Tag: ANTICHRIST

RAPTURE 5: DID PAUL SAY THE CHURCH WILL BE TAKEN INTO HEAVEN WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT BEFORE THE TRIBULATION?

Will believers really be taken into heaven before any trouble comes upon the world? That was my conviction for twenty-eight years. I was wrong.

Welcome to the fifth excerpt from my recent book, “ALL LEFT BEHIND: THE CASE AGAINST THE PRE-TRIBULATION RAPTURE”.

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Some believe, based on the words of Paul, that there’s coming a day before the Tribulation when the Holy Spirit will be withdrawn from the earth into heaven. We’re told by Paul that Antichrist can only be revealed to the world and do his work on the earth when the one who holds him back has been “taken out of the way” (2 Thessalonians 2:3-8). The assumption drawn from this chapter is that Paul is telling us the Spirit of God is going to be withdrawn completely, into heaven from the earth, before the “seven year tribulation” begins. And since the Spirit indwells all true believers (Ephesians 1:13-14; Romans 8:9-11) the theory goes that all believers must be taken into heaven with the Spirit, because He wouldn’t leave the Church which He indwells.

When we read this passage in 2 Thessalonians we see that it doesn’t actually say that the Holy Spirit will be taken from the earth into heaven. Neither does it say that He will be taken out of the way seven years before Antichrist is revealed. Here is what it does say:

And now you know what is holding him (Antichrist) back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time. For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way”.

Antichrist could probably have appeared many times over during the history of man, if the Holy Spirit of God not been here to prevent him, or to “hold him back”. Hitler, for example, would have been a perfect candidate for the position of Antichrist. But Antichrist’s advent must occur at “the proper time” (verse 6). That is, when God says it’s time.

Some people think that it’s the influence of Christians in the world which is preventing Antichrist from being revealed. The Church, they say, is the restraining force holding back the Antichrist. Only when Christians get raptured and “taken out of the way” can that power of lawlessness come to fruition.

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I think there’s a degree of truth in the idea that Christians hold back the forces of evil. We are, after all, “the salt of the earth”. But it seems we need a rather grandiose attitude to assume that the mighty “We” are the ones holding back the the appearance of Antichrist. We failed to hold back Hitler, and WW2 saw the deaths of tens of millions of people, including six million Jews. We failed to hold back Stalin, Pol Pott and Mao, who between them murdered over a hundred million of their own people, including Christians. And there have been innumerable other tyrants and murderers in the history of mankind. We failed to hold back the Black Death which killed a third of the population of Europe, including Christians. Furthermore, and more specifically, there is no statement in Paul’s letter or anywhere else in Scripture declaring that Christians are holding back the power of Antichrist and Satan. It’s an assumption only.

Neither did Paul say that the Holy Spirit must be taken into heaven in order to let Antichrist loose. It seems to me more likely that when the Holy Spirit is “taken out of the way” (verse 7) God will simply be removing his restraining power from a (or the) man who would fulfill Satan’s will on earth, and from the “secret power of lawlessness”. He will stop restraining the flood of evil which He constantly holds back like a dam, even now. For that He does not need to leave the earth at all.

A relevant and instructive scripture passage which reveals an important principle of Scripture is found in Romans chapter 1. Paul writes here about a people who have so turned their back on God that He literally gives them over to their sin:

…since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done” (Romans 1:28).

We sometimes wonder why the wicked prosper, and why they get away with the things they get up to. Unfortunately for them, it may be because God has handed them over to their wickedness. In this case, what man regards as success may actually be God’s judgment. It’s the worst thing that could happen to anyone, because he or she no longer has the Holy Spirit of God drawing him and calling him, and he’s even less likely to find repentance and salvation in Jesus. At that point, Satan has successfully and totally blinded him to the truth, because in effect, he wants to be blind.

This is the intention of God for the tribulation. His purpose in the Tribulation is not to unite the godly with the wicked, but to cement the division between them, and to seal the wicked in their chosen fate:

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 believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness” (2 Thessalonians 2:10-12).

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SEVEN YEARS-REALLY?

Second, according to several Bible passages, Antichrist will not be revealed to the world until the mid part of the Tribulation, at the time when he enters the temple and claims to be God (Matthew 24:15; 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4; Revelation 13:5-6). This, and not before, is the time when the restraining power of the Holy Spirit will be removed, mid -way through the assumed seven-year period-not before them! If believers really want to see the removal of the Holy Spirit as the event concurrent with and necessary for the rapture, they should perhaps consider themselves “mid-tribulation” believers.

Thirdly, we know the gospel will be preached during the Tribulation, and that there will be followers of Jesus, so we need to recognize that it’s not possible for the unbeliever to be regenerated without the work of the Holy Spirit:

…if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ he does not belong to Christ”… “And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you” (Romans 8:9-11).

The fact is that you cannot come to Jesus-you are not saved from your sins or regenerated-without the Holy Spirit. You would not even begin to understand the things of Christ without the Holy Spirit:

The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit” (1 Corinthians 2:14).

How then can the saints during revelation become saints, hold to the testimony of Jesus Christ (Revelation 12:17) hold on to their faith through terrible persecution and a godless world and become fearless witnesses, without the Holy Spirit?

