Welcome to The Berean Call podcast. I’m T. A. McMahon, and I am blessed to have been a good friend and co-worker of Dave Hunt for almost 40 years. For many years, we recorded a radio program, Search the Scriptures Daily, and covered a wide variety of topics addressing issues related to biblical discernment. One of the first of Dave’s books that we published was called Countdown to the Second Coming. That book led to a series of discussions on this topic, which we will continue airing today.
The way things are going in the world, many are thinking about the return of Christ and when that might be, which is a subject of critical importance today. For example, one interesting point that comes up during this discussion is, “What will be the sign of the last times?”
This series was originally broadcast in 2003, but it is relevant to the world in which we live today. Among other topics, we will be discussing the Antichrist and how the church and many Christians even now are falling further into apostasy. Because it was broadcast in 2003, some of it may seem dated; nevertheless, the biblical content of our discussion is very much as important today as it was back then.
Too often, when the fulfillment of prophecy is explained and an attempt is made to fit it into contemporary times, it doesn’t work. Later events of history, such as advances in technology, political and social conditions, religious beliefs, and so forth, can render the explanations not viable. Although the discussions in this program took place 17 years ago, I believe we have avoided that problem. We hope you are edified by our discussion of the End Times. Let us know what you think.
Tom: Now, we shifted gears last week. No, actually, Dave, we shifted vehicles. We had been going through Dave Hunt’s book A Cup of Trembling: Jerusalem and Bible Prophecy, and we reached the halfway mark, so we thought we’d take a break from that for a bit and discuss a smaller book by Dave that’s just off the press. It’s a hardcover book of about 120 pages titled Countdown to the Second Coming. So that will be our topic for the next couple of weeks on this segment of the program.
Now, Dave, I razzed you last week about this being perceived as a sensational, date-setting publication; “the Lord’s right at the door so look for Him in April of 2004” variety. We’ve had a few books around like that. But that was tongue-in-cheek. However, you do say in the book, and I’m quoting you, “Somewhere at this very moment on planet Earth, the Antichrist is almost certainly alive, biding his time, awaiting his cue.” Whoa!
Dave: I say “almost certainly,” not for certain, but again, if he is not alive on this earth—but I think Satan has always had someone ready. He doesn’t know when the Rapture will take place, and that will be…
Tom: Which is key…
Dave: That will be the kickoff for the Antichrist to be revealed. Satan cannot put his man in power as long as the church is here, for a number of reasons. We may get into that later.
So if he is not here, that would put the Rapture, put the Second Coming, far into the future. I mean the guy’s got to…he has to be born, he has to grow up, gain some notability, I supposed. So that’s one reason why I say he’s probably alive on this planet. Maybe he doesn’t know who he is. More than likely, he does not have any inkling that he would be the Antichrist. Satan has not yet possessed him. I don’t know who he may be.
Tom: Well, Dave, we’ve received manuscripts—people sending us their candidate for the Antichrist, who would it be? Prince Charles would be one; Juan Carlos of Spain, another and so on. But what’s the danger there of trying to figure this guy out? Find out who he is?
Dave: Well, Tom, I stopped identifying the Antichrist because every time I named him, somebody shot him! (Laughing) Of course, I’m kidding. Well, the Scripture very clearly says, 2 Thessalonians 2: “You know what prevents him from being revealed in his time. He who now hinders will hinder until he’s taken out of the way. Then shall that wicked be revealed.” So you are wasting your time reading books, speculating, thinking, wondering about who is the Antichrist, because he cannot be known until whoever it is who is hindering, who was hindering in Paul’s day, who is hindering now, he would continue to hinder, prevent, him from being revealed.
So why talk about it? Why even think about it? I don’t know. There may be a number of likely candidates.
Tom: And even if somebody guesses it right, they can’t know. According to what we believe the Bible teaches, we’re not going to be here.
Dave: Right. And what is the point anyway? Because the delusion will be so great for those who refuse to receive the love of the truth—that will be the vast majority of people, although some will hear the gospel; it will be preached after the church is gone in the Great Tribulation, and many will come to Christ. And they will be martyred for their faith.
