“THE ANTICHRIST IS COMING”
by Doug Krieger
(I John 2:18c – NKJV & The Englishman’s Greek NT from The Greek Text of Stephens 1550 and various readings of the editions of Elzevir 1624, Griesbach, Lachmann, Tischendorf, Tregelles, Alford, and Wordsworth)
CHURCHES OF CHRIST SITE DENIES THE FUTURE ANTICHRIST
Dear Mike M. (Churches of Christ) –
The website of the Churches of Christ, though for the most part intensely evangelical, has committed a glaring oversight by alleging that John’s First Epistle does NOT speak of the future, bodily personification of the Antichrist. Instead the emphasis is upon the “spirit of Antichrist” and the doctrine that many “antichrists” are gone out into the world (which is true) and that he who denies that “Jesus Christ is come in the flesh” is indeed antichrist and that there are “many antichrists” that are gone out into the world who shall arise in the Last Days—yet there shall be the embodiment of a future end-times’ person called in the Bible: THE ANTICHRIST.
In essence, your site denies the tangibility of the Antichrist and commits the issue to a “spiritual reality” only, while denying the preponderance of Biblical justification for such a future reality. Anyone who denies the Father and the Son bears the “spirit of antichrist” only. Yet, you claim there is no such thing as THE Antichrist.
Initially, I dismissed your doctrine as a casual oversight until I realized the profound nature of the error juxtaposed to the Gnosticism which John fought against in the early Church. Denying the “materiality” and thence, the “incarnation” that Jesus Christ came in the flesh—and that He resurrected with a physical body and ascended as the “Glorified Man” and is currently seated on the right hand of God the Father as the Son of Man—was the dastardly heresy that possessed the Gnostics and made their error so grievous in the early Church.
However, your site subscribes to a new heresy by denying the future materiality of “The Antichrist” whose titles in Scripture are innumerable! I urge you and brethren in the Churches of Christ to “come to your spiritual senses” and acknowledge the precise error which Satan desires you to embrace—for if he is unable to dissuade you of the Son of Man’s physicality, he will persuade you to deny his own personal materiality in the body of Antichrist where he shall find the most fertile of human temples—a temple which he shall utterly desecrate by his counterfeit incarnation; and hence, the prophesied “abomination of desolation” spoken of by both Daniel and Jesus shall take place (Daniel 11:31, 12:11; Matthew 24:15, Mark 13:14).
This future Antichrist is as physical and as spiritual a reality as the Son of Man and the Spirit of Christ!
DONALD GREY BARNHOUSE & OTHER LEADING EVANGELICALS ACCLAIM THE COMING OF THE ANTICHRIST -
The Word of God alone is sufficient to declare that THE Antichrist shall yet come—but scores of evangelical brethren have never wavered in their belief that the Church’s final contestation, and Israel’s peril, awaits the habitation of the Evil One.
Satan “entered into Judas” to commit the dastardly deed of betrayal (“Then Satan entered into Judas, surnamed Iscariot, who was numbered among the twelve” (Luke 22:3); and “Now after the piece of bread, Satan entered him (i.e., Judas) . . . Then Jesus said to him, ‘What you do, do quickly’” (John 13:26)), It was of Judas in Jesus’ High Priestly prayer in John 17 that the Savior declared: “Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition (i.e., “destruction”), that the Scripture might be fulfilled” (John 17:12; cf. Psalm 41:9 and 109:8).
Donald Grey Barnhouse (former Editor of Eternity Magazine and Sr. Pastor of the Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, PA) elucidates the bodily appearance of the end-times’ Antichrist:
“The wild beast out of the sea is undoubtedly an individual personage. He cannot be identified as a system. There are too many distinguishing characteristics of individuality. It is the Antichrist. The same argument holds good for the false prophet. He is a man, as is the personal Antichrist. The pair are united in the source of the power. The pair shall be united in their doom, for they are both taken captive at the coming of the Lord in the midst of the battle of Armageddon (Rev. 19:20), and are cast together into the lake of fire forever (Rev. 20;10). All of this is sufficient to prove their personality and individuality, and to demonstrate that they are not governments, nations, religions or systems.
“The Antichrist will appear suavely, swiftly, quietly. He will be a man, first of all, of quietness before he manifests himself in his Satanic form. He will be an anti-Christ, counterfeit Jesus—not a counterfeit devil. When we understand this, we will understand what to look for. If there is some truth in a false religion, men will take it more easily. That is why we must receive the love of the truth and measure everything by the Word of God. When we do this, we cannot be deceived . . . The first beast is the future Roman dictator who shall become the Antichrist by the incarnation of Satan; the second beast is the personal head of the religious system which will go along with the dictatorship and the Antichrist.” (Revelation, An Expositional Commentary, Zondervan, pp. 247-251).
Arthur W. Pink has compiled one of the most exhaustive expositions on the subject of The Future Antichrist. He unequivocally states in his text, The Antichrist – A Systematic Study of Satan’s Counterfeit Christ:
“In the second chapter of his first epistle the apostle John declares, ‘Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that Antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time” (v. 18). In strict harmony with this, the apostle Paul affirmed that the ‘mystery of iniquity’ was ‘already’ at work in his day (2 Thess. 2:7) . . . There have been, then, and there exist today, many antichrists, but these are only so many forecasts and foreshadowing's of the one who is yet to appear. But it is of first importance that we should distinguish clearly between an antichrist and the Antichrist. As we have said, there have already been many antichrists, but the appearance of the Antichrist is yet future” (The Antichrist, p. 13, Kregel Publications).
THE CHURCHES OF CHRIST VIEW OF “ANTICHRIST”
In I John 2:18 your web site quotes from the King James Version of the Bible; to wit: “Little children, it is the last time; and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.” In order to substantiate your conviction that the Bible bespeaks only of a “spirit of antichrist” and not the ultimate manifestation of THE Antichrist, you’ve taken the liberty to consign your translation to the KJV and have circumvented numerous Greek texts which include the definite article “the” in the original Greek to “nail down” the actual meaning in the Greek—notwithstanding that the “sense” in the KJV itself commends itself to the personal Antichrist yet to come—“that antichrist shall come.”
Your site goes on to quote I John 2:22: “Who is the liar but he that denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is the antichrist who denies the Father and the Son.” Note: The same definite article appears (neuter in Greek) in front of “the” antichrist in I John 2:22 as well. It can be contended that the specificity of the antichrist is just as much a reality, for it will be Satan who will ultimately “inhabit” the “temple” (i.e., Grk. “naos”) of the body of the “son of perdition” (and/or “the man of sin” – i.e., “the lawless one”):
“Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the MAN OF SIN (my caps) is revealed, THE SON OF PERDITION (my caps), who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple (Grk. naos, which connotes the “body of a man” – not the Temple in Jerusalem hieron)—see Jesus’ exchange in John 2:13-22 wherein he juxtaposes the “physical temple” (i.e., “hieron”) in Jerusalem with his own “bodily temple” (naos) which would be raised in three days).
