The culmination of history is approaching. The end of the world may be at hand. Yet Jesus tells us we should not be alarmed. Why?
Because we are engraved in the palms of His hands. Because we are carried in His arms. Because we are the apple of His eye.
The time is coming when the world will fall under the spell of the ultimate power-drunk ruler. The Bible calls this ruler the Antichrist. The world will fear him; the West will welcome him. America is currently preparing his way. However, followers of Jesus must remember the Lord's words: "See to it that you are not alarmed."
We must live faithfully and boldly, knowing that the rise of the Antichrist is coming.
In the book of Revelation, John writes of his vision of the End Times. In Revelation 13, John gives us a detailed description of the Antichrist. John describes two beasts, one arising from the sea, the other from the land (verses 1-18). The first beast represents the Antichrist, the final world ruler, who will be destroyed at the second coming of Christ. The second beast is probably a satanically inspired religious leader who supports the political reign of the first beast. Clearly both "beasts" are possessed by the "spirit of antichrist," a spirit that denies that Jesus is the Messiah and Savior of the world.
But there will come a point in history when the Antichrist with a capital A will be revealed. He will arise just prior to the return of Christ. He will literally take control of the entire planet, of all the nations on earth. He will arise at a time of great confusion and chaos in the world. He will arise during conditions of global fear and unrest. He will arise when the world is in political and financial upheaval.
Just as the entire world is desperate for order and security, one man will step forth with a message of hope and peace. Daniel 7:8 describes this leader as possessing "a mouth that spoke boastfully." I believe this describes a person who is a powerfully charismatic orator, who exudes a winsome charm, and who seems superhumanly brilliant. He will be everything people want a world leader to be. His speeches will strike a chord within the human heart. People will be drawn to him and he will unite the world under his rule.
For a time, he will deliver exactly what he has promised: Peace. Prosperity. Security. Hope. But once he has the world in his grip, he will remove the mask of the Messiah-like peacemaker—and reveal himself as a ruthless dictator. Above all, he will deny that Jesus is the only One worthy to be worshiped. Instead, he will demand that the world worships him.
Our world is already being prepared for the Antichrist. There are countless forces today that would normally oppose each other—yet they have joined forces in their opposition to Jesus Christ. They are united in their denial that Jesus is the only way of salvation.
Yet these opposing groups have one belief in common. They are all united in their total rejection of Jesus's claim to be the divine Son of God and the only way to God the Father.
The Christian world is not even united about Jesus's claim to be the only way of salvation. A 2018 survey conducted by Ligonier Ministries and LifeWay Research found that many Americans who claim to hold "evangelical beliefs" have shockingly unbiblical notions about Jesus and salvation.
The Bible tells us, "There is no one righteous, not even one . . . for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Rom. 3:10,23). Yet a majority of self-described "evangelicals"—52%—agree with the statement, "Most people are basically good."
Jesus said, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" (John 14:6). And Peter declared, "Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12). Yet a majority of self-described "evangelicals"—51%—agree with the statement, "God accepts the worship of all religions."
I won't sugarcoat the truth. I will tell you plainly that being a Christian in the end times will be incredibly difficult. It will mean being hated and persecuted for your faith.
But I guarantee that if you are hunted down, abused, and killed for your faith in Jesus, it will be worth it. You will have eternal life with Jesus in heaven. When He returns, you will be full of joy at His appearing while others despair. Only Jesus offers true security in a collapsing world.
Dr. Michael Youssef was born in Egypt and lived in Lebanon and Australia before coming to the United States and fulfilling a childhood dream of becoming an American citizen. He holds degrees from Moore College in Australia, and Fuller Theological Seminary in California, with a Ph.D. in cultural anthropology from Emory University. He founded The Church of The Apostles which was the launching pad for Leading The Way's international ministry. Dr. Youssef has authored more than 50 books, including popular titles "Hope for This Present Crisis" and "Saving Christianity?" His latest book, "Is the End Near?", releases on October 4, 2022.
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