Key People in the Tribulation
God's Plan for the Ages – Dispensations Lesson #28
October 7, 2014
"Father, it is a wonderful privilege we have to come together in freedom to study Your Word. It is a wonderful privilege we have to live in this nation with all the freedoms we have, the security we have, the prosperity that we have, and the tremendous heritage that we have in Your Word. Father, we live in dark times now because there are so many who are not only turning their backs on that heritage, but they are assaulting it as much as they can. Father, it is only when we turn to You that we can have a solution. We may have fixed some symptoms here or there. Voting may help in small ways. But ultimately the only thing that will reverse this decline and restore some measure of unity and focus to this country is for a response to Your Word; and so Father, we pray that as believers we might be faithful in being sensitive to situations, to communicate the gospel to those around us, and to encourage other believers and to be a light in the midst of a dark and perverse generation. Father, as we study Your Word tonight it helps us to understand the end-game. There are so many things that go on around us related to prophecy and so many people who have ideas that are not quite right, often they are close, but there are so many popular myths, you might say, within evangelicalism that people are not really sure. So we need to focus on Your Word and what it says. Encourage us; that even though things might look bad You are still in control and there is hope and there is certainty because You are the God who controls and rules over history. We pray this in Christ's Name, Amen."
We are continuing our study tonight in Dispensations. I want to answer or address two or three questions that came in last week after class and the next day. One of the questions that came in was a very good question. I’ve made it a point that one of the reasons I don’t believe that the Antichrist is (aside from some biblical reasons) a Muslim is because I don’t see a Muslim Antichrist allowing Israel to build a temple on the Temple Mount. The question that came in was: How do I explain the fact that in the end times in the Antichrist’s rule are the Muslims going to submit to his rule? There is an assumption in that question and that is that the Muslims will. We live in a world today where we have to be very careful about doing what I call “newspaper exegesis” that is looking at the circumstances of the world around us today and thinking that in the Tribulation period that it is going to be similar to that. I have given this a lot of thought since 9/11 (September 11, 2001) and the wake-up call that everybody got to the rise of Islamic fascism or Islamic terrorism or whatever you want to call it, Islamists. This is just my opinion; I can’t back this up with Scripture. Scripture doesn’t address it in that framework, but it is my opinion, and I have discussed it with other scholars who are very knowledgeable about prophecy, that when we come into the biblical scenario of what it looks like in the Tribulation period in terms of the devotion to the Antichrist, that it doesn’t appear that Islam in its current state, where it is increasing in power, committing acts of terrorism all over the world, and fomenting rebellions all over the world, is going to be in that place of the power that it has now because of other scenarios. It looks as if something is going to happen between now and the early stage of the Tribulation that destroys this militancy in Islam. What that is I don’t know.
We have the same kind of questions when we talk about the location of the temple on the Temple Mount that is currently occupied by the Dome of the Rock. How is Israel going to be able to rebuild the temple on the Temple Mount in light the Palestinians, in light of the whole Israeli-Arab conflict? How is that going to work out? Many people have addressed this. Many things have been postulated about how this is going to resolve. Nobody knows. Some people have suggested even that there is going to be a war and the Arabs will shoot a missile or somebody will shoot a missile and it will destroy the Dome of the Rock. Who knows? It could be anything. So we can’t really speculate on that. We can just look at the Scripture and we have to ground what we do on the Scripture.
Now that leads me to the second email that came in and this is a question in relation to what I was teaching on 2 Thessalonians 2:3. The person who sent this in is trying to argue. One of the things we see in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 is “Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day.” Now that all in italics and what it says in the Text is for that won’t come or for the falling away comes first. The whole phrase “that Day will not come” is put there in italics because otherwise it really wouldn’t make sense in English, but that is the implication of the Greek. You have to look at the term and you have this word “falling away” but APOSTASIA is used. You have to do word studies. Exegesis rules, not theology. The question that came in reads something like this…; his argument is that this isn’t the Rapture and he was asking a question but is arguing (and people do this all the time). I’ve been guilty of this. Others have been guilty of this. It is that you take a theological proposition or something you want to defend and then you read that into the Text. We can’t do that. We have to always start with what the Text says and that means doing good grammar studies and doing good word studies and that means that this word APOSTASIA, which in places is translated in the sense of “falling away” or “departure.” The core lexical meaning is “departure” and it is used that way in Koine Greek and it is used that way in a noun or a verb form in one place in the New Testament (NT). It has to do with leaving somewhere and going somewhere.
