(Read Part 10)

Satan will play a major role of diabolical deception and destruction during the third temple period. The anti-God angelic creature has multiple names and evil intentions that will come to exacting prophetic fulfillment during the seven-year tribulation period. We will examine these disturbing distinctly dispensational truths as revealed in the only book ever written by God Himself, the Bible (cf. 2 Tim. 3:16).

Revelation 13 provides a summary of the activity of the satanic false trinity during the tribulation period. The Antichrist, called “the beast” in verses 2-4, receives three key components of his evil, blasphemous, anti-God work from the one called “the dragon.”

Now the beast which I saw was like a leopard, his feet were like the feet of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. The dragon gave him his power, his throne, and great authority. And I saw one of his heads as if it had been mortally wounded, and his deadly wound was healed. And all the world marveled and followed the beast. So 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?”

In this context, the beast is the Antichrist, the dragon is Satan.

Dragon Defined
The Bible refers to “the dragon” as “the great dragon,” the “serpent of old,” “the devil” and “Satan” in relation to his tribulation period activities.

So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. (Rev. 12:9)

He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. (Rev. 20:2)

Scripture leaves no doubt that Satan, the horrifying, powerful “dragon,” will empower the eschatological Antichrist and the false prophet during the tribulation.[1]

The Apostle Paul revealed that the eschatological Antichrist will exhibit “power, signs, and lying wonders”… “according to the working of Satan” (2 Thess. 2:9). Arnold Fruchtenbaum developed the significance of the passage when pointing out that the Greek word for “working” (energeo) means “to energize.” The supernatural power displayed by the Antichrist will be the direct result of Satan energizing him.[2]

Dragon—Provisional Throne
Satan, “the god of this age” (2 Cor. 4:4), offered “the kingdoms of the world” to the Lord Jesus Christ during His earthly ministry in His first advent (Matt. 4:8). Jesus forcefully rebuked Satan.

Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’” (Matt. 4:10)

Jesus Christ, God’s own Son, refused to succumb to Satan’s temptation. However, the Antichrist will not only succumb to the empowerment of Satan, he will embrace the supernatural power.

Dragon—Powerful Authority
David Levy rightly stated that the power and authority granted to the future Antichrist incorporates more authority than the totality of the former world empires, referred to as the seven heads (Rev. 13:1; 17:10). History attests to the fact that six of the seven world empires have come and gone, including Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece and Rome.[3] The eschatological seventh empire, the Revived Roman Empire of the Antichrist, will come into existence after the rapture or removal of the current church age saints (1 Thess. 4:13-18; 1 Cor. 15:50-54). The Antichrist will have great authority during the first half of the seven-year tribulation period and worldwide authority during the great tribulation, which encompasses the final three-and-a-half years, all empowered by Satan himself (Matt. 24:21; Dan. 7:23; Rev. 13:5, 7).[4]

Dragon—Putrefying Worship
Humankind’s sinful condition results in each person having a self-centered narcissistic nature (Gen. 6:5; Prov. 6:14; Rom. 3:10, 23). The natural, fleshly person wants whatever they can get for themselves (1 Cor. 2:14; 1 John 2:16). The human condition naturally seeks after the powerful and charismatic personalities who offer to protect and provide material goods, which the Antichrist personifies.

When people view the mortal wound of the beast (Antichrist) and see an instantaneous full healing, the majority of people will worship the one who caused the healing of the “deadly wound,” which is the dragon, or Satan (Rev. 13:3). The Christ rejecters and Antichrist embracers will have no love for the one true God. Therefore, God sends them a “strong delusion” that results in their acceptance of Satan’s lie and their subsequent worship of Satan and the Antichrist (2 Thess. 2:10-11).[5]

Satan’s dominant influence during the tribulation period takes place in the form of Antichrist’s one-world religious, political and economic empire (Dan. 2:41-43; Dan. 7:23-25, Rev. 13; 18). Satan will empower the Antichrist to cast out the Jewish priests and worshippers from the third temple. Satan takes over the temple and institutes mandatory satanic worship of the Antichrist, with the refusal to worship him resulting in death (Matt. 24:15-21). We will examine this distinctly dispensational truth in the next article.

Here we stand; we cannot, and must not, be moved from this distinctive dispensational doctrine.

(To be continued)

Dr. Richard Schmidt is the founder of Prophecy Focus Ministries, having previously served as a pastor and church planter. His love for the prophetic Scriptures resulted in writing a doctoral dissertation on a dispensational perspective on the mystery church age existing between the 69th and 70th weeks of Daniel. Dr. Schmidt offers seminars on a variety of prophetic topics to local churches and conferences. We are very excited to involve him as a contributing author to Dispensational Publishing House.

Copyright © 2016 by Dr. Richard Schmidt. Used by permission of the author.

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®.
Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

[1] Randall Price, Jerusalem in Prophecy (Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 1998), p. 360.

[2] Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum,  The Footsteps of the Messiah (San Antonio, TX: Ariel Ministries, 2004), p. 213.

[3] David M. Levy, Revelation: Hearing the Last Word (Bellmawr, NJ: The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry, Inc., 1999), pp. 146-147, 199.

[4] John F. Walvoord, Every Prophecy of the Bible (Colorado Springs, CO: David C. Cook, 2011), p. 565.

[5] Levy, p. 148.