Moreover, this view of believers disappearing into heaven along with the Holy Spirit is a little selfish, isn’t it? Wouldn’t it be harsh, cold and un-loving for God to withdraw the only possible help from his Tribulation saints? The Spirit would be the only  comfort and strength available-assistance which they would surely need in order to deal with intense persecution and upheaval. According to the Pre-Tribulation theory, while the Tribulation saints are standing up to Antichrist and intense persecution the rest of us would be enjoying first class treatment and the luxury of heaven, in return for not having to stand up for the name of Jesus at all!

Finally, it’s undeniable that Paul told the believers in Thessalonica not to let anyone convince them that the day of the Lord had come, until Antichrist was revealed (2 Thessalonians 2:1-3). Jesus spoke of the same initial sign to his disciples (Matthew 24:15-21). He did not say anything like this: “Do not to worry about the Tribulation, because you will not be here when the Day of the Lord arrives”.

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RAPTURE 2: WHEN WILL THE WRATH OF GOD FALL ANYWAY?

FOR TWENTY-EIGHT YEARS I WAS A FIERCE PROPONENT AND DEFENDER OF THE PRE-TRIBULATION RAPTURE. NOW I HAVE A MORE REALISTIC UNDERSTANDING OF THE RAPTURE. HERE ARE CONTINUED EXCERPTS FROM MY BOOK*

(Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, by Viktor Vasnetsov, 1887).

WHEN WILL THE WRATH OF GOD FALL ANYWAY?

Many people, certain that there will be a seven year tribulation, have the impression that the first day of that seven-year period-when the ink is still wet on Antichrist’s “peace deal” document, marks the start of the outpouring of God’s wrath, which will continue for the entire period until Jesus returns physically in power and glory. Are they right? If it’s God’s wrath which the rapture is to deliver us from, as many believe, we ought to be sure about when that prophesied wrath falls. We also might ask exactly how the wrath of God will be played out in our world, because whether it’s persecution or “natural” disasters such as giant hailstones, mega-earthquakes, pestilence and stars falling from heaven, the timing of the wrath of God may be a clue to the real timing of the rapture. What certainly does come from God in Revelation are the plagues and “natural” disasters, and the release of malevolent spirits which work to fulfill his will. These clearly come from the wrath of God, because we’re told they do, and there’s a statement in Revelation to that effect.

THE SIXTH SEAL

The sixth seal opens with a “great earthquake”. There’s something very different about this seal. It’s incomparably more devastating than those before it, because it affects the very foundations of our familiar physical universe. The sun and moon turn dark, stars fall from heaven, and the sky rolls up like a scroll (verses 12-14). It is at this point, when the sixth of seven seals with all its unprecedented events has been opened, that the leaders of the earth concede or recognize the fact that the day of God’s judgment has come:

They called to the mountains and the rocks, ‘Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb. For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?’ (Revelation 6:15-17).

Is it only the sixth seal which begins the wrath of God, or was his wrath released in the previous five? Why do the “kings” of the earth only recognize and acknowledge God’s wrath upon the opening of the sixth seal? Is it because they just don’t want to face up to the fact before it, or is it because the sixth is so devastating and awesome that their spirits are finally broken? Is it perhaps because all previous seals were “business as usual” events common to the history of man, while this one is undeniably the outpouring of God’s wrath? Could it perhaps be that the previous seals were not actually the outworking of the wrath of God?

THE SEVENTH SEAL

Upon the opening of the sixth seal the heavenly bodies react in cosmic proportions, and “then” (verse 15) the kings of the earth declare to themselves that the time of God’s wrath has come. Following the sixth seal is the seventh, and I’m not trying to be funny. The seventh is opened in seven stages, each announced by trumpets. It details events which utterly devastate the earth: hail, fire, blazing mountains, the total pollution of the waters, the darkening of the sun and moon, and the final plagues on humanity.

This seventh seal, with its trumpets, is clearly an outpouring of God’s wrath. It aligns chronologically with certain prophesies in Jesus’ Olivet Discourse, as will be explained later.

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(“Death on the Pale Horse”, by Gustave Dore, 1865)

SEALS 1 TO 5: PEACE AND SAFETY?

It’s difficult for us to actually commit to the idea that people are realizing God’s wrath has come only when the sky has rolled up like a scroll, because we evangelicals have always been told that the beginning of the “seven year tribulation” marks the beginning of God’s wrath. However, we can surmise with certainty that people alive during the sixth seal aren’t coming to the realization of the arrival of God’s wrath during a time of peace and safety. Peace and safety are prescribed by pre-tribulation experts for the first half of the envisaged seven-year tribulation. They tell us that Antichrist will make a “peace deal” with Israel and its neighbors, beginning the seven year period, and that the world will think he’s a great man of peace and world order. Indeed, Paul did say, “When people are saying ‘peace and safety’, destruction will come on them suddenly” (1 Thessalonians 5:3).

WILL THERE BE SEVEN YEARS OF WRATH?

But wait a minute. What about those four horsemen of the first four seals? Aren’t they riding out to conquer, to take peace from the earth, and to bring pestilence, death and Hades? How can they take peace from the earth at the start of the “seven year” period if Antichrist is bringing peace to the world at that time?

…and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many (Daniel 8:25 KJV).

Also, we’re told by Paul that Antichrist will be revealed when he enters the temple mount and not before. Why would people be hailing him as the great peacemaker before this temple appearance, since Paul tells us that his revealing occurs when he enters the temple? Granted, he may be at work making peace before the temple mount incident but not revealed in his true colors until that point. However, surely any saints holding to the testimony of Jesus at that time (Revelation 12:17) who have taken the trouble to read their Bibles and all the books on the rapture, and all the “Where We Have Gone” notes, would see this peacemaker and know-before the temple appearance-that he’s Antichrist, before Paul said they could know. They would recognize him before Paul said he could be recognized.

