The Antichrist - Have We Been Groomed to Receive Him?
1Then I stood on the sand of the sea. And I saw a beast rising up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his horns ten crowns, and on his heads a blasphemous name. 2Now the beast which I saw was like a leopard, his feet were like the feet of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. The dragon gave him his power, his throne, and great authority. 3And 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. 4So they worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, "Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?"
5And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he was given authority to continue for forty-two months. 6Then he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven. 7It 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. 8All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
9If anyone has an ear, let him hear. 10He who leads into captivity shall go into captivity; he who kills with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.
The following material is taken from Things To Come; by J. Dwight Pentecost
THE PERSON AND MINISTRY OF THE BEAST, THE HEAD OF THE EMPIRE
Scripture has a great deal to say concerning the individual who will appear in the end time as the head of the Gentile powers in their ten kingdom federation. His person and work are presented in Ezekiel 28:1-10; Daniel 7:7-8, 20-26; 8:23-25; 9:26-27; 11:36-45; 2 Thessalonians 2:3-10; Revelation 13:1-10; 17: 8-14. A synthesis of the truths in these passages will reveal the following facts concerning his activities:
- He will appear on the scene in the "latter times" of Israel's history (Dan. 8:23).
- He will not appear until the Day of the Lord has begun (2 Thess. 2:2).
- His manifestation is being hindered by the Restrainer (2 Thess. 2:6-7).
- This appearance will be preceded by a departure (2 Thess. 2:3), which may be interpreted either as a departure from the faith or a departure of the saints to be with the Lord (2 Thess. 2:1).
- He is a Gentile. Since he arises from the sea (Rev. 13: 1) and since the sea depicts the Gentile nations (Rev. 17:15), he must be of Gentile origin.
- He rises from the Roman empire, since he is a ruler of the people who destroyed Jerusalem (Dan. 9:26).
- He is the head of the last form of Gentile world or he is like a leopard, a bear, and a lion (Rev. 13:1). (Cf. Dan. 7:7-8, 20,24; Rev. 17:9-11.) As such he is a political leader. The seven heads and ten horns (Rev. 13:1; 17:12) are federated under his authority.
- His influence is world wide, for he rules over all nations Rev. 13:8). This influence comes through the alliance which he makes with other nations (Dan. 8:24; Rev. 17:12).
- He has eliminated three rulers in his rise to power (Dan 7:8, 24). One of the kingdoms over which he has authority has been revived, for one of the heads, representing a kingdom or king (Rev. 17:10), has been healed (Rev. 13:3)
- His rise comes through his peace program (Dan. 8:25)
- He personally is marked by his intelligence and persuasiveness (Dan. 7:8, 20; 8:23) and also by his subtlety and craft (Ezek. 28 :3 so that his position over the nations is by their own consent (Rev. 17:13).
- He rules over the nations in his federation with absolute authority (Dan. 11:36), where he is depicted as doing his own will. This authority is manifested through the change in laws and customs (Dan. 7:25).
- His chief interest is in might and power (Dan. 11:38).
- As the head of the federated empire he makes a seven year covenant with Israel (Dan. 9:27), which is broken after three and one- half years (Dan. 9:27).
- He introduces an idolatrous worship (Dan. 9:27) in which he sets himself up as god (Dan. 11:36-37; 2 Thess. 2:4; Rev. 13:5).
- He bears the characterization of a blasphemer because of the assumption of deity (Ezek. 28:2; Dan. 7:25; Rev. 13:1, 5-6).
- This one is energized by Satan (Ezek. 28: 9-12; Rev. 13:4), receives his authority from him, and is controlled by the pride of the devil (Ezek. 28:2; Dan. 8:25).
- He is the head of Satan's lawless system (2 Thess. 2:3) and his claim to power and to deity is proved by signs wrought through satanic power (2 Thess. 2:9-19).
- He is received as God and as ruler because of the blindness of the people (2 Thess. 2:11).
- This ruler becomes the great adversary of Israel (Dan. 7:21, 25; 8:24; Re :7).
- There will come an alliance against him Ezek. 28:7 Dan. 11:40, 42) which will contest his authority.
- In the ensuing conflict he will gain control over Palestine an adjacent territory (Dan. 11:42) an will make his headquarters in Jerusalem (Dan.11:45).
- This ruler, at the time of his rise to power, is elevated through the instrumentality of the harlot, the corrupt religious system, which consequently seeks to dominate him (Rev. 17:3).
- This system is destroyed by the ruler so that he may rule unhindered (Rev. 17:16-17).
- He becomes the special adversary of the Prince of Princes (ban. 8:25), His program (2 Thess. 2:4; Rev. 17:14), and His people (Dan. 7:21, 25; 8:24; Rev. 13:7).
- While he continues in power for seven years (Dan. 9:27), his satanic activity is confined to the last half of the tribulation period (Dan. 7:25; 9:27; 11:36; Rev. 13:5). 27
- His rule will be terminated by a direct judgment from God (Ezek. 28:6; Dan. 7:22, 26; 8:25; 9:27; 11:45; Rev. 19: 19-20). This judgment will take place as he is engaged in a military campaign in Palestine (Ezek. 28:8-9; Rev. 19:19), and he will be cast into the lake of fire (Rev. 19:20; Ezek. 28:10).
- This judgment will take place at the second advent of Christ (2 Thess. 2:8; Dan. 7:22) and will constitute a manifestation of His Messianic authority (Rev. 11:15).
- The kingdom over which he ruled will pass to the authori of the Messiah and will become the kingdom of the saints (Dan. 7:27).
Many names and titles are given to this individual in the Scriptures. Arthur W. Pink gives a list of names that are applicable to him:80 The Bloody and Deceitful Man (Ps. 5:6), the Wicked One (Ps. 10:2-4), the Man of the Earth (Ps. 10:18), the Mighty Man (Ps. 52:1), the Enemy (Ps. 55:3), the Adversary Ps. 74:8-10), the Head of Many Countries (Ps. 111:6), the Violent Man (Ps. 140:1), the Assyrian (Isa. 10:5-12), the King of Babylon (Isa. 14:2), the Sun of the Morning (Isa. 14:12), the Spoiler (Isa. 16:4-5; Jer. 6:26), the Nail (Isa. 22:25), the Branch of the Terrible Ones (Isa. 25:5), the Profane Wicked Prince of Israel (Ezek. 21:25-27), the Little Horn (Dan. 7:8), the Prince that shall come (Dan. 9:26), the Vile Person (Dan. 11:21), the Wilful King (Dan. 11:36), the Idol Shepherd (Zech. 11:16-17), the Man of Sin (2 Thess. 2:3), the Son of Perdition (2 Thess. 2:3), the Lawless one (2 Thess. 2:8), the Antichrist (1 John 2:22), the Angel of the Bottomless Pit (Rev. 9:11), the Beast (Rev. 11:7; 13:1). To these could be added: the One Coming in His Own Name (John 5:43), the King of Fierce Countenance (Dan. 8:23), the Abomination of Desolation (Matt. 24:15), the Desolator (Dan. 9:27). It is thus possible to see how extensive the revelation concerning this individual is. It is not surprising, since this one is Satan's great masterpiece in the imitation of the program of God.
