The Life and Times of the Antichrist - Part 1
By Ernest L. Martin, Ph.D., 1992
Edited by David Sielaff, August 2009
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The Bible prophesies two types of “millenniums” that the world will experience. The first is a false millennium which will last only about 3½ years, and is identified in the Bible as a worldwide empire of the Antichrist. The second is the true millennium — a universal world rule that will last for a literal 1,000 years headed by our elder brother Jesus Christ. There will be some similarities in the two millenniums:
Regarding the first “millennium,” the world will falsely believe that the Kingdom of God has arrived on the earth. So close in similarity will be the Antichrist’s rule to the prophesied Kingdom of God that even the apostles would be close to believing its validity. The real difference is that the first (and “false”) millennium will be headed by the Antichrist and sustained by Satan the Devil, while the second (which occurs right on its heels) will be headed by the true Christ and preserved by the Father. While true Christians who understand the basic teachings of the Gospel can escape the evils of Satan during this time, 2 we should all be aware of the insidiousness of this counterfeit Kingdom of God.
A time of great deception will occur on earth just before the Second Advent of Christ. It will be a time when a man whom the Bible calls the Antichrist will appear on earth. He will at first claim to be the true Christ. Later, he will go even further and pronounce to the world that he is God, calling himself by a name that no one had ever heard before. He will place all the earth under his rule and he will make Jerusalem his capital. This is prophesied in the Holy Scriptures and God the Father and Christ Jesus will allow this universal world kingdom to emerge, to develop, and then to succeed for a period of about three and a half years. This false kingdom will be established to teach mankind some valuable lessons which most in the world could only learn by experiencing the false system of the Antichrist.
To provide the people of the world with this learning experience (which God feels they need), God will permit the kingdom of the Antichrist to take control of the earth. It will be so clever in its deception that most people will think it is the prophesied Kingdom of God to be initiated on earth at the Second Advent of Christ. The world will believe that the Antichrist is the returned Christ. 3
Actually there will be three evil spiritual powers who will unitedly bring to pass the Antichristian kingdom at the end-time. (1) One will be Satan, (2) another will be the Beast, and (3) the third will be the False Prophet (see Revelation 16:13). The deception will be manipulated by this triad of angelic powers, and humans will find it difficult to distinguish each of them from one another. This “trinity” of angelic powers will bring in the false Kingdom of God which will have every appearance of being true.
In a word, the Antichrist and his false kingdom at its commencement will have the external credentials of being the very Kingdom of God that is prophesied to occur on earth at the end of the age. The world will be deluded into believing the lie of the Antichrist because the Bible says the world at the time will not actually want to accept the real truth of Jesus Christ. “For this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie [Greek: “the lie,” with the definite article]” (2 Thessalonians 2:11). The world will accept “the lie” of the Antichrist because Satan will send great “signs and lying wonders” (verse 9) accompanying the Antichrist’s advent. Christ warned the apostles about this very thing.
“For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before.”
Matthew 24:24–25 (cf. Mark 13:22)
Later I will explain why God permits several “Christs” under the rule of the Antichrist to emerge on earth.
One of the cardinal events to occur at the end of the age will be a false Second Advent. It will be performed by Satan and his angels, and it will be a glorious display of power and beauty. Satan does not look like the fire-breathing, pitchfork-handling, red-all-over, dragon-like creature normally pictured as the Devil. He actually looks like a majestic and resplendent heavenly being, appearing beautiful and elegant like an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14–15).
The world will confuse Satan and his angels being thrown out of heaven (described in Revelation chapter 12) as being the Second Advent of Christ returning with His angels (2 Thessalonians 1:7–8). To back up this false claim, the Antichrist, inspired by Satan, will deceive the world by falsely saying that the Two Witnesses, whose time of prophesying is recorded in Revelation chapter 11, should be identified as the Beast and the False Prophet mentioned in Revelation chapter 13. To carry this deception further, the actual Beast will claim to be the returned Christ while his False Prophet will claim to be the prophesied “Elijah to come” (Matthew 17:11). In other words, the Antichrist and False Prophet will convince a credulous world to confuse the identities of the Two Witnesses with those of the Beast and False Prophet, while the actual Beast and False Prophet identify themselves as the true Christ and the Elijah to come (Matthew 17:11).
It will be a clever subterfuge. The Antichrist will try to duplicate all of the prophesied actions the real Christ Jesus is supposed to accomplish when He returns. Of course, it will be impossible to make an exact duplication. That is why there will be many signs and wonders employed in the deception to cause people to overlook some obvious errors that would prove the Antichrist not to be the real Christ. 4 Miracles, signs, and wonders are powerful tools in convincing people to accept false doctrines, especially if some points are not clearly understood. The Antichrist will utilize a great number of miraculous events to secure his short tenure as being the returned Christ from heaven.
The Antichrist will put into immediate action (once he has come to his full power) the external religious requirements that the real Christ will expect of people when He returns. The Antichrist will put them into effect to substantiate and strengthen his messianic credentials associated with his own reign. For example, the prophet Isaiah said that when the real Christ appears on earth, He will bring back the 7th day Sabbath (from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset) and the calendar of the Jews dealing with observing new moon days each month and the Mosaic festivals. Notice Isaiah:
“And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh [not just Israelites, but all flesh shall] come to worship before me, says YHWH.”
