Sunday, January 29, 2012

Prophecy's Most Evil Kingdom is not the Greatest Kingdom

2 Thessalonians 2:8 Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming;

The problem I have with typical treatments of Bible Prophecy
By God's grace I have been studying scripture for over 20 years.  As a Pastor I have heard many sermons, read books and have sat through classes on Bible Prophecy.  In more examples than I care to recall, I have come away knowing more about the prophetic figure of the Anti-Christ than the true focus of prophecy Jesus Christ.  The true goal of prophecy is to bring about hope in Christ. (Titus 2:13).  Though today's blog is describing the great Evil Kingdom that will oppose Christ at His return, I believe that we can still take this teaching and end up focused on Christ while acquiring hope.

What is the Evil Empire?
Back in the 1980's Ronald Regan referred to the USSR (present day Russia) as the "Evil Empire".  In the earlier part of this century some of you may recall Goerge H.W. Bush referring to the terrorist regiems in the Middle East as the "Axis of Evil".  As true as those statements were, none will compare to the final kingdom that could very well be now but will most certainly arise prior to Christ's return. 

The Evil Empire's future Leader
In Matthew 24:24 we're told that in the last days "false Christs" will arise.  The Apostle John writes in 1 John 2:18 of an actual figure called "the Anti-Christ" arising in the last days, with the "spirit of Anti-Christ" running its course through our current day and age.  In the passage above, we see the work and outright evil of this diabolical figure called "the son of perdition". (2 Thessalonians 2:3).  Daniel 9:23-27 refers to this man as the one who will set up an abomination that causes desolation in a rebuilt temple in Jersualem. 

The Evil Empire's Scope and Beastly Nature
By the time you read Revelation 13, as well as Revelation 17-19, you see the full-scale work of this Evil Kingdom.  As we saw a couple of days ago, under the description of "Babylon the Great", the scope of this Evil Kingdom will control the Political, Religious and Financial infrastructure of Earth's inhabitants.  In Revelation 13, we see the comparison to Ancient Rome, highlighting the aggressive and beastly nature of this final Evil Kingdom.  Daniel 8-11 gives us a detailed summary of how the seeds of this Evil Kingdom have been sown through earth's history by men and the Enemy of our souls. 

The Evil Empire will be destroyed by Christ's Eternal Empire
As we look at Daniel and Revelation, we can note the demise of the Evil Empire by the Eternal Empire of Jesus Christ.  According to Daniel 2:34-35 and 2:44-45, we see the Enduring King coming to conquer the Evil Empire of the Anti-Christ.  Then when we turn to Daniel 7:22-28 and Revelation 19, we see this Enduring King reigning for an endless duration.  The Anti-Christ and his co-hort, the False Prophet, will be cast into the Lake of Fire.  The armies of the world gather against Christ will be wiped out, and the birds of the air will feed on their flesh. (Matthew 24:28) 

The final scene of prophecy's big picture envisions this Enduring King, with an endless reign, having endless victory in Daniel 12:1-13 and Revelation 21-22.   As Revelation 11:15 summarizes it so well: "The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever.”

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