This is Part 1 of the series about the antichrist and the mark of the beast.
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There are thirteen questions in this booklet which we hope you will take a moment to answer as you consider this timely message. When selecting your answers, be careful. There may be multiple sentences starting with the same three words. The author’s answers are listed at the end of the booklet. May God bless you as you study this fascinating topic!
Part I – The Man of Lawlessness
Who is the Antichrist?
For more than 500 years, people have speculated and prognosticated over the identity of the Antichrist. Since medieval times, Protestants have claimed it was a particular pope or the Office of the Pope. Others have said he will be a man born in Europe that gains control over the U.N. Some people thought he was Mikhail Gorbachev, Napoleon, Hitler, or Nero. Others believe it is the president of the United States. There has been endless confusion on the identity of the Antichrist because it was not time for the truth to be known – until now. “With God, timing is everything.”
God has a consistent mechanism that terminates prophetic speculation. It works like this: When the time arrives for the fulfillment of Bible prophecy, those who seek truth discover the intended meaning of His Word! “Progressive revelation” makes this process possible and the result is “present truth.” Present truth is like a seed that lies dormant beneath the surface and when the time is right, it springs up! Paul’s ministry was based on “progressive revelation and the “present truth” it produced. Consider his words: “The message I proclaim about Jesus Christ, [is] in keeping with the revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages past, but now revealed and made known through the prophetic writings by the command of the eternal God.” (Romans 16:25-27, italics and insertion mine)
We also find “progressive revelation” in the book of Daniel. God “sealed up” the book of Daniel “until the appointed time of the end.” (Daniel 12:4,9) Now that the four rules governing prophetic interpretation have been discovered, present truth has appeared! God has something to say to the final generation about the identity of the Antichrist because with God, timing is everything.
Question #1: Please circle the first three words of the sentence that best describes the mechanism that produces “present truth.”
The Bible teaches the coming Antichrist will be a fallen angel. He is the devil; also called Satan. He was the first to become anti-Christ and he will be the last angel burning in Hell. When he appears, the Antichrist will be the worst nightmare the world has ever experienced. He will be a thousand times more evil than Hitler. People will see the devil and his demons because God will give them physical bodies at the appointed time! Masquerading as a glorious Almighty God, the devil will deceive billions of people with mighty miracles, signs and wonders. He will call fire down from Heaven at will to confirm his lies and empty promises.
After the Antichrist does a five-month charade of traveling the world, healing the sick, feeding the hungry, and performing mighty miracles and amazing wonders, he will suddenly gain enough believers to turn the world upside down. At a precise point in time (hour, day, month, and year), Jesus will allow the devil to impose demonic authority over the entire world. The Antichrist will abolish all governments and religions to set up a new global government and worldwide religion. Circumstances will be dire: Obey and live or disobey and die.
The Antichrist will promise a thousand years of peace and prosperity, but his kingdom will amount to endless exhaustion, sorrow, suffering, and death. He will put to death everyone who refuses to obey his cruel orders if captured. Stalin may have killed 7 million people, Hitler may have killed 12 million people, and Mao may have killed 42 million people, but the Bible says the Antichrist will kill one-third of mankind! (Revelation 9:15) The Antichrist will have no regard for man’s laws. Even worse, mankind cannot kill, stop, or contain him.
The following sentence may not seem important, but think about this: God took the form of “a man” to save the world; God will permit the devil to take the form of “a man” to destroy it.
We will examine important facts about the coming Antichrist in this series of studies. Be sure to visit our website to read all of this exciting series. We hope you will also order some booklets for sharing. While supplies last, they are free except for a small postage and handling fee (limits and intervals also apply).
Question #2: Please circle the first three words of the sentence that best explains why the Antichrist will abolish the governments and religions of the world.
Why Will God Permit the Antichrist to Appear?
