The Unholy Trio

Steve Viars April 3, 1990

- we've been studying end-time events

- for the last two weeks we have begun our studies with

  reviews of the events we've covered thus far

- one of the reasons we've been doing that is because we've

  had new folks join us along the way, which of course we're

  very excited about

- tonight we're not going to review, but if you're just

  joining us and you'd like to get an overview of what we've

  studied so far, please feel free to see me, I'd be happy to

  get you one and try to answer any questions you might have

- in our study we are at the mid-point of the tribulation

  (seven year period of judgement on the earth)

- the rapture has already taken place - so believers are in

  heaven

- the judgement seat of Christ has taken place, so believers

  have received their rewards

- back on earth, the first three and a half years of the

  tribulation have taken place, including:

    - Antichrist making a peace pact with Israel

    - 1st six seal judgements

    - 144,000 witnesses were sealed and ministering

    - host of Gentiles were saved

    - 2 witnesses ministering

 

- now we're moving into the second half of the tribulation

- we studied last week how Satan was cast out of heaven

 

- now, tonight, we're going to see what the Bible tells us

  about the "unholy trio"

- you remember back to our early studies when we talked about

  the Lord being king forever

    - Psalm 10:16 - The Lord is king forever and ever

 

- but after Satan fell, he attempted to establish a false

  kingdom

- of course our forefathers, Adam and Eve, had achoice in the

  Garden, whether they would submit to the rule of God or

  submit to the enticements of Satan

- of course they sinned, and God declared war in Gen. 3:15

    - looked at Satan and said, there will be war between:

           - you and the woman

           - your seed and her seed (Christ)

           - you will crush your head, you will bruise his

             heel

- ever since, a conflict has raged between the kingdom of God

  and the false kingdom of Satan

- Satan has always been the great enemy of God's people

 

- we could talk about that in any period of biblical history

- Satan has always been an imitator, conterfeiter

- he seeks to control man by deception

 

- INPUT - does an example come to your mind of where Satan or

     someone following him duplicated something God had done?

- I said that tonight, we're going to be talking about the

  unholy trio

- before we look at the passages, I'd like to say a couple of

  things about these individuals so we're able to keep them

  straight once we look at the passages

 

- when we talk about the unholy trio, we're talking about

  Satan, the Antichrist, and the false prophet

 

- some writers like to refer to this group as the "unholy

  trinity", because in some ways they function like the real

  trinity

- in some ways Satan has a position like the father

- in some ways the Antichrist has a position like the Son

- in some ways the false prophet has a position like the Holy

  Spirit

 

- I'm not calling this group the unholy trinity because the

  illustration breaks down in a number of places, but I

  mentioned it because I thought it might help some of us

  keep these individuals straight as we study them

 

- God has given us information about these individuals in

  both the Old and New Testaments - let's start in the Old

  Testament in the book of Daniel

 

I.  What The Old Testament Tells Us

 

    A.  Dan. 7

 

        - I should mention that in all of these references in

          the Old Testament, the one being spoken of is the

          Antichrist (or the second person of this unholy

          trio)

        - you may remember a number of weeks ago, Pastor

          spoke to us from this chapter - when he spoke about

          what would be happening in the world during this

          time

        - he talked to us about the 4 kingdoms in Daniel's

          vision

        - during the fourth empire, Daniel saw a person he

          referred to as the "little horn"

        - by comparing scripture with scripture, we can see

          that the little horn is the AntiChrist

 

        - read Dan. 7:7-8, 24-25

 

        - INPUT - what are some of the characteristics of the

                  Antichrist that are mentioned in these

                  verses?

        1.  boaster - speaks great things

 

        2.  speaks against the most high

 

            - of course that explains why other places in the

              Scripture refer to him as the anti-christ

            - INPUT - what does the preposition "anti" mean?

