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The Antichrist

Satan's counterfeit messiah

antichrist

by Dennis Pollock

There is a mysterious character in the Bible that intrigues almost all of us. He goes by different names: the lawless one, the man of sin, the son of perdition, the beast, but mostly we know him by the title: the antichrist. The Scriptures speak of a man who is truly evil incarnate, who shall rise to world leadership in the last days just prior to the return of Jesus Christ.

Lest some be tempted to say, "I don't need or want to know anything about him," we must recall Paul's words in 2nd Timothy: "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness…" (2 Timothy 3:16). Many folks feel that such a negative subject should be ignored by the church; but we must recognize that any subject, concept, or person the Holy Spirit has included in the divinely inspired Scriptures is a legitimate subject of study and meditation. Paul says to the elders of the Ephesian church, "I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God" (Acts 20:26,27).

Although some would tell us that there is nothing you can know about Bible prophecy they are wrong. While there are some great mysteries, there are also many things the Bible plainly reveals. Let us consider some of the details about this mysterious figure revealed in God's holy Word.

The first detail we will consider is that this evil man must appear before Christ returns to earth

The antichrist

"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…" (2 Thessalonians 2:3). This statement is an example of what is known as Bible prophecy. God is telling us things that will take place in the future long beforehand.

We might ask, "Why do this?" What is the point of telling us these future events?" God's prophetic word is one of the means by which He is glorified in the hearts of men and women who love Him and respect His word. In Isaiah we read: "For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done, saying, 'My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure…'" (Isaiah 46:9,10). At the beginning of every year the trash magazines have predictions by psychics who tell us what they believe will happen in the coming year. And every year they are overwhelmingly wrong. But God's record is 100 percent. He not only declares what will come to pass, but providentially ensures it happens precisely as he said it would. And He is never wrong.

Secondly the Bible makes it plain that this antichrist will be an individual

There is a "spirit of antichrist" which John speaks of, but the antichrist is a man. We are told he "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" (2 Thessalonians 2:4). It would seem that the Jews will eventually rebuild their temple in Jerusalem, and during that stormy tribulation period the antichrist will set himself up there as Israel's God and Messiah. This man will be a visible representation of Satan, even as Christ came to earth as a visible representation of God. Just as Jesus could say, "When you have seen Me, you have seen My Father," so the antichrist can say the same thing, but in his case, his father is Satan himself.

The lawless one will be no monster or demonic apparition. He will be a man that eats eggs for breakfast, reads the newspaper, hangs out with friends, and gets colds in the wintertime. He will be entirely human, but also entirely demonized. Satan will indwell him, and the desires of his father he will do.

This evil man will eventually control the entire world

We read, "And all the world marveled and followed the beast" (Revelation 13:3). That which all the great megalomaniacs desperately longed for will be his portion. South America will recognize him as their ruler, as will Asia, Europe, Africa, and yes, the United States. Not only will the world follow him but they will marvel at him. He will be impressive. In our age of mass communication he will no doubt prove the master communicator. There will be an attractiveness about him, an aura of confidence and success surrounding him to the extent that people are amazed: "And all the world marveled…"

 He will be a man of miracles and supernatural attestation

The antichrist

"The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders" (2 Thessalonians 2:9). This will no longer be the age of secularism; people will become believers in the supernatural, but not believers in the truth.

When Moses was told by God to go to Egypt and tell Pharaoh to set Israel free, he asked the Lord how anyone would believe he had really heard from God. The Lord gave Moses a couple of supernatural signs, one of which was to throw his rod to the ground and have it turn into a snake. When confronting Pharaoh, he did as instructed: he threw down his rod and watched it turn into a slivering snake. But to his surprise Pharaoh called for his sorcerers and they did the same thing! Satan is not without power to do miracles and supernatural signs and wonders. And when this prodigy in evil appears he will be supernaturally endowed by Satan with miraculous powers that will dazzle and astound all the earth.

