Monday, July 20, 2015

The Antichrist: Alive, In Power, and Unexpected (Part 1 - The Unveiling)



 Introduction
Before we get started, I wanted to preface that all phrases colored red are links to the subject matter and also that this blog is very long because of the detail and had to split in two different blogs:


"Part 1 - The Unveiling" will be unveiling how we come to the conclusion of the Antichrist in general.

"Part 2 - The Deceiver" will be identifying the specific person know as the Antichrist head.

Based on my last blog, I explained some of the more key issues/prophecies coming to pass to show how we are in the last days/minutes according to the Books of Daniel, Revelation, and others.  Can it be possible that this "Antichrist" can be clearly identified per scripture and alive and well in the world today?  All my life, I've been told that whoever the Antichrist is, they will come with wrath and in complete opposition to Jesus.  Digging further intro scripture, you might be surprised to find out this is completely wrong.  Whoever this person becomes to be, we know they must be of heavy influence and one the entire world reveres.

Think about that for a sec...the entire world regardless of ethnicity or religious background will look up to this person of extreme power -  influencing in religion, politics, finances, etc.

If you had to look at the world stage today without even going into this blog, who would fit the description of having extreme influence in religion, politics, finances,environmental and health issues, etc that everyone looks up to?  There is only one party that fits the bill:

The Pope.




Now that ive told you who scripture will point to in this very long blog, you can choose to dismiss this as completely ridiculous / ludicrous / implausible, etc and not read any further


...or...


you can choose to continue to read and see what Biblical scripture has to say about it. If you wanted to skip this entire blog (at least on Part 1 - The Unveiling), Pastor David Asscherick of Discover Ministries has the best descriptive and easy to understand teaching on it.  Its an hour long and will go into some of what im discussing in this blog but with a lot more detail.  You can find the video on YouTube here: David Asscherick - The Identity of the Antichrist

I can assure you and without a doubt, you wont have any questions or concerns once watching it because he allows scripture to tell you who the Antichrist is and you decide.


Why is any of this important?

If we can properly identify the Antichrist per scripture, we can determine timelines in relation to end times and events.  We know that the "last days" started when Israel became a nation again in 1948 (Isaiah 66:8).  We also know that a Biblical generation is 70 years (Psalm 90:10).  If these are true, 2018 would mark the 70 year period where Jesus himself said "this" generation will see these things come to pass before His return. (Matthew 24:34) If we can identify the Antichrist, we can start watching his movements, speeches, etc to determine is this person and traits align with scripture.  If so, then not only is the Antichrist real as prophesied but the "last days" are no longer metaphorical - they're now literal.



Part 1 - The Unveiling






What does "anti" mean? 


We often think from an English perspective that it means being against or opposing something but the literal Greek translation (which the New Testament was written) means "in place of" - not against. Greek Definition of Anti

So whoever this person is, they have to claim (and be) "in place of" Jesus.




Where does the Antichrist come from?


For most who study the Bible in terms of Eschatology (the study of prophecy), they know that scripture reinforces other scripture.  In the case of end times and discovering the Antichrist, we go to Books of Daniel and Revelation.



Nebuchadnezzar's Dream:


Daniel 2: 1-23 talks about the dreams King Nebuchadnezzar had within the second year of his reign.  Upon seeking the interpretations from his enchanters, sorcerers, and astrologers, none could confirm what his dream was nor the interpretation thereof.   He intentionally didn't speak of the dream to them so he would know whether they had the ability to foretell and interpret or if they were full of it so to speak.

Since they weren't able to tell what his dream was about, King Nebuchadnezzar was going to have them put to death and that's when Daniel got wind of the kings intention through the kings commander of the guard, Arioch.  Daniel then sought the king, advised that he would give the dream and interpretation, and asked for some time to pray about it.

After seeking God for the dream and meaning, this is what King Nebuchadnezzar dreamt and the interpretation:


Daniel 2:31

31. Your Majesty looked, and there before you stood a large statue - an enormous, dazzling statue, awesome in appearance.

 32. The head of the statue was made of pure gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze,

33. its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of baked clay.

34. While you were watching, a rock was cut out, but not by human hands.  It stuck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and smashed them.


35. Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were all broken to pieces and became like chaff on a threshing floor in the summer.  The wind swept them away without leaving a trace.  But the rock that struck the statue became a huge mountain and filled the whole earth.









36. This was the dream, and we will interpret it to the king.

37. Your Majesty, you are the king of kings.  The God of heaven has given you dominion and power and might and glory;

 
 38. in your hands he has placed all mankind and the beasts of the field and the birds in the sky.  Wherever they live, he has made you ruler over them all.  You (kingdom) are the head of gold

 

  

39. After you, another kingdom will arise, inferior to yours.





Next, a third kingdom, one of bronze, will rule over the whole earth.





