Rev 13:1 And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.
Rev 13:2 And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.
Rev 13:3 And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast.
Rev 13:4 And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?
Rev 13:5 And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months.
Rev 13:6 And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven.
Rev 13:7 And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.
Rev 13:8 And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
Rev 13:9 If any man have an ear, let him hear.
Rev 13:10 He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.
Paul states in 2 Thessalonians 2:7-8a: "For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed." The mystery of inquity, or "lawlessness" (RSV), was evident even in Paul's day. This program of evil by Satan will continue to increase until God's Spirit is taken out of the way, not out of the world, but similar in operation to His workings in the Old Testament dispensation. This will take place, when at the Rapture; the church will be translated to meet the Lord in the air (1 Thess. 4:16-17). Then will the "man of sin" be revealed (2 Thess. 2:8). This evil personage who will be the head of this satanic system is known by many names, primarily as the "antichrist" (1 Jn. 2:18, 22; 4:3; 2 Jn. 7), or "beast" (Rev. 13:1).
He will begin as the "little horn" (Dan. 7:8-11, 21-26; 8:9-12, 23-25), which describes his political insignificance in the beginning. He is described as the "white horse" rider (Rev. 6:1-2) who has a "bow" but no arrows, indicating that he shall "come in peaceably, and obtain the kingdom by flatteries" (Dan. 11:21, 24). He will rise to power through the voluntary alliance of ten Western European nations uniting under a one-world government (Rev. 17:12, 13). The world church (Rev. 17:1-7) will propel this man into power (Rev. 17:7) much like Mussolini and Hitler, who came to power through the support of Pope Pius XI. As the "prince that shall come" (Dan. 9:26), he will lead Israel into signing a covenant (Dan. 9:27), which Isaiah describes as a "covenant with death, and with hell" (Isa. 28:15, 18). This covenant will begin Daniel's seventieth "week" (Dan. 9:27), which is a seven-year period guaranteeing Israel not only a time of peace and security, but also an opportunity to rebuild their temple.
He will break his covenant with Israel and set himself up in the newly rebuilt temple proclaiming himself as God (2 Thess. 2:4). Israel will then flee into the wilderness where God will protect her for forty-two months (Rev. 12:6, 14). At this point the Antichrist will destroy the harlot, the corrupt religious organization (Rev. 17:16-17) that has sought to control him (Rev. 17:3). An image will be set up by the false prophet to promote the satanic worship of the first beast (Rev. 13:14-15). The mark of the beast will be used to enforce this idolatrous worship (Rev. 13:16-18). No one will be able to "buy or sell" without this mark or number--"666."
Yet the Antichrist will be unable to control his crumbling empire and toward the end an alliance of the "king of the north" and the "king of the south" will rebel against him (Dan. 11:40). He will then enter the glorious land (Israel) and set up his headquarters outside of Jerusalem. But reports "out of the east and out of the north shall trouble him" (Dan. 11:44). The armies of the world will gather in and around Jerusalem (Zech. 14:1-3) and the Valley of Jehoshaphat (Joel 3:2, 12, 14). There will be fierce fighting, but just as man seems on the brink of total annihilation, a sign will appear in heaven, the Glorified Son of Man followed by the armies of heaven (Rev. 19:11-16). Then the armies will turn to fight against Christ, but He will destroy them with the spirit of His mouth and the brightness of His coming (2 Thess. 2:8; Rev. 19:21). This will end the final chapter of man's rebellion as the beast and the false prophet will meet their doom in the lake of fire (Rev. 19:20).
Satan seeks to counterfeit the plans and purposes of God, thereby deceiving mankind. Arthur Pink, in his detailed work, The Antichrist, gives us a comprehensive list of many of these limitations:
Do we read of Christ going forth to sow the "good seed" (Matt. 13:24), and then we also read of the enemy
going forth to sow his "tares"--and imitation wheat (Matt. 13:25). Do we read of "the children of God," then we
also read of "the children of the wicked one" (Matt. 13:38). Do we read of god working in His children "both to
will and to do of His good pleasure" (Phil. 2:13), and then we are also told that the Prince of the power of the air
is "the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience" (Eph. 2:2). Do we read of the Gospel of God, then
we also read that Satan has a gospel--"Another gospel, which is not another" (Gal. 1:6, 7). Did Christ appoint
"apostles," then Satan has his "apostles" too (2 Cor. 11:13). Are we told that "the Spirit searcheth all things, yea,
the deep things of God" (1 Cor. 2:10), then Satan also provides his "deep things" (see Greek of Rev. 2:24). Are
we told that God, by His angel, will "seal" His servants in their foreheads (Rev. 7:3), so also we read that Satan,
by his angels, will set a "mark" in the "foreheads" of his devotees (Rev. 13:16). Does the Father seek "worshippers"
(John 4:23), so also does Satan (Rev. 13:4). Did Christ quote scripture, so also did Satan (Matt. 4:6). Is Christ
the Light of the world, then Satan also is transformed as an "angel of light" (2 Cor. 11:14). Is Christ denominated
"the lion of the tribe of Judah" (Rev. 5:5), then the Devil is also referred to as "a roaring lion" (1 Pet. 5:6). Do we
read of Christ and "His angels" (Matt. 24:31), then we also read of the Devil and his angels" (Matt. 25:41). Did
Christ work miracles, so also will Satan (2 Thess. 2:9). Is Christ seated upon a "Throne", so also will Satan be
(Rev. 2:13, Gk.). Has Christ a Church, then Satan has his "synagogue" (Rev. 2:9). Has Christ a "bride", then Satan
has his "whore" (Rev. 17:16). Has God His "Vine", so has Satan (Rev. 14:19). Does God have a city, the new
Jerusalem, then Satan has a city, Babylon (Rev. 17:5; 18:2). Is there a "mystery of godliness" (1 Tim. 3:16), so also
there is a "mystery of iniquity" (2 Thess. 2:7). Does God have an only-begotten Son, so we read of "the Son of
Perdition" (2 Thess. 2:3). Is Christ called "the Seed of the woman", then the Antichrist will be "the seed of the
serpent" (Gen. 3:15). Is the Son of God also the Son of Man, then the son of Satan will also be the "Man of Sin"
(2 Thess. 2:3).
The ultimate fruition of the mystery of iniquity will produce a false Christ who will rule over a false kingdom. He will be Satan's masterpiece and ultimate deception, yet he will meet an ignoble end, his doom sealed in the lake of fire (Rev. 19:20: 20:10).
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