God's Plan for the Ages – Dispensations Lesson #27
September 30, 2014
"Our Father, we are thankful we can come together this evening in prayer that during prayer meeting we were able to surface many different situations and issues that face us as a church; that face individuals in the congregation and also face our nation. Father, we continue to pray for our nation. We pray for the world. We've got this Ebola outbreak and now someone in Dallas has Ebola. And Father, we just pray that You will give us as believers the right mental attitude and focus as we look at the challenges of life; that we can respond to them, not out of fear and worry and anxiety, but out of a position of confidence and faith and trust in You. That no matter how chaotic the world is, we know that You are still in control. Father, we pray for missionaries that this church supports. We pray for Bret Nazworth and his team that is in Africa right now. We pray for Dan Hill, who will be leaving to go to Zambia in the next few days. We pray for him. We pray for Jim Myers and Bret Nazworth as well, and Jeff Phipps as they get ready for a trip to Brazil coming up in October. Father, we continue to pray for us, that we might be faithful in Your Word and faithful in our understanding of it. We pray this in Christ's Name, Amen."
In our study of God's Plan for the Ages (slide 2) we come into what is usually the most interesting dispensation for a lot of people because we like to know what is going to happen in the future. And so we started studying about the Tribulation, otherwise known as the "time of Jacob's wrath" or as we see from this chart (slide 3) "Daniel's seventieth week." This chart, as we've studied in the last few weeks in Daniel's remarkable prophecy, outlines the amount of time from a decree in the ancient world to the end of God's plan for Israel before the kingdom is established. That is broken down, as the chart shows, between an initial period of 69 periods of seven or 483 years from 444 B.C. to A.D. 33 when Christ was crucified. Then the prophecy says Messiah is cut off; then there is this intervening gap between the cutting off of Messiah and the coming prince. The whole Church Age is in that parenthesis. The Rapture of the church ends the Church Age. There is some sort of gap or transition between the end of the Church Age and the signing of a peace treaty, a covenant, between Israel and the prince who is to come. That kicks off Daniel's seventieth week. It is divided into two periods, as the chart shows, and a period of half a week or three and a half years, and the second half of the week or three and a half years. The event that occurs in the midpoint of the Tribulation is called the "abomination of desolation" as indicated by Daniel 9. It is repeated by the Lord Jesus Christ in Matthew, emphasizing that the Antichrist would come and desecrate the temple.
So as we're going through this period of the Tribulation, over which there is a lot of debate: is this a dispensation or not? It is not part of the Church Age because the baptism of the Holy Spirit is no longer operational. These unique ministries of the baptism and the indwelling of God the Holy Spirit cease at the Rapture. That is what makes the church distinctive in Acts 2. It is the coming of the Holy Spirit and the baptism by the Holy Spirit, but not all dispensationalists will say that. There are a few that will take some different views. If you have listened to Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum you will know that he doesn't agree with about 98% of dispensationalists who'll identify the restrainer in 2 Thessalonians 2 as the Holy Spirit. He believes there is still a Holy Spirit there. I think the problem with that view is that it breaks down the distinction between Israel and the church. This is a return back to an emphasis on Israel. There are others besides Arnold who take that view. I am not just picking on Arnold, but I see that as a major problem with that view.
What I want to do starting tonight, and probably for the next couple of lessons, is sort of go through the personalities. We are looking at the program. Who are the key people in the Tribulation period? You can't know what's going on in the field, as it were, if you don't know who the players are. We have to look at the program and we have to look at the basic framework of action that takes place during the Tribulation period (slide 4). The Tribulation, as I said, is divided into those two periods. It begins after the Rapture of the Church and in Revelation 6 we go into the six seal judgments. I believe they take place during the first twenty-one months or so, plus or minus a few months. It doesn't specifically say. We have these initial seal judgments on the four horses of the apocalypses, conquest, open war, famine, and death followed by the martyrdom of hundreds of thousands if not millions of Christians. They are Christians because they believe in Christ Who has completed the work for salvation on the Cross, but they are not Church Age Christians. The Bible refers to them as "saints." They are Tribulation "saints" and many of them will be in heaven as pictured in Revelation 7. The sixth seal indicates the "wrath of the Lamb" as I pointed out.
