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Antichrist:  Is he alive today?

Gary Googe Aug 28

Some who read this may initially know nothing about this person called the antichrist.  If that’s the case with you, the Bible tells us of a world dictator that will rise to power in a coming time that is known as the Tribulation.  This is a seven-year period that will occur between what we speak of as the Rapture, the resurrection of believers [I Corinthians 15:51-53 & I Thessalonians 4:13-18] who are members of what is called the Body of Christ, and the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, His return to the Earth [Matthew 24:29-31 & Revelation 19:11-21].  Both events are spoken of in numerous places in the Bible.

There are many people in every generation who are antichrists in the sense that they are opposed to Jesus Christ and His teaching.  But our subject for this article is to do with one man who is called the antichrist who will come to power as a world leader in the time that is typically called the Tribulation.

If you are one who has accepted Jesus Christ as the sole basis for your salvation as per I Corinthians 15:1-4, you will not be on Earth at the time of the antichrist’s rise to power.  Therefore, nothing about this man will ever affect your life.  But that’s not the case at all for billions of others who will be living on Earth when he comes to power, and that could occur very soon.  We don’t know.  We do know from the Bible that when he comes on the scene the world will be populated with billions of people.  That’s one reason we know there’s no danger of man completely exterminating himself from the Earth before then by any method.  That just isn’t going to happen!  It can’t happen because the Bible tells us many people will still be living on the Earth during this period called the Tribulation.  For instance, we are told that 144,000 Jewish believers from the twelve tribes of Israel will go forth to evangelize the many people of the world in that period. 

Revelation 7:4

And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel. [Emphasis added]

It is in this period that many of the people living then will gain salvation.

Revelation 7:9

After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; [Emphasis added]

Again, this period known as the Tribulation begins immediately after what we speak of as the Rapture of the Body of Christ church.  You’ll find an article about this on our website entitled Rapture:  What is the meaning of this term?  There’s a lot of talk and speculation about all this in religious circles.  Some of what is discussed is true but a whole lot of it is not.  For instance, people think that the establishment of the homeland of Israel in 1948 was the beginning of the fulfillment of prophecy leading up to the Rapture, the Tribulation period, the Antichrist, and the Second Coming of Christ.  But what so many people fail to realize is that no prophecy of any kind is fulfilled in this period of history of which we are a part today.  We know this because the Bible tells us this period was a mystery [MUSTERION = a secret] not known to the prophets of old.

Ephesians 3:8-9

Unto me [the apostle Paul], who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;

And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: [Emphasis added]

Other Pauline passages speak of this as well [Romans 16:25; I Corinthians 2:7; Ephesians 3:9; Colossians 1:26].  Different passages reveal different aspects about it.  For instance, this next passage reveals the indwelling of Christ in all believers in this period of which we are a part today.  There have been times in history when certain believers were empowered by the Holy Spirit for certain special works, but today every believer’s body is indwelt with the Holy Spirit.

I Corinthians 6:19

19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? [Emphasis added]

Even Christ in us had not been done or known before.

Colossians 1:26-27

26 Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints:

27 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: [Emphasis added]

The prophets of old did write about the antichrist because he is a subject of prophecy related to Israel.  The apostle Paul also wrote about the Tribulation and this man called the antichrist.  In our case, the Body of Christ is raptured, taken up into Heaven, before this period of tribulation begins.  In the apostle Paul’s day, there were believers who became concerned that the Rapture had already come, and they had somehow missed out on it.  So, Paul writes to assure them that they did not.

II Thessalonians 2:1-4

1 Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming [PEROUSIA = personal presence or coming of Christ–the Second Coming] of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering [complete collection] together unto him [the Rapture],

Here we have two “comings” of Christ.  At what is typically called the Second Coming He comes and sets foot on the Earth.  At the Rapture He does notIt is then that He comes to meet the Body of Christ believers in the air [I Thessalonians 4:16-18].  He does not touch down on the Earth at the Rapture.

That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.

He’s warning them not to be troubled with the false idea that He had already come and that they had missed Him.

Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day [the Second Coming] shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;

This statement about a “falling away” is not a good translationIt comes from the Greek word APOSTASIA which means a departure.  People can certainly “fall away” or “depart” from the truth of Scripture, but in this case, it is talking about the departure of members of the Body of Christ from the Earth.  This “coming” is Christ’s coming for these Body of Christ believers to meet Him in the air.

Who [speaking of this man, the antichrist] opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. [Emphasis added]

Here this man, the antichrist, is trying to pass himself off as Israel’s promised Messiah.  And for a time, they will believe him.  But it is when he reveals himself for who he really is that Israel will flee to escape his persecution of them.  His revelation and all that’s stated in this passage occurs in the coming time of tribulation after we as members of the Body of Christ have all been resurrected.  This next passage we’ll look at is addressed to Israel.  The prophecy it speaks of will be fulfilled in this period of tribulation after the Rapture has occurred.

Matthew 24:15-24

15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation [the antichrist presenting himself in the Temple as their Messiah], spoken of by Daniel the prophet [Daniel 12:11], stand in the holy place [the most sacred part of the temple], (whoso readeth, let him understand:)

16 Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:

17 Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house:

18 Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes.

19 And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!

20 But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day:

21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.

22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.

There are apparently many others who will also make false claims about their identity, creating even more confusion.

23 Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not.

