Already we are seeing an unprecedented wave of lawlessness in Europe, America and around the world. The scope and complexity of terror networks will soon make it impossible for local law officials to monitor and quell the rising tide. The provision for martial law, which suspends individual rights, is stated in the U.S. Constitution, article 1, section 9: "The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion, the public Safety may require it."
Martial law would suspend the executive, legislative and judicial branches of the government and install the highest-ranking military officer as governor. That position, appointed by the president of the United States, is the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff.
One possible scenario for the unchallenged rise of the Antichrist would be for the president to declare martial law and install a military governor to address the problem of civil unrest and terror. Other countries experiencing the same kind of unrest would follow suit and install military governors.
The need for coordinated worldwide effort could give rise to a central command center led by one person, similar to the position that General Dwight D. Eisenhower held during World War II as the supreme Allied commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force. From this central command center, a multinational, multidisciplinary force would be directed to ensure that the world was safe and resilient against terrorism. The role of the leader could expand as countries face currency manipulation, border-control threats and cyberattacks. If the person in this position were indeed the Antichrist, he would wield such far-reaching power that he could access financial data, disrupt essential services and alter or steal classified information.
In addition to the removal of Christian influence in the world leading to an unfettered spread of lawlessness, there is another reason people might put their unbridled faith in the Antichrist, even after his promise of peace is quickly replaced by violence on a worldwide scale. Some economists believe that there is a connection between war and a good economy.
An article in the Business Insider a few years ago took a satirical look at the effect World War II had on the American economy. The author made a tongue-in-cheek suggestion that the best way to grow the economy was to start another world war. Although he was not serious about this suggestion, he argued that global war had unexpected positive results that today's more contained conflicts fail to achieve:
Most economists believe that massive federal government spending on tanks, uniforms, bullets, and battleships ... finally put to an end the paralyzing "deflationary trap'" that had existed since the crash of 1929 ... The numbers were indeed staggering. From 1940 to 1944, federal spending shot up more than six times from just $9.5 billion to $72 billion. This increase led to a corresponding $75 billion expansion of US nominal GDP ... In other words, the war effort caused U.S. GDP to increase close to 75 percent in just four years! The War also wiped out the country's chronic unemployment problems ... [and] drew women into the workforce in unprecedented numbers, thereby greatly expanding economic output, according to Peter Schiff, in Business Insider's "Let's Start a Third World War to Save the Global Economy."
It is easy to see how effortlessly and quickly a person could rise to worldwide power with promises of peace and security against the global threat of terror coupled with economic prosperity. Our world seems ripe for the coming of the man of lawlessness.
The apostle Paul warned his Thessalonian readers to expect a "falling away" from the faith (2 Thess. 2:3). The Greek word for "falling away" is apostasía, from which we derive our English word "apostasy." Paul's message to Timothy was similar: "In the last times some will depart from the faith and pay attention to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils" (1 Tim. 4:1).
This increasing apostasy will culminate in the rise of a powerful figure who will we can identify as the Antichrist. Once the foundation of lawlessness is laid and apostasy reaches a climax, this figure will appear not as an evil, despotic ruler but a winsome, world-class leader who promises peace.
These will be difficult days on the face of the earth as the "mystery of lawlessness" (2 Thess. 2:7) that began ages ago is now coming to pass. What started with the fall of Lucifer will have intensified and reached a new level:
Even him, whose coming is in accordance with the working of Satan with all power and signs and false wonders, and with all deception of unrighteousness among those who perish, because they did not receive the love for the truth that they might be saved. Therefore God will send them a strong delusion, that they should believe the lie: that they all might be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness (2 Thess. 2:9–12).
It may surprise you that it is God who sends the "strong delusion" on the inhabitants of the earth. This is in response to their denial of the truth and rejection of Christ. In place of the truth (John 14:6), they will now believe the lie (2 Thess. 2:11). We see a similar action on the part of God in the book of Isaiah: "I also will choose their punishments and will bring their fears on them, because when I called, no one answered; when I spoke, they did not listen; but they did evil before My eyes and chose that in which I did not delight" (Is. 66:4).
People in the last days will be looking for a savior of the world and, having rejected Jesus, will gladly welcome the Antichrist and yield to his authority. They are deceived by identity theft at the highest level. All too soon will the world discover that its newly chosen leader, who promised peace and prosperity, is actually a pawn of Satan, who quickly reverts to his true nature of evil and violence—at a level the world has never before seen.
The influx and acceptance of the demonic into our culture will pave the way for the entrance of this individual so sinister that he will make all the despotic rulers of the past look like amateurs.
Satan and his demonic forces are moving to install their man for the hour. For generations Satan has been waiting to empower someone as a puppet whom he can control to rule over the world.
These are days that demand that we know the time, awake from our sleep and realize that darkness is advancing. People who lack the ability to understand the times are easily shaken by the turn of world events. They question God and worry about the rise of evil in our day. Those who filled and anointed by the Spirit will host the presence of God and bring heaven to earth. God wants us to be secure in our faith and able to move in the spirit realm with power and confidence.
Phil Hotsenpiller is a pastor and expert in the field of end-time prophecy. His new book, One Nation without Law, is now available nationwide.
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