There are other verses telling people what the true Christ will inaugurate:
“And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, YHWH of hosts, and to keep the feast of Tabernacles.”
This is plain teaching. Even Gentile nations will send delegates to Jerusalem to keep the Feast of Tabernacles during the Millennium. The weekly Sabbath (not Sunday of the Christians or Friday of the Muslims) will be the official time to worship God. Since this is what the true Christ will establish on earth when He returns, the Antichrist will know these easy-to-read scriptures and he will find a way in which to fulfill them so he can be mistaken as Christ Jesus returned to the earth.
The Antichrist will be well aware of these well-known prophecies concerning the Millennium. His object will be to establish a counterfeit “Kingdom of God” just before the Second Advent of Christ. He will note that Isaiah 56:7 states that Gentiles will legally be able to enter the Temple:
“And the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to YHWH, to serve him, and to love the name of YHWH, to be his servants, every one that keeps the sabbath from polluting it, and takes hold of my covenant; even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful IN [that is, INSIDE] my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called a house of prayer for all people.”
Since Christ Jesus will allow the Gentiles to enter the Court of the Temple in the Millennium, so Satan the Devil also will inaugurate the same thing at the beginning of his rule in Jerusalem. He will be mimicking Christ in all of the ways he is able. Satan will cause such a clever counterfeit of the “Kingdom of God” that even “the very elect” (this means all of us) would be close to accepting his imposture if we did not know better (Matthew 24:24–25).
Now Sabbath and Holy Day keeping are perfectly fine if a person or a family want to honor God in a personal way on those days. But when men begin to demand that the whole society observe the Mosaic system (like obedience to Islam is presently demanded in Saudi Arabia) then that is a different matter. The Antichrist will see that subjecting the world to the Mosaic system is a good barometer to know if people are obeying his dictates because keeping the Law of Moses is a 24 hour affair.
To law keepers, one’s life is dominated by the desire “to keep the Law.” For example, the Antichrist will have state police looking for people who violate the Sabbath laws. Christ reminded Christians at the time of the Great Tribulation that they should pray that they do not have to flee Jerusalem or Judaea “on the Sabbath” because such a “violation” of the Sabbath laws at that time would identify such people as law breakers and enemies of the state (Matthew 24:15–21).
In history we can witness such a Sabbath keeping and Holy Day keeping kingdom that resembles the one that the Antichrist will inaugurate and lead at the end of the age. That was the kingdom of Herod, called the Great. The Antichrist will have far more outward credentials to satisfy his counterfeit claims as the “true Christ” than the claims held by Herod. After all, Herod was an Idumean and not even a descendant of David. Still, however, Herod had some Jews known as the Herodians who pretended that his kingdom was legitimate (Matthew 22:16; Mark 3:6, 12:13).
Indeed, Herod embraced the keeping of the Sabbath, the Holy Days, the Mosaic social laws, etc., within his kingdom. To show his “devotion” to God He also rebuilt the Temple at Jerusalem at such great expense that it became the most majestic building to exist in the Roman Empire at the time. The Antichrist will also help construct (or to refurbish) the end-time Temple just before the Second Advent. As Herod often called attention to his noble acts for God in maintaining God’s government among his subjects, so the Antichrist will do the same thing. Yet the Antichrist will finally outstrip Herod in authority by eventually bringing the whole world under his domination.
Yes, Herod’s kingdom is a type of the reign that the Antichrist will establish. Just because a king maintains the Mosaic laws over the people of his land, that is no guarantee that the person is righteous and that his kingdom is approved of God. As a matter of fact, the Sabbath keeping and Holy Day keeping kingdom of Herod the Great with its grand Temple and ritualistic laws in operation was reckoned by most Jews (and many modern scholars) as one of the most evil kingdoms ever to appear on earth. There can be no doubt that this evaluation is true. The apostle Peter stated that living under such a kingdom was one of bondage and servitude and it was a government which a person could hardly bear (Acts 15:10). 5
Such domination by men was referred to by the apostle John when he said there was not only to be the Antichrist to come at the end of the age but there were already in the 1st century antichrists, plural. The apostle John said: “now” are there many “antichrists”:
“Little children, it is the last time: and as you have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.”
1 John 2:18
When men demand that people observe the Laws of Moses, even within a Christian context, and through that means they rule the people with a rod of iron, those men have set themselves up as Antichrists (those who rule in the place of Christ). They govern the people with the same laws Herod the Great used to keep his subjects in check. Doing so not only places them in positions of leadership over the people, they can also demand tithes in order to keep their ecclesiastical governments and lifestyles functioning and to keep their hierarchy in positions of monetary power. 6 Men who demand such things abuse the Law. Such people are clear examples of being “antichrists” — those who take the place of Christ on earth by ruling over people in the guise of religion. This is wrong and Paul would have none of it for those under his jurisdiction.
“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.”
The Antichrist at the end of the age will once again place mankind into bondage, and he will use the laws of Moses to do it. He will bring in another kingdom like that of Herod the Great (with the 7th day Sabbath, the Mosaic Holy Days, etc.) and he will rule with a rod of iron. In a later research study, I will clearly show the type of rule that the real Jesus Christ will enact when he establishes his Kingdom on this earth. It will be different from what most people imagine and it will not make men to be slaves.