40. Finally, there will be a fourth kingdom, strong as iron - for iron breaks and smashes everything - and as iron breaks things into pieces, so it will crush and break all the others.




41. Just as you saw the feet and toes were partly of baked clay and partly of iron, so this will be a divided kingdom; yet it will have some of the strength of iron in it, even as you saw iron mixed with clay.

42. As the toes were partly iron and partly clay, so this kingdom will be partly strong and partly brittle.

43. And just as you saw the iron mixed with baked clay, so the people will be a mixture and will not remain united, any more that iron mixes with clay.

44. In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people.  It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever.

45. This is the meaning of the vision of the rock cut out of a mountain, but not by human hands - a rock that broke the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold to pieces.


So to recap, each of these statue pieces represent a kingdom historically that follows King Nebuchadnezzar's kingdom.  Lets take a look at the kingdoms that came to follow the Babylonian one, all the way to current day per history:



Babylon - 605 - 539 BC (Gold Kingdom)



Medo-Persia - 539 - 331 BC (Silver Kingdom)



Greece - 331 - 168 BC (Bronze Kingdom) 




Rome - 168 - 476 AD (Iron Kingdom)




Divided Rome - 476 AD - Current (Iron and Clay Kingdom)




Why does the above dream have significance?  Well, Daniel has a dream himself 5 chapters later in Daniel 7 that correlates to King Nebuchadnezzar's dream.


Daniel's Dream: 

Daniel 7:4-14 describes the prophetic dream he had one night.



4. The first was like a lion, and it had wings of an eagle.  I watched until its wings were torn off and it was lifted from the ground so that it stood on two feet like a human being, and the mind of a human was given to it.


5. And there before me was a second beast, which looked like a bear.  It was raised up on one of its sides, and it had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth.  It was told, "Get up and eat your fill of flesh!"


6. After that, I looked and there before me was another beast, one that looked like a leopard.  And on its back it had four wings like those of a bird.  This beast had four heads, and it was given authority to rule.

7. After that, in my vision at night I looked, and there before me was a fourth beast - terrifying and frightening and very powerful.  It had large iron teeth; it crush and devoured its victims and trampled underfoot whatever was left.  It was different from all the former beasts, and it had ten horns.

8. While I was thinking about the horns, there before me was another horn, a little one, which came up among them; and three of the first horns were uprooted before it.  This horn had eyes like the eyes of a human being and a mouth that spoke boastfully.

9. As I looked, thrones were set in place, and the Ancient of Days took his seat.  His clothing was as white as snow; the hair of his head was white like wool. His throne was flaming with fire, and its wheels were all ablaze.

10. A river of fire was flowing, coming out from before him.  Thousands upon thousands attended him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him.  The court was seated, and the books were opened.

11. The I continued to watch because of the boastful words the horn was speaking.  I kept looking until the beast was slain and its body destroyed and thrown into the blazing fire.

12. The other beasts had been stripped of their authority, but were allowed to live for a period of time.

13. In my vision at night I looked, then there before me was one like the son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven.  He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence.

14. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshiped him.  His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.


Daniel 7:16 - ...so he told me and gave me the interpretation of these things. 

17. The four great beasts are four kings (kingdoms) that will rise from the earth.

23. He gave me this explanation: The fourth beast is a fourth kingdom that will appear on earth.  It will be different from all the other kingdoms and will devour the whole earth, trampling it down and crushing it.

24. The ten horns are ten kings who will come from this kingdom.  After them another king will arise, different from the earlier ones; he will subdue three kings.  

25. He will speak against the Most High and oppress his holy people and try to change the set times and the laws.  The holy people will be delivered into his hands for a time, times, and half a time.


So to review again, both a beast and each piece of the statue represent a kingdom when talking about end time prophecy.  One might ask the question, "Is this a new way of thinking regarding the kingdoms and time periods?" The answer is no.

At the Town Hall (built circa 1320-1340 AD) in Nuremberg, Germany, there are sculptures over two of the entrances that correspond to the dreams Daniel had.
 




King Nebuchadnezzar with a winged lion behind him symbolizing the Babylonian gold kingdom reign.




A Persian king or warrior and behind him a bear that has three ribs in his mouth symbolizing the Medo-Persia silver kingdom reign.




Alexander the Great and a four-headed leopard with wings behind him symbolizing the Grecian bronze kingdom.




 
A Roman king or warrior and behind him a beast with 10 horns, with a little face on one of the horns symbolizing the iron kingdom.
 



Historically, we can confirm that Daniel's interpretation of the dream is an accurate timeline for the kingdoms that came after the Babylonian reign. 

