14th August 2009, hej
This Article: (3 Pages)
1) AntiChrist is hardly mentioned in the Bible
People may think that Anti-Christ is a common idea in the Bible. It's not. The idea occurs exactly five (5) times in the entire Bible. All 5 instances are in one book of the Bible, and by one writer, the apostle John, and in one context.
The first appearance of the word Anti-Christ in the Bible contains a reference to Antichrists. John writes in his letter to his children in the faith.
Little children, it is the last time: and as you have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.
They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us. (1 John 2:18-19)
We can note a few things.
antichrist comes at the last time
The last time had already arrived
They existed in John's day, in multiplicity –as antichrists
There were many of them
They were servants of Christ but had left the group John was writing to
The last time
What common knowledge of that day was John referring to by saying antiChrist shall come at 'the last time'? Jude also refers to the same idea,
But, beloved, remember the words which were spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; How that they told you there should be deriders (empaiktēs, false teachers) in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts. (Jude 1:17-18)
Jude (who was not an apostle) was referring to a letter by Peter, who was an apostle,
This second epistle.. That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour:
Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days deriders (empaiktēs, false teachers), walking after their own lusts,
And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. (2 Peter 3:1-4)
The word 'deriders' is the same word used by both Jude and Peter, and it is used nowhere else in the Bible. Jude was quoting Peter who wrote his letter about 58AD. The word means also 'false teachers', and in both instances Jude and Peter were warning about wrong ideas within the Christian congregation. In the case of Peter, he was warning about those in the congregation questioning the idea of the second coming. It is not an issue the non-Christian would have been interested in. It was purely an internal issue in the congregation.
John, who wrote somewhere between 60 and 90AD (about 70AD), which was after Peter's letters had circulated, refers to Peter's words, but in John's own inimical, unique style he called the false teachers or deriders (empaiktēs) 'anti Christs'. In Greek it is antichristos where the Greek word 'anti' meant not just 'opposite' as it does in English, but 'by contrast' or a 'substitute' (Strongs).
When Peter wrote, in 58-60AD, the last days were coming and by the time John wrote about 70 AD 'it was the last time'. The first rule of comprehension is to determine to whom text was written, when and why it was written.
John gives us more detail of what he means by anti-Christ
Beloved, believe not every spirit/soul/mind, but try the spirits/souls/minds whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
Hereby know you the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:
And every spirit that confesses not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit/mind of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. (1John 4:1-3)
John is speaking of people within the congregation testing the ideas of others in the congregation to see if the ideas match the ideas of God. John defines the ideas of anti-Christ at that time (about 70AD) as being an issue related to the nature of Christ before his resurrection. We learn
the many antichrists are equated to many false prophets (prophets = teacher)
the mind of antichrist was already in the world about AD70
They were defined solely by a test: 'did they confess Christ came in the flesh?'
John repeats this idea in his second letter, which is the last reference to antichrist(s) in the whole Bible.
For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.
Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward.
Whosoever transgresses, and abides not in the doctrine of Christ, has not God...
If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him chairō (cheer, happiness): (2John 1:7-10)
In John's eyes antichrist is equalled to just one doctrine, the idea that many people already had by around 70AD, that 'Christ had not come in the flesh'. John wrote that it is a sin that causes the loss of a Christian's reward to not confess Christ came in the flesh.
We may summarise the totality of what is said about antichrist:
The term AntiChrist
referred to just one doctrine
was defined solely by a test 'did they confess Christ came in the flesh?'
referred to an idea held by many people within the Christian congregation around 70AD
It is equated to false prophets, and false teachers, (deriders of the apostle's doctrine)
referred to servants of Christ who had been members but had left the group John wrote to
As a last point the term was only used by the apostle John.
The last time has been already
Some say the antichrist was to arise at the last time, but in the very first reference where it speaks of the last time, John also says “we know that it is the last time” indicating 66-73AD was already the last time.
We can't conceive how devastating the loss of the temple and the end of their nation was to the Jewish Christian congregation of that day. John, who had close connections with the High Priest's family (John 18:16), would have seen first hand how the once cohesive Jewish world had descended into multiple doctrinal divisions, one of which was that of the antichrists which was dividing the Christian congregation itself. Until 70AD the majority of Christians were Jews. The Jewish world had fractured into many ideologies, from the Hellenists (followers of Greek culture) and Roman supporters, Herodians, Sadducees to those on the other side, the Pharisees and Zealots, with extreme Zealots killing Jewish Hellenists or Roman supporters. Added to the mix were the Essenes and Jewish Christians. Jewish Christian groups, having Greeks and Romans in their midst, were affected by Hellenistic ideas, as well as those of the Pharisees.
