Be Stirred, Not Shaken

"We ask you not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled…" ~ II Thes. 2:2 *** "But stir up the gift of God that is within you by the laying on of hands…" ~ II Tim. 1:6

Category: Biblical Figures

Who is the Antichrist? Part 5: Jewish False Messiah Theory (cont…)

Editor’s note: This is the final installment in a six-part series on theories and prophecies about the Antichrist and a continuation of the previous posts, Part 3: Jewish False Messiah Theory and Part 4: Jewish False Messiah Theory (cont.).  At very least we strongly recommend starting there before diving into this post, as this jumps right into the middle of the theory. 

If you have the time we’d also suggest starting with the Introduction, as well as Part 1: Roman Antichrist Debunked and Part 2: Muslim Antichrist Debunked.  

Mystery Babylon is eschatological Jerusalem

First, let’s establish that another significant event of the end times is the re-establishing of the temple services and daily sacrifice.  I alluded to this in the opening.

And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days.  (Dan. 12:11 KJV)

Next, I will attempt to demonstrate that the Mystery Babylon figure from the book of Revelation is eschatological Jerusalem, and the verses used to describe Mystery Babylon reveal the peoples of eschatological Jerusalem getting RICH on the backs of those that come—by force—to worship the weird talking statue and/or the actual beast himself.

The people of Mystery Babylon are also made rich by selling the goods needed for temple services and the sacrificial system.  Which begs the question: Was it mere coincidence that the only time Messiah showed real anger in the gospels was when He turned over the merchants’ tables and chased them from the temple?

To begin, let’s list out what we know about Mystery Babylon.

Revelation 17 and 18, where Mystery Babylon is described, are passages of scripture loaded with symbolism and allegory, but there are some literal descriptions of Mystery Babylon that we can use to develop a hypothesis about who and what Mystery Babylon is.

For instance:

She is RICH Rev 17:4
She is the Mother of Harlots Rev 17:5
She is drunk on the blood of the saints Rev 17:6, 18:24
She herself is a prostitute Rev 17:16
She is a City Rev 17:18, 18:10, 16,18
She is full of Sin Rev 18:4-5
She boasts that she is not a Widow, and never will be Rev 18:7
The Kings of Earth commit sexual immorality with her Rev 18:9
She makes her merchants RICH Rev 18:11-12

Now let’s analyze each of these descriptions to further develop the hypothesis.

She is rich

In ancient times, wearing garments of scarlet and purple was a sign of great wealth.  The clothes of commoners, the rank and file, were the natural color of the wool or cotton that the garment was made from.  The dyes used to make a garment colorful were expensive, and the bold colors of scarlet and purple were the most expensive of the dyes.

I believe there is additional significance to the use of scarlet and purple and the notable absence of the color blue, but we will get into that later.

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Who is the Antichrist? Part 4: Jewish False Messiah Theory (cont…)

Editor’s note: This is the fifth installment in a six-part series on theories and prophecies about the Antichrist and a continuation of the previous post, Part 3: Jewish False Messiah Theory.  It’s followed by the last in the series, Part 5: Mystery Babylon.  At very least we strongly recommend starting there before diving into this post, as this jumps right into the middle of the theory. 

If you have the time we’d suggest starting with the Introduction, as well as Part 1: Roman Antichrist Debunked and Part 2: Muslim Antichrist Debunked.  

The “first beast”

One thing that seems abundantly clear about the coming Antichrist figure is that he is a man of war. He rules with a rod of iron to be sure. Let’s now take a look at some of the scriptures that I believe show him as a man of war and others that detail some of the wars that he wages.

Revelation 13 describes a seven-headed beast rising out of the sea and that the “dragon” gives this beast “his own power and throne and great authority” (Rev. 13:1, 13:2 NLT).

It is almost universally believed that the beast in Revelation 13 is the Antichrist figure that we are studying. To be sure, interpretations that are “universally believed” are not always a good thing, but in this case, I tend to agree with this position. With that said, it is also almost “universally believed” that the dragon in question is Satan.

The NET Bible translates that scripture as, “The dragon gave the beast his power, his throne, and great authority to rule.” So, if those “universally believed” interpretations are correct, then we can deduct that Antichrist is somehow empowered by Satan himself, and as the interim ruler of this world, Satan will grant the Antichrist a great deal of authority with which to rule.

