The ANTICHRIST and HIS EMPIRE
The Revelation details the Tribulation, which is a seven-year period of wars, plagues, famines, earthquakes, and disasters. It ends in the Battle of Armageddon, and the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. The earth was formed in seven days and will be destroyed and judged in seven years.
All Bible prophecy centers around the nation of Israel. The book of Daniel, which mirrors Revelation, specifically defines the time period as a week, which is a seven-year period of time. Daniel details the abomination of desolation, which occurs in the middle of the week, Daniel actually provides the number of days to the end from the time of this act (Daniel 12:11). I discuss the abomination of desolation in detail in a later chapter.
Part of the earth’s judgments happen through a dictator who will come to power. The Revelation prophecy and the book of Daniel profile this dictator’s reign of terror. Other prophetic books provide even more details. Due to his anti-God, anti-Christ policies, Evangelical circles customarily refer to him as the Antichrist. The Bible mentions this title only once in the Scriptures. The Devil enters this man’s body and wreaks havoc on the world. His reign ignites the Battle of Armageddon (Is. 14:12; Ezek. 28:3-4). Evidencing this leader’s significance, he is given many names and references in both the Old and New Testaments. 1 John 2:18, identifies him as the Antichrist, a liar who denies the Father and the Son.
Revelation 13:1 refers to him as “the Beast,” and later in the passage names him 666. The number six, translated from the New Testament Greek into English, means “vex,” or “curse.” Seven represents God’s number of perfection. The triple six represents the unholy trinity, with the Devil acting as God. The Antichrist, whom Satanists call the son of Satan, mimics Jesus Christ. The False Prophet who the Bible predicts will comes onto the earth and performs miracles to get the masses to worship the Beast, mocks God’s Holy Spirit.
The unholy trinity are named in the Revelation prophecy as “The Dragon,” “The Beast,” and “The False Prophet.” Unlike previous dictators, Satan, himself possesses the Antichrist. He obtains the world’s respect by bringing the world prosperity, until the day he declares himself a god and demands worship for himself alone. Once the Antichrist establishes himself as a deity his evil side manifests itself.
Revelation 13:2 tells us that Satan provides the Antichrist with a “great seat of authority,” i.e., the political position he will hold. Daniel refers to the Antichrist as a “prince,” with a lower-case p, while capitalizing the Prince of Peace.
The Antichrist’s “great seat of authority” becomes the highest position of the most powerful government to exist. Despite its earthly might, it does not compare to the heavenly kingdom of Jesus Christ.
The Antichrist’s reign on earth will completely contrast our Lord’s. Jesus came to save. The Antichrist’s purpose is to destroy. The Antichrist and False Prophet are described in detail in the 13th chapter of Revelation, and the book of Daniel. In the Revelation Prophecy, the Antichrist is viewed as one with his world empire. Together they are referred to as the beast.
The Four Beasts of Daniel
Daniel and John, in the Revelation, disclose the area and identity of the final world power, i.e. the Beast. Daniel’s vision details the four world empires that ruled the Middle East region throughout history and the description lines with the Revelation Prophecy (Daniel 7 and 8). Daniel states in 7:2-7:
“I saw in my vision by night, and behold; the four winds of heaven were stirring up the Great Sea.
And four great beasts came up from the sea, each different from the other.
The first was like a lion, and had eagle’s wings. I watched till its wings were plucked off; and it was lifted up from the earth and made to stand on two feet like a man, and a man’s heart was given to it.
And suddenly another beast, a second, like a bear. It was raised up on one side and had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth. And they said thus to it: Arise, devour much flesh!
After this I looked, and there was another, like a leopard, which had on its back four wings of a bird. The beast also had four heads, and dominion was given to it.
After this, I saw in the night visions, and behold, a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, exceedingly strong. It had huge iron teeth; it was devouring, breaking in pieces, and trampling the residue with its feet.
Of all the visions, the fourth beast disturbs Daniel the most, and he inquires of an angel who stood by the vision, and the angel identifies the four beasts as four kingdoms that will rule on the earth. Daniel specifically asks about the last beast, which he describes as “different from all the others, exceedingly dreadful, with its teeth of iron and its nails of bronze, which devoured, broke in pieces, and trampled the residue with its feet” (Dan. 7:19).
In the remainder of the chapter, Daniel continues to describe the fourth beast, including details of the evil leader who commands it. The angel Gabriel further elaborates on the kingdoms and provides their identity.
