The big news today, of course, is that the list of “Most Wanted Terrorists” has been updated, for number one on the list, Osama Bin Ladin, was removed, having been killed by U.S. forces in Abbatabod, Pakistan, where he had built a million-dollar secured compound. For some ten years, U.S. forces, have been searching for this leader of the Al Queda terrorist forces. While it is great news to most of the world, especially the western world, the reality is that the list of “Most Wanted” will just be updated, with someone else moving into Bin Ladin’s spot. Until Jesus returns to earth and sets up His millennial reign, there will not be peace on earth, no matter how many terrorists and ruthless dictators are removed. As you look back over history, it is strewn with “Bin Ladins” and will continue to be, with the final one referred to in Scripture as “the man of lawlessness,” (II Thes. 2:3) or the “Antichrist” (I Jn. 2:18) whose coming was prophesied in Daniel’s vision where he is described this way: “The fourth beast will be a fourth kingdom on the earth, which will be different from all the other kingdoms, and it will devour the whole earth and tread it down and crust it. …And he will speak out against the Most High and wear down the saints of the Highest One, and he will intend to make alterations in times and in law…” (Dan. 7:23,25). He is mentioned again in the panoramic prophecy given to Daniel by the angel Gabriel recorded in Dan. 9:24-27, where we read: “Seventy weeks (of seven years each) have been decreed for your people (the Jews) and your holy city (Jerusalem)….and the people of the prince who is to come (the Antichrist) will destroy the city and the sanctuary. And its end will come with a flood; even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined. And he (the Antichrist) will make a firm covenant with the many for one week (to protect Israel), but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering (in the rebuilt Temple); and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate.” The prince, the Antichrist, who will make a pact with many (of the Jewish people) at the beginning of the Tribulation period, will, in the middle of the week (3 1/2 years later) break his covenant and desecrate the Temple by demanding worship of himself in it (cf Mt. 24:15 and II Thes. 2:4).
This final world dictator-terrorist is referred to in the prophecy given to the Apostle John on the Isle of Patmos as “a beast coming up out of the sea (probably a reference to Gentile nations)….and the dragon (Satan cf Rev. 12:9) gave him his power and his throne and great authority” (Rev. 13:1,2). Jesus, in His Olivet Discourse (Mt. 24-25), in answer to the disciples’ question: “…what will be the sign of Your coming and of the end of the age?” (Mt. 24:3), spoke of this period of which Daniel had prophesied, the 70th week (of seven years) of his 70-week (490 years) prophecy for the Jews, and spoke of the time when the Antichrist desecrates the rebuilt Temple by setting up his image and demanding that the world worship him as “the abomination of desolation” (Mt. 24:15). Jesus went on to say, “For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever shall be” (v. 21). So, the world has not seen the last, nor even the worst “Osama Bin Ladin!”
The good news is that “Immediately after the tribulation of those days…..the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory. and He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet and they will gather together His elect (the Jews) from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other” (Mt. 24:29-31). In the book of Revelation, John describes this same event, writing: “And I saw heaven opened; and behold a white horse, and He who sat upon it is called Faithful and True; and in righteousness He judges and wages war…And from His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may smite the nations; and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, ‘KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.’ …And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies, assembled to make war against Him who sat upon the horse, and against His army. And the beast was seized, and with him the false prophet who performed signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image; and these two were thrown alive into the lake of fire which burns with brimstone. And the rest were killed with the sword which came from the mouth of Him who sat upon the horse…” (Rev. 19:11-21).
Many are celebrating today because of the demise of Osama Bin Ladin, but others will just take his place until the Lord comes. We will continue to have “wars and rumors of wars” (Mt. 24:6). But, praise the Lord, because of His suffering and death, as our sin-bearer, and His resurrection, He gained the victory over death and over all the forces of evil, and “Is at the right hand of God, having gone into heaven, after angels and authorities and powers had been subjected to Him” (I Pet. 3:22). The Apostle Paul also wrote of this victory in the great “resurrection chapter” (I Cor. 15), saying: “Then comes the end, when He delivers up the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power. He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be abolished is death” (I Cor. 15:24-27). So, as believers, as we await the return of Christ, we will continue to face a spiritual battle, but we fight not for victory, but from victory. The victory has already been won, and one day–soon–Christ will return for His church, and then return to reign, and we won’t need to keep a list of “most wanted” any longer!