In verse 4 we read about people worshiping the dragon for “giving the beast such power.” Those same people go on to say, “Who is as great as the beast?” and “Who is able to fight against the beast?”. It seems from these statements that the people of the earth don’t think that any fighting force could defeat this beast. Now, this could partially be due to the beast receiving a mortal head wound, and then coming back to life, in the previous verse, verse 3.

We will discuss the mortal head wound in the next section, but I think it is safe to say that the people believe the beast cannot be killed. Who could fight against something that can’t be killed?

In verse 7 of Revelation 13 we learn that this beast is “allowed to make war with the saints and to conquer them.” Now, it is clear to me that the figure that does ALL “allowing” is God. God is in total control at all times. If it were up to Satan, he would “allow” the killing and conquering of the saints today…if that were in his power to do. No, this is God Himself allowing the beast to make war with the saints and to eventually conquer at least some of them. I guess the little bit of good news from this verse is that there are, in fact, saints left on the earth in the end—though it sounds like it will be a quite a tumultuous time for them to say the least.

The false prophet…a false Elijah?

While we are here in Revelation 13, I would like to draw the reader’s attention to the second beast that is described towards the end of the chapter. This second beast is near “universally believed” to be the false prophet figure mentioned elsewhere in Revelation.

Before we read the scriptures describing the second beast—the false prophet—I want to point out that nearly ALL adherents of Judaism are still awaiting Elijah the prophet, whom they believe will precede the coming of Messiah.

Remember, the Jews don’t believe that Jesus was the Christ; therefore they also don’t see John the Baptist as the Elijah figure that prepared the way for Messiah. So the Jews are still waiting for Elijah to prepare the way for Messiah. Some Jewish people go so far as to set a place for Elijah at their table during the Seder meal.

In Malachi 4:5, we read: “Look, I am sending you the prophet Elijah before the great and dreadful day of the LORD arrives.” It cannot be stressed enough here how much the adherents of Judaism are expecting a literal reincarnation of Elijah the prophet.

Now let’s read the description of the ‘false prophet’ in Revelation 13, starting in verse 11 (from the NLT):

Then I saw another beast come up out of the earth. He had two horns like those of a lamb, but he spoke with the voice of a dragon.

He exercised all the authority of the first beast. And he required all the earth and its people to worship the first beast, whose fatal wound had been healed.  (Rev 13:11-12)

So this ‘false prophet’ figure is granted authority that is like the first beast, and he requires that the inhabitants of the earth worship the first beast. Take note of how the first beast is being described, kind of reminding the reader which beast is in view by calling the first beast the beast “whose fatal wound had been healed”. Keep this in mind as we go forward.

He did astounding miracles, even making fire flash down to earth from the sky while everyone was watching.  And with all the miracles he was allowed to perform on behalf of the first beast, he deceived all the people who belong to this world.

He ordered the people to make a great statue of the first beast, who was fatally wounded and then came back to life. [There it is again]  He was then permitted to give life to this statue so that it could speak. Then the statue of the beast commanded that anyone refusing to worship it must die.  (Rev 13:13-15  NLT)

The verse that I really want to draw attention to is verse 13, where the false prophet, the second beast, is said to perform astounding miracles—even making fire come down from the sky. Please take note of how the bible makes sure that we know that this false prophet calls down the fire “while everyone was watching.”

Imagine that on the evening news: “Tonight in Jerusalem, a man calls down fire from heaven,” while they roll footage of the event. I think it is safe to say that any person that calls down fire from heaven would garner quite a lot of attention from the ENTIRE world.

Now, recall—what was the prophet Elijah famous for in the book of Kings? Stopping the rain for a few years, being risen to the heavens, and…calling down fire from the heavens.

The story of Elijah is one of the great stories of the Old Testament, the way he laughed at and taunted the priests of the false god Ba’al. I love the story myself.

But, to modern-day Jews who see a man calling down fire from the heavens on the evening news, they will immediately equate that event to mean that the prophet Elijah has returned, and the coming of Messiah is imminent.

I really don’t quite know what to say about a statue that comes to life and demands to be worshiped. I think this is probably symbolism, but I guess anything is possible during this time period.

The wars of the Antichrist

OK. Let’s circle back now to our study on the wars of the Antichrist.

