||적그리스도, 아마겟돈, 예수 그리스도의 재림
|Antichrist, Armageddon, and the Second Coming of Christ
by John Walvoord
Christianity by its very nature is a faith based on the historic past, the present work of God in
the world, and a predicted glorious future. The history of the world as recorded in Scripture
makes clear that God is working in our world to carry out His eternal purposes. Central in this is
the work of salvation through Jesus Christ, who in history died on the cross for our sins and rose
again. The result of this is that people today, as they put their trust in Christ, experience a
supernatural new birth and an experience of walking in fellowship with God. The Bible also,
however, is a book about the future, and about one-fourth of the Bible was prophetic when it was
written. It is obvious that God intended that we should know something about the future. Though
prophecy leaves many questions unanswered, it is also clear that God has given us all the facts we
need to prepare for the future that the Bible predicts will ultimately take place.
Unfortunately, a great deal of confusion exists in the interpretation of prophecy. Most of this is
occasioned by the fact that people hesitate to accept prophecy as a literal prediction of future
If a prophecy which is written in plain language is not interpreted literally, it opens the door
to dozens of views as people guess as to what it might possibly mean. The history of prophetic
fulfillment, however, is that God fulfills prophecy literally and about half of the 1000
prophecies of the Bible have already been literally fulfilled. This gives us reason to believe
that the predictions which have not yet been fulfilled will have a literal fulfillment rather than
some other interpretation.
Of major importance in prediction is the fact that Christ is coming again just as literally as He
came the first time. All the major orthodox doctrinal statements of Protestantism, Roman
Catholicism, and Greek Orthodoxy contain a statement to the effect that Jesus Christ is coming
again to judge the world. This is a literal prediction and was considered to be so in church
history. Confusion has arisen, however, because having accepted this as literal, many try to
interpret in a non-literal sense the prophecies of events preceding Christ's return, as well as
the events that follow. If interpreted literally, however, the prophecies of Scripture yield a
consistent and intelligent picture of what God is doing in the world and things will ultimately
work out for His glory.
Central in predictions of the future is the second coming of Christ and the events that will
precede it. The most important character of preceding events is often called the Antichrist, or
the future world ruler who will dominate the world before Christ comes again. He will be "anti" in
the sense of against Christ and instead of Christ.
Armageddon is an English translation of the mount of Megiddo, a geographic location in northern
Israel which will be the center of the final great world war. Antichrist, Armageddon, and the
Second Coming of Christ are central to the predictions which will bring the great climax of the
world when Christ returns. According to Scripture, the events preceding the Second Coming are
catastrophic and world-shaking and form a dramatic prelude to the return of Jesus Christ. If the
return of Christ is near, it is entirely possible that our present generation of people will
experience what the Bible predicts for the end time.
In approaching these tremendous themes, it is important to have in mind the chronological
development of major events as they occur in the end time, beginning with what is called the
rapture of the Church.
First the Rapture
The next major event in the prophetic sequence is the rapture of the Church. The term "rapture"
refers to the catching up of the church and its removal from earth and arrival in heaven, a major
event of the future described graphically in I Thessalonians 4:13-18. Though many confuse the
issue by trying to link the rapture to the Second Coming of Christ, actually this is an entirely
different event as the details of the prophecy make clear. The rapture occurs some years before,
and the period between the rapture and the Second Coming is one of the most dramatic prophetic
periods in the entire history of the world.
If every true believer is suddenly and instantaneously taken out of the world, it obviously will
have an important impact on the world because many Christians are in prominent places and their
sudden disappearance will call for an explanation. Many will follow a powerful delusion and
believe some explanation of the rapture other than the departure of believers in Christ. However,
many others will come to terms with the Lord and recognize that the rapture is a tremendous event.
Romans 11:25 specifically mentions how Israel's eyes will be opened. According to this verse, "I
do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be conceited: Israel
has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles have come in." In other
words, in the present age it is difficult for a Jew to understand that Christ is the Messiah, but
when the rapture occurs, this blindness will be lifted. While many will persist in unbelief, no
doubt a great number will be saved. Because Israel has representatives in almost every country and
every language, once they are saved they will become the missionaries to the world with the truth
of Christ's salvation much as they were in the first century after Pentecost.
The rapture will, however, mark the end of our present day of grace in which the Church,
consisting largely of Gentiles, has flourished, and will begin the time of the day of the Lord
when God deals directly with human sin and divine judgment. Instead of dealing with the church
combining Israel and Gentiles, God will deal in a special way with both Gentiles and Israel as
separate people with somewhat different destinies.
