Second Coming Predictions-God Reveals Secrets About The Future

“When all this comes true—and it surely will—then they will know that a prophet has been among them.

Ezekiel 33:33

It has often been said that “hindsight is 20/20.”  In our study, we will look back at prophecy found in Chapter 2 of Daniel and we will see the future beginning with Daniel’s time (6th Century BC) and moving forward through the first coming of Jesus and on through the years of ancient Rome to the time of  modern Europe up to our time in 2014.

This prophecy is important because it makes some predictions about Europe that still holds true to this day, some 2,500 + years later. But it does not stop with modern times.  It continues to the future to let us know what the future holds for this planet in rebellion.

Later, it will  tie in with other prophecies by Daniel and Revelation.  Actually, the Daniel 2 prophecy is the  foundation and touchstone for other more detailed prophecies.

It lays out before the reader the great monarchies that affected God’s people.  It demonstrates how these powers were to be temporary and victims of their own strategy of living by the sword and their own might without regard for the great and only true God who created them.

Finally, it ends with hope in a coming kingdom that will “fill up the whole earth” through out eternity-This is the soon coming of the kingdom of God-The return of Christ!

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“Surely the Lord God does nothing, Unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets.”

Amos 3:7

There IS a secret, God’s secret.  But it is something He desires to reveal to those who would search or want to know.  The way He chooses to reveal this “secret” is through His servants the prophets.  It is not revealed through those who work for the enemy such as fortune tellers, psychics, soothsayers,  and those with familiar spirits.

“Give no regard to mediums and familiar spirits; do not seek after them, to be defiled by them: I am the Lord your God.”

Leviticus 19:31

People, especially followers of Jesus, should seek God rather than the enemies who seek to deceive:

And when they say to you, “Seek those who are mediums and wizards, who whisper and mutter,” should not a people seek their GodShould they seek the dead on behalf of the living?

Isaiah 8:19

We often forget that there is an enemy of God and His creation.  It has been the work of the fallen angel ,formerly called Lucifer, to confuse the mind of man through lies and deception.

Regarding the enemy called Satan or the devil, Jesus said,

“He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.”

Matthew 8:44

Jesus claimed the opposite:

“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

John 14:6

Satan is a liar, Jesus tells the truth. The world has managed to twist this around.  The work of the Holy Spirit also directs the seeker into truth:

“However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.

John 16:13

It is the work of the third member of the Godhead to guide mankind into truth and to reveal the “things to come.”

This Spirit is given every person who comes in the world.  It is through the Spirit we are given the desire to know the truth and to wonder about the future.

That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world.

John 1:9

The work of God the Father, Jesus, and The Spirit is to reveal or pull back the curtain of the future to show, to warn, and to save. This work is for every person who comes into the world.  God gives each a measure of His Spirit, so truth can be revealed.  Because  of this work, the liar will be overcome and people will find peace in knowing the future God has planned….if they choose to seek and yield to the pulling or drawing of the Holy Spirit.

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Starting with this understanding, we will lay the ground work for studying Bible Prophecy.  We will let the work of God impress upon our hearts the truth about the future and the character of God through the visions of Daniel and Revelation.

Today, we look at a basic prophecy found in Daniel 2 which will help us understand the framework for more complicated prophecies later in Daniel and repeated in Revelation.  As we shall see, the two books go together and interpret each other.  This is the goal, to let the Bible interpret itself.  My personal desire is that you will be able to know this material and be able to explain it to others who “have an ear.”  This prophecy turned my heart from unbelief and to searching the truth about Jesus.

Let’s get started.  Much to cover, but I will try to make it as simple and quick as possible.

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Have you ever had a dream you could not  remember? Did you feel that the dream was very important, but you just could not remember it?

This is exactly what happen to an ancient king.  His name was King Nebuchadnezzar.  It was in his second year as king that he “had dreams” that troubled him so much that he could not sleep.  His story is found in Daniel 2.

daniel 2 dreaming

He needed help in remembering his dream so he sent for the people who claimed to know about dreams and spiritual matters:

Then the king gave the command to call the magicians, the astrologers, the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans to tell the king his dreams. So they came and stood before the king. And the king said to them, “I have had a dream, and my spirit is anxious to know the dream.”