In part two of this presentation, we briefly looked at Daniel 11. Let’s now go deeper and peel back the layers of these scriptures a little bit. I’m going to go verse-by-verse using the NIV, starting in verse 40.

“At the time of the end the king of the South will engage him in battle, and the king of the North will storm out against him with chariots and cavalry and a great fleet of ships. He will invade many countries and sweep through them like a flood.  (Dan 11:40)

The “him” of course, I believe to be the Antichrist.

During the Cold War, most scholars believed the king of the North to be Russia. Who else? It was the Cold War, after all. However, in his paper titled “Daniel’s ‘King of the North’: Do We Owe Russia an Apology?”, Dr. J. Paul Tanner, a professor of Hebrew and Old Testament Studies, suggests that the king of the North is “a confederation of northern Arab nations that will attack the Antichrist and his forces.” The modern-day nations of Iraq, Turkey, Syria, and Afghanistan are brought to mind, but that is speculation on my part.

It is widely believed that the king of the South is Egypt. So Egypt attacks ‘him’ first, and then Antichrist invades many countries and sweeps through them like a flood. Floods move fast and they destroy everything in their path.

He will also invade the Beautiful Land. Many countries will fall, but Edom, Moab and the leaders of Ammon will be delivered from his hand.  He will extend his power over many countries; Egypt will not escape.  (Dan 11:41-42 NIV)

The NLT renders the first part of verse 41 as “He will also enter the glorious land of Israel”. So, I think we can assume that Antichrist enters the land of Israel.

But I feel that the NIV might be in error for rendering the Hebrew word eiserchomai (ice-er’-khom-ahee) as “invade”. Most all other translations use the word “enter”. For instance the King James translates Daniel 11:41, “He shall also enter the Glorious Land”.

Other translations also use terminology that is more along the lines of ‘entering’ rather than ‘invading’.  For instance, the ESV renders it as, “He shall come into the glorious land”.  The Stongs definition of the word also points more to ‘entering’ or ‘coming into’ rather than ‘invading’.

After ‘entering’ Israel, many nations fall; by that we can assume that he conquers many nations, but Moab, Edom, and the leaders of Ammon escape. These three names seem to point to modern-day Jordan. However, Egypt does not escape. So the Antichrist conquers Egypt. Egypt picks a fight but ultimately they get their hats handed to them.

He will gain control of the treasures of gold and silver and all the riches of Egypt, with the Libyans and Cushites in submission.  (Dan. 11:43  NIV)

After conquering Egypt, the Antichrist takes their money, and also makes Egypt’s neighbors his servants. To me, it sounds like he takes control of the entire area. Let’s also make note here, as we did in part two, that all of the nations mentioned in these verses are modern-day Muslim nations.

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.  (Dan. 11:44-45  NIV)

Antichrist hears of news to the east and north, and in a rage, he storms out to annihilate many. Then verse 45 is very interesting. He “pitches his royal tents between the seas at the beautiful holy mountain”. In verse 41 he “comes into” Israel, and now we see him “pitching his tent” there. In my opinion, the “beautiful holy mountain” is the Mount of Olives.

At this point, one has to ask themselves the question: Are the people of Israel accepting of the Antichrist, or are they in a position of having been conquered, and thus in bondage to the Antichrist?

I believe, and will continue to attempt to demonstrate, that it is the former. The people of Israel will welcome the Antichrist with open arms, considering him to be the long-awaited Messiah whom they are expecting to rule from Jerusalem. Where does he pitch his royal tents according to Daniel? “Between the seas at the beautiful holy mountain”.

Most commentaries, however, believe verse 45, coupled with verse 41, depict the Antichrist as conquering the land of Israel. They assume that Antichrist is going into Israel to make war and ‘invade’.

However, I would ask: Does this necessarily mean that the fight is with the Jewish peoples in the land of Israel? Could it not be pointing to the Antichrist going into Israel and “invading” Israel’s enemies, such as the Muslim Palestinians that control Gaza and the West Bank?

OK. Back to our narrative. So here we have a man soundly defeating and conquering Egypt. Remember also, the Jews believe that a big portion of Egypt should be theirs due to God’s declaration in Genesis 15:18, “On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, “To your offspring I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates”.

Thus, the Jews believe that from the Nile in Egypt to the Euphrates River is and always will be their God-given land.

