Will the Antichrist Actually be a Modern-Day Man?
(First article in a series based on the book, Out of the Abyss…can the number of the beast be solved, 666?)
“While there is still great debate in the prophetic community…”
This is a partial quote taken from a recent website article, but it really doesn’t matter which website or who said it. I don’t need to identify the source or specify the subject matter (context of the statement) because I’m using it exclusively in a representative, generic, all-purpose fashion to underscore the quandary that has developed over the past several decades in the arena of Biblical prophecy. In general terms that dilemma relates to students of prophecy trying to match one current event after another to Biblical end-time prophecies. Some pieces of the prophetic puzzle fit, some do not fit. Too much speculation over certain Bible prophecies fosters “(unnecessary) debate in the prophetic community.”
Debate isn’t necessarily harmful; unless we try to force Bible prophecy into current events, rather than allowing current events to reasonably match specific prophecies. There is a difference between these two approaches. Or, unless we allow prophetic speculations to become premises that sometimes involve misapplication of key prophecy passages to support those presumptions.
For example: Ever since the idea of a post-Rapture One-World Government, or a Revived Roman Empire, we’ve tried to explain how certain events prove these suppositions. We began with the Common Market that soon reached ten nations, and we said: “See there; that matches the ten kings of Revelation Chapter 17 who will give their allegiance to the Antichrist.” In a few years, the Common Market had more than ten nations; so some turned their attention to the United Nations. And then the European Union, and then the Arab Confederation, as possible candidates to spearhead the One-World Government or Revived Roman Empire. Others says the World Trade Organization might be a better fit as the end-times empire to control the world.
Concerning the man who will lead whichever of the above domains is chosen, some say he will come from a nation within the European Union. Others say he will be a Jew who betrays his people for the sake of power and prestige. And more recently, still others claim that the Antichrist will be an Arab or, at least, a Muslim to rival the 12th Imam theory gaining momentum throughout both the religious and secular world. Over the past centuries, but particularly in the last few decades, many in the Christian community have pointed fingers at several world leaders, suggesting they are or will turn out to be the Antichrist. Some of those leaders are long gone, such as Adolph Hitler.
Are you confused? I don’t blame you. Even though there is “great debate” over the profile of the Antichrist and from where he will originate, at least there’s one common denominator, one thread that most students of prophecy and Christians in general possess. With near unanimous agreement, they believe that this man is alive today patiently waiting for his golden opportunity to rule the world. That he is, therefore, a modern-day Antichrist.
Therein, lies the problem!
Refitting the Prophetic Puzzle
It is time to examine Biblical passages on this man of lawlessness like never before. It is time to return to the prevalent belief among 1st through 5th century believers, who didn’t have to speculate or guess from where Antichrist would originate. They knew! And we, too, can know. It is time to lift up the true Messiah, Jesus Christ, in all we say and do; and to expose the one who would dare to be anti Christ. It is time to set the record straight in the Christian community, because the time is short.
Several prominent students of prophecy (television, radio, internet, articles) have made the following statement or something similar: “If you know or think you know the identity of the Antichrist, then you’ve missed the Rapture!” That assertion is meant to be a polite but firm jab at those who are constantly pointing fingers at contemporary world figures suggesting that this or that leader is or could be the Antichrist. And, the statement is totally correct. But only if you believe that the Antichrist is a modern-day man, born to the generation that will witness the Rapture!
But, of course, the Antichrist would be a contemporary, modern-day man, you say! Logically, what else could he be? What other option is there? Isn’t that the way of things? Haven’t all past and present tyrants originated during the generation that experienced the rise of these dictators?
My answer to these questions is that there is, indeed, another alternative. There is another way this man of lawlessness will explode on a world-wide chaotic scene shortly after the Rapture. It’s a way that the Bible describes with startling clarity, so much so that we can label it a prophetic certainty.
Why is it vital that we accurately refit the prophetic puzzle … that we get it right?
Out of the Abyss
My book, Out of the Abyss, directly and indirectly explains why we need to understand both Old and New Testament prophecies the way that the Christians of the early church understood them, including the identity of the Antichrist!
I will acknowledge, however, that the advance disclosure of this man of lawlessness will have more impact on and importance to those left behind at the Rapture, than for those in today’s society. Still, there are so many the world over who really would like to know (if they could) just who this man might be. Let’s look at significant reasons for and benefits of knowing his identity:
– So that many left behind will not be overwhelmingly amazed at who he is and how he “suddenly” (Daniel 7:8) and “miraculously” (Revelation 13:3-4) appears on the scene. The element of surprise will be greatly diminished for those who recognize that the Bible knew all along who this man would be.
– If, soon after the Rapture, word spreads that there were some Christians who did, in fact, know the identity of the Antichrist before he bolted on the scene, those left behind will, hopefully, search the Scriptures (especially the books of Daniel and Revelation) and fully realize that the Bible had perfectly predicted both the origination point and identity of the Antichrist. Thus, instead of worshipping the Beast out of awe and wonder, some will turn to Jesus Christ, the true Messiah.
– The debate among Christians in general and students of prophecy in particular can be decided now. I’m convinced that the Lord wants us to “get it right.” To “set the record straight.” Revelation Chapter 13 and Chapter 17 (as I address in my book) contain clear challenges and incentives to solve the mystery of the beast and his number. We were meant to know the identity of the Antichrist, just as the early Christians knew.
