What do former leaders like Abraham Lincoln and Adolf Hitler have in common? Or George Washington and Joseph Stalin? Or Winston Churchill and Mao tse-tung (China)?
If you said, “absolutely nothing” in the context of and contrast to good and evil, just and unjust, moral and immoral, positive and negative (effect on their nation and the world), you would, of course, be “right on.”
In terms of personal integrity and consideration for others, they were opposites. With entirely different social, political, and military consequences for the people they led; indeed, for the whole world during their time in power.
But these trailblazers and world figures before and after them do have one thing in common: They were born, lived, and died in the generation shaped by their influence and exploits—whether good or bad. And they appeared on the world stage only once.
Your immediate response would probably be: “Of course, they had that in common. That’s simple logic. That’s just the way of it. Always has been, always will be.”
And your reaction would be just as rational as your conclusion: Whether abruptly or gradually, persuasive people through the ages have risen to prominence through the typical course of human events.
Next, you might ask another reasonable question: Where is he going with this?
What’s the point of stating the obvious regarding the natural way of birth, life, and death for all people, including prominent leaders from previous generations?
(Arlington National Cemetery Tombstone of Former US President John F. Kennedy; many longed for his return to complete the Camelot-like paradise of his presidency)
Good questions and sound logic. In fact, so sound, that nearly everyone (including believers in Messiah Jesus) automatically assumes that the Antichrist will be born a few decades before the Rapture and rise to power at the outset of the Seven-Year Tribulation period in the pattern of tyrants before him.
However, this natural and reasonable assumption has three foundational flaws:
First Flaw: Failure to fully realize that the post-Rapture appearance of the Antichrist is (in the eyes of those left behind) as stunning as the Rapture itself. Followed by the spectacular events described not only in the book of Revelation, but also by many Old Testament prophets and by Jesus himself … which are anything but natural or normal. They are, in fact: supernatural, abnormal, and extra ordinary (extraordinary).
Second Flaw: The tendency to forget that the Antichrist is not only the opposite of Christ but also a counterfeit imitator of the true Messiah—Jesus. Those who have believed and received Messiah Jesus as personal Savior have done so because we believe with our whole heart the Biblical record (plus secular history) that decisively documents the supernatural birth, exceptional life, and marvelous miracles of Jesus of Nazareth.
The Apostle Paul succinctly summarized the pivotal event that changed the course of human history when he penned these words to verify that Jesus of Nazareth was the long-awaited Messiah, the very Son of God:
“I passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me. Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said. He was seen by Peter and then by the Twelve. After that, he was seen by more than 500 of his followers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died” (I Corinthians 15:3-6).
Several Biblical prophecies declare in definitive and dramatic terms that Jesus will return to this earth during the Day of the Lord—Tribulation period followed by the Millennial Reign of Messiah—in the same glorified body in which he ascended to heaven forty days after his magnificent resurrection from the grave. In that respect, he is different from any other person who has ever lived. Scripture (Old and New Testament) is abundantly clear that Messiah’s soon-to-come arrival will not be his first appearance on earth. Rather, it will be his glorious Second Coming to establish the global Kingdom of God.
Listen to the words of Messiah himself as spoken to the prophet regarding the last days of the end times:
“Then I will pour out a spirit of grace and prayer on the family of David and on the people of Jerusalem. They will look on me whom they have pierced and mourn for him as for an only son. They will grieve bitterly for him as for a firstborn son who has died” (Zechariah 12:10).
Followed by: “Then the Lord will go out to fight against those nations, as he has fought in times past. On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem. And the Mount of Olives will split apart, making a wide valley running from east to west. Half the mountain will move toward the north and half toward the south” (Zechariah 14:3-4).
Other than Messiah (Jesus), no ruler will return to complete what he started during his lifetime on this earth.
Except one: The Antichrist. Because the tendency is to think in terms of the natural/normal ascendency of leaders during their “once in a lifetime” position of power on this earth, it’s easy to overlook the fact that the Antichrist will be a (false) replica of the true Messiah. Including his initial revealing (1st Century) and his subsequent return from the Abyss (21st Century).
Messiah’s Second Coming will be mimicked by the Antichrist, also in a supernatural way.
Antichrist will be the only other person to “reappear” on the scene of human history. Thus, he, too, will not be a modern-day born man.
