Antichrist … First or Second Arrival?
Many, including some notable students of Bible prophecy would say, “What kind of question is that?”
Why on earth wouldn’t the approaching arrival of the Antichrist be his first appearance? What is there in Scripture to suggest that he wouldn’t be a modern-day born man? What possible alternative is there, other than a man born in the generation that will experience the Rapture and the soon to follow meteoric rise of this man who would dare to oppose the Triune God … Father, Son, and Holy Spirit?
Certainly, the most logical assumption is that the Antichrist would arrive on the scene of history no different than past dictators and tyrants, such as Adolph Hitler. Isn’t that the natural way of things?
Answer: Yes it is. But not entirely. According to the Bible, there are two exceptions, one good and one bad: Christ and Antichrist—who is the man of lawlessness (II Thessalonians 2); the composite beast of Revelation 13 & 17 who is also one of the seven heads (kings) of Revelation; the little horn of Daniel 7 and the ruler of Daniel 9.
God is Divine and Supernatural, right? Since when has he done everything the natural way of things? (Rhetorical!)
Last week’s article focused on the conclusive proof that Messiah’s soon arrival on this earth will be his second appearance—his return as the Lion from the Tribe of Judah in contrast to his first advent as the Lamb of God who died for the sins of the world. So, too, will Antichrist stun the world with his return from the grave (actually from the Abyss, Revelation 17:8). For that reason alone this deplorable man will capture the attention and allegiance of untold millions left behind at the Rapture (Revelation 13 and Revelation 17).
Several Eye of Prophecy articles have dealt wholly or partially with the Biblical evidence that the appearance of Antichrist in the final generation (The Omega Generation) will be his return to the earth, contrary to prevailing belief that this will be his initial arrival. For example, Modern-Day Antichrist? (Posted 9-7-13); followed by Antichrist … Is He Alive Today (9-14-13) which concentrates on Revelation 17. Also, The Legendary Return of Nero (published 4-4-15) that focuses on the 1st through 5th century A.D. remarkable belief by both Christians and secular Romans that Nero was still alive; or that he would return to his throne in Rome having been preserved for that appointed time.
Out of the Abyss … can the number of the beast be solved? 666, examines extensively all Biblical passages on the Antichrist and a study of 1st century history to demonstrate that he is none other than the Roman Emperor Nero.
In today’s article, we will center attention almost exclusively on the same astounding prophecy in Daniel Chapter 9 that we examined in last week’s Eye of Prophecy post where we affirmed decisively that the exact time of Messiah’s first arrival matched the Palm Sunday triumphant entrance into Jerusalem by Jesus of Nazareth. Hence, the incontrovertible evidence that Messiah has already been to the earth—for the express purpose of being God’s final, once for all substitutionary sacrifice for our sins and the penalty of those sins. All who believe and receive this truth (Jesus is Messiah, the Son of God) will have eternal life.
For the Jews to realize that their Scriptures (Old Testament, as most non-Messianic Jews refuse to even read the New Testament, let alone believe that it, too, is inspired by God) specifically foretold the actual time of Messiah’s arrival and that Jesus fulfilled all of the prophecies including Daniel’s, is of utmost importance. As is the understanding for Gentile unbelievers that Messiah Jesus is salvation’s light to the whole world.
To flippantly brush aside the tremendous truth and fabulous fulfillment of Bible prophecies is to dangerously disregard the eternal consequences of what will take place when Antichrist, then Jesus Christ returns to this earth. If Jews and Gentiles reject that Jesus is Messiah and the purpose for his first appearance, it’s unlikely that they will choose Jesus over Antichrist Nero during the Great Tribulation.
Because the stakes will be incredibly high. To refuse to acknowledge Nero as divine will most certainly mean instant death. That will be too much for most people to handle. A few years into the Great Tribulation, those undecided (at first) will choose this man of lawlessness along with millions of others who have already worshipped him as their messiah.
One generation ago, it was Heil Hitler! In the near future it will be Hail Caesar!