The lion signifies the Babylonian kingdom.
The bear depicts the Medo-Persian empire.
The third, the leopard or cheetah, compares to Greece.
Daniel describes the fourth beast at the end of its history and unlike the preceding empires, it conquers the entire world. Dan. 7:23 states: “The fourth beast shall be a fourth kingdom on earth, which shall be different from all other kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, trample it and break it in pieces.”
The fourth beast possesses the combined strength of all the previous governments, and holds the political seat of the Antichrist. Dwight J. Pentecost, in his book Things to Come, quotes Gaebelein, the three ribs in the bear’s mouth are Susiana, Lydia, and Asia Minor, which the Medes and Persians conquered. One paw is upraised because “the Persian element was stronger than that of the Medes.” The leopard, which represents Greece, has wings that “denote its swiftness,” and its four heads symbolize the division of Greece into the kingdoms of Syria, Egypt, Macedonia, and Asia Minor.
While the first three beasts compare to strong, fierce animals, the fourth beast appears almost mechanical and monstrous. It possesses great iron teeth, bronze fingernails, and ten horns.
Revelation 13, further elaborates on the fourth beast. In addition to his ten horns, he has seven heads, which add to his frightful appearance. The Bible tells us that this beast looks like a leopard with the feet of a bear, and it has a lion’s mouth (Rev. 13:2).
The Greek and Hebrew word used for leopard includes the various species and specifies the large spots, which also describe the cheetah. Both the lion and bear reign their territories and exist at the top of the food chain because of their power and fierceness. The leopard, though fierce, is no match for a lion. Leopards are stealth predators and of the three big cats they possess adept climbing skills and protect their kills by running them up trees. Today they are more numerous than lions and cheetahs because of their ability to hide and blend in with their environments. The cheetah, though considerably less powerful than a leopard, surpasses all animals in speed; running at speeds up to 70 miles an hour and reaching high speeds in three seconds. Of the three big cats, the cheetah kills more game than the others but does not always get to eat their kill. Tougher opponents such as lions, leopards and hyenas hijack them.
It is my view that Scripture refers to the Beast having the body of a cheetah and not a leopard as expositors traditionally teach possibly because they failed to analyze the differences in the species. The cheetah does not have the strength of the lion or leopard because it can out run the fiercest predator. Its speed is its power.
The Beast possesses the mouth of a lion, iron legs, bear’s feet and the sleek body of a cheetah, which resembles a leopard. The cheetah built for speed has a narrow body, long slender feet and legs, a flexible spine, and bones as light as aluminum. Their paws are less rounded than other cats; their pads are hard, similar to tire treads to help them in fast, sharp turns. Cheetahs have distinctive black “tear stripes” that connect from the inside corner of each eye to the mouth that may serve as an antiglare device for daytime huntiIts claws act as cleats for traction when running, its tail moves as a rudder. The cheetah has a powerful heart, oversized liver and large strong arteries.
In addition, the Cheetahs have distinctive black “tear stripes” that connect from the inside corner of each eye to the mouth that may serve as an antiglare device for daytime hunting Cheetahs have distinctive black “tear stripes” that connect from the inside corner of each eye to the mouth that may serve as an antiglare device for daytime hunting Cheetahs have distinctive black “tear stripes” that connect from the inside corner of each eye to the mouth that may serve as an antiglare device for daytime hunting. Cheetahs have distinctive black “tear stripes” that connect from the inside corner of each eye to the mouth that may serve as an antiglare device for daytime hunting.tear stripes on the inner corner of its eyes act as an anti-glare device. Its small head, flat face and reduced muzzle length allow the eyes to be positioned for maximum binocular vision.
Each of these parts represents the fiercest and strongest attribute of its respective animal. Thus, in possessing the cheetah’s (body) speed, the powerful jaws of the lion, and the crushing feet of a bear along with its long sharp nails, the Beast obtains the combined strength and power of all these animals. The final world power will be both strong and fast in the speed at which it overpowers other nations vs. conquering through stealth as a leopard.
The horrifying and dreadful appearance of the fourth—its iron legs and teeth, its bronze nails, and its many heads and horns—makes it appear demonic, as if it emerged from the pits of hell. To Daniel, it appeared as a creature out of a dark fantasy, for it was unlike anything he had ever seen.