Antichrist’s revealing at the temple mount is commonly agreed to be three and a half years before the end of the tribulation. It’s at this point that “great distress” begins, according to Paul and Jesus. This means that all those terrible events associated with tribulation times, and the seven seals, cannot have yet begun. If they had, there would be no “peace”, particularly since the first seal unleashes a rider bent on conquest (Revelation 6:2). The beginning of “great distress” as described by Jesus and Paul would not be noticed if great distress were already taking place on the earth.

The second rider is given power to take peace from the earth and to make men slay each other (7:4). How can the second rider taking peace from the earth square with Antichrist being viewed as a man of peace and safety, if the second rider takes that peace away before the revealing of Antichrist, three and a half years before the physical and glorious return of Jesus? How can these two conditions-peace and lack of peace-exist at the same time?

One answer may be that these four horsemen have been at large throughout history, and get temporarily “paused” by Antichrist. The other option is that they will only be at large after the revealing of Antichrist, who himself will bring devastation to the earth, quite apart from, or in conjunction with, what the second rider brings. Is he perhaps the manifestation of the work of the first two riders? Are these events concurrent? Is this why Revelation repeats a time period of three and a half years?

WHEN WILL THE DAY OF THE LORD BEGIN?

The day of the Lord is an important indicator of the onset of God’s wrath on the earth, in fact the two are perhaps synonymous. Paul, discussing “the day of the Lord” in his second letter to the Thessalonians gives as the first signs of its arrival a rebellion of some kind, and the revealing of Antichrist:

Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day (the day of the Lord) will not come, until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed” (2 Thessalonians 2:1-4).

The day of the Lord cannot begin, says Paul, until after Antichrist is revealed, at the mid-point of that proposed seven-year period. Remember in conjunction with this that the sixth seal is opened before the kings of the earth recognize that the wrath of God has come. Surely, if the world had suffered a huge earthquake before the revealing of Antichrist, or if the stars had already fallen from heaven and the sky had rolled up, these would have been far more immediate and tangible signs for Paul to refer to as his onset of the day of the Lord? Knowledge of such disasters was not introduced as new revelation in later times by John, because Jesus spoke of them during his earthly ministry, and they’re mentioned in Old Testament prophesies.

No, those things will not yet have happened at the point Antichrist is suddenly revealed. All that will have happened, besides perhaps the increasing persecution of believers, is a rebellion. People will not yet have been begging the mountains to fall on them. Therefore the wrath of God has not yet fallen in the form of cataclysmic events.

*THIS POST IS AN EXCERPT FROM MY BOOK, “ALL LEFT BEHIND: THE CASE AGAINST THE PRE-TRIBULATION RAPTURE”, BY NICHOLAS FISHER, AVAILABLE ON AMAZON IN PAPER-BACK AND E-BOOK. PART 3 WILL APPEAR SOON.

IN THE KINGDOM OF THE BEAST.

Every day when I hear what’s going on in the world I have a strong urge to publicly connect the many dots, which easily make a familiar prophetic picture. Then, as the obligations and business of the day take over, my conviction mellows and I’m telling myself that it was all just furtive imagination born of multiple coincidences and exaggerations, mixed with a desire to see our world as it ultimately should be. Common-sense takes over.

However, on this occasion, the urge seems to have got the better of me…

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Here then is my very own conspiracy theory, supported by decades of observation of the world’s affairs and direction, in comparison with relevant Bible prophecies. Call me crazy if you like. I’m well past the point of caring or of wanting to follow the herd anyway: the point at which all committed believers will have to pass one day, like it or not.

Most prophecy “experts” within the evangelical Christian world have for decades clung doggedly to the conviction that the kingdom of the Beast will be a “Revived Roman Empire”, with the European Union as its likely immediate progenitor. One or two even claim that we already have a “revived Holy Roman Empire”. However, there really isn’t much unity, or Roman church influence, or desire for world domination apparent yet in the EU. Perhaps a far more radical union will emerge or form in the future. But my own suspicion goes further than that: the kingdom of the Beast will consist of an Islamicised West, headed by the United States.

In the very Western nations where millions fought for freedom of thought and speech, our political masters-by that I mean those in ultimate power and not just those we elect- aided by the bulk of the media and social media, and most of higher education which is anti-West and  anti-Christ, are pulling down everything the West has stood for. and working to hand over the West to a “global community”. The only enemy to this empire fit for a certain prophesied tyrant-besides Donald Trump- is Christianity. That other large and rapidly growing religion is somehow seen as a friend to the globalists. Well, “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”.

Regarding said religion, which is as much a political movement as a religion, it seems to me that where criticism and analysis is now outlawed-even in my nation of origin, England, submission has already occurred in much of the West, and the world is changing much more rapidly than most Christians are aware of. Worse than that, many Christians have their heads in the cozy warm sand and are content to believe what their TV tells them. They see Trump as their enemy rather than a last bastion of a free and Christian-friendly West that he is.

Trump is one of the very few exceptions to those going along with the tide of history towards the fulfillment of Revelation chapter 13. He’s a finger in the dike. He’s a willing tool of the restrainer (2 Thessalonians 2:7). His election frustrated the plans and dreams of globalists who very nearly had a stranglehold on us all, and now work to get a stronger grip. Unfortunately, to my mind anyway, Trump isn’t going to be around permanently, and those working to bring him down, and who were doing so even before he got elected, are going to be in high gear as soon as they regain complete control.