Now it is applied to doctrine as departing the truth. It is applied to other things, for example, ships in departing a dock. But here, if you translate it with its core lexical meaning of “departure,” what this is teaching is that the “departure” comes first prior to “the man of sin being revealed.” The person who emailed this in wants to defend that doctrine. He also wants to defend against the pre-wrath Rapture view, but it is not necessary to go along with what has been a traditional translation. You always have to work from the Greek text and not from the English text and you always have to let the Text control your theology and not the other way around. You can’t come in, just because you believe in certain things or you see if we interpret it that way then that could create a weakness in our defense against pre-wrath Rapture or something else. You go with what the Text says and you don’t try to interpret the Text in light of other problems that may come along. The Text has to reign supreme.
A third question that came up, which I can understand this; that there are a lot of people who are “doom and gloomers.” It points out that there are some who, I am not aware of this view. I was aware last year when we had the Mayan calendar view. I’ve been aware of other things but the writer says that people are suggesting that 2015 is the year of destiny for end times prophecy. That may just be a reference to the whole Blood Moon thing. Guess what is happening tonight? We are having a Blood Moon eclipse tonight. It is suppose to be cloudy here so we probably won’t see it, but yet go back and listen. I did a whole special on the Blood Moon teaching that just doesn’t fit the evidence. Look at Scripture. First of all people misinterpret the Text because they don’t look at all of the other things that have to happen at the same time that the moon looks like it turns to blood. That is just a descriptive way of saying that because of some sort of astronomical phenomena, whether it has to do with atmospherics on the earth or something else, it appears from the earth as if the moon turns red. Well the sun is also darkened at the same time and there are other things that happen at the same time in each of these references. It is not just something that happens to the moon. The other thing is that in the four previous years, in which this tetrad or this situation of four Blood Moons has occurred, it hasn’t always occurred in a predictive position. They will say, well, it occurred in 1951 and that was because something significant happened in Israel in 1948. Well, if I see the highway sign to turn off to Houston a quarter mile after the exit it doesn’t do me any good. A sign necessarily comes before an event. We also have a tendency to look at signs and go find something that will fit and I will bet you anything that people will say this Gaza war this summer is what these four Blood Moons would signify. That is just making stuff up. That is what I call “newspaper exegesis.” We are going to look at current events and then try to get them to fit a biblical scenario; and it just doesn’t work. So go back and listen to the lesson that I taught on the Blood Moons: [http://deanbibleministries.org/index.php/specials/message/bloody-moons-and-other-distractions].
We are continuing our study in the Tribulation period. We’ve worked our way through all of the different dispensations and now we are in the Tribulation period. One of the questions that often comes up in discussions is: Is the Tribulation a distinct dispensation? If we go back to our basic definition of a dispensation, as a distinct and identifiable administration of God of human history; it is distinct. It has specific markers as to when it begins and when it ends. One of the characteristics of the dispensations is “new revelation.” I am not sure how we would put that in terms of new revelation. I am still thinking that through, but there is certainly distinct markers. For example, the Church Age is distinct because of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. The baptism of the Holy Spirit occurred for the first time in history on the Day of Pentecost. That is what makes believers in this age, saints in this age, the elect of this age, the Church Age elect, distinct. What makes them distinct from believers of other periods of history is identification with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection. That is a unique ministry of God the Holy Spirit that sets apart the Church Age believer.
When the church goes to be with the Lord at the Rapture then the church is removed. The church is no longer on the earth and that ministry of God the Holy Spirit, the baptism of the Holy Spirit along with the filling by means of the Holy Spirit, and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit will no longer be taking place. Believers at that time will be similar to believers in the Old Testament (OT) in terms of their relationship or lack of relationship to the Holy Spirit. But unlike OT saints, they won’t be looking forward to a salvation. They will be looking back to a finished salvation on the Cross. So it is clearly a distinct period and it goes back to the Age of Israel, but is a distinct dispensation. I would say that from my perspective, as I have argued that the period of the “Life of Christ” clearly fits a pattern for a dispensation. It has all those characteristics; that the Tribulation would too (be a dispensation). They are short. I think that bothers some people; that a dispensation would be so short. But it is the dispensation of the judgment of God; that is what the Tribulation is. It is the dispensation of God’s judgment on the kings of the earth, on the rulers of the earth, on the earth dwellers. That is a phrase that shows up again and again and again throughout Revelation from Revelation 4-19. It is God’s judgment upon the earth dwellers and upon Satan and the angels that rebelled with him, and that all comes to its final conclusion in the campaign of Armageddon.
With that as an overview we are looking at key people in the Tribulation. We are still talking about the Antichrist. Just a review (slide 3), there are three basic series of judgments. If you can just say seal, trumpet, bowl, you’ve got the Tribulation. You just have to fill in the details. The basic coat hangers are those three series of judgments: seal judgments, trumpet judgments, and bowl judgments. The seal judgments and the trumpet judgments, as we see in this slide (slide 3) occur before the midpoint of the Tribulation. The seal judgments would occur during approximately the first 21 months of the Tribulation. The trumpet judgments (slide 4) would occur during the second 21 months. Remember it is 3½ years, so it is a period of 42 months. Then that is going to be followed (slide 5) by the seven bowl judgments that occur in the last 3½-year period. The defining marker in the Tribulation period is that event called the “abomination of desolation” that is mentioned by Daniel in Daniel 9:24-27 and it is also restated or recorded by the Lord Jesus Christ in Matthew 24.