The Day of the Lord
According to I Thessalonians 5:1,2, when the rapture occurs it begins a new period of time
called "the day of the Lord." This is a familiar term in the Old Testament and applies to any
period of time during which God dealt in direct judgment of Israel. This is described, for
instance, in Isaiah 13:1-22 and is characterized as "a cruel day, with wrath and fierce anger"
(Isaiah 13:9). The book of Joel almost entirely addresses this subject; it speaks of many days of
the Lord as, for instance, in chapter 1, when the invasion of locusts causes starvation. Many
descriptions of the day of the Lord go beyond what occurred in the Old Testament, for instance,
Joel 2:30-3:3 with the verses that follow describe this terrible time of judgment which is still
in the future. The day of the Lord beginning at the rapture will continue even through the
thousand-year reign of Christ when there still will be direct judgment of open sin against God,
fulfilling the prediction that Christ will rule with an "iron scepter." There will be a display
of "the fury of the wrath of God Almighty" (Revelation 19:15). The major events of the judgment of
God, however, may not be immediately fulfilled after the rapture but will gradually increase as
the period between the rapture and the Second Coming is fulfilled.
Revival of the Roman Empire
The book of Daniel provides a broad prediction of how God is going to deal with the Gentile world,
beginning with Babylon in the time of Daniel about 600 B.C. and continuing through the empires
that followed, that of Medo- Persia, Greece, and Rome. The predictions of Babylon, Medo-Persia,
and Greece have all been literally fulfilled and are now part of the historic past. The Roman
empire, however, which was in power at the time of the first coming of Christ, is still a
continuing part of God's purpose. It continued for many centuries after Christ and then eventually
disappeared, but, according to Scriptures, will be revived in the end times.
Daniel 7 pictures the four empires as ferocious beasts, with Babylon depicted as a lion, Medo-
Persia as a bear, and Greece as a leopard. The fourth empire is described in different terminology
in Daniel 7 as follows:
After that, in my vision at night I looked, and there before me was a fourth beast-terrifying and
frightening and very powerful. It had large iron teeth; it crushed and devoured its victims and
trampled underfoot whatever was left. It was different from all the former beasts, and it had ten
horns (Daniel 7:7).
The Roman empire literally fulfilled the picture of a beast with great iron teeth, crushing and
devouring everything before it. Its well-disciplined soldiers went into countries that were
unprepared to fight. The soldiers then conquered the country, carried off the able-bodied men as
slaves, left a detachment of soldiers to collect taxes, and moved on to the next country. As the
greatest empire of the past, it was ruthless in its destruction of whatever opposed it. Most of
Daniel 7:7 has already been fulfilled.
The final statement in verse 7, however, states, "it had ten horns." Nothing in history
corresponds to this, and Bible expositors have been struggling for centuries to explain this
prophecy that has not been fulfilled.
But Daniel 7:24 reveals that "The ten horns are ten kings who will come from this kingdom." How
can this be explained in view of the fact that the Roman empire today is non-existent? In order to
understand this period, one has to recognize that the Old Testament described the events leading
up to the first coming of Christ, but then many Scriptures skip from the first coming to the
Second Coming and omit reference to what we call the present age of grace.
This is brought out in Christ's message in Nazareth, recorded in Luke 4:17-21, The scroll of the
prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: "The
Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach the good news to the poor. He
has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release
the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor." Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it
back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him,
and he began by saying to them, "Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing. "
This is a significant illustration of the absolute accuracy of Scripture. Christ here is quoting
from Isaiah 61:1-2, which predicts His coming to the world and ministry to those in need. He
quotes Isaiah 61:2, including the expression, "to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor." He does
not quote the last part of the verse, "and the day of vengeance of our God." The point is that His
first coming proclaimed the Lord's favor but the last part of the verse deals with His Second
Coming and judgment on the world. Here, as in many other cases, the present age is not in view.
While Old Testament Scriptures deal with the time of judgment preceding the Second Coming, they do
not anticipate that the Roman empire will go out of existence for many centuries, only to be
revived in the end time in the form of these ten kingdoms.
Scripture does not indicate exactly when this will happen, but as soon as the rapture occurs, the
ten kingdoms are in the background and apparently the formation of the ten-kings power bloc will
come together either just before or just after the rapture. The fact that the European Union is
friendly today, geopolitically speaking-that is, the major players are not at odds with each other-
provides fertile soil for producing a united Europe, which would fulfill, at least in part, this
What is happening in Europe is especially prophetically significant. For centuries the major
countries of Europe, particularly Great Britain, France, and Germany have been engaged in war.
