This teaching includes a free sermon outline to download for personal use, message preparation or Bible study discussion.
False Church and False Christ—Part 2
This is the last in a series of studies that have been dealing with the church. We began by dealing with the true church, the universal church, and the local church, it’s main officers, how they are appointed, how they function, God’s purposes for the church.
Then we pointed out in the study, before the previous one, that at the close of this age there will be two groups in Christendom, or in the religious world, one will be the Bride, the other will be the harlot. And as their names indicate they will be distinguished by their attitude to the Bridegroom. The Bride will consist of those who have remained true to their espousal to the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. The harlot will consist of those who have been seduced by Satan’s agencies from their loyalty to Jesus Christ.
We also pointed out, that, in actual fact, throughout human history there have been only two kinds of religion. Abel’s religion and Cain’s religion. They were both manifested at the beginning of human history, they have continued through human history, and they will come to their culmination at the close of this age. We pointed out that Abel’s religion at the beginning produced a martyr. That Cain’s religion at the beginning produced a murderer and at the close Abel’s religion will produce the Bride and Cain’s religion will produce the harlot. In our previous study we gave a picture of the false church, the harlot.
We pointed out that the Scripture indicates that she will deceive and dominate multitudes of people. That by false teaching she will lead rulers and nations into spiritual adultery. That she will be marked out by extreme luxury, splendor, ceremony and wealth. Everything sensual and soulish but nothing spiritual. That she will be the spiritual counterpart of Old Testament Babylon. Especially with the emphasis on sorcery, enchantment, astrology, horoscopes, idols and images. That the Scripture indicates she will be geographically associated with the city of Rome. That she will indeed be the culmination of Cain’s religion, the persecutor and murderer of all true saints of God. That her judgment and destruction will be sudden, complete, and permanent. Also that God’s people are warned to come out of her.
We then saw that in conjunction and association with the false church there will rise the false christ. And we began to look at some of the things that the Scripture reveals about this last great embodiment of iniquity and lawlessness, Satan’s masterpiece, the false Christ. We saw some of the main titles given to him in scripture. In 2Thessalonians 2:3 he is called “ the man of lawlessness and the son of perdition.” The only other person in scripture called the son of perdition is Judas Iscariot who was the traitor , the false apostle. In 1John 2:18 he is called “ Antichrist.” The preposition “anti” means first of all “against” and secondly “in place of.” The operation of the spirit of Antichrist is first of all to drive out the acknowledgment of the true Christ and then to replace him by a false christ. And in Revelation 13 he is called “the wild beast.” We pointed out that Satan is looking for a man through whom he can control all nations and receive their worship. Jesus the true Christ refused to submit to Satan but the false Christ will do this. And that according to 2Thessalonians 2:3 a falling away with any Christendom will open the way for the emergence of the false christ.
Now we’ll go on to look at some of the further points that Scripture reveals concerning this Antichrist, this false Christ. In Revelation 13 verse 1 we have there a picture of a political federation that will arise at the close of this age.
You’ll notice that the various beasts that depict the main Gentile political powers at the close of this age, all have one more than one theme. The principal being the principal of federation where a number of states come together. In contrast to this, it’s very interesting to notice, that the true church, the body of Jesus Christ, has only one head, Jesus Christ. In Revelation 13:1 John describes how he saw this beast rise up out of the sea having seven heads and ten horns and upon his horns ten crowns and upon his head the name of “blasphemy.” The heads and the horns indicate two successive phases of rule.
First of all the rule of the heads and then the rule of the horns. And particularly with the horns there is associated a terrible measure of blasphemy. In Revelation 17:3 we see a harlot, the false church, comes on the scene riding on this beast. In other words the false church will rise by manipulating and using political power to bring her into position of world control. Revelation 17:3 the angel carried John away in the Spirit into the wilderness and he says:
“I saw a woman [but in the Greek it says ‘seated’] upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.”
There’s no question in my mind that that is the same beast, the woman is there riding upon the beast, indicating that for the time being she has it under her dominion by the manipulation of spiritual and political power, by her sorceries and her witchcraft, just as ancient Babylon did. Now the Scripture goes on to indicate that Antichrist will arise out of the same political federation using the false church. And that then Antichrist and his supporters will turn against the false church and destroy her. In other words God will permit the false christ to judge and destroy the false church. Just the counterpart of Jesus, the true Christ, who’s the Savior and protector and cherisher of his Bride, the true church. This we find in Revelation chapter 17 verses 16 and 17 where the angel interprets part of the vision that John has been shown. And speaking of the ten horns on the beast, the angel says this:
“And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore,[the harlot, the false church] and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire. For God hath put in their hearts to fulfill his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled.”