A. Will the Beast be a resurrected individual? On the basis of Revelation 13:3 and 17:8 many expositors have held that the Beast who will rule will gain a tremendous following because he has experienced death and resurrection at the hands of Satan. Some have held that the Beast will be the reincarnation of Nero. Others have insisted that he will be Judas restored to life.8' Some have insisted that this will be a resurrected individual without attempting to identify him.32 The question arises then as to whether this is a resurrected individual in whom the miracle of Christ's death and resurrection is imitated. Even though it is said that this one comes to power by satanic activity (Rev. 13:2), and is said to have a deadly wound that was healed (Rev. 13:3), and comes out of the abyss (Rev. 17:8) it seems best not to understand this as death and resurrection for several reasons. (1) In Revelation 13:3 and 17:8 the beast is explained as the composite kingdom. The reference to the healing seems to be the resurgence of power in the Gentile kingdom that had been dead for so long. (2) Satan is called the "angel of the bottomless pit" or the "abyss" in Revelation 9:11, so that Revelation 17:8 does not teach that the head of the empire arose out of the abyss, but rather that the empire itself was brought about "from the abyss" or by Satan. (3) The Scriptures reveal that men are brought out of the grave by the voice of the Son of God.
Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation [John 5:28-29].
Satan does not have the power to give life. Since Christ alone has the power of resurrection, Satan could not bring one back to life. (4) The wicked are not resurrected until the Great White Throne (Rev. 20:11-15). If a wicked one were resurrected at this point it would set aside God's divinely ordained program of resurrection. (5) Since all the references to this individual present him as a man, not as a supernatural being, it seems impossible to hold that he is a resurrected individual. It Would be concluded that the Beast will not be a resurrected
B. The doom of the Beast. It is strange that almost every passage that makes reference to the activities of the Beast also includes a notice of his final doom. It must occupy a large place in the program of God. His end is seen in Ezekiel 21:25-27; 28:7-10; Daniel 7:11, 27; 8:25; 9:27; 2 Thessalonians 2:8; Revelation 17:11; 19:20; 20:10. While the movements leading to his overthrow will be seen later, it is to be observed at this point that God is going to overthrow this satanic masterpiece of delusion and imitation violently. Pink writes:
Scripture has solemnly recorded the end of various august evil personages. Some were overwhelmed by waters; some devoured by flames; some engulfed in the jaws of the earth; some stricken by a loathsome disease; some ignominiously slaughtered; some hanged: some eaten up of dogs; some consumed by worms. But to no sinful dweller on earth, save the Man of Sin, "the Wicked One," has been appointed the terrible distinction of being consumed by the brightness of the personal appearing of the Lord Jesus Himself. Such shall be his unprecedented doom, an end that shall fittingly climax his ignoble origin, his amazing career, and his unparalleled wickedness.
Things to Come; J. Dwight Pentecost, p 332-336
by Rene Pache
WITHOUT CONTRADICTION the greatest human personage of the end of the age will be the one whom the Bible calls the Antichrist. He is to play such a role that we should study attentively everything that is said to us on the subject.
I. WHO THE ANTICHRIST IS
He is the last great head to which the entire race will give itself at the end of time, and who will lead its ultimate revolt against the Lord and His Christ. Jesus is the perfect Man and the revelation of God on earth. But men rejected Him because they preferred darkness to light. Soon there will arise the superman who will incarnate all the power of Satan. This false christ, hiding his violence behind his ruse, will seduce the nations which will acclaim him as their savior. Paul calls him "the Man of Sin," because he will be the most highly developed type of the sinner: he together with his subjects will give the full measure of evil which man can attain whether individually or collectively. "The sin of man must expand into the Man of Sin."'
Let us note that the term antechrist, currently used by the public and even by the dictionary, is a barbarism owing to an error in transcription. The Biblical text in Greek always has antichrist, which signifies the one who is against Christ or who supplants Christ (I John 2:18, etc.). (Antechrist. from the Latin word ante, signifies the one who is before Christ.) The Antichrist shall be in effect the greatest adversary of the Lord who shall ever appear among men.
II. WILL THE ANTICHRIST REALLY BE A PERSON?
It is sometimes thought that the Antichrist will only be a system, a pernicious system brought into the world, an evil, collective spirit which will be manifested at the end of time. In this way, say certain authors, we should not wait for the appearance of a man in flesh and bone who will realize all of the prophecies concerning the Antichrist.
We must say that we are convinced by a large number of texts of the personality of the Antichrist. In order to clear up all confusion, let us note first of all on this subject that Scripture distinguishes three things:
1. The spirit of Antichrist
"Every spirit that confesses not Jesus is not of God; this is the spirit of the antichrist of whom you have heard of his coming, and who is already in the world" (I John 4:3). The spirit of Antichrist is in reality the spirit of negation which rejects Jesus Christ, and which the Devil has inspired in the heart of men since the day of his fall. Surely this spirit "is already in the world," but that does not make it impossible that it shall be one day personified in the Man of Sin.
Moreover, it is important that we should even today beware of such a spirit. John declares that "whoever sins is of the devil." So it could be said that there is an Antichrist in each one of us. It is so natural for us to have a spirit of wrath, of domination, of revolt, of criticism with regard to God, of indulgence, and of admiration without bounds for our I.
2. Precursors of the Antichrist
The last Antichrist will be only the crowning of a long line of enemies of the Lord. Balak and Balaam, the impious king and the false prophet relentlessly cursing the people of God, are types of the Antichrist and of the False Prophet of the end (Num. 22--24). We have seen in a preceding chapter that Daniel presents to us also a type of the superman to come under the traits of Antiochus Epiphanes (Dan. 8:9--26; 11: 21-45).
At the time of the apostle John, men who had worn the mask of piety had become the declared enemies of Christ (I John 2:18, 19, 22; II John 7). The primitive church had already known false apostles and false prophets. The false christ and the false prophet of the end of time will be signalized simply by their infernal power of seduction and the unprecedented degree of their perversion.
In every age Christians have recognized as precursors of the Antichrist persons who have distinguished themselves in history by their opposition to the Gospel, their persecution of believers, and their exaltation of their own person. Let us only cite here by way of example Nero, Mohammed, certain popes, and nearer to our own time, a man such as Hitler. It is certain that this last person, to speak only of him, has united in his person an imposing number of anti-Christian traits: dictatorial spirit, arrogance, unprecedented persecution of the Jews and also of the Christians, developing a veritable mystical cult of his person, crushing conquests and gaining almost total control over the political, economic, and religious life of his subjects. In the years which have just passed we may truly have the impression of being in some way present at the general rehearsal of the great final drama which is going to be played soon on the stage of the entire world.
Alongside of the names cited above we could cite others. For as the apostle John has already said, "There are many antichrists even now." But all those who have ever existed in the past or in the present have only prepared the way for the greatest and the last of them.
