Sunday nights we have been walking with Daniel verse by verse. No book in the Old Testament has a more prophetic theme than that of Daniel. The books of Daniel and Revelation go hand in hand because of the prophetic content and predictions. Recently, we began chapter 7 and one of the characters in the dream Daniel received was a “little horn.” This is the Anti-Christ. No one knows who the Anti-Christ is! No one! All through the ages, since the time of the early church, there have been men willing to take up that mantle. It is usually those men who are drunk with evil ambition, and they will make any sacrifice or decision needed if it brings to them more and more power. In the early church, 1st century, Nero was often thought to be the Anti-Christ. During the Reformation many protestant leaders thought it was the Pope. In the 20th century, many Christians claimed several different personalities to be this man. Mussolini, Stalin, Hitler and even Kissinger were all names bandied about as being the Anti-Christ. No one knows when Jesus is to return including Satan, so there must always be a man in the waiting with a willingness to assume the role. I’m sure since we are now in the 21st century there are those willing to fill the position. Lord Acton famously spoke about “absolute power corrupting absolutely.”
The Tribulation is a seven-year period of judgment. It progressively gets worse and worse and the main character during this time is called the Anti-Christ. There are several other names attributed to this man but the one that is most popular, Anti-Christ, is used only once in the New Testament (I John 2:18). Way back, back in elementary and early Jr. high, I was taught about prefixes and suffixes. The prefix anti carries the idea of opposition. In politics we see this playing out daily. We have groups of people that are openly opposed to the police. They would be called anti-police. The Anti-Christ is openly opposed to Christ. Every single energy and idea this man has is opposed to the Lord Jesus. This same prefix, anti, can also mean to take the place of. This is exactly what this man will seek to do, set himself up as God.
What are some of the other names attributed to him in the Bible? II Thessalonians 2:3 refers to him as the “man of lawlessness.” He operates outside the bounds of law. We see this spirit demonstrated over and over. It begins with rejecting parental authority, religious authority, governmental authority, and finally it sets itself against God’s authority. Revelation 13 & 17 refers to this man as “the beast.” In Daniel 7:8 he is called the “little horn” which we have already alluded to. If you read Daniel 7 you will see his pride, hostility toward God, and his aggressive nature toward the people of God all on display. He will have a keen intellect and be a great orator. He is also called “the Lie” & “that Wicked” in II Thessalonians 2: 8; 11. There are more names you will find if you dig a little on your own.
What will his career be like? I think you can divide his tenure into four parts.
First, just before the Tribulation begins he will be revealed. Most fundamental, conservative Bible scholars believe he will come from the geographical area of the old Roman Empire. Therefore, he will be from a Western country and not Eastern. When I say Eastern, I mean he won’t hail from Israel, Russia, Egypt, or a country in that part of the world. The reason for their belief is based on Daniel 7 and “the little horn.” In this chapter the Anti-Christ will conquer three nations and possibly seven others will submit to him. He will enter a seven-year-covenant with Israel during this time. This is simply a deception.
Second, the first phase of the Tribulation will be the first half, exactly half. The duration is known because the Bible declares the time. Somewhere near the midway point, this man will be assassinated (Revelation 13:3,12,14). He will be restored to life and will immediately be worshipped. The seven-year treaty with Israel will be broken at this point.
Third, during the final 3.5 years of his rule he will be dominant world-wide. He will achieve what others have not been able to accomplish. He will hound the people of Israel and those that trust Christ during the Tribulation relentlessly. The judgments of God will fall mostly during this phase. The seals, the trumpet, and the bowl judgments will be mostly poured out during this time.
Fourth, as this “man of sin” marshals his armies in the valley of Megiddo to destroy Israel, his career is finished by the coming of Christ, lightning fast. Revelation 19 gives us the details. Christ comes back, the battle of Armageddon takes place and according to Revelation 19:20 the Anti-Christ becomes the first occupant of the Lake of Fire.
What are we to do as Christians? Don’t worry. The Bible teaches we are not appointed to wrath. Revelation 4 teaches that God’s people, those saved, born-again believers will be “caught up”. Critics of the rapture often say that no such word is found in the bible. That is true. But the act itself is found. I Thessalonians 4:17 uses the phrase “caught up”. In Latin the word rapturo means to be caught up. The Christians living in the Roman world would use this word describing the truth Paul had written to the Thessalonians. This tribulation begins after God’s people are in heaven. So, don’t worry. What else should we do? Take the Gospel of Christ and share it with family and friends. The only thing you’ll be able to take with you to Heaven is someone else. All your “stuff” is staying here when the trumpet sounds at the Rapture. Lastly, walk with God every single day. Spend time with the Lord, fellowshipping with Him. Walking with the Lord in sweet fellowship gives you a peace you won’t receive watching the latest talking head clip on CNN or Fox. We don’t stick our heads in the sand, we pay attention to the times we find ourselves, but we don’t fret excessively. The Lord’s got this all under control. He is still God, so who really cares who the Anti-Christ might be? My plans are to be gone before his name is announced.