Oh, but most people are quite happy with the way the world is heading. Yes, they have grumbles and gripes, but there isn’t anyone running around in a red suit and a pitchfork (except perhaps Trump) and the sun still shines, and the TV still works: how could we possibly be teetering on the edge of Revelation? Nonsense!

Who’s going to be taking over when they manage to get rid of Trump? There doesn’t appear to be anyone in sight just now who could fit the bill. Perhaps a certain someone, loved by globalists and the godless alike, who has already been president, will come back.

A two-term limit? Really? The law and the Constitution stopped mattering about ten years ago, and perhaps before that: why should pesky old term limits matter? The new way of doing things, Trump excepted, is to trample on the law and the Constitution with a new agenda, and then either get the media to keep it quiet or herald it as progress. The people running our security agencies, more than half of our politicians, the bulk of the media, perhaps half of the population-don’t care about law or Constitution anymore. They care about what they want, any way they can get it. We could certainly be said to be in, or close to, the age of lawlessness. And how long will it be before its leader, the man of lawlessness, is revealed?

“…as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth…” (Luke 21:35).

Prophecy “experts” constantly miss the fact that Daniels prophecy of the so-called “Revived Roman Empire” (chapters 2 and 7) doesn’t seem to suggest that the empire will need any reviving. If you read carefully you’ll find that it appears to continue in great strength until its final form and then the judgment. And has not Europe, since Rome, continued on in great strength, dominating the world and to a large extent, shaping it to its own image?

One of the central aims of the Beast, and the nations of the world, according to Scripture in several prophesies, will be the capture and division of Jerusalem. Don’t look now, but this is the dream and the stated goal of most of the Islamic world, and virtually all members of the the United Nations. Under President Obama the United States government was also turning against Israel and towards its greatest enemies, but under Trump we currently have a pause in the process of betrayal.

WHERE IS THE U.S. IN BIBLE PROPHECY?

For a long time people have been asking the question,  “Is the United States, the greatest power on the earth, mentioned in Bible prophecy?” Of course, the name “United States” wasn’t used in Bible prophesies made many centuries ago. But is the US mentioned indirectly? Many think that the US will be the “eagles wings” which come to the rescue of Israel in Revelation. That’s wishful thinking at best. The word “eagles” and the term “eagles wings” were sometimes used as metaphors for God’s own aid, or for armies of judgment in the Old Testament, long before transport planes and air-lifts were imagined (Exodus 19:4; Jeremiah 48:40-41).

It seems to me that the most logical answer to this question is that the US actually is very much a part of Bible prophecy, and that it will be a central part of the final world empire- perhaps even the driving force of it. The kingdom of the Beast will be an overpowering military force, according to Scripture:

“Who is like the Beast? Who can make war against him?” (Revelation 13:4).

At the present time and at no time in the foreseeable future could this be said for the European Union. But it could be said for the West led by the US, which together have been the policing force of most of the world for some time. The undisputed military super-power has for decades now been the US, backed reluctantly by its allies in Europe. This applies not only to military power but also to economic power. The West, dominated by the US, leads the world in both respects. Together they dictate to the rest of the world.

IRON MIXED WITH CLAY

In Daniel’s vision (chapter 2) the feet of  iron and clay represent peoples groups which are together as an empire, but are essentially so different that they cannot become truly one, any more than iron and clay can blend. Europe and the US are composing themselves as much as possible of a mixture of peoples groups, with some successes and some problems. I see the iron and clay mix as the mingling of races and the attempted union of nations which are really too different to merge.

OUT OF ROME

Moreover-and I can’t understand why the “experts” have not yet recognized this (they probably don’t want to) the US was born out of Europe. If Europe is the “Revived Roman Empire”, born out of Rome, and since both are allied, and linked historically, genetically, ideologically, politically, culturally and socially, isn’t it obvious that the US is as much “out of Rome” as Europe is?

We may be a lot closer to the fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecies than most of us realize. While we wait for the last days empire to form “over there”, we may already be in it.

 

 

 

TO BE OR NOT TO BE: THE THIRD JEWISH TEMPLE

Evangelicals who discuss different angles of Bible prophecy often consider apparent references to the necessity of a Jewish temple being rebuilt before the start of the Tribulation. Here’s my own view…

REMAINS OF THE SECOND JEWISH TEMPLE, WITH ISLAMIC DOME OF THE ROCK BEHIND IT
All evangelical prophecy “experts” and buffs who are not amillennial see in Scripture talk of a rebuilt temple, which Antichrist will one day enter and claim to be God. I’ve struggled with the idea that there could be a rebuilt temple, given the firm Muslim control of the temple mount in our day, the unwillingness of most Israelis to upset the Muslim world by even considering a temple, and the total unwillingness of the US and Europe to aid those wanting a temple for the same reason. Be assured that I’m convinced God is fully able to bring his Word to fulfillment against all the odds, but I have considered alternative possibilities to a rebuilt temple.
Since Jesus said that the “abomination of desolation” would stand in the holy place and didn’t say “temple” (Matthew 24) I wondered if it may be that simple: that there will be no temple, but just AC standing on the spot where the holy of holies was situated. Not even Jews of today will stand on the spot for fear of desecrating it, even though there’s no temple there.
However, Paul’s reference to the event (2 Thess. 2:4) contains the word “temple”. It seems that all translations use the word “temple”, and the original Greek does say “temple”, not “holy place”. Evangelical Christians of past centuries believed that the word “temple” here refers to the hearts of members of the true Church, the Church being deceived by the Pope who, they were convinced, was Antichrist. But the elect cannot be deceived, and this interpretation necessitates allegorizing most or all Last Days prophesies, making them all unsure and intangible.

