1. right to command: the right or power to enforce rules or give orders
2. holder of power: somebody or something with official power
3. power given to somebody: power to act on behalf of somebody else, or official permission to do something [encarta.msn.com]
Scriptures teach that the End Times Antichrist will be given authority, once the one who holds him back (the Holy Spirit) is taken out of the way. This means that Antichrist will have the power to act upon, or enforce his will upon, the world.
2 Thessalonians 2: 1-12
Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers, not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by some prophecy, report or letter supposed to have come from us, saying that the day of the Lord has already come. Don't let anyone deceive you in any way, for (that day will not come) until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God's temple, proclaiming himself to be God.
Don't you remember that when I was with you I used to tell you these things? And now you know what is holding him back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time. For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming. The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.
Once the Holy Spirit is removed from the earth, the Antichrist will be allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months, during the second half of the Tribulation (see Revelation 13: 1 – 15 below). With the Holy Spirit gone Satan, will be unrestrained upon the earth, and he will be the power behind Antichrist's authority.
Antichrist's authority does not mean that his rule will go unchallenged. Authority does not automatically translate into absolute control. A police officer has authority to enforce the law, but still there are law-breakers. There will be those who will oppose Antichrist's authority, just as there are those who oppose police authority. Authority does not translate into unquestioning obedience or timid submission. However, Antichrist will be allowed, and be given the power, (granted authority) to deal with opposition as he pleases.
Certain Jews will remain faithful to God throughout the Tribulation and oppose the Antichrist. There may be others who come to God during the Tribulation and these, too, would oppose him.
After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth to prevent any wind from blowing on the land or on the sea or on any tree. Then I saw another angel coming up from the east, having the seal of the living God. He called out in a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm the land and the sea: "Do not harm the land or the sea or the trees until we put a seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God." Then I heard the number of those who were sealed: 144,000 from all the tribes of Israel.
From the tribe of Judah 12,000 were sealed; from the tribe of Reuben 12,000; from the tribe of Gad 12,000; from the tribe of Asher 12,000; from the tribe of Naphtali 12,000; from the tribe of Manasseh 12,000; from the tribe of Simeon 12,000; from the tribe of Levi 12,000; from the tribe of Issachar 12,000; from the tribe of Zebulun 12,000; from the tribe of Joseph 12,000; from the tribe of Benjamin 12,000.
After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: "Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb."
All the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12saying: "Amen! Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever. Amen!"
Then one of the elders asked me, "These in white robes - who are they, and where did they come from?"
I answered, "Sir, you know."
And he said, "These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore, "they are before the throne of God and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will spread his tent over them. Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst. The sun will not beat upon them, nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes."
Not all kings will voluntarily follow Antichrist. Some will resist his rule, even though their resistance may prove futile. Certain world leaders who have their own agendas will provoke Antichrist to attack them with a 200 million-man army, resulting in a war that kills one-third of mankind during the second half of the Tribulation.
Revelation 9: 13 - 19
The sixth angel sounded his trumpet, and I heard a voice coming from the horns of the golden altar that is before God. It said to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, "Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates."
And the four angels who had been kept ready for this very hour and day and month and year were released to kill a third of mankind. The number of the mounted troops was two hundred million. I heard their number.
The horses and riders I saw in my vision looked like this: Their breastplates were fiery red, dark blue, and yellow as sulfur. The heads of the horses resembled the heads of lions, and out of their mouths came fire, smoke and sulfur. A third of mankind was killed by the three plagues of fire, smoke and sulfur that came out of their mouths. The power of the horses was in their mouths and in their tails; for their tails were like snakes, having heads with which they inflict injury.
However some kings (at least ten) will wholly ally themselves with Antichrist.
One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and said to me, "Come, I will show you the punishment of the great prostitute, who sits on many waters. With her the kings of the earth committed adultery and the inhabitants of the earth were intoxicated with the wine of her adulteries."
Then the angel carried me away in the Spirit into a desert. There I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was covered with blasphemous names and had seven heads and ten horns. The woman was dressed in purple and scarlet, and was glittering with gold, precious stones and pearls. She held a golden cup in her hand, filled with abominable things and the filth of her adulteries. This title was written on her forehead: MYSTERY BABYLON THE GREAT THE MOTHER OF PROSTITUTES AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. I saw that the woman was drunk with the blood of the saints, the blood of those who bore testimony to Jesus.
When I saw her, I was greatly astonished. Then the angel said to me: "Why are you astonished? I will explain to you the mystery of the woman and of the beast she rides, which has the seven heads and ten horns. The beast, which you saw, once was, now is not, and will come up out of the Abyss and go to his destruction. The inhabitants of the earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the creation of the world will be astonished when they see the beast, because he once was, now is not, and yet will come.