The beast is the Antichrist himself in this context, who is portrayed in Daniel chapter 7, as a little horn that arises amongst the ten horns, overthrows three of them, and takes their place. If you want to turn back to Daniel chapter 7 for a moment we’ll see the picture given there in Daniel 7, 7 and 8. Bear in mind that much of the imagery of Revelation is based of the imagery of Daniel. Daniel has this vision and he says in the 7th and 8th verses
“After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast [following three other beasts which he saw in the previous verses which we won’t look into] dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns [this links it up with the beast of Revelation 13:1] I considered the horns, and behold, there came up among them another little horn, [this is the Antichrist himself] before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn [the little horn] were eyes like a man, and a mouth speaking great things.”
Those are his blasphemous claims. And this is interpreted in Daniel’s vision, in Daniel 7 verses 24 and 25. The angel interprets this part of the vision to Daniel:
“And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise: and another [this is the Antichrist] shall arise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, [in ways that we’ll see in a moment] and he shall subdue three [the three horns that were uprooted, the three kings that the Antichrist dispose of and in a sense move into the vacuum left by them].” Verse 25 “And he shall speak great words against the most High, [these are his blasphemous claims] and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they [the saints of the most High] shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.”
Let us turn now to 2Thessalonians chapter 2 and notice another feature there which is that the Antichrist will not rise to power by normal political means, but by spiritual means, by supernatural power. Which will be made available to him directly from Satan. Let me say this because I think it’s important. As I understand the situation there are only two sources of supernatural power. One is God and the other is the devil. Any supernatural power that does not come from God does come from the devil. But the devil has supernatural power and makes it available to those whom he wishes to use.
Now let’s look in 2Thessalonians 2:9 and 10. Speaking about the wicked in verse 8, and that’s another title incidentally of the Antichrist, verse 9:
“Even Him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth , that they might be saved.”
Here’s a tremendously important point which concerns every one of us. If we refuse the love of the truth ministered to us by the Holy Spirit, we will have no option, we will believe the lie. The only safeguard against being deceived by Satan’s lie is acknowledging the truth when it is ministered to us by the Holy Spirit. But I have met not a few people who didn’t want to acknowledge the truth because it didn’t suit either their religious prejudices or their denominational stand or something in their lives wasn’t in line with what the Spirit was showing them. And those people are in terrible danger because they are the ones who will be deceived by Satan’s lie.
You see it’s deceivableness and unrighteousness. When the Holy Spirit reveals truth to you it’s to change your life and make it righteous. But those that don’t want to be made righteous will refuse the truth. And they will have no option. They will believe Satan’s lie and be allowed to continue in their unrighteousness, which is really what they want.
Now this again is parallel to a statement made in Daniel chapter 8. The 8th chapter of Daniel deals with the little horn. This is the theme of this chapter which is one of the images of the Antichrist. As a matter of fact the seventh chapter of Daniel deals primarily with the time in human history when he will emerge and the eighth chapter of Daniel deals primarily with the place geographically where he will emerge. And it’s associated with the empire of Alexander the Great. It’s not the purpose of this study to go into it but just to point that out. In Daniel 8 verse 23 and 24:
“And in the latter time of their kingdom [that’s the kingdom of the successors of Alexander the Great], when the transgressors are come to the full [You see when iniquity has come to it’s fullness Satan will be able to manipulate human character in order to produce the Antichrist], a king of fierce countenance [this is the Antichrist], and understanding dark sentences [He understands riddles, he understands things that are hidden from the natural mind. He has supernatural knowledge], shall stand up.” Verse 24: “His power shall be mighty, but not by his own power [in other words it’s by power that Satan made available to him]: and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practice and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people.”
That is the people of God, and I would say primarily Israel. Now in Ezekiel 28 we have another prophetic preview of the Antichrist. We’ll turn to Ezekiel 28 more than once in this study. In the first part of Ezekiel 28 we are presented with two persons. The first one is called the prince of Tyrus, the second person is called the king of Tyrus. It’s very important to see they are distinct. The first person, the prince of Tyrus, is a man. The second person is not a man, never was a man, and never could be a man, and is none other than Satan himself. And this indicates the relationship of the human ruler, the prince of Tyrus, inspired, energized, controlled and used by Satan, behind him in the background. And this is an exact preview of the relationship which will exist between Satan and Antichrist. In a certain sense the 28 chapter of Ezekiel probably gives the clearest single preview of Antichrist and Satan and their relationship at the close of this age.
