Following is a compendium of several chapters from my book KINGDON ESCHATOLOGY.

Who WAS and IS The Antichrist?

The Papacy of Rome have claimed to be above all that is called God, they have claimed to be as God in the temple of God, and they have tried to show that they are divine. Yes they have! They claimed to be greater than all kings and emperors, and to reign not only on earth but also in heaven and in hell. They took for themselves attributes and titles which only belong to God. At the coronation of Pope Innocent X, these words were addressed to him by a cardinal kneeling before him: “Most holy and blessed Father, head of the Church, ruler of the world, to whom the keys of the Kingdom of heaven have are committed, whom the angels in heaven revere, and the gates of hell fear and the whole world adores, we specially venerate, worship and adore thee!”.

Moreri, a noted historian, writes: “To make war against the pope is to make war against God, seeing the pope is God and God is the pope.” Decius declared: “The pope can do all things that God can do.” Pope Leo XIII said about himself in 1890: “The supreme teacher of the Church is the Roman Pontiff. Union of minds therefore requires, together with a perfect accord in the one faith, complete submission and obedience of will to the Church and to the Roman Pontiff, as to God himself.” In 1894 he said: “We hold the place of Almighty God on earth.”

On April 30, 1922, on the throne of the Vatican and in the presence of a group of cardinals, bishops, priests and nuns who were bowing down before him, Pope Pius XI arrogantly declared: “You know that I am the Holy Father, the representative of God on earth, the Vicar of Christ, which means that I am God on the earth”.

The pagan Caesar called himself “Our Lord and God”. For many centuries the popes accepted the same title.
Antichrist. Apparently, this idea was first introduced in a commentary by Berengaud in the IX century.48
Apostle John uses this word to refer to those who were teaching false doctrines, which would be later known as Gnosticism; and also very likely to Judaizers that claimed to be Christians (1 John 2.22) for that reason, the purpose of his letters was to reveal false teachers’ heresy and confirm the faith of true believers.

Apostle Joseph Mattera, Overseeing Bishop of Resurrection Church in Brooklyn, in the U.S., has recently written an article with the title Identifying the Antichrist where he suggests that the Antichrist is not an individual person, but a spirit teaching false doctrines.
IV. The antichrist is a false spirit which spreads wrong teachings in the Church; it is not a single person.
1. The term “antichrist” is never used in the book of Revelation or in any of the other letters, except 1 and 2 John. Nevertheless, their writers never refer to the Antichrist as a spirit of false teaching which rises to power and took Jesus’ importance for himself, apart from the flesh or the natural kingdom.
The 666
Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666. Revelation 13:11-18
There is a reason why John did not identify the beast. John was writing while in exile from the Roman emperor in the isle of Patmos. The Church was suffering a severe and systematic persecution by Emperor Nero. In order to avoid any reprisals to the believers if the letter he was sending was intercepted by the Roman Authorities he writes in a secret language of symbolism sound used by the Jews and in the numerical value each letter had in the Hebrew alphabet. The pronunciation of the name Nero in Hebrew Nrwn Qsr is exactly 666.

The Beast of Revelation is the same beast of Daniel, referring to the Roman Empire and its emperor Nero. The pagan writer Apollonius of Tyana, a contemporary of Nero, specifically writes that Nero was called a “beast” due to his perverse and sadistic nature, feared and equally hated by the pagan Romans.

It is interesting to note that the letters of the Roman alphabet in the title borne by the Pope –VICARIUS FILLI DEI–, have a numerical meaning. Romans numbers are commonly used nowadays in different legal papers and writings. The I means 1; the V, 5; the X, 10; the L, 50; the C, 100 and the D, 500.

The total amount of the numerical alphabet here is 666: the number of the beast, which is a human number.

This key does not only apply to the Roman Empire; there are other keys in this strange mystery. The title of pope, taken by the Roman emperors as one of their names, comes from the Latin expression PATRIX PAX or “Father of Peace”; they considered themselves to be God’s representatives on earth too. The title of pope in Latin –Papa– is made up by pa (from patrix) + pa (from pax).