(Statue of Augustus Caesar, First Roman Emperor, Depicted Here as Jupiter, Chief Roman god; Nero Despised Religion Including the Roman gods. He Fancied Himself as God on Earth)
This same prophecy in Daniel 9 also shows convincingly that the ruler (Antichrist) would arise (soon) after Messiah was killed; that the armies of this ruler would destroy the second Temple. Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey (as predicted by Zechariah) in April of 32 A.D; was crucified a week later, and arose from the dead three days after that. Then in 70 A.D. the Roman Legions sacked Jerusalem, utterly demolished the Temple, slaughtered hundreds of thousands of Jews, and instigated the dispersion of the surviving Jews (Diaspora) that would continue until Israel was reborn as a nation in 1948.
It was none other than Nero who personally commissioned Roman Generals Vespasian and Titus to launch the campaign to crush the Jewish rebellion that began in 66 A.D.
Daniel Chapter 9
Let’s read again this stunning prophecy, then refer in part to Out of the Abyss; to once again establish the absolutely correct application of this passage, particularly when correlated and connected to all other passages on this man of sin to show that Nero is the Antichrist.
Said the angel Gabriel to the prophet Daniel:
“Now listen and understand! Seven sets of seven plus sixty-two sets of seven will pass from the time the command is given to rebuild Jerusalem until a ruler—the Anointed One—comes…” (Daniel 9:25).
Exactly 173,880 days (483 Jewish years) elapsed from the time that the Persian King Artaxerxes issued the command for Nehemiah to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem to the time that Jesus of Nazareth rode into Jerusalem and the people acclaimed him as Messiah.
Let’s look more closely at what would happen next.
“After this period … the Anointed One will be killed, appearing to have accomplished nothing, and a ruler will arise whose armies will destroy the city and the Temple…” (Daniel 9:26, italics for emphasis).
The reason that the translators of the New Living Translation, which I quote from most often, chose the wording shown above in italics is to acknowledge that the armies of the ruler were connected in time and space to the ruler. In contrast to the modern-day (erroneous) hypothesis that there will be a revived Roman Empire restored by a modern-day born man. Hence the armies (or people) of the ruler would be those (I suppose they are referring to Italians or other Europeans) who descended some 2000 years later from the Romans.
Although there’s no evidence that the translators and commentators who compiled the New Living Translation gave much thought to the historical evidence that it was Nero who ordered his generals to attack Israel and Jerusalem, they did recognize the obvious fact that the ruler who would arise would be directly linked to the (his) armies that destroyed the Temple.
The Possessive Power of Prepositional Phrases & Pronouns!
As both a means to encourage you to read Out of the Abyss, and also to best explain the staggering significance of the possessive prepositions and pronouns (“of” or “whose”) that directly connect the ruler (Antichrist) with the armies or people of that ruler in real-time (1st century AD), I’d like to quote from Out of the Abyss: (In italics)
In some Bible translations such as the New American Standard, we read, “…and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary…” (Daniel 9:26) … The perception of a Revived Roman Empire flows from the attachment or affiliation of the Ancient Roman Empire’s armies or people that destroyed the Temple to a modern-day Antichrist. But as we will soon see, this application contextually, grammatically, and prophetically stretches the connection to the breaking point.
The Hebrew word for “people” is am, which means people(s), people of a nation, members of one’s people, kinsman, or compatriots. This word is used 1,620 times in the NAS translation of the Old Testament. And, invariably, when relating people (am) to a nation, king, ruler, or to God, the word is employed in the logical and sensible Scriptural context of possessive, immediate, or generational relationship. For example, “After this presentation to Israel’s leaders, Moses and Aaron went and spoke to Pharaoh. They told him, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: Let my people go…’” (Exodus 5:1). The people were none other than the Hebrews alive at that specific time, during the final stages of their Egyptian bondage.
(Note: The Hebrew word am is not the same as the English word, “am.” As in “I am going…” It is pronounced hahm or ahm … the “ah” sound with “m” at the end).