How divided were the Christians of John's era? John wrote,
I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loves to have the pre-eminence among them, receives us not.
Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he does, speaking against us with malicious words: and not content with that, neither does he himself receive the brethren, and forbids them that would, and casting them out of the church. (3 John 1:9-10)
If the division of Jewish Christians was dramatic, leading to angry words, some casting others out, and a power struggle of Diotrephes against the apostle John, the fate of the Zealots was worse.
In a mere 2 years from 66AD to 68AD the Zealots divided into 3 factions, one led by Eleazar the Priest, the Sicarii led by Simon bar Giora, and another group led by John of Giscala, all who fought each other for control. No Jewish group by 69AD was cohesive, as the stress of the violence, and the emotion, of the internal and external struggles of the end time of the Jewish nation affected the whole Jewish world. In context, where John writes “it is the last time” in the present tense, in the logic of understanding an ancient text it is to this 'last time' of the Jewish nation, in 66-73AD, that John referred.
The doctrine remains
The idea that John referred to, which was held by the many antichrists, including possibly Diotrephes, continued to exist through time into the modern world, as it was a strong Christian faction by the latter half of the first century in Asia Minor, able to challenge even the apostles. John speaks a lot about how to know the true servants because they don't hate, indicating that those who held this doctrine like Diotrephes, showed hatred and violence.
From 100AD there was strong debate between the many so called 'Christian' leaders. By the time of Constantine there were a few distinct divisions, the dominant one of whom had institutionalised hate and violence against dissent. Therefore, we may still apply the test today to determine who they were,
do they confess Christ came in the flesh?
do they question and theorize the apostles' doctrine and teach false doctrine?
do they have a history of hate and persecution of servants of Christ who dissent from them?
have they come 'out of' the congregation of true servants of Christ?
This is the modern anti-christ.
But if Antishrist is only referred to 5 times, and all relate to a doctrinal split within the church of John's day, why is it such a big idea today?
There is no doubt anti-Christs still exist. The antichrists of John's day sought political power, as do their successors who are still around today. John called the anti-christs also false prophets (in multiplicity).
2) False prophets
The Greek word for 'false prophets' translates directly into English pseudoprophētēs. Pseudo now means 'fake', but in ancient Greek it meant 'deceitful' and 'a liar'. In Greek prophētēs not only meant foreteller, but an inspired speaker (including a poet). The Hebrew word for prophet nâbîy means one 'who speaks by inspiration' and nâṭaph one who oozes gradually (words of) inspiration. Whereas we would first think of prophets predicting, but in the past they were first preachers and teachers.
Peter, John and Jude were concerned about pseudoprophētēs. The word was used by Matthew in his record of what Jesus said to his followers. (we quote at some length for context)
And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.
For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.
And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.
For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.
All these are the beginning of sorrows. Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and you shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake.
And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.
And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.
And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.
But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.(Mathew 24:4-14)
Two things to note,
Jesus is speaking to the people who were alive then, and
that the specific end that Jesus speaks of is the end of Jerusalem. See what he says next,
Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:
Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house:..
And woe unto them that are pregnant, and to them that nurse infants in those days!
But pray you that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the Sabbath day:
For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened. Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. (Matt. 24:16-24
Jesus is speaking of Judea (not Israel!) So it has no modern context as Judea does not exist. Secondly it was in the days when you couldn't travel on the Sabbath or in winter. Thirdly simple comprehension says that when Jesus was speaking of 'your flight' he mean the flight of the people in his audience. All the particulars answer specifically to the events from 66-73AD, especially the fact that some in Jerusalem ate their children to survive, as was predicted also by Moses (Deut. 28:53-57). This means that the false Messiahs (the Hebrew for Christ) and false preacher (prophets) would arise before 70AD. Peter, Jude and John's letters confirm that such false preachers did arise.
Mark also records Jesus' reference to false prophets,
And pray ye that your flight be not in the winter.
For in those days shall be affliction, such as was not from the beginning of the creation which God created unto this time, neither shall be. And except that the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh should be saved: but for the elect's sake, whom he has chosen, he has shortened the days.
