FALSE MESSIAH'S REIGN OF TERROR
DURING THE TIME OF JACOB'S TROUBLE
Daily, sometimes hourly, a new crisis develops somewhere in the world, or a new personality comes into prominence in world affairs. No one knows what new leader is destined to gain power in the future. No one knows what is going to happen in world affairs from one minute to the next. No one, that is, except the One in Whom we live and move and have our beingthe Eternal God. He alone knows the end from the beginning. And from the beginning He has been pleased to reveal facts concerning many prominent men and events of the future through His servants the prophets.
Beginning with Moses, most of the Old Testament prophets wrote about a coming world dictator and his nefarious reign. New Testament writers describe this great dictator as the false messiah and call him Antichrist. Antichrist will be one of the leading characters during the Time of Jacob's Trouble. Since he will have almost unlimited power and authority over his subjects during part of his reign, everyone should acquaint himself with what the Bible teaches about him.
Antichrist's cunning devices and atrocious reign will entrap and enslave multitudes. Knowing of his connivings will keep many from becoming the victims of his treacherous schemings. The Bible says, "And such as do wickedly against the covenant [the law] shall he [Antichrist] pervert by flatteries; but the people that know their God shall be strong" (Daniel 11:32).
Antichrist's identity will be revealed the moment he signs a seven-year contract with leaders of the nation of Israelthe contract of Daniel's 70th week.
Daniel's Description of Antichrist
The prophet Daniel had reference to Antichrist when he wrote about the willful king who will rule over the earth in the end days. Here are Daniel's words:
36 And the king shall do accordingly to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvelous things against the God of gods; and he shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished; for that which is determined shall be done. 37 Neither shall he regard the gods of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any god; for he shall magnify himself above all. 38 But in his place shall he honor the god of fortresses; and a god whom his fathers knew not shall he honor with gold, and silver, and with precious stones and pleasant things. 39 And he shall deal with the strongest fortresses by the help of a foreign god: whosoever acknowledgeth him, he will increase with glory; and he shall cause them to rule over many, and shall divide the land for a price (Daniel 11:36-39).
Daniel fills out many more details of the picture of Antichrist elsewhere in his book. He will be a "contemptible person" among world leaders in the beginning of his rise to power and will gain authority and influence by his flatteries. He will rise to world prominence along with ten other kings. Daniel's prophecy implies that he will engage in military operations against some of the other ten kings during the early part of his reign. After he succeeds in killing three of these kings, he will gain sway over the remaining seven.
Antichrist's Reign Described in Revelation
Details concerning Antichrist's reign are set forth in the book of Revelation. There we are told that in the midst of his reign, an image of Antichrist will be set up in the Temple on Mt. Moriah in Jerusalem. All the inhabitants of the earth will be required to worship his image. Those who refuse will be condemned to die. In addition to this, a decree will go out into all the world commanding the rich and poor, free and slave to take Antichrist's mark upon their right hand, or upon their forehead; no one may buy or sell who does not have Antichrist's mark upon his body.
How Antichrist Will Gain Supernatural Power
Daniel reveals that all things will be given into his (Antichrist's) hand for the last three and one-half years of his reign (Daniel 7:25). The prophet's language indicates that all things will be given into Antichrist's hands suddenly, and that he will have complete dominion over the whole earth for three and one-half years just before his doom. When Antichrist suddenly becomes world dictator, he will manifest an unusual power. People will marvel at him, saying, "Who is able to war with him?" Blasphemes of Antichrist
How will Antichrist suddenly gain so much power? In order for us to answer this question, let us go back to the beginning of man's history. Back to the time when, in the Garden of Eden, man first disobeyed God. There in the garden Satan deceived Eve, the first woman, and persuaded her to eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil which had been forbidden by God. She gave the fruit to her husband, Adam, and he ate. Because of their disobedience, God cast them out of the Garden of Eden and subjected them to sorrow, suffering and death.
At that time God spoke to Satan, saying: "I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed: he shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel" (Genesis 3:15).
Notice what God told Satan: There will be enmity between his (Satan's) seed and the woman's seed.