(Fingers have been pointed at Popes, Presidents, and other Dignitaries as the Antichrist. The latest target is Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and Advisor)
Third Flaw: As indicated, it’s intuitively reasonable to suppose that the Antichrist will be born and rise to power in the generation of the Rapture and ensuing Tribulation … like all despots before him in their generation.
Consequently, Bible Scholars (including me at one time) to this day have missed or even dismissed some significant statements—some clear, others more like clues—in Scripture which convincingly illustrate that the Antichrist was also born in the 1st Century and will return shortly after the Rapture to finish what he started. But this time on a global scale.
In my book, Out of the Abyss and in most of the 59 Eye of Prophecy articles to date in the Category of The Antichrist, I’ve provided detailed Scriptural and historical evidence to demonstrate that this despicable man is none other than the Roman Emperor Nero. I’ve examined at length ALL Biblical passages pertaining to the Antichrist, such as Daniel Chapters 7, 9, & 11. Also, Zechariah Chapter 11 and Revelation Chapter 13.
Present & Past Tense Existence of the Antichrist in the First Century
In this week’s article, we’ll focus on the two passages that categorically convey the present and past tense existence of Antichrist in the first century, i.e. that he was alive at the very time that the Apostle Paul wrote about this man of lawlessness. And that he had already lived and died BEFORE John of Revelation saw his visions of this perverse man—described symbolically by John as a beast. Respectively, they are II Thessalonians Chapter 2 and Revelation Chapter 17.
In addition, there are only two passages in all of Scripture in which the writer (John of Revelation) challenges believers to—with wisdom and understanding—comprehend and, thereby, solve a mystery. Both exhortations apply directly to the Antichrist beast; that his identity could be known (and was known by 1st Century believers). With that knowledge waning by the 5th Century. See Eye of Prophecy article: The Legendary Return of Nero, posted 4-4-15.
The first challenge is found in Revelation Chapter 13—the initial revelation of the Antichrist beast to John. Even many unbelievers know or know of the infamous number found in this verse:
“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” (Revelation 13:18).
As indicated in Out of the Abyss and prior articles, the title/name of Nero Caesar equals six hundred, sixty-six in Hebrew gematria. Gematria is how Jews counted, via the Hebrew alphabet; then translated to the Greek, the original language of the New Testament. First century believers, especially Messianic Jewish believers, would have easily been able to “solve the meaning of the number of the beast.”
Nevertheless, John was given a second vision of the beast, with even more clues; this time focusing on the biographical and geopolitical status of the Antichrist. Clues so strong that they stand alone to provide more proof as to the identity of the beast. They are found in Revelation 17:7-11. For purpose of today’s examination, we’ll focus on verses 7 and 8. With verses 9 through 11 providing more evidence to narrow down which of the seven kings (Caesars) was the beast … Nero.
For an in-depth study of these seven kings (to document they are kings not kingdoms) please refer to Chapters 16 & 17 in Out of the Abyss. Or, Eye of Prophecy articles, Exposing Antichrist’s Identity … More Compelling Evidence, Part I & II (Published 3-18 & 3-25-17).
Let’s look again at these two astonishing verses that Bible teachers/students (including me for several years) have overlooked. With the stated reason that it’s so very difficult to wrap our minds around the startling fact that the Antichrist’s arrival soon after the Rapture will NOT be a contemporary man appearing on the scene for the first time. Instead, it will be his reappearance on earth—straight from the Abyss. Where he has been imprisoned for some 2,000 years after his death and revival by the Lord himself.
“Why are you so amazed? the angel asked. I will tell you the mystery of this 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 (abruptly, at any time) come up out of the bottomless pit (Abyss) and go to eternal destruction. And the people who belong to this 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, emphasis added, parenthesis mine).
In further commentary on that passage, the following is an excerpt from Eye of Prophecy article, Antichrist / A “Back To The Future” Prophecy. Posted 11-17-18 (in italics).
Question: When is the now of the verse?
If you’ve never thought about it before, now you know the obvious answer. The now is right then and there at that precise point in time in the first-century A.D. The wording is unambiguous and the meaning irrefutable: The beast had already lived and died! “Once alive but isn’t now.”
The life and death of the beast also had to be in the first century, not long before John saw the visions recorded in Revelation. Which is confirmed by more of the mystery unveiled by the angel.
