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Satan, Antichrist, the False Prophet and the Mark of the Beast

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Question #1:

How long do you think Lucifer faithfully served God before he rebelled? Also, how long do you think God is going to allow Satan to be on Earth when he (Satan) is released from his 1000 year prison sentence?

Response #1:

Scripture doesn't say, but it could very well have been eons upon eons before the rebellion, and many further eons before the judgment which blacked out the universe and subsumed it in the tehom, the "universal deep" (making the seven Genesis days of reconstruction necessary for human habitation of the cosmos). Angels are significantly different from us in their constitution. Because they lack physical bodies in the sense that we have, time, while not meaningless to them, is apparently different in regard to how they experience it. My best guess would be that there was a very lengthy period between original creation and the seven days within the Genesis gap – long enough to explain all of the fossil record.

Question #2:

In the paragraph right before the conclusion of SR 1 you write:

Satan's false gospel to the angels who fell in with him was one of "deliverance" from their non-sensual state. He found them curious about the experience of material existence, and inflamed this curiosity into outright lust and rebellion, so that they became obsessed with the possession of material bodies, and addicted to the experience (in the same way that many of our fellow human beings are destroyed by drugs). Therefore, the widespread and dishonest trade of Ezekiel 28:16 & 18 is better translated "canvassing" or "campaigning". Satan found his issue and seduced a large part of angelic kind with it. In this his activity is quite similar to that of Absalom in his conspiracy to overthrow his father David, the rightful king. We are told that Absalom used to get up early in the morning and go out to greet all who came to Jerusalem for adjudication, praising whatever case they might have (regardless of the justice of it) and swearing justice for all, if only he were to be made "judge" (2Sam.15:2-6). By flattery and such false promises, Absalom "stole the hearts of the people away" in very much the same fashion that Satan must have done. The temptation to follow such an attractive leader who was promising them so much (and the assurance of the safety and success of their cause) proved more than many of the angels could resist.(33)Satan always strikes the weakest point in our defenses, and there is always a weak point. Adam and Eve had bodies, but no such vast knowledge as the angels possess, so Satan appealed to their desire for such; the angels had vast knowledge, but no material bodies, and that is where the devil chose to strike. Undoubtedly, the angels had no more real need for material bodies any more than our first parents did for "knowledge of good and evil". Rather than to trust God for what is truly needed, however, it is an all too common creature reaction to decide for ourselves that what we do not presently have is absolutely essential, and to assume that somehow we are being "deprived by God" (though He is really only looking out for our best interests in keeping us from things which are essentially harmful to us).

The angels violate God's explicit command not to possess flesh and bones. Is it just their curiosity that creates in them the desire only (and actively going against God) or is it something else? What would be the negative impact within their own nature in possessing a material creature?

Response #2:

As to "angelic curiosity" as a reason to rebel, I have done the best I can with the evidence that exists to attempt to reconstruct the likely motives for the fallen angels to follow Satan in his revolt. His motive is given to us in scripture: pride (Is.14:13-14; Ezek.28:17; 1Tim.3:6). I have no doubt that this was a motivation for many of the fallen angels as well. One of the things we find in comparing Satan's hierarchy (link) with that of the elect angels is a hyper-inflation of ranks in the former: for all who felt they were not ranked highly enough by the Lord, the devil's promise of redress and immediate promotion (everyone, it seems, got some sort of promotion) was another likely temptation to rebel. But, yes, I'm sure curiosity played a part. Human beings always seem to want what they don't have, and more particularly what they can't have, shouldn't have or are not allowed to have. Once arrogance begins to corrupt the heart, measure taken to redress that "grievance" usually follow hand in glove.

Question #3:

d) Dignity of the Father: The fact that the angelic rebellion led by Satan precedes the creation of man (Job 38:7; Is.14:12-15; Ezek.28:12-19) explains much about the Father's modus operandi of working through the One who will ultimately replace Satan as ruler of this world, His Son Jesus Christ (Lk.10:18; Jn.12:31; 16:11; 1Cor.15:24-25; Col.2:15; Rev.11:15).(14) As the Trinity's figure of authority and majesty, the Father chooses a representative to wage the struggle against Satan, even He who by His sacrifice will redeem sinful mankind and replace our adversary, the Morning Star replacing Lucifer (compare Is.14:12 with Rev.22:16). So it should not be surprising that throughout the Old Testament too, the Son is the One representing the Father, speaking His words whenever He appears (in Christophany), for He is the anointed One, the Messiah, the One sent into the world by the Father (Matt.10:40; 21:37; Lk.9:48; 10:16; Jn.12:44; 13:20). This principle of the Son representing the Father as His agent in the plan of salvation can also be seen from Christ's . . .

I know I asked you about this a while ago (it was back in 2011 - time passes quickly and it is short now), but having re-read this paragraph from BB 1 Theology, I'm still not entirely sure what specifically you refer to by Father's modus operandi here. The angelic rebellion led by Satan preceding the creation of man is the key element revealing Father's plan and way of working through it, but I'm not sure how to link it with your argument.

Response #3:

If we think about the plan of God as a perfect whole (as opposed to a sequence of events wherein – if the agent were human – we would understand thing developing as reactions to events as they unfold), then we will see more clearly that Christ with His sacrifice is the foundation of all things to a degree we cannot yet fathom. So the creation of mankind is not a reaction or a solution (only); mankind and Christ partaking in true humanity was always at the heart of the plan, the goal and purpose of the incarnation being to provide the outcome of salvation and life eternal to willing human beings to form a perfect and complete family of God (consisting of human beings and angels both). The precedence of the creation of angels, the fact that the Lord Jesus is the Angel of the Lord, His effective conquest of the evil one through His death for sin on the cross, and His physical conquest of the devil and his followers at Armageddon all demonstrate that Christ is the lynchpin to everything – the One through whom the Father, whose plan it is, is carrying out everything. Understanding this, the somewhat confusing (for some) idea of God the Father choosing to represent Himself only through the Son in all of His dealings with humankind on earth is (or should be) more understandable.

Question #4:

Your wrote:

Since the fall, three facts have stood at the very foundation of human experience:

1) Universal mortality: the reality of death for all (Gen.3:19b).

2) Universal depravity: the reality of sin in all (Gen.2:17 [spiritual death - see part 3B]).

3) Universal temptation: the reality of the devil against all (Gen.3:15).

Because of Adam's sin, we shall all die physically. Because of Adam's sin, we are all born with the physical presence in our bodies of inherent sin, that is, the "sin nature" (which in every case - except that of the virgin-born Christ - works its way out in the practice of sin). Because of Satan's usurpation of Adam's rule over the earth, we are all subject to the attacks of the evil one.

These three essential realities of human life, made clear even as Adam and Eve were being expelled from Eden (Gen.3:14-19), are the basis for three all-important corollary principles that establish the ground rules for restoring and building our relationship with God.

1) We need God (we cannot turn death into life).

2) We are not God (we cannot expiate our own sin).

3) God does not need us (we cannot substitute anything for His Word so as to help Him).

Why did you decide to reference the point about universal depravity with Genesis 2:17?

Response #4:

Because this is the place where God first warns about it.

Question #5:

I can see how the corollary principle 1 - "We need God" - corresponds to the point of universal mortality, similarly with our inability to expiate our own sin with the fact of universal depravity. I am, however, unclear about the last point - what is the relationship between "Universal temptation: the reality of the devil against all (Gen.3:15)" and "God does not need us (we cannot substitute anything for His Word so as to help Him)"?

Response #5:

Because temptation and the proclivity to sin – both in the first instance and in all subsequent instances – are only possible because of a failure to understand who God is and where we stand in reference to Him. One has to imagine that He is not just, or not all-powerful, or in need of some help, etc., to foolishly imagine that there is any profit in going down the road of sin and rebellion. The devil had to imagine that he actually could defeat God in order to rebel.

Question #6:

Do you think it could help to emphasise the point of temptation and proclivity to sin expose our far less than complete understanding of the relationship between us and God and our nature and His? "God does not need us" doesn't seem to point this way as directly.

Response #6:

These three rejections of the universal truths of life (death, sin and judgment) are progressive; hardening of heart begins with a willful rejection of mortality (so that life is lived as if it will never end); it then moves on to an arrogant reassessment of reality (as if we have the power to decide what is right and what is wrong); and it terminates in the insanity of challenging God (as if we were standing in judgment of Him instead of the other way around). So this last point does not hinge on knowledge (the Platonic idea that knowing what is good results in doing what is good is absolutely incorrect); the problem is not a lack of understanding per se because God has made the truth available to all who really want it. The problem is choice, namely, the decision to ignore God (step one), to resist God (step two), and to oppose God (step three). The devil didn't lack understanding; he lacked humility. And once arrogance replaces humility, understanding is submerged in the insanity of the hardness of heart which replaces it.

