Wednesday, March 6, 2013
“And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time” (2 Thessalonians 2:6 KJV).
The recent resignation of Benedict XVI as pope is being greatly discussed within “Christian” circles in light of eschatology. Are we seeing Bible prophecy fulfilled today, or is this simply the (usual) failure to “rightly divide the word of truth?”
Firstly, why is the antichrist in Scripture?
2. To deal with the nation Israel: to separate the believing Jews from the unbelieving Jews.
When the antichrist is assassinated by sword halfway through the seven-year Tribulation (Zechariah 11:15-17; Revelation 13:3-5,12,14), his soul will go to hell and remain there; however, Satan will heal that physical body, and re-animate it via devil possession (!). This is the antichrist’s transformation from “the man of sin” to the even more nefarious, “son of perdition [damnation]” (2 Thessalonians 2:3).
John explains in Revelation 17:8: “The beast [antichrist] that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.” The antichrist “was” (alive) “and is not” (killed); he “was” (alive), “is not” (dead), “and yet is” (alive).
This “resurrection” will cause the whole world to worship the antichrist (Satan) (Revelation 13:3-18), albeit believing Israel will not. Their refusal of the antichrist’s mark and/or number and/or name will cause them to be destitute of food, clothing, and shelter, and eventually they will be imprisoned (Revelation 13:16-18; cf. Matthew 25:31-46).
As in Christ’s day (Matthew 13:37-43), during the Tribulation, many Jews will claim to be following JEHOVAH. Jews who accept the antichrist will be exposed as Satan’s counterfeit Jews (Hebrews 10:25-39; 1 John 2:18,19; 1 John 4:1-4). Believing Jews will prove their faith by rejecting the antichrist and his religion, and suffering the penalty—being beheaded (Revelation 20:4; cf. Revelation 6:9-11). Hence, James writes of believing Jews visiting “the fatherless and widows in their affliction” (James 1:27), and Peter mentions “suffering as a Christian” (1 Peter 4:12-19; 1 Peter 5:6-9).