Friday, May 16, 2008

The Antichrist Scheme

The one word that describes the Devil, as well as any could, is proud. Hubris led him to the conclusion that he could manage things as well as his Creator, nay, even better and he was more worthy of adulation too. That kind of role reversal is the basis behind more than one plot line in science fiction (i.e. humans create intelligence that then sees itself as more able and worthy to rule than its maker). Whereas that may be plausible when dealing with imperfect humanity as a creator, it is ludicrous when God is in view. And yet the Devil never has, indeed never could, learn from his mistakes. Pride does that: it hardens the categories and seizes the mind, and dooms one to endlessly repeat the same errors.

In the garden, God announced the first gospel message (protoevangelion) in the midst of his curse upon Eve. A glimmer of hope for humanity, it spelled the Devil's doom (yes, it was the Satan!). It was cryptic enough for the Devil not to fathom, even though I think he understood it much better than we often do. I think he grasped that it was the woman's child, not the man's, and he seemed to pick up God's subtlety in the using a collective singular noun with a singular masculine pronoun (meaning one particular son rather than offspring in general). I'm absolutely sure he picked up on it when the promise was reiterated in substance to Abraham. Why? Because it's revealed in his strategy of dealing with that promise--namely hijacking it. A flawed strategy for sure, but one that his pride causes him to repeat over and over again. In fact, by the end of time, he will have tried 8 times! I call his efforts the Antichrist Scheme.

In the 17th chapter of the Revelation we are given the summary of those efforts. Through history up to the time of the writing of the Apocalypse, the Devil had attempted this hijacking stratagem 5 times. At the time of writing, he was winding up effort number six, with efforts 7 and 8 coming in the future (and foretold in the writing). The effort centered around dispossessing or disposing of the Jews, and then offering his shill as the "God-man". The gospel promise, which was funneled through Abraham and accrued to the benefit of all mankind, had to be undermined and undone and displaced. Some schemes got farther than others, but all fail because of divine intervention. Six are recorded in scripture and attempt #8 (the last) is defeated by the physical return of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Satan's Attempts at the Antichrist Scheme

The five kings who are fallen, and the one who is:
1) Egypt under Pharaoh at the time of the Exodus (ca. 1500 BCE), which attempted to destroy the gospel promise by keeping Israel from the promised land. God raised up Moses to thwart this attempt;
2) Assyria under the dynasty of Sargon II (ca. 722 BCE), which exiled the ten northern tribes from Samaria and attempted to besiege Jerusalem and destroy Judah too (under Sennacherib, Sargon's son). God intervened in response to Hezekiah's prayer;
3) Babylon under Nebuchadnezzar (ca. 586 BCE), which destroyed Jerusalem, including the Temple and deported virtually the entire population of Judah. God intervened directly with Nebuchadnezzar in conjunction with the ministry of Daniel;
4) Persia under the influence its highest noble, Haman (ca. 475 BCE), which scheduled the slaughter and plunder of all the Jews. God raised up Esther for such a time as that and through her intervention turned the plot back on Haman's head;
5) Hellenistic Syria (the King of the North) under Antiochus Epiphanes (ca. 165 BCE), which attempted to eradicate Jewish practice and modeled the abomination of desolation. God intervened by giving the forces of the Maccabees a stunning, upset victory which resulted in independence for Israel and the purification of the Temple (which is celebrated today as Hanukkah). [BTW, this makes me wonder if the Maccabees shouldn't be part of the canon of scripture, as it is in the R.C.C.]
6) Rome under Vespasian (ca. 70 CE), which left no stone unturned in Jerusalem and started a policy of Jewish dispersion (culminated in 135 CE) which ultimately banned the Jews from the promised land (the Diaspora). God's intervention had already brought the promised seed, Jesus Christ, the incarnate Son of God, to earth and shifted the focus of God's redeeming work to the Gentiles, so the Devil was a pound shy and a day late.

The king who is to come for a short time, and the eighth:
7) Germany under Adolph Hitler (ca. 1933 CE), which systematically rounded up the Jews within it's domains and killed approximately two-thirds of them. God's intervention resulted in reestablishing Palestine as the homeland of the Jews and the resurrection of the nation of Israel.
8) The Ten Horns under the Antichrist (ca. SOON!), which will desecrate the rebuilt Temple in Jerusalem, like Antiochus Epiphanes did, and kill those who will not worship him as God and take his mark (they'll be Jews).

In his pride the Devil has attempted to one-up God over and over again, only to fail over and over again in his ultimate purpose. Even at the end of time, when he knows failure awaits him, his pride will compel him to bang his head against that wall one more time. He'll get farther than he ever did before, but end in disaster just like every time before. When one has that much pride, how can he ever learn a new trick?


Anonymous said...

i wonder why i feel like we are so close to the end of this world as we know it?
is it because of my life getting close to an end?

people have thought this in other times befor this.

but, i seem to feel it in my heart and in my bones that there is not much time left before all some put it ...breaks loose.

it is not in what i read of or is in what i feel inside of me when i look at the visual edge that we are all dangling on. i feel like it is not just me that is sitting on the edge of a deep dark hole but the whole world is sitting there with me. like something very heavy is being held by a what is now a thread that could break at any moment. i think that we are all feeling that tension from within. a knowledge by force. force of spiritual matters.

SLW said...

I know what you mean! In the early days of my journey to and with Christ, I felt that in my bones too. I sensed how close the end was, I'm still surprised we come this far! It reminds of the parable of the ten virgins: the watchman called, but there was a delay nonetheless. I guess we're in the delay, but soon it will all come to pass, so we must fix our eyes on Jesus and finish the course!