Every year, as we anticipating the Lord's soon return is sure to generate paranoia about the end times. We see this with so many books written in our day, stating times and dates etc, etc. The obsession with "things to come" is probably going to be unprecedented from any thing we've witnessed in the past. The predictions of these so-called modern day prophets will range from setting dates for the Rapture to receiving a special revelation that the Church is going through part or all of the Tribulation period. I just mentioned one on another thread here. This by the way, takes your mind OFF of Christ and glued to Fox News
..a sure fire filibuster used by the enemy to keep you from Growing in the Grace and Knowledge of Him.
Now, as I have stated many times here before, in the Old Testament there are two comings of Messiah
one as King, and one as redeemer. One does not negate the other, but one (the Redeemer) needed to come first before Messiah KING could come. Jesus Redeemer (***left*** His Glory ---Philippians 1&2) and Jesus Christ KING will come in ALL His Glory. Redeemer first, King next.
One of the problems Judas had with Jesus was that He
Jesus didnt overthrow the Roman Empire, or even act as though He was
which was part of what they believed Jesus KING was to do, fulfilling the 70th week left in Daniel.
This was also asked by the Apostles (Peter) in Acts 1:6&7 if at THIS time, the Kingdom would be restored, as promised
and Jesus said NO, not at this time. This time is the age of GRACE, not the KINGDOM age restored to Israel.
Because of this , the state of confusion that the Church finds itself in is largely a product of its own doing. You would think that after so many failed attempts to accurately predict the Rapture those who make such claims would be reluctant to appear in public. Yet the Church persists in its rejection of the Gospel according to the Mystery that was committed to Paul, that of the Church, the Body of Christ, both Jew and Gentile, making one new man
.so making peace with us who are HIS Body, through the Cross.
"And to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come" (I Thess. 1:10).
According to Paul's gospel the Rapture is imminent, that is, it could take place at any moment. There are no signs, times, or seasons that will precede this glorious event. It could be the year 2000 or 2005; then again it may be 2075. We simply don't know how long the longsuffering of God will be extended to the Gentiles. God may well extend His grace for another two thousand years, although this seems unlikely.
THE HYSTERIA OVER THE ANTI-CHRIST
"And then shall that Wicked [onethe anti-christ] be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders" (II Thes. 2:8,9).
It is inexcusable for someone who understands Paul's unique apostleship and message, of the Gospel according to the Mystery
Romans 16:24-27 with the promises exclusively to Israel. We should probably brace ourselves because these types of departures from the faith will become more and more common as the days grow more evil. We've often said that those who depart from the doctrine of the Rapture of the Church never fully understood the nature of Paul's gospel to begin with. If the Rapture is near, as some predict, or the Body of Christ is going through the coming Tribulation, as others teach, this explains the present day mania over the identity of the anti-christ.
Yet, if you really look at Pauls teaching, you will see comments like:
Youve been translated out of the world into the Kingdom of His dear Son.
Seek those things that are above and not below
Those who mind earthly things are enemies of the Cross
That you would know the Hope of YOUR calling
No longer of this world
..My Kingdom is not of this world
Waiting for our Blessed Hope
Also note Paul says WE , the church will meet Christ in the Clouds
..yet we want to throw away large sections of scripture, and our obedience to that scripture to try and figure out who, what, when, and where the anti-christ
Where does Paul teach us to do this?
One popular prophecy teacher was convinced that the anti-christ was Bill Clinton. He points out that the number equivalent of his name is 666. Through elaborate charts, diagrams, and genealogies he somehow draws the conclusion that Mr. Clinton is a direct descendant of the Emperor Nero, and heir to the Rothchild fortune. According to him, Mr. Clinton could be, might be, probably is the anti-christ, the last great world dictator. He's the seventh head1 of John's apocalyptic vision (Rev. 13:1 cf. 17:9), which, by the way, this self-ordained prophet surmises the heads to be:
(3) Alexander the Great
(4) Antiochus Epiphanes
Wow. If there's one thing that the past should have taught us, it would be that it is extremely dangerous to interpret the Bible according to current events, so much so that if we don't intrepret correctly so, we cause others to lose their faith. Those who lived through World War II will recall how well-known Bible teachers confidently declared Adolph Hitler to be the anti-christ, only to find that they had to recant their position after the war. While it could be said Hitler was anti-christ, he was not the anti-christ foretold by the prophets. Many also, who believed this were waiting for the Rapture and many lost their faith at that time.
I can recall during the Nixon administration many believed Henry Kissinger was the anti-christ, and they too found themselves in an awkward situation trying to explain that it was apparently a case of mistaken identity. Then we were told President Clinton was the anti-christ.....now Bush, then the USA, and it goes on and on. And look how rich these authors are getting over these self procalimed "God's Greatest Prophet of Our Time", that always seems to be the words on the inside jacket, or someone acclaiming this for someone else.
Incidentally, we know Bill Clinton could not have been the son of perdition for a number of reasons. First , the last three world leaders referred to by this prophetic teacher, Nero (54-68 A.D.), Hitler (1939-1945), and Bill Clinton (1992-2000), have all ruled and reigned during God's parenthetical period of Grace. But the anti-christ is inseparably bound to prophecy; therefore, his reign cannot begin until the close of the age of Grace.