Satan is THE Liar from the beginning—it was Satan who “entered into the body” of Judas Iscariot to commit the betrayal. When Jesus said “ye are of your father the devil” – that is precisely, I believe, what John had in his thought and human spirit regarding these statements of the antichrist—all those who ascribe to the denial of “the Father and the Son” are of “their father the devil”—the liar. Satan would delight for us to believe that he will NOT “possess the body of Antichrist” wherein he shall become the BEAST of Daniel’s 70th Week and ipso facto (the “entering into the body of the wounded Antichrist”—having “received a wound in his head” – Revelation 13:3, 12, 14), the Antichrist will “miraculously recover”—again, as Barnhouse conjectures:
“Is there to be a death and a healing of the literal Antichrist? Satan imitates God in an incarnation. Will he imitate him in a resurrection? It is certain that there will be ‘all power and signs and lying wonders’ (II Thess. 2:9). Will there be an assassination and a resurrection? (Ibid. p. 238).
Your third verse from Scripture reads:
"By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; and this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world." 1 John 4:2-3 –
Again, your argument contends that this phrase – “this is the spirit of the antichrist” – depersonalizes the ultimate Antichrist. When Jesus said that “You are of your father the devil” to the religious leaders of His time, and then said to Peter, “Get thee behind me Satan,” He undoubtedly had reference to the “spirit of antichrist” but also the very personality of Satan himself (John 8:44; Luke 4:8).
Yes, Satan entered into Judas for the betrayal. The “spirit of antichrist” is in the world today—NO DOUBT ABOUT IT. But that does not in any way, shape or form DEPERSONALIZE either Satan or the future “Son of Perdition” who will be THE Antichrist!
Finally, the fourth verse you quote where the word “antichrist” is used is in 2 John 1:7: "For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist." 2 John 1:7 – So, we have met the Antichrist, and it is us!
Yes, this is the antichrist—make no doubt about it—THIS IS THE VERY SOURCE FROM WHICH SUCH DECEIVERS GET THEIR FALSE DOCTRINE. Just as the religious leaders in Jesus’ time were “of your father the devil” and just as Jesus rebuked Peter by stating: “Get thee behind me Satan”—even so, we are altogether clear the source from whence such evil expresses itself!
In all cases of the use of Antichrist there is absolutely no problem in so far as the “spirit of antichrist” is concerned—I think we concur here; however, in order for you to maintain your anti-Premillenarian posture it is MANDATORY for you to deny “a” coming Antichrist who shall be THE ANTICHRIST—the one in whom the ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION shall be committed and who shall undergo the abominable metamorphosis and become the BEAST. He will be “cast to the earth” – “ascend from the abyss” – come forth “from the sea.”
Obscuring the “personal Antichrist” who will YET ARISE in the Latter Days is altogether disconcerting to this brother and I will fight this error with all the God-given power that is within me because any so-called “Christian teaching” which denies the futurity of such a personage is, in and of itself: ANTICHRIST. As Jesus Christ is the MAN IN THE GLORY—even so, we have the SPIRIT OF CHRIST in us! Even as the “spirit of antichrist” is gone out into the world today—even so, the coming and revelation of the final Antichrist awaits an ill-prepared world—and especially, an ill-prepared Church!
Now . . . let us examine the various Biblical descriptions given to this personage . . . .
KING OF BABYLON - KING OF TYRE
Two of Antichrist’s most salient titles—and the ones which affect the end-times’ scenario in the most radical and universal manner—are those which demonstrate his hegemonic control over earth’s people and resources.
The Tribulation Network has repeatedly affirmed that the world in which we now live is radically changing in every way. Both the political/military and the economic conditions of this world have been so altered in the last fifty years, that today’s UNIPOLAR world (wherein the United States of America is the sole superpower, while at the same time she holds economic and political hegemony over the face of the whole earth), finds its closest resemblance in the “World that was Rome.”
The ominous titles attributed to the final end-times’ Antichrist which allude to the above paragraph, are those of the KING OF BABYLON and the PRINCE or KING OF TYRE—the first dealing with political/military hegemony and the latter of universal commercial dominance. Today’s USA, according to conservative political pundit Charles Krauthammer, is the world’s first “Commercial Empire” – however, we beg to differ with Mr. Krauthammer in that the ancient Canaanites (Semitic), Phoenicians (Greek) and/or Punic peoples (Latin) of these ancient Mediterranean peoples were precisely such an empire! Only the Romans subdued and absorbed their commercial expertise into the Empire that was Rome around 200 B.C.
But what the Hebrew prophets saw and foresaw was the spiritual dynamic and personage BEHIND the King of Babylon and the King of Tyre. The pronouncements found in Ezekiel 26 through 28 see the “morphing” of an earthly figure into the cosmic personage of Satan himself—for when we arrive at Ezekiel 28:16 we read: “By the abundance of your (i.e., the King of Tyre’s) trading you became filled with violence within, and you sinned; therefore I cast you as a profane thing out of the mountain of God; and I destroyed you, O covering cherub, from the midst of the fiery stones.”
Likewise, the political aspirations of the King of Babylon not only witnessed the realities of the Neo-Babylonian King but of that awful and future leader that shall come—and behind this King is the very ruler of that final end-times’ Image seen in the Book of Daniel; to wit:
“Take up this proverb against the King of Babylon, and say: ‘How the oppressor has ceased, the golden city ceased!’ . . . Hell from beneath is excited about you, to meet you at your coming; it stirs up the dead for you, all the chief ones of the earth; it has raised up from their thrones all the kings of the nations . . . how you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, you who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’ Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, to the lowest depths of the Pit” (Isaiah 14:4, 9, 12-14).
A closer examination of these titles in the Hebrew Scriptures conclusively proves that both of these figures "morph" into cosmic beings—they transform from ordinary earthly rulers of Babylon and Tyre into far more universal characters whose true identity is more than obvious. Satan (a.k.a., Lucifer, the Morning Star, the Covering Cherub, the Profane Thing), is clearly portrayed as King of Babylon and King of Tyre—make no doubt about it, the one in whom INIQUITY has been found!
I bring out these two significant titles which dominate all the others because it is in Revelation chapter 18 (the King of Tyre—Commercial Babylon) and Revelation chapter 19 (Political/Civil Babylon) that the Scriptures highlight their demise—for behind the “administration” of the GREAT CITY BABYLON is the King of Babylon, and behind the commercial aspirations of Babylon—that Great City that “traffics in the bodies and souls of men”—is the very King of Tyre and his hideously exploitive economic system that dominates the entire earth to the extent that none can “buy nor sell” without the mark of the Beast.
The seminal Scriptures of Isaiah 14 (King of Babylon) and Ezekiel 28 (King of Tyre) unveil the future judgments of these fiendish figures of Death and War (Babylon) and of Commerce and Exploitation (Tyre). Let us read further of Isaiah’s cosmic metamorphosis of this figure:
"All the kings of the nations, all of them, sleep in glory, everyone in his own house; but you are cast out of your grave like an ABOMINABLE BRANCH, like the garment of those who are slain . . . I will break THE ASSYRIAN in My land, and on My mountains tread him underfoot . . . . This is the purpose that is purposed against the whole earth, and this is the hand that is stretched out over all the nations" (Isa. 14:18-19a, 25-27).