Now, if you’ll turn to Ezekiel 28 and verse 2 to begin with, which we’ll look at a little later in this study, but I want you to notice this introduction:
“Son of man [that’s the prophet Ezekiel], say unto the prince of Tyrus, Thus sayeth the Lord God; Because thine heart is lifted up, and thou hast said, I am a God, I sit in the seat of God, in the midst of the seas; yet thou art a man, and not God, though thou set thine heart as the heart of God: Behold, thou art wiser than Daniel; there is no secret that they can hide from thee:
This is again the supernatural satanic insight and discernment that will be given to the Antichrist by Satan. Now behind this human person, the prince of Tyrus, we have the king of Tyrus. If you turn on in Ezekiel chapter 28 verse 12 we will not read these verses in detail but just glance at them. Verse 12 the prophet is told this:
“Son of man, take up a lamentation upon the king of Tyrus, and say unto him, Thus sayeth the Lord God [Now you’ll see in all these we have a complete and exact picture of Satan, a cherub that once covered the place of worship in the temple of God, fell because of his pride in his brightness and in his wisdom and could not be any other person in the universe but Satan]” Verse 12: “Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty.” Verse 13: “Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold:” Verse 14 “Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth [but the ‘art’ is supplied by the translators. Much better to say ‘thou wast the anointed cherub that covered’]; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire.” Verse 15 “Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created [notice he’s a created being though he’s a cherub], till iniquity was found in thee.” Verse 17 “Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee.”
This is a very, very clear picture of Satan. First of all in his wisdom and beauty, before he transgressed, and then as a rebel who was cast out from the heaven of God’s dwelling. And he is the power behind the human ruler of Tyrus. The prince of Tyrus is a man though he claims to be God. He is supernaturally inspired, directed, controlled and used by a personality in the background, who is Satan himself. And just exactly as it was in the city of Tyrus, so it will be between the Antichrist and Satan at the close of this age. Precisely the same relationship will exist. Satan will make available to the Antichrist supernatural wisdom and power and cunning and he will use the Antichrist for his own purposes to gain complete control on earth. And then through him he will fulfill his supreme ambition which is to receive the worship of the whole earth. Always bear in mind that the final objective of Satan is to be worshiped. This is his supreme desire. It was to achieve worship that he sought to break through into the heaven of God’s dwelling. And it was for that that he was cast out in shame and disgrace.
Turning back now to Revelation 13 we’ll pick up there and take up some more pictures, some more details of the picture of the Antichrist. Revelation 13:3:
“And I saw one of his heads [and this is quite obviously the same head that’s referred to in Daniel 7 that rose after three had been uprooted] as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound [or the wound of his death] was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast.” Verse 12: “And he exerciseth all the power [this is the false prophet] of the first beast [the Antichrist] before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose wound was healed.” Verse 14 [the false prophet says] “to them that dwell on the earth... that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.”
It is clear that there will be an attempted assassination and apparently this man will actually be killed and will be raised up from death. And this will give him the most tremendous prestige. It will be a type of resurrection. I always say, without in any sense saying anything wrong about President Kennedy, had he been supernaturally restored after assassination he would have had the American nation at his feet. He could have done anything he wanted with them. Now this will happen with the Antichrist. There will be some type of resurrection after, apparently, an assassination and the fact that he returns to life after being dead, will set a kind of supernatural seal upon him, just as the resurrection from the dead has set a supernatural seal upon the Lord Jesus Christ as the true Christ. In everything that he can, Satan counterfeits the truth with his own substitutes. Revelation 13:4 gives us an indication of the tremendous political, military and economic power that he will control. It says of the people of the world:
“...they worshipped the dragon [that’s the devil], which gave power unto the beast[that’s the Antichrist. You see here’s the relationship between the king of Tyrus and the prince of Tyrus. Satan gives his power to the Antichrist and the world worships the beast saying:] Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?”
His massive array of political, military, and economic power will make it impossible for anybody to contemplate making war against him or resisting his will. For instance, if one man could rise to power in the earth today, and get under his control, the entire stockpile of atomic weapons owned by Russia, the United States and any other nations that have them, such a man would automatically become almost irresistible militarily because he could obliterate anybody that opposed his will. And I imagine, as a matter of fact, the Antichrist will do something very like that. As I said in our last study it seems to be indicated that he will actually use atomic weapons to obliterate the city of Rome at a certain point in his career. Revelation 13 verse 7 we see the extent of the dominion which he will achieve.
“And it was given unto him to make war with the saints [that’s the people of God], and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues and nations.”
So far as I can understand it that leaves out no nation. If he has power over all kindreds and tongues and nations then it is universal world power. Revelation 13:5 and 6 we come to the blasphemous claims which he will make:
“And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies [in the last resort you’ll find that all spiritual power and spiritual weapons are channeled through one place and that’s the mouth. Both for good and for evil. And so it is with his mouth above all else, that the Antichrist exercises his power]; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months.”