In a few Old Testament verses the Hebrew word more specifically applies to troops or armies … It’s apparent that the New Living Translation chose the word “armies” to more precisely delineate the actual fulfillment of the prophecy. (Then I refer to the Roman Legions destroying the Temple in 70 AD). In other words, “People” of the prince or ruler to come includes all of the prince’s country-men; but more exactly it was the armies (Roman Legions) of this people that fulfilled the prophecy.
But whose armies are they? Whose people are they? If you study the text carefully, there is a clear possessive correlation between the ruler and the armies or the people. The NLT simplifies the English to demonstrate this connection by stating that, “a ruler will arise whose armies.” Whose is possessive; meaning those armies or people specifically belonging to that particular ruler. Or, if you prefer the translation that says, “People of the prince,” the same possessive principle applies. The people directly affiliated, associated, or united with the prince destroyed the Temple. (Out of the Abyss, pages 254, 255).
This chapter from Out of the Abyss continues with the explanation that had Gabriel meant that the Temple would first be destroyed and then the ruler (of the people or armies that destroyed the Temple) would arrive (much later … which is now 2000 years and counting), then Gabriel would have made this clear by saying something to the effect that the armies of the ruler would have already (first) destroyed the city and Temple, then the ruler would come. But he didn’t say that; in fact he logically describes the chronological sequence the way it was sensibly intended. (First) a ruler would arise, (then) his armies would destroy the temple.
I then state that Gabriel emphatically emphasized the need for Daniel (all readers) to pay close attention: “Now listen and understand” he told Daniel. It would be the people of the prince (or more precisely, the armies that belonged to the ruler) who would destroy Jerusalem and the Temple. With the excessively strong implication that the ruler/prince didn’t live to see the conquest finished. Which, incidentally, but much more than coincidentally, is exactly what happened in 1st century history.
(Roman Legions … One of the Most Formidable Fighting Force of All Time)
Nero ordered Vespasian and Titus to march on Israel. This campaign began in 66 A.D, but it wasn’t finished until August, 70 AD when Vespasian’s son, Titus, sacked Jerusalem and burned and dismantled the Temple stone by stone. In the interim, Nero died in 68 AD.
An amazingly exact historical occurrence to precisely fulfill Daniel’s prophecy!
Continuing in Out of the Abyss:
This is very true when reading history. Almost always, a historian (we speak in the same terms) will say that Alexander the Great conquered Persia, not Alexander and his armies. We fully understand what is meant; that Alexander the Great or Napoleon or whoever couldn’t have done it without their armies….
Yet, if a ruler dies, and his armies continue the battle or the war, we see, for example, that it was Genghis Khan’s armies or troops that did such and such after he died. “People of the prince who is to come” is a prepositional phrase that demands a possessive correlation. “People of the prince who is to come will destroy the city” neither prophetically or grammatically state nor even imply that the city would be destroyed before the prince arrived. In other words, this ruler and his armies are inseparably linked together in possessive relationship and in a real-time context.
Where have you ever read or seen or thought that a ruler of any era would be connected to armies or people hundreds or thousands of years earlier. All monarchs, both in Biblical and secular history, are linked directly with the armies of that particular time of the ruler’s life. Contextually and grammatically it makes no sense for Gabriel to tell Daniel that the ruler’s armies would destroy Jerusalem, but the ruler wouldn’t come until much later. If that were the case, then Gabriel would have told Daniel that the ruler’s ancestors (of long ago) would destroy the Temple, and then the ruler would arise. Conversely, the text clearly delineates and specifies that when the ruler comes, his people or armies would destroy the city.
And, as indicated, whenever the Hebrew word “am” is used throughout the Old Testament in conjunction with a ruler and a people, it is used to specify an immediate, real-time connection between the leader/nation and the people belonging to that leader … Why, then, should Gabriel and Daniel mean a far-off, time-warped differential between the Roman Legions and a prince that wouldn’t arrive on the scene for what is now a nearly two-thousand year gap? (Out of the Abyss, pages 255-256).