I embolden his titles in the above text to bring to our attention his descriptions are legion throughout the Bible. Even a cursory exegesis of these passages reveals that Satan himself is behind the morphed figure of the King of Babylon—who is also revealed as the Abominable Branch, Lucifer, Son of the Morning (i.e., Day Star), and as The Assyrian. Surely, Antichrist—that final figure of the End Times, who shall make ultimate "war against the saints" as the Son of Perdition, THE BEAST—is exposed throughout Scripture under many names and titles as counterfeits of the person and work of our Lord Jesus Christ—our promised Deliverer and Messiah.
Without controversy—his highest designations are invested within "King of Babylon" and his end-times’ network of terror and war: "Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?" (Rev. 13:4b).
THE WORK OF ARTHUR W. PINK
The Bible does not casually mention names. As Arthur W. Pink in his book, "The Antichrist—a Systematic Study of Satan's Counterfeit Christ" cautions: "Devil" and "Satan" are not synonymous, nor are they used haphazardly, but with Divine discrimination. Upon the meaning of names found in Holy Writ rests a whole scheme of interpretation; even the order in which names occur is not fortuitous but designed, and constitutes a part of each lesson taught, or each truth presented." (Note: I will simply quote from the text—hereinafter, no pages are given.)
Though we here have already highlighted his titles as "King of Babylon" and "King of Tyre," because of their strategic placements in the end-times’ judgments of Babylon the Great in Revelation 17, 18 and 19, a quick, though partial, overview of his exhaustive titles by Pink will commence his exhaustive disclosures:
1. The Antichrist-I John 2:22
2. The Man of Sin, Son of Perdition-II Thess. 2:3
3. The Lawless One-II Thess. 2:8 (R.V.), vs. 9
4. The Beast-Rev. 11:7
5. The Bloody and Deceitful Man-Psalm 5:6
6. The Wicked One-II Thess. 2:8
7. The Man of the Earth-Psalm 10:18
8. The Mighty Man -Psalm 52:1
9. The Enemy-Psalm 55:3
10. The Adversary-Psalm 74-8-10
11. The Head Over Many Countries-Psalm 110:6
12. The Violent Man-Psalm 140:1
13. The Assyrian-Isa. 10:5 & 12
14. The King of Babylon-Isa. 14:4
15. The Son of the Morning-Isa. 14:12
16. The Abominable Branch-Isa. 14:19
17. The Spoiler-Isa. 16:4
18. The Nail-Isa. 22:25
19. The Branch of the Terrible Ones-Ezk. 21:25-27
20. The King of Tyre-Ezk. 28:12
21. The Little (i.e., "Younger") Horn-Daniel 7:8
22. The Coming Prince-Dan. 9:26
23. The Vile Person-Dan. 11:21
24. The Willful King-Dan 11:36
25. The Idol Shepherd-Zech 11:16-17
26. The Angel of the Bottomless Pit-Rev. 9:11
I would just like to comment at this point (though a much more exhaustive study shall be forthcoming in THE KING OF TYRE (Please see our main site at: www.the-tribulation-network.com for The King of Tyre), that the "King of Babylon" is the political/administrative and military leader of "Babylon the Great." The combination of these two titles is most disconcerting in that the amalgamation of the political (King of Babylon) with the commercial (King of Tyre) brings to our attention of how the “merchants of the earth” are intimately involved with political leadership, and visa versa.
Probably the most fertile political-economic environment for absolute dictatorship to emerge is within the context of Fascism, and in particular, the Fascism found within National Socialism.
Hitler’s manifestation of Fascism was assuredly racial in its “nationalism.” However, National Socialism (i.e., Nazism) had a far more sinister expression than something purely racial. It was the intensely close relationship between private corporations and the public government.
At the commencement of Hitler’s emergence as a political force to be reckoned with—his NSDAP was virtually bankrupt and actually in political freefall. It was at this juncture that Germany’s industrial magnates—her large corporations—came to Hitler’s financial rescue and Nazi Socialism was birthed. This marriage of the State and the Corporations was the ticket that would rid Germany of the strictures of the Versailles Treaty. The State would “cut deal after deal” with Germany’s privately-owned mega-corporations, creating one of the most successful models of economic revival in the midst of a worldwide depression. Though much of what “appeared” as economic success was “smoke and mirrors” – it, nevertheless, created an “atmosphere” of German vitality and rebirth—Hitler’s Joseph Goebbels took it from there and made it reality in the eyes of the German people.
“After World War II, many people in Germany's Western zones of occupation, and in the United States, also argued that businessmen, even free enterprise as a system, were responsible for Hitler's rise, his wars of aggression, and his crimes against humanity. In 1947 and 1948, the communist countries watched with bemusement as the United States, the preeminent capitalist country, prosecuted dozens of executives of three of wartime Germany's largest companies for war crimes and crimes against humanity. In the dock were directors of the Krupp and Flick (steel and coal) companies, both of which had built weapons of war and had employed forced labor, and board members of I.G. Farben, the chemical and pharmaceutical giant that had run a synthetic rubber factory at Auschwitz. During the trials at Nuremberg, the American prosecutors were careful not to portray the proceedings as attacks on the market economy, but rather as attempts to punish individuals who had committed crimes. Nonetheless, it was clear that they had established a strong link between German industry and all aspects of the Nazi economy and, more specifically, between German business and the crimes of National Socialism. The trials resulted in the conviction and imprisonment of a number of important company owners and directors. (German Industry and the Third Reich: Fifty Years of Forgetting and Remembering, by S. Jonathan Wiesen, ADL, Dimensions: A Journal of Holocaust Studies)
The point to be made here is the merger of politics and commerce to the extent that these large corporations literally sustained the State, and the State fed off their largess through one of the largest military buildups the world had witnessed up to that point in history. Today, in America, we have witnessed the economic ascendancy of Halliburton from 37th largest corporation in America to 7th largest—are we witnessing a repeat of history?
THE COMING PRINCE
His identification in Daniel is seen in "the Prince who is to come" (Daniel 9:26) and as both the "little ("younger") horn(s)" of both Daniel 7:7-8, 20-21 (the "Roman" and/or Fourth Beast with Ten Horns and from whence an Eleventh Horn who speaks ". . . pompous words, whose appearance was greater than his fellows (i.e., the other Ten Horns of the Beast) . . . the same horn (Eleventh Horn) was making war against the saints, and prevailing against them."). Also, we read in Daniel 8:8-9:
"Therefore the male goat (Greece) grew very great; but when he became strong, the large horn (Alexander the Great) was broken, and in place of it four notable ones (Seleucus-Syria—King of the North; Ptolemy—The Holy Land with Egypt—King of the South; Cassander—Macedon and Greece; and finally, Lysimachus—Thrace, part of Bithynia and territories between these and the Meander) came up toward the four winds of heaven. And out of one of them came a little (i.e., "younger") horn which grew exceedingly great (Note: This is the "Greco" aspect of the Antichrist.) toward the south, toward the east, and toward the Glorious Land. And it grew up to the host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host and some of the stars to the ground, and trampled them."
THE EMERGENCE OF THE END-TIMES’ ANTICHRIST:
The Gog-Magog (the King of the North/King of the South) vs. Israel and the Antichrist.