A certain period of time was set. But for this period of time he will dominate the world. Verse 6:
“And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven .”
That’s a very interesting reference to the people that dwell in heaven. I don’t want to get sidetracked into it, but, the word in Greek is “tabernacle” or “pitched their tents in heaven.” It’s not a word denoting permanent dwelling. And I personally am inclined to believe that this will be the raptured saints of God enjoying the marriage feast. The feast of booths or tabernacles, the last of the three great feasts in the Mosaic law, which was celebrated after the ingathering of harvest, when for seven days every Israelite, every male Israelite, went up to Jerusalem and lived in booths under branches of trees for seven days. And it is clear to me that this must have as exact a counterpart in the Christian dispensation as the other two great feasts, the Passover and Pentecost. Which were exactly fulfilled in the Christian dispensation. The Passover in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, Pentecost on the day of Pentecost.
There’s one other great feast in the Mosaic law, that’s the feast of tabernacles, ingathering, at the close of the harvest. When every male Israelite had to go up to Jerusalem and for seven days they lived in tents or ‘booths’. And the very word that’s translated “dwell,” but should be translated “tabernacle” is the word that’s used in the Greek version of the Old Testament for that particular feast. So if you will you can picture the raptured saints with their tents pitched in heaven enjoying the banquet and the marriage supper of the Lamb while hell is turned loose on earth. You say, well, who are the saints on earth? Now, this is an opinion. I would say, primarily, Israel. Primarily a Jewish remnant. Because the Antichrist is the false Messiah. Remember that, that’s part of the meaning of his title. We can’t go into that here and many books have been written, both for and against these ideas. But I have come to believe them as far as I’ve outlined them to you myself.
Let’s notice this time period here which is another fascinating object of study. Revelation 13:5 it says “power was given unto him [the Antichrist] to continue forty and two months.” In your outline you see a little, simple calculation about as complicated as I am as capable of in mathematics. Forty-two months equals three-and-one-half years. Now this time period occurs in various different places always in relationship to this period in human history.
Turn back to Daniel the seventh chapter and the 25th verse. And this again is in direct relationship to the blasphemous claims and challenges of the Antichrist. Daniel 7:25:
“And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they [the saints] shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.”
Now in your outline you’ll see a very simple way to make that make sense. “Time” is one time. “Times” are two times. And the dividing of the time is simply the Hebrew phrase for half a time. So you have one time plus two times plus half a time. Which makes three and a half times. And you only have to use times as synonymous with years and you get the very simple period of three and a half years. Now if you take the relationship between years, months and days and allow as you do in God’s sacred calendar, twelve months to a year and thirty days to a month, you find the following calculation works out. You have it there in your outline. Three and a half years equals three and a half multiplied by twelve equals forty-two months. Then you multiply forty-two by thirty and you get twelve hundred and sixty days.
Now if you turn to Revelation 12:6 you find that this phrase or this time measurement is used there. Revelation 12:6 the woman who has been portrayed in verse one:
“...clothed with the sun, the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars:
Let me say again, and this is just my opinion. You’re entitled to disagree with me. Without any question in my mind this is a type of Israel. Because it goes back to Joseph’s dream when he saw the sun, the moon, and the eleven stars make obeisance to him. And when he told Jacob, his father, the dream, Jacob, who was a prophet, had no problem about interpreting the dream. He said, “what do you say shall I and thy mother and thy eleven brothers come and bow down to thee?” And of course they did. When Joseph became ruler in Egypt the father and mother and eleven brothers came and made obeisance to Joseph. And you’ll find every one of the types in Revelation, the figures, the images, are all taken from the Old Testament. Because it’s a revelation to the servants of God. And the servants of God are expected to know the Old Testament. People that don’t take the time or the trouble to study the Old Testament cannot understand Revelation. You can understand Revelation without going to seminary but you can’t understand it without knowing the Old Testament. So, as I say, as for my part, there’s no doubt about this. It’s one of the clear, simple identifications, this woman is Israel. “Clothed with the sun, the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars.” The twelve tribes, the twelve sons of Jacob. And there’s a time when the dragon, who is identified as the devil, is going to make a special onslaught against the woman. And when you think how busy he’s been for over two thousand years, when it’s something special, it’s going to be something terrible too. In verse 6:
“And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God.”
