In "God's Word for Today" Steve Oliver writes:
We are given a significant amount of information about Antichrist in this passage. He is a powerful world ruler, deriving his authority from Satan, the ruler of this world. The “name of blasphemy” (13:1) points to an ingrained contempt for the things of God, and in keeping with this, his words are full of blasphemy. His mimicry of Christ, seen in seeming resurrection, is not surprising since this beast is attempting to take the place of God himself. What is surprising is that Antichrist can “make war with the saints, and . . . overcome them.” Throughout history, persecution has resulted in the spread of the gospel and widespread conversions; but here the persecution by Antichrist is more or less successful in stamping out Christianity. In the midst of this description of nearly limitless power and blasphemy, it is easy to miss a minor but crucial part of the description: Antichrist is merely a pawn in the ongoing war of Satan against God. He is permitted to have authority and to persecute the saints. But ultimately, God is in control even in these terrible circumstances, and Antichrist can do no more than God allows.
Source: Christ, the Triumphant Lord: Adult Teacher's Insights, page 52.
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