“And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority,” Revelation 13:2.
This is but one of the many ‘pictures’ given to us of the man who will rise at the end of this age and lead the nations in the region of the old Roman Earth or the ‘Prophetic Earth’ as it is known. His damnation will come directly at the hands of the Lord Jesus on the glorious day of His return.
“And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh,” Revelation 19:19-21.
So will end in ignominy the wicked and proud attempt by the devil’s man to frustrate the purpose of God and usurp His throne!
To seek to learn what is revealed to us about the “man of sin and son of perdition” we must diligently search through God’s ‘photo album’, the inspired Holy Scriptures and humbly receive by faith the information God has given us there of the end times and ‘that wicked one’ whose activities will dominate the world stage and the thoughts, aye, and the admiration of sinful men!
I would like to gather what information I can from Holy Scripture of the person about whom God would clearly have us to be well informed. It is obvious from the record given us by Jude that since the earliest days of men, the subject of the final apostasy and the overthrow of those involved in that apostasy by the Saviour upon His return in power, has been under consideration.
“And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him,” Jude 1:14-15.
That Enoch, back at the dawn of time was PROPHESYING of the return of Christ and His overthrow of Antichristianity, clearly shows that it has ever been the purpose of God to have His people made aware of the end-time events!
Thus He has given us many indications of the one who will be central in the devil’s latter day rebellion.
This is a lengthy article and even then I have only scratched the surface of what the Scriptures reveal of the Antichrist. May I suggest, if you find it too long to read at one sitting, that you read it point by point, for each point is a little article in itself.
I. THE BIBLE MAKES CLEAR THAT THE ANTICHRIST WILL APPEAR ATTRACTIVE TO THE EYES OF MEN.
1. Many of the titles given him do not denote ‘attractiveness’! He is called ‘the beast’, Revelation 13:2 — the Greek word denotes a wild, savage beast. He is called the ‘man of sin, the son of perdition’, 2 Thessalonians 2:3. He is called ‘that wicked’ (that lawless transgressor), 2 Thessalonians 2:8. He is likened unto a ‘horn’ in Daniel 7:8, 8:9. A horn is a destructive weapon on many animals by which they put forth their power to inflict injury on their opponents! He is called a ‘vile person’, Daniel 11:21. The Hebrew word means ‘contemptible’.
There are many other titles bestowed upon this personage which are of a similar kind. You may say, ‘How can such a person be considered by anyone to be ‘attractive’?’
You must remember that these titles are bestowed upon him by the Lord, for that is how He sees him!
2. Sadly, men will not see him in that light. As it was with Absalom the son of David, an evil scheming rebellious son against his father, who would defy God and usurp the throne of Israel, which had been given to David, so it will be with the Antichrist.
It is said of Absalom that “in all Israel there was none to be so much praised as Absalom for his beauty: from the sole of his foot even to the crown of his head there was no blemish in him. And when he polled his head, (for it was at every year’s end that he polled it: because the hair was heavy on him, therefore he polled it:) he weighed the hair of his head at two hundred shekels after the king’s weight,” 2 Samuel 14:25-26.
That is what men thought of this evil person. He deceitfully went about ingratiating himself with the people of Israel and beguiling them into following him in his rebellion against God and God’s king. “And it came to pass after this, that Absalom prepared him chariots and horses, and fifty men to run before him. And Absalom rose up early, and stood beside the way of the gate: and it was so, that when any man that had a controversy came to the king for judgment, then Absalom called unto him, and said, Of what city art thou? And he said, Thy servant is of one of the tribes of Israel. And Absalom said unto him, See, thy matters are good and right; but there is no man deputed of the king to hear thee. Absalom said moreover, Oh that I were made judge in the land, that every man which hath any suit or cause might come unto me, and I would do him justice! And it was so, that when any man came nigh to him to do him obeisance, he put forth his hand, and took him, and kissed him. And on this manner did Absalom to all Israel that came to the king for judgment: so Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel,” 2 Samuel 15:1-6.
