Description: “The Antichrist”
What in the World Is God Doing?
This recently published article:
Viewer Screen: Netanyahu: Iran is within reach of two nuclear bombs (Debkafile)
quoted Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu as warning that Iran will have enough enriched uranium in a few months for two nuclear bombs. Netanyahu revealed this: “Iran has been working on a new generation of centrifuges which will multiply Iran’s enrichment capacity fifty-fold.”
This is concerning as Iran has proclaimed it would use its nukes to eliminate Israel; then it plans to conquer the Middle East and the rest of the world. God will not allow this to occur, and Arab states are relying on Israel to take down the Iranian regime. If this were to happen, it would open the way toward the Dan 9:27 treaty with Israel that will launch the Tribulation period and will be confirmed at the moment the rapture occurs. The clock is ticking. Keep looking up!
This is: “What in the World Is God Doing?”
What in the Bible Is God Saying?
According to Rev 11:7:
Viewer Screen: “When they [the two prophets of God in the Tribulation period] finish their testimony, the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit will make war against them, overcome them, and kill them” (Rev 11:7).
At the mid-point of the future seven-year Tribulation period, the Beast will ascend from the abyss to become world ruler by Satan’s authority. That is what we see in these verses:
Viewer Screen: “The dragon [Satan] gave him his power, his throne, and great authority. . . . And all the world marveled and followed the beast. So they worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, . . . and he was given authority to continue for forty-two months” (Rev 13:2, 3, 5).
This is how he is described in Rev 13:6-8:
Viewer Screen: “Then he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven. It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation. All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Rev 13:6-8).
This Beast will blaspheme God and all that belongs to God. His great arrogance will manifest itself as he proclaims himself as god and speaks evilly of the Creator of the universe.
To add to his arrogance, it will begranted to him to make war with believers in Jesus Christ (the saints) and overcome them. He will appear to defeat those who belong to God as he persecutes them through pursuing, arresting, and putting them to death.
However, the phrase “it was granted to him” presents a far different story than the façade of this king dominating God by conquering his people. Instead, because God is in control of all things, it is God who will grant this perceived victory to the Beast over believing Jews. The beast will make war and appear to conquer believers in Jesus only because God will allow it—and only because doing so will be part of accomplishing God’s plan.
God only allows what is according to his perfectly good plan. Because He will eternally reward those who faithfully suffer for Christ, He will use the beast’s persecution of believers for their benefit. And, as we saw earlier with God’s two prophets, God will ultimately and eternally vindicate followers of Jesus who experience apparent defeat at the hands of their enemy.
Furthermore, persecution grows the faith of believers in order to conform them more to the image of God’s Son. This leads to great reward in God’s kingdom.
In addition, persecution of God’s people heaps up judgment for the persecutor. For the Beast, it will build to a crescendo so that when God does judge, he will dynamically demonstrate his justice, as well as his power and authority. This will lead to God being glorified forever by those in His kingdom.
In addition to the beast being granted the power to overcome some of God’s people, we are told that authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation. As Rev 13:8 declares:
Viewer Screen: “All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Rev 13:8).
The Beast’s authority will be extensive! He will rule over every tribe, tongue, and nation! The entire world will be in the palm of his hand. This refers to any who have not believed in Jesus for eternal life. After all, we learn in Revelation 14:9–11 of the fate of those who will worship thebeast:
Viewer Screen: “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, . . . He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment [in the lake of fire] ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name” (Rev 14:9-11).
This means that only those who will never believe in Jesus for eternal life will worship the beast. In fact, the result of worshipping the beast is to experience the eternal destiny of the lake of fire, which involves torment forever apart from God.
This cannot include anyone who has believed in Jesus Christ for eternal life, as Jesus guarantees that anyone who has believed in him for eternal life will not experience condemnation, which includes eternal separation from God. Once one believes in Jesus, that person already possesses everlasting life, which can never be lost.
This means God will protect believers from worshipping the beast. Faithful believers, of course, will choose not to worship the beast. While unfaithful believers could be tempted to give their loyalty to the beast to protect themselves and their families, God will not allow it. Elsewhere in the NT, we learn that unfaithful believers will not physically survive the Tribulation period. So, it seems God will use the timing of their deaths to prevent them from succumbing to the mark of the Beast; they will be put to death before they can give their allegiance to the beast.
As we continue in Revelation chapter 13, we find that the beast has a helper, who is introduced in verse 11:
Viewer Screen: “Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth [land], and he had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon” (Rev 13:11).
The word earth in this verse is the same word for land. If it were translated land, it would be a clear reference to the land of Israel. This seems preferable because of the Jewish orientation of the book of Revelation. If so, this second beast is Jewish.
