Summary: So much speculation. Why not just read what the Word actually says? We start with the "sign" of Matthew 24.
Who is he? Is he alive today? How will we recognize him? Won’t Jesus come first?
The subject at hand is not exactly new for me. Those who have followed my works online have seen full commentaries on the book of Revelation and Daniel, plus several other smaller works about “last things.” It’s a topic that won’t go away. And why should it? Our life is about eternity, and we are of course curious about the passageway to that place.
Please join me now on this search for deeper understanding of what God has told us in His Word about the man of sin.
“Who cares?” is surely a response to my title on some Christian fronts. My answer is that the Holy Spirit cares. Through Daniel, John, Paul, and the very Son of God, He has given us an answer to the question asked by some of the first disciples. Do you remember the incident? It is recorded in Matthew 24:3. They wanted to know specifically when Jesus would return to them, and what would be the sign of that coming. Jesus gave them a very specific answer. But we have been locked in a traditional interpretation for so long that we are afraid to venture out and listen to what He really said. His response was clear and understandable. And knowing that response is the first step in knowing the “who” behind the “what” that is coming.
We’ll talk about all that later. My point here is to respond to the somewhat lazy attitude of many western Christians to the Word of God. Some of it comes from teachings disseminated by those opposed to the literal meanings of Scripture. For them, antichrist is a force, or a church system, and the question that I raise is preposterous. They believe that narrowing everything down to one man in one short period of time is not an option. But in the end, Scripture reveals such a man and his personal demise in the Lake of Fire (Revelation 19:20). Empires and church systems are not normally thrown into perdition all at once. But men are.
I am not yet quite as old as was Daniel, who was physically overwhelmed when he received the messages we will examine. But even at my age, dealing with the revelations he saw (and we need no new ones, thank you!) is a bit draining. The implications raised by the facts I have discovered are mind-consuming as well as time-consuming. The pictures conjured up because of the staggering truths of our future tend to crowd out lesser thoughts. And this too is an answer to those who would still say, Who cares?
I care, for one. The Spirit told us all in Revelation 13:18, “Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast…” and in Matthew 24:15, “...whoever reads, let him understand.” Wisdom, knowledge, understanding, are not forbidden by Scripture, especially knowledge of His Holy Word. Only a love-less proclamation of that knowledge or an attempt to bring pride and glory to self because of that wisdom are condemned in the Word (I Corinthians 13).
Would so many chapters be devoted to the end-time theme if God meant His people to remain blind and ignorant? No, let’s give to the study of every detail of the Word the same time and energy we might otherwise spend on true vanities, such as sports activities, the media in general, and all else the world has to offer for our distraction. Those who say “Who cares?” need to be asked what their own priorities are.
We’ve all heard it said, “I’m looking for the Christ, not the antichrist!” But, pre-tribulation message notwithstanding, the apostle Paul adamantly affirms that the day of Christ’s revelation will not precede the day of the antichrist’s . Though some may be convinced that somewhere hidden in Paul’s words is the secret knowledge Paul had that Jesus would be stealthily snatching away believers seven years before this revelation, the Scripture is truly silent about such a thing. But even if it were so, can it do harm for us to be diligently searching the Scriptures so that we know when our visitation from above is drawing near? What could possibly be a more important way to spend our free time than in digging into God’s Word and sharing our findings with those around us?
If antichrist is coming, will it not be good to know where He will arise, and where not? What political situation must be in place before he takes power? A little of his background?
In the pages to follow, I have tried to exercise a slavish obedience to the text as it is written, with no apologies. It is the doctoring of texts, the smoothing of them for rational moderns (now called post-moderns, I am told. No matter, it’s the same unbelief) that eventually waters them down altogether and causes seekers to go away empty.