I saw a beast coming up out of the sea…(Rev. 13:1).
Is President Obama the Antichrist? It has been suggested. How about the Pope? There are those who are convinced he is. How about the 12th Imam? The identity of the “man of lawlessness” is always a hot topic among prophecy buffs.
Who did the early church think the “man of lawlessness” was? Most biblical scholars would say they thought the Roman Emperor Nero was going to return (he died in 68 AD, some 30 years prior to the writing of Revelation). Part of their thinking involved the hint John was given on Patmos that the name of Antichrist would have a numerical correlation with the number 666. In Latin and Hebrew the numerical equivalent of “Caesar Nero” was 666.
I should explain that both in Hebrew and Greek, the languages of the Bible, letters served as numbers. Every word or name would have a numerical equivalent. Of course this has led to almost 2,000 years of speculation about the Antichrist. Amazing numerical gymnastics have led people to identify everyone from the Emperor of Rome, to Napoleon, to Hitler, to Obama based on their 666 calculations.
I would suggest that we don’t know who the Antichrist is at this point in time. We don’t know if he is in the world today and will be revealed in the near future. But it is entirely possible. The Bible indicates that Jesus will not return before this villain is revealed. If we live in the days of the return of Jesus, a powerful, charismatic world leader will emerge shortly. He will be viewed as the “savior” of a world that has spun out of control and is on the verge of chaos. He will be viewed as a hero at first, but his true colors will be revealed in time.
“666” is coming. The spirit of 666 has been in the world for centuries. But it will become incarnate in the last days. At the most simple level, 6 is the number of man, and 3 is the number of God. 666 is present whenever a man makes himself out to be God. This was the case when Revelation was written. It cost the early Christians everything to take a stand against the worship of Caesar. What once was, will again be the case one day. Is Obama the Antichrist? I don’t think so. Is the Pope the Antichrist? I don’t think so. But one day, some world leader will be. Keep your Bible in one hand, and your newspaper or e-reader opened to the news in the other. Don’t be naïve, and don’t be deceived. If you want to know more about this subject, I will be teaching on it this Sunday and you can access the message after Monday at http://www.highlinecc.org/go/index.php/teaching/recent-sermons.