Category Archives: ESCHATOLOGY (END TIMES) / PROPHECY

Why were the disciples discouraged from looking up in Acts chapter 1?

WHY WERE THE DISCIPLES DISCOURAGED FROM LOOKING UP IN ACTS CHAPTER 1?

by Shawn Brasseaux

“And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven” (Acts 1:10-11). Why did the angels ask the Apostles, Why stand ye gazing up into heaven?”

The Book of Acts begins: “[1] The former treatise have I made [that is, the Bible Book of Luke], O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, [2] Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen: [3] To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God: [4] And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. [5] For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.

“[6] When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? [7] And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. [8] But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. [9] And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.”

The Apostles are stunned when the resurrected Lord Jesus, physically and visibly, suddenly soars upward into the sky! As they watch Him ascending, two angels appear and ask them, “Why stand ye gazing up into heaven?” Should they have been looking into Heaven? (No!)

Acts begins with Jesus spnding 40 days with His Apostles during His resurrection and ascension. Verse 3 says He spoke of “the things pertaining to the kingdom of God”—see Matthew chapter 28, Mark chapter 16, Luke chapter 24, John chapter 21, and Acts chapter 1. Before ascending into Heaven from the Mount of Olives, Jesus told them they should not leave Jerusalem. Verses 4 and 5: “…wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.”

The Apostles, having heard Him talk about the kingdom of God those last 40 days, ask Him in verse 6, “Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?” Notice again.” The only kingdom Israel ever had was a literal, physical, earthly kingdom—its apex with Kings David and Solomon. Rather than rebuke them—“No, I am talking about a spiritual kingdom in the hearts of men, not a literal earthly kingdom. I am about to start the spiritual Body of Christ” (what people assume Jesus said)—Jesus simply told them in verses 7 and 8: “It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” The time-schedule of that coming literal, physical, visible, earthly kingdom is withheld from these Apostles.

Yet, they start looking up as the Lord Jesus Christ goes into Heaven (our opening comments). They have not been mindful of His instructions to them. Several weeks earlier, just before His crucifixion, Jesus had told His Apostles: “[25] And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; [26] Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. [27] And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. [28] And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh” (Luke chapter 21). Believing Israel was not to look up until they saw certain signs. Those signs were absent in Acts chapter 1; therefore, Israel was not to be looking up in Acts chapter 1! The angels asked the Apostles why they were looking up to prompt them to remember Jesus’ words.

Furthermore, Jesus had told them to wait for the Holy Spirit who would come days later: “[5] For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence…. [8] But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” They were not to be looking up as though Jesus would return right there in Acts chapter 1 because He was not coming back at that time.

God’s Word told Israel not to look up for Christ’s return until certain events transpired. Let us compare and contrast this with His Word to us concerning Christ’s return.

Acts 1:10-11 declares the 12 Apostles looked “stedfastly” toward Heaven. They were not merely watching Christ Jesus ascend. Rather, they continued to look up. It was an intense gaze, not casual observation. Perhaps they even looked up long after He was out of sight. In spite of His instructions not to look for His return until they saw certain events (Luke 21:25-28), they looked up for Him to reappear immediately to “restore again the kingdom to Israel” (Acts 1:6). As we ask someone doing wrong, “Hey, what are you doing?,” to cause him or her to realize misconduct, so the angels asked the Apostles, Why stand ye gazing up into heaven?”

Jesus told Israel’s believing remnant—particularly His 12 Apostles—they were not to look up for His Second Coming (for them) until they saw specific phenomena. Contrariwise, when describing Christ coming for us (the Church His Body), Scripture says nothing about preceding signs. For example, see 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, 1 Corinthians 15:51-55, Philippians 3:20, Titus 2:13, and 2 Thessalonians 2:1-2. There will be no warning signs concerning this coming (for the Body of Christ). In contrast to Israel anticipating the Second Coming, we should be looking for the Rapture to occur at any time. Only in Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon, do we find this doctrine of the Body of Christ being caught up from Earth into Heaven. Us searching for the Rapture elsewhere in Scripture will introduce unanswerable confusion.

A thoughtful and prayerful consideration of the Bible reveals two future comings of Christ Jesus. To force all verses about “Christ’s coming” to apply to one event is dangerous. We must not combine what God has separated; we must not mixed what God told us to “rightly divide” (2 Timothy 2:15). These two future comings of Christ are separate!

Also see:
» Was an apostle merely one who had seen Christ’s resurrection?
» Who will accompany Jesus at His Second Coming?
» Are we “doom and gloom” prophecy believers?

Who or what is “the desire of all nations?”

WHO OR WHAT IS “THE DESIRE OF ALL NATIONS?”

by Shawn Brasseaux

Who or what is “the desire of all nations” in Haggai 2:7? “And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the LORD of hosts.” In this study, we will consider the two common views of the term, and use the context to identify the correct definition.

One idea is it refers to Jerusalem. In light of verse 8, it is said that all nations will desire Jerusalem and bring their wealth to Jerusalem: “The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the LORD of hosts.” They then pair the verse with Isaiah 60:6,11; Isaiah 61:6; and Zechariah 14:14. This is a rather bizarre interpretation, as Jerusalem does not agree with the word “coming” in verse 7. Is Jerusalem “coming?” Of course not. “The desire of all nations shall come” is impending, approaching. Who or what could this possibly be?

The other view is that “the desire of all nations shall come” is a reference to Messiah/Christ. This is the most likely scenario, seeing as to the context describes the glory of the LORD coming and returning to Jerusalem: “[6] For thus saith the LORD of hosts; Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land; [7] And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the LORD of hosts. [8] The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the LORD of hosts. [9] The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, saith the LORD of hosts: and in this place will I give peace, saith the LORD of hosts.

Ezekiel the Prophet foresaw God’s glory returning to Jerusalem, which is the event necessary to start the Millennial Reign. Chapter 43: “[1] Afterward he brought me to the gate, even the gate that looketh toward the east: [2] And, behold, the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east: and his voice was like a noise of many waters: and the earth shined with his glory. [3] And it was according to the appearance of the vision which I saw, even according to the vision that I saw when I came to destroy the city: and the visions were like the vision that I saw by the river Chebar; and I fell upon my face. [4] And the glory of the LORD came into the house [Millennial Temple] by the way of the gate whose prospect is toward the east. [5] So the spirit took me up, and brought me into the inner court; and, behold, the glory of the LORD filled the house.” This Millennial Temple—previewed by Zerubbabel’s Temple under construction during Haggai’s ministry—will function throughout the 1,000-Year Reign of Jesus Christ on Earth.