24 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. [Emphasis added]

This also serves to show that just because a person can perform miracles does not mean they are of God.  Never let yourself be fooled by professed miracle-workers in our time.  They are all deceivers. No exceptions!

We know that when these things occur, the antichrist will be a grown man.  And since he does all this halfway through the seven-year Tribulation period, it is certain that the antichrist will be living on Earth in the last years of this present age of grace of which we are a part today.  But he will not be revealed as the antichrist until halfway through the Tribulation period.  Therefore, there’s never any point in speculating as to who he may be in any generation.  There’s simply no way of knowing.  Prophecy preachers in our time like to speculate about all this.  But that’s all it is—speculation.  And it should not concern us at all.

Israel gained recognized statehood in 1948.  Many people have thought that was in fulfillment of prophecy.  But that’s not true because, as we’ve noted, there is no prophecy in this present period of history known as the Dispensation of Grace.  We are living in a period that was a mystery [a secret] to all the prophets. They, therefore, wrote absolutely nothing about it.  Furthermore, there’s nothing “spiritual” about the present-day statehood of Israel.  To this day they remain a people of unbelief.  Rarely will you find a Jew who is a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ.  Most of them completely reject Him as their Messiah and Savior.  This “regathering” of Israel we see today is purely satanic in nature.  It is not something God is promoting or sponsoring.  Satan would love to get all the Jews back in one place because that would make it easier for him to exterminate them just as he’s tried to do before.  He would love for there to be no Jews on Earth at Christ’s return so there would be none to regather in fulfillment of God’s Word in prophecy.  As it is, Jews are scattered throughout the world and will remain so until Christ regathers them at the end of the seven-year Tribulation period.

For centuries, many people have tried and failed to identify the antichrist.  But all the speculation has been in vain.  It will continue to be that way until he is made known in the time of the coming seven-year Tribulation.  We can all wonder who it might be, but all it will ever be is wondering.  He will not be made known to anyone until after the Rapture.  And, again, because there’s no prophecy in our time to be fulfilled, there are no signs that the time for his revelation is near.  As I’ve said before in some other studies, all we have to go on today are historical trends and generalities.  By that I mean that basically all we’ve been told is that things aren’t going to get better before the time of the coming Tribulation.  All these things listed in this next passage we’ll look at have happened multiple times before.  None of them are unique to our time.

I Timothy 4:1-6

1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;

Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;

Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.

For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving:

For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.

6 If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained.

Therefore, we just don’t know how close we are to the Rapture and the Tribulation period that immediately follows.  All we can honestly say is that it is closer than ever before.  The prophetic program cannot resume until we’ve been raptured.

II Thessalonians 2:6-8

And now ye know what withholdeth [KATECHO = grasp, hold down, or suppress] that he [the antichrist] might be revealed in his time.

For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth [KATECHO = grasp, hold sown, or suppress] will let, until he be taken out of the way. 

The “mystery of iniquity” is Satan’s counterfeit of God’s secret plan regarding the church which is the Body of Christ.  Satan has his own program going which he uses to deceive, rather than to bring blessing to people in the world.

And then shall that Wicked be revealed [this may apply to the antichrist and/or his false prophet], whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:

There’s another important passage that unveils Satan’s work in the world today.  Let’s look at that.

II Corinthians 11:13-15

13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.

Always realize that Satan tries to copy Christ.  This is what he’s tried to do from the time of his fall into sin.  He’s really not trying to be the opposite of Him, as people so often think.  This passage clearly tells us that [Isaiah 14:13-14].

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

Notice:  Not darkness, but light!  This is like the scribes and Pharisees did in our Lord’s earthly ministry.  They were ministers of righteousness, not unrighteousness.  They, like Satan, promoted good, but independently of God.

15 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. [Emphasis added]

It is their works of righteousness that will bring God’s condemnation upon them, not their sins.  Their sins, like ours, were all judged in Christ on the cross.  Man’s sin is no longer something left to be judged.

Revelation 20:11-13

11 And I saw a great white throne [a time and place of judgment for all unbelievers], and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.

12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

These are works of righteousness, not sins.

13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. [Emphasis added]

Again, the sins of the world were all judged at the cross of Christ. 

II Corinthians 5:19-21

19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.

20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.

21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. [Emphasis added]

Yes, man must be good to get to Heaven, but it’s not his own personal goodness that gets him in, it is God’s perfect goodness imputed to him at the moment of his faith in Jesus Christ for salvation.

It is the unbeliever’s works that’ll be evaluated at the last judgment.  They will all be found inadequate, and he is from there cast into the Lake of Fire.

Revelation 20:11-15

11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.

12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.

14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. [Emphasis added]

Only the one work of Christ saves people, that work being Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection.  It is not faith in one’s own works, but in this work of Christ that provides eternal salvation.  Therefore, if you haven’t already, put your faith in what He’s provided for you, and you’ll be saved forever.

In conclusion, the antichrist may or may not be alive today.  There’s simply no way of knowing.  Are we getting close to the time of his revelation? As I said earlier, all we can know for sure is that we are closer to that time than ever.  Instead of looking for the antichrist’s arrival, we should be anticipating Jesus Christ’s coming on the occasion we speak of as the Rapture.  Furthermore, we should occupy much of our time with learning His Word and leading others to know Him as their Savior.  If  you haven’t already begun to do that, I hope you will today.

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