He Shall Wear Out The Saints: The True Revelation of The Anti-Christ

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That John is presenting his apocalyptic prophecy as the culmination of all preceding prophecy is marked in the way he has structured his book. If we were to summarize the overarching message of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and the Twelve, it would be this: Israel has broken the covenant, so God will judge her by sending her into exile. Through judgment God will save for his glory: God is preparing a magnificent eschatological salvation that will come through judgment after exile.

Antichrist in Bible Prophecy (3/5)

That future salvation is often likened to the exodus from Egypt e. Thus, the prophets speak of a future mighty act of salvation that will be according to the exodus pattern and that will open the way to a return from exile, putting the people of God back in the promised land. In part this will involve God bringing judgment on those he used to judge Israel see esp.

Nahum and Habakkuk. What does this have to do with suffering in Revelation? John presents these final judgments as the new plagues that will liberate the people at the final exodus.

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Just as Israel was delivered from Egypt through the judgments of the ten plagues, just as the judgment of Babylon restored the people to the land, so also the people of God will be delivered from the wicked powers of this world through the seven trumpet and seven bowl judgments. It was the fall of Babylon in BC that brought Cyrus to power cf. Isa — , and it was this Cyrus who decreed the return to the land e. Just as Israel entered the promised land after the exodus from Egypt, so also after the fulfillment of the exodus in Revelation the people of God will enter into the fulfillment of the promised land, the millennial kingdom followed by the new heaven and new earth.

As a way of simultaneously unpacking the chiastic structure of Revelation and structuring these thoughts on suffering in Revelation, what follows will work through the matching sections of the chiasm depicted above. The opening and closing sections —8; —21 stress that the consummation of all things will come soon. This teaching functions to encourage the persecuted and struggling churches to persevere, summoning them to readiness. Such encouragement, again, is a key function of apocalyptic literature. As John depicts the resurrected Christ dictating authoritative proclamations to the seven churches — , a section matched by the depiction of the church in glory in the new heavens and new earth — , the churches are called to fix their minds on the exalted Christ, to abstain from sexual immorality and idolatry, and to live for what Christ has promised them, which John shows being realized in the depiction of the church in glory.

These things will soon take place, and the temptations to sin promise temporary pleasure followed by lasting destruction. Those who hold fast the word of God and the testimony of Jesus will experience temporary persecution rewarded by lasting joy. God the Father is seated on his throne in heaven being worshiped as he rightly deserves, and Christ the slain Lamb stands, risen from the dead, reigning and being worshiped right alongside the Father.

The throne room scene with the opening of the seals of the scroll in Revelation 4—6 is matched by the return of the conquering Christ, his 1, year reign, and the opening of scrolls before the great white throne of judgment in — The sealing of the , saints and the blowing of the trumpets in Revelation — is matched by the redemption of the , saints and the pouring out of the bowls of wrath in Revelation — The sealing of the saints tells the churches that God can and will protect them from the wrath he will bring upon the world.

The redemption of the saints assures them that neither the trumpet nor the bowl plagues will visit his judgment upon them.

Suffering in Revelation: The Fulfillment of the Messianic Woes

Revelation —11 enacts a scene in which John eats the scroll Christ took and opened Rev 5—6 , depicting the way that God gave the Revelation to Jesus, who made it known by sending his angel to his servant John to show his servants what must soon take place Rev By eating the scroll, John does exactly what Ezekiel did Ezek — , and the action designates him as a true prophet to whom the churches must listen.

At the center of the whole book is the blast of the seventh trumpet, when the kingdom of the world becomes the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ Rev — He will come to conquer and judge. The church must endure, persevere, hold fast. Even unto death. And when Christ comes he will establish his kingdom and reward his people. Are we in the millennium or is it yet future? This discussion will not be the last word on these issues, but interpreting the book of Revelation self-referentially will give us traction on each of these questions.


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This self-referential approach can be usefully supplemented with inter-textual help from other canonical books from the Testaments Old and New comparing what is in Revelation with what is in these other canonical books. A self-referential reading of the symbolism in Revelation means reading the symbols in light of one another. Thus we should compare what is symbolized by the likeness of the four living creatures around the throne of God in Revelation —7 with what is symbolized by the bizarre combinations of the vicious and destructive features of the scorpion-like locusts in Revelation Similarly, we should compare Jesus, the seven-horned Lamb standing as though slain in —6, with the seven-headed ten-horned rapacious beast of —3.

