the Tribulation period. Much of the confusion is caused by the footnote in the Scofield Reference Bible (on 2 Thess. 2:1-12). This footnote indicated that the Holy Spirit, the restraining influence on the devil today, will be taken out of the world when the Church is Raptured just before the Tribulation begins. Most prophecy scholars today hold that here Paul means that the Holy Spirit in the church (today’s morally restraining influence), will be Raptured, but the Holy Spirit as a member of the Trinity will still be on earth as a convicting agency, much as He was during the Old Testament. The Holy Spirit will most assuredly be here to empower the ministry of the 144,000. The prophet Joel foresaw this ministry of the Spirit of God in Joel.
Joel 2:28-32a “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions” “And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.” “And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.” “The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come.” “And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered:”.
This passage makes it clear that the outpouring of the Holy Spirit experienced on the day of Pentecost (referred to by Peter in Acts 2:17-21), will be the type of outpouring experienced by the 144,000 witnesses of the Tribulation.
The Holy Spirit will not be taken out of the world when the Church is raptured. Although widely accepted, this erroneous idea (caused largely by footnotes in the Scofield Reference Bible’s interpreting the “restrainer” (of 2 Thess. 2:3-8 as the Holy Spirit), creates more problems than it solves. First, it is not a good translation of the Greek text, which really has in view the restraining kings (of Daniel chapter 11), not the Holy Spirit. Second, the Holy Spirit is omnipresent and thus will not leave the world. Third, no one can be saved without the Holy Spirit, and since our text clearly states there will be countless conversions during the Tribulation (Rev. 7:9; 14), it is evident that He will be on earth at that time in great power.
Although the Antichrist and his followers will be delighted that the Church has been taken out of this world, many thoughtful individuals will be seriously impressed by the mysterious evacuation of millions of people. Some have suggested, and I think rightfully so, that the Rapture will leave its mark on humankind. Consider for a moment what would happen if the Rapture took place while Christian airline pilots were flying their 747’s or DC-10’s loaded with people. Or think of the impact on humanity when hundreds of Christian train engineers and bus and automobile drivers are suddenly snatched from the controls of their moving vehicles.
Because Christians have invaded almost every legitimate profession, the Rapture will leave an unprecedented vacancy and cause the most chaotic and disruptive consequences that have ever been created by a single event. Yes, the world will be fully aware of the supernatural aspect of the Rapture of millions from all over the world, particularly when they discover that the only common denominator of those raptured is their personal faith in Christ.
The impact of these strange events will soon be forgotten by the majority of those living in the Tribulation because of the lies and deceit of the Antichrist, who will sign a covenant with Israel and start his diplomatic conquest of world government. But many reflective, perceptive individuals will not forget the effects created by this strange Rapture, which will doubtless stir a revival of interest in prophetic studies among them. Such a mental climate will provide fertile ground for the 144,000 Jewish evangelists.
Nationality of the Antichrist: One of the most frequently asked questions about the Antichrist concerns his nationality. Revelation 13:1 indicates that he “saw a beast coming out of the sea,” meaning the sea of peoples around the Mediterranean. Beast Coming Out of the Sea. From this we gather that he will be a Gentile. Daniel 8:8-9 suggests that he is the “small horn” that came out of the four Grecian horns, signaling that he will be part Greek. (Daniel 9:26), refers to him as the ruler of the people that will come, meaning that he will be of the royal lineage of the race that destroyed Jerusalem. Historically that was the Roman Empire; therefore, he will be predominantly Roman. (Dan. 11:36-37), tells us that he regards not “the God of his fathers”.
Taken in context, this suggests he will be a Jew according to Tim LaHaye. In all probability, the Antichrist will appear to be a Gentile and, like Adolph Hitler and others who feared to reveal Jewish blood, will keep his Jewish ancestry a secret. It may be known only to God, but the Bible teaches that he will be a Roman Grecian Jew, a composite man representing the peoples of the earth. This technically qualifies him to be the embodiment of all evil men.
The Antichrist: His Rise to Power – As seen (in Rev. 6:2), the Antichrist will come on the scene in the “latter times” and assume power by the stealth of diplomacy. He will not gain control by war but by tricking the leaders of the world into the idea that he can offer peace and by gaining enough support from each of the ten kings of the earth. “He will cause deceit to prosper, and he will consider himself superior. When they feel secure, he will destroy many and take his stand against the Prince of princes. Yet he will be destroyed, but not by human power.” (Dan. 8:25).
The Antichrist’s Covenant with Israel: (Dan. 9:27), indicates that the Antichrist will make a covenant with Israel for 7 years, which will be broken in the middle of the Tribulation when it suits his purposes. This covenant will only serve to keep the children of Israel from seeking God; just as they looked to Egypt in the Old Testament, they will look for help and alliance to the Antichrist for the first three and one-half years of the Tribulation.