Usually when one war ends, regardless of who wins, the countries immediately begin to prepare for
the next war. This has been going on for several hundred years. Suddenly, after World War 11, this
process stopped because all these countries now have the atomic bomb and the capacity to
completely destroy the other countries. Accordingly, engaging in warfare would not help any of the
countries involved-even if they won-because they would suffer terrible losses in the process.
Facing this realistically, the countries of Europe decided to form an economic union and they
established the Common Market. Having established friendly relationships with each other on an
economical basis, many have for years predicted the coming together of a United States of Europe.
Steps in that direction-including implementing a common currency- have already taken place.
Accordingly, the situation described at the rapture of ten nations banded together is something
that could occur at any time and is strategic evidence that the rapture of the church could be
The Rise of the Antichrist
When false teachers taught the Thessalonian believers that they were already in the day of the
Lord, Paul had to correct this. He argued in 2 Thessalonians 2 that they were not in the day of
the Lord period after the rapture because the man of lawlessness had not appeared. 2 Thessalonians
Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you,
brothers, not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by some prophecy, report or letter supposed to
have come from us, saying that the day of the Lord has already come. Don't let anyone deceive you
in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is
revealed, the man doomed to destruction.
His work is further described in 2 Thessalonians 2:4: "He will oppose and will exalt himself over
everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God's temple,
proclaiming himself to be God."
The "man of lawlessness" is another reference to the one who is also called the Antichrist. The
word "antichrist" is mentioned four times in the Scriptures (I John 2:18,22; 4:3; 2 John 7). As
used by John, it applies to anyone who is opposed to Christ and is a false leader. The term has
been used to describe the end-time ruler because his activities are so obviously anti-Christ, and
he is Satan's substitute for Jesus Christ as King of Kings, Lord of Lords, and God. However, the
book of Revelation and other passages of Scripture outside of the Johannine epistles never used
The Antichrist appears on the scene as the conqueror of the ten-nation revival of the Roman
empire. According to Daniel 7:8, a little horn comes up among the ten horns and uproots three of
them, which signifies that he has conquered three of the ten countries. From there on, although
Scriptures do not explain the reasons, he is regarded as the ruler of all ten nations. In other
words, he takes over as the dictator of the revived Roman empire. From this position he rises to
power gradually until finally he becomes the world ruler of scriptural prophecy.
2 Thessalonians 2:14 offers remarkable evidence that the rapture of the church occurs before the
end-time prophecy. Paul is demonstrating that they are not in the day of the Lord as false
teachers have taught them, because the man of lawlessness has not appeared. When will the man of
His full revelation comes in the middle of this last seven years of end-time prophecy when he
claims to be God. But he will be revealed earlier than that, when he makes the covenant of Daniel
9:27 for seven years leading up to the second coming of Christ. In order to have this position of
power, he has to be the one who conquers the Roman empire and becomes the head of the ten
countries. This must occur, therefore, more than seven years before the Second Coming. If he has
to appear before the day of the Lord can begin, it should be obvious that the day of the Lord will
begin more than seven years before the Second Coming. This automatically disposes of counter-
opinions which put the rapture at the Second Coming or during the Great Tribulation or at the
beginning of the Great Tribulation or the beginning of the seven years, for the man of lawlessness
will be revealed more than seven years before the Second Coming. Accordingly, the rise of the
Roman empire will become a very important factor in determining how soon the rapture of the church
may take place.
One of the great passages of prophecy in the Old Testament is found in Daniel 9:24-27, which
predicts that there will be seven times seventy years of Israel's prophetic future. While it is
very complicated and various theories have arisen about it, if it has to be fulfilled literally,
the last seven years are still future. The first 69 sevens, or 483 years, were fulfilled just
before the crucifixion of Christ when the Messiah was cut off. But the last seven years has never
been fulfilled, and it will become an important element of the chronology of the end times.
In Daniel's revelation of the seventy sevens, or 490 years of Israel's prophetic future, a ruler
will come on the scene during the last seven years that lead up to the Second Coming of Christ. He
is described in Daniel 9:26 as "the ruler who will come." The same verse refers to the people of
the ruler who destroyed the city in 70 A.D. But the ruler is a future ruler who at the end time
does not destroy the city but does take control. According to verse 27 he will confirm a covenant
with many for one seven. These are the last seven years of Israel's future. The covenant that the
ruler imposes on Israel is a covenant of peace attempting to solve the problem of Israel in
relation to the world around her.
