The Beast is Rising

To identify the Antichrist, we must depend on what the relevant scriptures say about him, his methods, and his agendas .  The subject of the “ Antichrist ” raises many questions. Who is he? When will he appear? How will we recognize him? What is his “ mark ”? In popular preaching, he is a global political leader who uses military might to subjugate other nations. But if Satan is truly clever and cunning, why would he do the very things that so many of us expect? - [ Photo by Daniel Cheung on Unsplash ].

Tribulation of the Church

In Revelation, faithful saints undergo tribulation, but the unrepentant inhabitants of the earth receive wrath, the Second Death .  In chapter 7, John sees countless followers of the “ Lamb ” exiting the “ great tribulation ” after persevering through it. This striking image is central to his vision of the “ innumerable multitude ” comprised of men purchased from every nation by the lifeblood of Jesus. Having “ overcome ,” they now stand triumphantly before the “ Lamb ” and the “ throne ” in “ New Jerusalem .” - [ Photo by Matthew Rumph on Unsplash ].

Appointed to Tribulation

Disciples escape God’s wrath, but they endure tribulation to which they have been appointed – 1 Thessalonians 3:1-4.  In the New Testament, the terms “ tribulation ” and “ wrath ” are NOT synonymous. “ Tribulation ” is what disciples endure for the sake of Jesus and his kingdom. However, “ wrath ” is the horrific fate awaiting the wicked at the “ end of the age ,” the “ second death ” that unrepentant sinners and apostates will endure on account of their iniquities and refusal to obey the gospel of Jesus Christ - [ Photo by Evgeni Tcherkasski on Unsplash ].

Rescued from Wrath

Already, Jesus is rescuing his people from the coming wrath that will befall the unrighteous when he arrives – 1 Thessalonians 1:10.  Opposition to the young church forced Paul to leave Thessalonica before his work was finished. He later attempted to return but was thwarted " by Satan .” Because of his anxieties about the congregation, he sent Timothy to investigate matters, and his first letter to the Thessalonians is his thankful response after receiving good news from Timothy - [ Photo by Johannes Plenio on Unsplash ].

Inhabitants of the Earth

The inhabitants of the earth represent the men and women who are excluded from the book of life by their own decisions . The “ inhabitants of the earth ” are unrelenting in their hostility to Jesus and his servants, even rejoicing in the violent deaths of his “ witnesses .” Unlike the “ nations ” and the “ kings of the earth ,” they are beyond redemption, and their names are excluded from the “ book of life .” - [ Earth Dwellers - Photo by  CHUTTERSNAP  on  Unsplash ].

Signs on the Earth

The prophecy in the book of Joel sets the tone for Acts, including the signs and wonders that accompany the gospel – Acts 2:17-21.  Jesus told the disciples to “ tarry in Jerusalem ”  UNTIL  they received the Spirit. They were then to proclaim the “ kingdom of God ,” in Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria, and the “ uttermost parts of the earth .” The book of  Acts  records how the early church carried out this mission under the power of the Spirit - [ Photo by  Frank Zinsli  on  Unsplash ].