Truth, Understanding, Insight


15th August 2009, hej


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.

John's antichrist(s)

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.

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

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This may be one of the most misunderstood passages of the Bible. Paul is notorious for long sentences of connected thoughts, and this is part of a complex wide ranging thought which lasts 2 chapters, and includes what seems opposite advice:

But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat. For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within? But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person. (1 Cor. 5:11-13)

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