The emergence of the Antichrist—whose personal identity shall yet be revealed—is of immediate priority in the Last Days’ chronology. The alignment of so many prophetical phenomena—including the final “falling away from the faith” (i.e., the Great Apostasy) assailing the Church (from New Age to Super Churchianity); Israel’s astounding rebirth as a nation and of her ingathering in unbelief; the ascendancy of Western Civilizations’ “younger horn” as manifested in the Great City, the Sodom and Egypt of the Last Days—the one who wages war and no one can defeat him and who holds absolute economic sway over the peoples of the planet; the astounding revival of radical Islamic Fundamentalism and its striking geo-political resemblance to the forces of Gog-Magog and their obsession to annihilate Israel; the pre-positioning of the King of Babylon’s forces in the region, which fulfills the “pincer movement” of the Gog-Magog forces to close in upon “him”—if there ever were a time for the “unveiling” of the Man of Sin: It is now!
Furthermore, the “Hoof Beats of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse” thunder across the planet and the Olivet Discourse with its “beginning of sorrows” (Matthew 24:8) has taken on ominous prophetic fulfillment as “false messiahs” (Matt. 24:5) abound and political “Wars of Liberation and Democracy” pervade the face of the whole earth (the “white horse” of Revelation 6:1-2); where “wars and rumors of war” (Matthew 24:7a) follow as the “fiery red” horse of Revelation 6:3-4 is unveiled; where the residual of famine and scarcity ensue as a result of the global wars in the name of Peace and Freedom (Matthew 24:7b and the “black horse” of Revelation 6:5-6); and finally, where persecution, death and destruction culminate this wretched discourse and foursome (Matthew 24:8-9 and the “pale horse” of Revelation 6:7-8).
Donald Grey Barnhouse warned us some 70 years ago of these “wars of liberation” in the name of democracy by quoting an elder evangelical sage; to wit:
“Thus, in the name of Democracy and popular rights, comes absolute Dictatorship and Imperialism; in the name of Freedom, comes complete and universal enslavement; in the name of the better Reason, which tramples on religion and revelation, comes a great consolidated system of gross idolatry; in the name of a charitable Liberalism, which disdains allegiance to any creed, comes a bloody Despotism, which compels men to worship the base image of a baser man, or die. Here is one star in the crown of this world’s boasted progress.” (Ibid., p. 246)
Finally, Western Civilization now witnesses the inexorable alignment of the Mother of Harlots—Religious Babylon—atop the Beast to fulfill the Religious-Political Alliance seen in Revelation 17. The true AXIS OF EVIL—where Religion (i.e., the “Christian Religion”) under girds the greatest political/military power ever to countenance the face of the earth! Europe sees it—the whole world witnesses the phenomenon—but the Woman who Rides the Beast: Both could care less!”
The end-times’ manifestation of Antichrist, according to Daniel, will be what the Bible entitles, the Gog-Magog War as seen in Ezekiel 38-39, in which Israel becomes the centerpiece of the conflagration when the armies of Gog-Magog assault the ingathering of the Diaspora of Modern-day Israel. Naturally, Israel would have to be in her land—which she is today! The description of this war has NEVER occurred—but Israel is now in her ancient homeland and the ancient tribal designations of the Principality Gog, and the forces allied with Gog (i.e., Magog) are virtually all found in today’s Islamic nations which surround Israel.
Later on in Daniel 11:40-45 we read that the Antichrist (according to Robert Duncan Culver in his classic: "Daniel in the Latter Days" - Moody Press) has, apparently, positioned his forces in the area between the King of the North and the King of the South (NOTE: These North/South forces are referred to in Ezekiel 38-39 as Gog/Magog (northern nations-Gomer, Magog, Tubal, Mesheck, Beth-Togarmah and Iran or Persia—all of these nations are located in Turkey or the Trans-Caucuses); in addition to these "King of the North Nations," a number of nations to the south of Israel (the Beautiful Land) are mentioned, among which are Egypt, Ethiopia (i.e., Modern Sudan) and Libya.
In Daniel 11:44-45 the Gog-Magog war is expanded upon; although this time instead of Israel being the object of attack (as in Ezekiel’s accounting), Antichrist is the object—he has evidently PREPOSITIONED HIS FORCES somewhere in the Middle East north of Israel—the Bible doesn't specify where.
In Daniel 11:40-45 Gog is referred to as the King of the North; and another entity is introduced as the King of the South. Egypt is introduced as being allied with Ethiopia and Libya, along with other unnamed countries south of the Holy Land. The King of the North and the King of the South attack—and the object of their attack is Antichrist.
WHAT OF AMERICA’S MILITARY DOMINANCE IN THE MIDDLE EAST?
Today’s ominous signs of the “Rise of Antichrist” or “King of Babylon” must be understood to be both a King/Antichrist and a Kingdom/Empire (Political and Commercial).
One would be geo-politically remiss, in light of America's current invasion and troop placements, to adjudge that we are fast approaching a convergence of events which are of historic magnitude. The unbelievable significance of the above Gog-Magog conflict is nigh upon us. Radical Islamic Fundamentalism is emerging as the most worrisome geopolitical phenomenon of the 21st Century—but today’s King of Babylon—the leadership of Western Civilization, the “New Roman Empire” (as Vladimir Putin called America)—has exceedingly extended its military and commercial interests into the region to such an extent that “there is no turning back!”
Virtually, the entire Presidential Campaign for 2004 is caught up in war fervor and riveted upon this endless subject of the war in Iraq—each candidate trying to “out gun” the other in “cleaning up the mess.”
I have referred to the fact that the current invasion by America and the incredible placement of nearly a quarter of a million troops in Iraq (air, land and sea) is the fuse that will light the Gog-Magog conflagration.
YOUR COVENANT WITH DEATH AND YOUR AGREEMENT WITH HELL
The “Kings” of Revelation 17:10-11
It is no small thing that Israel (target of Ezekiel 38-39 of the forces of Gog-Magog) and the forces of Antichrist/King of Babylon—(target of the forces of both King of the North and King of the South in Daniel 11) find that their "mutual concerns" against Gog-Magog—King of the North/King of the South—could and should be strengthened.
Both Isaiah 28:15 and 18 and Daniel 9:27 speak of an “agreement” and/or “a covenant” (not THE covenant) between “the coming prince” (Daniel) and with “Sheol” (Isaiah). Whether the imposition of this TREATY (which Antichrist will “cause to bear” upon Israel) is concluded just prior to the Gog-Magog conflagration or as a result of that struggle seems chronologically irrelevant—however, Daniel’s contemplation clearly announces the commencement of his 70th Week; that final Seven-Year’s of the Reign of Antichrist (the first 3 ½ years—the “beginning of sorrows” and Rise of the Antichrist) and the Terror of the Beast (the final 3 ½ days/years or 42 months of Daniel’s 70th Week, when, at the commencement of the 70th Week “A COVENANT WITH DEATH AND WITH SHEOL is CONFIRMED WITH THE MANY (i.e., Daniel’s people, the Jews) FOR ONE WEEK” – only to be BROKEN in the midst of the Week when the “abomination of desolation” takes place!
This is further confirmed from Revelation 17:8-11:
“The beast that you saw was, and is not, and will ascend out of the bottomless pit and go to perdition. And those who dwell on the earth will marvel, whose names are not written in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world, when they see the beast that was, and is not, and yet is. Here is the mind which has wisdom: The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits. There are also seven kings. Five have fallen, one is, and the other has not yet come. And when he comes, he must continue a short time. The beast that was, and is not, is himself also the eighth, and is of (or “out of”) the seven, and is going to perdition.”