[NOTE: Material cut from original. 7]
The world would not believe “the lie” that will be sent into the world at the end of the age if they would understand and accept one principal teaching of God. It is a doctrine that all of you should know already. If you hold steadfast to it no matter what the circumstances, you will never be deceived with the antics of Satan the Devil, the Beast, or the False Prophet at the end-time. If you believe (and never deviate from believing) this prime teaching, the evil powers with all their clever deceptions, signs, and wonders would never deceive you during the Antichrist’s kingdom. And because you know this principal teaching and its ramifications already, there will be no need for the Father and Christ Jesus to subject you to the wiles of the Antichrist and his False Prophet at the end-time. You can have a protection from their evils during the time of their false reigns.
Just what is that doctrine? It is this: the Holy Scriptures teach that all humans who have died since the time of Adam (and including Adam and Eve) are still dead in their body, their soul, and their spirit. These individuals are very dead! They have not the slightest consciousness because they are no longer alive. They are as “dead as a door nail” as the popular phrase states. They have not the slightest knowledge of anything that has transpired in history since the day they took their last breath of air.
“For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them [their ability to have memory] is forgotten.”
“For in death there is no remembrance of you [God]: in the grave who shall give you thanks?”
“His breath goes forth, he returns to the earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.”
“The dead praise not the Lord, neither any that go down into silence.”
“For the grave cannot praise you [God], death can not celebrate you: they that go down into the pit cannot hope for your truth. The living, the living, he shall praise you, as I do this day.”
The only hope that the apostles of Christ knew would give them life after their deaths was the hope of the resurrection from the dead. The apostle Paul said that all of his hope for a further life was the resurrection. He said: “if by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead” (Philippians 3:11). Of course, from the moment Paul lost consciousness over 1900 years ago at the time of his death, it will seem to him that he will be immediately in the presence of Christ (Philippians 1:21–23). This is because his consciousness thoroughly ceased at the moment he died. Paul did not go to heaven to be with Christ immediately at his death, nor has any other righteous saint of God. Paul is still unconscious and awaiting his resurrection from the dead that will occur at the Second Advent of Christ. Paul is still dead.
This also means that Adam, Enoch, Moses, Elijah, Isaiah, Jeremiah, John the Baptist, the apostles Peter and John, along with Mary (the mother of Jesus), and all the other righteous saints of God who have died up to this very moment, are all dead in their graves. They are not up in heaven nor in the bowels of the earth in some kind of “living state.” They are all awaiting, with the apostle Paul, the Second Advent of Christ in order to be resurrected from the dead. They have had no knowledge whatever of anything that has happened on earth or in the heavens since the day they took their last breath of air. They are totally dead!
This doctrine of the Holy Scriptures (not the false teaching of the so-called “Immortality of the Soul”) is the prime doctrine that will keep you safe from all the deceptions of Satan the Devil, the Antichrist and the False Prophet in the period of the end-time just before Christ comes back to earth. With this proper understanding in mind, you and I will be able to thwart all the intrigues of the evil powers (all of the evil powers put together) and stand in triumph with Christ and his angels at the time of his Second Advent.
To be sure, this is the one biblical doctrine that the world has the most difficulty in believing. They want to believe that at the time of death, the soul or the spirit continues living and that it departs immediately to heaven if one is righteous, or to hell if one is bad (or to an intermediate stage if one is supposedly “half good” or “half bad”). The teaching of the “Immortality of the Man’s Soul or Spirit” is the prime doctrine upon which the teachings of Satan the Devil hinge. This is why it is so important that the real Christian understands this matter in a thorough way. The simple truth is, the dead are dead and they will remain dead (without any consciousness) until their resurrections from the dead at a date still future to us. The basis of your protection from the wiles of Satan the Devil, the Antichrist, and the False Prophet in the period just before Christ’s Second Advent depends upon your knowledge and firm conviction that all the dead (either righteous or not righteous) will remain unconscious until the Second Advent of Christ. The truth is, the dead are very much dead!
Before the world will accept the Antichrist and his teachings, a new and dynamic type of Christianity will come into the world which will sweep aside the current thrust toward Islam in certain parts of the world, and the current desire to be a part of the cultish “New Age Movement” which has some prominence in the world today. Indeed, the new and revitalized type of Christianity that is now on the horizon will overthrow many of the basic concepts of Constantinian and Middle Age “Christianity” which has dominated the philosophical beliefs of Western Civilization for the past sixteen centuries.
Even many of the essentials of Protestant doctrine which have secured a foothold in the mainline Protestant churches will also be overthrown. A thorough house cleaning will begin to manifest itself in the next few years. A transformation in the teaching of basic Christian doctrines is about to occur. It will cause a radical change in doctrinal beliefs to such an extent that within the coming decades people will witness profound changes in Catholic and Protestant doctrines. This will also affect the Greek Orthodox Church and the majority of other ethnic and nationalistic church denominations. In a word, a revolution in religious understanding is about to emerge on the scene. It will be a revolution back to the original and pristine teachings of the early New Testament community of believers.
Many of the doctrines of the historical Christianity (since the time of Constantine in the 4th century) will be jettisoned for teachings that are much closer to early New Testament doctrines. Most of the Christian denominations will see the error of the Trinity Doctrine which has been accepted by mainline Christianity as a prime teaching of “Churchianity” since the time of Constantine (and especially since the Council of Chalcedon). The majority of educated people will come to see that the doctrine of the Trinity and other human-inspired doctrines, like the pagan rituals now found in many mainline churches, are some of the most nonsensical teachings ever to be foisted onto the mind of humanity. They will come to see that this false doctrine of the Trinity is merely a Hellenistic philosophical way to explain the manner of the Godhead which has no bearing on what the Bible teaches. Within a few years, scholars throughout the world will begin to denigrate the absurd teaching of the Trinity and they will begin to advocate a return to the simple teachings of the Bible in its description of the Godhead.
