Bible study lesson 07 - The Antichrist

Purpose: To learn the identity of the Antichrist

Theme: Satan is trying to keep you from knowing Jesus

Bible verses to read:

  • Daniel 7:1-25

Today we are going to study about the Antichrist.  This is actually a very sensitive topic, but let's agree to go follow where the Bible leads us.  Is that okay with you?

It is recommended that you read Daniel 2:1-49 first before you even start this lesson.  It may be even helpful for you to brush up on a little ancient history, too.

Let's start off by reading Daniel 7:1-25.  We are going to go over this passage verse by verse. 

- According to verse 2, what were the four winds of heaven stirring up?

  • Answer (highlight to read): the Great Sea

- What is this sea symbolic of?  Let's turn to Numbers 34:6, Joshua 1:4, Joshua 9:1, and Revelation 17:15 for the answer.

  • Answer: Populated areas of the Mediterranean sea.

- According to Daniel 7:3, what came out of the sea?

  • Answer: four great beasts

- What are these symbolic of?  Let's jump ahead to Daniel 7:17, 23 for the answer.

  • Answer: A beast represents a kingdom.

- According to Daniel 7:4, what was the first beast that arose out of the sea?

  • Answer: A lion with eagle's wings

- What kingdom is this beast symbolic of?  Let's turn to Daniel 2:31-43 for the answer.

  • Answer: Babylon (605 BC - 539 BC)

If you study Daniel 2 and Daniel 7 side-by-side, you will see a correlation between the four elements in King Nebuchadnezzar's dream and the four beasts in Daniel's vision.  History confirms the order of the rise and fall of these kingdoms!

Let's quickly turn to Leviticus 26:22 and 2 Kings 25:1-11.  Israel disobeyed God and He allowed Babylon to take them captive!

You may be wondering why the lion was lifted up to stand like a man and given a man's heart.  If you are a beast, you are attacking God's people.  If you become more human, then this means you become more like the image of God (Genesis 1:27).  If you study history, you will find that the Babylonians treated the people of God better (Daniel 4:33-37). 

- According to Daniel 7:5, what was the second beast that arose out of the sea?

  • Answer: A bear raised to the side, with three ribs in its mouth

- What kingdom is this beast symbolic of?  Let's turn to Daniel 5:1-6, 26-31 for the answer.

  • Answer: Medo-Persia (539 BC - 331 BC)

Medo-Persia was the second empire to arise after Babylon.  The fact that the bear in Daniel 7:5 is raised to one side shows that the alliance between Media and Persia was uneven, and history shows that the Persians eventually became the dominant power.  The three ribs in the bear's mouth is symbolic of the three kingdoms Medo-Persia conquered it their rise to power: Babylon, Lydia, and Egypt.

- According to Daniel 7:6, what was the third beast that arose out of the sea?

  • Answer: A leopard with four heads and four wings

- What kingdom is this beast symbolic of?  Let's turn to Daniel 8: 3-8, 20-22

  • Answer: Greece (331 BC - 168 BC)

Greece was the third empire to arise and defeated Medo-Persia in its rise to power.  Alexander the Great was the first king of Greece and was noted for the speed in which he conquered.  After Alexander the Great died, his empire was divided among his four generals: Cassander, Lysimachus, Seleucus, and Ptolemy.  Isn't it amazing how accurate God's prophecies are?

- According to Daniel 7:7, what is the fourth beast that arose out of the sea?

  • Answer: A dreadful and terrible beast that was exceedingly strong and huge iron teeth and ten horns on its head.

Looking at history, Rome (168 BC - 476 AD) must be be the fourth empire in this prophecy.  After Rome eventually fell, ten kingdoms emerged in its place.  These kingdoms would eventually become what we know today as modern Europe (Daniel 7:24).

  1. Anglo-Saxons → England
  2. Visigoths        → Spain
  3. Suevi             → Portugal
  4. Alemanni       → Germany
  5. Franks           → France
  6. Bergundians   → Switzerland
  7. Lombards      → Italy
  8. Vandals         → destroyed
  9. Ostrogoths    → destroyed
  10. Heruli           → destroyed

- According to Daniel 7:8, what are the characteristics of this little horn?

  • Answer: The little horn uproots three other horns, has eyes like a man, and speaks pompous words.

There is near universal agreement among Christians that verse 8 describes the rise of the Antichrist power and the little horn is the Antichrist.  If we read on through verse 25, we will find that the Antichrist has seven defining characteristics.

  1. It is a little kingdom
  2. It comes up out of divided Rome (that is to say, Europe)
  3. It uproots three kingdoms when it comes to power
  4. It has a mouth that speaks pompous words
  5. It shall persecute the people of God
  6. It shall seek to change times and laws
  7. It shall reign for a time, times, and half a time

What does it mean to speak pompous words?  Let's turn to revelation 13:5 for the answer.

- According to this verse, what did the beast speak?

  • Answer: great things and blasphemies

What is blasphemy, exactly?  Let's to John 10:33 and Mark 2:1-7 to find the definition of blasphemy.

