Monthly Archives: September 2009

September 26, 2009

Last week in my commentary, I talked about the soon coming one-world government and its ruler, the Antichrist. — this week I want to dwell on just who and what this coming world leader really is.
To start, the very name Antichrist usually translates to fear and consternation for most Christians. This fear comes simply from misunderstanding and confusion about who he is, when he will come upon the world scene, and what powers he will possess when he does appear.
In this commentary, I want to dispel these fears, clear up the confusion and show what is going on in the world as it relates to Biblical predictions and also descriptions of this Antichrist and his specific role.
The actual name Antichrist is used only four times in the New Testament, each time by the Apostle John (I John 2:18, 22; 4:3 and 2 John 7). In these usages, it suggest that the Anti-Christ is a person who is against Christ. But he appears many more times under other aliases such as:
◆   “The Prince Who is to Come” 
         (Daniel 9:26 – NKJV)
◆   A “Fierce” King (Daniel 8:23 NKJV)
◆   “A Master of Intrigue” (Daniel 8:23 – NIV)
◆   “A Despicable Man” (Daniel 11:21 – NLT)
◆   A “Worthless Shepherd” 
        (Zechariah 11:16-17 – NLT)
◆   “The One Who Brings Destruction” 
        (2 Thessalonians 2:3 – NLT)
◆   “The Lawless One” 
        (2 Thessalonians 2:9 – NLT)
◆   The “Beast” (Revelations 13:1 – NKJV)
As we can see, the Antichrist is introduced and described in great detail in scripture, yet his true identity is not revealed. — Needless to say, this has caused great speculation as to who he really is. – Some have gone to great lengths in trying to identify the Anti-Christ — even to the point of naming names. – For the sake of time I won’t go into great detail, but if you are curious, you can Google “Who is Antichrist” and you will find about 1.5 million hits. This is truly a sign of great fascination generated by this incredible subject.
So who and what is this coming world ruler? – In the 12th Chapter of Revelation, we read of the dragon, or Satan, being thrown out of Heaven in a great war.  Then in the 13th chapter we see that the dragon comes to Earth to begin his program by setting up his representative, the Anti-Christ. When we tie this chapter with some passages from Daniel (8:23-26), we get a good profile of this leader by seeing how he comes to power from varying viewpoints. Each of these viewpoints – political, national, spiritual and providential – give us a good portrait of who he is and what he will be like.
Let’s take a quick look —
He will be a political unknown
Daniel 7 tells us he won’t make a big entrance as he emerges upon the scene. Prophecy shows he comes in the picture as a little horn (Daniel 7:8), but grows into the big horn. – Prophecy also shows in Revelation 13:1 that he rises from among the masses of ordinary people. 
Then I saw a beast rising up out of the sea. It had seven heads and ten horns, with ten crowns on its horns. And written on each head were names that blasphemed God. 
Remember, the sea in Bible symbolism stands for the general masses of humanity, or more specifically, the Gentile nations. – We can confirm this meaning for the “sea” in 
Revelation 17:15:
Then the angel said to me, “The waters where the prostitute is ruling represent masses of people of every nation and language.
He will come from a Gentile nation
Much speculation swirls around the subject of where the Anti-Christ will come from. – Dr. Thomas Ice weighs in as to the ethnicity of the Anti-Christ and concluded: “A widely held belief throughout the history of the Church has been the notion that the Anti-Christ will be of Jewish origin. This view is still somewhat popular in our day. However, upon closer examination we find no real scriptural basis for such a view. In fact, the Bible teaches just the opposite….that Anti-Christ will be of Gentile descent.”
As to where, because of the prophecies of Daniel 2 & 7 as well as Revelation 13, I believe the Roman Empire must be revived before the end times, and this appears to be happening in the form of the European Union. The Anti-Christ will emerge from one of these unified European nations. — Remember, John’s Revelation affirms that the world ruler will arise from the masses within a Gentile nation.
What are his attributes?
Charismatic – Daniel 7:7-8, 25 says, “After this I saw in the night visions, and behold, a fourth beast…and there…were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking pompous words…he shall speak pompous words against the most high.” — Here Daniel gives us one of the characteristics of this coming world ruler — his charismatic personality enhanced by great speaking ability, which he will use to sway the masses by words of power and promise. 
Daniel also mentions that this leader will speak pompous words against God. The Apostle John describes him in a similar fashion in Revelation 13:5, “And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies.”
Daniel goes on by saying that he is a man “Who’s appearance was greater than his fellows” (Daniel 7:20) — so in outward appearance, he will be very attractive. This combination of magnetic personality, speaking ability and physical good looks will make him virtually irresistible to the masses.