Here, I’ll condense what comes next in Out of the Abyss, by first quoting a part of our passage that immediately precedes, “…and a ruler will arise whose armies…”
“…the Anointed One will be killed, appearing to have accomplished nothing…” (Daniel 9:26, italics for emphasis).
This is another overwhelming corroboration that the ruler referenced by Daniel (Antichrist) arose shortly after Messiah Jesus was crucified (and arose from the dead). The text is emphatically evident: The ruler would arise during the time that the death of Messiah appeared to have accomplish nothing. Nero was born just 3-4 years after Christ ascended back to heaven. He would unlawfully assume the Roman throne in 54 A.D. at the age of seventeen. The Christian faith was still in its infancy; to many, the death of Jesus seemed to have been for naught.
Beginning in the latter part of the 1st century and continuing to this very day (interrupted in part by the Roman Catholic induced and dominated Dark Ages), the monumentally astounding accomplishments of Christianity are more obvious than any event or development in history. What Jesus Christ has accomplished through salvation of millions of people (true believers) and the remarkable impact of Biblical redemption personally and corporately on peoples, nations, hospitals, churches, charitable organizations, and much more is indisputable.
(St. Luke’s Lakeside Hospital, Located in The Woodlands Division of Houston, Texas)
Thus, the ruler who Daniel said would arise (mentioned in the same verse as the death of Messiah, with the clear contextual connotation and plain understanding that it would be in the same time proximity that Messiah would be killed) had to have been revealed while Christianity was still inconsequential to many in the Roman Empire … “appearing to have accomplished nothing.”
Nero fits that 1st century time and space correlation far better than any ruler before or after him. One, because of the time-frame itself—born in 37 A.D., rose to power in 54 A.D, and died in 68 A.D. Two, because Nero instigated the first and most brutal agenda in all of history (sanctioned by his Roman Empire) to kill Christians.
His short-term evil plan: To blame the Christians for the great fire in Rome (which most historians are convinced Nero himself started or ordered it). The long-term diabolical agenda: To wipe out Christianity and put an end to worship of Jesus Christ over Nero. What better way to stop or preempt potential accomplishments of the Christian faith than to eliminate the followers of Christ.
Not only was Nero the man of lawlessness referenced by Paul (and will soon return as the Antichrist, the designation later used by the Apostle John), he was the most anti-Christ person who has ever lived. He threw huge parties in his palace gardens, with Christians hanging on poles slowly and excruciatingly burning to death (from ignited pitch or tar that covered them) to light the gardens at night. He ridiculed the Christians as they succumbed to such horrible deaths by saying, “Now you are truly the light of the world.” Which was also a malicious mockery and depraved defiance of Jesus Christ himself whom the Christians worshipped as the light of the world.
(Depicts Nero’s Golden Palace and Death of Christians for Entertainment)
Not until a few decades after Nero’s death did Christianity began to flourish and spread throughout the Roman Empire.
When Nero became Caesar in 54 A.D. the Apostle Paul had written only three of his epistles: Galatians and I & II Thessalonians (51-52 A.D.). It’s no coincidence that Paul only refers to the man of lawlessness (later called the Antichrist by the Apostle John and beast-king in Revelation) in II Thessalonians before Nero “lawlessly” ascended to the throne. As indicated in Chapter 21 of Out of the Abyss, I’m convinced that Paul knew that Nero was (would be) this man of lawlessness.
Later the book of Revelation would challenge 1st century believers and all believers thereafter to identify the Antichrist beast through Hebrew gematria, … the number six hundred sixty-six (Revelation 13:18). From the Greek name for Nero (New Testament was written in Greek) converted to the Hebrew method of counting by the Hebrew alphabet, Neron Kaiser (Greek for Nero Caesar) adds up to the sum of six hundred, sixty-six. (666).
