If He Were To Call Today - By Dennis Huebshman -
We can rest assured; the day is coming soon when Jesus will return to take His church (All Believers) off this earth so we won't go through the Wrath/Tribulation that is just about here. This has been promised in numerous verses in the Bible, and God cannot lie (Titus 1:2). [All emphasis is mine.]
The event called the "Rapture," which is described but not called as such, is found in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 and 1 Corinthians 15:51-53, and is an "Any Day Now" event. We were not given the exact day or hour that it will happen, but Jesus, Paul and others gave us signs we should be looking for. Today, the condition of this world is ripe for everything they spoke of. The absolute "mega-sign" that we are getting close was the May 14, 1948, announcement that Israel once again was declaring itself a sovereign nation, on its own land, for the first time in over 2,000 years. No other nation on earth can make this claim.
As time passes, we have to remember 2 Peter 3:8-9, "But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill His promise as some count slowness; but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance."
The "day of the Lord" will definitely happen; but for now, it appears the Father is giving time for people to reach out and accept Jesus as their Savior. He is patient, but even that will soon end as He takes His wrath out on those who remain on earth.
We are steadily watching the governments of the world breaking down and beginning to call for a "New World Order." There are already ideas of a one-world government divided into 10 distinct kingdoms. Just about anything pertaining to Christianity is being challenged, and even more than ever before right here in America.
Paul gives the most accurate picture of today in 2 Timothy 3:1-5, "But understand this, that in the last days, there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people."
My question is, how do we avoid them when they're everywhere today?
The leaders of the United States and Israel are being attacked from all sides at the same time. No matter what President Trump does, he's declared wrong, and the same goes for Prime Minister Netanyahu. The interesting thing is, both nations are in good shape and prospering compared to the rest of the world. It's obvious that satanic forces are at work in earnest trying to take these nations down.
Israel is being accused of committing "war crimes" just for protecting itself, while the persecutors are being called "victims." Israel is extremely prosperous and is listed as the "8th" most powerful nation in the world; yet, it is about the size of New Jersey.
By all rights, Israel should not even exist today. They have been attacked by other nations from the very first announcement of their statehood, and several times since then. Still, they have never been defeated. Anyone who cannot see the Lord's hand in this is totally blind.
For any other country to lose a war, there would be terms of surrender and then peace agreements reached. For Israel, to lose would mean total annihilation. God will not ever let that happen.
Amos 9:14-15, "I will restore the fortunes of My people, Israel, and they shall rebuild the ruined cities and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and drink their wine, and they shall make gardens and eat their fruit. I will plant them on their land, and they shall never again be uprooted out of the land that I have given them, says the Lord Your God."
Sounds like a definite covenant, especially when God says, "I Will."
Israel will go through the Tribulation per Daniel and Revelation, but will not be totally destroyed. From approximately 1% to 2% of the total Jewish population believing in Jesus as their Messiah today, 100% will believe by the end of the 7-year Wrath. It should be noted here, the 1%-2% will not be here, but will rise up to meet Jesus in the air at the Rapture with all the other believers.
Biggest question that remains is, are you ready? If Jesus were to call for the believers to go to Him, will you be there? I have actually heard people say, "Yes, I want to go in the Rapture, but there are things I need to do first. Jesus needs to wait until (xxxwhateverxxx)." The things of this earth are given more value than some people's eternal souls.
In my prayers, I have said to the Savior, there is nothing or no one on this earth that I wish to delay my going Home. My wife is of the same mind-set. Yes, each day we pray for all of our loved ones, and hope they have truly accepted Jesus for themselves. However, we cannot force them if they haven't. It's an individual process.
In John 21:21-22, Peter is asking Jesus about John; "When Peter saw him (John), he said to Jesus, Lord, what about this man? Jesus said to him, if it is My will that he remains until I come, what is that to you? You Follow Me!"
Our responsibility is to "share" Jesus with others. It is to be in a loving and "non-threatening" nature. It's up to the receivers as to whether or not they accept or reject our Savior's sacrifice for their eternal salvation. Also, it is to be the absolute truth as given in the Bible. Not watered-down theology, or "adjusted" meanings.
Some "religions" use force up to martyrdom for anyone not accepting their "god." Our Father loves us so much that He wants it to be our choice to decide. His love is based on "free-will," not intimidation or threats.
When someone really considers just how short this life on earth is compared to eternity, it should be obvious which has priority. However, the prince of this world (Satan) is at work full-time, trying to pull souls away from Jesus. His fate is the Lake of Fire (Revelation 20:10); and all who follow him will end up there as well (Revelation 20:11-15). That will be forever, not just for a period of time and then be released.
John 14:6 is the straight and narrow way. "Jesus said, I am the Way, the Truth and the Life; no one comes to the Father except by Me." Romans 10:9-13 gives the formula needed to call on the Lord to truly be saved. There are numerous other examples, but these give what is needed to call on Jesus to be your Savior.
To delay is to play the lottery. He may not come back today; but then again, He may. If you haven't accepted Him, at the very least you will go into the Tribulation, which will be the worst time this earth has ever experienced. If you want Him to be your Savior, forgive your sins and provide an eternal home for you with Him, He will do so. We will never be perfect while on this earth, but when we do slip, He gives us 1 John 1:9 as His promise to forgive our sins.
Don't play the lottery with your soul. Get the assurance of an eternal Home with the Savior today. It could be a great difficulty tomorrow if He comes before then.
He is never too busy to take your "call."
In Defense of Biblical Prophecy - By Jonathan Brentner -
While Christians agree on the fulfillment of prophecy relating to Jesus' first coming, such harmony quickly disappears when the subject switches to prophecies related to His return to earth.
As one who has spent many decades in the midst of the fray, I can attest to the pressing need to defend our biblical hope from attacks on the part of those outside as well as within the church. Whatever the source, they all seek to undermine our expectation of Jesus' soon return, returning to earth with Jesus after the tribulation, and then reigning with Him in His millennium kingdom.
Many Bible-believing pastors, teachers, and writers who oppose such things begin with a misguided view of God's covenants, one that eliminates the distinction between Israel and the church. They retrofit His promises to Israel so that they apply "spiritually" to the church.
"Why does this matter to me?" you might ask, "As long as they preach the true Gospel, what difference does it make if they go astray in matters pertaining to the end times?"
Those who ask these questions fail to recognize the long-term effects of how the use of allegory not only undermines our Gospel hope, but also the Gospel itself. Please stay with me as I explain how the allegorical approach to biblical prophecy . . .
Leads to an Inconsistent View of Prophecy
Jesus fulfilled over 100 prophecies through His birth, life, death, burial, and resurrection. Most all of those who claim that Israel has no future would agree with that statement. Yet, when it comes to the prophecies that relate to Israel's future as well as our own, they abandon literalness for an allegorical interpretation.
For example, no one denies the literal fulfillment of the opening words of Isaiah 9:6, "For to us a child is born, to us a son is given."
However, verse 6 adds this to the prophecy concerning Jesus, "and the government shall be upon his shoulder." The next verse further explains, "Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom ...." These words, if taken literally, refer to Jesus ruling upon the "throne of David" and signify a future kingdom for Israel.
In spite of this clarity, many look at this passage in a way that retrofits the prophet's original meaning so that it aligns with God's promises to the church. They switch from a literal interpretation to an allegorical one mid-sentence.
How can such glaring inconsistencies not effect one's view of the rest of biblical prophecy?
Relies on a Vague Basis for Separating the Symbolical from the Literal
A related issue I have with those who employ allegory is this: What is the basis for switching from a literal interpretation to an allegorical one in the same passage? In Isaiah 9:6-7, how do they determine what is literal and what is allegory? Do they naturally assume the unfulfilled part is allegory? Or does the picture of Jesus' reigning on the throne of David not fit their preconceived beliefs about Israel?
We see this same vague basis for separating the symbolical from the literal in their interpretation of the book of Revelation. Many who relegate most of Revelation 6-20:10 as allegory suddenly switch to a literal interpretation of the Great White Throne judgment, the final destruction of Satan and death, and the new earth along with the New Jerusalem.
What's the basis for deciding between which events and words are literal and those that are solely allegory? The lack of agreement among those who relegate the meaning of the apocalypse to allegory demonstrates the vagueness of such a subjective approach.
For example, some who reject the millennium of Revelation 20:1-10 regard the New Jerusalem (Rev. 21-22) as an actual physical city; others with the same amillennial viewpoint deny the reality of the city, claiming it's purely symbolic of God's presence.
Do not such disagreements among those who employ allegory demonstrate the vagueness and subjectivity of such an approach? Absolutely!
Disregards the Original Intent of the Author
Of course, prophetic writers in Scripture employ metaphors, word pictures, and symbols at times. My issue is with those who use allegory to blatantly disregard the original intent of the author.
The Old Testament prophets believed they were prophesying about a future glory for the nation of Israel. Their words depict a restoration of Israel when God will regather His people from all over the earth. They unequivocally point to Jesus' reign over the nations seated upon the throne of David in Jerusalem. No one can rationally argue that these things were not the original intent of their words. How else could they have understood God's promises to the Israelites that He revealed through them?
The prophet Jeremiah regarded the continuation of Israel as a nation in God's eyes as something as certain as the "fixed order" of day and night (Jer. 31:33-36). The Lord further provided Jeremiah with physical descriptions of Jerusalem (vv. 38-40). The words God gave to the prophet depict a still future restoration of a glorious kingdom to Israel. Jeremiah could not have understood it any other way.
What does it say about the Lord's reliability if He meant one thing when He spoke these words through the prophets and now they mean something entirely different to us? The effort to retrofit the words of the Lord to say something contrary to what they meant at the time He spoke them not only undermines the integrity of biblical prophecy, but also that of the Lord Himself.
Disrespects the Understanding of the Original Audience
Not only does the allegorical method of interpretation show indifference to the original intent of the author, it displays a keen disrespect for the understanding of the original audience. Can we really say that prophecy meant one thing to those who heard the Old Testament prophets preach and now means something entirely different today? I have great problems with this distortion of the words Scripture.
Would the Israelites listening to Jeremiah proclaim God's promise of a glorious restoration of Israel have thought, "Okay, this does not really relate to our physical descendants, but to another group who will spiritually enjoy benefits of our promised kingdom?"
There's no conceivable way such a thought would have entered their minds. They would have taken the prophet's words at face value, a solemn promise from the Lord to "restore" the fortunes of a physical Israel (see Jer. 31:35-40, 32:36-44, 33:23-26).
For teachers and writers to come along 2,700 years later and say the words of Jeremiah do not really mean what they meant to the original audience not only destroys the credibility of Scripture, but also of the Lord Himself. If the Israelites could not depend on the clear words of the prophets regarding their future, does this not also undermine our security, our future hope that rests on the words of the Gospel pertaining to our future as New Testament saints?
Negates God's Sovereign Purposes for Prophecy
The allegorical approach to future prophecy negates God's sovereign purposes for providing us with prophecy. Isaiah 46:10 says that His design for it includes that of "declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, 'My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish my purpose.'"
God demonstrates His glory by declaring what lies ahead in history. When one looks at the specific prophecies Jesus fulfilled at His first coming, it brings about a sense of wonder and awe for the Lord as well as for His Word. Many have come to faith in Jesus after looking at how the Lord fulfilled prophecy with Jesus' first coming.
God intends for the abundant prophecies throughout the Bible regarding the restoration of a kingdom for Israel, the Gog and Magog war, the tribulation, and the Second Coming to accomplish this identical purpose. The fulfillment of these things will further demonstrate His sovereignty over history just as Israel's miraculous rebirth seventy years ago and God's supernatural protection of them and blessing since then demonstrates the validity of God's promises in Ezekiel 36-37.
If one relegates most, if not all of future prophecy to allegory, one not only negates God's purpose for revealing the future to us but also destroys its relevance for us today, which is precisely what our enemy desires. The allegorical interpretation of prophecy has led to serious errors in the past regarding prophecy and the Gospel; it will surely do so again.
Those who use allegory to interpret still-future prophecies in the Bible not only negate God's sovereign purpose for prophecy, but also retrofit them to fit their faulty New Testament understanding of the covenants. In doing so they undermine the integrity of Scripture by making passages say something contrary to the original intention of the author or what those listening at the time would have understood.
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Becoming Antichrist: Vol. III - By Pete Garcia -
In my first two volumes of Becoming Antichrist, I wanted to ensure that I captured as much biblical and factual information pertaining to this topic as possible. However, there is still so much to discuss. In this volume, we will discuss how Satan loves to operate (i.e., from an angle). We will look at satanic bloodlines. Finally, we will summarize everything into a cohesive summation so that the entire picture can be seen in context to the here and now. However, in order to discuss everything regarding this mysterious world leader who is coming, we will have to delve somewhat into the world of speculation to tease out some potential scenarios.