The Bible declares that God is love and God is changeless. This changeless God of love destroyed all but eight people with a flood in Noah’s day. How do we reconcile His actions with His character? The Bible answers: “The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the Earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time. The Lord regretted that He had made human beings on the Earth, and His heart was deeply troubled. So the Lord said, ‘I will wipe from the face of the Earth the human race I have created – and with them the animals, the birds and the creatures that move along the ground – for I regret that I have made them.’ But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.” (Genesis 6:5-8) About five hundred years after Noah’s flood, the Bible indicates that God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah for the same reason He destroyed the world in Noah’s day: “Now the people of Sodom were wicked and were sinning greatly against the Lord.” (Genesis 13:13) Jump forward to the end of the age, a changeless God of love will destroy wicked people at the end of the thousand years. In fact, the Bible says, “In number they [the wicked] are like the sand on the seashore.” (Revelation 20:8, insertion mine)
Contrary to what scoffers say, God is not a tyrant, He is not arbitrary or cruel. God loves people more deeply than we can love anyone, even our own children. Although many people do not understand God’s reasons, He sent His Son to the cross to redeem repentant sinners! However, scoffers do not understand how a changeless God of love has to deal with the sinful nature and a pattern that all societies follow.
God loves oncoming generations just as much as He loves the present one. When a generation or group of people becomes decadent, defiant, violent, and sexually immoral, God knows the following generation will be worse because the curse of sin does this to humanity. To end the downward spiral that wickedness produces, God ends decadent behavior with destruction. Destruction may come through water and fire (as in Noah’s day and with Sodom and Gomorrah); it may come through God’s four judgments: sword, famine, plague and wild beasts (Ezekiel 14:21); or it may come through a man, a person whom God empowers as a destroyer.
Question #3: Please circle the first three words of the sentence that best explains why God destroys people.
One day, God spoke to Jonah. “ ‘Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me’ . . . Now Nineveh was a very large city; it took three days to go through it. Jonah began by going a day’s journey into the city, proclaiming, ‘Forty more days and Nineveh will be overthrown.’ ” (Jonah 1:2; 3:3,4) Even though that generation repented, subsequent generations returned to their wicked ways. (Nahum 1:14) God responded by sending King Nebuchadnezzar to destroy that huge city. God also used King Nebuchadnezzar to destroy Jerusalem and His own people! The Lord even calls the pagan king my servant: “ ‘I will summon all the peoples of the north and my servant Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon,’ declares the Lord, ‘and I will bring them against this land [Judea] and its inhabitants and against all the surrounding nations. I will completely destroy them and make them an object of horror and scorn, and an everlasting ruin.’ ” (Jeremiah 25:9; see also Leviticus 26:27-35, italics and insertion mine) In the same manner, God later raised Kings Darius and Cyrus to destroy Babylon. (Jeremiah 25:12; Isaiah 45:1) Later still, God raised Alexander the Great up to destroy the Persian Empire. (Daniel 8:20,21)
There are several Bible examples in which God empowered a person as His destroyer. A changeless God of love hates to do this, but He loves oncoming generations as much as the present generation. God destroys a group of people when they reach a point in decadence and defiance when extended mercy has no redeeming effect, so He sends destruction. This will be the situation when the Antichrist appears. God’s continued mercy is pointless, so He will release the devil and his demons from the Abyss (the spirit realm). God’s primary purpose for releasing a worldwide destroyer will be the destruction of everything that mankind has created: “They [the demons] had as king over them the angel of the Abyss, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon and in Greek is Apollyon (that is, [for Jew and Gentile alike, His name means] Destroyer).” (Revelation 9:11, italics and insertions mine)
Question #4: Please circle the first three words of the sentence that best explains God purpose for releasing the devil and his demons from the Abyss.
A Fallen Angel Will Appear as a Man!
It may seem strange that the devil is the Antichrist and he will physically appear in the form of a man during the Great Tribulation. If the Bible did not teach this, I would not believe it, but Isaiah declares the origin, the deeds, and the fate of the devil. Before we consider the details, you need to first understand that Isaiah’s comments have a timely setting. Isaiah speaks as though he is observing the devil at the end of the age, when the devil is destroyed. This perspective is important because at that time, and only at that time, will everyone actually see the devil and consider his fate. The only generation that sees the devil and his demons in physical form is the final generation.
Isaiah begins: “How you have fallen from Heaven, morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the Earth, you who once laid low the nations! (Isaiah 14:12) Isaiah is struck by the height and depth of the devil’s experience. The devil lived in Heaven before he was cast out. He is called “son of the dawn” because he was the first created being. He is called “morning star” because he was the brightest and most gifted angel. Isaiah continues: “you who once laid low the nations.” This language indicates this fallen angel destroyed the nations of the world.
