One of the most significant events on the timeline to the Second Coming is predicted to be the sudden shock of the rise of the Empire of the Beast. As the previous section discusses in great detail (see Events Signaling the End), the Antichrist will initially come to power as a strong leader within a 10-nation European alliance, which itself is the revived Roman Empire as prophesied by Daniel and John. Once the Antichrist becomes the leader over the revived Roman Empire, he then convinces the world to accept his rule over all nations in a global coalition. This event marks the beginning of the Empire of the Beast with the Antichrist as its supreme leader.
The Antichrist’s proposal to establish the first global government will be met with extreme enthusiasm from every corner of the Earth. The media will broadcast his words continually and gush over him 24/7 with unending exuberance. The globalist movement and the political world will make unceasing and convincing statements of support, which will be seen on every news network and social media site. The leaders of every nation will proclaim their support and go so far as to give their authority over to him. Even the rich and powerful from celebrities to leaders in the corporate world will declare their cheerful allegiance to his proposals. Thus, the beginnings of the Empire of the Beast will arrive with great fanfare and celebration like no other time in history.
At this point, the Antichrist will draw up a treaty that will be signed by all nations to inaugurate the global Empire of the Beast under his leadership. Unknown to the world, however, the signing of this treaty will become the trigger point that will begin the final 7 years of this age. As the accompanying chronological chart illustrates, this event will mark the start of a major prophetic sign of the Last Days and also herald the beginning of the first half of Daniel’s 70th Week (Dan. 9:24-27). This 7-year prophetic period is crucial to an understanding of what will happen at the End of the Age.
This section and the other subsections under this topic will discuss in detail the Chronology of the End with specific regard to the Empire of the Beast. This period represents the time of the Antichrist’s Kingdom which will rule with ruthlessness over the entire world. The major events during the first half of Daniel’s 70th Week are shown in the accompanying timeline, which will be referenced as the prophecies are described. As can be seen, once the world enters into the Empire of the Beast most of the major events are known as to their timing and order of occurrence within this period. The prophecies of the End will have amazing fulfillment during this time!
The rise of the Antichrist is predicted to be accompanied by strong delusion sent directly from God (2 Thess. 2:8-12). The Antichrist’s ascension to power will at first take even Christians by surprise. It will cause believers everywhere to be instantly ripped from the cares and complacency of their current lives and suddenly be thrown into a hostile world where nothing but the Lord can save them.
Jesus warned that we should not be ignorant of these prophecies so that that day does not overtake us by surprise. Being unaware of these prophecies as this critical time approaches could cause many to become offended at the sudden fulfillment of Biblical prophecy and the accompanying persecution that will affect the lives of all true Christians (Matt. 24:9-10). This is why it is so important to understand where we are in history relative to the End Times events and how close we are now to the Second Coming of Christ!
When we actually find ourselves engulfed in the Empire of the Beast and the final few years of this age, the fulfillment of prophecy will also become the greatest witness to the truth of the Bible since Christ first walked the Earth 2,000 years ago. Believers will be able to prove the truth of Christ simply by showing others how the prophets had predicted these events literally thousands of years before they occurred.
Some of the major prophecies that describe the rise of the Antichrist along with the Empire of the Beast and the beginning of Daniel’s 70th Week include the 10 horns of the final Roman Empire giving their power and authority over to him (Dan. 2:40-43; Dan. 7:7-8; 19-25; Rev. 13:11-15), the aura of false peace coming upon the world (Dan. 8:25) as is symbolized by the rider on White Horse of the Apocalypse (Rev. 6:2), and the Antichrist signing a 7-year global treaty among the nations, which will establish his Empire of the Beast and mark the start of God’s final End Times clock (Dan. 9:27).
During this time, as the nations begin to align themselves with the Empire of the Beast, the euphoria and enthusiasm of a new day of global peace and safety will envelop mankind as never before. The people of the world who have rejected the one true Savior will get caught up in the hype and believe the lie of the Antichrist (the false savior) and follow him (2 Thess. 2:10-13). There will be a feeling that a new age of reason and hope has finally come upon the world. Celebrations inaugurating the new one-world government will take place everywhere. Humanists will declare the abolition of war as the nations form the New World Order. Crime will dramatically decrease because the mandate of the Mark of the Beast will eliminate cash from commerce and create validated identities and an all-encompassing surveillance society. It will seem as though the world is finally on the path to solving all the problems that have threatened its very existence for so long.
But all this enthusiasm will be a deception from Satan that we must pray to overcome! At that time, Christians will become the rebels of the world. Because of prophecy, we will know that the Antichrist and the Empire of the Beast are destined for the graveyard of nuclear destruction and the final judgment of the Lake of Fire. The followers of Christ will know that to follow the Antichrist’s ways is tantamount to turning against the God of the universe—something that a true believer could never do. For this reason, Christians will refuse the Mark of the Beast and openly divorce themselves from being citizens of the empire. Their blatant refusal to participate in what will seem to be the greatest age of civilization will result in “canceling” them, hatred, and persecution.
The Antichrist and the Empire of the Beast will see Christians as traders and threats to his rule. The followers of Christ will be labeled as haters, terrorists, and subversives who need to be stamped out. With the full support of all those who follow the Antichrist and the Empire of the Beast, the authorities will begin to arrest, imprison, and even kill anyone who dares to speak out against it. Huge concentration camps will be built that will house millions of these Christian dissidents. Even the Holocaust of World War II will begin to seem insignificant compared to the persecution that will come upon the followers of Christ at the end.
During the early months and years of the Antichrist’s kingdom, he will forcefully show himself as being against all gods and all religions (2 Thess. 2:3-4). The rebellion to his rule led by Christians will only exacerbate his hatred for the Lord and anyone who follows Him. The Antichrist will order his followers to inform on Christians and turn them into the authorities, and he will persecute them by ostracizing them from society and cutting them off from commerce. Without the Mark of the Beast, Christians will not be able to buy or sell and they will not be able to travel or hold valid licenses or permits, and they will not be able to enter any government building or facility. It is likely that Christians will also be excluded from most retail properties because they won’t have any mechanism of buying goods. Everywhere Christians turn, they will be met with persecution and exclusion by the Empire of the Beast.
As Daniel predicted of the Antichrist,
“…he shall speak great words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High, and think to change times and laws; and they shall be given into his hand until a time, and times, and the dividing of time.”
However, despite the unimaginable odds that will be against believers at that time, the truth of the Bible will be proclaimed as never before. Countless people the world over will be converted by the convincing prophetic evidence of the Lord’s existence and His soon return. On the surface, what will appear to be a victory for the evil forces of the world as the Antichrist and the Empire of the Beast arises, in reality, will become the greatest time of repentance and faith mankind will ever experience.
It is usually in bad times that people begin to turn toward God. Since the last seven years of this age will be the darkest period the world will ever know, it should come as no surprise that it will also result in vast numbers of people turning to Jesus for help. The Bible promises that anyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved and delivered from the wrath of God regardless of where or when they may live. When the prophetic truth and hope of the Bible is contrasted with the hopelessness of the world in the Last Days, millions of people will cry out to Jesus and be saved!
Next: The Two Witnesses Arise