By definition, the Antichrist is someone who conquers the whole world. If a man claims to be the Antichrist or is thought to be the Antichrist, but he does not conquer the whole world, then he is certainly not the Antichrist.
Certainly, the Antichrist never obtains the obedience or worship of everyone in the world. The Church will continue during His reign. The faithful will oppose him continuously. And a portion of the Church will remain hidden in the world, out of his reach (Rev 12:14). But he does conquer all nations and obtain control over government, law, military, education, economics, and all of society worldwide.
How can one man succeed in such an endeavor? The world, at present, has over 200 nations and over 7.6 billion human persons. And the time of the Antichrist is the 25th century, when there will be many more billions of human persons on earth. Many dictators in the history of the world have tried to conquer the whole world (or the whole known world, in ancient times) and failed.
The Antichrist succeeds for several reasons.
1. The world will become divided into ten kingdoms only, with one king over each kingdom. The whole world will be ruled by only ten individuals. So, instead of needing to conquer hundreds of nations, the Antichrist need only conquer ten kingdoms.
2. The kingdoms of the North and the South will have been in conflict for generations. Thus, they will have the two most powerful and developed militaries in the world. The Antichrist rises to power in the North, and then he wages war against the South, so as to control the two most powerful militaries.
3. The kingdoms of the Meridian (Africa, excluding the northern part) and the East (China) will have the two next most powerful militaries. Before the kingdom of the ten kings is established in the 2300’s AD (the 24th century), the many nations of the world will be dominated (but not conquered) by an alliance of four nations: India, Africa (excluding the north), the China, and one other area during the 2200’s AD (the 23rd century). As the most recent superpower prior to the establishment of the kingdom of the ten kings, Africa and China will have the two next most powerful militaries, after the North and South.
By conquering Africa and China, the Antichrist then obtains control over the four most powerful militaries — North, South, Meridian, East. Then the other six kingdoms will not have sufficient military power put together to oppose him. So the Antichrist need only become the king of one of the ten kingdoms, the North, and then defeat three other kings — more by betrayal than by war, so that the four militaries remain mostly intact. Then the other six kingdoms will submit to him.
4. He is immensely popular worldwide.
We see in recent decades that the ability of modern media to reach billions of persons very rapidly has caused a change in society. Individuals can achieve worldwide notoriety easily. A person’s fame can spread to the whole planet quickly.
In addition, the will of the majority — or the apparent majority of vocal persons in the media — can exercise great influence without any type of government or military power. If the masses on the internet clamor for some action from a government or a corporation, they often receive it. For even powerful governments and wealthy multinational corporations fear the power that the masses wield by means of social media. A politician who opposes the will of this crowd of persons, mostly operating under pseudonyms, risks public humiliation and a rapid disapproval by the majority of voters. A corporation risks loss of customers and money.
In the future, media will be even more pervasive and will reach an even higher percentage of the world population. The future version of the internet (whatever it may be called) will be thoroughly integrated into everyone’s lives. Imagine our current version of social media given a few hundred more years of technological and sociological development. The emotions and will of the people will be very influential, even over those with dictatorial power over government and military.
The Antichrist will be charismatic, in a wicked sense. The world will be very wicked. So the Antichrist, being wicked himself, will be very popular. As the Antichrist rises to limited positions of military, and subsequently governmental power, he will also have great notoriety in social media. He will be well-spoken, witty, clever, intelligent, and attractive-looking. He will speak pleasing deceitful words, so that the masses will follow him, even before he has any substantial formal power.
Then, when the king of the kingdom of the North dies (probably by being secretly killed by the Antichrist), the Antichrist will obtain his position as king by popular support, but without a vote. He will bribe, deceive, negotiate deceitfully, and otherwise obtain the position unjustly. And then his fame will spread throughout the world.
Though he will at first be king of only one of the ten kingdoms, the citizens of all ten kingdoms will follow him and support him. They will like him more than their own kings and rulers. They will begin to adore him (at first, not as if he were a god), as sinful populations often “worship” famous persons. His massive support in every corner of the world will be due to the sinfulness of the world and his own sinfulness. They see in him the success of grave sin, and they will love sin and hate goodness.
So when the Antichrist goes to war against the South, many persons in government and military in the South are willing to betray their own leaders and their own people, so enamored are they of him.
And when he conquers the South, his fame increases immensely. No one thought that the North and the South could be united, as they will have been in conflict for generations.
So when he engages in negotiations with the Meridian and the East, he is able to defeat them in much the same way. Their own people happily betray their leaders, as they are caught up in the popularity of the Antichrist in the media. Government and military leaders agree to betray their friends, family, nation, and rulers to support him.