And then if any man shall say to you, Lo, here is Christ (Messiah); or, lo, he is there; believe him not: For false Christs (Messiahs) and false prophets shall rise, and shall show signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect. (Mark 13:18-22)
Unless we expect to flee violence in Judea and are worried about travelling by foot in winter to flee the days of affliction in Judea, as they did in 70AD then it's not for us, except to note. It was written for the generation that heard Jesus that day. Luke doesn't mention the false prophets, and there is a reason for this. Luke wrote for Greek speakers in the diaspora. It seems they weren't so exposed to false Messiahs. Matthew wrote for the Jews, and there were even fragments of his account in Hebrew, and Mark also was a Jew who, it seems, had a house near Jerusalem (Acts 12:12). It was in Judea and among Jews that there arose false Messiahs.
A history of False Prophets
Luke records another reference by Jesus to false prophets (preachers)
But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation.
Woe unto you that are full! for ye shall hunger. Woe unto you that laugh now! for ye shall mourn and weep. Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets. (Luke 6:24-28)
Jesus was saying that the Jewish audience he was speaking to had fathers that had spoken well of false prophets. Listening to false prophets was a historical problem for Jews before the time of Jesus. Jeremiah writing 600 years before Jesus puts it like this,
The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof? (Jeremiah 5:31)
False prophets are mentioned by Jeremiah many times (Jer. 6:13, 8:10,14:14, Lam 2:14) and also Micah
If a man walking in the spirit and falsehood do lie, saying, I will prophesy unto you of wine and of strong drink; he shall even be the prophet of this people. (Micah 2:11)
These all were in the days preceding the end time of the Babylonian captivity. In other words similar false prophets to those Jesus spoke of had existed in Jewish tradition at a previous end time of the nation of Judah (Judea). Some Jews supposedly preaching the word of God, had been false.
Peter also speaks of Israel's long history of false prophets being among the people, or within the congregation, pre-dating the Christian era.
But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.
And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingers not, and their damnation slumbers not.(2Peter 2:1-3)
These false teachers are similar to John's anti-christs, they are within the congregation of the faithful. Matthew records the only other reference to false prophets there is in the New Testament. Jesus said,
Enter you in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leads to destruction, and many there be which go in there: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leads unto life, and few there be that find it. Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? (Matthew 7:13-16)
Jesus is speaking of the 'way' of the faithful. He points out most wouldn't find the way, and this would be due partly to false preachers. It is among the faithful that people must be wary and 'know by their fruits', or the outcomes of their deeds, whether the preacher is false or not.
'Antichrist' was coined by John as a label for a specific subset of false prophets, relating to a specific false teaching. In every case the term false prophet is only used of those who are supposedly sincere followers of Christ, or in the past history of Israel had been within the true faith.
But what about THE FALSE PROPHET?
The false prophet (singular)
There is an instance when we have an example of a false prophet.
And when they (Paul and Barnabas) were at Salamis, they preached the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews: and they had also John to their minister.
And when they had gone through the isle unto Paphos, they found a certain magi, a false prophet, a Jew, whose name was Barjesus:
Which was with the deputy of the country, Sergius Paulus, a prudent man; who called for Barnabas and Saul(Paul), and desired to hear the word of God. But Elymas the magi (for so is his name by interpretation) withstood them, seeking to turn away the deputy from the faith. (Acts 13:5-8)
We note two things. Firstly the false prophet was a Jew and had heard of Jesus, as he called himself 'son of Jesus'. Possibly he had been trading on Jesus' miracles to create his position of authority. The coming of Paul exposed exactly where BarJesus' was false. BarJesus was called a 'false prophet' as he tried to “turn away” this pagan ruler, Sergius Paulus, from the true understanding of Jesus as Messiah. This helps us understand the False Prophet
There is reference to THE FALSE PROPHET in Revelation in the last chapters.
And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared.
And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet.
For they are the spirits of demons, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.
Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame. And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon. (Revelation 16:12-16)
The false prophet is last (and least) on the list of 3 entities who speak 'sprits', or, in modern terms, ideologies. They all speak and their words have a practical effect of bringing nations to the last great battle. If we were to look for the false prophet we need to see also who the more important dragon and the beast are. In any case this is Jesus speaking, and it is to John who both use the term false prophets elsewhere to mean people who say they are true servants of Christ, but are not. This prophet will be no different, but also be a supposed 'Christian'
Jesus refers to the false prophet 3 times. The beast and the false prophet survive Armageddon but are cast into a lake of fire.
