SPAIN AND PORTUGAL

Being somewhat surprised with the news that the EEC had passed up the special number "TEN", I began to seek the Lord on this issue. I won't dogmatically say that it was the Holy Spirit prompting me but let me tell you what came into my mind while pondering this. As I was looking at a map one day, it occurred to me that Portugal and Spain have the geographical appearance of one nation, not two. Get a map and see what I mean. I'm sure Spanish and Portuguese people would regard this idea with great indignation but I mean no disrespect.

However, it is a fact "the ten" of the EEC voted on Spain and Portugal for admission through a 'two-package deal'. The reason was that they felt if only one of those two particular nations was voted in, she might later disallow (through the veto vote) any possibility of the other ever becoming a member. I presume this was based on the EEC's sensitivity to the long-existing rivalry between Spain and Portugal.

So, these two facts --- (1) the territorial boundaries being the way they are, and (2) these two nations coming into the EEC as a unit --- have caused me to look at this situation in a different light. I am no longer concerned that there are, mathematically speaking, 12 members of the EEC. Spiritually speaking, I believe Daniel's predicted "ten horns" are in place, and that within the package of "2 = 1" (Spain and Portugal), the eleventh "little horn" has now been added. Thus, if the logic is correct, the skeleton of the anti-Christ system is here.

Now I'm not saying that the intents and purposes of the EEC today is one of willful, anti-God strategies. The European union is based on what seems to be sound economic principles. However, that's only today's foundation. It will change. In the future it will move towards power and force. Wait and see.

Let's face it, man's chief priorities have always been to feed his belly and to surround himself with possessions. Once power gets out of the hands of those who today may very well be honest people, and into the hands of evil leaders, these motivations will change into taking whatever they want from others when the economic-cooperative effort no longer works. When the EEC becomes the USE (United States of Europe), the economic priority base will give way to a desire for world domination. In fact, when in full operation, the rest of the world's opinion will change to one of awe at United Europe's new ability to control and influence people. How will all this happen? It can only occur when the "man of sin", the "lawless one", the man who "understands dark sentences --- "the "anti-Christ" --- comes upon the scene to head up the organization. I think this man is alive today and will likely come from either Spain or Portugal, my belief being Spain.

WHY SPAIN?

I have no personal ax to grind against Spain. Let me tell you why I picked this nation to produce the anti-Christ: Spain is the eleventh member of the EEC. That's clearly what the prophetic Scriptures of Daniel 7 demand. (Remember, Spain and Portugal's entry was as a unit, even though on paper they are separate. And don't forget this, Portugal was not even a nation until after 1000 A.D.). But I also have Biblical reasons:







PAUL AND SPAIN

I have always wondered why the Holy Spirit forbade the apostle Paul to follow through with his burden over Spain. (See Romans 15:24 & 28). Some modern writers believe he did eventually go there. Purportedly, Spain cherishes a certain "Black Madonna" (a Mary-and-Child painting) that the apostle supposedly carried to Spain himself. This story alone is sufficient proof to me Paul never entered the country. It is absurd to even think he was involved with the heretical teaching of 'Mary worship'. And the fact that Paul wanted to go to Spain, with no account of it in God's Word that he did, is strong evidence that he never went there.

When we come across unfulfilled "dreams" and/or "visions" of God's people in the Bible, we must keep in mind the incident probably has prophetic content. God always has a reason for allowing someone to allude to something (such as Paul's strong wish to visit Spain) and then not allowing it to come to fruition in that man's lifetime. In this case, I believe Satan had been given, let's call it temporary spiritual authority, over Spain, which impeded the true Gospel message from entering there until some God-ordained, future date. This doesn't mean Paul mis-read the Holy Spirit's mind regarding Spain. I believe Paul indeed had a God-given vision of ministry to Spain, but did not himself realize it. Only his timing was off.

Is there any proof to substantiate the idea that Satan has had a certain hold on Spain? Let's look at the facts. The atrocities committed by the Spanish Inquisitions are well-known historical facts. Perhaps not so well-known is that this was all done under the authority of the Roman Catholic Church with full papal indorsement! From the beginning of the Roman Catholic Church, under Constantine's rule, efforts were often made to stamp out what they called "heresy" within the "christian" faith.

This particular form of "christianity" was not Christianity at all. The Roman-Catholic backing of the Spanish Inquisitions simply represented an on-going continuance of Constantine's "law and order" principles. (Many non-Catholics fear viewing Roman Catholicism as non-Christian because (1) Christ is supposedly the head of their church and (2) because they use the Bible to authenticate themselves. But these suppositions do not automatically confirm their 'gospel' and their 'Jesus' as the true Church of Jesus Christ.)

