- Are there any other prophetic events to be expected before the Pre-Tribulation Rapture?
- Are we truly equipped to recognize the growing presence of deceiving spirits in the Church?
Coming Crisis and the Rise of Antichrist : Part 1
"Be not terrified." The rise of Antichrist will be the first event of note to herald the approaching end of the age. It will be a time of peril and even terror for the whole world. If we take into consideration other prophecies not in view in the Olivet Discourse, we could conclude that it is not so much the rise of Antichrist as it is the conditions that make his rise possible that will cause the terror.
The rise of the little horn, or Antichrist, precedes the Rapture, and it involves war. The little horn pulls three horns up by the roots as he waxes great in three directions [Dan. 7:8; 8:9]. A conqueror waxes great by conquest.
New and amazing engines of war will be the things that bring the world to a state of terror which could well paralyze the world and bring all industry and trade to a standstill. Scientific advances will make it possible for one nation to do this, but Antichrist will have a superior weapon so that he can, almost single-handedly, destroy the enemy of the nations of Europe and weld them into a new empire of vast wealth and power.
Daniel says, "He shall destroy wonderfully." A literal translation would read, "He will destroy wonderful things." Revelation also supports this conclusion. It is because of his power to make war against almost impossible odds that the world will worship him. "Who is able to make war with him?" Rev. 13:4. The fact that his power comes directly from Satan will not be held against him as long as he can give the world peace and prosperity.
The End Is Not Yet
These wars, rumours of wars, and commotions will have only one final result: the rise of Antichrist. This is the beginning of the end, but not the end. When Jesus said, "The end is not yet," He was answering the question: What shall be the sign of the end of the age? He said these things must happen but the end is not yet. He gave this as the reason why we should not be troubled by the frightening things that terrify the rest of the world.
The rise of Antichrist will mark the beginning of a series of prophetic fulfillments more sensational than any miracles in the Bible. Jesus allowed time for all these prophecies to be fulfilled. He put an indefinite time between the beginning of these things and the Rapture [in the Olivet Discourse].
It will look as though the end has come. There will seem to be no hope for survival. Surrender or die. Although the statesmen and military leaders may see no way out, there is a way; the prophets saw it. This way many not be good for the nations, although the world will be in such a state of terror and confusion that any way out will seem good.
The world would not accept Antichrist unless he came under some such circumstances. He will be the savior of the world. It is not possible before the time to envisage these conditions. They will be so different from anything we have ever known. It is the climax of the ages, the beginning of the final struggle for the possession of the earth. Spirit forces will be very active. That will only add to the terror; in fact, it may in the end be the main source of terror. Events like these start in the heavens, not on the earth.
For comparable circumstances you would have to review the days of Noah before the flood, the confusion of tongues at the tower of Babel, the contest of Moses with Pharaoh, the temptation of Christ, and the war in heaven when Satan and his angels are cast out. It is the world's greatest crisis. It is imperative that churches prepare for it. This is the purpose of prophecy.
These first events, extreme as they are and terrible as they may seem, are still not the end or anywhere near the end. When these things start, a vast amount of prophecy will come into fruition. It might be possible to characterize the times that will follow as an era of peace and prosperity, for it is only under such world conditions that many of the prophecies could happen.
The building of Babylon, a center of wealth and commerce as well as religion, could not come in troublous times. The return of the Jews with the rebuilding of the temple requires conditions such as we do not have today. The new city of Tyre which Ezekiel describes draws upon the wealth of the whole world, and a rich world it is. It is impossible even to conceive the changes that are coming as the outcome of these wars and commotions. Truly, the end is not yet.
I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking great things.�Dan. 7:8
That which Daniel saw was not the immediate revival of the empire but the arrival of a man. From now on, all the attention is centered around this one man. If there is any revival of the Roman Empire, it will be his work. It is not the empire that produces the man, but the man who constructs an empire.
This man is the most sensational figure in prophecy. He figures in the prophecies concerning the Jews, concerning the nations, and concerning the Church. To trace his character and his actions would take us into many parts of the Bible. Some things said about him are so unbelievable that they have seldom been taken at face value. His rise will probably be the most spectacular and world-shaking spectacle that has ever happened. It is only since the invention of the H-bomb that we have been able to see how some of the prophecies could possibly be true. All the world will wonder at him, "whose coming is after the working of Satan" (II Thess. 2:9).
