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A Biblical View Of The End Times

Sermon #2

Daniel 8:23-27

THE TRUTH ABOUT SATAN'S SUPERMAN

Intro: To say the least, the Bible is a complex book. Nowhere is this more true than in the area of prophecy. Just about every Bible teacher has his on opinion about how things will work out. What this results in is confusion on the part of the Christians in the pews. What I would like to do is shed a little light on a few areas of prophecy. I do not claim to have all the answers, but I am going to attempt to preach about several prophetic themes that are presented in the Word of God. I would like to try to present these studies in the order in which they will happen on God's prophetic calendar. Last Sunday, we looked at the Rapture of the Church. Today, I would like to preach for a while on The Truth About Satan's Superman. This sermon will focus on the life and work of the person who is known as the Antichrist.

Why a series on prophecy? Because many in our modern churches do not know what lies ahead. Because many all around us need to prepare for the coming of the Lord. Because the time is short and we need to hear the truth.

Some 40 billion people have lived on the earth since Adam was created in the Garden of Eden. Since that time, the world has witnessed the advent of many talented, intelligent and powerful people. However, none of these who has ever lived is able to match this man who will known as the Antichrist. He will be powerful, deceitful, intelligent, brutal, ruthless and efficient. He will represent the pinnacle of all that man can achieve apart from God. He will literally be Satan's Superman. Let's see what the Bible says about him.

I. V. 23 THE APPEARANCE OF SATAN'S SUPERMAN

(Our text tells us that in the end times, a fierce king will stand up. But, what are the signs of his appearing? Can men know when this man will appear? The answer to that question is both "Yes" and "No". I am certain that no man knows exactly who the Antichrist is or exactly when he will appear, but the Bible does tell us that there are certain sings that accompany his appearance. It is these signs that I would like to look at for a few minutes.)

A. The Condition Of The World - when this man makes his entrance, the world will be in a terrible moral condition. This is evidenced by two passages that make reference to the end times, Luke 17:26-27; 2 Tim. 3:1-5. It is easy to see that our world already bears the marks that suggest a fulfillment of these conditions. It is my conviction that the world itself is ready for Satan's Superman to appear.

B. The Corruption Of Religion - 2 Thes. 2:3 tells us that the Antichrist will appear during a time of a religious apostasy, which the Bible calls "a falling away." This refers to a time when organized, visible religion will depart from the doctrines of the Word of God. Since the New Testament was written for and about believers, it makes since to conclude that this falling away will be apparent in churches and denominations which operate under the umbrella of Christianity.

(Ill. I hope everyone understands that just because a church or denomination calls itself a Christian work, that does not truly make it so! In fact, the days in which we live are marked by a rapid departure from the foundational truths of Christianity. There was a time when, if a man said he was a Christian, you pretty much knew what he believed. There might have been a few doctrinal difference, but for the most part, this person believed in the virgin birth of Christ, the substitutionary death and resurrection of Christ, the return of Christ, the fact that the Bible is the Word of God. In other words, a Christian was a person who was in a personal relationship with Jesus and accepted all that the Bible teaches concerning Him and His work. Now, however, things have changed! A person may deny the virgin birth and still claim to be a Christian! A person may call themselves a Christian and cast doubt on the accuracy of the Bible. A person may doubt that Jesus really died and rose from the dead and still claim they are saved. Something is wrong with this picture! We are living in the midst of a "great falling away!" Cults are growing by leaps and bounds while genuine Christianity consistently finds itself under the gun from society, government and organized religion.)

(Ill. Just this summer the Southern Baptist Convention took steps to remove from their doctrinal statement any room for liberals and modernists to wiggle. This move brought cries of protest from the world and from the liberal crowd within the convention. This is just another indication that the tide is swiftly turning against those who believe the Bible and who know Jesus Christ.)

(Ill. When denominations have to take votes on whether to marry homosexuals, or to allow homosexuals to be ordained, something is wrong! There are things that are nailed down so firmly in the Word of God that there should never be a question about them. However, we are seeing every major doctrine under attack. We see churches and denominations turning away from the truth with alarming speed. Truly we are in the midst of apostasy!)

(Ill. If this is the case, then what hinders the Antichrist from appearing at any moment and what keeps the Tribulation from starting? There is one event that must take place before the Antichrist can be revealed and before the Tribulation Period can commence.)

