September 17, 2011
Know Your Enemy
The Reign of Anti-Christ
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As we study through the time of Anti-Christ, you may keep in mind that Jesus describes three primary players opposed to Him during the Great Tribulation: (1) the dragon; (2) the beast; and (3) the false prophet (Revelation 16:13). These three evil beings will attack the saints and oppose God’s program. As we have already seen with Anti-Christ, these three seek evil constantly.
There was given to him a mouth speaking arrogant words and blasphemies, and authority to act for forty-two months was given to him.
The Beast from the Sea. In Revelation 13:1, with the dragon (satan) standing on the sand of the sea, a beast arises from the sea. The beast has seven heads and ten horns, with ten diadems (“διαδήματα“) on the horns, and not the heads. Blasphemous names were on the heads. This beast had the appearance of a bear, leopard and lion (compare Daniel 7:1-8), with the dragon giving him his power and throne. You may recall that in Daniel’s prophecy, this last kingdom of Gentile domination, and also a picture of the power of Anti-Christ, would be a composite of powerful rulers (Daniel 2:40-43).
The Whole Earth Follows the Beast. In Revelation 13:3-4, we see that the beast had a terrible head wound, as if it had been slain, but the wound was healed. This wound may pertain to the man himself, or to the kingdom of power the beast represents. In either case, it added to the attraction the world found in him and his evil powers. He promoted the worship of the dragon, who gave his authority to the beast. The people cried out, “Who is like the beast, and who is able to wage war with him?” Recall that Daniel foretold the rise and power of the last kingdom of the beast, and his kingdom will be different from all others before it (Daniel 7:23). The beast will speak out against the Most High and wear down the saints of God. He will make changes to times and the law, and the world will be given over into his hands for a time, times, and half a time (2+1+1/2 = 3.5 years = 42 months). The end of his dominion will come when the court of heaven sits for judgment, and his dominion will be taken away, annihilated and destroyed forever (Daniel 7:9-12, 26; Revelation 20:7-10).
The Beast Speaks Blasphemies. In Revelation 13:5, we see that the beast speaks arrogantly and blasphemes. The beast uses his tongue to blaspheme against God, His name and His tabernacle, including those who dwell in heaven (Revelation 13:6). Whenever I read about the beast, I see his work already commenced, in a smaller way, by people who routinely blaspheme against God, the name of God, the tabernacle of God, and the people of God. Satan has always hated Jesus, and everyone Jesus calls His own.
The Beast Makes War with the Saints. In Revelation 13:7, we read that the beast makes war against the saints and overcomes them. Notice in particular that he has power from the dragon to accomplish the purposes of the dragon. He establishes his evil authority over every tribe, people, tongue and nation, but again, this authority was given to him. In a larger sense, God controls all governments and all events on earth. This plan, formulated by satan and enacted by the beast, all fit within the permissive will of God. We also see that the beast promotes the worship the beast, that is, everyone whose names were not written in the book of life of the Lamb from the foundation of the world will worship the beast (compare Ephesians 1:4). If anyone has an ear, let him hear. If anyone is destined to captivity, to captivity he goes; likewise, anyone who kills with the sword, with the sword he must be killed. Here is the perseverance and the faith of the saints. As we see the saints prepared by prophecy for the suffering they will endure by sword and captivity, with death to follow, we see God providing eternal comfort by reminding each saint that God knows and understands the terrors the dragon and the beast will inflict upon the faithful during his forty-two-month reign of blasphemies. As we read through these passages, I am always struck by the sovereignty of God. He has a plan for the future, where the forces and people of evil will reign in this earth for an appointed time, and they will do terrible things to the children of God during the tribulation period. But the saints will persevere, even through death, because dying means to be present immediately with the Lord Jesus in heaven, freed from the terror and evil oppression on earth during the reign of the the dragon and the beast.
So we learn more about the person of Anti-Christ today.
● Anti-Christ will take power upon the earth in the future and reign upon it for three and one half years, as part of a seven year program of judgment called the Tribulation.
● Anti-Christ will force everyone on earth to worship Satan and his servants, while he kills everyone who will not worship the image of the beast.
● Anti-Christ will be defeated after forty two months by the power of Jesus Christ, who will return to reign upon the earth in justice and victory.
Application for Today
As I live today, I will remember the plan and purpose of Satan. He seeks to devour and destroy, and take everyone captive to his evil will and plans. Our enemy lives, but his doom has been decreed. Even now, we see him as a defeated foe, because Christ triumphed over Satan at the cross of Calvary. As I see people around me, I want to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with them, so that they may avoid the destruction of this earth and its inhabitants during the great tribulation. I want to see Jesus Christ saving people from the wrath to come as I serve Jesus today. Will you speak up for Jesus today?