Daniel 2: 2-3

daniel 2 astrologers

This wise men tried to impress the king so they spoke in his language “Aramaic” and made a simple request,

“Tell your servants the dream, and we will give the interpretation.”

Daniel 2:4

Here is the first sign, these guys were fakes.  If they were so knowledgeable of matters of the spirit, etc., then why did they not know ahead of time that the king did not remember the dream?  They were not even good listeners because the king was anxious to “know the dream.”  This meant he couldn’t remember the dream!

They were anxious to give an interpretation and get back to whatever they were doing, but they did not realize that the true God of heaven was about to reveal the true prophets from the false prophets.

These men had something new thrown at them.  It is apparent that the king had never asked them to tell him the dream.  Usually he would tell them a dream and they would interpret.  Interpretation is easy.  You can make it up so it sounds plausible,.  Just ask my son. 🙂 But reading the mind of someone else is something altogether different.  Only God has that ability.

“My decision is firm: if you do not make known the dream to me, and its interpretation, you shall be cut in pieces, and your houses shall be made an ash heap.  However, if you tell the dream and its interpretation, you shall receive from me gifts, rewards, and great honor. Therefore tell me the dream and its interpretation.”

Daniel 2:5-6

They couldn’t believe what they were hearing so they requested again that the king would tell them the dream,

 “Let the king tell his servants the dream, and we will give its interpretation.”

Daniel 2:7

But the king was wise to their tricks and he said,

“I know for certain that you would gain time, because you see that my decision is firm: if you do not make known the dream to me, there is only one decree for you! For you have agreed to speak lying and corrupt words before me till the time has changed. Therefore tell me the dream, and I shall know that you can give me its interpretation.”

Daniel 2:8-9

daniel 2 angry

The fakers then informed the king that his request was not fair.  But, unwittingly they said a couple of things that were true:

“There is not a man on earth who can tell the king’s matter; therefore no king, lord, or ruler has ever asked such things of any magician, astrologer, or Chaldean.”

Verse 10

Truth #1-There IS no man “on earth” who can help the king.  Only the Omnipotent God of heaven has the answers about the future.

“…there is no other who can tell it to the king except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh.”

Verse 11

Truth #2 -The “gods” do not dwell with flesh.  Why?  Because they are not real.  They are not alive.  They are dumb idols, but the Creator Himself would one day  become flesh and dwell among flesh.  In fact, He would come in the flesh:

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

John 1:14

None of this mattered to the king. He was extremely angry.  He was furious and made a decree to have all the wise men killed. In the king’s mind, he knew they were all fake, they would attempt to deceive him and therefore they were useless to him.

 For this reason the king was angry and very furious, and gave the command to destroy all the wise men of Babylon. So the decree went out, and they began killing the wise men; 

Verse 12-13

In today’s world, there are many who claim to know more than they really do and surprisingly there are many who know the true God who  are given wisdom by Him.  They are confident and humble in their knowledge and wisdom.  Daniel was such a man.

Daniel asked the king for more time, which was obviously granted even though the fakers wanted time too, but I think the king had heard of the God of Daniel and gave them extra time expecting they would deliver.

Daniel went back to his three friends and they had a prayer session and sought God.

“Then Daniel went to his house, and made the decision known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions, that they might seek mercies from the God of heaven concerning this secret, so that Daniel and his companions might not perish with the rest of the wise men of Babylon. Then the secret was revealed to Daniel in a night vision. So Daniel blessed the God of heaven.”

Verse 17-19

These four men, asked for mercies regarding the secret.  The secret was revealed to Daniel.  His first action?  “Bless the God of heaven.”  May we never be in such a haste that we fail to stop to thank our Creator for His “mercies.”  There is a blessing for us when take time to thank God.

Daniel’s prayer of blessing to the God of heaven is below.

Blessed be the name of God forever and ever,
For wisdom and might are His.
And He changes the times and the seasons;
He removes kings and raises up kings;
He gives wisdom to the wise
And knowledge to those who have understanding.
He reveals deep and secret things;
He knows what is in the darkness,
And light dwells with Him.

“I thank You and praise You,
O God of my fathers;
You have given me wisdom and might,
And have now made known to me what we asked of You,
For You have made known to us the king’s demand.”

Verses 20-23

Notice the things Daniel confirms about God:

1.) Wisdom belongs to God

2.) He changes “times” and “seasons”

3.) He sets up kings and removes kings

4.) He gives wisdom to the wise  (Notice who gets the wisdom.  It is the wise! Who gets the knowledge?  Those who have understanding!)