In other words, we are moving from the definitive to the speculative. Where there is speculation, I will add an ** to ensure you can know where I am adding in opinion or unsubstantiated theories. I am caveating this up front as much as possible so that you can know what I am about to say, is my own personal opinion. However, my opinion was not created in a vacuum. I am basing much of what is said here, on a broad study of the topic and where I believe the Holy Spirit is leading me. Again, I am not writing this to glorify or glamourize this future world leader, nor tantalize your ears for the here and now, but as a warning to those who are left behind.
Part I: Deception
Although many within the Reformed and Catholic circles would disagree with me on this point, but we are not presently in the Kingdom. Much scripture points out that Satan is currently running this world (Luke 4:5-6, 1 Peter 5:8, 1 John 5:19), and has a vast amount of influence over the daily running of the planet. As the Apostle Paul pointed out in his sixth chapter to the church in Ephesus, we are in a fierce battle on a daily basis. Not a battle against flesh and blood, but against spiritual beings, and dark and wicked principalities who seek our demise. These malevolent beings' supreme leader, Satan, primary tactics and strategy centers on deception and confusion. In order for us to even begin to understand the depths of both his depravity and insanity.
When dealing with Satan, one must understand that NOTHING is EVER as it seems. Satan never approaches something straight on; he always comes at you from your blind side. If something seems black, you can rest assure it is white. If something appears down, you can trust that it is up. Satan is never on the level with anyone. Therefore, I say all this to ask you (the reader) to ask some strategically significant questions that need to be addressed. We know that...
1. Any religion/belief/philosophy/etc. that does not support the Biblical definition that Christ is God come in the flesh, and that He came to earth through a human (but virgin) birth, lived a sinless life, died for our sins, and rose again on the third day, is by its basic nature, antichrist. So why is the world's second largest religion, Islam, so violent and unappealing? Wouldn't Satan want this religion to be MORE appealing to everyone and less, well, unhinged?
2. How will Satan use atheism/human secularism (a belief system that is overwhelmingly antagonistic to the supernatural) immediately after the Rapture of the Church?
3. How and why is the Evangelical Church seemingly collapsing/capitulating here in the West to a culture bent on suiciding itself?
I believe the answer to these, is based 100% in misdirection.
1. Satan is using Islam in a two-fold manner. First, he is using its violent and unhinged nature to prevent the archeological discovery of the historicity and authenticity of the Bible. It is no accident that Satan has the places with the MOST documentable evidence supporting biblical claims, under the darkest protection of radical Islam. This is particularly true in places like Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Gaza, Temple Mount (Jerusalem), Jordan, Syria, Iraq, and Egypt. Secondly, Satan is using Islam as a forcing-mechanism to get people of all faiths to abandon fundamentalism (which the world generously aligns with extremism).
2. For the better part of 170 years, the West has become increasingly atheistic/secular in their seeming rejection of all things supernatural. Part of this has been the educationally mandated enforcement of humanist propaganda (i.e., Darwinian Evolution, Big Bang Theory, etc.), onto the public education system. On the other hand, the west has entered into a renassaisance of all things supernatural within the entertainment industry. One would think that if naturalism/rationalism were so popular, this would be reflected in pop culture, but it is not. The reason it has not, is that atheism takes everything and offers nothing but an empty void.
Humans are more than just flesh and blood, and something within us yearns for something more. Therefore, this campaign of humanism is not about abandoning all supernaturalism, but just supernaturalism within Christianity, such as the supernatural aspects of Creation, Noah's Flood, Virgin Birth, and the Resurrection, etc. This void must be filled, and that is where the entertainment industry has been busy infilling the culture with UFOs, eastern mysticism, mythology, spiritualism, the cultic and occult.
3. Much of the Evangelical Churches in the West are folding faster than a row of cheap lawn chairs inside a F5 tornado. For those churches and clergy who chose to stand against the tsunami of the rapidly disintegrating culture, are viciously maligned, battered, and placed in the same category as German Nazis. This seems to be the reason why churches in the West are folding because, a) they want to remain relevant, b) they want to remain popular, and c) because they treat their churches like businesses (where the customer is always right).
So what does all these have to do with the Antichrist?
This is what we call battlefield preparation or stage setting.
One second after the Rapture, the world will enter into a time of signs and wonders unlike any other. Satan is (for lack of a better word) bludgeoning the world into bloody mess right now ahead of the Rapture, so that those who are left behind, are beyond desperate for peace, security, and normalcy. However, in the absence of true biblical Christianity, an ecumenical abomination will arise. Think of it as a global COEXIST campaign on steroids that embraces everything except exclusivity. Even now, we are seeing these things come together with groups like New Evangelicals, Evangelicals and Catholics Together (ECT), Chrislam, Emergent Church, Gospel Coalition, World Council of Churches, Red Letter Christians, Seeker-Sensitive Movement, and numerous Christian universities.
This is the pre-rapture foundation for the Harlot. She is who sits upon many waters and with whom the kings of the earth commit fornication with. What is that fornication? **I believe this is where the kings of the earth will help enforce her persecution of the tribulation saints, and she will reward them with titles, moneys, and land (think back to the Roman Catholic Inquisitions). She will be headed first by the False Prophet, but then he will betray her cause of inclusivity and direct all worship exclusively towards the Beast (the Antichrist) around the mid-point of the 70th Week (Dan. 9:27, Matt. 24:15, 2 Thess. 2:4). This will then be enforced by the Mark of the Beast (Rev. 13:11-18).
Lastly, after the Rapture, Satan will have ZERO use for atheism, Hinduism, Christianity, Judaism, and Islam in their original forms. He will need all hands on deck to support his number one Antichrist candidate, whom he will empower with the false prophet with supernatural powers. Why we are seeing such an uptick in the supernatural now in pop culture and entertainment is a process of normalization; where people are comfortable seeing the supernatural, if on nothing else, the big screen, televisions, and books. He needs his followers to be both wowed by it, but also, not so awestruck that they fear and reject it. By the time the Rapture happens, the people will want their superman.
Part II- Bloodlines
Since the beginning of time, there has always been an attraction to hidden/esoteric knowledge. This is what Satan offered Adam and Eve in the Garden, that they could "be like God" in knowing the difference between good and evil (Genesis 3:4). The numerous outlets for access to such knowledge has been promised to many seekers in the forms of secret societies, mystery religions, and occult groups who have sought out this knowledge in an effort to gain power, wealth, fame, and control. While I do not pretend to be an expert on secret societies, I have listed below some of the more recognizable ones and their foundation dates. Some of these might seem overtly political or economic and odd to be included in such a list, but they meet the criteria of secrecy, hidden knowledge, and appear to be antichrist in nature.
For those who scoff at me for including political organizations in this list, we might simply look at the common goal most of these groups have ever had, which is, power. More aptly put, the consolidation of power into as few hands as possible. Pagans, Gnostics, cultists, mystics, and later, Fabian Socialists, technocrats, oligarchs, elitists, etc. have all sought power through the acquiring of secret knowledge. In addition, they all currently have the same boss- Satan.
Another aspect most of these groups seem to share is this notion of some kind of divine right to rule. Congressman William E. Dannemeyer once quoted David Rockefeller as having said, some men are born to rule, but most men are born to be ruled. Certainly, this is not a stretch to believe knowing history and having seen the world in our own day. Furthermore, since Satan controls the kingdoms of this world (Luke 4:5-6), it is a very short jump to the logical assumption that he would therefore want to orchestrate who controls what in his domain through the use of satanic bloodlines.
We see that the bible has a table of nations in Genesis 10-11 from which all of mankind comes after Noah's flood. Since Satan cannot (or will not) mimic things that do not already exist by God, he is using the Twelve Tribes of Israel as a model to promote these twelve familial bloodlines throughout history by means of intermarriage and banking, which he has kept power together by the use of these royal bloodlines. From one of these families is whom many believe that Satan will bring about the final Antichrist candidate(s), who will come from somewhere within the boundaries of the old Roman Empire (Dan. 9:26). This certainly becomes even more reasonable when we consider that this final Antichrist will also control all of the buying and selling over the entire earth. In other words, he will control all the banking (Rev. 13:16-18).
**Some names, which readily come to mind, are the Rothschild's and Rockefellers. There are also named the Astor, Van Duyn, Merovingian, Bundy, DuPont, Freeman, Onassis, Kennedy, Disney, Reynolds, Li, and Russell bloodlines. Removed but probably connected are the avowed globalists such as the Soros, Clintons, and the Gates families. Although too many to list, the Bilderberg Meetings, which happen annually and exclude the press, are a mix of politicians, bankers, technocrats, and the who's who of the movers and shakers in the arena of geopolitics.
Their goal? A one-world government.
The reality? They will end up handing over their long-sought after universal government over to the worst dictator in human history (the Beast).
However, their current ambition is blinded by greed and pride. They do not know their end because they have rejected Christ and the Bible. Note the arrogant attitude on display here.
We are grateful to the Washington Post, The New York Times, Time Magazine and other publications whose directors have attended our meetings and respected their promises of discretion for almost forty years. It would have been impossible for us to develop our plan for the world if we had been subject to the bright lights of publicity during those years. But the world is now more sophisticated and prepared to march toward a world government. . . . The supranational sovereignty of an intellectual elite and world bankers is surely preferable to the national auto-determination practiced in past centuries. David Rockefeller, Bilderberg Group Meeting, Baden, Germany 1991
In the years leading up to Noah's flood (i.e., the antediluvian era), Satan attempted to corrupt the entire genetic genepool of mankind by having his fallen angels intermingle with human women (Gen. 6:1-4). He did this in an attempt to corrupt mankind so that a Messiah could not come through the race of man (Gen. 3:15). After the Rapture, Satan will attempt this same feat again by use of the Mark. He knows his time is short (Rev. 12:12) and he is seeking to take as many down with him as possible. Of course, the Antichrist and False Prophet will catch the brunt of God's wrath, seemingly, even more so than Satan will, since they will spend an additional thousand years in the lake of fire ahead of him (Rev. 19:20, 20:10).
Although we do not know what technology will exactly encompass the mark of the beast, we at least understand that it permanently dooms its bearer to eternal separation from God (Rev. 14:9-11). Presumably, the technology we are seeing being developed today (digital currency, quantum computers, 5G wireless systems, implantable technology, biometrics, artificial intelligence, etc.) will somehow be packaged up into an all-encompassing system that this final world government will use to control ALL buying and selling across the planet. Somehow, Satan will find a way to once again, permanently corrupt the human race through this mark. As stated on previous briefs, I believe it is very likely (and easy) for demonic hosts to possess technology. Perhaps the mark permanently affixes a demonic host to the bearer, who then becomes possessed themselves, unable (and unwilling) to turn to Christ.
You might be thinking, wow Pete, this is interesting and all, but what does all this mean for us in the here and now? I have work to deal with, bills to pay, health issues to worry about, and trying to figure out how I am going to make it until the next paycheck, let alone, having to worry about all this Antichrist stuff. What does this have to do with the here and now?
I know some of you might think all this talk about the end-times, the Antichrist, a one-world government, Armageddon, etc. is only a fringe topic, or that it will never happen in our lifetime. Some of you might think that is someone else's problem to worry about, but that is only true if you are a born-again believer.
If you remember the movie The Matrix, which came out back in 1999, one of the underlying themes of the story was that the world we (they) currently lived in, was really just a façade. Humans in the world of the real were nothing more than batteries from whom an artificially intelligent god-like system could use to harvest electricity. That system, created a fake-world for the mind (the matrix) so that humans could go on believing they were still alive and free, but in reality, were confined to a pod and hooked up to the system. In regards to the matrix, if you were not physically unplugged from the system, you were part of the matrix. This meant that an agent (an AI enforcer) could possess your body at a moment's notice and turn you into whatever they needed.
Although I seriously doubt the creators of this movie intended any kind of biblical connection to their story, but there is a certain level of truth to the premise. You see, we are all born with a tripartite nature (1 Thess. 5:23), into this corrupted reality, in a state of bondage (sin) that keeps us physically enslaved to the matrix (the world). Although we are all given a grace period (until an age of accountability), we are brought into a world where we led to believe we are free to live without consequences. This is the great lie. If you live past your age of accountability and have not become born again, you essentially become a dead-man walking, which is to say, physically alive, but spiritually dead (Romans 7:9). Your spirit is what HAS to be regenerated through believing and trusting in the finished work of Jesus Christ- that is His death, burial, and resurrection for our sins (John 3:16, Romans 10:9-10, 1 Cor. 15:1-5).
