Updated: Jan 9
The Bible is quite clear that – during the first portion of those future final seven years that we call the End Times – the Antichrist does not initially reveal his true self as a warmongering, maniacal bloodthirsty Beast…but instead, for a time, as a caring Peacemaker – riding in on a “white horse” – bringing a false message of peace, prosperity and protection; first to Israel, then to an unsuspecting world (Revelation 6:2).
Yet, we are equally aware that – immediately after this initial period of peace – the Antichrist’s peaceful campaign comes to a sudden screeching halt, as the second Horseman introduces the world to war (6:3-4), followed by famine, pestilence, starvation (6:5-6) and death (6:7-8)…all products of God’s final Great Tribulation.
So…what happened? How did things go so terribly wrong for Satan and (his second in command) the Antichrist, who – for a while there – seemed to be doing so well (at least, by the standards of an evil, Godless world), while experiencing an extended period of worldwide (albeit temporary) peace?
The answer to that question can be found in these TEN upcoming End Times events, that will move an unsuspecting world from THE GREAT UTOPIA…to THE GREAT TRIBULATION.
1. Satan will be cast out of Heaven…this time, for good. "So, the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.” (Revelation 12:9)
Yeah, I know what you’re thinking: Satan and his minions have already been kicked out of Heaven once before...shortly after creation (Isaiah 14:12, Ezekiel 28:16). However, since then, we know Lucifer has always had access (albeit limited) to Christ’s throne room, where Lucifer even to this day goes before God and brings accusations against the Elect. (Job 1:6)
But no more…not after Revelation 12, when reality finally sets in and Satan suddenly becomes aware “the jig is up”...which is why he begins to pour out his vengeance on the earth during a final 3 1/2 year period called the GREAT TRIBULATION. "Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time." (Revelation 12:12)
2. The Antichrist will die. Then, three days later, the False Prophet brings him back to life. "I saw one of his heads, as if it had been mortally wounded; and his deadly wound was healed. And all the world marveled and followed the Beast.” (Revelation 13:3)
“And I saw another Beast coming up out of the earth (Israel) and he had two horns like a lamb (priest) and spoke like a dragon (Satanic).” (Revelation 13:11)
Although not mentioned until now, here in Revelation 13:11, we finally meet the third part of the Unholy Trinity: a person referred to as the FALSE PROPHET (AKA the Second Beast)...a demonically influenced individual, joining forces with Satan (the Dragon) and the Antichrist (Man of Sin), to act as a "spiritual" leader.
And as the False Prophet's first significant "miracle", this powerful religious figure causes the newly deceased Antichrist to miraculously come back to life. "He was granted power to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the BEAST should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed.” (Revelation 13:15)
BTW...although I have no idea the identity of this person, from his description in Revelation 13:11, we do know that this individual is likely a religious type (as he has “horns like a lamb”, and that he is likely Jewish (as “earth” is often symbolic of Israel). Thus, if I were to speculate on the identity of this yet-to-be revealed individual, my best guess is that the future False Prophet/Second Beast will be involved with the NEWLY rebuilt Jewish Temple, possibly a NEW High Priest. But again, that’s mere speculation.
3. The Antichrist – suddenly resurrected and regenerated as The Beast – commits the Abomination of Desolation in the Temple. “…and they shall defile the sanctuary fortress; then they shall take away the daily sacrifices, and place there the abomination of desolation." (Daniel 11:31)
"And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he was given authority to continue for forty-two months”. (Revelation 13:5)
When asked by His disciples for the SIGN of His return, Jesus mentioned a future Abomination of Desolation (Matthew 24:15, Daniel 9:27), where the Antichrist – suddenly morphed into the Beast – enters the newly rebuilt Jewish Temple and places an image of himself on the altar in the Holy of Holies…most likely as a commemoration to his miraculous resurrection from the dead. To a pagan world that worships the Beast, they will welcome the gesture.
However, to the Jews, they will immediately recall the FIRST Abomination of Desolation on December 15, 167 BC (Daniel 11:31), when Greek king Antiochus Epiphanes III desecrated the Jewish Temple by sacrificing a pig on the altar...and thus, Israel will understand Christ's words as a dire warning; a SIGN that the Beast and his system (AKA The Kings of the West, Babylon the Great) are about to remove their protection from Israel; that Russia (AKA the Kings of the North) is about to attack; that a nervous China (AKA the Kings of the East) is waiting in the wings; and finally, that the once-friendly Beast is about to begin hunting down Jews and exterminating them. That’s why Christ says, “…when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand), “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains (of Petra, Jordan).”" (Matthew 24:15-16)
BTW, from what I can tell, the cryptic line – “whoever reads, let him understand” (Matthew 24:15 & Mark 13:14) – is as unique as it is foreboding. Seriously, I've looked and I can't find this line anywhere else in scripture...which only underscores the importance of Christ’s warning concerning the Abomination of Desolation; and to act accordingly.
BTW...the "forty-two months" mentioned in Revelation 12:11 represent the final 3 1/2 years of the End Times known as the GREAT TRIBULATION.