Now that just covers the first half of the first half of the Tribulation. You've got 36 months that's probably not going to be divided into 18 and 18 months, but it is going to something like that. Then that is going to be followed by the seventh seal, which when it is opened it reveals seven trumpet judgments. Those seven trumpet judgments come also in the first half of the Tribulation period before the abomination of desolation. We worked through this quite a bit when I went through the Revelation series. So here are the trumpet judgments (slide 5). The trumpet judgments occur during the second 21 months or so of the three and a half years of the Tribulation period. We have hail fire, the burning mountain, the waters are turned bitter, the sun, moon, and stars loose their brightness. There is in this fifth trumpet judgment this demonic horde is released from the abyss and they plague the people. Then there is a demonic army released in the sixth trumpet judgment. Then the seventh trumpet judgment announces another series of judgments called the bowl judgments and they take place in the second half.
That is what this chart (slide 6) describes. The seven seals and the seven trumpets all occur in the first half of the Tribulation period, and then the seven bowl judgments occur in the last three and a half years. In the outworking of Revelation there are different personages that are focused on: in Revelation 11 you have the two witnesses; in Revelation 12 you have the first beast and the second beast; in Revelation 13 you have the woman who rides the beast; you have the woman who gives birth and flees into the wilderness. These are all the key people who are represented in the Tribulation period. It is sort of like there is a pause in the action. You go through the seal judgments and the trumpet judgments and they're chronological, then there is sort of a pause in the narrative, in the forward flow of the narrative, and then we look at who these key players are, and then the action takes up again.
So we talked about the beginning and length of the Tribulation (slide 7) is a seven-year period (slide 8); and tonight I want to look at the first person that is most significant in the Tribulation period (slide 9) and that is the person who is known as the Antichrist. Only one time in Scripture is that phrase used, but the same is true for many of the other titles. The Antichrist is the stuff of the Midnight Globe and the various other tabloids that you pick up at the grocery store while you are waiting in line; The National Inquirer and other things. All of these articles that pop up about the birth of the Antichrist somewhere and who is the Antichrist. Throughout history there have always been these interesting depictions of who the Antichrist is. So I thought I would amuse you a little bit with this little collage (slide 10). Here we have an ancient picture of the Antichrist being influenced by Satan; then we have a Muslim Imam who is (it just slipped my mind). Notice how they have come along very creatively to show a six here and then around his mouth, a six here, and then around his whole face, and a six here. There is six, six, six (666). Oh, he has got to be the Antichrist. Then down below, of course, here you have (President) Obama. Lest anybody think that we are against democrats, over here we have Pat Robertson with 666 on his forehead; of course he's a Christian pastor. Then over here we have the mark of the beast as a barcode on people's foreheads.
There is just a lot of speculation. People want to try to figure out who the Antichrist is, but the problem is the Antichrist isn't going to be revealed as the Antichrist until after the church is raptured. What really shows that he is the Antichrist is that he's the one who signs a treaty with Israel. There may be a lot of people who look like the Antichrist; and there may be times in history when you say awe, so and so looks like he could be the Antichrist. Well you have to remember that Satan has no idea when the Rapture is going to occur. He has no clue. He knows no more about the timing of the Rapture than you or I do. And so in every generation, every decade, he has to have somebody in place that if the Rapture occurs, that person can be the Antichrist. So of course, it stands to reason that in any generation there is going to be somebody that's going to look and act in terms of the methodology of the Antichrist.
Now when we start this I don't want you to spend too much time in Revelation 6, so you can just open your Bibles to 2 Thessalonians 2. We will start there primarily, but I want us to see how the Antichrist is first introduced in Revelation 6. This is in regard to the Lamb. In Revelation 6:1 (slide 11) John says, "And I saw when the Lamb broke one of the seven seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures saying as with a voice of thunder, 'Come and see.' " So he is going to have this revelation of these first seal judgments. He looks (slide 12) "and behold a white horse, and he who sat on the white horse had a bow; and a crown was given to him and he went out conquering, and to conquer." This is the Antichrist. I pointed out last time, I believe, that the term "Antichrist" doesn't mean "against Christ." "Anti" often in English means "against" but in Greek it means "instead of, a substitute for." This is someone who is coming as a messianic figure. He is going to bring world peace or depending on how you want to pronounce it, "whirled peas." So this is the first seal conquest (slide 13).