In Bible language the word seed as it is used in (Genesis 3:15), refers to an offspring (seed) of the woman.
Satan is the most powerful creature the Almighty ever created. In the beginning he was a glorious angelic being who reigned in heaven with the Eternal God. He was full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. Afterward he rebelled against God. For this act, God cast him out of Heaven, and he became Satan, the adversary. When God cast him out of Heaven, He did not strip him of his power, however, for it is apparent that since his fall Satan has used his power in every conceivable manner to block the progress of the plans and purposes of God in the earth.
For long ages Satan has been at liberty to walk to and fro upon the earth. Down through man's history Satan has gone about as an angel of light to deceive, or as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. As an angelic being he has the privilege to accuse the children of men. He is the inveterate enemy of all who worship and serve the true and living God. Satan has a special hatred for the nation of Israel. The Bible calls him "the prince of the power of the air," and "the god of this world."
At the middle of the Tribulation, Satan, knowing his doom is prophesied and seeing that the date of his doom is near, will make an all-out effort to thwart God's plans. Thus the "god of this world, the prince of the power of the air," will give his power to the most powerful ruler of the dayAntichrist.
How will Satan do this?
At the middle of the Tribulation period some of the kings of the earth will pit their military strength against Antichrist. This conflict will develop into World War II of the Tribulation.¹ In this war Antichrist will be slain. Then a miracle will happenhis death stroke will be healed and he will live again. This resurrected king will be a supernatural being, for he will be indwelt by Satan who will give him all of his power. Thus Antichrist will literally become Satan's seed.
The apostle John gives us a solemn and graphic account of what takes place on this occasion:
13 And I saw a beast coming up out of the sea, having ten horns and seven heads, and on his horns ten diadems, and upon his heads names of blasphemy. 2 And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his throne, and a great authority.² 3 and I saw one of his heads as though it had been smitten unto death; and his death stroke was healed: and the whole earth wondered after the beast; 4 and they worshipped the dragon³ because he gave his authority unto the beast; and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? and who is able to war with him? 5 and there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and there was given to him authority to continue forty and two months. 6 And he opened his mouth for blasphemies against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, even them that dwell in heaven. 7 And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them (Revelation 13:1-7).
Antichrist's chief characteristic will be his wicked, atheistic attitude and his hatred of all who worship God. John points out that Antichrist will open his mouth to blaspheme almighty Godhe will blaspheme God's name, His Temple (the Jews' Temple in Jerusalem), and even His tabernacle in Heaven. Besides this, he will set his hand to annihilate everyone who stands for the things of God and Messiah.Antichrist's Enmity Against God's Messiah
Daniel wrote that the willful king, Antichrist, "shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every God, and shall speak marvelous things against the God of gods."
Writing to the church in Thessalonica, the apostle Paul also prophesied that Antichrist will deify himself, He wrote:
2 The day of the Lord ... 3 will not be, except the falling away come first, and the man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition, 4 he that opposeth and exalteth himself against all that is called God or that is worshipped; so that he sitteth in the temple of God setting himself forth as God (II Thessalonians 2:2-4).
What did Paul mean when he wrote that the day of the Lord will not be until the son of perdition (Antichrist) is revealed? Since Daniel prophesied that Antichrist will be revealed when he signs the contract with the Jews at the beginning of the Tribulation, Paul no doubt referred to that occasion.
When Paul wrote that the son of perdition will oppose and exalt himself against all that is called God, he surely referred to Daniel's prophecy about the willful king. And there is a prophecy of King David which he probably had in mind also. That prophecy, which follows, is recorded in Psalm 2:1-5:
1 Why do the nations rage,
And the peoples meditate a vain thing?
2 The kings of the earth set themselves,
And the rulers take counsel together,
Against Jehovah, and against his anointed, saying,
3 Let us break their bonds asunder,
And cast away their cords from us.
4 He sitteth in the heavens will laugh:
The Lord will have them in derision.
5 Then will he speak unto them in his wrath,
And vex them in his sore displeasure.