3. The person of the Antichrist
a. To John an antichrist is a person. Those who existed in his time were false Christians and enemies of the Lord, who were unmasked when leaving the church. And the apostle adds, "You have heard that an antichrist is coming," that is to say, a man, as the first antichrists, but still more formidable (I John 2:18, 19).
b. Paul gives to the Antichrist names which can only be applied to a person (II Thess, 2:8, 4): the Man of Sin, the son of perdition (see this name given to Judas, John 17:12), the adversary, the one who has himself worshiped as God, and the impious one.
c. Daniel speaks always of the same person as a king who shall pronounce words against the Most High, who shall oppose the saints and exercise dominion (7:24--26). He shall cause incredible ravages; he shall have unheard-of success; and he shall be filled with arrogance, even until his sudden end (8:23--25). He shall deceive the Jews and suppress their worship and erect the abomination of desolation, thus deserving the title of the devastator (9:27). This king shall do what he wishes; he shall say unbelievable things against the God of gods; he shall glory in war; he shall conquer Palestine, where he shall finally be annihilated (11:36, 38, 41, 45). The role and the actions which Daniel attributes to the Antichrist would make no sense if they were not the acts of a person.
d. The Apocalypse speaks exactly in the same sense. It calls the Antichrist "the beast" (ferocious), in contrast to Jesus Christ who is called "the Lamb." But it is clear that this Beast represents a man in flesh and bone. This man has himself worshiped; he speaks with arrogance against God; he persecutes the saints; he rules over the entire world (Rev. 13:4--7). Later we shall see that it is expressly said that the Beast "is a king" who shall govern with the aid of ten dictators (17:11, 12). Finally, this same king shall be thrown alive into the lake of fire and brimstone. A thousand years later he will still be found there, and, with the Devil and the False Prophet he will be tormented there day and night forever and ever (19:20; 20:10). All of the beings who are thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone are likewise individuals whose names are not written in the Book of Life (Rev. 20:15). It is evident that a "system" or a "principle" could not be thrown into Hell, much less be tormented there eternally.
e. Finally, Jesus Himself declares, "I am come in my Father's name and you do not receive me. If another comes in his own, you will receive him" (John 5:43). This word furnishes us with a very strong argument. As we have said above, Jesus, the envoy of the Father, was the perfect Man. The Antichrist, the instrument of the Devil, will be the totally perverted man. It is by the means of a human personality entirely in his possession that Satan will wage his last and formidable offensive. After having considered the character of certain precursors of the Antichrist, ancient and modern, it is relatively easy for us to imagine what this last one in flesh and bone will be.
Finally, let us cite on this point a word of Lange, "Every idea ends by being incarnate in one or several individuals who thus become the perfect representatives of it. If the Bible had not announced it, history would absolutely require an Antichrist who should come at the end of time to press to the last limit the revolt of men against God."
III. CONTRASTS BETWEEN CHRIST AND THE ANTICHRIST
Jesus is the Messiah sent by the Father to save the world and to establish His kingdom. The Antichrist is the false messiah raised up by the enemy to oppose the coming of the Lord and destroy man. Jesus is God who made Himself man; the Antichrist is man who made himself God. Let us try to pursue the comparison between these two great protagonists.
The Antichrist The Christ
1. He is the very image of Satan who sent him. John represents him by the characteristics of a Beast who has seven heads and ten horns, resembling the great red dragon who portrays the Devil (Rev. 12:3; 18:1; 17:3).
2. The Antichrist is the second person of the diabolical trinity constituted by the dragon (the Devil), the Beast, and the False Prophet (Rev. 16:13). There is therefore the Antigod, the Antichrist, and the Antispirit.
3. The Antichrist comes out of the abyss in order to accomplish the will of the Devil (Rev. 11:7; 17:8). He comes in his own name (John 5:43).
4. The Antichrist is as a savage beast who unites in himself the deception, the force, and the ferocity of the leopard, of the bear, and of the lion (Rev.18:2).
5. The Antichrist receives his power directly from the Devil, also his throne, and great authority (Rev. 13:2). His appearance is made "by the power of Satan with all sorts of false miracles."
6. The Antichrist seems to pass through some sort of resurrection or miraculous recovery which will draw the attention of all the world to him; "mortally wounded" (this expression is the same in Creek as the word slain employed with reference to the Lamb, Rev. 5:6; Rev. 13:3, 12).
7. The Antichrist will succeed in having himself adored by all the world: "They worshiped the beast and all the inhabitants of the world shall worship him" (Rev. 13:3, 4, 8). At such predictions we should not be surprised, for we have just seen entire peoples literally adore the superman who led them to ruin.
8. The Antichrist will astonish the world by his impudent discourses (Rev. 13:5, Dan. 7:8). Who does not recall the discourses full of violence by which certain persons made the nations to tremble a short while ago?
9. The reign of the Antichrist will endure only three years and a half (42 months; 1260 days; a time, times and the dividing of a time; Rev. 13:5; 12:6, 14).
10. The Antichrist is called "the man of sin"; he will be "the impious one" par excellence, summing up the mystery of iniquity (II Thess. 2:3, 7, 8). He represents everything that humanity has of badness and imperfection; that is why his symbolic number is the figure of man (6), three times repeated: 666.
11. The Antichrist will receive authority over every tribe, people, language, and nation. And all the inhabitants of the earth will worship him (Rev. 13:7,8). He will institute the first and only universal dictatorship, which the Lord will permit for a very short time.
12. The Antichrist has for a wife a prostitute, the apostate church, which he shall put an end to by burning (Rev. 17:1-- 16).
1. Jesus said, "He who has seen me has seen the Father" (John 14:9). He is the image of the invisible God; the express image of His person (Col. 1:15; Heb. 1:3).
2. Jesus is the second person of the heavenly Trinity: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, being one in divinity (John 1:1; II Cor. 3:17).
3. Jesus descends from Heaven to do the will of God. He comes in the name of His Father (John 6:38; 5:43).
4. Jesus is the Lamb sacrificed for us, full of sweetness, innocence, and grace (Rev. 5:6--9). Men have not wanted to be saved by the Lamb. They shall be torn by the Beast.
5. Jesus could say, "All power has been given to me in heaven and on earth.. . . All things have been given to me by my Father" (Matt.28:18; 11:27). Satan had offered in vain to the Saviour all the kingdoms of the world and their glory (Matt. 4:8--10). He will find in the Antichrist a man entirely disposed to receive this offer and to deliver himself to him body and soul.
6. It is by His resurrection that Christ has been declared Son of God with power (Rom. 1:4). God shall judge the world by the man whom He has designated, the one to whom He has given a certain proof by raising Him from the dead (Acts 17:31).
7. Jesus offered Himself for the adoration of the believers; the Magi worshiped Him at His birth (Matt. 2:11); His disciples also worshiped Him, including Thomas the doubter (Luke 24:52; John 20: 28; Phil. 2:10, 11).
8. One could say of Jesus: "Never man has so spoken as this man" (John 7:46). But He pronounced words full of sweetness and of love.
9. The ministry of Jesus lasted about three years, since it included three Jewish Passovers (John 2:13; 6:4; 11:55).
10. Jesus Christ is the Holy One of God, the perfect Man, truly one of us but without sin (Heb. 2:17; 4:15). He is the very essence of the mystery of piety (I Tim. 3:16). Also His symbolic figure in the Apocalypse is the perfeet number 7 (Rev. 5:6, 12).
11. God will give to His Son the nations for an inheritance and the ends of the earth for His possession (Ps. 2:8). Daniel adds, "There shall be given to him dominion, glory, and reign; and all the peoples, the nations, and men of all languages shall serve him."
12. Christ has for His Bride His Church, holy and blameless, which He is going to raise with Him in glory (Eph. 5:25--27). Such a comparison shows us in a disturbing manner to what degree Satan knows how to caricature God. His false messiah is an abominable reply to the true Christ. And the fact that humanity rejects Jesus to deliver itself to the Antichrist shows to what degree of abjection it is capable of descending.
IV. THE SEDUCTION OF ANTICHRIST
It was by seduction and ruse that Satan caused our first parents to fall (II Cor. 11:3). When he brings forth his false savior, the Antichrist, it will again be by an unprecedented power of seduction that he will lead all of humanity to fall at his feet. "It is not astonishing, since Satan himself disguises himself as an angel of light. It is not strange therefore that his ministers also are disguised as ministers of righteousness" (II Cor. 11:14, 15).
