If we believe the Bible to be true and it's words to be literal prophecies of present and future events, then we have to know that at some point in time Christians will be faced with a time of great persecution. I know some say we have already seen persecution and that the disciples themselves were killed and martyred for the name of Christ. So many believe that those times were what Christ was referring to. But I'd like to just point out something. Christ said that His coming would not happen until "All things which are written may be fulfilled." So I don't believe the Disciples were the only ones who would face extreme persecution. The Word of God is never understood by using one verse or chapter. A scripture can only be understood when it is put into place along side the scriptures around it, and the entire Word of God. "Line upon line, and precept upon precept."
Christ, Paul and others give details of a future time where great tribulation and times of trouble will come for believers as well as the wrath of God being poured out against the wicked. I know some believe that believers will not be here for those times, but i have to ask this question: If we will not be here for those times, why does the Word of God tell us to watch and be aware of the signs of this time? For example, in Mathew 24 Christ says:
"So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be."
In Luke 21 He gives a similar warning.
"And they asked him, saying, Master, but when shall these things be? and what sign will there be when these things shall come to pass? And he said, Take heed that ye be not deceived: for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and the time draweth near: go ye not therefore after them. But when ye shall hear of wars and commotions, be not terrified: for these things must first come to pass; but the end is not by and by...... For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled...... And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled. And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh."

If we are absent from these events, why do we need to be mindful of them? Why was it so important to be forewarned these times would come? Remember, these words were not written to the unbeliever, and do not deal with those who are not of God. These words are directed specifically to those who bare the testimony of Christ, and none other.

Over half of the New Testament deals directly with end times events, or "The end of the Age" and on that note, a huge part of the Old Testament is prophetically written about end times as well. So why is it we don't want to talk about it? Why is it we don't feel it to be significant enough to be a part of our studies and teachings? Why would we not want to be prepared for what we have been told is coming? Especially when it is such a significant part of the Word of God. We do not live in the world of our youths, we live in a world where prophecy is being revealed almost daily. But it seems like no one wants to acknowledge this to be true.

How often does the Word of God teach us to live in the past? Never. We are taught to live in the future. We are taught to live in the promises of God right? The Devil is who teaches us to live in our pasts. He tries to keep us there so that we are not focused on the promises and knowledge of our future's with God through Jesus Christ. I believe this is our enemies greatest weapon against us. While the Word of God continues to reveal Christ and His Word to be true even to this moment, we seem to be stuck in the past and are afraid of the changes taking place right before our eyes. This makes us very vulnerable, and we seem to be doing the same old things we have always done as we don't seem to recognize the present or the future. I myself am guilty of being naive of the changes taking place outside my own little world and community. Somehow, even though I have been shown and told in the Word of God these things were going to happen, I find myself surprised and shocked almost everyday. In reality, I shouldn't be surprised at all. The Lord told me in His Word the day would come.

