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Jack Graham - Who is the Antichrist?

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    Jack Graham - Who is the Antichrist?
TOPICS: All Things New, Book of Revelation, End times, Antichrist

Now if you are in a driving storm as I was this week and you turn on your GPS system you can get some information as to what's coming down the road. Seems like our tollway has been stacked up recently with accidents and I can click on my GPS and not only get weather, but I can get traffic information, and see down the road just a little bit as to what to expect. Maybe I take an exit, maybe I take a turn, or maybe I just turn on some worship music and sit there. But whatever it is, it's good to have some insight and some foresight as to what's coming down the road.

Now we've already said we're in a spiritual battle. And certainly when you get to the Revelation and now the Tribulation period, the Great Tribulation, we know that this battle is going to intensify; and culminating in the great battle of Armageddon where the final world battle will be fought. And in that day war will be ended. No more. And Christ the Victor will reign forever and ever. But all of these battles in the process are within the plan of God. Everything that happens on earth is governed by God. I don't want you to see all this disaster and tragedy on earth as something out of control. What God does is allow evil to run its course and ultimately to end evil as we know it. You can't talk about Last Days prophecy, you can't talk about the Revelation without talking about the antichrist.

Who is the antichrist? Aka the man of sin, the son of perdition or the son of hell. He's called in the Bible the lawless one. The antichrist is the rider of the white horse. And as we meet him here he is the beast. First point is the identity of the antichrist. I hope you're taking notes. The identity of the antichrist might surprise you. Verse one says: "And I saw a beast rising out of the sea, with ten horns and seven heads, and ten diadems on its horns and blasphemous names on its heads. And the beast that I saw was like a leopard; its feet were like a bear's, and its mouth was like a lion's mouth. And to it the dragon", who is the dragon? Who is the dragon? Satan is the dragon, Satan gives him power and his throne and great authority.

Now the fact is the antichrist is definitely a person. He has a personal identity. But the antichrist is also a spirit who is in the world today. John, the Revelator, the one who gave us the book of Revelation, in his letter, 1 John, speaks of the spirit of antichrist. Well, he speaks of both, the one who is to come at the end of the age, the antichrist, the person who is the antichrist. But he also speaks of the spirit of the antichrist. What is the spirit of the antichrist? John tells us it is the denial that Jesus is Lord. And people who deny Christ and dishonor Christ are possessed by the spirit of the antichrist which John said is already in the world. There's been a lot of speculation through the years as to who is the antichrist from political leaders, world leaders, spiritual leaders, false messiahs.

Jesus said one of the signs of the Last Days would be the rise of false messiahs and false prophets and false religious leaders, and these certainly possess the spirit of the antichrist. Later on in chapter 13 we'll briefly meet the beast who is the second beast, the false prophet who is a cohort in the criminal activity of the first beast, the antichrist. Are you with me yet? There's a lot of characters to meet! But the primary character here is this antichrist. And the spirit of the antichrist is always in the atmosphere, in the air and in all of those who deny Christ. So through the years there have always been candidates that Satan could easily slide into becoming the antichrist. So whether you're talking, some people looked at Nero and Domitian and Hitler and Osama bin Laden.

Well let me just say all of those guys will be like boy scouts compared to the real antichrist. The antichrist is something else, something more. He is the final and fully, energized-by-Satan beast on the earth. Just like Judas. When Judas betrayed the Lord, don't think of Judas as being just a misguided individual who lost his way. Jesus said he was the son of perdition, the son of hell. And Satan entered into Judas, and he betrayed the Lord to the cross. So there will be another time in which Satan will enter into an individual. When you think about it, think with me here a bit, Satan doesn't know when the Last Days are coming. He doesn't know when Christ is coming. Jesus said only the Father in heaven knows when I'm coming. So if Satan doesn't know, he always has to have somebody ready, wouldn't you think?

You say, "Is the antichrist in the world today? Is he alive today"? Maybe. Could be. We don't know. I will say that it is foolish and a waste of time as to try to speculate as to who the antichrist actually is; some person that you know. The antichrist is not your ex-husband, alright? And to speculate is foolish. In fact if you know who the antichrist is, if you figure out who the antichrist is, then I've got some bad news to give to you. You've been left behind, because the antichrist is not revealed until after the Rapture of the church. That time when Christ comes and takes Christians into heaven and the Holy Spirit is removed; indwelling believers. And so the identity of the antichrist is unknown as to exactly who he is, but the word "anti" of course, means against or an opponent. He is the anti-Christ; he opposes Christ. He is against Christ and the kingdom of God, so we know that's true. But the prefix anti can also mean in place of.