*Note: I then quote the next two verses, which is the 2nd time in Revelation that a challenge is issued by the angel to accurately decipher the clues.
“This calls for a mind with understanding (same challenge as in Revelation 13): The seven heads of the beast represent the seven hills (of Rome) where the woman rules. They also represent seven kings (a totally different Greek word than kingdoms). Five kings have already fallen (died), the sixth now reigns (at that very time when John saw the vision), and the seventh is yet to come, but his reign will be brief (all seven kings were Roman Emperors). The scarlet beast that was, but is no longer (more validation that the beast is past tense), is the eighth king. He is like (Greek word is ek, meaning of, out of, from, one of, like) the other seven…” (Revelation 17:9-10, parenthesis mine for additional commentary).
Continuing with the excerpt:
What had John witnessed? Answer: He had prophetically witnessed the same thing those left behind at the Rapture will see and be utterly amazed at (still in the future … beginning of the Tribulation).
What will amaze them? Answer: the reappearance of this beast (Antichrist) who had (already) died. Or, as phrased in Revelation 13: they will marvel at the miracle of the beast whose fatal wound had been healed.
It is a back to the future spectacle that will mesmerize the world’s attention and capture their loyalty like no other since the resurrection of the true Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth.
I then summarized that section of the article with the following observations:
Once a secret is revealed, it is no longer a secret. When the angel explained the mystery of John’s second vision of the beast, it would clarify and confirm John’s first vision; the beast was one of the seven heads, also the composite beast (man) as a whole. Also, to dispel any doubt as to when the fatal wound was inflicted. The solved mystery would provide insight to the very origin of the beast—one that also corroborates Daniel’s disclosure that the little horn (Antichrist) comes directly from the fourth Gentile Kingdom—the Roman Empire.
Not from a (7th kingdom) Revived Roman Empire, because there is no such empire identified in Scripture.
I repeat for emphasis: no such kingdom because there are only four Gentile kingdoms designated by Daniel—known to be Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome. The kings of Revelation are just that: kings … seven Roman Caesars. Of which Nero was one of the five who had died before John saw him in the symbolic form of a beast. The ten kingdoms are those that belong to the ten kings in existence during the Tribulation; they will yield their kingdoms to the beast who reappears from the Abyss. Thus, the past tense (seven heads) and future tense (ten horns) unveiling of the mystery.
For sheer emphasis, here is an excerpt from Out of the Abyss (in italics):
The beast had already died before John received this revelation. How else can this passage be understood? Is there any other way to see or read this verse? If some can’t let go of a contemporary Antichrist, then what will they do with this verse … and all the other passages that help refit the prophetic puzzle?
John didn’t see the vision in the future; he saw it in the present—that hour of that day. The beast is past tense … no longer alive when John saw the vision. The beast isn’t born and doesn’t die in the future; he’s already dead. When will the beast become future tense? Correct: When he reappears from the Abyss. At the beginning of the Tribulation, the world will be amazed at the reappearance of the beast who had died. Will the beast die during the Tribulation? No, he died even before John saw him from Patmos (Page 271).
Now let’s take an up close and personal look at another passage on the Antichrist which emphatically expresses that this man was alive when the Apostle Paul reminded the believers in the Thessalonica Church what he had already told them about the Rapture in I Thessalonians (Chapter 4 & 5).
II Thessalonians Chapter 2
Paul begins that chapter with: “Now, dear brothers and sisters, let us clarify some things about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and how we will be gathered to meet him” (II Thessalonians 2:1).
Why was that clarification necessary?
Answer: Some of the Christians had believed false reports that the Day of the Lord had already begun. In his first epistle to the Thessalonians written just a few months earlier, Paul had explained that the Day of the Lord begins with the Rapture of believers to heaven. Followed by a time of disaster that would fall on unbelievers (those left behind).
Yet, Paul reassured the believers that the Rapture would spare them from this time of great tribulation that Jesus had previously spoken of when he said: “For there will be greater anguish than at any time since the world began. And it will never be so great again. In fact, unless that time of calamity is shortened, not a single person will survive. But it will be shortened for the sake of God’s chosen ones” (Matthew 24:21-22).
In fact, the Tribulation will be limited to seven years. But as Jesus said: what a period of death and destruction that will be. See Eye of Prophecy article: Shocking Statistics of the Great Tribulation (posted 6-6-15).
