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Revelation Lesson 35 - One Nation Under Antichrist

Revelation Lesson 35 - One Nation Under Antichrist

Series: Revelation
Ref: Revelation 13:5–10

What will the world be like under the rule of the antichrist? What kind of king will he be? Will he be a cruel tyrant or a shrewd diplomat? This message searches John's Revelation for answers.

Transcript

“One Nation, Under . . . Antichrist”

Revelation 13:5-10

One of our nation’s founders once made the now famous statement, “Man will ultimately be governed by God or by tyrants.” / Craig L. Parshall, In the Shadow of a Praying Nation, National Religious Broadcasters Convention Issue Magazine/2009, p. 22

For Benjamin Franklin, that statement of his was not so much a matter of prophecy, but history.

Study the history of mankind and you will see a crowded stage with men pushing and shoving to rule each other, with no more dignity or wisdom than schoolchildren trying to push their way to the front of a line for recess . . . or lunch.

Napoleon thought he would be the one who would create the revived Roman Empire and also create a new dynasty . . . so much so that he gave his son and heir the title, “The King of Rome.”

But that statement – “Man will ultimately be governed by God or by tyrants” is also prophetic even though Benjamin Franklin was certainly not a prophet.

Tyrants have come and gone but they are indeed alive and well throughout our world today. 

But there is coming a tyrant who will make all the others throughout history and contemporary times look like beginners.

We were introduced to this coming tyrant – the Antichrist – in Revelation chapter13 where he is simply referred to as a beast – which he really is.

We don’t have time to rehearse our past study, but let me touch on the major description of the Antichrist.

In verse 1 we learned, through consistent symbolic terminology in both Revelation and the Book of Daniel, that the Antichrist has a unified kingdom of 10 horns – that is, 10 kings, over which he rules supreme.

In verse 2 we learned that his power comes directly from the Dragon – a descriptive title for Satan himself.

In verse 3 we’re shown that the Antichrist is assassinated with a fatal wound to the head, but resurrected and that counterfeit resurrection solidifies his rule over the world as John writes in verse 3 the whole world was amazed and followed after the beast.

His rule is now supreme and impeachable . . . he is the King of Rome.

The Antichrist will succeed where every other world ruler failed. 

He will create a new world order . . . a revived Roman empire in Europe that will encompass the world.

What is it in the heart of mankind that wants to unify the nations of the world? 

Just travel back to Genesis 11 and the tower of Babel.  A time where mankind’s desire to make a name for himself became their chief objective . . . a unified world that actually wants to rebel against the authority of God and become accountable to no one, and in need of help from no one and capable of running the planet all by itself . 

That desire has never left the planet.  It surfaces from time to time in kingdoms and leaders. 

Only this past week a former president called for the interdependence of nations in order to bring about peace and the survival of the planet.

His speech isn’t original, by the way.

Since the close of World War I, Europe and the civilized nations of the world have sought to unify the nations for the good of mankind.

Woodrow Wilson called for a New World Order and just about every Western Leader since then has issued some sort of call for a new world system. 

Winston Churchill made it clear when he said some 70 years ago when he said, and I quote, “The purpose of the New World Order is to bring the world into a [one]world government.” / Daymond R. Duck/Larry Richards, The Book of Revelation (Thomas Nelson, 2006), p. 183

Listen, after 1,600 years of fighting among the nations of Europe, in the last 50 years, we have watched in our lifetime as the nations of Europe have come together in what was originally called the Common Market. 

A coalition of United Nations has created the World Bank, the World Health Organizations, the International Criminal Court, the International Court of Justice.

Today, the United Nations has a world constitution, a world currency, a world income tax, a world military force, a global identification number and what they call a global ethic – which is code for a future world religion. / Ibid

Some world leaders mask their intentions of uniting in a one-world government by using phrases like, global management, the rule of world law; collective sovereignty, the interdependence of nations, a global village, and collective security.   / Ibid

Ladies and Gentlemen, these are nothing more than catch words for a one-world agenda.

Now don’t misunderstand.  There are good things happening because of this effort.  We can eat imported foods safely because of global standards – at least that’s the theory . . . I’m a little leery of peanut butter these days. 

We can use global cooperation in tackling disease and encouraging education and battling poverty.

