Pastor Greg Laurie of Harvest Church in Riverside, Calif., addressed the question Christians often ask, "Who is the antichrist?" The answer he offered, however, was not what we often get to hear.
Whenever something is popular, successful and effective, there will be imitations, Laurie, the lead pastor at Harvest Church, told the audience as he began the Sunday morning's message, part of a series called, "Revelation: The Next Dimension."
Satan is "the ultimate imitator," he said. "He has this cheap imitation of all things that are true." For instance, the pastor said, we have real Christians, and Satan has people who pretend to be believers but they are not. Similarly, we have real miracles, and "Satan has fake imitations of miracles."
Explaining about the antichrist, Laurie said, "God has His Son; His name is Jesus. And one day, Satan will have his son, not exactly in the way God's Son has come, because Jesus is God incarnate. But in a way, Satan will have his version … his imitation of Jesus… We have Jesus Christ, and Satan will have antichrist."
The pastor described the antichrist as "history's vilest embodiment of sin and rebellion." This coming world leader, however, will not be what we expect – he won't be dressed in black from top to bottom or bear a visible mark of 666, he said. On the contrary, the antichrist will be suave, intelligent, engaging, magnetic and charismatic.
Laurie quoted historian Arnold Toynbee as saying a few years ago: "By forcing on mankind more and more lethal weapons and at the same time making the world more and more interdependent economically, technology has brought mankind to such a degree of disaster that we are ripe for the deifying of any new Caesar who might succeed in giving the world unity and peace." Toynbee's statement, the pastor said, "fits the biblical scenario."
The coming of the antichrist is getting closer every day, Laurie said, reading from Revelations 13:1-9. Hitler, Napoleon, Alexander the Great, all were "forerunners of who is to come, who will harness the economic and technological power of this world and bring about a one-world economy, a one-world government and a one-world religion."
Laurie said the antichrist will be a "fake Jesus," and many will believe in him. The antichrist is coming to deify Satan, the pastor said, quoting from Revelations 13: 4, "Men worshiped the dragon because he had given authority to the beast, and they also worshiped the beast and asked, 'Who is like the beast? Who can make war against him?'" This is what Satan always wanted, to be deified, to be worshiped, Laurie said. And this is why Lucifer was thrown out of heaven.
The antichrist is also coming to take the place of Jesus, Laurie said, as he quoted Revelations 13:5, 6, "The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise his authority for forty-two months. He opened his mouth to blaspheme God, and to slander his name and his dwelling place and those who live in heaven."
The antichrist is coming to kill Christians, Laurie went on to say, and quoted verse 7, which says, "He was given power to make war against the saints and to conquer them. And he was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation."
We can already see anti-Christian mentality becoming more common in the world, including in the United States that was founded on Judeo-Christian values, the pastor remarked.
Laurie said the antichrist is coming also to dominate the globe. He will come as a man of peace; he will bring about temporary peace. "He will be so successful that many will think he is the messiah." He will deceive many.
The antichrist is not alone, Pastor Laurie added. He has with him the false prophet, referred to as the "second beast" in Revelations 13:13, 14: "And it performed great signs, even causing fire to come down from heaven to the earth in full view of the people. 14 Because of the signs it was given power to perform on behalf of the first beast, it deceived the inhabitants of the earth. It ordered them to set up an image in honor of the beast who was wounded by the sword and yet lived."
This makes an unholy trinity, Laurie said, explaining that Satan is in God's place, the antichrist in Jesus' place, and the false prophet in place of the Holy Spirit.
While we resist only the things that appear to be evil on the surface, the devil can come as an angel of light, the pastor reminded the audience. He will come with religious deceptions. A sign of the end times is when people turn away from their Christian faith, and there are attempts to take people away from the Bible as the authoritative source of truth and the uniqueness of Christ, he added.
But who will the antichrist be? While this was the title of the message, "I have no idea who the antichrist will be, and nor does anyone else," Laurie told the congregation, advising them not to waste their time in speculating.
"The antichrist cannot even emerge until we are caught up to meet the Lord in the air," the pastor said. "We won't be around to find out who he is. Our job is not to be looking for antichrist; our job is to be looking for Jesus Christ."