We have already seen that by many repetitions the Lord puts us on guard against this terrible seduction (Matt. 24:4, 5, 11, 23--25). Evidently these predictions will be especially realized by the last great false christ and his False Prophet. By the worst of impostures they will seek to bring about the belief--for rebellious men the worst of punishments. At last, believing they have found a liberator, they deliver themselves with their eyes closed to their greatest enemy. They will recognize their error at a moment when it is too late to be remedied.
In order to resist the seduction of the Antichrist the believers need a power and an intelligence which are supernatural. We might say that even now such power is necessary to be capable of resisting this seduction, for already it exercises itself everywhere in the world: "Beloved, do not put faith in every spirit; but test the spirits to know if they are of God. . . . Every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not of God; he is of the antichrist, of whom you have heard he is coming, and who already is in the world" (I John 4:1, 3). One sees sketched everywhere the great currents which are going to lead humanity to the end of its career. Those who now will not repent and accept the light of the Gospel will no longer be able to see light after the next offensive of the spirit of error. Let us repeat, after having been present at the irresistible spell produced on a vast population by a dictator recently disappeared, one can picture what will soon show itself on a universal scale. Woe, then, to those whom the Holy Spirit will not illumine; those who, deprived of all supernatural discernment, will no longer be able to distinguish truth from error. Blind leaders of the blind, they stumble, alas! together into the gulf of the most frightful seduction!
V. The REVEALING OF THE ANTICHRIST
"Then shall be revealed the lawless one whom the Lord Jesus shall destroy by the breath of his mouth" (II Thess. 2:8). The original text actually says: Then shall be "the apocalypse" of the lawless one. That is to say, he will be revealed, or unveiled, unmasked. Hitherto, iniquity has been a mystery (v. 7); sin was a hidden thing, secret, hating light, ashamed of and disguising itself, carrying a mask and making itself a hypocrite. But with the Man of Sin, evil will appear in full light; it will be totally unmasked.
The Antichrist shall manifest:
The savagery of a Nero
The hypocrisy of a Torquemada
The bloody frenzy of a Robespierre
The insatiable ambition of a Napoleon
The insane wrath of a Hitler
He is called "the son of perdition" (II Thess. 2:3; an expression which is applied elsewhere only to Judas, John 17:12). He is the "lawless one," or more exactly, the one "without law," the anarchist. Again, he is called the Beast because human qualities are not sufficient to express his bestiality.
The Antichrist will fully realize this famous word: Christianity has caused man to express all his wickedness. He will be the total expression of the sin of revolting humanity.
This is what F. Godet has written on the subject: "The complete victory of good by the coming of the Lord can be won only at the conclusion of the full manifestation of evil which resides in the heart of man, by the appearance of a great adversary of the kingdom of God and the realization of his momentary dominion; so that the supreme victory of good will be at the same time the last defeat of evil which has come to its apogee. . . . After that, even if one would urge the heart and spirit of mankind, one would exact from it no further good work or crime, no further truth or falsehood, no further piety or blasphemy."
Thus God allows the wheat and the tares to ripen completely in order to put the one in His granary and to burn the other in the fire which is never extinguished (Matt. 13:30). The harvest of the earth cannot take place until it is entirely ripe (Rev. 14:15).
VI. WILL THE ANTICHRIST BE A JEW?
Many commentators have thought that the Antichrist will be a Jew. For example, Irenaeus (A.D. 180) believed that he would be of the tribe of Dan because of Genesis 49:16, 17, and because this tribe is omitted in the enumeration of the twelve tribes of Israel in Revelation 7:4--8. Jerome (A.D. 350-- 420) said that the Antichrist would be the only Jew who would attain universal dominion. As for us, without being able to express ourselves in an absolute manner, we would not be astonished if this person were a Jew, for the following reason:
The Antichrist will present himself to the Israelites as the Messiah whom they are still waiting for, and the latter, led astray, will acclaim him. "He will make a strong alliance with many for a week [seven years]" (Dan. 9:27). We have already cited this word of Jesus, who seems indeed to announce the manner by which the Jews will hail the Antichrist, "If another comes in his own name, you will receive him" (John 5:43). Now it would indeed be inexplicable to the Jews to acclaim as Messiah a man who was not of their own race.
VII. SIGNIFICANCE OF THE NUMBER 666
"No one will be able to buy or sell without having the mark of the beast or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him who has intelligence calculate the number of the beast, for it is a number of a man, and his number is 666" (Rev.13:17--18).
Much has been written on this passage and a thousand contradictory interpretations have been brought forth. We do not intend to give one more. However, certain indications could be useful. John says, "Let him who has intelligence calculate the number of the beast." In Greek (as in Hebrew and in Latin) the letters of the alphabet serve likewise as signs for the figures. Alpha signifies one; beta, two, etc. For any name it is, therefore, possible to add together the numerical value of each letter and to arrive at a total which forms "the number of a man." The name of the Antichrist will give the total of 666. Men have sought to apply this method with reference to all the persons in history who have seemed to be the Antichrist. By more or less arranging the letters of the titles of these persons they have arrived at the number 666 for the names of Nero, Mohammed, the pope, Napoleon, and even Hitler, not to speak of many others. In our opinion the proof that these interpretations are still premature is that they are all contradictory. We are convinced that when the last and great Antichrist appears, the true believers of the entire world will recognize him. The Holy Spirit will give to them enough light to calculate unanimously the number of his name. Until that moment comes, let us remain sober and patient.
But there is another means, equally just, it seems to us, of understanding the famous number 666. We made allusion to it just now when comparing Christ with Antichrist. John says that the number 666 is a "number of a man." It is evident that in the Apocalypse there are symbolic numbers. The number 7, for example, expresses fullness or perfection, and it is most often used with reference to God and Jesus Christ: the Lamb slain has seven horns and seven eyes which are the seven spirits of God (Rev. 5:6). On the other hand, the number 6 and its components refer to everything that is human: the 24 elders (Rev. 4:4); the 12 tribes of Israel, the 12,000, the 144,000 (Rev. 7:4--8). Six is the imperfect number par excellence, always below 7, the number of perfection. The Antichrist in his wrath will be able to raise himself and puff himself up beyond measure, extending his conquest even to the earth, causing himself to be worshiped even as if he were God. Everything that he makes will remain marked with the seal of fundamental imperfection and impotence: his number is and will remain the number of man three times repeated 6--6--6.
"This number is also the finality of progress, the consummation of civilization. . . . It is the total, the three dimensions, the length, the breadth, and the depth of the work of man. In whatever sense you calculate these dimensions, you arrive at the number 6.... [This number symbolizes] the supremacy of man, man exalted to the place of God, enthroned above his work and crying in his delirium: See what man has been able to attain!"
The number 666 is finally the proclamation of the impotence of Satan to equal God, of the Antichrist to equal Christ, of the False Prophet to equal the Holy Spirit.
VIII. THE POWER OF THE ANTICHRIST
1. The power of the Antichrist will be of supernatural and diabolic origin.
Satan in vain offered to Jesus Christ all the kingdoms of the world and their glory (Matt. 4:8--10). The Man of Sin will accept this offer, giving himself completely to evil, and he will receive from the Devil his power, his throne, and a great authority; the Beast "must come up from the abyss and go to perdition" (Rev. 13:2; 17:8; see also II Thess. 2:9, 10). Only in this way can the amazing career of this man be explained.
