Lucifer Masquerades as God
I would have never believed that the world’s religions and nations would be abolished before Jesus returns, but Revelation 13:14 and Revelation 17:12 makes this prediction. Since this may be the first time you have ever considered such a prediction, I am sure you are wondering how these things can happen.
Apocalyptic prophecy predicts a series of coming events which are stranger than fiction. The world during the great tribulation will be a very different place than the world we know today. The Bible predicts a coming world order unlike anything people are anticipating. In a parallel way, the same thing happened in Noah’s day. No one believed tomorrow could be so vastly different from today. This is why we have “the more sure word of prophecy.” God wants His children to study and understand His Word so that when He steps into the affairs of mankind and alters everything we know, we will not be overwhelmed, discouraged, or deceived.
Revelation 9 indicates a time is coming when God will permit Lucifer (the devil, the Antichrist) and his demons to physically appear on Earth. As I understand this subject, Jesus will only permit the devil and his angels to exit from the spirit realm (the Abyss) when two-thirds of the time allotted for the great tribulation has expired. If this is so, Jesus will hold the devil and his angels back until the 891st day of the Great Tribulation arrives. Then, He will release these supernatural beings from the spirit realm and give them physical bodies. When the appointed time arrives, the devil and his angels will descend to Earth from the sky. (Revelation 9:3) This appearing will be brilliant and highly intimidating. So many angels will appear with Lucifer that they will fill the sky from horizon to horizon, like a swarm of locusts. At first, the people of Earth will run for shelter to escape their commanding presence. Then, hundreds of millions will go out and participate in “the greatest deception” to ever occur on Earth.
The Bible tells us that God is love and He is not willing that anyone should perish. This may seem strange, but God intends to use the devil’s physical appearing to save people that would not otherwise choose salvation! Please consider some of God’s objectives during the fifth and sixth trumpets (described in Revelation 9).
God Searches for Precious Souls
Long ago, God thoughtfully and deliberately designed the great tribulation to accomplish several objectives. One of God’s objectives is to save as many people as possible during the 1,260 days allotted to the two witness. (Revelation 11:3) There are two problems with this objective: First, from God’s point of view, all of the religions of the world are blasphemous (insulting) and in darkness (ignorance). Mankind is basically ignorant of God and His truth. Second, God has given each person on Earth the power of choice. Therefore, God intends to use His 144,000 servants to enlighten the world with His truth and judge the living to determine who will and will not be saved. Each person will hear and understand the properties of sin and how to be saved from sin. Once a person receives this knowledge, that person will be in a position to make an informed and intelligent decision about his eternal destiny.
The first two and a half years of the great tribulation will be agonizing. God’s first four judgments (Revelation 8:7-13) will devastate Earth and reduce its population by 25%. Overwhelmed with apocalyptic destruction, the nations of Earth will have to implement martial law shortly after the Great Tribulation begins. To appease God’s wrath, the religious and political leaders of the world will create a crisis government. The book of Revelation calls this government Babylon. It will create and enforce many laws trying to change people’s behavior. Babylon will persecute everyone who refuses to obey its laws. Given the dire consequences of God’s judgments, survival will be questionable and the necessities of life will be few. I believe that for 890 days, the survivors of God’s judgments will hear the 144,000 present the gospel of Jesus. Most people will have made their decision by the 891st day.
I believe that God will continue to keep the devil and his angels in the spirit realm (where they now live) for two-thirds of the 1,335 days allotted for the great tribulation. Lucifer and his demons will only be released for the final one-third of the days (day 891) when people are no longer willing to consider the testimony of the 144,000. When God releases the devil and his angels, it will be a powerful “game changer.” The devil’s physical appearing along with millions of angels will produce a situation which the world has never seen.
When the devil appears, he will masquerade as Almighty God. Claiming to be God, he will travel the world for five months, winning the confidence of billions through signs and wonders and appearing to be holy, righteous, generous, forgiving, and gracious. His appearance and actions will deceive a large portion of the world. Pretending to be Almighty God, the devil will perform amazing miracles, even calling fire down out of Heaven to prove his assumed divinity. He will quickly grow in popularity and most of the world’s population will admire, adore, and worship him. Millions of wicked people will bow down before him in humble obedience.
Currently, many nonreligious people on Earth (atheists, agnostics, etc.) do not believe there is a God and they will continue to deny there is a God even when Lucifer walks on the Earth! During the five months allotted to the fifth trumpet, Lucifer’s demons will have a specific task to eliminate the “infidels.” The demons will find and torture the “infidels” with indescribable pain. Thus, during the fifth trumpet, a large percentage of nonreligious people will capitulate and join those who “believe” that Lucifer is Almighty God. There will be only one antidote for this demonic torture. If a person surrenders to the gospel of Jesus, Jesus will not permit the devil’s demons to torture him any further. The demons will torture and eliminate many infidels during the fifth trumpet. Millions of infidels will join forces with Lucifer (to escape demonic torture), but a few will wake up, surrender to Jesus Christ, and be saved!
Notice Paul’s comment about this coming event. Paul describes Lucifer as the “lawless one” (or KJV, “man of sin”) because Lucifer will not be subject to any laws but his own. He will do as he pleases and given his incredible powers, no one will be able to obstruct or thwart his actions:
“The coming of the lawless one [will appear to be a divine event, but the devil’s actions] will be in accordance with the work of Satan [who he really is] displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion 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 9:9-12, insertion and italics mine)
We will consider two matters from this passage. First, Paul says the wicked “refused to love the truth and so be saved.” His language indicates an element that many people overlook. The appearing of the lawless one occurs for a specific reason. Before Lucifer can appear, the world will hear the gospel and reject it. We know the world will hear the gospel and rebel against it because God does not assign guilt to a person for something that he does not know and has not heard. (See James 4:17.)