And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. (Rev. 19:20)
This says that the beast and the false prophet are linked together. The false prophet had made people worship the beast. The first rule of understanding a symbol is to find on what basis the symbol is made. As Jesus based all his teaching on the Old Testament, the definition of the beast will be consistent with that. In the Old Testament humans, who may attain great positions, but who don't know God, are likened to beasts.
Man held in honour, and who understands not, is like the beasts that perish. (Psalm 49:20)
Daniel, the Hebrew prophet, uses images of beasts for specific ungodly, non-Jewish supra-national empires. There are 4 of these which are called 'beasts', which correspond to the world empires,
The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces. (Daniel 7:23)
The fouth world empire after Babylon, Persia and Grecia was Rome. No other kingdom before it, or after it, ruled so absolutely and extended its power so far as Rome.
As 'the beast' is not an individual but a super-national state, so too the false prophet is unlikely to be an individual, and very likely to be an organisation. In simple terms, the false prophet will appear to be a servant of Christ but will try to make people worship the base human political power of a non-Jewish empire. In other words this so called servant of Christ will elevate, and give power to, obviously pagan nations and their leaders.
Lastly we are told who the dragon is,
behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. (Rev. 12:3)
This red dragon could be identified easily by early Christians as Pagan Rome. But we are told more of its fate,
And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the slanderer, and adversary, and bound him a thousand years, (Revelation 20:2)
The dragon is seen in the nations who promulgate lies and slander against God, who speak things such as the serpent did in Eden saying 'you shall not die', when God said Adam and Eve would die.
And the slanderer (verse 2 = the dragon) that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be pained day and night until the age of the era (the full duration of the era). (Revelation 20:10)
This is symbolic language, and the fire is explained more simply as 'the second death'.
And death and the grave were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:14-15)
Who is the dragon-slanderer if its fate is linked to the end of all death and people going to the grave? The last book of the Bible draws heavily on the images of Genesis 1-3. The dragon represents all humans who slander God's word, and who lie to people and so lead to their death.
Putting together what Jesus said to us, the False Prophet is the organisation of false servants of Christ who worship human political power (the beast), and will be found in the company of those that lie against God and slander him (the pagan dragon). The three symbolise ideologies/organisations, though they may be led by individuals. The idologies of all three, the dragon, the beast and the false prophet, may appear anytime after the drying up the Euphrates (Ottoman Empire) in 1918. All three will bring real nations of the world to a real war, in a real place on earth, in Israel.
3) Debunking and myth-busting Antichrist
We have looked at all the four Bible passages relating to Antichrist, and seen that John used the term to describe a subset of false prophets (preachers) within the congregation who preached a particular wrong doctrine.
Don't confess Christ came in the flesh.
They question and theorize the apostles' doctrine and so teach false doctrine.
They came 'out of' the congregation of true servants of Christ.
They hate and actively work to oppose other servants of Christ
They began to exist in John's day 66-96AD.
False prophets is a more general term, used by Jesus, Matthew, Mark, Luke, Peter, Jude and John and in the Old Testament by Jeremiah and Micah, in speaking of those who, while appearing to be servants of the God of Israel, are preaching false ideas.
So why all the fuss about an antichrist? Is Antichrist a false Messiah? Is it said anywhere he comes to Jerusalem?
Debunking a latterday 'False Messiah'
There are only 2 references to the idea, and both refer to the one conversation Jesus had with his disciples, warning them of the near future, back in Jesus' day.
For there shall arise false Christs (Messiahs), and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. (Matthew 24:24 see also Mark 13:22 which repeats this)
These 2 instances are discussed above when investigating false prophets. In context the false Christs come in the lead up to, or before, the time when they of Judea were to flee,
But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not, (let him that reads understand,) then let them that be in Judaea flee to the mountains: (Mark 13:14)
It is now history that people had flee to the mountains to escape the horrible destruction of Jerusalem from 66- 70AD. At that time many leaders arose as saviours, or messiahs, of the Jewish people, who gained many followers. Unless there is to be a second fleeing to the mountains by the people in Judea, the false Messiahs were of that era from 33-73AD. Jesus' prophecy continues to speak of events that happen after this, as Luke records in greater detail what Jesus said about the destruction of Jerusalem and then noted that it would be 'trampled down' by the Gentiles (non-Jewish nations) until a specific time, when it would again be ruled by Jews. Matthew calls this 'the sign of the Son of man',
And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven (Matthew 24:30)
Luke goes into events of that later era, which Matthew and Mark do not. Luke therefore gives the sign for this era, that has seen the re-birth of Jewish Jerusalem.