So imagine this:

  • A man comes and calls down fire from heaven and is considered by many to be a prophet while paying homage to and promoting a second man..
  • After that, the second man conquers all of Egypt and thoroughly defeats almost all of Israel’s enemies, most notably Israel’s neighbors that they have been fighting with non-stop since the tiny nation was established in 1948.
  • After that, this same man comes to Israel and submits the Palestinians and Muslims to his authority—thus, giving the “Jews” near total control of the land that they believe to be their God-given land, for the first time in millennia. And this same figure sets up shop “at the beautiful mountain” (again, this has to be the Mount of Olives in my opinion).

It would be hard to imagine a Jew NOT believing this figure to be the long-awaited Messiah.

In my opinion, a GREAT number of modern Christians—who don’t read their bibles closely—after seeing these events, where fire is called down from the sky, Israel’s enemies are finally subdued, etc., will believe that the Millennium has come. This person MUST be the Messiah. In other words, the majority of Christians will buy this lie too, just as the Bible prophesies.

In the interest of time, I need to move on, but I would point the reader to Zephaniah 2 for further corroboration of my assertion that the Antichrist is not only a man of war, but he specifically wars with the enemies of modern-day Israel.

Antichrist ‘resurrected’

At this point, I want to re-look at the “resurrected” Antichrist. I really don’t like using the term resurrected in accordance with Antichrist, so let’s just refer to it as the healed head wound going forward.

Going back to Daniel 11:45, we read about the Antichrist “coming to his end” and that “no one will help him”.

For whatever reason, a chapter break has been placed here, but you can be sure that Daniel didn’t place a chapter break there, so let’s keep reading, this time from the NKJV:

“At that time Michael shall stand up, The great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people; And there shall be a time of trouble, Such as never was since there was a nation, Even to that time.  (Dan 12:1  NKJV)

To fully comprehend this verse, I think we should also look at Matthew 24, where Messiah Himself describes a time that sounds very similar to this “time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation”:

“Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation’, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains”  (Matt. 24:15-16  NKJV)

Skipping down to verse 21:

“For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be”  (Matt 24:21  NKJV)

In these verses contained within the Olivet Prophecy, the Messiah seems to go out of His way to make sure that everyone listening knows that He is making reference to specific prophecies made by Daniel.

OK, let’s continue to try to put all of these things together. First, the Antichrist pitches his tents in Jerusalem in Daniel 11:45. He then commits the abomination of desolation from earlier in Daniel that Messiah makes reference to in Matt. 24:15. Which is to say, that the Antichrist will go into a temple of God and claim to be God and defile the temple. This act will cause those with understanding to flee from Israel to the mountains. And then, Antichrist will “come to his end”, with a mortal head wound described in Rev 13, but he will come back to life, at which time the period known as the “Great Tribulation” will begin. “A time of trouble like there never has been, and there never will be again.”

Are you with me?

You might be surprised to know that many Jewish people are waiting for a man to do exactly the things I just described. Namely, they are waiting for a man called Messiah ben Joseph to destroy the enemies of Israel and after these wars march victoriously to Jerusalem, where he will be killed by his enemies, but then miraculously be brought back to life. These events are thought by many Jews to happen at the end of this age or the beginning of the Messianic Age.

Allow me to explain.

In the Talmud, when trying to reconcile the various natures of the Messiah in the Bible (suffering servant, king, and conqueror), the writers came up with the idea that there will actually be two Messiahs in the end times. The first, Messiah ben Joseph, will precede Messiah ben David. Ben David is considered to be the superior Messiah. Ben Joseph will do all of the things that I just mentioned, and then Ben David will actually rule over the Messianic Age as king.

To be sure there are many differing views about how the end times will play out within Judaism, but the view of there being two Messiahs is widely accepted.

The following is what the Jewish Encyclopedia says about the two Messiahs:

“Messiah b. Joseph will appear prior to the coming of Messiah b. David; he will gather the children of Israel around him, march to Jerusalem, and there, after overcoming the hostile powers, reestablish the Temple-worship and set up his dominion. Thereupon Armilus, according to one group of sources, or Gog and Magog, according to the other, will appear with their hosts before Jerusalem, wage war against Messiah b Joseph, and slay him. His corpse, according to one group, will lie dead in the streets of Jerusalem; according to the other, it will be hidden by the angels with the bodies of the Patriarchs, until Messiah b. David comes and resurrects him.”.