The first half of the seven years is marked off as a special time. There is some debate among
scholars as to what events take place, but a probable solution is that it will introduce a
temporary time of peace for Israel during which Israel can relax from its present military
preparedness and rely upon this ruler to defend them. However, this will be interrupted, according
to Ezekiel 38 and 39, by an invasion from the north of six countries. All of these countries are
named except the country from the far north, which is probably one or more of the states formerly
in the Soviet Union. Because they are largely Moslems, they would love to attack Israel, and this
is in prospect for this period. As Ezekiel 38 and 39 make clear, however, God intervenes and by a
series of catastrophes wipes out the invaders.
The attack is an attempt to weaken the power of the ruler of the ten nations because he is
Israel's protector. But when the invaders are defeated, their bodies scattered throughout the
land, it tends to enhance the power of the ruler of the ten nations and makes it possible for him
to extend his power over the whole world in the middle of the last seven years. This is
anticipated in Daniel 9:27: "In the middle of the 'seven' he will put an end to sacrifice and
offering." Apparently he will take over as ruler over the entire world. Revelation 13:5 confirms
that his rule will extend for 42 months and will climax with the second coming of Christ.
This period of three and a half years which is the climax of the preceding events to the Second
Coming is described in Scripture as the Great Tribulation. Daniel 12:1 describes it as "a time of
distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then." It is predicted that
resurrections will follow of both the righteous and wicked. Daniel, like many Old Testament
prophets, does not describe the period between the two comings of Christ. Actually, according to
Revelation 20:11-15, the wicked will not be resurrected until after the millennial kingdom.
When Christ answered His disciples concerning the end times, He described the same period in
Matthew 24:21, "For then there will be great distress unequal from the beginning of the world
until now-and never to be equaled again." This is a specific period of time beginning three and a
half years before the Second Advent and concluding with the second coming of Christ. The common
tendency to blur this with the natural troubles which have beset the human race from the beginning
is not justified by the description which the Scriptures give marking this period as a special
time of limited duration.
The period of this end time is pictured in Revelation 6:1-19:10. Many expositors think this
extends over the entire seven-year period, but others find that it is primarily fulfilled in the
Great Tribulation of the last three-and-a-half years.
The details given in the book of Revelation concerning the Great Tribulation are unfolded first in
the seven-sealed manuscript which describes terrible judgments on the world, including the
destruction of one-fourth of the world's population (Revelation 6:7,8). This is followed by
another series of seven called trumpets. As these are sounded, devastating judgments will descend
over the world, a period described in Revelation 9:14 as "the great tribulation." In the sixth
trumpet, a third of the world and its population will be destroyed (Revelation 9:15). This is
followed by a series of seven bowls of judgments which will be poured out on the world.
In Revelation 16, these are devastating judgments on the entire world. The final one will be an
earthquake and the graphic portrayal describes the total destruction of much of the world and its
population. Revelation 16:18-21 records this devastating situation that will destroy all the
nations of the world and most of the people who are surviving to that point:
Then there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder and a severe earthquake. No
earthquake like it has ever occurred since man has been on earth, so tremendous was the quake. The
great city split into three parts, and the cities of the nations collapsed. God remembered Babylon
the Great and gave her the cup filled with the wine of the fury of his wrath. Every island fled
away and the mountains could not be found. From the sky huge hailstones of about a hundred pounds
each fell upon men. And they cursed God on account of the plague of hail, because the plague was
Armageddon, in connection with the final judgments of Revelation 16, is mentioned in verse
16, "Then they gathered the kings together to the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon."
Armageddon is the English equivalent of the mount of Megiddo, a geographic location in northern
Israel located not too far from the
Mediterranean Sea. It is not a very high mountain, perhaps 800 feet in elevation. To the east of
this, however, is the broad valley that extends through some 14 miles and extends to several other
valleys, which is described in Revelation 16:16 as the central marshaling place for the final
great war that will be underway in the months just before the Second Coming.
Actually, if all the Scriptures concerning end time events are put together, the war will extend
all the way up and down the nation Israel for some 200 miles from the Mediterranean Sea all the
way to the Euphrates River and millions of men will be engaged in mortal conflict. On the very day
of the Lord's return, there will be house-to-house fighting in Jerusalem.
According to Zechariah 14:1-4, the nations will be fighting for power: A day of the Lord is coming
when your plunder will be divided among you. I will gather all the nations to Jerusalem to fight
against it; the city will be captured, the houses ransacked, and the women raped. Half of the city
will go into exile, but the rest of the people will not be taken from the city. Then the Lord will
go out and fight against those nations, as he fights in the day of battle. On that day, his feet
will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be split in two
from east to west, forming a great valley, with half of the mountain moving north and half moving
When the nations see the glory in the heavens which will be the sign of the Second Coming, they
will forget their differences and unite to fight the army from heaven. This is why Satan will have
arranged for them to be there. The war will be interrupted and brought to an abrupt end by the
Second Coming of Christ.