C. The Completion Of The Church - 2 Thes. 2:6-7 - These verses teach us the truth that the church must be removed before the Antichrist can be revealed. Verse 6 tells us that there is something that "withholdeth". Verse 7 says that there is One Who "letteth". The two words are translated from the same Greek word and both mean "to hinder". The Bible tells us, verse 7, that the spirit of Antichrist is already at work. That is why we can see the evidence all around us. However, there are two forces that hinder him from stepping onto the stage and making his presence known. What are those two hindrances? The Church and the Holy Spirit! The work of the Spirit in convicting and judging the hearts of men is a tremendous retraining force in the world, John 16:8-11. The Spirit's work in filling the Church to stand against the tide of evil is also a great hindrance to the work of the spirit of Antichrist. However, one day, both of these forces will be removed! When? At the Rapture!

(Ill. It is worthy to note at this point that the Tribulation is not for the church! It is called, "the time of Jacob's trouble", Jer. 30:7. It was told to Daniel that the Tribulation was a time for Israel, Dan. 9:27. The Tribulation Period is also known as a "time of God's Wrath.", Rev. 6:16-17; Rev. 16:1. The Bible clearly teaches that God's children have been saved from wrath through Jesus, Rom. 5:9. One of the greatest proofs that the church will not se Tribulation is Christ's promise to the church at Philadelphia, Rev. 3:10, "Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.")

(Ill. There are some who would tell us that the church will go through the first 3 years of the Tribulation. However, to believe this view, you have to believe that many of the Lord's prophecies to Israel also apply to the church. The fact of the matter is, if you interpret the Bible literally, you have to believe that the church leaves this world before the Tribulation Period.)

II. V. 23b THE ABILITIES OF SATAN'S SUPERMAN

A. He Will Be A Man Of Popularity - Rev. 6:2 tells us that this man will be "given a crown". That is, the peoples of the world will embrace him as a godsend. No doubt this man will arrive on the scene with a workable formula for world peace. He will have a viable explanation for the disappearance of the Christians. He will embody all the world has ever looked for in a leader. It is said that the Antichrist will possess:

1. The Leadership of a Washington or a Lincoln

2. The Eloquence of a Franklin Roosevelt

3. The Charm of a Theodore Roosevelt

4. The Charisma of a John F. Kennedy

5. The Popularity of a Dwight Eisenhower

6. The Political Savvy of a Lyndon Johnson

7. The Intellect of a Thomas Jefferson

My friends, whether we will admit it or not, the world stage is set for the appearance of such a man! He will be popular!

B. He Will Be A Man Of Peace - Rev. 6:2 tells us that when he appears, he will be like one riding a white horse. This gives him the appearance of good. It also states that he will have a bow, but no arrows. This indicates that he will no come making war, but will come making peace. This is proven by what Daniel saw in Dan. 9:27. It seems this man will make a 7 year peace treaty with the nation of Israel.

(Ill. Again, it can be clearly seen that our world is looking for such a leader. The world is tired of war! Economies are in need of help and people want to prosper and dwell in peace and safety. The world will readily embrace a man with a message of peace.)

(Ill. The world will never know peace apart from Jesus Christ! While this world is in turmoil this morning, the children of God know peace in their hearts, John 14:27. When Jesus returns to this earth, He will usher in a genuine peace that will last. If you are looking for peace, you will find it only in Jesus!)

C. He Will Be A Man Of Prosperity - Dan. 11:43; Rev. 13:16-17. The Antichrist will eventually control the wealth of the world. He will bring prosperity to those who have lived in poverty. I am convinced that the Antichrist will bring an end to world hunger. That he will do away with much of the class distinction that exists in our world. That most people under his reign will be better off financially that they were before he rose to power.

(Ill. This is one area of this rule that will bring him lasting success. People like to prosper! Just look at America! We have a President who has been impeached. He is morally bankrupt. He heads an administration that has witnessed more scandal that any other in American history. All around him, people in positions of power have been convicted of crimes and are doing prison time. He, himself, is about to be disbarred as a lawyer, and he faces criminal charges when he leaves office. In spite of all that, most Americans support Bill Clinton. Why? Because they are better of financially than they were before he came into office. The bottom line? A world leader who can promise and produce prosperity will be a very popular man!)