Stamping out heresy (i.e., getting rid of that which wasn't Roman Catholic) continued throughout much of the Christian era and around 1229 the Inquisition was established. It was chiefly centered in Spain and Portugal plus a portion of Italy, lasting until 1884! People who did not conform to the "faith" as defined by the Inquisitors were considered heretics. They were tried, many of them killed, and remember, all in the name of God and with papal authority! Jews and born-again Christians (Protestants) were the outstanding 'heretics'. (This, I believe, was part of the "flood" which Satan spewed out of his mouth in his attempt to devour "the woman" {the Jews} as discussed in chapter 12.)

Spain is still predominantly Roman Catholic. Many modern Spaniards may be truly grieved and embarrassed by the evil practices of their forefathers. But for several centuries these were the facts in that nation and that, after all, is what we are trying to get across here. (I suspect many readers had no idea what the Spanish Inquisition was all about. I confess that until recently, I've known very little about it myself and was shocked when I learned these things. If you have doubts about what I'm saying relative to the Spanish Inquisitions, look it up in almost any encyclopedia.)

Discussing things of this nature are always regarded with skepticism and disdain. People say, "Why don't you just leave it alone? America has also done some awful things in the name of 'righteousness'. What about Vietnam? What about North Korea? What about Hiroshima? What about this? What about that?"...and so go the questions. Some people often try to associate these kinds of American conflicts as being just as bad as the Spanish Inquisitions but actually there is no parrallelism here at all. Those in charge of the Spanish Inquisitions were purposefully annihilating human beings who didn't conform to their, self-proclaimed "holy order". The U.S.A. has done some devastating things, true. However, typically it has been in retaliation towards invaders of our own nation or to protect other nations from attempts of oppression and domination by outside evil forces coming against them.

Recall in Revelation 11:5 a characteristic of the "witnesses" was this: "And if anyone wants to harm them, fire proceeds out of their mouth and devours their enemies. And if anyone wants to harm them, he must be killed in this manner." THAT is greatly different than what occurred through the Spanish Inquisitions, all under the authority of the papacy --- the office which, according to the present Pope, Jean Paul II, acts 'infallibly' as God's agent here on earth.

Christian friend, there are some nations more righteous than others. It is obviously not up to you and I to do the judging in these matters but let's not be so naive as to be unaware of reality. As I have said repeatedly now, there are saved people in unrighteous nations and there are saved people in righteous nations; just as surely, there are many unrigheous individuals in both! But some of the nations have in the past (and will in the future) been Satan's more primary seats of opportunity. We must see that there are nations which have followed a Judas-like pattern --- operating outwardly as a member of Jesus' group but inwardly filled with the devil himself. (Brothers and Sisters, join me now in this prayer: "God bless and protect the innocent ones who are trapped within the confines of any and all nations held by Satanic bondage".)

I'm thankful not to be Judas' or Spain's judge. However, it is foolish to stick our heads in the proverbial sand and act as though their sinful acts didn't, or don't, exist. They have a Judge Who has graciously allowed us to see and understand them both to a certain degree. We Christians are not to regard these things with hate or vindictiveness, but with Godly, righteous indignation, in the manner Jesus instructed His own --- being "wise as serpents but harmless as doves".

But even though Spain has historically been one of Satan's primary tools of carrying out his endeavors in the past, this alone certainly doesn't absolutely confirm this nation as being the one from which will come the final anti-Christ. But if "the ten" which was completed in 1981 when Greece joined the EEC is, in fact, the "ten horns" of Daniel 7:24, how does one get around identifying the "another shall rise after them" (same verse) as the next member of that same group? The "another" was none other than Spain!

"But what happens if more nations join the present group? Wouldn't this upset the numbers altogether?", someone asks. Good questions. At this present time (1994), one certainly thinks about the upheavals and the walls which are coming down in Eastern Europe. Perhaps some of those nations may eventually join up with the present EEC. What happens to our "ten" scenario if that occurs? Or suppose the EEC ends up with 15 or 20 members? It's kind of confusing, isn't it? Some writers have pointed out that "ten toes" are comprised of five "toes" on each foot of "two legs". In this scenario, the two legs represent the Eastern and the Western sides of the old Roman Empire. Thus, they conclude, the final "ten" must have five nations from the east and five from the west. (I'm not trying to confuse you. I just want to keep you abreast of the variations within the overall prophetic, Christian community regarding how the old Roman Empire will reunite.)