They will fall by the edge of the sword, and will be led captive into all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled down by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. There will be signs in the sun, moon, and stars; and on the earth anxiety of nations, in perplexity for the roaring of the sea and the waves; men fainting for fear, and for expectation of the things which are coming on the world: for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. (Luke 21:24-27)
Nothing is said about false messiahs. There are many signs and a lot of fear, but no mention of a false Messiah.
Jesus mentions the false Messiahs as being in multiplicity. The Bible doesn't even once refer to a single powerful 'false Messiah'. If there is to be a false Messiah just before Jesus' coming, he should have mentioned it, but Jesus does not.
Jesus, who should have known, when speaking of Jerusalem specifically in the days before his coming does not mention anyone rising to power there.
Where might an idea that a ruler come to Jerusalem come from then? In the Old testament in Daniel?
What does Daniel say?
Daniel speaks of the Messiah, but not a false one.
And after sixty and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the commander that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. (Daniel 9:26-27)
When Jesus refers to the desolation as written by Daniel, he is referring to this prophecy. The people of the prince would come and in the war destroy Jerusalem. In the lead up to the destruction in 70AD the people of the commander nâgîyd were the Romans. Daniel also goes on to give some more detail.
Forces shall stand on his part, and they shall profane the sanctuary, even the fortress, and shall take away the continual burnt offering, and they shall set up the abomination that makes desolate (The Greek influenced Selucid Antiochus IV Epiphanes did this in 167 BC and became hostage to the Romam Republic). Such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he pervert by flatteries; but the people who know their God shall be strong, and do exploits. (the Maccabees who won amazing victories). Those who are wise among the people shall instruct many (There would be a revival such as came with John the Baptist and Messiah); yet they shall fall by the sword and by flame, by captivity and by spoil, many days (the destruction of Jerusalem and Judea from 66-73AD and the conflict with Rome until the BarKokhba revolt ended in 136AD). Now when they shall fall (that is during the time 167BC-136AD), they shall be helped with a little help (some victories); but many shall join themselves to them with flatteries (such as Josephus). Some of those who are wise shall fall (the Apostles and those others who die for their faith), to refine them, and to purify, and to make them white, even to the time of the end; because it is yet for the time appointed. (Daniel 11:31-35)
The time of the end, is the end of the Jewish nation, as it is before the time appointed for the desolation. While the land is in desolation, or as Jesus puts it “trampled down of the Gentiles”, a 'king' or absolute ruler using his authority arises,
The king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvelous things against the God of gods; and he shall prosper until the indignation be accomplished; for that which is determined shall be done. Neither shall he regard the gods of his fathers, nor the desire of women (doesn't marry), nor regard any god; for he shall magnify himself above all (make himself as god). But in his place shall he honor the god of strongholds; and a god whom his fathers didn’t know shall he honor with gold, and silver, and with precious stones, and pleasant things. He shall deal with the strongest fortresses by the help of a foreign god: whoever acknowledges him he will increase with glory; and he shall cause them to rule over many, and shall divide (or take away a portion of) the land (Holy Land) for gain. (Daniel 11:36-39)
After 136AD a ruler would arise who would change his nation's religion, as Constantine did in 324 AD. This ruler would take bits of the Holy Land and build religious edifies on it for gain. There is a 2-fold aspect to this kingdom, as it has both political and religious power. The religious leaders order people not to marry and increase the glory of the political leaders.
Paul quotes Daniel, and calls this king 'the man of offence (or sin)'. Paul says Christ wouldn't come until the man Daniel spoke of would arise,
Christ won't come unless comes the apostasy first, and is revealed the man of the offence, the son of the perdition; Who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he will sit in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. ..And now you know the thing that is preventing him to be revealed in his set time. For the mystery of the offence already works: there is a restraining now, until out of the midst it comes. And then shall be revealed the offender, whom the Lord shall destroy by the spirit of his mouth, and shall abolish with the brightness of his coming.(2Thessalonians 2:3-12)
After Paul's time (about 50AD) there would be an apostasy in the congregation of Christ's servants, until there came out of their midst and was revealed, the king of Daniel 11. In Daniel's context this king rules after the time of the end of the Jewish nation, but presides over the holy people's long desolation.
Then Daniel's account leaves the long time of desolation to speak of the end of the desolation of the Holy Land, that is the end time and the second coming.