In summary we see he is described as a rider with "a bow." The bow indicates armament. It indicates it is warfare. Is this to be taken literally? Well it all depends on who you are reading. If you read Hal Lindsey, the bow is just what the writer John would describe a weapon as, from his perspective in the 1st century. If you read others they would say that no, and I am in this camp, that there is going to be such a disaster that occurs in some of these judgments, maybe not at the very beginning, but there is going to be such a disaster that modern technology is going to be rendered useless and people will be thrown back to very primitive weaponry and primitive fighting. When you look especially at the 6th seal judgment, where there is this enormous asteroid shower that hits the earth; I believe something like that will just wipe-out the electrical grid and everybody is going to be thrown back to a more primitive society. Of course if this Ebola epidemic takes hold between now and then, you could see half the world's population wiped out; or think about instances in history, such as the Black Death that occurred several times during the Middle Ages in Europe and wiped out over a quarter of the population in Europe, almost a third of the population in some areas. We could see something like that. You think about the 1918 flu pandemic. There were several, I think 50-100 million people were killed worldwide in that flu epidemic that swept the world in about a year and a half and that was less than one hundred years ago. This is the kind of thing that can happen in history and decimate the earth's population, technology, and the economy, and everything else that goes with it.
He wears a victor's wreath, which indicates that he has already won combat and what we see, we'll go to this passage later on in Daniel 7, is that he unites seven nations and then he will force another three to join him by conquest. That would be indicated by his wearing the victor's wreath. He goes "out conquering and to conquer." The first rider of the white horse is a personification of the Antichrist military conquest in unifying the Revived Roman Empire during the Tribulation period. Now we are going to look at 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3 (slide 14) and just sort of summarize what is going on there; but I thought maybe I would read through it first and then we could hit somewhat of a summary.
Paul is answering questions related to the future from the saints at Thessalonica. He says, "Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him;" now what does the "gathering together to Him" refer? Obviously, to the Rapture; we have seen that established in 1 Thessalonians 4-5. So now he is writing them in his second letter and he assumes they understand "our gathering together to Him" takes place at the Rapture. He says, "not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled either by spirit or by word or by letters from us, as though the day of Christ should come." That is a reference to the day of the Rapture, the timing of the Rapture. He says, "Let no one deceive you by any means, for that day will not come unless the falling away comes first."
Now that is an important term to look at in the Greek. It is APOSTASIA; and for many people APOSTASIA, because of its cognate is an "apostasy", indicates a "falling away" in terms of moving into false doctrine. But the root of that word is used many times in the ancient world to describe someone's departure. The departure of a ship from a harbor; the departure of someone on a long trip; and there are many of us who believe that the best translation of that term is "unless the departure comes first," meaning the Rapture, "and the man of sin is revealed." So there is our order. The Rapture comes first and then the man of sin is revealed, called "the son of perdition." That is one of the two Antichrist's titles right there in that verse: "man of sin" and "son of perdition." Then his actions are described in 2 Thessalonians 2:4 he "opposes and exalts himself above all that is called god or that is worshipped." He seeks to be worshipped as God "so that he sits as God in the temple of God. He will put an image of himself, first he will sit in the temple in Jerusalem, the apostate third temple, which is the Tribulation temple. He will sit there; take a seat in the middle of the throne. We read in Daniel 9, he will cause the offerings to cease and he will sit in the temple in the Holy of Holies to be worshipped as God.
In 2 Thessalonians 2:5-7 Paul says, do you not remember that while I was still with you I told you these things and now you know what is restraining or who is restraining; that is the restrainer I mentioned earlier. (There is) a lot of discussion as to who the restrainer is from this passage. I believe it is the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit restrains evil during this age. A lot of people wish to accomplish a lot of horrible and evil things, but they are kept from doing so because of God's plan and the restrain of God the Holy Spirit. So the Holy Spirit restrains; when the Holy Spirit is removed then the Antichrist is revealed in his own time. Paul goes on to say, "for the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. Only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way." That's the Rapture of the church when the Holy Spirit is removed in terms of His Church Age ministries. 2 Thessalonians 2:8 "And then the lawless one" that is the Antichrist; that is our third title we've seen for him. "The lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming."
So what we see here, basically, is back in 2 Thessalonians 2:3, his exaltation of himself in the temple of God takes place in the middle of the Tribulation, and then there is a reference back to the Rapture when "he who now restrains" is taken out of the way and the revelation of "the lawless one" in 2 Thessalonians 2:8, and then verse eight jumps from the revelation of the lawless one to what his end is as the Lord destroys him at the end of the Tribulation. 2 Thessalonians 2:9 says, "The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders," and so he is going to perform miracles. People will be healed; things will take place that are miraculous because he is empowered by Satan. That doesn't validate him or his message because as we have seen in Deuteronomy 13 and Deuteronomy 18 what validates a prophet is the truth of his message not any apparent miracles. So just because somebody does something that appears to be miraculous doesn't mean they're from God. It just means they can be a clever counterfeit. Listen to what they say. Listen to what they teach. That is the real issue.
