Thursday, October 19, 2006

Alexander Tyler's Study of Democracy

Although this information is attributed to Alexander Tyler, I can find no proof that he actually wrote this. I have posted it here not because of who wrote it, but because I feel it certainly parallels our nation's path over the past 200 years...and I feel it accurately describes our final years as a sovereign nation.

About the time our original 13 states adopted their new constitution in 1787, Alexander Tyler, a Scottish history professor at the University of Edinburgh, had this to say about the fall of the Athenian Republic some 2,000 years prior:

"A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship."

"The average age of the worlds greatest civilizations from the beginning of history, has been about 200 years. During those 200 years, these nations always progressed through the following sequence:

1. From bondage to spiritual faith;
2. From spiritual faith to great courage;
3. From courage to liberty;
4. From liberty to abundance;
5. From abundance to complacency;
6. From complacency to apathy;
7. From apathy to dependence;
8. From dependence back into bondage

If you’ve had an email account for very long, chances are that you’ve seen this at some point in recent years. Over the past few years I’ve probably had it sent to me 3-4 times by friends or co-workers. The reason this study is being sent around the internet is because it very closely describes the history of democracy in America. What was one of the main reasons people came to America when it was founded? Religious freedom. Has our nation shown great courage defending freedom and liberty around the world since we were founded? Absolutely. Do we have great abundance? We’re the wealthiest nation the world has ever seen. Are we now complacent? Less than 50% of our nation consistently votes. Many of us are dependent on the government for some type of assistance. Most of us blindly accept what our government tells us. Is this apathy? Take a look at how much of our federal budget is now dedicated to entitlements – social security, medicare, etc. It is estimated that if nothing changes by 2040, there will be almost nothing left in the Federal budget after entitlements. Our federal budget and national economy cannot support the financial promises our leaders have made. We are heading straight for a financial collapse predicted by the email above. If we apply Biblical prophecy to this coming collapse we see our future – a future in bondage. Once it begins, how do we escape this bondage? The Bible tells us that there is only one way to overcome this world and its bondage – faith in Jesus Christ and God’s Holy Word. You may say that we’re going to make some changes in America before things go past the point of no return. You’d be wrong. I realize this is hard to believe and accept. If I continued to rely on my own understanding, I would probably agree. If I rely on God and His Word, I see a different future. A future told to us 2,000 years ago. The truth is that things aren’t just happening by chance. The battle that has raged throughout the history of man is about to be brought to our doorstep. It is a spiritual battle that will continue to intensify until Jesus returns for us at the end of this age. As you read through the information given on this blog, you will have your eyes opened to the truth. Many will not want to believe what is written here. Because of this, they will flee from the truth and will not be prepared for what we face. Don’t be one of them. Don’t look for answers in this deceptive world. Seek the One who gives us the truth and arms us against our true, spiritual enemy.

Though the world will tell you different, God has never left us. He has been with us since the beginning. It is up to each of us to choose to know Him.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Will there be a pre-tribulation rapture of God's saints?

As the Lord has revealed more to me about what is happening in the world today, I felt that He would begin to open up how these events are related to the Book of Revelation. I began to pray about this and study Revelation. If you’ve ever studied Revelation, you know that it is very difficult to understand. The imagery and symbolism seem overwhelming. Over a couple of days I began to become frustrated with my inability to glean any additional knowledge and decided to take a break from these studies for awhile. The next day a friend sent me a link to a Christian website focused on prophesy. I noticed a small ad for a book by Steve Wohlberg at the bottom of the website entitled ‘End Time Delusions’. Since it contained a study of Revelation and this was something that I had been praying about, I was immediately curious. After reading a few pages online, I decided to purchase the book. After completing the book, I know the Lord guided me to it. It contains a thorough study of end time prophesy based solely on scripture and disagrees with many current end time Christian beliefs. After further study of scripture on my own, I agree with many of Steve’s conclusions. I now believe that we are nearing the end of the book of Revelation, not the beginning. The following articles contain excerpts from his book. We will first look at the current Christian belief of a pre-tribulation rapture of God’s saints.

(The following excerpts are taken from ‘End Time Delusions’ by Steve Wohlberg)

The following five teachings have become immensely popular in modern day Christianity (especially with the ‘Left Behind’ book series):

1. All true Christians will soon vanish in the rapture.
2. Seven years of apocalyptic terror will overtake those left behind.
3. One evil man, the antichrist, will take over the world.
4. The antichrist will enter a rebuilt temple in Jerusalem, claiming to be God.
5. The nations of earth will attack Israel at Armageddon.

The question is.....are these teachings accurate according to Scripture? We will review Scripture relating to question 1 in this discussion.

Although ‘rapture’ isn’t a biblical word, is the biblical doctrine there? The Bible certainly does teach us that Jesus Christ will return for His people. Our Lord Himself said, “I will come again and receive you to Myself” (John 14:3). The questions we must ask ourselves:

1. Will Jesus come invisibly?
2. Will the Church disappear?
3. Does the Bible really teach vanishing Christians?

The most quoted passage used to support the rapture concept is 1 Thessalonians 4:17. In this verse Paul wrote that true believers will someday be ‘caught up….in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air” 1 Thessalonians 4:17. Does “caught up” mean disappear? Is Paul describing a silent return of Jesus Christ before an apocalyptic seven-year tribulation? We don’t need to guess, the answer is in the context. Here is what Paul actually wrote:

For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17).

Rapture teachers interpret this event as silent and secret, yet doesn’t it seem rather loud and visible? There is a shout, a voice and a trumpet. Look carefully, Jesus Christ comes down from Heaven shouting and blowing a trumpet. The dead rise. Then true believers are ‘caught up’. Do you see anything here about vanishing Christians prior to the tribulation? Rapture promoters interpret ‘caught up’ to mean disappear because this view fits their prophetic system, yet it must be admitted that the text doesn’t say this.

Two thousand years ago, at the end of His earthly life, Jesus Christ was also ‘taken up,’ (Acts 1:9). This doesn’t mean that He disappeared, leaving His clothes on earth. Instead, in full view of His wondering disciples, ‘while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight’ (Acts 1:9). This event was highly visible. Luke said Jesus Christ was ‘taken up,’ and then clouds are mentioned, just like Paul wrote about believers being ‘caught up…in the clouds’.

Notice carefully the full context of Acts 1:9:

Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, who also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you have seen Him go into heaven (Acts 1:9-11, emphasis added).

Here we have holy angels – in the form of men in white robes – explaining the simple truth about Jesus Christ’s return. They told the disciples that just as Jesus was literally and visibly ‘taken up’ into the clouds, even so would He ‘come in like manner as [they had seen] Him go into heaven.’ They taught no secret coming or vanishing Christians. Everything will be highly visible, just as the ascension of Jesus Christ.

Let’s return to 1 Thessalonians and take a look at the thief-in-the-night idea:

For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words. But concerning the times and seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape (1 Thessalonians 4:16-5:3).

Here Paul compares the coming of Jesus Christ to the arrival of a midnight thief. Rapture promoters interpret this to mean Jesus will come like a silent thief to snatch believers off this earth before seven years of chaos – then driverless cars will collide, pilotless planes will crash and babies will be found missing from their cribs. Yet is this really what Paul is saying?

First of all, the day when Jesus comes as a thief is clearly the very same day in which He descends with a shout and a trumpet blast. Secondly, it comes as a ‘thief in the night’ only upon the unprepared. When it hits, ‘sudden destruction comes upon them [the lost], as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape.’

Do you see what Paul is really saying? Jesus’ coming as a ‘thief in the night’ does not mean He will come quietly and invisibly to steal believers out of this world, as is taught in rapture movies and best-selling books. Rather, it means He will come unexpectedly, bringing ‘sudden destruction’ upon the unsaved. Thus it is not a secret coming, but only a sudden one. Will the unprepared get a ‘second chance’ to be saved during a subsequent seven year tribulation? Paul answered this question when he wrote, “They shall not escape” (verse 3).

Here’s a simple summary of what 1 Thessalonians 4:16-5:3 really says:

1. Jesus Christ will literally descend from Heaven with a shout and a trumpet blast.
2. The dead in Christ will rise first and true believers will be ‘caught up’, just like Jesus Christ Himself was visibly ‘taken up’ into the sky almost 2,000 years ago.
3. This cataclysmic ‘day of the Lord’ will burst upon the unprepared like the unexpected arrival of a midnight thief.
4. ‘Sudden destruction’ will overwhelm the lost, ‘and they shall not escape’.

When taken literally, these words describe the visible second coming of Jesus Christ, not a secret rapture.

Jesus Christ predicted, ‘Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and the other left. Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming’ (Mathew 24:40-42). This is probably the second most quoted Scripture in the Bible used to support the doctrine of an invisible return of Jesus Christ and vanishing Christians. Supposedly, ‘one will be taken and the other left’ means believers will disappear in an unperceived flash, while the rest of the world suddenly wakes up in mystified ignorance wondering, Which way did they go?