4. The False prophet institutes a 666 ID system. “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, or the number of his name." (Revelation 13:16-17)
During the Great Tribulation, the world will suffer debilitating pestilence and starvation (Revelation 6:5-6), so much so that the FALSE PROPHET will institute a new rationing/ID system, prohibiting anyone from buying or selling food without an ID: the Mark [Charagma (Gk.) = etching, a engraving, tattoo] of the Beast. “Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666.” (Revelation 13:18)
5. War #1: Gog & Magog.“Therefore, son of man, prophesy and say to Gog (the King of the North), ‘Thus says the Lord God: “On that day when My people Israel dwell safely, will you not know it? Then you will come from your place out of the far north (Russia), you and many peoples (Iran, Turkey, Libya, et al) with you…” (Ezekiel 38:14-15).
“Now in those times many (Kings of the North) shall rise up against the king of the South (Israel)…but they shall fall.” (Daniel 11:14)
After committing the Abomination of Desolation, the Beast will subsequently remove his protection from Israel, thus allowing Russia and her minions (Kings of the North) to attack Israel in the infamous GOG AND MAGOG WAR…a devastating battle, spoken of in great detail in Ezekiel 38 and 39, and referenced often throughout the Old Testament. Surprisingly, Russia and the Kings of the North are soundly defeated, not by Israel but by God...when God supernaturally intervenes. “I will call for a sword against Gog throughout all My mountains,” says the Lord God. “Every man’s sword will be against his brother. And I will bring him to judgment with pestilence and bloodshed; I will rain down on him, on his troops, and on the many peoples who are with him, flooding rain, great hailstones, fire, and brimstone.” (Ezekiel 38:21-22)
6. The Beast Goes After Israel. “And the dragon was enraged with the woman (Israel), and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” (Revelation 12:17)
“He shall also enter the Glorious Land.” (Daniel 11:41)
With all pretenses now removed, the maniacal Beast “…who’s deadly wound was healed” (Revelation 13:12) begins to pour out his bile and vengeance on Believing Jews and gentiles alike...most of them martyred for their witness to the saving power of Jesus Christ and the Gospel of His Kingdom: “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb." (Revelation 7:14)
7. War #2: Israel and Russia Attack the Beast. “At the time of the end, the king of the South (Israel) shall attack him; and the king of the North (Russia) shall come against him (Beast) like a whirlwind, with chariots, horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter the countries, overwhelm them, and pass through. He shall also enter the Glorious Land (Israel), and many countries shall be overthrown...The land of Egypt shall not escape.” (Daniel 11:40-43)
For the second time, Russia and the Kings of the North will make war on an adversary from the Middle East...although, this time, their opponent is not the Kings of the South, but the Beast and the Kings of the West.
And the Kings of the South? They've since joined the Kings of the North, in their war on the Beast. In the end, the Beast is again victorious.
8. #3 War: Armageddon. “And I saw the Beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him (Jesus) who sat on the horse and against His (angelic) army.” (Revelation 19:19)
“Then the sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up, so that the way of the kings from the east (China) might be prepared…for the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.” (Revelation 16:12-14)
Although reeling from the devastation of not one, but two lost wars, Russia (Kings of the North) joins China (Kings of the East) in an attempt to attack and finally defeat the Beast. Unfortunately, Daniel says, the Beast hears of their plans and prepares to defend himself in one final war. “But news from the east and the north shall trouble him; therefore, he shall go out with great fury to destroy and annihilate many.” (Daniel 11:44)
BTW, this final battle takes place in Megiddo, Israel…also known as Armageddon. “And they gathered them together to the place called in Hebrew, Armageddon.” (Revelation 16:16)
9. CHRIST RETURNS. “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. And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.” (Revelation 19:11, 16)
As the Kings of the North and the Kings of the East converge on the Middle East – to battle the Beast and his armies in one last final war to end all wars – suddenly Christ and His angels split the sky, defeat all Satan's evil forces, capture all of Satan's leaders, the "Kings" of the earth...including the Beast and the False Prophet, who are the first two of Satan's minions to be taken, then judged, and finally thrown into the lake of fire. “Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone. And the rest were killed with the sword which proceeded from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse. And all the birds were filled with their flesh." (Revelation 11:19-21)
10. Satan is chained for 1,000 years…then released. “Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished. But after these things he must be released for a little while.” (Revelation 20:1-3)
So, after a thousand years...why does Christ allow Satan to go free? As God, He already knows that Lucifer will one day Break Bad...again; then lead one last insurrection against our Lord and His Elect.
So, why not just annihilate Lucifer now? The answer to that question is: I have no idea. The Hollywood ending says that Christ – in one final act of compassion – gives Lucifer one final chance to repent, to cede his ego, to bow at Christ’s feet and finally fly straight...even as we know the Bible says differently, that Satan's ultimate destiny is the Lake of Fire.
But that bit about repenting and ceding ego...that sounds like the Gospel, right? Bowing to Christ's Lordship; getting ready to 'fly straight'...or better yet, fly straight into Heaven...the key is there's still time to get ready...either for a time of Peace (under Jesus) or a time of War (under Satan).
So, Jesus or Satan...who will it be? "...as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (John 24:15)