D. He Will Be A Man Of Power - Rev. 13:7-8 These verses tell us that Antichrist will eventually rule the entire world. Conquerors down through the ages have sought this lofty goal without success. He will achieve it! What men won't recognize, or won't care about is the fact that he receives his power from Satan himself, Dan. 8:24. He will become so large in the eyes of humanity that they will literally worship him as their god.

(Ill. All of this will be true of him in the beginning of his reign. However, in the middle of the Tribulation, this man of peace and prosperity will show his true colors. This brings us to our third thought concerning this superman from Hell.)

III. V. 24-25b THE ABOMINATIONS OF SATAN'S SUPERMAN

A. He Will Attack The People Of God - Dan. 7:25 The Antichrist will break his covenant with Israel and will attack the people of the Lord. He will try to do what Hitler, Stalin and others failed to do: exterminate the Jew. More than anything, this man will hate everything having to do with God and Jesus Christ. He will lash out at the Jews and try to completely destroy them.

(Ill. We are seeing in our day that this spirit is already at work! It is becoming increasingly unpopular to be a Bible believer. In fact, we are often labeled as being intolerant. You watch and see it that is not the buzz word you hear used against the church. We are told that we must tolerate homosexuality and lesbianism. We are told that we must protect the spotted owl while, at the same time, we tolerate the murder of millions of innocent unborn children. We are told that we are bigots when we speak out about the evils of society. We are told that we have no voice in the government. We are told to soften our stance. You keep an eye on things in the next few years. If the Lord doesn't return soon, it my become illegal to be a fundamental, Bible-believing Christian! The church us under attack, and this will continue until the Rapture. Then, the focus of Satan's anger will be the nation of Israel.)

B. He Will Attack The Prince Of God - Dan. 8:25 - Here, we are told that this Mon of Sin will stand up against the "Prince of Princes." This is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ! It appears that anything having to do with godliness, holiness or Christ will be the focus of the attacks of this madman. He will make every effort to stamp out the name of Jesus from the face of the earth!

(Ill. While he is doing this, the Lord will raise an army of young, Jewish men, 144,000 in all, who will go throughout the world preaching the gospel of the Kingdom, Rev. 14. The Antichrist will be powerless to stop them! Aren't you glad that even in the midst of Chaos, God is still on the throne?!)

(Ill. Again, this attitude is already being manifested in our day. When was the last time you heard someone use the name of Allah as a curse word? When did you hear someone in a fit of anger make use of the name of Buddha. When was the last time you heard your favorite actor take the word "damn" and place the name of Krishna before it? The fact is, you haven't! And you won't! The name that is attacked with alarming frequency is the name of Jesus! I hear that blessed name used as a byword by a Christ rejecting world and it makes me sick to my stomach. You might as well face it, the devil hates the name of Jesus! He will hate it and he will attempt to discredit it and destroy it until he is cast away in to Hell's flames. Why is it that Jesus, and His doctrines, are the most hated things in the world? Because if men admit the fact that He is Lord, that He died and rose again, that He is in fact the Savior. Then man must admit that he is a sinner or be doomed to Hell. If the Bible is right about Jesus, then it stands to reason that it is right about everything else as well. The world hates His name because it points out their sins!)

C. He Will Attack The Place Of God - Dan. 8:25; Dan. 11:36-37; Dan. 9:27; 2 Thes. 2:4; Matt. 24:15 - All these verses tell us that the Antichrist will break his 7 year covenant with the Jews. That he will attempt to wipe Israel from the map and that he will enter the newly constructed Temple in Jerusalem, walk into the Holy of Holies and set up his throne. He will declare himself to be God and he will demand worship from all the people, but especially the Jews. He will desecrate their Temple. The Jews

(Ill. The passage we read as our text this morning was directly fulfilled by a man named

Antiochus Epiphanes.

a. He was a Syrian.

b. He came to the throne in 175 B.C. and ruled until 164 B.C.

c. He was anti-Semitic to the core. He assaulted Jerusalem, murdering over 40,000 in three days, and selling an equal number into cruel slavery. It is thought that on September 6, 171 B.C., he began his evil actions toward the Temple.

