Will the Antichrist be Jewish, or more precisely, a Jewish false messiah who will fool the nation of Israel and many professing Christians, and who will coerce the world into following him? This is the claim of a minority who study and teach “end-times” Bible prophecy…
I was recently challenged by a reader who wanted to convince me of this idea, and who recommended a particular teacher who I will here call Mr. Bloggs (although his real name is…). Some of my notes are in answer to the teachings of Mr. Bloggs, and others to different teachers of the Jewish antichrist theory. This is a monstrously long post, in two parts, so please scroll down to any sub-heading which may be of interest to you.
My disclaimer for today is my previous post.
WHAT’S SO BAD ABOUT ANTICHRIST BEING JEWISH ANYWAY?
Some Christians wonder why the idea of a Jewish antichrist should be so unpalatable to others. As I’ve thought this theory through, I have to say right up front that while I certainly don’t accuse all of its proponents of being intentionally anti-Semitic, it seems to me that at the heart of the theory is the business-as-usual strategy of Satan, which is a hatred of the Jewish race. Throughout history Jews have been blamed, or “accused” of everything that’s wrong under the sun, and now some want to put the blame for the Antichrist and all the horrors he will unleash on the world onto the Jew also. When I looked at websites claiming that Antichrist will be Jewish, I saw in many cases either a thinly veiled anti-Semitism, or a blatant hatred for the Jew which is reminiscent of the likes of Hitler.
If there were a clear statement in Scripture to prove the theory I could accept it. Instead the theory-or more accurately, the hypothesis- is constructed from a patchwork of assumptions and speculation, and actually contradicts Scripture in a number of ways.
THE EARLY CHURCH
Mr. Bloggs attempts to bolster his version of the theory by insisting that the prevailing view among the earliest and most respected Church fathers was that Antichrist will be Jewish. If that’s true, they surely had this view before the Roman Catholic Church came along, at which time the Pope began to be viewed as the “boogey-man” by non-Catholics, and his church the kingdom of the beast.
From all I’ve read, my understanding is that some of the early Church fathers after the first century were firmly anti-Semitic: they pinned the blame for Jesus Christ’s death upon the Jews (just as the Roman church did), believing the race to be cursed because of its own dirty deed (and this view has continued to the present time). Therefore, they were naturally going to see the Beast as a Jew. I don’t offer much documentation for this here, because Scripture itself is enough to counter Bloggs’ theory, but see examples in note 5 below.
WILL ANTICHRIST REBUILD THE TEMPLE AND BEGIN THE SACRIFICES?
Mr. Bloggs, in a radio interview, has said that Antichrist will be in Jerusalem from the start of the famed seven year period of Daniel chapter 9, “rebuilding the temple and starting the daily sacrifice”, and he said, “We know for a fact that’s what Antichrist does”. Moreover, Mr. Bloggs says that Antichrist will be busily setting up everything that the Jews and Christians would expect to see in the Millennial kingdom.
When we look at Daniel chapter 9 we read that Antichrist will put an end to sacrifices in the middle of the week, and will set up the “abomination” which Jesus recalled in Matthew 24, but there isn’t a word or a suggestion either in Daniel or Matthew of Antichrist beginning those sacrifices, or of him building the temple, or even of him being there prior to the “abomination”. These ideas are assumptions at best: extrapolations designed to support a theory.
Paul’s reference to the appearance of Antichrist also has him making his entrance into history only when he enters the temple and claims to be God, and not before. This is the point at which Antichrist is revealed to the world (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4; Revelation 13:5). If he were invading the Middle East and building a temple several years before the prophesied “abomination”, he would be revealing himself much earlier than Scripture says he will.
Paul’s warning of the first signs of the Great Tribulation, in line with Jesus’, is not the rebuilding of the temple and the institution of sacrifices by some charlatan, but the entrance of Antichrist into the temple which presumably must already be there for him to enter. Why would the warning not be given that the man rebuilding the temple is going to be the “lawless one”, if that was the case?
WILL ANTICHRIST EXPAND THE BORDERS OF ISRAEL?
One of Mr. Blogg’s claims is that Antichrist will defeat Israel’s enemies-the Islamic nations- and expand its borders, taking possession of lands now occupied by Muslims and claiming the entire “Promised land”, in order to convince Israel that he’s their messiah.
However, apart from the lack of any Scripture making any such statement, what we do find is that when the nations of the world attack and surround the Jews, they aren’t coming against some “Greater Israel” and fighting in lands beyond the state we see today, instead they seem to be limited to Jerusalem and Judah, and no more:
“I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that sends the surrounding peoples reeling. Judah will be besieged as well as Jerusalem. On that day, when all the nations of the earth are gathered against her…” (Zechariah 12:2).