Note the word ‘stole’. He obtained the hearts, the support and the affection of Israel that he had no right to. He was a thief!
But the Bible gives us another picture of just such knavery. As the time of His crucifixion drew near, the Saviour disclosed to His apostles something about which they had not the slightest suspicion. “Verily I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me,” Matthew 26:21. The reaction of the disciples to what must have been a most unexpected and totally astonishing announcement is recorded for us. “Then the disciples looked one on another, doubting of whom he spake. Now there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved. Simon Peter therefore beckoned to him, that he should ask who it should be of whom he spake. He then lying on Jesus’ breast saith unto him, Lord, who is it?” John 13:22-25.
Please note that bewildered response! Two of the leading apostles are here mentioned and neither of them had any idea who it was the Saviour was referring to.
We know from Scripture that it was Judas Iscariot that was referred to. He was a most wicked man. The Saviour gave him the same title as is given to the Antichrist. “While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled,” John 17:12.
The astonishment of the disciples indicates the clever disguise that Judas wore while the title given him by the Saviour revealed what the Lord saw him to be!
3. So it will be in the last days. Those without that knowledge that the Lord gives us in His Word of the degeneracy of the Antichrist, those men will see him as many in Israel saw Absalom, as multitudes saw Judas, a servant of God until his exposure and his coming out in his true colours!
I believe that there was a reference to the deception that Antichrist would work upon a future generation of Israelites in the words of the Saviour in John 5:43. “I am come in my Father’s name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive.”
Consider what God tells us of the rapturous welcome men will give to the Antichrist. “All the world wondered (admired) after the beast. And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?” Revelation 13:3-4.
It is to be noted that the wondering of the world after the Antichrist was the same reaction as that of John the apostle when he was shown the evil religious system entitled, “MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH”. He tells us that “when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration.’ He is rebuked by the angel for such a reaction. “And the angel said unto me, Wherefore didst thou marvel?” (Revelation 17:5,6,7)
John’s reaction shows just how ‘attractive’ to the human eye will be the system of Antichristianity in the last days.
4. The chief analogy given us of the Antichrist is found in verse 2 of Revelation 13. “And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard.” There is likely few more beautiful creatures in the wild than the leopard! Yet this beast has one of the strongest bites of all the cats, around 400-500 pound per square inch, some 7-8 times more powerful than a human’s bite. It is a noted predator, using its wonderfully beautiful coat as a most effective camouflage, by which it remains hidden and then springs out on unsuspecting prey.
It should also be noted that the concealed character of the Antichrist is further revealed in the other analogies the Lord uses. He is said to have “the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion.” I was once told by a farmer in Canada, who had encountered a grizzly bear attacking his cattle, that it was so powerful that it could break the neck of a bull with one swipe of its paw! Likewise, the feet of the lion are most powerful and efficient in killing its prey.
How foolish it would be to become so enchanted by the beauty of a leopard as to reach out and try to stroke it as one would a household cat! There would be a very terrible and terrifying outcome to such a folly.
So it will be with those beguiled by the ‘beauty’ of the Antichrist!