This little horn is an absolute dictator, while the other horns may be more or less democratic. The little horn represents a move back to strong, one-man government when one man will dominate the world.
For more than a generation now, the world has been moving slowly but surely toward that end. The rise of dictators one after another is not an accident. It is a trend, a general movement toward a definite goal. Satan is probing.
Churches are also moving in the direction of world organization "one church" with great power in the hands of a few. In America, which is the very bulwark of democracy, the trend is away from state sovereignty toward a strong central government. It seems to be irresistible.
When Revelation tells the story of the rise of the final kingdom, it describes it by naming again all the beasts of Daniel. Revelation 13 is strikingly like Daniel 7:2, 3. The differences are due to the point of time. John was looking backwards over all time; Daniel was looking forward from his time. "The beast, the leopard, the bear, and the lion" - these are the four world-empires of Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome. This is a revival not only of the Roman Empire but of all the world-empires under one head. This corresponds to Daniel 2:45. When the stone strikes, the whole image is standing again.
Antichrist's Promises of World Prosperity
Probably Satan's most effective "great words" will be promises of peace and prosperity-a false millennium. Even now, that is the only issue that gets votes. It will be still more effective if the world faces seeming certain destruction.
The threat of imminent and sudden horrible destruction would be enough to paralyze the country so that the wheels of industry could not turn, and people would be on the verge of starvation. Cities do not have food for more than a few days...We have no "Joseph" in Washington...The sudden rise of a man who could handle a situation of that kind, and who could restore peace and safety by a superhuman power, would captivate the imagination of the world. "Who is like unto the beast?"
Before the Rapture, look for peace and prosperity and the building of great cities. Antichrist will undoubtedly be considered the greatest man who ever lived. He will captivate the world.
At the Rapture God will take peace from the earth. If God is going to take peace from the earth, there will have to be peace on the earth. After the Rapture Antichrist will fight many great wars. The only reason given as to why the people will worship him at that time is his ability to make war: "And they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is able to make war with him?"
It is very important that we recognize the great difference that comes over the world at the Rapture. If we are looking for the signs that will come after the Rapture, we may be greatly deceived, for those signs will not come at the start. Before the Rapture Antichrist will be a man of peace; after the Rapture he will be a man of war. It will be easy to count his number after the Rapture, but only those who have spiritual insight will be able to get his number when he first arrives on the scene.
"His number  is the number of a man." This is a positive identification, although we may all be reluctant to apply it to this man when he is doing so much for the peace and comfort of the world. Make no mistake. This man will deceive the whole world, except those who have special insight. It will be difficult to point to so magnificent a benefactor and say he is Antichrist. The world will not simply be subjected to deceit; it will be deceit on a grand scale such as the world has never experienced. We cannot make this too emphatic. Some of the most seemingly spiritual people will be 100 percent deceived.
All the world needs today is a man capable of enforcing peace, along with a free transfer of goods to the world's markets. Then in a few years this world could be transformed into a paradise. This peace and security will be Satan's great false millennium by which he will deceive the whole world. Paul says: "When they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them..."(1 Thessalonians 5:3).
Probably the greatest of all heresies, when you consider all its consequences, is the false teaching that none of these things can happen before the [Pre-Trib] Rapture. It throws Christians off their guard and makes them wide open to Satan's masterpiece of deceit.
The strength of false religions results from the failure of the church to teach the whole Bible. Church people are not ready for the events of the end of this age. Yet when these events come suddenly upon us, we will not have time to instruct our own people. False teachers will have a field day and will deceive many.
When Jesus said, "Take heed that no man deceive you," He was speaking not to the world but to His own--to the church. We expect the world to be deceived, but churches are also in danger. It is in the churches that deceivers get their victims. The way to combat this danger is to instruct the people. People who know are not deceived. God said, "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge"(Hos. 4:6).
Part 1 quotes are from Signs of His Coming: A Study of the Olivet Discourse (1962), by Arthur E. Bloomfield (emphases added). Part 2 quotes are from The End of the Days: The Prophecies of Daniel Explained (1961), by Professor Bloomfield. Part 3 quotes are from How to Recognize the Antichrist (1975), also by Dr. Bloomfield.