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Tonight I want to talk to you about the false Christ of the Tribulation, the coming world ruler known as Antichrist.

You know, by this time I suppose the world is very used to false Messiahs. We've seen our Charles Mansons who claim to be Jesus Christ. We've seen our Father Divines who claim to be deity in human flesh. We are very much aware of one named Jim Jones, who was a would-be Messiah and to be sure, a false one at that.

And frankly, I have to admit that somebody like Jim Jones doesn't really shock me at all. I would expect that in our world because I understand that our Lord Jesus Christ said many false Christs would come. We ought to expect that. And they would lead astray many people.

Well, the Bible has a lot to say about this and we can't cover all of it but let's begin by looking at I John 2:18. If we think that Father Divine was a powerful individual, or Charles Manson or Jim Jones, we haven't begun to see what the final form of Antichrist is going to be like, the coming world ruler. He will be something beyond any world ruler that we have ever even conceived of.

And in I John 2:18 we find a good place to begin. "Little children, it is the last time. And as ye have heard that Antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists by which we know that it is the last time."

Now this is a fantastic statement. It is the last time, he says, twice in one verse. People always ask me, do you believe we're living in the last days and of course the answer is yes. John says it is the last time already and he writes here. Still in the very first century, he was aware that it was the last time.

Why? It has been the last time since the Messiah came. Messiah came once in the end of the age, the Bible says. In Matthew 21:37, "But last of all He sent them His son." This is last of all.

In Galatians 4:4 it says, "In the fullness of time, God sent forth His Son. Made of a woman, made under the law."

So in the fullness of time, in the last time, last of all comes Jesus Christ.

The coming of the Messiah introduced the last time. That's why the Apostles said, "Will you at this time restore again the Kingdom to Israel," because they connected the last time with the coming of Messiah.

Yes, it is the last time. It's been the last time for 2,000 years, since Christ came.

Now John tells us here that there is another reason we know it's the last time. Not only because the true Christ came, not only because the Messiah came, but because the false Christs have appeared.

He says there are many antichrists by which we know that it is the last time. So we know it's the last time because the true Christ has come and because His counterfeits are all over the place, trying to do subterfuge to the work that He desires to do.

Now notice in Verse 18, it says "There are now many antichrists." Now, you have to understand that the concept of antichrist is not limited to one individual. There are many antichrists. Many. And there have been many since the true Christ came.

The Greek word is antichristasand the word anti can really mean two things. That particular Greek preposition can mean, and primarily means, against. So there will be many who will be against Christ.

But anti is also used to mean in the place of. In the place of. And that would be the idea of someone coming and taking the place of Christ. Stepping into that particular identification, a very subtle, veiled impersonation of Jesus Christ. And I really think that more than any other use of the word anti describes the character that John is referring to.

It is not so much that these individuals are against Christ, though that is true and for sure they are, but while being against Christ inside and behind the scenes, they attempt to take the place of Christ in a rather overt manner.

Now look with me for a moment or think with me on these words: "And then if any man shall say to you lo, here's Christ, or lo, there He is, believe him not," said our Lord. For false Christs and false prophets shall rise and shall show signs and wonders to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect. But take heed.

Now there our Lord says you can expect not antichristas, but pseudochristas. False Christs. And yes, they are against Christ, but subtly they attempt to take the place of Christ.

In Mark 13:6 it says, "For many shall come in My name saying I am Christ and shall deceive many." Father Divine said he was Christ. Charles Manson said he was Christ. Jim Jones said he was Christ. And they are just the latest in a long line of those antichristas, pseudochristas types who have appeared upon the scene.

But all of this will culminate in a final individual. Back to Verse 18 again. "You have heard that Antichrist shall come." Yes, there will be many false Christs, yes there will be many who will attempt to take the place of Christ and by the way, according to Mark 13:6, they will deceive many. They will deceive many. But finally and in a culminating way will come the final Antichrist, the final pseudochristas, the final one who attempts to take the place of Christ and he will be more devastating than any other has ever been for in him Satan will work with power and signs and lying wonders, says II Thessalonians 2:9.

And Verse 10, "With all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie."

What we have seen in the past with the false Christs and in the near past with men that we've been reading about in the paper, what we've been seeing there is simply a small sample of what will happen when the final world ruler comes because he will do, frankly, to the whole world what these individuals have done to certain groups of people. He will literally be able to con the whole world into coming into his fold.

Now, note that it says in Verse 18, "Ye have heard that Antichrist shall come." Now, John emphasizes the fact that this is not new information, that they had heard this. And the question immediately arises, how had they heard it? If the term Antichrist only appears in John's writings, and by the way it does. It only appears four times in the whole New Testament. I John 2:18, I John 2:22, I John 4:3 and II John, Verse 7. And that's the only place in the entire New Testament where the word antichristas ever appears. If that's true, how then had they heard of the Antichrist? How had they heard of this one which was to come?

Well, the answer's simple. That's just John's name for him. There are many other titles and many other designations to indicate the same individual. This is not anything new at all.