This is another thing that fascinates me because of my interest in Israel but there are various passages of scripture that indicate there is going to be a time when God will deal with Israel as a nation in the wilderness face to face without a mediator. Because that’s the principal of God. Let me share this thought with you. I can’t dwell on it too long because of the time limit. But I once read this, and it is very helpful, in the relationship between blessing and punishing, between Jews and Gentiles. God blesses Israel direct. He blesses the Gentiles through Israel, through the Jews. Because he’s fulfilling his promise to Abraham and his seed. God punishes the Gentiles direct. He punishes the Jews through the Gentiles. This you can trace all through human history. It has never changed. God does not punish Israel direct. He uses Gentile nations as the instruments of his chastisement. But He blesses Israel direct.
You’d be surprised, even in this dispensation, if you talked to converted Jews, how many of them got converted alone. That is, alone with everybody, except the Lord. Alone with the Lord and without human persons present. And many passages of the Bible, Zechariah the twelfth chapter, Hosea the second chapter, Ezekiel the twentieth chapter, all indicate there is a time in God’s program with Israel when he’ll move them aside into a wilderness and he will there deal with them himself. Because, really, I’ll have to tell you, it takes God to deal with the Jews. I say it in love, but, He’s kept that one for himself. He also calls Israel “my glory.” And he says “my glory I will not give to another.”
So that ‘s what God is going to be doing. For twelve hundred and sixty days, in the wilderness, in a place where Satan cannot touch her, Israel will be under the dealings of God. Hosea the second chapter, God says “He will give her her vineyards from thence and the valley of Achor, the valley of trouble for a door of hope.” However, we are dealing with time periods for the time being. We have, therefore, this time period of twelve hundred and sixty days. In Revelation 12:6, in Revelation 13:5 we have the time period of forty and two months. And they’re equal, you understand? With thirty months to a day, it works out. In Daniel chapter 7 verse 25 we have the time period of a “time, times and half a time.” One plus two and a half is three and a half times or years. So they exactly work out.
Now, three and a half, I hardly need to tell you, is half seven. And seven is a week. It’s a unit of measurement. You see the Hebrew word for week means a “seven,” but it doesn’t necessarily mean a seven of days. In fact in many places in the Old Testament when they mean a week of days, they put in the word “days” in various places. Now if the word “days” is not put in, it’s simply a “seven.” It may be days, it may be years. And this leads us to Daniel the ninth chapter where we’ll find the missing “week.” Now it is not my aim to go into this in detail because it would take about twelve studies to deal with this alone. Maybe, if God wills and we live, one day we’ll do it. Daniel the ninth chapter verses 25 through 27.
Now this is very terse, succinct, almost enigmatic language. And sometimes it is difficult to know exactly how to understand it. The angel tells Daniel: “Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem [which was under the Persian empire] unto the Messiah, the Prince shall be seven weeks, and three score and two weeks [three score and two is sixty-two. Seven plus sixty-two is sixty-nine weeks]: the street shall be built again and the wall, even in troublous times. [this is the historical restoration of Jerusalem after the return from the Babylonian captivity in the fourth century B.C.]” Now verse 26: “And after threescore and two weeks [sixty-nine weeks] shall Messiah be cut off ...” These weeks are weeks of years. So seven times sixty-nine, if you can do it. You don’t have to do it at the moment, but you’ll get the number of years from the decree to rebuild Jerusalem to the cutting off of Messiah. Incidentally, let me say that for many, many centuries the rabbis forbade the reading of this ninth chapter of Daniel in the synagogues. See, because the reference to the cutting off of the Messiah was so clear and the application to Jesus so obvious that they refused to allow it to be read. And quite a triumph has been achieved just recently in Israel where this chapter has been restored to those which can be read.
All right, now, we’re in Daniel 9:26:
“And after threescore and two weeks [that’s seven weeks plus sixty-two weeks, which make sixty-nine weeks], shall Messiah be cut off...”
There is a book, if you can obtain it, if you’re interested, called “The Coming Prince” by Robert Anderson, which has worked out this period of sixty-nine weeks of years to the exact date. If his historical basis of dates and events is correct, he has it worked out with absolute accuracy to the exact day. And that means with all sorts of complicated things like allowing for leap years and the transition from B.C. to A.D. and many other things. It’s a complicated calculation but he has done it in this book entitled “The Coming Prince.” All right, we’re going back to Daniel 9:26
“And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself [or, alternatively, he shall have nothing]: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary...”
Now that is what took place in 70 A.D. when the Roman armies destroyed both the city of Jerusalem and the temple, the sanctuary. And notice they are called the people of the prince that shall come . And the prince that shall come is Antichrist. So we see that Antichrist is to have a specific relationship to Rome. Which is already indicated with regard to the false church. She will be located, or associated with the city of Rome as we saw in a previous study.
