What is the Antichrist’s role in the coming Great Tribulation?
On July 30, 2014, I was interviewed by Vic Batista, senior pastor of the Miami-based Calvary Chapel Aventura on his radio program “The Truth Will Set You Free” via TWave Radio. “Pastor Vic” (as he likes to be called) was born in the Dominican Republic and is as active in planting churches and helping orphans there as he is in southern Florida, reaching out with the Good News of Jesus Christ to both the English and Spanish speaking audiences.
In this “The Truth Will Set You Free” episode, we’ll survey the events within the Great Tribulation. The first half of the discussion is in English, while the second half is translated into Spanish.
The One-World Leader
Vic: We know that another Jewish Temple is going to be erected in Jerusalem, right, Nathan?
Nathan: Yes, it will. Today the Temple Institute exists in Israel. They have a nice little museum in Jerusalem you can go and visit. They’ve put everything together necessary to build the Third Temple.
As you know, the Second Temple was destroyed way back in 70 AD by Titus and the Roman armies. Daniel prophesied that out of the people who destroyed the Temple – the Romans – a one-world leader would come. The Bible calls him the Man of Lawlessness and the Antichrist. He will set up his kingdom and unite the world.
Today we bear witness to a huge push by the United Nations to create a position for a global leader. The UN is always talking about a New World Order. Frankly, the world seems leaderless right now, and due to all the chaos, are looking for a strong leader. The world is being set up to act on the idea that we need one strong leader to govern the world and stop all the wars and disasters. I also believe that because of the Rapture of the Church the world will be in chaos. With millions of people suddenly disappearing, the nations will cry out for a one-world leader to bring order back from chaos.
Vic: That’s a great point. It seems today as if the world is just expectantly waiting for a global leader to fix all our problems, because there’s so much chaos with the economy and wars and rumors of wars. I’ve read that the Pope is planning on visiting us here next year, and we see how people flock to these leaders. So you’re absolutely right, we’re desperate for true leadership.
Nathan: True. We’re in a time period now where it doesn’t seem like we have strong, viable leaders anymore. The world is calling out for strong, viable leadership.
The world will get that type of leadership, but he’ll be anything but peaceful. We read in Revelation 6 that from the very beginning of the Tribulation, of the 21 judgments which define the Tribulation, the very first judgment God inflicts upon the world is the Antichrist. He’s the rider on the white horse. He rides out and is unleashed upon the world. He wields a bow with no arrows, signifying diplomacy. He’s like the greatest diplomat ever. He’s like a Nelson Mandela. He goes out and he achieves peace through diplomacy, and so the people of the world turn to him for the very leadership and guidance they’ve long yearned about. They’ll welcome the Antichrist with open arms. They’re like, “Finally, a real leader!”
It’s not long before the world finds out that his peaceful exterior is just a facade. In reality, the global leader is a huge war monger. At the Second Seal Tribulation judgment he brings world war upon the Earth. A quarter of the world population dies. World War III basically is what we’re talking about here.
Vic: We read about these things unfolding in Revelation 6?
Nathan: Yes, Revelation 6 is where we begin to read about the 21 judgments God sends upon the earth to punish it for its wickedness and rebellion towards Him. The judgments are divided into sevens. There are the Seven Seal Judgments, the Seven Trumpet Judgments and the Seven Bowl Judgments.
The Tribulation starts with the Seventh Seal Judgments and goes through six of the seven Trumpet Judgments. At the Seventh Trumpet Judgment we begin reading about the Great Tribulation. The Seventh Trumpet Judgment and then the Seven Bowl Judgments comprise the Great Tribulation and lead right up to what we’ve read about in Matthew 24 concerning Jesus coming back to defeat the Antichrist.
That day of Christ’s return will be a special day. As we read about in Matthew 24:29-30, it’ll be a day when the sun won’t shine, the moon won’t give its light, the stars appear as if they’re falling from the sky, and there’s some sign of the Son of Man in Heaven. People will look up and they’ll see this special sign and they won’t know what it is. I’ve looked up Bible commentators to learn what they think the sign of the Son of Man is, but they can only speculate. Nobody knows for sure. Maybe it’s the Shekinah Glory – the Holy Spirit. Maybe God puts a before unknown celestial sign up in the sky. Maybe it’s an alignment of planets, but something that says clearly, “This is the day Jesus is coming back.”
For an entire day, people will know something is about to happen. Tribulation Saints will know that Jesus Christ is about to come back with those who were Raptured up to Heaven. That’s you and me, Vic, and every believer from the Church Age. We will return with Jesus Christ to see Him defeat the Antichrist and set up His kingdom on this Earth for a thousand years.
Vic: You know, Nathan, everything we seem to enjoy today will pretty much be gone. I’m thinking, “I’m here in Florida, here in Miami, it’s all beautiful sunshine and beautiful beaches, but the time will come when the skies will be darkened.” That’s a fearful sight!
Nathan: Awful! And so, when people claim we’re living in the Tribulation right now, they’ve got to remember that we’ve not seen a quarter of the world’s population destroyed – that’s 1.5 billion people in today’s numbers! Then the Third and Fourth Seal Judgments say that famine and pestilence and sickness will strike. When war happens, the entire infrastructure that provides the way we get food and go to the grocery stores and get medicine, becomes scarce. Without these supplies, people get sick, start dying, and diseases spread. Another quarter of the world population – that’s another 1.5 billion people – die from these diseases and starvation. That’s just half the world population in the first year or so of the Tribulation!
So, no, we’re not living in the Tribulation right now. As bad as it is today, it’s going to get far, far worse. And, as horrific as the first half of the Tribulation will be with half the world’s population dying, image that the second half of the Tribulation, called the Great Tribulation, will be even worse.
Vic: Where is Satan during the Tribulation?
Nathan: Satan is let loose on the Earth with little restraint from God. Satan actually possesses the Antichrist. For those seven years when the Antichrist rules as a one-world ruler over the Earth, Satan is ruling through him like a hand in a puppet.
In the third part of this discussion with Pastor Vic on the Great Tribulation, we’ll survey the prophetic wars that precedes the Tribulation.