II. ANOTHER OF THE FEATURES OF THE ANTICHRIST WHICH MEN WILL FIND ATTRACTIVE WILL BE HIS BUSINESS ASTUTENESS.
1. The lamentation at the overthrow of Antichrist’s city, Babylon, indicates the support he had from the world of politics, trade and commerce. “And the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and lived deliciously with her, shall bewail her, and lament for her, when they shall see the smoke of her burning, standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! for in one hour is thy judgment come. And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more: the merchandise of gold, and silver, and precious stones, and of pearls, and fine linen, and purple, and silk, and scarlet, and all thyine wood, and all manner vessels of ivory, and all manner vessels of most precious wood, and of brass, and iron, and marble, and cinnamon, and odours, and ointments, and frankincense, and wine, and oil, and fine flour, and wheat, and beasts, and sheep, and horses, and chariots, and slaves, and souls of men. And the fruits that thy soul lusted after are departed from thee, and all things which were dainty and goodly are departed from thee, and thou shalt find them no more at all. The merchants of these things, which were made rich by her, shall stand afar off for the fear of her torment, weeping and wailing, and saying, Alas, alas, that great city, that was clothed in fine linen, and purple, and scarlet, and decked with gold, and precious stones, and pearls! For in one hour so great riches is come to nought. And every shipmaster, and all the company in ships, and sailors, and as many as trade by sea, stood afar off, and cried when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, What city is like unto this great city! And they cast dust on their heads, and cried, weeping and wailing, saying, Alas, alas, that great city, wherein were made rich all that had ships in the sea by reason of her costliness! for in one hour is she made desolate,” Revelation 18:9-19.
2. The comprehensive list of goods controlled by Antichrist’s regime indicates the control over people that he will exercise. There are few of the everyday necessities of life that are not included in that list. This is but proof of the controlling administration he will preside over. God’s Word tells us that his authority over his subjects will be absolute. “And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: and that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name,” Revelation 13:16-17.
I do not believe that the world has ever seen such an absolute domination exercised over a people!
3. The complaining cries of many today for improved affluence within our society is a harbinger of the spirit that will welcome the prosperity Antichrist will promise. Do we not hear political parties make promises of ‘more money in your pocket’ in order to gain the voters’ support and so win elections? Do we not see the parties in government, as an election draws near, manipulate the economy, hand out tax cuts etc, in order to persuade the electorate to support them? This is a but a forerunner of a much fuller system of manipulation under Antichrist.
We must acknowledge that such deception works! Time and time again it works. The Word of God tells us that it will especially work under Antichrist.
III. ANTICHRIST’S POLITICAL AND MILITARY PROWESS WILL ALSO WIN MEN’S ADMIRATION.
So it was with Alexander the Great, the Roman Caesars, Napoleon, Hitler and many others. David was thrust into prominence by his defeat of Goliath. Men have always admired battlefield glory, oftentimes without regard to the rights or wrongs of the victor. Victory on the field of battle has frequently led to power in the political realm! History provides us with many examples of this. Victory at Waterloo in 1815 led on to the office of Prime Minister in 1828, for Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, an Irish Protestant born in Dublin!
Antichrist will be one who will find fame and advancement via the battlefield.
The writings of Daniel give us much information about Antichrist’s military exploits. Written as they are of future events, it is difficult to understand clearly in great detail what it is that is revealed there. However, it will be readily admitted that as the events Daniel was shown begin to take place, it will be easy to understand in detail what is set before us in Daniel’s visions.
1. We may learn from Daniel when Antichrist’s military activities will take place. In Daniel 10, the angel was sent of God to Daniel with the revelation of future events. At the very beginning of the revelation one thing was emphasised: “But the time appointed was long.” This indication of the time referred to in these prophecies is repeated — 2:28; 10:1, 14: 12:8-9. Thus Daniel was told that the things about to be revealed to him would not take place until a long time had passed. They were to happen in the ‘latter days’ as is stated in verse 14. “Now I am come to make thee understand what shall befall thy people in the latter days”, and again and again the lapse of time is underscored.
It should be noted that Daniel “understood the thing, and had understanding of the vision”, 10:1. This contrasts with his reaction to earlier revelations. “Hitherto is the end of the matter. As for me Daniel, my cogitations much troubled me, and my countenance changed in me: but I kept the matter in my heart,” Daniel 7:28. “And the vision of the evening and the morning which was told is true: wherefore shut thou up the vision; for it shall be for many days. And I Daniel fainted, and was sick certain days; afterward I rose up, and did the king’s business; and I was astonished at the vision, but none understood it,” Daniel 8:26-27.
