First Seal: The Antichrist’s Political Aggression
Preface: The first seal is quite an interesting study. Now I have been drawing strongly here from Mike Bickle’s Study of the Seals Trumpets and Bowls. A strictly scholastic approach won’t work here, that usually ends with people making it mean something less offensive or symbolizing it away. I want to lean on the teachers of the body throughout the centuries, but also seek His guidance. The Lord will give revelation and understanding to those who ask for it, especially as we get nearer to His Return. There are many interpretations of the book of Revelation, but only one Holy Spirit. I have sought to ask Jesus what His plans are, more than read into the book a denominational view. Even as you read this, you want to keep asking for the Spirit of Truth to guide you into truth, even beyond the page here.
First Seal: The Antichrist’s Political Aggression
- And I looked, and behold, a white horse. He who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer. (Rev. 6:2)
The first seal is unique because it signals the beginning of the final three and a half years. This is after the first 3 1/2 years of false peace. After the time of false peace there are the 7 Seals, the 7 Trumpets, the Rapture and then the 7 bowls.
The first seal is the release of the Antichrist as a political leader on the worldwide stage with authority. The Antichrist begins as a regional, political leader who is not taken seriously by many other leaders around the world. They do not know who he is. He knows who he is, but they do not. He is a regional leader.
He puts together a series of covenants and peace treaties among the nations creating false peace. That is one of the key events that thrust him onto the world stage. It is more than that, but that is the beginning of the events that put him on the world stage.
When he comes on the world stage at the first seal, then it signals the final three and a half years before Jesus appears in the sky to rapture the Church, establish His throne in Jerusalem, and take over all the nations. When the first seal is released and the Antichrist takes a world stage, it signifies the last three and a half years. It is forty-two months, the Bible says, until the Lord’s appearing in the sky, landing on the earth to take over the earth.
A CHANGE IN PRAYER TYPE
The prayer life of the Church changes focus starting with the first Seal. Right now the way that we pray is, we see sin in the nations, and we ask God to shine His light on the sin and change it.
It is a positive prayer. We say, “Lord, stop the sin. Shine Your light. Change the situation. Send revival.” That prayer for the release of light and glory releases light and glory (but side note, it also usually releases judgment on darkness).
We do not pray that way; we pray for light to touch where darkness is, and judgment is the byproduct of it. When there is a final decision for darkness, when the hearts are reprobate (that is a fancy word for when they have made a decision for darkness), there is no turning back. That is the key issue. This begins at the final three and a half years, at the first seal.
PARTNERING WITH THE LORD IN RELEASING HIS JUDGMENTS
From the first seal to the second coming, people take the mark of the beast and they make decisions of which they cannot reverse. Their conscience is fully seared. The mark is complete agreement with the man of sin and is a statement of worshiping him as God. Our prayers then go from, “Lord send light,” to “Lord, release your judgment on the reprobate.” Because this empire will be oppressing all who resist it. And because they will be in places in the government where it is clear that there is no possible repentance for them. We do pray specifically for judgments in very rare situations today if the Lord revealed it and confirmed it by a prophetic word.
But I do not know of many prophetic words that I would have confidence in today if someone said, “Hey, the Lord told me to pray for judgment against this or that.” There are not too many situations I would have confidence in. Jeremiah, Ezekiel, the prophets of old, the Lord actually visited them for that kind of thing. It is rare. It is unique, but it is a Biblical reality.
That is not the rule of how we pray today. We do not pray for the release of judgments today. We pray for the release of light that causes judgment, but it is in God’s hands with the judgments. We do not know. We are not asking for the judgment in specific ways. From the time of the first seal to the second coming, we have clarity and confidence to pray for judgment. Moses had confidence to call down judgment on Pharaoh, the church will have confidence in the face of horrible oppression of the Antichrist’s world empire.
THE FIRST JUDGMENT IS THE RELEASE OF THE ANTICHRIST
It is interesting. The first judgment that is released is the release of the Antichrist. It is the Antichrist judging the Harlot Babylon of Revelation 17 who has been murdering the saints for some years before this point. This is actually a positive thing, in a way. The release of the Antichrist is actually in part a fruit of the prayers of the saints against Babylon. God raises up an evil force to judge Babylon and all the nations that are aligned with her.
Then, our prayer focus shifts after that to praying against the Antichrist himself. That is a point of introduction to make the point that from the first seal to the second coming—the final three and a half years — the prayer focus of the Church shifts in a dramatic way. We know that when light is released, it does bring judgment to darkness. But as a rule, the Church does not have the details, even prophetically, of how that is going to happen.