Again, the key is in the context. Mathew 24 begins with our Savior quietly sitting upon the Mount of Olives. His “disciples came to Him privately, saying, ‘Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?’” (Mathew 24:3). Obviously, the disciples were thinking about Jesus’ return and the end of the world. In response to His disciples’ please-clarify-the-end inquiry, Christ’s very first words were, “Take heed that no one deceives you” (Mathew 24:4). We should pay close attention to the forcefulness of this response! Why? Because it clearly implies that when it comes to this exact topic of His “coming”, Jesus knew there was going to be a great deal of deception whirling around. What is even more dramatic is that Christ raised His “Don’t be Deceived” warning four times in this single sermon (see Mathew 24:4-5, 11, 24). One gets the idea that end time deceptions will someday sweep over planet earth like a massive tidal wave. The only way to avoid being swept away is to pay close attention to the exact words of Jesus Christ.
Our Lord continued, “For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect” (Mathew 24:24). Here Jesus said satan’s delusions will eventually become so subtle and powerful that only “the elect” will come through unscathed. Who are the “elect”? Based on the context, they must be a group of people who know the Truth Teller and the Bible so well that even the devil can’t mislead them. Verse 31 tells us that “the elect” are people who are ready for the return of Jesus Christ.

Immediately after the warning about false prophets and deception, Jesus said, ”Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shines even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be” (Mathew 24:26-27). Here Jesus draws a razor-sharp contrast between false views of His return and the truth.

Concerning false views, don’t miss that little word, “secret” in verse 26. Jesus plainly warned that some will mistakenly promote a “secret” coming. Based on the context, we discover that this will be one of those powerful delusions which only God’s faithful elect will avoid. Far from being a secret event, Jesus Himself compares His return to the brilliant flashing of lightning bolts hurtling across the sky.

Jesus finally answered His disciples exact question by fully unveiling what His return would be like:

And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He shall send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other (Mathew 24:30-31).

There’s no question about it, his “coming” will be unmistakably visible to “all the tribes of the earth”. This entire passage parallels Paul’s words in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17. In both Mathew 24:30-31, and in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17, we read about clouds, noise, a loud trumpet, a gathering together and true believers being transported into the sky.

Let’s look at one more passage describing an event predicted to occur “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye” (1 Corinthians 15:52). This is probably the third most quoted pro-rapture verse used to support the idea of vanishing Christians prior to a nightmarish seven-year tribulation. Notice carefully what Paul really wrote:

Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed – in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed (1 Corinthians 15:51-52).

Is Paul saying believers will some day vanish while their loved ones blink? Not at all! He is simply saying that the dead will be raised and our sinful bodies will be changed “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye.” When will this moment take place? Paul’s answer is clear. It will occur “at the last trumpet,” when “the trumpet will sound,” that is, at the very end of the world. This is the very same “great sound of a trumpet” Jesus Christ said would be heard when He finally commissions His angels to gather his people at His second coming (Mathew 24:31).


We’ll continue this study concerning current Christian end time beliefs with upcoming discussions on the 7 year tribulation theory, the antichrist, the ‘beasts’ of Revelation and discussions on the nation of Israel.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Will there be a future seven year period of tribulation?

In today’s world, from what I see and hear on television and on the radio, it appears that most Christians subscribe to the theory that all true-believers in Jesus Christ will be taken out of this world in a secret ‘rapture’ prior to a seven year tribulation period. The rapture is then the signal to the rest of the world that the antichrist will soon come to power, God’s wrath will be poured out onto the Earth over these seven years and Jesus Christ will return at the end of the seven years to save Israel and God’s saints from the antichrist at the battle of Armageddon. If you’ve read the ‘Left Behind’ books, then you are very familiar with this interpretation of Biblical prophecy. Basically, the belief is that the majority of the Book of Revelation will come to pass during these seven years. This is commonly referred to as the ‘futurist’ view of Revelation. (We’ll explore who started this interpretation of Revelation in a future discussion on the antichrist and the ‘beast’). If you’re like me, this has been what you’ve been taught your entire life, so we simply accept this interpretation as fact. The problem, once again, is that every one of us needs to read God’s word and verify for ourselves that what we’re being taught is biblically accurate and a correct interpretation. In a previous posting, we reviewed Scripture relating to the secret rapture theory. As I mentioned in that discussion, I no longer believe that there will be a secret rapture. I now firmly believe that Jesus Christ will only return for us one time at the end of this age. Based on Scripture, I also no longer believe that there will be a seven year period of tribulation for the entire world. I'm not saying that I know exactly what is going to happen or that Steve Wohlberg is 100% correct on his interpretation, but I do feel strongly that today's popular interpretation of this prophecy is inaccurate. I believe that Steve gives us some important insight into this prophecy, but there is still something missing - which I will discuss after an excerpt from his book.

Before we begin the discussion on the seven year tribulation period, keep in mind the warnings that Jesus gave His disciples during the Mount of Olives sermon (Mathew Chapter 24) “Take heed that no one deceives you”. Jesus warned us four times during this sermon not to be deceived. Jesus was well aware of the fact that our enemy would be deceiving many during the last days of this age. If you believe, as I do, that we are in the last days, then it stands to reason that there are many deceptions out there both in the secular world and within Christianity. It also follows that if we, as Christians, believe in end time prophesies that are based on speculative interpretations of Scripture, there is a very real possibility that we are being deceived. Keep this in mind as you read this discussion taken from Steve Wohlberg’s book ‘End Time Delusions’.

Where does this ‘seven year’ concept come from anyway? It may shock you, but if you look for ‘seven years of tribulation’ in any concordance, you won’t find it. The truth is, from Genesis to Revelation, there is no exact passage that specifically mentions a seven year period of tribulation. Amazingly, the entire theory is really based on a rather speculative interpretation of two little words in a single verse. The text is Daniel 9:27; and the two little words are ‘one week’. Let me explain.

Daniel 9:24-27 contains a prophecy from the angel Gabriel to encourage the Jewish people that they would be given a ‘second chance’ to return to Jerusalem, rebuild their temple and ultimately, receive their Messiah (Jesus Christ).

This controversial prophecy literally reads:

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 (62 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. (Daniel 9:24-27 KJV)

Thus we have a prophecy about “seventy weeks”. Gabriel then subdivides the period into three smaller periods of seven weeks (verse 25), sixty two weeks (verse 25) and one week (verse 27).

Seventy weeks equals 490 days. A day in prophecy represents a year (see Numbers 14:34 and Ezekiel 4:6). Thus 490 days are really 490 years. The prophecy starts with a direct “commandment to restore and rebuild Jerusalem” after the Babylonian captivity and reaches down to the first coming of Jesus Christ. After 69 weeks (483 years), “shall Messiah be cut off”. All Christian scholars apply this to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. After the crucifixion of our Lord, “the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary”. While there are differences of opinion as to who “the people of the prince” refers to, the majority of scholars nevertheless apply the destruction of “the city and the sanctuary” to the second destruction of Jerusalem and its rebuilt temple by Roman armies under Prince Titus in 70 A.D.

So far, we have seen 69 weeks fulfilled. That leaves “one week”, otherwise known as the famous “70th week of Daniel”. Again, that highly controversial text literally says:

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….. (Daniel 9:27 KJV)

Based on the day-year principle (which is valid), the ‘one week’ remaining in this prophecy must refer to a period of seven years. Pro rapture promoters claim this is the seven year period of tribulation. Their idea is that while the first 69 weeks (or 483 years) did reach to the first coming of Jesus Christ, the prophetic clock has stopped because the Jewish people largely rejected Him. They then slide the 70th week (the last seven years) all the way down to the end times, call it tribulation, and say it applies to the Jewish people after we’re gone. Rapture teachers interpret Daniel 9:27 as follows:

1. “He shall confirm the covenant with many for one week.” “He” is the antichrist who will make a covenant (or peace treaty) with the Jews during the seven years of tribulation.
2. “In the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease….” In the middle of the seven year tribulation, the antichrist will break his covenant, turn against Israel, and stop their animal sacrifices.
3. The phrase, “he shall cause the sacrifice… cease” is viewed as irrefutable proof that a Jewish temple (which includes sacrifices) must be rebuilt on the Temple Mount inside Jerusalem.

Therefore, according to countless modern interpreters, Daniel 9:27 is applied to a future antichrist, a future peace treaty made with Israel, a future seven year tribulation and a future rebuilt Jewish temple inside Jerusalem. All of this will supposedly start with the rapture. Honestly, that’s a lot to interpret from that single verse, especially when Daniel 9:27 says absolutely nothing about any seven year tribulation, antichrist or rebuilt Jewish temple!

This may shock you, but historically, the vast majority of well-respected Bible scholars have not applied Daniel 9:27 to a seven year period of tribulation at all. Neither have they interpreted the “he” as referring to a future Mr. Deadly. Instead, they applied it to Jesus Christ.

Notice what the world-famous Bible commentary written by Matthew Henry says about Daniel 9:27: “By offering Himself a sacrifice once and for all He (Jesus) shall put an end to all the Levitical sacrifices.” Thus Matthew Henry applied Daniel 9:27 to Christ, not antichrist. Another famous commentary written by British Methodist Adam Clarke says that during Daniel 9:27’s “term of seven years”, Jesus Himself would “confirm or ratify the new covenant with mankind.”

Here’s one more statement from a book called, Christ and antichrist, published in 1846 by the Presbyterian Board of Publication in Philadelphia. On page 2, under Recommendations, are endorsements from many Presbyterian, Methodist and Baptist ministers, including an official representative of the Southern Baptist Convention. Commenting on the final week of Daniel 9:27, that ancient volume states:

…sometime during the remaining seven, He (the Messiah) was to die as a sacrifice for sin and thus bring in “everlasting righteousness”. Here are allusions to events so palpable that one would think, the people among whom they occurred, could not possibly have misapplied the prophecy.

The following ten points provide logical and convincing evidence that Daniel’s famous 70th week has no application to any future seven year tribulation at all. Rather, this great prophetic period was definitely fulfilled nearly two thousand years ago.

