1. The world is now entering the most perilous era of human history. The stage is being set for the final, the great, apostasy.
2. Those of you who are students of Biblical prophecy, think about what has happened in the world in the last couple of decades, things you would not have dared to imagine twenty years ago.
3. On the home front the secularization of the United States is almost complete. The Constitution, penned by men who were opposed to anyone serving in a position of leadership who did not publicly state his allegiance to God, is now being used to exclude God and any reference to Him from every area of public life.
4. So debased has our society become that we twice elected a man to the presidency of the United States who openly admitted to committing adultery, who stands in favor of the government funding of infanticide, abortion, prenatal murder, and who is openly courts, for political support, the homosexuals in the land.
5. I will admit that in years past I always wondered why the United States plays no role in end time prophecies, is not mentioned in the conflict that will rage in the middle east shortly before the second coming of Christ, and apparently will be neither ally nor opponent to any of the conflicting parties in that greatest of all world wars to come.
6. Now I think I know. We will be the first nation on earth that will have a large percentage of combat soldiers, sailors and submariners, who are women, and we will not fight. We will not fight on the right side. We will not even fight on the wrong side. Our military will have been both de-clawed and de-fanged.
7. With the rise of the militant fundamentalists in the Islamic world, the southern confederacy mentioned in Bible prophecy takes no wild or visionary imagination to see consolidating, armed primarily with American weaponry.
8. And with Afghanistan still fragmented by the ongoing conflict that exists after the pullout of the Soviet Army, and with both Iran and Iraq economically and militarily weak from their protracted war, and with Iraq still particularly crippled from the Gulf War and continuing economic sanctions, there is absolutely nothing to speak of that would stand in the way of the great armies of the kings of the east marching through those countries all the way into Palestine to wage war.
9. But who would they wage war against? The southern confederacy, the Arab nations joined together? Not just them, you can be sure. For if the war to come is between them only the battleground would not be Palestine, but farther east.
10. No. There is a third party to this conflict. This third party is widely thought by dispensational theologians to be the reunified European community, something akin to the revived Roman Empire. And the leader of this political-military force is referred to in John's Revelation as "the beast."
11. Let's stand as we turn, in our Bibles, to Revelation chapter 13: "And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. 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 seat, and great authority. And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast. And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him? And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months. And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. If any man have an ear, let him hear. He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints. And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live. And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six."
12. There are two men in this chapter who are referred to by John as beasts. The second beast is the one typically referred to as the false prophet. The first beast is understood to be "The Antichrist."
13. The Antichrist is the subject of my message this evening, dealing with the doctrines of the Antichrist, the deeds of the Antichrist, and the destiny of the Antichrist.
1A. FIRST, THE DOCTRINES OF THIS MAN WHO IS RIGHTLY PREDICTED BY JOHN TO BE A BEAST
There are four verses in the New Testament which make specific use of the word "antichrist." We will look at all four to determine what the beliefs, what the doctrines, of antichrists are, what the doctrines of the Antichrist are.
1B. First John 2.18
"Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time."
1C. The word "antichrist" appears twice in this verse. The second reference is, obviously, to "antichrists." The first, however, must be a reference to "the Antichrist" since the word is singular.
2C. There is then, in addition to antichrists who shall come on the scene, a single individual, "the Antichrist." Their arrival and his arrival are specific indications that it is the last time, that we are near the end of the age that will end with the second coming of Jesus Christ.
2B. First John 2.22
"Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son."
1C. What does the Antichrist believe? What is his doctrine? The doctrine of the Antichrist will be essentially the same as the doctrine of the antichrists, otherwise he would not be so labeled and identified with them in Scripture.
2C. A study of the word "anointing," which is translated from the Greek word that "Christ" comes from, reveals that the Antichrist, as well as the antichrists, deny that Jesus is the Christ.
3C. By extension, then, the Antichrist denies both the Father and the Son, and, according to verse 23, "hath not the Father." The Antichrist who shall come, though it does not need to be specifically said I hope, will not be a saved person.
4C. How can I say that? Because he believes wrongly. His doctrinal position regarding the Lord Jesus Christ and the Father are greatly in error. And if you are wrong on key truths about Jesus Christ and the Father you aren't saved.
5C. And think about this: If Antichrist's doctrine about the Lord Jesus Christ and God the Father was correct he would realize he had no hope of successfully opposing them. Amen?
3B. First John 4.1-3
"Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world."
1C. Here's a new twist on the Antichrist's heresy. A denial that Jesus Christ came in the flesh. Now, I want you to think about what I've said for just a moment, because it's rather important.
2C. If the error of antichrists (and the Antichrist as well since he is simply the supreme example of the species), and those with the spirit of antichrist, is a denial that Jesus has come in the flesh, then their real problem with Him is not his deity, but His humanity. Amen?
3C. What does that tell you? It tells me that the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ was so obvious that it was questionable whether He was really man or not. And to emphasize that He was a man the Lord constantly referred to Himself as the Son of Man, did He not?
4C. Well, if the Antichrist denies that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, then he denies that the death, burial and resurrection of Christ from the dead on the third day was a genuine accomplishment. Instead, the Antichrist believes it to be fraudulent.
