We learned in the first article that what would distinguish this Antichrist who is to come, is that he is so powerful that he can perform signs, miracles and wonders. But these will be counterfeit signs, miracles and wonders. For another main distinguishing feature of the man is that he is a deceiver.
Matthew 24 is the seminal chapter in the Bible when speaking of the signs of the coming Apocalypse which it terms the Great Tribulation. And in verse 5, when asked what these signs would be, the Messiah put this at the top of his list:
“ Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.”
Verses 23 -24: “Then if any man say unto you, Lo here is Christ, or there, believe it not. For there shall arise false Christ’s, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.”
One of the main signs of the birth pangs of the end times is the rise of false prophets and false messiahs. You can see this all around us today with the emergence of various latter day religious sects ranging from New Age paganism to Wicca and from Jim Jones and David Koresh to suicide cults. The mainstream religious churches and their leaders can fall into this group also as well as many other off beat cult leaders with bizarre doctrines. Not to mention politicians who are pictured coming out of church with their Bibles tucked under their arm in order to garner the evangelical vote. By their fruits ye shall know them.
But even though the the coming Apocalypse will be marked by the rise of many self-professed false Christ’s and false messiahs, the one that will rise above the rest by his supernatural signs, miracles and wonders is he who will state;
“I am Christ:” and shall deceive many” ( Matthew 24:5).
So this man who is to come will literally be in the stead of Christ. He is going to deceive almost the whole world into believing that he is the true Messiah. And he will do this by performing counterfeit signs, miracles and wonders. So amazing are the feats of this man that;
“…The inhabitants of the earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the creation of the world will be astonished when they see the beast, because he once was, now is not, and yet will come” (Rev 17:8).
Those of you who are well read in spiritual matters know that the devil always counterfeits what the true God does. Thus the serpent that beguiled Eve appeared as an angel of light. And his ministers appear as ministers of the truth. We are informed in Revelation that this man who will be king, receives a deadly head wound and is killed. But by the power of the Dragon (Satan), he is raised from the dead. This is a counterfeit resurrection and will cause all those whose names are not written in the Book of Life, to worship him.
One can presume also that he will perform healings and provide food for the hungry. Perhaps he will also change water into wine so that everybody can party and have a good time. For we are foretold also in Matthew 24 that in those days they will be eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, just as they did in the days of Noah. So I reckon it’s going to be sex, drugs and rock and roll.
If you want to make counterfeit $20 bills, the closer you can get the dud note to resemble the real thing, the easier it is going to be to fool people. One would need to be a banker or an expert in the field to spot the differ between the genuine and the counterfeit. And so shall it be in this future time. The vast majority of the inhabitants of the earth will have no knowledge of the Bible or of matters spiritual. They are merely what Paul called natural man. Man of body and soul but no spirit. Therefore not being experts in the field, they are deceived into believing that this man who performs these signs and wonders, is the real deal.
“And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion that they should believe a lie” (2 Thessalonians 2:11).
In the NIV it says, “…so that they will believe THE lie.”
Many commentators give a range of opinions as to what this lie is that causes such a delusion. I have even heard sincere Christians say that those believers who think the church is to be taken out of this world in a Rapture before the Tribulation have swallowed this lie and are deluded.
But from the context of what we have been debating here it would seem to me that the lie that will be perpetrated and believed by the whole world, is that this man that will arise in the future will be called the true Messiah, Christ the Savior. The world will be deluded into believing this lie by way of the many signs and wonders he will perform and by his resurrection from the dead, which will be witnessed all over the globe on TV. I am not certain that this is the lie but it is my guess for now.
You have all heard of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Some the rock album covers displayed these dread beings back in the good old ‘60s.
“And I saw and lo, a white horse, and he that was sitting upon it, having a bow, and there was given unto him a crown and he went forth conquering and in order that he might conquer” (Rev. 6:2).
The first sign given by the Messiah in Matthew 24 was to watch out for the rise of the one proclaiming to be Christ. Therefore this rider on the white horse has to be the main man, the False Christ. As stated already, the counterfeit always apes or copies what the true God does. So in this rider on the white horse we have an imitation of the true Messiah who is to return in glory as King of Kings and Lord of lords at the end of the Apocalypse — when he shall appear on a white horse to put an end to this whole terrible episode.
“ And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse; and He that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He doth judge and make war” (Revelation 19:11).
So the Antichrist when he goes out on a white horse has a bow but no arrow. Having no arrow conveys that he is a bringer of peace on the earth. But as the world shall learn, he shall talk of peace but wage war.
As global peacemaker this man will do something that has eluded presidents and politicians for years. He will resolve the situation in the Middle East and establish a peace deal between the Jews and their Arab neighbors. Prophecy experts derive this fact from Daniel 9:27 which says:
“He will confirm a covenant with many for one week” (one seven year period).
Somehow this man will be acceptable to both the Jewish people and the Muslim community and perform this political feat that seems impossible to us today. How does he achieve this? Perhaps with a little help from another man who will become prominent around the same time. This man is called the False Prophet and is also referred to as a beast who rises up from the earth;
“And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon” (Rev. 13:11).
Being called a false prophet gives us the clue that this man operates in the field of the religious. And because of the global machinations of the Antichrist, we know that he operates within the political as well as the religious realm. So how come these two are acceptable to both the Jews and Arabs and are able to broker a peace deal between them?
Well we know that the Muslims are awaiting the advent of their own Messiah, called the Imam or Mahdi. And the Jewish faith are still watching for the coming of their savior, the Messiah, for they believe Jesus was an impostor. Perhaps it is these two who hold the key to understanding the role of the Antichrist and the False Prophet who are to come.
We’ll pick this up in the next section.
Patrick Heron is bestselling author of Apocalypse Soon and The Nephilim and the Pyramid of the Apocalypse.