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The Day of the Lord 11. The Antichrist's reign of terror (Rev. 13)
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In Revelation 13 the Antichrist is described as a beast with seven heads and ten horns. John says:
"Then I stood on the sand of the sea. And I saw a beast rising up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his horns ten crowns, and on his heads a blasphemous name. Now the beast which I saw was like a leopard, his feet were like the feet of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. And the dragon gave him his power, his throne, and great authority" (Rev. 13:1-2).
The vision in Revelation 17 helps us to understand this symbolism. In that vision the great harlot, representing the end-time revival of the false Babylonian world religion, sits on the beast with the seven heads. These heads are explained as follows:
"Here is the mind which has wisdom: The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits. [They] are also seven kings. Five have fallen, one is, and the other has not yet come. And when he comes, he must continue a short time. And the beast that was, and is not, is himself also the eighth, and is of the seven, and is going to perdition" (Rev. 17:9-11).
It is clear from this that the first beast of Revelation 13 is one and the same as the beast of Revelation 17 on which the woman sits. The literal translation of the angels explanation in Revelation 17:9-10 is: "The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sits, and are seven kings: five have fallen, one is, and the other one has not yet come " Thus, the mountains and heads are the same thing and represent kings, or kingdoms. Further, the kingdoms succeed one another, five being already past when Revelation was written in AD 95, one being in existence and the last one being still future. From this we can conclude, firstly, that the seven mountains do not refer to the seven hills on which Rome is built, as sometimes supposed, and secondly, as five pre-Revelation kingdoms are referred to, the woman cannot represent the Roman Catholic Church, as is also supposed though the latter may have some part in what the woman represents. The Lord here gives us a broad perspective on seven world empires that were (and will be) all strongholds of heathen religions that are in open rebellion against God. In Genesis, Isaiah and Daniel mention is made of these kingdoms and to the important role that idolatry played in them in opposing the true God and His worshippers. They are the following empires:
1. The ancient Babylonian Empire established by Nimrod.
2. The Assyrian Empire.
3. The neo-Babylonian Empire of Nebuchadnezzar.
4. The Medo-Persian Empire.
5. The Greek Empire.
6. The Roman Empire.
7. The end-time empire of the Antichrist.
In the year 95 AD, when the book of Revelation was written, five of the empires were past that is from the ancient Babylonian to the Greek Empire. The Roman Empire ruled at the time, while the end-time empire of the Antichrist was still future. This last empire is symbolised by the head with the ten horns.
It is important to see the corporate character and coherence of these seven empires: it is one beast with seven heads. A common characteristic of the first six empires is that all of them were hostile towards the kingdom of God on earth. Their occult practices, pantheism, immorality, the deification of their leaders, humanism, and rebellion against God, will culminate in the seventh empire of the Antichrist and descend to even greater depths of spiritual darkness and deception. The coherence between them has its roots in mystery Babylon, the immoral mother of all the false religions. She exerted a tremendous influence upon the previous godless world empires, and was responsible for their wicked character. "The woman whom you saw is that great city which reigns over the kings of the earth" (Rev. 17:18). The same evil alliance between a world government and a false world religion will be characteristic of the empire of the Antichrist.
The Antichrist will be head of the seventh and eighth empires. During the first 3½ years of his reign he will be the head of a government of international unity, in which other kings or rulers will rule with him. The angel said to John: "And the ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have received no kingdom as yet, but they receive authority for one hour as kings with the beast" (Rev. 17:12). During the second half of the tribulation, the Antichrist will declare a military dictatorship under his personal leadership. The false prophet will be his co-ruler and Satan his spiritual head a triumvirate of evil. That will be the eighth and last empire before Christ comes.
The Antichrist is so closely identified with the previous world empires that he is depicted with the body of a leopard, the paws of a bear, the mouth of a lion and ten horns on his head (Rev. 13:2). These symbols agree with those in Daniel 7 where the Babylonian empire is represented as a lion, the Medo-Persian empire as a bear, the Greek empire as a leopard and the Roman empire as a ferocious beast with ten horns on its head. This means that characteristics of all these empires will be revived in the end-time empire of the Antichrist it will not be only a revived Roman empire. The correlation between the Antichrist and the other world empires is as follows:
It is obvious, then, that the world empire of the Antichrist will constitute a revival of all the preceding, godless world empires. It will have particularly strong Babylonian characteristics, with its major strongholds in the Middle east. For this reason it is a mistake to only look at the European Union as the revived Roman Empire and to allege that the Antichrist will come from Rome. He will originate from a country or region that formed part of all four of the empires mentioned. Daniel describes him as the king of the North (Dan.11:36-45). This region is north-northeast of Israel and was in different times in history known as Babylonia, Assyria, and Syria. Presently, this region is known as Syria and Iraq, but its heartland is in Iraq. That is also where the city of Babylon, which is now being rebuilt, is situated.