Question #7:

You wrote: Satan's false gospel to the angels who fell with him was one of "deliverance" from their non-sensual state. He found them curious about the experience of material existence, and inflamed this curiosity into outright lust and rebellion, so that they became obsessed with the possession of material bodies, and addicted to the experience (in the same way that many of our fellow human beings are destroyed by drugs). Therefore, the widespread and dishonest trade of Ezekiel 28:16 & 18 is better translated "canvassing" or "campaigning". Satan found his issue and seduced a large part of angelic kind with it.

I looked at the Hebrew word רְכֻלָּה and wanted to ask if "campaigning" is a meaning that this word takes elsewhere in the scripture?

Response #7:

I mean of course a political as opposed to a military campaign. This is a descriptive and interpretive translation, and I believe an accurate one. The root has to do with peddling one's wares, the marketing and merchandising of the ancient, pre-technological world; the root also means "to slander" – the idea being that people out in the street trying to sell things engage in all manner of gossip as a marketing technique. These sorts of activity very naturally blend into the political realm, and we see even today that politics and marketing with exaggerating and slandering (the competition) always seem to go hand in hand. Interestingly, the Latin word for campaigning, in the sense of running for political office, is ambitio, whence the English word "ambition": it means, literally, "a going around here and there" (viz. to engage in the aforementioned activities). This is no doubt precisely what the devil did for a good long time (eons?) until he had suborned enough support to launch his rebellion.

Question #8:

Hi Professor Luginbill

I have a couple questions that I would like your perspective on. I am sure all Christians have wondered about these things at one time or another

Q1: Why do you think God created the angels and mankind with free will when He knew they would make wrong choices?

Q2: Why do you think God permits Satan to continue usurping control over the kingdoms of this world (with all of its pain, suffering, injustices, and death) after Christ defeated him on the cross? Why do you suppose God didn’t stop it then before it got this far? (See Revelation 11:15; 12:7-10; 19:6, 11-16; 1 Corinthians 15:24-25).

I think these are tough questions to answer for any Christian, so I am looking for a biblical response I can use in the future.

Thank you for your continued Christ-centered ministry and for your help in better understanding the fullness of knowledge I have in Christ on these matters.

Sincerely

Response #8:

Good to make your acquaintance.

Let me start by saying that the Satanic Rebellion series is designed to answer such questions (among other things; see the link), and I will give some other links below as well. In a nutshell, to give you something to chew on here, in the first place there is no free will, true free will, without the ability to choose against God. God in His ineffable love decided to initiate creation in spite of the fact that many angels and most human beings would use the free will He gave them to reject Him. The fact that He did what He did anyway demonstrates the incredible magnitude of His love and goodness – for only so do we who love Him even exist.

What is often not taken into consideration in such discussions is that the cross is the foundation of all creation and of the plan of God. What that means is that precisely because of angelic rebellion and human failure, the initiation of creation meant the necessity of Christ dying in the darkness for the sins of the entire world. The cross is not an after-thought in the plan of God . . . the cross is the plan of God. The fact that God even so, in spite of the terrible suffering it cost our Lord and the terrible thing of having to sacrifice His own dear Son, decided to bless us with life and existence is love beyond expression or human comprehension. These things also prove that it had to be exactly as it is in every single detail no matter how minute. Consider: if there were any way for Christ to die for one less sin, the Father would have planned things that way; if there were any way for one more person to be saved, the Father would have planned things that way. He is perfect and the plan is perfect. What that means is that there is not some hypothetical list of other possible creations; this is the only possible creation, the one perfect one, which in its perfection required the death of Christ so that there might be a genuine choice and opportunity to do so for those who choose to return His inestimable love by putting their faith in Him.

The second question's answer is merely a variation on this theme. First, the plan is perfect in every single detail, so it had to go this exact way. In the process of allowing these two thousand years of the Church Age to proceed, every human being who would be saved will be saved, and also will be able to demonstrate the depth of their faith and commitment by suffering through a life in the devil's world: we are here after salvation to grow, progress and serve, and we win eternal rewards by the quality of our response to the truth of our dear Savior (see the link). In the course of history, therefore, the devil is completely refuted, all who are meant to come into the world as part of the perfect set of human beings in the perfect plan of God do so and make the decisions they wanted to make, and all believers are saved and all are given the opportunity to demonstrate how much (or how little) they appreciate what Jesus did for them.

And at the end of the day, what we will have? The perfect Bride of Christ, arrayed in perfect rank and order based upon actions in this life, complemented by the Friends of the Bride and the Elect Angels forming the perfect family of God in the perfect New Jerusalem forever. At that time, all of our questions will be answered perfectly and we will see that God has worked this all out perfectly. And we can already see and know and learn and believe and appreciate much about all this now . . . as we should do. I encourage you to persevere in your determination to grow in the truth. I know that you will find over time that as you begin to put more and more pieces into place, the whole picture will become more and more clear – and you will get to the point of being able to help others do the same to the glory of Jesus Christ and your great eternal reward. Here are those links:

The Plan of God (in BB 4B)

The Limits of Satan's World rule (in BB 2A)

The devil's usurping of authority

Satan's Fall from Grace

Angelic Issues IV:  Satan's Revolt in the Plan of God.

Satan and the Existence of Evil.

The Cross, Sin, and the Devil in God's Plan.

Didn't the devil know he couldn't defeat God?

Feel free to write me back any time.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #9:

Hi Professor Luginbill

First off, thank you for your quick response and all the links you provided

Just so I understand what your saying . . . is that God, who is the author of Love, its true expression, initiated creation knowing how we would respond, giving us free will as the only way for people to genuinely choose the life of Christ through faith or not to choose, displaying the greatness of his character mainly love and goodness for others.

This perfect plan, which He knew before He created the world and humans, had to be this way with all of its pain and suffering, both for Christ on the cross redeeming us and for people born in bondage to sin, as the only vehicle for our salvation.

He allows a defeated Satan to continue in his evil schemes, so we can display the glory of God in our walk, expressing in return our gratitude by continuing to grow, share, serve and praise Him and in turn refuting the devil by living the way God intended us.

This is the glory of Christ, that He would die for us sinners so we might share in His glory for eternity.

I guess its really all about love, how its shown to us and how we respond in turn.

I will research what you sent me

Thanks again

Response #9:

Well put, my friend!

You're most welcome.

Feel free to write any time.

In Jesus Christ the Savior of the world since before He made it.

Bob L.

Question #10:

Hello Dr. Luginbill,

I've often heard people say such things that I don't find biblical regarding demons and Satan. They say that Satan is in hell ruling over it. I know that there are some fallen angels chained in Tartarus, but are there demons in hell right now? I thought about this because of the bible passage where it says that Jesus proclaimed victory over evil spirits when he descended into Hades.

God Bless,

Response #10:

You make a great point, namely, that contemporary, cultural, commonplace "understanding" of basic biblical truths is often far from the mark. Whether these misapprehensions are the result of specific fictional works (Dante's Inferno, e.g.) or merely derive from standard cultural representations, they are always misleading. Whenever people – even Christians – who have not been in the habit of reading the Bible begin to do so, they are always in for a number of shocks on the actually substance of the Word versus how it and its teachings are often portrayed in various media.

You are correct that the devil has never even been to "hell" however defined (let alone "ruling" over it). "Hell" is the underworld (see the link for a chart), composed of a number of compartments, including the now empty paradise where departed Old Testament believers resided before the ascension of our Lord Jesus to the third heaven. That is where His spirit went in the interval between the cross and the resurrection (where the victory was proclaimed so that the entire underworld could hear it; see the link). At present, "torments" is occupied by all departed unbelievers, while "the Abyss" is occupied by a number of fallen angels who were "disobedient" in the time before the flood (their activities beings described in Genesis chapter six and elsewhere), and are incarcerated there for the time being (no demon desires to go there: Lk.8:31 – and "demon" is merely an alternative word for fallen angel). All of these places are "hell", an English word used to represent a number of Hebrew and Greek words which likewise speak of the underworld as a collective place (without necessarily specifying which compartment is being discussed).

Keep fighting the good fight of faith, my friend! I keep you in my prayers day by day.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #11:

Hey Bob, how are you doing?

I was thinking of the major ways the devil has been operating throughout history, and how God has kept the light going through it. I'm a big fan of history, and this is my take on the overarching divine perspective, from beginning to end:

1. Lucifer's rebellion - God casts him and 1/3rd of the angels out of heaven. Lucifer becomes known as Satan and the angels that joined his rebellion become known as fallen angels/demons. I don't know if there was some sort of conflict or war in heaven, it would be beyond human comprehension or understanding.