2. God Himself will permit the Antichrist to establish his empire.
The wicked themselves (including Satan), are constrained to serve in the fulfilling of the will of God. Mankind in revolt must reap that which has been sown, and sinners before being judged must have demonstrated all that of which they arc capable. That is why God permits the appearance of the Antichrist and uses him as a terrible scourge to strike the nations. Thus we read in the Apocalypse four times on this subject:
"And there was given to him a mouth which shall prophesy arrogant words. . .
"And power was given unto him to continue.
"And there was given to him to make war on the saints....
"And there was given to him authority over every tribe and people . . .and nation" (Rev. 13:5, 7)
God formerly used the king of Assyria as "the rod of his anger" to strike Israel, but afterwards severely punished him also (Isa. 10:5--7, 12). Likewise, after he allows the Antichrist to exist for a little while, the Lord will chastise him. When we study the seventeenth chapter of Revelation, the judgment of the great Babylon by this same Antichrist and his allies, we shall see that these sinister persons, without realizing it, can only bring about the will which God has put in their heart (Rev. 17:16, 17). Thus when the worst monsters seem to govern, it is still the Lord who leads them and who rules over the world.
3. At the outset the Antichrist will base his power on the countries of the fourth kingdom of Daniel.
a. It is the reconstituted ancient Roman Empire that will see the Antichrist arise.
We have seen while studying the four universal empires depicted by Daniel (p. 144 if.) that it is in the midst of the Roman Empire that the great dictator of the end of time must appear (Dan. 7:7, 8, 23--25). In fact, the Roman rule which crucified Jesus and dispersed the Jews in the entire world has long since ceased to exist. But here is what John announces on the subject of the Beast which symbolizes this dominion and his head: "The beast that you saw was and is no more; it is about to come up out of the abyss and go to perdition. And the inhabitants of the earth . . . shall marvel when they see the beast because it was and is no more, and it is to appear. . . The seven heads [of the beast] are seven mountains on which the woman is seated. . . . And the woman that you have seen is the great city which has kingship over the kings of the earth" (Rev. 17:8, 9, 18). The city which governed the world at the time of the apostle John was undoubtedly Rome, just as the fourth animal of Daniel 7 also certainly represents Rome. The people who have formerly submitted to Roman rule are therefore called to play a role of primary importance at the end of time.
It was, in fact, the countries of the Mediterranean basin which were the first evangelized. They have received the most light and are the most responsible before God. For a long time they have played a prominent role in the domain of religion, thought, art, and craft. It is on their territory that that civilization was born which has been named "Christian," or more exactly, "Western." It is again on the peoples who have issued from these countries that in the course of the last century the government of almost the entire world has fallen. According to prophecy these same people are going to serve as the springboard for the power of the Antichrist, and will be the first to be struck, together with him, by the terrible judgments of God. We believe, moreover, that "the people of the ancient Roman Empire" must include, not only those who live strictly within these ancient frontiers, but also those who have directly descended from them and represent the same civilization. It is certain, for example, that the states of America, North and South, as well as Australia, participate fully today in the European culture and way of life. The Antichrist could, it seems to us, arise on one side of the Atlantic as well as the other without making any great change in the matter of understanding the prophecy.
b. The Antichrist will place himself at the head of a coalition of ten kings.
At the end of time, we have said, the ancient Roman Empire must reappear under a new form. In the first centuries of its history it was one. Long ago it was divided into two the two legs of the statue, Dan. 2:33), and the Roman Empire of the east existed until A.D. 1453. Before the return of Christ, it must reappear in the form of a federation of ten states (the ten toes of the statue and the ten horns of the beast, Dan. 7:24). The heads of the coalition are curiously described by the Apocalypse (Rev. 17:12, 18, 17). What are these "kings who have not yet received kingdom, but who receive authority as kings for an hour"? In our modem language we call such men dictators. We have already brought out the fact that all around the Mediterranean, and even farther west in the world, dictators have arisen in our time--until recently so fond of great words such as democracy and liberty.
However, there is more. The prophecy does not announce isolated dictators but a confederation of ten heads under the direction of a supreme master, the Antichrist. "For God has put in their heart . . . to come to one mind and to give their kingship to the beast" (Rev. 17:17). It has already become commonplace in the course of the latter years to speak of "The United States of Europe," of a "Latin Bloc," or more recently, of a "Western Bloc," including the Mediterranean and Anglo-Saxon countries. Mr. Winston Churchill could even write, "I do not see why, under the aegis of a world organization, a federation of the United States of Europe could not be constituted which will unite the continent as it has never been since the Roman Empire." We do not know how the situation actually will be unfolded nor how much time is still necessary in order that the prophecies reach their fulfillment. But it is certainly permissible to state that in the major lines, the present state of the world and that which Scripture predicts already strangely resemble one another.
4. The Antichrist will extend his power by irresistible conquest and he will deify brute force.
Depending on the Western people, the Antichrist will seek to defend his empire. He will do that by means of the "Blitz" with which we have recently become familiar: "Behold there was a fourth animal terrible, frightful, extraordinarily strong; it had great teeth of iron; it ate, tore to pieces, and trampled that which remained under foot. . . . A king shall arise fierce and clever. His power shall increase but not by his own might; he shall cause incredible destruction; he shall succeed in his enterprises; he shall destroy the mighty as well as the holy people" (Dan. 7:7; 8:28--25; 11:86, 40).
Seized by terror and admiration in the presence of the Antichrist, the entire world will cry, "Who is like the beast, and who can fight against him?" (Rev. 13:4).
Attributing like successes to the force of his arm, the Antichrist will deify brute force. "He will honor the god of force on his pedestal. This god whom his fathers did not know he will honor with gold and silver" (Dan. 11:88). Thus he will completely fulfill the word of Habakkuk, "His own might is his god" (1:11). Have we not for years heard all over Europe the vindication of violence and of war fresh and joyous? We can say that we have seen such a Moloch, the god of force, on his pedestal and an immense crowd of proud and robust men prostrate before him; for periodically the cult of force does not lack its adepts and its privileged ones. The Antichrist will only have to take all of this and bring it to its climax.
5. The Antichrist will attain universal dominion.
All great conquerors have desired to extend their empire to the entire world: think for example of Alexander, Caesar, Napoleon, or Hitler. For some years chance smiled on them and they were able to take possession of numerous countries. Then suddenly God breathed on their house of cards and all tumbled. Never yet has God permitted a single man to govern the entire world. But the Bible formally announces that He will permit it once at the end of time. The Antichrist will realize for a very short time the old dream of universal dominion which has haunted all of the royal heads. "The fourth beast is a fourth kingdom that shall be on earth, different from all the kingdoms, and which shall devour all the earth. It shall trample it and break it" (Dan. 7:23). "And to him was given authority over every tribe, every people, every tongue and every nation; and all the inhabitants of the world shall worship him. . . . He caused all who would not worship the image of the beast to be killed" (Rev. 13:1, 7, 8, 15).
It is easy to understand that we are today on the eve of a world dominion. If Germany had first discovered the atom bomb, what would have prevented her from conquering the entire world? And now if by misfortune a new war should break out between the great powers which exist, it is evident that the stake of the struggle will be world rule. Such a struggle could be terminated in very little time. That is because humanity has made such great progress. Formerly, one struggled for the possession of a province, then of a country, finally of a continent; now everything is unfolded on a world plan. After that it will be impossible to go farther, and the end will be near.