The Greek letters in LATEINOS (LATIN), the official language of the Roman Church, equals a total of 666 too according to the Greek numbers. L is 30, A is 1, T is 300, E is 5, I is 10, N is 50, O is 70 and S is 200. These numbers equals a total of 666.

The mark of the beast

We have all heard about the computer in Switzerland which has the name of every inhabitant on earth. Or we have heard such things as the fact that many have had an electronic “chip” implanted which will be required by the Antichrist to be able to buy or sell; or that governments are planning to implant chips in newly-born babies so that they are able to receive the mark of the beast.
In Biblical symbolism a mark, or the engraving or a deep impression refers to a sign that identifies those who you pledge to follow. Usually the engraving is on the hand or the forehead symbolizing your labor and your mind. Throughout the Bible to have engraved or to have written on their hands or heads represents those you have become slaves or servants of. In the same way it is used of God’s people (Deut. 6.8, Isa 49.16, Rev. 3.12, Rev 7.3, Rev 14.1, 14.4, Rev 22.4) It is also here used referring to those that submit to Caesar and the Roman state in order to obtain social respect and it’s benefits (political, economic, Religious, etc.) Those that worship the beast whose names were not written in the lamb’s book of life (Rev 13.8)

The mark on the right hand or the forehead mentioned by John can also refer to the Catholic baptism representing faithfulness to the pope and the Roman system. During the times of the Medieval Inquisition and the conquest of the American continent, people needed to have been baptized into the Catholic Church in order to be able to buy or sell; those who were not baptized, rich or poor, young or old, free or slave– were persecuted and, in many cases, suffered martyrdom because of their faith.

The Second Coming Of Christ
When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory.–Matthew 25:31
The coming “for” and “with” the saints
What can we say about the widespread idea that, just like Jesus will come “with” the saints (Jude 14), there must be an earlier coming of the Lord to take them up into heaven? In fact, the Bible never uses the expression “for” the saints. In the passage of the rapture, instead of saying that the believers will be raptured into heaven, it is said that they will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17). But the text does not explain where they go after meeting the Lord in the clouds.

When the Word declares that the saints will rise up to meet the Lord in the air, the word is apantesis. It is used to describe the visit of a king or a ruler to a city. While coming into town, he was welcomed by the citizens who travelled with him in the last part of his journey. If it means the same here, while Jesus Christ is descending from heaven, the believers will go up to “meet the Lord in the air” and come down with him.

Oswald J. Smith, a noted missionary statesman, pastor and author explains this in these words: “I also learned that the word for “meet” in 1 Thessalonians 4 did not mean to ‘remain at the meeting’ point but to “return with”. When the Roman brethren went out to meet Paul, they returned with him immediately. When the virgins met the bridegroom, they accompanied him back to the wedding. When the saints meet Christ in the air, they will return with him. There is no secret rapture. That theory must be deliberately read into the passage.”

Over the centuries, there are certain outstanding names in the Christian history: John Wycliffe, John Huss, Martin Luther, Philipp Melanchthon, Huldreich Zwingli, William Tyndale, Nicholas Ridley, Hugh Latimer, John Foxe, Edwin Sandys, John Calvin, John Knox, King James, Isaac Newton, Thomas Newton, and John Wesley. NONE of these men believed that the Church would be caught up before the Antichrist was revealed. They all believed and taught that the Church would suffer at his hands and that the coming of Christ would put an end to his reign.

Out of consideration for those who still believe in the doctrine of a secret rapture, among whom there are some dear friends and ministers, it is our sincere conviction that this must be rejected. First, because it lacks solid scriptural support; and secondly, because its origin is relatively new. Although the idea of a secret rapture is still greatly publicized, many within the body of Christ are beginning to analyze the issue of the rapture.
As I teach on the subject and speak to many believers who ignore the meaning of this prophecies, I hear that their fear is that the government will force people to have the mark of the beast through some computer chip or otherwise and be condemned to eternal judgment as proposed by dispensationalist teachings.

God loves his people and wants to make them free from those mistakes derived from Babylonian idolatry which has spread all around the world.