2. Satan's deception in the Garden of Eden - God promises a saviour. Mankind is fallen due to sin.

3. Fallen angels breeding with human women in an attempt to wipe out pure humanity - God sends a global flood. The devil trying to prevent the messiah/saviour from coming, as well as outright perverting God's creation and making a mockery out of it through genetic engineering. The Nephilim and fallen angels would eventually become the 'gods' of the pagan civilizations (Egypt, Babylon, Rome, Greece, celts, etc).

4. Nimrod builds the Tower of Babel - God confuses the language and scatters the people. You can see a prototype for the New World Order here. Globalization, internationalism, multiculturalism, the destruction of sovereignty, etc. This is what's happening today. Satan is attempting a second Tower of Babel, with the Antichrist at its head.

5. Pagan cultures and nations attacking Israel - God's miraculous deliverances. Satan's attempts at destroying God's chosen nation is futile. The Israelites are only enslaved when God allows it (as punishment for disobedience).

6. Satan personally tempting Jesus Christ - God puts the devil in his place. If Satan was judged the moment he fell, the victory at the cross was the nail in the coffin for him. Time is running out and the devil is getting anxious.

7. Roman persecution of Christians (Satan's open attack on God's children) - Christianity continues to spread through the Holy Spirit. You can imagine the devil's anger in this outright open attack. Salvation was now available to all mankind, Jew or Gentile. The era of Smyrna.

8. Satanic infiltration, corruption and perversion of the truth - Protestant Reformation brings back a revival of Biblical Christianity. He couldn't destroy Christianity so he went for a more subtle approach, by using false doctrines, false gospels and counterfeit religions. Roman Catholicism and Islam, the big two. Catholics persecute Christians in Europe while Muslims persecute Christians in the ME and North Africa. The era of Pergamum all the way to Sardis, with Philadelphia being the Reformation and consequent return to true Christianity.

9. Atheism, humanism, secularism, materialism and evolution culminating in the Antichrist - Jesus Christ's 2nd Advent and the Battle of Armageddon. Satan drops theology and starts to deceive mankind to reject God altogether during the 'age of enlightenment'. The worship of pseudo-science and belief that man is in charge of its own destiny. Goes back to Satan's oldest lie: "and ye shall be as gods". This postmodern ideology gave birth to Communism and National Socialism. It brought a depressing atmosphere to Europe, as well as two of the most destructive wars in human history. People began to think they were just animals, that life and the universe is an accident, that the Bible and God are just superstition from ancient cavemen, etc. The UFO phenomenon and 'New Age' movement will play a big role in the upcoming final deceptions. This is our current era of Laodicea.

10. Satan deceiving the nations again after being locked up for a 1000 years - God says enough is enough and throws Satan into the Lake of Fire. It shows how stubborn and delusional the adversary is. He had enough time to think about what he had done and maybe change his ways, but he goes straight back to leading mankind astray. The reason for Satan being set free is twofold: it shows God's mercy and chance for Satan to repent, and it shows humans and angels that Satan truly is evil.

What do you think of this summarized list? Please correct me if I've forgotten anything! It's also interesting to see how Euro-centric history seems to be, with of course some emphasis on the Near East (Jerusalem as the focal point of God's plan). Scripture does not say a lot about South-America, Asia or central/south Africa.

Response #11:

Good to hear from you again, my friend. I think this is a fine list. Lists can always be tweaked, but I can't think of anything big missing here inasmuch as points eight and nine are very broad and flexible. Pretty much any area of life that is not directly related to the truth can and has been subject to satanic attack and infiltration. There are basically two ways of looking at things: God's way (divine viewpoint) and man's way (human viewpoint – which is always being manipulated and influenced by the devil). I think anyone reading your list would get a good idea of just how pervasive satanic influence has been historically and continues to be in our contemporary world in all of its aspects (regardless of the geography). This would be a good basis for a series of Bible studies too.

Hope you and yours are doing well!

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #12:

Hi, thanks again. I tried to print out the part 5 of the Satanic Rebellion series a couple of times. I need just the first 34 of the 180 pages ending with Days 1&2: The Gentiles. (I think that my printer finally gave up the ghost!) How may I get pages 1-34?

Also, was Satan's original position the choir master in Heaven, or the original keeper of the earth's first Eden?

Thanks for Helping,

Response #12:

Attached please find an Adobe PDF for pp.1-34 of SR5. I'm not sure how you are trying to print things out, but a little advice (and apologies if you know this already): 1) print from PDF files (or RTF or WPD); never try to print from HTML in your browser; 2) when selecting print your printer dialogue box should have an "options" button: make sure you always select "fast/economical" and "black print cartridge only" – saves time, money, toner.

As to your other questions, we know that Satan had special musical ability (he has "pipes" like no other according to Ezek.28:13); and we know that before he rebelled he was the "guardian cherub" in the original Eden (Ezek.28:14-16), the one who walked among the (memorial) "stones of fire" (Ezek.28:14-16). That was the Eden before the gap between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2, however, not the "garden of Eden" of Adam and Eve (see the link: "The Seven Edens").

Let me know if the file works for you.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #13:

Thank you so much for your ministry, your teachings on the book of Revelation and The satanic Rebellion are profound. I thank God for the understanding that I have received through the ministry that He has given you. This is the third time I have studied the Tribulation series and nearly all of the questions that I have are answered as I study through the information provided.

I do have a question however that I know can only be answered directly by the author because it is a response to the learned and accepted material of which I am so thankful. The explanation that you give to the scriptures in Revelation are so insightful that I am now beginning to actually see a lot of its fulfillment in our present day. At one time I thought Revelation was just a book that only a select few Super theologians could understand. The book is starting now to make sense and has even become some what practical. My question is, if an average person such as myself can grow in the knowledge of this book and see it's reality how can not a super angel such as Satan see it? An angel with superior intelligence, knowledge and wisdom. It is as if he himself could take your exegeses of Revelation or let alone the book itself and take preventive measures that could some how alter its fulfillment in some ways. The scriptures as you know says "in vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird." If this is a question that is not too ignorant or elementary I truly would appreciate your insight. Again thank you so much for the countless hours and sacrifices that you have made in making these resources so readily available.

Semper Fi, God bless

Response #13:

Good to hear from you again. Thanks for all your encouraging words. I especially appreciate your perspective on Revelation, to wit, that it seems to be capable of being understood by anyone once certain basic things are explained. I am very encouraged by that, and it is my fondest hope that others will come to this point as well. After all, these things were written for us for a reason, and the specific practical utility of them (it's always been valuable to be trained by scripture to deal with tribulation even with a small "t") is soon come into play.

Your question on the devil is one I have received quite a bit over the years. From our perspective as believers, it naturally seems odd that anyone who "knows" ought to respond to that knowledge in a reasonable way. But consider: according to the biblical perspective on things, every human being comes to the point of understanding that God exists, that He is holy and just (so there is judgment waiting in the wings), that He is good and loving (so there is mercy for all who wish to avoid judgment), and, since we are all mortal, we will all be standing before Him soon enough. And yet in the history of the world the number of those of us who have made the proper response and fled to the safety of His arms outstretched in Jesus Christ has been in the decided minority.

(18) God's wrath is about to be revealed from heaven upon all ungodliness and unrighteousness – on men who suppress the truth [in their hearts about God] in their unrighteousness. (19) For that which can be known about God [from everyday experience] is obvious to them, because God has made it obvious. (20) His nature, though invisible, is nevertheless plainly apparent, and has been since His foundation of the world, for it may be clearly inferred from this creation of His – [this is true of] both His eternal power and His divinity – so that they are without any excuse: (21) they knew about God, but they neither honored Him as God nor thanked Him. Instead, they gave themselves over to [the] vanity [of this world] in their speculations, and their senseless hearts were filled with darkness.
Romans 1:18-21

They "knew" and yet they "did" the exact opposite of what knowledge suggested was the prudent and good thing to do. Instead, they "suppressed the truth" even though they "knew about God", so that they are "without excuse" in fact, and this will be demonstrated at the last judgment. How could they, unbelievers of all time, do this? They purposefully and willfully hardened their own hearts against the truth with the result that they believed lies instead, and their hearts became "filled with darkness" (see the link: "Hardening of the Heart" in BB 4B). This is the fate of all creatures with the image of God who choose to reject God's truth and replace it with their own. Plato would tell us that knowing is doing; but anyone who has actually lived in the world knows that such is not the case. We choose what to do; and when what we choose is contrary to the truth, we remake the truth into our own truth, thus believing and living the lie. Satan is no different. In fact, Satan is the father of lies (Jn.8:44), the model and archetype of all who go down that same road of turning truth upside down and rejecting God's will – which is always for the best because of what is actually true – and exalting instead their own will to the point of overturning whatever truth they may have understood and believing instead the lies that they have chosen to replace them. These mechanics are true, but it can seem to those of us who love the truth and prize it that such a state of affairs is impossible – because it would be impossible for us. It's impossible for us because we have chosen to respond to the truth. However, we need look no further than the vast majority of our fellow human beings to see that for most people the opposite is the case.

