STUDY 5 – MAJOR COUNTRIES AND PEOPLE MENTIONED
REVIVED ROMAN EMPIRE
We discussed last time in more about this nation itself. That it will be a 10 nation confederacy in which one leader will conquer three of the nations, and then the other 7 nations will submit to that single leader. We will now take some time to examine who that leader is. Whereas we do not have a name for him, we do have a name that is a definition of who he is. That is, he is the Antichrist.
This name itself gives us a definition of who he is. That is, he is against Christ. He is someone who will lift himself up into a great position and try to make himself look like the Christ. Counterfeiting the work of God has long been the desired work of Satan. His crowning piece will appear when a man is raised up to be a substitute for the Lord Jesus. Mind you, this exact term, even though accepted by Bible teachers and prophetic students, is never used in connection with a specific person. John uses it in I John, but just to refer to someone who opposes Christ, particularly about teaching of the deity of Christ. There are at least 20 names given this person in the bible. But since Antichrist best embodies what this person is about, anti-Christian attitudes, purposes, and motives, this is the name most commonly referred to him. Some of the names given him in the Bible are: Dan 7:8 and 8:9 – ‘little horn’; Dan 9:26 – ‘a king of fierce countenance’; 2 Th. 2:3-8 – “that man of sin”, “the son of perdition”, “that wicked one”; Rev 13:1 “a beast”.
Of all the titles given to this man, the most descriptive one is in 2 Th. 2:3, “the man of sin”. As this, he will enter the scene as the embodiment of all the sinful men who have ever lives. The following verse, 2 Th. 2:4, offers an appropriate description of his conduct: “He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.” He opposes everything that Christ represents, and will sit in the Temple in Jerusalem and commit the ‘abomination of desolation’, that is, he will proclaim himself God.
His exact nationality is hard to say. All we know for sure is that he will come out of the Revived Roman Empire. Based on the passages about the abomination of desolation, some thin he could possibly a Syrian Jew. This passage compares him to Antiochus Epiphanies, who was the leader of the Seleucid Empire, and committed the abomination of desolation when he sacrificed swine in the Temple around 167 BC. Another possibility is that he is a Greek-Roman Jew. One thing is for sure, that is he needs to have some Jewish blood if the Jews are going to believe that he is the Christ. He could be like Hitler and hide his Jewish line, only revealing it at an opportune time for people to believe that he is the Christ. A number of people have speculated at who the Antichrist is over the years, and they have all been wrong. Some people have even thought that our current President, Barack Obama, could be the Antichrist. Could he be? Not likely, because he is not Jewish. Whereas he is not totally African American, his descendency is also from Great Britain.
Future Activities of the Antichrist
He will not come on the world scene looking like an evil person, which would be too easy for people to detect. He will not be the leader of a conquering country. Instead, he will rise to power through the stealth of diplomacy. He will look like a man of peace. He will gain control over the Revived Roman Empire by looking like he has the answers that will cause world peace. This is confirmed by looking at Dan 8:25, “He will cause deceit to prosper, and he will consider himself superior. When they feel secure, he will destroy many and take his stand against the Prince of princes. Yet he will be destroyed, but not by human power.” He will gain power through deception. He will rise to power looking peaceful, and the power of the kingdom will be given to him. But after he gets this power, this false peace will come to an end, and the world will see what an evil man he truly is. Satan himself will be the driving force behind the Antichrist, and there is another passage that tells us that Satan will look like an angel of light. Satan himself is a deceiver, and his protégé, the Antichrist, will also be a deceiver.
We talked earlier about how Daniel was shown about the Revived Roman Empire. This is also mentioned in Revelation. We see in Rev. 17:12-13 how the Antichrist will get the power over this Empire, “The ten horns you saw are ten kings who have not yet received a kingdom, but who for one hour will receive authority as kings along with the beast. They have one purpose and will give their power and authority to the beast.” This gives us another indication of how he will get power. The other leaders will think that he has the power and charisma to bring about the peace they are looking for. We have already entered a day in which man’s political concept of government is one world in scope. Look at the United Nations. This was built so all of the world can come together to help bring peace to the world. Our politicians think that they have all the answers. But just because they can talk well enough to get the majority of votes, doesn’t mean that they have the best answers.