Daniel adds, “He will cause astounding devastation and will succeed in whatever he does.” (Daniel 8:24) This is not surprising, for John wrote in Revelation 9:11, his name means “destroyer.”
God reveals the devil’s thoughts and motives through Isaiah: “You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to the Heavens; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of Mount Zaphon [this mountain is also known as Jebel Aqra. This mountain has a long history as a sacred mountain. It is located on the border with Turkey and Syria and has an elevation of 5,633 feet. In ancient times, the Canaanites believed the “storm god” lived at the top of this mountain, that is, destruction originated from this mountain.]. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’ ” (Isaiah 14:13,14, insertion mine) More than anything, the devil wants the rights and prerogatives that belong only to God.
Isaiah explains his fate: “But you [son of the dawn, who aspired to raise your throne above the stars of God and make yourself like the Most High] are brought down to the realm of the dead, to the depths of the pit [that is, this mighty and gifted angel can sink no lower physically or in esteem. He is thrown into the pit (a mass gave) with the rest of God’s enemies]. Those who see you stare at you, they ponder your fate: ‘Is this the man who shook the Earth and made kingdoms tremble, the man who made the world a wilderness, who overthrew its cities and would not let his captives go home?’ ” (Isaiah 14:15-17, insertion and italics mine)
These sentences bring several facts together. First, Isaiah describes an angel who was the first to be created, whose gifts and abilities made him the morning star (the brightest star), and who once lived in Heaven. This angel shook the Earth, made kingdoms tremble, overthrew its cities, and made it a wilderness. Although he is a supernatural being, he is mortal and he is brought down to the realm of the dead. At the end of the age, when everyone can stare at him, they ask twice, “Is this the man?” because the devil will be in the form of a man! The phrase, he “would not let his captives go home” means that during his reign of terror, he will not release anyone from the prison he creates. When God permits the devil and his demons to appear, their mission will be death and destruction. The Bible gives us advance notice: They plan to kill the saints, torture their captives, and destroy the world.
Through the ages, God used the desires of kings to accomplish his purposes. For example, King Nebuchadnezzar wanted to destroy the governments of Nineveh, Tyre, and Jerusalem so that his authority would be absolute. Darius and Cyrus destroyed the government of Babylon so their authority would be absolute. Hitler attempted to destroy the governments of Europe (including Russia) so that his authority would be absolute. God will release the devil and his demons from the Abyss to do what he has wanted to do for 6,000 years. They want to rule the world, so they will abolish the governments of the world, kill the saints, and torture the captives. Jesus, who is now holding the devil back, will release a worldwide destroyer when the time arrives. “And now you know what is holding him back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time.” (2 Thessalonians 2:6)
Question #5: Please circle the first three words of the sentence that best describes the devil’s motives.
Question #6: Please circle the first three words of the sentence that best describes the devil’s mission.
When Will the Antichrist Appear?
Before the Antichrist appears, a great enlightenment will occur around the world. During the Great Tribulation, God will send four testing messages throughout the Earth. He will pour the Holy Spirit out on “all people.” (Joel 2:28-30) God will speak through His servants (the 144,000). Every nation, kindred, tongue, and people will hear these four messages. These messages will weigh heavily on each heart because the Holy Spirit will make them pivotal. I use the word “pivotal” to indicate everyone will either turn to God in genuine repentance and submission to His will or turn against Him. These four messages will tear families, cities, and nations apart. Jesus said, “And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.” (Matthew 19:29) Understanding this this coming enlightenment is important because God will use it to separate the “sheep” from the “goats.” Those who love God and His truth will suffer persecution. Those who refuse to obey the four messages will become furious with the 144,000 and those who align with them because those who disobey will be filled with defiance and rebellion.