Angels, being different from human beings in their essential make-up in several crucial respects, apparently go "all in" once they decide, and do so to a degree not capable of being appreciated by human beings who are in this world for only a small time and possess imperfect information. But the essential mechanism is the same: choice. Once evil is chosen, evil will be the new "truth", and its corrupting power is not to be underestimated. As I say, I have written about these matters before. Here are some related links which may prove helpful:

Didn't the devil know he couldn't defeat God?

Hardening of the Heart

Synopsis of satanic lies

Satan's Tactical Doctrine (in SR 4)

Satan's System of Propaganda (in BB 2A)

The three satanic lies (in BB 3A)

Progression of the three lies (in CT 3A)

The three lies at the last judgment (in CT 6)

Synopsis of the three satanic lies

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #14:

Does Satan have a will for me? A sobering question. Absalom stole by his cunning the hearts of the subjects from their rightful king.

Response #14:

Absalom didn't really care about the people he lied to – he was just doing what every politician does in making people believe he cared. Likewise, the devil doesn't care a fig about you . . . or about anyone else other than himself. The devil's interest extends only to if/how/how much he can use someone – the same attitude I have towards a piece of pizza: I'm not concerned for it or about it; I just want to devour it because I find that enjoyable.

Question #15:

"The devil is a cherub, not a fallen angel"

I came across this on youtube; could you watch it and see the flaws in this teaching?

Thanks

Response #15:

With respect, I don't usually take time out to watch videos of this sort. I will say that the proposition is obviously incorrect:

By the abundance of your trading
You became filled with violence within,
And you sinned;
Therefore I cast you (i.e., "down") as a profane thing
Out of the mountain of God;
And I destroyed you, O covering cherub,
From the midst of the fiery stones.
Ezekiel 28:16 NKJV

Cherubs are angels, and Satan is (or was) a cherub (the highest angelic rank; see the link). That he fell (and so is "fallen") is not news to any believer or to anyone who has read any of the Bible (see for example the Satanic Rebellion Series). If there is a particular point or verse this video comments upon that you would like to discuss, please do send that along and I'll do my best to try and help you sort it out.

Question #16:

Do You Believe that Pope Francis Is the False Prophet? This guy is extremely charismatic, but I cannot determine if his charisma is for good or evil ends.

Sincerely,

Response #16:

As far as the beast is concerned, he will establish his own religion in the early days of the Tribulation, and while it will be based putatively on Christianity, it is not at all clear to me that the R.C. church will be the essential basis of it (in fact that seems unlikely, pace the opinion to that effect of Martin Luther and many others since). The false prophet only appears on the scene (as far as we can tell from scripture) during the early days of the Great Tribulation, the second half of the seven years, once antichrist has thrown out all pretext and restraint. So the odds of any current personality being either of these two (who share the dubious distinction of being uniquely cast into the lake of fire before anyone else) are very long in my view.

"[W]hen the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?"
Luke 18:8b NIV

"But keep on the alert at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are about to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man."
Luke 21:36 NASB

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #17:

Hello Dr. Luginbill:

Blessings!

Question: Have you ever studied and considered that the "little horn" may be the Pope/Papacy and that the anti-Christ is represented through the Pope - Satan exalting himself? The Catholic Church is seeped in rituals, idols, and the Pope is referred to as the Holy Father who "forgives sins" (I only have ONE Holy Father, the Almighty God - and only ONE who forgives my sins - Jesus Christ). It seems as if the Catholic Church fits the description in that it "appears as light" and is widely accepted. Could this not be how millions are deceived as the Bible states? Could this not be the Anti-Christ - and power/kingdom that has risen up?

My spirit was grieved recently when watching the masses exalt the Pope during his recent visit to DC and during the parade. The Catholic Church also encourages not to marry and to be fully devoted to God (their god).

I have not been of this belief or ever taught this prior (Pope/Papacy the Anti-Christ) - but in my curiosity I also discovered websites with teachings (similar to yours but not as exhaustive) that supports this beliefs and uses scriptures to back the position. In order for you to be fully informed of what I am referring to, and as one who could better analyze and evaluate the arguments, I am adding the following weblinks for your review.

It appears as if the site has multi-sites all interlinking (as you will discover).

I would sure highly value your take on the positions presented.

http://www.battle-of-armageddon.org/index.html

http://www.666mark-of-the-beast.org (on this link you will discover on their home page links to multiple topics/sites including the one above).

I believe that sabbath is daily. I believe much of the articles is doctrine believed/adopted by the 7th Day Adventists though the authors never identify as such - it is quite clear (and where I have core doctrinal differences).

My question only stems about the Anti-Christ and origin and the possibility based on the scriptures /identifying marks.

Thank you, Dr. Luginbill.

In Him,

Response #17:

Good to make your acquaintance. There is a good deal of material at Ichthys which discusses all of these issues at very great length (you seem to have found some of these files, but I will give you more links below). Let me assure you that I am no fan of Roman Catholicism. I can also say that I find the recent fascination with the arrival of this mere human being of whose status as a Christian I remain personally unconvinced seems to me a most disagreeable spectacle. However, scripture is not to be interpreted by experience. There are many misconceptions about the end times, and both of these websites you link to here are filled with the typical sort of misguided, false information one finds on the internet these days. Both treatments begin with scripture and then after a few pages move directly to opinion and conclusion without any evidence for their positions. In fact, no one knows who antichrist is at present (that is why there is litmus test given in Revelation – and it is not given until the mid-point of the Tribulation), but it doesn't take a Th.D. in New Testament to be able to tell from a reading in English of just the book of Revelation that the beast is a person, a single individual. Moreover, it should also be clear from that book alone that these events including his revelation will not take place until the Tribulation begins (and it has not yet begun).

So we ask you, brothers, in regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ [discussed in chapter one, verses 3-12], and our assembling together to Him [in resurrection at His return (cf. 1Cor.15:51-54)], that you not be so easily moved from your correct understanding [of these matters], nor disturbed [by doubts about what you should know to be true] – not even if [this "new information" purports to come] through a spirit, or an [inspired] word or a letter supposedly from me, declaring that the Day of the Lord is already upon us. Do not let anyone deceive you in any way. For [the 2nd Advent cannot come] unless the Apostasy [the great falling away of the faithful in the first half of the Tribulation] has already occurred, and the man of lawlessness [antichrist] has been revealed [an event also occurring in the Tribulation], that "son of destruction" (i.e., characterized by, author of, and doomed to destruction), the one who will oppose and exalt himself against every so-called god and object of worship to such a degree that he will take his seat in the temple of God and represent himself as being God. Don't you remember that while I was still with you I was explaining these things to you?
2nd Thessalonians 2:1-5

As Paul's exasperation in the last verse here makes clear, fundamental confusion about basic end-times events is nothing new. To put the matter in a nutshell, the theory that the Roman Catholic church is Babylon and that the pope is antichrist is at least as old as Martin Luther. It is no doubt the case that said church and her leaders will be among the beast's enthusiastic supporters – but then all other organized Christian churches will be too. Antichrist is called that because he will proclaim himself to be Christ, and all of organized Christianity – including protestant groups – will accept that claim and follow him. Not only will the world flock to his standards, but fully one third of believers will apostatize and follow Satan's son in place of the Son of God who bought them. Babylon, on the other hand, is neither a religious organization (neither the R.C. church nor the world church of Satan) nor a political/social/economic system. Babylon is a country. Babylon and revived Rome together constitute the two legs upon which the statue of Daniel stands. We can surmise what country Babylon probably will be (note, not "is", since the Tribulation has yet to begin) easily enough (see the link), and it has nothing to do with the pope or Rome or Catholicism.