d. On December 15, 168, his Temple desecration reached its ultimate low, for on that day this idolater sacrificed a giant sow on an idol altar he had made in the Jewish Temple. He then forced the priests to swallow its flesh, made a broth of it, and sprinkled all the Temple. He finally carried off the golden candlesticks, table of shrewbread, altar of incense, various other vessels, and destroyed the sacred books of the Law. A large image of Jupiter was placed in the Holy of Holies. All this was termed by the horrified Jews as "the abomination of desolation," and is referred to by Jesus in Matthew 24:15 as a springboard to describe the activities of the future antichrist.

e. All through Palestine altars to Jupiter were set up and the Jews were forced to sacrifice on them. But at a little Jewish town called Modin (seventeen miles northwest of Jerusalem) there lived a Jewish priest named Mattathias, of the House of Hasmon. He had five sons and this brave old man not only refused to worship Antiochus' idols, but boldly slew the king's religious ambassador. The Jewish revolt was on. One of his sons was named Judas and he was called the Maccabee (meaning, the hammer).

For the next few years Judas successfully led an army of Jews against the Syrians. Their brave exploits are described in two Apocrypha books, first and second Maccabees. On December 25, 165 B.C., the Jewish patriots cleansed and rededicated the Temple Antiochus had defiled. This later became a Jewish holiday known as the Feast of Dedication (see Jn. 10:22).

Note: In 8:14 there is a time period of 2300 days mentioned. This apparently began on September 6, 171 B.C. and ended on December 25, 165 B.C. It was, however, on the basis of this period that William Miller, founder of the modern Seventh Day Adventist movement, went astray. He made the days stand for years and arrived at the date of October 22, 1844, for the return of Christ!

f. Antiochus died in Babylon in 164 B.C. after being soundly defeated in battle.

What Antiochus did is part will be done in full by the Antichrist. He will declare to the world that he is God and that he must be worshiped. The sad thing is that the Bible tells us very clearly that the world will be lead to worship this devil from Hell, Rev. 13:8. The world will not bow to the Lord Jesus Who loves them and gave Himself for them, Rom. 5:8; Rev. 1:5. But, they will worship this satanically charged madman and will give him the praise that should be reserved exclusively for God!)

(Ill. Friend, who are you worshiping this morning? Are you giving you worship to yourself? Your things? Your life? Are you reserving your worship for the Antichrist? The fact is, your worship will be directed somewhere. I would advise that you worship the Lord God through His Son the Lord Jesus Christ.

IV. V. 25c THE AFFLICTIONS OF SATAN'S SUPERMAN

A. It Will Be Sudden - Dan 8:25 says that the Antichrist will be "broken without hand." This means that the Antichrist will be defeated, but not by man! His kingdom will be over thrown, but it will be a supernatural defeat. This is made even clearer by Rev. 19:20. When God judges this man, He will do it swiftly and harshly. Defeat is sure for the Antichrist.

B. It Will Be Serious - Notice that Rev. 19:20 says that Antichrist will enter the Lake of Fire alive! Then, 1,000 years later, Satan himself is judged and condemned to the Lake of Fire. When he is thrown in, the Bible tells us that the Beast is still there, Rev. 20:10. In spite of the man's abilities, in spite his power, in spite his greatness, in spite of the fact that he received the worship of men, he is still defeated. All the while he was ruling the world in great power, he was nothing more than a puppet in the hand of God. He was just a pawn fulfilling a divinely directed purpose. This man, like so many others found himself on the wrong side!

(Ill. My friend, which side are you on this morning? Are you in line with the Word of God? Have you trusted Jesus as your personal Savior? If so, you will never see the Antichrist in this world. If so, then you will be in Heaven, in the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ while the world writhes under tribulation. If not, then you need to be saved! You are on the wrong side! If the Lord doesn't come in your life time, you will die and go to Hell if you don't get right with God. If He does come and finds you lost, you will enter into the Tribulation and you will probably give your worship to the Antichrist, 2 Thes. 2:12. Where do you stand today?)

Conc: We may wonder what all this has to do with us. The answer is that Jesus is coming and the world is poised to enter a time of trouble like nothing she has ever experienced before. What happens to you all depends on what you do with Jesus Christ. I invite you to come to Him this morning and be saved. If you are saved, I would ask you to look at you life to see if you are pointing men to Jesus or away from Him by the life you live. I do not fear the Antichrist! I will be gone before he makes his appearance. What about you? Where will you be when Satan's Superman takes the world by storm?  When Daniel looked into these things, he fainted and became ill.  He was a godly man!  What effect do these words have on your heart this morning?



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