If you do not choose to do this, you in a sense, become part of "the matrix" and Satan can use you, torment you, and harden you to the point that you may never be able to come to the knowledge of the truth as to be saved (2 Thess. 2:10-11). Just as Pharaoh hardened his heart against God over and over, there will come a point in a person's life where they will be unable to be saved (Romans 1:18-32), because God will give them over to a debased mind. They will become antichrist, and fit only for eternal destruction. That should be a terrifying thought.
Although we cannot see it with our human eyes, there is a war raging all around us, (Eph. 6:12) Satan can and is actively attempting to destroy you every day through whatever means he can. This war is over the souls of man, and Satan is intent on taking everyone he can down to hell with him to spite God. Satan uses the humans he has already turned to be his physical extensions in our reality to prevent the Gospel of Jesus Christ from ever seeing the light of day.
Therefore, although there is a literal Antichrist coming, the Apostle John warned us that many antichrists have already come, and that the spirit of antichrist is alive and well in the world today. Every single person reading this knows an antichrist. You might even be one yourself if you have not placed your hope and faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ.
...and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world. 1 John 4:3
Becoming Antichrist: Vol. II - By Pete Garcia -
Then the devil, taking Him up on a high mountain, showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said to Him, "All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. Therefore, if You will worship before me, all will be Yours." Luke 4:5-7
We (Randy and I) have compiled a list of biblical and extra-biblical characters (antichrists and types) who seem to make up the parts of the sum for the man of sin. While not exhaustive, these seem to take the mantel in type and carry forward some aspect of the Antichrist's character and nature. Next to each name is the key characteristic of that individual that most links him to the coming future Antichrist. Again, none of the listed are THE Antichrist, simply prototypes of the coming last world leader. Using history and the Holy Spirit as our guide, we will begin to chart a path from the distant past, to the near future, for this man becoming The Antichrist.
The Way of Cain (Man of Sin)
Woe to them! For they have gone in the way of Cain, have run greedily in the error of Balaam, and perished in the rebellion of Korah. Jude 1:11
Speaking to the apostates who have crept into the church to corrupt the true Gospel of Jesus Christ, here Jude lists three Old Testament examples of men who had done terrible wickedness. What he leads off with here is Cain (the eldest son of Adam and Eve), who after having his sacrifice of works rejected, allows sin to fester in his heart and mind. So what is the way of Cain? Well, the Bible tells us. Knowing what was in his heart, God asks Cain,
Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it. Genesis 4:6-7
Shortly after that is when sin consumed Cain and he rose up in anger and struck down his brother Abel in the field. It is the first physical murder mentioned in the Bible. [Technically, Satan murdered Adam and Eve indirectly by deceiving them into disobeying God]. After this occurs, God rhetorically asks Cain where Abel is, and Cain plays dumb about his whereabouts. It is here that God comments that Abel's blood was crying out from the ground (Gen. 4:10). Then God curses the ground so that it would no longer yield its full strength. Furthermore, sin is now consuming him and he is fearful over his life, so God places a mark on Cain's forehead that no one should strike him down in revenge. What is of interest here is two-fold: first, that God directly warns him about what sin would do to him. Secondly, is that God places a mark on his forehead. We know that according to Revelation 13:16-18, the Antichrist will also place a mark on his followers. Instead of protecting them sevenfold, the mark of the beast will damn the bearer for all eternity. Furthermore, Jesus stated that Satan was a murderer from the beginning, and aside from what he did to Adam and Eve, I believe this is whom He was referencing.
The Rebelliousness of Nimrod (Man of Lawlessness)
Cush begot Nimrod; he began to be a mighty one on the earth. He was a mighty hunter before the Lord; therefore, it is said, "like Nimrod the might hunter before the Lord." And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, Erech, Accad, and Calneh in the land of Shinar. From that land he went to Assyria and built Nineveh and Calah (what is the principal city). Genesis 10:8-12
The second antichrist character we come across in Scripture is Nimrod, the son of Cush, the grandson of Ham, and the great-grandson of Noah. Nimrod was described as a "mighty hunter before the Lord." However, we might just think of him as the world's first superhero. He could also be considered the world's first dictator, or tyrant. According to certain ancient and historical documents (the Divine Comedy being one), Nimrod (whose name in Hebrew means rebel) was actually a giant (which may lend credence to his ability rule over other men). At that time, (a 100 years or so after the Flood), people had begun to congregate on the plains of Shinar (Iraq-Syria, Fertile Crescent) instead of spreading out and repopulating the earth as they had been instructed by God to do (Gen. 9:1).
It was in Babel where men (presumably under Nimrods' instruction), began the construction of a great tower. Much conjecture has been spent on why exactly they were building this tower, but all Scripture states, is that they were building this so they could make a name for themselves and not be scattered over the face of the earth. (Gen. 11:4) Moreover, it is here that God goes down and confuses the languages and then scatters the people over the face of the earth supernaturally (Gen. 11:9).
The correlation between Nimrod and the future Antichrist is this spirit of rebellion (or lawlessness). Nimrod was the world's first dictator, and the Antichrist will be the world's last. We know that according to Daniel 8:25 and Revelation 13:1, the coming Antichrist will be boastful, proud, and blasphemous against God to the point that he believes he is God. When reading the extra-biblical books of Jasher and Josephus, this seems to be the same characteristics of Nimrod. About Nimrod, Josephus adds-
Now it was Nimrod who excited them to such an affront and contempt of God. He was the grandson of Ham, the son of Noah, a bold man, and of great strength of hand. He persuaded them not to ascribe it to God, as if it were through his means they were happy, but to believe that it was their own courage that procured that happiness. He also gradually changed the government into tyranny, seeing no other way of turning men from the fear of God, but to bring them into a constant dependence on his power. He also said he would be revenged on God, if he should have a mind to drown the world again; for that he would build a tower too high for the waters to reach. And that he would avenge himself on God for destroying their forefathers.
Now the multitude were very ready to follow the determination of Nimrod, and to esteem it a piece of cowardice to submit to God; and they built a tower, neither sparing any pains, nor being in any degree negligent about the work: and, by reason of the multitude of hands employed in it, it grew very high, sooner than anyone could expect; but the thickness of it was so great, and it was so strongly built, that thereby its great height seemed, upon the view, to be less than it really was. It was built of burnt brick, cemented together with mortar, made of bitumen, that it might not be liable to admit water. When God saw that they acted so madly, he did not resolve to destroy them utterly, since they were not grown wiser by the destruction of the former sinners; but he caused a tumult among them, by producing in them diverse languages, and causing that, through the multitude of those languages, they should not be able to understand one another. The place wherein they built the tower is now called Babylon, because of the confusion of that language which they readily understood before; for the Hebrews mean by the word Babel, confusion... (Josephus, the Complete Works, Book 1, Chapter 4)
A final correlation can be made to where Nimrod established his headquarters. This will also be the same geographic location (demonic stronghold) where the Antichrist assumes his as well.
The Hardening of Pharaoh (The Willful King)
Another antichrist character we come across in Scriptures is the Egyptian Pharaoh who enslaved the Hebrews. Although not named specifically, it was most likely Pharaoh Neferhotep I who plays the main antagonist in the Exodus drama. When reading the accounts leading up to the Jewish exodus from Egypt in the Bible, we see an interesting progression of hardening of heart against the one true God. After enjoying a period of peace and prosperity in Egypt under the leadership of Joseph, the Hebrew's numbers were increasing and their success became a threat to the culture and leadership around them. Eventually, a Pharaoh did not remember Joseph outright enslaved the Hebrews and put them under extremely harsh work and living conditions. (Gen. 15:13-14, Ex. 1:8-14) Here in Egypt, Pharaoh would institute the first of many government-mandated infanticides against the Hebrew people. Although probably unknown to Pharaoh, he was simply an instrument used by Satan to attempt to prevent the arrival of the One born of the seed of woman (Gen. 3:15).
The Hatred of Haman (The Dragon)
One clear sign the bible gives us for that antichrist spirit, is the supernatural and completely irrational hatred of the Jewish people. Why is antisemitism, antichrist? Well, since the physical descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob received their unconditional and everlasting promises of blessings from God (Gen. 12, 15, Jer. 31, etc.) they are in a special class of people. There has been a strong sense of supercessionism throughout the history of the Christian church. Currently, in our dispensation, there is no distinction between Jew or Gentile INSIDE the body of Christ (Gal. 3:28). However, just because there is no distinction INSIDE the body of Christ does not mean that God has annulled His promises to them, nor replaced their uniqueness in God's overarching plan. They (and Israel) are a constant reminder of God's faithfulness, which is why Satan hates them with a passion. Of note, is that the story of Esther plays out in the geographical area of what is today, Iran. Back then, it was simply known as Persia. This area has long been a stronghold for Satan and his minions. This is from whence the Angel who came to reveal the end times to Daniel, had to go back and continue his fight with (i.e., the prince of Persia) (Dan. 9:20-23, 10:10-14, 20). Clearly, Satan had his dark forces out to prevent this understanding from reaching Daniel at all costs, and their headquarters, was now where Esther and Mordecai were stationed to prevent the genocide of their people. Haman (the antagonist in this story) is just another example of an antichrist being used by Satan to destroy the Jewish people. In the last days, the Antichrist will also attempt to wipe out the Jewish people, and even succeeding what Hitler had done. Hitler wiped out one-third, but the Antichrist will wipe out two-thirds (Zech. 13:8).
The Delusion of Antiochus Epiphanes (The Little Horn)
Although not THE Antichrist, Antiochus IV Epiphanes is a ruler who most closely foreshadows what the future Antichrist will do regarding the persecution of the Jews and the desecration of the Jewish Temple. He was a Seleucid King, which was an offshoot of the former Greek Empire under Alexander the Great. In Daniel (Dan. 7:8, 21, 11:29-31), the vicious and virulently anti-Semitic exploits of Antiochus are captured, and then directly jump into the latter times where the antagonist shifts from Antiochus to THE Antichrist (Dan. 11:31-45).
In 167 B.C., Antiochus committed an "abomination of desolation"; specifically, he set up an altar to the Greek god Zeus inside the Jewish temple and sacrificed a pig on it. Antiochus proceeded to require pagan sacrifices in all Jewish villages. In the village of Modein, a Levite named Mattathias, who had five sons, was told to make the sacrifice. Mattathias refused and killed the troops and the villager who volunteered to do the deed. This sparked the Maccabean Revolt, led by Mattathias's sons. Israel gained its freedom from the Selucids for a time and was later recognized as an independent state by the Roman Senate. The years that the Jews were led by Mattathias's descendants are called the Maccabean or Hasmonean Period. (Link)
The Jewish Historian Josephus also had much to say about Antiochus Epiphanes in his destruction of Jerusalem and desecration of the Jewish Temple in his War of the Jews, Chapter 1. We can also see from certain Apocryphal books (1 and 2 Maccabees) about more details pertaining to the short reign of Antiochus IV Epiphanes. When Jesus explained that a future abomination of desolation would occur in the last days, He did so by referencing back to the book of Daniel and the abomination desolation that Antiochus performed (Dan. 11:31, Matt. 24:15).
The Destiny of Charlemagne (Rider on the White Horse)
Charlemagne (742-814), or Charles the Great, was king of the Franks, 768-814, and emperor of the West, 800-814. He founded the Holy Roman Empire, stimulated European economic and political life, and fostered the cultural revival known as the Carolingian Renaissance. (Link)
Although Charlemagne was not a particularly cruel or evil ruler, his popularity in defeating the Moors in Spain, the Saxons to the north, and the Huns to the east, has cast a long shadow down the centuries on the idea of a revived Roman Empire. Likely, this same kind of fame in defeating their enemies will also be what the Beast uses to unite Europe once again (Rev. 6:1-2, 13:4). The Antichrist's main weapons will be deception, treachery, and violence. He will offer up false peace treaties, which will mask his true intentions much like an iron fist hidden in a velvet glove. His popularity will help finally remove the barriers in fully uniting Europe once again; then he will begin to exert his will across the face of the earth. Charlemagne's victories (like the future Antichrist's) catapulted him to the head of his kingdom. He became both the head of the government (the Holy Roman Empire), and the head of the Roman Catholic Church. The Antichrist, will become head of the government (the Beast), and eventually the object of its worship ultimately supplanting the Harlot (who was formerly the apostate church).
The Rise of Hitler (False Messiah)
With World War II behind us, but still present in so many living memories, we are often guilty of biasing our opinions of the Nazis by the outcome of the war and the knowledge of all their evil deeds. Yet, if one were able to go back in time to the Roaring Twenties, and without the knowledge of the future, one would see a broken and deflated Germany trying to pick up the pieces and recover from their disastrous militaristic misadventures during World War I.
In the 1920s, the National Socialist German Workers Party (NSDAP), or NAZI for short, were slowly but steadily building their political base and structure. Their eventual supreme leader, Adolph Hitler, would call these years (1926-1929) the quiet years. However, these quiet years were a boom for political activity with Marxists, Communists, and Socialists (of every stripe), all vying for power in the Weimar Republic.