God’s glory, in the Person of Jesus Christ, will return to Jerusalem at His Second Coming. “And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it” (Isaiah 40:5). “[1] Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee [Israel]. [2] For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee (Isaiah 60:1-2; Messiah’s coming occurred in the closing verses of chapter 59.)

Some individuals would ask how Jesus Christ is “the desire of all nations.” After all, the world certainly does not want Him today. Indeed, if they had the chance, they would eagerly crucify Him on a cross again! However, as with all Bible themes, we must look at this whole matter dispensationally. Worldwide revival will occur at His Second Coming. Conditions on Earth today will be quite different after our Dispensation of Grace closes and the prophetic program resumes. Again, let the Bible speak for itself.

“Yea, all kings shall fall down before him: all nations shall serve him [the Lord Jesus Christ] (Psalm 72:11). “His name shall endure for ever: his name shall be continued as long as the sun: and men shall be blessed in him: all nations shall call him blessed (Psalm 72:17). All nations whom thou hast made shall come and worship before thee, O LORD; and shall glorify thy name (Psalm 86:9). “Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest” (Revelation 15:4).

Zechariah chapter 8: “[20] Thus saith the LORD of hosts; It shall yet come to pass, that there shall come people, and the inhabitants of many cities: [21] And the inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, Let us go speedily to pray before the LORD, and to seek the LORD of hosts: I will go also. [22] Yea, many people and strong nations shall come to seek the LORD of hosts in Jerusalem, and to pray before the LORD. [23] Thus saith the LORD of hosts; In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you.

Also see:
» What is the “Apocalypse?”
» Who will be Israel’s King in the Millennium—Jesus Christ or David?
» Are we “doom and gloom” prophecy believers?

Is that a UFO in Ezekiel chapter 1?

IS THAT A UFO IN EZEKIEL CHAPTER 1?

by Shawn Brasseaux

We should be careful not to read science fiction into the Bible. One case in point is the idea that “space aliens” landed on Earth in Ezekiel chapter 1 in some kind of craft or UFO (unidentified flying object). This is nothing but nonsense, empty speculations and people’s imaginations clouding the simple truths of Holy Writ. Mark well these words, friends: trouble is sure to come when people use mythology or Hollywood to interpret Scripture!

Begin reading in Ezekiel chapter 1: “[1] Now it came to pass in the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, in the fifth day of the month, as I was among the captives by the river of Chebar, that the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God. [2] In the fifth day of the month, which was the fifth year of king Jehoiachin’s captivity, [3] The word of the LORD came expressly unto Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans by the river Chebar; and the hand of the LORD was there upon him.

“[4] And I looked, and, behold, a whirlwind came out of the north, a great cloud, and a fire infolding itself, and a brightness was about it, and out of the midst thereof as the colour of amber, out of the midst of the fire. [5] Also out of the midst thereof came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance; they had the likeness of a man. [6] And every one had four faces, and every one had four wings. [7] And their feet were straight feet; and the sole of their feet was like the sole of a calf’s foot: and they sparkled like the colour of burnished brass. [8] And they had the hands of a man under their wings on their four sides; and they four had their faces and their wings. [9] Their wings were joined one to another; they turned not when they went; they went every one straight forward.

“[10] As for the likeness of their faces, they four had the face of a man, and the face of a lion, on the right side: and they four had the face of an ox on the left side; they four also had the face of an eagle. [11] Thus were their faces: and their wings were stretched upward; two wings of every one were joined one to another, and two covered their bodies. [12] And they went every one straight forward: whither the spirit was to go, they went; and they turned not when they went. [13] As for the likeness of the living creatures, their appearance was like burning coals of fire, and like the appearance of lamps: it went up and down among the living creatures; and the fire was bright, and out of the fire went forth lightning. [14] And the living creatures ran and returned as the appearance of a flash of lightning.

“[15] Now as I beheld the living creatures, behold one wheel upon the earth by the living creatures, with his four faces. [16] The appearance of the wheels and their work was like unto the colour of a beryl: and they four had one likeness: and their appearance and their work was as it were a wheel in the middle of a wheel. [17] When they went, they went upon their four sides: and they turned not when they went. [18] As for their rings, they were so high that they were dreadful; and their rings were full of eyes round about them four. [19] And when the living creatures went, the wheels went by them: and when the living creatures were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up. [20] Whithersoever the spirit was to go, they went, thither was their spirit to go; and the wheels were lifted up over against them: for the spirit of the living creature was in the wheels. [21] When those went, these went; and when those stood, these stood; and when those were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up over against them: for the spirit of the living creature was in the wheels.

“[22] And the likeness of the firmament upon the heads of the living creature was as the colour of the terrible crystal, stretched forth over their heads above. 23 And under the firmament were their wings straight, the one toward the other: every one had two, which covered on this side, and every one had two, which covered on that side, their bodies. [24] And when they went, I heard the noise of their wings, like the noise of great waters, as the voice of the Almighty, the voice of speech, as the noise of an host: when they stood, they let down their wings. [25] And there was a voice from the firmament that was over their heads, when they stood, and had let down their wings.

“[26] And above the firmament that was over their heads was the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone: and upon the likeness of the throne was the likeness as the appearance of a man above upon it. [27] And I saw as the colour of amber, as the appearance of fire round about within it, from the appearance of his loins even upward, and from the appearance of his loins even downward, I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and it had brightness round about. [28] As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. And when I saw it, I fell upon my face, and I heard a voice of one that spake.”