Returning to II Thessalonians Chapter 2, the Apostle Paul provides another reason or component as to why the Day of the Lord had not yet begun. Which, incidentally, he and all the other apostles including Peter believed would take place in their lifetime … any day.
However, it wasn’t until after Paul and Peter had been executed during the latter part of Nero’s reign that the 1st Century believers were given more dramatic details of the Antichrist, which John saw as a beast. Whereas, Paul labeled him the Man of Lawlessness.
As contained in the Eye of Prophecy trilogy, A Beast By Any Other Name I, II, III (posted 3-14, 3-21, & 3-28-15), it’s vitally important to know why different designations are used of the Antichrist, such as king, ruler, man of lawlessness, and beast. Paul never used the tag of Antichrist or beast because he had not been given full disclosure of the sequence of events during the 1st century … later described in the book of Revelation.
Paul wrote only what the Lord had revealed to him:
“Don’t be fooled by what they say. For that day will not come until there is a great rebellion against God and the man of lawlessness is revealed—the one who brings destruction. He will exalt himself and defy everything that people call god and every object of worship…” (II Thessalonians 2:3-4a).
As contained in Out of the Abyss and several Eye of Prophecy articles, Paul knew that Nero was the man of lawlessness; although Nero hadn’t yet ascended to the throne as the fifth Roman Emperor when Paul penned the two letters to the Thessalonians. We know that Paul knew because of what he says in verses 5 through 8, which we’ll get to momentarily. Paul wrote II Thessalonians in AD 51. Nero surreptitiously claimed the throne as Caesar in AD 54. During his reign, he and the Roman Empire began what Paul said would happen when the man of lawlessness was revealed (meaning coming to power).
There would be a great rebellion against God. Which is exactly what happened when Nero instigated a campaign of terror against the new Christian faith in which thousands of believers were killed. Never (before) had an entire empire persecuted people simply because of their beliefs. This rebellion (persecution) began with the Orthodox Jews—including Paul while he was still a Pharisee named Saul. It was a revolt against God’s New Covenant of Grace which, among other things, declared that Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah and Savior of mankind.
Nero also fit the profile portrayed by Paul of exalting himself and defying everything that people call god and every object of worship. He had a monumental statue built of himself and wanted people to worship him as God, not just “a god.”
(Current statue at Anzio, Italy–memorializing Nero at his place of birth. The nearly 100-foot statue Nero had built for himself in the 1st century no longer exists)
Then Paul goes on to predict what else the man of lawlessness would do: “…He will even sit in the temple of God, claiming that he himself is God” (II Thessalonians 2:4b).
The Apostle Paul was beheaded because of his Christian faith during Nero’s reign … most likely at the direct orders of Nero. The temple was still intact at that time, as the Roman Legions under General Titus didn’t destroy the Temple until AD 70. It was Nero who, in AD 66, ordered the assault on Israel and hand-picked the Roman Generals Vespasian and Titus to crush the Jewish revolt. However, Nero died in AD 68 before his legions completed the conquest of Israel, Jerusalem, and the Temple.
Which fits perfectly with Daniel’s prophecy, of which I’ve also written extensively:
“After this period of sixty-two sets of seven, the Anointed One (Messiah Jesus) 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, emphasis added, parenthesis mine).
However, the Lord hadn’t revealed to Paul that the man of lawlessness would later be called Antichrist by the Apostle John and a beast/king by John of Revelation. Although Paul knew that Jesus himself would kill the man of lawlessness (II Thessalonians 2:8), he didn’t know this would happen before the man would desecrate the Temple. Likewise, Paul wasn’t aware that the beast would reappear from the Abyss (at God’s appointed time) and continue his 1st century escapades but in far greater proportion on a global level.
The Present Tense Lawlessness Going On
Continuing with II Thessalonians Chapter 2, we read about the lawlessness secretly at work in the Roman Empire. It is the present tense verbs and adjectives in this passage which convincingly confirm that the man of lawlessness (Nero) was currently being restrained (delayed) from perfecting the plot to make him Emperor.
“Don’t you remember that I told you about all this when I was with you? And you know what is holding him back, for he can be revealed only when his time comes. For this lawlessness is already at work secretly, and it will remain secret until the one who is holding it back steps out of the way. Then the man of lawlessness will be revealed, but the Lord Jesus will slay him with the breath of his mouth and destroy him by the splendor of his coming” (II Thessalonians 2:5-8).
