Daniel and the Antichrist (Part 1)

What will the world be like just before the second coming of Christ? Our Lord emphasized the enormous potential of global deception at that time.

In answer to the disciples’ urgent question: “What will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” (NKJV, Matt. 24:3), our Lord warned them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many…. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many…. For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect” (Matt. 24:4-5, 11 22). Note the emphasis on the words “false” and “deceive” in our Lord’s answer.

One moment after the rapture of the church, every surviving religious leader in the world will be a false one. Yes, millions of good gospel tracts, books and recorded messages will still be here—but all born-again Christians will be gone. Human reflectors of the light of the world will be in heaven with their Savior. Suddenly, the worst person the world has even seen will introduce himself to the people of Israel, and will offer to them hope for security and military victory in the midst of a world that hates them. That person is the Antichrist. He is the one of whom the Lord Jesus spoke: “I have come in My Father’s name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, him you will receive” (John 5:43).

So the true Christ knows about the future Antichrist? Of course! In fact, our Lord will actually launch him into his seven-year career on planet Earth: “Now I saw when the Lamb [Jesus] 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” (Rev. 6:1, 2).

The significance of Daniel’s prophecy

At first, the Antichrist will pose as Israel’s friend, and millions of Israelis will put their trust in him. But then, three and a half years later, his true character as Satan’s masterpiece will be revealed. How can we understand this?

Our Lord explained: “ ‘When you [Jewish disciples] see the “abomination of desolation,” spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place’ (whoever reads, let him understand)… ‘Then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be’ ” (Matt. 24:15, 21). There it is!

The command is clear: “Understand” … “Daniel the prophet” (Matt. 24:15). What a tribute to that faithful servant of God who had died nearly 600 years earlier. The Lord had told Daniel: “Seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase…and none of the wicked shall understand, but the wise shall understand” (Dan. 12:4, 10).

At this point we can truly identify with Daniel himself. With curiosity bordering on desperation he cried out: “My lord, what shall be the end of these things?” (Dan. 12:8). Fuller revelation was to come in the next four verses, as we shall see, God willing; and later through Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi and, still later, through the New Testament—especially the capstone of all prophecy, the book of Revelation. But the foundation of God’s teaching concerning the final Antichrist was laid in the book of Daniel.

Let us say of Daniel’s book what Peter said of Paul’s letters: “Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless; and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation—as also our beloved brother Paul [and Daniel], according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures” (2 Pet. 3:14-16).

[node:bio/john-c-whitcomb body]

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There are 3 Comments

James K's picture

The idea that the antichrist plays nice with the world for 3.5 years is entirely unfounded and betrays a misunderstanding of Daniel's 70th week.  According to Daniel 7:25, antichrist only has 42 months.

Dan 7:25

"He will speak words against the Most High and oppress the holy ones of the Most High. He will intend to change religious festivals and laws, and the holy ones will be handed over to him for a time, times, and half a time."

The only reason why some dispensationalists believe in a peaceful antichrist is because they wrongly attribute the first 3.5 years of the 70th week to antichrist.

1 Kings 8:60 - so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.

christian cerna's picture

The second coming of Christ(rapture of the Church) will come at the end of the ages, when all things will be exposed, and Christ will judge the nations of the Earth. Therefore those of us(believers) who are alive in those days, will see the Antichrist arise, and will experience a time of testing and tribulation.

JD Miller's picture

When I was a teenager, I thought I had all the prophecy stuff figured out (I had listened to all kinds of prophecy speakers).  As I have gotten older and have actually studied the Bible passages instead of studying the prophecy teachers, I have concluded that I see through the glass darkly.  In other words, I can see things from the text of scripture and I know that certain things will happen, but I am not certain exactly how it will unfold.   The more I study, the more theories I have for how it might fit together, but I recognize that they are just that- theories.  That doesn't mean I am opposed to studying prophecy or even in presenting some of the theories, but I think too many have a tendency to say, "this is what WILL happen" when they should be saying, "this is how I think it MIGHT possibly happen, but I could be wrong."

I love how Whitcomb ended his article:

Let us say of Daniel’s book what Peter said of Paul’s letters: “Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless; and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation—as also our beloved brother Paul [and Daniel], according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures” (2 Pet. 3:14-16).

What a great reminder that regardless of our theories about the details of how things will unfold (I'm dispensational, pre-trib, pre-millenial) the reality of these future events should motivate our lives for today.

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