The following is published with the permission of Ed Johnsons estate.
“The prince that shall destroy the city and the sanctuary” (Daniel 9:26). Not too many years ago, an Associated Press analysis shocked us with prophetic possibilities: TEL AVIV, ISRAEL---If public opinion polls and comments from average citizens are any guide, Israelis are so fed up with their leaders that there is growing sentiment for dictatorship in Israel. The feeling was underscored not too long thereafter when 40.8 percent, of Israelis, in an opinion poll want, “to completely change the political system and set up a strong regime of, leaders independent of political parties.” Columnist Nahum Barnea said, “People have had enough of political parties, enough of the press, enough of strikes.” The Israeli citizen saw not too long ago a 133% inflation rate, and a rising crime wave whose latest victims are helpless old people, robbed and murdered for their meager social security allowance. The citizen sees a small labor union paralyze the national airline with a sudden wildcat strike. A cabinet minister goes on trial, suspected of taking bribes. Fifty-six percent of all Israelis interviewed on the subject wanted to see freedom of the press curtailed. It is a stunning development from a nation that spawned a triumphant democracy against all odds. And that development could well be the germination of a political and social vacuum that will usher in the antichrist. The spiritual vacuum is already there. There is great danger in over speculating when it comes prophetic scriptures. Let me say, from the very outset, that no one knows the identity of the antichrist. The Lord never intended the church to know. In (2 Thessalonians 2) Paul wrote of the coming of this dark prince, and said that it would be after the Church and the restraint of the Holy Spirit have been removed from this earth at the rapture. So, although we do not know his identity, we do know, for a fact, that he is coming. Daniel wrote about him graphically: “And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full, a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up” (Daniel 8:23). Satan is following his normal pattern---he is getting someone else to do his dirty work for him. He has consistently used an intermediary. He will be the instigator behind Antichrist, developing and empowering him. This is what he did in the Garden of Eden. There in that blissful paradise, our parents, Adam and Eve, were created to live in happiness and complete fulfillment. That garden was as close to heaven as anything on this earth could ever be. But just outside the walls lurked that sinister figure that had been cast out of heaven---Lucifer the former shining angel of light. Satan, we call him---or the devil. Satan waited for just the opportune moment to attack Adam and Eve. And he used his first intermediary---the serpent, who challenged the woman. The serpent was not like the serpents of today. He was the most beautiful and subtle beast of the field. And Satan used him to destroy our first parents. And throughout the Old Testament, the pattern continues. In the story of Job, Satan used Sabeans---a savage nomadic tribe---to destroy all of Job’s livestock. Then he used the Chaldeans to swoop down and destroy his camels. Always an intermediary. Look at the last supper of our Lord Jesus there on the Mount Zion. There he used Judas to betray our Lord for 30 pieces of silver---as Jeremiah said, the price of a slave. Study the devices of the evil one carefully and you will learn that he consistently used other personalities to harm the people of God. But Satan reaches his pinnacle with the development of Antichrist. This dark prince will be the ruler of most of the world. And under his authority, planet earth will be plunged into darkness that makes the middle Ages look bright by comparison. In the beginning he will be popular. The media will back him as the newest figure of charm and charisma. He will pose as a humanitarian and social thinker. He will appear as a supporter of the Jews, come to usher in the golden age of light for which they have waited so long. The nations will look upon him as the master of diplomacy, the master of communication, the master of administrative ability. What they will not see, of course, is that he is only a counterfeit, a clever imitation of the real Christ, manipulated and controlled by Satan himself. In the long run, he will be used to bring about Satan’s goals, which culminate in horror and death. So terrible will be the fall that the Bible says no one would be left alive if God didn’t bring his reign to a premature end. But in the beginning day’s men will not see that. They never do. Samson learned too late the vital lesson that sin binds. And Satan will blind the eyes of the world to the real work behind Antichrist. The Bible teaches us that one of the dark prince’s ploys for power will be his strategy in the Middle East. He will gain the confidence of the Jewish leadership. Remember the news article with which this message began? There is a large contingent in Israel right now waiting for such leadership. They are willing to give up freedom and democracy to embrace the supposed security such a figure would promise. We may as well admit that no one has figured out a solution for that part of the world yet. All sorts of solutions and compromises have been offered over the years. But none of those plans have been able to override thousands of years of hatred and mistrust that have generated there. The fighting and guerilla warfare goes on unabated. The arms buildup is staggering. All our peaceful moves have been turned into tanks and Phantom jets. So imagine the elation that will greet Antichrist when he proposes a workable solution to the Middle East crisis. But bear in mind, that in less than four years after he takes power, he’ll turn on Israel like a mad dog. And when an allied force of evil nations attacks that nation, Antichrist