In other words, the antichrist is an imitator christ, a counterfeit christ. He is a fraud; he is a fake; he is a knockoff. I was in New York several years ago and over in Chinatown I came up to one of those places that had a sign that said "Genuine fake Rolexes here". I was just reading this week online about the counterfeit business in terms of products, clothing and handbags and cell phones. You know, if you've got an i-phone, you know. Now does every phone now look like an i-phone? I mean it's an immitation. If you've got something else, that's okay. But the i-phone changed the cell phone world. And now everything looks pretty much like an i-phone. It's the world of copies, it's the world of fakes. Well, the idea of the antichrist, this is the one who is the great pretender. He is a fraud. He is a forgery of Christ. He is the devil's messiah. Satan has always been an imitator! He desires to be worshipped as God. That's what got the devil booted out of heaven to begin with, his desire to be worshipped as God. That's still his desire.

And now he "roams the earth seeking whom he may devour". If the devil has a son this is it! This is it! The antichrist whose purpose is to deny Christ and deify Satan, the purpose of the antichrist is to deny Christ and to deify Satan! The Scripture here in verse 1 says that this beast rises out of the sea. This speaks of the turbulence of the Tribulation, of the nations fomenting in this disaster that has become the Great Tribulation. Satan will make his appearance, or the son of Satan will make his appearance after the Rapture, as I mentioned, and he will gain power in the second half of the Tribulation. In fact we're told that (it will be in verse 5) 42 months into the Tribulation, 42 months left.

So halfway in he will assume total power. So he rises, the antichrist rises in the vacuum of political and economic chaos. Nations will be at war. The world will literally be aflame. Israel will be reeling! Europe will be out of control. Russia, China, all of the Middle East and beyond are engaged in this disaster which has been described here as the Tribulation. And we've been walking our way through these dark days of the Tribulation. Jesus said in John 5:43, "I've come in My Father's name and you did not receive. And if another comes in his own name you will receive him". If you reject Christ, you will not reject the antichrist.

Let me say that again. If you reject Christ in the day that comes in the future, you will not reject the antichrist. If you reject the "Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world" you will not ultimately reject the beast; you will receive the beast because he will come in the power of Satan performing great miracles. That's what we're told in verse 2, "To the dragon he gave power and a great throne and authority. And they worshiped the dragon for he has given his authority to the beast, and they worshiped the beast, saying, 'Who is like the beast, and who can fight against it?'" So in talking about his personality, there are several things that are worth noting and I mention very quickly. One, he is a Gentile, not a Jew. That comes from the fact that he rises out of the Gentile nations.

Chapter 17 of Revelation speaks of these nations, or the seas rather in turmoil and turbulence as being the languages and the nations and the peoples of the world. So when it says the beast rises out of this raging sea, this turbulent tribulation, it's an indicator that he is not a Jewish messiah but a Gentile ruler. We're told that he has ten horns and seven heads and ten crowns, all of this illustrative, symbolic language to indicate his power and his authority. The horns represent power and authority, the crowned head symbolizes his rule. This is all in accordance to what the prophet Daniel gave us seven hundred years before. And I would love to take you back to the book of Daniel because the Last Days are prescribed and prophesied not only in the New Testament but in the Old Testament; the book of Daniel for one. And in Daniel he spoke of the man of sin and the lawless one and the last one; called him the little horn. And he spoke of kingdoms that would come and prophesied with these animals.

And when you read here, we've got to take time to do this, alright? Look at verse 2; it says and the beast was like a leopard, he was like a bear, and he was like a lion's mouth, and the dragon gave him power. And so you had the leopard on his feet, the bear, and his mouth, the lion's mouth. That's all right out of the book of Daniel who was describing the great kingdoms of the world in ancient history. Babylonian kingdom, that's the lion; the Medo-Persian kingdom, that is the bear; the Greek kingdom or the kingdom of Greece which is the leopard; and then the Roman legion which came with the iron fist of Rome and controlled the world. And ultimately, you just got to study a little more on this, or take my word for it right now, ultimately the antichrist will preside over a commonwealth, a coalition of nations in Europe that represent a revived Roman Empire.

And the action that we read in Scripture all takes place, not in America, but in this confederation of nations, a revived European council, if you will, which seems to be happening even today at some level, a coalescing. You have the Euro now and many other signs that Europe is confederating for the future. And ultimately the antichrist will seize power. He'll make a promise to Israel. Israel will be in great trouble during the Tribulation, and can barely stand, and so the antichrist, the beast will come as a friend to Israel, make a covenant, make a contract, betray Israel, it's all happening there.

When you read your Bible you see Israel, you see Middle East, you see Iran, you see evidences of China, Russia-Gog and Magog. All the action is somewhere else, and you have to ask yourself the question: In prophecy where is America? Where in the world is America? Because America is absent in the prophetic Scriptures. The Scriptures are silent regarding the United States! America is missing in action. Why is that? What happens to America? Today America, of course, is a world super power; the key player in the political action of the world affairs. But even the most optimistic regarding America know that our powers and our presence is diminishing in the world. The national debt is particularly troubling. The debt this country owes. But beyond money, the moral decline, the moral meltdown of this nation is sobering, startling and no nation has survived the moral decay that we are experiencing as a country at this hour.

