THE Anti-Christ?

The End Time Anti-Christ – The two historical candidates aside (in his epistles John said there were many anti-Christ’s in the world), it is possible that a world Empire is still to come (a “revived” Roman Empire?), which will be rooted in all the previous Empires and unite all the evil and power of the previous Empires under the anti-Christ. Added to the ferocity of this beast will be
Satan’s own power, throne, and authority.(1) Thus, the events of 167 BC (Antiochus Epiphanes) and 70 AD (Nero) would be types that foreshadow the final fulfillment of Jesus’ words just prior to His Second Advent (Mark 13:24–27). Language used by Mark in his Gospel suggests that “the abomination” is a future person “standing where he does not belong.” This person could be the end-time anti-Christ (Daniel 7:23–26; 9:25–27; 2 Thessalonians 2:3–4, 8–9; Revelation 13:1–10, 14–15).

As some interpret Daniel 9:27, this end time anti-Christ “will confirm a covenant with many [the Jewish people] for one seven,” the beginning of the seven-year period preceding Christ’s second coming. The temple will be rebuilt, and worship reestablished (Revelation 11:1 – the measuring of the temple). “In the middle of the seven” (after 3½ years), the anti-Christ will break his covenant, stop the temple sacrifices, desecrate the temple (Daniel 9:27), and proclaim himself to be God (Matthew 24:15; 2 Thessalonians 2:3–4; Revelation 11:2). This launches the terrible end-time events of the Great Tribulation (Revelation 6; 8–9; 16). Those who refuse to be identified with the anti-Christ will suffer severe persecution and be forced to flee for refuge (Revelation 12:6, 13–17). Many—both Jews and Gentiles—will be saved during this period (Revelation 7) but many will also be martyred (Revelation 6:9–11).(2) More on this is later chapters of Revelation.

Coming Out of the Sea – This phrase is interpreted by some to mean coming out of the troubled waves of peoples, multitudes, nations, and tongues (Revelation 7:15).(3) Many would thus claim that the sea is symbolic of the Gentile nations, and that from one of them, Satan will bring forth this beast from the sea, the man called the anti-Christ.(4) The fact that the beast comes out from the sea leads some to conclude that the anti-Christ will be a Gentile.(5) Others interpret “out of the sea” as meaning out of Europe or out of the Italian [revived Roman] kingdom.(6) From the vantage point of the eastern Empire, Rome would appear to come from the sea, although the image itself is borrowed from Daniel 7:3.(7) Still others claim that the sea is the sea and nothing more.(8)

Ten Horns, Seven Heads, Ten Crowns – The seven heads are later identified as seven hills and seven kings (Revelation 17:9). Since Rome was built on seven hills, this could be a veiled reference to that powerful city (Revelation 17:18). It would have been an easily recognized and powerful allusion in John’s day.(9) The number seven (number of perfection) also implies the world power sets itself up as God (Emperor worship), and as a caricature of the seven-fold Spirit of God. Nevertheless, its true character as God-opposed is detected by the number ten accompanying the seven.(10) The ten horns represent ten kingdoms (Daniel 7:24; Revelation 17:12). It appears that the beast will head, or exercise power over (“the dragon gave the beast his power and his throne and great authority”) a confederation of some kind during the first 3½ years of Tribulation.

Many refer to this as a revived Roman Empire. Some see this Empire as coming out of the geographic area of the Roman Empire (see Figure 18.2 )(11), variously interpreted as the European Union, NATO or the Group of Seven (G7).

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The G7 is an inter-governmental political forum of the world′s major highly industrialized economies in countries that view themselves as democracies. The forum originated with a 1975 summit hosted by France that brought together representatives of six governments: France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States, thus leading to the name Group of Six or G6. The summit came to be known as the Group of Seven, or G7, in 1976 with the addition of Canada. Russia was added to the political forum from 1997, which the following year became known as the G8. In March 2014 Russia was temporarily suspended following the annexation of Crimea; however, a number of G7 politicians and officials stated they would be interested in Russia’s return to the group.(12)

Others see it as being formed from the “melting pot” of the various people groups historically ruled by the Roman Empire. Later, the anti-Christ takes over as the sole world dictator (last 3½ years of the tribulation).(13) When he tempted Jesus in the wilderness, he claimed that all the kingdoms had “been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to” (Luke 4:6). Jesus, the Christ, rejected Satan’s offer. The anti-Christ will not.

All nations will no doubt admire and thank him for the “peace” achieved during the first 3½ years, little realizing the sorrow and destruction he will bring to the world during the last 3½ years.(14) The crowns referred to were diadems, a type of crown used as a symbol of the highest ruling authority in a given area, and thus often associated with kingship.(15)

Leopard, Bear and Lion – This beast out of the sea “resembled a leopard, but had feet like those of a bear and a mouth like that of a lion,” characteristics that it shares with each of the first three beasts (Babylonian, Median and Persian empires 606 BC – 331 BC) described in Daniel 7:2. The catlike vigilance of the leopard, the slow and crushing power of the bear, and the ferocious roar of the lion were all present in the Roman Empire of John’s day.(16) The fourth beast in Daniel (the Greek empire 331 BC – 31 BC), was in John’s day often interpreted to represent Rome instead,(17) by viewing the Median and Persian empires as one. The beast in Revelation unites in his kingdom the God-opposed characteristics of the previous kingdoms. Thus, it comprehensively represents in one figure and kingdom the world power (which in Daniel is represented by four) of all times and places, and not merely of one period and one locality.(18) Interestingly, the ordering of the animals/kingdoms is reversed in Revelation. Perhaps this is because John was looking back, while Daniel was looking ahead.(19)

Fatal Wound Healed – Two possibilities seem to fit the description of what seemed to be a fatal head wound that one of the heads of the beast incurred.