6. The Antichrist will exercise a political, economic, and religious dictatorship.
In every domain he will institute a totalitarian regime:
a. From the political point of view he will impose an iron law over the whole planet and all men will tremble before him (Rev. 13:3, 4, 7).
b. From the economic point of view he will be likewise, according to the words of John, the False Prophet who causes all, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their forehead, so that no one should be able to buy or sell without having the mark, the name of the beast or the number of his name" (Rev.13:16, 17).
c. From the religious point of view the same dictator will make himself felt.
The Antichrist, having proclaimed himself God, will command and force all men to adore him. Those who refuse to do it will be executed (II Thess. 2:4; Rev. 13:8, 15). It will, therefore, be an absolute totalitarianism, what the Nazis called Gleichschaltung, or integral unification.
That all the nations of Western culture fallen into apostasy will thus acclaim the Antichrist would seem to be entirely plausible. But how can the other peoples be brought into such a movement, as, for example, the Moslems who are so fiercely attached to their faith? But--strange thing--the Moslems themselves look for a mysterious person, the "hidden Mahdi," who shall reveal himself one day as the Moslem messiah who will bring justice on earth and lead Islam to triumph while subduing all infidels. Perhaps the Antichrist will succeed in passing himself as this awaited Mabdi and in thus rallying around his very person even the disciples of Mohammed, not to speak of the followers of other religions. According to another tradition, the Moslems believe also in the future appearance of a man who will have one eye and who will bear on his forehead the letters KFR (ka fir, unbeliever). He shall devastate everything except Mecca and Medina and shall be killed by the coming of Jesus Christ, who after 42 months shall lead all the Christians into the pale of Islam. If we cite such traditions, it is simply to show how the final expectation of true and false messiahs is anchored in the heart of all men.
7. The installation of such a regime shall arouse at once a frenzied enthusiasm, precursor of the final ruin.
"Finally, mankind has found anew the one which it desires and feverishly seeks across the centuries, a superman eclipsing the divine majesty. At last, it can be enraptured before him who corresponds exactly to its most secret covetings: for the great beast is made in the image of the bestial instincts which are in our hearts. . . . The great insurrection of the beast against God is the sum of all of our individual incredulities. Men acclaim this beast because, thanks to it and to its proud demonstration of power, they can again believe in the old earthly gospel: yes, man is able; yes, he can dispose of himself; yes, he can brave his destiny and defy death."'
The end of time "will be governed and firmly held by a magisterial spirit, a man who shall reunite in his person all of the most diverse gifts of the race. He will be soldier and man of state, orator and financier, savant and demagogue, tyrant and liberal, honored and feared, adored and hated." Let us add that he will certainly be versed in the occult sciences to be clothed as he must be with the power of the underworld.
As he is seized with madness in the presence of his heroes who adore him, mankind sees realized at last the old promise of the seducer, "You shall be as gods" (Gen. 3:5).
Finally, H. C. Wells wrote on the subject: "To establish and maintain the ideal social state it is necessary to discover a head capable of directing it endowed with an intelligence surpassing the most elevated human level." Believing itself at last to have found this man, mankind will abandon itself to its delirious pleasure.
The masses love to be governed by a strong hand: they bend with rapture before the greatest head of all time.
Men have always been seduced by military and national glory, and strong peoples have incessantly dreamed of universal dominion: all will be proud to belong at last to an empire encompassing the entire world.
The nations thirst for peace and security after having been torn by so many thousands of years of war; when the Antichrist alone reigns over the earth, all will believe the conflicts henceforth to be impossible, and peace forever assured. Individuals seek before everything else comfort, well-being and good living; having imposed on the world peace and security, the Antichrist will probably do everything to assure everyone of great material prosperity (the better to be able to subject their souls). He will perhaps be a great social reformer and will accomplish in this domain that which has not been attained by so-called Christian societies. (Let us think, for example, of the extraordinary social realizations obtained by Hitler.)
Souls have an inborn need to worship; having rejected the Lord, they give themselves with a mystic fervor to the superman whom they call their savior.
Each religion would impose itself on all the race, and world religion has the nostalgia of visible unity which the race has lost. When the true Church is taken up and the unique cult of the Antichrist is imposed, false unity will triumph proudly over the earth; all religions and all false churches finally founded in one will realize that which we can call false ecumenicalism (for if there is the true ecumenicity of the Body of Christ, there will also be its diabolical caricature).
Then there will be here on earth but a single church (exactly what the National Socialists wish). We can easily imagine what the slogans of the new regime will be. Seized with a foolish and contagious enthusiasm, the entire earth will cry: "Unity, peace, and security!"
But, declares the Word of God, "When men say peace and security, then a sudden ruin shall surprise them as the pains of childbirth surprise the pregnant woman, and they shall not at all escape" (I Thess. 5:3).
IX. THE ATTITUDE OF THE ANTICHRIST TOWARD GOD
Being the instrument of the adversary here on earth, the Antichrist will openly declare war on the Lord. "He will pronounce words against the most high. . . . He will hope to change times and law [the law of God]" (Dan. 7:25). It is with respect to God that he will manifest the arrogance several times spoken of (Dan. 7:8, 11, 20). "The horn grew great even to the army of heaven; it caused to fall to earth a part of this al-my and of the stars, and it took away the perpetual sacrifice from him and overturned the place of his sanctuary" (8:10, 11). (It is not easy to interpret this verse, which seems to apply to the time of the war that Satan shall wage in heavenly places, and to those who follow his instrument here below against the representatives of God.) The Antichrist will throw himself into this senseless conflict against the Lord. Pride shall cause him to lose his life (Dan. 8:25; 11:36, 37).
His supreme sin will consist in this: not content with attacking the Lord, he shall raise himself, according to the words of Paul, "above all that is called God or that is worshiped, even to sitting in the temple of God and proclaiming himself God" (II Thess. 2:4). As incredible as this seems, we have just seen that by so doing the Antichrist succeeds in having himself worshiped by all the inhabitants of the earth except the true believers (Rev. 13:8). This fact will very probably constitute the "abomination of desolation," of which Daniel spoke (9:27), and against which Jesus Himself warned His disciples (Matt. 24:15).
On such passages an absolutely recent fact in history gives a very clear light. Men have always been religious, and diverse cults have never been lacking on earth. Even in the name of religion men have often become persecutors. But we have seen developing little by little on earth a more radical and aggressive unbelief. One was content at the beginning to be a "believing liberal"; now he is becoming a "free thinker," a declared "atheist," rejecting en bloc all the religions. At last he sets himself to make war openly on God. In France during the great revolution this movement manifested itself for the first time under the modern form. Across the years antireligious passions were unchained. Forty thousand churches, chapels, and oratories were profaned, cathedrals were transformed into stables; Sunday was suppressed and replaced by the tenth day. They marched in procession and caused an actress of the opera to sit on the altar of Notre Dame in Paris portraying the goddess Reason. They proclaimed pompously the end of the Christian religion and the abolition of all worship. (Decree of the 30th of Brumaire," year 3.) They burned en masse holy books; in Rochefort there was a pyre of five or six thousand books. At Lyon a hundred and twenty priests were condemned to death in a single day. Religion was only re-established in 1797.
In our day we have witnessed the appearance of a movement of the godless in Russia. In 1928 it was said to have organized two hundred fifty thousand militants for the campaign against religion. There were ten thousand antireligious clubs. That same year there were at Leningrad seven hundred antireligious demonstrations. In three months, nine hundred churches were closed, and the newspaper, The Godless, brochures, and antireligious literature were published in millions of copies. This movement, having partially failed, seems for the moment to have diminished in violence. But prophecies allow us to foresee the time when it will lift its head anew and break forth on the entire world. In the hand of the Antichrist it will become a means of leveling all religions and of thus preparing for the worship of his own person.
