The Beast and the False Prophet
These days almost every article on prophecy seems to talk with authority about "Antichrist." 1 However I don't ordinarily see much consistency from one article to the next! Hopefully the following short summary will help clear the air.
Bible prophecy is about Israel -- because that small nation was chosen by God 4000 years ago to be chief over all the (seventy) nations. Bible prophecy usually mentions other nations only if they are historically and geographical close to Israel. Nations south of the Equator, for instance, are not mentioned in Bible prophecy. Remote countries like the U.S. are just parts of the "isles" or "coastlands." 2
Jesus was plain when He addressed the religious leaders of Israel during His last visit to His homeland.
“You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life. I do not receive honor from men. But I know you, that you do not have the love of God in you.
I have come in My Father’s name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, him you will receive." (John 5:39-43)
Clearly a counterfeit messiah, a religious figure, a false prophet, would show up in Israel, deceiving nearly everyone in the world, sometime before Jesus Christ returns. This evil man is described as the second of two "beasts" in Revelation 13. Paul calls him "the man of sin" (2 Thessalonians 2:3). He deceives not only Israel, but also the entire world. His boss, the first beast, an end time world political, military leader, rising out of a revived form of the Old Roman Empire, will be allied with the second beast and with Satan to comprise a kind of Satanic Trinity.
"...I saw a beast rising up out of the sea, [the sea is a symbol of the nations around the Mediterranean], having seven heads and ten horns, and on his horns ten crowns, and on his heads a blasphemous name. Now the beast which I saw was like a leopard, his feet were like the feet of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. The dragon gave him his power, his throne, and great authority. And I saw one of his heads as if it had been mortally wounded, and his deadly wound was healed. And all the world marveled and followed the beast. So they worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?” And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he was given authority to continue for forty-two months. Then he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven. It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation. All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. If anyone has an ear, let him hear. He who leads into captivity shall go into captivity; he who kills with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.
Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth [eretz Yisrae], and he had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon. And he exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence, and causes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men. And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who was wounded by the sword and lived. He was granted power to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed. He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is six hundred and sixty-six [six is the number of man, 666 a Satanic trinity]." (Revelation 13)
The overall picture of the end of the age is that the man of sin will accepted by the Jews as their long awaited messiah (see Modern Jewish Beliefs Concerning the Coming Messiah, http://ldolphin.org/messiah.html). This man will orchestrate a regional peace treaty safeguarding Israel with the help of the First Beast. This seven-year peace treaty (based on division of the land of Israel) will fail after 3.5 years. At that time the fake messiah will enter the newly completed Third Temple in Jerusalem, declaring that he is god. Naturally such an announcement will outrage all Muslims and orthodox Jews, and gravely alarm the rest of the world as well.
Hearing such arrogant, grandiose claims by a Jewish leader, who most everyone thought was the long-expected messiah, will cause the entire world to have sound reasons for wanting all of Israel to be destroyed. The armies of earth will set out to do just that, to invade and eradicate all Jews, not knowing that the real God of Israel is drawing them together for their own destruction. The world's armies will too late realize they are fighting "space invaders"--the God of Israel and angelic His armies.
The God of Israel, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob has different plans for His people than today's world leaders can imagine. The horrific destruction of the ensuing great war, felt world-wide, will finally bring Israel to full repentance. Jewish leaders will at last pray, inviting Jesus Christ to save them.
When Israel acknowledges Yeshua as their rightful King, Jesus Himself will come to Jerusalem a second time, this time not riding on a donkey, but descending with the angel armies of heaven to take up His rule and restoration of the earth.
Both the Beast and the False Prophet will meet their end directly at the hands of Jesus at the time of His return:
"Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.
Then I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the birds that fly in the midst of heaven, “Come and gather together for the supper of the great God, “that you may eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, both small and great.” And I saw the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army. Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone. And the rest were killed with the sword which proceeded from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse. And all the birds were filled with their flesh." (Revelation 19:11-21)
The seven year period which follows the rapture of the true church, and ends with the second coming of Jesus in power, is figuratively known as the "Tribulation" Period. The last half of this "week," when the most terrible judgments of God fall on mankind, is called "the GREAT tribulation." (See Aspects of the Return of the Lord Jesus Christ, http://ldolphin.org/Return.html).
