The Antichrist and His Kingdom
The True Messiah was warning the spiritually blind children of Israel that a counterfeit messiah would come in the future and that they would receive him with open arms. Today we are going to look at the kingdom of this coming ruler we call the Antichrist.
WHERE DOES THE ANTICHRIST COME FROM, NATIONALLY AND POLITICALLY?
The first question that naturally arises when attempting to determine the nationality of the Antichrist is this: Will he of Jewish or Gentile descent?
One argument that is sometimes proposed is that the Antichrist will be Jewish. Stated in a syllogism, this argument goes as follows:
Major premise: The Jews will accept the Antichrist as the Messiah.
The difficulties of such an argument are many, not the least of which are the premises. I am not sure that either premise is supported by the Bible. Just because the Jews make a covenant with the Antichrist (as stated in Daniel 9:27), it doesn't follow that they accept him as the Messiah, at least not at that point in time. Secondly, since they are not accepting him as Messiah, the fact that he is a Gentile peacemaker is irrelevant. Thus, the conclusion does not follow.
Also, Biblical imagery actually supports a gentile origin of the Antichrist. Scripture pictures him as rising up out of the sea (Revelation 13:1; 17:15).
Revelation 13:1 NIV
1 And the dragon stood on the shore of the sea. And I saw a beast coming out of the sea. He had ten horns and seven heads, with ten crowns on his horns, and on each head a blasphemous name.
In prophetic literature, the sea is used consistently as a symbol of the Gentile nations. (See Daniel 7:3; Luke 21:25; Revelation 17:1) Daniel 7:3 speaks about four Gentile world kingdoms rising out of the sea. Thus, the Antichrist is seen as have a Gentile ancestry.
Later, I will probably say more about the prophetic picture of one who rises out of the sea. Let me make just a few comment here in this regard. In an earlier lesson, when we read the entirety of Revelation 13, we took note there were two beasts mentioned. The first begins in verse 1 and the second begins in verse 11. We also noted, as well, that these two beasts rise from two different locations.
The Bible does not only teach that the Antichrist will be a gentile, it also implies he will be of Roman descent. By that, I mean his ancestry will be from among the ancient Roman Empire. When the 7-year treaty is offered to the Jews, the one drawing up the covenant is from the revived Roman Empire. The first beast of Revelation 13, the Antichrist, rises out of the sea. The second beast, the False Prophet, rises out of the land.
I mentioned a moment ago that in prophetic literature, the sea represents gentile nations. But the land represents Israel. This would seem to indicate that whereas the Antichrist is not a Jew, the False Prophet might be. More about that later.
Look again at Revelation 13:1. NIV
1 And the dragon stood on the shore of the sea. And I saw a beast coming out of the sea. He had ten horns and seven heads, with ten crowns on his horns, and on each head a blasphemous name.
Some people avoid the study of end-time prophecy because they feel it is impossible to understand all the symbols used. During this lesson, I hope that you will see that by comparing Scripture with Scripture, we are able to make sense out of the various images its writers give us. Some people give you the impression that you need 2 PhDs and a working knowledge of Hebrew and Greek in order to understand the Bible -- even more so with all the imagery found in the book of Revelation. While educational credentials might be helpful, they are certainly not essential. The Bible is meant for everyone to understand, not just some select group.
Notice what is recorded in Revelation 1:3 NIV
3 Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.
The Book of Revelation may be a difficult and demanding book to read, and yet, it is the only biblical book whose author promises a blessing to those who read it and keep its saying. Would God have told us about this blessing that comes from reading and keeping what this Book says, if indeed the meaning and understanding of its words were to be hidden from us? How would we ever keep what it says if we don't understand what it means? Additionally, I mentioned that with regard to the symbols and images of prophecy, that the Bible itself will serve to help us interpret what they mean.
We will start with the images given in Revelation 13:1. The beast coming out of the sea has 10 horns.
WHAT DO THE HORNS REPRESENT IN REVELATION 13:1?