“...and the end thereof [that’s the end of the city] shall be with a flood and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. [Jerusalem will never be the sacred city of God until Antichrist has had his way.] Verse 27: “And he shall confirm the covenant [but the Hebrew does not say ‘the’ it says ‘a’. He shall proclaim a covenant to the multitudes for one week. Now here’s the seventieth week. You’ve had sixty-nine, this is the last week]: and in the midst of the week [in other words after three and half years] he shall cause the sacrifice and oblation to cease...”
He will forbid the Jewish nation to have their normal worship and sacrifice and many, many people believe he will command his own image to be put in the temple and compel the Jews to worship it. And this will be the final dividing line between Antichrist and the Jews. You see the Jews will go along with almost anyone or anything that will get them back to the temple area. Because there’s no other place where they can worship. In fact, in the days of Napoleon, a Jew wrote to Napoleon and said “if you will give us back the temple area, you’ll be our Messiah.” And their rabbis wrongly have taught them that the one who will give back the temple will be the Messiah. He will, but he will be the false Messiah. He’ll be the Antichrist. This is very, very clear really. However, we’ve come to this period of three and a half years, forty-two months, twelve hundred and sixty days. And I suppose now, in Revelation, we’re dealing not with the first three and a half years but with the last three and half years. And many, many commentators believe, and I’m certainly prepared to accept it though I don’t necessarily assert it, that this is the period of the Great Tribulation. Or, as it’s called in Jeremiah 30, “the time of Jacob’s trouble.” The center of the tribulation will be the Jewish nation.
You see, no self-respecting Jew will ever worship an image of Antichrist. And here is where they will be forced to the place of final decision. Joel 3:14 “multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision.” God has his ways of bringing people to the valley of decision. Maybe you’ve noticed that in your life. And He’s planning a situation where Israel will be forced to a decision. And it isn’t so far away. All right let’s turn back to 2Thessalonians for a moment chapter 2 and we read verses 3 and 4:
“Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day [the day of Christ] shall not come, except there come a falling away first [a falling away from the Christian faith within the church], and that man of sin [lawlessness, the Antichrist] be revealed, the son of perdition; [Verse 4] Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.”
Now, I prefer to take those words very plainly. It means that he will claim to be God. And he will demand worship. And he will sit in the temple of God. Now, of course, this raises the old question: Will the Jews rebuild the temple? And I suppose the answer is “yes.” Some people say how could it be called the temple of God? Remember the Jews are God’s people and their God is the true God. And if they build a temple to their God it is the temple of God. Though they will not at this time have acknowledged Jesus as their Messiah. I don’t want to dwell on that. Let’s notice also Revelation 13. I think we’ve really looked at that before but let’s see this again about this aspect of worship. Because this is the culmination of Satan’s ambition. He’s been working systematically for thousands of years to arrive at the situation where he will be worshipped. Revelation 13:3,4:
“And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast.” [the Antichrist] “And they worshipped the dragon [the devil] which gave power unto the beast: [the Antichrist] and they worshipped the beast [the Antichrist] saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?”
That’s man’s idea of God. Someone who’s irresistible, can blot everybody out with his weapons. Verse 8, the same truth is brought out again:
“And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him [the Antichrist], whose names are not written in the book of life of the life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.”
Turning back to Ezekiel 28, if you wish for a moment. We’ll find that this also is clearly foreshown in this remarkable person, the prince of Tyrus. Just the second verse of Ezekiel 28:
“Son of man, say unto the prince of Tyrus, Thus sayeth the Lord God; Because thine heart is lifted up, and thou hast said, I am a God, I sit in the seat of God, in the midst of the seas; yet thou art a man, and not God, though thou set thine heart as the heart of God:”
He is a man, but he claims to be God. This is the Antichrist. And as you see in Revelation 2 the answer, or the correspondence is exact. 2Thessalonians 2 verse 4:
“Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.”
There is an exact correspondence between that verse and Ezekiel 28:2. Then we see the power of Antichrist to deceive. Looking on in 2Thessalonians 2 verses 10 through 12:
“And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned [or condemned] who believe not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”
I point out once again that we have only two options: either to believe the truth , or believe the devil’s lie. If we refuse the truth we will believe the lie. God will see to it. This amazes some people. It says God will send them strong delusions. But if you go through scripture this is the ultimate in divine judgment. When he turns a person over to Satan’s deception. And if you want to look in the historical books you can find: 1Samuel chapter 16. When king Saul deliberately rejected the word of God and became jealous of David. It said the spirit of God left him and an evil spirit from God troubled him. And it specifically stated the evil spirit was from God. And in 1Kings chapter 22 the last chapter of 1Kings you’ll find that because Ahab the King of Israel had persistently rejected the true prophets of the Lord and surrounded himself with the false prophets of his wife Jezebel. When the true prophets message was given he rejected it and the true prophet said: “I saw God sitting on his throne and all the hosts of heaven round about him and God said “who will deceive Ahab that he may go up to Ramoth Gilead and perish?” And one said after this manner and another after that manner and there came forth a spirit and said “I will deceive Ahab.” And the Lord said “how”? The spirit said “I will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.” And the Lord said “Thou shalt and thou shalt also succeed.” In that way Ahab was deceived to go up his death at Ramoth Gilead.