Once more let us look at that which is already happening around us. The cult of the superman toward which mankind marches is not new in itself. Often in the history of great potentates they have extracted from their subjects divine honors--for example, the Roman emperors. In our day they would force seventy million Japanese (and even Christians among them) to adore the Mikado and his ancestors. And it is incontestable that a dictator such as Hitler (to speak only of him) succeeded in creating around his person an entirely religions mysticism. He thus obtained from a large number of his subjects a consecration more total and a faith more absolute than that of many believers with reference to God.
X. THE ATTITUDE OF THE ANTICHRIST TOWARD THE JEWS
1. At the very outset he will show himself falsely benevolent toward them.
In a preceding paragraph we have seen that the Antichrist could well be a Jew, and that according to the words of Jesus he will have himself acclaimed by the Israelites as if he were their messiah (John 5:43). Daniel said that he will make a final alliance with many during a "week" (of years, or for a duration of seven years, 9:27). Without doubt he will present himself as a protector of Israel, the one, perhaps, who at the beginning will pledge himself to re-establish them en masse in Palestine and to restore the national power. One wonders also if he will not reconstruct the temple and re-establish there the ancient sacrifices.
2. Afterward the Antichrist will persecute the Jews terribly.
The prophet Daniel adds that after three and a half years the Antichrist will break his alliance of seven years (in the middle of the "week" or heptad of years). "He will cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and upon the wing of abominations the devastator will come and make desolate; even to the full and determined end shall wrath be poured out on the desolate" (Dan. 9:27). It is perhaps then that the Antichrist will literally go "even to seat himself in the temple of God [reconstructed by the Jews at Jerusalem], proclaiming himself God" (II Thess. 2:4). The abomination of desolation will thus be effectively established in the holy place (see Matt. 24:15 and Acts 6:13). Being the tool of Satan on earth, he will seek quite naturally to annihilate the ancient people of God, those whose restoration ought to be the sign of his own ruin.
"I saw this horn make war on the saints and prevail over them until the moment when the Ancient of Days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the Most High. . . . He shall wear out the saints of the Most High [that is to say, in the language of the Old Testament, the Jews primarily], and he shall hope to change times and law [the Jewish law, no doubt]; and the saints shall be delivered into his hands" (Dan. 7:21, 22, 25; 8:24; 12:1, 6, 7). After having spoken of the unworthy rejection of the Good Shepherd by Israel, Zechariah announces the coming "in the land" (Palestine, without doubt) of the one who shall be the evil shepherd par excellence. "For behold, I will raise up in the land a shepherd who will not have the care of the sheep who perish.
He shall devour the flesh of the fattest ones and he shall rend unto the hoofs of their feet. Woe to the worthless shepherd who abandons his sheep! May the sword be on his arm and on his right eye. May his arm wither, and his right eye lose its sight" (Zech. 11:16, 18). And a little farther on the same prophet predicts that then two-thirds of the Jews will be exterminated. After the frightful massacre of six million Jews in Europe during the Hitler regime (that is to say, a third of the Jews in the entire world), such a prophecy seems to us only too possible.
XI. FATE OF THE CHRISTIANS UNDER THE ANTICHRIST
The Christians of the nations which will participate in the Great Tribulation (after the Rapture of the Church, if we understand correctly) will not be treated better than the Jews. When it is written, "I saw that horn make war on the saints and prevail against them. . . . The saints shall be delivered into his hands" (Dan. 7:21, 25), that doubtless relates first to Israel but also to all of the representatives of God on earth at that moment. The Apocalypse repeats in effect (and at first it has in view the Christians), "It shall be given to him to make war on the saints and to overcome them," and it adds that all those who do not worship the image of the Beast will be killed (Rev. 13:7, 15).
The believers will also be persecuted because, foretelling the coming of the King of kings, they commit the crime of lese majesty against the Antichrist by condemning his regime and predicting its end (as those who under the German occupation foretold the allied landing and rejoiced openly). The holy Inquisition burned and tortured in the name of the God of love. The Antichrist will institute the most frightful oppression of conscience under the pretext of delivering men from dependence on God. That will be more than ever the moment not to fear those who kill only the body, but rather the one who can cause both body and soul to perish in Gehenna (that is, God; Matt. 10:28). Moreover, in the midst of their distress, the saints can count on the help of the Lord who beforehand marks His own with His seal and fixes an end for the Tribulation.
XII. THE ATTITUDE OF ANTICHRIST WITH REFERENCE
TO BABYLON, THE FALSE RELIGION ON EARTH
In our next chapter we shall study Babylon, the great prostitute of the Apocalypse and we shall see this: In order to strengthen his reign the Antichrist will make at the beginning a sort of alliance between the throne and the altar, and will mobilize to his gain all the forces of false religion on the earth. For his part he will undergird by his authority the acts of this "prostitute," as indicated by the Beast which carries seated on it the impure woman, clothed with purple and scarlet (Rev. 17:3--7). The Antichrist will encourage, therefore, upon condition of being supported in return, the splendor, the abominations and persecutions of the false church. This latter, on his part, shall orchestrate a mystic concert of praise and adoration before the superman, conqueror of the nations. But rapidly becoming the uncontested master of the whole world, soon the Antichrist will no longer have need of such crutches. Pressed by the one who was the murderer from the beginning, he seeks new victims. Having decimated the Jews and the believers, he turns with a mad rage against false religion and its adepts, his allies of yesterday. "The ten horns which you saw and the beast shall hate the prostitute, shall make her naked and desolate, shall eat her flesh and consume her by fire" (Rev. 17:16). By way of repetition, certain crowned monsters have given an example of such evolution in history: for instance, Nero, or nearer to us, Hitler. Pride, when it reaches its summit, tolerates absolutely nothing around it: no influence, no resistance, no rivalry. There is no longer any place for the crowd of terrorized worshipers who might become, if they had the time, the murderers of their idol.
XIII. DURATION OF THE REIGN OF THE ANTICHRIST
Great conquerors have always had the hope that their empire would defy the centuries. Hitler often proclaimed that his Third Reich would last a thousand years. How much more the superman, who will achieve universal dominion, will hope to make a durable work! But Scripture declares peremptorily that his kingdom will be of extreme brevity.
Let us remark at the outset that a term is fixed beforehand for the impious activity of the Antichrist. "I saw this horn make war on the saints and he prevailed over them until the moment when the Ancient of Days came to give authority to the saints of the Most High. . . . I am going to make known to you what will take place at the end of the wrath, for it pertains to the time appointed for the end. . . . The king shall do as he wishes . . . until the wrath be accomplished, for what is determined shall be done. . . . He shall come to his end without anyone to help him" (Dan. 7:21, 22; 8:19; 11:36, 45).
How much time will the Antichrist have before this end? The Scripture replies to this question by four expressions in eight different passages. The Antichrist shall reign:
1. "A time, times and the division of a time" (Dan. 7:25; 12:7; Rev. 12:14). We are going to see that it is a matter of three and a half years, so that one could say, "a time, two times, and a half of a time" (Hebrew and Greek have a special number, the dual, which signifies two).
2. "The middle of the week" (Dan. 9:27). In the famous prophecy of the seventy weeks of Daniel each "week" (or, more exactly, "heptad") counts for seven years (see the author's Notes on Daniel) plus half of the week, or three years and a half. As we have seen above, it seems that the Antichrist will make an alliance with the Jews for seven years, but in the middle of this period he will turn against them; then will begin the three and a half years of the Great Tribulation.
