Over time, and through study, I gradually came to the understanding that the Antichrist, the Beast, would establish his credentials through the use of Scripture.
It’s hard to say exactly when this idea occurred to me, but looking back and looking at Scripture it is actually rather easy to see how he will do it. I included several examples in The Spirit of Prophecy, but I want to take a look at one right now.
During a discussion last week, I was reminded of a statement in the bible, that says that God will make His enemies worship other people… His people! Would such a statement have the potential for abuse? You bet it would!
Those who have read this blog for some time will remember that I believe the Antichrist will come from the nation founded by Jacob’s brother, Esau, which goes by the modern name of Jordan. You might also remember that the capital city, Amman, was known as Philadelphia during the time of Christ and for some three hundred years thereafter. Philadelphia, or Amman, was also known as the city of seven jabals, or seven mountains.
The verse I had in mind just happens to be contained in the section of Revelation that concerns the other city of Philadelphia.
7 And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth; 8 I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name. 9 Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee.Revelation 3:7-9
In the middle of the Tribulation, when the Antichrist declares himself to be God, and Saviour, and sets himself up in the Temple, is there potential in this passage for him to abuse it to his advantage? Could he point to this passage as justification for demanding that the Jews worship him? I think it pretty much goes without saying! This is especially so if he comes from Amman, and the odds are; he will!
A few years ago I had my eyes opened by an illustration given by Dr. Kent Hovind in his series of Creation videos. Dr. Hovind pointed out that God does not depend on man-made dictionaries and lexicons. God knew that His word, and His intentions would come under attack, and so he built a dictionary into His word.
What is a “firmament”? When was the last time you used this word in a normal conversation? If you are normal the answer is probably “never”. So how do we know what God was talking about when he said;
And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. Genesis 1:6
If you are like most people you would look at the word “firmament” and say “well it has ‘firm’ in it so it must be firm, like land. So maybe it means islands or continents surrounded by water?” Well, not really. As I said, God doesn’t depend on dictionaries or on human understanding; He defines His own words… All you have to do is keep on reading;
And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven. Genesis 1:20
So the “firmament” is the atmosphere. Simple. Just keep on reading and God will define the terms He wants you to understand. Once I understood this principle, the Word of God came alive for me. I don’t have to listen to man’s interpretations, but to God’s.
So, what is the purpose of a pastor, or a preacher? Simply to point out what the Word of God says. It is the job of the listener to check-up on the preacher, to make sure that what he is saying is biblically correct! A great many preachers preach error, and no-one checks up on them, because he makes them feel good! This is how errors become main-stream.
I am sure that some would bristle at the AV translation of “worship” in Revelation 3:9, but let’s see how the bible defines this word;
23 Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants. 24 And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents. 25 But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made. 26 The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. Matthew 18:23-26
So here we have a story from the Lord Jesus Himself, where he describes a king being worshipped. While this king is like God, he isn’t God, but merely an illustration. It seems that the word “worship” here means “to give due respect”, or “ to worship in a civil manner, as opposed to a spiritual manner”.
“But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room; that when he that bade thee cometh, he may say unto thee, Friend, go up higher: then shalt thou have worship in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee.” Luke 14:10
“And David said to all the congregation, Now bless the LORD your God. And all the congregation blessed the LORD God of their fathers, and bowed down their heads, and worshipped the LORD, and the king.” I Chronicles 29:20
It is very obvious that while the word is the same, the application toward a man is different than toward God. If it was the same then Jesus would have contradicted Himself;
“Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.” Matthew 4:10
We don’t remove the word from the text, or change it, but understand it as it was written. Again, you can understand this simply from reading the bible itself, but you can check a dictionary;
“Not only does the King James Bible read “then shalt thou have worship” but so also do Wycliffe 1395- “Thanne WORSCHIP schal be to thee, bifor men”, Tyndale 1525 – “Then shalt thou have WORSHIPPE”, Miles Coverdale 1535, the Great Bible 1540, Matthew’s Bible 1549- “Then shalte thou haue WORSHYPPE”, the Bishop’s Bible 1568, and the Geneva Bible 1599 – “then shalt thou haue WORSHIP in the presence of them that sit at table with thee.”
The word “worship” comes from the Old English weortscipe, and literally means “condition of worth” from weorth or worth. Webster’s 1828 dictionary defines worship as:
1. Excellence of character; dignity; worth; worthiness. –Elfin born of noble state, and muckle worship in his native land.
2. A title of honor, used in addresses to certain magistrates and other of respectable character. My father desires your worships company.
4. Chiefly and eminently, the act of paying divine honors to the Supreme Being; or the reverence and homage paid to him in religious exercises, consisting in adoration, confession, prayer, thanksgiving and the like.
6. Honor; respect; civil deference. Then shalt thou have worship in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee. Luke 14:10 (Notice his use of this very verse in his dictionary)
WORSHIP, v.t. 2. To respect; to honor; to treat with civil reverence. Nor worshipd with a waxen epitaph.” ( http://brandplucked.webs.com/luke1410worship213t.htm )
So, when God says that He will make the Philadelphia Church’s enemies bow down and worship them, He is saying that the Church will have a say in the eternal destiny of those who persecuted them.The victims of persecution will have life-and-death power over their persecutors!
So this is the context of the passage, but is it possible that someone will take this passage out of context, to attempt to make the Tribulation saints worship him? Is it possible that the Antichrist will call his church “the Church of Philadelphia”?
It is not only possible, but very likely; he can’t call his Church “the Church of the Antichrist”, can he? Can he call it “the Church of Satan”? I don’t think so; While he is indeed promoting Satan, don’t forget that Satan wants to be God. No, He will claim to be promoting the true God. As for his Church, he will have to invoke the most blessed Church in the bible, as his own!
What about the Mark of the Beast? How will he be able to make people take his mark? Again, look further in the same chapter;
“Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.” Revelation 3:12
This passage is so good, and it will be so very good for those who are there, but you can bet that the Antichrist will want to make his followers think it is about them. He will have to impersonate the deity of this passage, in order to impose his mark on mankind, and to make it believable. He will flip it upside down. No doubt he will claim that his name is the new name of the Messiah, in fulfilment of this passage, and taking the mark is taking the name of the Messiah! No doubt he will call his followers “overcomers”, and the followers of Jesus will be called evil, and wicked, and false Jews!
The Antichrist, and the False Prophet, will have extensive knowledge of the bible. While they may attempt to be all things to all men, their main target will be Israel and the followers of Jesus. After all, it is Jesus who has the keys of life; Buddha, and Mohammed, just can’t compare.
Jesus, The God of the Old Testament, has made many promises to Israel. If all the Jews are dead, or worshipping and serving the Antichrist, then Jesus couldn’t keep his promises. That would make the God of the bible a liar, and such a liar would have no cause to throw another liar, like Satan, into the Lake of Fire.
No doubt this is some of the reasoning behind Satan’s attack on the Church and Israel. God, allows Satan just enough freedom, and power, that he remains self-deluded into thinking his plans are possible, but rest assured, Jesus is the one in control. While Satan will come close to succeeding, Jesus is always way ahead of Him, and always has a remnant, both in the Gentiles and in Israel.