The contrast of this beast to the others is further seen in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream image, which symbolizes the four kingdoms and relates their strength to metals (Daniel 2: 31-41). The golden head of the image is Babylon. Its silver arms and chest are the Medes and Persians. Its bronze thighs represent the Greek empire, and its legs and feet are of iron, but the toes have clay mingled in with the iron. The clay is its weakness, which I elaborate on later.
The fourth beast is made of iron legs, which crushes, “breaks in pieces and shatters all things,” as these are the strongest metals from the earth. The gold, silver represent wealth and power. The Bronze thighs and iron legs represent its crushing strength. The beast does not merely rule and have dominion; it crushes and breaks in pieces and has the combined strength of all the other kingdoms,. Its power is unprecedented in the history of the world.
The fourth beast encompasses the same area as the ancient Roman Empire. Revelation depicts it rising from the midst of the seas, specifically the Mediterranean (Rev. 13:1). When Daniel foretold Jerusalem’s destruction in A.D. 70, he simultaneously prophesied that the coming prince would come from the area of the Roman Empire. Daniel 9:26 states: “The people of the prince that shall come, shall destroy the city and the sanctuary.” The Romans under Titus in A.D. 70 destroyed Jerusalem.
The Antichrist holds his political position in re-empowered Europe. The final world empire represents a second phase in the Old Roman Empire’s history. According to Daniel 7:24, the fourth kingdom never passes out of existence, but rather continues in some form until its final condition emerges. The Scriptures view the Roman Empire as continually developing until the second coming of Christ. The final world power will possess similarities to the Old Roman Empire.
Dwight Pentecost summarizes the purpose of its revival by concluding: “As the Roman Empire had been the agency through which Satan attacked Christ at His first advent, that empire in its final form will be the agency through which Satan works against the Messiah at His second advent.”
Tyrus: A Place of Commerce and Trade
The final world empire is synonymous with international trade, which brings it prosperity. This is also represented by the gold in the image in the book of Daniel. The writings of Ezekiel, Jeremiah, and John each provides details. Ezekiel chapters 27 and 28 foretold the destruction of the ancient city of Tyrus, once located on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. Under Solomon, the Hebrews and the Tyrians had a close alliance. Through trade relations, Solomon obtained supplies from Tyrus for the building of the Temple (I Kings 9:11-14, 26-28; 10:22). This good relationship changed as the Tyrians and neighboring Phoenicians began to buy Hebrew captives from their enemies. They sold them as slaves to the Greeks and Edomites. These acts brought God’s judgment upon the City of Tyrus (Joel refers to it as Tyre), as predicted by the prophets.
Throughout Tyrus’s history, several conquerors invaded it. From the time of Christ up to the Crusades, it was a flourishing city, renowned for the great wealth it derived from dyes of Tyrian purple—extracted from shellfish on its coast. Its present condition is a fulfillment of Ezekiel 26:5, which describes it as “a place for the spreading of nets in the midst of the sea.” It contains fifty or sixty poor families, who live in part by fishing, and is a rock where fishers dry their nets.
Ezekiel chapter 26 records Nebuchadnezzar’s siege of Tyrus. Chapter 27 describes the city’s wealth, and the amount of trade that passed through its borders. Fourteen verses detail the merchandise, and name the many nations that traded with Tyre.
In chapter 28, literal Tyrus, the city of ancient times, changes to illustrate the Antichrist. The Prince of Tyrus is none other than Satan in a man’s body. Situated in the midst of the seas, he claims that he is a god sitting in God’s seat. He is proud because of his wealth, which he increased through trade. God tells him that he is a man, and not God. Verses 12 to16, identify the Prince as Satan himself, who was the most prominent angel in all of heaven, and who was cast out by God on the day he sinned.
Son of man, take up a lamentation for the king of Tyre, and say to him, Thus says the Lord God; You were the seal of perfection, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering, the sardius, topaz and the diamond, beryl, onyx, and jasper. Sapphire, turquoise and emerald, with gold. The workmanship of your timbrels and pipes was prepared for you on the day you were created.
You were the anointed cherub who covers; I established you; You were on the holy mountain of God; You walked back and forth in the midst of fiery stones.
You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, till iniquity was found in you.
By the abundance of your trading, you became filled with violence within, and you sinned; Therefore, I cast you as a profane thing out of the mountain of God: and I destroyed you, O covering cherub, from the midst of the fiery stones.
Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; You corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor;: I cast you to the ground. I laid you before kings, that they may gaze at you.
