Derek Prince - When The Antichrist Comes
Now, let’s come to the final manifestation of the spirit of antichrist in the antichrist. Now we are dealing with something which is, as far as I know, still future. If it is not future, I have not discovered it yet. So there is always a possibility of error. And I am not by any means laying down the law claiming that everything will be exactly the way I present it, but I want to direct your attention to these very important passages of Scripture so that at least you are not ignorant of them. That you are not unaware of what Satan is planning and you may be able to form some opinion about how far he has come in carrying out his plans.
We will turn first of all to 2 Thessalonians, chapter 2, which really is mainly given over to dealing with the appearance, revelation, manifestation of antichrist. It is also dealing with preparation for the Lord’s return. And of course they are very closely intertwined, because the final satanic act before the return of the Lord will be the antichrist. In fact Paul says, The Lord will destroy the antichrist with the brightness of His coming.
Personally I have no real aim to be a hero. I’m prepared to let Jesus deal with the antichrist, myself. I think He is the only one who can. I think the true Christ, the true Messiah, will deal with the false when He comes. I think that’s one of the main purposes of His coming. It is to defeat, cast down and overthrow the antichrist. Anyhow, if we turn to 2 Thessalonians chapter 2, beginning in verse 1, and just read to verse 3: "Now brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ". That is the theme of this passage.
And the word coming there is the word parousia in Greek, which is normally used for the second coming of the Lord Jesus. "Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him", that's the church which is to be caught up to meet Him, "we ask you not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled", don’t be disturbed, don’t be deceived, "either by spirit", that is, a false prophecy or a false teacher, "or by word". As some prophetic message that circulates, like the one that was circulating recently that Jesus was coming on the twelfth of September. Was it the twelfth of September?
You know, I'm just amazed... I don’t know whether this circulated in Britain, but multitudes of Christians believed it in the United States. It shows me the appalling, abysmal ignorance of at least American Christians and I don’t know whether Christians in other nations are much better; I’m really not prepared to say. I mean, there were thousands of people who believed this teacher who said that Jesus was coming on Rosh Hoshana, which is the Jewish New Year. I don’t suppose they were really embarrassed that He didn’t come. That is the amazing thing. They can still go on believing people after they have been totally wrong. Anyhow, I just understand why Paul wrote these words. Don’t be shaken or troubled, neither by spirit, or by word or by letter as if from us.
See, the nerve of Satan, that he was capable of people getting the letters in Paul’s name, sign them with Paul’s name as if they were written by Paul. I had a friend once, a minister, he’s still a friend of mine as a matter of fact, and he used to circulate (he is a good brother and if I gave you his name most of you would know him) his own teaching tapes when he was pastor of a certain church. There was a certain group who had a very erroneous doctrine, got his tapes and on the blank side recorded their own teachings without saying it to him, returned it to him and after that when the church lent out the pastor’s teaching they were also lending out on the same tape this completely erroneous teaching. Don’t imagine that Satan does not have nerve. He has endless nerve. There is no limit to his nerve.
Alright, going on. "Don’t be deceived as though the day of Christ had come", some people were teaching that He had come, even then. "Let no one deceive you by any means", and I want to say to every one of you, let no one deceive you by any means, "For that day will not come unless the falling away comes first". The word falling away in Greek is apostacia, it means an apostasy. It means a deliberate rejection of revealed truth and I think we are living in the days of apostasy. I’ll come to that a little later. "Unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of sin, or man of lawlessness, "is revealed, the son of perdition".
So there are two further titles of the antichrist. He is the man of lawlessness. He is the supreme embodiment of man’s rebellion against God and rejection of God’s laws. And he is the son of perdition, the one who is headed for a lost eternity. It is interesting there is only one other person in the New Testament who is called son of perdition. Do you know who that is? Judas, Judas Iscariot. He was a false apostle. So we see here again the implication that this person will start in association in some way with the Christian church. Personally, I think he will be charismatic. Super-charismatic. I really mean that. Alright. Who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God. We won't go further than that for a moment, but there we have now three different names for the same being: the antichrist, the man of lawlessness, the son of perdition.