5.) He reveals secret things (This fits with our opening verse from Amos 3:17-He reveals His secrets to His servants the prophets.)

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Next, Daniel intercedes for the wise men, even the fakers.  He could have just saved himself and his three friends, but the character trait of the person who knows the true God of heaven is to save life, not destroy it, even if the “wise men” are fakers.

Therefore Daniel went to Arioch, whom the king had appointed to destroy the wisemen of Babylon. He went and said thus to him: “Do not destroy the wise men of Babylon; take me before the king, and I will tell the king the interpretation.”

Verse  24

Daniel is taken in before king Nebuchadnezzar.  The king asks,

“Are you able to make known to me the dream which I have seen, and its interpretation?”

Verse 26

Before Daniel answers the king, he demonstrates, with power, the comparison between the fakers and the true God in heaven.

“The secret which the king has demanded, the wise men, the astrologers, the magicians, and the soothsayers cannot declare to the king.  But there is a God in heaven who reveals secrets, and He has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will be in the latter days.”

Verse 27

Daniel has a mini-sermon before he starts to reveal to the king what he wants to know.  The mini-sermon is this:  There is a God in heaven (He is real).  He reveals secrets or things that man on earth would not know.  These secrets are given to man through God’s servants the prophets.  It is not only for the prophets benefit, but also it is for the benefit of the ones who are hearing the message from God through His prophets.

I can image the king on the edge of his seat.  He can sense through Daniel’s confidence that what he is about to hear is truth and there is no guile (falsehood or fakery) from the mouth of this prophet of God.  It is one man (Daniel) and his God (Jehovah) in comparison to the many astrologers, magicians, and soothsayers.

Truth does not come through the majority.  It comes from the God of heaven and His prophets. It has always been a testimony to the power of God, that one with God is stronger than the majority.

Daniel begins to explain the dream:

Your dream, and the visions of your head upon your bed, were these: As for you, O king, thoughts came to your mind while on your bed, about what would come to pass after this; and He who reveals secrets has made known to you what will be.  But as for me, this secret has not been revealed to me because I have more wisdom than anyone living, but for our sakes who make known the interpretation to the king, and that you may know the thoughts of your heart.

Verse 28-30

The dream is for the benefit of  both the prophet (who makes known the interpretation) and the one who is receiving the interpretation so that the thoughts of the heart may be revealed.  Notice the phrase:

“for OUR sakes…”  

What a wise and powerful Creator!  Daniel is telling the king that God’s revealing of the dream and God’s secrets is for both the speaker and the hearer!

As a speaker and writer for God, I am blessed as much or more than the hearer!  Our great God blesses us both if we have ears to hear!

When I read Bible prophecy, it has a strange effect of letting me know where my heart stands with God.  The effect can be fearful or it can be comforting.  All people have the invitation to move from fearful (lost) to comforting (saved from the penalty of sin i.e., eternal death)

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Daniel tells they king the topic of the dream.  It is about

“….what will be in the latter days.”

“The term “latter days” is simple to understand in context of the dream.  Since this dream will be about the “latter days” of the kingdom of Babylon and its kings we can use it in that context.  But, it is also about the end of all kingdoms as well.  So the “latter days” can also refer to the end of time and this earth as we know it.

To the amazement of the King, Daniel begins to recount the dream for him.  As he talks, the king begins to remember and cold chills run throughout his body:

“You, O king, were watching; and behold, a great image! This great image, whose splendor was excellent, stood before you; and its form was awesome.  This image’s head was of fine gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronzeits legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay. You watched while a stone was cut out without hands, which struck the image on its feet of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces. Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold were crushed together, and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; the wind carried them away so that no trace of them was found. And the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.”

 “This is the dream.”

Verses 31-36

Graphically, this is the image the king saw:

Daniel 2

The king must have been amazed as he recalled each detail.   Before the king could say anything, Daniel began the interpretation.  We will let Daniel interpret for us.  Then we will look back at history to see if it was true.  Finally, we will look into the future using the foundation of the interpretation.

Here is how Daniel interpreted the king’s dream as God showed it to him:

“Now we will tell the interpretation of it before the king. You, O king, are a king of kings. For the God of heaven has given you a kingdom, power, strength, and glory; and wherever the children of men dwell, or the beasts of the field and the birds of the heaven, He has given them into your hand, and has made you ruler over them all—you are this head of gold.

