The Rapture of the Church is not intrinsically dependent upon any other prophetic event for it to occur. However, there are other prophetic connections dependent upon the Rapture for their own fulfillment. The arrival of the Antichrist is one of those examples. There has to be a man who fits the Biblical descriptions, ready to seize upon the chaos that would ensue in the aftermath of a Rapture scenario. This leads one to believe either one of two things; this particular man was made for the times, or the times will make him.
The great man theory was an idea first proposed by the 19th-century Scottish writer Thomas Carlyle. He posited that due to either the power of their persona (intellect, charisma, political and/or leadership skills), certain men uniquely impacted or subsequently altered human history through their actions. Years later, Herbert Spencer countered this idea by stating the opposite. It wasn’t the men who changed history through the sheer power of their will, but rather, society (their day and age) which created the conditions necessary for them to rise to greatness.
Human history is filled with the heroic stories of once great men. Whether their accounts were true, or myth, or rather just largely embellished biographies, men like Alexander the Great, Napoleon, Genghis Khan, King Arthur, Charlemagne, Nimrod, etc., continue to live on in legend. But if we look back even further, we come to an age known as either Pre-History or the Antediluvian era (pre-flood). Here, the Bible in Genesis 6:4 simply refers to the Nephilim (fallen ones) as “the mighty men of old” and “men of renown.”
These Nephilim were none other than the hybrid offspring of both fallen angelic beings and human women. We know that angels can take on the form of men (Gen. 19, Hebrews 13:2). How they reproduced is another question, although, the phrase sons of God (bene Elohim) does not leave us with any other legitimate alternatives. These sons of God would have had to been angelic in nature, however, in some fallen state apart from God and his divine order.
It would seem that the veil between the physical and the spiritual world then was not in place at that time. Because of that, it is largely believed that these beings were the basis for which most of mythology (Egyptian, Assyrian, Greek, Roman, etc.) was based upon. Perhaps these demigods were the Übermensch Friedrich Nietzsche once longed for in his book, Thus Spoke Zarathustra.
Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately), the world that was then was lost to us in the watery judgment God brought upon the earth in those days. It is largely unknown apart from speculation, how populated the earth was then; or to what extent these fallen creatures impacted the goings on of the world that was then. All we do know with exact certainty is that Christ told us the days just before His return, would be like the days of Noah. Those days were marked with great wickedness and violence (Gen. 6:1-12, 19; Luke 17:27-29).
If we look at the world today, there are currently around seventy-five active armed conflicts going on at any given time. There are probably an additional five or six, which could (given the right conditions), spark a global war, should their conditions deteriorate further. Rapid advancements in technology has almost guaranteed the likelihood that immoral agents will at some point, use that technology for nefarious purposes. In addition, there is an increased hybridization of threats merging historic anger with modern technology. If we then add in: Criminal activity, weaponized immigration, nuclear, chemical, biological, and energy weapons of mass destruction, increased natural disasters, intentional misinformation campaigns, global terrorism, false teachers and movements, and increased lawlessness, the world of the 21st-century is turning out to be a pretty scary place to live.
Which begs the question, how much of today is like the days of Noah?
And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed. Luke 17:27-30
If we add in the other major descriptor Jesus refers to in Luke 17 into the equation, that being the days of Lot (which was primarily notable for the attempted sodomization of Lot’s angelic guests) it is probably a lot like Noah’s day. Sexual perversion of every stripe is not just tolerated; it is being celebrated (teaching, law, holidays, etc.) in many places. Therefore, we have both a time of great wickedness and violence, and a time when sexual perversion once again achieves normalcy amongst a majority of nations in the world.
All that to point out the reality that the world of today is exceedingly violent and wicked. And because of that, the people of the world are begging for a savior now more than ever. This would explain the popularity of superhero movies and entertainment (TV, books, movies, comics, etc.). Think back to a generation ago and see whom the heroes were…cowboys, military, lawmen, etc. Today, superheroes are enhanced humans, mutants, and/or extra-terrestrial (or dimensional) beings with super powers and abilities. To which, may prove Herbert Spencer correct. The conditions of the day set the requirements for the type of hero (or antihero) necessary to right the wrongs of said day. In other words, if we need Superman to fix our problems, then we have some very big problems.
According to Jesus, the conditions in the world before His return promise to be exceedingly wicked, dark, and violent. If the conditions of a society brings about the right “great man,” then the days just before the Tribulation promise to bring in the greatest leader this world has ever known.