1. The entire prophecy of Daniel 9:24-27 covers a period of “seventy weeks”. Logic requires that “seventy weeks” refers to one consecutive block of time, in other words, to seventy straight sequential weeks. The truth is, there is no example in Scripture (or anywhere else!) of a stated time period starting, stopping and then starting again. All biblical references to time are consecutive: 40 days and 40 nights (Genesis 7:4), 400 years in Egypt (Genesis 15:13), 70 years of captivity (Daniel 9:2), etc. In Daniel’s prophecy, the “seventy weeks” were to begin during the reign of Persia and continue to the time of the Messiah.
2. Logic also requires that the 70th week follow immediately after the 69th week. If it doesn’t, then it cannot properly be called the 70th week!
3. It is illogical to insert a 2,000 year gap between the 69th and 70th week. No hint of a gap is found in the prophecy itself. There is no gap between the first seven weeks and the following sixty two weeks, so why insert one between the 69th and 70th week?
4. Daniel 9:27 says nothing about a seven year period of “tribulation”, a “rebuilt” Jewish temple or any “antichrist”.
5. The stated focus of the prophecy is the Messiah, not the antichrist. After the Messiah is “cut off” (referring to Christ’s death), the text says “And the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary.” In the past, this has been consistently applied to the destruction of Jerusalem and the second Jewish temple by Roman armies led by Prince Titus in A.D. 70.
6. “He shall confirm the covenant.” Paul said “the covenant” was “confirmed before by God in Christ” (Galatians 3:17). Jesus Christ came “to confirm the promises made to the fathers” (Romans 15:8). In the King James Version, Daniel 9:27 doesn’t say “a covenant” or peace treaty, but “the covenant”, which applies to the New Covenant. Nowhere in the Bible does the antichrist make, confirm or break a covenant with anyone. The word “covenant” is Messianic and always applies to the Messiah, not the antichrist.
7. “He shall confirm the covenant with many.” Jesus Christ said, “This is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many….” (Mathew 26:28). Behold a perfect fit! Jesus was quoting Daniel 9:27 specifically.
8. “In the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease.” After exactly three and a half years of holy ministry, Jesus Christ died on the cross, “in the midst of the week [in the middle of the seven years].” At the exact moment of His death, “the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom….” (Mathew 27:51). This act of God signified that all animal sacrifices at that moment ceased to be of value. Why? Because the Perfect Sacrifice had been offered!
9. “For the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate.” “The abomination of desolation” (Mathew 24:15) is not a simple subject, yet we know that Jesus clearly applied this event to the time when His followers were to flee from Jerusalem before the destruction of the second temple in A.D. 70. In a parallel text to Mathew 24:15, Jesus told His disciples, “When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies [Roman armies led by Prince Titus], then know that its desolation is near” (Luke 21:20). The disciples did “see” those very events. Because of the “abominations” of the Pharisees, Jesus told them, “See! Your house is left to you desolate” (Mathew 23:38). Thus Gabriel’s statement in Daniel 9:27 about Jerusalem becoming “desolate” was perfectly fulfilled in A.D. 70.
10. Gabriel said that the 70 week prophecy specifically applied to the Jewish people (Daniel 9:24). During the period of Christ’s public ministry of 3 ½ years, the Master’s focus was largely upon “the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Mathew 10:6). After His resurrection and then for another 3 ½ years, His disciples preached mostly to the Jews (Acts 1-6). After that second 3 ½ year period, in 34 A.D., the bold Stephen was stoned by the Jewish Sanhedrin (Acts 7). This infamous deed marked the then-ruling Jewish leaders’ final, official rejection of the gospel of our Savior. Then the gospel went to the Gentiles. In Acts 9, Saul became Paul, the “apostle to the Gentiles” (Romans 11:13). In Acts 10, God gave Peter a vision revealing it was now time to preach to the Gentiles (Acts 10:1-28). Read also Acts 13:46. Thus approximately 3 ½ years after the crucifixion, and at the end of the 70 week prophecy given for the Jewish people, the gospel shifted to the Gentiles exactly as predicted in Bible prophecy.

Point by point the events of Daniel’s 70th week have been fulfilled in the past. These eight words found in Daniel 9:27: “confirm…covenant…many… midst…sacrifice…cease…abominations…desolate” all find perfect fulfillment in Jesus Christ and early Christian history.

The entire “seven year period of tribulation” theory is an end time delusion. It may even go down in history as the “greatest evangelical misinterpretation of all time”. The whole concept is like a gigantic bubble. Once Daniel 9:27 is correctly understood and the sharply-pointed pin of truth is inserted, “Pop goes the seven years!” It’s a fact: There is no text in the Bible which teaches a “seven year tribulation”.

The current debate and tremendous confusion over pre-trib, mid-trib, or post-trib is really a smoke screen of the enemy to hide the real issue. What is the real issue? We’ll find out when we study what the Book of Revelation truly teaches about Israel, Babylon the Great, and Armageddon.

As I said before, Steve does a very thorough analysis of this prophecy. However, after reading Steve's interpretation, I still have some concerns - because I believe we're missing something very significant. Although Steve points out that the 70th week should logically follow the 69th week, the angel made it clear that these 70 weeks are divided - seven, sixty-two and one. If these 'weeks' were to follow chronologically, then why mention a division? Why not simply say that 70 weeks have been decreed? I believe it is certainly possible that the prophecy was given in divisions because they do represent different periods of time. Verse 26 also mentions that "the end will come like a flood" and "war will continue to the end". The fact that this verse mentions the "end" twice, leads me to believe that this prophecy does speak to events at the end of this age. Let's take a look at verses 26 and 27 again step by step.

"After the sixty-two 'sevens', the Anointed One will be cut off and will have nothing" (vs. 26). So, this is telling us that Jesus Christ will be crucified at the end of the sixty-two sevens, not during the middle of the last 'week'. The verse continues, "The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the santuary." This is most likely referring to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. by the Roman Empire. The verse ends with, "The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end and desolations have been decreed." This verse is clear - war is going to continue until the end of this age and things will continue to intensify as we near the end. If you look at the world today - war has continued and things seem to be intensifying. Because of this, I believe that the angel was referring to events at the end of the age. The reference to 'desolations' could very well relate to the same judgments that are mentioned in the Book of Revelation - war, famine, disease, etc.

Verse 27 is where things get very difficult. The verse starts with, "He will confirm a covenant with many for one 'seven'." Most prophecy teachers today believe that 'he' refers to some future world leader (the antichrist) and Steve believes that this is a reference to Jesus Himself. Believing that this person is a future world leader is pure speculation - there is no way for us to be sure until an event takes place during our lifetime that will give us a clue. I don't believe this is a reference to Jesus for a couple of reasons: 1. Many translations do not translate this verse as saying the convenant, but rather a convenant. 2. God's new convenant through the blood of Jesus does not apply to 'many', but to all of us. 3. Why would God's covenant only last for one 'seven'? I believe that this is a reference to some type of agreement on earth, but it is impossible to know what it is....for now. Some say that this relates to a peace treaty with Israel - again, pure speculation. A covenant could be any type of agreement - and the covenant is with 'many', there is no specific reference to Israel. The point here is that it does appear to me that someone (a world leader, a religious leader, etc) will setup some type of agreement for 7 years with many in the world. This verse, in no way, makes any reference to a secret rapture or that the judgments of Revelation will occur only during this 'covenant'. If you notice closely, we are told very clearly that war and desolations will continue until the end, then a 'covenant...for one seven' is mentioned. The covenant is mutually exclusive of the war and desolations. Therefore, the covenant will simply be another sign that tells us where we are in God's prophetic plan - it will not usher in the judgments of Revelation or be a sign that the secret rapture is near.

Let's continue verse 27: "In the middle of the 'seven' he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on a wing of the temple, he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him." (NIV) Like the beginning of verse 27, this is very difficult to interpret. Some translations don't even mention a temple. Will a future Jewish temple be rebuilt and animal sacrifices started again? I don't believe that there is anyway for us to determine this from this text. If it is rebuilt, it will certainly be considered an abomination by God, since it will be an open rejection of Jesus by Israel. Once again, this is something that we must pay attention to as world events unfold.

Why did I include Steve's analysis of this prophecy if I don't agree with alot of it? Because I believe that Steve is a spirit led Christian who is searching for the truth.....just as I am. Neither he nor I accept what is popular simply because many believe it. He and I are both reading God's Word and praying to uncover the truth of what we face....and it may turn out that we both are correct about some of this prophecy. I do know, however, that this prophecy in Daniel cannot be sold as a 7 year period of tribulation for the entire world that incorporates an evil world leader and the judgments of Revelation. While the “Left Behind” books are interesting and certainly entertaining, they are not based on solid interpretation of biblical end time prophesy. We all forget that our enemy, Satan, is very deceptive. We underestimate his ability to deceive us (both Christians and non-Christians). The only way to “see” the truth in this world is with God’s help to open our spiritual eyes. If Jesus warned us many times about being deceived during the end times, it stands to reason that today’s “popular” interpretations of end time prophecy could be completely inaccurate. When was the last time you watched a television program on end time prophecy, or listened to a radio program or read a book on end time prophesy that did not subscribe to a secret rapture, a seven year tribulation period, the rebuilding of a 3rd Jewish temple and a battle at Armageddon when the world attacks Israel? If you’re like me, the answer is …never.