The Antichrist will dominate the world’s economy. If he is going to be a true world leader, he will need to control the money as well. The world today has a currency on which it does a lot of its business, the US Dollar. It isn’t the currency in independent nations, but when many countries transact monies between the two, they use the US Dollar. This is because it has been strong and dependable. Look what happened to the world’s economy when many Americans defaulted on their mortgages, it has sent much of the world into a recession. Because of this, some nations are suggesting that the world uses another currency because the Dollar isn’t as stable and dependable as it once was. Some people think that the Revived Roman Empire could come from the 27 nation European Union. Right now, 16 of their nations have a currency that can be used in any of those nations. So they already have developed a currency that could fit that bill. The currency that they will use is associated with a number that people are familiar with, but we don’t know exactly what it means, that is, 666.
We are given a brief description about this in Rev. 13:16-18, “He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his name. This calls for wisdom. If anyone has insight, let him calculate the number of the beast, for it is man’s number. His number is 666.” This is something that everyone in the Antichrist’s kingdom has to take if they are going to buy or sell anything. People won’t even be able to hold a job without this number. The Antichrist will be in total control of the means of which people do business. The Bible says this is a mark, the name or number of the beast. It doesn’t say that the number 666 will be written on people’s hands or foreheads. It is a mystery as to exactly what it will look like. Satan knows that people will readily recognize it if he made it 666. Therefore he will have to disguise what it looks like and the way it is started to be used so it won’t make people suspicious and not wanting to use it.
I saw a Christian movie years ago about the End Times. In it, the mark was 0110 0110 0110. What does this mean exactly to you? To most people I ask, it means nothing. But to someone who knows binary numbers, which is the way computers see numbers, 0110 is 6. So they had 666 written on the back of their hands. What about if you saw 1010011010? This is exactly how a computer would see 666. My point is, we don’t know exactly what it will look like. I have a handout of what 666 looks like in other forms.
A few interesting facts about 666 I gleaned from Wikipedia: 666 is the natural number following 665 and preceding 667. It is also an abundant number. It is the sum of the first 36 natural numbers (i.e. 1 + 2 + 3 + … + 34 + 35 + 36 = 666), and thus a triangular number. The number of prime numbers up to 666 is 121, the square of the number of prime numbers up to 36. 666 is the sum of the squares of the first seven prime numbers (i.e. 22 + 32 + 52 + 72 + 112 + 132 + 172 = 666).
Much of our life’s information is stored in computers. Without computer technology, the internet, and satellite technology, we would not have the lifestyles that we have today. So this new monetary system could be controlled by computers. They now have chips that can be places under skin. They use that now with dogs in case they get lost. Place a chip under the skin between their shoulders. So if that dog is found, a scanner can be passed over that place, and immediately it will appear who is the registered owner of that dog is, and he can go back home. Some are even using it on some people today so they can track what medications they need. This system could easily be used by the Revived Roman Empire to track what money people have. They could easily put one of these chips under the skin of a person. Then you wouldn’t have to bring any money or credit or debit cards around with you, but they could use this to track your money. Your paycheck would go directly to your bank account. Then when you purchase something, they would just scan your hand and verify that you have enough money and would pay for it, or put it on your credit card. You wouldn’t have to worry about anyone stealing your money or credit card, because you won’t have them with you.