The Old Testament prophets spoke about one who would come. Daniel was very clear in describing details about this final Antichrist. Jesus Christ himself spoke about the ones who would come, the false Christs and how it would ultimately culminate in the abomination of desolation and the terrors of the Tribulation. So our Lord had spoken about the reality of an ultimate epitome of the concept of a false Christ and an Antichrist.

And not only the Old Testament prophets and Christ, but the Apostles as well. In II Thessalonians 2, particularly, the Apostle Paul had made it abundantly clear that the man of sin, the son of perdition would come and that he would seek to dupe the whole world into falling in line with Satan in resistance to Christ.

So the readers knew. The understood what the Old Testament prophets had said. They understood what Jesus Christ predicted would come to pass. They knew what Paul had preached. And by the way, inherent not only in the writings of Paul but even in Peter and as well in the writings here of John.

Now let's go back and set the scene. God and Satan, as we stated this morning, have been at war for a long time and the arrow in Satan's bow has always been aimed at Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ has always been the target for Satan. Why? Because Christ was the one who would redeem mankind. Christ is the one who would bring about salvation. Christ is the one who would take back the fallen Earth from the usurper and grant it its Kingdom. Christ is the one who would reign as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Christ is the one who would bruise the serpent's head. Christ is the one who would ultimately be the prison-keeper, as it were. To cast Satan into the bottomless pit and lock it.

And so Satan has always attacked Christ. And you find that even as far back as the sixth chapter of Genesis. God looked upon the world and saw that every imagination of man's heart was only evil continually and God decided to drown the whole world in a flood.

I'm sure that a great reason for that is found in the fact that Genesis 6 tells us that the sons of God, and by the way that's a term used in some parts of Scripture for angels and I believe in that passage it refers to angels, that these angels had fallen from Heaven, fallen angels. They were creatures of God. They were produced by God and in that sense were called sons of God, not in the spiritual sense but in the sense of their begetting and their creating at God's hand.

And these had fallen and become the demon hosts. But the sons of God or demon hosts cohabitated with the daughters of men. And the Bible tells us that the sons of God and the daughters of men came together. And apparently the product of their union was some kind of a terrible, strange combination of demon and human. A sort of a cross between the demon and man. Sort of a Rosemary's Baby generation.

And I believe that this is what Jude talks about and I believe this is what Peter talks about. I believe this is what the Bible means when it says that that group went after strange flesh, as did Sodom and Gomorrah. That those were angels who left their first estate, who left their habitation and they cohabitated in some mysterious way - and by the way, angels can take on human form. And apparently whenever they do, they become male rather than female and that's why there's neither giving in marriage or marrying among the angels. But somehow they were able to take on a human form and at that point cohabitate with women and produce a demon seed of some kind.

Now the point is this. This being, whatever it was which was produced in such a union, would be in some sense irredeemable by the God man. Because Christ was coming as the God man to redeem man, Satan felt if he could create a breed that was not really truly man but demon-man, they would be unredeemable and I believe that's why God sent the flood to drown that entire civilization.

But you see, it was an effort on Satan's part to attack Christ. To make it impossible for Christ to do His redemptive work. To produce an unredeemable mixed seed.

Later on we find Satan doing the same thing in another way, trying to thwart the work of Christ in Exodus 1 by slaughtering all the offspring of Israel. He wanted to kill all the male children. I believe his effort was to wipe out the Messianic line. To wipe out the Messianic line which at that point hadn't really even hardly got started. And yet, if he could just slaughter that nation, wipe them out, he could wipe out the possibility of a Messiah.

I believe later on in II Chronicles 21 he tried to break the royal line again when Jehoram was killing all his brothers. And you'll remember that in II Chronicles 21, Jehoram had slaughtered all of his brothers except one and there was only one left, but that one had sons and the Messianic line was preserved. And then you remember the story, came the Arabians to the camp and they slaughtered all the sons except one son. And the youngest was missed and his name was Aziah. And he reigned alone and the Messianic line had again been reduced to just one little thread.

And Aziah reigned for one year and he was a wicked, vile man, counseled by a mother worse than he by the name of Athalia. And at one point in time, Aziah, the last remnant of the Messianic line, was wounded severely and his life hung by a spider's thread. But he lived. Later he was killed in a war with Jehuh, but not until he had had some sons and the Messianic line was preserved.

And you come to II Chronicles 22 and you find that again, the Messianic line is reduced down to one little life, a little boy named Josiah who was hidden for six years.

And Satan tried everyway he could to destroy Christ before he was born, to wipe out the Messianic line.

You come to the book of Esther and what do you find? You find the effort of Satan in the book of Esther to destroy the entire Jewish people, to commit genocide.

And then you come to the New Testament, what does Herod try to do? Slaughter all the babies.

And then you see Jesus Christ in Matthew 4 and he's in confrontation with Satan and Satan tries to tempt Him, to divert Him from the Cross. To divert Him from His proper work. To get Him to commit a sinful act and thus forfeit all that God had promised to Him.

And then you find Jesus in Nazareth and what does Satan do?He gets the people incited to shove Him off a cliff and Jesus has to pass through.

And then you come to even Peter, who opens his mouth and tries to keep Jesus from the Cross and Jesus said to Peter, get thee behind me, Satan.

