Tag Archive: Second Coming


Widely swung the door. Light poured, then exploded into the room, where dark, dank and despicable creatures crawled and lurked. The owner of the house was finally home…

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AAAGH! GET OUT! they screamed: we don’t WANT you here!

WE HATE YOU…!

We…we….we…..

And the dark, dank, despicable creatures melted away to nothingness from the power of that light. Only friends of the owner’s son survived.

With similar shock factor and irresistible power our Creator will appear with his cleansing presence. Only friends of his Son will survive.

https://nickyfisher.com/?s=WHAT+IS+THE+GOSPEL

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Welcome to part two of my up-dated study on the rapture of the Church…

1: THIEF IN THE NIGHT: WILL THE SECOND COMING BE IN TWO STAGES?

Pre-Tribulation believers see the second coming of Jesus Christ happening in two stages, separated by a time period of at least seven years. 

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The first, they say, will be in secret, like a thief in the night, in the air, to ‘catch up’ the Church into heaven (Revelation 16:15; 2 Peter 3:10, 1 Thessalonians 5:2; Matthew 24:43; 1 Thessalonians 4:17). The second stage, they say, will be for all the world to see, to bring judgment on those who are left behind (Revelation 19:11-16; Matthew 24:30; Zechariah 12:10).

The phrase ‘thief in the night’, taken from 1 Thessalonians 5:2-4, is used by teachers to conjure up visions of the Lord snatching away his Church before any tribulation starts, taking everyone by surprise, and leaving pilot-less planes to fall from the sky. However, the “thief in the night” phrase is taken out of its proper context.

According to Paul it was the day of the Lord which would come like a thief in the night:

“…for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night” (1 Thessalonians 5:2).

So what exactly is the day of the Lord? Paul described the day of the Lord not as the “snatching up of the Church”, but the time of destruction of the unsaved:

“While people are saying, ‘Peace and safety’, destruction will come on them suddenly…”(verse 3).

Peter also likened the day of the Lord, not Jesus and the rapture, to a thief in the night :

“But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire…” (2 Peter 3:10).

Peter also said that the day of the Lord would come AFTER the sun turns to darkness and the moon turns blood red:

:“The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord” (Acts 2:20).

Peter was repeating the order of events described by Jesus:

“Immediately after the distress of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light…At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky…They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory” (Matthew 24:29-30).

Christ says in Revelation 16:15, “Behold, I come like a thief”. Note that this is stated between the sixth and the seventh bowls of God’s wrath, near the end of the Tribulation, just before the battle of Armageddon. This coincides with the recognition by people on the earth that the time of God’s wrath has come, which will be after the sun turns black and the moon turns red, and between the sixth and the seventh seals:

They called to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?” (Revelation 6:16-17).

Talking of the day of the Lord, Paul went on to say, “you are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief” (1 Thessalonians 5:4). This means that those who know God and their Bible will not be unprepared for the events taking place around them.

2: IS IT TRUE THAT AN IN-THE-AIR GATHERING AND A GLORIOUS APPEARING OF JESUS ARE MUTUALLY EXCLUSIVE?

The idea that believers can only join Christ “in the air” if the rapture is before the Tribulation is not logical, because whether the rapture comes before the tribulation, in the middle, or at the end of it, Christ would have to come ‘in the air’ to gather his saints (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17), unless he comes by road in a giant bus, or expects everyone to catch buses, planes and trains to get to wherever He is.

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3: WILL THE CHURCH GO TO HEAVEN WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT?

In 2 Thessalonians 2:5-8 Paul tells us that the lawless one, or Antichrist, can only be revealed to the world when the Holy Spirit of God, who is now holding him back, is “taken out of the way”. One view drawn from this verse is that the Spirit is going to be taken back into heaven from the earth, and since He indwells all believers (Ephesians 1:13-14; Romans 8:9-11), then all those believers must be taken into heaven with Him, before the Tribulation.

It seems to me that when He is ‘taken out of the way’ (verse 7) He may simply stop restraining the flood of evil, and will not necessarily leave the earth at all. There’s no scriptural statement about the Holy Spirit leaving the earth to go into heaven.

Second, the 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 is removed, mid -way through the Tribulation!

Paul spoke to the believers in Thessalonica as though they would witness the revealing of the antichrist. In fact it’s given as one of the two signs to believers that the “day of the Lord” had truly come (2 Thessalonians 2:1-3). Jesus spoke of the same initial sign to his disciples (Matthew 24:15-21).

4: THE IMMINENCE OF CHRIST’S COMING

Pre-Tribulation believers say that Christ’s coming is ‘imminent’, so that we cannot know the day or the hour (Matthew 24:36-42). According to this view the rapture will come before anything else that’s prophesied, because in contrast there will be plenty of warning signs of His visible return to the earth. If Christians were around when the “seven year” Tribulation starts, they say, we would know that it would be exactly seven years to the coming of Christ-something we can’t know, since Jesus said we can’t know the day nor the hour. The same people will tell you that there are plenty of signs of the coming Tribulation to be seen now. Hmmm!