There is a lesson here for us all. We are slow to understand the words of prophecy but the Lord will patiently teach us until, like Daniel, we do come to a measure of understanding! Heed the words of the angel/teacher. “And he said unto me, O Daniel, a man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak unto thee, and stand upright: for unto thee am I now sent. And when he had spoken this word unto me, I stood trembling. . . . . Now I am come to make thee understand what shall befall thy people in the latter days: for yet the vision is for many days,” Daniel 10:11, 14.
Dear Christian, without doubt, the Lord would have us understand prophecy. Read and pray over what you read and ask for understanding, even as did Daniel (9:3-4; 10:12) and the Lord will make the matter known to you.
2. The fact that the Middle East is the location of these military exploits is further demonstrated by what the angel says at the beginning of the vision. We must separate the verses 1-20 of chapter 11 from what follows in verses 21 to 45. Verses 1-20 refer to events in the days of the Persian empire and in the days of that which replaced it, the Grecian empire.
Verses 20-45 relate to events in the latter days and the chief character mentioned here is the Antichrist. God time-stamps these events. Verse 35 is to be carefully noted. “And some of them of understanding shall fall, to try them, and to purge, and to make them white, even to the time of the end: because it is yet for a time appointed.” The “vile person” of verse 21 is the same person as the ‘king of fierce countenance’ mentioned in chapter 8:23. The emergence of this evil personage carries us into the future away from the days of the Persian and Grecian empire and the events linked to them mentioned in the earlier part of chapter 11.
Please note the repeated use of the third person singular pronoun ‘HE’, in the verses that follow on from mention of the “vile person”. That person is linked to happenings recorded in verse 31. “And arms shall stand on his part, and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate.” This event has already been mentioned to Daniel. “And out of one of them came forth a little horn, which waxed exceeding great, toward the south, and toward the east, and toward the pleasant land. And it waxed great, even to the host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host and of the stars to the ground, and stamped upon them. Yea, he magnified himself even to the prince of the host, and by him the daily sacrifice was taken away, and the place of his sanctuary was cast down. And an host was given him against the daily sacrifice by reason of transgression, and it cast down the truth to the ground; and it practised, and prospered,” 8:9-12. See also 9:26-27. “. . . and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.” These events are again mentioned in 12:9-11. “And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end. Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand. And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days.”
These words will be known by the student of prophecy as the very words the Saviour refers to to tell us when the ‘great tribulation’ will begin, Matthew 24:15-22; Mark 13:14. We can therefore be sure that these verses which reveal the activities of the “vile person” are events which will take place in the closing days of this age.
There is no doubt that there was ‘partial’ fulfilment of these prophecies by the activities of the infamous Antiochus Epiphanes. He foreshadowed the activities of the Antichrist to a great degree in that he laid siege to the Temple Mount and proceeded to profane the Jewish Temple in 167 BC by erecting idols within it and even going so far as to sacrifice pigs upon the altar he had placed there to pagan gods.
In this we have but something that has been common in relation to prophecy. The Lord not only gives us the written account of what will happen in the future but He often gives, what I might call ‘dress rehearsals’ which is, in the world of theatres, the last time a play is practised before the real performance. Such rehearsals take place with the costumes, the stage, and lighting exactly as they will be for the real performance!
Many events in times past reflect what it is will take place in the future.
We have examples of this in the persecutions of the Hebrews by Pharaoh and his overthrow in the Red Sea; in the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple there by Nebuchadnezzar and the subsequent destruction of Babylon by the Medes and Persians and indeed, the AD 70 destruction of Jerusalem and the slaughter of the Jews by the Roman armies. These were all ‘rehearsals’ by which the Lord illustrates and foreshadows what will take place at the end of the age as is prophesied in His Word!
3. But we must NOT try and say that past events are the fulfilment of that which God says will happen “in the latter days”! Many have tried to twist Scripture to do that but honest men will recognise the flaws that result from such abuse of God’s Word. Such ‘twisting’, when confronted with passages in God’s Word which we cannot fully understand, is not new. Peter said this: “And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction,” 2 Peter 3:15-16.
