The Coming AntiChrist: Jesus of Nazareth?
A Tragic Case of Mistaken Identity?
Why do the nations rage and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together against the LORD and against his Christ... He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh,.. Yet I have set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. (Psalm 2:1,2,4,6)
A most interesting aspect of this prophetic Psalm is that the opening inquiry of the writer is left unanswered. His searching question concerns the reason why the peoples of the earth are hostile to Christ when he returns to subject the earth to his benevolent rule. The word used in the query, "vain", means "having no real substance". The distinct implication of the question is that the world has imagined something that is not true, that its leaders are deceived in some way. In this work a possible reason for the opposition to Christ, which it is believed is related to the "vain" idea those opposing him will hold, is advanced. It is the sincere desire on the part of those producing this pamphlet to inform the public as to the nature of the expectations of many modern Bible students, and the possible consequences that these views may ultimately have when Jesus returns to this earth. By becoming acquainted with the evidence, the reader will hopefully then be in a better position to form his own opinion on the validity or invalidity of the ideas being put forth respecting future events.
In recent years, there has been a tremendous increase in interest within Christian circles as to what the Bible reveals about the course history will follow. One of the most prominent beliefs to emerge is the conviction that a single man will arise, the Antichrist, who will personally fulfil many prophecies in the Bible. With many this idea has become a basic tenet of their faith. An almost feverish anticipation has developed, fueled by a continuing stream of books and films, that this individual will soon appear in Jerusalem, demand to be worshipped and revered as a god, and quickly ascend to the position of supreme world dictator. There is almost complete agreement that these events are nearly upon us. This presents a very sobering and arresting challenge to the reader. Where will he give his loyalty when this personage manifests himself? Could it be, is there even a remote possibility, that Christ himself could be mistakenly identified as the Antichrist? Could the most serious blunder of history be the opposing of the real Christ as the fabricated Antichrist? Lest the reader dismiss the suggestion out of hand, we beg him to compare what the Scriptures reveal concerning Christ at his second coming on the one hand, with what many Christian expositors believe this evil despot, Antichrist, will do, on the other.
The Supposed Future Antichrist of Popular Expositions
The Christ of the Scriptures At His Appearing
|1. Antichrist will appear suddenly.
"The way in which this dictator is going to step onto the stage of history will be dramatic. Overnight he will become the byword of the world. He is going to be distinguished as supernatural..."1
|1. Christ will appear suddenly.
"For as a snare shall it (his coming) come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth." (Luke 21:35)
|2. Antichrist himself, or his chief cohort, the False Prophet, will be a Jew.
"This person (The False Prophet), who is called the second beast, is going to be a Jew. Many believe he will be from the tribe of Dan, which is one of the tribes of the original progenitors or the nation of Israel."2
"Several other items lead Bible students to conclude that Antichrist will be a Jew. It is hard to believe that Israel would receive a Gentile Messiah. No Gentile could pose as Christ with any success."3
|2. Jesus is a Jew.
"Where is he that is born King of the Jews?" (Matt. 2:2)
Among Christ's immediate co-rulers will be Jews - the twelve apostles. "Ye also shall sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel." (Matt. 19:23)
|3. Antichrist will claim that he is the Messiah of Israel.
"The Antichrist will actually pose as the Messiah, he will claim Messianic titles and privileges... The Antichrist is a person who will attempt to convince Israel that he is their long-anticipated Messiah." 4
|3. Jesus will exercise his appointed office of Messiah.
"I will overturn, overturn, overturn it: and it shall be no more, until he come whose right it is; and I will give it him." (Ezek. 21:27)
"And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end." (Luke 1:33)
"And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom thy have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his first-born." (Zech. 12:10)
|4. Antichrist will perform miracles.
"When (sic) the counterfeit christ arrives, he will perform miracles in order to convince Israel that he is the prophet like Moses. The man of sin sits as a priest in the temple and engages in prophetic ministry."5
"In other words, Satan himself is going to give him fantastic power. He is going to be able to work all kinds of miracles. This is one reason that Christians should not get too excited when they see a miracle. It may not be a miracle from God. Satan is a miracle worker..."6
|4. Christ will perform miracles.
"Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert." (Isa. 35:5,6)
(Note: At the first coming of Christ, the prevalent opinion was that there was some external being, Beelzebub, prince of the devils, who was responsible for the miracles of Jesus. (Matt 12:24) This belief in some external personage o,f evil pervades modern christendom today; and it is easy to see from the quote opposite to what agency the miracles of Christ at his second advent could be ascribed).
|5. Antichrist will reside in Jerusalem.
"Jerusalem .... will be the capital and center of the world dictator's (i.e. Antichrist's) rule ..."
|5. Jesus will rule from Jerusalem.
"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killeth the prophets ...............
Ye shall not see me, until the time come when ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord." (Luke 13:34,35)
"Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion." (Psalm 2:6)
"For out of Zion shall go forth the
law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem." (Isaiah 2:3)
|6. Antichrist will rebuild the Temple at Jerusalem and be Involved with the service therein.
