“Then I stood on the sand of the sea, and I saw a beast rising up out of the sea having seven heads and ten horns.” Revelation 13:1
Soon after Jesus raptures His bride, the church, the Tribulation will begin. It will be a very confusing time of sadness and mourning for those left behind. Sometime later, a world country will elect a new leader. He will rise to power in an attempt to dominate and control the world, and he will have a helper. These two sinister men are the Antichrist and the False Prophet. The evil they will spread will be nothing like anyone has ever witnessed in human history.
What can we expect when these two men come to power? What will God do with them? Both Old and New Testament prophecies tell us what is to come…and what you can do.
The Rise of the Antichrist
After the church is raptured, the world will not see any signs from heaven until Jesus’ return on what is called the Day of the Lord. Many people debate about exactly when that day will be, but the Bible clearly tells us…or not.
“But concerning that day and hour, no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.” Matthew 24:36
Only the Father knows when He will send His Son, Jesus, and the armies of heaven (Jesus, His angels, and His raptured church) to take on Satan and his minions. But we will have some key indicators if we pay attention. Jesus points out some of these signs in Matthew 24:5–9.
But, the most important sign of the impending Tribulation is the appearance of the Antichrist or “beast.”
“Then I stood on the sand of the sea, and I saw a beast rising up out of the sea having seven heads and ten horns, and on his horns ten crowns, and on his heads a blasphemous name.” Revelation 13:1
According to the prophet Daniel (9:25), the Antichrist will rise to power as a seemingly peace-loving man. We have no clear idea of where he will rise to power. Some scholars believe he will come from the Middle East such as Turkey, Syria, Iran, or somewhere in that region (the lands of Esau). Others say he will arise in Europe (Daniel 7:7, 16–24). And others believe the Antichrist will show up in the general area where the Roman Empire used to be, which of course included both Europe and the Middle East.
So, it’s hard to say. However, we do know he will come somewhere from the former Roman territory, quite possibly to form a revived Roman Empire.
We know this because of the apostle John’s description of the seven heads and ten horns in the book of Revelation.
Seven and Ten
Six of the seven heads represent the former empires of Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome, which eventually conquered the lands of the previous five empires. Daniel 7 spoke of three of these empires — Greece, Medo-Persia, and Babylon — which we see again in Revelation 13:2 where John describes the leopard, the bear, and the lion.
The seventh head or empire will belong to the Antichrist, and it will be far more powerful than the previous six empires put together.
Of the ten horns, ten is a number that represents military and political power. So, the ten horns represent the countries the Antichrist will control. Together, they will become a future “one world” government. He will come to power from out of one of these countries to form a political coalition, one that will have a variety of specialized powers based on each country’s abilities and resources.
Total dictatorship will be his goal, and the countries he controls will walk in lockstep with him, blindly obeying his every command.
The Antichrist and Israel
As he rises to power, the Antichrist will win many admirers. He will be extraordinarily intelligent, highly skilled in the ways of commerce and making war, persuasive and elegant in his speech, and very deft at politics (Daniel 8:23, 11:36,43; Revelation 6:2, 13:2; 13:16–17, 17:11–12).
Once in power, he will make a covenant of peace with Israel to gain its favor, and many people (not just Israelis) will be fooled. They will think they have finally found a political leader who listens to them and responds to their needs. Someone who understands them. But about three and a half years into the peace treaty, things will change.
“Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week, but in the middle of the week, he shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate.” Daniel 7:27
The “one week” mentioned here indicates a period of seven years, which means the peace treaty will be designed to last for seven years. This is another indicator the Tribulation has begun.
Then, “in the middle of the week,” about three years or so into the treaty (Revelation 13:5 says 42 months), the Antichrist will break it.
He will take control of the holy Temple in Jerusalem (which suggests a third Temple will be built) and set it up to be a place where people are required to worship him and not God. He will designate the Holy of Holies to be a place of worship for him only. This is what Jesus was referring to when He spoke about the abomination of desolation in Matthew 24:15–16.
“Therefore, when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.”
It is shortly after the desecration of the Temple that the mid-point of the Tribulation will occur, meaning that Jesus’ second coming — the Day of the Lord — will be at hand.
The False Prophet
“Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon.” Revelation 13:11
As an equal and opposite of God’s holy trinity, Satan will have his own evil trinity composed of himself (the dragon, Revelation 12:3), the Antichrist, and the Antichrist’s sidekick called the False Prophet or “Second Beast.”
The False Prophet’s job will be to make sure everyone worships the Antichrist. Religion will be his only focus, and he will fool people with the things he says which many will interpret as pointing to God. But, in actuality, he will be pointing them to the Antichrist.
One way he will do this is to ensure those who have been “left behind” know about the Antichrist’s miraculous healing after a near-death experience following the abomination of desolation (Revelation 13:3). The False Prophet will tell everyone the Antichrist was actually killed and miraculously resurrected (like Jesus).
Believers will be wise to recognize that because of what the Antichrist did in the holy Temple, it is completely unlikely God resurrected this man. They should also remember that only God has the power to raise the dead and no one else. So, it is more likely the Antichrist was only severely wounded.