David, in vision, saw an atheistic, anti-Semitic, anti-Christian, politico-religious conclave of the kings of the earth during the Tribulation"the day of God's wrath." This conclave will be headed up by Antichrist. These kings will gather together to oppose God, but their council will be a vain thing.his anointed is literally His Messiah, or translated from the Greek, His Christ. No doubt it was from this word and this prophecy the New Testament writers name the flattering, treacherous and sadistic king of the end daysAntichrist.
Note the term "set themselves." David uses this expression in this prophecy to show that the kings of the earth assemble with their minds already made up to take a stand against God, and His anointed. The Hebrew word translated
A driving spirit will characterize the kings of whom David speaks, prompting them to assemble themselves and take counsel together. That spirit is a spirit of enmity against God's Messiah. That spirit of enmity will characterize Antichrist, the seed of Satan, in particular.
Who is God's Messiah with Whom Antichrist is at Enmity?
Who is God's Messiah with whom Satan's seed, Antichrist, is at Enmity?
Undoubtedly the answer to this question can be found by determining who the seed of the woman is who is mentioned in Genesis 3:15. In that prophecy God told Satan that there would be enmity between Satan's seed (Antichrist) and the woman's seed: "And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed: he shall bruise thy head, thou shalt bruise his heel."
Note, the Spirit of God carefully chose the expression "her seed" in Genesis 3:15. Nowhere else in the Bible is this expression used. A prophecy in Isaiah shows the reason for God's choice of the expression, "her seed." Isaiah, speaking to the house of David (the Jewish nation) said: "The Lord himself will give you a sign: behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel [God with us]" (Isaiah 7:14). In this prophecy God foretold that a woman who had never been with a mana virginwould conceive and give birth to a son, who would be called ImmanuelGod with us. Since the offspring of this woman would have no earthly father he would rightly be referred to as the seed of the woman.
Has this prophecy been fulfilled?
Yes. The birth of Jesus the Messiah came in fulfillment of God's Word through Isaiah.
18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows. When His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit. 19 And Joseph her husband, being a religious man, and not wanting to disgrace her, desired to put her away secretly. 20 But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for that which has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. 21 "And she will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for it is He who will save His people from their sins." 22 Now all this took place that what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet might be fulfilled, saying, 23 "BEHOLD, THE VIRGIN SHALL BE WITH CHILD, AND SHALL BEAR A SON, AND THEY SHALL CALL HIS NAME IMMANUEL," which translated means, "God With Us" (Matthew 1:18-23, New ASB).
Zacharias, father of John the Baptist, filled with the Holy Spirit, prophesied concerning Jesus Christ, saying:
68 "Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,
For He has visited us and accomplished redemption for his people,
69 And has raised up a horn of salvation for us
In the house of David His servant
70 As he spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from of old
71 Salvation from our enemies,
And from the hand of all who hate us (Luke 1:68-71, New ASB).
Again Isaiah prophesied, saying:
11 And there shall come forth a shoot out of the stock of Jesse [King David's father], and a branch out of his roots shall bear fruit. 2 And the Spirit of Jehovah shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of council and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of Jehovah. 3 And his delight shall be in fear of Jehovah (Isaiah 11:1-3).
Jesus Christ introduced Himself to the Jewish people, saying that He was the One upon Whom the Spirit of Jehovah rested, and that He had come in fulfillment of Isaiah's prophecies. (Read Isaiah 61:1-3 and Luke 4:16-30.)
Jesus Christ, therefore, is the Seed of the woman with Whom Satan's seed Antichrist, will be at enmity.
Antichrist's chief characteristic will be his spirit of enmity against God's Messiah and against God and all who worship Him. He will use strong efforts to rid the world of the testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ and all who worship God. Antichrist will lead the pogrom against the multitude who will become martyrs for Christ's sake during the first three and one-half years of the Tribulation (Revelation, chapter 7).
The enmity between Satan's seed, Antichrist, and the woman's seed, Jesus Christ, will continue until Messiah crushes Antichrist's head and strips him of all his power and authority. If any man has an ear, let him hearBeware Antichrist!
¹ World War II is described in Daniel, Chapter 11.
² Rev. 13:1,2 describes the last potentate that heads the last great world power of this age.
³ The dragon is Satan. He is probably the foreign god mentioned in Daniel 11:39.