With the abandonment of the Trinity, people in the world will begin to understand that the Godhead is really a Family into which all humans can and will be born. They will finally comprehend that God the Father and His firstborn son Jesus Christ are showing the world that they are members of that divine Family in heaven. Frankly, this is a wonderful thing for the world to know. Most of the educated people in the world within decades will begin to understand this concept of New Testament teaching that was advocated by the early fathers in the first three centuries after the apostolic teaching began with Peter and Paul.
This will all begin to happen after God sends a “spirit of grace and of supplications” on the inhabitants of the land of Israel and particularly Jerusalem (Zechariah 12:10). What most people have not recognized is that this dynamic spiritual thrust from God Himself will not only be sent to Jews in the land of Israel (though it will have a special effect upon them), but the spirit of grace and supplication will also be sent to Muslims and the few Christians who dwell in the land of Israel at the time. Recall that the Bible prophesies that the renewing spiritual thrust will come on all “the inhabitants of Jerusalem” (Zechariah 12:10).
What will be the result of this renewal of the spirit of God within the area of Israel and Jerusalem? It will mean a massive conversion of the people (and especially the Jews) of Israel and Jerusalem. They then will begin to get rid of the pagan idolatry that now has a foothold in Jerusalem through the so-called “Christian churches” that are there. In fact, “the names of the idols” shall no longer be remembered in Jerusalem, and even the unclean spirits will be sent out of the land of Israel and Jerusalem (Zechariah 13:2). Remember, this is all prophesied to happen before the Second Advent of Christ to the earth.
What happens in Israel and Jerusalem will influence and have a profound effect in every section of this globe. All people will then begin to understand what the original New Testament taught and a major revolution will result. The “spirit of grace and of supplications” will open their minds to the truths of God’s Word. This revival of some of the real teachings of Christ will occur before the Antichrist establishes his final kingdom on earth.
What we will see in the coming decades is a return to the original teachings (many of them) of the New Testament. Only a few, however, will truly understand the full teachings of the New Testament regarding “The Mystery” that the apostle Paul taught in Ephesians and Colossians. But the majority of people in the world will begin to respond to a new type of dynamic and revitalized Christianity (once many of the Jews are converted to Christianity) that will make Islam and other religions of the world begin to fade into a much lesser role of influence. What will happen in the coming years is a revival and a new interest in the basic teachings of Christianity. It is prophesied in the Bible to occur (as I have shown in previous publications 8) and it will result in a new appreciation in the world of the Bible and its teachings.
During this period many ethnic groups will want to be separate from other nationalities. While people will want to join together in economic leagues that will insure their domestic prosperity and security, people in the world will want to divide into ethnic and even religious groups (with those religious groups being transformed in doctrines) that will give people the comfort of “being with their own.” The Bible shows that there will be a renewal of monarchy as we approach the time of the end. This will not be a dictatorial type of monarchical government known over the centuries, but a limited monarchy system which will give each race and people a national and world identity of which they can be proud and which they will want to promote. The theme of this new world order will be trying to possess a united financial and economic security while being separate from others in the world in a social sense. While the principles of Western Civilization will predominate in the world, the various races and cultures will want to be separate from a totally pluralistic society in which racial and linguistic distinctions are fused. In the near future, people will turn to being more “ethnic” and “separate.” 9
Actually, the new world order will comprise various peoples of diverse ethnic, linguistic, and religious groups divided into their separate and individual units while they be economically united within multiracial and multilingual trading units which should provide all the diverse peoples with a supposed economic security. A renewal of a dynamic and revitalized Christianity among the most powerful nations in the world will help in securing these economic unifications while the nations themselves will wish to remain socially separate from one another. 10
In the coming years we will witness the creation of many new nations in the world. The formation of these nations will be based on ethnic, linguistic, and even religious divisions which will emerge from the revolution that will come. It is obvious to see that the Balkans region and what remains of the former Soviet Union will see new ethnic, linguistic and religious nations that will be separate from their neighbors politically and socially, but in the end they will unite together in overall economic groups that will insure a reasonable standard of living amongst other nations and groupings in the world. 11
We need to watch the Middle East in particular. That area is destined to see the emergence of some new nations around a growing Israel. Israel is prophesied to finally annex and occupy the area east of the Jordan River known anciently as Gilead (Zechariah 10:10). There will finally be Ten Nations around Israel that will answer to the Ten Nations of the Books of Daniel and Revelation. 12
The events of the time of the end as prophesied in the Bible cannot develop properly without this swing back to the basic teachings of Christianity as shown in the New Testament. To understand these things accurately, we must recognize the role that angels and spirits will play in the future history of the world.
If the biblical student wishes to have an accurate understanding of what will occur in the period of seven years just prior to the Second Advent of Christ (the period of the rise and reign of the Antichrist), one will have to comprehend how the angelic powers influence (and have influenced) affairs on earth. The primary actors in setting up the kingdom of the Antichrist will be angelic powers who enter into a partnership with human beings to create the last “evil empire” of this age. The Bible student will have to realize how Satan the Devil and his angels (evil spirits) perform their duties among men on earth. Once this is understood, then it will be easy to recognize what will happen on earth during that period of 7 years at the end of the age — and particularly, the last 3½ years.