I have introduced this upcoming enlightenment and the rebellion it causes because Paul indicates “the rebellion” will occur before a diabolical man appears: “Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day [the Second Coming] will not come [a] until the rebellion occurs and [b] the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.” (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4, insertions and italics mine)
Consider the five specifications Paul gives in these two verses. First, the title for this man is paramount. He will be a lawless man. He will not respect the laws of man. He will do as he pleases because he knows no one is powerful enough to stop him. Second, he will seem to be indestructible, but he will be destroyed after he has served his purpose. Daniel adds to this: “He will become very strong, but not by his own power. He will cause astounding devastation and will succeed in whatever he does. He will destroy those who are mighty, the holy people [the 144,000]. He will cause deceit to prosper, and he will consider himself superior. When they feel secure, he will destroy many and take his stand against the Prince of princes [Jesus]. Yet he will be destroyed, but not by human power.” (Daniel 8:24-25, italics and insertions mine) Third, Paul says the man of lawlessness will “oppose and exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped.” The man of lawlessness will oppose the religions of the world (Catholicism, Islam, Hinduism, Protestantism, Judaism, etc.). He will oppose them because he will set up his own religion. He will also abolish the governments of the world because his laws and powers are above the laws and powers of mankind. Fourth, he will set himself up in God’s temple, demanding worship that belongs to God. I will address this specification in the next section. Last, he will proclaim himself to be God. This specification explains the previous specifications. The man of lawlessness will masquerade as Almighty God. He will have powers and abilities that human beings do not have! He will be more evil than Hitler and cause astounding devastation.
Question #7: Please circle the first three words of the sentence that best justifies the behavior of the man of lawlessness.
Question #8: Please circle the first three words of the sentence that best explains why the man of sin is opposed to the religions of the world.
Paul continues: “The coming of the lawless one will be [brilliant and glorious, like the Second Coming, but it will be a great deception, this is] in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie [that he is God], and [he will use] all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they [heard the four messages delivered by the 144,000, but] refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion [the delusion is the man of lawlessness who masquerades as Almighty God] so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.” (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12, insertions mine)
Question #9: Please circle the first three words of the sentence that best explains why God sends this delusion: A lawless man, claiming to be God.
“He Sets Himself Up in God’s Temple”
Paul says the man of lawlessness will set himself up in God’s temple. Many people interpret Paul’s words to mean the temple in Jerusalem will be rebuilt. Paul’s words do not support this anticipation. God sealed Temple Mount in the seventh century by giving it to the Muslims.
Paul speaks about something much larger and more important than the Temple Mount. Isaiah, David, John and Paul understood that God’s throne is within His temple. (See Isaiah 6:1, Psalm 11:4,5 and Revelation 7:15.) This arrangement produces a perfect church/state (a theocracy) where God is both king of kings and lord of lords. He rules as king from His throne and He is worshiped as God in His temple. His authority and truth go out from His throne that is in the temple.
Paul predicts the man of lawlessness will set up a throne and rule over Earth as its king. He will also demand worship that belongs to God. The result will be a counterfeit theocracy. Because the devil will be opposed to all that is worshiped or called God, he will have zero interest in Jerusalem or Israel. He will also have zero interest in Mecca, Vatican City, or Washington, D.C. The Antichrist and his demons will be traveling constantly. The Bible teaches the throne and temple of the Father is not located at a fixed address. (Ezekiel 1; Revelation 20:1; 21:22) In like manner, the throne and temple of the Antichrist will be wherever he is. The devil and his demons will appear anywhere at any time because of their supernatural power. (Ephesians 2:2; Revelation 9:3)
Question #10: Please circle the first three words of the sentence that best explains why geography will be unimportant to the Antichrist’s throne.
The Man of Lawlessness Is an Angel
The book of Isaiah reveals a fallen angel aspired to make himself like the Most High and in the process, made the world a wilderness. When he is brought down to the realm of the dead, people will ask, “Is this the man that shook the Earth, made the world a wilderness, and would not let his captives go home?” Paul declared the man of lawlessness will set himself in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God. Paul also adds the man of lawlessness will be a great delusion sent from God to deceive the wicked with miracles, signs, and wonders. John tells us an angel king will appear and his name means “destroyer.”
