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

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