I appreciate your questions very much, because these are very important issues for all genuine Christians to have sorted out before the end times begin – and they are very close to commencing. Misunderstanding any of these points can make a believer vulnerable to the deceptions about to be unleashed. Mis-characterizing something bad as something worse than it is (i.e, the pope as the beast or the R.C. church as Babylon) will be problematic because it will open the door for seeing the worst as not so bad. Indeed, that is precisely how antichrist will gain so much support from Christian organizations. He will characterize the leader of the Muslim world as "antichrist" and himself as "the Christ crusader" taking up arms against that person. The beast will quote plenty of scripture too so that even the elect might be deceived (if that were possible). Some believers will be deceived (and will apostatize), and the world as a whole will come to serve the beast in the course of the Tribulation's first half.

Here are some important links I would ask you to read. These are important matters, and getting these things wrong will be very detrimental to any and all believers who find themselves in the midst of the Tribulation without a correctly calibrated biblical compass.

*Antichrist and his Kingdom (BB 3B)

Antichrist: the Mark, the Number, and the Identification of the Beast

The False Prophet's Administration of Antichrist's False Religion

The Rise of False Teaching in the Tribulation

The Persuasiveness of antichrist's religion

Characteristics of the false religion

The Anti-Christian Religion and its Worldwide Expansion

Dangers of cooperating with antichrist's religion

The Mark of the Beast (in CT 4)

The Number of the Beast (in CT 4)

Israel and Antichrist in Eschatology

The 7 Trumpets, the 7 Kings, Nephilim, Antichrist and Revived Rome.

Antichrist: Alive and Well and Living on Planet Earth?

More on Antichrist and his Kingdom

Antichrist and Babylon

The Beast: Some Questions about Antichrist.

Aliens, antichrist, and eschatology.

Antichrist's 'desire of women' in Daniel 11:37 et al.

The reign of antichrist: 7 years or 3 and 1/2 years?

Please do feel free to write me back about any of the above.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob Luginbill

Question #18:

Hi Bob, Re: the pope's visit. I am fascinated by the attention of the visit of this person. I am not familiar with all the tenants if Catholicism but I can only think how bad it will become, in terms of delusion, when the Antichrist comes. The coverage is interesting: no public mention of Christ or even biblical passage references.

Hmm. God bless

Response #18:

An EXCELLENT observation, my friend. No lover of Rome, I agree with your perspective entirely. This whole episode does show very clearly that even now, before the Tribulation begins with all of its horrors, people generally do not see at all the fundamental difference between traditional "Christianity" on the one hand and having a born-again, eternal life relationship with Jesus Christ on the other. This, however, is the difference between life and death as we certainly understand. I am a sometime watcher of the news, but I have found myself turning it off with even greater disgust than usual this week. Seeing the rotten things going on in the world is something I can tolerate to some degree (and somewhat necessary in my opinion to stay abreast of); hypocrisy on this mammoth scale, however, is much harder for me to take.

Yours in the only true Christ – for whom there is no "substitute/vicar" – Jesus our dear Lord and Savior.

Bob L.

Question #19:

Hello Dr. Luginbill, I do hope you are doing well. Just wanted to check in and let you know that I have read through The Satanic Rebellion and am currently making my way through The Coming Tribulation, excellent material, thank you for it. Your teaching on the "empowerment of error" is one I have never heard before. The way you explained it and compared it to Paul's teaching in Romans just blew me away. I've received instruction on 2 Thessalonians 2:11 many times in the past and it seems the instructors just didn't really get it, and unfortunately neither did I, until now. The thought of the empowerment of error on a global scale is terrifying and I must confess that after learning of it I was left more than a bit disturbed. I left my bookmark at your teaching of the coming ecumenical church and later stumbled across this article and video from the Vatican: https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__www.trunews.com_pope-2Dfrancis-2Dcalls-2Dfor-2Done-2Dworld-2Dreligion_&d=AwIFAg&c=SgMrq23dbjbGX6e0ZsSHgEZX6A4IAf1SO3AJ2bNrHlk&r=xs1Ij198JjzY_ebipPm3IICWvKTZ55zMcMn_X_yymK8&m=rfSri048XX87yBi_uqkixz_G0xyZqJK16Ot8oUZoza0&s=fiWjp_Rv2JtUpxnfUUBmKffJo2wr267d6l2wf7ioqeU&e=

I know Pope Francis is not the first one to push this evil agenda and may not be the last, but we know for sure time is short. Thanks again for your teaching, keep up the good work for our Lord Jesus Christ!

God bless you,

Response #19:

You are most welcome – thanks so much for your encouraging words.

The link is not surprising, but sobering as you suggest. The one thing that I always want to warn fellow Christians about, however, is not to become too fixated on the R.C. church. Historically, there have been many Protestant groups and teachers who have wanted to find that church and its leader as antichrist and his false religion (or the false prophet – many variations here). While I am certainly not endorsing this group (!), from my reading of what scripture has to say, the beast will effectively coopt ALL traditional and organized religion worldwide, so that focusing on one disagreeable group might make a person myopic to the fact that their own dear old favorite denomination will be swept up in the same movement.

Yes, the Tribulation can be scary to contemplate, but it's coming fast and we do need to be prepared. We can also be confident that the Lord has already planned out our deliverance, whether from it or through it, and can rest easy in the sure and certain knowledge that He is working even this most difficult of times out for our absolute good.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #20:

How’s it going doc?

Had some questions for you that I’d appreciate getting your view on.

I’m wondering how the antichrist will come about. Does Satan have multiple candidates at different ages at any time in history that he’s grooming up to take over the role? I believe, like you, very strongly in the millennial day time-line and am pretty sure Satan would know this time-line as well, so it seems he’d have a general idea of when to birth his guy. So is he constantly petitioning God to let him birth the antichrist and then one day God gives him the green light? Or perhaps there’s no petitioning and God summons Satan to tell him to birth the antichrist? It truly boggles my mind that Satan is so deceived to see biblical prophecy fall in line exactly the way God said it would for nearly 6,000 years and yet, near the end, he thinks he has a chance and prophecy will be wrong.

Thank you for your work and effort in this, it’s highly appreciated and valued. Side question: have you come across anyone with a similar level of knowledge to yours, either in print or on the web? When people online start delving into the Greek or Hebrew it’s hard for me to trust they know what they’re talking about, but I like to get differing opinions on issues.

Respectfully,

Response #20:

Good to hear from you my friend – hope all is going well with you.

I think you have considered most of the angles here. 2nd Thessalonians 2:6 says that the Spirit is holding back the beast so that he will not be allowed to be "revealed" before the time. God has many ways of doing things (more than we could ever imagine), so I don't think we can say anymore than that. I do think we can conclude as you intimate that there is only one such candidate, and that he was not allowed (by whatever means of restraint) to enter the world until just before the end.

I appreciate your encouraging words. I came up with a cadre of (at that time) young men equally immersed in scripture and enthusiastic to prepare for teaching it. I also know of a number of (today) young men who are preparing for teaching ministries. The relative dearth of those out there both with proper qualifications and also teaching the Bible in a truthful, doctrinal, substantive way has as much to do with the general lack of demand in our era of Laodicea as it does anything else. I can also recommend, however, pastor-teacher Curtis Omo's Bible Academy as a good place to hear the Word taught (please see the link).

You are wise to be cautious. I also generally counsel caution when it comes to "getting lots of opinions and points of view". Ultimately, in order to grow, a Christian has to actually believe what he/she has been taught – and it also has to be true. Take away either end of this proposition and there will be no spiritual growth. The more a person exposes him/herself to what is most likely the chaff of the internet, the more likely that non-truth will be heard, and also importantly that doubts will be sown about what is really "the truth".

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #21:

Dear Bob,

First, I need to thank you. You said, in an email response a couple of weeks ago that the internet was the greatest outlet for poison except maybe traffic. (Rather words to that effect.) That smacked me right between the eyes and sent me back to the woodshed. I have read Matthew 12:34 countless times but never connected my reactions behind the wheel to poison. I have much to work on.

My first question is a follow-up on an earlier response to one of my emails. You said that the image of gold Nebuchadnezzar erected in Daniel 3:5 was an image of himself. I can see the logic of that assessment, given Daniel's interpretation of his dream and possibly to the image of the beast in Revelation, but I don't see any scripture that actually says that. Is "...worship the golden image..." the best understanding of the scholars of the 17th century or is there more to the Hebrew than apparent in the English?

Also, a question of original meaning and the English translation. You may have addressed this before but I didn't find it. In Matthew 24:5 Jesus says, "For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ..." The punctuation suggests that many will claim to be Christ. It could also mean that may will proclaim Jesus to be Christ but spread false doctrine. The later seems to be quite active today. What is the correct interpretation?

Thanks. Yours in Jesus Christ,

Response #21:

You're very welcome – we all need help in traffic!

