Copyright 1994 - 2018 Bill's Bible Basics
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Published On :
January 31, 1998
Last Updated :
August 24, 2016
Timing Of Antichrist's Appearance, Why God Destroyed Temple Compound And Jerusalem, Antichrist Is Destroyed At Christ's Return, He Hath But A Short Time, Satan's 1st Century Wrath, Satan Repeatedly Endeavors To Destroy Jesus And His Ministry, Devil's Antics In Book Of Acts, Satan's Throne In Pergamos, Satan Cast Out Of Heaven During First Century, Revelation Was Written Before Fall Of Jerusalem, Satan Sets Up Earth Throne After Being Cast Out, Satan Moves From Pergamos To Jerusalem, Antichrist Jewish False Messiah Sounds A Lot Like Isaiah 14, Satan Could Not Arrive In The Flesh Until Unbelieving Jews Were Ready To Receive Him, What Contributed To The Apostasy?, Jesus' Delayed Return For Forty Years, Persecuted By Jews And Herods, Bleak Situation Inside Sieged Jerusalem, Crucifixions By The Thousands, Pressure From Zealots And Sicarii, Massive Loss Of Faith, A Perfect Opportunity For A New False Messiah, Rejection Of The Truth = Deception And Embracing Antichrist, Lying Wonders, Actual Identity Of Antichrist Remains Unknown, Someone Was Holding Back The Revelation Of Son Of Perdition, Abaddon And Apollyon, A Destroyer Destruction And Perdition, Rewarded According To Our Works, Satan Is The Angel Of Death And Destruction, Jesus Took Power of Death From Satan, Jesus Owns Keys Of Death And Hell, No Second Death For Believers
At this point in our discussion, some of you will no doubt be wondering how all of the aforementioned events relate to our interest in the Antichrist. In actuality, they are directly related. Exactly why is this? Quite simply, because if the Temple compound was burned to the ground by the Roman legions in 70 AD -- that is, in the middle of the First Jewish-Roman War -- that means that the deceptive Jewish false messiah -- a.k.a. the Antichrist -- must have defiled the Temple, and demonstrated to those deceived Jews in a rather convincing manner that he was "God", at some point prior to that event.
We already know that the primary reason why God destroyed the Temple compound and Jerusalem at the hands of the Romans was because of the unbelieving Jews' rejection and murder of His Son, Jesus Christ. As we have already seen, Jesus warned both His friends -- Apostles -- as well as His enemies -- scribes, Sadducees and Pharisees -- that the day was approaching when these events would occur. It may have taken forty years, but that day did arrive, and it has never been forgotten since that time, particularly not by the Jews.
However, while that may have been God's primary motivation, at the same time, I would think that the Devil possessing a human being and declaring himself "God" in a holy place that supposedly belonged to God alone, would contribute to God's decision to make an end of Jerusalem, and more specifically, make an end of the Temple compound which had been so defiled by that deceptive creature. There's another important reason why God destroyed the Temple, which I explain in the series "Revelation's Babylon the Great".
As it turns out, we can be rather confident of the fact that the Antichrist enjoyed his short reign as "God" during that very same seven-year period, because the Apostle Paul not only tells us when that Son of Perdition was destroyed, but how he was destroyed as well. Returning to Paul's second Epistle to the Thessalonians, we learn that the Antichrist was destroyed by the Lord's spoken word, as well as by the brightness of His Coming, as we see here:
"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:"
2 Thessalonians 2:8, KJV
Based on all of the Scriptures we have already examined -- I explore many more in the series "Jesus Christ's Return: Have We Been Deceived?" -- if Jesus returned sometime during, or immediately after, that seven-year period -- or 70th week of Daniel's "Seventy Weeks" prophecy -- then that must be when the Antichrist met his fate. The Lord just spoke His Word, and that Satan-incarnate was destroyed, just like that. You will notice that in the previous paragraph I referred to it as "his short reign". Once again, this fits in perfectly with a verse that I shared with you in part three. Now that I have shared this bit of information with you, that verse will make even more sense, so let me share it with you once again:
"Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, BECAUSE HE KNOWETH THAT HE HATH BUT A SHORT TIME."
Revelation 12:12, KJV
Now think about that verse for a moment, and how being ousted permanently from Heaven must have affected that serpent. As that verse says, he was obviously hopping mad and filled with rage. If you read my article called "When Was Satan Cast Out of Heaven?", you will learn that even before arriving on the Earth and possessing the body of the Antichrist, that fiend was already busy trying to defeat God's plans. As we learned in part three, first he tried to kill the young Jesus by way of the devious plans of Herod the Great, who was terribly afraid of competition. When that plan failed, Satan bided his time and waited until Jesus was then a grown man, and ready to begin His public ministry. It was at that time that Satan tried to defeat the Lord through a variety of temptations in the wilderness area of the Jordan River Valley, as well as on the pinnacle of the Temple in Jerusalem.