These three angelic powers will work in unison to bring about a world government. They are the evil triad of spirit beings who plan their actions together (Revelation 16:12–16) and eventually will be judged together (Revelation 20:10).
To understand what will happen at the time of the Antichrist, let us review very briefly some early biblical history about the manner in which angelic powers have influenced men on earth in the earlier times. This knowledge will be instructive in evaluating the manner in which Satan and his angelic cohorts will maneuver themselves into positions of power at the end of the age.
[NOTE: Material cut from original. 13]
We are heading for some major angelic activities in the near future (if it is not happening already) when evil angels and spirits will once again possess people on a grand scale in order to bring in the evil societies which they are allowed by God to produce. We should look for a time in the near future when human beings will begin to perform extraordinary signs and wonders that will produce a human antichrist, a human “Beast,” and a human “False Prophet” who will be possessed by the real power that motivates them. That real power will be Satan the Devil who will unleash all his power.
The evil Cherub who fell in the time of Ezekiel will possess the “Beast,” and another evil angelic power will possess the “False Prophet.” This means that the humans who perform these evil exploits at the end of the age will have a dual nature if not more. In actual fact, it is possible for a human being to be possessed by numerous evil spirits all at the same time. Mary Magdalene had seven demons possessing her before she was delivered of them (Mark 16:9) and the lunatic who lived near the swine had a legion of demons inhabiting him (Mark 5:9). 14
So, in our evaluation of the end-time events associated with the Antichrist, it should be borne in mind that at one moment the prophecies may be speaking about the actions of human beings on earth and in the next they will be speaking about the spirit powers prompting the humans into doing their evil. Note that Jesus spoke directly to the evil spirits possessing the Gadarene lunatic, and at first he paid no attention to the human himself (Mark 5:9). And so it is with many demon possessed people. Sometimes it is the spirit (or spirits) one is communicating with, and sometimes it the human himself. It is sometimes difficult to differentiate between the two sources. The two personalities are often intertwined.
The apostle Paul said that the real enemies of Christians are the angelic powers themselves and not the human beings who are possessed by them. Speaking about the very time of the Antichrist (which he calls “the evil day”), Paul gave all of us who understand the mature teachings of “The Mystery” (the final doctrinal teaching from Christ) some excellent commands on how to defend ourselves from that evil society. We already have all the weapons we need. Paul wrote:
“Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the Devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places [Paul meant the evil angels and spirits].
Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breast plate of righteousness; and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all taking the shield of faith wherewith you shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked [one]. And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.”
In this military posture you will notice that all the armaments of the Christian are for offensive work (there is nothing to defend our rear). That is because at the time of the Antichrist we can be completely triumphant and be thoroughly successful if we make a definite stand for truth, justice, the real gospel, faith, the certainty of our salvation, and using the sword of the Spirit which is our full knowledge of the Word of God. God promises us that even in the midst of the evil one himself, we will be victorious because we have the power of our Father and that of our Elder Brother on our side. We who understand the final revelation of God called “The Mystery” should have nothing to fear during that whole period of time. Let us now examine more closely what will happen during the time of the Antichrist.
There has been a lot of confusion in prophetic circles regarding the identity of the Antichrist. Some have thought him to be Satan manifested in the flesh. Others have thought the Antichrist is simply a principle of evil and that he is not an actual person (whether human or spirit). Others have felt he will be a human claiming to be the returned Christ who is possessed by Satan the Devil much like Judas was possessed on the eve of Christ’s crucifixion (John 13:27). Let us notice the scriptures that inform us about his identity. Just who is the Antichrist?
In the long prophecy in Daniel known as the “Scripture [Book] of Truth” mentioned in Daniel 10:21 and narrated in Daniel 11:1 through 12:3, the one whom the apostle John calls the Antichrist is the “King of the North,” and he is called “a vile person” (Daniel 11:21). He is responsible for taking away the daily sacrifice from a Temple in Jerusalem and for the erection of “the abomination that makes desolate” (verse 31) referred to by Christ in His most important Olivet prophecy (Matthew 24:15).
There is one major point that must be understood in this research study. The information in Daniel’s “Book of Truth” is NOT speaking of any historical events prior to the time of Christ! The section from Daniel 11:6 and onward which speaks about the “Kings of the North” is NOT referring to the kings known in history as the Seleucid kings who followed the reign of Alexander the Great. The “vile person” in verse 21 does NOT refer to the exploits of Antiochus Epiphanes who caused havoc among the Jews in Jerusalem in the middle of the 2nd century BC. This “Book” has no past history before Christ’s time.
In fact, much of the information in Daniel’s “Book of Truth” is still future to us. Why, even Christ stated that the prophecy of the setting up of the Abomination of Desolation in the Temple was still future to Him (Matthew 24:15). The message in the “Book of Truth” is NOT history, it is prophecy — prophecy for the time called “the end of the age.” If one does not realize this important point, the information in the “Book of Truth” will remain forever hidden from one’s understanding. The whole of the prophecy is an end-time affair, not one that has in most part already happened in history either in type or in fact.
Indeed, looking carefully at the prophecy shows that there are only three “Kings of the North” mentioned.