Enter, the rider on the white horse…
Now I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals; and I heard one of the four living creatures saying with a voice like thunder, “Come and see.” And I looked, and behold, a white horse. He who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer. Revelation 6:1-2
Although we cannot know who this man is, we can know some of the peripheral information about him. So who is he?
Who: This is the man we commonly refer to as the Antichrist, the son of perdition, or the lawless one. The world will hail him as the great man who will lead them out of the earth’s greatest crisis. This author believes that great global crisis to be the Rapture of the Church as explained in numerous previous briefs.
What: If we look throughout the entirety of Scripture, we can see prophetic references to this man going all the way back to Genesis 3:15. The offspring of Satan (represented then in the form of a serpent), would be one whom would ultimately come in the place of and against Jesus Christ. Referencing the fourth kingdom in the book of Daniel, note the specifics in the interpretation the Angel Gabriel gave Daniel…
And in the latter time of their kingdom,
When the transgressors have reached their fullness,
A king shall arise,
Having fierce features,
Who understands sinister schemes.
His power shall be mighty, but not by his own power;
He shall destroy fearfully,
And shall prosper and thrive;
He shall destroy the mighty, and also the holy people.
Through his cunning
He shall cause deceit to prosper under his rule;
And he shall exalt himself in his heart.
He shall destroy many in their prosperity.
He shall even rise against the Prince of princes;
But he shall be broken without human means Daniel 7:23-25
When: This one comes in the latter time of their kingdom (the fourth kingdom), when the transgressors have reached their fullness. We know historically that the fourth kingdom mentioned in both Nebuchadnezzar’s vision of the multi-metallic statue (Daniel 2) as well as the hybrid beasts Daniel sees (Daniel 7-8), speak to the Roman Empire. Does this fullness mean the world of the first century Roman Empire, with a global population of 200 million? Or the world of the 21st-century with its 7.5 billion and a revived Roman Empire? It would seem that the latter makes more sense than the former in terms of fullness. Therefore, it appears that we are in the right age for this man to come about.
Where: This Antichrist comes out from somewhere within the confines of the old Roman Empire’s boundaries…which stretched as far north as Great Britain, to as far south as northern Africa. From as far west as Spain (or Tarshish then), to as far east as modern day Iraq. So the Antichrist comes from somewhere within this particular boundary.
How: The Apostle Paul states that when he comes, he will come with all power, signs, and lying wonders as well by having the full backing of Satan. This means that he will be able to do what no other leader in the history of man, has ever been able to do (2 Thessalonians 2:3-11). He will be the world’s first legitimately bonafide, superhero. Not only that, but that the world (whom Satan currently manages) will hand it over to him (see also Luke 4:5-6). Note that in Daniel 7:25, he is destroyed without human means, which rules out any other great and terrible leader of history.
The Apostle John is shown things that are even more revealing in that this lawless one seemingly fakes his own resurrection.
And 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. So they worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?”
And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he was given authority to continue for forty-two months. Then he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven. It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation. Revelation 13:3-7
Why: Satan knows he is doomed and is trying everything he can to avoid God’s impending judgment on him. He figures if he can destroy Israel, then he can prevent Bible prophecy from happening, which would mean God’s word has been broken. He will use this man of sin to accomplish just that. However, there have been many antichrists, and a spirit of antichrist that has been present in the world since Christ ascended.
Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour. 1 John 2:18
It is likely that Satan has had many potential Antichrists who would have filled those shoes had his restraint allowed it. However, God has seen fit he (the Antichrist/Beast) would not come about until after the fullness of the Gentiles accomplishes its intended goal, which is the Rapture of the Church. It just so happens that this also the time in which technology most benefits this man of sin to take total control of the planet. Truly, his reign will be as Daniel saw it,
…behold, a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, exceedingly strong. It had huge iron teeth; it was devouring, breaking in pieces, and trampling the residue with its feet. It was different from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns. Daniel 7:7
The bad news is that this great man theory is not a theory. It is about to be fulfilled in a terrifying way. The only good news is that the Church will not be here on earth to see him or his government take shape in any recognizable way. Hence why Paul states in 2nd Thessalonians 2:7-8; for the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed…The Holy Spirit filled Church is the restraining force of this particular kind of evil on the earth. We are the salt and light (Matt. 5:13-16) of this current age. We are the promise built upon the Rock of which the gates of hell that would not overcome (Matt. 16:18). It isn’t that we as the Church are innocent or capable of thwarting Satan’s machinations, but the Holy Spirit who has sealed and indwells us that is the instrument of restraint here and now (1 Cor. 3:16, Eph. 1:13-14).
He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming quickly.” Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus! Revelation 22:18