                      (against, or in place of)

            - the antichrist speaks against God and he wants

              to take the place of God

 

        3.  "wears out" the saints

             - thats the same word that was used to describe

               the Israelites clothes not wearing out during

               the 40 year wanderings

             - the idea is that the antichrist' persecution

               of those who are saved will be so relentless

               that they will be exhausted and worn down

             - the penalty for being a believer will be great

 

    B.  Dan. 11

        - read verses 36-39

        - we see the same kinds of things in this passage

 

        1.  magnifies himself above every god

 

        2.  speaks marvelous (audacious) things

 

        3.  prospers until his time is completed

 

        4.  great military might

 

    - so we're talking about a man who has the ability to

      rule and influence people who wants to set himself up

      in place of God

 

    - now let's see what the book of Revelation tells us

      about him

  

II.  What The Book Of Revelation Tells Us  

 

    A.  about the antichrist (the beast from the sea)

 

        - read Rev. 13:1-3

 

        1. evokes wonder

           - when the antichrist begins to show what he is

             really like, there is great wonder on earth

           - where in the first half of the tribulation, he

             allowed the Jews to rebuild the temple and

             worship in it, now he begins openly blaspheming

             God

           - he also has great authority

           - he also has received some sort of deadly wound

             that has been satanicly healed

 

        - lets keep reading - vs. 4

 

        2.  demands worship

 

            - of course this is something satan always wanted

            - INPUT - can you think of a time in particular

                      where Satan tried to get someone to

                      worship him?

                      (Christ's temptation - shows Jesus the

                      kingdoms of the world-tells Jesus "all

                      these will I give thee if you fall down

                      and worship me"

             - we'll learn some more about this when we talk

               about the false prophet

             - read 13:5-6

 

 

        3.  speaks blasphemous words

 

            - of course we saw this same thing in Daniel's

              description

            - INPUT - what is blasphemy? - words that

                      undermine God's proper honor and glory

                    - so we're not just talking about failing

                      to give God the proper glory, the

                      Antichrist tries to undermine that

                      glory and honor

 

            - read vs. 7

 

        4.  makes war with the saints

 

            - we learned last week that he killed the two

              witnesses

            - he also persecutes the saints and makes war

              with them

 

        - now John is going to switch and tell us about this

          third person of the unholy trio:

 

    B. the false prophet or the beast out of the land

 

        - read 13:11-15

 

        1.  causes people to worship the antichrist

 

            - Just like the job of the Holy Spirit is to

              glorify the son, the job of the false prophet

              is to magnify the antichrist and cause people

              to worship him

 

        2.  able to do great wonders

 

            - he is able to duplicate some of the miracles

              the two witneses could do

 

            - his greatest wonder is described in verses 14-

              15, where he erects an image of the antichrist

              in the temple

 

            - INPUT - What is this event referred to in other

                places in the scripture?  (the abomination of

                desolation) (Dan. 9:27, 11:36, Matt. 24:15,

                II Thes. 2:4)

 

            - so even though the world:

 

        would not:                         will:

    1) receive Christ              1) receive antichrist

    2) believe truth               2) believe lies

    3) listen to the gracious      3) listen to blasphemous

          words of Christ               words

    4) worship Christ              4) worship antichrist

 

 

        read 16-18

 

 

 

        3.  institutes strong economic measures

 

            - those who worship the beast will be given his

              mark, the number 666

            - those who don't will not be able to buy or sell

            - obviously the pressure will be immense to

              submit to the antichrist and worship him

 

- so the unholy trio will be active during the tribulation

  period, seeking to deceive men and women into worshipping

  them instead of the true God

 

- I think there are a number of applications of these

  concepts to us

 

III.  Applications

 

    A.  Thank those who had a part in your salvation

 

        - what were some of the bad things we saw that would

          happen to individuals who were saved during the

          tribulation?  (could not buy/sell without the mark

          of the beast, the antichrist wears them out)

 

        - one of the responses to that ought to be

          thanksgiving to those who had a part in your

          salvation

        - obviously, we have to talk about this on two

          levels, divine and human

 

        1.  on a human "level"

 

            one of the things I like about the Sunday evening

            services is hearing the people God used to bring

            various individuals to Christ

 

            - how many here tonight would say that the

              principle person that God used in your

              salvation was a parent?

                 - a co-worker?

                 - another family member?

                 - a friend?

                 - what other categories?

            - what question do you think I'm going to ask

              next?  (when's the last time you thanked that

              person?)

 

            - As a result of studying the tribulation period,

              I'd like you to consider contacting that person

              and thanking them for the impact they made on

              your life.