And finally you come to the Crucifixion and Satan does everything he can to nail Jesus to that Cross so He can't come off that Cross. To jam a sword into His side, to slam Him in a tomb, to seal it, to put a Roman army there.

You see, all through history this is the effort of Satan to oppose Christ. Before He was ever born, Satan was out to stop Him and it isn't any different today.

But Christ came and He lived and He died and He rose again and He lives now. But Satan is ever and always continuing to thwart His effort by a steady stream of phony Messiahs, a steady stream of false Christs who parade across human history and ultimately will culminate in a horrible individual that wraps up human history.

For a good look at this individual, turn with me in your Bible to Revelation 12 first of all. Revelation 12. And by the way, I want you to know that Satan is not finished. He is still going to do everything he can to destroy the potential of Christ. He fights unceasingly. Right now we saw as we read this morning, we are at war with principalities and powers and the rulers of the darkness of this world and spiritual wickedness in the heavenlies. There is a battle going on all the time. The holy angels and the fallen angels are fighting. And we find that it comes to a kind of a final climax during the time of the Tribulation, as you look at Revelation 12 because in Revelation 12 we find, Verse 7 tells us "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 anymore in Heaven. And the great dragon was cast out." That old serpent called the devil and Satan who deceiveth the whole world, he was cast into the Earth and his angels were cast out with him.

This is the beginning really of the holocaust of the Tribulation. The future is this. Christ is going to come and take His Church out of the world and then all hell breaks loose for seven years, the Bible says, known as the Tribulation. The last three and a half being the worst part. And I believe that the last three and a half years of the Tribulation really hit their peak at this point because the demonic host in the heavens are thrown out of the heavens and cast to the Earth and all of them that are up there in space land on the Earth and the Earth is literally inundated with demonic hosts.

And then Revelation 9 says the pit is open and belches forth all of the bound demons, so that these demon forces converge on the Earth to bring about this terrible Tribulation.

And the human leader who heads it all up is the Antichrist and we meet him in Revelation 13. He is the one who is in charge of it all as far as the earthly function is concerned.

Now, let me back up again before we examine this individual specifically. John said to them, "You have heard that Antichrist shall come." And you know I thought as I studied into this that maybe he was referring just to believers but it's much broader than that. You know that even among the pagans there were many, many legends that ultimately there would be a great and final conflict between the good god and the evil god. That history would end in a tremendous holocaust and hopefully the good god would prevail.

For example, I found that in the ancient Babylonian legend of creation, a totally pagan legend, a story that went like this. The Babylonians believed that once there was a primeval sea monster name Tiamut. Tiamut was the bad personality. The good guy was an individual named Marduke and Marduke was a very powerful individual who went into battle with Tiamut, the sea dragon. And by the way, Marduke prevailed and put Tiamut into a coma. Didn't kill him. Just put him in a coma. And the Babylonians taught that history would end when Tiamut came out of the coma and started the battle all over again with Marduke.

And you know as I was reading about this and looking in the Old Testament I found that it's apparent that Isaiah even refers to this legend. In Isaiah 27:1, just listen. Isaiah 27:1 says, "In that day," and that's the day of the Lord, the final day of history, "In that day, the Lord with his great and strong sword shall punish Leviathan, the crooked serpent, and shall slay the dragon that is in the sea." In other words, Isaiah talks to them on their own terms. He said, you know that final battle that you believe is going to happen? I just want you to know that the Lord is going to win that.

In Isaiah 51:9 it says, "Was it not thou that hath cut Raba and wounded the sea monster?" In other words in the very beginning God put a blow on Satan, limiting his power. And in the end, says Isaiah, He'll destroy him altogether.

The point in the Babylonian legend was that in the end they hoped God would defeat Antigod and Isaiah says that, in fact, is exactly what will happen.

Again, not only do we see such a God and Antigod conflict in Babylonian legend but we even see something of it in history. There have been individuals in history who are perfect prototypes for the final Antichrist. One of them was Antiochus Epiphanes, who was a Greek ruler in the land of Israel in around 168 B.C., 168 or so years before Christ. His name was Antiochus. He called himself Epiphanes, which means the great one. The people called him Epimines, which means the maniac.

But Antiochus is a very interesting man. In fact, Daniel speaks of him almost synonymously with Antichrist. Daniel talks about a little horn and sometimes he means the Antichrist and sometimes he means Antiochus and you have to be careful in interpreting Daniel to know which is which because Antiochus is such a vivid picture, he wants Antiochus to be a sort of a signpost along the path to verify that this kind of an individual could really exist. And so he speaks about Antiochus and Antichrist in the future. And when Antiochus came, the people could take note of one who would be similar.

He was the king of Syria. He resolved to eliminate Judaism from the Earth. He, like so many others, was going to wipe out all the Jews so that there wouldn't be any Messiah. He was Satan's pawn. He made it a crime, for example, to circumcise a child. He made it a crime to own a copy of the law, both of them punishable by death. He went into the Temple Court, the temple to the living God, and erected an altar to Zeus. He slaughtered a pig on the altar and then shoved the pork down the throats of the priests. He turned the temple chambers into a prostitution brothel and he did everything he could to wipe out and exterminate Israel. It was a deliberate, cold-blooded attempt to destroy Israel and it was only because God's grace was given unto a family under the leadership of a man named Judas Maccabeus that the Maccabean revolution happened before the time of Christ and overthrew the power of this individual.