3. "Forty-two months" (Rev. 11:2; 13:5). Such is the extent of time given to the Beast for action. This equals three and a half years.
4. "One thousand two hundred and sixty days" (Rev. 11:3; 12:6). By counting the year at 360 days, this makes exactly three and a half years.
It is sometimes asked whether this figure of three and a half years is used in a symbolic sense. Since it represents half of seven, the perfect number, it would signify that the Antichrist will be broken at the middle of his career. But we believe that if the Bible indicates eight times and by four converging expressions the figure of three and a half years, it ought to be taken as such, and above all, in the literal sense. A like insistence and such means of verification would not be explained otherwise.
Why would God set Himself to give such precision? For two reasons: First, He wants to indicate that He is and remains the Sovereign; He will permit the Antichrist to dare Him to the face, but for a very short time fixed beforehand. Secondly, the Lord wants to maintain the faith of those who will pass through the Great Tribulation. Without the light of prophecy they would think that the power of evil would indefinitely triumph on the earth. All these texts will be there to say to them, "Take courage and patience: the godless king shall not last more than three and a half years."
It must be confessed that three and a half years is a derisive duration for a universal empire. We have just been helped by something of analogy: the mad dominion which, since 1939, was imposed on Europe, lasted only four or five years--but that is already more than enough.
XIV. THE END AND PUNISHMENT OF THE ANTICHRIST
Satan believed he would triumph by means of the Antichrist, but he has succeeded no better than when he caused Joseph to be sold as a slave, or when he caused Jesus to be crucified. This far-off triumph will be in reality only the ruin of the enemy.
After claiming that he has given to the world peace and security by imposing on all his dominion, the Antichrist will be obliged to take up arms. It seems that at the end of three and a half years his authority will be struck in the breach by a formidable revolt of the people impatient to shake off the crushing yoke. Then there will take place, according to prophecy, the last of wars. It will be more world-wide than all the others and will find its end at Armageddon in Palestine (Rev. 19:19).
The end of this battle will be supernatural: Christ shall appear on the Mount of Olives and pulverize His enemies (Zech. 14:2--4). By the brightness of His appearing He shall annihilate the godless one and He shall destroy him by the breath of His mouth (by His own word, II Thess. 2:8). John adds, "And the beast was taken and with him the false prophet. . . . They were both of them thrown alive into the lake burning with fire and brimstone (Rev. 19:20). .
And they were tormented day and night for ever and ever" (Rev. 20:10). The tragic and lamentable end of the great personage who will have caused the whole world to tremble!
Is it possible to study, as we have just done, all of the texts relating to the Antichrist without being impressed by their actuality?
It is obvious that we are moving by great steps toward the appearance of this person. Let us not forget the solemn manner in which Scripture puts us on guard against seduction, which is almost irresistible, which will come forth from him. In two instances it adds for our warning, "Let him who reads give attention. . . . If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear" (Matt. 24:15; Rev. 13:9). It is, therefore, absolutely necessary that believers be duly warned of everything which concerns the Antichrist. They will thus be able to recognize him and to put themselves on guard against him in order to save their souls, if not their bodies. And even if we should no longer be on earth during the three and a half years of his reign, it is important that we take account even now of the one who certainly shall show himself. Our inward attitude and our conduct will thereby be modified, and we shall have entirely new motives to warn those around us while there still is time. Have we personally taken a position on this subject?
This is from The Return of Jesus Christ by Rene Pache; Translated by William LaSor Published by Moody Press Copyright 1955; Pages 171-206
The Antichrist - Have We Been Groomed to Receive Him?
1 Then I stood on the sand of the sea. And I saw a beast rising up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his horns ten crowns, and on his heads a blasphemous name.
2 Now the beast which I saw was like a leopard, his feet were like the feet of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. The dragon gave him his power, his throne, and great authority.
3 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.
4 So they worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, "Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?"
5 And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he was given authority to continue for forty-two months.
6 Then he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven.
7 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.
8 All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
9 If anyone has an ear, let him hear.
10 He who leads into captivity shall go into captivity; he who kills with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.
11 Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon.
12 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.
13 He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men. (NKJ)
In the passage this morning we are introduced to the most villainess man to ever live. We have lived through some of the darkest times of history where because of our technology we have the power to destroy more people in a shorter time in more horrible ways. But Stalin is no match for this coming world ruler. Hitter could not hold a candle to this master of terror. He is the worst of the worse.
But the biggest tragedy of all this is that our world is being groomed to receive such a man. Even our own nation is ready to receive with open arms this one who Christians call the Antichrist. John simply describes him as a beast.
- HE IS THE MAN OF LAWLESSNESS - 2 Thess. 2:3
- He will be the man of sin.
- That is he will be sinful, very sinful
- But we have come to accept that in our political leaders.
- Only within the last 10 years have we switched to a society that no longer cares about sin unless it harms us.
- Freedom to do whatever we want is the greatest desire of people today.
- The ACLU opposes all kinds of restraints on the moral vices of our land.
- They support pornography of every sort.
- They support legalization of marijuana and other drugs.
- They are against drug testing for train engineers and airplane pilots.
- The sex education classes that were supposed to dispense information now advise children that is alright to have sex with whom ever you want just as long as you practice safe sex.
- We glamorize immorality in our violent TV talk shows.
- Many of the things that were illegal just 40 years ago are now so accepted by this lawless generation that it is a crime to speak out against them.
- Christians have been also drawn into this trap.
- We no longer speak out against the vices of the past.
- The divorce rate among Christians is the same as among non Christians.
- In many denominations they cannot clearly decide if what the Bible calls immoral is really immoral or not any more.
- The problem is not with sin.
- Sin has always been sin and people have always committed the same old sins.
- But the difference is that today "Christians" no longer consider them sins.
- I read of clergy who dedicate the opening of some new casino.
- Vance Havner used to say, "Some day I expect to meet a Christian pick pocket. I will ask him how he does that to which he will respond, oh I pick the pocket with this hand and put a gospel tract in with this hand.
- HE IS ANTI-GOD
- He opposes everything that God is and represents.
- Rev 13:6 Then he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven. (NKJ)
- II Th 2:3-4 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 is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. (NKJ)
- But then so is our society.
- HE IS THE MIRACLE MAN
- He will receive a death wound and yet he will live.
- It does not indicate that if he will rise from the dead for sure although some interpret it that way.
- It could be that he receives a wound that would not be considered survivable but yet he will not be killed.
- We are the miracle generation.
- People line up for the miracles.
- We have our physic hot lines.
- We have our power crystals.
- Christianity is not the only group claiming healing powers.
- I have a book in my library over 30 years ago about a healer over in Europe who had enjoyed great success. He claimed to have hundreds of documented cases of miraculous healing. But he was not a Christian nor did he claim to be.
- HE IS THE MAN OF POWER (THE GOD OF FORCE)
- Dan 11:38 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. (KJV)
- Rev 13:4 So they worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, "Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?" (NKJ)
- HE IS THE MAN OF DECEPTION
- The world will be taken in by him and will not see the danger until it is too late.
II Th 2:9-12
9 The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders,
10 and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
11 And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie,
12 that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
- You need to repent today. There is no guarantee that you even have a tomorrow.
This message was preached at FBC Toulon, by Albert Harmon. See it at http://toulonbaptist.com