The book Daniel is of great help in determining the country of origin of the Antichrist:
Power bases of the Antichrist
During the first 3½ years of the tribulation period the Antichrist will reign as prince of peace and pursue world unity. Then he will make his big move to gain absolute power. The Antichrists change of image and strategy in the middle of the tribulation will be so dramatic and terrifying that he will endeavour to force all people into Satanism. After he has received a deadly wound (possibly by an assassin) and come to life again, the devil will no longer use him to masquerade as a prince of peace and an angel of light.
He will now reveal his true nature as a power-hungry dictator who will give full expression to his inherent disposition for blasphemy, sadism and brutal murder. He will establish a dictatorship that will be power-based on politics, religion and the control of economic resources. Upon each of these spheres, totalitarian control will be exercised, with the main objective of reducing all people to absolute slavery. They will not be granted political rights, religious liberties or economic freedom outside the unitary structures of the new world order. The three power bases are:
The devil has never relinquished his plans for an alternative global order of political domination of all nations. Various world empires were established through the ages. They all oppressed and exploited the conquered nations, imposed a heathen religion on them, and also undermined other cultures by enforcing cultural and linguistic conformity to their own institutions. Whenever Satan makes an attempt to achieve such an objective he prepares a suitable strongman who rises to a position of political leadership, to the extent that he becomes a military dictator who conquers and subjects other nations. Through the expansion of his empire he then becomes a world leader.
According to the Bible, Satan will, before the Second Coming, use all possible means to once more overthrow Gods order of independent nations by incorporating them into a new world order of international political, religious, economic, social, and linguistic unity which, of course, was the intention of those who built the Tower of Babel. The man that he has chosen to head the new world order is called the Antichrist, the beast, and the man of sin in the Bible. The world empire which he will establish will be a repetition of the Babylonian empire of Nimrod. For this reason, the end-time world empire is quite aptly called Babylon in Revelation 17 and 18.
Diplomatic negotiations for the establishment of a new world order have already been conducted under the auspices of the USA, the United Nations, the World Bank, the IMF and other world bodies. When the Antichrist is revealed, he will pursue these negotiations to their final conclusion. Daniel says: "Then he shall confirm a covenant with many [nations] for one week" (Dan. 9:27).
At present, the nations are deceived into sacrificing their sovereignty on the altar of regional and global unity. The effort to achieve European unity is a good example of this dangerous trend. The process of political unification will end up with a new world order and global governance. By that time Satans strongman, the Antichrist, will offer his services to the deceived masses. Revelation 13 says: "And the world marvelled and followed the beast" (Rev. 13:3).
When the Antichrist is accepted as world leader, it will be at the cost of the deceived nations with whom he has confirmed a covenant. He will not act in their best interests, but in the interests of Satan who prepared and empowered him for his position. John says: "And the dragon gave him his power, his throne, and great authority" (Rev. 13:2).
In the political sphere he will be the sole ruler of the world during the last 3½ years, and base his power on military strength. No alliance will be able to match him because "authority was given him over every tribe, tongue and nation" (Rev. 13:7). There will not be even one independent nation with a sovereign government, as all of them will be subjected to the decrees of the Antichrists military regime. Political disloyalty will not be tolerated and rulers who fail to subject themselves to his absolute authority will be pulled down from their thrones (Is. 10:13).
After the 3½ year period of false peace has expired and has given place to the 3½ years of the great tribulation it will also be, spiritually, the darkest time in world history. The satanic triumvirate of the dragon (Satan), the beast (Antichrist), and the false prophet will then assume dictatorial powers on earth. They will make concerted efforts to crush the power of the Triune God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, by destroying all people who worship the God of heaven. The Antichrist will claim the position of God for himself on behalf of the devil:
" the falling away [will] come first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God" (2 Thes. 2:3-4).
The Antichrist will arrogate to himself the position and authority of God. Revelation 13 clearly confirms the rise of the Antichrist to supreme religious power, and that all the deceived people of the world will worship him:
"And all the world marvelled and followed the beast. So they worshipped the dragon (Satan) who gave authority to the beast, and they worshipped the beast, saying: "Who is like the beast? And all who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world" (Rev. 13:3-4, 8).
Through the mediation of the false prophet, who will do great signs and wonders to deceive the masses, an image of the beast will be erected in the rebuilt temple in Jerusalem, and it will be compulsory to worship that image:
"And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who was wounded by the sword and lived. He was granted power to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed" (Rev. 13:14-15).