This third (or, the final) “King of the North” is the 8th king in succession of kings mentioned by Daniel in the “Book of Truth.”
The first four kings in Daniel are four Persian kings (Daniel 11:2), the fifth king is a mighty king of Javan (verses 3–4), the sixth king in succession is the first “King of the North” whose prophetic exploits at the end of the age (as I have said before) are described in Daniel 11:6–19 inclusively. Those 14 verses of Daniel 11:6–19 refer only to one “King of the North.” This particular king is the first “King of the North” but he is the sixth king in succession in Daniel’s “Book of Truth.”
The seventh king in Daniel’s “Book of Truth” is the second “King of the North” called “a raiser of taxes.” He rules only for a few days (verse 20). Then the eighth (and final) king of the “Book of Truth” arrives on the prophetic scene. This eighth king represents the third king called the final “King of the North” mentioned in this long prophecy of Daniel.
|EDITOR’S NOTE: Here is how Dr. Martin’s understanding of the “Book of Truth” charts out:|
|4 kings of Persia||Daniel 11:2||
occur in heaven
|5th king, the mighty king of Javan||Daniel 11:3–4|
|6th king, the first “King of the North”||Daniel 12:6–19|
|7th king, the second “King of the North,” “the raiser of taxes”||Daniel 11:20|
|8th king, the third “King of the North,” “the vile person”||Daniel 11:21–12:3||
occurs on earth
It is important to keep these distinctions in mind. If this is done, one will have the sure knowledge that the information in the “Book of Truth” has nothing to do with past historical events because there is nothing in any historical records which supports a succession of four Persian kings, one king of Javan, then three “Kings of the North” with the third and final king living at the end of the age. The information in the “Book of Truth” is prophecy, not history.
There is further proof that demonstrates this fact conclusively. It is the clear demonstration by the apostle John that he is giving a commentary on those eight kings of the “Book of Truth” in the 17th chapter of the Book of Revelation. The apostle John places his 6th, 7th, and 8th future kings as being parallel to the 6th, 7th, and 8th kings of Daniel’s “Book of Truth.” John has these last three kings as existing just before the Christ’s Second Advent. Before we mention John’s commentary, let us note the angelic wars.
In the prologue to Daniel’s “Book of Truth” (Daniel 10:13–21), the angel Gabriel tells why he read to Daniel the contents of the “Book of Truth” in the first place. This was because the angels Gabriel and Michael had been engaged in warfare (they were being hindered) by the angelic prince who was in charge of the Persian realm. They soon would have to fight with the angelic prince in charge of Javan (Greece). What is important about this? It shows that these angelic princes were fighting one another in heaven about matters happening here on earth.
Thus, the “Book of Truth” is a celestial record prepared by God for the angels to tell them what will happen at the end of the age. It was not intended specifically for humans. Though the “Book of Truth” describes certain events on earth (most of what the “Book of Truth” reveals concerns territorial disputes on earth), those disputes were prophesied to be raging with violence among the angelic powers in heaven. We humans can only begin to understand the outcome of these heavenly wars (Revelation 12:7) if (and when) the angelic hosts are expelled from heaven and come to earth to continue their battles (Revelation 12:7–17). We can also begin to comprehend such supernatural wars when some of the spirit powers are released from their prison (called “the abyss”) located in the interior of the earth and they come forth to do havoc on earth (Revelation 9:1–11).
Some people may feel that because we humans on earth do not witness the wars that take place in heaven that those wars are mere symbols or figures of speech and that there really are no such conflicts occurring in the heavenly spheres. People are at liberty to believe what they wish, but the Holy Scriptures describe the wars as being very real and that the effects of those wars can be felt on earth. This was certainly the belief of Christ and the apostles.
The wars in heaven are looked on as very real in the Book of Revelation. Because of the fact that a “woman” brought forth a man child who was to rule all nations on earth (in other words, the child was going to take over Satan’s dominions on earth), the “woman” then found herself being persecuted by enemies who did not want this to occur. Opposition against the “woman” became so great that she had to obtain protection from her enemies. As soon as she found a safe haven from the onslaught of persecution:
“… there was war IN HEAVEN: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, and prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out [of heaven], that old serpent, called the Devil and Satan, which deceives the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.”
This shows that affairs occurring on earth provoke even a war in heaven among the heavenly hosts. In this case the adversarial angels are finally thrown out of heaven and in turn they produce wars on earth. This shows that arguments instituted on earth can widen in scope to include wars between the principalities and powers in heaven (Daniel 8:10–12).
These are the angelic authorities who claim a dominion over nations, societies, religions, churches, businesses, governments, and individual human beings. These angels can get into major battles with one another in heaven if they find their territorial, national, or individual roles of authority among people on earth being challenged. They do not take kindly to other angelic powers who try to wrest their positions of rule away from them. This is the plain teaching of Revelation chapter 12 and it is supported by statements recorded in the Book of Daniel and other books of the Bible.
While some disputes of angels are often settled by conferences that take place in heaven between God, the Sons of God, and the angels, conducted in a civilized and orderly way, 15 others can get quite belligerent (like those in the Books of Daniel and Revelation). We must realize that these accounts in the Bible are not simply symbolic and without basis of fact. Christ himself made it clear that violence can literally take place in heaven among the angelic hosts when they realize their powers of authority on earth are in jeopardy of collapse. He gave two illustrations of this.