The last time I was going through a lot of things related to point six (slide 6):
6. The rise of the Antichrist in putting together this ten nation confederacy. I know that there are some different views. One view that I have become aware of but have never really investigated is a view that the Antichrist rises to power and he basically divides the world into ten spheres of power. That is the view that Tim LaHaye takes in his various commentaries and writings on prophecy; his "Left Behind" series. Some of you have already seen the new version of the “Left Behind” series. You may not be aware of this but the version that came out a few years ago was an unauthorized version. There were a lot of problems. People went out and made the movie and they did not have the contractual rights or many other things. It did not have LaHaye’s approval. The new one is out. It has LaHaye’s approval. It still has one of the major flaws that the earlier one did and that is that it doesn’t make the gospel clear. So you don’t really understand why these people are raptured and what’s going on. They make it rather nebulous. They make it more of an adventure or a suspense film rather than a gospel presentation.
This sixth point is just focusing on the rise of the Antichrist’s power. In every generation there are antichrists, as I pointed out from 1 John 2:18-22. We see evidence of this even today. We see a world that is being prepared more and more to reject biblical Christianity; and there are people in power, there are elites in the academic world, there are elites in the political world, there are elites more and more in the business world that are opposed to biblical Christianity. I know of Christians who have lost their jobs because they were willing to take a stand and not say that they approved of a policy that would basically give their validation and approval for same-sex marriage. This is coming.
The Supreme Court ruling yesterday, where they failed to make a decision, they said they wouldn’t view it because a number of appellate courts have already ruled that the states that had anti-gay marriage, that had defensive marriage legislation, these appellate courts had already rules that those defensive marriage type laws were unconstitutional. At least three appellate courts have ruled on that so the Supreme Court basically just took a bye on the whole issue, which basically says that the states that wanted to contend this don’t have a case. The appellate courts ruled against them so their defensive marriage acts, their laws that prohibited homosexual marriage are no longer valid. That is going to be coming to a state very close to us soon. We weren’t one of those states in that lawsuit but the Texas Defense of Marriage Act and legislation against same-sex marriage has been struck down by a court. So this is going to be a reality for everybody now in this country. It is going to be by default part of the law of the land. Now that is going to have some interesting implications. One of the things that board has to take up is some decisions about how we are going to handle this officially as a church. We have legal statements within our doctrinal statement that we believe that the Bible prohibits this and that we do not authorize the pastor of this church or any representative of this church to perform same-sex marriages. But that might have been valid and effective language ten years ago, but I don’t think it is today.
Now an interesting proposal and I think a good proposal that has come out is one that Charlie Clough floated in his paper last year and that is that churches need to get out of the state’s business. When a person gets married, I know this doesn’t have anything to do specifically with the Antichrist, but this is where we are headed; this kind of thing is what is happening. It is that in a separation of church and state, when you have a wedding at a church, and I have said this ever since I was ordained, the only thing that makes you married is when I sign that marriage license and mail it in. When the county clerk records it that is when you are married. You are not married when you stand up in the front of the church and say “I do.” You are married when the county clerk records the wedding in their book. It is a state function; it is a civic function. The church has worked together with the state on this for the entire two-hundred plus years of this nation and back into the colonial period, but we need to get a divorce. We need to separate from the state and if people want to get married legally then that is their business and they can go down to the courthouse and they can purchase a marriage license and they can go to the justice of the peace and get a civil marriage conducted, but if they want to have a Christian marriage then they can come to the church and we can have a Christian marriage, a biblical Christian marriage and wedding, but it is not going to involve a marriage license anymore. That is the state’s business. So you draw a complete distinction. That way if anybody wants to come to have the pastor of the church perform a wedding then you can simply say we don’t perform weddings in terms of what the state recognizes as legal. We just perform biblical Christian weddings and we don’t get involved in signing any documents that the state puts out and maybe that is the way to protect us, protect churches from any kind of lawsuits because the militant homosexuals are targeting churches. Now they are probably not going to pay attention to a small church like us, but they would pay attention to First Baptist, Second Baptist, many of these other larger congregations because that is where they get the publicity and the action, but this is the kind of thing that is happening.