The Second Coming of Christ
As the Scriptures have abundantly demonstrated, catastrophic judgments will lead up to the second
coming of Christ before this event happens. The coming of Christ brings to a dramatic close these
events as described in Revelation 19:11-16:
I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful
and True. With justice he judges and makes war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head
are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a
robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him,
riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Out of his mouth comes a sharp
sword with which to strike down the nations. "lie will rule them with an iron scepter." He treads
the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this
name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.
When the heavens break open with the glory of Christ and He begins His descent to the world to
take over, it is clear that this will be a time of judgment on the world. Earlier in chapter 19,
the wedding feast is mentioned, referring to the fellowship of Christ and the church in heaven.
The Scriptures record that there will be a terrible feast at this time, the slaughter of the great
armies gathered there in the Holy Land, which will be destroyed by Christ. In the process, the
world ruler called the beast and the false prophet who has supported him will be captured, and
they will be cast alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur (Revelation 19:20), the final place
of judgment for the demon world and for the unsaved.
According to Matthew 25:41, the lake of fire was prepared for the devil and his angels but it also
will be the place of final judgment for those who follow Satan instead of believing in Christ.
Scriptures distinguish between the lake of fire and sheol in the Old Testament and hades in the
New Testament; these terms are used sometimes to describe the grave itself and other times the
state of people after the grave. Sheol and hades are viewed, however, as temporary. In the final
resurrection of the wicked, recorded in Revelation 20:11-15, hades will be emptied and those in
hades at that time who are unsaved will be cast into the lake of fire, their permanent place of
judgment. As far as the Scriptures reveal, the beast and the false prophet will be the first to be
cast alive into the lake of fire. It is most significant, however, that at the end of the thousand
years when the devil is also cast into the lake of fire, the beast and the false prophet will
still be there and "They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever" (Revelation 20:10).
The beast and the false prophet will not be destroyed by the lake of fire, they are predicted to
receive everlasting punishment along with that of the devil.
The Second Coming itself will dramatically demonstrate the power of Christ. The heavens will be
ablaze with the glory of God compared to lightning shining from east to west as described in
Matthew 24:27. The heavens will be filled with the glory of Christ as He returns to earth
accompanied by all the saints and angels who are in heaven. The church will be included in that
dramatic procession, having been raptured earlier and taken to heaven before the tribulation. Now
they will return to be with Christ forever.
It will be the most dramatic moment in the entire history of the world as Christ manifests His
true authority which was hidden when He first came, but which will now be displayed to the entire
world. As mentioned previously, according to Zechariah 14, He will return to the Mount of Olives
from which He ascended, and when He does, it will be split in two from east to west, forming a
great valley down to the Jordan River (Zechariah 14:4). Apparently the whole topography of the
Holy Land will be changed and Jerusalem will be elevated, as indicated in Zechariah 14:10, and
other changes will take place in the Holy Land. The judgment, which will begin with the casting of
the world ruler and the false prophet into the lake of fire, will continue as all the armies that
are gathered against Christ will be easily put to death along with their beasts (Revelation 19:17-
21). Other judgments will follow, including the judgment and binding of Satan (Revelation 20:1-3).
Matthew 25:31-46 predicts the judgment of the nations of the Gentiles still living in the world.
The sheep and the goats represent the saved and the lost and the separation will take place
several days after the Second Coming. This should support the concept that there will be no
rapture or resurrection on the day of the Second Coming itself. The resurrection of those who died
during the Tribulation period who are mentioned in Revelation 20:4-6 also occurs after the Second
Coming. The sheep-goat separation of Matthew 25 comes after the Second Coming, and if there had
been a rapture, obviously the separation would have already taken place.
Clearly mentioned six times in Revelation 20, a millennial kingdom follows in which Christ will
reign on earth and bring justice and righteousness to bear upon the world situation. The climax
will come at the end of the millennium with the new heaven, new earth and New Jerusalem, and the
beginning of eternity.
It would be impossible for any writer of fiction to describe a scene of greater significance or
more sweeping events affecting the entire world than the period after the rapture of the Church.
While the present world may seem to be one in which God is not dealing with sin and correcting the
evil that does exist, it is clearly portrayed that in God's time and in God's way, every sinner
will be brought into judgment. The only way of escape from the righteous judgment of God will be
the grace of God provided in salvation through Jesus Christ. If there ever was a generation that
should be considering the claims of Christ and the desperate need of every soul to be saved and
forgiven by faith in Christ, it is the generation that is now living that may soon be plunged into
these end-time series of events after the rapture takes place.