We’ve seen two lessons about the Antichrist and where people try to find this character in the Bible. Join Robert as he brings this lesson to a close and discusses what and who the Antichrist really is.

ROBERT >> These last several weeks we have been studying Bible prophecy and the last days, and we have learned that the last days is really something that began about 2,000 years ago with the pouring out of the Holy Spirit and the establishment of God’s church, it will continue until our Lord comes again, and that Jesus will come on the last of the last days. There’ll be no signs concerning his coming. He will come unexpectedly, he’ll come like a thief in the night. We must always be ready for his coming. And not only that, there’ll be no secret rapture years before the end of the world. No, when Jesus comes on that last day of the last days, suddenly, unexpectedly, all that are in their graves will be raised up, and they will be appointed to condemnation or to eternal life with God in heaven. Jesus will come not secretly, but openly. Every eye shall see him. The Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God.

He’ll come like lightning from the east to the west. No, the scriptures tell us there’ll be nothing secret about his coming. But now in the last couple of weeks we’ve been talking about the antichrist, and we have learned that the antichrist is not mentioned in the book of Daniel, he’s not mentioned in 2 Thessalonians chapter 2, and that he’s not mentioned in the book of Revelation, as some people want to say. The fact is that the book of Daniel had to do with the history of empires of old: The Babylonian empire, the Medo-Persian empire, the Grecian empire, the Roman empire. All of those have gone on and passed away in history. And that’s what the book of Daniel is about. We have looked into 2 Thessalonians chapter 2, where the apostle Paul prophesied of the falling away of the church. And this apostate church, Catholicism that now exists today, will finally be brought to an end at the coming of Jesus Christ. And the man of sin in that chapter was not some antichrist at the end of the world, but rather, he was personified in the various popes that have ruled and continue to rule in Catholicism. And so we see that in both of these places, in the book of Daniel and in 2 Thessalonians 2, no mention of some rise of some great antichrist at the end of the world.

We then turned to the book of Revelation. And in the book of Revelation we found that it has to do with things that are shortly to take place. The time is at hand. And so the book was not sealed. Everything was already coming upon the church of the first century there and will continue to grow even worse. And so again, we don’t want to take the things of the book of Revelation and apply them to those last days of the very end of time. Rather, let’s see what the book of Revelation really says about the antichrist. We’ll be back in just a moment.

SINGING>> Speaking the truth, speaking the truth,
speaking the truth, speaking the truth in love.

ROBERT >> Though we have seen that the book of Revelation has to do with the things that were then going on in the church and were continuing to happen in the first and second centuries that followed, still there are some who want to look for the antichrist in this book, and they go to Revelation chapter 13. So I want to look at this briefly with you for just a moment.

Let’s read together about this beast that comes up out of the sea in Revelation 13:1-10. “Then I stood on the sand of the sea. And I saw a beast rising up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his horns ten crowns, and on his heads a blasphemous name. Now the beast which I saw was like a leopard, his feet were like the feet of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. And the dragon gave him his power, his throne, and great authority. And I saw one of the heads as if it had been mortally wounded, and his deadly wound was healed. And all the world marveled and followed the beast. So they worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him? And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he was given authority to continue for forty-two months. Then he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven. It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation. All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. If anyone has an ear, let him hear. He who leads into captivity shall go into captivity; he who kills with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and faith of the saints.”

What is this beast that rises up out of the sea with the horns and the crowns?

Well, the book of Daniel will help us with that. I’m not going to spend time today in reading all of Daniel chapter 2 and Daniel chapter 7, but I want to remind you of the visions that Daniel received there. You might remember in Daniel chapter 2 where Daniel saw a vision of a statue that represented four kingdoms: The Babylonian kingdom that then existed that was followed by the Medo-Persian kingdom that came to rule, and when they fell, the Grecian kingdom, and finally a fourth unnamed kingdom, which we know was the Roman empire. And so the beasts of the book of Daniel that are also recorded in Daniel chapter 7 and Daniel chapter 8 make reference to these same kingdoms seen in this vision of the statue in Daniel chapter 2. They’re even called by name. And so we know for certain that Daniel was writing about these four kingdoms of the past. And you’ll notice that the Revelation uses these same figures, the leopard and the lion the bear. These were all those beasts that we read about in Daniel chapter 7 and Daniel chapter 8 identified again as these past kingdoms. And so when we think about this beast rising up out of the sea, this would be the one that followed these other beasts: The Babylonian kingdom, the Medo-Persian kingdom, the Grecian kingdom, the fourth kingdom, the Roman empire. You see, Revelation begins where Daniel left off, with the Roman persecution of the saints because they refused to bow to their emperor. That’s right. The emperors of Rome, of this fourth kingdom, this beast described in Revelation, demanded emperor worship, that the people would bow down to them, that they would worship them as gods. And so here he speaks of the Roman empire personified in her emperors who demanded emperor worship. And that’s what we’re seeing in this vision; not some antichrist at the end of the world, but in this fourth kingdom mentioned by Daniel and now mentioned by John in the book of Revelation. Now, this same chapter, Revelation 13, also speaks of a land beast, and I want you to notice what the land beast was.