After thoroughly studying scripture related to end time prophesy, I believe that we’re all being deceived by this interpretation of prophecy (a secret rapture, 7 year period of tribulation, one antichrist). Why? As Steve mentioned, we’ll get to specifics when we discuss the antichrist, the “beast” and Armageddon. For now, simply think about what could happen if there isn’t a secret rapture. What if there is a nuclear war and we’re all still here? What if things begin to deteriorate very quickly in this world and we’re not being removed? War, famine, death, disease all begin to escalate. What do you think our enemy will begin whispering in our ear then? He’ll whisper all kinds of things to make you question your faith, God and His Holy Word. This deception will be used against us in the future. I have no doubt about this. We’ll talk about what I believe we’ll see and experience in place of the secret rapture and seven year tribulation when we discuss the antichrist and the ‘beast’ of Revelation.

The most important thing for us to remember now and in the future, is that we must remain close to our Father in heaven and Jesus Christ. We must pray to God for wisdom, knowledge, understanding and strength. We must continually read His Word and apply it to our lives and to what is happening in our world. If we are truly close to God, we should never be surprised at what happens in the world.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Who is the antichrist? Part 1

As I’ve mentioned in other postings, most Christians today believe that the antichrist of the Bible will be a man who rules over a future one world government. This person will be dynamic, well spoken, good-looking, a gifted politician….and evil. I have to say that until earlier this year, I believed this as well. It’s hard to take a step back and re-evaluate your beliefs when you’ve been told something over and over your entire life. It’s even harder to take a fresh look at end time Bible prophecy when the prevailing interpretation of end time prophecies by popular Christian teachers is all that you see and read. The question we must ask ourselves is this - are these interpretations accurate according to Scripture? Although the topic of the antichrist is one of the most talked about prophecies, I believe that most Christians in the world today have been sold an interpretation by many teachers of God’s word that is untrue. It’s not that these teachers are willfully deceiving people, but nonetheless, they are incorrect in teaching that the antichrist will someday be one evil world ruler.

This discussion will require you to have an open mind. You will need to put away your preconceived notions of what the antichrist will be. The truth is that the antichrist is here among us today…..preparing for the day when the “beast…out of the sea” mentioned in Revelation 13 will return. It will take some time to cover this topic, so I’m going to discuss this over multiple postings. I will warn you… is highly likely that you will not want to believe the truth. You must overcome the world and its deception. Most of all, pray about these topics. Ask God to reveal the truth to you and ask Him for wisdom. “If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” (Luke 11:13). I now pray about anything I’m told before I accept it as the truth.

Although Jesus warned us to “Take heed that you are not deceived” (Mathew 24:4) during the last days, I believe that the world today is being deceived at a level unprecedented in human history. Why is this happening now? Because the political ‘beast’ and the religious ‘beast’ of Revelation are almost here. Satan is deceptively ushering in both of these ‘beasts’. Why are we allowing ourselves to be deceived? Many people don’t believe in the Bible and its truth and therefore, don’t read God’s words of prophecy and warning (“my people are destroyed from lack of knowledge” Hosea 4:6). Many of us who believe in God, simply are too busy to take time to read God’s word and pay attention to what is going on around us (again, our enemy is very deceptive). And lastly, fear has overtaken us on many levels. We simply don’t want to believe the truth of what is happening in the world because it scares us. We disregard the truth because believing the truth would require us to think and pray about what is really important and what God wants us to do about it. It’s much easier to focus on material things, our jobs, where we’re going on vacation this year, etc, etc. Due to fear and/or complacency, we have allowed our government to take away many of our freedoms (Patriot Act) and have even allowed our government to essentially remove the Bill of Rights (Military Commissions Act of 2006). Whether you believe it or not, we are being setup for future ‘events’. "while evil men and imposters will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived." 2 Timothy 3:13

Many of us take a look at what’s happening in the world and we think “how can I do anything significant to help this? How can I fight the good fight? I’m just one, insignificant person. I’m putting my faith in Jesus returning in a secret rapture to take me away from all of this.” These thoughts are from our enemy…plain and simple. The fact is, each of us can do incredible, amazing things….but not by ourselves. “With man this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.’ (Mathew 19:26) I’m writing about these things because I have thought these thoughts and allowed the enemy to shut me down for a very long time. No more. It’s time to pick up our rod and our staff and fight the wicked one who deceives. God is looking for warriors. You are one of them. The choice is yours. Do you want to follow God or continue on your own path? I say this because if you are reading this, in all likelihood you are going to face the antichrist, the ‘beasts’ of Revelation and the mark of the beast (we’ll discuss the mark at a later time). Are you ready? Have you put on the full armor of God? (Ephesians 6:10-20) When the ‘day of evil’ comes, will you be able to stand?

The following discussion is from Steve Wohlberg’s book “End Time Delusions”. Steve has done a great job of researching these topics. I highly recommend that you purchase this book. Let go of what you’ve been told in the past about end time prophecy and read this with an open mind.

‘Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened.’ –Winston Churchill

What does the Bible really teach about this mysterious subject? The word ‘antichrist’ or ‘antichrists’ is found only five times in Scripture and all of these references are found in two small books right before the Book of Revelation. The two little books are 1st and 2nd John. The exact verses are 1 John 2:18-22, 26; 4:3-4:6; and 2 John 7. That’s it. When we read these verses (and others near them), we certainly don’t read about any future Mr. Bad guy. On the contrary, we find:

1 John 2:18 The early Christians had heard that antichrist was coming.
1 John 2:18 Even now there are many antichrists
1 John 2:18 This is evidence that the last time has come
1 John 2:19 These many antichrists “went out from us”.
1 John 2:22 Anyone who denies the Father and the Son is antichrist.
1 John 2:26 These antichrists are trying to seduce us away from Jesus Christ.
1 John 4:3 There is a spirit of antichrist.
1 John 4:3 The spirit of the antichrist denies Jesus Christ has come in the flesh.
1 John 4:3 The spirit of antichrist is already in the world.
1 John 4:4 True Christians must overcome every form of antichrist.
1 John 4:6 The spirit of antichrist is the spirit of error.
2 John 7 There are many deceivers and antichrists in the world.
2 John 9 To overcome these antichrists, Christians must abide in the doctrine of Christ.

After an objective look, what have we discovered? Do any of these verses describe a solitary Mr. Sin who only shows up after we’re gone? Definitely not! The Word of God describes not just one, but many antichrists. According to 1 John 2:19, these many antichrists “went out from us”, which means out from inside the Christian church! They are subtle, deceptive and at war with true Christians. They may profess a certain faith in Jesus, yet their faith is superficial. They actually deny the Father and the Son (1 John 2:22, 26). According to the Bible, the goal of these many antichrists and of the spirit of antichrist is to deceive Christians away from God’s love, from the gospel, and from the true doctrine of Jesus Christ (2 John 7, 9). Genuine Christians do battle with these spiritual enemies of truth; and in the strength of Christ, overcome them (1 John 4:4).

This is everything God’s word actually says about “antichrist”, “antichrists” and “the spirit of antichrist”. None of these insightful passages point toward only one person – like Nicolae Carpathia (Left Behind books)– who appears as a cunning politician only after we’re gone. The truth is quite different. In reality, they all refer to seductive and deceiving elements which are here now and which true Christians must face and overcome.

It’s true, God’s Book reveals other prophecies about the emergence of an evil “little horn” (Daniel 7:8), a dreadful “beast” (Revelation 13:1), and the “man of sin” (2 Thessalonians 2:3). It is primarily these prophecies that are now being used to support the idea of a future Mr. Abominable – one who will rise up outside of Christianity after the rapture. Yet consider this – the definite trend of the Bible’s literal “antichrist” passages clearly points to things that are here now and which true Christians must face and overcome. So why would its other antichrist prophecies about the “little horn”, “the man of sin”, and the “beast”, suddenly reverse this trend and apply to things which Christians will not face because they will first vanish in the rapture?

We may trust that today’s much-respected prophecy teachers know their stuff and won’t lead us astray, but in the final analysis, we must look to God’s Word for ourselves. So far, as we have done this, we’ve seen that all of the Word’s clear “antichrist” statements apply to deceptive elements inside of Christianity – elements we must face and overcome. The problem is that most prophecy books don’t tell us this. As we continue this discussion, checking God’s Word closely and listening to His voice, you will discover many other things you won’t learn in popular prophecy books or movies.

Are you starting to feel uncomfortable yet? Over the past year and a half, the Lord has brought me out of my comfort zone time and again to show me the truth and bring me closer to Him. As I mentioned in my very first letter to friends and family (August 2005), I now check everything against God’s Word. As we continue our study of His Word and end time prophecy, you’ll be amazed at what the Bible truly says about the “antichrist”, “little horn” and the “beast”. I've mentioned many times that there are no coincidences in our lives. You are reading about these things for a reason. The Lord has chosen to reveal the truth to you.......

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Who is the antichrist? Part 2

I’m continuing our discussion on what God’s Word reveals to us about the antichrist. We continue with excerpts from Steve Wohlberg’s book “End Time Delusions”.

In an age of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act. -George Orwell

What the majority think is often wrong. People thought the Titanic was unsinkable, yet she sank like lead. Many believed the infamous Y2K computer glitch would spark global economic meltdown as the world’s clocks ticked over to 2000 A.D., yet January 1 arrived with hardly a hiccup. What the majority of humans think will happen, often fails to occur.

When it comes to the arena of Bible prophecy, how many mistakes are being made? As we have already seen, at this very moment, millions of Christians fully expect to vanish in the rapture before the antichrist arrives. Again, the idea is: first the rapture, then the antichrist. This sequence is being taught around the world in books, magazines, seminars, on radio, television, in pulpits and on the internet.