And below we see the latest from Caroline Glick. One cannot view current events, such as those described below and not consider the prophetic implications:
Today as Obama officially enters his second term in office, Israel enters a period unlike any it has experienced before. It will face a hostile US president who does not fear the voters. Moreover, it faces a US president who is so hostile to Israel that his first serious act after his reelection was to appoint Chuck Hagel Defense Secretary, (and John Brennan CIA Director).
As I wrote last week, I believe that Israel will not be the hardest hit by Obama's "transformative" foreign policy over the next four years. As an independent state, Israel has the ability to diversify its network of strategic allies and so mitigate somewhat the hit it will take from the Obama administration. The US, and first and foremost the US military will not be so fortunate.
Not surprisingly, Israel's biggest defenders in the US Capitol are also the most outspoken allies of the US military and the most concerned about maintaining America's ability to remain the most powerful nation on earth both economically and militarily. They are as well, Obama's most outspoken critics on the Hill.
For their outspoken criticism, and their competence, these men and women have been targeted for political destruction by Obama and his allies. Last November we saw this leftist machine outgun and so defeat Cong. Allen West in Florida and Joe Walsh in Illinois. Both men were targeted by Obama's smear machine that included, among other things, J-Street endorsements of their opponents, and rancid attacks against them.
One of the voices that Obama's machine has spent millions of dollars trying to silence is that of Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann.
As a member of the House Select Committee on Intelligence, and as a contender in the Republican presidential primaries, Bachmann has been one of Israel's most passionate and articulate defenders and one of Obama's most effective critics on everything from federal spending to Obama's abandonment of the US-Israel alliance to his opening of the US federal government and intelligence apparatuses to members of the Muslim Brotherhood - that is to members of a movement dedicated to the destruction of the American way of life.
For her efforts, Rep. Bachmann has been the target of repeated media smear campaigns, often joined by skittish Republicans like John McCain who failed to recognize the danger of the Muslim Brotherhood's rise in Libya and Egypt, and failed to understand the danger that the penetration of the US federal government by Muslim Brotherhood members constitutes to US national security
In the past, every time that I have written about Cong. Bachmann, I have been bombarded with comments from readers who say that they cannot believe I can support her, since they claim, she is such an extremist. But Cong. Bachmann is not an extremist at all.
What she is is a victim of a very successful smear campaign undertaken by people who recognize her talent, conviction, intelligence and effectiveness. They set out to destroy and marginalize her, just as they set out to destroy and marginalize Mitt Romney and West and Walsh and many others, because they perceive these leaders as a threat to their agendas.
The proximate cause for the petition is a series of letters Bachmann and five other (wonderful and similarly courageous) Congressional colleagues penned to the Inspectors General of the Departments of Homeland Security, the Defense Department, the State Department, Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Department of Justice asking for the IGs to conduct an investigation of the ties senior officials in these departments have with the Muslim Brotherhood.
For her efforts, Bachmann was condemned not only by the Left, but by Senator John McCain as a bigot and a McCarthyite.
But she is none of these things. And last month, her concerns were borne out when the Egyptian magazine Rose al Youssef published an article about Muslim Brotherhood operatives in senior positions in the Obama administration. According to the article, these operatives have transformed the US "from a position hostile to Islamic groups and organizations in the world, to the largest and most important supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood." (Here is the Investigative Project on Terrorism's translation of the article.)
Russia has started the largest naval exercises in the past few decades in the Mediterranean and Black Seas as a civil war in Syria continues to gain momentum.
The drills involve task forces from Russia’s Black Sea, Northern and Baltic fleets, strategic bombers, tactical aircraft, air defense units, paratroopers and naval infantry.
An official statement by the Defense Ministry, issued on Saturday, says the exercises “are held in line with the Russian Armed Forces’ 2013 combat training plan and focus on interoperability of task forces from several fleets while on a mission in a far-off maritime zone.”
The exercises will continue until January 29 and involve over 60 drills, including anti-submarine warfare missions, missile and artillery firing practices.
The training may also include simulated beach landing and convoy escort missions as the task forces have four large landing ships and a variety of auxiliary vessels in their composition.
Some of the exercises are expected to be carried out in the eastern part of the Mediterranean, and, possibly close to the territorial waters of Syria, where rebels have recently stepped up their attacks on army installations in their determined drive to oust President Bashar Al-Assad.