Prophecy Study 9
Identifying Antichrist Part 1
This subject is one of the most important in the Bible. Who is the Antichrist? What does it represent? Is the Antichrist and the Beast of Revelation 13 the same? How can we be sure we are not deceived by it?
What exactly does the Bible say about the Antichrist? The term is only found in 4 places in the entire Bible.
1 John 2:18-19 “Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have arisen; from this we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, in order that it might be shown that they all are not of us.”
1 John 2:22-23 “Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son. Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father; the one who confesses the Son has the Father also.”
1 John 4:2-3 “By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; and this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world.”
2 John 1:7 “For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist.”
The Greek word from which our English word “antichrist” is translated is very simple to understand. It is a simple compound word and means “anti” + “Christ” = “antichrist”. We use the same compound-styled words every day. We have people who are “anti-smoking” or “anti-gay” or “anti-hunting” or “anti-Semitic” or “anti-abortion”. There really is no big mystery as to what the word means. “Anti-Christ” is anyone who opposes Christ.
“The “antichrist” then, has no horns or red glowing eyes. Neither is the “antichrist” some demon possessed super-intelligent human clone. Rather, the “antichrist” is that sweet elderly lady named “Mrs. Jones” living next door who openly teaches the neighborhood kids that Jesus just was a myth.” Steve Rudd. (http://www.bible.ca/D-AntiChrist.htm)
Is this too loose an understanding of what it means to be Antichrist?
Getting a full understanding of what the Bible is talking about is important. So let’s again go to the Bible for answers.
The most serious warning God sends to His people in the last days is found in Revelation 14:9,10, “And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb.” All who worship the beast, or worship its image, or receive the Mark of the Beast will be lost. We know that God loves us, and if He has sent such a serious message, He has also made it abundantly clear who and what this beast represents. It is a life and death matter.
Is the beast also Antichrist? And why?
We spoke before about the Mark of the Beast and that there are plenty of wild speculations about who the beast is, what the beast represents and what the mark of the beast will look like. As we study, I hope to build your faith in the Bible as we let the Bible speak for itself.
In Bible prophecy we are dealing with symbols, and therefore all things must be correctly interpreted. Second Peter 1:19 tells us, “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts.” This is important. A sure word of prophecy. That means if it’s Bible prophecy it will be clear, simple, and sure. No guessing, no speculating, and then verse 20, “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.” The Bible must be its own interpreter. With that background we can safely go into this critical subject.
Let’s go to Revelation 13 and read about this Beast power God has warned us about. Revelation 13: 1-3, “And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and the great authority. And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast.” Now this is a strange beast! Is this a literal animal? No, it’s symbolic, it represents something. The Bible tells us what it is. Let’s get the Bible interpretation of each part.
First it comes from the water or sea. What does water symbolize? In Revelation 17:15 we get the answer. “And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.” The sea in prophecy always symbolizes many nations of people that speak different languages.
Now what about those other strange parts? The body of the leopard, feet of a bear, the head of a lion, and the 10 horns? We must go to the book of Daniel in the Old Testament to understand.
Daniel and Revelation explain each other. You cannot understand either book without the other. Keys are in each. So we will spend a little time in Daniel, and you will see something amazing when we go back to Revelation 13. Let’s turn to Daniel 7. Here we have another prophetic vision. Daniel 7: 2, 3, “Daniel spake and said, I saw in my vision by night, and, behold the four winds of the heaven strove upon the great sea. And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another.”
Then verse 3 says, “Four great beasts came up.” What do beasts represent in prophecy? The answer is in verse 17, “These great beasts, which are four, are four kings, which shall arise out of the earth.” Then verse 23 says, “Thus he said, The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon the earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces.”
That means the first four beasts represents the first four kings and their kingdoms.
We still follow this practice today – animals representing kingdoms. There is the American eagle, the former Russian bear, the Japanese dragon etc.
God says then that four kingdoms will come up. And it’s a fact today that since the days of Babylon when Daniel penned his book there have been only four world kingdoms impacting Gods people. Let’s look closer.
Daniel 7:4, “The first was like a lion, and had eagle’s wings: I beheld till the wings thereof were plucked, and it was lifted up from the earth, and made stand upon the feet as a man, and a man’s heart was given to it.” Who was this first world empire? Babylon, represented by the king of beasts. Wings, in prophecy mean speed (Habakkuk 1:8). Babylon began to rule in 606 B.C. The prophecy begins where our last chapter did, with Babylon, the kingdom Daniel is living in. In the Bible Babylon is referred to as a lion.
Compare 2 Kings 24:1, Jeremiah 51:37-38. Also as the ruins of Babylon have been excavated we see still today many winged lions carved on the walls of that ancient city.
Daniel 7:5, “And behold another beast, a second, like to a bear, and it raised up itself on one side, and it had three ribs in the mouth of it between the teeth of it: and they said thus unto it, Arise, devour much flesh.” Here is the second world empire of Medo-Persia, “raised on one side.” It came up as a joint empire, however, the Persians were stronger than the Medes. The three ribs no doubt symbolize the three Babylonian provinces it conquered of the then known world – Babylonia, Egypt and Lydia. Media-Persia ruled from 538-331 B.C.
