THE REVEALING OF THE ANTI-CHRIST AND HIS ARMIES
A. The Anti-Christ armies are the rod of the Lord’s discipline in the Day of the Lord
5 “Woe to the Assyrian (Micah 5), the rod of my anger, in whose hand is the club of my wrath! 6 I send him against a godless nation, I dispatch him against a people who anger me…15 Does the ax raise itself above him who swings it, or the saw boast against him who uses it? As if a rod were to wield him who lifts it up, or a club brandish him who is not wood! (NIV Is. 10:5-6, 15)
B. The Anti-Christ: God’s instrument for punishing “Babylon the Great”
1 An oracle concerning Babylon (NKJV “the burden against Babylon”) that Isaiah son of Amoz saw: 2 Raise a banner on a bare hilltop, shout to them; beckon to them to enter the gates of the nobles. 3 I have commanded my holy ones (ESV – “consecrated ones”; NKJV – “sanctified ones”; i.e. not morally upright, but set apart to accomplish God’s purpose in judgment as His instrument); I have summoned my warriors to carry out my wrath— those who rejoice in my triumph. 4 Listen, a noise on the mountains, like that of a great multitude! Listen, an uproar among the kingdoms, like nations massing together! The Lord Almighty is mustering an army for war. 5 They come from faraway lands, from the ends of the heavens— the Lord and the weapons of his wrath— to destroy the whole country (most translations “land”). 6 Wail, for the day of the Lord is near; it will come like destruction from the Almighty. 7 Because of this, all hands will go limp, every man’s heart will melt. 8 Terror will seize them, pain and anguish will grip them; they will writhe like a woman in labor. They will look aghast at each other, their faces aflame. 9 See, the day of the Lord is coming —a cruel day, with wrath and fierce anger— to make the land (of Babylon) desolate and destroy the sinners within it. 10 The stars of heaven and their constellations will not show their light. The rising sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light. 11 I will punish the world for its evil, the wicked for their sins. I will put an end to the arrogance of the haughty and will humble the pride of the ruthless. 12 I will make man scarcer than pure gold, more rare than the gold of Ophir. 13 Therefore I will make the heavens tremble; and the earth will shake from its place at the wrath of the Lord Almighty, in the day of his burning anger. 14 Like a hunted gazelle, like sheep without a shepherd, each will return to his own people, each will flee to his native land. 15 Whoever is captured will be thrust through; all who are caught will fall by the sword. 16 Their infants will be dashed to pieces before their eyes; their houses will be looted and their wives ravished. 17 See, I will stir up against them the Medes (part of the Anti-Christ Empire, cf. Is. 11:11, Ezek. 38:5), who do not care for silver and have no delight in gold (very interesting statement in light of Shiite eschatology of Iran today!). 18 Their bows will strike down the young men; they will have no mercy on infants nor will they look with compassion on children. 19 Babylon, the jewel of kingdoms, the glory of the Babylonians’ pride, will be overthrown by God like Sodom and Gomorrah. 20 She will never be inhabited or lived in through all generations; no Arab will pitch his tent there, no shepherd will rest his flocks there. 21 But desert creatures will lie there, jackals will fill her houses; there the owls will dwell, and there the wild goats will leap about. 22 Hyenas will howl in her strongholds, jackals in her luxurious palaces. Her time is at hand, and her days will not be prolonged. 14 1The Lord will have compassion on Jacob; once again he will choose Israel and will settle them in their own land. Aliens will join them and unite with the house of Jacob. 2 Nations will take them and bring them to their own place. And the house of Israel will possess the nations as menservants and maidservants in the Lord’s land. They will make captives of their captors and rule over their oppressors (NIV Is. 13-14:2).