As to the statue in Daniel, what I wrote to you was "The gold of the statue's head represents Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonian empire, according to the interpretation given to Daniel." That is what Daniel is given to tell the king that "you are the king of kings" = the head of gold.

As to Matthew 24:5, this is clearly talking about those who represent themselves as Christ – preeminent among whom is antichrist (cf. 1Jn.2:18). However, you certainly have a point that there does seem to be today an acceleration of the trend towards false teaching, and that is a sign of the times and the imminence of the end.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #22:

Hi Bob,

Is this man the antichrist, or just a benign fool trying to shock people?

http://gawker.com/yes-i-drank-the-goats-blood-says-floridas-pagan-li-1734683751

Also here's a personal statement he released,

https://thesaturnalian.wordpress.com/2015/05/31/augustus-sol-invictus-departure-memo-explanation/

Sincerely,

Response #22:

Here is what I read in scripture:

(3) Do not let anyone deceive you in any way. For [the 2nd Advent cannot come] unless the Apostasy [the great falling away of the faithful in the first half of the Tribulation] has already occurred, and the man of lawlessness [antichrist] has been revealed, that "son of destruction" (cf. Jn.17:12 of Judas), (4) the one who will oppose and exalt himself against every so-called god and object of worship to such a degree that he will take his seat in the temple of God and represent himself as being God.
2nd Thessalonians 2:3-4

N.B., Paul did "write that" (thanks for the link).

Antichrist will not be "revealed" until after the Tribulation begins, so any speculation before the fact – including doing calculations on his name (since he may change it when he commences his political activities) – is destined to be fruitless. One potential problem with this individual you write about is that antichrist will style himself "Christ", so that anyone without even a modicum of feigned humility would seem to have to be counted out. Still, it is a sign of the times and I thank you for the link.

One further note on the rhetoric of all this. What good does it do to "renounce" an accomplishment when the only benefit in the accomplishment itself is that people know about it (at least from a political point of view)? So by "renouncing" all these accomplishments, the only thing this person does is to rub it in that he's accomplished these things (so we have to give him rhetorical style points at least).

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #23:

The year is 2024. President X is elected and inaugurated on January 20th, 2025.

However, Turkish Islamists decide to do something stupid and declare war on Russia. The United States, being bound by NATO to defend Turkey, ends up having to support Turkey, which results in Islamists all over the world coming together and attacking the west. Americans are outraged, and a charismatic young man comes in and through flattery and cunning kicks out President X by a coup d'etat in 2026.

Response #23:

Well, to paraphrase Niels Bohr, predication is difficult, especially if it concerns the future. I think the way in which international events have developed over just the past few years has been, if a person is honest in looking back on them, completely unpredictable. This is likely to be even more the case going forward, especially once the Tribulation does begin. The possible patterns in which these shifting parts may fall together are truly kaleidoscopic. But it is of some benefit, I think, to keep these matters under consideration (albeit without allowing oneself to become married to a particular idea beyond the more general things we know from scripture must be true).

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #24:

Hi Bob,

Did you know that, unlike the Latin alphabet, Arabic's abjad has a system of gematria very similar to that of Hebrew? You might want to take this into account, as antichrist may use an Arabic name.

Also, why does Nero's transliterated name into Hebrew sum up to 666?

Sincerely

Response #24:

Of course the beast won't be the Mahdi – but he will label the Mahdi "antichrist". So I doubt that Arabic will figure into it, at least from the standpoint of a genuine calculation (but thanks for the observation). In any case, it won't be any kind of big mystery at the time. I expect the identification to be indisputable – for believers who have been reading their Bibles and actually learning about the end times – almost immediately after the Tribulation begins. For those who don't want to think of this country as part of the coming problem or who want to see antichrist as Islamic, blinding themselves to the true identity of their putative savior and his "crusade" will be a great stumbling block. The name/number test is given not because it will be a big mystery at the time, but rather to take away any excuse on the part of those who are waffling on the grounds that they were deceived. Here are some links on all that:

Antichrist: the Mark, the Number, and the Identification of the Beast

Antichrist and his kingdom (CT 3B)

The Mark of the Beast (in CT 4)

The Number of the Beast (in CT 4)

Israel and Antichrist in Eschatology

On Nero, as I write at the link "End Times Interpretation II" . . .

Nero only equals six hundred and sixty six in Hebrew, and only if one uses the version of his name indirectly transliterated into Hebrew from Greek (his name transliterated directly from Latin into Hebrew yields 616), and only if we assume his name is "Nero Caesar", whereas of course he was commonly known as Nero, and his full name was really "Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus". If I were allowed to 1) use any number of languages I wanted to use in order get to a basis for the specific name to be transliterated, 2) use any of the three likely languages of the time of writing of Revelation (i.e., Hebrew, Greek and Latin) as the basis for this calculation once the form of the name had been determined, and 3) use whatever version of the particular name suited my purposes, then I dare say I could make any president of the United States into "the beast" (e.g., an English "e" could be an eta or an epsilon in Greek; in Hebrew it could be a sere with or without yodh or a segol or a chateph segol – or left out entirely). Case in point is your analysis of the Name "Jesus Christ". Clearly, this particular version of His name renders differently if we do to it the same thing that is necessary to get Nero's name to equal 666 (namely, transliteration into Hebrew, not Greek). Also, in the context He is called "the Lamb", and of course by factoring "Lord Jesus Christ" or "the Lord Jesus Christ", or "Lord Christ", or "the Lord Christ" or "our Savior Jesus Christ", or etc., we will get a different number in each case (with many possibilities for each depending upon which precise name, which transliteration base, and which language we decide to use).

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #25:

Hello, at year end, I want to again thank you for your unselfish work on Ichthys. It always encourages me to read your articles and answers to questions that support a belief in Bible inerrancy. Without this simple emphasis, people become confused. Of course, I believe they must be enlightened within by the Spirit to understand your writings.

Re: the pdf I sent you, there seems to be a movement or trend online to change the "end-time" focus from a revived Roman Empire to a view of the final Antichrist emerging from a revived Islamic state (caliphate). I cursorily read the book, and saw he desired to convince Protestants that the Pope is not the antichrist (or false prophet?). Catholics are often very good scholars. I still like your end-times series, and trust you will have a blessed New Year.

Response #25:

This is a very prominent theory. But it is a very dangerous one. From what I have been able to piece together about the end times, it seems likely to me that antichrist – who will claim to be Christ – will find a substitute "beast" to point to in order to claim that that other person, not himself, is really "antichrist" – a ploy which will allow him both to deflect attention from himself as well as bolster his claim to being "Christ" (since he will be opposing "antichrist"). The logical person to blame will be the Mahdi, or leader of the Islamic confederation with which the beast and his forces do battle in the Tribulation's first half. The problems with accepting the beast's version of events are obvious: those who buy into this will be much more likely to fall away in the Great Apostasy (see the link), because by accepting that the Mahdi is "antichrist", they will be motivated out of fear and hatred to join in with the actual antichrist's crusade against him – and will thus be liable to see antichrist as "Christ", joining his religion, and taking his mark (the sign of having lost salvation). Seeing the pope as the false prophet will also get Protestants of little or no faith to be more readily disposed toward accepting antichrist and his religion (which will have the same sort of effects as above). These matters are covered at the following links:

CT 3B: Antichrist and his Kingdom

The Persuasiveness of Antichrist's False Religion (in CT 3A)

The False Prophet's Administration of the Beast's Religion (in CT 4)

Thank you so much for your kind and encouraging words! Here's wishing you and yours a wonderful 2016!

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #26:

Dear Bob,

I stumbled upon an interesting conversation two people were having on facebook; rather, pictures of a conversation two people were having. They were talking about the mark of the beast, probably in jest, but I wanted to see what you think about it. I'm not really concerned, but it does bring up an interesting question.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=854251871295914&set=ms.c.eJyzMDUxMjW0MDc0sjS1NDTRswDzLQ1MzIwsjUzgfBNzSzMjU3NjAOcECaI~-.bps.&type=1

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=854251904629244&set=ms.c.eJyzMDUxMjW0MDc0sjS1NDTRswDzLQ1MzIwsjUzgfBNzSzMjU3NjAOcECaI~-.bps.&type=1

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=854251947962573&set=ms.c.eJyzMDUxMjW0MDc0sjS1NDTRswDzLQ1MzIwsjUzgfBNzSzMjU3NjAOcECaI~-.bps.&type=1

I'm not too concerned with this because Revelation specifically points out the mark being ON the forehead or on the BACK of the hand, if I remember that correctly. Plus, a mark implies a brand: something placed onto the skin, permanence, right? The point these two bring up is what I'm curious about, where they said that scripture states "they will be deceived" into it, but if I recall (I haven't read Revelation in some time) it has to be a choice, right? There are also other things they fail to mention, such as the mark being necessary to buy goods or trade, which obviously is not the case with cell phones.