Because I said it as well then as could be said now, here is an excerpt from Eye of Prophecy article, Does the Holy Spirit Restrain (the Man of) Lawlessness? Posted 3-4-17.
Now let’s read part of the above quoted passage from the New American Standard Version: “And you know what restrains him now, so that in his time he will be revealed” (II Thessalonians 2:6). Then in verse seven, “…only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way.”
Paul uses the impersonal pronoun “what” (restrains him) but then switches to a personal pronoun “he” (who now restrains). You’ll see who the “he” is later on, but the fact remains that the restrainer(s)—there are actually two sources of restriction —is first referred to as “what.” Which could not possibly be the Holy Spirit for reasons already provided: The Holy Spirit is ALWAYS referred to by the personal pronoun … He, Him, or His.
I then provided an excerpt from my book, Out of the Abyss. As follows (also in italics):
A torrent of crucial words floods these verses. Let’s begin with the present tense words that clearly convey and confirm the premise that all this was taking place before and when Paul wrote his letter.
According to Paul, the restrainer “is” (at that time) holding the lawless one back. This present tense application is augmented by the fact that what restrains is holding “him now.” Not later, not in some distant future, but right then and there while Paul informed the believers. Paul obviously is not referring to a man who hadn’t even been born yet…
Think about it. How could or why would the man be restrained if he wasn’t already alive? If Paul was referring to this man in the future tense (not what the man would do … that was still future), he would have said, “and you know what will hold him back.” The present tense grammar of the text yields a convincing conclusion: this man of lawlessness was already being held in check.
Newsflash: Nero became emperor in 54 AD, but Claudius Caesar and his wife, Agrippina, were already touting Nero as successor when Paul wrote I & II Thessalonians. Furthermore, all of Rome knew that Nero would not be a lawful successor to the crown… (Page 191).
*Note: Agrippina was Nero’s mother. Emperor Claudius was Nero’s stepfather and the biological father of a son, Britannicus, who should have been the lawful heir to the throne.
(The first five Roman Emperors, known as the Claudian Dynasty. From left to right: Augustus Caesar; Tiberius; Caligula; Claudius; Nero)
To further understand how and why Nero was/is the Antichrist/beast/man of lawlessness, here is an excerpt from A Beast By Any Other Name…Part III (in italics):
Thus, when examined closely in the contextual references to Christ and Antichrist, we find a clear indication that the Antichrist would first be revealed as the Man of Lawlessness (ruler-king of Daniel whose armies would destroy the Temple); then return (reappear) as the beast-king of the Tribulation period. There is, however, one astounding verse in the New Testament passages about Antichrist in which both Greek words are used (referring to the words, reveal and reappear) It is a verse that many scholars (including me at one time) have overlooked regarding the significant impact of what is being said.
“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).
Yes, you read that right! The verse means exactly what it says. There are two distinct events presented in this stunning verse: (1) Jesus, himself, will kill this man. Remember, the passage is not about the beast; rather about the man of lawlessness as revealed by Paul. (2) The Lord will (also) destroy the man when Jesus returns … by the splendor of his coming. The killing and the destroying are not the same occurrence; for one thing they are separated by the all-important connective word, and. Furthermore, two separate distinct words are used, kill and destroy. Although destroy can include death, it is much more than that. It is final conquest, domination, and destruction of one’s enemy, whether the adversary is actually killed or not.
When the time came for the man of lawlessness to be revealed—which happened when Nero became Caesar—Christ would subsequently kill him. Then at the second coming of Christ (the Greek word is epiphany… used with a divine emphasis and connotation, i.e. Jesus the Son of God), Christ would ultimately destroy this man. Which is the fate of the beast when he and the false prophet are thrown bodily (alive) into the Lake of Fire (Revelation 19:20).
… Thus, we have the unmistakable evidence that the beast had already lived and died as the man of lawlessness before John prophetically witnessed his reappearance from the Abyss as described both in Revelation 13 and 17.
In closing, here is another excerpt from Out of the Abyss:
Paul’s description as the man of lawlessness points to the soul or persona of the man. Simply put: the man is unruly, anarchistic, uncontrolled, ungovernable … in short, outside the God-given laws of morality and nature. After Daniel’s … reference to this man as a king or ruler or little horn, and our Lord’s reference to false messiahs, Paul was the first to introduce this man.