There is a relatively new organization (called Opus Dei) being established right now throughout the world that has all kinds of "anti-Christ" implications which, not unexpectedly, was established in Spain. (To be discussed further later in this chapter.) But regardless of who the anti-Christ is or where he comes from, we can increase our ability of discernment by studying his Biblically-described characteristics.



PERSONAL TRAITS OF THE ANTI-CHRIST

Here is a list of Scriptural phrases believed to allude to the anti-Christ. Most commentators agree on this group of verses as indicative of the anti-Christ who will be the reigning ruler in the last-days of the restored Roman Empire. The purpose of knowing the nature of the anti-Christ is to help sharpen our sensitivity to him as he comes on the scene. I believe that we will actually be able to make the identification simply by observing current events via T.V., radio, newspapers, etc.

THE ANTI-CHRIST'S CHARACTER LIST

1. A foolish king. Zech. 11:15. Does not have Christ's character. Doesn't visit the sick; doesn't heal, etc. Zech. 11:16.

2. A willful king. Jn. 5:43; Dan. 11: 36-45; 2 Thes. 2:3-12.

3. A deceiver. 2 Thes. 2: 9-11; Matt. 24: 5, 23, 24 & 26; Mark 13:6; Luke 21:8; 1 Jn. 2:18 & 22; 1 Jn. 4:34.

4. Speaks great words. Dan. 7:25.

5. Wears out the saints. Dan. 7:25.

6. Tries to change the times and laws. Dan 7:25. The 'spirit of anti-Christ' is already at work on this point. For example, the Biblical, foundational principles right here in the USA are being replaced by immoral, humanistic philosophies. Expect an increase of it.

7. Will have a fierce countenance. This man's face will literally be awesome to look at. Dan. 8:23.

8. Understands dark sentences. Dan. 8:23. Mr. Intelligent. He will have a remarkable ability with words. In short, he will be Super-Smart. This is what the EEC --- indeed, the world --- wants today.)

9. Destroys wonderfully. Dan. 8:24

10. Prospers for a while. Dan. 8:24

11. Destroys the mighty and the holy people. Dan. 8:24.

12. Deceit prospers under him. Dan. 8:25.

13. Destroys many by peace. Dan. 8:25.

14. Eventually stands against Christ. Dan. 8:25.

15. Exalts himself. 2 Thes. 2: 1 - 12.

16. Speaks against God. Dan. 11:36 & Dan. 8:36.

17. Prospers till indignation is accomplished. Dan. 11:36.

18. Doesn't regard the god of his father. (Could mean he is Jewish but refuses to worship the God of the Jews. Dan. 11:36.)

19. Honors the god of forces. (A mighty, military strategist.) Dan. 11:38.

20. Divides the Land for gain. Watch for drastic changes in Real Estate philosophy. Dan. 11:39.

21. Almost deceives the very elect (true Christians). Matt. 24:24.

22. Heads up a 10-horned confederacy. Dan. 7:24; Rev. 13:1-10; Rev. 17:7-14.

23. Tries to confirm the Covenant. (This covenant was already confirmed by Jesus. The anti-Christ will do his perverted form of it.) Jn. 5:43; Dan. 9:26&27.

There are other Scriptures which add further insights regarding knowledge of the anti-Christ and his system but these are the key personal characteristics. Let's face it, he will be a human dynamo! Although I'm presently convinced he will be of Spanish descent, if a man rises in another nation who shows the signs as depicted above, I will not hesitate to re-focus my attention on him and the nation in which he rises.

(Of course, the Futuristic approach avoids all these uncertainties with the assumption the Church will be gone and therefore, Christians need not worry about it. Strange! This understanding causes me to wonder who prophecy was written for in the first place? The heathen? The unsaved? Those who remain after the Church is gone? Who would be left to explain to them what it means? Rapture before tribulation makes no sense. Rapture before God's Wrath is what the Bible teaches.)

Let's move on and see how the world responds to 'superman'.

LOST MEN WORSHIP THE NEW 'MIGHTY KING'

4 "And they worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, "Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?"

The eleven nations (actually twelve) of the EEC today represent a vast array of cultural differences. For this reason, it seems as if there is no possibility of agreement on important issues. I have read accounts of some of their meetings during which they had prepared a large-scale agenda to follow, only to report at the conclusion --- no newly-established purposes.

We have division in America; so does Canada; it's the nature of men of different backgrounds. But the diversity in Europe is a 'horse-of-a-different-color'. Ironically, cultural pride is at its fullest among nations which seem bent upon becoming united. And, because of this reality, they are looking for, and need, a masterful unifier-organizer.

