Is the Antichrist Alive Today?by Mark Hitchcock
Find out what Mark Hitchcock means when he says there is an Antichrist alive today, right now, in this generation! Easy to read and biblically solid, Hitchcock's fascinating resource illuminates what the Bible says about the Antichrist and explains how the prophecies about him strikingly foreshadow today's events: 1) the rise of the European Union; 2) the peace process in Israel; 3) the rush toward globalization; 4) the technology and desire for a worldwide identification system; 5) the movement to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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IS THE ANTICHRIST ALIVE TODAY?
By MARK HITCHCOCK
Multnomah PublishersCopyright © 2002 Mark Hitchcock
All right reserved.
Chapter OneTHE COMING WORLD RULER
You might be as surprised as I was to learn that the three great world religions all contain prophecies of a towering, sinister world ruler in the end times. They are all looking for a man of unparalleled evil, an ultimate enemy, to emerge in the end times and take over the world.
In Islam, the person is called the Dajjal, which in Arabic means "deceiver." According to Islamic teaching, he will be a young man with one eye who will possess supernatural powers. He will be the incarnation of evil.
He will also claim to be God. He will gather seventy thousand Jewish followers, make a whirlwind tour of deception and destruction, set himself up as ruler in Jerusalem, and finally be slain by Jesus at the Lydda Gate when Jesus returns from heaven. The Dajjal's emergence on the world scene is one of Islam's ten key signs of the end times.
Judaism teaches that a Roman ruler named Armilus will be a miracle worker who will lead his armies against Jerusalem. In the end, Armilus will be killed by Messiah ben David, or Messiah the Son of David, the true Messiah.
For Christians, the evil, end-time world ruler is known by many different names and titles. As A. W. Pink, the great theologian, notes, "Across the varied scenes depicted byprophecy there falls the shadow of a figure at once commanding and ominous. Under many different names, like the aliases of a criminal, his character and movements are set before us."
Here are the top-ten aliases for the coming world ruler predicted in the Bible.
1. The little horn (see Daniel 7:8)
2. A king, insolent and skilled in intrigue (see Daniel 8:23)
3. The prince who is to come (see Daniel 9:26)
4. The one who makes desolate (see Daniel 9:27)
5. The king who does as he pleases (see Daniel 11:36)
6. A foolish shepherd (see Zechariah 11:15-17)
7. The man of lawlessness (see 2 Thessalonians 2:3)
8. The son of destruction (see 2 Thessalonians 2:3)
9. The rider on the white horse (see Revelation 6:2)
10. The Beast (see Revelation 13:1-9; 17:3, 8)
Without any doubt, the most commonly used and most familiar title in Christianity for the sinister end-time world ruler is Antichrist. Most people in America have heard this term and probably have at least some idea of what it means.
But to make doubly sure that we know who we are talking about, before we go any further let's pull over and park and define the word Antichrist.
The word antichrist (antichristos) is found only five times in the New Testament, all in the epistles of John (1 John 2:18, 22; 4:3; 2 John 7). In John's letters he is primarily concerned with the doctrinal error of denying the person of Jesus Christ. John states that even in his own day many "antichrists" (false teachers) had arisen who were denying the true Christ and deceiving many (see 1 John 2:18).
The emphasis in John's epistles is on the immediate doctrinal error of his own day. However, the antichrists in John's day were only the initial "human embodiments" of the antichrist philosophy of Satan that was already working (1 John 4:3; 2 Thessalonians 2:7). John seems to look beyond his own day, and the many antichrists (small a), to the one supreme Antichrist (capital A) who will appear as the ultimate manifestation of the lawless system that denies Christ and deceives men.
1 John 2:18 says, "Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour." John's readers knew about the predicted advent of the future, final Antichrist. They had heard that Antichrist was coming; in fact, John himself had probably taught them about the Antichrist, and they had certainly read about his coming in the Old Testament, in books such as Daniel. John's purpose was to warn his fellow believers about present-day false teachers who came in the spirit of Antichrist, displaying hostility toward the true Christ.