As we saw earlier, the most quoted verse about the rapture is 1 Thessalonians 4:17. There Paul wrote that true believers will someday be “caught up”. In Paul’s second letter written to the same group, he referred to the same event as “the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him” (2 Thessalonians 2:1). In his second letter, immediately after describing “our gathering” to the Lord, Paul wrote about something or someone that is clearly antichrist (verse 3). The question is: What did Paul teach about the sequence of events? Did he say the church would be gathered to Jesus Christ before the antichrist comes, or will antichrist come first, before we are gathered to our Savior? Amazingly, Paul gives us a straight answer, and his answer is not what the majority of prophecy-minded Christians think!

Look closely. Paul wrote:

Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come. Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition (2 Thessalonians 2:1-3).

Do you realize what you just read? Paul’s words are quite penetrating when it comes to the issue of which comes first, “our gathering” or the appearance of antichrist.

Here is a more detailed analysis of 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3:

Verse 1: Paul wrote about “the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him.” This is obviously the same event as the descent of Jesus Christ from Heaven and our being “caught up together” to meet Him in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:17). It’s important to realize that the Greek word for “coming” in verse 1 is “Parousia”, which clearly applies to the visible second coming of Jesus Christ (see Mathew 24:27). The exact same word is used in verse 8 describing “the brightness of His coming [Parousia]”.

Verse 2: Here Paul addressed a distortion about the timing of the coming of the Lord that was confusing the early Church. He urged the Thessalonians not to be “soon shaken” or “troubled” by false influences which were teaching, either by “word” or “spirit” or “letter” that “the day of Christ had [already] come. Because of this false teaching that “the day of Christ” was just around the corner in their own day, some of the Thessalonian Christians had quit their jobs, stopped providing for their families and were just hanging around in idle expectancy waiting for Christ’s imminent appearance (Thessalonians 3:10-12).

Verse 3: Paul clarified the truth with this warning, “Let no once deceive you by any means; for that Day [when Jesus comes to gather us – verse 1] will not come unless the falling away comes first, and that man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition.”

Verse 3 is pointed and clear. Paul wrote that before Jesus Christ comes to “gather” His people to Himself, “the falling away” and the rise of the “son of perdition” (the antichrist) must come first. Thus to those early Thessalonian believers, Paul’s message was that “the day of Christ” was not just around the corner. Something big must happen first – the “falling away” and the antichrist must be revealed. Paul directly, specifically and earnestly warned the Church not to be deceived about this very thing! Evidently, he knew that satan would work hard to deceive the saints in this exact area.

When we put these pieces together, it becomes clear that before “the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him (verse 1), “the falling away comes first” and the antichrist must be revealed. Therefore, contrary to popular opinion, it’s antichrist first and then the Church is “caught up”, not the other way around.

Paul’s voice echoes down through the corridors of many centuries: “Let no one deceive you by any means” (2 Thessalonians 2:3).

I know, many don’t agree with this, but remember this - people also thought the Titanic was unsinkable.

Based on what the Lord has revealed to me, it has become clear that current, popular opinions regarding our government’s ultimate motives and end time prophecy interpretations are both modern day deceptions. We want to believe that our government is looking out for our best interests. We also want to believe that Jesus will take us out of here before things really get rough. The truth is that our government does not have our best interests in mind and Jesus is not going to “rescue” us from tribulation. The crowns in heaven are forged through trials and tribulations here on earth. So, the question becomes …….Who is deceiving us? The Bible makes it very clear:

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 6:10-12)

Evil men and women in our modern world are being influenced by satan. Through them, our enemy is working to bring about the ‘beasts’ and gain control of this world. Should you be afraid? Absolutely not! Why? “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” (1 John 4-3:5). No fear. Seek the Lord and His mighty power in order to stand against the enemy.

Read on as we identify the antichrist and the beasts………

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Who is the antichrist? Part 3

We continue our discussion on the antichrist from Steve Wohlberg’s book “End Time Delusions”.


The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it. –Flannery O’Connor

Millions of Christians are now being taught that the antichrist will be some evil person who will rise into power outside of Christianity after the rapture. What if this idea is a horrible mistake? What if the antichrist rises up inside of Christianity before the Church is caught up to Christ? Because few would be looking for an antichrist within, can you imagine what kind of harm he could do? Hold onto your seats, for you are about to discover that Paul taught this very thing.

Paul wrote, “Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day [when Jesus comes to gather us – verse 1] will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition” (2 Thessalonians 2:3). Almost everyone agrees these words predict the rise of the antichrist. What many have missed is that Paul is describing an antichrist that rises in the wake of “the falling away”. What does this mean? Once again, a little knowledge of Greek comes in handy. The original word Paul used for “the falling away”, is apostasia, which literally means an apostasy or departure from Jesus Christ inside the Christian Church. In fact, many versions of the New King James Bible place the heading “The Great Apostasy” right above 2 Thessalonians 2. As we are about to see, this “falling away” unquestionably takes place inside the church.

In the first century, the Christian Church remained relatively pure from heresy, false doctrine and open sin. With His cosmic perspective, God saw a change would come and He revealed this sober reality to the writers of the New Testament. A brief survey of the following Bible passages shows plainly that an apostasy, departure or “falling away” from Jesus Christ was predicted to occur inside of Christianity.

1. Acts 20: Paul told “the elders of the church” of Ephesus (vs. 17) that soon many false Christian leaders would rise up from among themselves to “draw away the disciples” after them (vs. 30). He was so burdened about this coming apostasy that he warned the church “night and day with tears” (vs. 31).

2. 1 Timothy 4: The Holy Spirit clearly warned that “some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons” (vs. 1). Here again is a predicted departure from the faith inside the church.

3. 2 Timothy 4: Paul predicted a time would come when many in the church would no longer “endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside by fables” (vs. 3-4). Friend, there is no doubt about it. These words point toward an apostasy in the church that will lead professed Christians to turn from Bible truth to fictitious fables.
4. 2 Peter 2: Peter told the early believers that soon “there will be false teachers among you” (vs. 1). “Among you” means inside the church.

5. Jude: After urging believers to contend earnestly for the original faith, Jude warned that “certain men” had already “crept in unnoticed” among them (vs. 4).

6. Revelation 2: Jesus Christ himself sadly told His followers in the Church of Ephesus, “Nevertheless, I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works…” (vs. 4 & 5). These words are clear! Many Christians in the early church of Ephesus were falling away from their initial love for Jesus Christ, who died for them.

Thus we see Paul, Peter, Jude and Jesus Christ all passionately concerned about a “falling away”, which means an apostasy, occurring inside the Christian Church. We might compare this apostasy to a disease entering a portion of the human body. As a result, a malignant cancer finally develops. The shocking reality is that God’s Word has predicted a similar disease-like condition would eventually overtake a large portion of Christianity. According to 2 Thessalonians 2, as a direct result of this unhappy condition, a diabolical spiritual cancer would rise up.

Paul called this cancer, “the mystery of lawlessness” (2 Thessalonians 2:7).

We call him antichrist.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Who is the antichrist? Part 4

Continuing our discussion on the antichrist from “End Time Delusions”…….

Paul warned, “Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless a falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition” (2 Thessalonians 2:3). Here Paul called the antichrist, “the son of perdition”.

Believe it or not, this phrase, “the son of perdition” is actually like a secret password to hidden knowledge. In essence, those four words are like a special code. Once we understand their meaning, we are enabled to “crack the antichrist code” and enter into an understanding of the true nature of the ultimate deceiver.

This exact phrase, “the son of perdition” occurs only twice in the entire New Testament. One of these is in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 about the antichrist. What about the other one? Who did it apply to? What was the spiritual lesson we can learn from this? The only other time it is used is in John 17:12 when Jesus Christ applied it to one of His own disciples. You should be able to guess which one. Judas Iscariot, His betrayer.

Judas was one of the twelve disciples. After being chosen by the Lord, he became part of Christ’s inner circle (Luke 6:13-16). Amazingly, Judas even received the power of God (Mathew 10:1-4). But in spite of his tremendous privileges, Mr. Iscariot finally fell away from His Savior (Acts 1:25).

“Then satan entered Judas, surnamed Iscariot, who was numbered among the twelve” (Luke 22:3). What a scary verse! Try to imagine it. Here’s a disciple of Jesus Christ who held an honored position among the twelve. He even carried the moneybag. But as Judas opened his heart to the dark one, satan slipped in and took over. He was still a professed follower of Christ, but now he had a devil inside! Could this be what antichrist will be like?

On the night before His final agony, our Lord met with His little band of followers in an upper room somewhere inside Jerusalem. As they met for the Passover meal, Judas quietly took his seat with the other eleven disciples (Luke 22:14). After Jesus passed out the bread and the juice, Judas silently sipped his cup (Luke 22:19-20). When the supper was over, Jesus sadly whispered to His friends, “Behold, the hand of My betrayer is with Me on the table” (Luke 22:21). Moments later, Judas slipped out into the night to finalize his infamous deal with the rulers of Israel. An ancient word was fulfilled, “Even my own familiar friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted up his heel against me” (Psalm 41:9).

A few hours later, Judas led a mob of Temple guards, chief priests and Roman soldiers to Christ’s secret place of prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane. Approaching the Savior, the traitor whispered, “Hail, Master; and kissed Him” (Mathew 26:49). Oh, what a kiss was this! A sign of true affection? No. It was a kiss of death. What’s really happening here? I’ll tell you. Lucifer himself was working through the kiss of a professed Christian in a satanically orchestrated plot against the Son of God. If you think about it, this is antichrist in its most sinister form!

