Antichrist: Leader Of A One-World Government?
Many Christians today believe that when Antichrist is revealed the world will suddenly experience some form of global governance virtually overnight, controlled by a man who will be worshiped as God himself. Although there are a few verses in Scripture that may appear to give credence to the idea that the entire earth will be overcome by the last-days Antichrist at first glance, the whole of Scripture supports neither the idea of a “One World Government” (OWG) ruled by Antichrist, nor the idea of an end-of-days leader who controls literally every last nation on the earth.
Many popular teachers of Biblical eschatology who support the idea of a OWG and Antichrist who controls the political and religious dictates of all the nations of the world will agree, at the very least, that the last portion of Daniel 11 from verses 36 and beyond all refer to the final years leading up to the Second Coming of Christ. What they fail to consider, however, are the following questions that should be obvious to anyone who holds to both of these positions:
- If Antichrist’s rule is literally global, why are other resistor nations waging war against Antichrist and why is Antichrist also waging wars? (Daniel 11:39-45).
- How can “all” mean literally “all” if even one nation — for example Jordan — is able to “escape his hand” (Dan 11:41)?
- If Antichrist rules the entire world, why be so worried about news coming out of the east and the north (Dan 11:44)?
Many will point to certain verses and take from those specific verses the idea that Antichrist rules the entire literal earth. For example:
Rev 13:8, “All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast – all whose names have not been written in the Lamb’s book of life, the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world.”
Zechariah 14:2, “For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity…”
But are the verses above referring to literally every single person upon the earth, and to literally all nations in the world? To answer this question we must first take a closer look at Scripture to determine whether “all” must always be understood in a literal, universal sense. To begin, let us carefully consider the following:
Luke 2:1-3, “And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that ALL the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And ALL went to be taxed, every one into his own city.”
Mark 1:5, “And there went out unto him ALL the land of Judaea, and they of Jerusalem, and were ALL baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins.”
Daniel 2:36-38, “This was the dream, and now we will interpret it to the king. You, O king, are the king of kings. The God of heaven has given you dominion and power and might and glory; in your hands he has placed mankind and the beasts of the field and the birds of the air. Wherever they live, he has made you ruler over them ALL. You are that head of gold.”
Ezra 1:2, “Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, The LORD Elohim of heaven hath given me ALL the kingdoms of the earth;”
Romans 10:18, “But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into ALL the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world.”
Using a bit of common sense we already know the answers to the following questions, but in light of the verses above let’s ask the obvious: Did Caesar literally tax the whole world? Did every last man, woman and child in Judea and Jerusalem get baptized in the Jordan River? Did Nebuchadnezzar or Cyrus literally rule over the entire earth, ruling over the native Indians in North and South America? Was the Gospel preached to the whole literal earth during the lives of the disciples? We know that the answer to each of these questions is “No” because these verses are obvious examples of a figure of speech known as a synecdoche. It is like saying “the whole world watched the Super Bowl on Sunday.” We read something similar in Colossians 1:23, which says, “If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister.” We know that Paul did not preach to crickets, frogs and polar bears, which sounds silly to say, but would be the logical conclusion we’d have to draw if one threw out common sense and read such a verse in a strictly wooden, literal sense. Such statements are never intended to be understood literally and are synecdochical expressions that use a part for the whole, or the whole for a part. This figure of speech is often found in Scripture, especially when we read about kings and their kingdoms, and the end-of-days “man of lawlessness” that many identify as Antichrist will be no different.
Many of us will often recognize this figure of speech in Scripture but then insist that any references to Antichrist could never be synecdochical, despite the fact that numerous other verses in Scripture in the context of this eschatonic Antichrist demonstrate it forcefully. For instance, Antichrist cannot have dominion over the whole literal planet if wars are being waged against other nations. Antichrist cannot have dominion over the whole literal planet if even one nation is able to “escape his hand.” Antichrist cannot have dominion over the whole planet when other resistor nations are themselves waging war against Antichrist right up until the end (Dan 11:39-45). Regardless, such logic or way of thinking just doesn’t fit with what many have always been taught by many Christian teachers and prophecy experts.