The prefix anti can mean "against/opposed to" or "instead of/in place of." So the issue is, will the future Antichrist be "against" Christ or "in place of" Christ? That is, does anti mean "opposition" or "exchange"? Will he be a false, counterfeit Messiah, or will he simply "work against" Christ Himself?
Both of these meanings are undoubtedly included in the term Antichrist. He will be the archenemy and the ultimate opponent of the Lord Jesus. The origin, nature, and purpose of Christ and Antichrist are diametrically opposed. This list of titles reveals the gaping chasm between Christ and His adversary.
The Truth The Lie The Holy One The Lawless One The Man of Sorrows The Man of Sin The Son of God The Son of Destruction The Mystery of Godliness The Mystery of Iniquity The Lamb The Beast
The total opposition of Antichrist to Christ is seen in these contrasting descriptions.
Feature Christ Antichrist
Origin Heaven Bottomless pit Nature The Good Shepherd The foolish shepherd Destiny To be exalted on high To be cast down into hell Goal To do His Father's will To do his own will Purpose To save the lost To destroy the holy people Authority His Father's name His own name Attitude Humbled himself Exalts himself Fruit The true vine The vine of the earth Response Despised Admired
In every area that can be imagined, Christ and Antichrist will be fundamentally opposed. But the Antichrist will also be "in place of" Christ. He will be an amazing parody or counterfeit of the true Christ. He will be a substitute Christ, a mock Christ, a pseudo Christ, an imitation Christ.
In John 5:43, Jesus said, "I have come in My Father's name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, you will receive him." The one coming in his own name will be the world's final false messiah, the Antichrist. He will attempt to be the "alter ego" of the true Christ.
As has often been pointed out, Satan has never originated anything except sin. He has always counterfeited the works of God. Antichrist is no exception. He is Satan's ultimate masterpiece-a false Christ and a forged replica of Jesus, the true Christ and Son of God.
Here are twenty ways that Antichrist will mimic the ministry of the true Son of God.
Miracles, signs, and wonders Miracles, signs, and wonders (see Matthew 9:32-33; (see Matthew 24:24; Mark 6:2) 2 Thessalonians 2:9)
Appears in the millennial temple Sits in the tribulation temple (see Ezekiel 43:6-7) (see 2 Thessalonians 2:4)
Is God (see John 1:1-2; 10:36) Claims to be God (see 2 Thessalonians 2:4)
Is the Lion from Judah Has a mouth like a lion (see Revelation 5:5) (see Revelation 13:2)
Makes a peace covenant with Makes a peace covenant with Israel Israel (see Ezekiel 37:26) (see Daniel 9:27)
Causes men to worship God Causes men to worship Satan (see Revelation 1:6) (see Revelation 13:3-4)
Followers sealed on their forehead Followers sealed on their forehead (see Revelation 7:4; 14:1) or right hand (see Revelation 13:16-18
Worthy name Blasphemous names (see Revelation 19:16) (see Revelation 13:1)
Married to a virtuous bride Married to a vile prostitute (see Revelation 19:7-9) (see Revelation 17:3-5)
Crowned with many crowns Crowned with ten crowns (see Revelation 19:12) (see Revelation 13:1)
Is the King of kings- Is called "the king" (see Revelation 19:16) (see Daniel 11:36) Sits on a throne- Sits on a throne (see Revelation 3:21; 12:5; 20:11) (see Revelation 13:2; 16:10)
Sharp sword from his mouth Bow in his hand (see Revelation 19:15) (see Revelation 6:2)
Rides a white horse (see Rides a white horse Revelation 19:11) (see Revelation 6:2)
Has an army Has an army (see Revelation 19:14) (see Revelation 19:19)
Violent death Violent death (see Revelation 5:6; 13:8) (see Revelation 13:3)
Resurrection Resurrection (see Matthew 28:6) (see Revelation 13:3, 14)
Second coming Second coming (see Revelation 19:11-21) (see Revelation 17:8)
One-thousand-year worldwide Three-and-a-half-year worldwide kingdom (see Revelation 20:1-6) kingdom (see Revelation 13:5-8)
Part of the Holy Trinity- Part of an unholy trinity-Satan, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit Antichrist, and False Prophet (see 2 Corinthians 13:14) (see Revelation 13)
J. Dwight Pentecost aptly summarizes the meaning of the word Antichrist. "Satan is seeking to give the world a ruler in place of Christ who will also be in opposition to Christ so that he can rule over the world, instead of Christ."
