“And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying ‘who is like unto the beast? Who is able to make war with him?” Revelation 13:4
“We might ask: Who is this beast? How did He get his power? How extensive is it?
As we think of the time in which we live, consider the possibility that his arrival is near. With the desire to rid itself of all vestiges of religion or the knowledge of God, the social needs of men seek refuge in one who can become their hero. Enter, the beastly representative from the sea. The time is right. The troubled society has found their man.”
I wrote this introduction to Revelation 13, three years before the present political and emerging church scene. Two events are mentioned by Paul the Apostle and Jesus, prior to Christ’s return. These two events are the falling away from truth and appearing of the man of sin. Without being dogmatic, I would like for you consider the possibility of these events now happening.
I ask Christians and non Christians alike if the Man of sin were to appear, what would he be like? No-one appears to know how scripture describes him and what they can expect to happen when he comes. The common response is “it doesn’t matter because we won’t be around when it happens.” The majority opinion centers around this belief, especially among those locked into Petribulation theology. It is not based on a simple direct interpretation of Scripture. I am not a religious forecaster but the signs of the times are clearly mentioned by” The Man of Sin”?
First: His motivations and energy will come from the Dragon (symbolic of Satan). He will deceive people and camouflaged his true intentions (steal kill and destroy John 10:10) He will not allow you to see who he really is but will tell you what you want to hear. He will offer false hope causing you to take the risk in following him. His main interests will be his own. And once he has you, he will use you to participate in his diabolical purposes.
Second: He will cause you to follow him on the basis of how you feel. These good feelings will overpower your ability to be discerning. If you are not a Christian, you will have no power or standard of right and wrong to detect what is going on. In II Thessalonians 2: 3-12, we are told that his origins are from Hell and his workings will produce wonders that will cause people to believe that he is Christ (a counterfeit Messiah.) We are also told that for those who continue to reject Christ a great delusion will come upon them so that they will believe the lie.
Third: those who are engaged in false teaching and religion will be part of the deception. Their false presuppositions will blindside them because they are in denial that the deception is taking place. They will be expecting something different to happen and because of this will not be aware of what is taking place. (It is like the Atheist in Hell, saying “This is not Hell and I am not here.”)
Fourth: Many will think that their safety will be in refusing the mark of the Beast. The fact is Satan is not going to tell you what it is so you can have a way out. Satan is a master of deception and your receiving the mark will just be the natural flow of what everyone else is doing, Because He will use fear and intimidation as part of his scheme, you will cave in because you have no moral fibre or Christian convictions to give you the ability to resist.
During this crisis, it will be difficult to find faithful Christians because they will be forced into hiding in order to survive. (they are still human and don’t want to die). If you can find them (they won’t be raptured; so the theory goes) they will be your greatest source of encouragement. If you can find a church in this post-modern world be thankful for those who are faithful. They will be your encouragement to remain true. Sometimes you may feel that you are all by yourself in this struggle, but God still has a remnant that is faithful and there are others like you. Be patient but most of all, be faithful, even if it seems that you are the only one. Somewhere along the way you will find encouragement.
Paul concludes his admonition with these words found in II Thessalonians 2:13 “but we are bound to give thanks always to God for you brethren, beloved of the Lord, because God has from the beginning, chosen you to salvation through sancitification of the Spirit and belief in the truth:”
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You are correct in talking about confusion when the antichrist appears. Actually the first time the rapture was announced was by Ephraim the Syrian in the 3rd century. Ephraim said the Lord would rescue us from the confusion.