And at the time of the end shall the king of the south (A kingdom based in Egypt) push at him (the power in the Middle East) and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots (tanks), and with cavalry (ground forces), and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries (Middle East), and shall overflow and pass over (Israel). He shall enter also into the glorious land (Israel), and many countries shall be overthrown (Turkey &Lebanon) : but these shall escape out of his hand, even Edom, and Moab, and the chief of the children of Ammon (Jordan). He shall stretch forth his hand also upon the countries: and the land of Egypt shall not escape. But he shall have power over the treasures of gold and of silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt: and the Libyans and the Cushites (Ethiopians) shall be at his steps. But tidings out of the east and out of the north shall trouble him: therefore he shall go forth with great fury to destroy, and utterly to make away many. And he shall plant the tabernacles of his pavilion between the seas in the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, and none shall help him. (Daniel 11:40-45)
After this Messiah comes, and there is a resurrection of the faithful. In this we see no mention of a false messiah, we see no mention of a false prophet, and we see no mention of an Antichrist. We have a king who honours a foreign God (who Paul calls the 'man of offence') who divides the Holy Land for gain and we have a 'King of the North', and even he does not specifically reign in Jerusalem, as it says he puts his tent (temporary place of rule, such as an army commander has) between the seas in the holy mountain, which describes a general area on the mountains of Israel from the dead sea to the Mediterranean, from Hebron to Bethel. This is quite detailed, and it has no connection to John's Antichrist.
Daniel is told a a power that would come out of one of the four empires of the generals of Alexander the great, who has a kingdom who magnifies himself, who is “a king of fierce countenance”
Yea, he magnified himself even to the prince of the host, and by him the daily sacrifice was taken away, and the place of his sanctuary was cast down. And an host was given him against the daily sacrifice by reason of transgression, and it cast down the truth to the ground; and it practised, and prospered. (Daniel 8:11-12)
And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full, a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up. And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power: and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practise, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people. And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many: he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes (Messiah); but he shall be broken without hand. (Daniel 8:23-25)
Here is a kingdom, as it covers a long period of time, who destroys the holy people. We are told that it takes away the sacrifice and removes the sanctuary. We know from history that the Romans took power from the Selucids who were one quarter of Alexander's former Empire precisely over the issue of the control of the Holy Land. The Romans then take away the Sacrifice and 'cast down' the stones of the temple in Jerusalem. Pagan Rome destroys both the Jews and those who are the true servants of God. Then pagan Rome changes its god and becomes 'Christian' and still destroys the Jews. Daniel, we must remember, is a Jewish book about the Jewish people. It therefore says the inheritor of this kingdom, who took away the daily sacrifice, will stand against Messiah when he comes. But it says nowhere in Daniel that he will reign from Jerusalem!
Daniel doesn't once mention the term anti-christ. Daniel does speak of a 'king' who doesn't marry who honours a foreign god who oppresses Jews during all the time Jerusalem is in desolation. He also mentions the dynasty of a king-like ruler of fierce countenance who comes out of the Selucid/Greco-Roman power, who rules with the help of the military power of other nations. These are one and the same. Daniel also speaks of the king of the North. This is a different entity.
The king of the North is also mentioned in Ezekiel.
What does Ezekiel say?
Ezekiel speaks of a Northern invader of Israel in the “latter years” called in Hebrew Gog.
Son of man, set your face toward Gog, of the land of Magog, the commander of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal, and prophesy against him, ... will bring you forth, with all your army; Persia, Cush (Nineveh and/or Ethiopia), and Libya with them, .. Gomer, and all his hordes; the house of Togarmah in the uttermost parts of the north, and all his hordes; even many peoples with you. (Ezekiel 38:2-6)
Because he is described as the commander, which is the same word as used by Hebrews to describe the position of their kings, he is a king of the North. He behaves exactly as Daniel's king of the North in that he invades Israel in “the time of the end”
And you shall come up against my people of Israel, as a cloud to cover the land; it shall be in the latter days, and I will bring you against my land, that the nations may know me, when I shall be sanctified in you, O Gog, before their eyes. (Ezekiel 38:16)
The king of the North is called 'Gog', which is an odd Hebrew word that seems to mean nothing. In Greek 'agogos' means 'leader'. It is possible Ezekiel in Babylon could have known this Greek term as by 600-560BC the rise of Greek culture had begun, or the Greek term may have been borrowed from a common source. A demagogue from Greek means 'people's leader'.