The tribulation period itself is a bit complex. A few decades back, Bible scholars spoke of the "Battle of Armageddon." Now most everyone realizes this final war will be a series of encounters better described as "the Campaign of Armageddon." The information needed to understand the end time is scattered through the entire Bible (20% of the Bible is prophecy). Therefore don't expect to become a world-class scholar on prophecy overnight. Know the entire Bible well, cover to cover, and more importantly, live every day in close accord with Jesus, the Savior of the World and the true World Leader. 4
"What determines the future is what God has done in the past and what He has promised to do in the future. So don't look horizontally at current events."
Ray C. Stedman
Jesus Christ is not only Israel's true Messiah, He is the Creator of the universe and the appointed Ruler of all the nations.
“Behold! My Servant whom I uphold, My Elect One in whom My soul delights! I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the Gentiles. He will not cry out, nor raise His voice, Nor cause His voice to be heard in the street. A bruised reed He will not break, And smoking flax He will not quench; He will bring forth justice for truth. He will not fail nor be discouraged, Till He has established justice in the earth; And the coastlands shall wait for His law.” Thus says God the LORD, Who created the heavens and stretched them out, Who spread forth the earth and that which comes from it, Who gives breath to the people on it, And spirit to those who walk on it: “I, the LORD, have called You in righteousness, And will hold Your hand; I will keep You and give You as a covenant to the people, As a light to the Gentiles, To open blind eyes, To bring out prisoners from the prison, Those who sit in darkness from the prison house. I am the LORD, that is My name; And My glory I will not give to another, Nor My praise to carved images. Behold, the former things have come to pass, And new things I declare; Before they spring forth I tell you of them.” Sing to the LORD a new song, And His praise from the ends of the earth, You who go down to the sea, and all that is in it, You coastlands and you inhabitants of them! Let the wilderness and its cities lift up their voice, The villages that Kedar inhabits. Let the inhabitants of Sela sing, Let them shout from the top of the mountains. Let them give glory to the LORD, And declare His praise in the coastlands.
The LORD shall go forth like a mighty man; He shall stir up His zeal like a man of war. He shall cry out, yes, shout aloud; He shall prevail against His enemies. “I have held My peace a long time, I have been still and restrained Myself. Now I will cry like a woman in labor, I will pant and gasp at once. I will lay waste the mountains and hills, And dry up all their vegetation; I will make the rivers coastlands, And I will dry up the pools. I will bring the blind by a way they did not know; I will lead them in paths they have not known. I will make darkness light before them, And crooked places straight. These things I will do for them, And not forsake them. They shall be turned back, They shall be greatly ashamed, Who trust in carved images, Who say to the molded images, ‘You are our gods.’ (Isaiah 42:1-17)
1 The Greek prefix "anti" can mean "against" or opposed to, but it can also mean "instead of," as in "counterfeit. " "Christos" is the Greek equivalent to the Hebrew word for "messiah." Commentators seem to use "antichrist" to refer to the First Beast or the Second, but not in a consistent way.
2 God gave the land of Israel to the descendants of Abraham through his sons Isaac and Jacob. Israel was to be governed through a King and a Priest until the time of a promised Messiah. It sounds strange to our gentile ears, but God will judge all the nations of the world through Israel and He will judge Israel directly Himself.
Joel the prophet said, “For behold, in those days and at that time, When I bring back the captives of Judah and Jerusalem, I will also gather all nations, And bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat; And I will enter into judgment with them there On account of My people, My heritage Israel, Whom they have scattered among the nations; They have also divided up My land. They have cast lots for My people, Have given a boy as payment for a harlot, And sold a girl for wine, that they may drink. “Indeed, what have you to do with Me, O Tyre and Sidon, and all the coasts of Philistia? Will you retaliate against Me? But if you retaliate against Me, Swiftly and speedily I will return your retaliation upon your own head; Because you have taken My silver and My gold, And have carried into your temples My prized possessions. Also the people of Judah and the people of Jerusalem You have sold to the Greeks, That you may remove them far from their borders. “Behold, I will raise them Out of the place to which you have sold them, And will return your retaliation upon your own head. I will sell your sons and your daughters Into the hand of the people of Judah, And they will sell them to the Sabeans, To a people far off; For the LORD has spoken.” (Joel 3:1-8)
3 My colleague Ron Graf and I hope you will obtain copies of our brand new book on Bible Prophecy, Connecting the Dots... http://bible-prophecy.com/connecting
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“For yet a little while, And He who is coming will come and will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith; But if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him.” (Hebrews 10:38-39)
September 13, 2011