Cunning – Daniel 7:8 says, “As I was looking at the horns, suddenly another small horn appeared among them. Three of the first horns were torn out by the roots to make room for it. This little horn had eyes like human eyes and a mouth that was boasting arrogantly.”  Daniel was given a vision of this world leader. If we read and understand the prophetical symbol of the horns, we learn from this verse that the coming world ruler will subdue three other kings by plucking them out by their roots. In other words, he will take over three kingdoms, not by war but by clever political manipulation. 
Daniel reiterates this event in the 11th chapter of his prophecy, telling us that this future leader, “Shall come in peaceably, and seize the kingdom by intrigue” (Daniel 11:21). – The Antichrist will be a political genius and diplomat, and a clever leader.
Cruel – Daniel 7:23,25 says, “He gave me this explanation: ‘The fourth beast is a fourth kingdom that will appear on earth. It will be different from all the other kingdoms and will devour the whole earth, trampling it down and crushing it.” and “He will speak against the Most High and oppress his saints and try to change the set times and the laws. The saints will be handed over to him for a time, times and half a time.”
Here Daniel tells us that the Anti-Christ is going to devour the whole world. – He is going to break it to pieces. What could happen to anger the Anti-Christ to unleash this kind of cruelty? – Although all the believers of the present age will be taken to Heaven before the reign of this man (The Rapture), new converts will come to Christ during the years of Tribulation. This will anger the Anti-Christ, and he will take out his wrath on these new Christians. Many will be martyred for their faith.
Intimidating Presence – The four major kingdoms described in Daniel’s other prophetic vision were compared to animals:
⁃ Babylon was like a lion
⁃ Medo-Persia was like a bear
⁃ Greece was like a leopard
⁃ Rome was like a 10-horned beast
(Daniel 7)
In the descriptions of the Beast in Revelation, we have all of these characteristics combined into one ominous creature (Revelation 13:2) — The comparison of the Anti-Christ to ferocious beasts in intended to show us the intimidating presence of this satanic creature. He combines in his person all of the threatening characteristics of the kingdoms which have gone before him.
Spiritual Blasphemies – Again, Daniel 7:25 says, “He will speak against the Most High and oppress his saints and try to change the set times and the laws. The saints will be handed over to him for a time, times and half a time.” In addition, in his second letter to the Thessalonians, Paul describes him as one “Who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called good or that is worshipped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God showing himself that he is God.” (2 Thessalonians 2:4)
As Paul wrote in Romans 1, and as the history of ancient Israel warns us over and over, it is a terrible thing to worship a creature instead of the Creator. — Yet, Daniel warns us that this man will defy God and demand to be worshipped instead of Him. — And his demand will be met. John wrote in Revelation 13:8,
“All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast—all whose names have not been written in the book of life belonging to the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world.” 
His Agenda – One of the first things this world leader will do is make peace with Israel. He will keep this covenant for the first three and a half years of his rule. – Then he will change his tactics, will drop all notions of peace and adopt a program of crushing power. He will break his covenant with Israel and subject the Jews to great persecution (Daniel 9:27 and Isaiah 28:18)
Then will come his most sensational moment. The Anti-Christ will actually be killed, but to the amazement of all the world, he will be raised back to life by the power of Satan. This will be a grotesque counterfeit of the resurrection of Jesus Christ (Revelation 13:3-4).
In a final act of rebellion against God, this false ruler will set himself up in Jerusalem and desecrate the rebuilt temple in what is called the “Abomination of Desolation” (Daniel 11:31 and 12:11, Matthew 24:15 and Mark 13:14). He will attempt to eliminate every Jew on earth, this sounding the first ominous note in the prelude to the Battle of Armageddon.
This despot of all despots will be ultimately destroyed when Jesus Christ comes to battle against the Anti-Christ and his armies. – In that final battle, the Anti-Christ will be killed, and his forces will be destroyed. – Then, the victorious Christ will assume His throne as rightful King and Ruler of the universe.
In conclusion then, remember that this coming world ruler is not some imaginary monster as some doubters and scoffers would have you believe. This coming Anti-Christ is a real “Beast” and a most treacherous one. – He will, through super-natural deceit, appear as a geo-political and socioeconomic savior of mankind. — Be certain, the Beast of Revelation is about to step into the spotlight of history’s final act.