I can travel most of the world today because of it; we can take the gospel to many nations today because of cooperation between countries and borders that are open – some more than others.   In fact, on this side of the rapture, we can benefit and maximize these developments for the sake of the gospel.

But make no mistake, what we are watching could be a wonderful illustration of what will one day happen.  In fact, it could be the prelude to that very world system that will coalesce under the leadership of the Antichrist.

For the first time in 15 centuries, a unified European coalition has begun to take shape, with 27 countries now a part of the European Union.   / Adapted from Mark Hitchcock, Seven Signs of the End Times (Multnomah, 2002), p. 41

What is happening in our world may have nothing to do with the end times of the Antichrist’s rule on planet earth.  It could be blown apart by rogue nations, or a world-wide epidemic – we have no idea what God’s timetable is and we certainly don’t know that moment when the Church will be raptured and the Tribulation period begin . . . it could have begun a 1,000 years ago, it could begin 1,000 years hence. 

However, what we see happening might be the mixing of the mortar for this new empire.  We might be watching the prelude to the revival of the Roman Empire . . . and every time we turn on the television and read the newspapers we see one more step taken.

It isn’t the 10 nation coalition spoken of in Revelation that will be ruled by the Antichrist, but it is no doubt the basic idea – an economic and political and governmental system whereby one man can eventually rise in power to rule the world.

The world will one day get its wish.  According to Revelation 13, engineered by the god of this world – Satan – there will rise a one-world government – a new, one-world system . . . it will be political, economic, and religious unity.

It will be one nation, under . . . Antichrist.

John now reveals even more characteristics about this world ruler – the Antichrist – in the next few verses of Revelation 13.

  1. First, let me point out to you his global defiance

Notice verse 5.  There was given to him a mouth speaking arrogant words and blasphemies.

One commentator said, “He was given a mouth and it was a really big one too.” / Sam Gordon, Worthy Is The Lamb (Ambassador, 2000), p. 285

By the way, you ought to underline the four times this phrase appears – “given to him”.

  • In verse 5 – A mouth was given to him
  • In the last part of verse 5 – authority to act for 42 months was given to him.
  • In verse 7, It was also given to him to make war
  • And again, in the last part of verse 7, was “given to him.”

The antichrist has 4 givens.

-to blaspheme

-to lead

-to persecute

-to rule

You might wonder who gave these things to him.  Obviously Satan is the intermediate source – in fact, we’re told in verse 4 that Satan gave his own authority to the beast or the Antichrist.

But these next four “givens” – beginning in verse 5 – are passive verb forms.  Satan might be the intermediate source, but God is the ultimate source. / Kendell H. Easley, Holman New Testament Commentary: Revelation (Holman, 1998). p. 229

This is all according to God’s plan – God’s delegated power to the forces of evil to ultimately bring about His purposes on earth.

Imagine the implication of someone being allowed by God the ability to speak eloquently and passionately and persuasively and they then use that ability to blaspheme Him.

You notice that while God allows blasphemy, God also allows him authority.  Notice verse 5 again; There was given to him a mouth speaking arrogant words and blasphemies, and authority to act for forty-two months was given to him.

Remember, the Tribulation period is divided into 2, 3 ½ year periods. 

The first half is relatively peaceful among the nations as the Antichrist rises in power, beginning with his peace accord with Israel. 

It is around the mid-point of the Tribulation that he is assassinated, miraculously resurrected, steps forward to declare himself the Messiah, desecrate the Tribulation Temple, trample Jerusalem and demand the worship of the world (Daniel 9 and Revelation chapters 11 and 13.

Keep in mind that forty-two months is 3 and ½ years . . . Revelation 13, verse 5 tells us that for 42 months this man will begin to blaspheme God. 

That lets us know that at the midpoint of the Tribulation, the Antichrist will take off his nice-guy peace negotiator, wonderful leader who wants to serve mankind mask – and openly declare himself world ruler, God in the flesh, the long awaited Messiah and begin to wage open war against the knowledge and name of God.

His defiant blasphemy and arrogance will surpass that of anyone else in human history.  He will be Satan’s mouthpiece, voicing his master’s frustrated rage against God.   / John MacArthur, Revelation: Volume 2 (Moody Press, 2000), p. 47

Notice the extent of his blasphemy – verse 6.  And he opens his mouth in blasphemies against God, to blaspheme His name (that’s God’s Person) and His tabernacle among those who dwell in heaven. (that’s God’s people)

Satan will now openly, through his Puppet King, be able to blaspheme God’s character and God’s children.