The term antichrist refers directly to the spirit of this depraved man; in fact, the apostle John equates the Antichrist to the spirit of antichrist. Then John defines what this spirit represents or does: it denies God the Father, and God the Son as Messiah.
It is the spirit of a human being that is regenerated or made alive, when that person accepts Christ as Savior. Then the Holy Spirit bears witness with the redeemed spirit that we are children of God. The spirit of Antichrist remains forever spiritually dead; as does the spirit of every person who denies that Jesus is the Christ….
The bestial image of Revelation vividly depicts the physical nature (body) and corporeal deeds of this man, and all that entails. We still use a beast in modern language to expound the exploits of an individual. We might say, “He fought like a beast!” Or we might reduce the beast-like qualities to a specific animal and say, “She had the strength of a lion!” The soul and spirit of a person expresses all that is evil or good through the flesh or bodily presence of the individual. (Pages 204-205).
When Jesus, with his divine rightful authority, killed Nero, he eliminated the very soul of this wicked man from the face of the earth, at that specific point in time (68 AD), for a very explicit purpose, with a unique twist to a twisted man. Jesus would preserve Nero’s body for the precise plan of sealing the final destruction of Antichrist … bodily in the lake of fire. Yes, I did say, “preserve!” (Page 205).
The mainstream present-day explanation is that a modern-day Antichrist will be killed (some say his death is faked, but Revelation 13 tells us that it’s a fatal wound, i.e. death) at the hands of a Jew, or perhaps by a member of his inner circle. There are several theoretical scenarios presented by various scholars, but not one that I know of factors in II Thessalonians 2:8—that Christ, himself, will kill the man of lawlessness. However, these theories lead to a moot point. Because Revelation 17 unequivocally states that the Antichrist had already lived and died even before John saw a vision of him as a beast!
Continuing in Out of the Abyss:
Expressing it another way: Jesus did not kill the beast; he killed the man of lawlessness. Although the man of lawlessness and the beast are one and the same (Nero), this is not a contradiction. Why … because the Holy Spirit, through Paul, is telling us when the beast would be killed. The beast would be killed by Christ while the beast was the man of lawlessness (in the first century) before he reappeared as the beast! As the beast (during his 21st century return) Nero will be cast into the Lake of Fire, alive. (Page 206, parenthesis added for purpose of this week’s article).
Things to Ponder
Said the risen and ascended Jesus to John:
Then Jesus told John to: “Write down what you have seen—both the things that are now happening and the things that will happen” (Revelation 1:19, italics for emphasis).
“Jesus, who is the way, truth, and life because he perfectly fulfilled the Law of Moses arrived on the scene first. Then came the man of lawlessness who would seek to pervert and destroy this way, truth, and life. Nero arrived on the scene of humanity only some three and a half years after Jesus ascended to heaven. Nero will be allowed to reappear some seven years before Messiah returns, but Nero’s ultimate authority during that time will be for three and a half years. Thus, Christ will have the final say in this matter. Yeshua is the First and the Last.” (Out of the Abyss; Page 208)
In closing, here is another excerpt from Eye of Prophecy article: Antichrist / A “Back to the Future” Prophecy:
As said before, I believe that the longer-term purpose and benefit of identifying (correctly) the Antichrist is for those who will have missed the Rapture. That some left behind will quickly realize the awesome accuracy of God’s Word the Bible. That there will be some unbelievers who will not be so amazed at the reappearance of the beast who had died long ago.
Just like John’s amazement ended when the angel revealed to him the mystery of the beast’s and woman’s identity, without naming names to protect believers in the first century from even more Roman retaliation. The names are: Nero and Rome, the beast and the woman, respectively.
Also, for believers and unbelievers alive now. For those of us whose loved ones still have not decided to believe and receive Messiah Jesus as personal Savior. With love and concern, we eagerly want them to make that decision, NOW. So, they don’t have to experience the horror of the Great Tribulation. But if they are left behind, perhaps they won’t be so amazed at this evil man when he abruptly reappears from the Abyss.
Instead, they will choose the true Messiah, Jesus … even on pain of death.
“…And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their testimony about Jesus and for proclaiming the word of God. They had not worshipped the beast or his statue, nor accepted his mark on their foreheads or their hands. They all came to life again, and they reigned with Christ for a thousand years” (Revelation 20:4).