THE END TIMES: THE ANTICHRIST
1. One strong proof that the Church will not be here during the tribulation is the fact that it has nothing to do with the Church.
a. God will finish up dealings with Israel, the Jews, according to a promise He made to them in Dan 9:24-27–Daniel’s 70th week.
b. Matt 24:15-21–In answer to questions from His disciples about Israel’s future, Jesus told them the prophecies of Dan 9:27 would be fulfilled during the tribulation.
c. This period of tribulation for the Jews is mentioned by all the OT prophets. Dan 12:1 calls it a time of trouble for the Jews such as never
was. Jer 30:7 calls it the time of Jacob’s trouble.
2. II Thess 2:1-3–Another proof the Church will not be here during the tribulation is the fact that the Day of the Lord (the tribulation) cannot begin until the Church departs.
a. The first event of the tribulation is the revealing (disclosing) of the Antichrist, and that cannot happen until the Church is gone.
b. The Holy Spirit in the Church is a restraining force on evil. II Thess 2:6–And now you know what is holding him back, so that he may
be revealed at the proper time. For the secret of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. (NIV)
3. In this lesson, we are going to begin to look at the tribulation period.
a. We aren’t going to spend a lot of time on it. We won’t be here for it.
b. There are plenty of good books by excellent authors — Hal Lindsey, Tim LaHaye, John Walvoord, Dwight Pentecost, Hilton Sutton.
4. We want to give you a basic understanding of the major events and players of the tribulation, and take the fear and mystery out of certain terms.
5. The first event of the tribulation after the Church is gone will be the unveiling of the Antichrist. That is what we want to deal with in this lesson.
1. satan will offer his masterpiece of deception, a substitute for Christ, the Antichrist. Anti means against or in place of. II Cor 11:14,15
a. Christ is the Prince of Peace. The Antichrist, by satan’s power, will seem to bring peace and prosperity to the world.
b. He’ll be raised up to a position of authority over ten kingdoms that had their origins in the Roman Empire.
c. Through him, satan will attempt to establish his visible kingdom on earth and rule and reign out of Jerusalem, just as Jesus will one day do.
2. In the Book of Daniel God said that Israel and Jerusalem will be ruled over by four Gentile kingdoms from Daniel’s time until Jesus comes to set up His kingdom on the earth. Dan 2:28-44
a. Luke 21:24–Jesus confirmed that prophecy. He said Jerusalem would be “conquered and trampled down by the Gentiles until the period of Gentile triumph ends in God’s good time.” (Living)
b. We can look back in history and see that since Daniel’s time Jerusalem has been controlled by the empire of Babylon which was replaced by the Medo-Persians, who were followed by the Greek Empire, which was followed by Rome — all of which have come and gone.
3. However, there is a final form of the Roman Empire which has not yet come to pass on the world scene.
a. In Dan 2:41-43 the Roman Empire is portrayed by ten toes, and in Dan 7:7 as having ten horns. In Dan 7:24 the horns are identified as ten kings.
b. In 395 A.D. the Roman Empire was divided into two parts (east and west), but it has never been divided into ten units or kingdoms ruled by ten kings.
4. The Roman Empire doesn’t exist now, and hasn’t for many centuries, yet Dan 2:44,45; 7:9-14 says that this final form of Gentile power will be destroyed by Jesus and replaced by His kingdom. None of that has happened yet.
a. There is a gap between ancient Rome and a future revived Roman Empire — or between the legs of iron and feet of iron and clay.
b. The gap is the Church Age. God is not dealing directly with Jews or Gentiles. He is dealing with the Church.
c. The Church Age was a mystery when the OT was written. Many prophecies refer to the first and second coming of Jesus in one verse with no gap just as in Daniel’s prophecies. Isa 61:1,2; 9:6,7; Micah 5:2
5. This final form of Gentile power will be a revived Roman Empire.
a. The toes have iron in them as do the legs which are clearly Rome.
b. The Roman Empire was very much involved in Christ’s first coming and will be in His Second Coming.
1. A Roman decree put Joseph and Mary at the right spot for Jesus to be born in fulfillment of prophecy. Luke 2:1-7; Micah 5:2
2. The Roman method of execution, crucifixion, resulted in specific fulfillment of prophecy about Christ’s death.
c. Dan 9:26,27–The same prince of the people who destroyed Jerusalem after Christ’s death will be the same one who makes and breaks a covenant with Israel during Daniel’s 70th week. The people = Roman Empire; the prince = satan working through the Antichrist.
d. The Roman Empire was a political, economic, religious, and military unit. That is exactly what the Antichrist will rule over.
6. What land will the Revived Roman Empire include?
a. The Bible doesn’t clearly say. For years, people have focused on the fact that it will consist of ten nations in western Europe.
b. But, at its peak, Rome controlled much more land than that. The Caesars ruled the known world of their day. Mediterranean Sea = Our Sea.
1. Dan 7:1-7–Daniel has a second vision of the Gentile kingdoms.
a. v7;20;24–The final Gentile kingdom will have ten horns or kings. An 11th horn began to grow and put down three of the existing horns.
b. v9-14–Daniel sees Jesus establish His everlasting kingdom.
c. v15-18–Daniel is given the interpretation of what he has seen.