 

        2.  on a divine "level"

            - of course the other side of that is that this

              study surely ought to encourage us to thank God

              for all He did to bring us to the point of

              salvation

                - sending his son to die

                - giving us his word which contains the clear

                  plan of salvation

                - putting people around us to communicate the

                  gospel message

    - so one appliaction is to be growing in thankfulness for

      those who had a part in your salvation

 

    B.  Recognize satan's "substitute" method

 

        when we think about the antichrist and his methods,

        we need to remember what his name means - "instead of

        Christ"

 

        - I'm sure satan is very pleased any time anyone

          substitutes something else to worship instead of

          worshipping the true God

 

        - of course thats been one of Satan's methods all

          along

 

        - Moses is on Mt. Sinai receiving the ten

          commandments, and when he delays the people make

          a golden calf and begin to worship it

        - there's that substitute method where the people

          have substituted worship of something else for

          worship of the true God

 

        - we could take the rest of the evening talking about

          biblical example after biblical example where

          satan is using this method

 

        - now let me ask you this - is this method alive and

          well today?

        - let me remind you of verses like I John 2:18 where

          John wrote - "You have heard that antichrist should

          come, even now there are many antichrists, by which

          we know this is the last time"

 

        - in other words, its true that the person the

          Antichrist will be active during the tribulation,

          (thats what we've been talking about tonight - but

           that antichrist method, or attitude, is alive and

           well)

 

        - let me ask you tonight, how would you fill in the

          blanks in the following statement:

             - God has given __________, Satan has

               substituted __________

 

             (if they have trouble with this, fill in the

              first blanks with marriage, time to glorify

              him, truth, love, ...)

 

        - Caterpillar article

 

        - let me ask you this--can you identify some things

          in your life that could become or have already

          become "antichrists" in the sense that they have

          replaced your worship of Christ or your

          relationship with Christ

 

        - If you were here tonight and would say, I just

          can't think of anything in my life that even has

          that potential, I'd say thats a bad sign

 

 

        - we ought to be able to identify a number of things

          and be able to tell what we're doing to prevent

          those things from taking Christ's rightful place

 

        - so, recognize Satan's "substitute" method

 

    C.  beware of the sin of idolatry

 

        - I realize those are strong words, but the NT makes

          it clear that idolatry wasn't just an OT problem

 

        - Paul warned the believers in I Cor. 10:14 -

          "Wherefore my beloved, flee from idolatry"

 

        - I'm convinced that this issue is one of the primary

          reasons we don't grow at the rate we should

 

        - (blank transparency)

 

        - God's goal? - Christlikeness, more like Him,

                        pleasing Him, closer relationship to

                        him

 

        - method of taking steps toward that goal? - Put

           off/put on

 

        - so because of how important Jesus is to me, I'm to

          be changing and growing to be more like him

        - one of my greatest desires should be to be like

          him, and to serve him, and to represent him in that

          particular situation

 

        - question is - when that doesn't happen, what went

            wrong?

 

        - let's take this example

        - let's say a family has built into their budget that

          they want to save a certain amount of money each

          month

 

        - the husband is pretty proud of that

        - in fact, he likes to think about that positive

          balance in te checkbook

        - he likes to think about how good a leader he is,

          and how good a provider he is

 

        - but sometimes he finds himself worrying about

          whether they'll be able to save that amount that

          particular month

 

        - he finds himself thinking thoughts like, "we've got

          to save that money this month"

 

        - on a certain night, the husband comes home and sees

          the living room strewn with department store bags

          and boxes

 

        - he learns that there was a great sale at the store,

          80% off the entire stock, so everybody in the

          family got a new change of clothes

 

 

        - (I'm not saying the wife was right or wrong, but

           what do you think the husband is going to do in

           that situation?)

        - blow up - forget all about his goal

 

        - because something became more important than being

          like Christ (saving money)

 

        - when something becomes more important than pleasing

          Christ, what has that something become?  (an idol)

 

        - it has taken the place of Christ

        - in a real sense, you could call it an anti-christ

Steve Viars

B.S. - Bible, Baptist Bible College
M.Div. - Grace Theological Seminary
D.Min. - Westminster Theological Seminary

Pastor Steve Viars has served at Faith Church since 1987. He and his wife Kris were married in 1982 and have two married daughters, a son, and two grandchildren. Pastor Viars’ gifted teaching ministry, enthusiasm for the Word of God, and organizational skills are instrumental in equipping Faith Church. He oversees the staff, deacons, and all Faith ministries and serves on the boards of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, Biblical Counseling Coalition, Vision of Hope, and the Faith Community Development Corporation.

Read Steve Viars’ Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Viars to Faith Church.

View Pastor Viars' Salvation Testimony Video