One common theme throughout the Book of Ezekiel is that God’s throne (His presence, the “Shekinah glory”) should be in Israel’s midst and yet He is gradually withdrawing from them. They have been such a sinful people, so idolatrous, that He is now leaving them to their own ways (see Hosea 5:15; cf. 2 Chronicles 36:23). Four cherubim (spirit beings similar to angels, though not exactly the same) carry His throne on an enormous wheeled platform. We can view this as a colossal chariot, carrying Divine judgment to Israel (namely, Judah, the Southern Kingdom, since the Northern Kingdom has already been judged). The LORD God’s peaceful presence should be abiding with them but they had broken His covenant of Law so they are reaping the curses of Leviticus chapter 26 and Deuteronomy chapter 28.

There are three phases to God’s withdrawal from Israel and her Jerusalem Temple recorded in the Book of Ezekiel. There are also three phases of her political fall (the three times “overturn” appears in Ezekiel 21:25-27 correspond to the last three kings of Judah—Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin, and Zedekiah [see 2 Kings 24:1-7, 2 Kings 24:8-20, and 2 Kings 25:1-30]).

  • Ezekiel 10:4: “Then the glory of the LORD went up from the cherub, and stood over the threshold of the house [the Temple]; and the house was filled with the cloud, and the court was full of the brightness of the LORD’S glory.”
  • Ezekiel 10:18: “Then the glory of the LORD departed from off the threshold of the house, and stood over the cherubims.”
  • Ezekiel 10:23: “And the glory of the LORD went up from the midst of the city [Jerusalem], and stood upon the mountain which is on the east side of the city [Mount of Olives].”

The glory of the LORD will not return to Jerusalem until the Second Coming of Christ, as predicted in Ezekiel 43:1-4 (cf. Ezekiel 21:25-27 and Luke 1:31-33).

Also see:
» Should we Bible-believers investigate and promulgate conspiracy theories?
» What does the Bible say about “ghosts?”
» Are we “doom and gloom” prophecy believers?

Will computers ever destroy us and dominate the world?

WILL COMPUTERS EVER DESTROY US AND DOMINATE THE WORLD?

by Shawn Brasseaux

It is a fascinating concept! With electronics becoming increasingly complicated, more powerful, and playing bigger roles in our daily lives, some people wonder about so-called “artificial intelligence” eventually getting out of control. Will computers ever gain the wherewithal to outsmart us, war against us, and wipe us from existence? Could there ever be a planet Earth run entirely by robots, with the human race extinct?

The technology we enjoy today was once science fiction. As robots become more efficient, automation thus multiplying, fewer human workers will be needed and millions of jobs will be lost. Self-driving cars are already being built and tested (albeit limited at the moment). At stores, self-checkout counters allow customers to purchase items with little to no interaction with a human cashier. Drones are already delivering packages by mail. Robots can place phone calls and actually understand human speech patterns so as to communicate with human callers. Physicians can even examine patients long-distance through computers connected via the internet. Voice-controlled machines—virtual assistants (think of the “talking” software in smartphones and smart-speakers)—are more commonplace than ever. With our spoken voice, we can command our cellphone to do an internet search, or direct a smart speaker to order products from websites. One hundred years ago, this would have been all been considered “magic.” Ten years ago, it was somewhat conceivable but not a reality. Today, well, it is existent!!

With the above scenarios now true, we begin to see problems arising. If computers can mimic human speech, if they can perform tasks that we cannot (or can execute jobs quicker than we can), then who is to say that they would not entirely replace us at some point? Would these robots ever become conscious of the fact that they would have to eliminate us in order for them to run the world? Is it possible that they would actually go through with our annihilation? For decades now, these ideas have been entertained. Could there be any merit in them?

Individuals who fear computers rebelling against us and wiping out human civilization are interested in a narrative all too familiar. Was there ever a time in human history when we decided to turn away from and ignore our origin? To put it bluntly, did not our father Adam turn on his Creator, rebelling against Him and doing what he could to eliminate Him from his mind (Genesis chapter 3)? Sure! Do not hesitate to believe it! Did not the nations forsake the one true God so that they originated the world religions at the Tower of Babel (Genesis chapter 11; Romans 1:18-32)? Yes!

If ever there were a day when computers deliberately plotted against and conquered mankind, it would be the ultimate testimony to the Bible dictum, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (Galatians 6:7). However, this author does not adopt—and will, quite frankly, never espouse—the notion that computers will destroy us and become the chief rulers of the world. If he were an atheist, then, of course, he would fret immeasurably, for he would see humans as the highest form of beings. If humans were ever “de-throned,” we would have no hope in and of ourselves to overthrow our new rulers. Since he is a Bible-believing Christian, however, he knows that the Lord Jesus Christ is there (as present as ever) and He will make the final decision as to how far mankind will be allowed to destroy himself. The God of the Bible has let—and will continue to allow—mankind reap the consequences of his willfulness and sinfulness. Nevertheless, He is also full of pity, so man will never make a full end of himself. Despite what man has done to destroy God’s creation, God will fulfill His original purpose in it.

Science-fiction books and films—originating from people with great imaginations—fuel the fear and pessimism that come with “artificial intelligence.” Let us go ahead and call it paranoia. While almost anything is possible (what is reality today was inconceivable decades ago, recall), we had better start concerning ourselves with more important matters than computers mimicking human thought to the point where they overtake us in the world. Societal problems plague us, issues that computers know nothing about. Humans will have to look to something beyond themselves to solve those problems… and even computers causing the human race to go extinct are unable to purge us of the evil that lies within us and throughout the world system.

The fastest supercomputers of our day are still no match for our brain. It is illogical to ever entertain the notion that the invention will become more powerful than the inventor, that the creation will conquer the creator. It simply cannot be, whether in the natural world or the spiritual world. No effect is greater than its cause. The creature is surely never to become the Creator—except in the land of folly, in the deluded mind of the creature. Once the creature moves down that path, he will then be led to believe that someone or something will try to overtake him. Frankly, the fears associated with “supreme” artificial intelligence are simply man’s guilty conscience reminding him of his rebellion against his Creator and resulting Fall back in the Garden of Eden!

