In the closing scene of the movie Castaway, Chuck Noland (Tom Hanks) is parked at a lonely intersection in the middle of Nowhere, Texas. With miles of flat, barren land in every direction, Noland pulls out his paper map and begins considering his options, when, out of the blue, an attractive woman pulls up in an old pickup truck. The woman (Bettina Peterson) remarks:
Peterson: You look lost.
Noland: I do?
Peterson: Where’re you headed?
Noland: Well, I was just about to figure that out.
(Pointing in each direction, the woman describes to Noland where each road will take him.)
Peterson: Well, that’s 83 South. And this road here will hook you up with I-40 East. If you turn right, that’ll take you to Amarillo, Flagstaff… California. And if you head back that direction, you’ll find a whole lot of nothing all the way to Canada.
Like those Texas roads, how you approach the book of Revelation and Bible prophecy will greatly determine your eventual destination and your understanding of the subject. Choose the wrong road and you’ll end up with vastly different conclusions concerning the people, places, events, and the time line of God’s prophecy.
But if you choose to view Revelation plainly and in its proper context, you’ll arrive safely at God’s intended interpretation. For just as the Old Testament prophesied a literal Messiah would come, Scripture predicts a future, literal anti-Messiah as well.
In other words, a final world leader is going to emerge during earth’s last days.
He is history’s “mystery man.” The enigma of the ages. Famously portrayed in sensational books and apocalyptic movies, he is the personification of evil.
In Scripture, he is known by many names:
The little horn.1 The insolent king.2 The prince who is to come.3 The man of lawlessness and the son of destruction.4 The beast.5
However, to both Christians and to the world, one name identifies him above all others:
The devil with skin on.
No myth or mere religious folklore, this man is legit, and he is coming.
So, what can we know about Revelation’s cryptic character? And what does it really matter? More specifically, what difference does it make to us? And what does it have to do with your life — right now?
To begin with, consider that Antichrist is actually in the Bible. Therefore, God would not have revealed truth about him unless there were good reasons to do so. Second, Antichrist isn’t a mere footnote in Scripture, like obscure figures such as Ehud, Elishama, or even the “thief on the cross.”6
On the contrary, this global world leader is referenced in more than one hundred passages in your Bible, with a wealth of information concerning his origin, character, time in history, deeds, and his destiny. He is a major player in end-times Bible prophecy. In fact, other than Jesus Christ, no other character in the prophetic Scriptures is more prominent than Antichrist. But why? Why would God talk so extensively about this person from the future?
To understand more, keep in mind that one reason God gives us prophecy is because He wants His children to be informed.7 And there’s a lot of prophecy in Scripture (28 percent of the Bible is prophetic). The Thessalonian church struggled because they were being misled by false teachers who claimed they were already in “the day of the Lord” or the time of God’s judgment on earth. This teaching caused those believers to be shaken and disturbed in their faith. Paul set the record straight by explaining when that day of the Lord would come (2 Thessalonians 2:1–3).
This accurate information concerning the last days calmed and comforted them, giving them the confidence they needed to live victoriously in the midst of perilous, challenging times.8
The same is true regarding Scripture’s teaching about Antichrist. Knowing what the Bible says about him protects us from sensationalism, unbiblical speculation, false teaching, and fear. Today there is no shortage of tabloid teachers seizing on environmental catastrophes and sensational headlines to further fuel their errant prophetic agenda. With regard to Bible prophecy, the more you know, the better off you are.
Another reason God wants us to know the whole story of Antichrist is because understanding it helps us see how Satan’s agenda is unfolding in our present age. It helps us discern the times, both generally and often specifically. Because of this, we are able to recognize the “spirit of antichrist” working right now.9
Studying about Antichrist is also profitable because it gives us the assurance that God will eventually win over even the most evil, wicked purposes and people in the last days (Revelation 4:19–20; 19:20–21).
But here’s one more reason why it’s important to know about Antichrist and his coming. The Bible teaches that his seven-year reign will occur simultaneously with the cataclysmic wrath of God, poured out on planet Earth in the form of seal, trumpet, and bowl judgments. Those who remain following the Rapture event will experience unimaginable suffering as a result of those horrible judgments.10 This coming reality motivates us to warn our unsaved friends to flee from the wrath to come by calling on Jesus Christ for salvation (Matthew 3:7; John 14:6; Romans 10:13). Sharing the good news with others can not only save them from eternal hell, but also exempt them from the hell on earth prophesied for the end times (Revelation 6–19).
So, you see, studying prophecy concerning the Antichrist guides us to clarity concerning the future, comfort and freedom from fear, confidence to stand boldly for God’s truth, and courage to live our lives with purpose and love.
Not a bad road map to follow.
Written for Devotionals Daily by Jeff Kinley, author of Interview with the Antichrist.
1 Daniel 7:8.2 Daniel 8:23. 3 Daniel 9:26. 4 2 Thessalonians 2:3. 5 Revelation 11:7; 13:1, 14, 15; 15:2; 16:13; 17:8. 6 Judges 3; Jeremiah 36:12; Matthew 27:38. 7 1 Thessalonians 4:13. 8 1 Thessalonians 4:18; 2 Thessalonians 2:5, 13–15. 9 1 John 4:1–3; 2 Thessalonians 2:7. 10 John 14:1–3; 1 Corinthians 15:51–58; 1 Thessalonians 4:13–18; 1 Thessalonians 1:10; 5:9; Revelation 3:10.
Listen to the Podcast with Jeff Kinley on the Interview with the Antichrist
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Does the thought of the Antichrist frighten you? Or does he seem like stories about the boogeyman, an old wives tale, or some figure far too far in the future to be a concern. He is real. He’s promised to show up in history. But, he has already lost to our King Jesus! Come share your thoughts with us on our blog. We want to hear from you! ~ Devotionals Daily