To all appearances, Judas Iscariot was a faithful apostle of Jesus Christ. With his lips he even called Christ his Master, but he was a deceiver. By this time, Judas was fully “a devil” (John 6:70). Now don’t miss this point: he was a Christian devil, a channel for satan who was hiding behind a Christian mask. Behold the ultimate deception! What could be worse than satan working through a highly honored professed Christian, through words of loyalty, through an affectionate kiss? What highly significant phrase did Jesus use to describe this unusual Christian-kissing-satanic combination? Our Lord called Judas, “the son of perdition” (John 17:12).

Paul used the same words to describe the antichrist (2 Thessalonians 2:3). In so doing, he was revealing secret, vital, inside information. These words reveal the true nature of satan’s trickster. Instead of being an openly anti-Christian person who rises outside the Church, the real antichrist will be Judas-like. In other words, he will come from the inner circle. On the surface, he will look like a true follower of Jesus Christ, a “familiar friend” (Psalm 41:9). He will even profess love and loyalty to the Savior. Yet, the devil will be there in secret, working with ingenious subtlety, to betray the Son of God with a kiss.

Steve makes it very clear using God’s holy Word that the antichrist will definitely come from within the Church, not from the outside. If you really think about it, it makes perfect sense that satan, the father of lies and deception, would use Christ’s Church to deceive for his evil purposes. In this evil world, it is of utmost importance that you are working towards spiritual maturity so that you can resist our enemy and discern the truth. We have underestimated our enemy and let our defenses down at a time when we should be strong in the Lord and have our spiritual guard up. As we continue to reveal the truth about today's world through Scripture, you’ll begin to see just how deceived we really are………

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Who is the antichrist? Part 5

From previous discussions on the Bible’s mention of antichrist, it is becoming clear that the Bible does NOT point to one future Mr. Evil. While there may be rulers of a one world government and a worldly religious system who are evil and do promote the spirit of antichrist, the Bible makes it clear that there currently are, and will continue to be, many antichrists in the world. In this posting we’re going to discuss Paul’s mention of a “man of sin” mentioned in 2 Thessalonians 2:3. Since this verse is used by millions to confirm one future man who is antichrist, we need to look closely at this piece of Scripture.

We continue from “End Time Delusions”:

Appearances are often deceiving. –Aesop

Paul called antichrist, “the man of sin” (2 Thessalonians 2:3). It is primarily because of this phrase that millions have concluded that the word, “antichrist”, must ultimately apply to only one Mr. Wicked. Apocalyptic Christian films like the Omega Code, A Thief in the Night, Tribulation, Judgment and Megiddo all reflect the same idea. Is it true? Will there be only one man who becomes antichrist? Is this what Paul really meant?

Previously, we discovered that John wrote about “many antichrists” (1 John 2:18), and “that spirit of antichrist” (1 John 4:3). He also revealed that anyone who denies “the doctrine of Christ” (2 John 9) is “a deceiver and an antichrist” (2 John 7). Therefore, the idea of only one Mr. Sinister as the antichrist fails the biblical test. So what did Paul mean when he referred to “the man of sin”? Doesn’t this refer to a single person?

First of all, Paul uses other phrases in 2 Thessalonians chapter 2 to describe this same antichrist, such as “the son of perdition” (vs. 3), “the mystery of lawlessness” (vs. 7), and “that Wicked” (vs. 8). In Daniel’s parallel prophecy, this same abominable horror is also called a “little horn” (Daniel 7:8); and in the Book of Revelation it is labeled “the beast” (Revelation 13:2). Almost everyone agrees these words and phrases apply to the same thing. The big question is: Do they all apply to only one evil person as is commonly taught, or do they point to something wider and deeper – to something most prophecy teachers aren’t telling us about?

Notice carefully, Daniel did not say the little horn would be a man, but rather it would have “eyes like the eyes of a man: (Daniel 7:8). Eyes of intelligence. In the Book of Revelation, the same horn is called “the beast”. Here’s a key question: How does Daniel 7 define a beast? There is no need to guess or to pull an interpretation out of a hat. An angelic interpreter explained to Daniel, “….the fourth beast shall be a fourth kingdom on earth” (vs. 23). What is a beast? A man? No. A beast is a kingdom! That’s what the angel said.

Let’s go back to Paul’s prophecy. A careful study of 2 Thessalonians 2 actually reveals the utter impossibility of “the man of sin” applying to only one person. First of all, Paul said that in his own day this very same “mystery of lawlessness [was] already at work” (vs. 7). Thus this predicted antichrist was already becoming active in the first century. Paul was also very emphatic that this “mystery” would continue all the way down to the second coming of Jesus Christ (vs. 8). Put the pieces together. How could this refer to only one human being? He would have to be 2,000 years old!

Did Paul ever use this expression, “the man”, in any of his other writings in such a way that it does not refer to one individual? Yes indeed. Paul wrote:

All Scripture is given by inspiration from God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17, emphasis added).

Look carefully. Does the phrase, “the man of God”, in 2 Timothy 3:17 refer to only one holy human who might have a name like Joe, Bill or Frank? No. Instead, it refers to a succession of Godly men throughout history who become “complete” or “perfect” through obeying the Word of God.

In Romans 13:4, Paul also used the phrase, “the minister of God”, to refer to all civil officers throughout history whom God uses to restrain evil. Therefore, if we let Paul’s own writings interpret themselves, his unique phrase “the man of sin” (2 Thessalonians 2:3), need not apply to one supremely wicked person. What might it apply to? In the illuminating light of 2 Timothy 3:17 and Romans 13:4, “the man of sin” can properly apply to a historical succession of other men who follow tradition above the Word of Truth.

This antichrist doctrine of the religious traditions of men versus the Word of God is a topic of the utmost importance. The Bible tells us these antichrists “went out from us” (1 John 2:19), meaning that they appear to be Christians, but are not. They are, in fact, the enemy. How can they deceptively pull people away from the doctrine of Jesus Christ while appearing to be Christ-like? By subtly, over time, instilling false doctrines and man-made religious traditions that are accepted as Biblical, when they are not. This line of reasoning will eventually lead us to the answer of who the “beast out of the sea” of Revelation and the “little horn” of Daniel is.

The question we must all ask ourselves is this…..does the church I attend adhere to Biblical doctrine only? Have man-made religious rituals and traditions crept into our teachings and worship? Do we pray to God and God only? Do we pray in the manner taught by Christ? How can you tell? You must read the Bible and discern. The enemy has deceptively led many of us astray and we do not know it. How? Because we have not read God’s word ourselves.

Who is the antichrist? Part 6 (The temple)

This posting will discuss antichrist and the current prophecy interpretation that a third Jewish temple will be built in Jerusalem someday. Will one evil world ruler someday sit in a rebuilt Jewish temple and proclaim himself to be God? Once again, we’re going to challenge a modern day speculative interpretation of Biblical prophecy. I believe that Steve Wohlberg has accurately interpreted this prophecy. It may not be popular, but I believe it to be the truth.

From “End Time Delusions”:

The Left Behind books swirl completely around the topic of antichrist. Book number nine of these fast-selling, fictitious novels is called Desecration – Antichrist Takes the Throne. Released on October 30, 2001 with an initial print run of 3 million copies, the official Left Behind website then declared, “In Desecration, antichrist Nicolae Carpathia enters the temple in Jerusalem and declares himself God, leading the world to the brink of Armageddon.” Thus the eye of the storm is Jerusalem and the apex of the drama centers on Nicolae’s abominable entrance into a rebuilt Jewish temple.

The cornerstone Bible passage underlying the theology of Desecration and of countless other prophecy books which teach similar things is 2 Thessalonians 2:4. Describing the antichrist, Paul wrote: “[he] 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 (vs. 4). Thus antichrist will sit “in the temple of God”. Desecration applies this to someone like Nicolae Carpathia who will enter a rebuilt temple in Jerusalem after the rapture. The implication of this common interpretation is that Paul’s antichrist-in-the-temple prediction has nothing to do with Christians today, nor has it had any real relevance to the Church for almost 2,000 years. Is this popular interpretation really what Paul had in mind? Let’s take a closer look.

It’s time for another Greek lesson. The original Greek word Paul used in 2 Thessalonians 2:4 for “temple” is naos. Here’s a safe principle of interpretation: Let’s allow Paul to interpret Paul. Did Paul use this same word anywhere else in his writings? Yes. In his letter to the early Corinthians, Paul wrote to “the church of God which is at Corinth” (1 Corinthians 1:2). Then he inquired, “Do you not know that you are the temple [naos] of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” (1 Corinthians 3:16). Here Paul clearly applied the word naos to the Christian Church – not a physical temple in Jerusalem. He did the same thing in his letter to the Ephesians. Writing to “the saints who are in Ephesus,” Paul said they were all growing “into a holy temple [naos] in the Lord” (Ephesians 1:1, 2:21). In fact, in all of his writings, every time Paul used the word naos, he always applied it to the Christian Church and never to a rebuilt Israeli temple!

