Tom: We’re going through Dave Hunt’s book Countdown to the Second Coming, and we’re returning to chapter 3 after a—oh—four-to-five-week digression. Actually, it was a survey of key events found in the Scriptures from Genesis through Revelation, and our hope was that we’d give people an opportunity to hear an overview of the different events—prophetic events—in Scripture.
So, Dave, getting back on track with your book—here are some things we might cover today in this segment: “The Bible indicates that prior to the return of Jesus Christ there will be a revived Roman Empire, which will play a major role in the development of a one-world government over which the Antichrist will rule.” And that seemed rather farfetched for centuries for even serious students of the Bible, but then, in 1989, we see the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe and the amazing development of the European Union. Dave, how do you see all of this coming together?
Dave: Well, Tom, I think the revived Roman Empire, of course, involves more than Western Europe. And one of the…well, the pope began talking about a revived Europe, oh, I think before most other people did publicly. And then Gorbachev, the pope’s buddy, began to say, “Well, but this is based on Christianity, and we Russians ought to be part of Western Europe too, because of our Christian heritage!”
Tom: Yeah…Gorbachev did say that his mother was a practicing Orthodox believer.
Dave: Well, you know the Christian heritage he’s talking about…
Dave: When the Czar—I think it was about 900 AD—he wanted to establish a united religion for all of Russia. He checked out Islam, but you couldn’t have any alcohol. And you could have a lot of wives, but you couldn’t have alcohol! So he finally settled on Orthodoxy—Catholicism, but it had split up into the East (well, it almost had split)…
Tom: Mm-hmm. So the Greek Orthodox—he was going to make a…
Dave: Right. You could—well, you could have plenty of concubines, and you could have all the liquor you wanted. So that was the establishment…
Dave: Seriously. This was the establishment of the “Christian heritage” of Russia. And Gorbachev said, “Considering our Christian heritage, we ought to be part of Western Europe, too!” And they will, eventually.
So, in the meantime, as you alluded to, the Wall came down. And Gorbachev, I think, had a part to play in that. The pope certainly did. I’ll never forget—Time magazine, I can’t remember when it was, but on the front cover it had the pope, John Paul II, and Reagan. And the heading—in huge letters on the Time magazine, the front cover—was “Holy Alliance.” I would call it an unholy alliance, but it told how Reagan’s…one of his advisors, military advisor, actually an intelligence advisor, said, “Well, the pope’s guys were head of the CIA. If you wanted to know what was going on, ask them.” And anyway, Reagan and the pope worked together to bring down the Wall, much of it through Poland, through the movement there—the Freedom Movement in Poland.
But if you look at Revelation:13:8, it tells us that “All that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.”
It’s my understanding that the entire world will be under the Antichrist. In fact, it says, “I saw one of his heads, as it were wounded to death.” They say, “Oh, the Antichrist will be killed and resurrected.” No, he has seven heads in this metaphor—the metaphorical illustration—and only one of them was wounded, not killed. It says, “Wounded as it were to death. And his deadly wound was healed.”
So this is not a resurrection. I think it’s speaking of the Roman Empire. It seemed to be wounded to death. They always hoped for a revival, and of course the Hapsburgs, the major families of Europe, always hoped for revival of the Roman Empire. It will be revived. It is being revived.
Tom: Now, Dave, communism—and this is why we started with 1989 and this collapse of communism—it was a major, major barrier to anything like a world unity, or a thrust for world unity. The West vs. the communist East—certainly at odds.
Dave: This is why the Catholic Church, the Vatican, had what was called “the Ratline.” It was an escape route for Nazis after WWII, because the Nazis were the expert “anti- communists.” And the Western world, including the United States, saw communism as the enemy, and they were in favor of the Nazis to that extent. There would be no freedom for the Catholic Church under communism. There was some freedom under Hitler. In fact, Hitler himself was Catholic and he was never excommunicated, as was Mussolini. And you remember in 1929, the Concordat, Mussolini and the Catholic Church entered into a deal where Catholicism became the official religion of Italy. It was taught in the schools, and so forth.
And so, you are right, Tom, in pointing out that communism was the big enemy, and it’s pretty much on the way out, although it still hangs on in Cuba; it still hangs on in China, although they’re becoming very capitalistic. We don’t have a world government yet, but we have a world market, and the multinational corporations are really creating this “one world” in a way that was not foreseen in the past.
Tom: Dave, all we have to do is ask our listeners to check some of their clothing, especially clothing for hiking and camping and all of that—it all says, “Made in China.”