Daniel 7:6, “After this I beheld, and lo another, like a leopard, which had upon the back of it four wings of a fowl; the beast had also four heads; and dominion was given to it.” In 331 B.C. the third beast arose. It had four wings representing double speed, a fitting expression of the swiftness of Alexander the Great who quickly conquered the world, and established the empire of Greece. The four heads represent the four temporary kingdoms after Alexander’s death, divided by his four top generals. To the Northern territory went Lysimachus; to the South, Ptolemy; to the East, Seleucus; and to the West, Cassander. Greece ruled from 331 – 168 B.C.
Daniel 7:7, “After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns.” The fourth beast was strange, Daniel had never seen anything like this! He knew a lion, a leopard, and bear, but this was unique! The dreadful iron kingdom was the fourth (verse 23), “Thus he said, The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon the earth, which shall be diverse from all the kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces.” It represents Rome, which ruled from 168 B.C. to 476 A.D.
What about the 10 horns on this fourth beast? Let’s see what they represent.
Daniel 7:24, “And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings.” The 10 horns were 10 kings. We discovered last week, when Rome fell, it divided into 10 parts as the Barbarian tribes swept in. Those 10 tribes were Alamanni (Germany), the Visigoths (Spain), the Franks (France), the Suevi (Portugal), the Burgundians (Switzerland), the Anglo Saxons (England), and the Lombards (Italy). Three no longer exist, the Ostrogoths, Vandals and Heruli.
Ostergoths – The weakness of the Ostrogothic position in Italy now showed itself. The Eastern Roman Emperor Justinian I always strove to restore as much of the Western Roman Empire as he could and certainly would not pass up the opportunity. In 535, he commissioned Belisarius to attack the Ostrogoths. Belisarius quickly captured Sicily and then crossed into Italy where he captured Naples and Rome in 536 and then marched north, taking Mediolanum (Milan) and the Ostrogoth capital of Ravenna in 540.
Vandals – Their kingdom collapsed in the Vandalic War of 533–4, in which Justinian I managed to reconquer the Africa province for the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire.
Heruli – They were defeated by the Romans in 269 AD at or near Naissus (modern Niš in present-day Serbia)
To find out why they do not exist let’s read Daniel 7:8, “I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were THREE of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn (little horn) were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things.” Suddenly there comes up another “little horn” or little kingdom.
These three kingdoms were destroyed by another “little kingdom” arising. Now, who is the little horn? If you really wanted to know, you could ask your history teacher and he could probably tell you what kingdom destroyed the Ostrogoths, Vandals, and Heruli. But we’re going to discover a lot about the little horn as we go on. You will see that this little horn kingdom is the Antichrist beast power – the same as the beast power God warns us about in Revelation 13.
Now we must be very careful and clear in identifying this little kingdom and power. And God has done just that. In the next few verses God will give us ten marks of identification as to who this power is so we won’t speculate, or guess at all.
TEN IDENTIFYING POINTS
- Daniel 7:8. This power comes up “among them.” So now we have it located geographically. The other 10 horns, or kingdoms, were in Western Europe. So if it comes up “among them” it would have to be a little kingdom that comes up somewhere in Western Europe.
- If it came up “among them” it had to come after the year 476 D., because the 10 kingdoms were not there till 476 A. D., after Rome, the fourth beast fell.
- It would be a “little horn” verse 8 or a “little ” Not a big empire like the others, but a little one.
- Daniel 7:8. “it uproots three kingdoms.” We already established that the Ostrogoths, Vandals, and Heruli were these three
- Daniel 7:8. (last part). It has a man at its head and this man SPEAKS FOR IT. Unlike the other horns.
- Daniel 7: It was “diverse” or different. How? He would not only be a government like the others, but different from any systems ever before.
- Daniel 7: It would speak “great words” or “blasphemy.” Revelation 13: 5 says “great words and blasphemy.” Let’s get two Bible definitions of blasphemy. John 10:31-33 says blasphemy is when a man claims to be God. Mark 2:5-7 says blasphemy is when a man claim to have the power to forgive sins. So this “man” at the head of this kingdom would do this.
- Daniel 7:25. He would “wear out the saints.” This power would fight against God, against God’s people, and be a persecuting God’s people would be martyred and slain by it.
- Daniel 7:25. He would “think to change times and laws.” This power would think and try to do away with God’s holy times and That can’t be done, but this power would “think to” and try to change them.
- Daniel 7:25 tells us how long it would rule. It would rule for a “time, times, and dividing of time.” Now that’s a prophetic The Bible tells us how long it is though. Compare Revelation 12: 14 and 12:6 and it equals 1260 days. That means Time is one year, Times is Two years and the Dividing Of Time is a Half A Year, the total is three and a half years. How many days are in three and a half years using the Bible calendar of 30 days to a month? Twelve hundred and sixty days.
Now here’s another key of prophecy. We will unpack this key in the next lesson but remember in prophecy we are dealing with symbolisms. A “day” is also symbolic. It is symbolic of a year (Ezekiel 4:6, Number 14:34). Whenever God spoke prophetically as in these texts, the day for a year principle was followed. This is only in prophetic Scripture. So this power will rule 1260 days or years.
Understanding that this power will want to be worshipped and the whole world is wondering after this beast power, it is probably easy to tell who the beast power is. When you consider our studies over the past few lessons and the ten bible points that we have listed above, it should not be difficult.