THE STRUCTURE OF THE SEALS, TRUMPETS, AND BOWLS
A. The structure of the seven seals, seven trumpets, the seven bowls. That is called the three judgment series. It is three series that brings judgment with seven seals, seven trumpets, and seven bowls. These three judgment series, they are structured in a similar way, all three of them.
The first four events belong together. Then the next two go together. Then the final event stands alone. Knowing this helps us understand the interpretation of the judgment events.
DISTINCTION ON SEALS
B. The first four seals are distinct from the next two, which are separate from the last one. The similarities are a horse with a distinct color (white, red, black, pale).
The four horses parallel the color of the horses (red, black, white, dappled) seen by Zechariah (Zech. 1:8-11; 6:1-8).
As we look at the seals here in Revelation 6, the first four seals are clearly distinct from the next two, which are very distinct from the final one. The first four seals, they have a similarity—quite a few similarities. Number one: there is a horse with a distinct color. There is a rider on the horse, and that rider is released by a decree from one of the living creatures. The result is judgment. All four of them have those similarities. Which is very different than the next two seals, the fifth and the sixth ones.
GOD LIFTING HIS RESTRAINING HAND OFF EVIL MEN
The judgment of the seals is actually God lifting His restraining hand off of evil people. There is much blessing happening in the earth today because God is restraining the evil in people’s lives, hearts, and governments. There is a lot of evil happening, but God is restraining much evil.
The great judgment of the seals is God letting human beings have what they want. They want sin. He says, “I will take My hand off, and I will let you have that which you are pursuing and you will find it, it will judge you.”
He takes His hands off of human beings in a certain way. He is still in control, but He lets sinful people let their fill of sinful people. Then they find what they do is they destroy each other.
In the seals God takes His restraint off the human realm. In the trumpets, He takes His restraint off the demonic realm. In the bowls, He takes His restraint off His judgments. His judgments are fully released in the bowls.
In the seals, humans are released fully to do their will. In the trumpets, demons are released fully. In the bowls, God’s wrath is fully released upon the earth.
There is an element of restraint being lifted in each one of these judgment series. Again, I am making the point of how the first four go together. I am going to apply that point below (the first four seals).
FIRST FOUR SEAL JUDGMENTS INVOLVE NATURAL ACTIONS ON EARTH
They all involve natural actions of events that occur on the earth. Whereas the fifth, sixth, and seventh seals involve supernatural actions with events occurring in the heavens, or in the sky, or in the heavenly realm—whether the sky or around the throne, etc.
The seal judgments are actually the raising up of the Antichrist. It is a judgment against the harlot Babylon religion that will have existed for some years.
We do not know how long the harlot Babylon exists in a formal way that has power to kill the saints. The harlot Babylon will not only be a religious system; it will actually have the political ability to kill the saints.
That is what it states in Revelation 17:6. It states the harlot Babylon (this religion) will be drunk with the blood of the saints. They will have the political, legislative ability to kill saints who they see as a threat to world peace.
The activity of the harlot Babylon religion is the first big thing that is going to happen before the Antichrist appears. This world religion will require that religions of the world will join it.
The Harlot will be an actual, official organization which will be much more in-depth than the world council of churches. I have heard people over the years say that, that is it or that the Catholic Church is it. “A Woman rides the Beast” is a popular book on that. No, it is far bigger than that. It is far bigger than the Catholic Church. It is far bigger than apostate Protestantism. It is far bigger than anything. It is an entity that has never existed in this magnitude. That is what it emerging in the earth right now.
That will occur before the Antichrist. As a matter of fact, the Antichrist is used by God to judge this evil system. Then God judges the Antichrist afterwards.
GOD USES EVIL MEN AS HIS INSTRUMENTS TO JUDGE EVIL MEN
It is a fact of Scripture; it is always surprising to our natural mind that God will use evil men as His instruments to judge evil men. That happens all through the Bible. But when we encounter it, it often surprises us. If we take a step back, look at the Scripture, it is a principle of Scripture that God uses evil men, even evil nations. He actually empowers them and allows them to have resources in an unusual way to judge other evil men or other evil nations. Then God judges the one He used to judge the other. That is a pattern of Scripture.