Such an absolute form of religious slavery will necessitate the disbanding and destruction of the alliance of false religions (i.e. the Mother of Harlots according to Revelation 17:5) that will be formed during the first part of the tribulation period under the auspices of the Antichrist as universal messiah. According to Revelation 17:16 that is exactly what will happen. Only then will it be possible to force all people to worship the beast as God.
During the last 3½ years the worship of Satan and the Antichrist will be the only officially recognised religion on earth. All those who refuse to submit themselves to it will be killed, many of them by decapitation according to Revelation 20:4. The present dramatic increase in Satanism, witchcraft, magic, and various other forms of the occult is a build-up to the worship of the Antichrist first as universal messiah and then as the god of this world.
Besides political and religious power, financial power will also be used by the Antichrist to control and enslave people. A cashless world economy under the control of the Antichrist will be instituted. With the use of PIN numbers and codes in a computerised system of funds transfer, all financial transactions will be controlled:
"And he causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark in their right hand or in their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666" (Rev. 13:16-18; the AVs more correct rendering of numbers in the hand or forehead has been followed).
From this Scripture it is obvious that PIN numbers and codes will be allocated to people, without which no one will be able to buy or sell. Cash will be withdrawn from circulation. The system of electronic funds transfer will only be accessible to people who have "the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name." The condition for obtaining this number or code will be that an oath of allegiance will have to be made to the universal messiah and his world government. Only then will a personal identity number (PIN) be issued. However, a transaction of this nature will involve the selling of ones soul to Satan for temporary economic gain. By everyone taking an oath of allegiance to the Antichrist, he will be recognised as the sole political, religious and economic head of the new world order.
Electronic technology has been developed to the level where a micro processor on a silicon chip in a tiny glass capsule can be implanted under a persons skin by injecting it with a needle. It can store information on ones ID number, address, medical record, passport, finances and other data, which can, at any time, be read with a scanner. It can also be processed, with the result that your bank balance can continuously be updated. In this way all buying and selling transactions will be registered on a central computer network, from where it can be controlled. A persons movements can also be monitored in this way.
Micro processors of this nature have been manufactured for several years for use in the so-called Smartcard. This card is a plastic holder on which the chip is mounted. It affords its user the facility of cashless transactions thereby considerably reducing the possibility of the robbing and theft of money. However, the card can still be lost, stolen or tampered with, while electronic fraud is also possible, so it is still not 100% secure. The final solution to these problems will be the phasing out of the smartcard, credit cards, cheques and cash and the implanting of a micro chip under a persons skin. What the Bible prophesied 1900 years ago about the end-time is in the process of being fulfilled in our time: People will buy and sell by making use of a number!
Many theologians allege that these prophecies are to be interpreted symbolically, and that there will never be any spiritual dangers attached to a cashless monetary system and the acceptance of the number 666. In this way they are assisting Satans propaganda campaign in which people will be deceived and brainwashed into accepting the coming antichristian new world order. An economic system for the control of buying and selling is not merely a symbolic statement about an abstract matter but a literal statement about an everyday human activity.
If you are worthy to escape the tribulation period, the number of the Antichrist can never be imposed on you. If you are among those who are left behind after the rapture you will have to repent and surrender your life to the Lord at that time. Your allegiance to the true Messiah will imply that you must utterly reject the false messiah, his world government, his alliance of false religions, his demand for personal worship, and his number for electronic funds transfer, irrespective of the severe consequences that you will have to face.
Those who declare their allegiance to the Antichrist by accepting his number, will be engulfed by the darkness of eternal condemnation:
"If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of His indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name" (Rev. 14:9-11 KJV).
Those who will gain the victory over the satanic conspiracy by not bowing the knee to Baal, will eventually be in the presence of God in heaven and praising Him:
"And I saw something like a sea of glass mingled with fire, and those who have the victory over the beast, over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, standing on the sea of glass having harps of God" (Rev. 15:2).
The political internationalising of humanity within the framework of the new world order, the universal ecumenical movement which gradually unites all religions, and the establishment of a cashless monetary system for the world which can be centrally controlled, create the global platforms for the world dominion of the Antichrist. He can then make his appearance at any time and will quickly gain control over these structures. The political contemporaries of the Antichrist will, according to Revelation 17:12-13, spontaneously, willingly and unitedly transfer their power and authority to the new world leader. The Antichrists initial usurpation of power will, therefore, be brought about, not by coercion, but through negotiation and the concluding of treaties. Large-scale coercion and military force will follow 3½ years later!