Consider this: When Jesus Christ died on Calvary, His death put an end to all bloody animal sacrifices. When He cried out, “It is finished!” (John 19:30), that was it. From God’s perspective, all earthly sacrifices were over because His Son was the final Sacrifice (see Hebrews 10:12). Think about it for a moment. If the Jewish people ever do rebuild a temple in Jerusalem and restart bloody sacrifices, this would be a complete denial of Jesus Christ’s sacrifice. Could such a rebuilt Jewish temple ever properly be called by Paul, “the temple of God”? Not in a million years! Such a temple would not be God’s temple, for it would be an open denial of His Son. The correct interpretation of 2 Thessalonians 2:4, based on Paul’s own use of naos, is that “the temple of God” is the Church. The lesson for prophecy students is this: antichrist, subtle and deceptive, will slither into Christianity.

Dr. Henry Grattan Guiness, (1835-1910) has often been called “England’s Greatest Teacher of Prophecy”. Founder of the East London Institute for Home and Foreign Missions, Dr. Guiness was considered to be one of the three greatest preachers of his day, right along with Dwight L. Moody and Charles Haddon Spurgeon. A deep student of prophecy, and especially of the antichrist topic, he commented over 100 years ago:

"Observe the place occupied by the man of sin – the “temple” or house of God. This is not, and cannot be, any Jewish temple. Paul, who uses this expression in his prophetic portrait……employs it both in Corinthians and Ephesians with reference to the Christian Church… Paul, emphatically, the temple of God was the Church of Christ. This is the temple in which his prophetic eye saw the man of sin seated. It is no question of his bodily location in any structure of wood and stone, but of something far higher. The temple of God is that “spiritual house” in which He dwells. It is built up of “living stones” of true believers. It is here that the man of sin was to usurp the place of God. This is the “mystery”, the dread danger, the deadly evil, predicted by the Apostle."

Edward Bishop Elliott’s (1793-1875) classic, four-volume Horae Apocalypticae – A Commentary on the Apocalypse, was considered by many to be “the standard work on the subject” of prophetic interpretation. In his comments on 2 Thessalonians 2:4, E.B. Elliott agreed with Guiness:

"The impiety and pride of this Man of Sin were thus predicted; that he would be pre-eminently an opposer to Christ and his Church; that he would exalt himself above all that was called God, or an object of worship, i.e. above the gods many and lords many in the gentile heaven and earth, including the potentates and kings of this world; that he would sit in God’s temple (a phrase here meaning the Church) and actually there exhibit himself as God."

Thus Guiness and Elliott both understood Paul’s use of naos to mean the professed Church of Jesus Christ.

Paul said antichrist will “sit” in God’s temple. This doesn’t mean he will literally sit down on a four-legged chair. After Jesus Christ ascended to Heaven, He “sat down at the right hand of God” (Hebrews 10:12). Has He been sitting down for almost 2,000 years? No. When our Lord returns, He will come “sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven” (Mathew 26:64). Will He be sitting on a fast-moving heavenly chair? No again. To “sit” can mean to assume a position of authority. When Jesus Christ ascended to Heaven to sit at the right hand of the Father, this means He was officially seated in Office as King of kings and Lord of lords, the Supreme Mediator on behalf of the human family. He now has all authority in Heaven and on earth (see Mathew 28:18).

Then what is the meaning of the antichrist sitting in the temple of God? A little reflection should make this clear. The shocking reality is that prophecy predicts that the antichrist will usurp the legitimate authority of Jesus Christ by assuming an unauthorized position of power inside the Christian Church. And thus, contrary to the New York Times bestselling book Desecration and countless other similar works, Paul’s prediction about an evil antichrist entering the temple of God has great relevance for Christians today.

Has the “spirit of antichrist” slithered into Christianity today? Is it relevant to Christians today? The answer is yes and yes. As I’ve mentioned before, many of us believe that by attending church for an hour on Sunday, we are leading Christian lives. We learn about God and Jesus Christ, but we don’t know the Father or the Son and therefore, are not following the Lord’s will for us. As a result, many of us today are “wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked” (Revelation 3:17). We have become the Church in Laodicea that Jesus addresses in Revelation 3:14-22. Two thousand years ago Jesus Christ wrote this letter for us, today….our generation. How can we overcome this “blindness”? Jesus gives us the answer –“I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see” (Revelation 3:18). He is telling us to repent, be refined by God and become a warrior for God, not an enemy. Become rich in God’s Spirit and Power and be able to see with a spiritual eye – which will allow you to see and overcome the enemy’s schemes. How did I overcome our enemy and give myself to God and His plan for me? A simple prayer that changed my life forever:

“Father, I no longer want this world or the things in it. I no longer want to go my own, selfish way. I want your will for my life….not my will, but yours. I believe with all of my heart that You sent your Son to die and be resurrected for me so that I may live in eternity with You. I want to be changed forever and follow You wherever you lead me, regardless of what it costs me in this life. Amen.”

I prayed this one day in June of last year not really knowing what would happen – but knowing that I would follow Him wherever He led me. It wasn’t until later in the year that I listened to a Pastor say that before you pray a prayer of obedience, you had better be prepared for life-changing events. God does not take this not make a vow to God and then decide you'd rather not. He will search your heart, and finding a heart full of love for Him and true obedience to Him – someone who is seeking Him with a humble heart – He will baptize you in His Holy Spirit and make you into the person He created you to be. You will become a disciple of Jesus Christ and follow Him wherever He leads you. After my life began changing immediately and in very significant ways after this prayer (I was still immature), I began to pray “Why is all of this happening to me?”. I was a little confused at the time about why God was changing my life so quickly and drastically. My wife came home a few days later with a cross to hang on our wall that was inscribed with Jeremiah 29:11-13. “’For I know the plans I have for you’, declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.’” If you want to find God, you must seek Him (in prayer) with all your heart. This is mentioned in other verses in the Bible. Do you want to know God? Let Him know you love Him and you’re ready to give up everything in this life to find Him. He will reveal Himself to you and reveal His purpose for your life. You will experience joy you never thought possible and find true faith.

The “spirit of antichrist” has slowly and methodically slithered into governments of the world and into Christianity itself. These antichrists are bringing about the “beasts” mentioned in Revelation according to the works of our enemy….a political beast and a religious beast. It’s going to happen in our lifetime. In fact, I believe the “beasts” are going to gain power very soon. With spiritual eyes you can see them forming right in front of us. There are many people who believe they are spiritual, but they are as blind as those who believe nothing at all. We’re all about to get a wake-up call.

In the next few posts, we’ll begin discussing who the “beasts” are. Prepare yourself mentally and spiritually for the truth. They have been right in front of you your entire life.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Who is the antichrist? Part 7 (The restrainer)

This posting will discuss the “restrainer” of antichrist mentioned in 2 Thessalonians 2:5-8. This will be the last posting before we begin discussing the “beasts” of Revelation. Once again, there is a modern day speculative interpretation of this prophecy that is subscribed to by most modern day Christians. Most Christians believe the “restrainer” is the Holy Spirit holding back the antichrist until the appointed time determined by God. While God does determine the appointed time for all things, is this interpretation correct according to scripture? Let’s examine this more closely.

From “End Time Delusions”:

Zeal without knowledge is fire without light. –Dr. Thomas Fuller (1608-1661)

In this chapter we will play the role of Sherlock Holmes by attempting to solve a most puzzling Bible mystery. The difficult question is: What is the restrainer of antichrist? In 2 Thessalonians 2:5-8, Paul revealed the intriguing idea that in his own day something was restraining this horrendous development of evil. Once the restraint was removed, antichrist would be revealed. Millions of Christians today have been taught that this restrainer is the Holy Spirit inside the Christian Church. According to this theory, once the Church is whisked out of this world in the pre-tribulation rapture the Mr. Delusion will appear. This interpretation once again confirms the concept in many minds that antichrist can only come after the Church vanishes.

Sherlock Holmes is purported to have said, “It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data”. So, let’s examine the datum. Paul told the early Thessalonians, “Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed….” (2 Thessalonians 2:5-8).

To begin with, it must be admitted that Paul did not explicitly specify what was restraining antichrist. Nevertheless, the following three clues are clear:

1. Paul previously “told” the Thessalonians what the restrainer was (vs. 5)
2. The Thessalonians knew what it was (vs. 6)
3. For some important reason, Paul did not identify the restrainer in writing.

Sherlock Holmes is also believed to have said, “Detection is, or should be, an exact science.” As we ponder the evidence above, a significant detail surfaces. Because Paul plainly said he “told” the Thessalonians what the restrainer was, this knowledge had obviously been given to the early Church. So, as good detectives, what should we do next? It seems logical that we should first go back into the dusty records of ancient history in an attempt to discover what the early Church might have reported on this subject. Let’s go back and find out.

Did the early Christians reveal what they knew about this subject? Did they identify the restrainer? The answer, surprisingly, is yes. Such early writers as Irenaeus, Tertullian, Chrysostom, Jerome and Augustine all wrote about this topic. What did they say? They all said the restrainer was the civil power of the Roman Empire ruled by the Caesars. Notice carefully the following quotations:

Tertullian: “…he who now hinders must hinder until he be taken out of the way. What obstacle is there but the Roman state; the falling away of which, by being scattered into ten kingdoms, shall introduce antichrist….”

John Chrysostom: “…’he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way,’ that is, when the Roman Empire is taken out of the way, then he [antichrist] shall come; and naturally, for as long as the fear of this empire lasts, no one will readily exalt himself; but when that is dissolved, he will attack the anarchy, and endeavor to seize upon the government both of men and of God.”