We know that God said I will bless those that bless Israel and curse those who curse Israel. And if America ever chooses to back off from our closest ally in the middle east, Israel then trouble is ahead and I'm just naming you some of the ways in which I believe why America is not on the scene in the last days. Economic collapse, national debt, moral disintegration, spiritual decline! Another reason America would be out of the scene is when the rapture happens, there millions of Christians in the United States who will be gone. Just like that. So that certainly affects the future of America doesn't it? When millions of Christians in the U.S. are no longer here it will trigger the end of America as we know it, thus all the action in the Revelation is in Europe and in the middle east and in China and in Russia.

This beast, described as a powerful persuader, not only will he be a person, a gentile person and not a Jew but he will be a powerful persuader, a compelling communicator. And people blinded by their sin will be deceived and duped into the lies of the antichrist. Look back in Revelation 13 chapter 13 verse 5: "And the beast was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words and it was allowed to exercise authority for 42 months," that's the second half of the tribulation. So he's got a mouth on him. And he convinces people with words.

You know all great leaders, good or bad (great-good, great-bad), have the ability to communicate and persuade. Hitler had that! In the midst of the struggles of Germany and the poverty of Germany, Hitler with his powerful, persuasive oratorical skills gained command of Germany and nearly the world. And so powerful communicators, he will use words, he will be convincing and compelling and he will shape opinions. He will certainly control media. And when he talks here about his words in Revelation 13, the world will hear his words and worship him! He won't even need a teleprompter when he speaks. He'll just speak and people will believe because he'll be energized by Satan. And there will be an image built of the antichrist and the whole world will worship him. He does it with wonders, he does it with signs and miracles.

And ultimately, I'm going to close with this, there is a mark that is given. You've heard of the mark of the beast: 666. We're told in Revelation 13 about this mark. Verse 18 says: "Let the one who has understanding calculate the number of the beast for it is the number of a man, and his number is 666". Six is the number for man; six-falling short of seven, the number for God; six-man was created on the sixth day, six days shall he work, and so on. So six is the number of man. You have it three times. Three is the number for the Trinity. So 666 is man deified. 666. And so there will be some kind of mark, probably a digital mark, a brand, if you will, a digital brand. They'll put it in your forehead; put it on your hand. You know, can't you just see guys walking up, say, "put it right there; just put it right there".

Our dogs have a little digital piece in them right now. If they get lost, we can go find them, hopefully. So digital mechanisms and computer chips and all the rest. It will be easy to control commerce with this mark because we're told that the mark of the beast means that you will neither buy or sell without it. Verse 16 and 17: "And it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name".

So in other words, the purpose of the mark is merchandising. It's controlling commerce. How do you rule? How do you rule? You rule the money. It's the golden rule: he who has the gold rules. That's why many of these CEO's and boards in some of these corporations that are yielding to sin in their midst is because they care more about the money. It's always been about the money! Always about the money! And Satan knows if he can control the money, he can control mankind. So you won't buy medicine, you won't buy clothing, you won't buy housing, you won't buy anything without the mark, without the brand of the beast.

So I have a closing question to ask you. Are you a name or are you a number? The Scripture tells us right here in the Revelation, chapter 13 and verse 8 that there is a book, the Lamb's Book of Life and the names of those who are saved, who are on their way to heaven are recorded, their names are recorded in that book. When I was a little boy, six years of age, I went forward under a tent where an evangelist was preaching, and I professed my faith in Christ and received Jesus into my life as my Savior and Lord. I've been following Him ever since. On that day there was a recording angel who wrote my name in the Lamb's Book of Life. And if you have trusted Christ, if you are a follower of Jesus your name is there, too. "There's a new name written down in glory, and it's mine, oh yes, it's mine".

I'm in there! And nobody's going to wipe it out. Nobody's going to blot it out. It's permanent! We're secure in Christ! It's written in the royal blood of Jesus! So I ask you, is your name there? Is your name? Are you a name or are you a number? The Christ knows your name; the antichrist's got your number. And you get to choose whether you are going to follow Christ or antichrist, and you choose today. You choose today by trusting in him and following Jesus who died for you on the cross and rose again so that you can have eternal life.

So I'm going to ask that every head be bowed and every eye closed. These are serious times, sobering times, scary times in many ways but we live in hope because we know Christ. We live in certainty and security and if you want to know that security that hope in Christ today pray a prayer like this from your heart, Lord Jesus I want to know you and follow you, I trust you as my savior, I turn from my sin I trust in you. The Bible says whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. So just say Jesus, Jesus, save me, make me your child, and give me the strength to profess you and openly follow you all the days of my life until you come for me. Are you a name or are you a number? I guarantee you according to God's word, if you are praying to receive Christ right now your name is written down in the lamb's book of life. Make sure it's there by trusting Christ today.
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