The Reign of the Antichrist
Here is a list a passages which describe the being who is granted world power just prior to the return of the messiah. The Bible never uses the term Antichrist with a capital "A", but it does describe the spirit of antichrist that will give rise to this individual. The Bible has other labels for this character including: the little horn, the beast, the destroyer of the holy people, the lawless one and the son of perdition.
The little horn, first described in Daniel 7:8, will arise out of the ancient Roman Empire and the other Middle Eastern kingdoms. It will oppress God's faithful for 3½ years.
... The fourth beast shall be a fourth kingdom on earth, different from all the others; ... The ten horns shall be ten kings rising out of that kingdom; another shall rise up after them, different from those before him, who shall lay low three kings. He shall speak against the Most High and oppress the holy ones of the Most High, thinking to change the feast days and the law. They shall be handed over to him for a year, two years, and a half-year. But when the court is convened, and his power is taken away by final and absolute destruction, then the kingship and dominion and majesty of all the kingdoms under the heavens shall be given to the holy people of the Most High, whose kingdom shall be everlasting: all dominions shall serve and obey him.
The beast will come to power and oppress God's faithful for 42 months, which is 3½ years.
The beast was given a mouth uttering proud boasts and blasphemies, and it was given authority to act for forty-two months. It opened its mouth to utter blasphemies against God, blaspheming his name and his dwelling and those who dwell in heaven. It was also allowed to wage war against the holy ones and conquer them, and it was granted authority over every tribe, people, tongue, and nation.
The destroyer of God's faithful will have power for 3½ years.
One of them said to the man clothed in linen, who was upstream, “How long shall it be to the end of these appalling things?” The man clothed in linen, who was upstream, lifted his right and left hands to heaven; and I heard him swear by him who lives forever that it should be for a year, two years, a half-year; and that, when the power of the destroyer of the holy people was brought to an end, all these things should end.
The Roman Empire destroyed the temple in Jerusalem. The same power that brought about that empire will someday bring one who will suppress religion for half a week, namely 3½ years.
... And the people of a leader who will come shall destroy the sanctuary. ... until the end there shall be war, the desolation that is decreed. For one week he shall make a firm compact with the many; half the week he shall abolish sacrifice and oblation; ...
The true church, the congregation of God's faithful symbolized by the woman, will flee into the desert and go into hiding for 1260 days or 3½ years.
Revelation 12:6, 14
The woman herself fled into the desert where she had a place prepared by God, that there she might be taken care of for twelve hundred and sixty days. ... But the woman was given the two wings of the great eagle, so that she could fly to her place in the desert, where, far from the serpent, she was taken care of for a year, two years, and a half-year.
The holy city will be trampled for 42 months and God's two witnesses will prophesy in the face of opposition for 1260 days. These two time periods are, again, 3½ years.
Then I was given a measuring rod like a staff and I was told, “Come and measure the temple of God and the altar, and count those who are worshiping in it. But exclude the outer court of the temple; do not measure it, for it has been handed over to the Gentiles, who will trample the holy city for forty-two months. I will commission my two witnesses to prophesy for those twelve hundred and sixty days, wearing sackcloth.”
All the passages quoted above make it clear that once the Antichrist comes to power, his authority will be limited to 3½ years. The spirit of antichrist, which establishes the power base for this government, has been working behind the scenes for all of our history. This covert force will one day become overt. It is from this point in time that the prophecies apply. II Thessalonians 2 affirms that this hidden force will one day be revealed for all to see.
II Thessalonians 2:1-10
We ask you, brothers, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our assembling with him, not to be shaken out of your minds suddenly, or to be alarmed either by a “spirit,” or by an oral statement, or by a letter allegedly from us to the effect that the day of the Lord is at hand. Let no one deceive you in any way. For unless the apostasy comes first and the lawless one is revealed, the one doomed to perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god and object of worship, so as to seat himself in the temple of God, claiming that he is a god— do you not recall that while I was still with you I told you these things? And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. But the one who restrains is to do so only for the present, until he is removed from the scene. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord (Jesus) will kill with the breath of his mouth and render powerless by the manifestation of his coming, the one whose coming springs from the power of Satan in every mighty deed and in signs and wonders that lie, and in every wicked deceit for those who are perishing because they have not accepted the love of truth so that they may be saved.
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©1998 Collins Hamblen