And then we see in 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12 there will be "unrighteous deception among those who perish." That idea is reiterated, God will send "strong delusion, so that they should believe the lie that all may be condemned." That gives us an understanding, so I am going to go back to the slides and we are going to just page through these basic summary principles (slide 14):
1. We are not to be deceived: only TRUTH applied can protect us from deception, 2Thessalonians 2:10.
2. The Tribulation will not come about until the "departure" occurs, until the Rapture. It is at the Rapture that the church is removed, the Holy Spirit is removed, and it is then at that point that the Antichrist is revealed, 2 Thessalonians 2:3 compared to 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17.
3. The Holy Spirit is identified as "the One who restrains." He is removed before the lawless one is revealed, 2 Thessalonians 2:8.
It is very clear from this passage that we won't know who he is. You may think you know, but a lot of people thought they knew. Some people thought it was Ronald Wilson Reagan because each name in his name, first middle and last name had six letters in it, 666. Some people thought it was Michel Gorbachev because he had that funky little birthmark on his forehead, the mark of the beast. There are a lot of different speculations. People thought it was Bismarck; people thought it was Napoleon; people thought it was Hitler. A lot of ideas, but none of them were actually the Antichrist.
4. The man of sin is revealed after the Rapture, not before. We won't have a clue, so quit speculating.
5. (Slide 15) The son of perdition opposes and exalts himself over God and replaces God, 2 Thessalonians 2:4.
So he is going to be worshiped as God. That is the idea in Antichrist. He is a replacement, a substitute Messiah, a substitute deity.
6. He is called the "Lawless one," which means he rejects the law of God.
7. "Antichrist" means a substitute or pseudo-Messiah.
As I pointed out, the age of the Tribulation is characterized by deception, which is emphasized several times in 2 Thessalonians 2. There will be deception even so much that if possible, as Jesus says in Matthew 24, "the elect will be deceived." 2 Thessalonians 2:11-12 (slide 16) says, "And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness." So can anybody pick out the fake sheep? There we have our wolf in sheep's clothing (slide 17).
Samuel Andrews, in a book I had started many times and never quite finished, written in 1898, called Christianity and Anti-Christianity, the Final Conflict. He covers the whole of history. It is not just the final conflict. A hundred years ago they wrote a lot more and they wrote in a lot more detail then people can handle today. He writes, (slide 18) "The choice of the anti-Christ is not to be the choice of the rulers only or of the popular leaders, the multitude being unwilling." In other words, it is not that he's going to be chosen unwillingly. He's going to be the choice of the masses. It goes on to say it is not the choice of "the multitude being unwilling, silent and passive, it is the act of the peoples, the direct or indirect expression of popular will." We get the leaders we deserve. That is an uncomfortable truth today. "It is the voluntary declaration of Christiandom." They will have a pseudo-Christianity, but Christendom is a term just for those nations who affirm to be Christian. He puts it this way; they will say something like, "We will not have this man rule over us, not this man but Barabas, that's who we want." That is what the Jews said when they were given the choice between Barabas, who are you going to crucify today Barabas or Jesus? They said, we don't want Jesus; we don't want that man to rule over us; we will take Barabas that is who we want. The world would chose another Barabas.
It goes on to say (slide 19), "We may know here that a democracy looking upon its leader as its representative willingly gives him a power even greater than the largest measure of its political prerogatives." Take a look, one hundred years ago. He is saying that when we elect a president we give over; we advocate power; we let him get away with much more than he should. "The sovereign multitude, the people, which sees in their leader not so much the ruler who commands them as the one who is the exponent and the executor of their will, that people yields to their ruler such a full and unreserved obedience as no despot could ever attain. Democracy headed up in one who can sway its forces has such elements of aggression and strength as no form of government hitherto existing has ever had." He is making a point here: don't just think that because we live in a democratic country or a democratic republic or democratic monarchy in England, that somehow that's a protection. If people are hostile to Christianity they will give all of their authority to the Antichrist.
