Revelation 12-13, Psalm 44
The person of the Antichrist has always stimulated conversation. The list of top contenders changes frequently with time. Many previous world leaders including Nero, Napoleon Bonaparte, Hitler, to many previous popes including our present one, to most American presidents, to many current world leaders fill the list of possibilities. The Antichrist will not be revealed until the church is raptured, so spending time trying to figure this out makes no sense. Also, the reality is there are and always have been many contenders. In 1 John 2:18, John writes, "Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour." The actual Antichrist will be the one whom Satan eventually completely empowers for that job. Unless one is filled with the Holy Spirit and therefore unable to be filled with Satan, there are many possibilities. The topic of the Antichrist is also not new. Besides now, he was written about by the early apostles like John, and Paul in 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12, and in the Hebrew Scriptures by Daniel in Chapter 7:8, 19-27, 8:23-25. So, though we know of the Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit; in today's reading we are introduced to the unholy trinity: Satan, Antichrist and False Prophet.
In Revelation 13:1-3 we see the rise of the Antichrist from among the nations. We read in 13:3-4, "...And all the world marveled and followed the beast. So they worshiped the beast, saying, "Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?" If the concept of a one world government under the authority of one leader seems far-fetched, it's not. In 1968 the Democratic World Federalists created a Constitution for the Federation of the Earth demanding a one world government. One of the key strategies was to remove all absolutes along with any system which claims absolutes. Adherents to this thought will label any with absolute views as close-minded, prejudiced, and intolerant. Certainly all religion must be done away with. With the current mindset of all roads lead to God, with the current bumper stickers of tolerance including all the religious symbols, does this really seem far-fetched. The media has a strong control on public opinion and any views opposed to this are intolerant: you can not be pro-life but now labeled as anti-woman, you cannot disagree with homosexuality without being called a homophobe or intolerant, etc. There are many powerful groups, filled with extremely powerful people who belong to groups such as the Illuminati, the Bilderbergers and the Free-Masons who all desire a one world government. This Antichrist will look like the world's savior after the Rapture bringing about apparent world peace for the first 3 1/2 years of the tribulation. Notice his authority is from Satan, but never forget it is allowed by God, who is still in charge of history, as we read in Revelation 3:7, "It was granted to him to make war with the saints and overcome them." We read an interesting part in the compulsory following of him in Revelation 13:16-18, "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 and sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name...His number is 666." This concept probably sounded ridiculous to the early readers of John's book of Revelation. But for years chip identification technology has implanted these identification chips in our pets. On August 1 of this year the employees of Three Square Market, a technology company in Wisconsin, is offering their employees to have a chip the size of a grain of sand between their thumb and index finger which will be used to swipe into the office building and pay for food in the cafeteria. With the increase in identity theft this RFID technology is gaining increased popularity.
As we have read form the beginning of Revelation, those who believe in Jesus Christ and have accepted Him as Savior will not be around to witness these events as they unfold. God is in charge, even when the world appears to be in chaos. Rather than trying to figure out how these events will transpire when we will not be around to see it, we should be reaching out to others so that they will not be around to see it. Though people feel they are sound in mind and not easily fooled, the opposite is true. People tend to follow the masses. In 2 Thessalonians 2:11-12, Paul writes, "And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness." Though many prefer to straddle the fence and not commit, trusting that if things go down, they will then accept, they are playing a very dangerous game. Jesus also predicted the powers behind these false leaders in Mark 13:22, "For false christs and false prophets will rise and show signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect." We are to put our hope in the inerrant truth contained in God's perfect Book, the Bible. Even signs and wonders and miracles can be counterfeit. Invite someone you love to invest in the only Book that saves.
Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley: