(Revelation 13:1-4, 11) “And I saw a beast coming out of the sea. He had ten horns and seven heads, with ten crowns on his horns, and on each head a blasphemous name… Then I saw another beast, coming out of the earth. He had two horns like a lamb, but he spoke like a dragon.”
In the book of Revelation John saw the immergence of the last beast empire that would expand the globe before Jesus comes back (Revelation 13:1-10). This empire would be like nothing else that had ever been. It would have the combined powers of Ancient Babylon, Persia and Greece. Daniel also saw the same vision of four beast empires that described four successive world empires that would dominate the history of the world. These nations were Ancient Babylon, Persia, Greece and also a fourth beast empire led by the Antichrist, an empire which had absorbed the other three empires before it and yet had the same geographical boundaries. All of these empires combined were Middle-Eastern Empires. Daniel also saw that this fourth empire namely the kingdom of the Antichrist would immerge and in fact would be the last great beast empire to exist before the Second Coming of Christ.
As we have already seen in our second study that according to scripture and in light of the situation in the Middle-East today that the fourth beast empire Daniel saw was the rise of Islam. While Babylon, Persia Greece and even Rome absorbed culture, philosophies and the mystery religions of each previous empire this fourth beast empire could not assimilate with or tolerate anything from the previous three kingdoms. It was different from all of the other three beasts that preceded it. Again we are dealing with Middle-Eastern Empires. Even though Rome had an Eastern Leg of the Empire Rome like Babylon, Persia and Greece assimilated with and absorbed the cultures of the empires preceding it. “Tolerance” of other civilizations was also practiced throughout the Roman Empire. Not so with this fourth beast empire. This one Daniel described crushed and devoured everything. Today this empire is Islam. Now as we move on into our text we see what the Antichrist and his beast empire will do. Now let’s continue to look at the text.
The Fourth Beast in Daniel. (Daniel 7:25-27) The Kingdom of the Antichrist
(Vs. 25) “He will speak against the Most High and oppress the saints and try to change the set times and the laws. The saints will be handed over to him for a time, times and half a time. (For a year, two years and half a year)”
We will now look at how this verse accurately describes the character and the conduct of the Antichrist.
1. The Antichrist will speak against God.
He will speak “with a mouth that speaks boastfully” and as one whom, “exults and magnifies himself above every god and will say unheard-of things against the God of gods.” Islam not only denies the Trinity but also pronounces a curse on those who believe in the Trinity. The Antichrist will not only speak against God but will be one who, “Opposes and exults himself over everything that is called God or is worshipped, and even sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.” One thing about the Antichrist is that he will be religious and seek to destroy every religion but his own. One of the basic tenants of Islam is the establishment of a global Caliphate, Sharia law and the one religion of Islam. Of course as has already been stated before in the previous study Islam is not merely a religion but a political and socioeconomic and militaristic empire. It honours a god of war and fortresses. This describes the real face of Islam which by enlarge the western politicians with their lust for oil are ignoring. Never the less the Antichrist will speak against God because his god is Satan. Allah of course is not the God of the Jews and the Christians at all but “a foreign god.” In reality Allah is the Mesopotamian moon-god of war, a god going way back beyond the time of Mohammed. In fact the Crescent symbol appears in Judges Chapter eight in the time of Gideon.
2. The Antichrist will “oppress the saints.”
Not only Daniel picks this up but John also picks this up in Revelation where he wrote concerning the Antichrist; “ He was given power to make war against the saints and to conquer them.” (Revelation 13:7a) The standard word John uses for “saints” is the standard New Testament word used for Christians. The Lord Jesus Himself confirmed this when he said, “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of Me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and betray and hate each other” (Matthew 24:9-10). The whole context in Matthew chapter twenty four primarily describes the Last Days. The word He uses for “nations” means the ethnic races within nations. When the Antichrist comes to power the only two people groups that will be hunted down in his empire will be Jews and Christians also called by Muslims today “the people of the Book”. You can go to any Muslim country today and find multitudes of Christians imprisoned, falsely accused, tortured and murdered in the name of Allah. Islam puts a curse on everyone who believes that God has an Eternal Son who was begotten and not created. They hate anyone who believes in the Tri-unity of God.
When Daniel and John and the Lord Jesus spoke about the saints they were not referring to tribulation saints that have missed the rapture but to faithful believers in every age of the Church and specifically to believers in the Last Days. Today in North Korea, China, Indonesia, and Pakistan and in every Muslim country in the world the beast empire is already persecuting the saints. Go to these precious believers in those countries with the gospel of prosperity, Kingdom Now theology and with the “Purpose Driven” agenda and see if it works there. In those countries true Christianity is not defined in terms of western consumerism or by secular marketing strategies for Church growth but by the blood of the martyrs for Jesus, which is, “the seed of the Church.” Every day from the organization called “The Voice of the Martyrs” there are numerous accounts of terrible atrocities being perpetrated against faithful Christians. In virtually every case it is coming from Islamic countries. Islam at its very core denies the Father and Son relationship in the Godhead and this I believe will become the kingdom of the Antichrist that is rapidly encircling the globe.
3. The Antichrist will try to change the set times and the laws;
When the Antichrist sets himself up in the temple to rule from Jerusalem he will try to change the laws and the customs, primarily, for the Jewish nation, but also for the western way of life. If Islam had its way in the world today it would bring everyone under strict Islamic Sharia Law. The Muslims have their own calendar just as the Jewish people have their own calendar and so the Antichrist will try to change the laws including the feast days of Israel to confirm to Islamic law and customs. This is the same type of thing Antiochus did when he invaded Israel. He sought to impose Greek laws and customs upon the Jewish people especially in Jerusalem itself. Islam’s agenda is to see everyone in the world submit to Allah and to his prophet Mohammed and to its Sharia law and “crushes” and “devours” all and everything that stands in its way.
4. The Antichrist will have power over the saints for a time, times and half a time (3.5 years).
The empire of the Antichrist, for three and a half years and within certain perimeters, will have power to conquer the saints. In every nation where Islam has entrenched itself being a faithful follower of Jesus and the Bible will be a criminal offence and in the majority of cases prove to be a capital one resulting in beheading (Islam’s favourite method of execution). Even today in Saudi Arabia Christians are beheaded by the Leaders of that country while they do oil deals with the West. Try building a church in Saudi Arabia today and see where it will get you! However, the Bible tells us that those who are beheaded for their faith especially during the Great Tribulation will be raised to life again with Christ to reign with Him over the surviving nations for a thousand years. The Second Death (the lake of fire) will have no power over them. John described what he saw; “I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshipped the beast or his image and had not received his mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection. Blessed are those who have part in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years.” (Revelation 20:4-6)
To have lived in the will of God in this life is to have prepared ourselves to die. Death is inevitable as the scripture says, “It has been appointed for men to die once and after that the judgement.” For believers in the Lord Jesus physical death is the door into an eternal life where death, sin, suffering and sorrow are abolished forever. It means that believers will experience the eternal joy and splendour of the new heaven and earth the home of righteousness that Jesus Himself has promised (2 Peter 3:13). John also described this when he wrote; “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and He will live with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Revelation 21:1-4)
For the faithful believer in Jesus the goal of their life is to experience “the first resurrection.” The first resurrection will include both the living and the physically dead saints, both those still living at the rapture, those who have died and especially those who were beheaded for their faith. These precious fruits of Christs work at the cross will make up his bride when He returns again. They will be clothed with the very righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. Furthermore, when He comes back to earth with the saints and the angels with Him He will strike down the armies of the nations with the command of “the sword of His mouth.” He will speak and the armies of heaven will go out with Him to fight the nations that have devastated Jerusalem and persecuted the saints. The nations that He fights are all Islamic ones and are specifically mentioned by name in the Old Testament.
When the Lord Jesus comes back and after He has destroyed the Antichrist and his armies He will have His great marriage supper with all of the saints going all the way back to Abel. Indeed the Lord Jesus said; “I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 8:11) Every believer whether Jewish or Gentile will enjoy the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. The wedding banquet comes after Jesus has come back as His bride has made herself ready for His return. We read about this in Revelation; “Hallelujah! For the Lord God Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give Him the glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.” (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints.)” (Revelation 19:6b-8) The context of these verses in relation to the rest of the chapter is connected to the Second Coming of Christ. Those who have made themselves ready are the saints living on earth when Jesus comes back.
Whether we live or die in this life we will be resurrected when He returns and join Him in the last great battle for Jerusalem that will see the demise of the Antichrist and his empire forever. Islam will disappear from the face of the earth! If we die with our faith in the Lord Jesus and with a total reliance upon the merits of His shed blood and righteousness then we will go on living after we depart this life. We will never experience the eternal conscious torment of the lake of fire that is called “the second death.” The Lord Jesus Himself has given us His word on that. Now let’s move on with the text.
(Vs. 26) “‘But the court will sit, and his power will be taken away and completely destroyed forever.”
It may well be that the majority of faithful believers will be beheaded during the reign of the Antichrist but even though he kills us physically he cannot kill us as we will be forever with the Lord and physically resurrected when the Lord Jesus comes to earth again. When Jesus comes back to destroy the Antichrist and his followers the faithful resurrected remnant will see their enemies burning in torment before them. Those who have tormented the followers of Jesus in this age will themselves be tormented forever! Their corpses may be lying around but their souls will be in hell awaiting their final resurrection to damnation in the lake of fire which is the second death! “And they (the surviving nations) will go out and look upon the dead bodies of those who rebelled against Me; their worm will not die, nor will their fire be quenched, and they will be loathsome to all mankind” (Isaiah 66:24) and so we continue…
(Vs. 27) “Then the sovereignty power and greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be handed over to the saints, the people of the Most High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey Him.”
The prophet Joel said, “Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the Day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision. The sun and moon will be darkened, and the stars no longer shine. The Lord will roar from Zion and thunder from Jerusalem; the earth and the sky will tremble. But the Lord will be a refuge for His people, a stronghold for the people of Israel.” (Joel 3:14-16)
Today, right now in fact, in this life the Lord is giving everyone a choice, Christ or the Antichrist? It will be one or the other. When the Lord thunders at the head of His army as He descends upon the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem the nations gathered against that city will be destroyed on the mountains of Israel. Their bodies will be strewn everywhere all the way through the Valley of Jehoshaphat down to Saudi Arabia and even into Egypt. In Isaiah we see the Lord Jesus actually fighting at Bozrah located in the region of Ancient Edom which today would be the region located in Southern Jordan and extending into the heart of Saudi Arabia. As Isaiah writes. “Who is this coming from Edom, from Bozrah, with his garments stained crimson? Who is this, robed in splendour, striding forward in the greatness of his strength? “It is I, speaking in righteousness, mighty to save.” Why are your garments red, like those of one treading the winepress? “I have trodden the winepress alone; from the nations no one was with Me. trampled them in My anger and trod them down in My wrath; their blood spattered My garments, and I stained all My clothing. For the day of vengeance was in My heart, and the year of my redemption has come. I looked, but there was no one to help, I was appalled that no one gave support; so my own arm worked salvation for Me, and my own wrath sustained Me. I trampled the nations in My anger; in my wrath I made them drunk and poured their blood on the ground.” (Isaiah 63:1-6)
The battle in Saudi Arabia that Isaiah described fits Revelation nineteen verses eleven to twenty one like a glove! In both accounts the Lord Jesus is seen riding a horse and fighting His enemies and His robes are splattered with their blood because of the winepress of His fury. In both the Isaiah and Revelation text the winepress of the wrath of God of God is mentioned making it the same battle. In fact the whole Arab Muslim world will be devastated by this judgement and Islam will cease to exist! There are numerous references in the writings of the prophets as to the judgement God will bring upon the Muslim world and they are too numerous to mention in this study. However, we will look at a few. Ezekiel the prophet spoke about this in chapter twenty five of the book of Ezekiel.
Northern Jordan (Ammon) will be judged.
“The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, set your face against the Ammonites and prophesy against them. Say to them, ‘Hear the word of the Sovereign Lord. This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Because you said “Aha!” over my sanctuary when it was desecrated and over the land of Israel when it was laid waste and over the people of Judah when they went into exile, therefore I am going to give you to the people of the East as a possession. They will set up their camps and pitch their tents among you; they will eat your fruit and drink your milk. I will turn Rabbah into a pasture for camels and Ammon into a resting place for sheep. Then you will know that I am the Lord. For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: Because you have clapped your hands and stamped your feet, rejoicing with all the malice of your heart against the land of Israel, therefore I will stretch out my hand against you and give you as plunder to the nations. I will cut you off from the nations and exterminate you from the countries. I will destroy you, and you will know that I am the Lord ’” (Ezekiel 25:1-7). Today this area is home to the ‘Palestinian Refugees’ who are fighting against the Jewish people over who owns the Land of Israel. These militant Arabs are heading for judgement as they are touching “the Apple of God’s Eye” Israel.
Central Jordan (Moab) will be judged.