Then perhaps the most astonishing passage of all concerning the infamous biography of Antichrist: John tells us the beast (Antichrist) that he just saw in another vision, “…was once alive but isn’t now. And yet he (the beast) will soon (abruptly) come up out of the bottomless pit (Abyss) … And all the people who belong to this world … will be amazed at the reappearance of the beast who had died” (Revelation 17:8, parenthesis mine).
By the time Revelation was written, Nero had already died in 68 A.D. As covered in great detail in Out of the Abyss, it was Jesus himself (at his command and providential direction) who saw to it that Nero was killed (while still a young man).
“Then the man of lawlessness will be revealed, but the Lord Jesus will kill him with the breath of his mouth and destroy him by the splendor of his coming” (II Thessalonians 2:8).
Nero was “revealed” as the man of lawlessness who had been held in restraint by his predecessor Claudius (his step father), until Agrippina (Claudius wife and Nero’s mother), with Nero in complicity, murdered Claudius in 54 A.D. Paul knew that Nero was the man of lawlessness, but he didn’t refer to him as Antichrist. Years later, John the Apostle used that term in his first epistle. Even Revelation doesn’t use the appellation of Antichrist; rather it refers to him as a beast or one of the seven kings (Roman emperors). Paul knew that Jesus would strike down Nero but Paul did not know (wasn’t disclosed to him) that Nero would RETURN from the Abyss, as the beast-king of Revelation. That wasn’t revealed until later through John’s visions.
(Bust of Nero)
To summarize Daniel’s prediction that the “rise” of the ruler would happen (soon) after Messiah was killed, appearing to have accomplished nothing (at the time) I quote again from Out of the Abyss:
To the populace of Israel, the Roman Empire, and world at large, the tragic death of Jesus of Nazareth seemed to have accomplished very little. To Jewish Zealots, Jesus’s death accomplished absolutely nothing … It took several centuries for Christians and the secular world to comprehend the increasing influence that the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ had exerted on the world.
Thus, the rise of the Antichrist ruler predicted by Daniel HAD to have taken place during the first few years after Messiah (Jesus) was crucified. Just as the Messiah HAD to first appear (arrive) before the Temple was destroyed—by the armies of this same ruler … Nero.
Is all this amazing or what?!
A Few More Excerpts from Out of the Abyss:
Stating it bluntly: the Roman Legions of 70 AD could not be of, from, or belong to a ruler born some two thousand years later. This would stretch the chain that tries to bind the Roman Legions of 70 AD to a modern-day man to the breaking point. Remember again: this ruler or king originates directly from the fourth world power (Roman Empire) of Daniel Chapter 7. The ruler does not come from a future 7th empire, because there is no such empire in the book of Daniel…
The NLT translation is saying the same thing as, “People of the prince who is to come.” But the NLT precludes the tendency to forget or overlook the possessive prepositional phrase that is the linguistic and prophetic essence of this verse, in contrast to a ruler who will come long after his people destroy the city.
Daniel tells us that the ruler will come and the people of this ruler will destroy the city. He does not say that the Temple must be or is first destroyed before the prince arrives. But that’s the current hindsight application made by those who hold to a modern-day Antichrist and a Revived Roman Empire. Meaning that this “prince who is to come” must be born and rise to power after an enormous lapse of time (2000 years), with a 21st century result of an impractical and unrealistic time-capsule detachment from the armies that destroyed the city and Temple (Page 257).
Then picking up in the next chapter of Out of the Abyss:
Read again, if you will, the sequential syntax of Verse 26, which says, “…a ruler will arise whose armies will destroy the Temple.” In which order do these things prophetically take place? Correct—the ruler arises, and then his armies destroy the Temple … To eliminate any misunderstanding as to when the ruler would arise, the angel would have told Daniel that when the ruler arrives, his armies would have already destroyed the city. But that’s not what Daniel says, nor did it happen that way in history.
