“Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase”(12:4), “for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end”(12:9). Daniel was told 2700 years ago when this prophecy would be understood. John is told for this future generation: “Do not seal the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is at hand” (Revelation 22:10). Referring back to chapter 1:19 where John saw the things that are and will come to pass. We are in the time of the end, what Daniel sealed will be revealed. At this time in the end when knowledge increases throughout the earth. This has a dual meaning, knowledge in our technology age has increased (doubling nearly every year) But it is also meant for those who seek God’s Word. They will begin to understand what was unable to be known centuries before. We will begin to get a clearer understanding of what was written as the end of the age escalates. Daniel was told about this knowledge, “none of the wicked shall understand, but the wise shall understand” (12:10).
Prior to Christ’s coming a falling away from the faith (inside the visible church) will occur. It will be noticed by those who are practicing the faith. Paul in 2 Thess.2 warns us living at the time, “Let no one deceive you by any means.” Repeating the same warning Jesus did in the beginning of his discourse in Matthew twenty-four about the succession of events at the end of the age. The Laodicean church becomes the dominant type; it is the only church Jesus has absolutely nothing good to say about, it had no commendation, only rebuke. But those inside it have much good to say about themselves.
Paul reminds the Thessalonian believers about what must occur in order for the Antichrist to be revealed. 2 Thessalonians 2:7 says: “For the mystery of iniquity (lawlessness) is already at work: only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way.” The mystery of lawlessness, in Greek mystery is musterion meaning to hide or conceal. In the ordinary sense a “mystery” implies knowledge withheld, not easily detected or understood.
What is hidden will one day be revealed and brought to a conclusion. Just as in Jesus dwelt all the fullness of the Godhead bodily, so the counterfeit, Antichrist will be the full and final embodiment of the devil. He will be the “mystery of iniquity,” manifested. In v.6 of 2 Thessalonians the Apostle Paul writes “and you know what is restraining, that he may be revealedin his own time.” The normal word for time is chronos, but here the word for time here is kairos, which is translated to mean the “time of opportunity.” The man of sin who has been is withheld from appearing in the world for a particular time will come to its fruition. This restraining force opposes evil and holds back its growth, preventing the man of sin (v.3) from coming into his time of power. Human government is part of God’s plan to restrain evil (Romans 13) but it cannot be powerful enough to restrain or hold back the antichrist, for at this time it falls under his control. Once the restraint is removed evil will no longer be in check and will increase dramatically and spread to all.
For a time the development of the world preparation would be hindered or restrained until it no longer needs to be restrained 2 Thess. 2:1-70. At the time Paul wrote this epistle, (He) was being prevented from being revealed. Over 1900 years later: the lawless one is closer to being revealed. The mystery of iniquity that is already in the world is growing, but is restrained by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit that is present on earth [who is also in individual believers, and the Church] continues to be restraining (hinders, prevents) the antichrist from revealing himself. At a certain time He, the restrainer will no longer prevent him, the mystery of iniquity. It will be revealed in a man, the lawless one. Eventually this will bring the world under one head, an individual leader.
What has withheld him is slowly being removed; as we see lawlessness is increasing. Like the flood waters rising with Noah, the world will at a certain point enter the tribulation, that day the restraining will completely be removed. What he has waited millennia for will finally take place. He comes when everything is in its right place; the timing is based on the nations and with God.
The mystery that was operating throughout the world in Paul’s day increases. Jesus says in the end “lawlessness will abound.” John writes, “sin is lawlessness” (1 John 3:4-5). In other words it will overtake any good in the world. The final conflict between the mystery of lawlessness and the mystery of Godliness will take place. It is the revealing of sin, the one who brought sin to mankind, will be in the man of sin, the son of perdition, the lawless one.
Dictators assert themselves to power because the people are not vigilant for freedom, they become lazy, asleep. If one looks at all the scriptural descriptions by Jesus, Paul, John etc and how they describe the end of the age; the term that most encapsulates it is deception (Jesus used this 4 times in Mt.24).
2 Tim 3:1-5 “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come:
Perilous in Greek –chalepos, means through the idea of reducing the strength; difficult, i.e. dangerous, or (by implication) furious: Thayer’s describes it as 1) hard to do, to take, to approach 2) hard to bear, troublesome, dangerous, harsh, fierce, savage. Now lets read the descriptions, “For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!” Morals will run amok in the culture because of churches with no Holy Spirit.