Now one of the things that I ran across when I was looking through material on the Antichrist is what prepares people for this is the education system. The education system that parents are sending their kids to in terms of public education is dominated by the thinking of secular humanist and has been ever since one of the founders and signers of the first humanist manifesto, John Dewey (slide 7). He is really the architect of the modern public education philosophy. If you are not aware of that he shapes modern philosophy. He said, “I cannot understand how any realization of the democratic ideal as a vital, moral, and spiritual ideal in human affairs is possible without surrender of the conception of the basic human division to which Christianity is committed.” In other words he says we can’t achieve the true ideal of democracy unless we get rid of those Christians because Christianity is divisive. That is that last statement, that “basic human division.” Christianity divides everybody into two groups, those who are going to heaven and those who are going to hell, and that is divisive. So this is from the primary architect of the modern education system.
There are many Christians who teach within the education system and who work it around; they never teach evolution; they teach capitalism; they do all kinds of good things, but this a problem. We have an entrenched liberalism now and an entrenched progressivism that is brainwashing our children. This is one reason why about 90% of kids that grow up in Christian homes and go to Christian churches and go to Sunday school every week, according to studies done by Ken Ham and the Answers in Genesis people and others, that about 90% of them, within six months of going off to university have rejected their parents' political positions, unless they were liberal secularist, and have rejected everything they were ever taught in Sunday school because they just get indoctrinated. So Christians and Christian parents need to think differently about how they are going to educate their children. Now I am not saying that if you are a Christian you are committed to “you can’t send your kids to public school.” You may be in a circumstance where that is the only option you have and there are many people who are like that, but that means that it is just incumbent upon you as a parent to work even harder to counter that every day. You have to spend hours reading their textbooks, reading their assignments, teaching them, countering all the human viewpoint garbage they get because this is how the end times is going to ultimately present itself.
We are talking about the Antichrist. We are talking about his rise to power and how he takes power. It is described several places in the Scripture, in Daniel 7:24 it says (slide 8), “As for the ten horns” that would be ten powers, “out of this kingdom ten kings will arise.” So you have the “ten horns.” The horn represents power in the symbolism used in Scripture; “out of this kingdom ten kings will arise.” So first of all you have the rise of this ten-nation confederacy as indicated in the feet and the toes of the image that Daniel saw. The feet were of iron and clay. The iron was from the old Roman Empire; the clay from the new elements that are mingled together. You have ten horns representing ten nations. Ten kings arise and then there is another one that comes up after them, “and he will be different from the previous ones and will subdue three” of them. So apparently seven of the ten are willing to give allegiance to this upstart, who is later called the “little horn” but the other three aren’t. So he will subdue them violently.
This is part of that first seal judgment in Revelation where there is one who comes riding on a white horse going forth conquering and to conquer. What characterizes him in Daniel 7:25 is “He will speak out against the Most High and wear down the saints of the Highest One.” So he is making war against Tribulation believers. They are called “saints” here. You have OT saints; you have Church Age saints, and you have Tribulation saints. These are the Tribulation saints. He will “wear down the saints of the Highest One and he will intend to make alterations in times”, times and a half time.
What do we learn about the beast or the little horn in Daniel 7 (slide 9)?
(1) He rises to power from within the fourth empire, in an empire made up of 10 nations (slide 10).
So that fourth empire, if we work our way through Daniel 7, we see that that fourth empire was the Roman Empire. He comes up from within that empire. There is a resurrection of that empire. It has some of the same elements as before and some different elements.
(2) When he arises the 10 kings are already in place (slide 11).
(3) Daniel 7:28 says there are some unique qualities about him (slide 12).
I believe that that unique quality is that he is either Satan empowered at this point and doesn’t become Satan possessed, not just demon possessed but indwelt by Satan, at the midpoint of the Tribulation, which is most likely after he receives a fatal head wound and then he comes back to life. I believe that is when he becomes personally indwelt by Satan, but he is empowered and guided and directed by Satan. I think that is the unique quality.
(4) He is arrogant and challenges the Most High with “great” and boastful words, Daniel 7:8; Daniel 7:11; Daniel 7:20 (slide 13)
He is antagonistic to God and he assaults Him. He has no sense of the God of his heritage, of that culture out of which he comes. If that is the revived Roman Empire it would basically be a European culture whether it is western or eastern, a European culture that was transformed completely by Christianity. If it hadn’t been for Christianity western civilization would still be as pagan and as barbaric as any other culture. If it hadn’t been for the Bible’s impact on Europe it never would have impacted India; it wouldn’t have impacted Africa; it wouldn’t have impacted the Japanese or the Chinese and all of these cultures in the world would still be mired in the darkness of their paganism. It is the Bible that changed civilization and it is the Bible that produced civilization, and up until about 120 years ago, it was the center of western civilization. It didn’t matter if you were Catholic or Protestant. It didn’t matter if you were Calvinist or Armenian. It didn’t matter if you were a liberal Christian or a conservative Christian. What unified your thinking was the Bible and that gave a center to western civilization. What’s happened in the last 120 years due to the influence of secularism is the center, the glue that held western civilization together, and all the parts of our culture have been decimated. It’s been removed. It’s been incinerated. There is nothing left of it; and so the result is that western civilization is coming apart at the seams. This explains why we see what we see around us. It is that there is no unifying factor at the core of western civilization. All we are going to see is the continuous slide into more and more paganism because there is no alternative unless there is a return to the Word of God.