THE SEAL JUDGMENTS TARGET NATIONS THAT ALIGN WITH HARLOT BABYLON
The seal judgments will target the nations that align themselves with this harlot Babylon religion. Many nations, many kings will line up and align themselves in a very practical and real way—not just in a casual way, at a distance with endorsements. They will be involved in a real way. Biblically, we do not fully know the details, but they will be. Religion is going to take the center stage on a global level. People are saying the nations are going to become more secular. Actually the truth is the nations are going to become more immoral but more spiritual. Instead of becoming more secular, the Bible makes it clear that the nations are actually going to become more spiritual, meaning spiritually aware, sensitive, but in a dark way. It will actually
accelerate and escalate the immorality and the sin in the earth when the nations become more religious.
It will be a religion of tolerance, but it will have a perfect hatred towards Jesus and true morality. It will claim to be tolerant of everything, except for holiness and purity. That is the one thing it will not be tolerant of.
TEN KINGS WHO SERVE THE ANTICHRIST WILL DESTROY HARLOT RELIGION
The reason this merits your study is because it is an important context for understanding the first seal. The harlot Babylon religion will actually be destroyed by the ten kings who are serving the Antichrist in the most immediate way. Many nations will serve the Antichrist, but there will be ten who will be his senior leadership team.
Ten of them will be his inner circle—ten kings. Never in history have ten kings come into such a unity as these ten kings. They will give all of their resources under the authority of one man.
Not one nation, but ten nations will. All of their resources: their military, their natural resources, their oil, their gas, their water, their technology. Everything will be submitted to one of the kings: the Antichrist. He will be called something else, but God calls him the Antichrist.
These ten kings, it says in Revelation 17:12, “The ten horns which you saw are ten kings.” Verse 16 describes how “The ten horns, they will hate the harlot Babylon and they will burn her with fire” .
We would think that the wicked would get along with each other. But actually the wicked do not like each other. Demons do not like demons. They are not in unity with each other.
This worldwide religion will become more and more powerful. These ten kings will talk to the Antichrist as he is still emerging. He has not come on the world scene yet. He is just emerging. They will say to him, “She is a threat. She has more power than we do. Let’s get rid of her and let’s take over all of her systems.” That is what they do. They burn her and then they take over all that she has gained. That is what is happening in the seal judgments.
VOLUNTARY HARLOT RELIGION OF TOLERATION REPLACED WITH MANDATORY ANTICHRIST RELIGION
The harlot religion—we have covered some of this ground if you have been around for some time here. The harlot religion will be a voluntary religion. You can be a part of it if you want to. It is a religion of toleration.
The Antichrist religion will replace it after the harlot religion is burned. It will be a very strict religion with no toleration whatsoever. Many post-modern, pop culture religions will buy into a belief system of toleration. That is where the harlot church is going to end up against her will, being taken over by the Antichrist. All the religions will be unified and brought together under tolerance.
He will take his mask off and say, “Now that I have you mobilized and unified, I am changing the rules of your religion. You must worship me and you must worship only me.” Tolerance will go out the window.
JESUS RELEASES THE SEALS, NOT THE DEVIL
Revelation 6:1: John said, “I saw the Lamb”. This is a surprise if you are new to Revelation 6. “I saw the Lamb and the Lamb is the One who released the seals” (paraphrased).
It is Jesus releasing the seals. The first seal is the Antichrist. Jesus is releasing the Antichrist. To the unrenewed mind, the believer who is just new in the Bible and does not understand God’s ways, this is so confusing. How could this be?
God is going to allow evil to judge evil. There are many reasons for that. The point I am making—I do not want to go into a theological and philosophical discussion or presentation of that. There is a lot to say about that. The point I am making is simply this: the Lamb, Jesus, releases the seals. That is an OK concept until you know what the seals are.
When you understand what the seals are—the first one is the Antichrist; the second one is world war. Jesus releases it! We think, “What?”
The third one is world famine. He releases the seal. He is releasing it against the nations that have aligned themselves with the harlot Babylon. He is using the Antichrist to judge these nations. The nations will end up worse and the judgment from God will even be more severe on the Antichrist.
COME NEAR AND SEE CLEAR
Revelation 6:1: “I heard one of the four living creatures”—he said to John with a voice like thunder, “John, come and see”. That is a very important exhortation—any time one of the living creatures is saying something, as they say very few things in the whole Bible. There are only a few phrases in the Word of God that they say.