Truth always exposes error. This is why in my personal ministry I have never spent a lot of time familiarizing myself with false teaching. I spend the lion's share of my time studying the truthit makes error stand out like ink on a white shirt.
They say the Federal Reserve never train its agents with counterfeit bills for obvious reasons. Instead, they take actual currency and make each agent memorize the minutest detail of each denomination. This is done over and over again until it makes an indelible impression upon them. Consequently, when counterfeit bills are intermingled with the real thing, they are able to detect the forgery every time. The same is true in regard to spiritual things; darkness cannot withstand the light of God's Word.
WHAT THE SCRIPTURES SAY ABOUT THE ANTI-CHRIST
The prefix "anti" means against and/or instead of. Both are true concerning this future dictator. He poses as the Messiah, but opposes Christ by executing all that name His name. The anti-christ will have a winsome personality that the world will find irresistible. The prophet Daniel says:
"And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done. Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any god: for he shall magnify himself above all" (Dan. 11:36,37).
In this narrative, the prophet Daniel gives us a biographical sketch of the anti-christ. As we know, the Tribulation is said to open with wars and rumors of wars. It will be a period of unparalleled lawlessness (Matt. 24:6 cf. II Thes. 2:7). Like Hitler, the anti-christ will take full advantage of the times. In fact, they will provide the platform for him to
"prosper politically" and become a household name.
During the forty days in which Christ was tempted, you will recall the devil took our Lord up into a high mountain and "...showed unto Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said unto Him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve" (Luke 4:5-8).
Notice that the world lies in the lap of the evil one. The devil gained power over the nations when Adam fell. Clearly he has control of the kingdoms of this world if he offered them to Christ. Of course, our Lord exposed the devil's desire to overthrow the plans and purpose of God by quoting the Scriptures. But the anti-christ, whose coming is after the working of Satan, will happily receive control of the nations (Rev. 13:1,2,7). While we know him to be a ruthless dictator who opposes the righteous ways of God, he begins his reign of terror as a man of peace. And, sadly, the world will be predisposed to accept peace at any price.
Having control of the kingdoms of this world, the anti-christ negotiates a peaceful solution with those nations that are at war with one another. Eventually, he forms an alliance with these nations which serve as his seat of authority (Rev. 13:2 cf. 17:9-13). At the same time, the anti-christ strikes a covenant with the nation Israel, which allows her to re-establish the Old Testament sacrificial system. This brings peace to the Middle East.
"And he [the man of sin] shall confirm the covenant with many for one week [7 years]: and in the midst of the week [middle of the Tribulation] 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..." (Dan. 9:27).
The anti-christ will seek to conceal his identity for as long as possible at the beginning of the Tribulation. In other words, he would never be so foolish as to say publicly, "I have come to deceive and rob the nations." This isn't how deception works. Notice that Daniel states: "He shall confirm the covenant with many for one week...." This impostor will establish this peace agreement with "many" in Israel, but not all. While he may deceive the religious leaders and their followers as to his true identity, apparently some in Israel will suspect that he has evil intentions, and rightfully so.
The initial agenda of the anti-christ will be to bring peace to the world, as uncertain and fleeting as that may be. As this false sense of security sweeps across the landscape, the world will wonder after the beast, saying, "Who is like unto the beast?" (Rev. 13:4). But "when they shall say, peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape" (I Thes. 5:3). It quite literally is going to be hell on earth with the wrath of God raining down from heaven and the military machine of the anti-christ crushing anyone or any nation that stands in his path.
"But in his estate shall he honour the God of forces: and a god whom his fathers knew not shall he honour with gold, and silver, and with precious stones, and pleasant things" (Dan. 11:38). In addition to his lavish lifestyle, the anti-christ will honor the God of forces with his wealth. The word "forces" is the Hebrew term "ma'owz" or fortresses. Satan is the god of fortresses or warhe is the author of confusion.
The General who leads the forces of evil into battle in the coming day of the Lord is none other than the anti-christ. His military prowess will make the remarkable accomplishments of Alexander the Great look insignificant. He is the rider on the white horse who goes forth to conquer (Rev. 6:2). And the main objective of this diabolical leader will be to do battle with the saints and destroy the Nation Israel. Little wonder the souls of the martyrs cry out to the Father, "how long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?" (Rev. 6:10).
Daniel also informs us that "neither shall he regard the God of his fathers" (Dan. 11:37). The phrase "God of his fathers" is uniquely Hebrew. The "fathers" is a reference to the patriarchs, namely Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Upon receiving the decree from King Artaxerxes that Israel could return to the land with the gold and silver vessels of the temple, Ezra offered a prayer of thanksgiving:
"Blessed be the LORD God of our fathers, which hath put such a thing as this in the king's heart, to beautify the house of the LORD which is in Jerusalem" (Ezra 7:27).
In relation to the anti-christ, he will have little regard for the "God of his fathers." He'll have absolutely no desire to know Him nor worship Him.