(5) We see from Daniel 7 that the Antichrist persecutes Tribulation saints (slide 14).
He is going to be hostile to them, make war against them.
(6) From Revelation 13:7-8, as we compare Scripture we are told that “He was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation. All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast… (slide 15).
I don’t think this comes into effect until that midpoint, after the abomination of desolation. I think he is consolidating his power through the first 3½ years, but this is a time when the population of the earth is decimated. A quarter of the earth’s population is destroyed in the seal judgments; and a third of what’s left is destroyed in the trumpet judgments. That’s half the earth’s population. Right now they are predicting maybe 10 billion people on the planet by 2030. Right now we have about 7 billion, so that would be 3½ billion people dying. If the Rapture occurred today and the Tribulation began sometime in the next year, then that would mean that in the next four years or so half the earth’s population would be destroyed. Nothing like that has ever happened. That is exactly what Jesus said. That is what is said in Daniel 12, that no war, no catastrophe like this has ever happened before in human history. So he is going to bring order out of that chaos and reorganize the world and establish a truly global government.
(7) In Revelation 13:16-18, through the influence of the false prophet, we’ll talk about that later, he will force “everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead; so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark…” (slide 16).
(8) What we are talking about here is just the sixth point of dealing with his rise of power. He has economic control (slide 17). We will talk about the details of this verse later. He has economic control over all commerce worldwide and that extends down to the neighborhood grocery store, buying gas if there is electricity to run gas pumps, whatever. Everything is going to come under his control. He has this control for only 3½ years. It is going to implode on him and that is the last part of the bowl judgments.
(9) He precipitates a war so ferocious that “If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive,” Matthew 24:22 (slide 18).
So at the end, when we come to the campaign of Armageddon, as the Antichrist is headed to Jerusalem and you have this worldwide configuration, it is the return of Jesus that brings it to an end; otherwise, everyone would be killed.
(10) When it talks about changing the laws he seeks to change the Jewish ceremonial calendar (slide 19).
That is part of the focal point there in a Jewish context of Daniel 7. That is what he does when he stops; remember in Daniel 9:27 he is going to stop the evening offering, the sacrifices and the offerings. That’s his changing of the law. This isn’t like the French Revolution where he is trying to create ten-day weeks. He is going to change the Jewish ceremonial calendar and rewrite the sacrifices and offerings.
Now another major passage that deals with the Antichrist is in Daniel 11:36 (slide 20). There we read, “Then the king will do as he pleases,” that is why he is called the willful king, “and he will exalt and magnify himself above every god.” He identifies himself as God and wants to be worshiped as God. When he comes into the temple, that is the abomination of desolation, he desecrates the temple and he goes into the Holy of Holies in the Tribulation temple and demands that everybody on the earth worship him as God. He “will speak monstrous things against the God of gods;” that is the God of the Bible, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; “and he will prosper until the indignation is finished.” What that means is that the indignation refers to the time of Jacob’s wrath until it comes to that final scenario in terms of the campaign of Armageddon. It will look as if he is going to win. It is going to look as if he is unstoppable.
Daniel 11:37 says, “And he will show no regard for the gods of his fathers” and I believe that what that is talking about is he comes out of western civilization; he rejects the complete Christian tradition, the God of his fathers. I don’t think that is referring to the fact that he would be Jewish, so he is rejecting the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. That is one interpretation, but when we look at Revelation 13 the Antichrist comes out of “the sea,” which is usually a depiction of the Gentile nations and “the land” where the False Prophet comes from is a more than likely Jewish, but the Antichrist is Gentile. Then it says “nor will he show regard for any other god;” obviously he sets himself up as the only god. I skipped a phrase, an important phrase, “for the desire of women.” The word that is translated “desire” is used one other time and it relates to the Messiah. So the “desire of women” within the Jewish culture the woman desired to be that woman that would be the mother of the Messiah. So “the desire of women” is the Messiah. It is to bring the Messiah into the world. And so he has no regard for the desire of women. That is just a phrase that refers to the Messiah.
The other major passage that deals with the Antichrist is in 2 Thessalonians 2:9-10 (slide 21), “that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan.” So it fits Satan’s pattern. Right there it is not saying he is indwelt by Satan, but that he is empowered by Satan. It is an extreme form of Satanic influence. He is accompanied with “all power and signs and false wonders.” That doesn’t mean that he is just performing a magic trick. That he is a master illusionist. That is not what he means by a false wonder. It is not saying that somebody comes in, claims to have cancer, claims to be paralyzed and he heals them, but it is just a fake. It is that he has power to heal, but it doesn’t come from God. Go back to Deuteronomy 13 when Moses is warning the Israelites about false prophets. He says if a prophet comes along and performs a sign or a wonder and then tells you to follow after another god just because the sign or wonder came true doesn’t legitimize his message, it doesn’t validate what he says if what he says contradicts Scripture. The emphasis is on what is taught, not what a person experiences.
2 Thessalonians 2:10 says, “and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved.” That is just another way of talking about trusting in Christ. These are just circumlocutions, other ways to talk about it.
In Daniel 11:37 (slide 22) the Antichrist will not have regard for the desire of women. Who is the desire of women? It’s Christ.
In 2 Thessalonians 2:10 it says “the love of the truth.” Who is the way, the truth, and the life? “I am the way. I am the truth.” That is Jesus. There is no love for Jesus. This isn’t talking about a love for doctrine because if there is no love for doctrine if you don’t first of all have a love for Christ. So this is just another way of talking about the fact that they didn’t receive the gospel.
Daniel 11:39 (slide 23) states, “And he will take action against the strongest of fortresses with the help of a foreign god;” that’s a reference to Satan; “he will give great honor to those who acknowledge him, and he will cause them to rule over the many,” that would be Israel. This is describing what happens in the second half of the Tribulation and the oppression of the Jews in the land; “and he will parcel out land for a price.” So he is dividing up the world. That is his rise to power.
The seventh point (slide 24) under the Antichrist, remember the last point had to do with his rise to power and consolidating the power of the ten nations. He is an eleventh king.
7. The Antichrist establishes a mark which signifies religious allegiance to him.
Folks, this isn’t getting a chip put under your skin that is going to be scanned like a credit card. That is not what this is describing. This isn’t something that you can just inadvertently get. This isn’t going to be like so many college kids today. They are given an application for a credit card. They fill out the application and they get a credit card and the next thing you know they’re $5,000 in debt. “Aw, I really didn’t know what was going on;” and they probably didn’t because they’ve never had an opportunity to spend money like that. So this is not talking about that. The “mark” is significant. It is something that is visible. It is a mark that is on the forehead and on the hand. It is a sign of protection and allegiance to the Antichrist so that if the Antichrist storm troopers come along, they can look at you and tell whether or not you have sworn allegiance to the Antichrist or not; whether you are a patriot to his government or you are a traitor serving God.
So what we read in Revelation 13:16-17, “He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads.” This is a Greek word that I think this is the only time it is used in the NT, CHARAGMA, and it could indicate a tattoo. Everybody wants to jump on that because tattoos have gotten so popular in the last 30 years, but those are just various fads. They may become very unpopular before long, you never know, but it is something like that. It also means an inscription. The root meaning is “something that is cut.” That doesn’t mean that it is cut into the skin. It could almost be like a branding, although not painful like a branding would be. But it is an obvious external identification mark indicating both protection and ownership. It is Satan’s counterfeit for the sealing of the Holy Spirit except it is going to have to be visible for it to be seen and utilized to buy and sell and go to the grocery store, to get gasoline, to pay your utility bills, to own a house; without the mark you can’t engage in commerce. There's going to be one heck of a black market going on during the Tribulation I am sure.
Later on in Revelation 14: 9 and Revelation 14:11 (slide 25) we read regarding this mark, “Then another angel, a third one, followed them, saying with a loud voice, ‘if anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives the mark on his forehead or on his hand…’ ”
Receiving the mark on the forehead or hand is connected to worship. It’s a religious rite. It would involve swearing allegiance, renouncing God, renouncing Christianity, and swearing allegiance to the Antichrist. Nobody is going to lose salvation, but I think that in the Tribulation period it is so strange compared to what the environment is now. It is going to be obvious to one and all that to take the mark is going to be a violation of what it means to be a Christian; that you are going to align yourself with the enemy of God. I don’t think that any Christian is going to take it. However that works out, God is not going to violate anybody’s volition, but there are very clear statements that no one who receives the mark of the beast is going to have eternal life.
Revelation 14:11, “And the smoke and their torment goes up forever and ever; they have no rest day and night, those who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.”
That is a clear statement. So I don’t think Christians. The issues are going to be so very, very clear in the Tribulation period. This is a time when you have these angels like the one mentioned in Revelation 14:9 that fly through the air and announce the gospel to human beings. The angels and visible and audible and they will be heard giving the gospel to humanity. You can’t compare the environment today with the environment then anymore than you can compare the environment today with the environment before the flood. It is a different kind of situation.
8. At the midpoint of the Tribulation the Antichrist will erect his statute in the Holy of Holies of the Tribulation temple (slide 26). This is the abomination of desolation.