You can be sure it is highly significant. What they are saying in essence is, “Come near to God and see clearly what is happening.” Why did John record that? The reason this command was given was so we would respond to it. We are to come near the Lord so that we can see clearly His judgments, because it will take discernment to understand these, to see clearly.
We cannot see clearly unless we come near. Some would be fascinated with the end times, so therefore they would study the end time prophecies, the whole 150 chapters in the Bible dedicated to the end times. They would do it in an academic way because it is interesting. But unless they come near, they cannot see clearly. They will misinterpret the information—what the judgment is and why God is choosing to do that particular type of judgment.
I do not want to know just the what. I want to know the why. I want to know the why behind the what. Why are you releasing an Antichrist at the end of the age? Why are you, Jesus, releasing the second seal, world war?
Why are you doing this? He says, “I will tell you what I told John. Come near and see clearly.” Well, someone might say, “I am too busy to do all of that. Just tell me.” And yet He is raising up forerunners. They will come near, and they will see clearly. They will not only know the what, but they will know the why behind the what.
They will know this from the Word and from the Spirit. I do not mean secret information. I mean from the Word of God—the Holy Spirit will connect it and they will come and they will see.
In these early days, we are on the journey of coming near and seeking to see clearly, because these judgments are confusing, number one, and offensive, number two, if you do not have the mind of the Spirit.
Some would like to skip “come near” and just see clearly. Others would say, “I do not care if I see that clearly, I just want to come near because I love Jesus.” The living creatures, or seraphim, say, “Do both. Come near and see clearly. Do both.”
JESUS COMES AFTER THE ANTICHRIST IS REVEALED ON A WORLD STAGE
Paragraph J. Paul makes it clear that Jesus is not coming back until the Antichrist is on the world scene. Until the first seal happens, Jesus is not coming. Here is what Paul said in 2 Thessalonians 2:3: “Let no one deceive you by any means.” Essentially, Paul is saying, “No matter how clever they are, do not let anybody trick you on this point. I do not care how famous of a prophet they are.”
Do not be tricked theologically or by any vision on this key point. “The day of the Lord will not come until the falling away happens in the church at the end of the age” (2 Thes. 2:3, paraphrased). There is a great falling away coming, because they will join the harlot church. “And the man of sin is revealed on the world scene” (v. 3, paraphrased). This is the Antichrist. As if to say, “Know that for sure”.
The Antichrist must be revealed on the world stage, and the Church—there will be a falling away that is so big that it will be noticeable to the whole Body of Christ. Of course they will fall away under the pressures and the temptations and the seductions of the harlot Babylon religion that is just in its early days emerging.
Somebody might say, “Is this that?”
I would say, “No. The forerunners of the harlot Babylon are beginning to be clear.” There are forerunners. There are religious leaders in the nations that are tolerant and they are gaining a large following. There are some particular pop culture icons who preach Jesus but also that He isn’t the only way, Hell isn’t real and mostly we need to be accepting of people. They are clearly forerunners to the harlot Babylon. Our prayer is that they get saved. Where they are outgoing, kind, generous, charming, intellectual, all-embracing, tolerant, but preparing the Church for the harlot Babylon, which is preparing the nations for the Antichrist.
Millions follow their doctrine. Millions. It is so charming and it is rotten to the core. It is so dignified and it often has Jesus riddled all the way through it, but it is not the Jesus of the Bible.
THE FIRST SEAL: THE ANTICHRIST
And I looked, and behold, a white horse. He who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer. (Rev. 6:2)
We will look at the first seal—the Antichrist. The Antichrist is riding a white horse. He is a counterfeit to the Jesus who rides the white horse later in the book in chapter 19.
The man on the white horse is not the man on the white horse in Revelation 19. In chapter 19, that is Jesus entering into Jerusalem on the white horse. John said, “I looked” (Rev. 6:2). Jesus is releasing this white horse. He is not releasing Himself. Some people think Jesus is on the white horse here. Jesus is not releasing Jesus. That is not what is happening here.
These are judgments. The first four of these are all parallel together; they are clustered together in a group. Just like the first four trumpets. Just like the first four bowls. We are meant to understand that structure. John said, “I looked and behold a white horse. And he who sat upon it had a bow in his hand and a crown was given to him.”
It was given to him by God, actually. God gives the Antichrist the boundaries to move in. It is more than just God gives it. Men willingly give themselves to the Antichrist and so do the demons.