But, of course, as you say, it’s sensational. People love to talk about it; they have movies about it, and so forth, but I don’t even try and speculate about the Antichrist.
Tom: One of the major points that you make in your book—again, it’s called Countdown to the Second Coming—Dave, these are the last days. And there are so many signs to indicate that, you know, we’re here. It’s happening right now. And Jesus—thinking about the Olivet Discourse—the first thing that He said when His disciples asked Him, “What will be the sign of the last times?”, He talked about religious delusion. He said, “Take heed that no man deceive you.” That deception—and we’ve talked about confusion, but deception/delusion—that’s going to be one of the significant aspects.
Dave: Yeah. I think He goes on in that chapter to explain that the last days prior to His return would be characterized by the greatest religious deception the world has ever seen. Now in Luke:18:8, He asked the question: “When the Son of man [that is when He, Christ] returns, will he find the faith on the earth?” Well, a lot of people with—have some kind of a “faith.” Some of them think that it’s the power of positive thinking, and it’s a way to get what you want. But will the faith, for which we are to earnestly contend—Jude says, “Earnestly contend for the faith, once for all delivered to the saints, because certain men have crept in unawares, before-ordained of old to this condemnation,” and so forth. So, there would be an apostasy in the church, Christ warned. He said, “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, did we prophesy in your name? In your name we cast out devils?” and so forth. And He said, “I will say I never knew you.”
So Christ himself, as well as Paul, indicated one of the great signs of the last days prior to His return would be religious deception, and, specifically, signs and wonders movement. So Paul, in 2 Timothy:3:8, said, “As Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth, men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.”
Jannes and Jambres were the magicians in Pharaoh’s court. They were not atheists who said there is no such thing as miracles; in fact, by the power of Satan, they duplicated the miracles God did through Moses and Aaron, up to a point, as long as God allowed that. And Paul is telling us, and Christ is telling us, that there will be those in the last days who will claim in His name to work miracles. And they will be deceptive signs and wonders that are not of God, maybe by the power of Satan, maybe just people’s imagination. But, Tom, you know, this is one of the most popular things today. This is one of the most popular things in the church, whether it was the Toronto Blessing, you know (the Toronto Vineyard, at that time), or whether it was the Brownsville Assembly of God down in Florida; or whether it was Holy Trinity Brompton, you know, in England. People will go all over the world for signs and wonders. And we’ve dealt with this in our newsletter, which we send out free each month for those who care to receive it. Much of what happened was not good.
Tom: Right. Dave, last week we talked about apostate Christianity. A simple thing that you said in the book, which was very stunning for people who haven’t been aware of this: The Antichrist establishes a one-world religion, and that religion, because it’s anti-Christ, has to be a form of, a false form, of Christianity. So, these signs and wonders that you’re talking about that we see being promoted in the church, that’s going to expand out to the other signs and wonders that we find among other religions, and so on.
Dave: We are not indicating that we don’t believe in miracles.
Dave: God can heal; He does miracles. I’ve seen Him do many miracles in my own life—in my short life. But there are false signs and wonders, and we are warned about that. Now you said because he is the Antichrist, it will be a false form of Christianity, but you need to explain that because “anti” not only means “against,” but it also means “in the place of; a substitute for.” And we get this from Constantine, of course. He was the first Antichrist. He took the title “Anti-Christ.” Well, actually, that’s a Greek term. The Latin equivalent of “anti” is “vicarius,” and he called himself “Vicarius Christi,” Vicar of Christ. He was the first one. The popes now have that title, which they took from him.
So, indeed it will be, I believe, a false form of Christianity. Islam is not going to take over the world. Christianity will, but not the true Christianity. And this is what the Bible warns about.
Now, Tom, there are other signs…
Tom: Well, Dave, let me just underscore that. Some people think, “Oh, you’re making this up,” or “This certainly can’t be what the Bible says.” But all we’re trying to do is present what the Bible says. This is our basis for the information that we’re presenting.
So, 2 Thessalonians:2:8: “And then shall that wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming, even him whose coming is after the working of Satan, with all power, and signs, and lying wonders.”
Dave: “…And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness.”
Tom: And that doesn’t happen overnight. There has to be a conditioning—a preparation for that—and that’s what we’re addressing here.
Dave: Right. Tom, there are many other signs. People say, “Well, they’ve always thought we were in the last days.” But our generation has reasons that no other generation has. Israel is back in its land. Now, that didn’t have to happen before the Rapture. It certainly had to happen before the Second Coming, because at the Second Coming, Christ returns to the land of Israel to rescue His people in the midst of Armageddon. There’s no Armageddon against Israel unless they’re in that land. And you read of this in Ezekiel 38. It says this is a people who have been gathered out of the nations. They’re back to this land that was a wilderness. They’ve made it prosper, and so forth.
So there’s no question about who they are and when this occurs. And they are there. This is after 1,900-and-some years that they’ve been scattered around the world, and Israel, suddenly, in 1948 became a nation. Then we have the weapons that Jesus talked about. One of the amazing prophecies, Matthew:24:22: He says, “Then shall be great tribulation, such as never was nor ever shall be; and except those days be shortened, no flesh would survive.” You don’t wipe out all flesh with bows and arrows and swords and spears. There are people who try to say that “Oh, it all occurred in AD 70. Nero was the Antichrist,” and so forth. Well, there was no danger that they would wipe out all flesh on planet Earth at that time.
So this is a remarkable prophecy of weapons that people couldn’t have even imagined until our generation. Our generation is the first generation that has weapons that could turn this earth into a sterile bit of dust drifting through space, not even a microbe left alive on it. And then you have Revelation 13, which says, A man—this Antichrist—will control all banking and commerce, and the whereabouts of people and what they think and say and do; he will do this with a number.
Well, you couldn’t possibly have done that before. We have communications satellites. We have satellites up there that can read a newspaper over your shoulder, you’re sitting out in your back yard. We have GPS—Global Positioning Satellites. They can tell you exactly where you are. We even have this on cars, now, and they can tell where you are within a short distance. We have the computer chips that are being put into operation now on animals and in some amusement parks. You don’t have to worry about where your kids are, or whether they’re going to be kidnapped. They put a wristband on them, and it has chip in it, and it’s all monitored from a central location. They know exactly where your children are at any moment. This had to be the case, because no one can buy or sell without this man’s number. We have that technology today.
We could give other reasons. So there is so much in the apostasy we were talking about that never existed before on this earth. It didn’t just come about in a slow process.
Suddenly, in our generation, here it is! All of these things—together—at once. And you have a very interesting verse in Isaiah:66:8-9: Where God says, “Am I going to bring to birth and shut the womb? Am I going to bring all of this….” You know, we’ve gone through 1,900 years —well, more than that—of history. And now, in our generation, we have all of this in place. And then it’s just kind of going to collapse? We go on for another thousand years, or another century, or whatever? The Bible says no. He is going to bring this to fruition. The world is ripening for God’s judgment, and that’s another sign of the last days.
So Tom, there is so much. That is why I say I think the Antichrist is probably alive on this earth now, because so much is in place already.
Tom: Dave, our news headlines deal with Islamic terrorism. And one of the things I was reading the other day that I find it’s supporting what we’ve been talking about here, The Sword of the Prophet, a book that we offer, talks about two individuals of the Wahabi sect of Islam, who take over Mecca, basically; or the Shrine at Mecca. And they claim to be—one of them claimed to be the Mahdi, the Messiah to come, who was going to settle things for Islam.
Now, my point here is that Islam is looking for the Mahdi, for a Messiah. Messiah—that’s the Hebrew for “Christ.” And that’s what we’re talking about here. So there will be, even though there’s so much of Islam that is anti-Semitic, anti-Christian, a man comes along who can reconcile those things very easily.
