(This article was adapted from the book, Discoveries in Bible Prophecy, and shorter than the info in the book.)
by Michael D. Fortner
Many Christians believe that there will one day be a one-world government ruled by the Antichrist, but this belief comes from inaccurately interpreting the Bible. What they do not understand is that the Bible makes many declarative statements that seem to be totally literal on their face, but are not to be taken 100% literal.
I use the literal method of interpreting Scripture, which is the only sound method to use when a passage is not figurative or symbolic, but what Bible scholars do not understand, is that even when a passage is to be interpreted literally, that does not mean that every word in the passage is 100% literal.
It is hard to interpret the Bible correctly if we do not interpret it literally, but you run into trouble if you insist on applying a 100% literal face value to every passage.
There are many examples throughout the Bible. For example, many times the Bible uses the terms “all the earth” and “the whole world;” but does not refer to the entire globe, as many people wrongly believe. Here are just a few such passages:
. . . all the earth came to Egypt to Joseph to buy grain, because the famine was severe over all the earth. (Gen. 41:57) ESV
The whole world sought audience with Solomon to hear the wisdom God had put in his heart. (1 Kings 10:24)
All nations on planet Earth did not go to Egypt to buy grain, neither did all nations seek an audience with Solomon. Nor does it refer to the known world, which I will prove shortly. Here are more examples:
In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. (Luke 2:1) ESV
“Look, the world has gone after him.” (John 12:19) ESV
The whole planet was not taxed by the Romans, neither did the whole planet follow Jesus while he was on Earth. Nor did it mean the known world because all the Roman Empire did not follow Christ; not even all of the Jews followed Christ.
This shows that the Bible often speaks of the whole world or the whole Earth, but it really means a large number of people, or most of the nations surrounding Israel, or that were within reasonable travel distance of Israel.
Perhaps the best example is found in Daniel 4:22, where it says the king’s dominion has reached “to the ends of the earth.” Really? How about that, King Nebuchadnezzar ruled China! No, he did not. Only a few decades later, Babylon was conquered by the Media-Persian Empire, that was right next door. So Babylon did not even rule the known world. Many people agree with this, but still will insist that some other similar passage about the future Antichrist should be taken 100% literally.
We even use this same type of terminology today. Did you know we have never had a world war? Yes, it is true. We have had two wars that we call world wars, but the whole world was not at war, just many nations and much of the world’s surface, but not literally every nation.
So when the book of Revelation says the whole world will worship the beast, it does not refer to the entire planet or the known world. Here is even more evidence to support this point:
2 “I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that sends all the surrounding peoples reeling. Judah will be besieged as well as Jerusalem. 3 On that day, when all the nations of the earth are gathered against her, I will make Jerusalem an immovable rock . . .” (Zechariah 12:2-3)
This passage first states that it refers to all the nations that surround Israel, and then it states that all nations on the planet will attack Jerusalem, but if we are going to take that statement at 100% literal face value, then it would have to include nations that do not even have armies or navies, and there are over 20 of them!
If you insist on taking that statement at 100% literal face value, then we must also take all statements in the Bible at 100% literal face value, which means the land of Canaan had streams and rivers flowing with milk and honey! No less than 20 verses state that the land was “flowing with milk and honey,” (Ex. 3:8). But those statements are exaggeration, hyperbole; it was just a way of saying that it was a very fertile and fruitful land.
Yet, there is a verse that seems to indicate the whole planet: “And he was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation” (Rev.13:7). But it refers to the Middle Eastern / Mediterranean world where all previous heads of the beast have ruled.
The previous heads of the beast made literal warfare against God’s people throughout the Middle East, North Africa, and southern Europe. The final head of the beast will also wage war against Christians and Jews. The next head of the beast will invade nations that are not in the Mediterranean area, but it will not be able to invade the whole planet.
The purpose of the final head of the beast is to wage war upon the world, especially God’s people. As it says twice in Revelation 13 (v.4 & 7), the beast will “make war.” This must be literal warfare, not just persecution, because this war will kill 1/3rd of the global population (Rev. 9:18). Yet we are expected to believe that the beast is going to come to power by bringing world peace; that is total fiction.
One lady emailed me with the claim that the ten horns of Revelation will only rule for one hour with the beast, a literal 60 minutes, because that is what it says in Rev. 17:12:
And the ten horns you saw are ten kings . . . will receive authority as kings one hour with the beast. (LIT)
This verse means that there is a set time for these events to be completed, and it will not last for centuries or decades. In Rev. 3:10 Jesus called the Great Tribulation, “the hour of trial” so I guess we don’t have to worry about the Great Tribulation (GT), because it will only last for one hour! What? You don’t believe it will only last for one hour?
I hope you can see what kind of mess you get into by taking every word 100% literally. In addition to this direct evidence, the correct interpretation of Bible prophecy provides even more evidence that there will NOT be a one-world government that has control over all nations on Earth.
Let’s take a quick look at Daniel’s four beasts. The ten horns are supposed to be the ten horns of the global Antichrist, but it never says the ten horns will rule the world or conquer a single nation, but only the fourth beast FROM which the horns come.
But based on what we have learned in this article, even if it had said it would rule the world, it would not mean that it would rule the world, but it NEVER EVEN SAYS IT.
Daniel also says that all four beasts will exist at the return of Christ. If they all exist at the end, then they are independent nations.
Then in Daniel’s vision of the statue (Daniel 2), it says that when Christ returns the entire statue will be smashed, the head, the chest, etc. This means that the main part of the statue has a double meaning. The head of gold originally referred to Babylon, but it will never become a gold nation today, so there must be a nation on Earth today that is that gold nation.
Again, since there are independent nations on Earth at the return of Christ, it shows that there will not be a one-world government.
And the ten toes of the statue, the text says they are partly strong and partly brittle, and because of that it will break apart. How can such an association of nations become a world government? Nonsense!
The beast will only exist for 42 months, and according to the 5th and 6th trumpets of Revelation 9, World War 3 begins 5 months after the rise of the beast from the Abyss. So when exactly is it going to rule the world?
No, the Bible does not tell us anything about a one-world government, it will never happen.
(There is much more information that supports the subject of this article, throughout the book, Discoveries in Bible Prophecy.