Returning to the issue of the creation (computer) rebelling against the creator (human), the most significant reality is that we have made every attempt—and are still doing so—to eliminate the LORD God from our thinking. Our Creator is often not in that discussion about uncontrollable artificial intelligence. There is always the issue of what we are going to do to protect or improve ourselves. (The same can be said of the conservationists and environmentalists trying to use rules and regulations to keep Earth perpetually going!) Almighty God is simply not in the picture. When we adopt the Bible viewpoint, we see that the Creator God has an ultimate purpose in the heavens and the earth. It involves people, not robots, but people just like ourselves. When we read about Jesus Christ returning at His glorious Second Coming—Revelation chapter 19—He is fighting sinful men who have tried to take His throne from Him and annihilate His people Israel. He is the conquering Hero; His enemies vanquished. Sinful man is far more a threat to himself than computers are to him!

Ultimately, what we need to be concerned with is not computers dominating the world and taking our lives. The far greater threat is that sin will rob us of our spiritual lives. Without faith alone in Jesus Christ alone, we will go to a Devil’s Hell forever! “The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23). “For God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). Christ “was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification” (Romans 4:25). This is how we are saved from the eternal penalty of our sin and sins! “Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). “Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness” (Romans 4:4-5). “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31).

Friend, we had better be far more concerned with passing from spiritual death to spiritual life, than whether or not machines will replace human civilization. God would be just in letting the works of our own hands turn on us, but that simply will not happen. He Himself will take care of that. No matter how far man will go, there will be a day of reckoning. All that is wrong will be set right. The Lord Jesus Christ Himself will see to it.

Also see:
» I believed the Gospel, so why do they not believe?
» Should we Bible believers investigate and promulgate conspiracy theories?
» Are we “doom and gloom” prophecy believers?

Why is “666” the number of the Beast?

WHY IS “666” THE NUMBER OF THE BEAST?

by Shawn Brasseaux

The following Bible passage is known far and wide: “[16] And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: [17] And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. [18] Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six (Revelation 13:16-18). With a “score” being equivalent to 20, the verse furnishes us with the following mathematical formula: 600 + 60 + 6 = 666. But, what is so significant about “666?” Why is this the number—and not “665,” “2,” or “999,” for example? Exactly what role does “666” play in the Antichrist’s arrival?

CONFUSION! (CONFUSION! CONFUSION!)

Ironically (and most regrettably), as touching Bible topics, culture and vain religion have impacted our thinking far more than the Holy Bible itself. This is certainly true of Bible prophecy, and especially the “number of the Beast.” (Another highly misunderstood topic along these lines is “the mark of the Beast.” For a treatment of that concept, please refer to our companion article linked at the end of this study.)

In smugness and lightheartedness, mockers of Christianity tattoo “666” on their bodies, write it in their online posts, use it flippantly in speech, and so on. Some interpret the phrase “the number of his name” as really suggesting the number of letters in his name. Decades ago, for instance, former United States President Ronald Wilson Reagan (count the letters in his full name) was suspected as being the Antichrist. Such speculations are made about ancient Roman Emperor Nero too. Counting letters in someone’s name to see if he may be the Antichrist has led to such wild speculations that it would be best for us not to go that route. It is as profitable as the rumors spread by those who feared the date June 6, 2006 (06/06/06), still dread getting a “666” address or telephone number, avoid labeling airline flights and bills of legislation as “666,” and so on.

Superstition and alarm are expected where Bible ignorance abounds and faith lacks. People often do not study Scripture itself, but they are quite familiar with books written about Scripture. Therefore, the elaborate and endless conjectures of unsaved theologians and other “experts” have taken precedence over the actual Bible text. Despite abounding commentary though, Bible understanding is quite shallow. If Holy Writ speaks of “666,” and it certainly does, then we in this study insist on closing our ears and eyes to the vain speculations of men and are become resolute in opening them to the Bible’s self-interpretation. Far better we have eternal Scripture verses supporting our view than relying on the opinions of mortal, fallible men such as ourselves!

CLARITY! (CLARITY! CLARITY!)

The best method of interpreting the Bible is to find related verses found in the Bible. As noted earlier, this will prove far more useful than appealing to “scholarship,” church tradition, history, hunches, et cetera. Varying opinions and assumptions mean nothing in light of God’s eternal Word. They will only lead to more darkness (and there is more than enough of that already!). In the ensuing pages, we aim to be as simple as possible about a topic people have needlessly complicated. Again, the key is to let the Scriptures themselves lay the basis for our understanding.

Genesis 1:31 is the first time where the number 6 appears in Scripture. This passage sets the stage and attitude of the Bible concerning the number 6. Read for yourself: “[26] And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. [27] So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. [28] And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

“[29] And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. [30] And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so. [31] And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.”

The LORD God created man on the sixth day, so 6 is the Bible’s number for man. Three, on the other hand, is the number of God (think of the Trinity/Godhead—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). That human connotation of the number 6 in Scripture is apparent when we read Revelation 13:18: “…for it is the number of a man. The Antichrist is the personification or embodiment of Satan’s policy of evil. He is, in one being, everything that Satan intends to accomplish in creation. The Antichrist is the perfect example of what it is like to live exclusively for self—apart from the words and influence of the one true God. He “does his own thing,” and he behaves as though he is “his own authority.”

Second Thessalonians chapter 2 speaks of Antichrist’s arrival: “[3] Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; [4] Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.” Here is exactly what Lucifer intended to do when he was transformed into Satan (Isaiah 14:12-15; Ezekiel 28:11-19). Lucifer endeavored to counterfeit God in order to receive worship that belonged only to God (cf. Matthew 4:8-10; Luke 4:5-8).

Six is the number of the Beast’s “name,” with “name” carrying the idea of character or authority. Again, the Beast is the pinnacle of natural-man wisdom. We see his perverted philosophies underscored throughout the Book of Ecclesiastes. The Holy Spirit warns us of worldly wisdom in the first three chapters of 1 Corinthians. “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ” (Colossians 2:8). The evil world system that began in Genesis chapter 3 (before us), and will give rise to the Antichrist (beyond us), it is here with us even now. We had better be sure to understand God’s Word rightly divided, or that evil world system will deceive us!

One supernatural characteristic of the Bible is its ability to preview or typify future events. There are various historical characters (“types”) scattered throughout Scripture—at least 18—whose qualities and behaviors provide us with hints as to what the Antichrist (“antitype”) will be like. We want to focus on three on them, and note well their relation to the number “6.”