John’s writing of The Revelation places himself within the “King” or “Kingdom” of the SIXTH KING—“ONE IS” (Rev. 17:10)—which is the Roman Empire. The previous FIVE who HAVE FALLEN are five empires/kings which have adversely affected ancient Israel—they are undoubtedly in this order: Egypt, Assyria, Neo-Babylonia, Medo-Persia, and Greece (five in all who have “fallen”). John states “there are also seven kings” – therefore, the SEVENTH KING is referred to by John as “the other has not yet come . . . and when he comes, he must continue a short time” (Rev. 17:10b).
It is impossible to disassociate the SEVENTH KING from the EIGHTH KING—for immediately we read after the verse in Revelation 17:10, vs. 11: “The beast that was, and is not, is himself also the EIGHTH (i.e., King/Kingdom; but the stress has moved to the PERSONIFICATION OF THE KING OF BABYLON), AND IS OF THE SEVEN or “out of” THE SEVENTH KING!
Firstly, this SEVENTH KING has not yet come but, when he comes, he must continue a short time. One would have to say that 3 ½ years is certainly “a short time.”
Secondly, it appears that the connectivity between the SEVENTH and the EIGHTH KING is undeniable, given the context of the passages and of the Greek language which confirms this connectivity. SOMETHING HAS HAPPENED THAT HAS TERMINATED THE REIGN OF THE SEVENTH KING BUT HAS ALSO CONNECTED THE SEVENTH KING TO THE EIGHTH KING!
Again, Barnhouse confirms our suspicions:
“The eleventh verse (i.e., Revelation 17:11) introduces some of the details of that last empire revival. Many have found this to be an enigma, but if we remember what we studied in the thirteenth chapter, it will be simple. There we saw that the power rising out of the nations was the last dictator who would arise with Rome (Note: Barnhouse, along with numerous evangelicals of his time and before his time, saw “a revived Roman Empire” as the “seat of Antichrist” and did not have an understanding of the development of Western Civilization and of the “younger horn” who would indeed arise from among the 10-nation confederation of the Last Days—i.e., America primarily “came out of” Europe).
“To him Satan appears and to him the Satanic rule is committed. The dragon endows him with his power, his throne and with great authority (13:3). If we look upon the Roman dictator as being the seventh, he becomes the eighth, the Antichrist at the time of the Satanic incarnation, and thereby becomes an eighth (i.e., the Beast – note that the Greek is not the eighth), who is thus out of the seven, since Satan is the cause of all of the others. He now comes to his judgment, going down to perdition.” (p. 330)
"Your Covenant with Death and your agreement with Hell" ("The Covenant with the Many" wherein Antichrist underwrites Israel's security in a Defense Pact), appears designed to unite the forces of both Antichrist and Israel together against a common foe: Gog-Magog (King of the North and King of the South).
Gog-Magog are NOT the forces of Antichrist; neither (in spite of certain misconstrued chapter headlines placed by Bible editors) is the conflagration of Daniel 11 pitting the King of the South against the King of the North. I realize that the above is very difficult (at this time) to understand (i.e., the relationship of the Gog-Magog War of Ezk. 38-39 and the conflict between the King of the North/King of the South and Antichrist in Daniel 11); however, they are inseparably bound together and have now taken on unbelievable significance as we face the countdown to the Gog-Magog War; while American forces commence to light the fuse with the invasion and occupation (a.k.a., democratization) of ancient Babylon (i.e., modern Iraq).
THE "GRECO-ROMAN" NATURE OF ANTICHRIST—I BEG TO DIFFER: ANTICHRIST IS NOT A JEW!
Notwithstanding, the incredibly profound interest we have in the above subject, because of the current drama now unfolding in the Middle East, the main reason I have addressed the description of the "Little Horn" of Daniel 7 and 8, is to draw attention to both his "Roman" (Daniel 7) and his "Greco" (Daniel 8) nature. Antichrist, as King of Babylon, is described by Daniel as both ROMAN and GREEK. Western Civilization has always been referred to as the “Greco-Roman World.”
It is mandatory to understand that "The Coming Prince" (the title of Sir Robert Anderson's classic, which delves into Daniel's revelation of the Antichrist at great length and the arrival of Messiah into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday) is the leader of Western Civilization or, is "Greco-Roman" in his essence.
Countless and well-meaning brethren have ascribed “Jewishness” to the personage of either or both Antichrist and the False Prophet—assuming that the Jews of Israel would only follow someone who was Jewish as their False Messiah. However, the Scriptures are altogether forthright on this subject: HE IS ABSOLUTELY A GENTILE!
In Pink’s otherwise excellent exegesis of the Antichrist, he too falls into the notion of such a False Messiah must by definition be Jewish—completely disregarding Daniel’s very clear descriptions of Antichrist (i.e., the “little horns” of both Daniel 7 and 8 and/or the Roman and Grecian characteristics of his origins); to wit:
“The Antichrist will be a lineal descendant of Abraham, a Jew. . . suffice it now to say that none but a full-blooded Jew could ever expect to palm himself off on the Jewish people as their long-expected Messiah (Note: Somehow Pink utterly disregards that the “entire world” is enraptured with Antichrist and that his “power base” is within the Gentile World—hook, line and sinker!. Likewise, the arch-type of Antichrist in Daniel is a Greek who attempted to Hellenize the Jews (Antiochus Epiphanes)). Here is an argument that has never been met by those who believe that the pope is the Man of Sin. So far as we are aware no Israelite has ever occupied the Papal See—certainly no one has done so since the seventh century” (p. 31, The Antichrist).
Notwithstanding, Pink’s emphatic presuppositions concerning the Jewish character of Antichrist, he is obligated to “hedge his bet” due to the total lack of solid Scriptural identification to the contrary; to wit:
“The Antichrist will be a Jew, though his connections, his governmental position, his sphere of dominion, will by no means confine him to the Israelitish people. It should, however, be pointed out that there is no express declaration of Scripture which says in so many words (Pink’s emphasis) that this daring Rebel will be “a Jew”; nevertheless, the hints given are so plain (if Pink had only read them!), the conclusions which must be drawn from certain statements of Holy Writ are so obvious, and the requirements of the case are so inevitable, that we are forced to believe he must be a Jew. To these ‘hints’, ‘conclusions’ and ‘requirements’ we now turn.” (pp. 41-42).
From here Pink takes his readers on one of the most convoluted journeys through Scripture imaginable—I am embarrassed to recount his attempts to impersonate the Antichrist as a Jew and the Scriptures used to confirm his otherwise self-confessed introduction that “there is no express declaration of Scripture which says in so many words that this daring Rebel will be ‘a Jew.” Frankly, Pink should have stopped right there because in point of fact THERE IS NO SCRIPTURE that conclusively validates his thesis—NONE!
To the contrary—there are a multitude of Scriptures which delineate the Antichrist as totally Gentile, out from the Gentiles, and the leader of the Western World—utterly contradicting the frivolous conjectures of Pink’s otherwise brilliant thesis on the Antichrist.
Has not Pink read Daniel 9:26 which clearly states:
“And the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary.”