At the highest level, the one giving the crown to him is Jesus. This man went out conquering and to conquer. He went out to dominate the spheres of authority in the nation—the political, the economic, the religious, not just the military— conquering. He went out to conquer all the main spheres of society and life under the governments of the earth. He wanted to dominate every one of them. You can put the word “dominate” or “control” in the place of the word conquer.
The white horse speaks of speed and strength—the horse does. The white symbolizes righteousness. However, it is a counterfeit righteousness. The reign of the Antichrist will appear initially only as good and righteous and helpful to the nations.
This is similar to when Adolph Hitler came on the scene—I appeal to him a lot as a picture of this in recent history. There are quite a few pictures in history of this kind of thing happening at the end with the Antichrist. I cannot think of a better picture in history than Adolph Hitler. When Adolph Hitler first came into power, he was seen by the vast majority as very helpful.
He was helping the economy. He was helping the poor. He was helping the underdog and he was hailed as a savior of Germany. It was only later when his true evil came out that people said, “This is a nightmare. The man that helped us so much is actually the one destroying us.” This is going to happen on a global level with the Antichrist. He will appear like Adolph Hitler did, helpful to the nations.
He will appear as a man establishing good will in the earth. We will know clearly that it is evil, but the majority even some will change their opinion to get converted, but even some believers will really be behind him at first. Some believers will fall away in the wake of it. Other believers will come to their senses and say, “Wait, this is a nightmare that appears good on the front end.”
It is clear that we have to understand that he appears first on a white horse with speed and strength. His conquering will be rapid, strong, and decisive. It will appear to be good at first. A crown will be given to him.
Again we find out the crown is given by God, although men, evil men, give their crowns to him as well, and the devil gives his authority to him as well. It is more than just God, but God is the primary One in authority over this whole process, which is offensive to many believers that Jesus would oversee this. We have got to get connected to the Jesus of the Bible which is not the same as the Jesus of the Western culture.
They are not the same man. The Jesus of the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, is different than the Jesus of many Sunday school classes. That is why we must read the Bible with a fresh look and we ask the Holy Spirit to give us new insight into the glory of this man who we love.
He is given a crown. He will rise suddenly to a place of international authority. That is what the crown means. He will have a place of international prominence and authority, not just prominence. He will not just be well known.
He will have power, power to act. He will have in his hand an arrowless bow. This is significant. He has a bow, but it has no arrows in it. This is very significant. This is pointed out by many commentators; this is a very common point that has been pointed out for centuries. This is not a new idea—the arrowless bow.
The fact there is no arrow mentioned in the picture—that is not an accident. The arrowless bow speaks of—initially he will conquer, or increase his authority, not just his prominence, his actual authority. But no arrows means that his actual authority will be without bloodshed. It will be by deceptive diplomacy. He will get people to agree willingly. He will threaten some, but they will agree without war.
DECEPTIVE DIPLOMACY WITHOUT BLOODSHED
The arrow is a symbol of war in the ancient world. The arrow is different than the sword. The arrow strikes from a distance, whereas the sword, which is the next seal, strikes up close. With a sword, you have to be really close, and it sheds blood.
The arrow strikes from a distance. The Antichrist does not come forth immediately showing his sword. He is at a distance; it is an arrowless bow. The rider on the horse, describing the Antichrist, is ready to go to war.
He has a bow. He is on a horse. He is ready for action. Most agree, as this is a very common interpretation by people who take the book of Revelation at face value. They take it literally, or at the plain meaning. It is the threat of war without actually going to war. He shows the bow, but he does not actually use it. It is the threat of war.
PEACEFUL YET DECEPTIVE DIPLOMACY
This is important to grasp. Because when he first emerges in the earth, some believers will be just rejoicing over the new: “We have been praying for peace; it is finally coming! Wait. Wait. What kind of peace and what kind of spirit is behind the peace?” That is what we should care about.
His requests (only initially) will be peaceful. Or they will appear peaceful. He will use deceptive diplomacy, meaning he will make deals with other kings and nations, but he is lying all the time. He will use private threats. He will threaten them and say, “Well, I am going to make you an offer; if you refuse it, it will be worse for you.”
He will present it publicly as “We have a new peace treaty.” Behind the scenes will not be so positive.
He will go forth conquering. He will go forth gaining actual control. It is not just prominence; the Antichrist actually gains authority quickly. It will be the fastest, the most rapid series of conquest in human history. It will surpass Napoleon and Alexander the Great, who were famous for how quickly they took over the nations.