And we have one other important name in Revelation 13. Let us turn to Revelation 13, beginning in verse 1. This is part of a vision that John had in this revelation. I saw a beast rising up out of the sea having seven heads and ten horns. And on his horns ten crowns and on his heads a blasphemous name. Now the beast which I saw was like a leopard, 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, his throne and great authority. Who’s the dragon? Satan, that’s right. That is absolutely clear.
So here is some person that is going to arise to whom Satan will give his power. Why will Satan give his power to this person? Because that will enable this person to gain the dominion over the entire human race and to either persuade or force the entire human race to do the one thing that Satan wants most: Which is? To worship him. See? This is his goal. He has been working on that patiently and perseveringly for many, many centuries and he is very near to the achievement of his goal at this time. Going on: I saw one of his heads as if it had been mortally wounded. And this deadly wound was healed, and all the world marveled and followed the beast.
There is a sort of false resurrection here. I don’t know whether this person will be assassinated; he will apparently be dead and he will return to life. What would have happened in America if John Kennedy came back to life after his assassination? There would not have been many people that would have not sold themselves to John Kennedy. Going on, verse 4: "So they", that’s the people of the earth, "worshiped the dragon", who’s that? Satan, "who gave authority to the beast and they worshiped the beast saying: Who is like the beast? "Who is able to make war with him"? That’s the fourth title: the beast, the wild beast. It is a word in Greek that means a wild creature, an animal of prey, such as a leopard or a lion or one of those.
Now in Revelation there is a very deliberate contrast between two persons. The wild beast, who is Satan’s ruler; and the Lamb, who is God’s ruler. And I think it is very important for all of us to bear this in mind in our spirit that we do not cultivate the nature of the beast, but we have to cultivate the nature of the Lamb. You see, when the Holy Spirit descended in the beginning of the ministry of Jesus and looked for somebody to settle on, what nature did He look for? The Lamb, that’s right. John the Baptist said, Behold the Lamb of God, and on Him the Holy Spirit descended. I think this is one of the great issues that concerns every one of us. Because in the world today it is so competitive, it is so intense, people are so extreme and violent that it is pretty easy to let the nature of the beast begin to infiltrate us. But what God wants in us is the nature of the Lamb.
Let’s look at a little picture of the Lamb in Revelation 5. We could read quite a lot but we won’t read too far. Beginning at verse 5. John had had this vision of a scroll in the hand of God and there was no one who was found worthy to open the scroll. So John was weeping. But one of the elders said to me: Do not weep but behold the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals. This is dramatic, really, because John was looking for a lion but what did he see: And I looked and behold, in the midst of the throne and the four living creatures and in the midst of the elders stood a Lamb as though it had been slain.
So God’s appointed ruler does not have the nature of the beast. He has the nature of the Lamb. And He is highly exalted above all others because He laid down His life. Because He humbled Himself. Because He went the way of meekness, humility, because He did not resist His arresters and His persecutors and I really believe that the church in these days is going to have to display the same nature. And I don’t believe it is easy. I suggest to you this, it is not a popular suggestion: I think the church may go home the same way as her Lord, by the way of the cross. I think we’ll conquer.
As the hymn says: When we are weak God’s strength will be made perfect in our weakness. I believe that is a lesson we are going to have to learn. And there is a lot of teaching in the church today that talks all about we can do; in all our power and all that faith can accomplish, but I believe it really is inflating the natural man, the fleshly nature, and that nature has to be crucified before we can enter into God’s purpose for us. We could go on with the worship of the Lamb but I think you can read that for yourself. Let’s return now to Revelation 13 and just look, have a glimpse at a few parts of this description. We have seen that they all worshiped the beast. And they all were convinced it was hopeless to make war with the beast.