Bringing It Down To “Earth”
Many will insist that Scripture does not allow a synecdocical understanding when it comes to Antichrist, instinctively pointing to verses that speak of the whole “earth” such as Revelation 13:3-4, 13:8, 13:12, 13:17 and 17:8 as “proof.” In each and every single one of these verses, however, the word for “earth” is the Greek word “ge”, which will often be referring to “a country, land enclosed within fixed boundaries, a tract of land, territory, region”. But if this is the intended meaning, how can we know? One clue is found for us in the second part of Revelation 13:8 and 17:8 when John writes that those who worship the Beast are those “whose names are not written in the book of life.” Here, John directs us to an understanding that it will not be literally all that dwell upon the earth that will worship the Beast. It is, rather, a certain group only. Moreover, if the Spirit’s intent were to convey the whole literal planet, John would have likely been inspired to use a much better word such as “kosmos” (cf Acts 17:24) to convey such a meaning. This should also be quite obvious to us when considering the undeniable fact that a great multitude “which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues” will come out of Great Tribulation (Revelation 7:9,14). If they come out of Great Tribulation, they had to be in it, and while they were in it they did not worship Antichrist.
Significantly, even the Old Testament prophets themselves allude to a geographical limitation of this eschatonic Antichrist with some very specific details of their own. In describing the armies that come up against Israel at Armageddon, the prophets Zechariah, Joel and Ezekiel all show us that the hegemony of Antichrist’s reign is limited geographically by telling us that the surrounding nations or neighbors are those who will be gathered against Jerusalem, not every nation of the earth universal. But what about Zechariah 14:2, you ask? Doesn’t this show us all the nations in the world coming up against Jerusalem?
Zechariah 14:2, “For I will gather ALL nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity…”
Who are all the nations? The Hebrew text says “goy cabiyb” (Joel Richardson, Islam & The End Times) and this can very easily also mean the surrounding Gentiles or the Gentiles round about. This is yet another example of a synecdoche, as we’ve learned above, not to mention the fact that Zechariah had just described all of these nations two chapters earlier as the surrounding nations. Contextually, “all nations” in Zechariah 14:2 is simply referring to all of the “surrounding” nations spoken of in chapter 12:
Zechariah 12:2, “I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that sends all the SURROUNDING PEOPLES reeling. Judah will be besieged as well as Jerusalem.”
And Zechariah refers to the surrounding nations yet again just a few short verses after 14:2, writing:
Zechariah 14:14, “Judah also will fight at Jerusalem; and the wealth of all the SURROUNDING NATIONS will be gathered, gold and silver and garments in great abundance.”
The Prophet Joel himself also prophesied:
Joel 3:11-12, “Hasten and come, all you SURROUNDING NATIONS, And gather yourselves there. Bring down, O LORD, Your mighty ones. Let the nations be aroused And come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat, For there I will sit to judge All the SURROUNDING NATIONS.”
As did the Prophet Ezekiel:
Ezekiel 28:24-26, “‘No longer will the people of Israel have malicious NEIGHBORS who are painful briers and sharp thorns. Then they will know that I am the Sovereign LORD. ” ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: When I gather the people of Israel from the nations where they have been scattered, I will show myself holy among them in the sight of the nations. Then they will live in their own land, which I gave to my servant Jacob. They will live there in safety and will build houses and plant vineyards; they will live in safety when I inflict punishment on all their NEIGHBORS WHO MALIGNED AGAINST THEM. Then they will know that I am the LORD their God.'”
Zechariah would not have been referring to literally all nations on the planet in Zechariah 14:2, only to then turn around and say just the surrounding nations in verse 14:14, not to mention 12:2. Logistically, it wouldn’t even be possible for literally every nation on earth to amass troops, tanks, aircraft, personnel carriers, etc. etc. etc. in one Israeli valley. In the context of Zechariah 14:2 it is quite apparent that Zechariah is referring only to the surrounding nations, as he had already wrote about previously in 12:2 and then again later in 14:14. The prophets Joel and Ezekiel confirm this as well.
That is not to say, however, that the Bible always talks about the world in a regional or limited sense. There are many examples that we can point to that obviously refer to the whole literal earth, and the Greek word “kosmos” in John 3:16 would be one of those examples that refers to the earth as a whole and not just simply the region. Comparing Scripture with Scripture hermeneutically and examining the text exegetically leads us to an understanding that the Gospel is to be preached over the whole literal world (Matthew 24:14, “this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world [oikoumenē – the inhabited earth] for a witness unto all nations [pas ethnos – every ethnic group/tribe”; Matthew 26:13, “Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world [kosmos – the world, all of humanity]; John 3:16, “For God so loved the world [kosmos – the world, all of humanity] … that whosoever [pas – everyone] believeth in him …). There is no geographical limitation in the original text when it comes to preaching the Gospel, but there is a geographical limitation in the text when it describes the scope of Antichrist’s dominion.