But whether you're talking about legend or history or all of the false Christs that have come and gone in human history, it ultimately will consummate in this one incredible individual that you meet in the Revelation 13. Let's look at it. That was just the introduction. The sermon is very short because the conclusion is as long as the introduction.

I want you to see five things about the diabolical imitation of Christ. The Antichrist imitates Christ. The fury of the Tribulation is unleashed, the demons engulf the Earth, Satan pours out his fury on the good and God pours out his wrath on the evil and this terrible Holocaust is going on and in the midst of it all is this world ruler. And I really believe that this is the one who's going to take over. I think the world is fast moving to the place where one individual like this could step in and take it over.

I want you to know five things about him in Revelation 13. First ten verses. The wonder of the Beast, the wound of the Beast, the worship of the Beast, the warfare of the Beast and the warning of the Beast.

First, the wonder of the Beast. Verse 1 and I'm going to phrase this according to the Greek. "And he stood upon the sand of the sea. And I saw a Beast rise up out of the sea." He sees the Beast standing on the sand and then he backs up and says it was the Beast that I saw rising out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns. "And upon his horns ten crowns. And upon his heads, the name of Blasphemy." This is the wonder of the Beast.

It says and he stood. Who is he? The Antichrist. Now remember, this is a vision. John sees the raging sea and it's very similar by the way to Daniel's vision in Daniel 7:2 when he saw a Beast rise from the sea. Very similar.

And the sea represents the nations. The sea represents the peoples. The massive sea of humanity. And I really personally believe that he will be because of that a Gentile and because of other things that Daniel says, I believe the Antichrist will not be a Jew but a Gentile. I think he'll arise out of the sea of humanity.

Isaiah 17:12 says the people are like a sea. Isaiah 57:20 says, the wicked are like the troubled sea. Revelation 17:15 says the waters are the people.

So that the waters and the sea are symbolic of humanity and rising out of the mass of humanity and frankly I believe he'll probably come from the Mediterranean area, although that's more of a personal feeling than it is obvious in the text.

But a Beast emerges from the raging human sea. And he stands on the shore and he's a very wondrous creature. He has seven heads and ten horns and upon his horns are ten crowns and upon his head is the name of Blasphemy.

Now each of these is symbolic of something. Each is symbolic of some element of political rule and sovereignty. So we know this is the final world ruler. Horns represent power because horns on an animal were the symbols of power. And so horns became representative of power. Crowns are representative of dominion.

So here is a powerful monarch and the multiplicity of horns and the multiplicity of heads and the multiplicity of crowns speak of great power, great authority, great dominion. In fact, an imperial world monarch who is incredibly powerful.

Now you can get a more specific meaning to these by looking at Revelation 17 and I'll show you specifically what these mean.

In Revelation 17:3 we see again this Beast, full of names of Blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. Again, there's a consistency there. Now go down to Verse 9. The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits. Most identify the seven mountains with the city of Rome, which is known as the seven-hilled city. The city of Rome has seven hills and it seems very possible that the final form of the Antichrist's dominion around the world will be centered in Rome.

That can't be absolute, but it does seem like a reality especially when you see in Chapter 17 the false system of religion known as mystery Babylon, a religious system, riding on the Beast and it would be obvious to see a final form of world religion sitting on the Antichrist in the city of Rome which at this point wields such a tremendous world impact religiously.

Now in Verse 10 we find further. "There are seven kings. Five are fallen and one is, and the other is not yet come. And when he comes he must continue a short space. And the Beast that was and is not, even he is the eighth. And is of the seven and goeth into perdition."

Now this is kind of interesting. It says there would be seven heads, not only a representative of the mountains on which this whole empire could sit but also indicative of seven kings. It says it there. Seven different kings. Five are fallen and one is. And most Bible commentators feel that this is a reference to the past great world empires. And there is one in existence at this time which was the Roman Empire at the time John was writing. There is one that is yet to come. That's number seven, the revived Roman Empire, and then the eighth is the Beast.

And by the way, this is exactly what Daniel seems to point out as well. For example, we could say the first five would be Greece and Persia, Assyria, Babylon, Egypt. Great world empires. The one that is, when John writes, would be Rome. The one that is to come would be the Roman Empire revived and by the way, we see that today in the hints of what's going on in the European economic community, the Common Market, where the tenth nation, Sweden, is now joined so that the Union, what is now known as the Economic Union of Europe, the European community is now numbering ten and territorially occupies what once was the Roman Empire.

And by the way, Daniel said that's what would happen. Daniel said the fourth form of world government, Rome, will return in tenfold power. Remember the image in the final form was the ten toes? Daniel 2 and Daniel 7. A ten-toed confederacy. In fact, the man who was the head of the European economic community made the statement that the world has now seen the revival of the Roman Empire. So Daniel said the final form, the seventh form, would be a revived Roman Empire, a confederacy of that same territory which once was Rome.