“This is what the Sovereign Lord says: ‘Because Moab and Seir said, “Look, the house of Judah has become like all the other nations,” therefore I will expose the flank of Moab, beginning at its frontier towns—Beth Jeshimoth , Baal Meon and Kiriathaim —the glory of that land. I will give Moab along with the Ammonites to the people of the East as a possession, so that the Ammonites will not be remembered among the nations; and I will inflict punishment on Moab. Then they will know that I am the Lord.’” (Ezekiel 25:8-11) Again this is occupied today by the ‘Palestinian’ Refugees who like their ‘brothers’ in Northern Jordan is fighting against Israel.
Southern Jordan and Saudi Arabia (Edom) will be Judged:
“This is what the Sovereign Lord says: ‘Because Edom took revenge on the house of Judah and became very guilty by doing so, therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will stretch out my hand against Edom and kill its men and their animals. I will lay it waste, and from Teman to Dedan they will fall by the sword. I will take vengeance on Edom by the hand of my people Israel, and they will deal with Edom in accordance with my anger and my wrath; they will know my vengeance, declares the Sovereign Lord.’” (Ezekiel 25:12-14). Notice it mentions “from Teman to Dedan.” These were in Saudi Arabia. Of course Saudi Arabia is the heart of Islam with its Capital at Mecca. So Edom includes Southern Jordan but extends into Saudi Arabia.
The Gaza Strip (Philistia) will be judged.
“This is what the Sovereign Lord says: ‘Because the Philistines acted in vengeance and took revenge with malice in their hearts, and with ancient hostility sought to destroy Judah, therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I am about to stretch out my hand against the Philistines, and I will cut off the Kerethites and destroy those remaining along the coast. I will carry out great vengeance on them and punish them in my wrath. Then they will know that I am the Lord, when I take vengeance on them. ’” (Ezekiel 25: 15-17) Today the Gaza Strip is the home of Hamas and every day these Islamic terrorists are shooting scud missiles into Israel. This is a stronghold of Anti-Semitism; however, when the Lord sets out to fight against His enemies He will utterly destroy Hamas! When Ezekiel the prophet gave this prophecy the Philistines as a people were long gone. They were destroyed during the reign of David. However, over this region as in other Islamic strongholds in the Middle-East today there are “principalities” or “powers” that dwell in the heavenly realms (Demonic Spirits).
Once more it needs to be said that the beast empire of Islam is fragmented; the descendants of Ishmael are fighting each other as well as the rest of the world. Another way to translate Genesis chapter sixteen verse two is; “And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man’s hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.” (Genesis 16:2) It can also be rendered, “and he will dwell in the face of his brethren.” In other words the Hebrew conveys the idea that Ishmael died fighting his own people. This is the legacy that has been passed on down to the Arab world. The only time the Arabs can unite to a degree is if they have a common enemy to fight, however, once they have finished fighting others they once more begin to fight among themselves. This is also the face of Islam today. The Sunni’s hate the Shiites and the Shiites hate the Sunni’s. The “legs” of Nebuchadnezzar’s statue then are equal in power but divided!
There is a final judgement coming upon the last beast empire. This is an empire that is described as a “wild beast” and although there have been other ancient nations in history that have been fierce and cruel there has never been a more vicious and cruel empire as Islam. From its inception it has filled the earth with violence and bloodshed. This empire, though fragmented, is once more on the ascendancy in the world. The beast that was wounded by the sword has never really died but is making a comeback today. Indeed it is a resurrected empire encompassing all of the regions in the Middle-East that were once the territory of Ancient Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medio-Persia and Greece. The origins of Islam can trace its roots back to the first King of Babylon and Assyria namely Nimrod. (See the three part study on “The Coming of the Antichrist’)
God’s wrath is to be poured out on the throne of the kingdom of the beast. We are told this in Revelation chapter sixteen verses ten to eleven; “The fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and his kingdom was plunged into darkness. Men gnawed their tongues in agony and cursed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, but they refused to repent of what they had done.” This will happen just prior to the return of Jesus as His wrath is poured out on a world in rebellion against God. The Lord will personally afflict the Antichrist and smite his empire with darkness just like he smote Pharaoh King of Egypt with the thick darkness. In fact the judgements on Egypt we see in the book of Exodus are replayed in the book of Revelation. Egypt in the Bible has always been used as a metaphor for the world and Pharaoh as a metaphor for Satan including the Antichrist. In fact the Antichrist in the Bible is given certain titles such as, “The King of Assyria” or “The Assyrian” or “The King of Persia” or “the King of Greece” or the “King of Babylon” as well as other titles not mentioned here. Probably the king of Babylon is the king most associated with the Antichrist more than any other kings in the Bible. You only have to read Isaiah chapter fourteen verses nine to seventeen to see this truth concerning the King of Babylon and how the passage specifically refers to Satan and the Antichrist.
