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Milepost 37: The Antichrist takes Power

Primary References: Revelation 13:1-10

 

After his defeat at Michael's hands, his confinement on earth, and his failure to destroy the Jews in the wilderness, Satan turns his attention to solidifying his control over the earth. He empowers two men to enslave, control, and rule according to his wishes. This unholy alliance works to consolidate all power under a single man, persecute the righteous, and deceive the world into worshipping the beast and dragon as God. Revelation 13:1-10 shows the dragon throwing his full support behind the antichrist and giving him three things: power, seat, and great authority. Through the first 3 ½ years of the full tribulation, the antichrist has played an active background role but now Satan thrusts him to center of the great tribulation stage.

Satan exploits the beast's sword wound and his miraculous recovery from it to generate a ground swell of support that results in the world: worshiping the dragon the beast, and the antichrist; asking ‘who is like the beast?'; asking ‘who is able to make war with the beast?'. Desperate for deliverance from the ravages of the tribulation, the world's people grasp at the hope offered by the beast, the dragon, and their miracles. Many people worship the beast and the source of his power, the dragon; but throughout the great tribulation, the tribulation saints and the 144,000 steadfastly refuse.

The beast's rise to power began when the first seal was broken when he came onto the scene as a man of peace confirming a covenant of peace with Israel. However, he is actually a man of the vilest character to whom no vow or bond is sacred and only does things for the common good when it is to his advantage. Even now, his character is on display as he has already started breaking the covenant he confirmed with Israel 3 ½ years earlier. He needs to convince people that he alone has the answers to all of the world's problems while he schemes to subjugate and enslave their souls forever. The antichrist appears to do good things for the people he rules but Daniel 11:21 makes it clear that this is just an illusion. Daniel 11:23 shows he is a liar who uses flatteries to enable him to acquire power peacefully but then uses this power to loot, steal, rob, persecute those who oppose him (the righteous, and the innocent), and brings the people he leads to utter and total destruction.

Eventually he gains a power base of ten rulers and from this base, he rises to control all nations, peoples, and languages. Ultimately, he gains control over the lion, the bear, and the leopard and no one on earth is exempt from his brief, but cruel forty-two month reign. Fortunately, the brevity of his reign constrains his ability to solidify and consolidate his power though as demonstrated by the three kings (horns) he destroys, he brutally suppresses any who are foolhardy enough to challenge his authority. He wages war against any who oppose or reject him and he destroys as many seven-year tribulation saints as possible.

Throughout the great tribulation, the antichrist uses his newly acquired position and power to further his war against the God he hates. His anger is evident as he speaks great blasphemous things against: God, God's name, God's tabernacle (Greek skene (Strong's G4633): tent or cloth hut), and those in heaven. He puts his hatred against God into action as He: does his own will (as opposed to God's or men's will), exalts himself above all, proclaims himself above every god, speaks against God, and honors the god of forces (Satan) with valuables. With every word, he challenges God's authority, attempts to deceive the earth's inhabitants, spews his venomous hatred against God, and attempts to elevate himself by tearing down and destroying others. This last tactic of Satan, and his operatives, stands in direct contrast to God's methods of edifying people (1 Corinthians 8:1, 1 Thessalonians 5:11) and His directions to His people to become great by first being the least (serving) (Luke 9:48).

John ends the antichrist's introduction with a warning for all to hear: people will reap what they sow. Those persecuting, enslaving, and killing others will suffer the same fate. This warning is especially urgent due to the coming worldwide persecution of the righteous spearheaded by the antichrist. Jesus also gives this warning to comfort the righteous: God will punish every action of the wicked.