It concludes by saying (slide 20), "The laws and institutions are no longer reverenced as having sanctions when having gone through continual change after change after change." A hundred years ago he is predicting exactly what has happened recently. "When various institutions are continually changed they have no root in the traditions or love of the people. When rulers by popular election prove themselves incapable, when no surety or stability of legislation exists and all are uncertain and anxious as to the future, then there arises a general cry for a man. In a general disintegration it is only about a man that men can rally, not about abstract principles or written constitutions, all cry for one with a brain, inflexible will and a strong arm who can serve as a center of unity and bring order out of confusion." So they will willingly give over everything to the Antichrist.
Who is the Antichrist and what is he going to do (slide 21)?
1. Jesus warned that there would be false Messiahs and false prophets as two categories (slide 22).
False Messiahs and false prophets in the end times we are going to see; that is the second person we'll look at is the false prophet. There will be a false Messiah, the Antichrist and a false prophet who we refer to as the "false prophet."
Matthew 24:24 (slide 23) Jesus says, "For false Christs [Messiahs] and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect."
This is going to take place within the Tribulation period. You have to pick out which one is the bandit. Which one doesn't belong (of the three "raccoons" in the slide).
2. "Antichrist" is a term used one time in the Scriptures, but has become the most common title for the first "beast" of Revelation (slide 24).
So this is the title. Some people make an issue out of this. They say, well we shouldn't call him the Antichrist. Let's call him something else. Well he is called the first "beast" or he is indicated as the first "beast" only one place. He is called "the prince who is to come" in only one place. A lot of the titles that describe the Antichrist are only used in one context. There is not a title that is used over and over again to describe him, but all of these different titles that are given to him tell us something about his character and define him for us. The passage where the term is used is in 1 John 2:18 and 1 John 2:22 (slide 25):
"Children, it is the last hour;" now which last hour is that? The last hour for the church. How long does the last hour of the church last? The Church Age. John is writing almost 2,000 years ago. He is saying because Jesus can come at any moment, we're in the "last hour." We have to live as if the clock is ticking and it is three minutes to midnight and we are almost there. So it is the "last hour." There is also a "last hour" or "last days" for Israel. We have to make that distinction when we study Scripture. "It is the last hour; and just as you have heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have arisen." This indicates that throughout history there will be numerous antichrists, with the lowercase 'a,' who are types of the future Antichrist. They will imitate him in different ways. I think we have had several presidents in recent decades who have shown that they will act much like the Antichrist. They will want to remake absolutes. They want to say they said one thing one day, but they meant the opposite and you can't trust what they say. They treat the constitution as if it doesn't exist. That is not unique to anybody in the last 20 years either. There were presidents going back one hundred years ago who, when the Constitution was inconvenient, they sought to ignore it. So the term "antichrist" here indicates that there are many antichrists down through the Church Age and that shows us that it's the "last hour." That we're living in an age that will culminate in the Rapture and then the Tribulation.
He says in 1 John 2:22, "Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Messiah?" We ought to translate that a little more clearly. "Who is the liar but the one who denies that Yeshuah is the Mashiach. That is the issue. The Antichrist will say Jesus isn't the Mashiach. He is going to claim to be the Mashiach. He is going to claim that Jesus was a false Messiah, that He was a false Messiah. So he will deny the Father and the Son. At the core of his administration is a religious foundation; and trust me, at the core of every leader's philosophy of life and worldview is a religious position whether it is somebody like Ronald Reagan or somebody like Franklin Delano Roosevelt, there were religious convictions driving. You cannot have an ethical position on life without it being driven ultimately by a religious position. This idea that you can divorce what we do from what we believe is something that feeds the ignorant masses; but the rest of us should not be taken in by it. You cannot separate religious belief systems from what you do. Every piece of legislation reflects a view of what is right and what is wrong and every system that holds to absolutes of right or wrong, makes determinations of something is good or something is bad is built upon an understanding of absolute values that come from an Absolute Being. So just because they claim to be an atheist, don't be taken in from it. They have deified the universe; they have deified matter; they've deified public opinion; they've deified something even if it is just their own soul.
3. We see that there are a variety of titles that are used in Scripture for the Antichrist. He is called (slides 26-27):
The little horn in Daniel 7:8. This is a depiction. We'll look at Daniel 7 a little later on and this great vision that Daniel was given; and there is this goat that comes up and he has a horn. This little horn depicts the Antichrist.
The insolent king in Daniel 8:23 because of the core of his personality is anti-authority, anti-authoritarianism, directed toward God.