Finally, when we speak of God’s judgement we see God exercising His judgements with a view to bringing about repentance and restoration, however, when we speak of God’s wrath we see a judgement poured out where there is no reprieve such as the flood in Noah’s time. We know from the Bible that God will pour out the bowls of His wrath upon the inhabitants of this world but not upon those who belong to Him. The Bible itself says that “God has not appointed us to wrath but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.” When God started to send the plagues on Egypt His people were still there and were divinely protected. However, when His wrath came down upon Pharaoh and his armies at the Red Sea, the people of Israel were already out of Egypt. They did not experience the wrath of God and were miraculously delivered out of the hand of Pharaoh once and for all.
When you look at the plagues, earthquakes, famine and wars racking our planet today you can see the words of our Lord Jesus coming true. As His coming gets closer these “labour pains” will increase in frequency and intensity to the point where they will be coming one upon another. These plagues wars famines earthquakes and diseases we are experiencing are the result of a world in rebellion against God, under the power of sin and in the hands of the devil. Yet God has promised to preserve us. Now we might not escape an earthquake or a disease or death itself however, we will be resurrected. Of course if you are a genuine believer in Jesus and sheltering under His blood by faith you will never die even if your body does die. Whether we live or die as believers in this life will not really matter in eternity for we are looking for “a new heaven and a new earth wherein dwells righteousness”. We are looking for “a heavenly city whose builder and foundation is God Himself.” When the final bowls of God’s wrath are poured out those of us who have been clinging to Jesus by faith and waiting for the redemption and resurrection of our bodies will be snatched up in the twinkling of an eye to meet Him in the air at His coming. The scripture itself says, “Go, My people, enter your rooms and shut the doors behind you; hide yourselves for a little while until His wrath has passed by, See the Lord is coming out of His dwelling to punish the people of the earth for their sins.” (Isaiah 26:20-21a)
When the plagues fell upon ancient Egypt those who had sheltered under the blood of the slain lamb were spared. When Rahab tied the red cord to the beam of her window she and her family were spared when the walls of Jericho collapsed. The red cord symbolised the eternal blood of Christ the Lamb of God shed from the foundation of the world. When the wrath of God comes in blazing fire from heaven will you be spared and caught up to meet the Lord Jesus in the air or be left behind? The only hope any of us have to escape God’s wrath upon sin is to flee from all and every sin and to run to the Lord Jesus Himself. By faith lay hold of Him and the power of His blood to cleanse you from all sin and protect you in the day of His wrath and claim His righteousness by faith alone. “For without holiness no one shall see the Lord!”
In the Lord Jesus Christ God has given us everything we will ever need to escape His wrath upon sin and rebellion. Are you in Christ right now by faith alone? Are you fully resting in His blood and righteousness or in something else to save you from the wrath to come? Have you been “marked” with the Blood of Christ and have His name on your forehead? The “mark” or “seal of ownership” the believer has in Christ is the indwelling Spirit of God, the pledge to us by God Himself to redeem and rescue us out of this present evil age. The Antichrist and his beast empire are coming. The Time of Jacob’s trouble is rapidly approaching. The devil is about to be cast down to earth, because he knows his time is short! The day is coming when everything that God has not established will be shaken! No nation and no person on earth at that time will be able to escape His wrath upon sin and rebellion! Everything that can be shaken in this temporary life will be shaken! Hear what Isaiah the prophet said; “See, the Lord is going to lay waste the earth and devastate it; He will ruin its face and scatter its inhabitants-it will be the same for priest as for people (the religious world), for master as for servant for mistress as for maid (the domestic world), for seller as for buyer, for borrower as for lender, for debtor as for creditor (the business world). The world will be completely laid waste and totally plundered. The Lord has spoken this word.” (Isaiah 24:1-3)
If our daily lives are being established on the solid Rock of God’s Word then we will stand secure in the time of His shaking. However, if our daily lives are being established on any other foundation other than Jesus and His Word then we will not stand in the time of His judgement! There is only one sure foundation for life and Godliness and that is to stand by faith alone upon the Lord Jesus Christ! As it is written, “For no- one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 3:11) And again it is written; “It is because of Him (God) that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God-that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 1:30-31) Even so come Lord Jesus!