He will persecute Christians

It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them" (Rev 13:7). In Daniel we read, "Then the saints shall be given into his hand for a time and times and half a time" (Daniel 7:25). Because the antichrist will do the works of his father and possess the desires of his father, he will absolutely hate both Christians and Jews. They remind him too much of his great enemy. Many Christians and Jews will die a martyr's death during this terrible period. Some Christians believe that Jesus will only come for his church after the tribulation has run its full seven year course. If this were true, the coming of Christ would certainly not be an event for which anyone would be eagerly anticipating. Considering that well over half the world will die randomly during the wars, calamities, and probably nuclear explosions, and that the Christians will be targeted specifically by the antichrist, very few Christians would survive to the end of this period.

I once heard a lady talking in a Bible study about how she was considering buying lots of canned and packaged food to store it up for the tribulation, believing Christ would only come for her at the end. I told her if this were true it would probably be irrelevant to buy all the food since she would almost certainly never live through that period anyway. Of course I was being a bit facetious, but for this and a number of other reasons it makes far more sense to look for Christ to come and snatch us from the earth at the beginning of this terrible time: "Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man" (Luke 21:36). There will be Christians on earth during the tribulation, but most prophecy scholars believe they will be a brand new batch of believers that were born again after the church was raptured and taken to heaven to be with Christ.

The man of sin will have a big mouth

"Then he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven" (Revelation 13:6). In Daniel we read this about him: "…he shall exalt and magnify himself above every god, shall speak blasphemies against the God of gods" (Daniel 11:36). Jesus tells us that out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks, so blasphemy will be the natural language of the antichrist. When you observe our American culture today you can easily see how we are being prepared for the ultimate blasphemer. Our airways are filled with cursing, coarse and lewd language, and blasphemy. It used to be that you would hear such language from soldiers and sailors, and motorcycle gang members. Today fifteen year old girls and 65 year old grannies are likely to use language that would never have been heard among respectable people in previous generations.

He shall exercise economic control over the world

The antichrist

"He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name" (Rev 13:16,17). Again it is easy to see how our world is being prepared for this. When I was growing up store items had a strange thing we used to call a price tag on them. But no more. In the online encyclopedia, Wikipedia, we read, "The first UPC marked item ever scanned at a retail checkout (Marsh's supermarket in Troy, Ohio) was at 8:01 a.m. on June 26, 1974, and was a 10-pack (50 Sticks) of Juicy Fruit chewing gum. The cash register rang up 67 cents." Today every purchase for nearly every store from New York to California, is entered into a computer system through the scanning of the universal product codes. It is not difficult to imagine how this technology could be adjusted to suit the antichrist's desire to control the purchases of every single person on earth.

He shall come to a swift end

"And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming" (2 Thes 2:8). Sometimes when people hear of the "battle of Armageddon" they think it will be a traditional type of battle, but this will be no battle in the Lord of the Rings sense, where you have two mighty armies coming at each other with massive numbers of people being killed on both sides, and long hours of suspense as one army finally gains the victory over the other. No, at Armageddon the beast and his armies will gather together to await the coming of his arch-enemy the Lord Jesus, foolishly thinking they can overcome Him with their weapons and troops. But when Christ makes His appearance on the scene the battle will be over as soon as it starts. With a word from His mouth Christ will bring an end to this evil character that has terrorized the world, and swiftly dispatch him to the lake of fire.

These are some of the essential truths the Bible reveals about this nefarious character we call the antichrist. His reign will be intense but it will be brief – seven years in total. And why would God want us to know about this man of sin? Perhaps one reason is to show us the huge contrast between the antichrist and the true Christ. Jesus Christ is everything the antichrist is not. While the antichrist is cruel, Jesus is love. The antichrist forces submission on penalty of death, but Jesus knocks on the door of our hearts and waits patiently for us to answer. The antichrist will kill billions, but Jesus was put to death on the cross and rose from the dead that multitudes might live forever. The antichrist's kingdom will come to a swift and terrible end, but the kingdom of Jesus Christ shall endure forever and ever: "His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom the one which shall not be destroyed" (Daniel 7:13,14).

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