THE WESTERN WALL
It seems then that there are three remaining alternatives. One is that Paul was mistaken. He only thought that the prophecy Jesus mentioned, originally in the book of Daniel, with AC standing on the holy place, spoke of the literal temple which was still standing in Paul’s day. He should instead have directly quoted Jesus who said “holy place”. Paul, in this scenario, expected the destruction of the temple to come at the same time as the AC is revealed, when in fact its destruction by the Roman army came not long after his death, and the AC is yet future.
So was Paul mistaken? If so the entire New Testament on shaky ground. If Paul was wrong about this then the Holy Spirit did not breathe Truth into the Words of our NT as it claims; Paul’s letters are not Scripture as Peter said they were; Peter was wrong to say they were Scripture, and it’s all unreliable. It appears that there must be a temple on the temple mount in order for Biblical integrity to be maintained, and for prophecy to be fulfilled.
The temple likely cannot be built anywhere else without defying Scripture. The Temple Mount Faithful state that the spot where the holy of holies was is currently smack-dab in the middle of the Dome of the Rock, built seven hundred years after the temple was destroyed. The Dome is one of the most revered shrines in Islam. Indeed, any attempt to replace the Dome with a Jewish temple in present conditions would likely start WWIII.
The second possibility is propounded by Amir Tsarfati among others, which is that the Gog-Magog war spoken of in Ezekiel will be the next fulfillment of prophecy. The Islamic world will be greatly weakened by its defeat foretold in chapters 38 and 39, and the Israelis, finding their Bible to be coming to life once again, will be inspired and emboldened to build a temple on the spot where the Islamic Dome of the Rock now sits.
A third possibility to my mind is that AC will be somehow acceptable to the Muslims-possibly himself a Muslim-and will enter the Dome, stand on the spot where the holy of holies was, and make his “I am God” speech. This possibility fits with the present-day Islamification of Europe, also desired in the US by some on the left of the political spectrum. Could this scenario fit Islamic eschatology of the coming Mahdi? That’s a subject for another post.
NOTES
STRONG’S CONCORDANCE:
The word used by Paul here, and subsequently in the NT (3724) is defined thus:
…of the temple in Jerusalem; it generally denotes the temple building. Also used figuratively for the church as the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit.
Many of the remaining uses of 3724 in the NT do refer to non-corporeal temples: the Church, the temple in heaven, etc.
THE VIEW OF THE TEMPLE MOUNT FAITHFUL:
1,932 years after the destruction of the Second Temple, there are various theories as to the location of the Temple and the Holy of Holies. Some believe that the Temple was located north of the Dome of the Rock while others believe that it was south of the Dome of the Rock. Some of these theories are an attempt at compromise because of the actual situation that the rock is today located under the Dome of the Rock and because of a fear that the removal of the Dome of the Rock and the building of the Temple on this place could cause World War III. These theories do not take into account the fact that no compromise can be made with the Word of Gd Who assigned the location of the Temple and showed it in prophecy to King David.
The Third Temple can only be built on the same location which the Gd of Israel indicated to King David in prophecy and where the First and Second Temples were built. The Third Temple and the Holy of Holies cannot be relocated by even one centimeter to the north or south. Only Gd controls war and peace and the destiny of Israel. There is no doubt that Gd is testing Israel today on the Temple Mount, which is the key place in the world. Gd expects Israel to rebuild His house on the correct position on the Temple Mount with no fear of the Moslem enemy which, at the end of the seventh century CE, built the Dome of the Rock on the most holy place of the Gd and people of Israel and desecrated the hill of Gd and revolted against the Word of Gd. Gd promised the people of Israel that in the endtimes He would redeem His holy hill and Jerusalem together with the people and land of Israel and He would protect them and fight for them against the enemies who would try to prevent His prophetic endtime plans for Israel.
http://www.templemountfaithful.org/articles/temple-location.php

WILL THE ANTICHRIST BE JEWISH? Part 2 of 2

(This is a continuation of the previous post. It’s long, so feel free to scroll down to a subtitle which interests you)

WILL ANTICHRIST DESTROY THE ENEMIES OF ISRAEL, INCLUDING THE ENTIRE MUSLIM WORLD?

Mr. Blogg’s Antichrist-is-a-Jew theory presents Antichrist as the deliverer of Israel, winning the adoration and worship of the people of Israel. The Biblical truth is that God, and specifically the Messiah, is the only deliverer of Israel, and it’s the enemies of Israel, including the attacking Muslim world, who the true Messiah will deliver Israel from. How can he do that if some charlatan has already done the job? I offer some Biblical examples at the end of the post ***

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THE THEORY WHICH ROBS GOD OF GLORY

The Bible pictures God over and over as Israel’s deliverer:

“From the Lord comes deliverance…” (Psalm 3:8).

God delivers not just for the sake of who He’s delivering, but more importantly for the sake of his own glory:

“…O Gog, I will bring you against my land, so that the nations may know me when I show myself holy through you before their eyes” (Ezekiel 38:16).

Not only this, but God declares very clearly just how important that is:

“I am the Lord; that is my name! I will not give my glory to another” (Isaiah 42:8).