There are also two beasts that the Book of Revelation discusses, the first coming up out of the abyss and the second from the earth that correlate to the dream Daniel had of the 4 beasts.  

Revelation 13:1-8 

1. The dragon (4th beast of Daniel's dream) stood on the shore of the sea. And I saw a beast coming out of the sea. It had 10 horns (like the 10 heads of the 4th beast) and seven heads, with 10 crowns on its horns, and on each head a blasphemous name.

2. The beast I saw resembled a leopard (like the 3rd beast in Daniel's dream), but had feet like those of a bear (2nd beast of Daniel) and a mouth like that of a lion (1st beast of Daniel).  the dragon gave the beast his power and his throne and great authority.

3. One of the heads of the beast seemed to have had a fatal wound, but the fatal wound had been healed. The whole world was filled with wonder and followed the beast.

4. People worshiped the dragon because he had given authority to the beast, and they also worshiped the beast and asked, "Who is like the beast? Who can wage war against it?"

5. The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies (like the 4th beast of Daniel with a man at its head) and to exercise its authority for forty-two months (3.5 years).

6. It opened its mouth to blaspheme God, and to slander his name and his dwelling place and those who live in heaven.

7. It was given power to wage war against God's holy people and to conquer them.  And it was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation.

8. All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beasts - all whose names have not been written in the Lamb's book of life, the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world.


So to recap, we see the correlation between what the apostle John saw (who wrote the Book of Revelation) and what Daniel saw in his dream. Reading further into Revelation, we get a bigger picture of this beast and a confirmation of who sits upon it.

Revelation 17:3-4

3. Then the angel carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness.  There I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was covered with blasphemous names and had seven heads and ten horns.

4. The woman was dressed in purple and scarlet, and was glittering with gold, precious stones and pearls.  She had a golden up in her hand, filled with abominable things and the filth of her adulteries.

Woman = church in end time prophecy
Beast = kingdom

So the church is sitting upon a kingdom that has colors of purple, scarlet, glittered with gold, precious stones, and pearls.  She also has a golden cup in her hand.






  

Now that we have the dreams, interpretations, and coinciding descriptions within Revelation's beast, we can condense the characteristics of the Antichrist into some of the things below.



Characteristics of the Antichrist:



1. Little horn (kingdom) - Daniel 7:8

2. Comes up among the other horns (kingdoms - European Nations) - Daniel 7:8

3. Must come up after the divided Rome period (after 476 AD) - Daniel 7:24

4. Plucked up 3 horns (kingdoms) - Daniel 7:8

5. Diverse / different - Daniel 7:24

6. Man at its head - Daniel 7:8

7. Speaks blasphemous words - Daniel 7:25
  •  Blasphemy, according to scripture (Mark 2:7, John 10:33, 1 Timothy 1:12-13)
    • The power to forgive sins, claims to be god, and persecutes the people of God in the name of God
8. A persecuting power - Daniel 7:21, 25

9. Changes the times and laws - Daniel 7:25

10. 1260 prophetic day reign - Daniel 7:25

11. The number of his name is 666 - Revelation 13:17-18

12. His clothing was as white snow, the hair of his head white as wool - Daniel 7:9

13. Thousands upon thousands attended him - Daniel - 7:10

14. The colors of purple, scarlet, and lined with gold, precious stones, and pearls. - Revelation 17:4

15. He holds a golden cup - Revelation 17:4

 

Given what we know about the Pope or Papacy, can we correctly tie this position to every single one of the Antichrist traits?  Lets see:





1. Little kingdom - The Vatican City is the smallest, internationally recognized independent state / kingdom on the earth by both area and population, also wielding some of the most power. - The Roman church-state meets this description.

2. Comes up among the other kingdoms / European Nations - Vatican City was officially recognized a separate state from the kingdom of Italy in 1929. - The Roman church-state meets this description.

3. Must come up after 476 AD in the divided Rome period - In 538 AD, The Roman church-state power became supreme in Christendom.  Due to a letter of the Roman emperor Justinian, know as Justinian's Decree, which set up and acknowledged the Bishop of Rome as the head of all churches. (The History of the Christian Church - vol 3, pg 327) - The Roman church-state meets this description
4. Plucked up 3 horns (kingdoms) -  Historically, there were three tribes: Vandles, Heruli, and the Ostrogoths that denied the teachings of the church.  The church wiped them out because of it and today, there are no descendants of them. (plucked by the root) -The Roman church-state meets this description.
5.  Diverse / different from other kingdoms - A religious-political system that's both a church and yet a separate kingdom.  - The Roman church-state meets this description.

6.  Man at its head - The Pope / Papacy is the head of the church and state. - The Roman church-state meets this description.

