What We Know About The Coming World Ruler
The scenario of history as it moves from here out to the end of the world is a fascinating one indeed. I rather guess that there is no more interesting book that one could read in all the world than the Bible, and particularly, that part of the Bible that we call the “Prophetic Word.” Really, avail yourself of the opportunity, if you can, to read something of the Prophetic Word.
We’d like to help in that regard by taking some time to talk about one of the personages of the Prophetic Word, who may be the most interesting of all, beside the Lord Himself. This is the anti-Lord, the anti-God, the Antichrist. There will emerge in history a person who is against God totally. And really, the story of the last battles of the world is the story of the confrontation between Christ and Antichrist, between good and evil.
You see, evil pervades the world. The whole world lies in the lap of the wicked one. Evil will coalesce one day into the form and the life of a person called the Antichrist. He, being against God, will decide to organize the world against God. He will have deadly, terrible intentions. First of all, he will run a political campaign that will establish him as the head of a ten nation complex that will rise out of Europe. Daniel said: “the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary, and the end thereof shall be with a flood” (Daniel 9:26).
As a world leader, he does a lot of things that make people get up and take notice. He introduces anarchy into the political system of the world, and heresy and apostasy into the religious system of the world, and has a terrific influence on the world’s economic system. So inch by inch and hour by hour, he is escalated in his power, to the place where he becomes temporarily the ruler of Earth. Just to read what the Scripture says of the terrible things this man will do, when he does rule the world during the period of time called the Tribulation, is a scary experience indeed.
In fact, the Bible says enough about the Antichrist in 20 or 30 different ways that we shall briefly touch upon, that you and I ought to be most apprehensive about ever being caught in that trap of a world that’s organized against God. What will people do after the rise of Antichrist? The answer is, that the cause of the godly will be very constricted by the activity of the Antichrist. And so, the thing to do is to make sure that you know what to watch for, and especially to make sure that you are a Christian.
The Little Horn
Now that having been said, let’s remind ourselves of several names that the Bible gives to the Antichrist, with a brief description of what he is going to do. I think that you’ll be interested in seeing how it works out. The Antichrist, as he moves into power, will be called the “little horn” (Daniel 7:8). The Book of Daniel tells us about how, after the death of Alexander the Great, the world would be divided into four departments, one of which is Syria. Out of Syria would come a ruler who is amazingly capable. History knew him as Antiochus Epiphanes. His adventures foreshadowed those of the coming world ruler, the Antichrist.
He attacked the city of Jerusalem and the land of Palestine, he took over the temple, and he sacrificed a swine on the altar in the temple courtyard, thus profaning the temple. This profaning of the temple is called in the Scripture the “abomination of desolation.” The temple and its significance as a place to worship God was lost, because it became desolate under the awful things that Antiochus Epiphanes, or the “little horn,” did.
So watch in Scripture for the emergence of the “little horn.” In fact, many people have thought that the Antichrist himself will be a Syrian, because of the Antiochus Epiphanes story. But the tremendous and insulting impact on God that Epiphanes had, should remind us of the kind of person that the Antichrist is going to be. I don’t think that we can prove that he’s a Syrian from this account, but we can show that this world leader of immense power will emerge from somewhere almost unexpected, and become the master of the world. So the “little horn” is one of the names given to the Antichrist.
The Willful King
The Antichrist is not only called the “little horn,” but he’s also called the “willful king.” In the Book of Daniel, we also have the Word speaking about the “willful king.” Listen to what it says:
And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvelous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: for that which is determined shall be done” (Daniel 11:36).
Then it goes on to talk about his military escapades and so forth, for the last half of Daniel Chapter 11. So here we have the Antichrist presented as a powerful ruler who is called in Scripture “the willful king” or one who does “according to his will.” In effect, we are being told “Count on me. I can do it. I am master of my own destiny, and I will be master of yours.” He has a will that is set against the will of God. And he shall prosper for a time. He shall put together an army that will conduct a program of conquest in and around the Middle East. Nobody tells him what to do. He is the master of everything! You know, the world is going to be like that, as we move into the days of the Great Tribulation: “We can do it. We can run and control the whole story of mankind,” humanity will say. And God will say, “you will not.” But the willful king will be an illustration of the will of man pitted against the will of God, of course, a most foolish challenge which cannot succeed.
The Man of Sin
The story of the impact of the Antichrist across the world becomes more complicated and more interesting as we move through the pages of the New Testament. Listen to what the Apostle Paul said to his friends at Thessalonica.
“Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto Him, That you be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ had come” (2 Thessalonians 2:1-2).
The “day of the Lord” is the time of Divine judgment. It is the Tribulation, and the world is treasuring up: “wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God” (Romans 2:5).
The early Church was aware of the promise of the Day of the Lord, also mentioned in the Old Testament. So when privation and persecution came upon the Church, they thought that this was the Day of the Lord, and therefore, they assumed they might be seeing the rise of Antichrist. Now, the Apostle Paul wants to disenfranchise them from this kind of thinking, so he says: “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away“first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition” (2 Thessalonians 2:3).
By the way, “Let no man deceive you by any means” is applicable to all times and in all places, and particularly about the subject of prophecy. There are deceivers who have gone out on every hand, saying, “I am Christ”; “I am the special representative of the Lord”; “I am the vicar of Christ”; “I am the repository of final authority.” Don’t believe them, the Bible says. Rather, remember some things about the coming of the Day of the Lord. “That man of sin. . . the son of perdition” will be revealed as a part of the beginning of the Day of the Lord. And these are the two terms that we would like to specially emphasize at this moment: ”That man of sin. . . the son of perdition” -two names that apply to the same person, namely, the Antichrist. What Paul says following that is most instructive: “that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God, or that is worshiped, so that he as God, sits in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. Remember you not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?” (2 Thessalonians 2:3-5).