The Antichrist’s Death and Resurrection: The Antichrist will die and be resurrected. (Rev. 17:8), states that “the beast, which you saw, once was, now is not, and will come out of the Abyss and go to his destruction”. In other words, the Antichrist will die in the middle of the Tribulation. Since Satan will be cast out of heaven, aware that his time is short, he will indwell the Antichrist and duplicate the resurrection. From that point on, indwelled by Satan himself, Antichrist will have power to perform “counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders” (2 Thess. 2:9-12), and can potentially deceive “those who are perishing.”
The Beast Explained:
(1) “The seven heads are seven hills on which the woman sits”. (Rev. 17:9). The seven hills of this passage of Scripture have caused some to suggest that since the city of Rome is built on seven hills, she is the one designated here as the beast with seven heads. But there are good reasons for not accepting this interpretation. Geographically, it would be difficult to establish the seven hills of Rome. In addition, the context seems more to indicate that these are 7 kings or kingdoms (Isa. chapter 2).
Tim LaHaye states that the seven hills are kings: “Five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come.” As stated there, I am inclined to believe that the first five represent five kings of the Roman Empire through John’s lifetime; the existing king, Domitian was the sixth; thus, we have the five that were, the sixth that is, and the seventh who is to come, referring to Antichrist at the end of time.
(2) “The beast who once was, and now is not, is an eighth king. He belongs to the seven and is going to his destruction” (See Beast; Rev. 17:11). This strongly suggest that the Antichrist is the 7th head. He will die in the middle of the Tribulation period, duplicate the resurrection of Jesus Christ by coming back to life, but at the end of the Tribulation will be destroyed. (Rev. 19:20).
(3) “The ten horns you saw are ten kings who have not yet received a kingdom, but who for one hour, (meaning a short while) will receive authority as kings along with the beast.” 10 Horns. (Rev. 17:12). The ten horns coincide with the ten toes of Nebuchadnezzar’s vision (of Daniel 7 and Revelation 13). These are the ten kings who will make up the Antichrist’s world confederacy of nations. During the last 3-1/2 years of the Tribulation period they will promise complete allegiance and cooperation to the beast.
(4) The end of the beast: Looking forward to the end of the Tribulation, the angel explains to John that these ten kings will continue to function until they bring their armies to the Valley of Megiddo in the last great rebellious act of humankind against Christ, who will “overcome them” at the battle of the great day of God Almighty”. He will overthrow them because He is “Lord of lords and King of kings” Make War with the Lamb (Rev. 17:14).
The Problem of Evil (Satan’s demise): We can look to the problem of the origin of evil. Since God is holy and cannot create evil, who did? To ascribe the power of creation to Satan would tend to make him a god. There is no indication in Scripture that Satan can create anything (i.e., make something from nothing). But like other of God’s creatures equipped with a free will, Satan can manufacture items from the things God has created. Satan evidently took the forces of God that created perfect, combined them in an imperfect manner, and “manufactured evil.”
The force of evil in the world today, directed by the person of Satan and his cohorts, is a misapplication of the perfect forces and creation of God. This can be illustrated in the chemical world, composed of over one hundred elements which, when improperly combined, can become disastrous. For example, common table salt is made up in part of sodium, one of the necessities of life; but by changing the mixture and introducing other elements, sodium can become the basis for a deadly poison. In this sense Satan did not create evil any more than did the chemist who creates poison. He merely manufactures poison out of those things God has already created.
Evil is a matter of the will. The basic sin in the force of evil is selfishness or pride, both stemming from the same root. Satan said, “I will ascent”; “I will make myself like the Most High” (Isaiah 14:14). I will, I will. His will; in opposition to the will of God, constituted the great sin, and it is so still! Those who pit their will against God’s will commit evil and bring on themselves the judgment of God.
The Great Lie: Scripture teaches that a great lie will be published and believed by the masses left behind after the Rapture. The apostle Paul describes it like this:
The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason, God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2 Thess. 2:9 -12).
Of course, we do not know what that lie will be, but if it’s coming from the antichrist, you can be sure it will be very believable, especially to those who do not know the Word. That is why it is so important right now to tell everyone you can about what is about to take place and if they won’t listen, make sure you leave as much information for them to read later as possible.
Bibles (which could get real scarce), books, notes, letters, everything which can be read by those left behind so that they will know what is happening. Even if they won’t listen to you now, when you and millions of others disappear, they will remember your words. They will know and if you’ve told them what to do in that event, they can search the truth out for themselves.
The Little Horn: The wicked activities of the Antichrist were first foreseen by the prophet Daniel, who saw him as a “little horn.” In the following passage note the character of this “little horn”:
“There was another horn, a little one, and there, in this horn, were eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking pompous words”. (Dan. 7:8) Speaking Great Things and Blasphemies (see Rev. 13:5).