will turn his back on them and declare, “I never knew you at all.” Israel will be left defenseless. Antichrist will reign over the western nations. In January of 1981 Greece joined the European Economic Community, becoming the tenth nation to join. It leads prophecy scholars to wonder if the ten toes of Nebudchadnezzar’s image have at long last been formed. Scripture tells us that Antichrist will wield authority over a federated state of Europe, an amalgamation of nations that voluntarily give their power to one man. That one man will be Antichrist. John wrote, “I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea” (Revelation 13:1). In other words, Antichrist makes his appearance during a chaotic, turbulent time in the world conditions. I believe that we live in that time. We have grown weary of financing wars and giving our young men to them. We are tired of promises---with no deliveries. Governments rise and fall month after month. South America is feeling the pangs of revolution. The situation in Central America is frightening. The “third world” powers are promising a new ball game. It appears even to the most hopeful, that there are no answers to our problems. But out of the worst of times comes Antichrist---promising and delivering. He seems to have supernatural power to back his claims. He captures the fancy of nation after nation. He makes the cover of news magazines. We hang on his every word, we laud his every deed. It is no longer hard to imagine handing the keys to the world to this strange creature---Antichrist. Revelation 13:2 tell us that he will be like a leopard. Daniel 7 indicates the same thing referring to the speedy world domination of one who was yet to come. Alexander the Great, the Greek, did indeed conquer the world with astonishing speed. And so will Antichrist. He will rise suddenly and will conquer the earth. John tells us in Revelation 13:2 that Antichrist would be like a bear. He will have tremendous strength. John also said he would be like a lion. How regal he will be! How he will enjoy his splendor. He will be the KING! Rome never had an emperor like this one. Nero in his wildest most lavish concepts never dreamed like this man will dream. But then he will turn on the people. Scriptures say he will be like Antiochus the fourth. Have you ever read about this historical figure---Antiochus? In trying to conquer the whole world, his forces were stopped by the armies of Rome. He turned his fury on Jerusalem. He killed 80,000 men, women and children. He sold another 40,000 into slavery. He desecrated the sacred temple, stealing its treasures. He stole the golden altar of incense that stood before the inner veil. Then he had a ceremony and officially dedicated God’s temple to the worship of Jupiter Olympus. He took a sow and offered it on the brazen altar, spreading the animal’s juices all over the temple. He filled that hallowed building with prostitutes. He made the observance of the Sabbath a crime punishable by death. Two mothers, who dared defy him, had their babies massacred and strung about their necks. Then they were marched through the streets of Jerusalem to the highest wall and thrown down to their deaths. Antiochus was the prototype of the unbelievable suffering and persecution that will come from the dark prince---Antichrist. The one on whom the world will pin their hopes, given all their power, lauds with praise---will turn on them like a vicious junkyard dog, energized by the power of hell. I do not know when Antichrist will make his entrance into the world. It is possible that he has already been born. I do not know who he will be. Nor will I ever see him. For before that time, there will be a great rending of the skies, a shout of victory, a blast from the trumpet of God, and I shall see my Lord Jesus in the clouds of glory and will be taken instantly to be with Him forever. It is my deepest desire today that you will be taken with the church when it is raptured. In order to go, you must know Jesus Christ as your savior and your Lord. This is the reason for this message. To tell you that there is good news, even in these times when the world prepares for Antichrist. You can know the savior who will never turn on you, never forsake you, and never harm you. He will love you and fulfill you. He is the Christ, Jesus the Son of God. Should through unbelief, procrastination, sheer neglect, (God forbid) you find yourself left behind when the Lord comes to claim His bride, the Church. Christians numbering millions from around the world are missing and now you are painfully aware that you missed out. All hope need not be gone, if only you remember to refuse to take the mark of the beast---Antichrist. It will cost you your earthly life, but after your execution you will be among God’s people, in the land of blessing, never again to be hurt, with the redeemed. Will it not be better, to take time to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and be among the faithful when the catching away happens? God can be your eternal security by believing on the Lord Jesus Christ, (John 3:16). May I share with you, a poem inspired as spiritual truth? “The time is coming and it won’t be long, Men can’t discern what is right, from what is wrong. For the Antichrist’s system, is already in place, To deceive and mislead, at an alarming rate. Will you die for him, or will you take a stand? Or will you worship, (God forbid) this one man? He’s filled up with pride, and lying wonders you see. His goal is to deceive everyone, “including me.” He’ll send a delusion whatever he can Witchcraft---Sorcery, he’ll use any man Don’t fall for the lie, that’s coming your way Commit totally to JESUS…. do it TODAY!!!” I made the ultimate decision in 1942. When in a hospital bed, my life in danger, I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and savior. And through the ensuing years He has never left my side, thank God, forever, for the gift of eternal life.