6 6 6 – WHEN ONE MAN RULES THE WORLD / WHO IS THE BEAST CALLED ANTICHRIST?
I believe that there will be a meltdown of political and economic systems, before the Rapture, everything so chaotic that it will set the stage for a super person embodied by the Antichrist to come on the world scene after the church is “caught up” in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air and taken to our heavenly home. A totalitarian system – authoritarian rule. According to Scripture he will have the answers for today’s problems and people will follow him. The Antichrist will be a charismatic leader who will be able to sway the masses with his speaking ability (Dan. 7:8). Also verified in the book of Revelation: “And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies (v.13:5).” The Antichrist will be noted in his career for wonderful eloquence and will be able to capture the attention and admiration of the world. Because of his ability as an orator, he will stand in front of the world’s people and galvanize them into a mighty force. With his great magnetic personality, intellect, cleverness and his uncommon wisdom, this man will cause people to flock to him.
The combination of magnetic personality, speaking ability, and extreme good looks will make him virtually irresistible to the masses. When he comes on the scene, people will flock to him like flies to honey, and they will fall over themselves to do anything he asks. The Antichrist will aggressively live up to his terrible name. He will be Satan’s superman, who persecutes, and kills the believers (saints) of God during the Great Tribulation and leads the armies of the world into the climatic battle of Armageddon. He will be the most powerful dictator the world has ever seen, making Caesar, Hitler, Stalin, Mao, and Saddam seem weak and tame by comparison.
Revelation 13:1-8 describes the Antichrist as a beast – an appropriate title for him. During the last three and half years of the Great Tribulation, the Antichrist will personify Satan himself. Second Thessalonians 2:9 says, “The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders.” Step-by-step, the Antichrist will promote himself from a European leader to a world leader, to a tyrannical global dictator, and finally to a god who then demands to be worshipped.
His rise to power is inconspicuous. He will not be noticed in the beginning and will hardly raise the attention even of those who are closest to the center of action. He will rise out of the general population (Rev.13:1). Whatever power the Antichrist has, he only has it by virtue of the fact that he is allowed to have it by Almighty God. As bad as the Tribulation is, it is never out of God’s control. There is a leash on Satan, and God is holding on to the other end of the leash.
According to Revelation 13:8: “All who dwell on the earth will worship him.” Daniel 7:25 tells us that the Antichrist is a cultic leader: “He shall speak pompous words against God… And shall intend to change the times and law.” He will speak out against the true God of heaven. The language suggests that he will try to raise himself to the level of God and make declarations from that position.
HERE ARE SOME OF HIS KEY CHARACTERISTICS
He is Lawless– Paul calls him “The Man of Sin,” literally “The Man of Lawlessness (2 Thess. 2:3).” He will disregard God’s word and God’s law and replace it with his own arbitrary laws. He will redefine what is evil and what is good. He will promote doctrinal and ethical lawlessness.
He is a Destroyer– In the same verse, Paul calls the Antichrist the “the son of perdition” meaning “son of destruction.” He will physically destroy those who oppose him and he will spiritually and eternally destroy all those who believe in him and follow him.
He opposes God– “He opposes and exalts himself against all that is called God(v.4).” What’s unique about his opposition is that the Antichrist opposes mainly by substitution.
He is a Substitute– as “Anti “can mean “instead of” as well as “against,” the Antichrist can mean “replacement for Christ,” “instead of Christ,” or “substitute for Christ.” Paul confirms this when he says that the Antichrist “sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God (2 Thess. 2:4).” He opposes Christ by replacing him, by taking Christ’s titles, worship, and roles.
He is a Deceiver– The only other person called “the son of perdition” was Judas (John 17:12). Under the cover of professing to be a friend of Christ, He tried to destroy Christ. This theme of deception is taken up by Jesus, Paul, and John when describing the Antichrist. In fact, the dominant message from passages dealing with the Antichrist is “Don’t be deceived!” Just as Satan rarely comes painted red with horns, a fork, and a pointy tail, the Antichrist will not come with a big “A” on his forehead. Like Satan, he will come with false signs, wonders, and miracles; he will be plausible and persuasive that, if it were possible, he would deceive even the elect (Matthew 24:24).”
He is a Heretic– Apostle John’s main concern with the Antichrist is his promotion of false doctrine surrounding the person and work of Christ Jesus (1 Jn. 4:3; 2 Jn. 7). The Antichrist will not deny everything about Christ, but just enough to undermine the power of Christ’s gracious salvation.