“I watched then because of the sound of the pompous words which the horn was speaking; I watched till the beast was slain, and its body destroyed and given to the burning flame” (Dan. 7:11).
“I was watching; and the same horn was making war against the saints, and prevailing against them” (Dan. 7:21).
He shall speak pompous words against the most High, shall persecute the saints of the most High, and shall intend to change times and law. Then the saints shall be given into his hand for a time and times and half a time”. “But the court shall be seated, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and destroy it forever” (Dan 7:25-26).
Several items stand out in Daniel’s vision of the Antichrist. Among them:
- He will speak pompously and arrogantly.
- He will persecute and “make war” against the saints of God for 3-1/2 years.
- He will intend to change the times and laws.
- He will eventually be destroyed and his body thrown to the flames.
That is not the end of Daniel’s vision of the Antichrist. In this vision the Antichrist is called “the king”: Then the king shall do according to his own will: he shall exalt himself and magnify himself above every god, shall speak blasphemies against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the wrath has been accomplished; for what has been determined shall be done.
“He shall regard neither the God of his fathers nor the desire of women, nor regard any god, for he shall magnify himself above them all. But in their place, he shall honor a god of fortresses; and a god which his fathers did not know he shall honor with gold and silver, with precious stones and pleasant things. Thus, he shall act against the strongest fortresses with a foreign god, which he shall acknowledge, and advance its glory; and he shall cause them to rule over many, and divide the land for gain”.
“At the time of the end the king of the South shall attack him; and the king of the North shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, horsemen, and with many ships, and he shall enter the countries, overwhelm them, and pass through. He shall also enter the Glorious Land, and many countries shall be overthrown; but these shall escape from his hand: Edom, Moab, and the prominent people of Ammon”.
“He shall stretch out his hand against the countries, and the land of Egypt shall not escape. He shall have power over the treasures of gold and silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt; also the Libyans and Ethiopians shall follow at his heels. But news from the east and the north shall trouble him; therefore he shall go out with great fury to destroy and annihilate many. And he shall plant the tents of his palace between the seas and the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, and no one will help him” (Dan. 11:36-45).
In this passage we learn several more details about the Antichrist:
- He will magnify himself above every god (verse 36);
- He will blaspheme the true God (verse 36);
- He will be a thorough going secularist who puts full confidence in his great military strength (verse 38);
- He will be a brutal conqueror (verses 39-42);
- He will control the world’s finances (verse 43);
- He will meet his end “between the seas and the glorious holy mountain: (that is, in Israel in verse 45).
Daniel gives us a few more valuable pieces of information about the Antichrist.
Dan. 9:26-27 “And after the sixty two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself; and the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it shall be with a flood, and till the end of the war desolations are determined.” “Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; but in the middle of the week he shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering, and on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, even until the consummation, which is determined, is poured out on the desolate.”
From this crucial passage we learn that Antichrist will be of the racial stock of those who destroyed the city and the temple in 70 A.D. (“the people of the prince who is to come”). From history we know this “people” refers to the Romans, so Antichrist’s heritage must also be “Roman”, that is, from the eastern Mediterranean.
The Man of Sin: The apostle Paul tells us a little more about the coming Antichrist. His name for this wicked ruler is “the man of sin.” To the Thessalonians who were worried that the Day of the Lord had already arrived, Paul wrote. “That Day will not come unless the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.” (2 Thess. 2:3-4).
“For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth [will let], until he be taken out of the way.” “And then shall that Wicked 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,” “And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved” (2 Thess. 2:7 -10).
Paul agrees that the Antichrist will sit in the temple of God and there proclaim himself to be God. He also says the demonic influence that will sweep Antichrist to power is “already at work,” although it is being kept in check by the Holy Spirit working through the church. Once the Rapture takes place, the Antichrist will be revealed to the world.>
“I was considering the horns, and there was another horn, a little one, coming up among them, before whom three of the first horns were plucked out by the roots. And there, in this horn, were eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking pompous words” (Dan. 7:8).
“Then I wished to know the truth about the fourth beast, which was different from all the others, exceedingly dreadful, with its teeth of iron and its nails of bronze, which devoured, broke in pieces, and trampled the residue with its feet;” “and about the ten horns that were on its head, and about the other horn which came up, before which three flee, namely, that horn which had eyes and a mouth which spoke pompous words, whose appearance was greater than his fellows”.
“The ten horns are ten kings who shall arise from this kingdom. And another shall rise after them; he shall be different from the first ones, and shall subdue three kings” (Dan. 7:24).