That ultimately will be devastated and overthrown by the eighth, which is the Antichrist. The final form.

So in Daniel, rather in Revelation 17, it's very possible that that's the way to interpret Verses 10 and 11. That he's saying the final form - now watch this. The Beast embodies everything that was common to Greece and Persia, Assyria, Babylon, Egypt, Rome. A revived Rome all put together. This will be an empire like none that's ever existed in the history of the world. The Beast will be so powerful we have nothing to compare it with except to sum up all the other empires that ever existed and this one will be mightier than they.

Verse 12 talks about the ten horns. Again, ten kings. And the ten kings, as I said, no doubt the revival of the Roman Empire.

So you have then two things: the final form, a confederacy of ten kingdoms ruled by one great ruler. We have that possibility. If someone today could rule the European economic community, if someone could rule the Common Market, he would in effect rule over a revived Roman Empire. Very, very possible.

On the other hand, it not only will be a ten-nation confederacy but it will sum up all the power of all the greatest world empires of the past.

It's going to be short-lived. The end of Verse 12 says they receive power as kings one hour with the Beast. One hour simply means a brief time. They have one mind and they give their power and strength unto the Beast.

And Verse 14 says they make war with the Lamb and the Lamb shall overcome them, for He is Lord of Lords, King of Kings, and so forth.

So go back to Chapter 13. Now when you see this Beast rise out of the sea having seven heads, you know that that speaks both of perhaps its location and the fact that it is the culmination of all the kingdoms of the past. And when you see that it has ten horns, you know that it has ten nations in power. And ten crowns speak of dominion. And upon the heads the name of Blasphemy simply indicates that it will be characterized by blasphemous opposition against God and against Christ.

It's quite an imposing vision, isn't it? Incredible to think about. And this individual will literally dominate the world.

And by the way, I don't think this is just an influence. I think it's a person. A definite person. I think it's so indicated throughout the Scripture, that this is a real individual.

In Revelation 13:18, it says "Here is wisdom. Let him that have understanding count the number of the Beast for it is the number of a man." This is not just a system; this is a man. Some diabolical individual who is yet to come in the future. This is what the Bible says.

Do we know anything about him. Let me run this by you quickly. According to Daniel, he'll be an intellectual genius. In Daniel 7:8 and 20, he talks about his eyes and Daniel is referring to his intelligence. The eyes bespeak his intelligence.

In Daniel 7:8 and 20 again, he says he has a mouth that speaks great things. Not only will he be a super intellect, but he'll be a great orator.

In Daniel 11:21 he says he shall come in peaceably and obtain the kingdom by flattery, which means he will be a master politician.

An intellectual genius, a great orator and a master politician.

In Daniel 8:25 and also the entire Revelation 18 indicates that he'll be a commercial wizard. He'll be able to literally create an economic community around the world that's breathtaking. A one-world system of economy.

In Daniel 7:23 it says he worships the god of forces. He will be a master genius in the military.

And in 2 Thessalonians 2:4 it calls him a man of sin, a son of perdition who opposes God and exalts himself and becomes god. He will be a religious, charismatic person. And I mean charismatic, not in a theological sense but in the sense of his power of personality.

So here you have an intellectual genius, an outstanding orator, a master politician, a commercial wizard, a military mastermind and a religious leader like none other and this incredible person takes over, dominating the world. This is where the world's going.

Some of you may seem to think this sounds farfetched but believe me, if you're having any trouble believing it just look back at the little pikers like Jim Jones and Father Divine and Charles Manson and Antiochus Epiphanes and every other false and phony Messiah that came down the pike in human history and you'll get a sample of what this one is going to be like.

In Daniel 8:23 Daniel says, "And in the later time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full, a king of fierce countenance and understanding dark sentences shall stand up." And I think when Daniel says he'll understand dark sentences, what he means is he'll be a medium. He'll have immediate and direct contact with the pit. He'll understand dark sentences. "His power shall be mighty, but not by his own power, and he shall destroy wonderfully and shall prosper and continue and destroy the mighty and the holy people. And through his policy also he shall cause deceit to prosper in his hand. He shall magnify himself in his heart and by peace shall destroy many. He shall also stand up against the Prince of Peace, but he shall be broken without hand. And the vision of the evening and the morning which was told is true. Wherefore shut thou up the vision for it shall be for many days. And I, Daniel, fainted and was sick."

No wonder. What an incredible sight he saw. A monster coming on the human scene.

Further did Daniel's vision elucidate this individual. In Daniel 11:36, "And the king shall do according to his will and he shall exalt himself and magnify himself above every god and shall speak marvelous things against the God of gods and shall prosper until the indignation be accomplished for that which is determined shall be done. Neither shall he regard the gods of his fathers," which indicates that he was probably involved in paganism, thus a Gentile. "Nor the desire of women. Nor regard any god, for he shall magnify himself above all but in his estate shall he honor the god of fortresses and the god whom his father knew not shall he honor with gold and silver and precious stones and pleasant things." And it goes on to describe this incredible individual.