Second, because the wicked refused to accept the truth and be saved, God sends a “game changer,” a powerful delusion so that all wicked people will believe the lie and be condemned. From the beginning God predetermined that the living would be thoroughly tested during the great tribulation to see who will choose to live by faith and be saved. Because every person has the power of choice, each person will have to make a choice. The response to the testimony of Jesus spoken through the lips of the 144,000 will determine the eternal destiny of each person.
After two and one half years of dealing with hardship and survival, many wicked people will shrug off and ignore the testimony of the 144,000. When the distribution of the gospel stalls, Jesus will release the devil. The world’s population will see and feel the devil’s brilliant presence and counterfeit miracles. Masquerading as Almighty God, the devil will solicit adoration and worship. Those who love wickedness will receive the devil as their savior. Meanwhile, the devil’s demons will seek out infidels and torture them into submission. However, many infidels will realize their need of the Savior allowing Jesus to rescue many precious people during the fifth trumpet.
The Devil will Abolish the Religions and Nations of the World
When the five months allotted to the fifth trumpet ends, the devil’s deceit will be over and he will suddenly change behavior and character. The primary change is that during the sixth trumpet, the devil and his forces will be permitted to kill people. In fact, the Bible indicates Lucifer’s forces will kill one-third of mankind. (Revelation 9:15) The devil will kill His opposition which includes many saints, the remaining “infidels” and many wicked people! The saints will defy the devil’s authority and blasphemous claims. They know Lucifer is the devil, the Antichrist. The infidels will defy Lucifer’s ambition to establish a global church/state. In addition, many religious people who rejected the 144,000 and their testimony for Jesus will defy Lucifer’s declaration that abolishes the religions of the world.
Lucifer will give orders to abolish the religions and governments of the world at the sixth trumpet for two simple reasons. First, when God Himself lives among men, there is no room for religious plurality (people having different views about God’s will). Second, because Lucifer intends to rule over mankind as Almighty God, he is opposed to religious diversity. (2 Thessalonians 2:4) Lucifer will demand that everyone worship and obey him or die. The image to the beast mentioned in Revelation 13:14 is Lucifer’s one world church state. He will rule over the world as “King of kings (ruler over political matters) and Lord of lords” (ruler over spiritual matters). There will be one lord, one faith and one baptism. Anyone resisting membership in Lucifer’s one world church state will be considered part of the opposition and will be killed. (Revelation 13:15)
A one world government cannot exist when governments and national boundaries exist. Therefore, Lucifer will eliminate the governments of the world by dividing the world into ten sectors and appoint ten puppet kings over these ten sectors.
The first four trumpets (Revelation 8:7-13) will destroy much of the world’s infrastructure. Communication, travel, banking, manufacturing, and energy will become nonexistent. When the devil appears on Earth at the fifth trumpet, his agenda will be to destroy the world in general and God’s saints in particular. This is why in John’s vision he is given the titles, Abaddon and Apollyon in Revelation 9:11. These titles mean “the destroyer.”
God permits the devil to abolish the religions and nations of the world to fulfill God’s objective for the great tribulation to save the largest possible number of people. During the fifth trumpet, Jesus permits the devil to torture the infidels so that this group of people will realize their need of a Savior. During the sixth trumpet, Jesus permits the devil to abolish all of the religions and nations of the world so that there can be no impediment to accepting the gospel of Christ. One of the greatest impediments to receiving a new gospel is the existence of an old gospel, or as some people might call it, “old time religion.” Many good-hearted people would rather cling to their “old time religion” than to embrace God’s advancing truth. When Lucifer abolishes and outlaws all of the “old time religions,” a huge obstacle for accepting God’s “present gospel truth” will be removed. People will find themselves having to choose between God’s truth and the devil’s lies. Lucifer will not permit past traditions and the practice of “old time religion!”
Because the first four trumpets will destroy a large part of each nation, all governments will be in disarray and ineffective during the Great Tribulation. So, the devil will dictate that all governments be abolished. He will establish his one world church state by dividing the world into groups of one thousand people and he will place captains over each group that are loyal to him. (Dividing people into groups of a thousand was a common practice in ancient times. It is an efficient way to logistically manage a multitude of people and also keeps any one group from becoming powerful. See Exodus 18:21,25; Numbers 31:14; 1 Samuel 22:7 and 1 Samuel 29:2.) There will be no constitution. There will be no Bill of Rights, no Congress, and no court of appeal. The devil will have total control over the people of the world at the micro level, down to groups of one-thousand people. When the devil has implemented this control mechanism, he will offer survival to everyone who swears total loyalty to him and his government. Those refusing to go along will be killed. Thus, one-third of each group will be killed and the remaining 666 people in each group will wear a tattoo on their right hand showing the number “666.” This means they have declared their loyalty to Lucifer and they will be permitted to live. They will be considered Lucifer’s property.
The good news is that during this final hour of salvation, a few people will give up their “old time religion.” They will wake up and realize their desperate need of a Savior; a God whose ways are righteous and whose eternal government is based on principles of love. When these last few sheep come out of Babylon, God’s offer of mercy will end. The seven bowls will then fall and Jesus will appear. He will return Lucifer and his angels to the Abyss and destroy the wicked by the breath of His mouth (a command that comes out of His mouth, represented in Revelation as a doubled edged sword). Then, He will resurrect the righteous dead and gather the remaining saints. They will meet the Lord in the air and return with Jesus to the Holy City for 1,000 years. At the end of the 1,000 years, Jesus will break the seventh seal and every living being will see the final revelation of Jesus!