Sir Robert Anderson clearly spells out that the wording committed in Daniel 9:26 tells us that THE PEOPLE (of the prince who is to come) would destroy the city and the sanctuary—which was done in 70 A.D. under Titus of Rome (but Titus of Rome was not “the prince who is to come”) but he was among the “people of the prince” who were absolutely Roman and/or Gentiles who destroyed both Jerusalem and the Temple.
Again, the connectivity of THE PEOPLE with THE PRINCE WHO IS TO COME is dramatic and incontrovertible. The original “people” who destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple ARE connected to “the coming prince.” Likewise, “the prince who is to come” or “the coming prince” is, if you would, OUT FROM THOSE SAME PEOPLE! And, just who were those “people?” They were 100% Roman, GENTILES! That “prince who is to come” is of the same Empire, of the same Western Civilization that gave him birth. It was “his people” who destroyed Jerusalem—and it will be that “coming prince” who will make such “a covenant with the many” (i.e., Daniel’s people, the Jews) in the latter days.
Once it is fully realized that this "Coming Prince" is so depicted in Daniel 7 and 8, and that the description of him is both Roman and Greek—it can be easily surmised that what we have here is a "progression" of not only the Gentile World Powers (Babylon, Medo-Persian, Grecian, and Roman), but of the "emergence" of this end-times’ leader. The epitome of Western Civilization has been expanding even 'till today where it has reached its final fruition in the American New World Order System. What you are witnessing today, my friends, is the final form of Western Civilization and of its singular leadership.
ANTICHRIST AND THE “ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION” AND MISCONCEPTIONS OF WHO IS ANTICHRIST -
"John explains the 'abomination that causes desolation' spoken of by Daniel and by Christ. The abomination will be an image of the Beast that will be set up in the temple in Jerusalem (Rev.13:14-15). All who refuse to worship this statue are executed . . . Just as Nebuchadnezzar put his statue out on the plain of Dura and tested the loyalty of his subjects, including Zedekiah, king of Judah, so will this future Antichrist erect some sort of statue or image and demand that people pay homage to it. The penalty for refusal? Death! . . . The world ruler (Antichrist) who will arise during the final seven-year period will originate from somewhere within the territory occupied by the ancient Roman Empire. He will lead a new "revived" Roman Empire that will become the dominant power in the world" (Excerpts from The Rise of Babylon, by Charles H. Dyer, Moody Bible Institute).
Dyer’s Eighteenth/Nineteenth Century understanding of both a Revived Roman Empire, centered in Western Europe, as the base of Antichrist, is classical “Left Behind Series” evangelical eschatology—it is outmoded, unbiblical, and fundamentally misstates the PROGRESSION of Western Civilization—having reached its apex in the American New World Order System (i.e., America’s military, economic, cultural and even religious dominance is staggering compared to the ineptitude and utter weakness of Western Europe when compared to that of the USA).
ANTICHRIST TURNS INTO THE BEAST
Now, when we contemplate the Beast (who, according to Rev. 13:3, 12b, 14b is described as the one who had been mortally wounded in the head by a sword and lived) we see the Dragon (i.e., Satan, that old Serpent, the Devil) who gives authority to the first Beast (Rev. 13:4), and that he (the first Beast) “was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he was given authority to continue for forty-two months” (Rev. 13:5).
The Antichrist is revealed when he commences the 70th Week of Daniel through the implementation of the infamous “Covenant with Death and Hell” with Israel. This “defense pact” between Antichrist and Israel underwrites Israel’s security and inaugurates the reinstitution of the sacerdotal rites, and, undoubtedly the rebuilding of the Jewish Temple—for such “rites” would be otherwise impermissible and without sanctification without such a Temple.
However, 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” (Daniel 9:27). They who postulate that this “he” refers back to the Messiah—rather than to the “prince who is to come”—have attributed the work of the Messiah, Jesus, to the work of Antichrist (a most egregious error) and have confused THE COVENANT (i.e., the “New Covenant”) with “a covenant” (one which is not eternal and that will be “broken” by Antichrist). The Messiah established the New Covenant in His blood at the “last supper/Passover”—the tenets of which neither have nor ever will be broken by Him!
The Scriptures, when placed side by side, confirm that “something has occurred” in the midst of the 70th Week of Daniel—it is the ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION. The Antichrist—precisely the “body or temple of Antichrist” has been taken over by Satan himself! His title immediately changes to that of the Beast who shall “tread the Holy City underfoot for forty-two months” (Revelation 11:2)—for “When they (i.e., the TWO WITNESSES) finish their testimony, the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit will make war against them (i.e., the TWO WITNESSES—i.e., Israel and the Church), overcome them, and kill them” (Revelation 11:7).
Furthermore, the Beast’s “Reign of Terror” is “re-announced” in a more detailed description of his horror in Revelation 13:5 and 7: “And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he was given authority to continue for forty-two months . . . 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.” (my emphasis) – This is the same forty-two month period of time announced in Revelation 11:2 and reveals that the “saints” are the TWO WITNESSES (i.e., “the two Olive Trees—Israel” and “the two Lampstands—the Church”). Time does not permit to go into detail as to the “War Against the Saints” by the Beast who launches his world-wide prosecution of war against all those who keep “the Commandments of God (Israel) and have the Testimony of Jesus (the Church).”
The above is a full description of how Antichrist turns into the Beast through receiving a mortal wound to the head and "resurrecting." This is without question the ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION spoken of by Daniel and Jesus and alluded to by Paul to the Thessalonians (Dan. 12:11; Matt. 24:15; Mark 13:14 & II Thess. 2:3; cf. John 17:12; Rev. 17:8 & 11).
Again, one of the above verses speaks of Judas who betrayed Jesus as the "son of perdition" (John 17:12). He is called this title in Luke 23:3 and John 13:27. Likewise, the "Man of Sin" spoken of by Paul to the Thessalonians is called the "Son of Perdition." It is absolutely clear that the title "Son of Perdition" is connected to the figure of the Beast when the Antichrist is resurrected and when the Beast (who comes out of the sea) enters into the Antichrist and he becomes "THE Son of Perdition." Likewise, Revelation 17:8 and 11 clearly present the issue of “perdition” as the ultimate destination of this Son of Perdition; to wit:
“The beast that you saw was, and is not, and will ascend out of the bottomless pit and go to perdition . . . the beast that was, and is not, is himself also the eighth, and is of the seven, and is going to perdition.”
Once the “abomination of desolation” has been committed—THERE IS NO TURNING BACK—the Beast is the Son of Perdition and to Perdition he shall descend (Revelation 19:20—“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 casts alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone.”).
THE TEMPLE OF JERUSALEM vs. THE TEMPLE OF MAN
(Man's Nature: spirit, soul and body)
Now, we know how the falsification of the resurrection of Christ in the person of the Antichrist/Beast takes place—but just how does this happen or, how does Antichrist become the Beast or how does he become "The Son of Perdition?"
Our understanding that man is created in the image of God is mandatory at this juncture. Man is a tripartite being (i.e., body, soul and spirit). This understanding unlocks II Thess. 2:3-4 that states:
"Let no man deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first” (Note: This is NOT the rapture of the Church—it is the APOSTASY of the Last days and involves believers who fall away from the faith once delivered to the saints-again, please check Dene McGriff’s material at www.the-tribulation-network.com for more information regarding the “Apostasy of the Last Days.”).