This will be faster than Alexander the Great and Napoleon. There were none that were faster than those two. Hitler was going really fast in the early 1940s, and he took over all of Western Europe in a very short amount of time. The Antichrist will do this on a global level, not just a European level, through a series of successful, rapid conquests.
This speed will never have been seen before in history, this amount of speed covering this amount of territory. At first, he will be content to conquer political and economic areas. Later, in just a short amount of time after he comes on the world scene, then he shifts over and he has military conquest.
At first it is mostly economic and political deals where he always wins in the deal. It will escalate to military aggression and it will lead to a world war. The second seal is world war.
There is a great world war coming. It is not just the Antichrist as the human earthly driver; Jesus in heaven is releasing the seal because He wants to confront the nations that have aligned with harlot Babylon, and He wants to draw out the wickedness in the nation to the surface.
In that context, He will cause the purity of the Church and the harvest to come forth and Israel to get saved. Only Jesus could pull this off. He is so brilliant. He is operating in ten-dimensional chess, strategically getting the pieces in place for the storyline, without overriding freewill, and giving everyone what they want.
CROWN GIVEN TO HIM BY GOD
It says a crown is given to him. It is strange to many people and even offensive to other people, the idea that the crown is given to him by God. Someone says, “Well, if God is giving him the crown, do we pray for the raising up of the Antichrist?” No, let’s not go there. Before the first seal, we are praying for light to break forth. When the Harlot comes on the scene we pray for light on the harlot and an end to her works.
At this point in time until the first seal, we are praying for light to go forth, knowing that when light goes forth, it will judge darkness. We pray against the judgments in this time-frame.
He is going to do these things, but He wants our full agreement and cooperation. God could have just judged Pharaoh with the ten plagues of Egypt in the book of Exodus, but God does this all through prayer partnership. Its our little weak effort of praying agreement, and boom it happens. He wants to involve us and He wants our hearts. Can we agree with Him in the book of Revelation? We can agree with the man as we see Him in the gospels, but can we agree with His plans? Will we say His judgments are just and true or will we be offended. His ways are not our ways, but we can agree with Him, if we see that all He does, He does for love. It’s always the least severe means to bring the greatest number of people to repentance, and if God did not judge this wickedness, He would not be just. He has brought the church through so many tribulations and trials, not by rapture, but by His strength.
From the first seal on, men make a decision, the human race, where they take a mark and they become reprobate. They cross a line where they cannot go back, and they will never be saved after they take that mark.
That begins at the first seal. The first seal—the mark of the beast system begins really close to the first seal. The timeframes are all close together. It may take them a few weeks to set it up. Undoubtedly, he will be setting up for a long time before he activates it. It will be in place, all the technology and the infrastructure for it, but it is associated with the release of the first seal, that mark of the beast system that will take place for the final three and a half years. A crown is given to him.
He receives his authority first from God, but it is his authority as the most evil man to judge the most evil religion, the harlot Babylon, and to bring the evil in the nations to the surface. His actions will cause billions to choose greater evil because that is what they want. The Lord is going to give everybody what they want. It will create an environment for the righteous to press into God in a way they never have before. They want righteousness, and there will be purity in the Church like no time in history, too. The final three and a half years– God gives the nations what they want.
GOD GIVES THE NATIONS WHAT THEY WANT
God gives people what they want. When they get what they want, they do not want it if it is evil. They think they want moral liberty, but they go in their immorality and they end up with a demon that torments them.
They do not want the demon. They want what they want without consequence. In a moral universe, there is no such thing. They get what they want, but they get the consequences they do not want.
PEOPLE HAVE THE ABILITY TO CHOOSE WHAT THEY WANT
The Lord allows the Antichrist to set the political climate and the spiritual climate for the nations to choose what they want. The Praying Church and the prophetic ministries are going to have the opposite effect. Multitudes in the Body of Christ will press in at a deeper level than ever before, though many will fall away. They will go deep or they will bail out—one or the other.
I am not waiting until then to get serious. I want to be a messenger to get the Body of Christ prepared now. I want to get as many messengers prepared to make sense of this in the next couple decades.
The Antichrist gets his authority first from God, but also the paradox. There is no contradiction. The devil gives the Antichrist his authority. The devil gives his authority to the Antichrist, but so do men, so do kings, and so do the wealthy men of the earth. Not all of them, but many of the most powerful men of the earth, military, economic, spiritual, political—they give their sphere to him willingly, just like they did with Adolph Hitler.