"The Antichrist will deify himself -just like the Caesars did. He will proclaim himself to be God. He will demand that he be worshipped and will establish himself in the temple of God. (2 Thes. 2:4) There is only one place where this temple of God can be and that is on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem, on the site where the Dome or the Rock and other Moslem shrines now stand. There are many places in the Bible that pinpoint this location as the one where the Jews will rebuild their Temple .8
"The Israelis will then be permitted to reinstitute the sacrifice and offering aspect of the law of Moses. This demands that the Temple be rebuilt, because according to the law of Moses, sacrifices can only be offered in the Temple at Jerusalem. Apparently all this will be done under the protection of the Antichrist of Rome. (P.S. The Arabs are not going to like this idea of rebuilding the Temple one bit)."
|6. Jesus will rebuild the Temple at Jerusalem and be Involved with the service therein.
"After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and set it up: that the residue of men might seek after the Lord..."
"Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is the Branch; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the LORD: Even he shall build the temple of the LORD; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both." (Zech. 6:12,13)
|7. Antichrist will form a covenant with the Jews.
"The Romans under Titus did the destroying, so the coming prince would have to be someone out of the Roman culture...(Others say that Antichrist must be a Jew, rather than someone of the Roman culture - see point 2 above. This shows the immense amount of unsubstantiated speculation that has been done.) This Roman prince will come to power just before the return of Christ. He will make 'a strong covenant' with the Israelis, guaranteeing their safety and protection. The word translated 'strong covenant' has the idea of a treaty or mutual protection pact."10
"It will be a covenant which will permit Israel to continue and renew her religious ceremonies including the building of a Jewish temple, and the reactivation of Jewish sacrifices."11
|7. Jesus will be great leader and will reintroduce the Jews into God's true everlasting covenant.
"And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer, and shall turn ungodliness from Jacob: For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins." (Romans 11:26,27)
"Incline your ear and come unto me; hear, and soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David. Behold, I have given him for a witness to the people, a leader and commander to the people?' (Isaiah 55:3,4)
"Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah." (Jeremiah 31:31)
"For the children of Israel shall abide many days without a king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and without an image, and without an ephod, and without teraphim: Afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the LORD their God, and David their king..." (Hosea 3:4,5)
|8. Antichrist will somehow defeat Russia when It attacks Israel.
"With the world balance of power dramatically in his favor and the world dazzled by Russia's defeat (in its attempt to invade Israel) the Antichrist will show his true colors. He will declare himself world dictator and move to crush all opposition."12
|8. Russia will be defeated by the power of Almighty God at a lime very close to, if not coincident with, Christ's return to commence his rule on earth.
"Thus will I magnify myself, and sanctify myself; and I will be known in the eyes of many nations, and they shall know that I am the LORD." (Ezek.38:23)
The Bible clearly teaches that God, and not a human agency will destroy Russia when it moves south; the idea that some individual will do this is totally foreign to scripture.
|9. Antichrist's rule will commence with a proclamation and those who refuse to submit to It will be crushed.
"Ironically, the Mediterranean leader will begin his world government by proclamation. Using his consolidated position of power in the Middle East, he will promise a new day of peace and prosperity for all who recognize his leadership... This man's absolute control politically, economically, and religiously will give him power such as no man has ever had in human history. His brilliance as a leader will be superhuman for he will be dominated and directed by Satan himself. But during his 3-1/2 year rule, he will ruthlessly crush all opposition."13
|9. Christ's rule will commence with a proclamation and those who refuse to submit to it will be crushed.
"And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of judgment is come; and worship him that made heaven and earth and the sea, and the fountains of waters." (Rev. 14:6,7)
"And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off..." (Micah 4:3 )
"To execute vengeance upon the heathen, and punishments upon the people; to bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron; to execute upon them the judgment written: this honour have all his saints." (Psalm 149:7,9) See also Daniel 2:44; 7:14; Psalm 72:7,11
You may well reflect at this juncture, "I clearly see the remarkable similarity between what the Bible says Jesus will do at his second coming and what the modern writers say the Antichrist will do." You may have the following question:
"How can I and my family tell the difference... and avoid finding ourselves opposed to the real Jesus Christ?"
The answer is: Study the Word of God for yourself. Avail yourself of all the help you can get, but compare what you are told with the Scriptures.
WARNING: Do not leave it up to the leaders of the religious world. Their past history is not good.
1 ) They are confused on this matter themselves.
2) They (the leaders of the religious world) were confused the first time Jesus came...and crucified him.
3) They (the leaders of the religious world today) are the descendants of the leaders who gave us the childrens' crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, and innumerable other horrors, all in the name of religion.
Now is the time for all of us to put our houses in order. Those of us who are heads of households have the greater responsibility, for the fate of others rests in our hands. We would like very much to share with you God's plan for man, and we expect you to test whatever we might say by the Word of God.
"Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God; because many false prophets are gone out into the world."
(1st John 4:1)
1. Lindsey, Hal, "The Late Great Planet Earth", Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, 1970, p. 108.
2. Ibid.,p. 112.
3. Benson. John L.. "Will the Real Antichrist Please Stand Up?" BP Publications. Denver, 1974, p. 37.
4. Ibid. p. 10.
5. Ibid. p. 22.
6. Lindsey, op. cit., p. 106.
7. Walvoord, John F., "Armageddon". Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, 1974, p.170.
8. Lindsey, op cit., pp. 109-110.
9. Lindsey, op cit.. p. 152.
10. Lindsey, op cit., pp. 151-152.
11. Walvoord, op cit., p. 117.
12. Walvoord, op cit., p. 141.
13. Walvoord, op cit., p. 161.