9. He is usually pictured in the Bible as a warrior. He is militant. He pursues peace and wages war (slide 27). He forces ten nations to submit to his authority. He operates on deceitful tactics. He is empowered in a way by Satan that God has not allowed anyone else in history to be influenced or empowered by Satan.
10. He is personally indwelt by Satan (slide 28).
11. The first 3½ years represent his rise to power (slide 29). He persecutes Christians and other opponents in a reign of terror that goes beyond any persecution, pogrom, or holocaust ever before experience in human history.
We think now about the horrors of what Hitler and the Nazis did in World War II (WWII), but that will pale in comparison. Actually it pales in comparison to what Stalin did in Russia. In WWII, they don’t know the exact numbers, but approximately 28 million Russians were killed in WWII. Before WWII started Stalin probably killed between 28 and 50 million people in Russia. It is amazing! I haven’t been there in 3-4 years now, but I’ve gone to the WWII museum in Kiev several times and it is fascinating; it’s a dramatic presentation of WWII and when you come to the end; they had taken this down the last time I was there, but when you come to the end there was this huge sign, chart on the wall, that listed every country that participated in WWII. What the Russians call the “Great Patriotic War.” It started with the Soviet Union, the USSR, 28 million people; and then it went to the next country and the next country in descending order; and over on the second column about a third of the way from the bottom you have the United States and it is something like 388,000 killed. It strikes you! WWII was not fought in Western Europe. It wasn’t fought by the allies in Western Europe. It was fought between Germany and Russia on the plains of Poland, the plains of Ukraine, and the plains of Southern Russia, Kerch and where these other great battles were fought. That is where most of the people were killed, probably 70% of the people who were killed in WWII were killed in Eastern Europe and in Russia. That is phenomenal. It gives you a whole perspective than the one that we usually get here. But as harsh as that was, that is nothing compared to what is going to happen during the Tribulation period.
12. In the second 3½ years, his worldwide coalition begins to fragment, an army from the east will invade in concert with one from the south, which culminates in the campaign of Armageddon (slide 30).
It is a series of battles, not just one battle. We often think the Battle of Armageddon and the press never gets it right. They think Armageddon has become a metaphor for any disaster or any huge battle. The end of days or whatever it is; but they miss the whole point that this is a battle between the Antichrist and Jesus Christ and He is coming to rescue the remnant of Israel before the Antichrist can completely destroy them.
13. The Antichrist’s destiny is going to be to be sent to the Lake of Fire along with the false prophet at the end (slide 31). They are sent directly to the lake of fire. Somebody always asks, well if they are in their mortal body they would just be burned up, incinerated instantly. Well obviously they are transitioned into another form of body on the way so that they can handle the pain and the torments. I mean that is just a logical deduction from the Text; otherwise, they would just be incinerated.
14. Then there is always that question of is he Jewish or Gentile (slide 32). I said earlier in Revelation 13:1, he comes “out of the sea.” “The sea” usually represents the chaos of the Gentile nations so he is Gentile.
Does anybody have a question? Here is one from Nebraska.
Question: When you say you think the Antichrist will be a Gentile what exactly do you mean? It would seem that he would have to have some Jewish blood in order to deceive the Jews and given the meaning of the prefix “Anti” meaning “in place of” it would seem more likely that this is so as I read the Scripture, especially using Judas as a type and the fact that Jacob was said to be a Syrian?
Answer: Well you are mixing up a couple of things there, but other people have raised that. That is not a new thought. You’ve got to go back to that exegesis of Daniel 9, “the prince of the people who is to come.” Who are the people who came and destroyed the first temple? They weren’t Jews. They were Gentiles. They were Romans. He’s their prince, “the prince of the people who is to come”, the prince who is to come comes out of that background. When you get into this whole issue of who will the Jews recognize as Messiah and who will not? When they are so apostatized that they reject Jesus they will accept anybody as Messiah. Without getting too political there are a few presidents who have had messianic complexes and been even identified by their opponents as having a messianic complex and many Jews have voted for them. I am not making a comment about all Jews. I have many wonderful friends that are Jews and many conservatives, but the liberal Jewish establishment on the east coast here will buy into anybody who supports their Marxist-Leninist objectives and they will vote for them. They have absolutely no ties to the religious traditions of Israel. Most Jews are that way. It always surprises people when we go to Israel and they listen to one of the guides and I know our guide, he’s a secular Jew. He may be agnostic, but he is not Christian; but he knows what Christians believe and even what Christians want to hear, not that he is violating his own views, but he teaches. He doesn’t tell us things; he doesn’t put his agenda out there. I’ve been on trips where I’ve had guides that are constantly trying to put their theological bias out there with a bunch of Christians and it is really obnoxious. I’ve been with other guides who don’t do that. They understand the beliefs of Christians and they don’t go stomping all over their toes; but most Jews do not believe in the Bible at all. They don’t believe in any of that so there is nothing that would prevent them from affirming a non-Jewish Messiah.