A Revived “Roman” Empire – Some see the deadly wound as the destruction of the pagan Roman Empire by the Christian Roman Empire, thus making it a matter of history rather than prophecy. The end of the age revival of a pagan (apostate) Roman Empire would then be its miraculous healing.

The Anti-Christ – Another suggested explanation is that the final world ruler (anti-Christ) receives a wound which normally would be fatal but is miraculously healed by Satan. While the resurrection of a dead person seems to be beyond Satan’s power, the healing of a near-fatal (“seemed to have had a fatal”) wound might be possible for Satan. The key point is that the final world ruler comes into power obviously supported by a supernatural and miraculous deliverance by Satan himself.(20) The phrase “seemed to have had a fatal” is a somewhat redundant expression meaning killed to death. In Revelation, it is used to describe the appearance of what the author saw. In this instance, the appearance of the beast’s head did not match reality, because the next phrase (“the fatal wound had been healed’) indicates that the beast did not die (it was healed not resurrected). Some, however, believe that the beast will die and be resurrected, since the only other use of the phrase in Revelation 5:6 refers to Jesus.(21)

Aftermath – What follows is wonder, worship, words and war.

Wonder – First, there will be wonder (Revelation 13:3). A terrified world will likely wonder at the anti-Christ’s power and his sudden rise to international fame and authority. But mankind will also wonder at the healing of his “wound.” What kind of wound is it? John does not explain it, but it must be important because he mentions it three times (Revelation 13:3, 12, 14), along with the detail that it was sword-inflicted.(22) Perhaps the entire event is orchestrated by Satan as a counterfeit (not real) of the death and resurrection of Jesus.(23)

Worship – Second, there will be worship (Revelation 13:4). Worship is the one thing Satan has always wanted (Matthew 4:8–10), and he will receive it by proxy through the beast. The beast of the land (false prophet) described in the last half of this chapter, will organize and promote the worship of the anti-Christ, making it the official religion of the world.(24) So, in addition to achieving political domination over the entire world, he also abolishes all other religions and demands that everyone worship him.(25)

Words – Third, there will be words (Revelation 13:5–6). Almost all dictators have risen to power by controlling people with their words. When Adolf Hitler rose to power he mesmerized and mobilized huge crowds with his passionate and animated speeches. Satan will endow the anti-Christ with great oratorical skills. He will blaspheme God, God’s name, His tabernacle (Heaven), and the saints in Heaven. Second Thessalonians 2 states that God will allow a “strong delusion” to come upon the unbelieving world. People would not accept Christ, who is the Way, the Truth and the Life. But they will receive the anti-Christ, who is the wrong way, a lie and death. The anti-Christ will blaspheme the Church in heaven (if Raptured) and persecute the believing remnant (Tribulation saints) on earth.(26)

War – Finally, there will be war (Revelation 13:7–10). God will permit the anti-Christ to war against His people (“wear out the saints,” Daniel 7:25) and even to defeat some of them. John prophesied that some of the saints will be captured and some will be martyred. But because of their faith, they will have patience, or endurance (see Hebrews 6:12; Revelation 1:9), and will not deny the Lord in the face of the persecution and death.(27) As predicted in Daniel 7:23, the beast will “devour the whole earth, trampling it down and crushing it.”(28) The beast’s worldwide reign of terror is allowed by divine authority for “42 months” (three and a half years).(29)

Up Next – The Beast from the earth.

_____________________________

References

  1. Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 2, pp. 604–605). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
  2. Grassmick, J. D. (1985). Mark. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, pp. 169–170). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
  3. Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 2, p. 582). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
  4. Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 2, p. 604). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
  5. Walvoord, J. F. (1985). Revelation. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, p. 960). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
  6. Lange, J. P., Schaff, P., Moore, E., Craven, E. R., & Woods, J. H. (2008). A commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Revelation (p. 265). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.
  7. Keener, C. S. (1993). The IVP Bible background commentary: New Testament (Re 13:1). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  8. Lange, J. P., Schaff, P., Moore, E., Craven, E. R., & Woods, J. H. (2008). A commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Revelation (p. 265). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.
  9. Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 2, p. 604). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
  10. Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 2, p. 582). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
  11. Elwell, W. A., & Beitzel, B. J. (1988). In Baker encyclopedia of the Bible (p. 393). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.
  12. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Group_of_Eight
  13. Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 2, p. 604). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
  14. Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 2, p. 604). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
  15. Biblical Studies Press. (2006). The NET Bible First Edition Notes (Re 13:1). Biblical Studies Press.
  16. Robertson, A. T. (1933). Word Pictures in the New Testament (Re 13:2). Nashville, TN: Broadman Press.
  17. Keener, C. S. (1993). The IVP Bible background commentary: New Testament (Re 13:2). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  18. Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 2, p. 582). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
  19. Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 2, pp. 604–605). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
  20. Walvoord, John F. (1985). Revelation. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, p. 960). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
  21. Biblical Studies Press. (2006). The NET Bible First Edition Notes (Re 13:3). Biblical Studies Press.
  22. Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 2, p. 605). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
  23. Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 2, p. 605). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
  24. Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 2, p. 605). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
  25. Walvoord, John F. (1985). Revelation. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, p. 961). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
  26. Wiersbe, W. W. (1992). Wiersbe’s expository outlines on the New Testament (p. 834). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
  27. Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 2, p. 605). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
  28. Walvoord, John F. (1985). Revelation. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, p. 961). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
  29. Cabal, T., Brand, C. O., Clendenen, E. R., Copan, P., Moreland, J. P., & Powell, D. (2007). The Apologetics Study Bible: Real Questions, Straight Answers, Stronger Faith (p. 1904). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

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