God is not about to let Antichrist get any glory for defeating the enemies of Israel: it’s God who does the delivering.

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WOULD THE JEWS ONLY WORSHIP AND FOLLOW A JEW?

The idea of the Jewish Antichrist theory is that Jews would only worship a Jewish messiah, therefore he must be Jewish, and Muslims wouldn’t worship him so they must be wiped out first. In fact, Mr. Bloggs teaches that when, according to him, Antichrist sets up home in Jerusalem and on the temple mount at or before the start of the seven year period, he will intentionally start a war with the Muslim world by building a temple and beginning temple sacrifices.

The truth is that the Bible makes no mention of Jews worshipping Antichrist, which fact deflates the whole “Antichrist-must -be-a -Jew idea. His appearance on the temple mount is a mockery of their religion: an abomination, not an agreement with it. While the “whole world” will follow the beast, the “whole world” will also be against Israel and Jerusalem (Zechariah 12:3 and 14:2).

Some say that the Jews would never follow or worship a Muslim. Others say that the Muslims would never follow or worship a Jew. I say it doesn’t have to be that black and white.

Muslims are generally strict about their theology, or the radicals will soon ensure that they are. For the most part, Israel is a pretty secular society. Muslims are far less likely to bend their beliefs and theology for the sake of peace.

Antichrist is going to have a lot of people fooled: he will be a master deceiver. He probably won’t jump up and down shouting “I’m a Muslim, I’m a Muslim!”, or “I’m Jewish, I’m Jewish!” It makes much more sense to me that he will appear to be “neutral” so that having confirmed, arranged or guaranteed the famous “covenant” of Daniel chapter 9, he will cause many people to say: “Peace and safety!” (1 Thess. 5:3).

Antichrist can have both Jew and Muslim fooled for a time. That is, those who don’t strictly follow their scriptures. Most moderate Muslims would be grateful to a powerful leader who could tame the Israelis, put them into a corner and get them to agree to part with some of their land, perhaps with the secret promise that he will soon get them to part with all of it. And most Israelis, desperate for peace and security, would gladly accept a deal which would give them the hope of lasting peace and rest from war and the fear of terrorism. He does not have to be overtly Jewish or Islamic, to begin with anyway.

Much of the world would be more than impressed to see someone apparently solve the Middle East troubles, impose order, and tame the ultra-extremist Muslims as well as the Israelis.

And don’t forget that Antichrist’s devilish power will not be given until the last three and a half years. Until then he will be just another world leader. But at that point, he will show his true colors.

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A JEWISH ANTICHRIST WOULD NULLIFY THE PROPHESIED DIVISION OF JERUSALEM

Just in case you haven’t noticed, efforts have been ongoing for decades to bring about a peace arrangement, first between Israel and the Palestinians, and then between Israel and its other neighbors who all have claims upon Israel’s tiny land. The lands most in question now-half of Jerusalem and the “West Bank” (Biblical Judea and Samaria)-are the very lands which the Bible predicts will be wrested from the Israelis by the nations of the world just before the coming of the true messiah (see my post “Jerusalem and You: Choose Wisely”).

So it seems logical to me to see the “covenant” as one which appears to solve these problems, and which fools Israelis into thinking that they have “peace and safety” at last. If a Jewish antichrist were to come along years before the Great Tribulation (at least three and a half years before) and wipe out the enemies of Israel, there would be no point in Antichrist (or “the nations of the world”) bisecting Jerusalem after his ascension to power-he could just take the lot.

CAN “ANTI” MEAN “IN PLACE OF” OR “INSTEAD OF”?

Without doubt, this is a possible meaning of the prefix “anti” in “antichrist”. However, the term “antichrist” is only used in John’s letters. It isn’t used in Revelation, Daniel, Thessalonians or the gospels. And in any case, “in place of” does not have to mean “a false copy of” any more than if you have a girlfriend in place of your wife she must be a copy of her.

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BY THEIR FRUITS YOU WILL KNOW THEM…

The actions of the last-days beast are remarkably in line with the dreams of more hardline Muslims, and not at all in line with the hopes and desires of Israelis. These are some of the marks of the Biblical Antichrist:

-Mass murder by beheading;

-The Persecution and killing of Christians and Jews;

-Based in and operating in the Middle East and particularly around and against Israel;

-The desire for world domination;

-Attempted destruction of the Jew and the state of Israel;

-The conquest of Jerusalem;

-The attempted eradication of Christianity.

If Antichrist posed as a Jew or believed he was one, and then turned on Israel to destroy it, he would not logically be a Jew: he would be fulfilling the wishes of the Muslim world. Don’t believe me? Here’s a sample of Muslim rhetoric against this tiny nation:

-Iran’s supreme leader has stated that the “only solution” for the mid-east crisis is the destruction of Israel, and until then Hamas and others must be supplied with more weapons to fire into Israel (1);

-Hamas’ charter has not and will not cease to call for the ultimate destruction of the state of Israel:

Israel will rise and will remain erect until Islam eliminates it as it had eliminated its predecessors.” (The Martyr, Imam Hassan al-Banna, May Allah Pity his Soul) (2);

-The charter of the Palestinian leadership, which until recently feigned “peaceful” intentions does not recognize the legitimacy of any Jewish state:

Article 17: The partitioning of Palestine, which took place in 1947, and the establishment of Israel are illegal and null and void, regardless of the loss of time…” (3).

-The Islamic State is threatening the destruction of Israel (4).

