Antichrist Gains Strength

And after the league [made] with him he shall work deceitfully: for he shall come up, and shall become strong with a small people. He shall enter peaceably even upon the fattest places of the province; and he shall do [that] which his fathers have not done, nor his fathers’ fathers; he shall scatter among them the prey, and spoil, and riches: [yea], and he shall forecast his devices against the strong holds, even for a time. (Daniel 11:23-24)

And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make [it] desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate. (Daniel 9:27)

The Hebrew words translated league and covenant are very similar in meaning according to Gesenius’s Lexicon. The word league means to “join in fellowship”. So during the first half of the 70th week of years Antichrist will gain strength.

Many Will Be Offended

And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another (Matthew 24:10).

The word translated offended is the Greek word skandalizo, from which we get the English word scandalize. The word means to put a stumbling block in someone’s path so they will fall; or to entice someone to sin, or fall away. It could also mean to cause a person to begin to distrust and desert one whom he ought to trust and obey.

The Scriptures also state that one could be offended as a result of tribulation or persecution.

But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended. (Matthew 13:20-21)

During the first half of the 70th week of years, Jesus said that many would be offended. He also said that it would be a time of tribulation and persecution. So, it is possible that many would be offended due to the tribulation and persecution.

The night Jesus was betrayed, He told His disciples that they would be offended because of Him.

Then saith Jesus unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad. (Matthew 26:31)

Note that Jesus did not cause the offense, but because of the circumstances surrounding His arrest, the disciples forsook Jesus and fled. This could be the scenario that occurs during the first half of the 70th week of years, which could even possibly lead to some falling away from the faith.

Finally, Jesus had this to say about those who would offend:

But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.

But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and [that] he were drowned in the depth of the sea. (Matthew 18:6)

Iniquity Shall Abound

And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold (Matthew 24:12).

The word that is translated iniquity is the Greek word anomia which can also be translated wickedness. And, the word translated abounds is the Greek word plethuno which means to increase or multiply. The same Greek word translated iniquity is also used to describe the religious leaders in Jesus’ day and the mystery of iniquity when Antichrist will be revealed.

Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity. (Matthew 23:28)

For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth [will let], until he be taken out of the way. (2 Thessalonians 2:7)

When Jesus Christ returns He will send His angels to gather those who do iniquity:

The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. (Matthew 13:41-42)

And when speaking of the judgment day, Jesus mentions some who prophesied in His name, and refers to them as workers of iniquity.

Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. (Matthew 7:21-23)

Jesus mentions false prophets that will also arise.

And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. (Matthew 24:11)

It is quite possible, then, that these false prophets are at least some of the false prophets referred to in Matthew 7:21-23. Since Jesus referred to them as workers of iniquity, it may be at least partially through them that iniquity abounds as mentioned in the next verse, Matthew 24:12. One of the results of their work is that many will be deceived. As a result of the iniquity the love of many will grow cold, and some may even fall away from the faith as is indicated will happen during this time.

Love of Many Shall Grow Cold

And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold (Matthew 24:12).

The same Greek word, agape, is used to describe God’s love for the world (John 3:16) and speaks of God’s unconditional love in giving Jesus Christ to pay the penalty for all humanity’s sins so that whoever believes in Jesus Christ would not perish in the lake of fire, but have eternal life.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)

Jesus also told His disciple to agape one another:

A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all [men] know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. (John 13:34-35)

The Apostle Paul mentioned agape as the first fruit of the Holy Spirit:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23)

The Apostle John put it this way:

He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him. But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes. (1 John 2:10-11)

If the love of many followers of Jesus Christ grows cold, it means that they are no longer obeying His commandment and abiding in the light. Since love endures all things, if love grows cold, it will be harder to endure to the end.

Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. (1 Corinthians 13:7)

Agape love is one of the ingredients that will help us endure all things, including the difficult times that are coming. If agape love waxes cold during this period, it is not surprising that believers will find it more difficult to endure, thus leading to more people falling away as Jesus and Paul indicated.

False Prophets Arise and Deceive Many

And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many (Matthew 24:11).

The words “false prophet” are actually one word in the Greek text. That word, pseudoprophetes, means “one who, acting the part of a divinely inspired prophet, utters falsehoods under the name of divine prophecies”. The word translated deceive can also mean “to lead away from the truth, to lead into error”. The person being described is one who would claim to be divinely inspired, and yet lead people from the truth into error.

The apostle John tells us to” try the spirits”: 

Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. (1 John 4:1)

The word translated “try” means “to test, examine, prove, scrutinize (to see whether a thing is genuine or not), as metals”. The best way to do this is to compare what is being taught against the Bible which is the ultimate final authority.