You defiled your sanctuaries by the multitude of your iniquities, by the iniquity of your trading; therefore, I brought fire from your midst; it devoured you, and I turned you to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all who saw you.
All who knew you among the peoples are astonished at you: you have become a horror, and shall be no more forever.
Verses 18 and 19 describe the Antichrist’s and False Prophet’s judgment at the Battle of Armageddon. God will cast them alive into the lake of fire (Rev. 19:20-21).
Joel foretells the Battle of Armageddon, and names Tyre as guilty of selling his people and robbing the treasures of Israel (Joel 3:4-6). The Antichrist, like Tyre’s king, invades Israel, takes spoil, and persecutes the Jews. Tyrus, as the final world power, obtains its wealth through trade, and its king claims to be God.
To understand prophecy in Scripture one must consider that the prophetic writings retain continuity from author to author and time does not count as we measure it. In the forecasts events take place all in the same time period. The Scriptures note that certain happenings will take place in the latter or end of days because the Bible describes ancient and future locations in the present tense. Their beginning, era of notoriety and their end are relayed as if in the same time frame. Although these places have passed out of history the Bible views them at the time of their origins. There exists no differentiation from their end and the people and nations that arrived in their stead as exampled by Tyrus and Babylon.
While the prophet Daniel establishes Babylon as parallel with the final world power and provides many details of its structure, Jeremiah 51 predicts Babylon’s judgment. This passage also lines with the destruction of Babylon in Revelation 17 and 18. Jeremiah prophesies against the literal land that once existed, as well as its latter- day counterpart. As with Tyrus, whose king God identifies as Satan, God refers to the king of Babylon as Lucifer. The Antichrist is “the King of Babylon.” Isaiah 14:4-6 records his evil rule and conquest:
That you will take up this proverb against the King of Babylon, and say, How the oppressor has ceased! The golden city ceased!
The Lord has broken the staff of the wicked, the scepter of the rulers. He who struck the people in wrath with a continual stroke, He who ruled the nations in anger, is persecuted and no one hinders.
The passage later identifies Satan as the King of Babylon, and describes Satan’s fall from heaven. Isaiah 14:12-17 continues:
How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, you who weakened the nations!
For you have said in your heart, I will ascend into heaven. I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will also sit on the mount of the congregation, on the farthest sides of the North:
I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most high.
You will be brought down to Sheol, to the depths of the pit.
Those who see you will gaze at you, and consider you saying, Is this the man who made the earth tremble, who shook kingdoms;
Who made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed its cities who did not open the house of his prisoners?
Babylon was the commercial hub of the Near East. Trade and commerce increased its wealth. The invention of wheeled carts allowed trade to expand from local to foreign commerce. King Nebuchadnezzar helped Babylonian businesses by improving the highways. Countless caravans brought to Babylon’s shops half the world’s products. Under Nebuchadnezzar, Babylon became a thriving and prosperous marketplace. Babylon, referred to in ancient times as “a great city,” drew the nations of the Mediterranean world into closer contact.
Like Tyrus, ancient Babylon was renowned for trade. Revelation records Babylon’s fall in the end times. The merchants lament its destruction. The verse reads: “And the merchants of the earth will weep and mourn over her; for no one buys their merchandise anymore” (Rev. 18:11). Revelation 18:15 reiterates: “The merchants of these things, who became rich by her, will stand at a distance for fear of her torment, weeping and wailing.” The world’s nations will prosper from trading with this political power, which acts as a hub for business. Ezekiel 27:33 confirms: “When your wares went out by sea, you satisfied many people; you enriched the kings of the earth with your many luxury goods and your merchandise.”
The Medes and Persians conquered Babylon. The Greeks followed and the Roman Empire came next. The Antichrist emerges from the revived Roman Empire, which becomes powerful through trade and commerce. It makes itself and the world’s merchants rich. Its prosperity extends to the earth’s rulers. Nations will gain wealth by trading with this world power. This prophecy began to see fulfillment with the emergence of the European Union.
The Final World Empire
The European Union is a group of Western European nations that eliminated their trade barriers and formed a Common Market so that trade moves freely among its member nations. As the world’s largest market and economy, the EU is virtually synonymous with international trade and commerce. The Union coordinates more than economic policy; it is also a political union. Many refer to the EU as “the United States of Europe.” The EU has its own currency, flag, and national anthem. The EU’s founding fathers viewed the achievement of economic strength as a prerequisite for attaining political power—the Union’s ultimate aim. The EU set to become a powerful political player on the world stage and has become one.