The logical and obvious way of seeing the prophecies in light of today ‘s world is to realize that Antichrist’s plans are in line with the dreams and wishes of radical Islam, even if he doesn’t claim to be a Muslim himself.

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THE EARLY ANTICHRIST

If it were true that Antichrist will build the temple and start animal sacrifices in the first half of the seven year period, he would be appearing on the proverbial “world’s stage” earlier than Jesus and Paul said he would. So Jesus and Paul got it wrong, but Mr. Bloggs got it right?

Paul’s sign of the beginning of the Day of the Lord was the revealing of Antichrist to the world, in the event known as the “abomination of desolation”, in agreement with Jesus and Daniel:

“…that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed…He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God  or is worshipped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God” (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4).

Until this time, says Paul, the “lawless one” will be held back and prevented from being his true self and making his entrance on that stage (2 Thessalonians 2:6-7).

From the moment of the abomination people in Israel will be suffering the wrath of Satan.

WHOSE TEMPLE?

Why would Paul label the temple of that time “God’s temple”, if he knew that it would be built and its sacrifices instituted by the “lawless one”? Would he not at least allude to the fact that this was an unholy, false, beastly temple designed for the worship of a false messiah and the dragon?

Again, Daniel makes no mention of Antichrist building the temple or setting up the sacrifices, only desecrating it (Daniel 9:27).

Jesus mentioned only that the “abomination” would be standing in the holy place, not that Antichrist would be building it. And why would he call it “the holy place” if it had been built by the beast?

Why would Paul place the beginning of the Day of the Lord at the time of the rebellion and revealing of Antichrist (and not before) if by that point Antichrist will have already wiped out the Muslim world, fooled the Jews, built the temple and accepted worship and praise?

How can a temple built by Antichrist then have the abomination perpetrated upon it? Daniel’s prophecy puts this event in the middle of the seven year period (Daniel 9).

THE WESTERN WALL

REALITY CHECK

There’s a conspiracy theory going around-and has been for many decades-that Jews are plotting to take over the world, and as Antichrist wants to do the same-well, the two must be related, right? Communists wanted to take over the world-does that mean Antichrist is a communist? Hitler wanted to take over the world-is Hitler the Antichrist? Some Americans want to convert the world to their form of “democracy”-does that mean Antichrist is American?

No, the evidence (and not ridiculous hateful gossip) is that all Israelis want is to be left alone to live their lives in peace in their own little country. Currently, the far more likely cause aiming for world domination is radical Islam. See my post, “Where Will the Kingdom of the Beast Be?”

The idea of a Jew plotting against his own little nation is not logical, and I saw that during my six month stay in that country. Far more logical is the prospect of Muslims plotting against Israel, with the help –or possibly the leadership-of some in the West who are increasingly sympathetic to “moderate” Islam, and the desire to appease them by taming the Israelis. Israelis have articulated no wish to dominate the region let alone the world: Muslims have made many declarations, from the inception of Islam, to dominate, and in favor of the desire to destroy Israel, and indeed have made the military effort to do so in the days when they thought it was possible.

JOHN DOE AND SOME OTHER SCRIPTURES USED TO “PROVE” THAT ANTICHRIST IS A JEW

A certain teacher who I shall call “John Doe” has a website to “prove beyond doubt” that Antichrist is a Jew, and offers the following scriptures:

Genesis 3:15 :

”And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head and you will strike his heel”

This verse speaks of enmity on the one hand between children of God and children of the devil:

“You belong to your father, the devil…” (John 8:44).

But it ultimately speaks of enmity between Satan and Jesus Christ, Jesus being the one who crushes Satan’s head. There is no reason to see this verse as being “proof” that Antichrist will be Jewish.

Dan and Genesis 49:16-17

Mr. Doe draws attention to Jacob’s death bead blessings, and he singles out only a half of Jacob’s words concerning the tribe of Dan:

“Dan will be a serpent by the roadside, a viper along the path…”

This reference to Dan being a serpent is supposed to tell us, according to John Doe, that someone from the tribe will be in league with Satan, and will be the Antichrist. John Doe omits, for some mysterious reason, the first part of Jacob’s reference to Dan. It reads:

“Dan will provide justice for his people as one of the tribes of Israel…” (Genesis 49:16).

Why would Mr. Doe want to miss out the good words spoken about Dan?

If we look a few verses on we see that, “Benjamin is a ravenous wolf; in the morning he devours the prey…” (Genesis 49:27). What, then, do we make of Benjamin being a “ravenous wolf”?

Much is made of the fact that Dan is omitted from the list of tribes in Revelation 7:48. This is seen as further evidence that a child of Dan is the Antichrist, so that Dan doesn’t deserve to provide 12,000 of the 144, 000 preachers.

It seems rather unfair of God to disallow the entire tribe because of one man’s sin. Ah, but the real evidence demonstrates otherwise, because in Ezekiel’s prophesies of the Millennial kingdom, which follows the Tribulation, Dan is included:

“At the northern frontier, Dan will have one portion” (Ezekiel 48:1).

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Mr. Doe claims that a phrase in these verses is referring to the Antichrist:

“O profane and wicked prince of Israel…”

There’s no reason to insert “Antichrist” into this Scripture. Instead, if you read it in context, it’s plain that God is speaking either of Jehoiachin or Zedekiah, the last kings of Judah and about to be judged by the hand of Nebuchadnezzar. It could possibly speak of a spiritual entity, just as nations and cities are said to have demon spirits over them. For example, “the prince of Persia” in Daniel 10:13.