Dave: Well, Israel is looking for the Messiah. The world is looking for a man, someone, who will bring peace. And, in fact, it tells us that a false peace will be established.
This is where we’re heading. There’s a big offensive in the world now, for peace in the Middle East. We’re going to bring peace. Somehow, we’ve got to have peace.
And it will come about. It will be a false peace, and when that happens, Scripture says, “When they say…” That’s not the church. That’s not God. This is the world. “When they say peace and safety, then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child, and they will not escape.”
So, Tom, all of these things are coming to a head, and it behooves us to examine our lives, examine ourselves. “What manner of person should we be,” Peter tells us in his second epistle, in view of all this?
Tom: Right. Dave, you point out in your book there are two periods of global peace ahead. One under the Antichrist and the other under Christ during the Millennium. But this peace of the Antichrist, and, as you said, the whole world wants peace, but at what cost? And in what way? And what were the results going to be? It’s going to be tribulation, destruction, that’s unknown in the history of man.
Dave: That’s what the false peace will lead to, and in Daniel 8 it says of the Antichrist—we know he’s the Antichrist there—because it says he “stands up against the prince; he stands up against the one who is the rightful ruler.”
Tom: The Prince of Peace.
Dave: And he will be destroyed without hand, that is, this man. And it says, “Through peace he will destroy many.” So there will be a false peace, and Israel will be deceived.
Tom: Again, part of the problem here—and we’re talking about peace, but it can only be a peace that comes—true peace can only come, as I said earlier, by the Prince of Peace, yet that doesn’t sound like something that even Christians today, particularly political leaders, want to advance.
Dave: Well, Tom, it’s quite simple. Maybe I say that too often. But if the world would recognize what God has said, there would be peace. God said He gave that land to Israel. And it is not to be divided. It is not to be traded. Of course, the roadmap to peace—the whole basis of it—is to divide this land. And God warns in Joel:3:2: “I’m going to judge the nations for dividing my land.” Okay?
So this is where the world is heading. God has made His promises to Israel concerning Jerusalem, concerning their land, and the world is in defiance. The United Nations is in defiance against God. The European Union—Israel, also, as well as the Muslims—they’re not going to go by God’s plan. God has laid it out. So this is rebellion against God.
One of the things that staggers me, Tom, we’ve probably mentioned it before, there are people—good men, godly men, who love the Lord, evangelicals—and they are straight on the church, they’re straight on the gospel, but when it comes to what God said to Israel, they won’t accept it. And you have hundreds of promises. Now if the world would accept God’s plan—God’s peace plan—for the Middle East, there would be peace. And then, of course, as you said, the ultimate peace we need is peace in our hearts—the peace of God; peace with God. You can have peace on this earth (but it will never happen) but even if you did, and we are the enemies of God, His judgment is going to come upon us. And Christ made peace through the blood of His cross, the scripture says. He paid the penalty for our sins, so that God’s sword of judgment could be put to rest, and we could be forgiven, and we could be at peace with God. So until men accept that, there will be no peace.
Now, when you go to Ezekiel 38, it’s a remarkable passage. You find there a people—as we mentioned just a few minutes ago—who have been gathered out of the nations, they’ve taken this wilderness—and the land of Israel was a wilderness—and it’s blooming now. They’re prospering. But what does it say about them? It says they’re dwelling without bars. Without gates. Without walls. The picture is they think that they are secure. The Antichrist will guarantee this peace. The wall that Israel is building right now is going to come down. Scripture says so. Of course, the whole world wants it to come down. But Israel would be—they would be fools to let that down, unless they felt they were secure, and obviously, the time is coming when they will think they are secure. This is where we are right now in history, Tom. We’ve never been at this place before in history. And so, for people to say, “Well, I don’t see why you think it might happen now…. I mean, they’ve thought that down through the centuries.” No, we have more than enough reason for believing it could be very, very soon.
I’m T. A. McMahon. Thanks for tuning in to this replay of my interview with Dave Hunt that was broadcast in 2003.