Giant Goliath in 1 Samuel chapter 17: “[4] And there went out a champion out of the camp of the Philistines, named Goliath, of Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span [6 cubits = 9 feet = 2.7 meters; 1 span = 9 inches = 0.23 meters] [total height = 9 feet 9 inches = 2.93 meters]. [5] And he had an helmet of brass upon his head, and he was armed with a coat of mail; and the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels of brass. [6] And he had greaves of brass upon his legs, and a target of brass between his shoulders. [7] And the staff of his spear was like a weaver’s beam; and his spear’s head weighed six hundred shekels of iron: and one bearing a shield went before him.” (Notice how “six” appears here. Goliath is a type or picture of Antichrist—he is an oppressor, challenger, and ridiculer of Israel. Check Revelation 12:1-6 and Revelation 13:1-18.)

King Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel chapter 3: “[1] Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold, whose height was threescore cubits [60 cubits = 90 feet = 27 meters], and the breadth thereof six cubits [9 feet = 2.7 meters]: he set it up in the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon. [2] Then Nebuchadnezzar the king sent to gather together the princes, the governors, and the captains, the judges, the treasurers, the counsellors, the sheriffs, and all the rulers of the provinces, to come to the dedication of the image which Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up. [3] Then the princes, the governors, and captains, the judges, the treasurers, the counsellors, the sheriffs, and all the rulers of the provinces, were gathered together unto the dedication of the image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up; and they stood before the image that Nebuchadnezzar had set up. [4] Then an herald cried aloud, To you it is commanded, O people, nations, and languages, [5] That at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king hath set up:….” (Notice how the number “six” emerges here—right down to the number of musical instruments in verse 5! Nebuchadnezzar is another picture or type of Antichrist—someone who persecutes Israel’s believing remnant for refusing his false religious system and its image/idol. See Revelation 13:15-18.)

King Solomon in 1 Kings chapter 10: “[14] Now the weight of gold that came to Solomon in one year was six hundred threescore and six talents of gold, [15] Beside that he had of the merchantmen, and of the traffick of the spice merchants, and of all the kings of Arabia, and of the governors of the country. [16] And king Solomon made two hundred targets of beaten gold: six hundred shekels of gold went to one target. [17] And he made three hundred shields of beaten gold; three pound of gold went to one shield: and the king put them in the house of the forest of Lebanon. [18] Moreover the king made a great throne of ivory, and overlaid it with the best gold. [19] The throne had six steps, and the top of the throne was round behind: and there were stays on either side on the place of the seat, and two lions stood beside the stays. [20] And twelve lions stood there on the one side and on the other upon the six steps: there was not the like made in any kingdom.” (The number “six” pops up throughout in reference to now-apostate King Solomon, another picture of Antichrist. Like Solomon, Antichrist will be king of Israel. Notice in verse 14—“six hundred threescore and six” [666]! Solomon constructs a great throne of ivory, counterfeiting God’s great white throne in Revelation 20:11.)

CONCLUSION

Scripture uses the number 6 as man’s number. The forthcoming Antichrist is the pinnacle of man’s life apart from the Creator God. His self-will and self-worship will align perfectly with sinful man’s fallen nature and Satan’s original goal. He will rule and pervert God’s people Israel (like Solomon), he will tyrannize and corrupt her with false religion (like Nebuchadnezzar), and he will taunt and challenge her (like Goliath). This is as anti-God as one can get. It is therefore wholly appropriate that the number of the Beast’s name be “666” (Revelation 13:18). However, it is not necessary to imagine the actual number “666” will appear on everything related to the Antichrist. Revelation 13:17 says his followers will have that number, but in what sense they “have” it Scripture is unclear. They do not have to have it on or under their skin, for example—that would be the Mark of the Beast (see our related study linked at the end of this article).

In its most basic sense, according to Revelation 13:18, someone having “666” is advertising an alliance with sinful man as he operates without Divine life and wisdom. With the Antichrist and his “666” association, it will be Satan’s last stand and sin’s final exaltation before the Lord Jesus Christ returns most violently to destroy it and set up God’s eternal kingdom in creation! If we have trusted Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour, we need not be concerned with the Antichrist/Beast, his image, his mark, his name, or his number. They are for another dispensation, for the purging of the nation Israel, and have absolutely nothing to do with us the Church the Body of Christ. Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon, show that we in the mystery program are totally isolated from that time period. In fact, 2 Thessalonians chapter 2 and Romans chapters 9–11 were written to show we do not belong in the prophetic program of which Antichrist is a part!

Friend, have you noticed the spiritual profit here? That is because we have used the Bible to interpret itself. We did not appeal to church tradition or scholarly consensus. There was no philosophy or speculation. We simply compared verses—and what immeasurable spiritual light has flooded our minds and hearts! Such is the result when we set aside the opinions of men and let Scripture speak for itself. The Holy Spirit gave us insight here because we desired to give His words a fair hearing. Unsaved people cannot do this because they lack the Spirit of God who wrote the Bible—and they also refuse to understand it anyway! Their answer to unraveling Bible enigmas is to use everything but the Bible in order to guess possible meanings. Worldly wisdom is of no use in understanding the things of God. Human viewpoint will lead us to additional ignorance. We have considered such speculations, and found them profitless. Therefore, we have chosen to take our stand on plain and simple verses.

SUPPLEMENTAL: WHAT ABOUT “616?” (HERE IS THE IDLE SPECULATION WE ALREADY WARNED ABOUT!)

Based on a few ancient witnesses (Papyrus 115, Codex Ephraemi Rescriptus, and so on), some suppose “616” is a possible alternative to “666.” We austerely reject that view, not only because it is a departure from the proper text (Greek Textus Receptus and its resultant King James Bible) but also because “616” has no Scriptural precedence.

Studying what the Bible says about the Antichrist/Beast, we expect him to be man-oriented (a “humanist,” if you please) to the fullest degree. After all, “6” is man’s number in Scripture. Would not “666” be much more man-oriented than “616?” Which reading would you thus believe to be the correct one? Surely, “666!” Satan, no doubt, encourages such a corruption of the Bible text and resulting confusion. It covers up what is really going on with his chief man in the Earth. Once the Antichrist does show up, there is a perverted “bible” to deceive people. They will avoid “616” (ignorant of the fact they should be avoiding “666.” Consequently, they will likely fall for the lesser lie (false text) which will make them vulnerable to embracing the greater lie (Antichrist).