15 Then the angel said to me, “The waters you saw, where the prostitute sits, are peoples, multitudes, nations and languages. 16 The beast and the ten horns you saw will hate the prostitute. They will bring her to ruin and leave her naked; they will eat her flesh and burn her with fire. 17 For God has put it into their hearts to accomplish his purpose by agreeing to give the beast their power to rule, until God’s words are fulfilled. 18 The woman you saw is the great city that rules over the kings of the earth.” (NIV Rev. 17:15-18)
C. The Anti-Christ destroys Babylon at the beginning of the last 3.5 years. Three key events happen in conjunction at this time: 1) Satan and fallen angels cast out of the heavens; 2) the Anti-Christ or man of sin is revealed; 3) the city “Babylon the Great” is destroyed by the Anti-Christ in fulfillment of passages like Isaiah 13 and Jeremiah 50-51
6 Then I saw another angel flying in midair, and he had the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth—to every nation, tribe, language and people. 7 He said in a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water.” 8 A second angel followed and said, “Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great, which made all the nations drink the maddening wine of her adulteries.” 9 A third angel followed them and said in a loud voice: “If anyone worships the beast and his image and receives his mark on the forehead or on the hand, 10 he, too, will drink of the wine of God’s fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath. He will be tormented with burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb. 11 And the smoke of their torment rises for ever and ever. There is no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and his image, or for anyone who receives the mark of his name.” 12 This calls for patient endurance on the part of the saints who obey God’s commandments and remain faithful to Jesus. (NIV Rev. 14:6-12)
D. 2 Thessalonians 2 and Daniel 8
1Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, 2 not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ (Eclectic Text – NIV/ESV etc. “day of the Lord”) had come. 3 Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away (Gk. apostasia; NIV/ESV/NRSV– “rebellion”; NASB – “apostasy”; cf. Dan. 8:12, 13) comes first, and the man of sin (NIV – “man of lawlessness”) is revealed (cf. Dan. 8:9-12), the son of perdition (cf. Dan. 7:11), 4 who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped (cf. Dan. 8:11, 25, 11:37), so that he sits as God in the temple of God (NIV – “so that he sets himself up in God’s temple”; cf. Dan. 8:11, 25), showing himself that he is God (cf. Dan. 8:11, 11:37). 5 Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? 6 And now you know what is restraining (NIV – “holding him back”), that he may be revealed in his own time (cf. Dan. 8:17, 19 – the “appointed time of the end,” aka the “time of wrath”). 7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He (NKJV note – Or he) who now restrains (lawlessness) will do so until He (NKJV note – or he) is taken out of the way (i.e. Dan. 8:23 –“when the transgressors have reached their fullness,” NKJV Dan. 8:23). 8 And then (“the latter time of their kingdom” – Dan. 8:23, NKJV) the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming (Dan. 8:25 – “not by human hands”). 9 The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders (cf. Dan. 8:12, 23-24; Dan. 8:23 says he understands chidah (Heb.) – i.e. dark sayings/ hidden sayings/enigmas/riddles/ secrets, etc.; used of true prophets in Num. 12:8; i.e. he comes to power in accordance with witchcraft and false prophecy, cf. Rev. 2:24, Rev. 13:13-18), 10 and with all unrighteous deception (cf. Dan. 8:25 – “he will cause deceit to prosper,” NIV) among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth (Dan. 8:12 – “truth was thrown to the ground,” NIV), that they might be saved. 11 And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie (cf. Is. 28:15 LXX; i.e. that there is security and refuge in making a covenant with idolatrous nations, in this case the Anti-Christ; cf. Deut. 32), 12 that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
E. The revelation of Jesus encompasses not only the Second Coming (the climax), but also the intense events leading up to it, especially the last 3.5 years (the Great Tribulation)
1 The revelation of Jesus Christ(a), which God gave to Him (b), to show His servants what is required to take place with suddenness (c). And He communicated it, sending it by His Messenger to His servant John, 2 who reported the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ as much as he perceived (d). 3 The reader and the listeners to the sayings of this prophecy are privileged, also those who heed the things written in it; because the season is impending (e). (Rev. 1:1-3, Translation and notes by Tim Warner)
Tim Warner commentary – (a) “The ‘revelation of Jesus Christ’ is more than just the second coming. It includes the whole end-time sequence of events as the rest of the sentence indicates. The judgments contained in this book reveal Jesus Christ taking control of the nations. The Lamb is the only one worthy to open the seven-sealed scroll.” (b) “The Father gave to the Son the things contained in this book, to be delivered to the churches.” (c) “This prepositional phrase literally means, ‘within a very short space of time.’ Nothing in this phrase requires that the beginning of this timeframe is close, only that the events themselves will occur within a short block of time. (See vs. 3).” (d) “John seems to express the limitations of his own understanding.” (e) “The sense is that the end time events are threatening or imminent (but not necessarily immediate). The whole series of events could come at any time.”
F. In addition to Isaiah 34, Jesus also quotes from Isaiah 13 in the Olivet Discourse. Significantly, these are quoted in conjunction with one another.
29 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light (quoting Is. 13:10, cf. Joel 2:8), and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken (quoting Is. 34:4). (ESV Mt. 24:29)