(1) When the disciples returned to Christ telling of their experiences in casting out demons and that the evil spirits had to be subject to the name of Jesus (Luke 10:17–20), Christ told them that those events were actually dislodging Satan from his position of power in heaven. Their activities resulted in a “fall” for Satan from his pinnacle of power which he tries to maintain in the heavenlies. This was Satan’s first step downward in power and these initial events conducted by the disciples on earth were a prelude to Satan finally being confined to the “bottomless pit” (the abyss) at the Second Advent of Christ (Revelation 20:3).
Scripture shows that Satan and his angels will not give up their earthly administrations without a fight (Revelation 12:7–17). They will resort to violence against other angelic powers and mankind to retain their positions of authority. This very thing began to occur with the preaching of John the Baptist. Note the teaching of Christ on this matter.
(2) When John the Baptist started to preach, so many people in Judaea began to repent of their ways that the society, customs, businesses, governmental agencies, etc., began to be affected. The human powers who controlled that society were beginning to take notice of this change of attitude among the people. In fact, Judaic society was being disturbed (in a non-violent way) and the human authorities were starting to worry what the outcome of John’s teaching might do to their jobs and positions of influence.
The point is, all administrations within Judaic society on earth were under the supervision of various angelic powers who ruled the people on earth from their heavenly abode. So profound was this non-violent outcome of John’s preaching against evil that the influences of those angels directing the society on earth began to slip. This decline in influence occurring on earth in a peaceful manner had a very opposite response among the angelic powers in heaven. These powers were intelligent enough to realize the consequences of what these changes in Judaic society would lead to. They saw a revolution under way on earth and they knew it would have an effect on their positions in heaven. We are about to see the same thing in our day.
The result was a major conflict in the time of Christ that began between angelic powers in favor of the changes taking place in Judaea and those who wanted to retain the old ways of society. Indeed, it was not a simple dispute that took place between them; it was what we could rightly describe as outright war. Notice what Christ Jesus said was happening. “From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven SUFFERS VIOLENCE, and the VIOLENT take it by force” (Matthew 11:12).
Look at this statement of Christ. He was talking about violence in heaven at that moment. This has to be the case because we read of no violence whatever taking place in Judaea among men in Christ’s time. This is important to note. The long prophecy which we call Daniel’s “Book of Truth,” principally describes some major conflicts between Persian, Grecian, and Israelitish powers (in this case, angelic powers), but those wars were being conducted in heaven among angelic powers and not yet on earth. At the time Gabriel told Daniel that he and Michael were going to war with the King of Persia (and soon the King of Greece), this shows conflicts in heaven, yet there was peace on earth between the Persians and Jews. In fact, Cyrus (the first king of the Persian realm) had just allowed the Jews to return to Jerusalem and to rebuild the Temple.
This means that Cyrus, the human king, was not the Persian king that Gabriel and Michael were fighting against at the time. Gabriel and Michael, who represented Israel’s interests in heaven and on earth, went into conflict with the angelic power (the angelic king) who was then governing Persia. Later, they went to war with the angelic power (the heavenly king) who governed Greece, not a human king of Greece. This means there was war in heaven between Gabriel and Michael (and their angels) and the heavenly kings of Persia and Greece (and their angels). While these wars were going on in heaven, there was actually peace on earth. This reveals that heavenly wars do not necessarily show a fulfillment on earth at the same time.
This was certainly the case in the time of John the Baptist and the effect that his preaching had on the world. The teachings of John were certainly non-violent. There were then no real physical attempts to set up the Kingdom of God under Christ at that time. But the reaction of the angelic powers in heaven was very different. They had enough sense to realize that some profound social and religious changes were in the initial stages of occurring and they wanted to put the matter to rest at its very inception. What Christ was revealing to his disciples was that the heavenly realm was so disturbed at the victories being accomplished on earth over the demon spirits that the powers of heaven were being shaken by these affairs. “The kingdom of heaven SUFFERS VIOLENCE, and the VIOLENT take it by force” (Matthew 11:12).
The “violent ones” who were engaged in that conflict were those angelic powers endeavoring “by force” to take over heavenly positions of authority from those who then controlled Judaic society in the time that Christ was on earth. At that time, those righteous angels were winning! This shows that political or religious actions that take place on earth (even of a non-violent nature) can have violent repercussions among the angelic powers in heaven who supervise earthly civilizations, governments, societies, religions, churches and individuals. And later, when the evil powers finally lose their heavenly positions of authority and are expelled to earth, then is when the earth can get caught up in the violence. Note that all of Judaea went into a fierce war with the Romans that destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple just over forty years after the time of John the Baptist, Christ Jesus, and the apostles. This shows that the periods of wars in heaven are not necessarily the same times for wars on earth. The wars on earth can occur several years later when the angelic powers enter directly into our human arenas on earth.
So, when we look at Daniel’s “Book of Truth” which Gabriel revealed to him, it must be understood that the information about the four kings of the Persians, the great king of Greece, and the first two “Kings of the North” speaks of events that actually occur between the angelic powers in heaven who control these nations on earth. The prophecy of the “Book of Truth” does not necessarily describe events in which we can find parallels in historical events on earth. The fact is, most of the events described in the “Book of Truth” are heavenly in geography and they happen between the angelic powers — concerning the territories on earth mentioned in the prophecy, not that they are actually on earth conducting the wars.