There is no discussion in end times prophecy of Jews battling armies of the world in Jordan or Syria or Persia or Sinai. Instead, the armies of the world will gather in the Valley of Jehoshaphat, well inside modern Israel (Joel 3:12), and in the place called “Armageddon” (Revelation 16:16), again, inside modern Israel.
WILL ANTICHRIST MAKE JERUSALEM HIS WORLD CAPITAL?
Based mainly on a few verses in Daniel 11, Mr. Bloggs claims that Antichrist, as a Jew, will defeat the “macro” enemies of Israel, then return to Jerusalem, stage a triumphal entry, make Jerusalem his world capital city, then route out Israel’s “micro” enemies-Hamas, Hezbollah etc. From there, he will force the rest of the nations to capitulate to his rule, against their will. Here’s his “capital”:
“But reports from the east and the north will alarm him, and he will set out in a great rage to destroy and annihilate many. He will pitch his royal tents between the seas at the beautiful holy mountain. Yet he will come to his end, and no one will help him” (Daniel 11:44-45).
There’s no reason to extrapolate a world capital from this text or any other. Biblical prophesies concerning Jerusalem are all concerned with it as the place the nations of the world will attack and besiege (Zechariah 12:3). The rise of Antichrist-when he enters the temple-is the beginning of his take-over of Jerusalem and Israel (Matthew 24:15). This is the point at which violent persecution breaks out against Jews and Christians. There is no reference to Jerusalem at all in the chapter of Revelation which discusses the rise and dominance of the beast and the false prophet (chapter 13).
There are no indications, Biblically or logically, that Jerusalem will be the world capital, even under the supposed coercion of Antichrist. On the contrary, the United Nations are almost unanimously opposed to Jerusalem being Israel’s capital. Even the United States has refused to have its embassy there: it’s in Tel Aviv: the United States, along with the rest of the world, has declared that half of Jerusalem belongs to the Palestinians (even though it never was their capital, and even though there never was a Palestinian state in the first place).
The claim that the Babylon of Revelation is actually Jerusalem is unfounded and silly. Rather than making the city into the world’s most important sea port and trading center (Revelation 18), the world is in process of boycotting Israel for not handing over half of Jerusalem to their enemies: it has no potential of being the world’s hub of trade, finance and culture that is portrayed in Revelation. Not only this, but Biblical Babylon will be completely destroyed by God (Revelation 18:9-10): Biblical Jerusalem will be delivered by God (more on this later).
WILL THE WORLD BE FORCED TO WORSHIP ANTICHRIST?
While it’s true that dissenters will be forced to worship the antichrist’s image or die (Revelation 13:15), it doesn’t mean that, as Mr. Bloggs says, the earth will “capitulate” to his leadership, unwillingly following and worshipping a Jewish antichrist posing as the messiah. It’s Christians and Jews who will be the dissenters, is it not?
Instead, John tells us that the world will willingly follow him when they see him miraculously healed from a mortal wound, and they will worship him in amazement at his military power:
“The whole world was astonished and followed the beast. Men worshipped the dragon because he had given authority to the beast and they also worshipped the beast and asked, ‘Who is like the beast? Who can make war with him?’” (Revelation 13:3-4).
The world will probably be impressed by his lawless character, since they want to live in a lawless world: they love sin, and they want to live in rebellion against God. Antichrist will be their hero- the man of sin (2 Thessalonians 2:3), who will “seek to change times and laws” (Daniel) in order for them to fulfill their ungodly desires more openly :
“They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will all be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness” (2 Thessalonians 2:10-12).
YOU DON’T INVADE YOUR OWN HOME
It seems pretty evident from Daniel 11 that antichrist will invade some of the nations which are, and have been for some time, Islamic. In fact he will “sweep through” them. But Mr. Bloggs is augmenting Scripture by making the large assumption that all of the Muslim world will be defeated and subdued by antichrist, and all for the benefit of “his” nation, Israel.
Perhaps we should consider the fact that almost since its inception many centuries ago the Muslim world has been deeply divided, most fundamentally between Sunni and Shia Muslims, but into many warring factions. Antichrist’s military excursion in Muslim lands does not “prove” that he’s a Jew. It could just as easily mean that he’s a man who is determined to neutralize all religion which doesn’t submit to his control, or even that he’s a Muslim determined to unite all of Islam under his control. Also, anyone aiming for world conquest will have to secure the oil fields: there’s no reason to assume that such a man has to be Jewish.