Getting Acquainted with Antichrist
There are three main places in the Bible that provide most of what we know about the coming world ruler: Daniel 7-12; 2 Thessalonians 2; and Revelation 13. Of these three passages, the one that sheds the most light on Antichrist is Revelation 13. In fact, we might call this the "Antichrist chapter" in the Bible.
Revelation 13:1-10 contains five key words that provide a quick, concise, yet comprehensive look at the Antichrist. All five of these words begin with the letter w.
Let's take a quick look at these five words as a summary of our introduction to the Antichrist.
1. Wound (Revelation 13:3a, 12,14; 17:8)
Several passages in the book of Revelation clearly speak of the Antichrist's receiving a violent, fatal wound and then coming back to life.
I saw one of his heads as if it had been slain, and his fatal wound was healed. Revelation 13:3a And he makes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose fatal wound was healed. Revelation 13:12 And he deceives ..., telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who had the wound of the sword and has come to life. Revelation 13:14
The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is about to come up out of the abyss and go to destruction. And those who dwell on the earth, whose name has not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, will wonder when they see the beast, that he was and is not and will come." Revelation 17:8
I believe this means that the Antichrist will be violently killed (probably assassinated) and will miraculously rise from the dead during the coming tribulation period. But any discussion of this issue always raises another question. Does Satan have the power to raise a dead person back to life?
Many maintain that he does not. They think that the Antichrist will only appear to die and will then fake a resurrection to deceive the world. However, the words used to describe the "death" of the Antichrist are used in other places to describe a violent death. In Revelation 5:6, for instance, the same word is used of the death of Jesus Christ. Moreover, Revelation 17:8 says that, after the Antichrist is killed, he goes to the bottomless pit, or abyss, for a time before reappearing on earth. This doesn't seem to be describing someone who is faking his death.
I cannot explain every detail of how this death and resurrection will occur, but I believe that these passages lead us to a startling conclusion: God will permit Satan to perform this marvelous feat to advance his nefarious parody of Christ and further deceive the world.
For once, at least, Satan will have the power to raise someone from the dead.
2. Wonder (Revelation 13:3b; 17:8)
You can just imagine the overwhelming impact this event will have on the world. At the climax of history a great ruler will experience a healing that closely approximates the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Revelation 13:3-4 and 17:8 record the worldwide amazement and wonder at the death and resurrection of the Antichrist.
And all the world wondered after the beast. (Revelation 13:3b, KJV)
The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is about to come up out of the abyss and go to destruction. And those who dwell on the earth, whose name has not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, will wonder when they see the beast, that he was and is not and will come. (Revelation 17:8)
This will be the greatest event in the history of the world as far as the people of earth are concerned. Imagine the assassination, the violent death, of the most charismatic, most effective politician the world has ever seen. The whole world will be in mourning. The collective angst will be profound.
It will be similar to the death of JFK in 1963 or of Lady Di in 1997. Everyone watches the funeral procession on television. Networks show nothing else. But suddenly, as the decorated hearse arrives at the cemetery and the coffin is removed, the most incredible thing the world has ever seen transpires in front of the eyes of billions of people: The body rises up out of the coffin, the pallbearers recoil in terror and drop the casket, and the Antichrist walks calmly to the nearest microphone and begins to speak to a totally dumbfounded world.
One cannot even begin to imagine the scene. Can't you just picture the world news networks reporting this story! And the whole world will be filled with wonder.
3. Worship (Revelation 13:4, 8)
Wonder will quickly turn to worship. Satan will use this great event to exalt the Antichrist and himself to worldwide worship.
Excerpted from IS THE ANTICHRIST ALIVE TODAY? by MARK HITCHCOCK Copyright © 2002 by Mark Hitchcock
Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.