Verses 36-38

So what does the head of Gold represent?  Daniel said to King Nebuchadnezzar, “you are this head of gold.”

Nebuchadnezzar and the kingdom of Babylon is represented in both time and space as the “head of gold.”  Could there be any other interpretation with something so plainly spoken?

The King must have been proud as he thought, even if just for a moment, that he was the top and the most valuable metal in the image.  But, he was soon to be disappointed.  Daniel continues with the interpretation of the great image,

But after you shall arise another kingdom inferior to yours; then another, a third kingdom of bronze, which shall rule over all the earth.

Verse 39

As great and wonderful as was King Nebuchadnezzar’s Babylon, it would fall to another.  Not just another, but one that was inferior.  Just as silver is of less value and strength as gold, the next kingdom was to be inferior.

Does the Bible tell us who this next kingdom was to be?  Yes!  The story can be found in Daniel 5.  It is an interesting story about Belshazzar (The son of Nebuchadnezzar and current king of Babylon) The king and his subjects were having a feast with debauchery, and disrespect for things God had made holy.  During the drunken sacrilegious feast, a man’s finger appears and writes a message on the wall.

This supernatural act made the  king’s “countenance” change.  Like his father Nebuchadnezzar, he was troubled as to what it meant so he called for the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers.   Remember them?  They are the fakers.   Just as they could not see Nebuchadnezzar’ s dream. They were unable to read the writing and make an interpretation.  Sound familiar?

handwriting on the wall

Fortunately for the king, the queen remembered Daniel.  She told the king,

There is a man in your kingdom in whom is the Spirit of the Holy God. And in the days of your father, light and understanding and wisdom, like the wisdom of the gods, were found in him; and King Nebuchadnezzar your father—your father the king—made him chief of the magicians, astrologers, Chaldeans,and soothsayers. Inasmuch as an excellent spirit, knowledge, understanding, interpreting dreams, solving riddles, and explaining enigmas were found in this Daniel, whom the king named Belteshazzar, now let Daniel be called, and he will give the interpretation.”

Daniel 5:11-12

Daniel’s interpretation confirms what he had told King Nebuchadnezzar with the image of God falling to an inferior kingdom,

And this is the inscription that was written:

MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN.

This is the interpretation of each word. MENE: God has numbered your kingdom, and finished it; TEKEL: You have been weighed in the balances, and found wanting; PERES: Your kingdom has been divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.

Daniel 5:26-28

That night the king was slain and Babylon fell to  the dual kingdom of the Medes and Persians led by Cyrus and Darius.

That very night Belshazzar, king of the Chaldeans, was slain.  And Darius the Mede received the kingdom, being about sixty-two years old.

Daniel 5: 30-31

The Medes and the Persians was represented by the arms and shoulders of silver.  (Two arms-two kingdoms)

It is interesting and shows the fore knowledge of God as to how Babylon fell and the way the enemy was able to get into the walled city.

Also, before Cyrus was born, God called him by name as the conqueror of Babylon

Thus saith the Lord to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut

Isaiah 45:1

So how was Cyrus and Darius able to get into the walled city of Babylon?

*They dried up the river Euphrates (Sound familiar)! This diverted the river that ran under the walls and through the city.  Along the river within the city was another set of walls with gates. The citizens were protected should someone swim in under the outer walls.  The enemy swimmers would then need to get through a second set of gates.   But on the night of Babylon’s fall, the gates had been left open due to drunken feast!  So the Medes and Persians were able to walk under the walls and up the banks through the leaved gates and into the city!

God is so amazing!  He knows the end from the beginning!

* See pages 265, 266 of Volume 1 of the book The Great Events by Famous Historians in the chapter on “Conquests by Cyrus The Great B.C. 538,” by George Grote. — University Edition, copyrighted 1905, by The National Alumni.
See also The Golden Age, as of June 7, 1922. page 572.

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But, there was to arise yet a third kingdom represented by the belly and thigh of brass.

“And after thee shall arise another kingdom inferior to thee, and another third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule over all the earth.”

Verse 39

The deciding point in the fall of the Persians
was
reached on the field of Arbela, B.C. 331, in which the Grecians,  were entirely victorious; and Alexander
became absolute lord of the Persian empire.