Of course, as we all know, that plan didn't work out in the Devil's favor either. So what did he do next? He enraged the scribes, the Sadducees and the Pharisees against Jesus, so that they verbally persecuted Him, mocked and ridiculed Him, and tried to trap Him in His words with all their legalistic questions concerning the Mosaic Law. But no doubt, Satan's crowning achievement -- at least from his perspective -- was when he possessed Judas Iscariot, and used that traitor as a vehicle to destroy Jesus' physical body. But it was a rather short possession, because Judas soon felt remorse and went and hung himself. Following that event, we know that Satan continued to stir up the Jewish religious leaders against the Disciples in the Book of Acts. Likewise, he inspired Herod Agrippa I to slay the Apostle James, and to throw the Apostle Peter into prison.
Between that point in time, and the time when he possesses the Jewish false messiah and declares himself "God" in the Temple in Jerusalem, is a bit of a gray area in my personal understanding. However, we are offered a hint in the second chapter of the Book of Revelation. You may recall that one of the Seven Churches was located in Pergamos. This was the chief city of Mysia in Asia Minor. Today it is known as the city of Bergama in modern Turkey. Consider the following two verses where Pergamos is mentioned by name:
"I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea."
Revelation 1:10-11, KJV
Aside from the fact that the city of Pergamos was home to one of the early Christian congregations, what is interesting is the fact that in His rebuke to this particular Church, the Lord mentions that "Satan's seat" is there, and that Satan dwells there. Consider the following verses:
"And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges; I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan’s seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth. But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication. So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate. Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth."
Revelation 2:12-16, KJV
Some Bible commentators claim that the Lord was simply using the phrase "Satan's seat" in a purely metaphorical sense, due to the fact that there was a lot of wickedness in Pergamos. However, personally, I am not fully convinced of this point. According to Thayer's Greek English Lexicon, the Greek word that is translated as "seat" in this verse is "thronos". Just by looking at that Greek word, I am certain you know exactly what it means. The lexicon states that it refers to a stately seat; that is, the seat or throne of a potentate. The minute that I read that, I immediately thought of two verses which many of you will be familiar with, which were written by Paul in his Epistle to the Ephesians. Consider the following:
"Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places."
Ephesians 6:11-12, KJV
Furthermore, in that same group of verses, in the three-word phrase "where Satan dwelleth", the word "dwelleth" finds its origin in the Greek word "katoikeo", which the same Greek lexicon defines as meaning to house permanently; that is, to reside. I am obviously far from being an expert in the Koine Greek language. However, my impression is that the Lord is saying that Satan literally set up his throne in the city of Pergamos. To add weight to my statement, allow me to mention two things. First of all, if you read the aforementioned article "When Was Satan Cast Out of Heaven?", you will learn that I have become convinced that Satan was permanently cast out of Heaven during the First Century. If you want to know exactly when -- or at least close to it -- please read the article.
The second point is this: While one popular view is that the Book of Revelation was written sometime around 90 or 100 AD, there are some theologians and Bible commentators who are of the opinion that it was really written considerably earlier; in fact, before the fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD. This makes a lot of sense to me, and I happen to agree with this latter opinion. Now, if this is indeed the case, and the events in Revelation 12 -- that is, Satan being cast out -- occurred when I believe it did, then the Devil would in fact have to set up his new throne somewhere on Earth. Do I need to say more?
So my running theory -- which I obviously cannot conclusively prove -- is that at some point, Satan just grew tired of the scenery in the city of Pergamos, and he decided to set up shop in the city of Jerusalem, where he ultimately possessed the Antichrist and defiled the Temple. I mean, just look at exactly how that Jewish false messiah is described by the Apostle Paul in his Epistle to the Thessalonians, and then remember the following verses which sound so very similar:
"How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit."
Isaiah 14:12-15, KJV
So, it seems very plausible to me that after being cast out of Heaven permanently in Revelation chapter twelve, the Devil trampled around Israel for a while performing all of the evil which I have already mentioned; but eventually he set up his throne in the city of Pergamos. But ultimately, he took up residence in the Temple at Jerusalem itself, where he then possessed the Antichrist, or Jewish false messiah. We have seen how that would be a fatal move on his part, because the Lord would then arrive and destroy that deceiver with the brightness of His Coming. That is my Scriptural evidence. I will let you decide what you want to believe.