While Antichrist will “sweep through” many countries, Daniel tells us that he will also “invade the Beautiful Land” (Daniel 11:41). Biblically speaking, how could the “Beautiful Land” be anything other than Israel? And since it is Israel, why would a Jewish Antichrist already popular with his people for reinstituting temple sacrifices, invade his own country? How will Israelis see an invasion of their land as a good thing? How would the nation of Israel manage to be a-the world power if it is fighting a civil war? Which other military force is going to willingly empower a Jewish Antichrist to destroy Islam and bring upon its own land the turmoil which would undoubtedly follow at the hands of millions of Muslims who now live in Europe and North America? No, it doesn’t add up.
Mr. Bloggs seems to be heavily implying that a large segment of the Israeli population has the urge to wipe out its perceived enemies and greatly expand its territory, and dominate the world. They certainly do not: they just want to be left to live their lives in peace. If Jews had wanted to expand their territory, they would have done so by now. Instead they’ve given away some of it, for example, the Sinai Peninsula to Egypt, and Gaza to the militant, and they have expressed a willingness to allow the Palestinians have some of the land they now possess as their own state (the problem is that the Palestinian leadership doesn’t just want a part-they want all of it).
This expansion idea smacks of the centuries-old anti-Semitic theory which suggests that Jews are in power in every major country and in the banking community, and are plotting to take over the whole world. I’ve even heard it declared to be such on certain “Christian” conspiracy theorist programs. It stinks of Hitler. It stinks of the lies of the Biblical beast himself, and of Satan.
According to Daniel, having subdued many nations including Israel, Antichrist will set up camp in Jerusalem (Daniel 11:45). While Mr. Bloggs wants to see this as a Jewish Antichrist going home to his welcoming Jewish World Domination League, it instead dovetails perfectly with Matthew 24, Daniel 9:27, and 2 Thess. 2:2, in which Antichrist enters the temple, being an “abomination” and not a welcome Delivering Messiah, and persecution breaks out. It would also fit perfectly with Zechariah’s prophecy of the invasion of Israel and Jerusalem by the nations of the world, the violent (not welcome) division of Jerusalem, the outbreak of terrible persecution, and the resultant physical return of Jesus Christ:
“I will gather all nations to Jerusalem to fight against it; the city will be captured, the houses ransacked, and the women raped. Half of the city will go into exile…Then the Lord will go out and fight against those nations….On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives…” (Zechariah 14:1-4).
Further, it fits perfectly with the dragon’s final attack on “the woman who had given birth to the man child” (Revelation 12:13). Once the woman is under miraculous protection, the dragon then goes after Christians (verse 17).
The twelfth chapter of Zechariah describes the same time. Obsession with Jerusalem will cause anguish and trouble for the surrounding peoples (verse 2) as it is even now, and Judah and Jerusalem and Judah (the West Bank) will be besieged.
HOW CAN ALL THE NATIONS OF THE WORLD ATTACK ALL THE NATIONS OF THE WORLD?
Antichrist at that time will be the undisputed ruler of the world:
“And he was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation. All the inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast…” (Revelation 13:7-8)
So if, according to Mr. Bloggs, Antichrist were sitting victoriously in Jerusalem looking out, how would “all the nations of the earth” (Zechariah 12:3, and 14:2) attack and overcome him?
If at the start of the seven year period Antichrist defeats the Muslim world, and then later “the nations of the world” invade Israel and besiege Jerusalem, exactly where will the beast’s kingdom be, and with which military force will he overcome the Islamic world and subdue Israel? One theory says that wealthy bankers and powerful politicians are in league with Jews who wish to dominate the world. Israel’s kingdom, according to this theory, is America and the West, propping up an evil regime which it will use to further its own goals.
This is anti-Semitic nonsense, from the pit of hell.
WILL ANTICHRIST CLAIM TO BE THE JEWISH MESSIAH?
Mr. Bloggs claims that Antichrist will pose as the Jewish messiah to gain the allegiance of the Jews, and then turn on them. There is no such statement in scripture. Instead, when his seemingly fatal wound gets healed, we find that the “whole world”, astonished by the event:
“…worshiped the dragon because he had given authority to the beast” (Revelation 13:4).
The world will worship the dragon-Satan-when they see how great the beast has become on earth. This does not track with the notion that everyone will be fooled into thinking that the beast is the Biblical messiah, the Christ of God, come to set up his millennial kingdom. It’s common knowledge that Satan hates the Jew, and it’s made plain in Scripture and in history.
More than that, Antichrist is clearly seen in Scripture to “blaspheme God, and to slander his name and his dwelling place and those who live in heaven” (Revelation 13:6).
Daniel tells us that he “will say unheard of things against the God of gods” (Daniel 11:36).
How then could he be posing as the Judeo-Christian Christ?