Now, not all modern Jews believe in the concept of two Messiahs. But when these events transpire, most Jews would likely start reading the teachings about the two-Messiah theory that has been taught by nearly every sage since the Talmud was written. I would also point out that a false Jewish Messiah Antichrist and/or a false Elijah could exploit these teachings themselves when the time came.

All this is to demonstrate that there are many Jews that believe in two Messiahs. They even believe that the first Messiah, Messiah ben Joseph will suffer a mortal injury, but will be brought back to life. This, of course, is eerily similar to the verses in Revelation 13 where we read:

I saw that one of the heads of the beast seemed wounded beyond recovery—but the fatal wound was healed! The whole world marveled at this miracle and gave allegiance to the beast.  (Rev 13:3  NLT)

The two words in focus here are the words translated as “wounded beyond recovery” and “fatal wound”. The first comes from Strong’s G4969 sphazo, meaning “to butcher or slaughter or maim, kill, slay, wound”. The other is Strong’s G2288 thanatos, meaning literally and figuratively death or deadly, or as Thayer puts it “the death of the body.”

Every translation that I analyzed this verse in uses terminology that points to the wound being a death wound. This beast is believed to be DEAD.

Let’s also analyze the word translated as allegiance, as in, they “gave allegiance to the beast”. In the Greek, the word is thaumazo from Strong’s G2296, meaning “to wonder; by implication to admire: – have in admiration, marvel“.

I like the way the NLT translates this as “gave allegiance to the beast”. Most other translations render this sentence as “and the whole earth marveled as they followed the beast.” In plain modern English…they give their allegiance to him.

Later in Revelation 13, as we read earlier, John then uses this concept of mortal injury and being brought back to life as a way to identify the particular “beast” that he is speaking of.

Rev 13:12 (NLT) – “… the first beast, whose fatal wound had been healed”

Rev 13:14 (NLT) – “… the first beast, who was fatally wounded and then came back to life”

I think it is safe for us to assume that the calling down of fire from heaven by the false prophet, and the suffering of a mortal wound and being brought back to life are significant events during the end times.

To be concluded soon.

~Husteak

Catch up on the other parts of this series:

Who is the Antichrist? Part 3: The Jewish False Messiah Theory

Editor’s note: This is the third installment in a multi-part series on theories and prophecies about the Antichrist. If you haven’t already, we recommend starting with the Introduction before diving into this post, as well as Part 1: Roman Antichrist Debunked and Part 2: Muslim Antichrist Debunked.

So, without further ado…. I will now lay out an outline of my current working theory on who the Antichrist is.

The “Jewish False Messiah” Theory

My current working theory is that Antichrist will present himself as the prophesied Messiah.  A FALSE CHRIST.  Just as the scriptures prophesy.  I don’t really have an opinion as to whether he will present himself as the second coming of Jesus (the true Messiah), or if he will claim that Jesus was not Messiah and he is.  That really isn’t my point.  My point is that Antichrist will claim to be of the line of David, born in Bethlehem, etc.—i.e. a ‘Jewish’ Messiah.  A figure that the end-time “Jews” will believe to be THE Messiah, and many Christians too.  He will work to convince Jews and Christians that he has come to usher in his millennial reign and kingdom.

I think Antichrist will be promoted by a ‘FALSE PROPHET’ that will claim to be a reincarnation of Elijah the prophet.

Not many of us have truly studied the eschatology or end-time beliefs of the adherents of Judaism.  In this presentation, we will explore some Jewish eschatology according to the Talmud and other rabbinic writings.  I will demonstrate how these writings seem to encourage Jews to accept as Messiah a man with very similar characteristics as the biblical Antichrist, and how I believe Antichrist will use the Jewish end-time beliefs to his advantage.

With that said, let’s get something straight right here, right now.  I am NOT taking an anti-Jewish stance, nor am I arguing anything that should be perceived as such.  If you feel that I have degraded or put down the Jewish people at any point in this presentation, then I have spoken poorly, or you have simply perceived my words incorrectly.  Period.  I am not against the Jewish people in any way.

With that announcement out of the way, I would first point out that I am not alone in this belief of a Jewish Antichrist.  In fact, many of the 1st- and 2nd-century elders believed in a Jewish Fake Messiah.  There are also a few modern-day writers and videographers that hold to the Jewish false Christ theory as well.