– If we get it right, then those “who belong to the world” after the Rapture will have no support or credibility should they say things like, “What did those Christians know? See how wrong they were. They had no clue that this man would return from the grave 2000 years after he died” And, perhaps, even more derisively, “So much for those narrow-minded Christians and their Bible predicting the future.”
For such a time as this, the Lord is refitting the prophetic puzzle for us … to match his majestic prophetic tapestry perfectly woven long ago. He is bringing us full circle, by returning us to the insight of the 1st century believers who decoded and declassified the infamous number and name of the beast when they accepted the challenge of Revelation 13:18, “Wisdom is needed here. Let the one with understanding solve the meaning of the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man. His number is 666.” But it’s much more than six hundred and sixty-six. It’s correlating all of the companion passages in the Bible on the little horn, ruler, king, man of lawlessness, beast, and Antichrist … all names given to “that man.”
As explained in Out of the Abyss, it all started with a stunning disclosure from the book of Revelation, specifically Chapter 17, verse 8. But there was much more. By the time the project was finished and the book was published, I studied intensively every single verse of Scripture pertaining to the Antichrist as well as an abundance of ancient history, especially 1st century history of the church and of the Roman Empire.
I repeat: “For such a time as this.” I am convinced that the time is very short, the hour is at hand. The winds of war have begun blowing like never before, and the governments of this world will not be able to handle these mighty winds. With the incredible mounting tension of nations undergoing intense turmoil and strife, something’s got to give … just as it did before the outbreak of World War I and World War II.
Some might say, “There have always been winds of war. What makes the current gusts any different from those that caused world wars, or all other wars of the 20th century and before?”
THERE IS A DIFFERENCE
What is that difference? One word: Israel. The prophets of the Old Testament, especially Daniel, Ezekiel, Isaiah, Joel, Zachariah, and some of the Psalms make it crystal clear: The end time series of national and international conflicts that lead to the final battles of Armageddon, focus almost exclusively on Israel in particular and the Middle East in general. And, of course, the book of Revelation presents many more stunning details of the final world-wide upheaval. The World Wars of the 20th century and the innumerable regional conflicts a few decades before and a few decades after (right up to the present time) are the birth pangs that Jesus describes in Matthew Chapter 24. As are the frequency and intensity of natural disasters, such as earthquakes, hurricanes, and volcanic eruptions in the last hundred years or so.
Listen to what the prophet Zechariah says, “This message concerning the fate of Israel came from the Lord: ‘This message is from the Lord, who stretched out the heavens, laid the foundations of the earth, and formed the human spirit. I will make Jerusalem like an intoxicating drink that makes the nearby nations stagger when they send their armies to besiege Jerusalem and Judah. On that day I will make Jerusalem an immovable rock. All the nations will gather against it to try to move it, but they will only hurt themselves’” (Zechariah 12: 1-3).
What is it we see today? We see on-going strife that is radically different from previous clashes around the world, because this conflict centers, almost exclusively, in and around Israel … literally. These current events do fit into Bible prophecy. We are witnessing more than just early birth pangs … we are watching the final contractions which will soon give birth to the world’s child of destruction.
We have observed the Arab Spring that toppled several governments and leaders in the Middle East. We are watching Sunni Muslims and Shiite Muslims fight to the death in civil clashes, such as Syria and Egypt, and the seemingly never-ending turmoil in Iraq and Afghanistan. We are listening intently to sabre rattling among world powers such as the United States, Russia, China, Iran, Great Britain, France, and Germany. Why are the swords rattling? With the exception of a nuclear-armed Iran, it has little to do with international disputes between those world powers. It has everything to do with what’s happening in the Middle East. All eyes are on Israel!
Moreover, it wouldn’t take much incentive at all for the Sunnis and Shiites, and other Muslim splinter groups such as Al-Qaeda, to immediately quit fighting each other if they thought they could successfully attack and defeat Israel. And they very well may try in the near future. Their unified hatred of Israel is far greater than their animosity toward each other.
I leave you with one Bible passage, the verse by which the Lord captured my attention; that resulted in a stunning refit of the prophetic puzzle as presented in my book, Out of the Abyss. We’ll delve into this passage with more detail in the next article.
“Why are you so amazed?” the angel asked. “I will tell you the mystery of the woman and of the beast with seven heads and ten horns on which she sits. The beast you saw was once alive but isn’t now. And yet he will soon come up out of the bottomless pit and go to eternal destruction. And the people who belong to the world, whose names were not written in the Book of Life before the world was made, will be amazed at the reappearance of this beast who had died” (Revelation 17:7-8, words in italics for emphasis).
Things to Ponder: Normally I list three items as food for thought. For this article only one:
– Whether you’ve read Out of the Abyss or not, what does this verse mean to you or tell you, especially the italicized words? Narrowing it down a bit, was the beast alive or dead when this specific vision was given to John, the author of Revelation? This exercise question is in preparation for next week’s article; accordingly, you might want or need to delay any comment on this verse until next week’s article.
By the way, the beast of Revelation IS a man, the Antichrist.
We’ll name this beast soon enough in this series of articles.
P.S. After you read this article, click on to the linked video at the top of the screen. In a skillfully done narrative, you’ll hear the very words of Jesus describing (from Matthew 24) the destruction of the Jewish Temple; then what will happen before, during, and at the close of the Tribulation period … but not necessarily in that order.