RELIGIOUS BABYLON – A FALSE RELIGION – ANTICHRIST
We are picking up from the area of our last study in Revelation 17:3. Remember, the key words were Babylon, a false religion. We had looked at some principles which we need to review as we start today. We had reviewed a disliked doctrine, that of “separation.” Considering the end of time circumstances, we need to accept that doctrine by studying it in the Bible. Don’t forget such Scripture as:
“Wherefore come out from among them [the world], and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. And WILL BE A FATHER unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty” (2 Corinthians 6:17-18).
“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For ALL that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world” (I John 2:15-16).
Remember: Religious Babylon or the false religion of the state will receive its power from the Beast, that is, from the Antichrist. The false religion in the end time will be supported by the Antichrist and his government (Revelation 13:12).
We had also reviewed three facts concerning this area. If you were not with us in the previous study, you need to return to it and review the three areas that we looked at. The web site is openbibleministries.net – Prophecy part 156.
Remember also that the beast with seven heads and ten horns is the Antichrist. The seven heads are seven nations. They are the seven nations that will voluntarily surrender to the control of the Antichrist. The Antichrist will have already conquered three nations. The three conquered nations and the seven nations who voluntarily became the subject to his control will give the Antichrist the power of ten horns or nations. He will have the power of ten nations to support him in enforcing the state religion (Revelation 13:1).
The false religion will be dependent upon the power of the Antichrist and the governments under his control. It will be the power of these governments that will hold the false religion up before the world. The nations under the control of the Antichrist will be the primary nations preaching the false religion of Babylon, that is the worship of the state.
NOTE: There are men, even today, who try to mix religion with the world. They base their religion and morals upon their desires, upon what they want to do out in the world. Their religion is determined by their desires for the world. The world and its possessions and pleasures are put first [before God], and then whatever religion is needed to ease their consciences is accepted.
However, note how emphatic the Bible is from the following Scriptural verses [in the Bible]:
“What? Know ye not that our body is the temple of the Holy Ghost [Holy Spirit] which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore, glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (I Corinthians 6:19-20).
“And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares” (Luke 21:34).
“Set your affection on things above, not on things of the earth” (Colossians 3:2).
“Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world” (Titus 2:12).
“Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God” (James 4:4).
Now let’s dive into Revelation 17:4: Key Words False Religion. The wealth and corruption of religious Babylon (false religion) in the end time will be tragic and blind the minds of millions of people. But look around you and you can see the work of Satan in the lives of the unsaved. He is clearly powerful, even in the age of Grace [now]. He has been extremely active and will continue to be active until the end time.
“For the mystery of iniquity doth ALREADY WORK: ONLY, HE WHO NOW LETTETH will let, UNTIL HE BE TAKEN OUT OF THE WAY. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall CONSUME with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders”(2 Thessalonians 2:7-9). (see also: Matthew 24:24; Revelation 18:23).
The end of the Antichrist is seen. The Lord will make quick work of the Antichrist; this is the point of 2 Thessalonians 2:8. The Antichrist poses no threat to the Lord Himself. The power of the Antichrist is as a drop of water in the Ocean — as non-existent — in comparison to the power of the Lord. (The Preachers outline and sermon Bible, page 95.) TIMING OF THE EVENT: Note that the Antichrist will be destroyed when Christ returns to earth and not before.
NOW LET’S LOOK AT SOME THINGS
1. The Lord Jesus will slay the Antichrist with the spirit of His mouth (Greek “breath”). What is the spirit of Jesus’ mouth? It is the spirit of truth, holiness, and unlimited power. When Jesus speaks, what He says is of God and it is unstoppable.
NOTE: When He tears open the sky to slay the Antichrist, there will be no battle, for all the forces of heaven and earth combined would be as non-existent against the Lord God of the universe. Christ will speak the Word, and the Antichrist will be slain. It will be like the blowing of a little breath and the dust particle is removed never to return.
“But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth: with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked” (Isaiah 11:4).