You want to see more about the wonder of the Beast? Look at Revelation 13:2. "And the Beast which I saw was like a leopard and his feet were like the feet of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. And the dragon gave him his power and his thrown and great authority."

Now, three animals are used to describe him. A leopard, which speaks of swiftness. A bear, which speaks of strength. And a lion, which speaks of fierceness and tenacity.

It's a perfect parallel to Daniel's prophecy. Daniel said Babylon is a lion, fierce and majestic. Daniel said Medo Persia is a bear, strong and powerful. Daniel said Greece is a leopard, swift and here the Lord shows John that the Beast in his empire will be Babylon, Medo Persia and Greece all rolled into one. The fierceness of the lion, the strength of the bear, the swiftness of the leopard combined in this incredible, powerful individual.

And by the way, Verse 2 says the dragon gave him his power and his throne and great authority. Satan's man. So we see the wonder of the Beast.

Then the wound of the Beast. Verse 3, "And I saw one of its heads as though it were wounded to death and its deadly wound was healed and all the world wondered after the Beast."

Now some people have said because of this they believe the Antichrist will be a resurrected individual. I don't believe that for two reasons. Number one, only one of his heads was wounded, right? He still had six other ones. And number two, nowhere do I ever find in the Bible that Satan has the power to raise anybody from the dead. If this is Satan's man, then Satan cannot pull off a resurrection.

When I wrote my thesis in seminary on the subject of Judas Iscariot, I got involved in studying those who teach that Judas will become a resurrected Antichrist. I don't think there's any Scripture for that at all. The reason people say that is because only two people in the Bible are called the son of perdition. One is Judas and one is Antichrist.

But just because they are called that doesn't mean they are one and the same. Anybody without Jesus Christ in a sense becomes a son of perdition.

But I think what you have here is the wounding of one of the heads and I believe what that speaks of is the fact that this Beast will become a resurrected form of the Roman Empire, which died once but will be resurrected and the marvel of marvels at which the world wonders will be the resurrection of this incredible power that once was the great Roman Empire.

And so we see the wonder of the Beast and the wound. The world will be in awe of such a revival of power in Europe.

Third, we see the worship of the Beast. Verse 4. "And they worshipped the dragon who gave power unto the Beast and they worshipped the Beast." Satan worship. Beast worship. And they said who is like the Beast? Who is able to make war with him? Boy, the Beast is invincible. He has conquered the world. This is the greatest politician, the greatest genius, the greatest military leader, the most charismatic powerful individual, the greatest orator, we've never had anybody in the world like him.

Listen, I believe this is Satan's finest product. The world has yet to see what he'll be like. Mussolini couldn't live up to this standard. Hitler couldn't either. Stalin couldn't. Nero couldn't. It's for sure Judas Iscariot couldn't.

The worship of the Beast in Verse 8. "And all that dwell on the Earth shall worship him." Everybody in the world, except those whose names were written in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world. The Book of the Lamb's slain.

Listen, everybody in the world who isn't a believer, everybody who isn't redeemed when the Tribulation - and by the way, there'll be a lot of people saved in the Tribulation, you know that? Because two witnesses are going to go out and preach Christ. One hundred forty-four thousand Jewish evangelists roaming all over the world. There's going to be such a revival, Revelation 7 says so many people from every kindred and people and tongue and nation will be saved, they can't even be numbered.

And apart from these great multitudes of people who are converted, everybody else is going to worship the Beast. They're going to fall down and bow down to him. And you know something? Even that little nation of Israel is going to buy the Beast's words.

Daniel 9:26 and 27 says Israel makes a covenant with the Beast for seven days, or one week, or the seven-year Tribulation. Even Israel. , thinking this must be the Messiah. And in the midst of that seven years, he desecrates the Temple, he slaughters the people, and that's when Jesus says you better run and you better run fast and woe to those who are nursing their children. And don't take anything with you. Just run. Because he'll break his covenant. The whole world will be duped, the whole world will believe the lie. II Thessalonians 2 says God will give them a strong delusion and they'll fall into this horrible worship of the Beast.

But no believer, no believer whose name was written in the Lamb's Book of Life from before the foundation of the world will fall. And you know why the Lord puts that there? So wonderful. Five times in Revelation believers are called those whose names are written in the Book of Life from before the foundation of the world. Five times. You know why? Because in the book of Revelation, as people look ahead they say oh, how will anybody be able to hold onto Christ? Won't we forsake our faith? Oh, how do we know we'll be able to endure? And so he just throws in the fact that the people whose names are in the Book of Life had their names put there before the world began and nothing that ever happens in the world could ever affect that, see? So it's a statement of security and confidence for those who shall endure that horrible time.

And so it is we see the wonder of the Beast, the wound of the Beast and the worship. Imagine the whole world. And they take his mark, the number of the Beast. Stamped on their forehead, stamped on their hand. And if they don't, they can't buy and sell. That's another message. But get ready for the number society. It's already here. Computers running the whole world. No exchange of currency and so forth. Fitting in with Antichrist.

