Will the Antichrist control the whole earth? Will his control be political or something else? What does the Bible say?
The reason that some commentators say the Antichrist will politically control the whole earth is found in Rev. 13:
It was also given to him (the Beast) to make war with the saints and to overcome them, and authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation was given to him. (Rev. 13: 7-8)
This seems to imply that the Beast will control the whole world, but that is not necessarily so. Let’s explore this deeper. There are two authorities given to the Antichrist in this Chapter; one from Satan and one from God himself.
The Authority Given to Him by Satan
Then I saw a beast coming up out of the sea, having ten horns and seven heads, and on his horns were ten diadems, and on his heads were blasphemous names. And the beast which I saw was like a leopard, and his feet were like those of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. And the dragon gave him his power and his throne and great authority. I saw one of his heads as if it had been slain, and his fatal wound was healed. And the whole earth was amazed and followed after the beast. (Rev. 13: 1-3)
We know that Satan is currently the ruler of this world. We learn this from an interaction with Jesus:
And he (Satan) led Him (Jesus) up and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said to Him, “I will give You all this domain and its glory; for it has been handed over to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. Therefore if You worship before me, it shall all be Yours.” (Luke 4: 5-7)
The true Messiah turned down Satan’s offer. The false messiah (Antichrist) will accept the offer. One might ask, “didn’t Christ pay the price to redeem the world back to his control at the cross?” Yes, he did. The control, however, has not transferred and won’t transfer until the 7 Sealed Scroll is opened and the Trumpets blown during Daniel’s 70th Week. That is when the “Kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ.” Christ has won the right to the spiritual and political authority of the world, but won’t stake his claim until the 7th Trumpet is blown. Prior to that event, the Antichrist will excise Satan’s authority.
So Satan’s demonic authority over the world will be temporarily transfered to the Antichrist. Does this mean that the Antichrist will be the political leader of the all the nations? No it does not. Satan is not the political leader of all nations now, but the AC will have Satan’s spiritual authority over the entire world.
Satan’s political authority over the world seems to be limited to the seven heads of the Dragon and the similar seven heads of the Beast. The geo-political extent of this empire is outlined in this chapter as well.
Then I saw a beast coming up out of the sea, having ten horns and seven heads, and on his horns were ten diadems, and on his heads were blasphemous names. And the beast which I saw was like a leopard, and his feet were like those of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. And the dragon gave him his power and his throne and great authority. I saw one of his heads as if it had been slain, and his fatal wound was healed. And the whole earth was amazed and followed after the beast (Rev. 13: 1-3)
Here Satan’s political realm is listed quite clearly. This empire is the summarized by the three Beasts from Daniel 7: 1-6; the Lion, the Bear, and the Leopard. This means that the Antichrist empire will include the ancient Babylonian empire, the ancient Persian empire, and the ancient Hellanistic (Greek) empire. IMO this is the political extent of the authority that Satan gives to the Antichrist. This would include North Africa, the Middle East, and eastern Asia (Afganistan, Pakistan, etc.). This is shockingly similar in scope to a map produced by ISIS of their planned empire. The ISIS map includes more of India Africa, and Spain, but the areas are still very similar.
We notice that after the Beast’s head wound is healed the whole earth is amazed and follows after the Beast. This doesn’t mean that the Antichrist politically controls the whole world either. The Greek word translated “follow” is THAUMAZO which means “admire” or “be in awe of.” So this verse is saying is that the world is in awe of the Beast after the healing of its head wound.
The Authority Given to Him by God
We also see the Antichrist will be given an authority to act for 3 1/2 years. This authority will be given to him by God, but has a time limit.