The Pulpit Commentary says, “The words are to be taken literally as a description of the power and irresistible might of Christ at His coming — that the mere breath of His mouth is sufficient to consume the wicked” (Vol. 21, page 25f).
2. The Lord of glory will destroy the Antichrist with the brightness of His coming. The word “brightness” (epiphaneia) is a very special word. In the Greek it is a word chosen by the New Testament to refer only to the coming (Parousia) of the Lord. It is used ONLY five times in all the New Testament, and in every instance it refers to the Lord’s coming into the world.
NOTE: It refers once to His first coming (2 Timothy 1:10) and four times to His second coming (I Timothy 6:14; 2 Timothy 4:1, 8; Titus 2:13).
The whole idea of BRIGHTNESS is splendor, radiance, glory, and light. Someone has pointed out that when Jesus Christ returns to earth, there will be such a spectacular display of God’s glory and splendor that the explosion of every star in the universe could not match the sight of the Lord (source unknown).
When Christ appears, there will apparently be the energizing of a laser beam of glory zeroed on the Antichrist, and he shall be immediately destroyed by the radiance of the Lord’s glory and light – quicker than we could blink an eye. Simply by showing Himself, the Lord will destroy the Antichrist. Note: the word “destroy” does not mean to annihilate—but to make inoperative, to make powerless, to end, to put a stop to his evil work.
NOTE: there are many antichrists who have risen throughout history to carry on Satan’s work with great severity (I John 2:18). However, Paul is not speaking of these men who stand against Christ and His followers. By the terms “that man of sin” (lawlessness) and “the son of perdition” Paul means the most infamous Antichrist who is to appear in the END TIME.
2 Thessalonians (2:9) – Key Word “Antichrist.” The work of Antichrist is to carry out the activity of Satan upon earth. Also note that the coming of the Antichrist will be after the working of Satan. This means…
- that the Antichrist will be the very embodiment of Satan himself.
- that the Antichrist will carry on the lying power and signs and wonders of Satan (2 Thessalonians 2).
- that the Antichrist will carry out the very activity and work of Satan on earth.
The point to see is that Satan will have complete control over the life of the Antichrist. He will be totally surrendered to Satan, and Satan will be energizing him. He will be turning as many as he possibly can away from God.
NOTE: Teeming millions will be listening, watching, and following the Antichrist and his government upon the earth. He will demonstrate the power and signs and wonder of Satan’s control.
- At first Satan will bring a type of peace to earth at his arrival on earth.
- At first Satan will adequately grow and distribute the food so that all may have adequate provision.
- At first Satan will solve the problems of adequate health coverage, full employment, homelessness, energy crunches, and the other problems of this world.
What is wrong with this? Nothing. These are wonderful things and they all need to be solved. But the Antichrist will not stop with this. He will claim supernatural power for himself and his state and its science. Because he has done so much for men, he will insist that religions and all gods take a back seat to him and his government. He will institute the seat of emperial worship. He will do all he can to turn men away from the true and living God and lead them to worship him and his state.
2 Thessalonians 2:4 – Key words the character of the Antichrist. There are five traits of the Antichrist revealed in 2 Thessalonians 2:4 as well as in v. 3.
1. The Antichrist is the “man of sin” (v. 3). He will be the very embodiment of sin and lawlessness; the man who idealizes sin; the man who is the ideal sinner. He will be the man who fulfills the dreams of Satan upon earth. He will lead the perfect rebellion and revolt against God – a rebellion and revolt that will embrace practically every man, woman and child.
2. The Antichrist is the “son of perdition” (v. 3). The word perdition (apoleias) means doom and destruction. Judas is said to be the son of perdition. But the meaning here is that the Antichrist is the very embodiment of perdition, he is…
- the son of the most violent doom and destruction; the son of the most violent evil imaginable.
- the son who is most deserving of doom and perdition than anyone else who has ever lived.
- the son of perdition, of the devil himself, the father of doom and destruction.