Returning to Paul's Epistle to the Thessalonians, please notice that in discussing the appearance of the Antichrist, he begins that one sentence with the phrase "And then shall that Wicked be revealed". Exactly when is the "then" in that verse? It is after the apostasy has begun, as we saw earlier in this series. The Antichrist would not be revealed until the unbelieving Jews had dug themselves deep into the pit of their own spiritual darkness and deception. I am reminded of this verse that is found in the Book of Ecclesiastes:
"He that diggeth a pit shall fall into it; and whoso breaketh an hedge, a serpent shall bite him."
Ecclesiastes 10:8, KJV
In other words, before Satan could arrive in the flesh, the spiritual environment had to be just right first. There had to be a spiritual vacuum, and a loss of faith first, so that people would be vulnerable and open to accepting this wicked deceiver. As I was contemplating all of these First Century events, I wondered what would cause this apostasy in the first place, particularly as it would seem to involve some Christians of the First Century as well. While the Lord had warned His followers about forty years earlier to flee from Jerusalem when they saw the Abomination of Desolation, we don't know how many of them actually obeyed His commandment when that day finally arrived.
Maybe some of them had even forgotten about Jesus' warning by then. Who knows. Do you remember every single thing that you were told, or that you heard, forty years ago? I most certainly don't. Actually, at my age, my memory is a lot worse than that, but I won't go into detail here.
But what occurred to me is the following. About forty years had passed, and Jesus' promised Return had not materialized yet. This in itself would cause a lot of weak Christians to lose their faith. This weakness in their faith would not be helped by the fact that the Jewish religious elders, along with the Herods themselves, were persecuting the nascent Christian Church. Now, if they had not obeyed Jesus' order to flee from the city, and found themselves trapped inside of it, just think about how much more this would complicate the situation, and negatively affect their faith.
As I pointed out earlier, and explain in even more detail in some of the aforementioned articles, for one thing, there was a great siege wall around Jerusalem. This meant that hundreds of thousands of people were trapped within the city. As time passed, even without the Romans lifting a finger, that wall would begin to take its toll. Supplies within the city would begin to dwindle. Food would become scarce. Water would also become scarce. Disease and starvation would begin to take a serious toll. Everyone would be on edge, and they would start to turn against each other, exactly as Jesus had said would happen.
Add to that growing misery the fact that those bloodthirsty Romans were crucifying Jews by the thousands on top of their huge siege wall, and you have a very bleak situation on your hands. As if that were not enough, let's not forget that the Zealots and the Sicarii had taken over the Temple compound, and pretty much the city itself, and were trying to pressure everyone to fight against the superior forces of the Romans.
So it was a very dark, negative situation which offered very little hope to the Jews and Christians who were trapped in the city. Even if the Jews had rejected Christ, many of them still believed in God; so no matter how you look at this dire situation, there was still room for everyone to lose faith. Maybe they felt as if God had abandoned them. Is it really any wonder then that Jesus had said the following about forty years earlier:
". . . Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?"
Luke 18:8b, KJV
As I shared with you in part one, consider again what Peter wrote regarding the last days of that Prophetic Age:
"Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation."
2 Peter 3:3-4, KJV
Under these circumstances, the time was ripe for a messiah and savior to arise; but he would be a false one, possessed by the very Devil himself. Just as Satan had tempted Jesus in the wilderness area of the Jordan River Valley, I can easily imagine this Jewish false messiah saying to all the desperate people who were trapped within Jerusalem, "Come now into the Temple and worship me as your god, savior and messiah, and I will deliver you from these Romans." Desperate and weak Jews, and perhaps even some weak Christians too, would fall for his wicked ploy, and would become totally deceived. As Paul wrote in his second Epistle to the Thessalonians:
". . . because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness."
2 Thessalonians 2:10-12, KJV
Now, I obviously don't know with any degree of certainty that this exactly how it happened. All I know for certain is that the situation was very desperate at that time, and that this false messiah must have said and done things which gave the deceived Jews reason to accept this man as their savior. As the Apostle Paul wrote, the Antichrist had "all power" from Satan, and he performed great "signs and lying wonders" that in some way convinced them that he was truly "God". I can't begin to imagine what those might have been, and Paul does not spell it out for us either.
At this current time, neither do I know the identity of this vile man. Based on the information I have shared with you in this series, the best I can do for now is offer my personal speculation, so please do not accept it as solid doctrine. Given what we know about the various players who were alive at that time, I would suggest that perhaps he was a Zealot, or a Sicarii. After all, they did control the Temple area. It could also have been the Jewish high priest or one of the other Temple priests. Perhaps as I continue to explore some of the ancient historical texts, I will discover some clues which will help me to further decipher this mystery. If so, you can be sure that I will share my discoveries with you.
