In this post I will discuss the actions of the Antichrist during the seven year tribulation period. It has to be noted that I am giving a concise discussion on the actions of the Antichrist and in no way do I consider this discussion to be exhaustive. Much, much more could be said about the actions of the Antichrist. I also remind you that I write as one who embraces dispensational theology. I believe the tribulation will be the time when God fulfills all His promises to the nation of Israel made to Abraham and his descendants in the Old Testament. I believe the church will be removed from the earth before the tribulation begins and God begins to deal with Israel. With the removal of the church the Holy Spirit will be removed as well and the Antichrist no longer restrained will be free to unleash his terror on the world. The removal of the Holy Spirit is described in II Thessalonians 2:7, 8. Let’s examine a few actions of the Antichrist in the future.
1. He will become the leader of the world.
Revelation 6:2 says, “And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering and to conquer.” Some believe this rider is Jesus. Some believe it is the Gospel. Some believe he is no one in particular but a personification of the times and events. I believe this rider on the white horse is the Antichrist. This verse says he goes forth conquering and to conquer. He does so with a bow. A bow is not a weapon. No one is afraid of a bow. Arrows are what will hurt and kill. This seems to indicate the Antichrist will conquer the world by brokering peace. Can you imagine a leader coming on the scene today that had the diplomacy to broker true peace in the Middle East? This man will be able to broker that peace and the entire world will follow him.
Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, has a dream of an image of a human like creature in Daniel chapter 2. That image had a head of gold, breast and arms of silver, a belly and thighs of brass and his legs were iron and his feet were a mixture of iron and clay. The legs and feet represent the Roman Empire that was to come. The original Roman Empire fell in 476 A.D. (I know some say the Empire did not fall until 1453 when the Byzantine Empire fell but I will use the 476 date.) Daniel 2:41-44 describes the Roman Empire being revived in the last days. That revived Roman Empire is symbolized in the ten horns of the beast in Revelation 17:12-14, “And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast. These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast. These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.” Notice in verse 13 these kings give their power to the beast. The world leaders will yield power to the Antichrist. The Antichrist will lead all the armies of the world into battle against the returning Christ and all the armies will be annihilated.
There is one thought I would want you to consider about this one world ruler who sets up a one world government, the lack of any strong leaders in the world today is paving the way for a dynamic leader to rise to power. Never in history have the world’s leaders been so weak. History is full of strong people both good and evil who were tremendous leaders: Alexander the Great, Winston Churchill, Napoleon, Mussolini, Franklin Roosevelt, Hitler, Stalin, Lenin, John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, George Washington, Julius Caesar, Augustus Caesar are a few that come to my mind. I recently read an article in Fortune Magazine that listed the 50 greatest leaders in the world today. Bono, the lead singer for U2, was ranked number 8 and Derek Jeter, shortstop for the Yankees, was ranked number 11. If our world is looking to Jeter and Bono for leadership models then there can be little doubt our world is ripe for a dynamic leader to intoxicate the world to the point it will follow him. The world is ripe for the Antichrist.
2. The Antichrist will broker a treaty with Israel and break that treaty.
Daniel 9:26, 27 describes the coming of the Antichrist and his making and breaking a covenant with Israel. “26 After those 62 weeks the Messiah will be cut off and will have nothing. The people of the coming prince will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come with a flood, and until the end there will be war; desolations are decreed.
27 He will make a firm covenant with many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and offering. And the abomination of desolation will be on a wing of the temple until the decreed destruction is poured out on the desolator.”
The Messiah of Israel, Jesus, has come but He was rejected and crucified in A.D. 33. The Antichrist will broker a treaty with the people of Israel who still are looking for their Messiah. This treaty is for one week which means 7 years in Daniel’s symbolism. He breaks his treaty with Israel in the middle of the seven years of tribulation and begins a terrible 3 1/2 year tribulation on Israel. This leads to the third future action of the Antichrist.
3. The Antichrist will be worshiped as god.
Read II Thessalonians 2:3, 4, “3 Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way. For ⌊that day⌋ will not come unless the apostasy comes first and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction. 4 He opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he sits in God’s sanctuary, publicizing that he himself is God.”
The Antichrist will set his image up in the temple of the Jews and claim to be god. The world will flock to this dynamic figure but the Jews will rebel against this abomination of desolation in their temple and the great tribulation for the Jews will begin as the Antichrist persecutes the Hebrews. This worldwide worship will be accomplished because the Antichrist will mimic the Lord’s death and resurrection. Revelation 13:3 says of the Antichrist, “And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded unto death and his deadly wound was healed and all the world wondered after the beast.” Revelation 17:8 says of the Antichrist, “The beast that thou sawest was, and is not and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit…”
The Antichrist will be raised from the dead by Satanic power. Some argue the Antichrist will only appear to have been killed and raised from the dead. I believe it is a literal death and resurrection. Listen to Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 24:24 about the end times, “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.” The Antichrist will mimic the resurrection and all the world will marvel at this great leader who was killed and is now alive again.
I believe this death and resurrection to be the great deception that God sends on the world. Read II Thessalonians 2:10, 11, ” 10 and with every unrighteous deception among those who are perishing. They perish because they did not accept the love of the truth in order to be saved.
11 For this reason God sends them a strong delusion so that they will believe what is false.” These verses teach those who have rejected the Gospel of Jesus Christ and live into the tribulation will at some point have a strong delusion sent on them by God and they will believe what is false and their eternal fate will be sealed. I believe that strong delusion is the death and resurrection of the Antichrist.
4. The Antichrist will persecute tribulation saints.
Read Revelation 7:9, “After this I looked, and there was a vast multitude from every nation, tribe, people, and language, which no one could number, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were robed in white with palm branches in their hands.” John asks who these were standing before the throne. He was given the answer by one of the elders in Revelation 7:14, “These are they which came out of the great tribulation and have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the lamb.”
These are tribulation saints who have called on the name of Jesus during the tribulation and have been martyred for their faith. They are not Old Testament saints and they are not in the church age. They are tribulation saints and they pay with their lives for calling on Jesus while the Antichrist is ruling the world unrestrained.
In my next blog I will share what the Bible says about the destruction of the Antichrist.