Though, I am curious as to what you think about the "www" portion they mention, and the Apple Logo? These two things sound like just funny coincidences, but then there is no such thing as coincidence, right? I'm interested in reading your take on this.

Response #26:

I try to stay off Facebook as much as possible, so I'm only replying here to what you have said (please feel free to send more details if you think it necessary).

The mark is indeed a permanent and visible bodily mark (relating to the identity of antichrist – nothing to do with "www" or "Apple" or any such thing), just as the book of Revelation says it is. And it is most definitely not put on anyone involuntarily. People will have to make an open and public declaration of loyalty to the beast in order to receive it. That is the whole point: it's an anti-salvation declaration. People will have to reject Christ to receive it. That's why no believers will take the mark . . . until they first apostatize. So no one has to worry about accidentally getting "marked" or being "marked" against their will (children apparently will not be marked – a person will have to be of a legal age old enough to make an informed decision). But it would also be wise not to underestimate the pressures to take the mark. Please see the following links for details:

Don't Take the Mark

Antichrist:  the Mark, the Number, and the Identification of the Beast

The Mark of the Beast

The Mark of the Beast (in CT 4)

The Number of the Beast (in CT 4)

Yours in our dear Lord Jesus Christ who has "marked" us with His Holy Spirit.

Bob L.

Question #27:

Yeah, this just about covers up any minor concerns or questions I may have had. You are not missing any real details. When I first read it, I immediately knew that "Nah, there's no way. There's more to it than that." I remember much of what I've read of Revelation, but was blurry on a couple of details. They mentioned people "being deceived" in taking the mark, which I don't recall from Revelation. Thank you again for your links. As I've said before, I save all of our emails -links included for future reference if I need to remind myself of something we've discussed before.

Thank you.

Response #27:

You're very welcome.

It's a blessing to see your "spiritual common sense" and scripture memory growing in the Spirit day by day.

Your friend in Jesus Christ our Lord,

Bob L.

Question #28:

Hi Bob,

I hope you are doing well! I just saw this video yesterday and I'm not very positive about the accuracy of some parts of it, but one thing about this video that really struck me is that it seemed to so accurately describe how you taught about the "Summary of the Four Horsemen" (Rev. 6:8). You taught here that the four horsemen are the initial trends toward:

-wars of conquest

-social unrest

-economic meltdown

-accelerated mortality

You also taught that this occurrence will be concentrated in the antichrist's own kingdom (which comprises 1/4 of the world in biblical terms), which means that it would occur in the western hemisphere (Babylon - Antichrist's homeland). You taught that all four of these trends represented by the 4 horsemen are far from unique in the history of the world but it is rather the:

-Intensity

-Rapidity (&)

-Extensiveness of these for deadly trends which is so unique.

I thought this video was maybe something you might be interested in looking at since it really lines up with a possibility of how this could happen. Here it is:

http://survivetheenddays.com/mvi_i5/?t=

I am also thinking that it might be possible that the great falling away that is to come in the first half of the tribulation could possibly be connected with demons/demonoids disguised as aliens coming upon the earth. There is quite a lot out there to support that theory and falls in line with the Nephilim occurrence. These demon beings disguised as aliens are of course far superior in intelligence compared to us, far stronger than us, and have a hybridization program (very similar to the way the fallen angels were able to bring about the Nephilim through human women), and will be seen as highly impressive and types of "saviors" in the eyes of most worldly men who are seeking hope in a world that is falling apart. I think there could even be something connected with the mark of beast concerning this because this mark could change men's DNA's and thus cause them to not be fully human. Otherwise why would an amazingly merciful forgiving God not accept those who take the mark whatsoever? Just like the Nephilim were utterly rejected and had to be destroyed eternally, so too will those who take this dreadful mark of the beast. Also Jesus said that these days will be "like the days of Noah", and Noah's day was bombarded by these demonoid beings, and perhaps our day will be too? Here is a short, concise, clear video that is helpful in explaining this. I know your time is valuable and limited and I am only trying to find something that tries to get directly to the point and is not overly long. Here it is:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Lp6jVh0bBA

God bless you and I am still always looking to your studies in these final days and it's wonderful to try and connect all these "dots",

Response #28:

Good to hear from you as always, my friend.

The four horsemen constitute the first four seals on the "book" that is the "Revelation of Jesus Christ", that is, the unveiling of Him and the "unrolling", so to speak, of all of the events which must precede that second advent revelation. As such, these seals give a synopsis of everything that will take place during the seven years, with the first four giving the major trends which characterize the first three and a half years (without necessarily ending until the end), and the next two giving the two major trends (the Great Persecution and the Judgments of the Second Advent) which characterize the last three and a half years, the so-called "Great Tribulation". Opening the last or seventh seal begins the process. So it is not wrong to compare the seals to cover designs and blurbs on modern books which give an indication of essentially what the book contains. However, I don't remember writing that the first four trends would be restricted to any one location on earth. If anything, Babylon is likely to be more of a safe haven than any other place on earth, being the beginning of antichrist's kingdom (although it will also be destroyed first by the beast's own hand in the closing days of the Tribulation). I'd appreciate learning from you the reference that gave you that impression (could well be some unfortunate phraseology on my part).

As to the mark of the beast, scripture is very specific and to my lights extremely clear about the nature of this tattoo and its four variants. It won't take away free will or be given against anyone's will. A person will have to want it, ask for it, undergo a process to get it, and then, most importantly, engage in the worship of the beast necessary to have it, pledging allegiance to Him and against God and continuing in all manner of rites and activities consistent with that ultimate choice. In other words, it will be no small or accidental act to take the mark. To use an analogy, people don't usually get married by accident. But taking the mark will constitute a far more permanent and a far more serious commitment than marriage. No one who pursues this course could do so if that person had a shred of faith in Jesus Christ. So taking the mark will be a confirmation of virulent unbeliever status – and that will be true even in the case of apostate believers. Not everyone will take the mark. We know, for example, that there will be numerous Jews who, while they did not respond to the ministry of Moses, Elijah and the 144,000 so as to be saved before Christ's return, will in fact still be alive at the second advent and will then be repatriated to the land of Israel. None of these individuals will be allowed to enter the land, however, if they have taken the mark (the "baptism of fire" will also remove all gentiles who have so done; see the link). So there will be a strain of unbeliever, notable among the Jews, who for all their resistance to Christ, will also be resistant to accepting antichrist as God – which is what the mark signifies. In other words, the entire purpose of the mark is for the devil to "show God" that the world has chosen for him instead of for the true Son of God. Here are some links on all of this:

Antichrist:  the Mark, the Number, and the Identification of the Beast

Aliens, antichrist, and eschatology.

The Mark of the Beast (in CT 4)

The Number of the Beast (in CT 4)

Do not take the mark of the beast (in CT 7)

Numbers, Letters, and the Mark of the Beast.

Speculations about the number of the beast

The mark of the beast and "biometry"

The mark of the beast

Aspects of the Unseen Angelic Warfare and 666, the Mark of the Beast

The Trinity and the mark

The 144,000: God's Seal vs. the Mark of the Beast

I don't discount the idea of antichrist playing the "alien card" (see the second link above), but I do think that there will be a limit, even during the Tribulation when Satan will have a freer hand than ever before, to what the devil will be allowed to do (after all, without such divine limitations he could have destroyed us all long ago). It's possible (and in my view probable) that along with antichrist the kings who rule his empire will also be nephilim (see the link: The 7 Trumpets, the 7 Kings, Nephilim, Antichrist and Revived Rome), but I don't find any scriptural indications of anything beyond that, nor the need for massive infiltration as in the years before the flood for the accomplishment of any of the events of the Tribulation, horrifying as they are. The "Days of Noah" comparison has to do with the unique nature of the judgment on evil with the righteous being rescued and the wicked being swept away – and just as that unique judgment, the universal flood, is never to be repeated (as the rainbow signifies), so the cause of the need for (near total demonic infiltration of the human race) is likely not going to be allowed by the Lord either, even during the Tribulation and the run up to it.

Thanks for the links. I couldn't recommend them. Anytime a video or blog or book designates precisely who antichrist is, it loses me right off the bat (the beast will only be revealed once the Tribulation begins: 2Thes.2:1-8).

Hope all goes well with you too, my friend! I keep you and your family in my prayers day by day.

In Jesus Christ our Lord for whose return we breathless wait.

Bob L.

Question #29:

Dear Bob,

Hello and thanks for this thorough email. I don't know anyone else who could write this thoroughly and would take the time to do so. I really appreciate your response!

