April 14, 2010
I greet you once again in the Name of Jesus!
In our last edition of THE WEEKLY WORD we were looking at the second of three prophetic dreams or visions that the prophet Daniel had revealing the future kingdom of the beast. We proposed the question, with all of the nations involved where will the beast set up his headquarters? We will explore the answer to that this time.
Daniel was the first biblical prophet to see three empires compared to the beast resembling a lion, a bear, and a leopard. More than six hundred years later, John saw the final beast’s empire, which was the same non-descriptive beast Daniel saw, which had ten horns on its head. In the book of Revelation John gave a very graphic description and revealed that the beast’s kingdom is a combination of the beasts empires revealed by Daniel! He wrote,
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. [Rev. 13:2 NKJV]
The lion of Daniel was ancient Babylon (Dan. 7:4). Today, this area consists of Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon. The bear of Persia (Vs. 5) today includes the nations of Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. The ancient Greek empire, symbolized by the leopard (Vs. 6), would today include all of the above, including Macedonia and Turkey. Here is where it gets interesting. With the exception of Greece, all the nations listed above have one common thread – they are all Islamic nations, controlled by Islamic governments. It is clear that this End Time beast’s kingdom is a united coalition of Islamic nations or the long-awaited Islamic crescent that will stretch from Pakistan in the east all the way to Egypt in the northern horn of Africa. The nations would include but not be limited to:
The body of the beast was a leopard, the imagery identifying the kingdom of Greece. After the death of Alexander the Great, his (Grecian) empire was divided among his four main generals (Dan. 11:4). Each of Alexander’s generals received a portion of the massive landmass that had been conquered and controlled by the Greek Empire. The four generals and the areas they ruled from are: Ptolemy (Eastern and northern Africa) which is Egypt, Libya, and North Africa today; Selecus (Assyria and Babylon) Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq today; Lysimachus (Turkey) Turkey and southern Russia today; and Cassander (Greece and Macedonia) Greece, Bulgaria, and Romania today.
After seeing this four-part division of the Greek Empire, Daniel gives a clue as to the area from which from which the coming Antichrist would arise:
And out of one of them came forth a little horn, which waxed exceeding great, toward the south, and toward the east, and toward the pleasant land. [Dan. 8:9 KJV] He will arise from one of the four divisions of the former Greek Empire. We are informed that the Antichrist will invade northern Africa, seizing Egypt, Libya, and Ethiopia (Dan. 11:43). We read that, during a series of wars: News from the east and the north shall trouble him (Vs. 44). During this time in prophetic history, the northern king will be Turkey, one of the strongest Islamic nations in the Middle East.
If Turkey comes against the Antichrist, then he obviously is not headquartered in Turkey. If he invades from the outside and takes over northern Africa, then neither is his headquarters centered there. This leaves the region of Greece or Syria-Babylon. I submit to you that the best choice among the four locations from a biblical and historical viewpoint is the Syria-Babylon territory. For centuries, scholars have observed numerous prophecies indicating the rise of a leader from the Assyrian territory. Biblical prophecy also links him to Babylon.
John’s last prophetic beast was a seven-headed creature with ten horns. These seven heads allude to the seven empires of past and future Bible prophecy. (Remember, five empires had already fallen in John’s day, and one was – but John was also seeing a future king – the seventh head). John gives a very intriguing prophecy in connection with this that has been, I submit to you, completely misinterpreted by most prophecy teachers. In this prophecy, one of these seven major prophetic empires, one of the “heads”, was wounded to the point of death, but he would revive. John wrote,
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. [Rev. 13:3 NKJV]
I have heard ministers down through the years explain this prediction to mean that the Antichrist will be shot in the head and be raised from the dead to the amazement of the masses. I taught this for years myself. However, the big challenge with this interpretation is the text itself, which reads “one of his heads” not “his head”. Any man has just one head, but a kingdom has many heads, or leaders, within that kingdom. So, what exactly is this prophecy saying?
There are three possible meanings as to the interpretation of one of the seven heads being wounded. The word wound here means “to maim or slay violently, like an animal.” It implies a sudden blow that defeats one of the heads of the beast. Some use this passage to teach that the Antichrist will receive a physical wound to his head and die, but he will supernaturally be resurrected from the dead as a demonic resurrection to imitate the resurrection of Christ.
Another school of thought believes that the Antichrist will take a major military defeat at the midway point in the tribulation, and then suddenly, near the point of total defeat, he will be reenergized and will seize opposing nations, annexing them into his kingdom. One reason this interpretation is suggested is in Revelation 13:4, where the world “wonders after the beast” and says, “Who can make war against the beast?” The Antichrist will amaze the world with his ability to fight and conquer nations.
I want to examine the third and most plausible meaning next time.
The Weekly Word is found in Revelation 13:4. Here the Bible says,
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?” [Rev. 13:4 NKJV]
Until next time, this is THE WEEKLY WORD.
Pastor Kevin E. Johnson