Key People in the Tribulation: The Second Beast, The False Prophet (slide 33)
The False Prophet is a distinct person from the Antichrist as indicated in:
1. Revelation 13:11-18 (slide 34). I think this partially answers the previous question and that is that he is Jewish and he is going to tell them that the Antichrist, who is the master deceiver, all those passages that we looked at, he is the master deceiver. The False Prophet is going to point them to the Antichrist and say yes, he is the Messiah. I don’t know if they are going to come up with some sort of fiction or what else, but they are going to document him as a substitute messiah. He is called “another beast” and he is the prophet or spokesman for the Antichrist.
What we learn about him in Revelation 13:11-18 is that (slides 35-36):
He is a Jew; he arises from “the earth” that is the land. The word there is GES in the Greek, which indicates always “the land,” not just the world system but he comes from “the land.”
He is religiously influential.
He is motivated by Satan.
He has a delegated authority form Satan.
He promotes the worship of the first beast.
He performs signs and miracles just as much as the first beast does.
He deceives the unbelieving world. So they are empowered; with all the power that they have they deceive unbelieving Jews and unbelieving Gentiles to worship the first beast.
He promotes idolatrous worship.
He has the power of death over people who do not worship the beast.
He has great economic power. No one can buy or sell unless they purchase the mark of the beast or unless they swear allegiance to the mark of the beast.
He will establish the mark of the beast.
Then we come to the 144,000 (slide 37):
I have heard this allegedly from the Jewish community. There are certain myths that kind of float through the Jewish community about why Christians support Israel. One of them is that the reason Christians support Israel is to get all the Jews back in the land so that they will be killed when Jesus comes back. You laugh and I laugh. I’ve never heard a Christian teach that. I’ve never heard of any Christian theologian ever express that idea. I’ve only heard this rumor in the Jewish community; and another part of that rumor is that Christians believe that only 144,000 Jews will be saved during the Tribulation period and that is not true. The Bible teaches that there are 144,000 Jews, 12,000 from each of the 12 tribes of Israel, who will be saved at the beginning of the Tribulation period and they go forth as evangelists to Jews and Gentiles during the Tribulation period. There will be millions and millions, hundreds of millions, I think, of unbelieving Gentiles that believe in Jesus as Messiah. I think there is going to be tens of thousands of Jews that will trust in Jesus as their Messiah during the Tribulation period as a result of this ministry. They begin their ministry at the front part of the Tribulation period and eventually they become martyrs, as I will point out in a second.
(1) So these 144,000 are Jews from every tribe of the sons of Israel; 12,000 from each of the twelve tribes, Revelation 7:4 (slide 38). Those are literal numbers and they are going to be sealed; but that seal doesn’t protect them all the way through the Tribulation period.
(2) They are called “bond servants of our God” in Revelation 7:3; they are the believers who become the evangelistic corps for the Tribulation period (slide 39).
(3) They are sealed, which suggests they cannot be harmed (slide 40).
(4) But eventually they are all martyred (slide 41). We know that from Revelation 14:1 and Revelation 14:3 because this is at the end of the Tribulation period. John looks and sees the “Lamb standing on Mount Zion.” This is when the Lord has returned in the midst of the campaign of Armageddon. He is now come into Jerusalem. He is on “Mount Zion and with Him are the one hundred and forty-four thousand, having His Father’s name written on their foreheads. They sang as it were a new song before the throne, before the four living creatures, and the elders; and no one could learn that song except the hundred and forty-four thousand who were redeemed from the earth.”
So they are probably martyred near the end just like the two witnesses will be martyred during the midpoint of the Tribulation. I am going to stop there. We will come back and go through the last part. Actually I did not have the slide on them. The two witnesses that are mentioned in Revelation 11 are variously identified as Elijah and Moses or Moses and Enoch or Enoch and Elijah. There is no biblical support for any that. There is nothing that indicates it is one of those. They come in a ministry “like” that just as John the Baptist had a ministry “like” Elijah. He is not being resurrected. So they are going to have that kind of a ministry and they will fulfill Zechariah 4:11-14. Next time I am going to come back and give us a fly over of the Tribulation period itself and then we’ll be done with the Tribulation.
"Father, we thank You for this opportunity to study these things and to reflect upon them; and Father, we just recognize that no matter how bad things get in our lives it is not nearly as bad as it will be in the Tribulation period; and even then, You are still in control. You provide comfort and strength and the power to survive, the power to go forward in whatever difficulty we may be in. In whatever adversity we may face we know that we can handle all things through Christ Who strengthens us. And we pray this in Christ's Name, Amen."