Augustine: “….it is not absurd to believe that these words of the apostle, ‘Only he who now holdeth, let him hold until he be taken out of the way,’ refer to the Roman Empire……”

It’s obvious. The early Church believed the Roman Empire was the restrainer of the antichrist. Many have recognized this fact. Elliott wrote, “We have the consenting testimony of the early fathers, from Irenaeus, the disciple of St. John, down to Chrysostom and Jerome, to the effect that it [the restrainer] was understood to be the imperial power ruling and residing in Rome.” Dr. George Eldon Ladd, a much-respected Baptist professor at Fuller Theological Seminary in the 1950’s, also confirmed, “The traditional view has been that the restraining principle is the Roman Empire and the restrainer the Emperor. This view, or a modification of it, best fits into the Pauline theology.”

Guiness also summarized:

The early Church, through the writings of the fathers, tells us what it knew upon the subject, and with remarkable unanimity affirms that this “let”, or hindrance, was the Roman Empire as governed by the Caesars; that while the Caesars held imperial power, it was impossible for the predicted antichrist to arise, and that on the fall of the Caesars he would arise….The early Church tells us what it did know upon the subject, and no one in these days can be in a position to contradict its testimony as to what Paul had, by word of mouth, told the Thessalonians. It is a point on which ancient tradition alone can have any authority. Modern speculation is positively impertinent on such a subject.”

When modern interpreters identify the restrainer as the Holy Spirit inside the Christian Church, they are simply expressing a newly developed fancy unsupported by historical evidence. Sherlock Holmes said, “Detection is, or should be, an exact science.” It’s simply not historically scientific to identify the restrainer as the Holy Ghost within the Church. Unfortunately, this new theory has now become one of the supporting pillars beneath the idea that the rapture must come before antichrist shows up. We have already proven from 2 Thessalonians 2 that it’s really the other way around. Paul emphatically said antichrist must come first (vs. 3) before the Church is gathered to Jesus Christ (vs. 1).

In addition to being directly “told” by Paul that the restrainer of the antichrist was the Roman Empire, another reason why the early Church believed this may be found in the parallel prophecy of Daniel 7. Daniel’s prophecy predicted the rise of four great beasts representing four successive world empires (Daniel 7:23). The vast majority of commentators throughout church history have identified these four empires as the successive kingdoms of Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece and Rome.

Martin Luther commented:

This prophecy of Daniel 7 is by all teachers uniformly explained to represent the kingdoms of Assyria and Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, the kingdom of Alexander the Great and the fourth, the Roman Empire, which is the largest, the most cruel, and most powerful…..”

In Daniel 7, the fourth beast, or Roman Empire, is described as having “ten horns” (vs. 7). Most scholars apply these ten horns to ten kingdoms to arise in Western Europe after the demise of the Roman Empire. Daniel’s prophecy distinctly says that “after” the ten horns are in place, rising up “among them”, would come ”another little horn” with “eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking great things (vs. 8). The vast majority of scholars, even today, regardless of how they apply the symbolism, correctly associate the little horn with the antichrist. The lesson is clear: After the fourth beast, that is, after the fall of Rome, the antichrist would rise up among ten nations in Europe.

The Thessalonians lived under the rule of Rome. Through understanding the prophecies, they knew that after Rome fell, the antichrist would come. This helps to explain why the early Christians (according to Tertullian) made it a habit to pray for the continuation of that very empire, even though it was cruelly persecuting them (see Thessalonians 1:4) for their trust in Jesus Christ. Wait a minute! Here’s another important piece of data! The reality of this fierce Roman persecution against the early Christians provides a logical explanation as to why Paul only “told” the Thessalonians what the restrainer was, rather than writing it down. What if his letter fell into the hands of unfriendly Roman officials? What if Roman leaders found out that these Christians expected the mighty Roman Empire to someday crash, being “taken out of the way”? The answer is obvious. They would have seen this as high treason against Caesar and would have increased their persecution against the infant Church. This explains why, instead of writing it down, Paul merely “told” the truth to the Thessalonians.

Paul wrote: “For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work, only he who now restrains will do so, until he is taken out of the way” (2 Thessalonians 2:7). Thus the antichrist was “already” starting to work in Paul’s time, yet it was restrained by the mighty power of the Roman Empire. Once this restraint was removed by the collapse of the Roman government, this monstrous evil would fully rise in Europe. In other words, once the Caesars went down, antichrist would fully raise its satanic head.

Here’s a simple summary of the biblical data found in 2 Thessalonians 2:

1. The antichrist was already starting to work in Paul’s day (vs. 7). This was around 50 A.D.
2. Something was restraining this horrible development of evil (vs. 5-7).
3. As soon as the restraint was removed, antichrist would be revealed (vs. 7-8).
4. This antichrist will continue until the visible return of Jesus Christ (vs. 8).
5. Then Christ will destroy the antichrist and gather His Church (vs. 1, 8).

Daniel wrote that after the fourth beast fell, the little horn would come (Daniel 7:7-8). Paul said that after the restrainer was taken out of the way, the antichrist would be revealed (2 Thessalonians 2:7-8). History records that the Roman Empire collapsed in 476 A.D. Did the predicted antichrist soon appear? Read on.

Sherlock Holmes would say, “It’s elementary, Mr. Watson, elementary.”

This is where things begin to get very interesting. Here’s where we begin to discover that not only has the antichrist and spirit of antichrist been working in the world since the 1st century A.D., but the “beasts” of Revelation have been with us as well. It may seem shocking to you that this is true. Remember, we are dealing with a very deceptive enemy. Are you beginning to sense just how deceptive he is? You haven’t seen anything yet…….as Steve mentions – read on.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Who is the antichrist? Final Summary

The following is a summary of Biblical prophecies relating to the revealing of the antichrist and the “beast” of Revelation 13.

From “End Time Delusions”:

What we see depends mainly on what we look for. –Sir John Lubbock (1834-1913)

The Bible’s prophecies about the antichrist are similar to a gigantic jigsaw puzzle. While it’s important to carefully examine the individual pieces, it’s really best to put them all together and look at the whole thing. When we do, just like a developing photograph in a darkroom, the emerging picture becomes clearer and clearer. This is what we find:

Putting the pieces together from Daniel 7

1. Daniel dreamed of four great beasts representing four successive ancient world kingdoms (vs. 4-7, 23)
2. These kingdoms were the nations of Babylon, Persia, Greece and Rome.
3. The fourth beast, the Roman Empire, had ten horns (vs. 7), representing the division of the Western Roman Empire into ten smaller nations after 476 A.D. (the classical date for the fall of Rome).
4. Growing up “among” the ten horns (vs. 8) and rising up immediately “after” them (vs. 24) would be a little horn (vs. 8) which represents the antichrist.
5. This little horn would have “eyes like the eyes of a man” (vs. 8), “a mouth speaking pompous words” (vs. 8), and would make “war against the saints” (vs. 21) in Christian history. This horn would continue until the end of time (vs. 21-22).

Putting the pieces together from 2 Thessalonians 2

1. The antichrist would rise as a result of a tremendous falling away (vs. 3) in the Church before Jesus Christ returns to gather the faithful (vs. 1).
2. Paul called this antichrist, “the man of sin” (vs. 3), “the son of perdition” (vs. 3), “the mystery of lawlessness” (vs. 7) and “that wicked” (vs. 8 KJV).
3. This “mystery of lawlessness” was already working in Paul’s day (vs. 7), yet it was being restrained (vs. 5-7) by the Caesars of the Roman Empire.
4. After this restraint was removed (Rome fell in 476 A.D.), the antichrist would be revealed (vs. 7-8).
5. This antichrist would take his seat inside “the temple of God” (vs. 4), which is the Church (see 1 Corinthians 3:16; Ephesians 2:21).
6. He will operate until the bright, visible, glorious return of our Lord (vs. 8).
7. When Jesus Christ comes, He will destroy the antichrist and gather His faithful people who have not “fallen away” from the truth of His Word (vs. 1,3,8,10-12).

Putting the pieces together from Revelation 13

1. The antichrist is also called “the beast” (vs. 2).
2. This “beast” is the same thing as the “little horn” in Daniel 7.
3. Just like the little horn, this beast would have “a mouth speaking great things” (vs. 5) and would “make war with the saints” (vs. 7).
4. A beast in prophecy represents a powerful “kingdom on earth” (see Daniel 7:23).
5. This beast will eventually have worldwide influence and control (vs. 8).
6. This beast will continue until the end of time (see Revelation 19:20).

The Bible reveals a few more pieces to this antichrist puzzle, but this is enough for now. So what are we looking for when it comes to the real antichrist of prophecy?

In a nutshell, we are looking for an antichrist that was starting to work in the time of Paul, but was being restrained by the Roman Empire. It would grow in strength in the wake of a massive “falling away” from Jesus inside the Christian Church and would be “revealed” unrestrained after the Roman Empire fell in 476 A.D. It would be centered somewhere in Western Europe, would become self-exalting and would even usurp the authority of God inside His temple – that is, within Christianity. An actual “kingdom”, it would nevertheless have “eyes like the eyes of a man” (being man-led and man-centered), make large claims for itself, have “a mouth speaking great things”, become persecuting and deadly, making “war against the saints”. It would continue throughout Christian history and achieve global influence in the end times, yet finally be destroyed by the sin-consuming brightness of our Lord Jesus Christ when He returns.

Those are the facts from Scripture. Is such an antichrist here now? You are about to discover irrefutable proof that for over four hundred years the unanimous testimony of well-respected Protestant scholars, historians and burnt-to-ashes martyrs has been, “Most definitely!”

Have you put the pieces together? It gets better….the Bible reveals much about the times we’re living in if we’d only listen and pray........