However, during these years, the NAZIs were not able to gain as much traction as they hoped, even with their highly charged appeals to racial superiority, nationalism, and Anti-Semitism, times were good and Germany was on the mend. What Hitler lacked, was not the message or his ability to deliver said message, but to circumstances. As Obama's former Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel once famously quipped, you never let a good crisis go to waste. Hitler did not.
In another part of the world, Wall Street in New York, events were happening that would bring an end to this quiet time for Adolf Hitler and would ultimately help put the Nazis in power in Germany. On October 29th, the Wall Street stock market crashed with disastrous worldwide effects. First in America, then the rest of the world, companies went bankrupt, banks failed and people instantly lost their life's savings. Unemployment soon soared and poverty and starvation became real possibilities for everyone. The people panicked. Governments seemed powerless against the worldwide economic collapse. Fear ruled. Governments stood on the brink. The Great Depression had begun. Adolf Hitler knew his time had come. (Link)
The Treachery of Obama (The Fierce King)
Having just lived through the worst eight-years of American political history, I do not feel I need to regurgitate the entire list of scandals and misdeeds by one Barack Hussein Obama...for they were legion. Aside from his enigmatic history, and his meteoric rise to power, Obama's past (as a character study) was as much an enigma as are the weathered Sphinxes that sit quietly in the Egyptian desert. He is duplicitous, dishonest, and seems to loathe biblical Christianity. Nevertheless, one of the scariest legacies he left behind, was his creation (or reinvigoration) of a deep state and shadow government (akin to J. Edgar Hoover era). The attempted Democratic coup of our current President was an overt and offensive attempt at delegitimizing a duly elected president by weaponizing federal agencies and a complicit media to discredit Trump's political victory. All that to say that this coming Antichrist will likely rise to power in much the same way. He will after all, have the full backing of Satan (Luke 4:5-7). His past will be shrouded in mystery. His ability to manipulate truth will make Obama look like a rank amateur.
In the end, I believe that history serves as a great teacher (for those who are willing to learn) about what is coming in the last days. I believe that each of these men were either antichrists or types of antichrists, in their own right and serve the purpose of being examples. The Antichrist will most likely be someone we do not expect at all. He is called the "Little Horn" because he arises out of obscurity and dethrones three other rulers (Dan. 7:8, 8:9).
Because Satan is not omniscient, and cannot see into the future, he does not know when the Lord will return at the Rapture. I believe there is probably numerous antichrist candidates alive today, and depending on the circumstances, can activate those who he thinks will most likely achieve his ends the most efficiently. Thinking back to World War II, Hitler was not the first leader Satan began to give access to the kingdoms of the world too, but first to Benito Mussolini, Emperor Hirohito, and Joseph Stalin. These men all started to rise to power around the same time that the Ottoman Empire was defeated, and the Balfour Declaration was giving Jews the right to return to their ancestral homeland.
So what makes a good antichrist candidate? Well, if Satan thought the World War II era was likely to be prophetically significant, and he exercised his options with four world leaders, I do not think he will fall for that again. But he was limited to his options given the technology of the day. He saw the defeat of the Nazis and the Axis powers. He saw the return of Israel; he has seen how she has survived and thrived in a sea of Islamic instability for the past seventy-years. He has seen the explosion of the interest in the Rapture of the Church from within Christendom with the likes of Hal Lindsey's Late Great Planet Earth, and the Left Behind series. Satan, if anything, is a master of observation and probably senses long before most when the prophetic winds are beginning to shift.
It would seem that with the surprise election victory of the long-shot Donald Trump, that Satan may have been caught off guard. At the very least if he wasn't caught off guard, then his human agents (i.e., the secular, Christ-rejecting world) were. I would be willing to bet that he is currently scrambling to line up his frontrunners for the upcoming position of Antichrist.
What is interesting to me though is that throughout the past two and a half years of Trump's presidency, he has been thwarted/obstructed/attacked/etc. at almost every turn, WITH the exception as it pertains to Israel. As if he were being channeled into almost singularly focusing on that tiny nation in the Middle East.
I believe this has emboldened those Jews who want a third temple, as nothing else could. What was the status quo for decades, Trumped turned on its head. Now, what the Orthodox Jews' lacked since 1948, they finally have in the form of hope. Hope that now is the time to rebuild the third temple. Hope that they finally have just enough political support from the world's greatest nation, to begin construction on this temple. The only issue now is getting the Muslims off the Rock.
This is what I believe Satan is watching extremely closely, and is now, readying his man/men, to assume control. He will stir up the Gog-Magog coalition to try and preemptively thwart the rebuilding of the third temple. We know that this will backfire on him gloriously, and be the impetus for actually making the third temple become a reality. Somewhere in this conflict, I believe both the Dome of the Rock and the Al Aqsa Mosque are destroyed during this particular conflict, and will open the door for the rebuilding of the temple.
With this much prophetic activity going on, He knows that the Rapture is near; however, he does not know when it is exactly. He knows the Rapture has to happen before the 70th Week begins, because he knows Scripture, and Scripture shifts the focus from the Church, back to the nation of Israel in the last days. Moreover, if he did not believe the Rapture happened before the Tribulation, he would not have wasted as much time and energy in trying to destroy/corrupt/malign this biblical teaching.
We know that there is no mention of a USA-type nation in the prophetic word, so the next most likely options for his pool of would-be candidates, seem to come from either Europe or the Middle East. We know in the last days, that Satan will also use the kings of the east (Rev. 16:12) to come against Israel, but is likely keeping them in his reserve forces to use a last resort.
We know now that what was lacking in World War II (and before) was the technology to accomplish all of what Revelation 11 and 13 seem to indicate. We know that technology has finally reached the point to achieve all that Scripture states must happen (Mark of the Beast, worldwide communications and travel, weapons of mass destruction, etc.).
We know that Christianity has entered into this final stage of Church history, that being the Laodicean Age. This is because the culture (primarily in the west) rapidly deconstructing itself and is becoming increasingly barbaric, hedonistic, pluralistic, and pagan. Intense pressure has been put on the church to make it bend to the will of the culture, rather than the Church standing firm on the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
What this all means, is that Satan's man/men of the hour, are alive today. These men likely have access to great power, but will not have expended any of that political capital as of yet. These men will not even be known by the general public, but most likely are thought to be the "power behind the throne" for many in the geopolitical world. These men (like those antichrist prototypes before them), are likely great observers of the state of the world, and know how to achieve their ends without appearing to want a one-world government. They will likely be watching the current crop of world leaders fumble, stumble, and make a mess of things today, and are learning from their mistakes. They are probably tied heavily into both the banking and technology industries. They will have access too, and know of, the breaking technologies that will change the landscape before anyone else does. These privileged men, are like walking Manchurian Candidates who will be flipped-on at the right moment to begin their conquest in their respective areas. Next, the conclusion, Becoming Antichrist: Vol. III
Becoming Antichrist: Vol. I - by Pete Garcia & Randy Nettles -
I do not think about the Antichrist often, nor do I want this to seem as if I am glorifying him in any way, shape, or form, but I have at times, wondered about a few things. How does Satan go about selecting the Antichrist? Is he alive today? Does he know he is the Antichrist? If he does know, when and how did he find out? What does he hope to achieve? Does he have a long-term plan, or is it more like playing out things as they unfold? Is he like the Hitler with the unsustainable four-year economic plan? Or is he like the Hitler with his thousand-year Reich plan? Does he know his fate? Does he care?
The Scriptures has much to say about antichrist. Not only is it a real person(s), or a human condition, but it can also be a zeitgeist (spirit of the age). Not only are there antichrist(s) (little 'a'), but a final, literal, future Antichrist (big 'A') who assumes control over the entire earth. Here are the four passages (all New Testament-all from John) that use the actual term antichrist.
[Deceptions of the Last Hour] Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour. 1 John 4:3
Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son. 1 John 2:22
And every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world. 1 John 4:3
[Beware of Antichrist Deceivers] For many deceivers have gone out into the world who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. 2 John 1:7
In a broader sense of the word (referencing both the Old and New Testament), an antichrist is one who opposes God, His agenda, or His people. Although there are only four New Testament passages using the term antichrist (antichristos, Greek-ἀντίχριστος), Scripture affords us an abundance of clues as to the nature of the coming future Antichrist. He is called the worthless shepherd, little horn, man of sin, the lawless one, son of perdition, the beast, the dragon, and the rider on the white horse. However, we are not told who he is. Granted, every generation has had their favorite candidates, and up until now, they have all been wrong. The reason we know they were wrong, was well, all of those Roman Emperors, Catholic Popes, and brutal tyrants have thankfully come and gone and yet we are still here.
Fortunately, as born-again believers, we will not be here to find out who he is when he is finally revealed. The Apostle Paul writes in his second epistle to the Thessalonians that the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming (2nd Thess. 2:7-8). First, the Restrainer can be none other than God the Holy Spirit. Second, Christ must destroy the Antichrist at His coming; no other death will suffice.
Some Preliminary Discussions
Since the Pre-Tribulation Rapture view is to my knowledge, the only eschatological view that identifies the Holy Spirit as the Restrainer, critics of the Pre-Tribulation Rapture view scoff at the Holy Spirit/Restrainer interpretation. The reason they scoff is because the Holy Spirit is the third Person of the Godhead and as such, is both omnipresent (everywhere at once) and will remain in the salvation business even after the Rapture.
I (as do other Pre-Trib believers) whole-heartedly agree with them.
However, let us deconstruct this passage even further.
What this phrase taken out of the way does notmean, is that God the Holy Spirit is physically (or spiritually) removed from the earth, because that would be impossible. What it does mean is that His role will change, specifically, because of the Rapture (or removal) of the Church from the earth will necessitate a change in function. For those who do not understand this idea of what changing roles means, just think back to Acts 2 Pentecost and the giving of the Holy Spirit to those Jewish believers' fifty-days after the Resurrection. Keeping that in mind, ask yourself-
1. Did God the Holy Spirit exist on the earth before the Acts 2 Pentecost? Yes He did.
2. Did His role change from Old Testament to New? Yes it did.
3. Can the Holy Spirit exist on the earth after the Rapture? Yes, He Can.
4. Will His role on the earth be different from before the Rapture? Yes, it will.
So the main question becomes, what will the primary role of the Holy Spirit be after the Rapture? Well, what was the primary role of the Holy Spirit before Christ came?
The Holy Spirit had many different roles over the history of the world. During Creation, He was the energizer or life-giver (Gen. 1:2, 2:7). From Adam to John the Baptist, the Holy Spirit's role included empowering select persons to accomplish specific missions (for ex. Moses and David). He could infill someone from a young age (Samson) or even before birth (John the Baptist), but could also depart from people for whom He once indwelt (for ex. Samson and Saul). He overshadowed Mary at the Incarnation (Luke 1:35), visually descended upon Jesus at His baptism, and at the incarnation of the Church at Pentecost (Matt. 3:16, Acts 2:1-4).
However, after He was given as The Helper at Pentecost, His role in this dispensation was to permanently seal those believers into the universal, singular, Body of Christ (ex. 1 Cor. 12:27, Eph. 5:23) until the day of Redemption, which is the Rapture (or Harpazo). For those who have already died, will receive their glorified bodies just ahead of those of us who are alive at His coming for the Church. We shall be instantaneously translated from mortal to immortal and from corruptible to incorruptible. This is in part why we groan within ourselves for, awaiting our birth into glory (Romans 8:23). The groaning gets worse as the days get darker. What changes after the Rapture, is that the Holy Spirit will no longer restrain the dark forces from interacting here in the human domain.
After Christ's body (the Church) is removed fully from the earth, they will have unfettered access to our physical realm. Therefore, in strictly mechanical terms, although Christ ascended to the Father forty-days after His resurrection, He still has His body (the Church) here on earth carrying out the Great Commission. This is why I said the incarnation (putting on of flesh) of the Church. Once the Holy Spirit infilled those believers, we were not born, but began to grow and gestate much as a baby does after it is conceived. Remember what Christ said,
And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. Matthew 16:18-19
First, Christ is building His Church- not the Pope, not Martin Luther, not the Southern Baptist Association, nor any other human organization. Second, the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. Clearly, when reading the summarized accounts of Daniel's 70th Week in Revelation 13, we see that authority has been given to the Antichrist to overcome the tribulation saints, so this group cannot be the Church. For two-thousand years, Satan has been trying to stamp out the Church. Moreover, the more he crushes it, the more it grows. This is not the case inside the 70th Week. This is also, why God has to resort to using Angels to proclaim the gospel (Rev. 14:6), because there are so few remaining on the earth during this time.