Until next time,

      
Red

September 18, 2009

When I first began studying prophecy some 35 years ago, it was when I originally encountered the teachings of a coming world government with one man taking full control (Revelation 13). It was extremely difficult to even fathom that concept in those days. After all, America and Russia were both super powers and it really just didn’t  make much sense. – But, since the Bible presented this as the coming reality, I believed it, even though I could not fully comprehend it.
Fast-forwarding to today, it is much easier to envision the possibility of such a scenario. Cable television is everywhere in the world. The Internet and satellite communications reach every country on the face of the earth. Even now, modern weapons can reach any part of the world in fewer than thirty minutes. — Men and nations no longer live in isolation.
And of course, there are other factors that make the ascendance of a global leader more of a reality than ever before. – The Bible predicts that worldwide chaos, instability and disorder will increase as we approach the end of the age. Jesus Himself said there would be wars, rumors of wars, famines and earthquakes in various places (Matthew 24:6-7).
The devastation caused by these increasing events will trigger a worldwide outcry for relief and order at almost any cost. – This, of course, will set the stage for the emergence of a new world leader who will promise solutions to all the problems. He will bring about world peace and promise order and security. – This leader, who will emerge out of the newly formed European Union, is commonly referred to in the Bible as the Anti-Christ.
With the rapidly approaching deterioration of world conditions, it will be no surprise that people will follow this man even to the point of falling down and worshiping him. — Christian brother David Jeremiah said this; “We see in our own political campaigns how quickly people gravitate to charisma and power. Give us a fine-looking candidate with a golden voice, a powerful presence and the ability to enthrall people with vague rhetoric about an undefined better future, and we follow like sheep as the media bleats the candidate’s praises. Completely overlooked is the substance of the man’s program.” 
(Somehow this seems so recently familiar!!)
The presence and charisma of the Anti-Christ will be similar, making his rise to power inevitable.
Another fascinating aspect of this fast-approaching worldwide scenario is how this coming ruler will take control of the monetary systems. Revelation 13:16-17 says,
He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his name.
Another confusing issue in times past was the idea of a mark that would individually identify everyone in the world. — It just seemed so far-fetched — a fantasy only possible in science fiction. – Not today, however! New methods of identification are being invented daily.
The following are just a few headlines highlighting this emerging technology:
Advisory Committee: Comprehensive ID Management Needed in U.S.  (08/27/09 – www.SecureIDNews.com)
Chips in Official ID’s Raise Privacy Fears (07/16/09 – CBS News)
Radio Chips Coming Soon to Your Driver’s License (02/28/09 – www.WorldNetDaily.com
Cash to Become Extinct As Chips Take Off (06/20/09 – www.News.com.Au)
India to Issue All 1.2 billion citizens With Biometric ID Cards (07/15/09 – Times online)
Massive E-Cash Surge Hits Japan Shops (06/08/09 – World of Tech News)
Here in America, the current administration’s desire to control the Internet proves there are plans for a new bureaucracy on the drawing board for an ever-bigger government. It is only a matter of time – a very short time- until such a bureaucracy will be constructed globally. It is just such an endeavor from which the 666 mark and numbering system of Revelation 13:15-18 will ultimately emerge.
As pointed out earlier, there are many end-time prophecies that could never have been understood apart from modern technological developments. Let’s look at the prophecy in Revelation 11 about the two witnesses who will call the world to repentance. During the first half of the Tribulation – when they are killed by the Anti-Christ, we are told that their bodies will lie in the streets of Jerusalem for three and a half days, and the whole world will look upon them (Revelation 11:9) – How could we have ever understood such a prophecy before the development of satellite television?
In addition, how could any ruler control all buying and selling worldwide (Revelation 13) without the aid of computer technology? Here’s another — how could the false prophet create the illusion of giving life to a statue (Revelation 13) without the technology of virtual reality and robotics?
How could an army of 200 million come out of the far east (Revelation 9) before the population explosion? And — how could the gospel be proclaimed to all the world (Matthew 24) before all the aforementioned discoveries? — The list goes on.
Daniel 12:4 says;
But you, Daniel, close up and seal the words of the scroll until the time of the end. Many will go here and there to increase knowledge.
This passage in the book of Daniel tells us that we would not understand these prophecies until the time of the end when knowledge would rapidly increase. It is no wonder how confusing it all appeared just those few short years ago. — But not so now!
While I realize that this picture of the near future is not a pretty one, it is important for all Christians to know what is coming. There is so much false information out there that I feel compelled to address these issues.
But of much greater importance than looking for the Anti-Christ, we are to be “Looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” (Titus 2:13)
Keep looking up!
Until next time,
Red