The Economic Race
Tyrus and Babylon provide age-old lessons in economics. Trade accelerates the economic growth of nations, increasing their wealth and power. Today’s superpowers realize that military might alone will not make a nation great and powerful. Economic strength is the key to a nation’s prosperity.
At the end of the Cold War, economic wealth replaced military might as the primary goal of the superpowers. The stake is what Helmut Schmidt once called the struggle for the world product, rather than for traditional power—wealth and power have become more closely tied together. For this reason, nations united with one another to become regional trading blocks, to guarantee economic success. This premise underlined the US’s free trade agreement with Canada and Mexico, as well as the formation of the European Union.
Today the EU is an economic powerhouse, with over 508 million citizens. The EU generates over 22% of the world’s total economic output in terms of purchasing power parity. This is why it the biggest economy in the world and the second largest trade bloc economy with the largest GDP. It is also the biggest exporter and second greatest importer of goods and services and the biggest trading partner to several large countries such as India and China. Of the 500 largest corporations measured by revenue, 178 have their headquarters in the EU.
In addition to becoming the leading place of trade and commerce—a major characteristic of the final world empire—the European Union is becoming a political power as well. Throughout the EU’s history, its goal has always been its political union. The Common Market, the launch of the euro were all first steps to a political union. The euro is used every day by some 332 million Europeans. When it was launched in 1999 within a few years became the world’s second reserve currency. In addition to the euro militarily the EU has the world’s largest standing army.
The EU’s objective is to obtain superpower status, as many of its member nations had in their individual histories and to reclaim its earlier power under the Roman Empire. According to the Scriptures, this world power becomes the fiercest, mighty and crushing empire the world has ever known.
The European Union’s borders lie within the realm of the Holy Roman Empire of old. Like Babylon and Tyrus, it is renowned for international trade, except it holds the political seat of the Antichrist.
Many mistakenly believe that Germany is the European Union’s largest economy, and it really runs the EU and without Germany, the EU would be nothing. Germany trades with more countries within the European Union than countries outside of the EU. It is in part so wealthy because of its trade among the EU states.
Twenty-three years ago on September 11, 1990, George Bush stood at a podium in front of Congress and uttered the phrase New World Order. Like lightning, it bolted through the airwaves of conspiracy theorists and the huddled masses of Evangelical Christians. John’s vision recorded in Revelation chapter 13 aligned perfectly with a New World Order, which implied the possibility of a World state.
The Revelation Prophecy does not describe a New World Order but rather world rule under a crushing empire. Today in foreign affairs, the New World Order transitioned to Age of Empires. We have walked through the doors to the Empire Age. No one expected it, no one imagined it. The prophet Daniel talked about it and laid it out in vivid detail over 2500 years ago, as did the Revelation prophecy.
According to the prophets, an empire launches the Antichrist, specifically the revived Roman Empire. In 2008, MEP and former prime minister of Belgium Guy Verhofstadt named the current geopolitical frame work as the age of empires. He brought up the emerging BRIC nations of Brazil, Russia, India, China and the United States and European Union.
European Union Commission President Manuel Barroso while sitting among a group of European Union officials was asked by a reporter about the structure of the European Union and he answered calmly that it is an empire. He called it a non-imperial empire.
During the cold war, we lived in a bipolar world with the US and Russia as the leading superpowers. Afterwards, the world went unipolar with the United States as the sole superpower. Some experts say we have evolved into a multipolar world, which has replaced the new world order. It will only exist for a short time. The Bible describes a unipolar world headed by an empire that unifies the world. It does not happen via a conspiracy, but rather via geopolitics. Thus, one of the empires reaches the top of the list in economic strength and power turning the multipolar world, unipolar.
In the Revelation prophecy John while standing on the sands of the Mediterranean sea sees a beast rise up out of the sea. Its seven heads and ten horns pop out of the water and its fully exposed head bears a blasphemous name. John does not see a new world order, he sees an empire. The final world empire rules the nations. This empire makes the world’s citizens take the Mark of the Beast. The final world empire will write the rules for the globe. The final world empire will launch the Antichrist who will lead his government to super power status. George Herbert Bush’s New World Order is now history and the new order is the Age of Empire or the Empire Age, which the Revelation prophecy forecasts. Only it sees one empire that will rule the world; the Roman.