5C. Perhaps the Antichrist will be a man who thinks that the Lord Jesus Christ's resurrection was just an elaborate supernatural stunt, as his own will be according to Revelation chapter 13, just an elaborately staged display of supernatural power.
4B. Second John 7
"For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist."
1C. Here we see further evidence of the deceptive doctrine of the antichrists, and of the Antichrist, a denial of the incarnation, a denial of Christ's real humanity.
2C. Perhaps this is the spirit behind this "ask Jesus into your heart to get saved" nonsense we hear so much of today, something the incarnate Son of God cannot do whilst tabernacling in a human body, glorified though it be.
2A. NEXT, WE LOOK AT THE DEEDS OF THIS GREATEST OF ALL CRIMINALS
1B. Daniel 7.21
"I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them."
Here the Antichrist is referred to by the prophet Daniel as "the same horn," who is the ruler of the last great world empire and who wars against the saints of God, believers during the Tribulation period.
2B. Daniel 9.24-27
" Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy. Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate."
1C. In this, which is perhaps the most important portion of prophetical Scriptures in the Bible, we see God's plan for dealing with the Messiah, Who is the Lord Jesus Christ, as well as the role that the Antichrist will play in opposing the Lord Jesus Christ.
2C. The weeks, in this passage, refer to weeks of years, seven year segments of time. There are four hundred ninety years all total, or seventy weeks. Sixty-nine weeks of years, or four hundred eighty three years, passed between the decree permitting the rebuilding of Jerusalem's walls after the Babylonian captivity until the triumphal entrance of the Lord Jesus Christ into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey's colt. The final week of years will take place in the future, preceding the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ in power and great glory.
3C. But notice the second prince in this passage. Not the "Messiah" of verse 26, but the second prince mentioned in that verse, beginning with "and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary." This second prince is the Antichrist. According to verse 27, the Antichrist will "confirm the covenant with many for one week" before committing the atrocities referred to in verse 27 in the Jewish Temple that will have been rebuilt at that time.
4C. Apparently, as leader of the European community, the Antichrist will make a treaty with Israel, possibly promising to protect the Jewish population from the rising tide of Arab militancy that we hear so much about these days. But half way through that seven year period of time he will abandon his commitments and will desecrate the Temple and begin an all-out assault on all of God's people, with particular focus upon the Jews.
3B. Second Thessalonians 2.7-12
"For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness."
1C. What in the world would cause the Jewish people, who presently trust absolutely no one when it comes to their national security, to in the future trust the Antichrist?
2C. There are several possible explanations: First, the Holy Spirit will end His restraining ministry upon Satan, according to verse 7. This will enable Satan's deceit to be more effective in the lives of the unsaved.
3C. Second, that "Wicked" will be revealed. This is the Antichrist. But notice, verse 9, that his appearance on the world scene is accompanied by displays of supernatural power. Satanic power, to be sure, but supernatural nevertheless. Very persuasive in a world without spiritual discernment.
4C. Finally, a combination of the sinner's love for error and spiritual darkness instead of the truth, with strong delusion from God added in for good measure. The result? Israel will do something she has never done in modern history. She will make the mistake of trusting someone. And that someone will turn out to be a greater enemy than Egypt's Pharaoh, Babylon's Nebuchadnezzar, and Germany's Hitler, all rolled into one wicked genius.
4B. Matthew 24.15-19
"When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!"
1C. What is this all about? When the Antichrist fulfills the Daniel prophecy by desecrating the Temple, then his secret plans for the annihilation of the Jewish people will very quickly be put into action, gobbling up everyone who doesn't flee to the wilderness very quickly.
2C. The Jewish woman who goes to the living room to grab her purse before she flees will not make it. The man who is working outside who stoops over to pick up his jacket will not make it. The woman who is pregnant, and the nursing mother, will be too slow to survive the Antichrist's armies as they scour the cities and country, arresting and executing Jews everywhere.
3C. Never in human history have the Jewish people suffered like they will suffer at the hands of this man. And anyone who thinks there is a world wide conspiracy to take over the world is correct. But understand, the conspiracy is not masterminded at the human level. And the conspiracy does not involve Jews, for, you see, the Jews will be the primary targets.
5B. Revelation 13
We read this chapter earlier, but allow me to point out what the Antichrist's actions against God's people will be.
1C. Verses 3-4.
"And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast. And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?"
The world will wonder after the beast, the Antichrist, and they will worship both the dragon and him, the dragon being Satan, himself.
2C. Verses 5-8
"And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months. And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world."
A seven year period of time will begin sometime after the Rapture of Church Age believers. From the midpoint of that seven year period, which will be for three and one half years, the Antichrist will utter horrible blasphemies against God, will wage war against the saints of God, and will accept the worship of unsaved people.
3C. Those who will not worship him, which is to say genuine believers, will be killed, verse 15. Those not executed outright will probably starve to death, since no one will be able to buy food without the mark of the beast on his hand or forehead, verses 16-17, a mark which no genuinely saved person will take.