Secondly, at present, what the Church binds on earth means that the effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much (James 5:16). And since the Church has direct access to the throne of God (Heb. 4:16), the things we war against here on earth (Eph. 6:12), not only has heavenly authorization, but divine execution on our behalf. This is what restrains Satan and his demonic forces at present, from plunging the world headlong into darkness. Trust me, if Satan could have done this, he already would have.
Once the Church is physically removed from the earth, the path to salvation goes back to one similar to that of the Old Testament. Salvation by faith through grace, yet, the believers (tribulation saints) are not permanently sealed by the Holy Spirit as we are now. They must maintain their faith, and can lose it should they take the mark of the beast, or apostatize in some other way (Matt. 24:13, 2 Thess. 2:10-12, Rev. 12:17). In fact, the only ones we do see who are specifically mentioned as being sealed by the Holy Spirit, are the 144,000 Jewish male virgins, 12,000 from each tribe (Rev. 7:1-8).
It is for this reason, that the book of Revelation often paints strange and bizarre images of demonic beings waging war on mankind in a visually symbolic way. We often try to relegate these images to things we understand in order to make some sort of sense of it all. However, the reason we cannot understand it, is that for the past two-thousand years, the spiritual domain has not been open to us. Once we are removed, those "bizarre images" so many have relegated to pure symbolic mumbo-jumbo, will be mortified to see them fill their headlines and reality.
In summary, even though we cannot know the identity of this Antichrist this side of the Rapture, the bible is not silent on the nature of this wicked man. My hope and prayer is that this article may serve as a warning to those left behind and perhaps persuade some, to avoid him and his mark of damnation. In the next Volume, we will look at the forerunners of The Antichrist.
All Things Prophecy: Vol. IV - By Pete Garcia - http://rev310.com/2019/03/all-things-prophecy-vol-iv
Why Prophecy Matters
I am going to begin this article with a reasonable presumption, in that; I believe Satan has read the bible. He may not believe its precepts, or accept its outcomes, but I believe he is well versed in it (Luke 4:10-11). He would have to be well versed in it, in order to misquote and attempt to corrupt its message. This leads me into the discussion at hand, primarily, that a proper understanding of Bible Eschatology is vital to both the believer's spiritual and physical well-being. Not only that, but because of its perceived difficulty in understanding it, it is one of the most ignored of all biblical doctrines. This is something our enemy eagerly exploits. As the old maxim goes, it's not what you know that is often a matter of life and death; it is what you don't.
Humans are not just physical beings only made of flesh and blood, we are tripartite creatures (1 Thess. 5:23). The world is also not just, what we can perceive with our five senses, but also what we cannot see, feel, touch, etc. (2 Cor. 4:18). In fact, much of the problems the world has ever faced was ideological in nature. Whether people fight over politics or economics, religion or lack thereof, flawed man's propensity to think, "what is best?" is often what is the chief cause of his demise (Prov. 14:12).
Adding to this is the general rise in ignorance over the past century. In part, this was a deliberate attempt be political leftists who have gained control over much of the education system to "dumb down" the masses. While true ignorance is a risky thing, being in a state of willful ignorance can be downright precarious. Let us explore two categories of what I deem, the willfully ignorant.
Free thinkers (aka...atheists, skeptics) like to think of themselves as unburdened and enlightened having thrown off the "shackles" of organized religion. In reality, they are setting themselves on a path of self-destruction as foretold in Scripture (Rom. 1:16-32). The old adage of if you don't believe in something, you'll believe in anything couldn't be any truer. If you deny that a Higher Power of supreme intelligence created the world, you will likely accept that an accidental, unprovoked giant explosion did.
If you do not believe God created man in His image, you will likely believe we evolved from swamp slime. Furthermore, skeptics accusations of Christian's being brainwashed and backwards, rings hollow when simply looking at the complexity of our bodies, the world, and the systems that hold everything in place. Our existence could not be accidental. Too many things are precisely correct for all of this to be happenstance.
In terms of enlightenment, the credit really goes to those early 14th-century Christian dissidents (ex. Wycliffe, Huss, etc.) who dared to challenge the Roman Catholic Church (RCC). Their role helped in diminishing the power of the Catholic Church. Furthermore, the 15th-century Reformers further weakened and succeeded in breaking up the monopoly the RCC had over Christendom in Western Europe. Their boldness in challenging the iron-fisted grip of the Catholic Church centuries before the Age of Enlightenment is what allowed the spark of change to begin to occur throughout Europe. IOW, the enlightenment could not have happened had not the Reformers (and their predecessors) begun to break away from the Roman Catholic oligarchy of the 14th-16th centuries.
While skeptics, atheists, agnostics, flat-earthers, etc., are all in the same category of denying the painfully obvious, this group is the other side of the same coin. This group attributes religion (take your pick) with enlightenment and/or salvation. Religion of every stripe and flavor has been practiced throughout the earth since the beginning of time. From ancient Judaism, Canaanite, Minoan, Zoroastrian, Ashur religions, to the Buddhists, Hindus, Satanist, Pagan, and Christian religions of modern times. Religion of any kind cannot save you. Religion simply defined, is man's attempt to appease a higher power through rites, rituals, dogma, and services. Religion can make people do and believe very stupid things.
Many of us would consider ourselves religious to varying degrees, but I am not addressing the born-again believers who hold to religious practices and views. I am addressing those who are not born-again, and simply view whatever their religion is as sufficient for salvation.
Skeptics love to point to the atrocities committed by the RCC in years past, as proof that Christianity has failed humanity. They ignorantly lump Christianity into religion as if attending church services were how someone becomes saved. I always counter (as should you), that Roman Catholicism is not Christian. It calls itself that, and perhaps some are born-again who still reside inside that system, but the system itself is not. When you look at the tenets Roman Catholicism holds too, you would see it is just another works-based religion. Christianity is a grace through faith-based relationship with the Creator of the Universe. One can make you a moral person (theoretically), while the latter, can save to the uttermost even the most wretched of sinners.
Not only is ignorance a dangerous thing, but Biblical ignorance is equally hazardous, especially in a topic as expansive as Eschatology, (which makes up nearly 30% of the Bible). So here are some real life examples of people who did not understand their Bible very well. During the 20th-century, more than 100M people were murdered under the atheistic regimes of the Soviet Union, China, Vietnam, Cambodia, and North Korea. They replaced God with government, and created a theological worldview where there was no God, no afterlife, and thus, no divine judgment. Theology matters!
Skeptics often accuse Christians of past atrocities and are quick to point out the Crusades and the Inquisition as evidence. Is this a fair charge? What justification was there for the Crusades (1195-1291) which hundreds of thousands were killed in the name of Jesus Christ?
At the root of the cause for the Crusades, was the flawed eschatological position known as Amillennialism. Augustine of Hippo first created this eschatology back in the 4th-century as a replacement for the original pre-millennial position. Similar to how Communism replaced God with government, Amillennialism replaced the Kingdom of God with the kingdom of the Catholic Church.
Amillennialism (the a being used in the negative) posits that despite what Scriptures say (Rev. 20, Isaiah 2, 66, etc.) that there was no literal, future, Christ-centric Kingdom coming to the earth. The Roman Catholic's position then was that they were the fulfillment of the Kingdom (headed by the papacy), and that it was their "duty" to reclaim the Holy Lands from the infidels (Muslims and Jews), and force people into Christendom. Nowhere in scriptures does it charge the church to do this. Hermeneutics matter!
Faulty/erroneous hermeneutics can cost you your life and/or everything you own, especially if you buy into false doomsday predictions. Just look at those people who diligently followed Jim Jones (the People's Temple), David Koresh (Branch Davidians), Harold Camping (Family Radio), or Marshall Applewhite (Heaven's Gate). Each of these groups had very flawed understandings of the Bible, and in particular, Bible prophecy. Eschatology matters!
Although I do not consider Eschatology in and of itself to be a salvific issue, I am hard pressed to believe that the Holy Spirit can indwell a full-Preterist or an Amillennialist devotee. Primarily, because although Eschatology is not in and of itself salvific, it is deeply interwoven into the other major bible doctrines. Therefore, one's eschatological view is often a weathervane for what a believer, believes regarding other major bible doctrines.
Amillennialism and Preterism are so corrupt and extreme in their denial of Biblical truth that if one could adopt them (or either); they probably have no issue in denying other foundational spiritual truths. With that said, I am not saying it is impossible for one to be a born again Christian and still hold these views; I personally just find it very hard to believe that they could.
Loss of credibility can be devastating to one's ministry or denomination, especially given that most ministries are based on the financial support of their followers. The Bible only teaches one Eschatological position (the Pre-70th Week Rapture, Pre-Millennial view). Any variant outside of this is therefore doomed to failure. See what WWI and WWII did to the Post-Millennial position. See what damage the Amillennial position has done to whole denominations (primarily mainline protestant denominations). See how Amillennialism and Preterism has wreaked havoc upon the Catholic Church worldview. Churches, who promote either the Preterist or the Amillennial view, are without fail, are either DYING on the vine or apostatizing. Let me sum up what that last point by a comparison to atheism.
Atheism offers nothing and takes everything
Likewise, Amillennialism and Preterism offers nothing and takes everything from the believer. As shown above, having an accurate understanding of theology, hermeneutics, and eschatology matters. For instance:
Ecclesiology: If you believe the Church must go through the 70th Week of Daniel, then your understanding of the Church is confused or warped. You likely believe either that there is no coming judgment, or that the church is destined to go through it. The reason for this is that if you do not understand whom and what the Church is, you will most likely come to some conclusion that the Church has either replaced, or has become Israel. This is the Church:
Soteriology: If you believe that the Church must go through any of the judgments outlined in Revelation 4-18, it is almost a foregone conclusion that you also deny the eternal security of the believer. This denial means you believe either that Christ's sacrifice was insufficient to pay for your sins, or insufficient to keep you saved.
Pneumatology: If you believe the Church must go through the 70th Week (aka...The Tribulation), then you would also have to deny the role of the Holy Spirit as the Restrainer (2 Thess. 2:7). In layman's terms, the Bible teaches very clearly that the Holy Spirit is God, and has always existed on earth throughout our history. That is to say, He (the HS) was very busy on the earth prior to His arrival to the Church in Acts 2. The HS performed differing roles, from the "energizer" at creation, to the "enabler" during the Old Testament times. The Holy Spirit would come upon and empower certain individuals for periods of time (ex. Samson, Saul, David), but it was only ever to select individuals, and it was not a permanent indwelling.
In the post-Acts 2 Church age, the Holy Spirit's role is to permanently seal the believer (Eph. 1:11-14, 4:30), guide the believer into all truth (John 16:13), and convict the world of sin (John 16:8). What Paul posits in 2 Thessalonians 2, is that the man of sin (i.e., the Antichrist) cannot be revealed UNTIL the Restrainer is removed (2:8), which is to say, the vessels the Holy Spirit indwells. I fully understand God the Holy Spirit is omniscient and omnipresent, so I am not saying the Holy Spirit is physically removed from the earth. What Paul is saying here, is that in His present role of sealing the Church and convicting the world of sin, this particular role is what is removed. This allows for the floodgates of hell to be opened upon the earth during this final week of years.
The removal of the role of the Holy Spirit (as restrainer) is just as necessary, as it was necessary to reboot (for lack of a better term) the Holy Spirit's role from the Old Testament era, to that of Acts 2 and beyond. (Luke 24:29, John 16:7, Acts 2:1-4)
As Paul stated in 1 Corinthians 13:12, we currently see in the glass darkly, having a partial understanding of all that is yet to come. None of us has it perfectly figured out. However, the Holy Spirit can guide us into all truth, if we allow Him too. This means taking the Bible at face value, (literally), and keeping passages in their proper context (grammatically and historically).
Just remember, that while the whole the Bible is written for us, it is not necessarily all written to us. While having an incorrect Eschatology often has real-world ramifications, it is usually indicative of other errors in your biblical hermeneutics. The grace of God in all this is that the Rapture of the Church is going to happen regardless of our individual eschatological persuasions, and will correct all these issues the church is currently facing, instantaneously.
Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed-in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: "Death is swallowed up in victory." 1 Corinthians 15:51-54
Even so, Maranatha!
All Things Prophecy: Vol. III - By Pete Garcia -
The Politics of the Beast
Thinking about the final week of years (the 70th Week) and all that must occur therein, and I struggle to see how it all takes place within just those seven years. As noted in previous briefs, I believe there will be a gap in time between the Rapture of the Church, and the official start of the 70th Week. Looking at it purely from a logistical and operational standpoint, the man of lawlessness will have an incredible amount of things to do in a very short period of time (even with a gap).
Example: If you have ever been involved in setting up a charity event, or hosting a wedding or some other type of formal occasion, you know how time and task intensive it can be. Even seemingly, insignificant actions can become extremely taxing when one has to rely on other people to make the necessary arrangements. Now, consider how much time and resources it would take, to take over the entire world.