He is a Politician– While Daniel and Revelation confirm and expand upon these characteristics already listed, their main emphasis is on the political nature of the Antichrist. He will head up a kingdom, even an empire, similar to other nation states or empires that we’ve seen throughout history.
THE BEAST AND HIS PROPHET
Politically, the head of this end time system, the Antichrist, is the first of two “beasts” who emerge in Revelation 13 in connection with end time Babylon. He is portrayed as a satanically inspired political leader who will gain influence until he is essentially acclaimed as a global dictator (Rev.13:7). He emerges “out of the sea” which I believe to be a European country bordering on the Mediterranean. Note that the text doesn’t say he will usurp authority, or that he will seize power. Instead, it says, “… authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation.” In fact, John adds, “all who dwell on the earth will worship him (v..” He will be universally revered and adored, democratically chosen and acclaimed as ruler of planet earth.
Religiously, a second “beast” is said to come “up out of the earth (v11)” in John’s vision. He is called “the False Prophet,” a religious leader who will serve the first beast (Antichrist) as the head of a global, ecumenical, religious network (vv. 11-18; 16:3; 19:20; 20:10). This will be a global alliance of religions and denominations that embrace various expressions of watered-down, feel-good spirituality but reject biblical truth and authority. Indications are that this end time religious amalgamation will also be anti-Israel and even anti-Semitic. The evil prophet represents a dangerous intermingling of religion with state power in the last days, much like it was in imperial Rome, where Caesar was worshipped as a deity. We see that the first beast (Antichrist) will control the second beast (False Prophet) and each one of them in turn will be inspired and controlled by the dragon (Satan v. 2,11).
Once the Antichrist and the False Prophet emerge on the world stage, Satan will establish an unholy trinity. Just as the Holy Spirit directs people towards Jesus Christ, the False Prophet will point people to worship the Antichrist. And mimicking the relationship between God the Father and Jesus Christ, the Antichrist will receive his power and authority from Satan. This blasphemous trio will control every aspect of society and seek to steal God’s glory.
666 – MARK OF THE BEAST
In the Book of Revelation, the last three verses of chapter 13 inform us of the universal, religious influence of this counterfeit holy spirit called the False Prophet. “And he causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their forehead.” This mark is placed in the most conspicuous place of the body so it’s easy to spot. The reason for the mark is explained in verse 17. “And that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast or the number of his name.” What that mark seems to be is identified in verse 18. “Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: his number is 666.”
The number of the beast is simply the number of man. Six is man’s number as evidenced by the fact that he was created on the sixth day, he was to work six days, etc. Opposed to this is the number seven, God’s number. His creative activity was completed, and He rested on the seventh day. Seven is the number of both completion and perfection. This entire book of Revelation is built around the number seven – the book of completion. You will note: seven churches, seven seals, seven trumpets, seven bowel judgements, etc. This is God’s way of completing His revelation to man.
What we know from Scripture is that Satan is the anti-God (6), the Beast is the Antichrist (6), and the False Prophet is the anti-Spirit (6) and all three certainly do fall short of perfection – the unholy trinity or possibly 666 as some suggest. Many proponents say that God the Father (7), God the Son (7), and God, the Holy Spirit (7) make up the Holy Trinity – 777, the number understood to be complete perfection. So, God’s Holy Trinity is 777, and 666 some sort of unholy trinity where the three numbers added together are just short of 777, and thus just short of divine perfection. The beast, false prophet and Satan certainly do epitomize imperfection. Look, it doesn’t matter how many times six is added up it can never be seven. It can never be complete, and it can never be divine. The number 666 contrasting 777 as an unholy trinity may have some merit but I don’t think anyone knows precisely what this number (666) really means. The meaning of 666 is a mystery. For centuries Bible interpreters have been trying to identify certain individuals with 666 to no avail. That is why Revelation 13:8 says the number requires wisdom. When the Antichrist is revealed, it will be clear who he is and how the number 666 identifies him.
MARK OF THE BEAST TECHNOLOGY IS FAST APPPOACHING
THE COMING SYSTEM OF UNPRESCEDENTED CONTROL
Did you know that we are living in a world where our freedom is being eroded (under attack) and how technology is robbing us of our privacy making it impossible to hide away from it? Soon, probably in a few years, there will be no checks, coins, or paper money; a cashless society where every transaction becomes electronic. The money will be electronic ones and zeros stored in computers and there will come to be an impenetrable wall between you and your money. You will be at the mercy of the masters (government agencies) who will have control – those who will be the gatekeepers of your wealth (money).