That leads us to the fourth point, the warfare of the Beast. Verse 5. "And there was given unto him a mouth, speaking great things." That's exactly what Daniel says. And blasphemies, always blasphemies. "And power was given to him to continue 40 and 2 months." That's three and a half years. The second half of the seven-year Tribulation. "And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God." To blaspheme His name and His Tabernacle and them that dwell in Heaven.

You see it, don't you? Blasphemy in Verse 5. Blasphemy in Verse 6. Blasphemy again in Verse 6. That is the character of the Antichrist. That is the character of Satan as he attempts to blaspheme God, God's Holy Name, God's Tabernacle, God's people.

This is not incidental, by the way. This is Satan's approach. This is what he's always doing. And in the Tribulation, when all the terrible judgment comes, in Revelation 16 and the sky goes black and horrible things happen, it says that the mass of humanity in the world, Revelation 16:8-11, shake their fists and blaspheme the God of heavens. They're all duped by the Beast.

And by the way, Revelation says that they literally worship the Beast. He sets up a huge image to himself and that image is able to speak and they bow down to that.

Verse 7. It was given to him to make war with the saints. This is the warfare of the Beast. He slaughters the saints. He overcomes them. "And power was given him over all kindreds and tongues and nations."

What is God doing, you say? Listen, God is letting evil have its final day. God is allowing the filthy, vile system of Satan to have its last gasp. To shoot it's best shots so that once and for all evil at its worst is damned and destroyed and the rest of eternity can be lived in peace.

I personally believe that God allowed sin because it would always have been a potential because where there's good there has to be bad. And I believe He allowed it in order that ultimately He might let it run its full course and finally end up in absolute destruction so that once and for all it could be set aside forever.

And so the warfare. And he slaughters the saints. All who don't take the mark, it says later, will be martyred. And I believe Christians will be killed in a wholesale fashion. I know two out of three Jews will be slaughtered and only one would be preserved to enter the Kingdom physically. The rest will come in in glorified bodies.

Daniel 7:25 says the Antichrist - I like this phrase - will wear out the saints of the Most High. Some will be spared. Some. Not all will die.

But is it a permanent overcoming? No, no. No. In 15:2 we find it says "I saw, as it were, a sea of glass mingled with fire and them that had gotten the victory over the Beast and over his image and over his mark and over the number of his name standing on the sea of glass having the harps of God. And they sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying great and marvelous are Thy works, Lord God Almighty. Just and true are Thy ways, Thou King of Saints."

No, no. Ultimately the sea of glass is heavenly. And the new Heaven and the new Earth. And there the saints are. They finally gain the victory.

So in light of the wonder of the Beast, the wound of the Beast, the worship of the Beast, the warfare of the Beast comes a final warning.

Verse 9. "If any man have an ear, let him hear." And I believe that's addressed to the world. You know something? This is how history is going to end, folks. I hope you're listening. If you want to be a part of this then just keep doing the thing you're doing and don't come to Christ and this is what you'll be a part of. Because the rest of us, I believe, are going to be with Christ, caught up to meet him in the air. Kept from the hour of Tribulation which shall try the Earth.

But those who remain will go through these horrible things. So if you have an ear, you'd better listen. You want to be a part of Antichrist's system, or do you want to be a part of Christ's Kingdom?

And then he closes with a proverb. "He that leads into captivity, shall go into captivity. He that kills with the sword must be killed with a sword." Here is the endurance and the faith of the saints. What is it that keeps the saints going? What is it that gives us our faith? What is it that keeps us confident? It is this. That those people who live by capturing others are going to be captives themselves. Those people who live by the sword are going to what? Die by the sword.

In other words, this kind of evil has built into it its own destruction. That's our confidence. That people who live according to Antichrist's standard cannot win. This is the patience and the faith of the saints because built into evil is its own destruction.

Let me close with this. Can such a person really exist? I mean, is it possible? Is it possible? Let me give you an illustration. Some years ago I studied Hitler. To me he became the most graphic illustration of Antichrist imaginable. He is a model for this man.

There's a fascinating book entitled The Morning of the Magicians written in 1969 by Louis Paules and Jacque Bergier. Published by Avon Books. The Morning of the Magicians. And in that book the authors present the case that they want to make regarding Hitler. They are not Christians, by the way. Just secular writers. They studied the transcripts of the Nuremberg trials. They studied thousands of books and reviews and the testimony of eyewitnesses and this was their conclusion. Quoting from them, Page 249: "It is impossible to understand Hitler's political plans unless one is familiar with his basic beliefs. And his conviction that there is a magical relationship between man and the universe."

In other words, Hitler believed that there was some kind of a magical, mystical relationship between man and the other world.

They go on to say that he was fascinated by the ideas of mysticism and he became immersed in them. He saw the miracle of his own destiny as the action of unseen forces. He was constantly reading the Aenids of Plutonius, which deal in the occult and mysticism. And he started little mystical societies of pro-German intellectuals and they began to read the ancient Hindu texts along with Nietzsche and Tibetan magicians.