The prince who is to come in Daniel 9:26-27. In Daniel 9:27 and repeated in Matthew 24:15 he is called The one who makes desolate. He makes an abomination. That is where the term "abomination of desolation" comes from.
The man of lawlessness in 2 Thessalonians 2:3.
The son of destruction in 2 Thessalonians 2:3. Now that title "son of destruction" means that he is characterized by destruction. He will seek to destroy any observance of the divine institutions. He will seek to destroy and subvert morality. He will seek to change the times and the seasons as if he and he alone is God.
The lawless one in 2 Thessalonians 2:8.
The beast in Revelation 11:7; see also Revelation 13:1; Revelation 13:1 is "the beast who comes out of the sea." "The sea" pictures all the Gentiles nations, all the Gentiles in contrast to the beast that comes out of the land. Revelation 14:9; Revelation 15:2; Revelation 16:2; Revelation 17:3; Revelation 17:13; Revelation 19:20; Revelation 20:10.
The despicable person in Daniel 11:21.
The strong willed king in Daniel 11:36. Now you can look at this list of titles here. You can pick out all the major passages in the Scripture: Daniel 7, Daniel 8, Daniel 9, Daniel 11, all give us information about the Antichrist. 2 Thessalonians 2; Revelation 11; Revelation 13 as well.
The worthless shepherd in contrast to the Messiah Who is the true Shepherd in Zechariah 11:16-17.
Now all of these titles give us an idea of his character, of who he is. That he is lawless; he rejects all absolutes; he rejects the law of God; that he will produce destruction of historical traditional beliefs and systems and governments. He is despicable from the viewpoint of God. He asserts his authority over God, so he is called the strong-willed king. All of these indicate his character.
4. (Slide 28) He rises to power during the transition between the Rapture and the beginning of Daniel's seventieth week Daniel 9:27; Daniel 7:24-25.
We've seen this several times. I keep emphasizing this because every time I teach this there is always somebody who comes up and they say, I always thought when the Rapture occurred that began the Tribulation. Not biblically. There is a gap there. We don't know how long that will be.
We've seen that (slide 29, Daniel 9:27), so I am going to skip the verse.
5. He is the head of a confederation of western powers (slide 30).
There are other powers but his is identified with Rome because of the passage that we see in Daniel 9:26. He is the prince of the people who is to come who will destroy the temple; that is the first temple. So he comes out of the old revived Roman Empire. Yes, it includes part of North Africa; yes, that includes parts of Syria, Turkey, areas that are under Muslim control; but the focal point is that this comes out of Europe. You are going to have a worldwide cataclysm and if you interpret all these passages to relate to the Middle East and to Arab versus Israel scenario then you are ignoring the rest of the whole world. And the picture that we have in Scripture, when the Antichrist comes to power and the false prophet establishes the mark of the beast, that no one in the world, not just the Middle East, no one in the world is able to buy or sell or engage in commerce or to do anything else. It is a worldwide control. So his power base comes out of Europe.
This is depicted in the statue that is seen in Daniel (slide 31) that in Nebuchadnezzar's vision, which Daniel interpreted, there was this mighty statue and each part of the statue was made of different metals and the Babylonian Empire under Nebuchadnezzar was the head of gold. That kingdom passed off the scene during Daniel's own lifetime. In Daniel 2:39 he said, "after you there will arise another kingdom." This is a kingdom of silver. Not quite as powerful, indicated by the precious metal, as the Babylonian Empire, and this was the kingdom of the Meads and the Persians. The two arms representing those two ethnic groups, the Meads and the Persians. That was followed by a third kingdom of bronze. That third kingdom of bronze was representative of the Greek Empire under Alexander the Great, which broke apart when he died into four parts and each or those parts went to a different one of his generals. Then the fourth kingdom is said to be as strong as iron, and these were the legs of iron; but there was something different about the area, the ankles and the feet, and that is the next kingdom, which the iron shows that it grows out of the old Roman Empire and would include weaker elements indicated by the clay. So the feet were made up of a mixture of something strong, iron as well as clay, which indicates that the feet, that final empire, the final world empire of the Tribulation doesn't have the strength of any of the preceding empires and indeed it doesn't last very long. So that is the image of Daniel's vision. Here is another way to look at it (slide 32). I have got several slides here; we've got Babylon (slides 33).
6. (Slide 34) The Antichrist rises to power following the confederation of ten nations, Daniel 7:24.