3. The Antichrist is the opposer of all that is called God (v. 4).
“who opposeth is a participle, and might well be rendered ‘the opposer’ or ‘the adversary’ a term sometimes applied to Satan (I Timothy 5:14); indeed, the Hebrew Satan means ‘adversary’. The word emphasizes the kinship of the ‘man of lawlessness’ with his master [the devil] (Leon Morris. The Epistles of Paul to the Thessalonians. “Tyndale New Testament Commentaries” page 127).
The Antichrist will be the opponent of Christ; this is the very meaning of his name. He will oppose Christ and everything Christ stands for: love, mercy, morality, and justice. Instead of these, he will lead the world to live a life of immorality, injustice, selfishness, and indulgence — especially in the treatment of those who profess the name of Christ.
4. The Antichrist is the “exalter of himself (Leon Morris): He lifts himself up above all others, above the measure of all others. The idea is against all others, in a hostile or antagonistic way. All people will either subject themselves to him or else suffer severe consequences. Note: the picture is probably referring to imprisonment or death. The point to see is that he is totally…
*self-centered *authoritarian *immoral
*power hungry *dictatorial *unjust
*fame crazed *without values
5. The Antichrist claims to be God. Note exactly what is said here. He exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped. As god, Satan does not just attack authority, but he attacks all religions “all that is called God or that is worshiped.”
How does he do this? He sits in the temple of God and shows himself as God or claims that he is God. The idea is that he sets himself up as the object of worship. He actually sets himself up within the temple of God to be worshiped.
FACT: This has to be done in the temple in Jerusalem. The temple has to be rebuilt, so pray and stay focused on Jerusalem; keep looking for the Return of Christ (John 4).
In “Lightfoot’s” Commentary, he pointed out some of the parallels between Christ and the Antichrist:
- Both Christ and the Antichrist are revealed.
- Both Christ and the Antichrist are surrounded by many mysteries.
- Both Christ and the Antichrist CLAIM to be God.
This is probably referring to the worship of a state religion which will focus upon the leader of the world, the Antichrist. We have a perfect example in the worship of the emperor of the old Roman empire. Images of the emperor were placed in temples all around the world and the citizens were expected to worship the state.
Remember what Rome had done. It had brought peace to a war-torn world. Because of this man, people were willing to worship the IDEA of the state. Think how some people worship science and technology today. And just imagine what would happen if a person arose upon the world scene who could either mobilize or force the nations of the world…
- to live at peace with each other.
- to solve the hunger problem by coordinating the growth and the distribution of food for everyone in the world.
- to solve the problems of the world such as homelessness, unemployment, poverty, lack of medical care, crime and on and on.
Imagine how the vast majority of people would worship the person and state that could bring about this kind of utopian state for the peoples of the world. Natural man would gladly follow such a leader — his science and technology, his will and desire.
Think about this as well, what would be the best way for such a leader to control the masses of the world? The masses who had always been religious? Would it not be to create a new religion, a religion focused upon the ruler and the state over which he ruled? Would not men willingly worship the ruler–his government, science, and technology–that had brought such a utopian existence upon earth for mankind?
This is exactly what happened in ancient Rome in the worship of the emperor and state. People were allowed to continue the worship of their own gods just so long as they acknowledged the supremacy of the emperor and the Roman state. They were to worship the state that had brought and maintained peace within the civilized world of that day.
NOTE: By encouraging (by law) the people to worship the emperor (the symbol of the state), the people were focused upon the government — upon the fact that the state had blessed the world with peace. (This worship of the state helped to maintain the peace throughout the Roman empire.)
Now note 2 Thessalonians 2:5 – 10 – key word “Antichrist.” The importance of the Antichrist is so great that it must be taught, and the “warning” of the Antichrist be given in the church today.
We will continue this study of the Antichrist in our next study – part 158.
As we close today, I would like to direct your attention to John 3:16 and Romans 10:9-13.
Please read and consider what is your relationship for getting into Heaven?
FACT: There is nothing to stop you from arriving in heaven…except yourself. Why not accept God’s free gift of salvation today – see Ephesians 2:8-9? The choice is yours, either to send yourself to heaven or not. But there is only one way to heaven and that is through the shed blood of God’s Son, the Lord Jesus Christ (John 3:16).
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