You go to the twenty-ninth chapter of Isaiah you find that all Israel, with the exception of a very small remnant, because of persistent rejection of the true prophets and the true word of God, are handed over to the spirit of sleep. And in Romans 11 it’s called the “spirit of slumber.” God has given them the spirit of slumber. And what has happened in the past to King Saul, King Ahab, and Israel as a nation is going to happen to the entire world when this age closes. Every person that refused the truth of the gospel, refused to bow before and acknowledge the true Christ, refused to yield to the spirit of truth, the Holy Spirit, will be deceived. God shall send them strong delusions. And I cannot emphasize for every person here and for all who hear this message how vitally important it is that you do not turn your ears away from the hearing of the truth. Because if you do you may be absolutely sure that not more than two decades will pass. And I question whether it will be anything like that amount of time before you will be finally ensnared in Satanic delusion and deception and there will be no way out. And notice again the basic reason why they didn’t want the truth. Second Thessalonians 2:12:
“That they all might be damned [condemned] who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”
You see there is one thing about the Bible, it’s always against sin. You cannot open the Bible and read it and study it and begin to act upon it and live a wicked life. And the people who want to lead wicked lives are the enemies of the Bible. They don’t say it ‘s because of wickedness. They’ll produce all sorts of intellectual arguments against the Bible but the real cause is that they’ll have to change their way of living or else discredit the Bible. And here the Bible puts it’s finger on the very reason people don’t believe the truth. Because they prefer unrighteousness. They want to live wrong. The Bible will straighten them out. They’ve either got to straighten out or reject it. And the scripture makes it very clear the majority of the human race at the close of this age, having refused the truth, will be ensnared in Satan’s error. We turn to Revelation 13:8 and we see this also. Which is exactly in line with 2 Thessalonians chapter 2 verses 10–12. Revelation 13:8
“And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him [the Antichrist], whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.”
The only people who will not be deceived are those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life. Only God’s elect and in Matthew 24 Jesus goes so far as to say that if it were possible he would deceive even the very elect. Revelation 13:7 notice that the Antichrist is the culmination of Cain’s religion. Cain started by murdering his brother and Scripture says in 1John 2 very clearly why he murdered him. Because his brothers’ works were righteous and his own unrighteous. And here the Antichrist sums it up:
“And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.”
He will persecute all true saints of God. This is stated again in Daniel 7 verse 21:
“...and the same horn [that’s the little horn] made war with the saints, and prevailed against them.”
Now we come to the fascinating calculation of his name. Revelation 13:18:
“Here is wisdom. [And Bible wisdom is always practical. It’s never mystical or remote or other-worldly] Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is six hundred threescore and six.”
Six hundred and sixty six. Now as far as I’m concerned there is no mystery about this. I don’t know the name of the Antichrist as a matter of fact I’m not even too interested to get to know it. But what convinced me that the solution is simple is I experimented with the name of Jesus. You’ll see this in your outline on the right hand side. The name of Jesus in Greek has got six letters. I’ve written them as English letters. The first letter is Iota or ‘I’ Greek has two e’s the short e and the long e. This is the long e “yea”-”s-o-u-s” to give the English letters. Iesousand in Greek and in Latin and in Hebrew every letter of the alphabet has a numerical value. If you want to arrive at it by comparison with English the first ten letters of the English alphabet would be 1 2 3 4 up to 10. The next letter would be 20 then go up by 10’s, 30, 40, 50, 60, to a hundred then they go up by hundreds. One hundred, 200, 300, 400, till you run out of letters. In that way, somewhat laboriously, you can make up any number out of letters. This was the standard way until the Arabs came along and introduced what we call the Arabic numerals which is what we use today. You can actually do long division and multiplication in Roman numerals. Those of you that are familiar with what I mean where in Roman numerals ‘R’ is one, ‘V’ is five, ‘X’ is ten, ‘L’ is fifty, ‘C’ is a hundred and so on.
So you take the letters of Jesus and you write the numerical value opposite each one and write them not horizontally but vertically and you have 10, 8, 270, 400 and 200. The further down the alphabet you get the larger the value the numbers, of the letters. And that adds up to 888.