There was given to him a mouth speaking arrogant words and blasphemies, and authority to act for forty-two months was given to him. And he opened his mouth in blasphemies against God, to blaspheme His name and His tabernacle, that is, those who dwell in heaven. It was also given to him to make war with the saints and to overcome (Gk: NIKAO, meaning to “spiritually overcome”) them, and authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation was given to him. All who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain. (Rev. 13: 5-8)
The Beast will will be permitted to war with the saints. This is a near direct quote from Dan. 7:21. The Greek word translated as “overcoming” in the verse in Revelation 13: 7 is NIKAO which always means a spiritual overcoming. This is the same word mistranslated “conquering and to conquer” in relation to the rider of the White Horse in Rev. 6:2.
What this verse really says then is extremely important. This is not a physical war, it is a spiritual war and the Antichrist will overcome many of the saints. We call this the Great Falling Away or the Great Apostasy. The verse that clarifies those that are overcome immediately follows this verse:
And authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation was given to him. All who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain. (Rev. 13: 7-8)
Now that we have learned the “overcoming” is spiritual not physical, the verse that follows it, Rev. 13:7 (that has caused such controversy) takes on a completely new meaning. Spiritual authority is given to the Antichrist over individual members of all tribes, people, tongues, and nations (Gk: ETHNOS, meaning people groups).
Rev. 13:7 and its mention of tribes, people, tongues, and nations is an exact quote of Rev. 5:9 that refers to those that are Christ’s.
Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. (Rev. 5:9)
This contrast between the people that the Antichrist is given authority over and those Christ is given only further re-enforces the concept that this authority given to the Antichrist is a spiritual authority. Immediately after Rev. 13:7 we get confirmation of this. All who dwell upon the earth will worship the Antichrist UNLESS their names are written in the Book of Life. Carefully re-exmining the parallel passage in Rev. 5:9 we see this same reference to the Book of Life with its seals!! (This is just one further evidence that the 7 Sealed Scroll contains the Book of Life.)
In summary, Rev. 13: 1-10 is primarily about the spiritual authority of the Antichrist, not political authority.
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Other Reasons the Antichrist Might Not Politically Control the World
First, we are told that the Antichrist does not control the area that is modern day Jordan.
He will also enter the Beautiful Land, and many countries will fall; but these will be rescued out of his hand: Edom, Moab and the foremost of the sons of Ammon. (Dan. 11: 41)
If the Antichrist doesn’t control a country like Jordan which is close to his base of operations (Syria/Turkey/Iraq), it is likely there are many other countries that he doesn’t control as well. We also see him fighting wars during the final 3 1/2 year period (after the Abomination of Desolation. )
But rumors from the East and from the North will disturb him, and he will go forth with great wrath to destroy and annihilate many. Dan. 11:44)
Right before Armageddon at the sixth bowl, we see that there are still Kings in the East. This may be alluding the to war listed in Dan. 11:44.
The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river, the Euphrates; and its water was dried up, so that the way would be prepared for the kings from the east. (Rev. 16:12)
Finally, at the battle of Armageddon, it appears the Antichrist must convince the kings to do battle with Christ, it doesn’t seem that he can order them to do so.
And I saw coming out of the mouth of the dragon and out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet, three unclean spirits like frogs; for they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them together for the war of the great day of God, the Almighty. (Rev. 16: 13-14)
What Might the Antichrist Control?
If the Antichrist is the Islamic Mahdi, he will have spiritual and political control of all Muslims. These peoples are seeded into nearly all the nations, so in that way he will have control over a portion of the population of most nations. We are already seeing a microcosm of this effect. ISIS controls radical Islamists in many countries without physicially controlling the countries. When Antichrist arises it is likely he will control all Muslims (not just the current “radical” ones. It is likely a billion followers will all become “radical” at that time.)
Additionally, Islam has the largest voting block in the UN, the OIC (Organization of Islamic Cooperation). It is likely this control will expand and be another source of power for the Antichrist. The Antichrist may even be made the president of the UN.
We are not given a complete description of lands the Antichrist does and does not control at the end, but it certainly seems that the Antichrist does not have complete political control of the world at any point.