In prophecy, horns are symbolic of kings or kingdoms. How do we know that? As you have heard me say several times today, other Passages in the Bible make this symbol very understandable. There are 3 other passages that speak directly about these 10 horns. Firstly, let's take a look at Revelation 17.
Revelation 17:12-13 (NIV) is referring back to what John wrote in Revelation 13:1.
12 The ten horns you saw are ten kings who have not yet (at the time of the apostle John) received a kingdom, but who for one hour will receive authority as kings along with the beast.
From this, we can deduce that the Antichrist will rule over ten kings or kingdoms. Ten heads of state will eventually join together in a confederation of nations, under the rule of the Antichrist. Many Bible scholars feel these 10 nations will constitute much of the old Roman Empire, and there is ample Scriptural grounds for this position. If this is true, then the emergence of the European Common Market, more commonly today called the E.U. (European Union) is probably the precursor to this Revived Roman Empire. We will examine this shortly.
A moment ago, I mentioned there are at least 3 Passages that will help us understand the 10 horns of Revelation 13:1. We have looked at Revelation 17:12-13. Now, let's examine the other two Passages that discuss the same 10 nations under the rule of the Antichrist. These will give us additional information. Both of these passages are found in the Book of Daniel. Chapters 2 & 7. By comparing Scripture with Scripture, these 2 Passages will shed a lot of light on Revelation 13 and help us understand this 10-nation confederacy.
In Daniel 2, we have the record of a dream of King Nebuchadnezzar, who was troubled or puzzled about its meaning. The king calls for all his magicians and astrologers, asking them to interpret the dream for him. The major obstacle that faced those who tried to interpret the dream, was the fact that the king had forgotten it. As a group, they returned to the king, and here are their words.
Daniel 2:10-12 NIV
10 The astrologers answered the king, "There is not a man on earth who can do what the king asks! No king, however great and mighty, has ever asked such a thing of any magician or enchanter or astrologer.
Daniel then enters the scene. Daniel was a Jewish captive who, along with others, had been transported to Babylon after Nebuchadnezzar conquers Israel in 606 B.C. In verse 16, we see Daniel going to the King, asking for time so that he could interpret the dream.
Daniel 2:17-19 NIV
17 Then Daniel returned to his house and explained the matter to his friends Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. [more commonly known as the 3 Hebrew children, Shadrach, Meshach & Obednego.)
After receiving a night vision from God, Daniel is ready to go before the king. Before the king, Daniel is quick to give honor to whom honor is due. First, he says that the wisdom he was sharing was from the one true God and not from his own knowledge. This is tremendous integrity. After the preliminaries, Daniel tells the king the dream he had.
Then in verse 36, he begins to interprets the dream for the king. The dream of Nebuchadnezzar centers around a colossal image of a man. We will discuss some of the details of this dream in a moment, but first notice verse 33, which speaks of this image having feet and 10 toes made of iron and clay. This is again reiterated in verses 41 & 42.
You may be wondering what the 10 toes in Daniel 2 has to do with the 10 horns in Revelation 13:1. We will make the connection in a moment.
Now, let's quickly look at Chapter 7. In this chapter, we have a record of a vision which God gave to Daniel. This occurs some 50 years after the dream of Nebuchadnezzar.
In many ways, chapter two and seven of the Book of Daniel are similar, in that they both portray the same events, using different metaphors. Instead of a colossal image, they are seen as beasts. In this vision, Daniel sees a succession of beasts. Notice the fourth beast, mentioned in verse 7.
Daniel 7:7 NIV
7 After that, in my vision at night I looked, and there before me was a fourth beast - terrifying and frightening and very powerful. It had large iron teeth; it crushed and devoured its victims and trampled underfoot whatever was left. It was different from all the former beasts, and it had ten horns.
Did you notice how many horns this beast had? It had ten horns. This is very similar to the 10 horns on the first beast in Revelation 13.
Now, let's go back and fill in the pieces of these two accounts given by Daniel, and draw the parallel between them and Revelation 13.