If there is any doubt remaining about the identity of the Antichrist, Ezekiel should put your doubt to rest. To begin, please notice that Ezekiel’s comments are directed toward the authentic ruler of the wicked city of Tyre. When God gave this prophecy, the visible ruler of Tyre was merely the devil’s hand puppet. The Lord saw the devil’s success in leading this great city into wickedness. Therefore the Lord directed His comments to the authentic ruler of Tyre (the devil is not called the Prince of this World for nothing!): “Son of man, say to the [authentic] ruler of Tyre, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: In the pride of your heart you say, “I am a god; I sit on the throne of a god in the heart of the seas [a phrase meaning, “adored in the hearts of the people].” But you are a mere mortal and not a god, though you think you are as wise as a god.’ ” (Ezekiel 28:2, insertions mine) The Lord reminded the devil that he is not a god; he is a mere mortal. The devil cannot keep himself alive. Only deities are self-existing. They alone have the power to live endlessly and to give life. The Lord condemned the devil’s arrogance saying, “You think you are as wise as a god.” If the devil is as wise as he thinks, he would not have chosen the course he is on, because his destruction is certain and inescapable.
“You were anointed as a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you. You were on the holy mount of God; you walked among the fiery stones. You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created till wickedness was found in you.” (Ezekiel 28:14,15) The Lord reminded the devil that he was created blameless, but over time he chose to become evil. He deliberately and defiantly made decisions that resulted in his eviction from Heaven. Even though all beings start off blameless, we are accountable to God for our choices and conduct! Our response to the Holy Spirit determines our eternal destiny.
Question #11: Please circle the first three words of the sentence that best describes how all of God’s creation start.
Question #12: Please circle the first three words of the sentence that describes how our eternal destiny is determined.
“Through your widespread trade you were filled with violence, and you sinned. So I drove you in disgrace from the mount of God, and I expelled you, guardian cherub, from among the fiery stones.” (Ezekiel 28:16) The devil and his angels were humiliated when God expelled them from Heaven. Even though the devil was a guardian cherub (the highest position in Heaven that a created being could have), his position meant nothing when wickedness was found within him.
“Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor. So I threw you to the Earth; I made a spectacle of you before kings. By your many sins and dishonest trade you have desecrated your sanctuaries.” (Ezekiel 28:17,18) The devil was the first angel created. He was the most gifted angel ever created. His beauty, talents, and position were above the rest. Jesus confronted the devil with his disaffection and rebellion many times before he was cast out of Heaven. This is why the devil hates Christ with a passion. The devil was the first to become anti-Christ and his hatred has been all-consuming for 6,000 years. He is condemned because he has used his great powers and evil influence to ruin and contaminate both Heaven and Earth (his sanctuaries – his dwelling places).
Question #13: Please circle the first three words of the sentence that best describes the devil’s hatred for Jesus.
“So I made a fire come out from you, and it consumed you, and I reduced you to ashes on the ground in the sight of all who were watching. All the nations who knew you are appalled at you; you have come to a horrible end and will be no more.” (Ezekiel 28:18,19) God has a special punishment for Lucifer at the end of the 1,000 years. He will be burned with fire from the inside out. He will suffer according to the amount of suffering he has caused. His end will be horrible and after justice has been served, the devil will be no more. “ ‘Surely the day is coming; it will burn like a furnace. All the arrogant and every evildoer will be stubble, and the day that is coming will set them on fire,’ says the Lord Almighty. ‘Not a root or a branch will be left to them.’ ” (Malachi 4:1)
The time has come for speculation to end. Present truth has appeared. The Bible speaks clearly: The Antichrist is the devil, also called Satan. He is the angel king from the Abyss (spirit realm). He will appear in the form of a man, but he will be no ordinary man. He will be lawless. He will set up his own government and religion and rule over the whole Earth. He is a destroyer. He will turn the world into a wilderness.
A great enlightenment is coming and a great rebellion will follow. During this rebellion, the Antichrist will appear. He will be the world’s worst nightmare, killing one-third of mankind! When a group of people become defiant and God knows that extended mercy will have no redeeming effect, He sends destruction. As it was in Noah’s day, it now is. The devil was first to be anti-Christ and he will be the last “man” burning in Hell. God took the form of a man to save the world; the devil will take the form of man to destroy it.
Please read Part 2 as soon as possible.
Answers to Study Questions:
- Progressive revelation makes
- The Antichrist will
- To end the
- God’s primary purpose
- More than anything
- The Bible gives
- Last, he will
- He will oppose
- They perish because
- In like manner
- 1 Even though all
- Our response to
- Jesus confronted the
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