The Common Denominator of All Surrounding Nations
Although I believe that the “seat of the Beast” (cf Revelation 13:2, 16:10) will be primarily regional, Antichrist’s influence will definitely be felt globally and involves one common denominator that we see today in all nations that surround Israel: the religion of Islam. We are even seeing its influence both inside and outside of politics. Consider, for instance, that recently an American-born Al Qaeda leader publicly called upon Muslims in America to start buying guns and begin killing non-Muslim Americans. I’ve believed for some time now that when this does come it will, with the right “triggering event”, not be isolated. It will be wide-scale. As we all know, there are millions upon millions of Muslims living in Western nations today. If an event were to occur in the world that would be eschatologically pivotal for Muslims this would be sure to awaken any radical elements within the Muslim population, regardless of where they live, and even radicalize some of those who were previously considered “moderate”. The arrival of al Mahdi, for example, could become the “triggering event” that has the potential to precipitate a sudden surge in Islamic terrorism all over the globe. If we are complacent into believing that any such scenario could never happen or is highly unlikely, we don’t need to look far before we come face to face with the sobering reality that Islamic terrorist cells are, today, already forming within our own borders.
In February 2007 Dave Gaubatz, a former U.S. Federal Agent and State Department Arabic linguist, wrote in “American Thinker” that “There is every reason to suspect that we will endure suicide missions by Islamist sleeper cells. They are already in place. They are waiting for the right time. I know this from experience.”  His warning was brought to light again in January 2009 when Homeland Security released a detailed report revealing the growing threat of one such terrorist group, stating:
An official government report concludes the Iranian-backed Islamic terror group [Hezbollah] has been forming sleeper cells throughout the United States that could become operational.
The report estimates Hezbollah could become a much more potent national security threat by 2014. The group was responsible for the 1983 Beirut Marine Barracks bombing, which killed 241 U.S. Marines and 58 French servicemen.
‘The Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah does not have a known history of fomenting attacks inside the U.S., but that could change if there is some kind of ‘triggering’ event, the homeland assessment cautions,” the report said.
The report, obtained by the Middle East Newsline and marked “for official use only,” did not define a “triggering event.” Most of the threats cited in the report had been raised by the Homeland Security Department. 
To contextualize the potential magnitude of what this could entail, consider the number of Muslims living in Western nations today. Although it appears that a significant majority of Muslims want to live in peace we cannot allow ourselves to become comatose to the reality that there are those who do not want to live in peace with “infidels.” There are tens of millions of Muslims living in western countries, with estimates as high as 5-7 million Muslims living in the United States alone. Can we begin to imagine the havoc to be wrought if even 10% of Muslim males were to engage in terrorist activities to secure themselves a place in paradise or to “defend Islam”? This could be hundreds of thousands of radicalized followers of the “prophet Mohammad” who want us dead for the cause of Dar al Islam. The Fort Hood killer, a Muslim US Army Major, waged his own jihad and took 13 lives. This was just one man with a gun. The Tsarnaev brothers killed 3 and wounded hundreds in Boston with just two “pressure-cooker” bombs. Imagine what tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands throughout the country wielding guns and knives and anything else they could use to maim and kill could do with similar intent. Though the “seat of the Beast” is regional, we have already seen and will continue to see Muslim rioting, civil unrest and acts of terror in non-Muslim nations such as America, Australia, Britain, Denmark, France, Germany, Spain, Sweden and elsewhere, as well as Muslim nations. Its effect will certainly be felt globally, but the extent to which it will be felt at its peak, however, remains to be seen.
Although Antichrist will seek to rule the whole literal earth and force the political and religious ideology of the Beast upon every government and upon every man, woman and child on the planet, Antichrist’s efforts will not succeed — an increasingly evident fact to which the whole of the prophetic texts testify. When Christ returns in power and great glory Scripture lists the nations that He fights against by name, and every nation that is identified in Scripture is today an Islamic nation. In light of the whole counsel of Scripture, the Antichrist’s dominion and political-religious control will be relegated primarily to the whole Muslim world — the nations that today surround Israel — but not the world as a whole.