Daniel 2:31-34 NIV
31 You looked, O king, and there before you stood a large statue - an enormous, dazzling statue, awesome in appearance.
In the interpretation which follows, Daniel relates how the different material substances represent various world kingdoms.
Verses 39 & 40 (NIV) reads:
39 After you, another kingdom will rise, inferior to yours. Next, a third kingdom, one of bronze, will rule over the whole earth. 40 Finally, there will be a fourth kingdom, strong as iron - for iron breaks and smashes everything - and as iron breaks things to pieces, so it will crush and break all the others.
There should be no doubt that we are being told of successive world kingdoms in the interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar's dream. What Daniel is describing, both in Nebuchadnezzar's dream in Chapter 2, and his vision in Chapter 7, is a very accurate overview of world history since the time of Babylon to the end of Human rulership.
And Daniel doesn't leave us in the dark as to which kingdoms are represented by each of the materials in the colossal image. He tells Nebuchadnezzar that he and his Babylonian kingdom are represented by the head of Gold (vs. 38).
IN NEBUCHADNEZZAR'S IMAGE, WHO IS REPRESENT BY THE CHEST AND ARMS OF SILVER?
Daniel 5:23-31 NIV (Daniel's speaks to Belshazzar)
23 Instead, you have set yourself up against the Lord of heaven. You had the goblets from his temple brought to you, and you and your nobles, your wives and your concubines drank wine from them. You praised the gods of silver and gold, of bronze, iron, wood and stone, which cannot see or hear or understand. But you did not honor the God who holds in his hand your life and all your ways.
Firstly, just as the Prophet Jeremiah had said, the Jewish captivity under Babylon ended after 70 years. Secondly, we learn here that the Chest and Arms of silver in Nebuchadnezzar's image is represented by their successors - the Medes and Persians. This was a partnership between great kingdoms.
WHO IS REPRESENTED BY THE BELLY AND THIGHS OF BRONZE?
Daniel 11 helps us to understand this kingdom.
Daniel 11:1-4 NIV
1 And in the first year of Darius the Mede, I took my stand to support and protect him.
Here we are told about a Grecian kingdom, one that, in the end, will be divided into four segments. We know from history, this is represented by the reign of Alexander the Great, who, in 331 B.C. at the Battle of Arbela, defeated the Medes and Persians.
Within a couple more years, Alexander the Great, at age 32, had conquered the then-known world from the eastern Mediterranean Sea to India. Despite Alexander's great abilities, the Greek Empire was unable to remain united after his death. Daniel has a separate vision of the Grecian empire in Daniel 8. In this chapter, he refers to the Grecian kingdom as a male goat with a single large horn.
Daniel 8:5-8 (NIV) shows the rise and fall of this kingdom.
5 As I was thinking about this, suddenly a goat with a prominent horn between his eyes came from the west, crossing the whole earth without touching the ground.
We also know that Alexander the Great died at the very young age of 33, after which his kingdom was divided among his 4 generals.
o Ptolemy - Egypt
In this Passage, it speaks of four prominent horns replacing the broken large horn. The Scriptures are so accurate in its prophetic predictions. The Greek Empire made great inroads in converting the world to their form of culture and civilization. The Ptolemy was one of the four generals of Alexander the Great. The Ptolemies retained control over Egypt and other parts of Africa. Egypt's King Ptolemy Philadelphus had a huge love of knowledge. In 285 B.C., he commissions a copy of the Hebrew Scriptures in his own Greek language. The king arranged for a group of 70 Jewish scholars in Egypt to translate the Hebrew text into Greek. It became known as the LXX, which is the Roman numeral for 70, or as it is more commonly known, the Septuagint version of the Old Testament.
This was a huge step in getting the Hebrew text into the language of the common person. It has also been a very good tool for theologians over the past 2000 years, as they compare the Old Testament with the New, which was written much later. Additionally, this is the Bible that most of the apostles and Jesus had during their time. Many of the New Testament quotation of the Old would have come from this translation. The Greek Empire continued to rule from 331 B.C. until the year 63 B.C.