Daniel makes it plain that these ten kings will “arise” before the Antichrist makes his own rise to power. Three of them will not like his rapid ascent and will try to resist him, but they will quickly be defeated. Daniel says they will be “plucked out by the roots,” “fall”, and be “subdued” by the Antichrist, the horn with eyes and a pompous mouth, “whose appearance was greater than his fellows.”
A Closer look at the Beast: After having given John a view of all the past world powers and their seduction by the Harlot of Babylon, the angel now narrows his focus to the “beast” in its final form. He says the beast was and is not, and then will exist again and be destroyed. He must be referring to the fact that Rome existed in his day, but that a day was coming when it would no longer exist. Then it would rise again and be destroyed. A review of the history of Rome shows us that Rome was never conquered by anyone; it fell from within because of its own decadence.
For nearly 15 centuries, Rome has not existed as a viable world political power. But the move in Europe today is destined to put the old Roman Empire back together again. Thus, the Revived Roman Empire is referred to as a beast, as is the scintillating world leader who will control it and is also known as the Roman Antichrist. Although the “beast” we are looking at here has only seven heads, John says that it briefly sprouts another, an eighth head, but this head is really an outgrowth of the seventh (the Revived Roman Empire), and is quickly destroyed. Like a wart that grows out of the 7th head and is cut off.
The Beast Out of the Sea (Antichrist): “And I saw a beast coming out of the sea. He had ten horns and seven heads, with ten crowns on his horns, and on each head a blasphemous name. The beast I saw resembled a leopard, but had feet like those of a bear and a mouth like that of a lion. The dragon gave the beast his power and his throne and great authority” (Rev. 13:1-2). The beast is obviously unlike any animal we have ever seen. Therefore, we apply the Golden Rule of Interpretation: “When the plain sense of the Scripture makes common sense, seek no other sense.” Because the plain sense of this passage does not make common sense, we naturally seek another sense.
Since there are no seven headed animals, this composite picture of a leopard, lion and bear must be a symbol. This is not the first time that the Holy Spirit has used the symbol of a beast to describe either a king or a kingdom. (In Daniel chapter 7), we find that several beasts are employed to convey the meaning of coming world governments, with the lion referring not only to the Babylonian Empire, but to Nebuchadnezzar himself (Dan. 2:38). This is significant because Daniel said to Nebuchadnezzar, “You are that head of gold.” We find that the beast opens his mouth and speaks blasphemy, indicating a reference not only to a kingdom but to a specific personage.
The Antichrist’s Atheistic Religion: The religion of the Antichrist appears in several places in Scripture (primarily Dan. 11:36-39 and 2 Thess. 2:1-12). These passages teach that the Antichrist “will exalt himself “over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God” (2 Thess. 2:4). This evil personage will be a master of deceit even in the religious realm.
According to (Rev. chapter 17), the Antichrist will give tacit approval to the ecumenical world church, which after the Rapture, merges all the religions of the world. Not because he believes in it, but because of its tremendous political overtones and his aspiration to control the world. He apparently will be dominated by the ecumenical church, as we will see (in Rev. chapter 17), since the prostitute (the ecumenical church), rides the beast, indicating that she will actually limit or dominate many of his governmental activities. But this will all be subterfuge on his part until he can gather sufficient control to throw her off and kill this idolatrous ecumenical religion that is even today gathering momentum in our own generation.
The Antichrist’s true religion will be atheism, which has been increasing in prominence since the early days of German rationalism and today is given the respectability of intellectualism. People today demand religious tolerance for all, which is why Christians and the Tribulation saints cannot go along with it. Antichrist’s religion of atheism is rapidly increasing already, particularly in key positions of influence. It is well known that the headwaters of the educational system in America rise from Columbia University, which, thanks to John Dewey and others, is predominantly atheistic in philosophy.
The atheists have propagated and enforced a purely secular education for our young people, contrary to all American principles. The current amoral attitude toward moral values can be traced to secular humanism in education. All of these things fitted together are merely pieces of a puzzle that will spread the philosophies of atheism. This does not even include the fact that the foundation stone of communism and socialism is atheism.
The Ultimate Destruction of the Antichrist: (2 Thess. 2:8 declares):
“And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming.”
This destruction of Satan by our Lord at His coming is graphically described (in Rev. 19:11-20). Christ will destroy Satan and his armies all at one time and will cast him alive into the lake of burning sulfur.
One of the plaguing problems of the younger generation is that of rebellion against law and order and a desire to reject restraint. Instead of morality, honesty, and decency based on the fixed standard of God’s Word, we find immorality and self-expression.
Self-indulgence is the watchword of life today! The Bible defines the spirit of lawlessness as sin in (1 John 3:4), The root word is identical:
“Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness.”
The spirit of rebellion in the heart of any person signifies that he or she is a subject of the Antichrist even before he arrives. The spirit of submission to the law of God is a supernatural result of having invited Jesus Christ into one’s life.