Dave: Right. So China is going to have to at least come to a modified capitalism in order to be a part of this world market. And the multinational corporations—they use labor from one country; they get raw materials from another country; they put it together in another country, and the manufacturing, and so forth. And this is what is happening out there. So communism is fading out in China, but in a different way than it did in Russia.
Now, my wife and I are heading into Albania shortly. They were very much with the Chinese communists. Americans couldn’t go there, as you recall. Now we can. It’s a Muslim country, really. Communism is gone, and Islam is the big enemy that has the worldwide influence, even beyond communism. But that’s a different subject.
So, he will rule over all kindreds and tongues and nations, it says in verse 7: “Power was given him over all kindreds and tongues and nations.” Who gives him the power? Well, it says, “The dragon,” verse 2—that’s Satan—“gave him his power and his seat and great authority.”
Now, it’s interesting: Christ—you remember?—Satan tempted Him in the wilderness. He showed Him all the kingdoms of the earth in a moment in time, and he said, “All these will I give to you if you will bow down and worship me.”
Of course, Christ would not bow down and worship Satan. Satan is the “god of this world,” he’s called, and he wants to be worshiped by mankind. He is the great rival of God in wooing men and women—this world—to follow him.
So the Antichrist? He is offered the world, and he accepts it. And he bows down to Satan, the Dragon gives him his power and his authority. Now, it’s interesting—when Satan said to Christ, “All of this—I’ll give you the world, all the kingdoms of the world. I’ll give them to you if you’ll bow down and worship me.”
Jesus didn’t say, “Hey, they’re not yours to give.” In fact, they are his to give [1 John:5:19]. We used to sing in Sunday school, “He’s got the whole wide world in His hand.” Remember that? We were talking about Jesus. No! That’s not who has the whole wide world in his hand. Jesus has been rejected! He’s been thrown out of this world, like He’s been thrown out of our public schools, which is why we have the problems there that we have now. And the whole world is in the power of, it says, “the wicked one.” The evil one. So he gives this authority, this power, to the Antichrist.
It will be a horrible time, Tom, beyond our comprehension.
Tom: Yeah. Now, Dave, just let me back you up a little bit, just for some of our listeners, maybe. We’re not denying the sovereignty of God in this, are we?
Dave: No, absolutely not! God was sovereign when Satan rebelled, wasn’t He?
Dave: He was sovereign when Adam and Eve rebelled. He’s sovereign now. And He gave Ten Commandments, not Ten Suggestions. People break them every day. And that does not challenge God’s sovereignty. We have a sovereign government, I would think, in the United States—federal government, the state, city governments are sovereign. They make the rules. They can enforce it. That doesn’t mean everybody obeys it. A lot of people disobey, and there are consequences.
So there are consequences coming for Antichrist. He’s going to be cast into the bottomless pit along with the False Prophet. Satan himself will be locked up for a thousand years, and finally, he’s gone forever. He hasn’t been done away with; he continues to exist, but in outer darkness and torment, which he will endure because of his rebellion against God.
So God is sovereign, and He allows man to do what he wants to do. But God was sovereign when Christ was crucified! But this is all part of the evil that is in mankind, and it has to come out. And there is a solution for it—for those who are willing to accept the sacrifice of Christ on their behalf.
So Satan will get his come-uppance, the Antichrist will, but in the meantime, it’s going to be horrific.
Tom: Well, a point that you make in this chapter, Dave: “The Caesars controlled a far wider kingdom than the European Union, the world of their day.” In other words, those who are looking to the European Union, and say, “Oh this is going to be the ten powers—it’s going to be split ten ways, or there are just going to be ten nations,” but there are more than…
Dave: In Western Europe.
Tom: Right. There are more than that. Even…
Dave: You’ve got 15 of them right now. And, Tom, you remember in Rome, as we were driving to the Coliseum, on this wall in mosaic—it was quite well done—you had the former Roman Empire laid out. It went down through Syria, Lebanon, all across North Africa to the Atlantic Ocean. It went up into Soviet Armenia, and it was much, much larger than Western Europe.
And, by the way, the Antichrist will be—I believe—will come out of that somewhere. He could be Assyrian. Some people think that. There’s some interesting statements about “the Syrian.” I don’t know. But he, I think, must be born in what was the Roman Empire at that time, because of Daniel:9:26, that says, “The people of the prince who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary,” that is, Jerusalem and the Temple. And it was destroyed by the Roman armies of Titus, and so [if] they’re the people of the prince who will come, that would indicate that somewhere within that Roman Empire, the Antichrist will be born.
But as you’re pointing out, that is not going to be the extent of it, because these nations that were part of the original Roman Empire, they colonized the world! Interestingly, they took Christianity—and much of it was Catholicism. They laid the foundation for a false world religion—a false Christianity—all over the world, so they colonized the world.