Then when the Antichrist controls the four kingdoms with the most powerful militaries, the other six kingdoms cannot even consider going to war against him, as their own peoples and their own soldiers are not willing to fight the Antichrist. They want to be led by him, as he represents the success of their own wickedness.
Thus, the Antichrist cannot conquer the world until the world becomes especially wicked.
5. The Antichrist has the explicit help of Satan himself and innumerable devils.
Fallen angels help the Antichrist rise to power. They speak to him, giving him information that he could not otherwise know, such as who is willing to accept a bribe, who is susceptible to blackmail, who is susceptible to flattery, etc. The devils working with the Antichrist influence wicked persons in positions of power throughout the world, to the benefit of the Antichrist. That is one factor in his conquering of the three kingdoms (South, Meridian, East). The devils help him find and influence persons with power in those kingdoms who are willing to support the Antichrist and betray their own people.
Fallen angels also assist the Antichrist in obtaining and increasing his popularity in the media. They assist him in many of his decisions, negotiations, strategies, etc.
6. The wicked of the world will far outnumber the faithful.
Since the Antichrist is the most wicked human person who will ever exist, he is easily accepted by the wicked of that future time. The kingdom of the ten kings begins during a time of great sinfulness, and the sinfulness of the world only increases as time passes. The Antichrist is accepted by the world because he is like them.
So when the faithful souls of that future time oppose the Antichrist, the wicked do not listen. For they are unwilling to repent of their own sins.
7. The kingdom of the South (which includes the Holy Land) will have more devout Christians, Jews, and Muslims than any other kingdom of the world. So when the Antichrist, as the king of the North, defeats the kingdom of the South, his followers attack the Roman Pontiff, Vatican City (the new one), and bishops, priests, deacons, religious, the faithful, and churches throughout the world. This attack on the faithful makes the wicked of the world more willing to follow the Antichrist, as they will hate Catholic Christianity more than anything else.
Over the course of a few centuries, the general population and governments of the world will develop animosity and outright hatred of religion, especially Catholic Christianity. Since the Antichrist is opposed to true religion, since he particularly hates the Church, the wicked are all the more willing to obey and worship him. His defeat of the Christian king of the South only increases his popularity.
Later, the Antichrist orders all churches, temples, and mosques to be closed worldwide, and he forbids all religion (except his own false religion). This pleases the masses, who will long have hated religion and wished for all religion to be outlawed.
8. About halfway through his reign, the Antichrist allies with the false prophetess to create a formal structure for his false religion. Their false church us extremely perverse. They reward their worshippers with money, food, power, and approval for grave sins and otherwise illegal acts. This type of bribery helps the Antichrist obtain the worship of a vast number of wicked persons.
The true Christian Church exists at the same time, in opposition to the false church of the Antichrist and the false prophetess. At no time does the Antichrist or the false prophetess claim to be the Roman Pontiff, nor is there a Roman Pontiff during the entire reign of the Antichrist. After the last Pope before the Return of Christ is killed by the followers of the Antichrist, the people and governments of the world will not permit the Cardinals and Bishops to elect a new Pope. (Very soon now, the Church will permit some Bishops to join the Cardinals in electing the Roman Pontiff.)
9. The devils help the Antichrist recover from an apparently mortal wound, and the false prophetess uses this incident to claim that the Antichrist is god. This helps the Antichrist increase in popularity, so that he might be worshiped by the wicked of the world.
10. No one is permitted to buy or sell — including water, food, and other necessities — unless they accept the mark of the beast (which is the mark of the Antichrist and his kingdom). This mark indicates the worship of the Antichrist. In order to receive it, an individual must blaspheme the God of Christians, the God of Jews, and the God of Muslims, and must make a statement of worship and obedience to the Antichrist. Thus, an extremely wicked sin is required in order to obtain the mark and be able to buy and sell.
The faithful abandon society and flee to the mountains — to the only regions of the world that are not extremely overdeveloped with roads and buildings and other structures. For they can no longer be a part of sinful society once this mark is required to buy necessities. The mark of the beast will also be required in order to obtain any job of any kind, whether paid or volunteer, even the most menial of jobs. This clever wickedness further consolidates the hold that the Antichrist will have over the whole world.
So the above 10 points explain the way that the Antichrist obtains control over the whole world and how he consolidates that power.
More in my book: The Second Part of the Tribulation
Ronald L. Conte Jr.
Roman Catholic theologian and translator of the Catholic Public Domain Version of the Bible.
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