Let me a read it first in verses 11 through 16. “Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon. And he exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence, and causes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men. And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who was wounded by the sword and lived. He was granted power to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed. He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads.”

Let me stop here for just a moment, and you’ll see that this land beast had power from the sea beast that we just read about earlier in this chapter. The Roman empire, her emperors gave power to this land beast, which would represent the cult of priests that were used by Rome to promote and to enforce emperor worship. They caused the people to worship the emperor. They deceived the people by their many signs and their trickery. And you notice at the end there in verse 16 how they received a mark on their right hand and on their foreheads?

This is very interesting. What is this mark?

What are we talking about here?

Earlier in Revelation chapter 7 we see that God’s people received a mark on their foreheads to identify them with their heavenly Father, to identify with God because of their faithfulness to him. And here we’re going to see that this mark identifies the people of Rome, of that great empire who were faithful to the emperor, who bowed down before him.

Let’s read a little bit about it here. You’ll notice in verse 17, “And that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark of the name of the beast or the number of his name. Hear is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666.”

You see, the emperor was identified by the number 666, as were all those who bowed to him. The number six is symbolic, as are all of the visions in the Revelation. They’re symbols, they’re signs. And the number six is symbolic of sin, because it is one short of seven, which is the perfect number in this kind of apocalyptic literature or symbolic language that’s used in the Revelation.

You know the Bible says in Romans 3:23 how “we’ve all sinned and fall short of the glory of God?”

Well, the number six is a number that is short of that perfect number, seven. And the number 666 is then that number that’s symbolic of sin, that number six multiplied time and time again. And so 666 is sin multiplied. It’s evil multiplied. The emperor was a very evil man. He was not a god to be worshiped. And God’s people who did not bow to the emperor, who were persecuted, they were not allowed to trade, they were not allowed to be involved in many of the things in society in those days, and they were even killed. But they would be delivered because they had God’s seal. They had his mark on their forehead, according to Revelation chapter 7. So when we look to Revelation 13, we’re not talking about some antichrist at the end of the world. We’re talking about these Roman emperors who had their cult of priests to deceive the people and enforce their emperor worship, we have these who are identified with Rome and its evil and its sin because they bowed down to that emperor, and we have in Revelation 7 God’s people who were faithful even in the face of persecution.

No, Revelation is not about someone who arises at the end of the world to destroy God’s people. It’s about the Roman empire with her emperors who severely persecuted the church for many years. And again, I want to remind us, the term antichrist is never used in the Revelation. So we haven’t found the term antichrist in the book of Daniel, we haven’t found it in 2 Thessalonians chapter 2, and we haven’t found it in the book of Revelation. The fact is you’re not going to find that term, antichrist, anywhere in all the Bible except in 1 John and in 2 John.

The term antichrist is found only five times in the Bible. I want us to look at these passages and see what it really says about the antichrist.

1 John 2:18 is the first place that we read about antichrist in our Bibles. “ Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour.”

John says as he wrote this letter to the first century church, we’re living in the last hour. As we mentioned at the very beginning and throughout this series, the last days refer to the last period of history that began in the first century and will continue until Christ comes again. They were living in the last hour. We’re living in the last hour. And he says already antichrists are among us. The antichrist was not something that was going to happen at the end of the world. It was something that would happen throughout these last days, beginning in the first century.

Look at it in verse 22. 1 John 2:22, “Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son.”

The antichrist is simply anti-Christ, those that are against Christ. They speak against him. They deny, particularly according to this particular passage, that he is the Christ, that is, that long-awaited Messiah, the Savior and the Lord. That’s the antichrist.

And then look at it in chapter 4 and verse 3. “And every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.”

Again, John says he’s already here. In fact, there are many of them. And again he denies Jesus is the Christ. Here particularly, He will not confess that Jesus came in the flesh. Look at it in one other place, 2 John 7, the last time we read of the term antichrist in the Bible.

2 John 7, “For many deceivers have gone out into the world who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.”

Put all of these passages together. According to these passages, there were many antichrists. Many antichrists, not just one. They lived in John’s day, not just at the end of the world. They were anti-Christ, literally, against Christ. They denied Jesus Christ and the Father, and they denied Jesus Christ came in the flesh. These passages never mentioned a world ruler who rises up against God and his people to bring some great tribulation before Jesus comes at the end of the world. Well, it’s clear from the lessons that we’ve been looking at that a whole lot that’s said about the antichrist today has nothing to do with what the Bible has to say about it. Let’s remember that the term antichrist is only found a few times in the Bible, five times, in the books of 1 and 2 John as we just looked at; that the term’s not found in Daniel, it’s not found in 2 Thessalonians 2, it’s not found in the book of Revelation.

Let’s remember that the book of Daniel has to do with four kingdoms of the past: The Babylonian kingdom, the Medo-Persian kingdom, the Grecian empire, and the Roman empire of the first century. All of that has nothing to do with the coming of Christ at the end of the world. In 2 Thessalonians chapter 2, again we learn that the man of sin that’s mentioned there was already at work, that that man of sin, personified in the Popes of the Catholic church, would continue until Christ came, when he would finally be put down.

