There are two kingdoms in the spiritual realm – the kingdom of God and the kingdom of Satan:
The kingdom of God is under the authority of the Triune God – God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. God the Son made Himself of no reputation by coming to the world in the form of a lowly servant who died on the cross to atone for the sins of a fallen human race. After His resurrection from the dead He was highly exalted and given a name which is above every name, that in the Name of Jesus every knee should bow (Phil. 2:5-11). He is not only the Saviour of humanity (Heb. 4:12), but also the Judge (Acts 17:30-31) and the coming King who will return in power and glory. The following are the main reasons for His return and public revelation:
· To destroy the Antichrist and his deceived followers at the battle of Armageddon (Rev. 19:19-21).
· To bind Satan and confine him to a bottomless pit for 1000 years (Rev. 20:1-3).
· To judge the nations (Matt. 25:31-46).
· To save the remnant of Israel (Zech. 12:10; 13:9).
· To restore the throne of David in Jerusalem (Acts 15:16-17).
· To reveal His kingdom by establishing His millennial reign on earth (Jer. 3:17; Rev. 11:15).
· To appoint His saints as co-rulers (Rev. 5:9-10; 20:4,6).
· To rule the nations in righteousness (Isa. 2:2-4).
The kingdom of Satan is headed by Satan who uses his large following of fallen angels, or demons, to oppose the kingdom of God by deceiving as many people as possible into sinning and disobeying God. He plans to reveal a counterfeit Christ on earth, described in the Bible as the Antichrist (1 John 2:18) and the beast (Rev. 13:1). Satan will give him his power, his throne and great authority (Rev. 13:2). The Antichrist will be revealed for the following purposes:
· To declare himself as universal messiah who will be worshipped by all nations (Rev. 13:4,8).
· To be a false prince of peace who will unite the world under his leadership (Rev. 6:2; 13:3).
· To extend Satan’s rule to the political, religious and economic spheres, thereby establishing a satanic new world order (Rev. 13:1-18).
· To declare himself as God in the rebuilt temple in Jerusalem (2 Thess. 2:4).
· To exalt and honour the god of forces (Lucifer) on earth (Dan. 11:38).
· To deceive Israel by pretending to be their Messiah (John 5:43), and to try and annihilate them after they have revoked their covenant with him (Dan. 9:27; Matt. 24:15-22).
· To kill all Christians (Rev. 6:9-10; 12:17).
· To fight against the true Christ when He returns (Rev. 19:19-20).
Both these kingdoms are preparing to emerge from the spiritual realm and take absolute control over the world by establishing a global government – the one under the leadership of Christ and the other one under the leadership of the Antichrist. Since God has created human beings with a free will, not foreordaining anyone to heaven or hell, all people have a choice to determine their own spiritual destiny. Of course, making the wrong choice constitutes rebellion against God and subjects such people to God’s judgements (John 3:18). He extends His mercy to all people (Rev. 22:17) but will judge those who declined the gospel message by refusing the pardon and eternal life offered to them by Jesus Christ (Rev. 20:15).
Since the creation of Adam and Eve, through the ages, people had to choose whether to serve the true God or one of the false religions offered to them by Satan (Judg. 24:15; 1 Cor. 10:20). But now, at the end of the ages, the day of reckoning is rapidly approaching. Judgement will begin in the house of God (1 Pet. 4:17), when all believers of all ages will appear before the judgement seat of Christ in heaven (2 Cor. 5:10). This occasion will be preceded by the resurrection of all believers, followed by the rapture (1 Thess. 4:16-17). After the rapture, the backsliders, the nominal believers and all the unbelievers, whether practising false religions or not, will be surrendered to the deception and dictatorship of the Antichrist (2 Thess. 2:9-12).
Since the world is very close to the public revelation of the glorified Christ and of the Antichrist, people everywhere are intensively influenced to making a final choice between these two christs – the true Christ and the false christ. This situation is reminiscent to the final phase of an election campaign. Now, more than ever before, we must have a saving knowledge of the true Christ while preparing to give account of our lives before His judgement seat. We must also be fully aware of the strategies applied by the Antichrist to deceive people and muster support for his kingdom, which will be a satanic new world order. No compromise can be made with the Antichrist and his ideology.
Who has the upper hand in the battle for your soul? You are the one who must make the final choice of allegiance. It is tragic to behold how thousands of believers are poorly anchored to Christ. Their doctrinal foundations are questionable as is evidenced by them being tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine (Eph. 4:14). If they really had a personal and intimate knowledge of the Lord Jesus they would have humbled themselves before Him and live holy lives while preparing to meet Him at the judgement seat after the rapture. Instead, many of them are preoccupied with the doctrines of their own churches and are promoting a kingdom theology which is aimed at bringing about a man-made revival. Large groups of believers are rejecting the promise of the rapture and also deny the biblical warnings that there will be a literal Antichrist and a great tribulation (Matt. 24:21; 1 John 2:18). Even though they may wait for the coming of Christ, they are not ready for it. Because of their poor knowledge and wrong priorities they are candidates for the deception and great falling away of the last days.