With this understanding, we can see the stage is now set in the EEC for the one "who understands dark sentences" to make his showing. I shall not speculate now on exactly how or when this might be. But the major Biblical characteristics listed above should help make us sensitive to the man described in the above verse, (Rev.13:4). The new European leader will be one who "honors a god of forces", and the apostle John reveals just how 'right on' the prophet Daniel was with that prediction. The people will "worship the dragon" (unwittingly perhaps, not realizing the "beast" is actually being controlled by Satan). His power and influence will be so extremely effective and coercive, it will cause those who regard him to say: "Who is able to make war with him?" In short, today's EEC (tomorrow's USE) will eventually become a powerhouse of unparalleled proportions.

THE BLASPHEMER

5 "And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and authority was given to him to continue forty-two months."

6 "And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven."

These two verses are about a man but they actually reveal the nature of Satan himself. Remember, he was kicked out of heaven because of his desire to be God's equal. Since that time, Satan has been attempting to prove his equality with God. He still believes he can pull it off. Satan hates God furiously. We got a glimpse of the intensity of this hatred in Adolph Hitler. But in the final "man of sin", this will be demonstrated to the fullest degree possible, when Satan will then have complete control of the will, mind and emotions of one human being. Satan has waited for this a long time.

The above two verses are clear statements of what will come out of the mouth of this ruler. He won't be able to control himself. Eventually, he will literally and openly blaspheme the name of Jesus Christ, the One who crushed Satan's head. I doubt this will be true in the beginning stages. At first, he may even claim belief in Jesus. But when his time comes, i.e., when he is convinced he's 'got-the-world-on-a-string', the real anti-Christ nature will come forth from his lips. He won't be able to control his ego nor his contempt for God. His 23 characteristics will become reality.

There is an excellent passage of Scripture which the apostle Paul left us regarding the anti-Christ, and this is the place we need to study it: 2 Thessalonians 2: 1 - 12:

1 "Now we ask you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him,

2 that you not be soon shaken in mind or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come.

3 Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition,

4 who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshipped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.

5 Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things?

6 And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time.

7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way.

8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming.

9 The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan with all power, signs, and lying wonders,

10 and with all deception of unrighteousness in those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

11 And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie,

12 that they all might be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness."

If I was limited to only one portion of Scripture to study Satan, the anti-Christ and last-days events, this would be my choice. If this Scripture is new to you, or if you haven't studied it in depth, would you right now read these twelve verses several times --- nonstop. I shall list segments which are most meaningful and it will help your understanding tremendously if you can immediately recall the verse as soon as you see the phrases I'll be commenting on.

"...the coming of the Lord Jesus...and our gathering.."

At the outset of this chapter we see that it concerns the return of Jesus Christ to the earth to receive His Own. Paul goes on:

"...Be not soon shaken..."

Here, Paul is making it clear that Christians will see the things he is about to discuss concerning the coming anti-Christ system. This passage has strong suggestions which reduce the pre-trib-rapture concept. I'm amazed that the Futurists so easily glide right over this very clear passage of Scripture on this issue.

"...that day will not come unless..."

Then Paul goes on to explain that there will be a "falling away" first. This refers to an apostasy, indicating that believers begin to drift away from deep, Biblical faith. We see this in process right now, do we not? Ungodliness and unrighteousness is on the rise everywhere, especially here in our own beloved Canada and America. This clear statement by Paul is one of the great Biblical signs confirming that we are nearing the end of the age.

"...and that man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition."

God has many identifying names in the Bible; so does Jesus Christ; so does Satan. Two of Satan's, in the form of the final anti-Christ, are revealed in this verse, the "man of sin", and the "son of perdition". The "man of sin" is indicative of man's sinful nature at its highest ebb; while the "son of perdition" tells us from where the underlying power comes --- the devil himself.

"...in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God."

The Futurists are waiting for a new Jewish temple to be built in Jerusalem before the anti-Christ can come on the scene. I believe this thinking may be one of Satan's cleverest schemes, (perhaps another example of Daniel's suggestion that the anti-Christ would think to 'change the times and the laws'). If this theory is correct, there would be no need to even study prophecy! We could just wait for the new temple to be built and then we'd know the anti-Christ would soon come!

I don't agree with the reasoning. The only real foundation it has is that a great number of influential people have bought it and are broadly proclaiming it to others. There is a large, relatively-new synagogue in Jerusalem today which could suffice to meet this interpretation, if indeed the idea has any credence at all. Personally, I am skeptical concerning the new temple-in-Jerusalem idea.