We are standing at the end of the age, and the signs given in the Word of God tell us this very clearly. I have been taught all my life the Lord could come any day, and I guess He could as no one knows the day or the hour. But it does say we would know the season. I believe that if we are standing in and on the Word of God, we are standing in a place where we can see what lies ahead. A servant is not greater than his Master, and if Christ had to endure His beating before the Cross, why would it not be the same for us? Christ was prepared to withstand the persecution before the reward, and I believe that through His Word, we can be prepared as well.
I have been reading about different thoughts and opinions people have about who the antichrist is, and where they think he'll come from. There are a lot of different opinions when it comes to this subject, but as I was reading some of them the Lord brought a statement I've made in the past to my mind. As I have talked with people, especially the last few years, I've made the same statement a hundred times. I've told people, "If the Devil ever showed up as himself, you'd recognize him immediately. Instead, he shows up as a version of something that may seem to be good, or even of God. But by the time he is finished in his deception, what seemed to be harmless, turns out to be a scheme designed to destroy you. The Devil never shows up as the Devil, he always shows up as an "Angel of Light".
If you think about it, it makes perfect sense. The most horrific and evil people in this world have never introduced themselves like, "Hi, my name is Bob, and I'm going to cut you into small pieces and eat you." A child molester never goes up to a child and says, "Hi, I'm Chester the child molester, and I'm going to take you away from your parents forever and cause you a lot of harm." Instead they are very deceptive and manipulative in their actions, while claiming to be harmless and helpful. But if you notice, a common denominator in the most evil of people is that after a while, their greed for more and arrogance always leads to their destruction. As they get bolder and more confident in their ability to get away with their crime, they get more lax and less worried about hiding who they really are. Is it not interesting that these evil men and women, fall into the same trap as the Devil himself?
I don't know about you, but the things that have hurt me the most in my life never looked hurtful or evil from the beginning. It was only after I was in the middle of it fighting for my life that I could truly see it for what it really was. Even then if it were not for God's help and wisdom, there would have been no way I could have been able to discern what was happening, what to do, or how to get out. Some people might say, "I can't believe you were stupid enough to have gotten in that situation to begin with." But I would say, thank God that I endured those things in my past, because maybe now I won't be blind to them in my future. I would rather endure trials in this life that brought me to a deeper understanding of Christ and the works of my enemy, than to die in my foolish blindness engulfed in a false sense of reality.
I guess my main point in sharing this is in hopes that you might realize something. As I read through these different writings on Antichrist I noticed a very common denominator. It seemed that in most every case, the writer seemed to believe that Antichrist was going to just burst on the scene as the Antichrist. But that couldn't be further from the truth. The Antichrist is already on the scene and has been since Paul said, "The Spirit of Antichrist is already at work", over 2000 years ago. He has never shown himself as Antichrist, instead he has shown himself as false truths, false prophets, and a false sense of who God truly is. He has hid behind pulpits, claiming to preach the Gospel. He has fought for "Religious" freedom in the name of God, and today he has enveloped himself in equal rights and free speech. All of which seem good and true, but underneath are seeking to destroy the foundations of the Truth of the Gospel and God's Word. Jesus said, "Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves." These words not only pertain to the truth of the Gospel, but to anything that may seem to be good. But without a doubt, if it does not agree completely with the Word of God, it is in no way good at all.
Just remember, you will never hear the Devil say, "Hi, I'm the Devil. Follow me." But he will always tell you, "Hi, I'm God. Do you need a ride home?"
The Devil has done an amazing job of taking the Truth of God's Word and bending and twisting it into a false form of Godliness and false doctrine.
The Bible says that, "The power of God is the Word of God." The Word of God is THE power of God. So as the Devil has slithered his way into the doctrine and teachings of many religions and individual beliefs, it has watered down the Truth of God's Word. It's kind of like diluting soap. The more you dilute it the less effective it becomes.
The Bible says in 2 Timothy 3, "3 But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: 2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, 4 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! 6 For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, 7 always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth."
If you think about what this is saying, it gives us a description of the habits and characteristics of those who have a form of Godliness, but deny it's power. In other words, they have a form of religion, but deny the Word of God. If this isn't exactly what is taking place in our society and our churches, I don't know what is.
It seems like everyday I hear about some "New revelation" that uses God's Word to sell a new form of religion. A new "Word from God" that will cure all your problems, make you rich, or save your soul from hell. I know that if we are seeking, we do find "New" things. But they're not new, they're just new to us. The problem is when people begin to preach concepts, or new "Words from God" that are not in alignment with the rest of the Word of God. I love to learn new things, but what I may learn cannot contradict what is written in the Word of God.
This is my point. Martin Luther started the modern church movement when he truly studied the scriptures and sought after the Truth. He put his life on the line when he broke away from the Roman Catholic church and began to share and spread the Truths he had found. For years and years after his stand for the Truth, the Gospel of Christ has spread like wild fire to the point it has reached the ends of the Earth and thousands upon thousands have come to Christ. But the problem is this. Christ warned us, Paul warned us, Peter warned us as well as others that there would be those who would come in the last days that would be false prophets. Preachers of Christ, but preaching false Truths and doctrine proclaiming to be of Christ, but speaking lies and false truths. Jesus said, "For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. "Behold, I have told you before."
The only thing more dangerous than a person without God, is a person who is preaching a false God. A false prophet preaching a false truth about a false Christ. This is exactly what the Devil has accomplished by watering down the Gospel. A form of lukewarm Godliness,that is lacking the power there of.... The Truth of the Word of God.