Referring to the time shortly before His second coming, the Lord Jesus says: “Take heed that no one deceives you… [for] many false prophets will rise up and deceive many… [they will] show great signs and wonders, so as to deceive, if possible, even the elect” (Matt. 24:4,11,24). John says: “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1). The Holy Spirit Himself “expressly says that in the latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons” (1 Tim. 4:1). Paul also predicted these times: “Know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: for men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers… having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!” (2 Tim. 3:1-5). Nominal (unsaved) Christians who only have a form of godliness (church membership without spiritual regeneration) constitute a major part of the spiritual falling away of the last days.
It is critically important to understand the strategies followed by the kingdom of Satan to promote its own interests by deceiving people everywhere to be unfaithful to God, to reject His authority, to disobey His commands and to ignore the gospel message. Satan’s final objective is to replace the Triune God as the ruler of the universe. He is an impostor who poses as God, while his false christ, the Antichrist, will set out to replace Christ by showing himself as the universal Christ of all faiths. The satanic spirit of deceit imitates the Holy Spirit by empowering people to serve foreign gods and to perform miracles emanating from mystical powers.
In the non-Christian world, Satan deceives people by worshipping idols which all represent himself (1 Cor. 10:19-20). In the Christian world he deceives Christians by distorting the image of God and the message of the Bible to such an extent that people end up worshipping a counterfeit God and counterfeit Jesus through the work of a counterfeit spirit, by proclaiming a counterfeit gospel (2 Cor. 11:4). He uses false prophets to do his dirty work (2 Cor. 11:13-15). They pretend to be highly committed Christians, but in actual fact they are deceiving their followers to believe the lies of Satan.
Such people no longer serve the true God and His Son, but go after false images of them. In this way a false, nominal Christianity takes root in the world. Their lives are built upon false foundations as they are not born again and consequently do not have a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. Their justification is based upon human works, baptism, deceptive ideas about predestination, etc. Being only nominal believers, they and their preachers only use the name of Christ to deceive themselves and others, but they do not really belong to Him (Matt. 7:22-23; 2 Tim. 4:3-4). Because of their lack of spiritual discernment they fully embrace apostate Protestantism, Roman Catholicism and even the non-Christian religions. They are completely ecumenically minded.
They are unfaithful to the true Christ and do not hesitate to reject His virgin birth, His deity, the significance of His substitutionary death, as well as His teaching that no one goes to the Father but by Him. They are also unfaithful to the Holy Spirit by exposing themselves to spiritual manifestations which are not taught or supported by the Bible. They also have an appetite for kingdom-now teachings, based upon false revivals, signs and wonders.
Because the Antichrist will initially pose as Christ to the Christians, Buddha to the Buddhists, the Imam Mahdi to the Muslims and Krishna to the Hindus, his first appearance will be as ‘n prince of peace who rides a white horse (Rev. 6:2). It will only be after he has achieved his objective of deceiving all of mankind through false religions (including falsified versions of Christianity), that he will reveal himself as a Satan-inspired dictator who will ruthlessly destroy all his opposition. He will only be a prince of peace during the first 3½ years of the tribulation, and become a power-hungry dictator (much worse than Nero, Stalin and Hitler put together) during the final 3½ years of the tribulation.
We all have to make a definite choice between the true Christ and the Antichrist. If we say that we are loyal to the Lord Jesus Christ we should closely identify with His death and resurrection. This necessitates the complete abandoning of the world and of sin. Paul said that he counted the things of the world rubbish, that he may gain Christ, “that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death” (Phil. 3:8-10). How many Christians have this knowledge about the Lord Jesus? A commitment of this nature leaves no room for any doubts on the virgin birth of Jesus (Matt. 1:23), His deity (1 John 5:20), His eternal self-existence as the Logos who created the world (John 1:1-3, 8:58), the inerrancy of His Word (2 Tim. 3:16-17) and the importance of the doctrines of justification by faith and sanctification by being filled with the Holy Spirit. We need to watch and pray always if we wish to be ready for His sudden coming (Luke 21:36). For this to be realised we must make sure that the oil of the Holy Spirit is not lacking in our lives.
Those who entertain distorted and falsified views about Christianity are followers of another Jesus (2 Cor. 11:4). Whether they realise it or not, they are preparing the way for the appearance of the great, end-time deceiver, the Antichrist. Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith (2 Cor. 13:5). Only true followers of the Lord Jesus Christ are ready for the rapture, and will not even see the revelation of the Antichrist. They will return to the world seven years later to share in Christ’s victory over the Antichrist and his deceived followers.
All people in the world are being finally prepared to meet the true Christ or the false christ. Which way are you heading? The great majority of people are obviously on the broad way, all expecting the universal messiah of all faiths. John says that the entire world will marvel and follow the Antichrist, while also worshipping him (Rev. 13:3-4). But before this counterfeit christ is revealed, the true believers who are on the narrow way that leads to heaven, will be taken away to their heavenly destination (John 14:2-3). Peter says that we should follow in His steps (1 Pet. 2:21). In whose footsteps are you following?