Daniel 7 is another remarkable prophecy. In Daniel 2 all of these different empires are represented by some sort of valuable metal and that is looking at the kingdom of man down through the ages from man's perspective – that man's empires are valuable. But in Daniel 7 these empires are depicted again but as "beasts" because from God's perspective man's empires are bestial. They ultimately reflect the sin nature and the corruption of man and they are destructive. So when the Antichrist rises to power, Daniel 7 indicates that he will take control over seven, but there iare three that resist him and then he will take them by force. He will force them into his coalition.
So looking at this (slide 35) we see that there are "four great beasts that come up from the sea," Daniel 7:3. Again "the sea" usually indicates the Gentiles; "the land" indicates Israel.
So these four beasts come out "from the sea" (slide 36). The first is the lion. The lion represents Babylon. The second kingdom is the bear. It is presented in Daniel's vision as a lopsided bear. A lopsided bear because the Persians dominated the Meads. It is the Medo-Persian Empire. That was replaced by the next kingdom, which was Greece. Greece though is represented here as a four-headed leopard because Alexander's kingdom was split into four parts when Alexander died; and then there is a fourth kingdom that is represented as this indescribable beast that comes up out of the sea and this beast has ten horns. So from Daniel's vision he is depicting this transition from the beast of the Roman Empire into the beast of the Revived Roman Empire. Notice that the vision doesn't talk about it, it just excludes the parenthetical period between the fall of the Roman Empire and the Revived Roman Empire, which is basically the Church Age.
The description is given in Daniel 7:7-8 (slide 37), "After this I saw in the night visions, and behold, a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, exceedingly strong. It has huge iron teeth;" taking us back to those iron legs of the statue in Daniel 2; "huge iron teeth," it was devouring breaking in pieces, and trampling the residue with its feet. It was different from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns." Now that imagery is picked up in Revelation 13, those ten horns represent the ten kingdoms of the Revived Roman Empire.
Daniel 7:8 says, "I was considering the horns," so he is thinking what does those ten horns mean? "and there was another horn, a little one," that came "up among them, before whom three of the first horns were plucked out by the roots." As I said earlier, the Antichrist is going to have to violently subdue three of them. This is a picture of them being plucked out by the roots. "And there, in this horn, were eyes like the eyes of a man," he's the epitome of the kingdom of man and human viewpoint; "and a mouth speaking pompous words" or arrogant words.
Daniel 7:19-20 (slide 38) Daniel says, "I wished to know the truth about the fourth beast, which was different from all the others, exceedingly dreadful, with its teeth of iron and its nails of bronze," bronze represented the Greek Empire. You see what happens is the kingdom of man, as it moves through history, each successive kingdom includes the strengths and weaknesses of its predecessors. So there is a continuity. When you get into Revelation and it talks about the kingdom there that depicts this whole kingdom that has all of these characteristics in it, "the teeth of iron and the nails of bronze, which devoured, broke in pieces, and trampled the residue with its feet; and ten horns that were on its head, and the other horn which came up, before which three fell, namely, that horn which had eyes and a mouth which spoke pompous words, whose appearance was greater than his fellows."
Then in Daniel 7:23 (slide 39), He said, "The fourth beast shall be a fourth kingdom on the earth, which shall be different from all other kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth." So this kingdom dominates the entire earth, not just one segment. This is another reason I have a problem with the so-called Muslim Antichrist theory. This theory is based on only the Muslim or Arab dominated part of the old Roman Empire coming into play and it is all a battle between the Muslim nations and Israel. Here we see that this fourth kingdom devours the whole earth. I don't believe it can be Muslim because a Muslim empire is not going to allow Israel to reestablish a temple on the Temple Mount.
Now interestingly enough, in every ten or fifteen years or so, there is someone, either a scholar in some cases, and in some cases a pseudo-scholar, who comes along with a new theory of the actual location of the temple and it is not on the Temple Mount. But Ezra makes it very clear that they built the second temple on the exact same site of the first temple. We know that the present site of the Temple Mount, which is surrounded by the restraining wall that Herod the Great put there as he rebuilt the foundation, because it was going to support this monstrous new building that he was going to put up there, is the location of the second temple and the location of Herod's Temple. There have been numerous archeological finds on the Temple Mount that support that view that the current Temple Mount, where the Dome of the Rock, the Al Aqsa Mosque, are located that that is the location of the historic temple. The latest theory coming out by Bob Cornuke says that it is further down the offal, which is the lower section between the Temple Mount and the old City of David; and so this just doesn't work. You may hear something about this but don't be led astray by it. This is what gets established and this "ten horn" kingdom, this is a western European-based kingdom.