The person whose writings I have most studied on this subject is Chris White.  Please note – Chris is a Sunday keeper.  In fact, he created a series of videos on why Christians should not keep the Sabbath.  Normally I would pass right by such a person’s work, but I felt very compelled to read his books titled “False Christ”, and “Mystery Babylon”.

Truth be known, this presentation started out to be presenting a Muslim Antichrist theory.  In the midst of doing the research for my “Muslim Antichrist” presentation, I was moved to read Mr. White’s books.  And I have to admit, Chris’ argument for the Jewish False Christ is just simply stronger than any other argument for the identity of Antichrist that I have heard to-date.

As I mentioned in a previous post, all of my non-core beliefs I hold like a scientist holds their theories—the theory is what I believe until a better theory is presented and tested.  White’s theory is simply the best I have heard so far.  If a new theory comes along and is better than the Jewish False Messiah, then that will be my theory.  Until that time, I will be studying and continuing to test the Jewish False Messiah idea.

With that said – I would like to openly admit that I am borrowing HEAVILY from White’s book “False Messiah” in this presentation.  Some might call that plagiarism.  Whatever.  I’m telling you the reader up front that a lot of what is presented, comes from that book.  I am not claiming that these are my theories.

There are several things that I disagree with White on, and those things will, of course, be omitted from this presentation.

Let’s get back on point here, as I continue to lay out the theory on the Jewish False Messiah.

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Who is the Antichrist? Part 2: Muslim Theory Debunked

Editor’s note: This is the third installment in a multi-part series on theories and prophecies about the Antichrist. If you haven’t already, we recommend starting with the Introduction before diving into this post, as well as Part 1: Roman Antichrist Debunked; links to the rest of the articles are at the bottom of this post.

Is the Antichrist Muslim?

The next theory on the identity of the Antichrist I personally came to believe was the Muslim Antichrist theory. I must admit, this thesis was very easy for me to believe due to the current geopolitical landscape of the world we live in. Since 9/11 this theory has become very popular.

To be honest, I bought the Muslim Antichrist theory hook, line, and sinker. I even pushed some brethren to read about and consider this line of thinking. I regret that now.

But, I eventually came to the conclusion that the Muslim Antichrist theory is just too easy. It’s too neat. Let us remember, the Antichrist will fool almost everyone. If the Muslim theory were to come to fruition, it wouldn’t fool anyone except the Muslims themselves.

Now before we start this phase of the presentation, let’s first do a little homework on the religion of Islam, shall we?

Background on the rise of Islam

During the last 22 years of his life, beginning at age 40 in 610 AD according to the earliest surviving biographies, Muhammad reported having revelations that he believed to be from God and conveyed to him through the archangel Gabriel or Jibril. (Somehow I don’t think that was Gabriel, but I digress.) The content of these revelations, known as the Qur’an, was memorized and recorded by his companions.

The Qur’an is considered by its adherents to be the verbatim word of God, and also by its teachings an example and way of life (or sunnah). It also is composed of prophetic traditions of Muhammad called the Hadith.

Muslims believe that Islam is the complete and universal version of a primordial faith that was revealed many times before through prophets including Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, and Jesus. They maintain that the previous messages and revelations have been partially misinterpreted or altered over time, but consider the Arabic Qur’an to be both the unaltered and the final revelation of God.

At the time of Muhammad’s ‘revelation’, Mecca was largely polytheistic, with the main false idol of worship being Allat, the goddess of the crescent moon. Muhammad pleaded with the people of Mecca to abandon polytheism and to worship the one god, that he named Allah.

Although a few people at that time did convert to Islam, Muhammad and his followers were largely ridiculed by the rank and file, and ultimately persecuted by the leading Meccan authorities. This resulted in Muhammad and his followers migrating to other lands, mainly to the lands of the Aksumite Empire. After 12 years of persecution and migration, Muhammad found a home in Medina where he established his political and religious authority.

Muhammad developed a constitution in Medina and was subsequently at war within a few years of his arrival. Muhammad’s Muslims fought with Mecca and many of the tribes of Arabia over the next several years. However, by the time of his death in 632 (at the age of 62), Muhammad had united Mecca, Medina, and the tribes of Arabia into a single religious state.