II Thessalonians continues . . . “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 (Grk. "naos") of God, showing himself that he is God."
The Son of Perdition (i.e., the Beast, who once bore the singular title of “Antichrist”) “ascends from the abyss,” when Satan enters into the body of Antichrist and sets himself up as god! To prove that this is the case, let us turn to the following passages:
The same Greek word (naos) is used in I Corinthians 3:16-17 and I Corinthians 6:19 where we read: "Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are" (both corporately and individually and the Greek word here is “naos”).
Now, let's turn to the final confirmation that the "temple" referred to here in II Thess. 2:3-4 is the "BODY OF A MAN" and not the physical Temple in Jerusalem wherein the sacerdotal rites may be inaugurated.
What we're trying to prove here is that Satan, upon entering the mortally wounded body of Antichrist (half-way through the 70th Week of Daniel) commits the ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION and that this very act is the DESECRATION of the human spirit wherein the Antichrist, like Judas who became the son of perdition, shall become the very final days' Son of Perdition! Just as the believer's body is the temple of the Holy Spirit and "that which is born of the Spirit (Holy Spirit) is spirit (man's human spirit)" (John 3:6), even so, that which counterfeits the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit, through the DESECRATION of the spirit of Antichrist, causing him to become the Son of Perdition (having no divine prerogative in ever becoming a child of God through the regeneration of the Holy Spirit), will be the full manifestation of the Beast (forever assigned to destruction—without any divine ability for regeneration and redemption).
The final confirmation of this discovery are the words of Jesus Himself:
"And He found in the temple (Grk. "hieron"—i.e., the actual physical Temple of Jerusalem, the Herodian Temple) those who sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers doing business. When He had made a whip of cords, He drove them all out of the temple (hieron) (etc.)" (John 2:14-15a).
Now . . . Jesus changes from "hieron" to "naos" in a most dramatic fashion regarding his resurrection:
"Jesus answered and said to them, 'Destroy this temple ("naos"), and in three days I will raise it up'" (John 2:19a). Also: "But He was speaking of the temple ("naos") of His body. Therefore, when He had risen from the dead, His disciples remembered that He had said this to them; and they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had said" (John 2:21-22).
Likewise, in Matthew 24:15 Jesus says, when giving his Olivet Discourse of the Last Days and the coming Abomination of Desolation:
"Therefore, when you see the 'abomination of desolation,' spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place" (whoever reads, let him understand)."
It would appear that Jesus' injunction, by Matthew the writer, is meant to be UNDERSTOOD! And, just what is the "holy place" if not the very place spoken of in II Thess. 2:3-4—i.e., the temple of man, not the Temple in Jerusalem, in which "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 (i.e., the "holy place") of God, showing himself that he is God."
THE OUTER COURT - HOLY PLACE - HOLIEST OF ALL
Furthermore, just as the Tent of Meeting, the Tabernacle, the Temple in Jerusalem consisted of the (1) Outer Court (a type of the body of man); (2) the Holy Place (a type of the soul of man (mind, emotion, will/intuition of a human being); and (3) the Holiest of All (a type of the human spirit of man); even so, it is the very spirit of man which is born again by the Spirit of God.
The "veil has been rent" (of the physical Temple of Jerusalem) at the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus to attest to the fact that He has offered up to the Father "the blood of the everlasting covenant" and now, man's spirit can be indwelt by the Spirit of God "through a new and living way" wherein: ". . . having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith . . . " (Heb. 10:19-22).
In Sum, the ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION is the counterfeit of the REGENERATION OF THE HOLY SPIRIT and simply means that the Antichrist, who receives a "mortal wound" will be "regenerated" by Satan himself, just as he entered into Judas, who became a Son of Perdition; even so, the Last Day's Son of Perdition, that Man of Sin, will be so revealed:
". . . what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time. For the MYSTERY OF LAWLESSNESS is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. And THEN the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming. The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders" (II Thess. 2:6-9).
THE RESTRAINING WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
The RESTRAINER (i.e., the Holy Spirit) has, up until this time, reserved the "spirit of man" for His regeneration. "He who restrains" will no longer do so when the Man of Sin is revealed, even THE Son of Perdition, the BEAST! The restraining work of the Holy Spirit is directly connected to the revealing of the Man of Sin, wherein Satan enters into the Antichrist and counterfeits the resurrection.
The restraining work of the Holy Spirit has NOTHING WHATSOEVER TO DO WITH THE RAPTURE OF THE CHURCH! It has everything to do with the Man of Sin and the DESECRATION of the spirit of Antichrist! Furthermore, this initial manifestation of the Man of Sin, the Beast (for Antichrist has become "The Son of Perdition") is immediately followed (just as the Resurrection of Christ was followed by the work of the Holy Spirit in producing the IMAGE OF CHRIST, the Bride of Christ, the Church of the Living God), by the "ministry" or "work" of the Second Beast, the False Prophet:
THE BEAST (the Satanic Incarnated Antichrist) & THE SECOND BEAST vs. THE RESURRECTED CHRIST & THE HOLY SPIRIT
or “The Image of the Beast vs. the Image of Christ”
First, the Beast and Second Beast of Revelation 13 are directly connected to anti-types of both the Resurrected Christ and the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit's ministry in preparing the Image of Christ, the Bride of Christ. Here we have the absolute counterfeits of both the Glorified Christ in Resurrection and the Comforter's ministry, wherein all true signs and wonders, which confirm our Lord's identity, have and are being produced by God, the Holy Spirit.
Today, the work of the Holy Spirit is to lead believers in the worship of the Risen Christ—to draw full and uncompromising attention to the Person and Work of our Lord Jesus Christ.
At the close of the Revelation we read: "And the Spirit and the Bride say, 'Come!'" (Rev. 22:17); "Come, I will show you the Bride (lit. “the Woman”), the Lamb's wife" (Rev. 21:9b). This is the same Spirit wherein we repeatedly read in Revelation Chapters 2 and 3—"He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches." Likewise, this is the same Holy Spirit Whose work is as follows: "Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as a mirror (i.e., God's people are likened to a mirror that beholds the Lord) the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same IMAGE from glory to glory, just as by (from) the Spirit of the Lord" (II Corinthians 3:17-18).
It is abundantly clear that the work of the Holy Spirit today is to produce the IMAGE of Christ—the Bride of Christ. The above text is addressed in the plural—WE ALL (yes, as individuals, but with a most definite corporate aspect associated therewith). Also, it would be a full manifestation of idolatry of the worst order if the Bride of Christ drew attention to herself and not to the Lamb of God, Who takes away the sin of the world! No where in Scripture does it ever say that there is “the worship of the Bride of Christ” nor of “The Woman” (as seen in Revelation 21:9).
Yet, Satan, the Dragon, whose nature is “all-consuming”—for in him was “iniquity found”—demands that his “image” be worshiped, for it is the very reflection of his SELF!
The False Prophet or Second Beast has arisen from the earth “concurrently” with the manifestation of the Beast at the commencement of the “abomination of desolation” wherein Antichrist has recovered from what appears to be an “assassination” –
“And I saw one of his heads as if it had been mortally wounded, and his deadly wound was healed . . . and all the world marveled and followed the beast . . . so they worshiped the dragon (i.e., Satan) who gave authority to the beast (i.e., the “resurrected” Antichrist, the BEAST), saying, ‘Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?”