We are told there are many antichrists that have already come, but there is still the last and most important one of all. He will culminate all of the dictators into one. He will be the shrewdest most conniving murderer, liar, destroyer of them all. "And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors have reached their fullness, a king shall arise, having fierce features, who understands sinister schemes. "Through his cunning he shall cause deceit to prosper under his rule; and he shall exalt himself in his heart. He shall destroy many in their prosperity” (Dan. 8:23-25) this verse is filled with descriptions that will match a certain individual at that certain time.
All is prepared for the man of sin at the end of the age, when rebellion reaches its culmination. Many antichrists, many false prophets, those who operate as false teachers in the church are corrupters of the truth have the spirit of this one who is to come. It will increase apostasy by a succession of individuals, who would operate by the spirit of antichrist. Unknowingly, many people have become involved in a co-operation with what the Bible calls the spirit of antichrist.
As the spirit of antichrist increases in the world it is also brought into the church by the corrupted teachers, you know who they are, they are the ones that mention hell only because Christ went there to be tortured by the demons. They divide the body with their own lies because they are anointed by the one who is to come, the false Christ. We are in that age of fruition. There is a real disconnect on what is important, what affects us. Commercial prophecy conferences state the obvious but avoid the real issue, the apostasy, which sets the door open for the fallen anointed one’s entrance. He comes within the framework of the increasing apostasy, as the church will no longer hold to Bible doctrine, few will recognize him for who he is, but there will be those who will – and they will speak. Few will listen.
In our day most people cannot recognize evil, even when it is staring them in the face. Maybe it is because of the pervasiveness of moral relativism that has intruded the culture and the church. They insist that it’s best to think good of everyone, be positive, not negative. Our new viewpoint insists on the majority being liberal, non-judgmental, having no discretion, avoiding scrutiny.
Will the church recognize the one who is the counterfeit the Bible warned of? How, when they are surrounded by counterfeits and have nothing to say. Antichrist is revealed to the world in the middle of the tribulation, Christians should be able to identify him at the beginning. There are a number of qualifications he will fill that connect the dots. That is what we will look at as we understand what is taking place.
But we are living in some very evil days and its NOT going away, but only going to get worse, far worse. Outlook: we are ripening for the picking.
So many people have amassed a large amount of influence, money, power, controlling the world banks, commerce and food (seeds) etc. The majority want to see some kind of global governance over the nations. Some think it is the most beneficial, compassionate and logical thing to take place at this stage. They are unknowingly being influenced– being moved into position by the very one who wants to rule the world. So preparation is already underway for his acceptance in the various facets of life. His “lawless” spirit working in prominent people is already in place, when he comes, his rise to power will be quick.
The spirit of antichrist will spread like a net over the world and become the norm. The world stage must be prepared for this leader. His rise and acceptance will be seamless, many will see it as destiny. In real life terms he offers himself to the people as the ultimate problem solver. He will be liked, and loved by all. He will pass legislation that will appear to help everyone. He will be seen as the greatest humanitarian, a stature that is liken to Jesus. And he will accept this. They will claim that he is a man of light that can remove the darkness. They will recognize his intelligence and his charisma will win them over. The anti-Christ will have a worldly appeal for mankind to accept him. Besides having a supernatural attraction, he will quite possibly be young and handsome as the world looks to the outward and is impressed more with looks and charisma than with the substance. Much the way Israel did with their first king Saul.
Look at the changing landscape. Fraudulent is the one word that describes this whole period and execution of this man’s leadership. As the song goes everybody wants to rule the world but only one person will get the chance, temporarily. He will positionally be set up as the King of the world, we call them presidents. But he does not publicly become known, famous by his religious view. Beginning in politics, he can be the president of one nation and will consistently rise to prominence.
He comes as a politician to unify the nations; Watch politics carefully. For people to allow this particular man to be president over all the countries, he would have to convince them of his worth. That he can lead the world into prosperity and peace and a new era (a golden age) that all will share in and none be excluded.
Some thoughts on his overall demeanor. He will be the quintessential narcissist, everything will be about him. He will love to be spoken of and be on people minds everyday, it will like devotion (worship). It is unlikely he would rise in a 3rd world country that would have no resources and is struggling with poverty. It would be a country of influence. Take for example, if this man rose in America, what would he have to do? He would have to lead it down a path he has decided. Maybe by taking it hostage or destroying it’s foundation of law and religion and rebuild it in his own image. Any influence of that countries traditions for good and God will first be diminished to come under his control. This is why we read the finance and commerce system will directly be linked with his name if he is to have control of everything. Once you make the culture secular you can begin again and introduce whatever religious system, or non religious system you want. After success, he can easily convince others to follow his system.