Daniel 7:24 (slide 40), "As for the ten, out of this kingdom ten horns arise; and another will arise after them, and he will be different from the previous ones and will subdue three kings. And he will speak out against the Most High and wear down the saints of the Highest One," so he makes war against the Tribulation saints and seeks to destroy them; "and he will intend to make alterations in times and in law;" so he is going to subvert all traditional law and he is going to try to change the calendar and try to change the clock and everything else. And he will be given this authority for what? "a time, times," that's twice a time; it is a dual in the Hebrew; "and half a time." Three and a half years. So that explains the length of his kingdom.
So in summary (slide 41): The Antichrist in Daniel 7 , the king is given command of:
1. The final kingdom in the second stage of the Roman Empire, Daniel 7:7-9; Daniel 19-25.
2. He is the "little horn" that arises after the 10-horn (nation) alliance develops. So he is going to be a little late in showing up on the scene, not right away, Daniel 7:24.
3. He will overthrow three kingdoms and assume control of the alliance, Daniel 7:24.
4. He is arrogant, menacing, and terrifying, Daniel 7:8; Daniel 7:19-20; militarily powerful, victorious, and persecutes believers, Daniel 7:23; Daniel 7:25.
In Daniel 8 (slide 42) he (The Antichrist) is foreshadowed by Antiochus Epiphanes.
I have always heard it pronounced Epiphanies, but recently I've been hearing more and more people pronounce it Epiphanes, which may be the correct pronunciation. We have to pay attention to other people in the world who have actually studied the original languages and understand these things.
The character of Antiochus was that he was brilliant, arrogant, insolent, cunning, deceptive, manipulative, and he won. You don't want to go up against him, sort of like Putin in Russia.
The culture of Antiochus Epiphanes was he tried to destroy all divine viewpoint influence; he attacked the Truth; he attacked the saints; he desecrated the temple by having a sacrifice of a pig on the altar in the temple.
He also made them pass laws that it was forbidden for Jews to circumcise their boys or to even have a scrap of the Torah in their possession. It was a death penalty if they were caught with just a scrap of the Torah in their possession.
He controlled the people through taxation, power, and deification.
This is the kind of thing that we are going to see from the Antichrist.
In Daniel 9 (slide 43):
1. He is described as European, Daniel 9:26.
2. He enters into a peace treaty, a covenant with Israel, Daniel 9:27.
3. He will desecrate the temple and set himself up as a god, Daniel 9:27.
In Daniel 11:36ff (slide 44) he (the Antichrist) is described as being:
1. Arrogant and exalting himself above all deities, Daniel 11:36-37.
2. He is on the historical scene just prior to the end of wrath, Daniel 11:36.
3. He is empowered by a foreign god, which is Satan, Daniel 11:39.
4. At the end he will be drawn into a military engagement in Israel with the king of the north and the king of the south. The king of the north is probably Turkey; the king of the south from Egypt or Arabic alliance, Daniel 11:40; Daniel 11:44.
5. He will control the economic resources of the Middle East, Daniel 11:43.
6. He will be destroyed by God, Daniel 11:46.
That is just a basic rough outline of his career. We stop there. Come back next time and we will look at more on the Antichrist, finish that up with the last few points and then we will look at other key figures in the Tribulation.
"Father, thank You for this opportunity to study and reflect upon these things. We recognize that evil is always present; it is always around us; that we have been protected in this country by so much of that because this is a culture that has been built upon Your Word, and we have reaped the blessings of the founders of this nation, who were Christians and Bible believers, and established, through the laws and the traditions of this country a God-honoring, truth-centered culture. Whether the people were actually Christian or not wasn't an issue, but they had beliefs that were grounded upon God's Word; and even though this has been taken apart and dismantled over the last 100-150 years. Nevertheless many of those structures have remained and we still reap those blessings for which we are so very grateful. But Father, times are coming as we see darkness encroach upon the world; we see threats of disease and plague; we see threats of war and increase of terrorism; and yet we as believers have the only solution, the solution that enables us to live calmly and peacefully and with tranquility in the midst of chaos, for we understand Your plan and Your purposes and so we can relax knowing that our mission on the earth is to be ambassadors of the truth in the midst of a wicked and perverse generation, an unstable generation, and a generation that will come to great panic and fear as the times unfold. And we pray that we might be steadfast in Your Word. We pray this in Christ's Name, Amen."