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The Antichrist 

In light of the high probability that the Lisbon Treaty will be ratified by all 27 nations by the end of 2009, the European Union will finally be in a position to elect their first president.  This development also opens up a new door for Bible prophecy to be fulfilled.  Most Bible believing prophecy experts believe that the Antichrist will rise out of the European Union (Daniel 9:26-27).  Whether he will turn out to be the first president only time will tell.

In this commentary, I am going to touch on the Antichrist and his activities.  First of all, I donít believe anyone on this side of the rapture will ever know who the Antichrist is.  We can guess and speculate but anyone who thinks that they have solved this mystery just doesnít understand that things will change dramatically once Christians (and the Holy Spirit) are taken out of this world.  Itís like trying to forecast what the greatest future gainer will be (possibly years down the road) in the stock market based on present information.  But whoever the Antichrist turns out to be the Bible has much to say about his character and his activities.  

Certainly, the Bible gives a specific direction the Antichrist will travel.  The basic outline states that he will begin his ascension by confirming a peace treaty with Israel and many (Daniel 9:27).  His reign will be seven-years, but his world reign will come about in the last 3 1/2 years.  It will be during these last 3 1/2 years that he will declare himself to be God and demand worship.  All will be commanded to take his mark (666) in order to survive under his reign.  

Following the rapture of the church, I believe Satan will select his Antichrist and false prophet.  Whether Satan knows the day he is living in is up for debate.  Personally, I don't believe Satan has been granted the knowledge to understand Bible prophecy (I Peter 1:10-12).  Therefore, he does not understand the rapture or what will follow.

During this time, Satan will be granted unprecedented power to position his Antichrist and false prophet in world affairs.  They may already be prominent world figures, but with the power of Satan, they will suddenly mesmerize the world.  Some may even hail the Antichrist as a Messiah figure before his world dominance at the mid-way point of the tribulation period.

The Antichrist's first duty will be to make peace with Israel and many (Daniel 9:27).  The many will likely be the Islamic world (57-state solution).  I would speculate that the present peace talks with Israel and the Palestinians will be the starting point for the Middle East peace agreement.  Before it's over, I believe the timeline for the creation of the Palestinian state could serve as the framework for the seven-year accord with the final jewel being the division of Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital.

Peace will likely begin when Israel agrees to internationalize Jerusalem (Revelation 11:1-2) with the future expectation of dividing the capital.  This will be the stepping off point that will begin a seven-year timeline for the completion of all concessions.  The main concessions will be the division of all lands, setting up permanent borders, Islamic nations normalizing relations with Israel, the right of return of Palestinians, and the division of of Jerusalem.

The timeline will be set in motion and peace will be established.  Some believe that just after this peace accord is signed, the Russian-Islamic Alliance will attack Israel (Ezekiel 38 & 39).  If so, the Bible states clearly they will be soundly defeated.  Following this defeat, Israel will likely rebuild their Temple without opposition.  Whether this is how Israel gets to rebuild their Temple is unknown, but the Bible is clear they will rebuild their Temple and that it must be rebuilt during the first half of the tribulation period.  For whatever reason the Temple is rebuilt, Israel will once again gain access to their most holiest site.

As we move forward to the mid-point of the tribulation period, the Antichrist will be assassinated.  Some believe this will come after he walks into the Temple, declares that he is God, and demands to be worshipped (Daniel 9:27; Abomination that causes desolation).  But as shocking as his sudden death is, he will further shock the world by miraculously rising from the dead.  I believe this will be accomplished by Satan possessing the Antichrist's body.  Many the world over, if in doubt of his claim to deity before, will now be believers.  That will include many Jews.  

At this time, the Antichrist will move his world headquarters to Jerusalem.  Some believe that the Antichrist, under the power of Satan, will conquer Israel, then move his headquarters to Jerusalem.  I'm not so sure that's true.  I believe the Jews will accept him out of great deception.  But would Jews really accept a man who claims to be God?  Most of them will!  Even today, Israel is not a God fearing nation.  The vast majority of Jews in Israel are secular Jews who, when push comes to shove, would abandon their religious heritage in a second.  In fact, the Bible says that two-thirds of Jews will be killed during this time (Zechariah 13:8-9), but God's holy remnant will be hidden and saved.  How many of that number will lose their life for the cause of Christ is unknown, but most believe that the majority will die because they followed the Antichrist.  Those who choose to follow him will remain in Israel as normal citizens.  One question that should come to mind, if the Antichrist conquers Israel at the mid-way point of the tribulation period, why does he gather the armies of the world at the end (Revelation 16:14-16; Armageddon) to march against Israel, and ultimately  Jerusalem?  Either way, from this point on, he will become the dictator of the world (Revelation 13).

Satan will now direct his attention toward Jews who have turned to Christ during the first half of the tribulation period.  To avoid persecution and death, many will flee to Petra (Matthew 24:15) where God will protect them for the remainder of the tribulation period.  The Antichrist will also declare open season on all Christians and many will be killed worldwide.

Getting back to the timeline.  As the seven-year timeline progresses, the Antichrist will kill the two witnesses (at the mid-way point; Revelation 11:7), subdue three nations (Daniel 7:24), wage a world war (Revelation 6), and break the covenant with Israel (Daniel 9:27).  By this time, the world will have changed dramatically.  It is very likely that whole nations will be wiped out following the Apocalypse (Revelation 6:3-8) which will claim one-quarter of the world's population.  It's hard to say how structured world governments will be at this time, but one things for sure, this will begin the darkest time in world history, and a time of great fear and despair.

During his reign, the Antichrist will govern with fierce anger and put down anyone who dare oppose him.  He will begin his devilish rule with the entrance of a new player known as the false prophet.  The job of the false prophet will be to promote the worship of the Antichrist as God.  If one did not believe the Antichrist was God after rising from the dead, the false prophet will further mystify the world by miraculously calling down lightning and thunder, and cause a statue to speak (Revelation 13:11-18).  If that weren't enough, this statue will demand that the world worship the Antichrist and take his mark (666).  The penalty for refusing to do so will ultimately lead to death.  Virtually everyone will agree to take the mark, except for those who have been lead to the Lord by God's two witnesses and the 144,000 witnesses.  Many will die for refusing but many will also be hid by the Lord.  It will be these who are hid who will eventually enter into the Millennium when Christ returns (at the end of the tribulation period) to rule with His Saints for 1,000 years.

During this final half of the tribulation period, the kingdom of the Antichrist will be under severe judgment from God (Revelation 8, 9, 15-19).  Unspeakable torment, torture, and massive death tolls will spread across the globe (Revelation 9:13-21).  Others will be wiped out by unprecedented plagues and natural disasters divinely sent from God (Revelation 8, 9, 11 & 16).  So devastating will these last days be the Bible describes them by saying, "And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved" (Matthew 24:22a).  Most will not survive!

In a final attempt to destroy God's people, the Antichrist will gather the nations against Israel.  This war will climax with the armies of the world surrounding Jerusalem.  Some have speculated that this war will come about as a result of Israel not relinquishing East Jerusalem to the Palestinians.  This explanation does serve as an interesting twist in light of today's headlines, but whether it will remain a valid global concern this deep into the tribulation period remains to be played out.  But just as it looks as though certain defeat is upon Israel, Jesus will return.  "And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory." (Matthew 24:22)

Are you ready to meet the Lord?  If not, your time is running out!

Terry Malone

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