We are living in a time where technology has enabled man, for the first time in history, to create an economic system were all buying and selling can be completely controlled. The Antichrist will use this electronic system to control all buying and selling. You see, buying and selling are the two fundamental acts of economics the world over. While in history this task (total control over the population) could not be accomplished with military or police powers, it can, and will, be done by controlling every individual’s ability to buy and sell in the future during the second half of the Tribulation period. It’s not a stretch to conclude that advanced technology will be a big part of the Antichrist’s power and one of his greatest tools.
Today, this technology exists, and we are nearly there. China leads the way, but all governments bent on authoritarian rule are eagerly acquiring and adapting similar technologies. China’s social credit system is by far the most sobering real-world application of this technology today. The system, which has been compared to an Orwellian tool of mass surveillance, is an ambitious work in progress: a series of big data and AI enabled processes (artificial intelligence) that effectively grant subjects a social credit score based on their social, political, and economic behavior. People with low scores can be banned or blacklisted from accessing services including flights and train travel, while those with high scores can access privileges.
Think of this! A government system that monitors more than 1.3 billion of its citizens, tracks every aspect of their lives, and then ranks people with a score and doles out punishments and fines for not acting in accordance with whatever the government decides is right and wrong! Think back to Revelation 13 and how all this can be used to influence and control people’s religious practices and every aspect of their lives. Yes, the foundation is being laid today for this massive system of control that the Antichrist will have for tracking dissenters, taking away their ability to conduct business and commerce, and eliminating those who won’t conform or worship him.
I’ll close this off with one chilling report from the New York Post: “One of the ways that people can improve their social credit score in China is to report on the supposed misdeeds of others. Individuals can earn points, for example, for reporting those who violate the new restrictions on religious practice, such as Christians who illegally meet to pray in private homes…. monitoring all the activities of its citizens 24 hours a day, seven days a week, society itself becomes a virtual prison – a dystopian nightmare (S. Mosher).”
CAN WE BE TRICKED OR DECEIVED INTO TAKING THE MARK?
It is popular in some evangelical circles to scare people into thinking they can be tricked or deceived into receiving the mark of the beast. This scare tactic comes from an errant interpretation of Revelation 19:20. “He deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image.” However, John is not stating that the mark is given deceptively, but that those who received it were deceived into thinking the beast could be their savior. There is no hint of trickery or deception regarding the mark itself.
Regarding the Antichrist Paul has this to say, “The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs, and wonders. And in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason, God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness(2 Thess. 2:9-12).”
Here we see an affirmation of what is recorded in Revelation, that the Antichrist will work signs and wonders which deceive people. They place their faith in the Antichrist instead of the true Christ. Paul states that people perish because they did not accept the love of the truth. People allow themselves to be deceived because they have already made up their minds that they want neither God nor truth. They surround themselves with teachers who “tickle their ears” with things they want to hear (2 Tim. 4:3). The devil offered humanity substitutions (deceptions) for those who are looking for an alternative to God. If we delight in unrighteousness, then we shall be duped by the devil. However, those who love the truth and dwelt in righteousness will not be deceived. Again, John is not stating that the mark is received deceptively, rather, he is stating along with other biblical authors that those who turn away from the truth live in deception – excepting a counterfeit for the real Savior. Deception is the path away from God and not a tricky mark.
So, let me reassure you that born-again believers cannot accidentally get the mark of the beast by accident or unwittingly, but only by choosing to worship the beast. Not only that but born-again believers will be raptured before the Antichrist is revealed and the seven-year Tribulation period even begins. You cannot take the mark of the beast accidentally. Even though today we see implantable chips, vaccines, tracking devices, and the like, these are all preludes to what will occur. This happens after the rapture, after the Antichrist is in power globally, and all of this is during the time of God’s wrath being poured out on the unbelieving inhabitants of earth through seals, trumpets, and bowel judgements as recorded in Revelation. Those refusing the mark of the beast will be persecuted for their refusal to worship the Antichrist. It’s as simple as that.
Look, you could be forcibly tattooed over and over with the number 666, but if Christ reigns in your heart, you have nothing to fear. The Antichrist cannot snatch you away from the love of God if you stay focused on Jesus, your Lord and Savior. After all, God promised nobody can snatch you from His hands (Rom. 8:38-39) – not the Antichrist nor a mark received unintentionally. Amen.
F/B – Signs Of Our Times