Paules and Bergier say that the probable explanation for Hitler's deeds is the existence of a magical puzzle, a powerful Satanic mystical . And they say we shall never be safe from Nazism or rather from certain manifestations of a Satanic cult which, through the Nazis, cast its dark shadow over the world until we have roused ourselves to a full understanding of the most fantastic aspects of the Hitlerian adventure.

There's another book entitled The Hollow Earth written by Eric Norman in 1972 and it tells us more. Eric Norman says that Hitler and his Nazi-oriented sect and secret occult society is a macabre tale of people who worshipped the beings who lived in the hollow earth. The hollow earth cult believes that in the center of the earth is a demon host and that this demon host is going to emerge from the center of the Earth to control the world. Does that sound familiar? That's exactly what Satan wants to do. Revelation 9, belches forth the demons who try to take over the Earth. Only Satan tells these people in this occult kind of thing that they're going to pull it off. And Hitler believed with all his heart that unless he aligned himself with that demonic host, he would be destroyed when they took over the world. That's what he believed. They actually made three attempts to enter the hollow earth by some strange and bizarre manner.

Hitler's use of children in warfare came from writings on the hollow earth and it was out of those writings that he formed his corps of adolescent werewolves who wore the black uniforms that had the sinister death heads on their sleeves. Just little children.

Hitler's Third Reich was so wedded to black occultism that it's staggering. For example Karl Haushofer, one of Hitler's generals, was one of the earliest members of the German Society of the Golden Dawn which was founded for the practice of black magic. And he was the one who advised the writing of Mein Kampf.

And Haushofer had visited Tibet and China and India. He had adopted Buddhist belief and even beyond that, belief of black occult religion. He was initiated into a secret Buddhist society from which the only escape was suicide. He was gifted with amazing psychic powers and it appears that Haushofer was the black magician that controlled Hitler and even Rudolf Hess said, "Haushofer is the power, the magician behind Hitler and his demonic legions." And they went on to say that Hitler himself was a medium.

By the way, the swastika's a magical sign that comes from black occultism in Tibet. By 1925, under Hitler's direction, a group of Buddhist Tibetan monks had moved to Berlin, sworn allegiance to the black occult society and they began to infiltrate the whole German society. The literally - actually the German Third Reich financed expeditions into Tibet to find more about this. And when Germany finally fell and they began to unmask the SS, they found that many of them were Himalayan Orientals with no I.D. And Rosenberg said they were the last of the black monks who had helped Hitler's dark, menacing movement.

In March of 1946, Haushofer killed his wife and then before a Buddhist altar slaughtered himself and his son said he knew his father was the magician behind Hitler. All seven founders of Nazism were members of the occult.

I was amazed to read in some other sources that when Hitler spoke in public he had a voice that was never his own and people who knew him said that the voice that he used in public they never heard any other time from his lips. A mouth that speaks great things.

Listen to the record of an eyewitness. A person close to Hitler told me that he wakes up in the night screaming and in convulsions. He calls for help and appears to be half paralyzed. He is seized with a panic that makes him tremble until the bed shakes. He utters confused and unintelligible sounds, gasping as if on the point of suffocation. Hitler was standing in his room, swaying and looking all around as if he were lost. "It's he, it's he, it's he, he's come for me," he groaned. His lips were white, he was sweating profusely and suddenly he uttered a string of meaningless figures and then words and scraps of sentences. It was terrifying. Then he began to scream, "There, there, over in the corner, he's there," and all the time he was stomping his feet and screaming at the top of his voice.

Hitler himself said there is another species of humanity which does not deserve the name human. They are left as a relic of some baser form of life, created along with hideous crawling creatures. They are the gypsies, the Negroes and the Jews. And I believe that one of the reasons he attempted to slaughter the whole race of Israel was so that there would be no possibility of the fruition of God's plan to restore His people, Israel. But although he murdered 6 million of them, they've come back and there are 14 million in the world today.

Well, I could tell you more. Don't be so foolish to think there couldn't be such a man. There can be. One demonic medium named Adolph Hitler was responsible to take a whole nation of the world's people, highly intelligent, and turn them into murderers. Incredible, the power of Satan.

Well, there's coming a man who is infinitely more powerful than any Hitler that ever lived. That's where the world's going. You and I have a choice. We can be a part of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ or fall prey to that evil day. Who will it be? Christ, or pseudochrist? The choice is yours.

Father, we thank you tonight for the time together in the Word. It's a fearful thing to think about these things and yet this is how it is. This is the way history is going. Lord, I just want to be a part of Your Kingdom. I want to work against Satan for Your Glory. I don't want to see anybody fall prey to the evil of the Antichrist and his world. I don't want anybody devoured by the dragon anymore than I would have wanted Hitler to take one life from any precious soul. But God, You've shown us in the Scripture that there are going to be people who turn their back on You, who spurn Your Grace and Your Love and the price will be infinitely high. Thank you. Thank you that such a kingdom of evil can only be for the space of one hour. Short. And then you come as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. We want to love You and adore You and be Your people and I would pray tonight for anyone who's in our midst who's not come to Christ that this might be that night, when they step out of the kingdom of darkness into the Kingdom of Your Dear Son, in whose name we pray. Amen.

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