Now for the next kingdom seen in Nebuchadnezzar's dream. Daniel doesn't specify the name of this empire, like he did with the previous 3. But we know from history, the fourth kingdom is represented by the Roman empire which came immediately after the Grecian. In Nebuchadnezzar's image, this kingdom corresponds to the legs of iron. Iron is very strong, and depicts the nature of this empire in that they were very ruthless in the conquest.
Exactly as the prophetic dream foretold, the Roman Empire divided into two kingdoms following the reign of Constantine. This would correspond with the fact that there are two legs in Nebuchadnezzar's dream. The western empire was based in Rome, and the eastern empire set up its capital in Constantinople [Istanbul, Turkey].
The iron kingdom of Rome ruled the known world far longer than any other. The western empire finally ceased to exist when barbarians defeated Rome in A.D. 476. The eastern empire - known as the Byzantine Empire - continued for another 1,000 years, until its defeat by the Turks in A.D. 1453. Since then, no one kingdom or partnering kingdoms have ruled the world. Actually, the entire Roman empire has never been replaced by another world power. The conquest of either the barbarians or the Turks only involved small segments of the original Roman kingdom. The empire actually deteriorated from within, causing it to fragment into many city states. No external power ever succeeded in destroying the Roman Empire. Rome's greatest legacy was a religious empire, which exists to this day.
The next part of Nebuchadnezzar's dream focuses on the feet and toes of this image. Daniel does not tell us specifically about the nations represented by the 10 toes. But in Daniel 7:27, he says these 10 kingdoms will come out of the 4th kingdom which, as we have seen, is the Roman Empire. Most scholars refer to these 10 kingdoms as the Revived Roman Empire.
I want you to notice how the metals in the statue decrease in value as you go from head to foo. At the same time the metals increase in strength, signifying each kingdoms military strength, except for the feet and toes.
WHAT IS THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE FEET & TOES BEING PART IRON AND CLAY?
It would seem to indicate that they will lack unity and strength. 10 political entities will exist at the same time, but their total strength will be diluted by their independence. This is indicated by the fact that iron and clay don't naturally mix.
Now let's look at the vision Daniel receives from the Lord, which is recorded in Daniel 7. In this vision, Daniel sees a series of beasts which show a prophetic view of the same successive series of world empires that was depicted in Nebuchadnezzar's dream. I find it interesting that only 4 empires would rule the world for the last 2,500+ years between the Babylonian rule unto the coming of Jesus Christ as the Messiah King.
As I stated earlier, this vision from God occurs some 50 years after the dream of Nebuchadnezzar. Daniel 7:1 tells us this vision occurs in the first year of the reign of Belshazzar. Before we look at each beast in this vision, look at the words of verse 3.
Daniel 7:3 NIV
3 Four great beasts, each different from the others, came up out of the sea.
Do you remember, earlier in our lesson what the "sea" represents in prophetic literature. The sea represent gentile nations and peoples. And each of these four empires, depicted by various beasts, are gentile nations.
The first beast was like a lion (Daniel 7:4)
We do, however, from what we have studied thus far, know this fourth beast represents the Roman Empire Here are the words in Daniel 7:7 NIV
7 After that, in my vision at night I looked, and there before me was a fourth beast - terrifying and frightening and very powerful. It had large iron teeth; it crushed and devoured its victims and trampled underfoot whatever was left. It was different from all the former beasts, and it had ten horns.Notice the iron teeth - the same as the fourth metal in Nebuchadnezzar's dream.
Now look at Daniel 7:23-24 NIV:
23 He gave me this explanation: `The fourth beast is a fourth kingdom that will appear on earth. It will be different from all the other kingdoms and will devour the whole earth, trampling it down and crushing it.
Again, like we read earlier in Revelation 17, we have 10 horns which are identified as 10 kings or ten kingdoms. And in this vision, the 10 horns come from the fourth beast. In other words, they are related to the Roman Empire, just like we saw in Nebuchadnezzar's dream.
We also learn that these 10 will exist at the same time as the Antichrist. In this passage, he is depicted as "another horn, different from the earlier one, and he will subdue three kings."