And we also noticed from the book of Revelation that that book had to do with things that would shortly take place, things that were at hand, that were near. And so the book was not sealed. But it speaks of then what’s happening there in the first century and would only grow worse. It speaks of the things that Daniel pointed to when he spoke of that fourth empire, the Roman empire. It speaks of the persecution that the Romans brought upon the first century church and the centuries to follow, torturing them, persecuting them even to death. But in their faithfulness they were encouraged by the Revelation that they would be victorious and they would reign with Christ in eternity. We found in the book of Revelation that Rome would fall. You request can read about it in Revelation chapters 17 and 18. And so that enemy of God’s people would fall into the dust of the earth, as they have. But the church would survive. The church would continue on. And of course we see it still alive today. That’s what the book of Revelation is really about. That beast that came up out of the sea that blasphemed, that made the people worship him with this cult of priests, the land beast, those that were identified 666, sin multiplied, evil multiplied, these ones that were falling down before the emperor, all of these would be judged by God; but those who would be faithful, they were identified with the Father. They were identified with Jesus Christ. They would get to come over into that eternal kingdom with him. And so it’s clear from our study of the scripture that the antichrist is not someone who’s going to rise up at the end of the world and bring great tribulation upon the earth. Lord willing, we’re going to talk about the great tribulation, about what the great tribulation really is that the Bible speaks of.

I hope you’ll come and you’ll join us next week. But let me tell you before we leave now, I hope that you are ready to meet the Lord. You see, no matter what happens at the end of this world, you must be prepared, because heaven is a place for a prepared people. Jesus came and he died for us and he rose again so that he could pay for our sins, so that he could give us the hope and the assurance of eternal life, so that he could prepare a place for us with God for all of eternity. God has done his part. In his grace, in his love, in his mercy he’s provided for us, and he gives us opportunity now to prepare our hearts, to prepare our lives so that we can meet him with a smile that day and hear those words, Well done, good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of the Lord.

Is that your assurance today?

Have you been obedient to the gospel, believing and being baptized in Christ so you can be saved?

Jesus said, He that believes and is baptized shall be saved; but he that disbelieves shall be condemned.

I hope today that you’re trusting in the Lord. But if you need help, let us know here at The Truth In Love how we can help you towards heaven today.

SINGING>> I know that my redeemer lives and ever prays for me.
I know eternal life he gives from sin and sorrow free.
I know, I know that my redeemer lives.
I know, I know eternal life he gives.
I know, I know that my redeemer lives.
I know that over yonder stands a place a prepared for me,
a home, a house not made with hands,
most wonderful to see.
I know, I know that my redeemer lives.
I know, I know eternal life he gives.
I know, I know that my redeemer lives.

SINGING>> Each day I’ll do a golden deed
by helping those who are in need.
My life on earth is but a span,
and so I’ll do the best I can.
Life’s evening sun is sinking low.
A few more days,
and I must go
to meet the deeds that I have done,
where there will be no setting sun.
To be a child of God each day,
my light must shine along the way.
I’ll sing his praise while ages roll
and try to help some troubled soul.
Life’s evening sun is sinking low.
A few more days, and I must go
to meet the deeds that I have done,
where there will be no setting sun.
While going down life’s weary road,
I’ll try to lift some traveler’s load.
I’ll try to turn the night to day,
make flowers bloom along the way, the lonely way.
Life’s evening sun is sinking low.
A few more days,
and I must go to meet the deeds that I have done
where there will be no setting sun.

ROBERT >> Thank you so much for watching our program today. If you have any questions, comments, or requests, if you’d like a personal home Bible study or special prayers, if you’d like more information about the lesson today or if you’d like to order today’s lesson or any other lesson on CD, DVD, or in manuscript form, let me encourage you to write The Truth In Love at P.O. Box 865, Hurst, Texas 76053.

You may e-mail us at requests@ttil.tv.

Or call our toll-free number, 800-819-2966.

And also, please visit our web site at www.ttil.tv.

Remember, all our materials and services are absolutely free of charge. We just want to do what we can to help us all towards heaven. So let us know how we can help you, and please join us next time right here on The Truth In Love.

SINGING>> Sing to me of heaven, sing that song of peace.
From the toils that bind me it will bring release.
Burdens will be lifted that are pressing so,
showers of great blessing o’er my heart will flow.
Sing to me of heaven,
let me fondly dream of its golden glory,
of its pearly gleam.
Sing to me when shadows of the evening fall.
Sing to me of heaven, sing the sweetest song of all.
Sing to me of heaven tenderly and low
till the shadows o’er me rise and swiftly go.
When my heart is weary, when the day is long,
sing to me of heaven, sing that old, sweet song.
Sing to me of heaven,
let me fondly dream of its golden glory,
of its pearly gleam.
Sing to me when shadows of the evening fall.
Sing to me of heaven, sing the sweetest song of all.

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