The time of global defiance has begun.  It will be like the world has never seen and it will be global.

  1. Secondly, not only does a time of global defiance begin; but a time of global dominance.

42 months of Global Domination by the Antichrist.

There are two aspects to his world dominance in verse 7.

  1. First, he becomes the believers final persecutor.

Notice verse 7.  It was also given to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them.

Not overcoming them in a spiritual sense but in a physical sense.  He will kill them.

This doesn’t refer to a military campaign (at least not yet); this refers to tormenting, harassing, persecuting and executing the people of God. / Adapted from Life Application Bible Commentary: Revelation (Tyndale House, 2000), p. 155

This is the answer to the martyred tribulation saints prayer back in chapter 6 when they asked God how long until His vindicated His name and brought justice to their persecutors.  And God told them to rest a little while longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren who were to be killed would be completed. (Revelation 6:11)

During this 42 month period of persecution, the number of the Tribulation saints who are martyred for their faith will be completed.

Christians will be especially hated by the Antichrist because Christians will be a reminder that the Antichrist’s master has long since met his Master. / Donald Grey Barnhouse, Revelation: God’s Last Word (Zondervan, 1971), p. 239

Why does the Antichrist pull out all the stops; because his time is short!  Because he only has 42 months left.

He will be passionate to dishonor Jesus Christ.

By the way, if we would only we would have such passion, to honor Jesus Christ knowing our time to serve Him, in this life, is short.

Who knows how many months you and I have left to bring Him glory with our lives.

  • The Antichrist is passionate to defy God.
  • Are you passionate to obey God?
  • He is passionate to blaspheme God.
  • Are you passionate to praise God?
  • He is passionate to corrupt others.
  • Are we passionate to convert others?
  • He is passionate to dishonor Christ.
  • Are we passionate to honor Christ as our Lord and Savior?

The Antichrist becomes the believers final persecutor;

  1. secondly, he becomes the unbelievers final ruler

Notice further in verse 7.  It was given to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them, and authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation was given to him.

The Antichrist will succeed what every other ruler only dreamed about.  Total world domination.   / Robert L. Thomas, Revelation: Volume 2(Moody Press, 1995), p. 163

Could it be that even now the world is moving toward this climactic setting of a one-world government.

Is the world ready for a one-world system of authority and commerce and rule of law?  Like never before.

In 1957 at what was called “The Treaty of Rome”, the modern European Union was created.

It doesn’t have to be . . . doesn’t guarantee that it will be . . . but it could be the beginning stages of the revival of the Roman Empire, prophesied by Daniel and illustrated in Revelation.

In 1973, the European Economic Community was formed. It could be the rumblings of the Roman Empire as well.

The Euro currency was officially issued in 2002 . . . now a monetary currency can be used between member nations. / Hitchcock, Seven Signs of  the End Times, p. 42 (Lisa, I’m not sure how to do this repeat footnote for an author I’ve quoted from 2 books)

Today 500 million people are represented by 27 member nations who swear some form of allegiance to a parliament, a president, armed forces, trade agreements, courts of law and constitution.

In light of a mounting global economic crisis, World Net Daily carried an article a few days ago, someone in our church sent me the article, quoting Klaus Schwab, the founder of the World Economic Forum based out of Switzerland who told CNN that the global economic crisis was a transformational crisis which could be useful in reshaping a new world (there you go again).  He told CNN this past Friday, “We have to create a new world and that is what [the World Economic Forum] is all about.

One day this dream will come true.  The world will be one nation, under Antichrist.

And the dream will quickly become a nightmare.

John the Apostle doesn’t pull any punches as he records his inspired revelation.

He says here in verse 9, If anyone has an ear, let him hear.

Listen up.  Take note.

You’ve heard that phrase often in Revelation already – “If anyone has an ear, let him hear.”  In fact, every single time it has been used it always ended with that phrase, “If anyone has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches”.

This is the only time it’s mentioned without that last phrase – what the Spirit says to the churches.  Why?

Because the church is gone.  It’s not listening on earth.  It’s in heaven already before the throne of God.