- What is blasphemy?

  • Answer: Blasphemy is when a human tries to claim for himself the things of God, including the forgiveness of sins.

What does a "time, times, and half a time" mean?  Let's turn to Revelation 12:6, 14 and Revelation 13:5 for some clues.

- What numbers are presented in these three verses?

  • Answer: Revelation 12:6 → 1260 days, Revelation 12:14 → times, times, and half a time, Revelation 13:5 → 42 months

We can also find a definition for this time scale in the following verses:

  • Numbers 14:34
  • Ezekiel 4:6
  • Luke 13:31-33

- According to these verses, what is the time scale in prophecy?

  • Answer: one day in prophecy = one literal year

In Numbers, the Israelites are about to be cursed and exiled into the wilderness for 40 years.  In Ezekiel, the people are about to be cursed/besieged in preparation for their exile to Babylon.  The day-for-a-year principle is clearly seen in action in both these passages.  In Luke, Jesus is acknowledging the day-for-a-year principle as He knows His ministry was to last for 3 & 1/2 years according to the prophecy in Daniel 9:24-27.

In Revelation 12:6, the woman (God's true church - see Isaiah 51:16, Jeremiah 6:2, 2 Corinthians 11:2) flees into the wilderness.  The day-for-a-year principles is in action there, too.  If you went back and compared to the three sets of numbers from Revelation 12:6, 14, and 13:5, you will find that 1260 days = 42 months = 3 & 1/2 years.

When you apply the day-for-a-year principle, you must look for contextual indicators: 1) going into exile, 2) going to Babylon.

If we put all of these clues together, there is only one power that can fulfill all these characteristics and that is the Roman Catholic Church.

  1. There is a church that is headquartered in the smallest country in the world → Vatican City
  2. It is in divided Rome (Europe) → Vatican City is in Italy
  3. When it came into to power it uprooted and exterminated three Aryan tribes → the Heruli, Vandals, and Ostrogoths by 538 AD
  4. Its priests claim the power to forgive sins and it once had a policy to destroy all heretics
  5. It really persecuted the saints → millions faithful to the Bible were deemed heretics and persecuted and/or killed during its reign
  6. It changed the Sabbath day from Saturday to Sunday
  7. It was dethroned in 1798 when the pope was captured by the French general Berthier and exiled to the south of France where he died

Let me be crystal clear: God is not against people.  God loves people, but God does not love systems that take away the kingdom of God.  If a person is affiliated with that system, it does not mean that that person is!  God loves people, but not that system.

It is without a doubt that the Roman Catholic Church has done a great many good things in its history, including setting up hospitals, orphanages, and care for the poor.  However, like all other organizations, the Roman Catholic Church has made some mistakes that God is pointing out to us all.

Remember, the Israelites made all these wrong turns throughout history despite God's warnings through His prophets.  The Israelites were eventually sent into captivity into Babylon because of their refusal to listen to God.  In the same way, God wants His people to come out of Babylon and worship Him in spirit and in truth!

Let's turn to 2 Thessalonians 2:1-10.

- According to these verses, what must happen first before Jesus returns?

  • Answer: A rebellion against God has to come first.

Satan is still trying to exalt his lawless self in our hearts.  The Antichrist is going to come first and sit down in the church and exalt his lawless self above anything and everything, including God.

If you study the book of Revelation, you will find that Satan tries to have a counterfeit of everything God has. 

  • God the Father                                    vs. the Dragon (Rev. 12:7-9)
  • Jesus                                                   vs. the beast out of the sea (Rev. 13:1)
  • The Holy Spirit                                    vs. the beast out of the earth (Rev. 13:11-12)
  • God has a pure woman (Rev. 12:1-2)  vs. Satan has a harlot woman (Revelation 17:3-6)
  • Three angels' messages (Rev. 14:6-12) vs. Satan has three unclean spirits (Rev. 16:13)
  • God gives authority to Christ                vs. Satan gives authority to the beast (Rev. 13:4)

According to 2 Thessalonians 2:1-10, we should be looking for a lawless power that is in the church.  It is a church power that is trying to imitate and replace God.

Let's close the lesson by turning to John 17:3.

- According to this verse, what is the way to eternal life?

  • Answer: To know God through Jesus Christ.

Eternal life is based on knowing Jesus.  Satan knows this and is doing everything in his power to pretend to be like Jesus to keep you from knowing Him.

I know this may have been a hard lesson for you to study this week.  God never sends Bible truth to hurts anyone’s feelings.  God sends Bible truth because He loves you, not because He hates you.  Think of it this way - what’s the difference between a surgeon and a butcher?  A surgeon cuts to heal and a butcher cuts to kill.  God is a surgeon, not a butcher.  It is true that God does sometimes cut us.  Do we learn things in the Bible that cut us?  However, God cuts to heal, not to kill.  If God has sent you Bible truth, it is because He loves you, not because He doesn’t loves you.  Please pray for the Holy Spirit to speak to you as you ponder today's lesson.

Happy Sabbath!

A Short Prayer