It is the “work and ministry” of the False Prophet/Second Beast—and his “religious duty” to falsify/counterfeit the work of the Holy Spirit in creating the Image of the Beast (i.e., the counterfeit to the Image of Christ, the Bride of Christ).
His eruption from the earth is descriptive of this “Trinity of Evil” at work in the midst of the 70th Week of Daniel:
“Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon” (Revelation 13:11).
This Second Beast is described as having TWO HORNS (“two” is the number of witness and testimony throughout the Revelation and elsewhere in Scripture). This “two” upon a lamb-like figure is akin to the “witness of the Spirit” on behalf of the Lamb of God. Here we see in the “two” the witness of the False Prophet/Second Beast to the Beast himself—the one on whose behalf he testifies: “And he (the “two-horned” False Prophet) 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” (Revelation 13:12). The figures of the “lamb” and the speaking “like a dragon” characterize the source of the False Prophet’s authority.
The “lamb” and the “dragon” clearly reveal the counterfeit of the Lamb of God (the Son) and of the Father or stated another way: The “false lamb” vs. the true Lamb of God and the “dragon” vs. the Father—thus is the “Unholy Trinity” conveyed in Revelation 13:11.
THE IMAGE OF THE BEAST IS NOT A PHYSICAL STATUE
(Counterfeit of the Image of Christ)
"Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon. 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. And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an IMAGE to the beast who was wounded by the sword and lived. He was granted power to give breath to the IMAGE of the beast, that the IMAGE of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the IMAGE of the beast to be killed. He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name" (Rev. 13:11-17).
What we have here is not some PHYSICAL STATUE being erected in a rebuilt Jewish Temple (although I am not saying here that there will not be such a temple built within the 70th Week of Daniel in Jerusalem—I have spoken to this issue regarding the reinstitution of the sacerdotal rites). No, the Second Beast, known as the False Prophet, is none other than the one who comes from the earth as the full counterfeit of the Holy Spirit, whose ministry descended at Pentecost before the world in tongues of fire and which gave birth to the Church, the IMAGE OF CHRIST.
Even so, the dastardly work of the Second Beast is to lead in the "Worship of the Beast" and to create the IMAGE OF THE BEAST—that is, the MEMBERS OF THE BODY OF THE BEAST! This IMAGE will be none other than the counterfeit of the BODY OF CHRIST. This "statue" spoken of by scores of well-meaning, but “biblically confused” evangelical theologians, will be none other than the counterfeit of the IMAGE OF CHRIST, the Bride of Christ.
THE WORSHIP OF THE IMAGE OF THE BEAST
(Prototype: Das Volk of Nazi Germany)
And, what's more and totally contrary to the Bride of Christ/the Image of Christ, the Church, will be the WORSHIP OF THE IMAGE OF THE BEAST (not “just” the “Worship of the Beast”).
The old beloved hymn of the faith that says:
"The Bride eyes not her garments but her dear Bridegroom's face . . . I will not gaze at glory, but on my King of Grace."
Alas! Here we have the WORSHIP OF THE IMAGE OF THE BEAST who, like Satan, must "stand in the temple and be worshiped as God." Here we have not the Bride of Christ who only has eyes for the Lamb, her husband, but we have the counterfeit that only has eyes for its own image! Let me give you a most sinister example of the WORSHIP OF THE IMAGE OF THE BEAST in the creation of Nazi Germany's DAS VOLK.
Hitler (one of the many antichrists that are come into the world, as Jesus said), was heralded by the False Prophet of the Third Reich, Dr. Joseph Goebbels (Minister of Propaganda under Adolf Hitler). In his classic propaganda piece, entitled: "Adolf Hitler," Goebbels clearly articulates the WORSHIP OF THE IMAGE OF THE BEAST in the following:
"Herein lies the secret of the indestructibility of Adolf Hitler and his work—the guarantee that the road he has taken can not be altered. For it is no longer the man Adolf Hitler, it is no longer his works and no longer the road he has taken that expresses itself in him. It is the German nation itself that expresses itself in him. IN HIM THE NATION LOVES ITSELF, in him it follows its most secret desires, in him its most daring thoughts become reality. Every single person feels this and because of it Adolf Hitler is a stranger to no one, and no one is a stranger to the Fuhrer. Workers and farmers speak with him; Nobel prize winners and artists, warriors and dreamers, happy men and despairing men speak with him, and each and every one hears his own language, he understands and is understood in return. Everything is natural and self-evident, and no one is shy before this great man. No one is ordered to follow. No one is courted, but everyone is called, just as one would be called by his own conscience. He has no choice but to follow, should he not want to be guilty and unhappy in his own heart. Thus, what must happen happens voluntarily, and no nation on the face of this earth has more freedom than the Germans."
The creation of DAS VOLK meant that they had become the very IMAGE OF THE BEAST (if you would) - the very BODY OF ADOLF HITLER, the prototype of the Beast of Revelation. They beheld him (through the assistance and "ministry" of Joseph Goebbels), and they REFLECTED him in all his hate, deception, and ignobility.
THE MARK OF THE BEAST vs. THE MARK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
Likewise, the MARK OF THE BEAST counterfeits the "sealing" ministry of the Holy Spirit wherein we have been "marked out" by the Holy Spirit and have been given the "earnest" (i.e., the down payment) of the same Holy Spirit. We are the "Lord's Possession." We belong to the Lord Jesus Christ—just as those who have the Mark of the Beast belong to the Beast.
A concluding word here, just as Judas Iscariot did not know that he would have Satan enter into him, neither will the Antichrist know his identity, and it is certain, the Son of Perdition (i.e., the Beast) will commence on the most horrific nightmare ever known to man!
Yet, they who have the MARK OF GOD during the 70th Week of Daniel—and have refused the MARK OF THE BEAST—are clearly represented by the 144,000 of Revelation Chapter 14:1:
“Then I looked, and behold a Lamb standing on Mount Zion (Note: This is not, as some well-meaning evangelical eschatologists claim, a “preview” of Christ’s reign on the earth prior to his actual dissension from the heavens—Christ as the Lamb is STILL IN THE HEAVENS), and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand, having His Father’s name written on their foreheads”
(i.e., NOT the “Mark of the Beast on their foreheads”).
"GREATER IS HE THAT IS WITHIN YOU THAN HE THAT IS IN THE WORLD"—we are fully assured that these Last Days will still be the Church's greatest hour of testimony both against the forces of darkness of that Great City, Babylon, and against the coming IMAGE of THE BEAST and the WORSHIP OF THE IMAGE OF THE BEAST and of the rise of the Antichrist.
This in no way exhausts the description of this DESPICABLE ONE—but it will at least register a vehement protest and warning to an unsuspecting and ever-growing number who dismiss his soon-to-be occurrence upon this earthly clod. And, NO, we who bear the Mark of God do NOT look forward to Antichrist—we await the BLESSED HOPE and the “glorious appearing of the Great God and our Savior, Jesus Christ.”
“Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, ‘Who are these arrayed in white robes, and where did they come from?’ And I said to him, ‘Sir, you know.’ So he said to me, ‘These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (Revelation 7:13-14).
“So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, ‘Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death” (Revelation 12:9-11).