From Ezekiel we learn that Daniel's end time king of the North is called 'Gog' or 'leader'. Both prophets agree he will invade Israel, the Holy Land. Both agree he holds political power as a king or a commander and can raise an army. But Gog, the king of the North is not called Antichrist, and has no religious motives. Gog invades “the mountains of Israel” and puts his tents there. Gog is not described as a false prophet!
Not in Jerusalem!
Jerusalem occurs 814 times in the Bible in 767 verses. Much is said of the future glory of Jerusalem and Zion, but the only king who will reign there is Messiah.
When Jeremiah writes in about 608BC of the invasion of the North he say the kings put their thrones at the gates, and against the walls of Jerusalem,
For, lo, I will call all the families of the kingdoms of the north, says the LORD; and they shall come, and they shall set every one his throne at the entering of the gates of Jerusalem, and against all the walls of it round about, and against all the cities of Judah. (Jeremiah 1:15)
But in the context it was totally fulfilled in Jeremiah's day (see Jeremiah Chapter 24:1). It was directly fulfilled.
And all the princes of the king of Babylon came in, and sat in the middle gate, even Nergalsharezer, Samgarnebo, Sarsechim, Rabsaris, Nergalsharezer, Rabmag, with all the residue of the princes of the king of Babylon. (Jeremiah 39:3)
Then they burnt the city and broke down the walls (Jeremiah 39:8). This is the only reference to any foreign rulers and it was fully fulfilled. In the years since 70AD no non-Jewish ruler has ruled from Jerusalem as their capital, except the transient Crusader kingdom from 1099 to1192, whose power came from Europe not from the kingdom itself.
The future of Jerusalem in prophecy is very detailed but the Bible nowhere mentions anyone ruling there, but Messiah. Following are the highlights of what is said,
Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem. And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it. (Zechariah 12:2-3)
In that day shall the LORD defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of the LORD before them. (Zechariah 12:8)
For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city. Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. (Zechariah 14:2-3)
The prophet Joel speaks of that captivity,
For, behold, in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem, I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will plead with them there for my people and for my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted my land. (Joel 3:1-2)
Immediately we can see the parallel with what Daniel and Ezekiel say, Gog, the king of the North and all the other nations with him do come to fight at Jerusalem. But the moment they conquer it and try to evict the Jews (two thirds of the city) then God himself will go forth,
The LORD also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the LORD will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel. (Joel 3:16)
As birds flying, so will the LORD of hosts defend Jerusalem; defending also he will deliver it; and passing over he will preserve it.(Isaiah 31:5)
We can see how Gog may establish his tent on the hills, and with all his army have conquered much of Israel and then comes to Jerusalem. But the battle is not at Jerusalem but in another place called the Valley of Jehoshaphat , this, according to Zechariah and Joel, is because Jerusalem is wiped out with an earthquake.
And it shall come to pass in that day, that the LORD shall punish the host of the high ones that are on high, and the kings of the earth upon the earth. And they shall be gathered together, as prisoners are gathered in the pit, and shall be shut up in the prison, and after many days shall they be visited. Then the moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed, when the LORD of hosts shall reign in mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before his ancients gloriously. (Isaiah 24:21-23)
And your mighty men, O Teman (South Jordan/Arabia), shall be dismayed, to the end that every one of the mount of Esau (South Jordan) may be cut off by slaughter. For your violence against your brother Jacob shame shall cover you, and you shall be cut off for ever. In the day that you stood on the other side (of the Jordan), in the day that the strangers carried away captive his forces, and foreigners entered into his gates, and cast lots upon Jerusalem, even you were as one of them. (Obadiah 1:9-11)
Those who recognise the Messiah coming to Jerusalem shall be delivered,
And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD has said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call. (Joel 2:32)
And it shall come to pass in that day, that the great trumpet shall be blown, and they shall come which were ready to perish in the land of Assyria, and the outcasts in the land of Egypt, and shall worship the LORD in the holy mount at Jerusalem. (Isaiah 27:13)
But be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy. (Isaiah 65:18)
Then a king will reign from Jerusalem,
At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the LORD; and all the nations shall be gathered unto it, to the name of the LORD, to Jerusalem: neither shall they walk any more after the imagination of their evil heart. (Jeremiah 3:17)
In those days, and at that time, will I cause the Branch of righteousness to grow up unto David; and he shall execute judgment and righteousness in the land. In those days shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell safely: and this is the name wherewith she shall be called, The LORD our righteousness. (Jeremiah 33:15-16)
And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. (Micah 4:2)
Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, your King comes unto you: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass. (Zechariah 9:9)
Though Jesus has entered Jerusalem and fulfilled this, the King in the context is a Jewish king that comes to Jerusalem in the day of a military victory by no less than God,
When I (God) have bent Judah for me, filled the bow with Ephraim, and raised up your sons, O Zion, against your sons, O Greece, and made you as the sword of a mighty man. And the LORD shall be seen over them, and his arrow shall go forth as the lightning: and the Lord GOD shall blow the trumpet, and shall go with whirlwinds of the south. (Zechariah 9:13-14)
Greece created the Hellenistic culture, that was taken over by Rome. Greece gave the world democracy. The sons of Greece will be defeated in battle. At that time a Saviour king comes to Jerusalem. This is the Messiah. No other ruler is prophesied to come to Jerusalem but the Messiah.