"This calls for a mind with wisdom. The seven heads are seven hills on which the woman sits. They are also seven kings. Five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come; but when he does come, he must remain for a little while. The beast who once was, and now is not, is an eighth king. He belongs to the seven and is going to his destruction. "The ten horns you saw are ten kings who have not yet received a kingdom, but who for one hour will receive authority as kings along with the beast. They have one purpose and will give their power and authority to the beast. They will make war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will overcome them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings - and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers."
Then the angel said to me, "The waters you saw, where the prostitute sits, are peoples, multitudes, nations and languages. The beast and the ten horns you saw will hate the prostitute. They will bring her to ruin and leave her naked; they will eat her flesh and burn her with fire. For God has put it into their hearts to accomplish his purpose by agreeing to give the beast their power to rule, until God's words are fulfilled. The woman you saw is the great city that rules over the kings of the
1. treat somebody or something as deity: to treat somebody or something as divine and show respect by engaging in acts of prayer and devotion
2. take part in religious service: to take part in a religious service
3. love somebody deeply: to love, admire, or respect somebody or something greatly and perhaps excessively or unquestioningly [encarta.msn.com]
With the Holy Spirit removed and Satan unrestrained, Antichrist will be able to fool (or coerce) all but the saints into worshiping him.
Revelation 13: 1 - 15
And the dragon stood on the shore of the sea. And I saw a beast coming out of the sea. He had ten horns and seven heads, with ten crowns on his horns, and on each head a blasphemous name. The beast I saw resembled a leopard, but had feet like those of a bear and a mouth like that of a lion. The dragon gave the beast his power and his throne and great authority.
One of the heads of the beast seemed to have had a fatal wound, but the fatal wound had been healed. The whole world was astonished and followed the beast. Men worshiped the dragon because he had given authority to the beast, and they also worshiped the beast and asked, "Who is like the beast? Who can make war against him?"
The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise his authority for forty-two months. He opened his mouth to blaspheme God, and to slander his name and his dwelling place and those who live in heaven.
He was given power to make war against the saints and to conquer them. And he was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation. All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast - all whose names have not been written in the book of life belonging to the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world.
He who has an ear, let him hear. If anyone is to go into captivity, into captivity he will go. If anyone is to be killed with the sword, with the sword he will be killed. This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of the saints.
Then I saw another beast, coming out of the earth. He had two horns like a lamb, but he spoke like a dragon. He exercised all the authority of the first beast on his behalf, and made the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose fatal wound had been healed. And he performed great and miraculous signs, even causing fire to come down from heaven to earth in full view of men. Because of the signs he was given power to do on behalf of the first beast, he deceived the inhabitants of the earth. He ordered them to set up an image in honor of the beast who was wounded by the sword and yet lived.
He was given power to give breath to the image of the first beast, so that it could speak and cause all who refused to worship the image to be killed.
Worship of the Antichrist should not be confused with the worship of God by true believers who are born into the family of God. True worship is voluntary and motivated by love. Those who love God love Him because He first loved them, and because He gave Himself as a sacrifice for them, while they were yet sinners.
I John 4
Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.
You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood.
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. We know that we live in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God. 16And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.
God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, "I love God," yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.
While the worship of Antichrist by many may be motivated by fanciful or delusional belief that he is god or messiah, the worship of others could be no more than a token worship, either coerced by threat of harm or solicited by promise of reward. Many may simply go through the motions of worship because it is fashionable (a popular novelty), or because it is expected of them (socially acceptable behavior), or even exciting and fun (dabbling in the occult).
Not all who worship do so in spirit and truth. Unfortunately this is true within the church today. Why should it be any different in the End Times?
Antichrist will also gain control of some commodity that everyone needs or wants, and will use this control to reinforce his authority to rule and to exact worship.
Revelation 13: 16 - 18
He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his name. This calls for wisdom. If anyone has insight, let him calculate the number of the beast, for it is man's number. His number is 666.
This may suggest that the globalization process, which some predict may soon end, will instead continue to expand until the whole world is indeed globalized, at least economically. This interpretation would be reinforced if what is bought and sold includes everything - - food, clothing, homes, manufactured goods, vehicles, etc. Some have suggested that such control is now technologically feasible, and could be accomplished through implementation of a cashless, global digital transaction system. He who controls the system would control the buying and the selling.
A less literal interpretation might suggest that Antichrist's control will be over some resource everyone needs or wants. Since the scriptures do not say what will be bought or sold, it could be everything, or it could simply be one essential thing – such as oil.
Scriptures suggest that Antichrist will arise and establish his power base in the Middle East. If this is true, then he might indeed one day be in a position to control most of the world's oil production, and therefore the End Times global economy.
There are many in the world today that seem ready to sell, if not their blood, then their souls, for a tank of gas.
Matthew 16: 24 – 25
Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?
In the end, therein may lie the secret to Antichrist's authority.