Perhaps it has been glossed over and lost in the context of the bigger picture, but for one man to control the entire world, to me, seems like the mother of all ambitious plans. Many have tried, and none (to date) has succeeded. However, where they have failed, the Antichrist, or rather, The Beast will succeed. Even still, the stage must be set in order for there to be a global coup to occur, and that in and of itself is no small feat. For clarification between the two, the Beast is in my understanding, the final government system that arises. At a certain point, a singular man (the Antichrist) will become the head of the Beast, and becomes the personification of it. Before we start, let us look at the current ideological coup that is ongoing and how that has come to a culminating point in these past ten years.
Marxism was a 19th-century social-construct that mixed class struggle, social conflict, economics, and psychology into a singular philosophy of governance. Its theoretical goal was to create a more equitable society. The reality has resulted in a series of totalitarian governments controlled by a small group of people (an oligarchy), or even by a lone individual (ex. Lenin, Stalin, Mao, and Kim). Its method for achieving totalitarian control, is by the use of propaganda, class relations (divide and conquer), political correctness, cult of personality, and the suppression of free speech. It pits people groups against each other and specializes in creating false narratives (ex. Fake news, Reconstructionist history, political correctness, etc.) to keep the facade going. Considering how one of our two political parties is now openly advocating for socialism as well as academia, the media, and the entertainment industry, I would say this ideological coup has been somewhat successful.
Even still, it has taken over a century for this to come as far as it has.
The Antichrist will have anywhere from 7-10 years (at best) to conquer the world.
So how does this Beast take over the entire world in such short order?
Then I stood on the sand of the sea. And I saw a beast rising up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his horns ten crowns, and on his heads a blasphemous name. Now the beast which I saw was like a leopard, his feet were like the feet of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. The dragon gave him his power, his throne, and great authority. And I saw one of his heads as if it had been mortally wounded, and his deadly wound was healed. And all the world marveled and followed the beast. So they worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, "Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?" Revelation 13:1-4
Therefore, when considering this final week of years and the governmental system we see managing it, we must come to certain conclusion that it will be the most comprehensive, complete, and perfect governance system ever devised by man. I say perfect only in its ability to be an authoritative control over the earth, not perfect as in a force for good. In fact, it will become the most evil and destructive system ever created. Moreover, it will have two advantages no previous empire has ever had, which is the full backing of the god of this age (2 Cor. 4:4), and an advanced artificial intelligence system that will be completely taking over through some form of demonic possession.
The numbers seven and ten play significant roles throughout the Bible. The number seven is viewed in biblical numerology as the number of divine perfection. It is the combination of the number of the divine (three) and of creation (four). The number ten is often seen as the number of completion or perfection, and is used 242 times throughout the bible. The most famous examples are the Table of Nations (of which there were ten), the ten plagues put on Egypt by God, the Ten Commandments, and the ten toes of the multi-metallic stature (representing nations) that King Nebuchadnezzar dreamed and Daniel interpreted. [Of note, there were seven combinations of materials used in Nebuchadnezzar's statue: Gold, silver, bronze, two legs of iron, and iron mixed with miry clay.]
The number seven is used 735 times (the book of Revelation uses it 54 times). The word created is used seven times in Genesis 1 and 2, and God rested on the seventh day. There are seven days in the week, and it is in Jewish tradition that Adam was created in the seventh month. The seventh day is considered the Sabbath. There are seven major divisions of the Bible.
As fascinating as the numbers are, I believe it just goes to exhibit the kind of system it will be, and why it will be different from any empire before it. Clearly, there are more than ten nations now in the world. In order for the more than 190 nations to be consolidated down into ten, means a process of regionalization. I believe regionalization is the interim fix between the goals of nationalists and globalists. The scope and breadth this government must become in order to do all Scripture says it must, requires much stage-setting first. This stage setting may shed some light into the lunacy we see going on in today's political theater, and why these issues are critical to The Beast's overarching aims of global domination. In no particular order:
1. Climate change: Part of the pre-70th Week narrative is this idea that man causes climate change. While mankind may contribute too, and/or exasperate certain climate issues, we certainly cannot control it. Nevertheless, the current political green movement we see today (Al Gore, AOC, Bernie Sanders, et. al) is not as concerned with fixing the world as it is in controlling and taxing it. The final government will need the narrative firmly entrenched into the common citizen's psyche ahead of the Rapture, to provide the justification for implementing it in a time of crisis (think Patriot Act). This will provide the governing authorities then legal authority to begin controlling the entire world's natural resources, to include, the air they breathe (UN Agenda 2020/2030). Secondly, the Beast will need man-caused climate change to be the escape-goat (excuse) necessary to shape the narrative regarding the divine judgments wreaking havoc upon the earth. If you take into consideration all the particular judgments of which deal with natural catastrophes (Seal Judgments 3 & 4, Trumpets 1-4, Vials 2-6, etc.), there will needs be an excuse that excludes the possibility of divine wrath. Paradoxically, we read that by the Sixth Seal Judgment, man begins to attribute the cosmic disturbances as the Wrath of the Lamb (Rev. 6:16-17).
The first angel sounded: And hail and fire followed, mingled with blood, and they were thrown to the earth. And a third of the trees were burned up, and all green grass was burned up. Revelation 8:7
2. Ecumenism: No exclusive religions will be tolerated inside the 70th Week aside from the one being promoted by the False Prophet (the Harlot). Given the plurality of religions in the world today, there will needs be two convergent efforts underway to make this happen. First is the oppression of exclusive religious views, and the promotion of inclusive (one size fits all) ones. We see the oppression of Christianity today throughout the government, media, academia, and elsewhere, however, ALL views (Hindu, Buddhism, Islam, et. al) will one day be forced into this mandatory ecumenism.
The exception to this absolutely intolerant position will be that of Orthodox Judaism, as they will be allowed to rebuild their third temple. It may also be that the Beast will not be able to stop the Jews from doing so with the arrival of the Two Witnesses protecting/distracting the Beast's efforts in Jerusalem for three and a half years. However, all that changes with the death of the Two Witnesses, which seems to be near the mid-point of the Tribulation. At this point, the Antichrist (head of the Beast) betrays the Jews and desecrates the Holy of Holies in this new Temple by declaring himself God and making people worship him (see 2 Thess. 2:3-4).
Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and talked with me, saying to me, "Come, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters, with whom the kings of the earth committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth were made drunk with the wine of her fornication." Revelation 17:1-2
3. Digital Money: In order for the Beast to control the world, it will need to control the money, which means doing away with all national currencies and going to a centralized one. The world will be forced to wean itself off paper money by taking advantage of the right global crisis. As I have noted numerous times in the past, I believe that perfect crisis to be the Rapture of the Church. Whereas there has been global crises in the past (ex. WWII), what was lacking was the technology for a suitable replacement to said physical currency. Think of the days/weeks just after the Rapture, and the likely geopolitical chaos and upheaval that will ensue with millions, perhaps even a billion people all of a sudden disappearing. This would be the opportune time for the governments then (perhaps the U.N.) to implement a Bretton-Woods Agreement 2.0, which instead of replacing the gold standard with the US Dollar will replace the US Dollar with some new form of International Digital currency.
Currently, governments around the world hate physical currency because it is not easily traceable, ergo, more difficult for authorities to control. This is why criminals and others who do not want the government to know what they are doing and where they are doing it, prefer physical money. I believe this is also why the globalist entities today (IMF, UN, World Bank, Federal Reserves, etc.) are allowing nations to bury themselves in national debt, because the greater the debt accrued, the lesser the crisis needed to become the tipping point toward this new digital currency.
He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Revelation 13:16-17
4. Peace & Security: There has been much ado these days about building walls, especially along our southern border. Whilst all this has been garnering the bulk of the news feeds as of late, another type of wall is being built without much fanfare. That wall is the technological iron curtain, which is being laid quietly around the world. Techno-giants such as Google, Amazon, Alibaba, Microsoft, IBM, Apple, and others are all racing to develop technologies, which they believe will aid in the evolution of mankind. Technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Quantum computing, block chain technology, digital currency, unmanned and autonomous weapon systems, global surveillance, Nano-technology, and biometrics to name a few, are supposed to make the world a better place.
The band of Big Brothers (Russia, China, UK, and US) are the top endemic surveillance states on the planet today. They are working in tandem with the aforementioned tech-giants to develop an array of information processing platforms and networks, which are sold to the public as being for our own safety and security. Granted, this is not to say that these governments and companies' purposes are doing all this is for purely nefarious reasons, because there are plenty of problems and issues both face. From corporate espionage and national security, to terrorism and crime, the world has become an increasingly dangerous place. This requires increasingly complex strategies to control it. However, the Antichrist will use this technology to cement his iron-fisted control over the entire planet. There will be nowhere to hide.
It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation. All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. Revelation 13:7-8
5. The Hybrid Domain: The world's current greatest military, the US Department of Defense, has in large part, moved its priorities away from fighting small, regionally confined conflicts (insurgencies, counter-insurgencies, and terrorism), back to that of the nation-state threat on a global scale (think World War I or II). They have factored in the advancements in technology so that we are not just fighting on the domains of land, sea, and air anymore, but also in space and cyber-space. Furthermore, with the world's population topping 7.5 billion, we now realize that any future major conflicts, will likely take place in dense, urban areas such as megacities. This adds in still another factor, the subterranean domain (as most large cities have large underground infrastructures such as subway systems). However, what most governments and organizations fail to contend with is the spiritual domain.
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6:12
Beginning with the Age of Enlightenment, the world's academic and scientific elite have increasingly denied the existence of the spiritual realm. This has resulted in the rise of naturalism (that everything has some logical basis for being) and the explosion of human secularism. This has resulted with the academic promotion of atheism, Darwinian evolution, Big Bang theory, Freudian psychology, and other empty theories that deny the reality of the spiritual domain. This is problematic for humanists, atheists, etc., because science is now proving that there is a lot more to our reality than previously understood. This denial is something the Beast will paradoxically exploit as the world's elite remain in shock at what just transpired.
The development in the understanding of quantum mechanics (late 19th-early 20th-century) is now beginning to bear fruit in the 21st-century. What Einstein once famously labeled "spooky action at a distance" is now being harnessed into the power of quantum computers. The first time I was introduced to the topic of the "quantum realm" was by the late, great Chuck Missler who often compared the truth of quantum physics to the truth of the Rapture by use of a quote.
"The popular Cal Tech physicist Richard Feynman has summed up this paradoxical situation well: I think it is safe to say that no one understands quantum mechanics... In fact, it is often stated that of all the theories proposed in this century, the silliest is quantum theory. Some say that the only thing that quantum theory has going for it, in fact, is that it is unquestionably correct."
Elon Musk, Geordie Rose, and other leaders within the technology industry are now openly commenting on the potential breakthroughs quantum physics has presented.
"Imagine a world where all of the laws of physics as we know them are obeyed but different decisions were made along the way, different decisions at the level of tiny microscopic particles, different decisions all the way up to what you chose to eat for lunch, and whether you chose to come to this session or not. Quantum Mechanics makes a very specific prediction, that all of those are as real as the thing that you remember... But science has reached the point now where we can build machines that exploit those other worlds." - Geordie Rose, Founder of D-Wave
As it turns out, the Rapture will not only remove the believers from the earth, but will also fundamentally change reality, as they (those left behind) know it. Although the rapture event will have to be explained by the authorities as something, I believe they will attribute it to something we are now being exposed to through the media, pop culture, false religions, etc. such as ancient aliens, UFOs, Maitreya, New Age Mysticism, the "Snapture," etc. Which may be why there is a renewed interest in the post-apocalyptic genre these days. Likely, the days and weeks after the Rapture will be overflowing with every conceivable conspiracy theory as to where so many people (and children) vanished too. Simultaneous to this, is the gateway (portals) that science-based organizations (NASA, CERN, DARPA, etc.) are actively attempting to open. Where they were unsuccessful in the past (pre-Rapture) in breaching these other dimensions (the spiritual domain), the barrier will now be removed and they will inadvertently unleash hell upon the earth.
"Out of this door might come something, or we might send something through it," said Sergio Bertolucci, who is Director for Research and Scientific Computing at CERN, briefing reporters at CERN HQ earlier this week.
So how does the Antichrist exploit this?
Science is now introducing the possibility that through technology, they can explore other dimensions (DARPA, CERN, NASA, etc.). I believe the reason they have not crossed that boundary as of yet, is due to the restraining influence of the Holy Spirit (i.e., it takes a Spiritual Being to restrain the spiritual forces). However, once the Holy Spirit-filled believers are taken up at the Rapture of the Church, this divine barrier will be removed and there will be an explosion of supernatural unleashed upon the earth. The paranormal will become the new normal and the Antichrist and False Prophet will use this to deceive the entire world.