More could be said on this third kingdom, but let’s move on.  We will talk more about each kingdom as we study the prophecies that provide more detail.

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The events really pick up when the powerful fourth kingdom comes on the scene,

And the fourth kingdom shall be as strong as iron, inasmuch as iron breaks in pieces and shatters everything; and like iron that crushes, that kingdom will break in pieces and crush all the others. 

Verse 40

History tells us that this fourth power of legs of iron is none other than the “iron monarchy” of Rome.  Rome became the world power after it crushed the third kingdom of Greece.

Rome was in power during the life of Christ on earth and continued on for hundreds of years afterwards.

But the prophecy does not stop there,  there was to be a time when this iron would mix with clay (partly strong and partly weak substances)

It is interesting that Rome eventually was divided into 10 divisions by the invading nomadic tribes.  These divisions became the modern day countries of Europe.  Three of these 10 divisions were eventually annihilated so that there was only 7, but even those events are part of the prophecy were will study later in Daniel and Revelation.  Those divisions of Rome are as follows:

10 Toes or Divisions of Rome

Heruli
Ostrogoths
Vandals
Franks
Visigoths
Burgundians
Lombards
Anglo Saxons
Alamanni

Seuvi

map_europe476 (1)

Daniel continues on and informs the king of something that stands to this day.  These divisions of Rome would attempt to unite, but as iron does not mix with clay, they would never unite:

 Whereas you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter’s clay and partly of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; yet the strength of the iron shall be in it, just as you saw the iron mixed with ceramic clay. And as the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly fragileAs you saw iron mixed with ceramic clay, they will mingle with the seed of men; but they will not adhere to one another, just as iron does not mix with clay

Verses 41-43

This 4th kingdom would be divided and would never reunite.  Though out recent history there have been attempts to reunite the old divisions of  Europe, but it has always failed and it always will because the God of Heaven has spoken. Those who have tried were:

 Charlamagne, 8th Century;

Charles V l6th Century;

Louis XIV l5th Century;

Napoleon, l9th Century;

Kaiser Wilhelm and Hitler, 20th Century.

All of these men invested enormous
resources and countless lives in their efforts to unite Europe, but each one failed. Even today the leaders
of Europe are trying to unite as one, but God says this will never happen!

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Daniel ends the interpretation of the dream with a dramatic ending!

You watched while a stone was cut out without hands, which struck the image on its feet of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces. Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold were crushed together, and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; the wind carried them away so that no trace of them was found. And the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.

Verse 34, 35

Jesus is the Rock that was cut out without hands.

For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ.

I Corinthians 10:4

Daniel takes the king and the reader of this chapter to a time when God would set up his kingdom that would never end:

 And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.

Verse 44

Daniel 2(1)

When Jesus returns the earth is melted and no trace of anything left on this earth will be found.  Then He will make a new heaven and a new earth.

About 500 years before Jesus came to this earth the first time as a lamb to pay for the sins of a planet in rebellion, we see a prophecy concerning his second coming when he comes to “break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms.” It will stand forever!

 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 24:30

When Jesus returns the earth passes away.

Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.

Matthew 24:35

But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.

II Peter 3:10

And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.”

Mark 4: 62

When God destroys the earth, he creates a new heaven and a new earth that will last forever:

“For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth;
And the former shall not be remembered or come to mind.

Isaiah 65:17

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Daniel tells the king,

“The dream is certain, and its interpretation is sure.”

Verse 45

After hearing Daniels recalling of the king’s forgotten dream and the  interpretation, there wells up in the heart of this heathen king both fear and joy!

Then King Nebuchadnezzar fell on his face, prostrate before Daniel

Verse 46

This is what each of us should do as we see that God is in control of the history of planet earth and of our own lives.  He knows the exact number of hairs on your head.  He is all powerful, but most important, He loves each one of us so much as to send His son to pay for the sin we have committed.

His law, that can never be changed, shows we are sinners and deserve to die for eternity, but God makes a substitutionary   sacrifice (atonement) for us so that we might live and enjoy the greatest gift he could have given us:  Life to the uttermost!

The king understood that there is a God in Heaven who reveals secrets

The king answered Daniel, and said, “Truly your God is the God of gods, the Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets, since you could reveal this secret.”