But for the saints who’ve come to faith in Christ, you might be wondering, they’ve just been told the worst news in the world – things are going to get even more horrific and painful . . . death is around the corner.

Why tell them that?  Because this Book was given not only to us in this dispensation . . . living in this church age – it was written for the one who will believe in Christ during the Tribulation.

And they’re gonna need to know, what do we do about these horrific 42 months of persecution?

John provides the answer in verse 10. “If anyone is destined for captivity, to captivity he goes; if anyone kills with the sword, with the sword he must be killed.  Here is the perseverance and the faith of the saints.”

He’s saying, Listen, whatever happens to you – whether captivity or execution – it’s destined for you – that is, it’s God’s divine plan for your life.

Don’t fight your oppressors.  Don’t grab guns and fire back.  Don’t grab a sword, Peter . . . those aren’t our weapons.

We accept this as God’s design and in our submission, even to tormentors, you glorify Christ by sharing in His sufferings.  

Paul wrote it this way sometime before his own execution at the hand of Nero.  “Don’t be alarmed by your enemies. This will be a sign to them that they are going to be destroyed, but that you are going to be saved, even by God Himself.  For you have been given not only the privilege of trusting in Christ but also the privilege of suffering for Him.  (Philippians 1:28-29)

So, these saints living through the Tribulation will take comfort in their fellowship with the sufferings of Christ who suffered and died for them.

But some of them might think . . . and maybe you’re tempted to think it now in your own suffering.  Will I somehow be lost in the chaos . . . the confusion . . . in this twisted world, will God lose sight of me?

To them and, by the way, this promise is for you too, dear friend, you have this wonderful little phrase in verse 8.  I’ve wanted to save it until this point in our study.  All who dwell on the earth will worship him – that is, everyone whose name was not found written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain.

The unbeliever who worships the Antichrist is not registered in this book of life.  Those who’ve trusted Christ are registered.  And your name was written in the Book of life before the world began.

In other words, if your name hasn’t been dropped from the registry of heaven since the time the world was created God isn’t going to lose sight of you over the next 42 months.

Your future in heaven is secure.

Some would say, but doesn’t Exodus 32:33 record God saying to Moses, “Whoever sinned against me, I will blot him out of My book.”?

Yes, and that’s a reference to a book of life – David the Psalmist referred to this same book of life and it had in it the names of everyone who ever lived – the righteous and unrighteous.  (Psalm 69:28). 

This was the ancient custom of registration was well known to John’s audience here in Revelation.  Each city or town or village had a book or a scroll – a registry – and in that registry the name of every person born within their town or village was written down and when they died, their name was erased or blotted out.   / William Barclay, The Revelation of John: Volume 2 (Westminster Press, 1976), p. 95

In other words, being “blotted out of the book” meant you died.  To be blotted out of the book of Life simply means you physically died.

But here in Revelation, this is not that same book referred to in Exodus and Psalms.  Notice again, John writes, this is the Book of Life pertaining to or belonging to the Lamb.  This is the Lamb’s Book of Life.

This is the registry of heaven. 

One author said, “This is the roster of the redeemed which contains the names of every saint who will be in glory.” / Stewart Custer, From Patmos to Paradise (BJU Press, 2004), p. 150

John writes later in Revelation 21 about the new heaven and the new earth and he says the people who enter heaven are those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life. (Revelation 21:27)

So at the end of world history – and any age – it all boils down to this – is your name written in the Lamb’s book of Life or not?

If it is, it will never be erased.  It was put there before you commited your first sin and it will not be removed after you’ve committed your last sin.

You’re in that book because of God’s grace . . . He opened your eyes and you placed your faith in the Lamb who died for you.

And you today know the truth – and because you have believed on the name of the Son of God you can know that you have eternal life (I John 5:13).

Think about it; the people of the earth are looking for salvation.  They think it comes in the form of a one-world system – and it will one day come – but it will be under the Antichrist’s cruel fist.  And the world will get its wish.

It occurred to me in my study, we are the ones who will actually enjoy a new world order – isn’t that something?  We’re the one who really get a new world order – and it won’t last for 42 months. 

The new earth and the new heavens will provide an everlasting joy in this new system and new economy and new kingdom with new bodies . . . all for those who belong to the Lamb. 

We, who have registered in the Lamb’s book of Life, will enjoy eternity under the kind and benevolent rule of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

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