Think about the sequence of how money has evolved. First you had to have the cash with you. This could be inconvenient to carry a lot, especially if it was in coins, and it could easily be stolen from you. Then they came up with checks. Banks would keep a certain amount in a back vault, so if someone wrote a check, they could use that money against that check. Now you didn’t have to carry that cash along with you, especially have all of those heavy coins. Then last century they came up with the credit card. Now you didn’t even have to write a check. Just let them use the credit card, sign the slip, and you could pay several items at one time later one. You were actually even using someone else’s money. But if you didn’t want to have that amount that you owed, because they charge interest and fees if you are late, later on came the debit card. Now you pass your debit card in the machine, enter your PIN number, and they take the money directly from your bank account. You don’t have to carry cash with you any more, nor would you be in debt to a credit card company. But debit and credit cards can still be stolen. Identity theft is one of the biggest things being stolen today. These were all implemented by banks. But we know how suspicious our government is of banks these days. They think that they can do things better. So the next step that government itself could be to implement this new monetary system. After all, we don’t spend much cash itself, and the money is just a number in the back. So they could place a mark on, or under, people’s hands or foreheads. This would contain the information needed about you, so all they would have to do is pass the wand over the chip, and they would have all of your banking information. And since the information is in your skin, nobody could steal your money; they would have to cut off your entire hand. It would be much easier to catch thieves then. The Antichrist’s government would not only have control over money transactions, but they would also know exactly where you are by tracking where you are purchasing items.
There is a major catch to having this mark though. That is, anyone who gets it will not be able to enter into heaven. We read about this in Rev. 14:9-10 “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, 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.” God will take the mark as worshipping the Antichrist. Yes, God wants us to work for an honest living and lovingly support our families. But God is a jealous God, he doesn’t want us worshipping anyone else but Him, let alone worship someone who is against God. So whoever takes this mark will have to face the wrath of God, not just His disapproval or punishment, but His wrath, poured out at full strength. God can justly do this because people have had a chance to come to know Him. The Gospel message will have gone throughout the whole world, the Bible is translated into every major language in the world, and several minor languages. There are several Christian books, magazines and other literature to point people in the way. The Gospel (good news) is taught at many churches (unfortunately not all), is spread throughout the world on radio stations, (am, fm and shortwave) and through TV. There have even been a few good Christian movies out there. So if someone was searching for God, He could be found. God is not willing that anyone should perish, and He has waited about 2000 years since the death of Christ, giving mankind a chance to know Him in true salvation. So there will be no excuse.
There will be Christians on the earth during those times who do not take the mark. The good news is, they will rule and reign with Jesus through the Millennium, Christ’s thousand year reign on earth on which there will be peace. The bad news is, that they will have to die for their faith. Rev. 20:4, “I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or his image and had not received his mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years.” There will be a great persecution of those who will not worship the Antichrist. Those who do not have the mark will not be able to have a job. They won’t be able to buy any food in the stores. The government will be all powerful, and will not want any opposition. They are in control, and they will have the technology to track most everyone. Like the communist block nations of a few decades ago, they will come against those who are against them with a strong arm.
