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. (Revelation 13:1)
As we continue our congregational reading today in the book of Revelation, we have reached the thirteenth chapter which gives the reader an introduction to one of the most intriguing characters in the Bible. Unfortunately for many, there seems to be more interest in this person than in the one the Revelation is truly about. The book is the Revelation of Jesus Christ, but for all of the interest that is stirred over the thirteenth chapter we would think it is the Revelation of the Antichrist. Would to God there was as much in-depth study of the person, character, and nature of Christ as there is devoted to the speculation of the identity of the Antichrist!
Even though the term “antichrist” is never used in Revelation, there is no doubt this is the person described in the thirteenth chapter. The apostle John is the only writer of scripture that uses the term but he does not use it here. We find it five times in 1 John (including “antichrists”) in which he refers not only to this person named in Revelation, but to any person that denies the essential equality of the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ (1 John 2:22). The term simply means “against Christ” therefore anyone that stands against the doctrines of Christ is identified by the term.
During the last half of the Tribulation, a new world leader will emerge that embodies the worst forces of evil. He will be a charismatic, mesmerizing man empowered by Satan. With the deceitful skills and craftiness of the old serpent, he will deceive the world into thinking he is actually God. It is most interesting to me that he gains notoriety and his position through his first deception which is the ability to handle the world’s economy. Prosperity is his mantra and when he is able to give people “hope” in the calamitous times of tribulation, he quickly rises to the top as the world’s economic savior. I find this very curious in light of the current economic climate. Even Christians have abandoned God’s demands of morality and decency to pursue their political candidates (and preachers) that promise prosperity.
Although the Antichrist will be wildly popular, he cannot produce what every person most desperately needs. Lest we forget, this world was not created for us. As the song says, “This is my Father’s world” and He will receive all glory from His creation. The world needs “THE CHRIST” not the Antichrist because God intends to receive glory. Scripture declares “To God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever.” If you do not have Christ living in your heart, you cannot glorify God. Whatever and whomever does not conform to God’s glorious purpose will be destroyed.
We should not forget the reason Christ came into the world. The apostle John wrote: “He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8). Our leaders may claim to be political and economic saviors, but that kind of salvation has no value for your soul. Look to Christ and keep your eyes on Him! He is the only one that can give you soul salvation. It will not profit to gain the whole world and lose your own soul (Matthew 16:26). The world and its system will pass away. Your soul will last for eternity. Do you know where it will be? Heaven or Hell are the only options, so be careful which “christ” you choose to follow.
Pastor V. Mark Smith