There is an historical precedent for this possibility—Antiochus IV, a ruler over the land of Israel in the 2nd century BC, who was evil incarnate. The book of Daniel refers to him as the King of the North. A description of him appears in the same chapter (Dan 11) as the future King of the North.
He was purposefully placed in the same chapter as the future King of the North, and his description immediately precedes that of the future king who will become the Beast. He appears in verses 21–35, and the future king is described in verses 36–45, but there is no apparent break between the two descriptions; they appear to flow together. At first reading, one might think verses 36 and following continue to describe the same king—that is, until arriving at verse 40 and the mention of “the time of the end” (the end times). By presenting Antiochus IV as sliding into the description of the future King of the North, we see that Antiochus IV is a symbolic forerunner of the future King of the North.
Antiochus IV was a Gentile king in the land of Israel, just as the future king will be. The past king of the North persecuted faithful Jews, as will the future king of the North. Antiochus IV abominated the Jewish temple by entering the holy of holies, as will the future king.
The similarities between the two kings do not stop there. Antiochus IV had the Jewish high priest, Onias III, killed because he would not submit to the king to cause Jews to worship him. So, he replaced that high priest in 171 BC with the priest’s wicked brother who gave allegiance to Antiochus. At that point, the king of the North had a Jew in a very influential position in Israel to advance his cause among the rest of the Jews.
Thus, once the future King of the North becomes the Beast, a Jew will step in as his “high priest.” But this Jew will be given great, miraculous power by Satan to advance the cause of the Beast. He will cause others (including other Jews) to worship the king. Though this helper of the Beast will have a differing role than will the Beast, both will receive authority from Satan to advance his “kingdom” work.
Note the description of this helper of the Beast:
Viewer Screen: “. . . and he had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon” (Rev 13:11).
This means that he will come across to the world as meek and mild like a lamb, but he will speak the message of Satan, the dragon. He will be soft-spoken, speaking the language of love and unity and acceptance. However, his teaching will be Satan-inspired. Again, like much religious teaching today, it will contradict the free offer of eternal life by believing in Jesus Christ alone for it. Furthermore, he will encourage people to worship a different god than the God of the Bible.
We get further insight into this individual later in the book of Revelation. He appears, for example, in 16:13:
Viewer Screen: “And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs coming out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet” (Rev 16:13).
In context, this verse describes Satan, along with the Beast and this individual, called the False Prophet, sending out demons to gather the kings of the earth and their armies to prepare to battle against Christ at his return.
We learn more about the second beast in 19:20, where we not only see the destiny of this man, but we find out about his power, his role, and his character.
Viewer Screen: “Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone” (Rev 19:20).
Here, we learn he is able to work miraculous signs. His role, revealed through his power, is to cause people to worship the first beast. His character is revealed by the role he plays—deceiving the world so they will worship the first beast.
Finally, Revelation 20:10 displays the second beast’s destiny.
Viewer Screen: “The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever” (Rev 20:10).
In this verse, we see that God has ordained his eternal experience—that of torment in the lake of fire forever and ever!
Note that in all three of these last three verses he is called “the false prophet.” Like prophets of God, he is able to do miraculous signs. But, unlike true prophets, he deceives people; he does not bring God’s message to the world. Also, in each case, he is called the false prophet because he will be the ultimate false prophet—the false prophet of all false prophets.
Interestingly, prophets in Scripture were Jewish; there is not one example of a Gentile prophet in all of Scripture. His description as a false prophet may indicate he will imitate Jewish prophets of old, which may lend more evidence to the view that he is Jewish. And it is more likely Jewish believers would be tempted to be deceived if the false prophet—the one who can do miraculous signs—were Jewish.
Though many Christians refer to the coming world ruler (the one we have been calling the Beast) as the Antichrist, we need to reevaluate that title in light of verses where the word Antichrist appears. The only writer in the Bible who uses the term Antichrist is the apostle John—the same individual who wrote the book of Revelation. He uses the term only in 1 John and 2 John.
The biggest clue to the meaning of the term can be found in 1 John 4:1–3, where the apostle John is warning of false prophets—those who deny that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh.
Viewer Screen: “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world” (1John 4:1-3).
These verses indicate that false prophets in the world are a preview of the ultimate false prophet, who is the Antichrist. This would indicate that the Antichrist is the false prophet. Therefore, the Antichrist is not the world ruler, but is instead the false prophet.
We learn more about the False Prophet in Rev 13:12-13:
Viewer Screen: “And he exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence, and causes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men” (Rev 13:12-13).