Now, those colonies, you know, colonization, the colonial powers have shrunk, and we have independents. And in most cases, it’s far worse than the colonial powers. You’ve got Mugabe in Zimbabwe, for example. The man is a criminal—a murderer. And they are murdering white farmers who’ve been in Zimbabwe for centuries, their ancestors. They’ve done a terrific job. It was an exporting country when it came to produce, and so forth. They’re killing them, putting in their place…when you kill the farmer, maybe he had a dozen, maybe he had fifty, maybe he had a hundred native Zimbabweans as his employees. They’re gone. They’ve lost their jobs. Now you chop this farm up into a bunch of pieces, and you put a lot of rebels in there who don’t know how to farm anyway—it is destroying the economy. And this is what is happening, and you find that in other countries throughout Africa as well. They threw out the colonial powers, okay? I’m not in favor of colonial powers lording it over someone.
On the other hand, they did develop a tremendous civilization there. If you went to South Africa—you remember the first heart transplants were done in a hospital in South Africa.
Dave: If you would visit that hospital today, Tom, you wouldn’t want to be a patient in there. You got people that have come in from the jungles who’ve taken over the government and have taken over everything…and I’m not opposed to people coming in from the jungles getting freedom! But if they’re not educated, and if they don’t have the medical degrees, and if they don’t know how to run a hospital, it’s going to destroy everything. You don’t just turn a hospital over to people just because they happen to be natives…
Tom: Or freedom fighters.
Dave: Right. So, we’ve got problems. But anyway, this is all going to change. There will be one man who will be in charge of the entire world, and I believe the Rapture will be the catalyst that will bring it about.
Tom: Dave, do you think the revived Roman Empire, as you’ve mentioned, it begins there—it begins, as you were saying, with the European Union, but then it extends to the whole world. So that wouldn’t exclude, as we mentioned earlier, wouldn’t exclude China or Japan—you know, the Far East.
Dave: They will all be part of this. That’s not my opinion—this is what it says! Let me read it again: “Power was given him over all kindreds and tongues and nations.” The Bible couldn’t lay it out more clearly. “All that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. If any man have an ear, let him hear.”
So, Tom, I don’t think you could say it more clearly.
Tom: What about the economic side? The Scriptures lay that out very clearly.
Dave: Well, of course, this man is going to control all banking and all commerce with a number. Now you wouldn’t have imagined a hundred years ago—even 50 years ago, I don’t think—a number? Where would a number come in? I mean, how would a number control this thing? Well, I don’t know what “666” means. I do not understand that. Maybe someday we will, and there have been various theories, you know—it’s the universal product code, and so forth. I think it will be something associated—but it’s numbers, and you have to have computers to do that. You have to have communication satellites. We are the first generation for which this is a viable, practical—not only possibility, but, Tom, it’s coming, and it has to come. But it will be under the control of one man—the Antichrist.
Tom: Dave, I’m going to jump ahead—we’re really moving to chapter 4, but you have a statement in chapter 4 that I’d like you to address. We’ve got about two and half minutes.
You say the last days signs—because people are listening to what we’re saying, these are last days signs—then you say, “They’re not for the church, but an unbelieving Israel.” I think that’s an important statement, because how many times in our years of ministry here, people have written to us: “Oh, I’m worried about taking the mark; and I’m worried about this, and I’m worried about that.” We’re out of here!
Dave: I believe so, Tom, and I believe the Rapture is the only event that could bring this about. The essential catalyst—when 100 million people, I don’t know, 50 million people suddenly vanish from this planet…where did they go? Who took them? “Beam me up, Scottie!” Have they been snatched off by some renegade civilization out there in space? We’re into that now. This is very believable. They’re off on some slave planet? And you know that there are New Agers who believe this. There are others who have various theories.
There’s going to be a mass disappearance…okay. The world will be terrified. It’s not Fourth of July. The world doesn’t unite, I mean, against this power. It’s beyond anything that the earth has. But a man arises, in the midst of this terror—and he has the answer. What that answer is, I don’t know. I could think of a lot of scenarios. But he has the answer, and he has all the power of Satan to work lying wonders, and the world will worship him and unite behind him, and that’s going to include everybody.
Tom: But not today—that is, not believers. I think that’s an important point. These signs are for Israel, again.
Dave: Well, the signs are for the Second Coming, and the Second Coming is distinct from the Rapture. At the Rapture, He comes to take His own out of here. At the Second Coming, He comes with His saints to rescue Israel. So, Tom, the fact that these signs are casting their shadow already indicates we’re getting very, very close to the Rapture of the church.