September 11, 2009

How keen is your sense of crisis? How acutely do we perceive the dangers facing our lives, our families and our world?
Our planet faces catastrophic dangers that threaten our very survival. — Does this create within us a sense of crisis so deep that we are motivated to learn how to escape the danger?
I often speak about the threat of economic “Armageddon” lingering over our nation and the world — and also of the spiritual and moral disintegration of our societies — as well as the dangers we face from increasing disease, epidemics, natural disasters, and on and on —- but as I look around and, despite all these dangers, I see very little sense of crisis, or urgency — globally, nationally or individually.
Why? First, human nature dislikes the truth when it threatens to disrupt our own interests, desires and lifestyle. – We will go to great lengths to hide from the truth or to color it in our own terms — if the truth demands that we act counter to our desires.
This individual and collective lack of a sense of crisis is the result of cultures driven by self-indulgence, self-gratification and pleasure. — Wrapped up in this materialism and unbalanced desire for satisfying the senses, our people have lost touch with the realities facing us today.
— This is a deadly state of mind!!
History shows what happens when people become consumed by materialism and self-gratification, and lose the capacity to sense crisis.
Matthew 24:36-39 says,
No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 
— This is a passage describing the time of Noah, when people were focused on satisfying fleshly lusts and were shocked when the Heavens opened, the flood came and took them all away.
2 Timothy 3:1-5 states, 
But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God—having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.
Is this a prophecy for today? Certainly each of you can look around and decide this for yourself, but I personally have NO doubt that very little time is left before Almighty God deals with our sinful world.
Having said this, I now want to address the condition of today’s church and how it fits into today’s world landscape. — With few exceptions, it’s truly astonishing to watch the speed of Christian acceptance of the changing world political, economic, societal and religious values. — Deception is rampant!! 
Jesus, in His Olivet discourse, forewarned of this great deception that will descend upon the world just before His return to Earth. – He warned us to be watchful for this deception! 2 Peter 3:3 states, 
“First of all you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires.”
To quote Christian brother Terry James, “Deception today is horrific in its scope and influence. So deluding are its powerful manipulations that much of the church is all but anesthetized to truth, which several decades ago was solidly front and center in defending against all attempts at seduction by the world, the flesh, and the devil. Not so now. The sugary pabulum coming from the ministries with the most funding for their TV extravaganzas and mega-million dollar media/entertainment centers, supposedly serving the cause of Christ, spews the lukewarm, feel-good message that must make the Lord of Heaven nauseous.”
2 Timothy 4:3-4 states, 
For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.
In fairness, I said earlier there are some exceptions to the “Laodicean, lukewarm church”. For one, David Wilkerson, the well-known author of The Cross and the Switchblade as well as pastor of Times Square Church, recently predicted, “An earth-shattering calamity is about to happen,” and urges his followers to get an emergency supply of food.
I believe it illustrates wisdom when preachers like Wilkerson advocate disaster readiness to their flocks. – The book of James measures faith by personal action, and Hebrews 11:7 describes true faith this way, 
“By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear and prepared an ark to the saving of his house.”
Should our churches be doing any less in these times? — I pose this question to all church leaders which include pastors, board members, elders, deacons, etc. — What are you doing to prepare for the coming days ahead concerning your flock?
2 Peter 3:8-9 says, 
But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
We don’t know how long the Lord will tarry before He returns for His church. – Let us prepare for whatever is in store as far as time goes.
Finally, 2 Peter 1:19,21 states,
 “And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place….for prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”
This is exactly why I continue to press the issue of understanding prophecy and its usefulness to not only bolster those of us who do believe, but also to wake up those who are lost in the crisis and chaos of the day.
Time is incredibly short, so I challenge each of you to start telling your loved ones and acquaintances about our Lord and Savior, and how He can deliver them from this hour of worldly crisis.
Luke 21:25-28 says, 
“There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”
Until next time,
Red
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