After his death there was much disagreement, strife, and ultimately war over who would succeed Muhammad as leader of the Muslim community. This person would come to be known as the caliph.

To make a long story short…over the next 1,200-1,300 years, the Muslims fought MANY brutal and bloody wars, ultimately controlling much of the Middle East as the Ottoman Empire or as they called it, the Caliphate. The Ottomans controlled vast lands, including parts of Europe, Northern Africa, and much of the Middle East.

Next, let’s get some of the basics of Islamic eschatology (study of end-time events)

There are only a few denominations of Islam (not NEARLY as many as there is in Christendom). The two main denominations are the Sunni and the Shia. The Sunni are much more prevalent than the Shia. The Shia represent about 10-20% of Islam and are mainly located in modern day Iran. The Sunni make up about 75-85% of the Muslim population.

The Sunni and Shia have very different views about the end times. However, they do agree about the figure they call the Mahdi, though they differ in their beliefs as to how the Mahdi will come to power. But they both believe that the Mahdi is the prophesied redeemer of Islam who will rule for seven, nine, or nineteen years (according the differing interpretations).

The Mahdi comes onto the scene just before the Day of Judgment. Ultimately they believe the Mahdi will rid the world of infidels and usher in an Islamic revolution where Sharia Law will be the foundational constitution of every nation on earth.

According to Islamic tradition, the Mahdi’s tenure will coincide with the second coming of Jesus Christ (who they call Isa). And Isa will assist the Mahdi against the Masih ad-Dajjal or Dajjal (literally, the “false Messiah” or their version of Antichrist).

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Who is the Antichrist? Part 1: Roman Antichrist Debunked

Editor’s note: This is the second installment in a multi-part series on theories and prophecies about the Antichrist. If you haven’t already, we recommend starting with the Introduction before diving into this post, and links to the remainder of the posts are at the bottom of this article.

The Roman Antichrist thesis has two main interpretations that are the most widely-held beliefs, and are used as proof texts for the Roman Antichrist theory. I will address these one at a time.

First, let’s analyze the assertion that Antichrist is of Roman descent. Or maybe better stated: that Antichrist has Roman blood, or is from a Roman bloodline.

Roman Bloodline Theory

The best I can tell from my research, this theory is based on an interpretation of Daniel 9:26. So, let’s establish some context of Daniel 9 before we dive into the verse.

Daniel 9 starts as a prayer of lamentation from Daniel to the All Mighty. Daniel prays a very heartfelt prayer asking for forgiveness on behalf of all of Israel for the sins that led to the captivity—mainly that of Judah and Jerusalem—as it has become evident to Daniel (due to his own interpretation of Jeremiah’s prophecies) why the captivity has happened and the length of time for the captivity.

Toward the end of the chapter, the angel Gabriel comes to Daniel in response to his prayer, and to provide Daniel with a few prophecies of his own.

This chapter of Daniel is where the famous 70 Weeks prophecy comes from. The verse that we will analyze is part of the 70 weeks or 70 sevens prophecy.

Dan 9:26 – After the sixty-two ‘sevens,’ the Anointed One will be put to death and will have nothing. The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed. (NIV)

So, the “scholars” have deducted from Daniel 9:26, that the people of Antichrist (his blood) would destroy the temple and Jerusalem—“the people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary”.

Many translations correctly translate “The Anointed One” as “Messiah”.

The key words here have to be “the people of the ruler”. The King James translates this as: “the people of the prince”. The term “the people” comes from Strong’s H6004 ‘am’, meaning “a people (as a congregated unit)”. Easy enough.

So the real key here is the word translated as “prince” or “ruler”. This has been translated from the Hebrew word ‘Nagid’, from Strong’s H5057:  A commander (as occupying the front), civil, military or religious; generally (abstract plural), honorable themes: – captain, chief, excellent thing, (chief) governor, leader, noble, prince, (chief) ruler.

Of course, the army that destroyed Jerusalem and the sanctuary (the temple) was in fact, a Roman army. No argument about that. However, ask yourself, would it be logical for Rome to have sent soldiers all the way from the Italian peninsula to Judea to fight?

It should be noted: The Roman Empire (at this time) stretched all the way from Europe around modern day Turkey, down through the Middle East, and all the way into North Africa. Rome had legions of soldiers strategically placed as garrisons throughout the entirety of the empire.