Now who knows what will be brought about, but suppose a world ruler came to power, who accumulated all the nuclear weapons and no one else was allowed to have any, well, nobody would make war with him. It would be suicide even to contemplate it. I’m not saying it will happen but what I’m trying to point out to you is the situation that is pictured here could be very close. Then he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme Him, His name, His tabernacle and those who dwell in heaven. He is the open challenger of God. He is not a secret enemy, he shakes his fist in the face of Almighty God.
And again we have a kind of attitude like that that is very close to us today. "And it was granted to him", by whom? I presume by God. A frightening thought, "it was granted to him to make war with the saints". Who are the saints? I suppose that’s us, I hope it’s us. And yet when I say I hope it’s us, it’s kind of an ambiguous hope, isn’t it? I want to be a saint but do I want the beast to make war with me? Now, you may have to choose between two options. It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. See, I want to instill into your thinking that Christianity is not all easy victory. In fact, I think, in a sense, included in our faith is the willingness to be apparently overcome, defeated, but not really defeated.
You see, Jesus cares very little about the opinion of this world. Have you ever thought about that? What was His last public appearance? As a corpse on a cross. And He has never sought to correct that appearance, and He has never re-appeared, except to people who believed Him. How much do we care about the opinion of the world? Do we care more than that? Paul said: God forbid that I should glory save in the cross of Jesus Christ, by which the world is crucified to me and I to the world.
Alright, let’s go on a little further: All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the book of life and the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. That is a dramatic statement. The whole human race will worship Him except those whom has God chosen for Himself, whose names have been written in the Lamb’s book of life from the foundation of the world. Then we see this other very sinister person, whom we’ll just glance at briefly here. The second beast. We are going on now in verse 11. Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth and he had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon. He appeared to be a lamb but he had really the voice of a dragon.
I believe this is a religious person. Generally speaking, he is called the false prophet. And I believe that false religion is going to align itself with the false Messiah. And I suggest to you that this is already happening. For instance, in China, where the official Three Self Movement, under Bishop Ding at the present time, has aligned itself totally with the atheistic communist government and is the main persecutor of the real Christians. I think very much the same happened in Soviet Russia, where the head of the Russian Orthodox Church totally endorsed Stalin and is now having an embarrassing time deciding what to say about it.
See, I believe that the political ruler will appreciate the importance of religion and will co-opt religion in its false form to support his power. And he exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence and causes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast whose deadly wound was healed. We have no time to go into that further, but notice the false trinity. The ancient church in the Middle Ages that used Latin, used to say Diabolos Sinios Dei, the devil is the ape of God. He really never comes up with anything totally new. All he can do is to make a bad copy of what God has done.
So there is a false trinity, you see. Satan, the beast, and the false prophet. And they produce an image which in a sense is a false church. Alright, let’s go back to 2 Thessalonians chapter 2 quickly in closing. 2 Thessalonians chapter 2 and we go back to that key verse, verse 3. Let no one deceive you by any means. For that day the coming of the Lord will not come unless the falling away comes first and the man of sin is revealed.
Now, as I said, the word fallen away is a Greek word from which we get he English word apostasy and its primary meaning is a deliberate rejection of revealed truth. I suggest to you that we are surrounded by apostasy in the world today. All through the centuries there have been church men and church leaders who have been wicked, immoral, covetous, but they have not openly denied the great basic truths of the Christian faith. In fact those truths have been the means they used to support their power. But in this century, starting I think probably in Germany, we have today church leaders, official representatives of the churches who have denied all the great basic truths of the Christian faith: the deity of Jesus, His virgin birth, His atoning death, His physical resurrection and His coming again.
And many of them have occupied and do occupy positions of honor and authority in the professing Christian church. In Britain, as you know, I think two-thirds of the bishops of the Anglican Church have basically aligned themselves with those statements, made originally by the Bishop of Durham. I’m not aiming at anybody, I’m simply pointing out, this is a feature of this century which I don’t believe existed in any previous century. I believe that we are already confronted with the apostasy. And you see the church is the bulwark against error. So Satan has to penetrate the church before he can break through with his error.