THE PERIOD OF SUPREME WORLD POWER
1. The death of the two witnesses marks the breaking of the covenant with the Jewish nation and the beginning of world-wide persecution against the nation of Israel (Rev. 11:1-7; 12:6, 14; 13:7).
2. The temple worship now stopped, he deifies himself and demands that divine honors and worship be paid to him (2 Thess. 2:4; Rev. 13:14-15). He orders a huge image of himself made and moved into the temple area and divine honors paid to it (Rev. 13:14-15; Matt. 24:15). In the eyes of the godly Jew this constitutes the abomination of desolation.
3. By three different means he is able to secure universal worship for himself. By means of his great personal ability and attraction he arouses the hero-worship instinct of men (Rev. 13:3-4). He makes a personal display of superhuman powers such as causing fire to come down from heaven and making the image speak (Rev. 13:12-14). By means of economic and military sanctions he compels men under penalty of death to do him homage (Rev. 13:15-17). He is so successful that "all that dwell in the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the Lamb's book of life" (Rev. 13:8).
4. Since many of the Jews will resist him, he becomes the persecutor and prevails over them for three and one-half years (Rev. 11:2-3, 7; 12:6, 16; 13:5-7; Matt. 24:15, 21). So intense and severe becomes this persecution, that if it were not for the immediate interference of the Lord in behalf of His people, they would be annihilated (Matt. 24:22).
5. At the very outset of this last three and one-half years, Antichrist destroys the apostate Church. Now that he has attained his goal, he no longer needs this false religious system. Under the direction of the ten confederate kings, her wealth is confiscated, her system is destroyed, and her support is withdrawn (Rev. 17:16-17).
6. At last, this superman has reached the pinnacle of all earthly power, religious, economic, and military. All shall worship him (Rev. 13:8), none can buy or sell without his sanction (Rev. 13:17), and there is no one who is able to make war with him (Rev. 13:4).
7. At last, the ambition of Satan has been achieved in that creatures turn their worship toward him, and the proposal of Satan to Eve in the Garden of Eden has been achieved, namely, "Ye shall be as gods" (Rev. 13:4), for men are now giving reverence to Antichrist as though he were God.