4C. So, we can understand why he is labeled the Antichrist. He will be a supernaturally empowered human being, a genius of remarkable proportions, who is so wrong about the power and might, the majesty and the greatness, of the Lord Jesus Christ that he actually believes that with Satan's power he can successfully oppose the plant and purpose of God, and he actually believes that the Lord Jesus can be defeated.
5C. Sound incredible? It's what you believe if you've not fled to Jesus Christ for safety and salvation from your sins. And what about Antichrist's attacks against the Jews and against God's saints? Simple. He realizes that the Jewish people are the key to the fulfillment of God's plan. Wipe out the Jews and God will be defeated, for His promises are to the Jews. That's why such atrocities will be directed at those people.
3A. FINALLY, WE SEE HIS DESTINY
Such tragedy is difficult for people to comprehend. We are sometimes caught up in wondering why God would allow such things as these to occur, or wondering how He could allow such a wicked man as this to come on the world scene and not do something to stop it. But if we turn to the Word of God for our answers we find that they are all there . . . if we but have the eyes to see.
1B. Hosea 5.15
"I will go and return to my place, till they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face: in their affliction they will seek me early."
1C. Here we have a prediction in type, a picture if you will, of what God will accomplish during that seven year period of Great Tribulation, that seventieth week of Daniel, especially during those final days of betrayal, horrible persecution, and, yes, even genocide.
2C. What people often overlook in their studies of prophetic themes is the immediate reason why the Lord Jesus Christ will return to earth in power and great glory. It will be because His people are crying out to Him for deliverance. And He will come in answer to their pleas, their cries of repentance.
2B. Romans 11.25-27
"For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins."
1C. Do you wonder why God will allow the Antichrist such a wicked career? It's because the Jewish people have rejected their Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ.
2C. So, God allows a false Messiah to come on the scene. The Jewish people, in their unbelief, turn to him for help against their natural enemies. But half way through the seven years their trusted "ally" turns against them.
3C. Imagine yourself to be Jewish. For two millennia your people have been scattered to the four winds, relying upon their wits to survive in the midst of Gentiles who hate their prosperity and their differences.
4C. But since the alliance, since the covenant with the Antichrist, since the great peace treaty has been signed, all the Jews the world over have returned to the Promised Land. Now, for the first time since before the Assyrian captivity of almost 3000 years before, all the world's Jews are gathered in one place. Then comes the betrayal.
5C. What do you do? He's killing Jews by the multiplied thousands. He's using dogs. He's using Starlight scopes to track people down at night. He's using electronic devices of every kind.
6C. You have no place to run because everyone has the mark of the beast, and the Antichrist won't give the mark to the Jews, because he's planning on killing them. You can't run to the south, because the southern confederacy of Arab nations is there. You can't run to the east, either. 200,000,000 soldiers are marching through Iran and Iraq, coming from the far east. The north isn't an option, because that's where the Antichrist's own army is coming from. And to the west is the Mediterranean Sea.
7C. For the first time in history the Jewish people are completely out of options. Money won't buy anyone's way out of trouble. They have no allies close enough to come to their aid. It seems that all men are turned against them. They can't look this way or that. They can only look up. Suddenly, in the hearts of millions of Jews in hiding, the words of the preachers Christian witnesses come to their minds. Then they realize that all this has come upon them to force them to repentance.
8C. So, what do they do? Collectively, and individually, they cry out to the Savior they have rejected for so long for deliverance, Yeshua Hameshia. They cry out to the Lord Jesus Christ, the Messiah of Israel, for their deliverance from this beast who seeks to kill them.
3B. And What Happens When The Jewish People Cry Out? Revelation 19.11-20
"And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS. And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God; That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great. And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone."
1. So, we have seen the Antichrist in the Bible; his doctrines, his deeds, his ultimate destiny.
2. But understand that the destiny of the Antichrist is also the destiny of all of the antichrists who have the same doctrines, but who may not have the same Satanic power that this unique individual will have.
3. Because you see, one's destiny is determined by belief, not behavior, by doctrine, not by deeds. If you believe wrongly about the Lord Jesus Christ you will not come to Him for salvation.
4. Revelation 21.8 states "But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death."
5. And what is the Biblical definition of a liar? Remember, it's someone who believes what an antichrist believes about Jesus Christ. Which is to say, they are not believers. Anyone who is not converted is an antichrist, in the Biblical sense of the word.
6. So, while you are certainly not the Antichrist spoken of the in the Bible, who shall be cast alive into the lake of fire, are you an antichrist?
7. Are you one who does not believe what the Bible says about Jesus Christ? Do you question His claims about Himself? Do you question the Biblical claims about Him? Do you doubt the words of God, Who said, "This is my beloved Son, hear ye Him"?
8. Perhaps you claim that you believe these things, yet not strongly enough to actually become a Christian. Then, my friend, I would suggest a very careful reappraisal of the facts, as they relate to Who Jesus Christ is and as they relate to where you are headed.
9. It would be a terrible thing to spend an hour one Sunday evening learning about the terrible Antichrist and the lake of fire which is his eternal destiny, only to end up there yourself, because you never actually came to Jesus Christ for salvation from your sins. Amen?