It's more important to see that this is referring to a spiritual templesomeone's body! I don't think it's necessary to quote verses because I'm sure that the reader knows the New Testament is filled with the concept that our bodies are the "temple of God" in this age. And it is in the anti-Christ's body that Satan will be "showing himself that he is God". This will be Satan's 'incarnation' --- his best attempt at perverting what Jesus Christ was --- god in the flesh.

Jesus, when presenting Himself to the Jews as God's Messiah, alluded to the anti-Christ in John 5:43: "I have come in My Father's name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, him you will receive." Jesus was teaching two profound truths here:

1. He was claiming to be the fulfillment of all the Old Testament prophecies of God's Messiah to Israel.

2. He was also predicting Israel would some day receive a false messiah --- the one none other than the anti-Christ!

You heard me right folks. Israel will one of these days actually accept Satan's counterfeit as their messiah. They rejected Jesus many years ago and, as a nation, still do. This one who comes respecting the "god of forces", who will demonstrate his abilities as a great military strategist, even calling himself "god" in his latter days, is the same kind of king the Jews wanted in Jesus' day. They will finally be impressed to receive the one who will not be coming in Someone else's behalf, as our Lord did representing the true and living God, but coming in his own name, presenting himself as god.

"...you know what is restraining....until He is taken out of the way..."

Notice that the "what" of verse 6 becomes a "HE" in verse 7. It is refreshing to find that most prophetic students agree on the identity of this Person --- He is the Holy Spirit. However, I do not wholeheartedly agree with some of the other conclusions. Many say that the Holy Spirit will be removed from the earth, along with the Church, thus allowing Satan to indwell the "man of sin" who will then proceed to build his kingdom. My position is that the Holy Spirit remains very much here, but assuming a "hands-off" policy thus allowing Satan to complete his assignment. The verse says nothing about this "He" leaving; it is His "restraining" power that is removed.

The Holy Spirit, and to some extent in this age the Church too, has been the "restraining" force against Satan since the beginning of time. Satan would like to have built his throne long ago but has been thwarted by God's Sovereign plan to draw out of this world a people for Himself. However, this "restraining" power will discontinue at a certain point on God's time-table, then Satan's operation will be allowed to go to completion. We'll see later a better picture of what the Holy Spirit is doing during the final seven year "Tribulation".

"...then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume..."

When great difficulties are predicted in the Scriptures for God's people, in the same context we always find God's offer of hope and ultimate deliverance to His Own from the forces of evil in this present world. We see an example of this in the above verse. Paul is in the process of explaining the most ungodly time, under the most ungodly ruler of all time, and then simply says, "whom the Lord will consume...". Isn't that great? God will always bring His people through any situation. We have His Word on it.

"The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan with all power, signs, and lying wonders,..."

This is probably the best summary statement of the anti-Christ in the Bible. In it, we see that Satan is the real power source behind the "lawless one", who will put on a demonstration of strength greater than the world has yet seen by an ordinary man. It appears as though we can expect supernatural phenomena to come through him, i.e., the "power and signs". But note the qualifying phrase "lying wonders". This latter trait makes me believe a lot of what will seem supernatural will actually be tremendous displays of false deception. Recall the magicians under Pharaoh who through trickery seemed to duplicate some of Moses' miraculous signs.

"...they did not receive the love of the truth...God will send strong delusion..."

This is an incredible illustration of God's justice in action. Note that it is God Who sends the strong delusion! Why would God do this? The answer is right in the verse: "...because they did not receive the love of the truth." In other words, this reference is to those who continually refuse to hear and believe the Gospel, preferring instead the deceptive nature of Satan himself. In essence, God is saying to unbelievers, "I've offered you life. If you refuse it, I'll send the opposite". In the end, God will remove the Restrainer, (the Holy Spirit), allowing Satan, that old dragon and deceiver, to come and put his greatest efforts before men who willingly receive his anti-Christ system. The apostle Paul then concludes this passage with this:

"...that they should believe the lie, that they all might be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness."

There is a "lie" which weaves its way throughout mankind's history. Paul even goes so far here as to call it "the" lie. This lie was introduced to man in the garden of Eden --- that man himself can become god. Never has the lie been more evident than in our day.

The above excerpts and their explanation are key to understanding certain aspects of the person of the anti-Christ and other end-time events. I would encourage you to once again read the whole passage of 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12, then also glance through these notes again.

Next, we need to look at another super-important subject, usually referred to as the "seventy weeks of Daniel".