Verse 47

I hope you have been blessed by this study.  Next we will look at a vision given to Daniel that repeats this dream, but expands it.  He will receive other visions that will demonstrate that God knows the end from the beginning.

Part 7-Second Coming Predictions-The Spirit of AntiChrist

He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads,

Revelations 13:16

There is a way that seems right to a man,
But its end is the way of death.

Proverbs 14:12

I hope you appreciate our slow walk up to identification of the Antichrist.  It is important to have the ground work laid so that when we arrive, it will all make sense and be supported by scripture.  There is so much confusion about this topic.  But, it does not have to be so if we are using sound Biblical exegesis in our walk.

In previous studies, we were able to determine from scripture that the father of lies (Satan) works  through deception.  He creates delusion so great that more (rather than few) are deceived.  If it were possible, the very elect could be deceived.

For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.

Mark 13:6

For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.

Matthew 24:24

Why are the elect not deceived?  We discovered that it is because they love the truth, the righteousness of God, and have a personal relationship with Jesus.  This passage expresses it well:

“….they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

2 Thessalonians 2: 10-11

And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.

John 17:3

In these last days, we can expect Satan to have perfected his system of deception.  His work will mimic the work of God even in appearances.

For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.

2 Corinthians 11:14-16

We cannot trust appearances… those things that appeal to the eye…things that are majestic and grand.  It is only through the simple word of God and a trusting relationship with Him that we can count ourselves as the elect.

Had Satan revealed himself in his real character, he would have been repulsed at once, for Adam and Eve had been warned against this dangerous foe; but he worked in the dark, concealing his purpose, that he might more effectually accomplish his object. Employing as his medium the serpent, then a creature of fascinating appearance, he addressed himself to Eve.

Great Controversy, page. 532

We must compare what we hear and see with what we know about God through our personal experience (testimony), but even more important through his written word (law).

To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word,it is because there is no light in them.

Isaiah 8:20

It is a noble thing to research scripture to see if your preacher or teacher is telling the truth as found in God’s word.  In these last days, it will be critical in discerning and avoiding the way that seems right, but leads to destruction:

These (followers in Berea) were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.

Acts 17:11

The Bereans loved the truth and compared the Tanakh (Old Testament) with the preaching of Paul to make sure he spoke truth.  Shouldn’t we do the same?

Too many Christians rely heavily on preachers and teachers to spoon feed them with theories, ideas, and doctrines.  Most have little knowledge of God’s word and practical experience.  Further we have the power of media, film, grand churches, and masses to help push us down a broad path, rather than seek the narrow path.

Here is a test….Which one of these pictures best represent how Satan will appear to deceive people?

Devil Christ-the-Priest-top-half Cardnial Keith Obrien

We can be certain that Satan will not be obvious.  He will appear as a sheep, but inside is a ravenous wolf…a lion seeking to eat and kill as many as possible.  He is insane and self-deceived.  He uses ministers.

And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.

Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works. 

2 Corinthians 11: 14-15

If we are looking for a mean-spirited ugly Antichrist that is easily identified, then we are already on a broad path of deception.

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The Real Antichrist

Hollywood and the” Left Behind”  books  have portrayed the Antichrist as a Romanian man named Carpathia leader of the world community  and world government who rises to power after the rapture.  After 3/12 years in power, he is assassinated , but then resurrected by Satan and  and seeks to destroy the followers of Jesus.

But the Bible paints and entirely different picture as we have learned in these series of Second Coming Predictions.

What the Bible has to say about the real Antichrist?

The word Antichrist is found only 4 times in the New Testament (King James Version).  They are all in the books of 1 John (3 times) and 2 John (1 Time).  Let’s read all four:

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.

1 John 2:18

John warns us that by looking for one Antichrist, we miss the many that were already come.  Is that true today?  Yes!

Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son.

1 John 2:22

An antichrist that has already come is a liar and denies that Jesus is the Christ.  Plain enough.  Right?

and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.

1 John 4: 3

So, we can know that the spirit of the Antichris is already in the world.

For many deceivers have gone out into the world who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.

2 John 1:17

Again, deception is connected to the antichrists that are in the world already.

The disciple John (who would later write and warn us about a power described as a beast in Revelation 13) gives valuable information. but it is the tip of the iceberg:  He states that the followers had been taught about the coming of “The Antichrist,” but there were already many that have gone out in the world. These antichrists work through deception.  They are liars just like their father the devil.  They deny that Jesus is the Messiah, that He came in the flesh and that He will return in the flesh. They deny the relationship between the Father and Jesus.