With “6” appearing not once but thrice (“3” being the number of God—namely, the Trinity/Godhead, remember), that signifies man is endeavoring to replace God with himself. As it turns out, that is exactly what Antichrist seeks to do as well! Let us go back to what the Apostle Paul wrote in 2 Thessalonians chapter 2: “[3] Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; [4] Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.” (Again, the Antichrist/Beast is “the man of sin” because he is the embodiment of sin, Satan’s lie program; he is “the son of perdition” in that damnation has given birth to him, and he is heading to an eternal doom. Draw your attention to the fact that he, like Satan, seeks to be worshipped as God—Matthew 4:8-10 and Luke 4:5-8.)

In Thessalonians, Paul was drawing from what the Prophet Daniel had already laid out 600 years earlier in chapter 11 of his Book: “[36] And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done. [37] Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any god: for he shall magnify himself above all.”

Like Satan who is empowering him, like Satan who enticed man to rebel against God back in the Garden of Eden, the Antichrist is an egotist, a narcissist who seeks the worship that belongs only to the Creator God. Romans 1:25 amply summarizes any defection from the God of Creation (but here it speaks of the nations seeking idols at the Tower of Babel in Genesis chapter 11): “Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.” No better number could fit all this but that “number of the Beast”666!”

Unbelievers will fall for the Antichrist, just as 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12 predicted. Their penalty will be eternal Hellfire! Read Revelation chapter 14: “[9] And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, [10] The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: [11] And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.”

Also see:
» What is “the mark of the Beast?”
» Will Israel’s Little Flock be put to death or not?
» Will the Antichrist be a Jew or a Gentile?

What is “the mark of the Beast?”

WHAT IS “THE MARK OF THE BEAST?”

by Shawn Brasseaux

Revelation 13:16-18 says, “[16] And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: [17] And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. [18] Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.”

CONFUSION! (CONFUSION! CONFUSION!)

For many decades, prophecy preachers have harped on the idea of “the mark of the Beast.” It is one of their favorite topics to use to $ell their printed, video, and audio media (another topic is “666, the number of the Beast”—for more info, see our companion article linked at the end of this study). The standard explanation is that it is a personal identification number (PIN) on a microchip implanted in the right hand or forehead. Others thereby cry out against our increasing dependence on computers because such machines are leading us to a “cashless” and “checkless” economy. Credit and debit cards, Social Security numbers, lasers, barcodes, supercomputers, and the like are seen as paving the way to the Antichrist! Honestly, friends, this is nothing more than idle speculation. It leads to great fear and overwhelming paranoia. Soon, each and every activity will be introduced as, “The Antichrist is soon to appear, so do not be deceived!”

How awful the Bible ignorance is—even among professing Christians. They have little to know idea what the Scriptures actually teach. A clear Gospel they cannot preach. Christian living they do not understand. Bible prophecy they enjoy speculating over but have no solid footing in verses. Yet, they can quote “Christian” “best-selling” books, movies, church traditions, hunches, and so on. Take the topic of “the mark of the Beast,” for example.

The Seventh-Day Adventists (SDA), noteworthy for observing the Saturday Sabbath, believe going to church on Sunday is “the mark of the Beast!” They allege that the Roman Catholic Church—what they refer to as “the Beast”—was erroneous in instituting Sunday worship (Rome calls Sunday “the Christian Sabbath”). SDAs argue God want us to worshipping on the original Sabbath (which indeed is Saturday). Frankly, both groups are confused. They both fail to “rightly divide the word of the truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). In the Dispensation of Grace, we are under no Sabbath-Day commandment whatsoever (whether Saturday/Sabbath or Sunday!). Sabbath-Day keeping is associated with the Mosaic Law, of which we have no part (see Colossians 2:16-17; Galatians 4:9-11).

Here is another instance of confusion. Since some hold to a “revived Roman Empire” view of the Antichrist’s government, the introduction of the Euro 20 years back sparked renewed interest in a one-world currency. It was speculated that if the Antichrist were to arise from Western Europe, then the Euro could possibly be a catalyst to bring or actually be “the mark of the Beast.” Of course, the membership of the European Union is now well beyond the 10 members needed to correlate to the 10 nations under the Antichrist (see Revelation 13:1). “The revived Roman Empire” position—while highly popular—does not agree with Daniel 8:20-23. The 10 nations under the Antichrist’s power are not European but rather Middle Eastern. We find them, Israel’s enemies, enumerated in Psalm 83:1-8. Europe is not there!!! The Euro has nothing to do with the “mark of the Beast!”

Friends, if we look at the Bible alone—and not insert popular opinions, hunches, and “Christian” bestsellers—then we will arrive at solid ground concerning “the mark of the Beast.” We will let Scripture interpret itself.

CLARITY! (CLARITY! CLARITY!)

The Bible speaks of a man named “Antichrist” (1 John 2:18,22; 1 John 4:3; 2 John 7). He is against Christ because he seeks to replace (or counterfeit/imitate) Christ. In other words, he challenges Jesus Christ (the true Messiah) by pretending to be Him! Since Israel refused the genuine Messiah and hung Him on Calvary’s cross, God will let her have her way (a false Messiah). The Lord Jesus therefore claimed, “I am come in my Father’s name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive” (John 5:43).

Second Thessalonians 2:9-12 complements this: “[9] Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, [10] And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. [11] And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: [12] That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”

The Antichrist’s reign is seven years total (the “week” of years in Daniel 9:27). It is halved into two 42-month periods (see Revelation 13:5). The second 3½ years will be far worse. They are described beginning in Revelation chapter 13: “[1] And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. [2] And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.”

Draw your attention to the above similes. The Antichrist is like a beast (bestial or savage and cruel in character). He resembles a leopard, a bear, and a lion. Read what Scripture says in Jeremiah: “Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil” (13:23). A leopard’s spots resemble crude rings. (Technically, the adjective is “rosettes,” rose-like patterns.) A similar outline is made when a woman wearing lipstick kisses a surface. If we study the Scriptures, we will see a correlation between the Antichrist and kisses. Let us deal with the “kisses” issue first and then we will return to the matter of the “mark.”