Revelation 13: “He was given.” Look at how many times it says “given.” The Antichrist was given a mouth to speak great things and blasphemies; he was given authority for forty-two months, or three and a half years (v. 5, paraphrased). “It was granted to him to make war with the saints” (v. 6); to persecute, in other words.
Authority was given to him over every nation. That is influence. He does not dominate every nation, by the way. He never does. He wants to, but it never works. He has influence in every nation politically, spiritually, and in the military. His presence is felt in every nation. But there are many nations that are actually resisting him and at war with him.
Verse 15: “He was granted power to give breath to the image of the beast.” The image of the beast is the false prophet. These twenty-two times in the book of Revelation, the phrase is given or is granted is used.
The majority of the times, the authority is coming from God. Because when the devil is giving authority, it actually says the devil is doing it. When men give authority, it says it. The other times, when it is unmentioned who is the one doing the giving? It is God. When it is the devil or men giving their authority to the Antichrist, then it designates them. It identifies them.
Again, I think of the Church right now, in 2014, so utterly unprepared for these ideas. It is the revelation of Jesus, the Jesus of the Bible who is orchestrating this utterly offensive, anti-Western mindset takeover of the world. This is very anti-“the mindset most of us are familiar with from our culture.”
Praise God we have the Word of God to renew our minds!!
ANTICHRIST IS PART OF THE FATHER’S PLAN
The Antichrist does not take God by surprise. He is part of the Father’s plan to allow evil that is inside the heart to come to the surface.
One reason men are so offended about hell is because they imagine they love God. God says, “I am going to give you a context to prove you do not love Me. I am going to give you a context in the nations in history, as what is on the inside of you is openly displayed on the outside. Then you will see the nature of the real problem I am dealing with.”
The reason Jesus’ judgments are so offensive is because we imagine most of the earth loves God, sort of, in their own way, and they are sort of innocent. God says, “Many of them hate Me and they are not innocent. They are guilty before Me of choosing that which is hostile to love and to My kingdom, though they will use the language of love all the way to their darkness.”
He is going to create a scenario where it all comes to the surface, so that which is on the inside becomes apparent on the outside—both wickedness and righteousness. That is the Father’s plan. It is more than that, but that is a bit of what is going on here in the loosing of these seals. By God’s decree, the Antichrist is given a specific sphere to operate in for three and a half years.
ANTICHRIST IS AN INSTRUMENT OF JUDGMENT ON APOSTATE ISRAEL AND ON WICKED NATIONS
He only gets three and a half years to do this. In these three and a half years, he gets the opportunity to present himself to the nation of Israel like Jesus did for three and a half years.
God is perfectly just, even with the devil and the Antichrist. He gives them the same opportunity. He is not intimidated at all, the Father. He is not nervous about it failing.
He gives the Antichrist three and a half years in Israel like He did Jesus. It ends up—at the end of it, all of Israel gets saved. A third of the nations (which could be four, five, six, seven million) become radical, on-fire worshipers of Jesus. They call Him back to be their Messiah and to take over their nation.
Matthew 28:18: “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.” The Antichrist did not slip by the gate. He is under Jesus’ authority.
ANTICHRIST IS UNDER JESUS’ AUTHORITY
It says in Romans 13:1, “No authority, there is no political authority, no authority in the nation, except it comes from God” (paraphrased). In the Old Testament, God raised up Assyria and a king called Sennacherib, and He raised up Nebuchadnezzar with Babylon.
He raised up two evil men and two evil nations to judge Israel, which was not as evil as they were. After God raised them up to judge Israel, then God judged those nations in a very severe way. The Antichrist will be a tool of judgment and then be the recipient of far worse judgment himself.
There is so much material on the Antichrist. When I first began to study it some years ago, I was shocked how much material. I thought, “What?” You think there are only a few verses. No, there are volumes. There is plenty of material in the Bible to teach twelve or more sessions on it.
We have to know the complications of his apparent good, his true evil, and the way that he rises up and seduces the nations. We have to understand it to be messengers of it.
WHAT SCRIPTURE SAYS ABOUT THE ANTICHRIST
The Antichrist is the final world leader in this age, before Jesus Returns. He has the greatest political authority, the most powerful army, the most money, and the largest religious network, particularly after he removes the Babylon network, takes it over, and then increases it.
He takes over the Babylon one and then multiplies it. He has more than any man in history. That is who he is. He is the cruelest man who will ever live in human history, but he will appear as a man on a white horse, a man of righteousness, at first.