The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 2nd Thess. 2:9-10
All Things Prophecy: Vol. II - By Pete Garcia - http://rev310.com/2019/02/all-things-prophecy-vol-ii
The Mark of the Beast
Last week I got to thinking about the true purpose (the why) behind the Antichrist's need for a system like the Mark of the Beast. Aside from the already stated economic and religious reasons given in Scripture (Revelation 13), my opinion, is that there is also a very practical reason for it. By the time, he begins to come to power; the war on truth will have reached a crescendo of sorts. So much fake news and information leaks will be ongoing everywhere, it would seem that in order for him to secure his position of authority, he would require a plan that demands absolute loyalty.
Much in the same way Nazis had to wear the swastika as a symbol of political loyalty to the Reich; this mark will also be a symbol of allegiance to the Beast. Not only that, but will also likely influence the bearer's ability to reason to such an extent, that once you receive it, you will have permanently abdicated your right to free will. That will be the ultimate form of sacrifice this man will require.
Therefore, while we do not know who this Antichrist is, nor do we know what exactly how the number 666 fits into this technology, we know it is coming because the technology is already here. From Deep-brain neurostimulators to electronic tattoos, there are numerous types of wirelessly controlled implantable technology. While most of this technology is being used benignly for medical purposes, this man will conceive of a way to use them as a form of control. He will figure out a way to tie this into the new form of digital currency that will arise once our current fiat system has collapsed.
Interestingly, both regimes (the Nazis and the Beast) will have only truly ruled for seven years. While it is true that Adolph Hitler came to power in 1933, he really did not get around to his true intentions until 1938, when he invaded Czechoslovakia. From 1933 until 1938, Hitler seemed like a great man of peace and enterprise. He was praised all over Europe and even in America by many political leaders and captains of industry for bringing Germany back from the economic brink with his Four Year Plan. However, from 1938 until 1945, Hitler's true colors came out and he was bent on conquering everyone he could, at whatever price. Similarly, the Antichrist will first come out as a man of peace; riding on a white horse, as a man on a mission (Dan. 8:23-25, 9:27; Rev. 6:1-2).
As outlined in my Volume I, after the Rapture, the world will be thrown into chaos. This rider on the white horse will seemingly have all the answers to the issues that will be plaguing mankind at that time. Since Satan is the defacto ruler of this earth and age (Luke 4:5-7, 1st John 5:19), he is the primary instigator of all the problems which have always plagued mankind. As such, Satan will hand over the keys of the earth (metaphorically speaking) to this man and he will do the impossible. The world will marvel after him, and for the briefest of moments, he will seem like the answer to their godless prayers.
So they worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, "Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?"
What gets lost in translation here, is the timing of all this. So as a bit of a recap, allow me to list out how I believe things will transpire.
This season of conquest is why Antichrist will require unwavering loyalty by use of this permanent mark with his name. Much like the current Social Credit System China is currently employing, the Mark of the Beast will be everything, and without it, you cannot do anything. Furthermore, to deny receiving it, will mean a forfeiture of all property and certain execution. The mark itself will most likely genetically alter your DNA, and will corrupt your mind (loss of free will) possibly causing the bearer to enter into some form of demonic possession that never lets go.
I personally believe that demonic forces can possess technology. Just think about all the creepy things Artificial Intelligence (AI) is already saying these days with simple systems like Alexa and Siri. My theory is that the Antichrist will be a man who is embedded with some form of quantum-powered (quantum dot), AI infused, technology that will give him unfettered and immediate access to all the digitized information stored around the world. Perhaps this is why places like the Utah NSA Data Center exists. This data center (one of many) can hold upwards of five zettabytes of data [a zettabyte equals a billion terabytes]. Furthermore, our DNA itself can hold massive amounts of information (around 700 terabytes in a single gram of DNA), which may also be how he accesses it.
Imagine how powerful a man could be, if he could perfectly recall any information ever conceived of in mere milliseconds by accessing this data with assistance of AI. Now imagine that same man who is embedded with a form of quantum-based AI that is also possessed by Satan himself. Satan and his fallen angels were here before Creation, so they certainly understand how everything works down to a molecular level.
He will know where all the hidden treasure is buried. He will know every dark secret conceived of on earth. He will be able to manipulate everyone whose name is not written in the Lamb's book of Life, simply by knowing all their dirty secrets. Francis Bacon once noted that knowledge is power. If that is the case, then this man will be the smartest unredeemed man to have ever lived.
Not only will he have access to all the conventional knowledge in the world, but he will also be able to access the secret (multi-dimensional) knowledge that is hidden from our reality. He will have the dutiful support of the False Prophet, who can summon up supernatural demonic powers. The world at this time, will want to worship this man. He will be for all intents and purposes, the world's first superhero. This is why a supernaturally charged False Prophet, who can do signs and wonders, directs all worship towards him. Antichrist will be (my opinion) the physical embodiment of the Singularity, or at least, that is what people will think of him as being.
Nevertheless, by worshipping this man for temporary respite, he or she will be condemning themselves to an eternity in hell. Whatever temporary enjoyments they have here on earth, will be extremely fleeting because before hell, they will endure the divine judgments increasingly compounding upon the earth. From cataclysmic natural disasters, to the bloodying of the waters, scorching the earth, devastating heat, and tongue-gnawing darkness. Their messiah will not be able to stop the wrath of God from being poured out upon the earth.
Even still, the mark of the beast will so pollute their minds, that they will be incapable of repenting. All they can do is curse and blaspheme God. If the mark of the beast involves some form of neuro-engineering, those who bear it will not be able to reverse it.
Then a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, "If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name." Revelation 14:9-11
The World That Was - By Pete Garcia -
"In early 1914, though, it seemed almost impossible that Britain and France would go to war with Germany to defend Russia against Austria-Hungary over a dispute with Serbia. Yet by June 28, war moved straight from impossible to inevitable - without ever passing through improbable. Four years later, 10 million people had died." (From World War One: First war was impossible, then inevitable; Anatole Kaletsky)
Although I have used this quote in the past, I've found myself drawn to it again due to its precise accuracy describing the seemingly incredible and often unpredictable nature of geopolitics. Prior to World War I, who would have believed it? Yet after it was over, the warning signs of impending trouble were so obvious that most could not believe they had missed it. Even though the assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand could not have been predicted, it simply became the right crisis at the right time the old powers used to set the world afire. World War I itself then became a forcing function by the old world who were stubbornly clinging to the dying vestiges of the world as it was. However, change came nonetheless and no one could stop it.
Juxtaposed to the seemingly unpredictable (and unbelievable) nature of global geopolitics, is the inevitable march towards a future, one-world system. We can see early efforts for this in moves like the League of Nations and later, the United Nations (UN). The UN, along with its cornucopia of bureaucratic offshoots, continue to try to gain global influence and power through treaty and peer pressure. What it lacks at present is a military force capable of enforcing any of these treaties.
Even more so, is the combined financial, informational, and military efforts across the world, solely concentrating on consolidating more and more power into fewer and fewer hands. This is made possible by the snowball-effect of the technological advancements in the 20th century. In fact, so much innovation has transpired over the past century that the technological advancements of the 20th century alone have eclipsed all the progress of the previous six thousand years of human history combined. Our dependence on technology has all but ensured that an ultimate centralized power controlling everything is already a foregone conclusion.
When asked about the last days, Jesus told His disciples that the end of the age would be recognizable because of the many signs those days would present themselves. Although these signs in and of themselves were not unique (as signs are meant to point to something further down the road), what would be unique was the manner of their manifestation. Jesus likened these signs to 'birth pangs' a woman goes through leading up to the birth of a child. In pregnancy, the first and second trimesters have few (if any) contractions (pangs). But as a woman enters into the third (final) trimester, the pangs first come sporadically but soon come in rapid-fire regularity finally reaching a crescendo in both frequency and intensity to the point where the child is coming and she must seek immediate care for delivery. So too would the generation that enters into this final "trimester" of human history be witness to the delivery of 'the child.'
For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. Romans 8:20-23
Just as Rome's founding was many centuries before it became a world power, the same is true for the United States. The US was founded in 1776; but did not become a world power until the end of World War II. For a brief period following WWII, the US remained the world's lone super-power. It was here in this tiny window of time, that she became instrumental in providing the global and political influence the newly formed nation of Israel would need in order to survive as an island of democracy in a sea of tumultuous Islamic theocracies.
But like everything else, the world's corruptive and persistent influence has/is forcing the United States to concede to its demand to divide Israel. This is primarily due to our dependence on oil from said Islamic theocracies. Inevitably, our betrayal equates to a "ratcheting-up" of seemingly insolvable problems due to the Abrahamic Covenant effect, which God both promises and warns that I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you. We view this covenant in a global sense, (since God was speaking to the nation who would come from Abraham) as the prophetic fulfillment we know simply as the convergence. In other words, the more the world turns against Israel, the more problems the world is going to have.
"For behold, in those days and at that time,
When I bring back the captives of Judah and Jerusalem,
I will also gather all nations,
And bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat;
And I will enter into judgment with them there
On account of My people, My heritage Israel,
Whom they have scattered among the nations;
They have also divided up My land.
The convergence then is simply the visible escalation and divine approval of natural calamities and man-caused problems since 1977. The land for peace agenda began this year between Egypt, Israel, and the United States with the Camp David Accords. Since then, there has been an ever-increasing series of tragic and horrific events overwhelming the entire world. For those watching, the rapid uptick has been startling. For the rest of the world, the normalcy bias has set in and the world has been lulled back to its slumber.
Presumably, Satan learned his lesson post-Calvary (1 Cor. 2:6-7) and now understands (Rev. 12:12) that his time is running out. The conflict we then see in the world is one in which the world that is currently controlled by Satan (Luke 4:5-6) is trying to stay the way it is, rather than allow God to press forward with His divine timeline. This then results in wars and rumors of wars, which inevitably allows for rapid innovation. Man's technological, financial, and political progress careens forward then because crisis demands action and solutions. In other words, Satan can't stop God's agenda no matter what he tries.
The law and the prophets were until John. Since that time the kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is pressing into it. Luke 16:16
Therefore, in the macro-sense, the world continues to press forward in all aspects, and the drama involving all its nation-states seems to be ever fluid and unpredictable. The issues of death, eternity, the kingdom of God, heaven, hell, God, the angels, etc., all seem to be distant things no one wants to talk or even think about, yet it will not go away. Inarguably, there have been moments in time where mankind's mortality (in the collective sense) has been so shaken, that it unintentionally makes the world wake up, even if only for the briefest of moments. Such has been the case with 9/11 or the 2011 Japanese Tsunami. Even then, a little time passes and said-event passes into mankind's short-term memory.
The election of Donald J. Trump was in a sense, the last gasp of a free American people. Here is a man who by all accounts (at least according to every expert and think tank on the planet) should not have won the election. His election was as unthinkable and as impossible, as the scenario found in the start of World War I. Yet, win he did, and he did so with as Steve Bannon called it, the island of misfit toys team. Let me explain.
For eight years, both Christians and conservatives had been force-fed the incessant mantra of the big three lies by the Obama administration. It was done with an intensity and zealotry that was shocking to anyone who had an ounce of common sense. For brevity's sake, the big three whoppers were man-made climate change, aggressive historical revision (whitewashing or rewriting historical facts), and that all cultures and religions are equal. It was piped through all the Sunday news shows and by all the academic panels with their "experts." These were they who all created the perfect echo chamber to make sure this message was beaten into our heads day after day. By the time 2016 rolled around, the last vestiges of American common sense found itself electing a man who was so far removed from the mainstream political fray out of sense of rebellion against having to endure another four years of the democrat propaganda machine.
Nevertheless, elections have consequences and the lies that were pumped via airwaves and Wi-Fi for eight years have unfortunately stuck in Western culture. This has us Christians are looking around the world today and finding ourselves increasingly at odds with the mainstream narrative. Even worse, is that there is a growing rift in Christendom between those congregations who are acquiescing to a culture in decline (accepting of gay marriage, transgenderism, abortion on demand, illegal immigration, cultural relativism, etc.), and those who are not bending the knee to popular consensus. Pretty soon, those not bending the knee will be as popular (and numerous) as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego on the plain of Dura (Daniel 3).
But are we Christians guilty of the same type of wishful thinking that those in the old world were guilty of by believing we can keep the world as it was? Are we guilty of actually thinking we can Make America Great Again?
The Bible does not predict any great revival in the last days before the Tribulation (i.e., the 70th Week of Daniel). America is far too diverse today to ever make that an eventuality. I do not mean ethnically diverse, but politically, religiously, and ideologically. Ten people in a room could not agree on where the moon was in relation to the earth. Furthermore, President Trump is finding out the hard way that the swamp does not want to be drained, and will do everything in its power to prevent it. The same could be said for our brothers and sisters across the pond in Great Britain with BREXIT. I do not believe it ever will happen because the EU and British swamps cannot let that happen.