King David’s son Absalom used kisses to win the Jews over to his side as a way to usurp his father’s throne. Second Samuel chapter 15 reports: “[4] Absalom said moreover, Oh that I were made judge in the land, that every man which hath any suit or cause might come unto me, and I would do him justice! [5] And it was so, that when any man came nigh to him to do him obeisance, he put forth his hand, and took him, and kissed him. [6] And on this manner did Absalom to all Israel that came to the king for judgment: so Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel.” Absalom is a type or preview of the Antichrist. His attempt to overthrow Israel’s true king (David) parallels Antichrist stealing David’s throne from Israel’s ultimate King (Jesus Christ)!

Judas Iscariot, sharing the Antichrist’s title “the son of perdition” (John 17:12; 2 Thessalonians 2:3) betrayed Jesus Christ with a kiss. Turn to Matthew chapter 26 to learn: “[47] And while he yet spake, lo, Judas, one of the twelve, came, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and elders of the people. [48] Now he that betrayed him gave them a sign, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he: hold him fast. [49] And forthwith he came to Jesus, and said, Hail, master; and kissed him” (cf. Mark 14:43-45; Luke 22:47-48). Luke records Jesus inquiring, “Judas, betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss?” Judas Iscariot is another preview of the Antichrist.

Turning back to Revelation chapter 13, we continue reading: “[16] And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: [17] And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. [18] Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.”

Antichrist will be notorious for instituting a “mark”and we are careful to notice the mark and the number are two separate matters. The mark is not “666,” as often taught; rather, the number is 666. The mark is an identifying feature placed in the right hand or in the forehead. When we think of what has gone before in our study—especially the verses—then the “mark” would be identical to the leopard’s spots. This is not unfathomable at all, is it? Even now, we are familiar with “marks” placed on the forehead for religious purposes. Think of the cross of ashes applied to a Roman Catholic’s brow on “Ash Wednesday.” Or, consider the “bindi,” that prominent red dot between the eyes of a Hindu woman. It is thus not surprising that the Antichrist will employ a similar spot to promote his false religious system. It is further noteworthy that that colossal religious-political-economic system, described in Revelation chapters 17 and 18, is identical to Roman Catholicism in several dozen points.

Why are the right hand and the forehead so important here? The right hand is a symbol of service or action; they find purpose and strength in serving the Antichrist. The forehead represents the mind; they have given themselves over to do the Antichrist’s will. They proudly advertise their “religiosity,” that they are members of his satanic church. One religious authority says of modern forehead marks, “By these marks we know what a person believes, and therefore know how to begin conversations.” This will be no different with the Antichrist. His followers will not be ashamed of their devil worship; their defiance against the one true God will be there for all to see. The “mark” is like the branding of an animal. It signifies ownership, submission to a higher authority. The Greek word is “charagma,” rendered “graven” in Acts 17:29. Otherwise, “charagma” is the King James term for “mark” (you may compare Revelation 13:16; Revelation 14:9,11; Revelation 15:2; Revelation 16:2; Revelation 19:20; and Revelation 20:4).

It is also interesting that God, in the Mosaic Law, commanded the nation Israel to remember His Word by applying it as a “sign” on their forehead (between the eyes) or on their hand (Exodus 13:8-9,16; Deuteronomy 6:3-8; Deuteronomy 11:18-21)! These are the “phylacteries” of Matthew 23:5 (see our study linked at the end of this article). Satan will use the mark of the Antichrist to mock God’s Word, as he will have his own people flaunting their alliance with him!

Since Messianic Jews will accept Jesus as Messiah and reject Antichrist, they will not accept the mark of the Beast. Without that mark, the Bible says they will be able to neither buy nor sell (as we already saw in Revelation 13:16-18 at the beginning of this study). This will obviously result in great economic hardships. Any Messianic Jews who refuse to worship the Antichrist, reject his image and his mark, are beheaded (Revelation 20:4). However, God promises them bodily resurrection into His Kingdom so it does not matter what sinful man does to them!!!

CONCLUSION

Prophecy preachers have been preying upon the ignorant Christian public (and general public) for many decades now. While we give some the benefit of the doubt, there is certainly an economic incentive to writing books on prophecy. It is an interesting topic, everybody wants to say something about it, yet they are doing nothing more than using news items and haphazardly pairing them with verses (they have to look credible, you know!!). Rather than speculating, and yanking verses from contexts, we would much rather let the Bible interpret itself. We do not need to sensationalize, generate paranoia, confuse people.

The “mark of the Beast” is a religious blot, placed on the forehead or right hand (Revelation 13:16). Someone may object to the language here, but this author believes too much is made of the argument in the forehead” and in the right hand” versus on the forehead” and on the right hand.” He thinks we could better spend our time focusing on more important facets of this topic (namely, comparing verses to see the nature of the mark itself). There is no demand that it be under the skin (the microchip idea is speculation). The significances of the forehead and right hand are these people have given their minds and “strong hands” over to the Antichrist’s will and work. That mark advertises their allegiance to him and his evil religion. It will be compulsory for economic survival once instituted (verse 17). Moreover, the “mark of the Beast” is related to the number “666” (verse 18)—the mark and number should never be confused!!

Since the Antichrist has a leopard symbol, we cannot help but see his mark being related to the kiss-like spots of the leopard (Jeremiah 13:23). His religion has an identifiable emblem or sign. It reminds us of the “Ash Wednesday” black spot and the Hindu bindi on the forehead. The kisses of Absalom and Judas Iscariot—and resulting rosettes (like leopard spots)—point to how the Antichrist will operate with respect to craftiness and disloyalty.

SUPPLEMENTAL: WHAT ABOUT THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA?

What is the extent of Antichrist’s reign and religion? While he seeks worldwide dominion, Jesus’ Second Coming prevents it. The Antichrist will certainly exercise great governmental power over the Middle East, and particularly Israel and 10 of her neighboring enemy nations. However, there is no indication in the Bible that he will manage to overcome the United States (if it still exists at the time!). All those speculators running around and telling us in America to “watch for this” or “watch for that” with respect to preparing for the arrival of the Antichrist, they are spouting hysteria that has no biblical basis.