Yet, the people will be so fooled and impressed, they will make an image (perhaps a structure of some sort) in honor of him. No doubt utilizing modern technology, the image will appear to talk (Revelation 13:15).
Such deception and worship based on false religion will only serve to persuade people to widely accept the Antichrist. His increasing power and fame will spread worldwide (13:3) until everyone asks, “Who is like the beast?” in direct contrast to the Israelites worship of God in Exodus 15:11 saying, “Who is like You, O Lord?”
The Mark of the Beast
Those who disbelieve and refuse the False Prophet’s order to worship the Antichrist will be given the “mark of the beast,” without which no one will be able to buy or sell goods (Revelation 13:16–18). Such a mark was common to those who lived in the original Roman Empire. It was given to slaves, soldiers, and members of mystic cults for easy identification and discernment of loyal followers.
The Antichrist will also require a visible marking. Revelation 13:16–17 says the mark will be either on one’s hand or forehead. Many scholars believe this is in direct response to the angels in Revelation 7:3 and 14:1 putting a seal on the foreheads of 144,000 redeemed Jews from the twelve tribes of Israel.
“Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666.” Revelation 13:18
Those who refuse the mark will find it increasingly difficult to find food or shelter. Their physical conditions will deteriorate to point of their death, either by starvation or disease. Others who refuse the mark will be persecuted, imprisoned, and outright executed by beheading (Rev. 20:4) for their late-coming faith in God.
“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.” Revelation 13:6–7
Worship of anything other than the Antichrist will not be tolerated in any way.
Signs and Wonders
The False Prophet will also perform many great and magical signs that will easily fool many people (2 Thessalonians 2:9; Revelation 13:13) including calling down fire from heaven. God performed such power several times in the Old Testament (Genesis 19:24; Leviticus 10:1–2; 1 Kings 18:38). Since Satan is the master of lies, and he endeavors to do everything God can do, the False Prophet will appear to perform the same works.
Pastor David Jeremiah in his book Escape the Coming Night envisions the False Prophet calling down fire from heaven by putting on a huge firework display over the city of Jerusalem. Pastor Jeremiah speculates a scene of “great streaks of fire [that] blaze across the sky” in honor of the Antichrist. And perhaps, one of these fireworks images may be of the beast himself.
For the believer, this should be a terrifying sight.
The Day of the Lord
Thankfully, the Antichrist and the False Prophet will not remain in power for long. About three and a half years after the Antichrist comes to power, Jesus will bring His armies of heaven on the great Day of the Lord. He will destroy not only the Antichrist and the False Prophet but also Satan himself.
The Antichrist will gather his own army and try to battle the Lord, but he will swiftly fail.
“Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence…These two were cast into the lake of fire burning with brimstone. And the rest were killed with the sword which proceeded from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse.” Revelation 19:20–21
Soon after, the Lord will command an angel to cast Satan into a bottomless pit.
“Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. And he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him so that he should deceive the nations no more.” Revelation 20:1–3
Satan will remain in the pit for one thousand years after which the Lord will cast him into the lake of fire with the Antichrist and the False Prophet where they will remain eternally (Revelation 20:10).
Though the Day of the Lord will be greatly victorious, incredible destruction will have already been done. Millions and millions of people will have been amazingly tortured, both by the Antichrist and by the decaying physical environment (Revelation 15–16). Worse of all, those who stubbornly refused to accept Christ will have died in their sin, eternally separated from God.
Without a doubt, this fact breaks God’s heart.
And Now for Some Good News
The Antichrist and the False Prophet will create horrific conditions for anyone who has not been raptured — extensive famine, war, violent weather and pestilence, and relentless persecution. Those who resist and fight back will be mercilessly killed for their refusal to comply. It will be a very dark time.
But there is good news.
In the days leading up to the Day of the Lord, God will continue to grant salvation to those who want it. The Holy Spirit will still be at work knocking on the doors of people’s hearts. Unfortunately, they will still endure the Tribulation. Some will be beheaded for their faith. But God will keep His promise, and they will ultimately spend eternity with Him (Revelation 20:4).
It will be a very difficult time despite (or rather because of) their faith. But you can avoid it all.
You can escape the entire Tribulation and all the evil to come just by receiving the gift of salvation today. It’s not too late. You too can be caught up with the church in the Rapture. You can be a part of the armies of heaven that come on the victorious Day of the Lord to destroy Satan forever.
All you must do is acknowledge your sin and your need for a Savior. Ask Jesus to come into your heart and ask Him for forgiveness. He promises He will. His love for you is so big He willingly died on a cross to save you from eternal death and separation from Him. He paid the penalty we owe just so we could remain by His side forever. All you must do is believe in His love and ask for forgiveness.
Nothing more must be done. Salvation cannot be earned or accomplished by being a good person or going to church or any good works (Ephesians 2:8). The Bible says all you must do is repent and believe. It’s truly that simple.
As we get closer to the unknown day of the Rapture, we will see a worsening of conditions. We see it already. The evil and destruction that will eventually follow will be unlike anything ever imagined.
My friend, I invite you to receive Jesus’ gift of salvation today. I promise it will be the best decision you ever make.