What I am giving you here below are events that coincide with the first seal. When the false prophet emerges on the world scene in the first seal, again, that is when the prayer movement as a rule shifts gears. We are not just praying for light and salvation. We will keep praying for light and salvation. We will then begin to pray for judgments globally according to the numbers of the judgment series. We pray for the first one, the second one, the third, and the fourth together, in order, around the nations. We are praying for judgment on the apostate. Things shift gears after the first seal; the prayer movement shifts.
EVENTS THAT COINCIDE WITH THE RELEASE OF THE FIRST SEAL
- God’s judgment on the harlot Babylon religious network will happen at the time of the first seal.
- Paul prophesied of peace immediately before the time of sudden destruction (Great Tribulation). This is a temporary time of world peace that will suddenly end when the Great Tribulation starts. The world will assume their problems are solved by the Antichrist’s skillful leadership. World peace will start at the final seven years and continues for 31⁄2 years (1 Thes. 5:2-3; Dan. 9:27). When they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them. (1 Thes. 5:3)
- The two witnesses are prophets anointed with great power for the final 31⁄2 years (Rev. 11:3-6).
- Satan will be cast to the earth, then will give his throne to the Antichrist. Hell will be in many places on earth during the final 31⁄2 years (Rev. 12:9; 13:2; 6:8). The great dragon [Satan] was cast out … who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels [demons] were cast out with him … 12 Woe to the inhabitants of the earth … For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath. (Rev. 12:9, 12)
The dragon gave him [Antichrist] his power, his throne, and great authority. (Rev. 13:2)
- The Antichrist’s head wound and apparent healing will be the great catalytic event that thrusts him into worldwide prominence at the first seal (Rev. 13:3, 12, 14).
- The abomination of desolation will occur when the Antichrist declares himself to be God by setting up his image or idol (which is the abomination) in the temple in Jerusalem (Dan. 8:13; 9:26, 27; 11:31; 12:11; Mt. 24:15; Mk. 13:14; 2 Thes. 2:3-4; Rev. 13:12-18). When you see the Abomination of Desolation … 16 flee to the mountains. (Mt. 24:15-16)
- The image of the Beast (Antichrist) will be a statue that is demonically empowered so that it will seem to think, talk, breathe, and make laws (Rev. 13:14-16).
- The mark of the Beast (Antichrist) will be a public mark on people’s right hand or forehead and will be used to identify the people who worship the Antichrist (Rev. 13:16- 17).
- God will cause all the nations to gather against Jerusalem (Zech. 12:1-3; 14:2). For I will gather all the nations to battle against Jerusalem. (Zech. 14:2)
They happen in proximity to the first seal. These all happen with forty-two months to go, plus or minus a week or two. It is not that they all happen the same one hour period all in proximity to the first seal. These things take place: the judgment on the Babylon network, the end of world peace, because there is a counterfeit world peace that has been going on for a few years.
That is over suddenly. The two witnesses are raised up. Satan is cast to the earth. Right now Satan is in the mid-heavens; he is in the second heavens. Satan and all the demons will be confined to the earth. They will be raging on the earth.
HELL ON EARTH
It will be like hell on earth at different parts of the earth. The entire demonic host will be confined to the earth, and they will be very angry. The Antichrist will have a head wound that he will get healed of before the whole world.
The abomination of desolation happens then, the image of the beast, the mark of the beast, and the gathering of all nations to battle against Jerusalem. All of these happen in proximity to the first seal.
Very last paragraph—it is kind of a note that, on the website, some interpret the first seal not as the Antichrist but as Jesus. I think that is absolutely wrong— absolutely wrong. I mean, there are very godly and good people who do that, but the conclusion is absolutely wrong. Others interpret the first seal as fulfilled in history.
FORERUNNER SCHOOL OF MINISTRY—MIKE BICKLE Seals, Trumpets, and Bowls: Jesus’ End-Time Judgments
The First Seal: The Antichrist’s Political Aggression
THE STRUCTURE OF THE SEALS, TRUMPETS AND BOWLS
II. THE FIRST SEAL: THE ANTICHRIST
III. WHAT THE SCRIPTURE SAYS ABOUT THE ANTICHRIST
A. Jesus should not be seen as both the One who released the rider as well as being the rider. This would make Him both the One who opens the seal in heaven’s court while simultaneously being in the content of it as the One who comes at the command of a living creature.