Will we as Christians be brought before the Antichrist to accept or reject his mark? No! The Church the Body of Christ has no relation to the Antichrist. We have not rejected Jesus Christ; the Antichrist is designed to separate Israel’s believers and her unbelievers in her prophetic program not us in our mystery program (go back to John 5:43). We will have been raptured (resurrected) long before Antichrist appears, and we will be reigning in the heavenly places by the time he arises. Again, the Antichrist is meant to separate believers and unbelievers with respect to the nation Israel. If we have come to faith in Christ now, we have already made our decision to follow God. We do not need to make another decision: the Antichrist’s religion identifies the apostates (false Jews) and segregates the true Jews (followers of Jesus). Unbelievers will fall for the Antichrist, just as 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12 predicted. Their penalty will be eternal Hellfire!

Read Revelation chapter 14: “[9] And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, [10] The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: [11] And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.”

Also see:
» Why is “666” the number of the Beast?
» Will the Antichrist be a Jew or a Gentile?
» What are “phylacteries?”

Will the Antichrist be a Jew or a Gentile?

WILL THE ANTICHRIST BE A JEW OR A GENTILE?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Moses says Israel must choose a king from their own brethren as opposed to a non-Jew. Surely, the Antichrist will be a Jew by blood. Deuteronomy 17:14-15: “When thou art come unto the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, and shalt possess it, and shalt dwell therein, and shalt say, I will set a king over me, like as all the nations that are about me; Thou shalt in any wise set him king over thee, whom the LORD thy God shall choose: one from among thy brethren shalt thou set king over thee: thou mayest not set a stranger over thee, which is not thy brother.” There is a strict prohibition as appointing a “stranger” or Gentile.

Furthermore, it is quite unfathomable to think the Jews would look for a deliverer in the form of a Gentile. Throughout the Old Testament, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, raises up and sends Jews as deliverers of Israel—Moses, Samson, King David, Gideon, Mordecai and Esther, Deborah, Jephthah, King Saul, and so on. All were formidable leaders of Israel when the nation needed to be rescued from Gentile oppression. The Antichrist will promise Israel peace and prosperity (see Daniel 11:21,32). Surely, in keeping with the aforementioned Old Testament typology, the Antichrist will be a Jew.

Also, notice Deuteronomy chapter 18: “[15] The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken; [16] According to all that thou desiredst of the LORD thy God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God, neither let me see this great fire any more, that I die not. [17] And the LORD said unto me, They have well spoken that which they have spoken. [18] I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. [19] And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him.”

Moses speaks of “a Prophet like unto me.” This man is an individual “of the [Jewish] brethren” and “from among the [Jewish] brethren.” On the basis of Acts 3:19-26, we Christians conclude this was a Messianic promise. Israel is looking for a special someone like Moses (a Jew) and someone from among their own nationality (a Jew). As Christians, we know this to be the Lord Jesus Christ (“Messiah” is Hebrew for “Anointed one;” “Christ” is the Greek equivalent; cf. Psalm 2:2, John 1:41, and Acts 4:26). Today’s Jews overall, however, reject the New Testament as divine and authoritative. They believe their messiah has never come before: hence, they await him (but it will really be the counterfeit messiah, Antichrist).

Satan, the chief enemy of the God of the Bible, always endeavors to counterfeit his Creator’s work so he can be worshipped instead. “I will be like the most High,” Isaiah 14:14 quotes him as declaring. Since Jesus Christ is a Jew, Satan’s “messiah” (Antichrist) will mimic Him as closely as possible. The Antichrist would need to resemble Jesus Christ as many ways as necessary to pass him off as genuine. It will surely be a time of great deception, unparalleled imitation, including “power and signs and lying wonders” (2 Thessalonians 2:8-12).

Daniel 11:36-37 adds this about the Antichrist: “And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done. Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any god: for he shall magnify himself above all.” “The God of his fathers”—notice the capital “G”—refers to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. This title could refer only to a Jew.

Lastly, the Bible refers to the Antichrist as “the Assyrian.” Assyria was located in present Syria, eastern Turkey, Iraq, Jordan, and western Iran.

  • Isaiah 10:24: “Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD of hosts, O my people that dwellest in Zion, be not afraid of the Assyrian: he shall smite thee with a rod, and shall lift up his staff against thee, after the manner of Egypt.”
  • Isaiah 14:25: “That I will break the Assyrian in my land, and upon my mountains tread him under foot: then shall his yoke depart from off them, and his burden depart from off their shoulders.”
  • Isaiah 30:31:“For through the voice of the LORD shall the Assyrian be beaten down, which smote with a rod.” (The cross-reference is 2 Thessalonians 2:8.)
  • Isaiah 31:8: “Then shall the Assyrian fall with the sword, not of a mighty man; and the sword, not of a mean man, shall devour him: but he shall flee from the sword, and his young men shall be discomfited.”
  • Micah 5:5-6: “[5] And this man [the Messiah, Jesus Christ—verses 2 and 4] shall be the peace, when the Assyrian shall come into our land: and when he shall tread in our palaces, then shall we raise against him seven shepherds, and eight principal men. [6] And they shall waste the land of Assyria with the sword, and the land of Nimrod in the entrances thereof: thus shall he deliver us from the Assyrian, when he cometh into our land, and when he treadeth within our borders.”

CONCLUSION

According to Scripture, the Antichrist will be a Jew by blood. Moreover, he will have some connection to ancient Assyria (modern Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Jordan, and Iran). Will Assyria be his birthplace? Or where he will have his citizenship? Maybe it will be the origin of his political career? We cannot say anything other than he is an “Assyrian Jew.” Such prophecies obscure to us in the Dispensation of Grace will indubitably be revealed to those to whom the Antichrist’s reign pertains. That should suffice us.

Also see:
» Will Israel’s Little Flock be put to death or not?
» How many angels will be with Jesus Christ when He returns?
» Are those Gentiles in Revelation 7:9?