The False Prophet
The Antichrist will not be the only person coming against the Believers during this time, he will have a helper whom is called the False Prophet. Rev 14:11-15 warns us about him; “Then I saw another beast, coming out of the earth. He had two horns like a lamb, but he spoke like a dragon. He exercised all the authority of the first beast on his behalf, and made the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose fatal wound had been healed. And he performed great and miraculous signs, even causing fire to come down from heaven to earth in full view of men. Because of the signs he was given power to do on behalf of the first beast, he deceived the inhabitants of the earth. He ordered them to set up an image in honor of the beast who was wounded by the sword and yet lived. He was given power to give breath to the image of the first beast, so that it could speak and cause all who refused to worship the image to be killed.” He will also look like a person of peace, that is why he will have horns like a lamb. He will be deceptive in the way he comes to power. He will even be especially deceptive to the Jewish people. This is because the Old Testament prophecies that the prophet Elijah will come before the great and dreadful day of the Lord to lead people back to God (Malachi 4:4-6). This passage actually came to fulfillment in the person of John the Baptist, (Mk 9:11-13). So the Jews will be expecting Elijah. And one of the miracles that Elijah did was to call down fire from heaven. So when they see this person calling down fire from heaven, the Jews will naturally see this as being the fulfillment of the prophecy in Malachi. Then when the False Prophet leads people into following the Antichrist many Jews, and other people, will naturally follow after the Antichrist. This will be a very deceptive time. In another passage that directly deals with the Antichrist, or the man of lawlessness, we are told in II Th 2:9-12 “The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.” So the calling down of fire by the False Prophet will not be the only false sign, but there will be several other types of counterfeit miracles and sings as well. God will send a powerful delusion, so that many people will believe these signs and follow the Antichrist and the False Prophet. But these are people who have heard the gospel message and refused to let Jesus into their lives, this isn’t for those who are believers or those who haven’t had a chance to hear about Jesus. It is not said by how, but that believers in Jesus will not give in to these deceptions and follow the Antichrist. But those who have had a chance to accept Jesus will believe these deceptions, so there will be a good many people in the world who will not make it to heaven because of their own choices.
Other Countries Mentioned
There are other countries mentioned in the Bible that will be active in the End Times. Some are mentioned by name, like Persia, or modern day Iran. Others are mentioned by ancient names or by location. But by check geography scholars have been able to figure out who these probably are.
Russia. The Prophet Ezekiel in Chapter 38 talks about Gog, in the land of Magog, that is going to be pulled down into the conflict in the Middle East. Ez 38:2-4, “Son of man, set your face against Gog, of the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal; prophesy against him and say: ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am against you, O Gog, chief prince of Meshech and Tubal. I will turn you around, put hooks in your jaws and bring you out with your whole army—your horses, your horsemen fully armed, and a great horde with large and small shields, all of them brandishing their swords.”. This area is identified by teachers as modern Russia. As this nation is being pulled down into the conflict it looks like they will not be the aggressor. But they are going to have reason to go down into the Middle East and lead in a conflict down there. They will lead a coalition of nations, not the Revived Roman Empire, to go down into the Middle East and fight against Israel.
Currently we see that Russia is flexing their military muscles more. Their current leader is suspected to just be a puppet of the previous leader, who has not stepped down from a major position in his government. In October 2009, the New York Times had an article, “Russia’s Leaders See China as Template for Ruling”. It does say that whereas they are not looking to go back to Communism, their leaders do appreciate the Chinese ability to use a one-party system to keep tight control over the country while driving significan economic growth. They also have a lot of money coming in from selling oil, giving them the finances to build up more. Even though they are not as strong as they were when they were the main country of the U.S.S.R., they are still using their resources to build up stronger. In January 2010 they unveiled their new top secret fighter plane, the PAK FA. This is to help modernize their Air Force as it is a rival of the U.S. F-22 Raptor stealth jet. Also, they don’t have as many countries attached or under their direct influence, so they are building strong relations among other countries. They are working to get back to that influence they use to have in the world. Not just depending on nations that used to be under their influence, but going to nations in other regions of the world. They are exporting military and nuclear hardware and knowledge to help build relationships. Late in 2009 Russia announced that they are also going to help out Venezuela develop nuclear capabilities. In March 2010 it was announced that they are going to build 12 Nuclear Reactors in India, with 6 to be finished by 2017. This means they are making those nations dependent upon them, because if those nations lose Russia as an ally, they will lose the military strength and nuclear knowledge they are gaining. This will also give them more help they would need if they would go to war. Russia is also a good ally of Iran, helping them to increase their nuclear capabilities and working to stop any sanctions other nations want to do to prevent Iran in growing in nuclear capabilities. They have many things set in place to be the nation that is dragged down into the Middle East during the End Times.
There are two more nations we will be looking at next time: Iran and China. Then we are going to look to see if there is anything mentioned about what is currently regarded as the strongest nation in the world, the United States, to see if we are mentioned.