Nor has any conquest, in ancient or modern warfare, been accomplished or even recognized by means of troops conquering a city or country, then the supreme leader (king or emperor) of that army born hundreds of years later or even a few years later. In fact, that makes no sense at all. The only way the armies can be connected to, belong to, controlled or ordered by their leader, is a direct result of the leader—by virtue of being alive—delivering commands to his subordinates; thus, for that ruler to be unequivocally associated with and attached to the people that do the conquering. Make sense?
So the angel Gabriel makes two clear distinctions in these verses. (1) Technically and actually the ruler’s armies would destroy Jerusalem and the Temple, not the ruler himself. Why: because the ruler wasn’t there to take or be given credit. (2) Even more importantly, the armies are of or belong to the ruler himself, by virtue of the possessive correlation clearly articulated in the passage. The passage does not state nor even imply a (far away) future ruler to the Roman Legions of the first century. Instead we see culpability by direct possessive association with and correlation between first century Rome and a first century Roman ruler.
The armies or people who destroyed the city and the Temple were Roman Legions that belonged to Nero, as ultimate Commander in Chief of all Roman legions. These legions are long gone, and couldn’t possibly be the people or armies of a modern-day born Antichrist. Again I will stress: the ruler and his armies of Daniel 9 are inextricably conjoined, coupled, and connectively linked by the possessive pronouns employed in the text, whether the translation is “of” or “whose.” (Out of the Abyss, page 264).
The main Biblical passages dealing with the Antichrist in order are: Daniel 7, 9, 11; Zechariah 11; Matthew 24 (false messiahs); II Thessalonians 2; Revelation 11, 13, 16, 17 & 19. With the geographical and biographical profile of the Antichrist most prominent in Daniel and Revelation 13 & 17.
To wit: He will originate from the fourth kingdom (Roman Empire), not a 7th kingdom (a so-called Revived Roman Empire). He will lead an alliance of ten Tribulation kings (nations), forcibly subduing three of these kingdoms. At the time of the revelations to John, the Antichrist had already lived and died on this earth. (Revelation 17:8). He would reappear from the Abyss; with the totally logical conclusion that he had to be first placed in the Abyss (which occurred after Christ struck him down in 68 AD).
He will make an unholy alliance with the vestiges of the Holy Roman Empire (Vatican), but will then turn on the “Woman” and pursue his malevolent ambitions with his ten-nation coalition (Revelation 17). Though hundreds of millions will give him their allegiance—including taking the mark of his name or number—there will not be a One World Religion or One World Government. Instead, many left behind after the Rapture will surrender their complete loyalty (to the point of worship) for one reason only: his apparent resurrection from the grave. They will be people from every nation, language, and race; which will be a counterfeit representation of the true Messiah (Jesus Christ) and his followers from people all over the earth—but without a kingdom as such until Messiah Jesus returns in power and great glory at the end of the seven-year Tribulation.
If you are seriously interested in knowing everything that God has given us through his Word about this man of sin (including his very identity), you need a working knowledge and understanding of these passages. And you also need at least a cursory grasp of 1st century Church and secular history, especially the Roman Emperors. All of these things in great detail are presented in Out of the Abyss … can the number of the beast be solved? Also in several Eye of Prophecy articles like this one, including most of the articles found in the category of Antichrist and/or The Rapture.
Yet, it is Daniel Chapter 9 (the focus of our attention last week and this week), that most thoroughly predicts and explains the first arrival of both Messiah and anti-Messiah at the exact time God intended. That and the fact that both would return (reappear) to complete the final epic struggle between God and Satan, between Christ and Antichrist, between good and evil.
Christ was the first to appear. Yet his Second Coming will be after the return of Antichrist Nero.
Thus, just as the Scriptures say: Messiah Jesus is The First and the Last! Alpha and Omega! The Beginning and the End!
Here is one more citation from Out of the Abyss:
Where did the Roman Legions camp and prepare for the march on Jerusalem in 70 AD? Answer: Megiddo. Who ordered this campaign against Israel? That’s right: it was Nero. Where will the final conflict of Revelation be decided? Right again … Armageddon. Who will be leading these armies against Israel, then against Messiah himself? Easy answer: Antichrist. A chilling connection don’t you think? Do you think this and all the other correlations between Christ and Antichrist (Nero) are a bit more than coincidental?