In response, I would first like to point out that this view assumes the beginning of the final seven years, including the time of day, will be known by all, so that the date and time of the visible return of Jesus could be marked on a calendar. I suggest that that is not the case: we may not know anything about the covenant being signed-it could be an agreement made behind closed doors. Paul said that the first-not the second-unmistakable sign that the of day of the Lord was coming would be a “falling away”, which surely can’t be fixed to a time or day, and the antichrist going into the temple in Jerusalem. Jesus said that the first unmistakable sign would be antichrist standing in the Holy Place of the temple, and didn’t mention any covenant (Matthew 24).

Secondly and more importantly, this view assumes that if we were to see the signing of the covenant, the rapture would have to occur at exactly the same time as Christ’s visible return to the earth. But there is no reason to make such an assumption. Compounding this fact are the three mysteriously different number of days given to Daniel (Daniel 12). These further confuse the issue, so that we really don’t know the day nor the hour of the rapture, even if we do see Daniel’s covenant being signed.

When Jesus said, “No one knows about that day or hour” in Matthew 24:36, what had He been speaking of? Was it the rapture? No, in the previous verses He had been speaking solely of the events of the Tribulation and of His physical appearing for the whole world to see (verses 15-35). He was referring to the “day of the Lord”, not the rapture.

I’ve heard one well-known prophecy teacher say that when Jesus said his disciples would see the antichrist in the temple he was not talking to Christians but to Jews. Jews, he said, would be in the Tribulation, but not Gentiles. I instantly realized that Jesus was in truth talking to his closest disciples who, although Jewish, were born-again Church age disciples. There is really no reason to assume that Jesus was speaking of “left-behind” Jewish believers, without using circular reasoning (“We know that Gentile believers will be raptured by then so Jesus must be speaking of Jewish believers”).

Of course we will not all have to flee Jerusalem and Judea, but worldwide television will show the whole world the antichrist entering the temple. Paul gave the same message to the Thessalonians, who were for the most part Gentiles (Acts 17:4; 1 Thess 1:9-10).

IS THE BIBLE REALLY OUT-DATED AND IRRELEVANT, OR IS IT WHAT IT CLAIMS TO BE-AN ETERNALLY RELEVANT MESSAGE FROM OUR CREATOR? CAN THERE REALLY BE A GOD WHO KNOWS THE FUTURE AND CONTROLS IT?

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Social media in the 21st century are currently the most effective and rapid conveyors of information-whether true or false. There’s reason to believe this was foreseen in the book of Revelation.

Nineteen centuries ago John was given a glimpse of our lightening-fast information technology, social media and mainstream media, with which we’re all able to see what’s happening on the other side of the world and then react to it within minutes.
Chapter 11  of Revelation discusses two witnesses testifying to the whole world from the street of a city which is never far from the headlines in today’s world: Jerusalem. That soon-to-be number one target of political-correctness and of those who oppose any vestige of Judeo-Christian history, influence and belief, will be the venue of the giving of one of the last messages of God to unwilling mankind before judgment.
The two prophets of God will be killed and left in the street for the whole world to gloat over, but only for three and a half days. The first sentence of chapter 11 could perhaps be speaking of only a local interest in the two, but the second is inescapably global:
Then those from the peoples, tribes, tongues, and nations will see their dead bodies three-and-a-half days, and not allow their dead bodies to be put into graves. And those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them, make merry, and send gifts to one another, because these two prophets tormented those who dwell on the earth.
Now after the three-and-a-half days the breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and great fear fell on those who saw them. (Revelation 11:9-11 NKJV).
In the first century when John wrote this, news stories would not be available to “those who dwell on the earth” in such a rapid fashion that they could send each other gifts within three and a half days. Now we’re able to send messages, photos, money, coupons, books and music digitally within seconds, and to purchase and have delivered anywhere in the world just about anything we can think of.
Here is one of many evidences that God’s word-the Bible-is to be taken seriously. There really is a day of reckoning coming. You can be ready for that day: see my posts on the gospel of Jesus Christ.

(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).

Ezekiel 21:25

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).

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…

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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.

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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.

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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?

THE WESTERN WALL

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).

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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).

REMAINS OF THE SECOND JEWISH TEMPLE, WITH ISLAMIC DOME OF THE ROCK BEHIND IT

 

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.

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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.

WEST BANK AND GAZA

WEST BANK AND GAZA

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).

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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?

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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.

NOTES

1: http://dailycaller.com/2014/07/23/iran-supreme-leader-the-only-solution-for-crisis-is-israels-destruction/

http://www.catholic.org/news/international/middle_east/story.php?id=44676

2: http://www.mythsandfacts.org/conflict/statute-treaties/hamas_charter.htm

3: http://www.algemeiner.com/2013/08/21/the-plo-charter-still-calls-for-israels-destruction/

4: http://patdollard.com/2014/06/al-qaeda-isis-threatens-to-destroy-israel-and-liberate-palestine/

5: Early church anti-Semitism. For a good summary see:

http://www.lamblion.com/articles/articles_jewishlife5.php

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.”

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