Comparing these symbols helps us begin to sense the difference between God and the dragon, the Lamb and the beast, and the false prophet and the Holy Spirit. Similar things could be said about the comparison of the harlot in Revelation 17 and the bride in Revelation A self-referential approach to the question of the nature of the relationship between the seals, trumpets, and bowls, will also help us determine whether these three sets of judgments are meant to represent the same set of events three times or whether they are three different accounts to be taken in succession.

The opening of the seals, by contrast, corresponds more to the sequence of events in the Olivet Discourse 23 discussed below and less to the trumpets and the bowls. From this, it seems likely that the opening of the seals reflects the outworking of the events leading across church history to the consummation of all things, at which time history will culminate in the judgments at the end of history symbolized by the trumpets and bowls. A self-referential approach to understanding the 1, years of Revelation 20 would suggest that while the round numbers of the references to time in Revelation may mean they are symbolic, that does not mean that each different symbolic time refers to the same period of symbolic time.

A self-referential approach will also help us arbitrate the question of when the fulfillment of what is depicted in the book will take place. Some see fulfillment of all, or at least most, of what John depicts in Revelation as taking place in AD 70 when the Romans destroyed the temple. Against the preterists, however, the most natural understanding of Jesus coming with the clouds of heaven, every eye seeing him, is not the temple being destroyed by the Romans in AD 70 but the return of Jesus on the clouds, just as he was seen to go Acts —11 , in fulfillment of Daniel Others take an idealist approach to interpreting the symbolism in the book, with the result that, in my judgment, all the symbols are flattened into meaning the same thing.

We can grant that the book contains a great deal of symbolism without reducing all the symbols to a least common denominator understanding of them. Still others advocate a futurist approach to the book, holding that most of what is depicted in Revelation describes what takes place at or during the final seven years of human history.

While there are no doubt ways in which Revelation depicts what will take place at the end of history, there are also ways in which what the book depicts corresponds to the events of AD 70, and symbolic ways in which the book resonates with what has taken place across church history. The most persuasive approach is to maintain the strengths of each position, recognizing that these views are not mutually exclusive. The destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70 can function as a type of the judgment God will visit at the end of history.

As noted above, John speaks in 1 John of antichrist coming while many antichrists have come.

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This seems to indicate that there will be a number of installments in the antichrist pattern, culminating in the final antichrist who will arise at the end of history, acknowledging a futurist and idealist fulfillment of the beast persecuting the church. Finally, the self-referential approach will help us determine how to understand Revelation, and this approach to interpreting Revelation demands a thorough grasp of the whole book, a bringing to bear of everything the book says in the interpretation of its details.

What, then, of the symbolic timeline in Revelation? It can be depicted briefly 24 below in Fig. John does not present these things in chronological order. His presentation, as seen above, is driven by thematic and literary concerns. The order can be pieced together from literary cues in the text. Here is a brief summary and defense in prose, noting the location of these events in Revelation itself.


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He will have the marvellous gift of attracting unregenerate men, and the irresistible fascination of his personality, his versatile attainments, superhuman wisdom, great administrative and executive ability, along with his powers as a consummate flatterer, a brilliant diplomatist, a superb strategist, will make him the most conspicuous and prominent of men. All these gifts will be conferred on him by Satan, whose tool he will be, and who will thus make him the-.

He will pose as a great humanitarian, the friend of men, and the especial friend of the Jewish race, whom he will persuade that he has come to usher in the "Golden Age" as pictured by the prophets, and who will receive him as their Messiah. He will intoxicate men with a strong delusion and his never varying success. And when he shall be slain and rise again he will have lost none of these powers, but will be in addition the embodiment of all kinds of wickedness and blasphemy. There has never as yet appeared on this earth a person who answers the description given in the above Scriptures.

Such a character is almost inconceivable. No writer would have invented such a character. He shall reign for seven years, or during the whole of Daniel's "Seventieth Week. After the Church has been caught out the Jews will be gathered back to their own land unconverted. About this time ten of the Nations occupying the territory of the old Roman Empire will enter into a Federation.

Among the Ten Kings of those nations will arise the Antichrist. The Government will be a. The President will make a "Covenant" with the Jewish people. It may be a Covenant restoring to them their own land. Then he will break it. It will not, however, be limited to them, for we read in Rev. For a description of this period see the Chapter on "The Great Tribulation. At the end of the seven years the allied armies of the Ten Federated Nations will gather together in the Valley of Megiddo, north of Jerusalem, to besiege that city.

The Lord will pour upon the "House of David" Israel , and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the "spirit of grace and supplication" Zech. Then the Lord, at the head of the "armies of Heaven," will come to their rescue Rev. Prior Section. Return to Index. Next Section. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.

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Topic List. Great Tribulation. Israel and the Middle East. Israel in Prophecy.