The Son of Perdition
Then he is also called “the son of perdition.” The Bible uses this picture in many places. Jesus, talking with the Pharisees, said, “You make all kinds of religious rules, and make people obey them, and you yourselves do not obey them; you make them “twofold more the child of hell than yourselves” (Matthew 23:15). Children of Hellthat’swhat false religion produces in the lives of people. This expression is similar to that“the son of perdition”: the son of Hell, the son of the Devil, the offspring of the evil onethat’s the Antichrist. And what terrible things he will produce in fulfilling that name in the hearts and lives of people.
Therefore, beware of those who emerge to some kind of leadership, who are respected by people, but you know that they are perverse. They live adulterous lives, or they produce vast iniquity in their decisions, maybe in the realm of politics; maybe in the realm of business; perhaps even in the realm of religion. Children of iniquity, the Bible says, will characterize the world at the time of the emergence of the Antichrist, and that’s who he is. He is a child of the Devil, rather than of God. Perhaps we ought to be warned that children of the Devil rarely announce, “I am a child of the Devil, and I have evil plans for you.” But rather, they say, “You wonderful people. We shall work together to make a world without God, and religion without Christ. Follow me, and there will be beautiful fulfillment. Leave that archaic religion called Christianity in the past, and I have a great plan for your life.” They smile in dulcid fashion. They are so beguiling. They are liars, the Bible says. “Beware of the children of iniquity” is the admonition of the Word of God.
The Wicked One
Listen to this fascinating verse of Scripture: “And then shall that wicked one be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders” (2 Thessalonians 2:8-9).
“Then shall that wicked one be revealed” what does that mean? Well, the Scripture speaks about the emergence of the Antichrist, the increasing wickedness of the world, and then it comes to the point that the “wicked one”that is the Antichristwill be revealed, in all of his evil splendor, so that the world will understand what he is doing to them all the time. But the verse preceding that says: “Only He who now restrains will continue to restrain until He be taken out of the way” (2 Thessalonians 2:7).
What does that mean? Well, that is a reminder of the fact, that there is flowing through history an evil river of iniquity underlying all of society, in every household, and in every personal life. The evil of the world continues to run like that hidden river. But it’s being kept back, so that it doesn’t take over the world. Even though the world is evil, and the world lies in the lap of the wicked one, and even though Satan deceives the nations, yet it was still possible for you to make it to church last Sunday, right? It was still possible for you to go for the groceries on Monday, and generally, to be involved in life without being killed, although a lot of people leave for church on Sunday morning, or go to the grocery store on Monday, and they don’t make it back, because of assaults on the streets, or drive-by shootings, or whatnot.
So there is a lot of evil in the world, but evil has not yet taken over the world, in the sense of running society. And why is that? There is a hindering force in history. That hindering force is the Church, in the hands of the Holy Spirit, becoming the salt of the Earth, and the light of the world, and lifting a voice for goodness in the world where possible. That is God working in history to retard the rise of evil, and generally He uses Christians, about whom the Bible says, “You are the salt of the earth” (Matthew 5:13).
But that force is going to be taken away. And when the force that retards the rise of evil is taken away, then evil will plunge upon the world in terrible fashion, and then the “wicked one” will be revealed.
I wonder, whenever I read that passage of Scripture: is it possible that even now, in our present world, inch by inch, and hour by hour, the hand that retards evil is in fact being taken away? More people than I can even remember right now have talked to me about how the world is getting more and more prurient, and more and more filled with wickedness, like pornography and adultery and murder and rape and pillage, and all the rest of it. Inch by inch, and hour by hour, it is more evil now than it was 20, 30, 40 years ago. Don’t you agree that that is the case?
The Prince That Shall Come
The Antichrist is also called “the prince that shall come.” The word “prince” implies something stately, something majestic. “The prince that shall come”where is that found in Scripture? Again, Daniel Chapter 9. Daniel is talking about how the world is going, and how it will be in the future, and he says the people who destroyed the city and the sanctuary, will produce “the prince that shall come” (Daniel 9:26).
Now who destroyed the city of Jerusalem back in 70 AD? Answer: Rome did. Who destroyed the sanctuary? Answer: Rome did. Who are the people who destroyed, then, these sacred entities, back in those days? It was the armies of Rome, and they went on to do a lot of other things. But Daniel told us, “You watch who it is, who destroys the city; who it is, that destroys the sanctuary; and ask, ‘What are they doing, and what are they producing?’ Those people will produce the emergence of a leader who will be the captain of the armies of the revived Roman Empire. Then you watch how that prince of Rome shall produce in the future, the concept of a one-world government and all of the things that will go with it.”
What must you do to have a one-world government? Well, you have to have a unified economic system; you have to have finally a unified political system; and when you find that it takes more than that, you have to have a unified religion. You must get people all to somehow believe the same thing. That’s what unity is all about. Coercive unity is very common today, where you simply put together an organization of people that don’t care and don’t believe in a cause. That of course is simply a waste of time. But you’ve got to get people all to believe, with some kind of a passion, some kind of religious view that will bring them into the future. Will the Antichrist do that? Yes, he will. He will produce a religion that is atheistic, that is humanistic, that is ecumenical, that is universal, that is phenomenalistic, that is pagan to the core. You are either a part of that religion, or you die, according to Revelation Chapter 13.
Are we coming to that placecoercive religion whereby you are made to believe something? The Communists tried it, and many others have, and it didn’t work. The Antichrist is going to try it again. Make sure that you know Christ as Savior and are planning for His deliverance in the future.
From the writings of Dave Breese
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