The seemingly endless battle between good and evil is very evident in the world today. The Bible clearly reveals that ‘good’ will ultimately prevail. However, before the final victory is won the battle will intensify until God openly intervenes at the appointed time and emerges the victor.
The Bible states that God will permit ‘lawlessness’ to escalate just before the return of Christ in victory.
“Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ…Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God…showing himself that he is God…For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work…”
II Thessalonians 2:1-7
A sobering truth is “the mystery of lawlessness is already at work…”
The seven year time period signaling the climax of the battle of good and evil was first revealed in the book of Daniel. The angel Gabriel was dispatched by God to reveal to Daniel the future of his people, i.e. the Jews. Gabriel is the angel that bears good news to God’s people. Gabriel summarized God’s plan to Daniel for the Jews with a 490 year time period. 483 years were fulfilled at the death of Christ. Between the death of Christ and His return is an unspecified gap of time. The beginning of the last 7 year period can be identified when the ‘son of perdition’ mentioned above signs a 7 year treaty with the Jews.
“Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week (7 years); but in the middle of the week He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering.” Daniel 9:27
Jesus Himself warned of this deceitful one when asked by His disciples when He would return:
“Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many…Therefore when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet… let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains…for then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be.” Matthew 24:3-21
Jesus calls the deceiver ‘the abomination of desolation’, Paul calls him ‘the son of perdition’, the Apostle John in his epistles calls him ‘the Antichrist’ and in the Revelation he is called ‘the beast’.
In the Revelation, as Jesus opens the seven seals of the scroll, the first seal known also as the first horseman of the apocalypse, is identified as the Antichrist.
“Now I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals…And I looked, and behold, a white horse. He who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer.” Revelation 6:1-2
The above verses begin the 7 year tribulation period. Notice that the rider was given a crown. He carried a bow without arrows indicating he would begin his 7 year reign by offering a deceitful ‘peace’ treaty. But as Gabriel announced to Daniel, after 3½ years the treaty would be broken and total chaos would break out.
“And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he was given authority to continue for forty-two months. Then he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name…And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation…If anyone has an ear, let him hear…he who kills with the sword must be killed with the sword.” Revelation 13:5-10
Notice again that this beast is given his authority by the sovereign God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
One tactic of the Antichrist will be to control all economic activity. The Antichrist will have a partner called the false prophet to enforce his edicts.
“Then I saw another beast…He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast…” Revelation 13:11-17
Christ will return at Armageddon to end the 7 year period of chaos and destroy the Antichrist and false prophet.
“Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war…Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod or iron…Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who…deceived those who received the mark of the beast…These two were cast alive into the lake of fire…” Revelation 19:11-21
There will be countless individuals who will refuse to worship the Antichrist during the 7 year tribulation period. Those who choose martyrdom will be beheaded during the tribulation but afterwards rewarded when Christ returns and establishes His kingdom in Jerusalem.
“…Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness of Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on the foreheads or on their hands…And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years” Revelation 20:4
In summary, the Bible’s dire expectation will come to a head with the appearance of Antichrist. He is described in the Bible as one who blasphemes God by denying the deity of Jesus Christ. The Bible states that the spirit of Antichrist is already present in the world. The Bible further states that Antichrist will initiate a false 7 year peace treaty with the Jews. After 3½ years the treaty will be broken and Antichrist will claim to be God. All those who align with Antichrist will receive a mark on their forehead or hands to show their allegiance. Many of those that refuse will be beheaded. Christ will return to earth at the end of the 7 year tribulation and destroy both the Antichrist and false prophet. He will then establish His millennial kingdom headquartered in Jerusalem.