We have heard for so many years by preachers that he is alive and biding his time for his revealing. Of course we have heard the same from the new age movement and their hope for Maitreya to be revealed. If he is to be a ruler of some country, logically it would be strong and influential. If you have the strongest country controlled all the others will fall in line. So he will either control the country, or take it out by some means.
For centuries people wondered how this would be competed. Many think a single man will be picked and groomed. I don’t see this as strategic. We can learn from history and the many dictators that have already come on the scene. The old saying of not putting all your eggs in one basket applies. Satan will have his hand on a number of people, developing them to be the one. He may not know which one it will be until that certain time. But God will, and will allow only one of them to go all the way, prophecy will be fulfilled. Certainly one cannot know ahead of time, absolutes on this matter are hardly possible.
There are those who have already come that have openly claimed to be the Christ, the Messiah, (Matt 24:5, 24). False messiahs copy what they can of Jesus to have people accept them. Paul had the future in mind, when the spirit of antichrist will be embodied when wrote I Jn. 2:18 “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.”
All these “antichrists” are precursors of The Antichrist, in whom they will find their climax. We know it is nearing the time by how many came before. We may see many men acting in the same nature of the Antichrist before he appears. It may be that many men will be chosen to be the Devil’s surrogate and fail until God allows one of them to be him.
None before him will compare to the power and ability this last one will display. It will find completion during the ultimate rebellion against the true God, bringing those who reject the truth under one head, an individual leader known as the Antichrist.
One needs to first study the nature of Christ (holiness) to identify the one that will oppose him and replace him temporarily, convincing the world he is Christ (not Jesus). All his characteristics will be understood by his nature, as one who replaces Christ and opposes him. All the opposite qualities and characteristics of Jesus will be working in him but he will still be admired, because he comes when the world is lawless.
After studying the activities and functions of the true messiah we should be equipped to recognize the false one. Those who know the Lord Jesus will be repulsed by everything this person does, because he will be against Christ and all that is holy. Others who think He is Christ will be against those who speak out about him. It’s not just recognizing evil but will you identify it, and him; will you resist him if you are here.
Let’s look at some general comparisons of antichrist to Jesus Christ to illustrate the nature and the context of the counterfeit.
The “Lamb” is the Savior of sinners; The “Lamb” speaks of sacrifice and the gentleness of Christ; the “Beast” persecutes and kills the saints (Revelation 13:7). The “Beast” describes the fierceness and cruelty of the Devil’s nature through the man who is Antichrist.
While Jesus was humble and meek, this man will exhibit incredible charisma that will be manifested to manipulate the masses to accept his words as if they are the only right choice. He will be boastful, insolent, and aggressive. The false messiah will copy everything he can of Jesus, but he will cause division, but not for what is right; though the people will be convinced it is for their good.
When the Savior entered this world, He came saying, “Lo I come to do Thy will, O God” (Hebrews 10:9); but of the Antichrist it is written “And the king shall do according to his will” (Daniel 11:36). The Antichrist will set himself up in direct opposition to all authority, both Divine and human. He comes in his own name to do his own will, which is the opposite of Jesus. He will promise freedom but bring bondage. He will act meek but exercise strength.
Jesus is the way; the false messiah will have his way. Jesus is the truth incarnate - The false messiah will be the lie incarnate. He will act in the nature of Satan, a liar. He will be the best liar anyone has ever seen. Where someone may tell the truth, he will twist it into a lie. He will lie and will convince people he is telling the truth.
The son of perdition is the false shepherd. He leads the people to destruction. He will kill, steal and destroy but it will look like he has a benevolent reason. Hitler killed 1/3 of the Jews; by the end of his rule Antichrist will have killed 2/3 of the Jews (Zech. 13:8 though he will try to eliminate every one). It is this nation that becomes his special target because he knows the scripture where Jesus required the Jews to call upon him for his return (Mt.23).
He will promise prosperity while at the same time bankrupt people and their lives. We are told he loves money. It says this “the king will do as he pleases.” He will rule as king and convince the people he has the answers to everything. And implement his policies to solve it all. One of them will be the economic problems (Rev.13).
Satan's man will pose as God's man, offering an alternate plan of rescue, but not from sin, but from war. Peace will be his platform. He will also promise peace and prosperity, the good life here and now.
Christ is the Son of God, having the same nature as his Father (Luke 1:35). He cannot eliminate Jesus out of history so he may refer to Jesus Christ as “a son of God,” not the only begotten son of God. We see this in embryo today. The Antichrist is called the son of Perdition, by having the same nature as Satan (2 Thess. 2:3)
Many parallels could be cited to show that he copies what Christ did in the very opposite manner. But this will not be so obvious at first because he will be deceptive in his works and words as he substitutes himself as the Messiah of the world.