Regardless of who this Antichrist was, we know that Satan possessed him, and used him to deceive the unbelieving Jews. While he may have promised them protection and salvation in the Temple compound, the real truth of the matter is that he blindly lead them to their own slaughter and death, when the Romans broke through Jerusalem's walls, and burned down the Temple compound. Then, as we saw earlier, Jesus arrived and destroyed the Antichrist with the brightness of His Coming.
In my understanding, this is the basic scenario concerning the arrival of the Antichrist -- or Jewish false messiah -- during the latter half of the First Century. What Paul also informs his readers in that same chapter of 2 Thessalonians 2 regarding this Jewish false messiah, is the following:
"And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way."
2 Thessalonians 2:6-7, KJV
In the previous verses, Paul is reminding his readers that they already know what and who is holding back the actual revelation of this satanic Son of Perdition. In fact, Paul is stating that whoever or whatever this force is, its specific purpose is to make sure that the Son of Perdition is not permitted to manifest himself to the world until it is his time to do so. A verse prior to these statements, Paul reminds the Thessalonians that he spoke to them of these very issues when he was present with him, as we see by this verse:
"Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?"
2 Thessalonians 2:5, KJV
Being as we were not there, and thus have no idea what Paul may have told the Thessalonian brethren in person, we have no choice but to really pray, and to rely upon the Lord's Spirit to help us understand what Paul may have be referring to. In spite of this limited information, by comparing Scripture with Scripture, there are still a number of important things which we can learn from the previous verses. The first point I would like to make concerns the phrase "Son of Perdition". For many people, this is a very mysterious phrase. They have no idea whatsoever as to what it means. In the original Greek text, the word that is translated into English as "perdition" is the word "apoleia", which itself is derived from the word "apollumi". Thus, both of these words have similar meanings. Thayer's Greek English Lexicon reveals the following as some of the definitions and usages of these two words:
----- Begin Quote -----
1) destroying, utter destruction
1a) of vessels
2) a perishing, ruin, destruction
2a) of money
2b) the destruction which consists of eternal misery in hell
1) to destroy
1a) to put out of the way entirely, abolish, put an end to ruin
1b) render useless
1c) to kill
1d) to declare that one must be put to death
1e) metaph. to devote or give over to eternal misery in hell
1f) to perish, to be lost, ruined, destroyed
2) to destroy 2a) to lose
----- End Quote -----
For reasons which I will now explain, I believe "son of destruction" may have been a better translation, although "perdition" also fits nicely in some ways as well. For example, in the Book of Revelation, we find the following verse which describes the angel that ascends out of the Bottomless Pit:
"And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon."
Revelation 9:11, KJV
Our interest here is in the words "Abaddon" and "Apollyon". The latter is the active participle of the same Greek word "apollumi". It means "destroyer". The first word, "Abaddon", is transliterated from the Hebrew word "abaddown". It also means destruction or ruin. If you read this ninth chapter of Revelation in its entirety, you will quickly realize that they are indeed appropriate names for this entity that rises out of the Bottomless Pit. To further demonstrate that the word "destruction" may have been a better translation, let us consider the following verses as well, which likewise use the Greek word "apoleia":
"But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition."
1 Timothy 6:9, KJV
"But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul."
Hebrews 10:39, KJV
"But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men."
2 Peter 3:7, KJV
"The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is."
Revelation 17:8, KJV
"And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition."
Revelation 17:11, KJV
In every single one of the previous verses, "perdition" can easily be understood to mean "lost and destroyed". This will be accomplished when they are cast into the Lake of Fire burning with brimstone. As the Scriptures inform us, every man will be rewarded according to his own works, and we will reap what we have sown, as we see by the following verses:
"If thou sayest, Behold, we knew it not; doth not he that pondereth the heart consider it? and he that keepeth thy soul, doth not he know it? and shall not he render to every man according to his works?"
Proverbs 24:12, KJV
"For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works."
Matthew 16:27, KJV
"And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man's work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear:"
1 Peter 1:17, KJV
"And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works."
Revelation 2:23, KJV
"And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them."
Revelation 14:13, KJV
"And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works."
Revelation 20:12-13, KJV
Thus, it is easy to see that the reason why these people and beasts are destroyed, is because they are in fact destroyers themselves who yielded themselves to THE Destroyer; that is, to Satan himself. There should be no doubt that Satan is the Angel of Destruction and Death. I am reminded of these two verses:
"Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he [Jesus] also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;"
Hebrews 2:14, KJV
"And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth."
Revelation 6:8, KJV
As we see by the previous verse in Hebrews, by sacrificing His own life on the Cross, Jesus in fact took the power of death away from the Devil, and Jesus now owns the keys of hell and death Himself. That is why the Second Death has no power over those people who are in Christ, as we see by the following two verses:
"I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death."
Revelation 1:18, KJV
"Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years."
Revelation 20:6, KJV
Please go to part five for the continuation of this series.
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