Indeed, the wars that are shown with the first seven kings of the “Book of Truth,” could be happening in heaven while there is peace in their territories on earth. Only when the “Book of Truth” reaches the eighth “King of the North” (when the Beast comes out of the abyss and Satan is expelled from heaven) do we then find a clear parallel between history on earth and the prophetic history mentioned in the “Book of Truth.” From then on, the history of the angelic powers and that of humans on earth becomes intertwined and the actors are often difficult to distinguish. 16
[Note: Now read Part 2 of this article … DWS]
L. Martin, 1992
Edited by David Sielaff, August 2009
1 This was the only legal place in which Moses allowed images to exist such as the cherubim and the images of bullocks in Solomon’s Temple. ELM
2 See Dr. Martin’s article “How to Fully Escape the Great Tribulation” at http://www.askelm.com/prophecy/p010601.htm. This 1999 article has many items of interest that relate to the Antichrist and Satan’s tribulation against the ekklesia of God. DWS
3 The prefix “Anti-” in Antichrist does not mean that he will be simply “against” Christ and the true teachings of God. Certainly, he will be antagonistic to the real Christ, but the prefix “Anti-” means more than that. The prefix signifies that this man will rule in the place of Christ. This is the intended meaning in the word “Antichrist.” ELM
4 People will “reason” that the preponderance of the many miraculous signs and wonders that the Antichrist performs will seem to prove he is legitimate. In fact, even their erroneous reasoning will be part of the deception sent from God (2 Thessalonians 2:1–11, particularly verses 10–11). DWS
5 Indeed, some of you could testify that you have also been members of a Sabbath keeping, Holy Day keeping, and Law keeping Christian denomination with a man (or men) ruling at the top. The rulers normally lived like kings and they had strict hierarchical rulers under them that the flock had to obey explicitly. This is ruling in the place of Christ. Anyone on earth today who uses the laws of God as a means to rule over the people as a king (or the sole ruler with appointed men like princes ruling under him) is usurping the rule of Christ and is himself an “Antichrist” according to biblical definition. He is the one who rules (not Christ) and he sometimes rules with a rod of iron instead of the true Christ. ELM
6 By the way, it is biblically illegal for any organization today to demand or think they can receive biblical tithes from ordinary Christians and it is equally wrong for Christians to pay the biblical tithe to any man or hierarchy of men. For an explanation of this matter, read our book: The Tithing Dilemma, available online complete at http://www.askelm.com/tithing/index.asp. ELM
7 At this point in Dr. Martin’s original booklet he discussed the Mark of the Beast. I cut those 10 paragraphs because Dr. Martin published an expanded article titled “Discovering the Mark of the Beast” at http://www.askelm.com/prophecy/p900501.htm and chapter 21, “The Antichrist Will Establish the Mosaic Law” at http://www.askelm.com/essentials/ess030.htm from his book The Essentials of New Testament Doctrine (2001). DWS
8 See Dr. Martin’s article “The Coming Revolution in Knowledge” at http://www.askelm.com/prophecy/p060301.htm, and my short article “The Restitution of All Things, What to Expect” at http://www.askelm.com/news/n030621.htm. DWS
10 Dr. Martin’s article “China in Prophecy” at http://askelm.com/prophecy/p950701.htm discusses the coming conversion to Christianity of the peoples of Japheth which includes China, Japan, and many of the peoples of Asia. DWS
Kosovo in Prophecy” at http://askelm.com/prophecy/p990601.htm. DWS
13 I cut some 15 paragraphs from the original 1992 publication about the Sons of God, who at that time he thought were angels (like most Jewish and Christian commentators). Dr. Martin later came to understand that the Sons of God mentioned in the Old Testament were not human beings. They were a separate class of being of which Christ was the first. Christ was also the only begotten Son of God. Dr. Martin’s most compelling research is found in his book The Essentials of New Testament Doctrine, chapter 27, “‘Our Inheritance’ – The Family of God” at http://www.askelm.com/essentials/ess036.htm, and chapter 28, “Who Are the Sons of God” at http://www.askelm.com/essentials/ess037.htm. These chapters not only discuss Christian believers as children of God but also those mentioned in the Old Testament as well. I hope you will be motivated to read Essentials from the beginning as it was intended to be read. DWS
14 For more detailed information on how angels influence human beings and their importance in creating world historical events, see my trilogy of research studies written about the Angelic Powers: “Why Did God Create Angels?” at www.askelm.com/doctrine/d001101.htm, “Angels – the Facts and the Fiction” at www.askelm.com/doctrine/d001001.htm, “The Positive Good that Angels Perform” at www.askelm.com/doctrine/d010101.htm. ELM
“How God Uses Angels to Govern the Universe” at www.askelm.com/doctrine/d010201.htm, chapter 15 of Dr. Martin’s Essentials book “Can Sinning Angels be Saved?” at http://askelm.com/essentials/ess021.htm, and my short article “Jesus Was Not an Angel” at http://askelm.com/news/n040110.htm. DWS
15 Several such “conferences” or judgment scenes take place in the Bible. The most notable are those mentioned in the first two chapters of Job where the Sons of God gather with Satan attending also, Psalm 82 where judgment pronounced on the Sons of God, and the conference with the spirits observed by the prophet Micaiah recorded in 1 Kings 22:14–23. ELM / DWS
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