I am going to quote a passage from Daniel chapters 11 and 12 and I am going to highlight again in those statements what I believe CAN ONLY be understood as taking place in the future.
“And in his estate shall stand up a vile person, to whom they shall not give the honour of the kingdom: but he shall come in peaceably, and obtain the kingdom by flatteries. And with the arms of a flood shall they be overflown from before him, and shall be broken; yea, also the prince of the covenant. And after the league made with him he shall work deceitfully: for he shall come up, and shall become strong with a small people. He shall enter peaceably even upon the fattest places of the province; and he shall do that which his fathers have not done, nor his fathers’ fathers; he shall scatter among them the prey, and spoil, and riches: yea, and he shall forecast his devices against the strong holds, even for a time. And he shall stir up his power and his courage against the king of the south with a great army; and the king of the south shall be stirred up to battle with a very great and mighty army; but he shall not stand: for they shall forecast devices against him. Yea, they that feed of the portion of his meat shall destroy him, and his army shall overflow: and many shall fall down slain. And both these kings’ hearts shall be to do mischief, and they shall speak lies at one table; but it shall not prosper: for yet the end shall be at the time appointed. Then shall he return into his land with great riches; and his heart shall be against the holy covenant; and he shall do exploits, and return to his own land. At the time appointed he shall return, and come toward the south; but it shall not be as the former, or as the latter. For the ships of Chittim shall come against him: therefore he shall be grieved, and return, and have indignation against the holy covenant: so shall he do; he shall even return, and have intelligence with them that forsake the holy covenant. And arms shall stand on his part, and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate. And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries: but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits. And they that understand among the people shall instruct many: yet they shall fall by the sword, and by flame, by captivity, and by spoil, many days. Now when they shall fall, they shall be holpen with a little help: but many shall cleave to them with flatteries. And some of them of understanding shall fall, to try them, and to purge, and to make them white, even to the time of the end: because it is yet for a time appointed. And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done. Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any god: for he shall magnify himself above all. But in his estate shall he honour the God of forces: and a god whom his fathers knew not shall he honour with gold, and silver, and with precious stones, and pleasant things. Thus shall he do in the most strong holds with a strange god, whom he shall acknowledge and increase with glory: and he shall cause them to rule over many, and shall divide the land for gain. And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over. He shall enter also into the glorious land, and many countries shall be overthrown: but these shall escape out of his hand, even Edom, and Moab, and the chief of the children of Ammon. He shall stretch forth his hand also upon the countries: and the land of Egypt shall not escape. But he shall have power over the treasures of gold and of silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt: and the Libyans and the Ethiopians shall be at his steps. But tidings out of the east and out of the north shall trouble him: therefore he shall go forth with great fury to destroy, and utterly to make away many. And he shall plant the tabernacles of his palace between the seas in the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, and none shall help him. And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever. But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased,” Daniel 11:21-12:4.
I have highlighted phrases that clearly indicate when these things happen. The ‘time of the end’ cannot be in the past but must be in the future!
The ’time’ references must be noted in the light of the truth that: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,” 2 Timothy 3:16. “Every word of God is pure,” Proverbs 30:5, and must be carefully noted if we are to learn what it is the Lord would have us know! “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost,” 2 Peter 1:20-21. We cannot therefore place an ‘interpretation’ upon what God says that is contrary to what is revealed elsewhere in Holy Scripture!
As I have already pointed out, the Saviour links that recorded in this chapter 11 to the time of great tribulation, the like of which has never been before. That surely rules out the possibility of this being a reference to some event in the past!
In the opening verses of chapter 12, which must be read with the closing verses of chapter 11 (chapter divisions are not inspired!), I would have you note a reference to the resurrection of the saints and their shining like the stars. Surely there can be no dispute about these words. They are referring to that which Paul speaks of as happening at the return of Christ.
“But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words,” 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18.