2. v19-29–Then, Daniel specifically asked to know more about the final Gentile kingdom before Christ’s coming — especially the 11th horn.
a. This king is stronger than the others. He’ll make war against the saints and bring great destruction to the earth.
b. He’ll challenge God’s right to rule, and change laws, setting up his own lawless system. He’ll have power for 3 and a 1/2 years.
3. Dan 8:23-25– Additional information about this final Gentile ruler.
a. Fierce countenance = great anger; understanding dark sentences = skilled in intrigue (shrewd and intelligent).
b. He will have great power from satan, and will attack God’s people (Israel).
c. He will be a master of deception, who through peace will destroy many.
d. He will oppose Christ, but will be destroyed by Him.
4. Dan 10:14–It is restated that Daniel is being given information about what will
happen to his people in the end times. This has nothing to do with the Church.
5. Dan 11:40-45–This person wins a decisive victory in Israel (the glorious land),
and sets up the tent of his palace between the sea and mountain of Jerusalem.
6. Dan 12:7;11–He will desecrate the sanctuary for 1260 days or 3 and 1/2 years.
7. II Thess 2:3-9–Another description of the Antichrist. He is called a man of sin
and son of perdition (destruction) who has deceptive powers from satan,
opposes God, and exalts himself above God.
1. Rev 13:1,2–In a vision, John sees a beast rise up out of the sea — what Daniel saw in Dan 7:1-7, the final Gentile kingdom.
a. The word beast is used two ways in the Book of Revelation. It is used for the entire Gentile system in power at the end, and it is used for the ruler of the system, the man. He’ll have no more conscience than a wild beast.
b. The word Antichrist is not used in Revelation. It is not wrong to use the phrase because he will oppose Christ, and John uses it in his epistles.
2. He will be a Gentile (sea = humanity; Isa 57:20; Rev 17:15), and he will have the worst traits of past Gentile systems (leopard, bear, lion).
a. v2–He’ll get his power from satan, the dragon (Rev 12:9).
b. v4–The whole world will worship the dragon who gave him power.
c. v5–He’ll rule as dictator in political and religious affairs for 3 and 1/2 years.
d. v6,7–He’ll blaspheme and make war against the saints.
e. v8;16,17–He’ll introduce a world religion and economy.
3. v3–There is controversy over what healed of a head wound means. Some say it is the beast, the system, which receives a wound and recovers; others say it is the beast, the man.
a. “As it were” suggests there was no literal death.
b. If he is wounded, it would be a wound from which one would be expected to die, but recovers. satan cannot create life.
4. Rev 13:11–John begins to describe a second beast, the false prophet. Rev 19:20
a. He’ll be a physical descendant of Abraham (earth = Palestine, land given to Jews in prophetic scriptures; Gen 49:17).
b. He’ll appear as a lamb (good), but his voice (dragon) will give him away. His power will come from satan.
c. v12,13–He’ll lead the world to worship the Antichrist. He’ll draw people to the Antichrist by doing miracles.
d. v14,15–He will make an image, statue, of the beast which will seem to come to life, and he will make it the center of a world wide religion.
1. Worship will occur in the temple. II Thess 2:4; Matt 24:15; Dan 9:27
2. The false prophet will have life and death power over those who refuse to worship the beast.
5. satan is an imitator and much of what he does during the tribulation will be imitations of the Lord and His kingdom.
a. I Kings 18–Elijah the prophet was authenticated to Israel by the miracles he did. In Mal 4:5,6 the last thing God said to Israel before 400 years of silence was that Elijah would come before Christ does.
b. The false prophet will convince people that the Antichrist is the Messiah. That is the lie people will believe. II Thess 2:10,11; Matt 24:24
6. v16-18–All will be required to receive a mark as a symbol of worship of the beast. Two key points about the mark of the beast:
a. You can’t be tricked into taking the mark of the beast. It is a willful act of submission and worship to him as God. Rev 14:9-11; 19:20
b. What is 666? If we needed to know, God would have told us. It will be a mark of submission to the Antichrist’s authority and deity. You take his mark, his name, his number.
1. What about Y2K? There is no doubt that Y2K is a valid problem and that there is the potential for problems come midnight, December 31.
a. However, Y2K is not going to mean the end of civilization as we know it.
b. The complete collapse of all the economic and communications systems around the world for years to come does not fit with the clearly revealed end time scenario. Even a collapse of months will mean disaster.
c. This is the first time in the history of the world that the technology has existed for a man to have world wide control. It makes no sense that all of it would be lost and take years to recover.
d. Is it wrong to prepare for possible disruptions in services? Not at all. There will probably be some.
2. When you hear things about implanted computer chip technology, a national I.D. card, a cashless society, U.N. troops drilling on American soil — don’t let those things scare you. The stage is being set for the Beast (the system and the man) to quickly come on the scene once the Church is gone.
3. One problem with end times studies is that people tend to magnify or major on satanic activities and overlook what God has done, is doing, and will do.
4. Always remember what end times is about — the return of Jesus Christ to earth as King of King and Lord of Lords. And, we’ll be with Him when He returns!!