It’s no good Mr. Bloggs claiming that Antichrist will pose as the Biblical messiah for a few years before he exposes his true nature, because he will only gain his position of power for the last three and a half years of the seven-not before (Revelation 13:5). Surely, if Antichrist were in Jerusalem for the entire seven years posing as the messiah, this would in itself be blasphemy.
And why would God condemn those who had been fooled by someone convincingly posing as the messiah? Surely, Antichrist will be anything but holy, righteous, humble and Godly. Rather, his Biblical description paints a picture of a “man of lawlessness”.
Daniel tells us that the “little horn” of his vision:
“…set itself up to be as great as the Prince of the host” (Daniel 8:11).
There’s no indication here that Antichrist will pose as the Jewish messiah: only that he will claim to be “as great”.
Daniel tells us that Antichrist will “show no regard for the gods of his fathers” (Daniel 11:37). If he were Jewish, how could he then masquerade as a Jewish messiah?
And it doesn’t make sense that Antichrist would build Israel up, turning Jerusalem into the capital of the world, defeating all the enemies of the Jews-and then turn on them after three and a half years.
According to Paul, people will be deceived by Antichrist because they “refused to love the truth and so be saved” (2 Thess.2:10). This is a very clear-cut matter of loving Truth or rejecting it. If Antichrist were to be presented as a convincing Jewish messiah, how does that square with Pauls’ words? Why would God condemn someone who was fooled by a man who for all intents and purposes appears to be the Jewish messiah?
IN HIS OWN NAME!
One verse commonly used to claim that Antichrist is Jewish is this one:
“I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not accept me; but if someone else comes in his own name, you will accept him” (John 8:43).
These words of Jesus have no reference to Antichrist and in context Jesus is not discussing end-times. But the most significant thing to note here is that this “someone else”-perhaps only some hypothetical example person and not anyone specific, comes in his own name-not in the name of Jesus or Christ. He also obviously doesn’t come in the Father’s name, since the hypocrites Jesus was addressing were already rejecting someone coming in the Father’s name. How then can this verse be referring to someone posing as the Scriptural Jewish messiah, if he won’t even claim to come in God’s name? But the world will acknowledge Antichrist’s recognized father to be the dragon (Revelation 13:4).
A FALSE CHRIST?
Yes, there will be false Christs (Matthew 24), but that doesn’t make Antichrist a Jewish false messiah, and the word “Christ” simply means “anointed” or “anointed one”. So Jesus’s warnings of false Christs have already come true in our time, because there are plenty of false prophets claiming to be “anointed”. Jesus warning was of false “Christs” – plural, not singular. He was not warning of “a” false messiah, but a multitude of false teachers , religious leaders and prophets.
WHERE DOES THE BIBLE SAY ANTICHRIST WILL COME FROM?
We’ve already seen that Antichrist will invade “The Beautiful Land” (Daniel 11:41). This isn’t Daniel’s first reference to the “Beautiful Land”. One of the four divisions of Alexander the Great’s conquests (Daniel chapter 8), was to produce another “horn” (king or kingdom) which clearly grows into the beast we’re discussing (verses 10 to 12). But most relevant to our discussion is the fact that this ruler:
“… grew in power to the south and to the east and toward the Beautiful Land” (verse 9).
How could Antichrist grow in power toward Israel if he already had power over it? His power base does not begin in Israel, but ends up there.
Daniel’s vision of “four great beasts” (chapter 7) tells us where Antichrist comes from. Having discussed the beast widely understood to represent Rome, the angel speaking to Daniel says that the king who will arises to oppress the saints and speak against God will:
“…come from this kingdom” (Daniel 7:24).
The Antichrist will somehow be a product of the remnants of Rome. Rome destroyed Jerusalem, ploughing it into the ground and renaming the land “Palestina” as a final insult to the Jews.
5: Early church anti-Semitism. For a good summary see:
For examples, read these:
Origen of Alexandria (185-254 A.D.)
“We may thus assert in utter confidence that the Jews will not return to their earlier situation, for they have committed the most abominable of crimes, in forming this conspiracy against the Savior of the human race…hence the city where Jesus suffered was necessarily destroyed, the Jewish nation was driven from its country, and another people was called by God to the blessed election.”
John Chrysostom (344-407 A.D.)
“The synagogue is worse than a brothel…it is the den of scoundrels and the repair of wild beasts…the temple of demons devoted to idolatrous cults…the refuge of brigands and dabauchees, and the cavern of devils. It is a criminal assembly of Jews…a place of meeting for the assassins of Christ… a house worse than a drinking shop…a den of thieves, a house of ill fame, a dwelling of iniquity, the refuge of devils, a gulf and a abyss of perdition.”…”I would say the same things about their souls… As for me, I hate the synagogue…I hate the Jews for the same reason.”