To summarize, the 10 toes of Daniel 2 are equal to the 10 horns of Daniel 7, which are also equal to the 10 horns of Rev. 13. All speak of the final form of the Roman empire in the last days during the Tribulation period.
Let's have a quick review and look again at this comparison between Daniel 2 and Daniel 7.
The Lion in Chapter 7 equates to the Gold in Chapter 2, and is Babylon
One further note: Did you happen to notice that the three beasts of Daniel 7 (the lion, bear and leopard) are the same 3 beasts mentioned in Rev. 13, when describing the Antichrist? This will further help to link Daniel 7 with Revelation 13.
Revelation 13:2 NIV
2 The beast I saw resembled a leopard, but had feet like those of a bear and a mouth like that of a lion.
There is a difference between the descriptions in Rev. 13 and Daniel 7.
CAN YOU TELL ME THAT DIFFERENCE IS?
They are mentioned in reverse order - leopard, bear & lion.
WHY DO YOU THINK THAT IS?
I believe it is because Daniel sees these kingdoms before they come to power but John sees them after they have come to power.
HOW DO WE KNOW THIS?
The only difference between the 10 horns of Daniel 7 and those in Revelation 13 is depicted in Revelation 13:1 (NIV).1 And the dragon stood on the shore of the sea. And I saw a beast coming out of the sea. He had ten horns and seven heads, with ten crowns on his horns, and on each head a blasphemous name.
Here again are the words in Daniel 7:7 NIV
7 (the 4th beast)…… had large iron teeth; it crushed and devoured its victims and trampled underfoot whatever was left. It was different from all the former beasts, and it had ten horns.
DID YOU SEE THE DIFFERENCE?
The horns of Revelation 13 have been crowned. Those in Daniel 7 were not. That indicates that John sees them after they have become rulers.
According to Revelation 17:12-13 and Daniel 7:8 & 24, the Antichrist will not be one of these ten kings making up the Revived Roman Empire. But he will be a citizen of one of those countries.
Leaders in Europe have for decades dreamed of a re-united Europe. To understand the activity leading to this 10-toed confederacy, we must travel back to at least 1947. In that year, Belgium, Luxembourg and The Netherlands for a united pact. In 1957, France, Italy and Germany joined the confederation, making it six. In 1973, Britain, Ireland, and Denmark joined, making it nine. Then on January 1, 1981, Greece joined the group to make it ten.
At this point many evangelicals were elated, making the assumption that all the members of the group had finally been assembled. "Not so," said others, "Doesn't Daniel 7:8, 20 & 24 tell us the confederation must grow to at least 13?" That thought is taken from the verses which tell us that when the Antichrist rises to power, he will forcefully pluck up 3 existing nation and then he will become the leader of the remaining 10.
Numbers 11 & 12 to join the European Union were Spain and Portugal -- which happened in 1986. More recently, Sweden, Austria and Finland have joined making the number 15.
It is quite possible that the union will grow to more than 25 countries. However, we can already see a trend toward the creation of a multi-tiered system. Some countries want to be part of the European alliance, without becoming a fully-committed partner.
On August 30, 1994, Edouard Balladur, then Prime Minister of France, gave a speech, announcing the possibility of a 3-tiered system. At the time he made that statement, there were already 12 total members in the Union.
The inner core would commit their countries to full monetary, commerce, military and social union. The Germans have come out in support of such a tiered super-state. This inner circle could easily include 10 states.
The European Community seems to be heading toward complete fulfillment of all prophecies concerning the 10-nation confederacy. And the time will come when the Antichrist will be selected to be their leader.
During the 7-year Tribulation, we have seen that Satan will very cleverly imitate the programs of God and will be able to deceive most of the people on earth at that time. But despite his cleverness, Satan's counterfeits will always fall short. Even though Satan tries to promote the Antichrist as the world's messiah, the Bible shows some distinct contrasts between this false messiah and Christ.
|Questions, comments & suggestions to John Hoole||
Last Updated: Wednesday September 07 2011