As already indicated, I’m sure that Nero’s premature death both stunned and infuriated Satan. For sure Satan had read Paul’s letters to the Thessalonians; that Jesus would kill the man of lawlessness, “with the breath of his mouth.” Yet Satan assumed that his man would first accomplish all the things that Daniel and other prophets had declared. And, of course, Satan would attempt to write his own script and execute his own version of the final act. The Revelation of Jesus Christ had not yet been given to John. Thus no one, including Satan, knew that the man of lawlessness slain by Christ must first be confined to the Abyss and be allowed to rise again as the beast of Revelation.
If you still find it difficult to let go of a Revived Roman Empire that produces a modern-day (born) Antichrist, at least consider this; whatever form or shape this coalition takes, what ultimately makes it Roman and revived is a Revived Roman Emperor (Pages 265- 266).
Things to Ponder
As touched on in last week’s article that focused on the Messianic (first advent of Jesus Christ) significance of Daniel 9, and in preparation for this week’s article, I indicated that the Antichrist portion of Daniel 9 is not a matter of “life or death” as we speak … before the Rapture.
However, I’m convinced that the Lord wants us and certainly all left behind at the Rapture to realize that there are eternal consequences to the choice that everyone alive now and those left behind will make. And if they don’t decide it will be decided for them one way or another—either by the justified judgments of God or by the unjustified deceit and ruthlessness of Antichrist.
Is Jesus the Messiah Savior? Or is the one who is anti-Christ (Nero) to be followed? It truly will be an eternal life or death decision.
Those who know now and those who will realize after the Rapture that the Bible had disclosed the identity of the Antichrist all along won’t be so amazed when they see an ancient Roman Emperor return to this earth. Hopefully they (you, if you have not yet believed and received Jesus as Lord and Savior) will see beyond any doubt that the very Word of God (Scripture) foretold this long ago.
Rest assured, the true and living God and His Messiah will prevail.
“The ruler will make a treaty with the people for a period of one set of seven (seven years), but after half this time, he will put an end to the sacrifices and offerings. And as a climax to all his terrible deeds, he will set up a sacrilegious object that causes desecration, until the fate decreed for this defiler is finally poured out on him” (Daniel 9:27, italics for emphasis).
The italicized words in this verse provide more validation that the Antichrist’s (Nero) reign of terror began long ago (first century) and will finally come to a crashing conclusion when Jesus sets foot on the earth at the end of the Tribulation.
The terms, as a climax and finally, convey a long period of time. The 3 ½ years of the Great Tribulation in which God gives permission for Satan and Antichrist to wreak havoc on the earth is far too short of a time to be expressed by the term, finally.
Rather, Daniel is referring to the time when the ruler would first be revealed (1st Century) all the way to his reappearance at the end of this age; when all of the hideous deeds of this depraved despot begun in the 1st century will resume and intensify and reach a climax at the end of his forty-two month reign of terror.
Finally, after all this time (2000 years), he will be destroyed.
After all this time (2000 years), Messiah Jesus will return and finally put an end to the beast who, “was once alive but isn’t now … yet he will soon (suddenly) come up out of the bottomless pit and go to eternal destruction” (Revelation 17:8).
Paul tells us: “Then the man of lawlessness will be revealed (so he was in the first century), but the Lord Jesus will kill him with the breath of his mouth AND (then) destroy him by the splendor of his coming” (II Thessalonians 2:8, parenthesis mine, upper case letters for emphasis).
Once you’re dead (killed) you are destroyed, right? Therefore, there would be no reason for this verse to continue by saying that this man of lawlessness will also be destroyed. That would be totally redundant and unnecessary.
Unless, that is, the Antichrist returns (from the Abyss) and then is finally destroyed (comes to his final end in the Lake of Fire, Revelation 19) by the return of the true Messiah … Jesus!
Do you see that?