I repeat, these passages indicate that the time of turmoil and conflict in the Middle East is at the time just before the great tribulation and the return of the Saviour and the resurrection and glorification of the saints!
We should think upon that fact today because there is great unrest amongst the nations surrounding Israel. Many fear the recent developments there! The events in Gaza have every potential of spilling over into a much wider conflict. Iran in particular and her confederates and terrorist stooges, are just champing at the bit to launch an attack upon Israel. The whole collection of Islamic nations surrounding Israel have verbally indicated that they have heightened their opposition to her.
I believe we MUST see the ‘pieces slotting into place’ and the military activities in the regions surrounding Israel as the beginnings of the outworking of God’s final purpose for His ancient people and her enemies.
IV. FURTHERMORE, ANTICHRIST WILL EMBODY MAN’S HATRED OF THE RELIGION OF CHRIST AND THEREBY GAIN THE SYMPATHY AND SUPPORT OF UNGODLY MEN
1. As mankind at Babel sought ‘another way’ other than ‘God’s way’, so that which we see beginning all around us today within the fabric of organised ‘Christianity’ is the beginnings of the rebellion against God’s truth which will ultimately be headed up by the Antichrist.
‘Modernism’, ‘Liberalism’, ‘Ecumenism’ — these ‘isms’ are components of that which will reach its zenith in the great “falling away (Greek – apostasia, ‘apostasy’) . . . and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; who 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 Thessalonians 2:3-4. I do not believe that ever before in this gospel age was the professing ‘Church’ ever so corrupted and openly embracing of the vilest of sins, with the exception of the days of Romanism in the ‘dark ages’, as it is today! That which damned Sodom is supported and practised within the ranks of the professing ‘Church’. It is hard to imagine things sinking any lower, though we are told in God’s Word that they shall!
“But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived,” 2 Timothy 3:13.
2. Daniel’s writes of the Antichrist’s rage. “I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them,” Daniel 7:21. That same cruelty to God’s redeemed ones is revealed in chapter 8:24. “And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power: and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practise, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people.”
The two witnesses, raised up by the Lord to declare His truth in Jerusalem in the days of the Antichrist’s power, will also be victims of his cruelty and that of his followers.
“And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth. And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed. These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will. And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them. And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves. And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth. And after three days and an half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them. And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them. And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven,” Revelation 11:3-13.
3. The cruelty and oppression of God’s people by the Antichrist will win him friends but at a terrible price for them! “And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months. And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. 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,” Revelation 13:5-8.
V. IT IS TO BE CAREFULLY NOTED THAT ANTICHRIST’S REIGN IS SHORT AND ITS CONCLUSION HAS ALREADY BEEN APPOINTED
1. Note some important words in the last verse I mentioned. “And power was given unto him to continue forty and two months.” The word ‘power’ means ‘authority, liberty’. As Judas did only that which God had foreordained as part of His eternal purpose, so it is with the Antichrist. He will only put into effect and accomplish that which the Lord has ordained that he should do.
It may be difficult for us to understand just how such an evil being and the unholy things he will do can further God’s glory. But, Christian, stand at the cross and there you will see God’s dear Son “being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, . . . and by wicked hands . . . crucified and slain”, Acts 2:23.
2. Dear Christian, remember this. “All things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” Romans 8:28-32.
3. One final thought: would it not be wise of men to understand that “it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment”? (Hebrews 9:27), We can look at God’s Word and see that Antichrist is doomed to failure, being permitted by God only a short time in which to mount his rebellion. But there is not one who is unsaved but the time of his and her final breath is set! Being unsaved and therefore engaged in rebellion against the gospel, they will reap the eternally dreadful consequences of such folly.
Dear reader, you may well have an interest in what God has said about the future doom of the Antichrist, and that is praiseworthy, but it becomes an awful madness to do so while neglecting one’s own soul!
Heed these words.
“For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” Mark 8:36-37.
Rev Ivan Foster (Rtd)
Monday 15th January 2024