Gog, the king of the North, invades the mountains of Israel and manages to establish his camp there. With many other nations he attacks Jerusalem, and forces two thirds of the inhabitants out, but he never has the chance to establish rule there as there is an earthquake which destroys the city. Gog, in any case, is a political ruler and is not ever associated with religious doctrine, and so he is not antichrist.
Could AntiChrist be Muslim?
Firstly, if we are using a Bible term, we must be sure that we use it in the same way as the Bible does. The apostle John is the only person who uses this term, and it would be an insult to him and to God, who caused his letters to be preserved for the servants, to use it in another way.
The term AntiChrist does not mean 'any person who opposes Christ'. If this was the case why didn't Jesus call the Jewish leadership 'antichrist', why didn't the apostles call the emperors of Pagan Rome Antichrist'? The term is used only of those who “came out” of the group of true believers.
Muslim doctrine by no stretch of the imagination came out of Christian ideas. The people who introduced it never “came out of” the group of Jesus followers. They may have borrowed some Jewish ideas, but they didn't even come out of a Jewish background.
John's criteria is that Antichrist denies Christ came in the flesh (2 John 7). Of all things, this is not a Muslim sin.
The type of person called Antichrist was around in John's day, before AD96. They can't have been a Muslim, as there were no Muslims.
Will a false prophet come from the Muslim world?
There may be any amount of people who gain followers, from many religions around the world, but none of them are what the Bible calls false prophets.
The definition of a prophet, or preacher, in Bible terms is someone within the Jewish-apostolic tradition supposedly in service to the God of Israel. When they attempt to deceive, for any reason, the true servants, then they are false prophets. One cannot imagine a true servant of Messiah being deceived by what someone from another religion says. They may, however, be deceived if the preacher was one of their own congregation.
In Summary of What the Bible says
Human imagination tends to value the weird and unusual. But the Bible is always rational, and the truth of antichrist is not exciting.
It is a term used by the apostle John in just 2 of his letters with a narrow meaning, relating to those within the congregation who held a specific doctrine that denied Christ came in the flesh.
The term Antichrist(s) is a subset of the description of false prophets.
False prophets are false preachers and teachers only within the Jewish-apostolic congregation
The false Messiahs were a feature of the Jewish world in the era leading up to 73AD and are not to be confused with false prophets.
The false prophet, is a symbolic term used to describe a false 'Christian' religious influence who is third to both 'the dragon', pagan slanderers of God and 'the beast' which is human desire to rule over nations. Being ranked third means it's not the lead 'voice'.
Daniel speaks of 2 entities, one is a king rising out of Greco-Roman power who doesn't marry who oppresses Jewish people and the true servants during the 'trampling down' of Jerusalem. Another exists at the end time who is called the King of the North who invades Israel.
Ezekiel tells us the king of the North who in the latter days invades the mountains of Israel is called Gog (Greek for leader). But though he establishes his camp on the mountain of Israel, he doesn't come as king to Jerusalem.
The only king who is yet to come to Jerusalem is the one bringing salvation, or Messiah.
The many false ideas not in the Bible regarding antichrist show that false prophets abound today.
By preaching things not in the Bible about Antichrist, by using the word in a way not used by the Bible and ignoring the warning regarding false prophets, people may become one themselves.
And many anti-christs exist today because people fail to read the Bible for themselves, and so fail to recognise the doctrine of those, who John called an antichrist (and antichrists).
If you are interested in mythbusting