All of these antichrists can be overcome by  an understanding and acceptance of God’s word as given to holy men who were moved by the work of the Holy Spirit. This includes the books and letters  of the New Testament in addition to the Old Testament.

Paul warns us as well:

But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them,  and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

2 Timothy 3: 13-15

Remember as we move forward, that the work of the Antichrist is not just one person, but the work of many including Satan himself. It will be deception that can only be unlocked through a comparison of their words with the words of God and a trusting relationship with the Lord.

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Paul compliments the words of John when he talks about how the work of the antichrists causes apostasy.  Many will leave the truth because of the deception of the antichrists. In fact he warns Jesus will not come until after the “falling away.”

Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.

2 Thessalonians 2:3

Here we learn more about the nature and personality of the Antichrist.”

There will be a falling away, not just people but many churches.  They will fall away from plain teachings of Jesus and God’s word.  Those that fall away, do so because they are deceived.  They “loved not the truth.”

It has always been the work of Satan to take God’s word away from the people. ..to minimize it….to ridicule those who believe it and live by it.  Because it is here where his hand is revealed and his plan made plain.  His plan is to counterfeit the work of God.  To sit in the temple of God and receiving honor as God himself.  Despite this appearance as an angel of light, he not only is opposing God, but he makes it seem like he IS God or, at the least, represents God.

Paul tells us that the work of the Antichrist was already at work.  Paul refers to him as “that Wicked” who would be revealed to the whole world. He tells us that when Jesus returns this system of deception by Satan and the one who he gives power to deceive will be broken and will be consumed by the brightness of Jesus coming.  But for now, he works in the specific method of deceiving and counterfeiting:

And then shall that Wicked 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,

And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:

2 Thessalonians 2: 8-11 (KJ)

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So we can understand from scripture that the Antichrist is referred to as “that Wicked.”  But, we shall also see that this work of deception against God is through a power described as the beast.  It will not be just one person, but many who support the work of deception.  It is possible that the ones doing the deceiving think that they are doing the work of God by persecuting those who disagree with their teaching and power.  Remember, the deception is not only towards others, but also the person doing the deception is deceived.

But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.

2 Timothy 3:13

“the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service.”

John 16:2

Imagine killing someone and thinking you are doing God’s will.  This is strong delusion.  Remember Paul did this very thing before his conversion.

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To learn more about the work of the antichrists, we must move from the books of John to Revelation and Daniel.  John also wrote Revelation and had more to say about the work of the deception caused by the Antichrist.  But this time, he uses symbols that compare with the book of Daniel.  They both saw the same vision even though they were separated by hundreds of years.

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The Beast of Daniel and Revelation

From comparing scripture with scripture, we will see the hand of Satan at work throughout the ages.  It is he that gives the beast of Revelation his seat and great authority.

Many teachers and preachers read the following verses and make great sermons with plenty of opinion and twisting of scripture, but when we study the passages of scripture that bring us up to this point in earth’s history, we will know exactly who is the beast and therefore the Antichrist:

He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads,  and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

 Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666.

Revelation 13: 16-18

We have many clues about the beast here, but unless we understand how we get to this verse, we will lack wisdom from God’s word.

Here are some of the clues:  The beast has a world wide influence regardless of a person’s  position in life or income (small and great, rich  and poor, free and slave)

There will be something (a mark) that will distinguish them from those under the control and power of the beast and those who have not been deceived.  Persecution will come upon those who refuse to go along with the beast.  They will not be able to buy or sell.

If we are wise, we will understand the number of this man.

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If we  want to know the entire truth about the beast, we must go back and compare Daniel with Revelation.  This we will do beginning next week.

Who is the real Antichrist?

Can you think of a world power rich in religious history whose authority on religious matters comes from a single man and has great influence on all both small and great, rich and poor?  A power that looks like the real thing in angelic clothing living in a beautiful tmeple, but denies the words of God by putting the requirement of studying its book rather than the Bible for acceptance?  In fact, this man is worshiped and adored.

Next week, we will begin our journey back to Daniel and Revelation so that we can come back to the present and understand the future…from the word of God.

I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.

2 Timothy 1:12