7.  Speaks blasphemous words - Claims power to forgive sins (Absolution), claims to be god (Vicar of Christ), and also persecutes the people of God in the name of God. (Persecution of Christians ).
  • Pope Leo XIII - "We hold upon this earth the place of God Almighty." (June 20, 1894)
  • Pope Pius XI - "You know that I am the Holy Father, the representative of God on earth, the Vicar of Christ, which means I am God on the earth."  (April 30th, 1922) -  The Roman church-state meets this description.

8.  Persecuting power - The Roman church-state has shed more innocent blood than any other institution that had existed among mankind, we be questioned by protestant who has a competent knowledge of history. - WEH Lecky (vol 2, pg 32). 100,000,000 people killed during the period known as The Dark Ages (Persecution of Christians) - The Roman church-state meets this description.

9.  Changes the times and laws - The Bishop of Rome is of so great authority and power that he can modify, explain, or interpret even divine laws (Infallibility of the Pope).  The Bishop of Rome can modify divine law, since his power is not of man, but of God, and he acts as vicegerent (representative) of God upon earth. - Lucius Ferraris "Prompta Biblioteca" article 'Papa II' vol. VI, pg 29.  It should also be known that the church state has changed several biblical things. - The Roman church-state meets this description.


  •  The Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday
    • Sabbath Changed to Sunday
    • Exod. 20:10 - but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God...
      • Sunday is the first day of the week on the Hebrew calendar and Saturday is the seventh. 
  • Adding the Apocrypha (The Apocrypha Books
    • A collection of 14 books added by the church as "God inspired" but are not in any other Bible other than a Catholic one.
      • God commands us not to add or take away from His word: Revelation 22:18, Deuteronomy 4:2, Proverbs 30:6
 .  - The Roman church-state meets this description.



10.  1260 prophetic day reign (both historically and in future events) - from 538 AD and adding 1260 years (a day in Daniel's prophecy is a literal year) to 1798, Napoleon Bonaparte declared separation from the Roman church-state and declared it the property of France, ending the Roman reign. - The Roman church-state meets this description.

11.  His clothing was as white snow, the hair of his head white as wool - The Pope dresses in all white (as to appear Christ-like and holy) and also is an elderly figure having white hair. - The Roman church-state meets this description.

12.  Thousands upon thousands attended "him" - 6,000,000 people came to the Pope in Asia for mass. 6 Million Attend Pope's Mass 1,000,000 expected for the Pope's visit to Philadelphia. 1 Million Expected For Pope's Visit To Philadelphia  - The Roman church-state meets this description.
13. The number of his name is 666 - The Papacy of Rome has many titles, most commonly is VICARIUS FILII DEI
Revelation 13:17-18 - ...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. (666)

 

Is it possible that scripture takes this in a literal interpretation?  In the chart, you will see the numerical values for each letter as they correspond to the Greek alphabet. Greek Alphabet and Numerical Values






  - The Roman church-state fits this description.


14. The kingdom colors are purple, scarlet, and lined with gold, precious stones, and pearls. - Revelation 17:4




The cardinals dress in scarlet, the bishops in purple, and the Pope in white and gold.  - The Roman church-state fits this description.


15. He holds a golden cup - Revelation 17:4


   - The Roman church-state fits this description.


Revelation 17:9 - This calls for a mind with wisdom.  The seven heads are seven hills on which the woman (church) sits. 
  • Historically, Rome has been and is currently known as "The City of Seven Hills" - The Roman church-state fits this description.
Revelation 17:18 - The woman you saw is the great city that rules over the kings of the earth.
  • Vatican City, with the Pope at the helm, is the most influential person/kingdom on earth.  - The Roman church-state fits this description.



The Pope / Papacy fits every single description of what scripture describes as the Antichrist.  Who would have thought that an old guy who appears to be for God could possibly be the Antichrist?  Its really an absurd thought until you start digging into scriptures description of this person.  Would you assume the devil grants power to this person only to stick out like a sore thumb and being completely opposed to Christ?  No, because no one would worship, look up, or follow that person.

Remember, the devils desire is worship.  When tempting Jesus, he told Him that he would give all the kingdoms of earth if Jesus would just bow down.  Can you think of a better way to get worship vicariously than through a person the world perceives as Christ on earth? The devil is clever, coming to deceive, destroy, and do it as a wolf in sheep's clothing.  To date, there have been 112 popes so how do you know which is the Antichrist?  

The answer is that they all are.  They all fit the descriptions above but the Bible says there will be one that fulfills end time prophecy before Christ's return.  That final pope is the final Antichrist and I will be discussing in the next blog why Pope Francis will be the final one in great detail.  It will range from extra-biblical prophecies, current fulfilled prophecy and timelines, to the popes actions, speeches, movements, etc.


...enter Time's Person of the Year



To be continued...

Click here for PART 2

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