Now to my way of thinking that is no coincidence. The true Christ adds up to 888 and the false christ adds up to 666. I won’t go into numerology but I believe there is even a significance in the numbers. But I’m not trying to persuade anybody of that and it’s a dangerous subject to get too much involved in. Now if the Antichrist is a false Jew, it’s very possible he’ll have a Hebrew name. If he rises anywhere in the Middle East he could have an Arabic name. And in Arabic the numerals, the letters also have numerical value. Or he could be a Greek, it’s very possible. And whatever way it comes about there’s not the faintest shadow of a doubt in my mind personally that when his name is known you’ll write the numerical values against each letter, add them up, they will add up to precisely 666. And if anyone was in doubt before they won’t be after that.
Now let’s look at 2Thessalonians 2 for a moment. One thing I want to tell you is it’s not our business to deal with the Antichrist. We’ve got a lot of important tasks to fulfill but that’s not one of them. And as far as I’m concerned I’ve no ambition to be a hero. Second Thessalonians 2:8:
“Then shall wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:”
It is very clear that the Antichrist, the false christ, will be destroyed by the true Christ. Which, to me is appropriate. This is a reference to prophecies in Isaiah which are interesting to look at, just for a moment. Isaiah the eleventh chapter. As a matter of fact, I was quite surprised how many references there are to this in Isaiah. Isaiah the eleventh chapter the first verse:
“And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse [and everybody knows this refers to the Messiah, Verse 4:] But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.”
He will actually consume the Antichrist with the fiery breath that proceeds forth out of his mouth. Let’s look in Isaiah 30 verses 27 and 28:
“Behold, the name of the Lord cometh from far [the name of the Lord is sometimes a title of the second person of the Godhead, the Lord Jesus Christ], burning with his anger, and the burden thereof is heavy: his lips are full of indignation, and his tongue as a devouring fire: Verse 28: And his breath, as an overflowing stream, shall reach to the midst of the neck [of his enemies], to sift the nations with the sieve of vanity:”
We don’t need to read further but we see that it’s the devouring fire proceeding out of his mouth that will destroy his enemies. And in the thirty-third verse of the same thirtieth chapter speaks about the place of final slaughter:
“For Tophet [or the valley of Hennim which is on the southeast corner of the city of Jerusalem] is ordained of old; yea, for the king it is prepared; he hath made it deep and large: the pile thereof is fire and much wood; the breath of the Lord, like a stream of brimstone, doth kindle it.”
And then we look at the culmination of this in Revelation 19 verses 19–21:
“And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse [that’s the true Christ, Jesus], and against his army. And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him... These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. And the remnant were slain with the sword of him which sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth:”
It’s a complete, exact correspondence between Isaiah, Thessalonians, and Revelation. Now in closing let’s glance for a moment at Satan’s counterfeit of Christianity. This is his masterpiece of deception and it marks the culmination of all his purposes. The references are given there in the margin. I will not turn to them and read them necessarily though we could turn to Revelation 13 for a moment. We’ve already looked at the opening verses. We have seen the dragon who is Satan himself and he corresponds to God the Father. The beast, the Antichrist, corresponds to God the Son. The embodiment of the father. The personal agent and representative of the Father. The one through whom the Father must be worshipped. The false prophet, who is referred to in Revelation 13:11, we’ll read those verses for a moment:
“And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon.”
Though appearing sweet and religious and doubtless talking about love like so many people he will act like a dragon. Verse 12:
“And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him [that’s the Antichrist], and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast [the Antichrist], whose deadly wound was healed.”
It’s the business of the Holy Spirit to bring true worship to Jesus. It’s the business of the false prophet to bring worship to the Antichrist. The false prophet takes the place of the Holy Spirit. Here we have Satan’s trinity. The dragon, the counterfeit of the father, the beast, the Antichrist, the counterfeit of the son, the false prophet, the counterfeit of the holy spirit. And then this false prophet in verse 14 of Revelation 13:
“And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth... saying... that they should make an image to the beast [an image of the beast, the Antichrist]. Verse 15: And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.”
The image of the beast is the counterpart of the true church showing forth the likeness of the Lord Jesus Christ. So we have an exact Satanic counterfeit of the truth of Christianity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The church, the dragon, the beast, the false prophet, and the image of the beast. Let us in closing turn to Luke 21 verses 34–36. Words of warning to every person that hears this message:
“And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting [overeating] and drunkenness, and cares of this life [like marrying, giving in marriage, building, planting, buying, selling, eating, and drinking] and so that day come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.”
Let me point out one closing thought: You have to be worthy to escape. You’ve got to live in such a way that God would be unrighteous to involve you in his judgment on the wicked.