Yes, I do remember you writing that the United States would be a safe haven and that there would be a way for believers to escape before the nation became destroyed. But in your outline of "The Heavenly Prelude to the Tribulation" (Rev. 4:1 - 7:17), under part "D" and section 4b (Summary of the Four Horsemen), I have written in my notes that "the qualifying phase here 'of the earth' tells us that the initial sphere of these four trends launched by antichrist's activities will be confined to a quarter of the world as far as geographical limits. This means that the initial trends toward wars of conquest, social unrest, economic meltdown, and accelerated mortality will be concentrated in antichrist's own kingdom (which comprises 1/4 of the world in biblical terms)." Also I have in my notes near to this "all four of the trends represented by the 4 horsemen are far from unique in the history of the world but it is rather the intensity, rapidity, and extensiveness of these four deadly trends that is so unique." .....so my notes seem like a contradiction. It seems like in one area of my notes I have that these initial trends will be confined to an initial sphere which is in antichrist's kingdom of the United States, but then later in the series I remember you saying that the U.S. is not so bad. I think I have too many notes and am getting confused lol. It just seems like a contradiction, but I guess I would have to read through all of my notes again to get a clearer picture.

I will definitely have to reread my notes about the mark of the beast that I have from your series. I remember that you did think it would be a type of tattoo probably administered by religious type leaders. Thank you for the links and I will try and catch up on your thoughts on this and I appreciate it!

I don't remember the links I gave you stating who the antichrist was exactly, but if they did I agree with you that I would not want to respect those links any further as well if they did make such a statement. I just remember them referring the "the king of the north", "the king of the south" and that sort of thing. I'm glad that you also agree that some "part demon" type beings will be on earth during the time of the tribulation as well. You may be correct that there may only be a few of these partly demonic beings on the earth at that time.

I also put a link on your facebook page a few weeks back about the third temple and that the Jewish people were making the items that belong in the temple, and they have plans for reconstructing the temple, but they are not able to construct it now of course. I was wondering if you saw that link?

Also, when you calculate the years to the 6,000 years before the 1,000 year millennial reign, did you go by Lunar year (I think they are 354 days), solar years (365 days), or Jewish years (I think they are 360 days).

Thank you once again for your helpful words! I also greatly appreciate your prayers and you are always on my heart and in my thoughts and prayers as well! Yes, it is exciting to think about and await the Lord's return in these amazing times. God bless you dear friend!

Response #29:

Thanks for the reference. Your notes are correct; however, I think if you look that section over carefully you will see that by "antichrist's own kingdom" I mean the "north" in biblical terms (i.e., Europe and Mediterranean), not the "west" (Babylon, the beast's home country). I can see where this might be a bit confusing, especially since very few seem to understand that revived Rome (Europe / the north) is not the home country of the beast and is separate from Babylon and the biblical west.

I didn't see the FB post – to be honest, I only ever very rarely check in on FB. What you write doesn't surprise me, but the reinstitution of the temple rites will take place under the guidance of Moses and Elijah, and I would be skeptical if they would use, let alone need, any such help.

On chronological calculations, in the Bible, a year is a year. It is true that the Jewish calendar makes use of months and that these fall short of the solar year. However, the Jewish calendar, like most ancient calendars, made use of occasional intercalation of additional days and/or months to keep the lunar calendar in line with the seasons. Although the process of just exactly how this was carried out in ancient Israel is not directly revealed in scripture, it was important for Passover, for example, to be in the Spring and for Yom Kippur to be in the fall – and they always were (see the link: "The Jewish Ceremonial Calendar") – so the calendar in fact never got out sync with the solar year.

Thanks for your good words as always, my friend! Keeping you and your family in my prayers day by day.

In Jesus Christ our Lord,

Bob L.

Question #30:

Hi Bob,

Do you find it interesting that the location of the mark of the beast in Revelation corresponds exactly to the locations that the Biblical phylacteries were supposed to be worn?

I don't know why, but the idea that there exists an activity that you can perform (getting marked) which would result in eternal damnation is very troubling to me, because it seems to go contrary to the message that the only unforgivable sin is rejecting Christ until death.

Sincerely,

Response #30:

It is disturbing. Of course there is also no more emphatic warning in scripture against one singularly unique activity than there is for taking the mark. It's not just the mark, after all. It will be taken in a ceremony where the person in question essentially pledges allegiance to antichrist, accepting him as Christ and God. No believer could possibly do that; no one who does that, given what scripture says about these events, would ever come back and believe. So its not inconsistent in fact. Taking the mark is merely a demonstrable proof of committing the unforgivable sin of rejecting Christ.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior who is our all in all.

Bob L.

Question #31:

Hi Bob,

What would happen if, during the millennium, somebody tattooed themselves with the name of the Beast while they were drunk? Let's suppose they regretted it the next morning and wanted to get it removed.

Sincerely,

Response #31:

The mark per will be received in a public religious ceremony and will be placed on the person in question by officials of the beast's religion – and thus will only be meaningful during the Tribulation. It will be made quite clear in the ceremony that the person receiving the mark is acting out of their own free will. It will be considered a privilege to receive the mark, and recipients/entrants into the new religion will be vetted ahead of time in order to determine which level of the mark (there will be four) they are eligible to receive. Will some people be drunk when they finally do receive the mark as a result of this process? Perhaps. But that will not be an excuse or constitute a complete removal of free will, any more than being drunk is an excuse for murdering someone. The difference between that and taking the mark is that even if drunk the process preceding inebriation will have had to have run for some time prior wherein the person was sober. So, no, there will be no cases of accidental marking, and consequently no cases of a marked person who is a "really a believer" (see "Antichrist: the Mark, the Number, and the Identification of the Beast" for links and discussion). The whole point of the mark is for the devil to demonstrate "free will" adherence to him and his son (even if there is considerable coercion and temptation involved in the process).

In Jesus our dear Lord,

Bob L.

Question #32:

Hi Bob,

I am talking about after the beast is in Hell, in an environment where there is no worship of the beast possible, making the mark kind of like the swastika, which held political significance during the Nazi regime, but simply became a disgusting symbol after the regime perished. Would the fact that people have the memory of what the mark looked like result in, say, foolish or "edgy" people marking each other, much like how racists may draw the swastika on their bodies even though Nazi's are a thing of the past?

Response #32:

The Millennium will be under divine administration, and no one with the mark will be allowed to enter it in the first place. So the situation is not only hypothetical but highly unlikely and probably impossible. Unlike today where anything goes, I'm pretty sure that books on "beast worship", e.g., will not be allowed in the Millennium. Even if someone entertains the possibility, since there will be no more beast, no more false prophet, no more beast's organized religion, a better analogy might be actually joining Hitler's SS. Even for the most virulent neo-Nazi, even though engaging in such activities may lead them to do all manner of evil and terrible things, that is however not technically possible to do today because neither the dictator himself nor that organization actually exist any longer. People can play at that nonsense, but that is all it would be: playing at nonsense (they would not really be "official" since that is no longer possible). I'm sure God appreciates the difference. Lastly, if a person was really so anti-God during the Millennium so as to want to take a symbol of absolute opposition to Him and His Christ, there will be an opportunity to express that venom when Satan is released at the end of the 1,000 years. Surprisingly (to me at least), Revelation 20:7-9 suggests that most people will actually do this even after centuries of perfect environment and perfect world rule – and they won't need a mark to be cast into hell for doing so.

In our dear Lord Jesus whose coming kingdom we breathlessly await.

Bob L.

Question #33:

Hi Bob,

Lots of people who are not believers know the Book of Revelation from a purely literary perspective. Do you think that they would see people getting marked on their hand and foreheads, people spontaneously exploding into balls of fire and sulfur, and say "nah, there's probably no relationship" or "there's a perfectly good scientific explanation for all of this"?

On the other hand, I could definitely see one third of believers defecting and following the Antichrist, because most Christians follow whatever feels good and don't really know or care too much about the Bible. For instance, there was a man who went to a Baptist church every Sunday for forty years, and only then realized that Christianity teaches that Jesus is God. He just kept going through the motions.

In Jesus Christ our God and Savior,

Response #33:

There won't be any consequences for taking the mark of the beast . . . until the second advent where one of the seven "thunder judgments" will be the so-called "baptism of fire" wherein all who have been marked and still remain alive will be summarily removed from life (see the link). To the contrary, before the second advent it will be believers who will suffer for refusing the mark, while the world thinks it's making a good bargain cozying up to antichrist.

You are certainly right that traditional Christianity is doing little to prepare believers for what is about to take place.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

 

 

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