My intent is not to be Mr. Doom and Gloom (Doug Woodward already owns this title!), but to simply make one point. The reason that the born-again Christian is finding himself or herself increasingly at odds with the world is that the world is the swamp, and is in the process of giving itself over to a strong delusion. Instead of draining it, God is going to purge it through judgments and with fire before He makes it great again. However, before He does any of that, He is going to remove His people by way of the Harpazo (i.e., the catching up or the Rapture). Then the world will be forcibly cast headlong into the final week of years. So fellow believer, do not get too sentimental on the world is it was, or frustrated at what it has become, because it is about to change.
For all that is in the world-the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life-is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever. 1 John 2:16-17
All Things Prophecy: Volume I - By Pete Garcia - http://rev310.com/2019/02/all-things-prophecy-volume-i
The Rapture Gap
As of late, I have noticed some within our Pre-Trib community who have begun to shift their thinking regarding the timing of the Seal Judgments and where those align within the 70th Week of Daniel-proper (i.e., the literal seven years). Some have even suggested that the Seal Judgments do not even begin to open until the mid-point of the Tribulation (or 3.5 years into the 70th Week).
I believe that part of their reasoning for departing from the traditional view (i.e., the simple chronological understanding of Revelation), is that their previous assumptions about the Rapture have not yet come to pass. If we think back to all the high-watch, rapture years (1993, 2000, 2011, 2017, and 2018), it seems these teachers relied on a faulty timing-based scenario that aligned the Rapture at either 40 or 70 years. Since we are now in 2019, many have begun to rethink their understanding, which is why they are moving into a hybrid, mid-tribulation Rapture scenario.
I do not subscribe to a mid-trib (for lack of a better term) scenario. Although I will tie up my thoughts in the summary of his volume, I want to give some context as to the why our Rapture is at the beginning of the 70th week, rather than the middle. Furthermore, if we understand that Scripture never ties the Rapture with the start the 70th Week of Daniel, we can see how and why a gap must be necessary.
Why the Gap?
The reasons I do not support a mid-trib Rapture (or even a 3.5-year Tribulation) are many, but many theologians ignore one of the more practical reasons I can think of. There is a military truism I have oft heard repeated throughout my career, which is amateur's talk of strategy, while professionals study logistics. In other words, you can be the best tactically trained force on the planet, and have the best strategic plan ever devised, but if you cannot resource it, it is never going to work. Logistics is truly how the US beat the Japanese and the German's in WWII. It is not that we had better weapons, tanks, ships, or aircraft; it was that we out-produced them while simultaneously decimating their ability to replenish theirs.
A logical assumption (based on second and third order effects) then is that immediately after the Rapture of the Church, the world is cast headlong into a temporary state of chaos. That is somewhat hard for us to wrap our minds around, given we have largely benefited from a stable world over the last 70-plus years. Despite the issues we have had since the last period of global chaos (World War II), life on terra firma has largely held steady and provided a period of relative normalcy.
The nation-states (for the most part) have operated in a functional manner. Wars were largely confined to individual nations (ex. Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan) rather than across the globe. International trade and currencies proliferated amongst the nations. Aside from the occasional weather phenomenon, global travel has greatly expanded and remained unimpeded. IOW, things have remained relatively stable and peaceful. That has all been a result of a stable and somewhat benevolent super-state like the United States. Given the state of the world as it is currently, the United States is still the largest economy, still has the most powerful military, and is still the single greatest roadblock to global governance.
[For the purposes of this article, we will simply use 10% of the American population as a mark on the wall.]
If the Rapture happened tomorrow and ten-percent of the US population simply disappeared in an instant that would equal around 31 million Americans who are no longer contributing to our economy and society. Since the early 1980s, the Greatest Generation has begun being replaced with the Baby Boomers. Each subsequent generation has continued to deteriorate in terms of national identity and unanimity. Our society today is more akin to America 1860, than we are America 1960. If the Rapture happened in 1945, the US may have recovered. But we are far too divided and weakened today to survive a major natural disaster, much less something like the Rapture.
1. The US is highly polarized today, with about half the nation ideologically/politically pitted against the other. Whether it is liberal versus conservative, or capitalist versus socialist, black vs. white, gay vs. straight, or simply Democrat versus Republican, we are a much-divided nation ideologically. The elections of Barack Hussein Obama and Donald Trump have only further heightened that division.
2. The US recently crossed the $22T threshold regarding our national debt. If we included all the future promised expenditures, i.e., the unfunded liabilities (Social Security, Medicare, etc.), we are well over $100T mark in debt. This means that even without a Rapture-event scenario, the United States as we knew it, will not survive into the near future without some kind of radical governmental overhaul.
3. The rest of the industrialized/modernized world is in equally similar (or worse) shape economically speaking. Most of the industrialized world either have huge debt to GDP ratios, have failing economies, or do not have the adequate infrastructure to sustain their economic growth.
Therefore, if the Rapture took place tomorrow, and 31 million Americans were instantaneously removed, the sudden loss of income, wages, rents, taxes, and the loss of the societal contributions would absolutely destabilize an already fragile political and economic system. That destabilization would trigger a domino effect across a world that is equally fragile and unstable.
About the best example we can come to seeing what this looks like, was the 1929 Stock Market crash. That crash triggered a series of economic collapses around the world and crushed nations who were already struggling financially. The Stock Market Crash of 1929 also provided the perfect opportunity for a man like Adolph Hitler to rise to power in Germany. A future scenario similar to that of 1929 would create the prime opportunity for a man like the Antichrist to emerge from the shadows.
"And after the sixty-two weeks
Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself;
And the people of the prince who is to come
Shall destroy the city and the sanctuary.
The end of it shall be with a flood,
And till the end of the war desolations are determined.
Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; Daniel 9:26-27
From somewhere within the boundaries of the old Roman Empire, will come one, who will confirm (or increase) some covenant with the many (many nations), for one week of years (or seven-years). We can be certain that this has not happened historically, so we know that this is still a future event.
How it happens
European leaders such as Winston Churchill, Nicolas Sarkozy, Emmanuel Macron, Donald Tusk, Jean Claude Juncker, and others have long had on their mind a vision to revive the greatness of Europe. As of 2019, they have not yet had the means to do so. Going back to 1947, Europe has undergone a process of piece-meal unification via treatise to make that happen. So far, this has resulted in a fractured and somewhat dysfunctional economic and political alliance. They barely have an Army, and practically no Air Force or Navy. NATO (the current military force for the EU) is truly only functional because it is being led by the United States. Once the US is no longer taking the lead in NATO, it will fall apart and NATO will be drafted into the European Defence Force.
The EU has many serious issues (both foreign and domestic), of which they really cannot get a handle on, let alone, take on the mantel of replacing the US as the world's next superpower if we were to collapse. Since there is presumably far fewer born-again Christian's in the EU than the US, it would be another logical assumption that internally, the EU would take far less of a hit than the US would when the Rapture does occur. That is to say, the EU would be in better shape after the Rapture, than it is before. The same could be said for much of the Middle East, Russia, and Asia.
Presupposing a US collapse (breakdown of all normal societal and governmental functions), what remains in the US is a hodge-podge of secure zones, surrounded by large swaths of lawless areas. At this point, the world has about three choices for who can/will take the mantle of becoming the new top dog: Russia, China, or the European Union. Given that, the world has seen what Russia and China are capable of (Stalin, Iron Curtain, Great Leap Forward, etc.); the world will likely favor a European-led confederacy. Add into this, the demise of the Gog-Magog coalition (Russia, Turkey, Libya, Sudan, and Iran), the choices are now largely the Kings of the East (a China-led coalition), or the European confederacy, comprised of ten regions.
In order for the EU to propose any sort of challenge to the China or Russia, it would need to capitalize on the things it has excelled at, which is technology and economics. The EU still wants their great military forces (as treaties and stability are meaningless without the threat of power). Logistically speaking, it would take time to transfer the wealth, power, and people of those who were left behind in the US to the newly ascending European Union (and/or Union of the Mediterranean). This is also assuming that people would want to leave the New World for the Old World, but if the US were to return to its wild and ungovernable roots, many would flee the Americas to get back to some sense of normalcy.
So how does the Antichrist take power and revive the old Roman Empire (the EU and UfM) to take over the entire earth in the last days?
The same way Hitler did.
He took advantage of chaos and uncertainty.
This is why I believe there is a gap in time between the Rapture and the start of the 70th Week of Daniel (aka...the Tribulation). Note that Adolph Hitler did not rise to power at a time when Germany was prospering and politically stable; he rose to power when things were in utter shambles. Back then in 1929, the US Stock Market crashed, triggering numerous economic crashes around the world. Germany was still suffering under the auspices of the financial penalties from the post-WWI Versailles Treaty. When the stock market crashed, they literally hit rock bottom. Using Hitler, as an example as an antichrist, the one thing we take note of, is that it took time for him to do what he did.
Hitler's political climb to power started in 1929 and continued through his ascension to the Chancellorship in 1933= four years.
Hitler's domestic consolidation of power began in 1933 and continued through 1938, when he annexed Czechoslovakia and the Sudetenland= five years.
Therefore, it took nine years from the 1929 to 1938 before Hitler's true ambitions came to the forefront. If the Rapture of the Church triggers a similar economic shockwave around the world such as the 1929 Stock Market Crash, then conservatively speaking, we could see the Antichrist rise to power in half that time, or about 4.5 years.
The timing would have to be right for a leader to step in and fill the vacuum that an absent US would present. However, this man would still need the logistical means to resource and finance his ambitions. This is where advancements in technology and the Mark of the Beast system comes into view. This man (the Antichrist) would first have to contend with a number of systemic and emerging issues and problem sets that would prevent him from completely taking over IF the Rapture happened tomorrow:
1. The sudden removal of 31M US citizens would destabilize the US Dollar causing it to collapse. When it does, it will drag every other fiat currency down with it. This means not only economic instability ensue, but also political, military, and societal chaos. The only solution to this problem is to convert the world's economies over to a new form of currency. This means that the world would already have to be close to such technology for that to be feasible. In 2019, we are already there.
2. The war on truth (fake news, information leaks, disinformation, etc.) has become every bit as real as any other military conflict. IF the economies of the world collapse, and societal chaos ensues, no one will know whom to trust to a far greater degree than even today. The Antichrist would need to use this new financial system as a forcing-function to create absolute, politically loyalty.
3. THE world is currently divided amongst nationalists and globalists. The happy medium between these two polarized viewpoints is regionalization. Divide nations amongst regions, so that the nation states can still keep some semblance of autonomy (the EU is largely like this today), but are grouped in regions so that they can be more manageable. The Club of Rome (See here) have already created a map detailing this plan.
4. While the political world of today refuses to acknowledge the spiritual domain, the Antichrist will absolutely embrace it. He will do so through infusing technology (some form of quantum-based artificial intelligence) into his body. His super-power as it were, will be the most superior intellect the world has ever seen. He will have perfect ability to recall any bit of information ever conceived of by man and use it for his advantage. Through the help of another person called the False Prophet (who really does have supernatural powers), the Antichrist will begin to consolidate his power amongst the other regional leaders (Dan. 7:7-8, 19-25). Lastly and most importantly, Satan will give him all the kingdoms of the earth (Luke 4:5-7).
According to 2nd Thessalonians 2:7-8, the Antichrist cannot be revealed until AFTER the Rapture of the Church.
For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed...
According to Revelation 4:1-2 and 5:8-10, Christ begins to open the Seals after the church has already been caught up to heaven.
After these things (after the church age) I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven. And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying, "Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this (after the church age)." Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne set in heaven, and One sat on the throne. (Emphasis mine)
The Antichrist cannot begin his conquest, until Christ opens the first Seal.
Now I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals; and I heard one of the four living creatures saying with a voice like thunder, "Come and see." And I looked, and behold, a white horse. He who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer. Revelation 6:1-2
Therefore, the Antichrist will not be in a position to confirm any covenant with anyone, until he is politically/militarily/economically in a position to do so and...
Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; Daniel 9:26-27
One cannot negotiate from a position of weakness. Antichrist must be in a position of power to set the terms, enforce the regulations or laws of the treaty, in order for anyone to abide by it.
So many things have to happen between the Rapture and the start of the Tribulation (Gog and Magog War, rebuilding of the Third Jewish Temple, power transfer to the EU) that it becomes logistically impossible to do it all within the seven-year period of the 70th Week proper. With that said, if you understand the gap required, you need not manipulate your Pre-Tribulation Rapture position to fit current events.
Next Week, Volume II: The Mark of the Beast