*** BIBLE EXAMPLES OF GOD BEING THE DELIVERER, NOT ANTICHIRST:

1: It’s God who will destroy Edom and the armies of all nations, not Antichrist

Edom, with its major city, Bozrah, was to the south of Jerusalem and the Dead Sea, in the area currently claimed by Hamas and the Palestinian authority with the blessing of the United Nations, the United States and the European Union. Mr. Bloggs sees the Jewish Antichrist defeating attacks from such enemies. But this is the record of Isaiah:

“Who is this coming from Edom, from Bozrah, with his garments stained crimson…?”

“It is I, speaking in righteousness, mighty to save…I have trodden the winepress alone, from the nations no one was with me. I trampled them in my anger and trod them down in my wrath” (Isaiah 63:1-6).

This passage predicts the true Messiah delivering Israel from its enemies-with no help from anyone, let alone Antichrist. The same event is covered in chapter 34:

“The sword of the Lord is bathed in blood…for the Lord has a sacrifice in Bozrah and a great slaughter in Edom….For the Lord has a day of vengeance, a year of retribution, to uphold Zion’s cause…God will stretch out over Edom the measuring line of chaos and the plumb line of desolation” (Isaiah 34:8-11).

It’s not just Edom which is in the Lord’s line of judgment here:

“The Lord is angry with all nations, his wrath is upon all their armies. He will totally destroy them, he will give them over to slaughter” (verse 2)

And there’s no doubt as to the timing of this event:

“All the stars of the heavens will be dissolved, and the sky rolled up like a scroll” (verse 4).

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2: It’s God who will defeat Russia, and Iran and other Islamic nations who attack Israel, not Antichrist

Ezekiel chapters 38 and 39 are well-known among prophecy students as predicting a last-days invasion from many nations into a newly-reborn Israel, and the Middle East. The exact timing of the invasion in relation to other last-days events is debated, and a few of the nations named are in question, but there’s no debate over the fact that one of the major members of the invasion force will be Iran, named “Persia” in Ezekiel, as it was known until the early 20th century. Another is likely modern Turkey, also Islamic and in opposition to modern Israel. Libya is named-perhaps not the modern Libya precisely, but certainly a North African nation, as are others named such as Cush. North Africa today is Islamic.

Iran is known- by those who don’t refuse to consider the fact- to be a mortal enemy of Israel, and many pronouncements of its spiritual leaders in recent times can attest to this fact.

So who did Ezekiel say would be the deliverer of Israel against this invasion force? It’s not Antichrist, but it’s undeniably God himself:

“This is what will happen in that day: when Gog attacks the land of Israel, my hot anger will be aroused, declares the sovereign Lord…”I will execute judgment upon him with plague and bloodshed; I will pour down torrents of rain, hailstones and burning sulfur on him and on his troops and on the many nations with him” (Ezekiel 38:18, 22).

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3: It’s God who will defeat Babylon, not Antichrist

“Woe! Woe, O great city…Rejoice over her, O heaven! Rejoice, saints and apostles and prophets! God has judged you for the way she treated you” (Revelation 18:19, 20).

It’s God who will defeat Egypt, not Antichrist

“But Egypt will be desolate, Edom a desert waste, because of violence done to the people of Judah, in whose land they shed innocent blood” (Joel 3:19).

4: Joel and the theatre of war

In Joel’s prophesies of end-times “all nations” are targets of God’s anger (3:2). Notice that he did not say, here or elsewhere, “the rest of the nations which were not destroyed by the beast”.

The picture given by Joel and other prophets such as Zechariah is not that Israel will be going on excursions to defeat and possess the lands of their enemies, but that the Lord will draw all Israel’s (and His) enemies to Israel and particularly Jerusalem, and then destroy them there:

“Let the nations be roused; let them advance into the Valley of Jehoshaphat, for there I will sit to judge all the nations on every side…”The Lord will roar from Zion and thunder from Jerusalem; the earth and the sky will tremble. But the Lord will be a refuge for his people, a stronghold for the people of Israel” (Joel 3:12, 16).

5: Zephaniah

Zephaniah speaks of “The great day of the Lord” (1:14). Apart from the fact that “all who live on the earth” will be affected (1:18), nations and cities named specifically as God’s targets include Gaza (2:4), Moab and Ammon (2:8-9), Cush (2:12), “the north”, and Assyria (2:13).

6: Zechariah: It’s God who helps Israel, not Antichrist

Zechariah prophesied that Israel and most particularly Jerusalem will be surrounded by enemies in the last days. Who will their deliverer be? It’s not Antichrist:

“I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that sends all 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, I will make Jerusalem an immovable rock for all the nations”

“I will keep a watchful eye over the house of Judah, but I will blind all the horses of the nations (read “Iron Dome”?). On that day I will make the leaders of Judah like a firepot in a woodpile, like a flaming torch among sheaves. They will consume right and left all the surrounding peoples, but Jerusalem will remain intact in her place” (Zechariah 12:2-6, see also chapter 14).

7: The missing allies of antichrist

According to Mr. Bloggs the leaders of Israel will go along with Antichrist, who, according to scripture, is known by men to be empowered by Satan, and who will lead them in the conquest of surrounding lands. But the narrative of Zechariah’s prophesies contradicts that theory firmly. The leaders of Israel are not in alliance with Antichrist, but with their God:

“Then the leaders of Judah will say in their hearts, ‘The people of Jerusalem are strong, because the Lord Almighty is their God” (Zechariah 12:5).