History tells us that Rome did, in fact, send several legions to subdue Judea. However, these legions were not from the Italian peninsula. They were legions garrisoned in and around Judea. Makes sense, right?

Let’s take a closer look at these legions and their commander.

The Roman General Titus

The temple was destroyed in 70 AD, by the Roman General Titus. Titus led the Eastern army of the Roman Empire, also known as the Byzantine Empire—not the Western army.

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Introduction: Who Is The Antichrist?

This is the first installment of a series titled “Who Is The Antichrist?”  Links to the remainder are at the bottom of this post.

Introduction to a series on "Who is the Antichrist?"

When I first came to Christianity, I couldn’t get enough of the Bible.  They call this “first love”.  In particular, I was very interested in Eschatology or the study of “the end times”.  I read and read.  I studied.  I watched videos on Youtube.  I did everything I could to learn more about “the end of days”, or “the end of the era”.

One Sabbath I decided to ask an Elder at my local congregation, a couple of questions about “the end times”.  His answers kind of puzzled me because he seemed to have many of the same beliefs as most in mainstream Christianity, which is rare for us, being Sabbath keepers.

At the end of our conversation, he concluded our talk by saying: “All that stuff is a LONG way off.  There’s no need to worry about that stuff now.  When you see the Two Witnesses preaching in Jerusalem…Then we should worry about the end.”

Now, this is a good man.  I respect him, and I respect his knowledge of the Bible.  But, that talk blew me away.  Not only did he agree with Mainstream Christendom, he also told me not to worry until the two witnesses were in Jerusalem.  It was almost as if he was telling me to not even study the end-time prophecies as they were so far off into the future that I needn’t even waste my time studying these things.  I don’t think that is what he was trying to communicate, but it FELT that way.

Can Antichrist really fool the whole world?

I found this to be very strange.  From everything that I had learned, identifying the “Antichrist” should be paramount to every Christian.  And, what about all of the things that were going to happen before the two witnesses came onto the scene?  And, what about Revelation 11 when speaking about the two witnesses, the angel describes Jerusalem as “…the great city—which is figuratively called Sodom and Egypt—where also our Lord was crucified.”  Wait!  This is a big deal.  Jerusalem is figuratively called Sodom and Egypt?!?

There just has to be so much more going on before the two witnesses come to Jerusalem.  And, I want to learn about that stuff.  Why?  So that if I see some of these things happening, I will know what’s going on.

In Matthew 24:24, Messiah says:

For false Christs and false prophets will arise and show great signs and wonders; so much so that, if it were possible, they would deceive even the elect” (ESV)

If one were to read that backward.  Could it not be said that:  Only the elect will not be lead astray, or fooled by the false christs?  Or perhaps put another way:  To be counted as the elect, “the first resurrection”, you cannot be fooled by antichrist and the false prophet.

Now, I know that Matthew 24:24 isn’t necessarily saying that.  And, I know my argument would only apply to the final generation, while I do believe that Messiah’s message was intended for all generations.  It is something to consider.

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Allegory in the Book of Esther: Fear vs. Faith (Musings on Faith)

I feel like no one talks about the book of Esther much.

There are only a few books of the bible that tell just one specific historical story without a lot of extra baggage.  In fact, I’d argue that only Ruth, Esther, and Jonah fit that bill.  These three books tell the story of a specific person whom God brought to a specific place at a specific time to fulfill a specific purpose.  “Specific” is the key word here.  We can’t forget that this is a historical story about real people.

There are only two books in the bible named after women.  Ruth was a Gentile who married a Jew, while Esther was Jew who married a Gentile.  Both books focus on God’s providence for His chosen people—Esther brings about the physical salvation of all the Jews in Persia, while Ruth becomes a key part of the lineage of Christ, and thereby the salvation of the whole world.  Both books show that God is looking after His people even when those people are unaware or indifferent.  And both books are also full of symbolism that can help transform an interesting, sometimes weird, historical anecdote into a meaningful story for modern-day followers of Christ.

No allegory is perfect and all analogies break down at a certain point.  This is a true story, and there are a few different ways of looking at the symbols/allegory.  Most sources I’ve read say that the king represents the soul and Haman represents the flesh, Mordecai represents the holy spirit and Esther the human spirit.  I can’t say that’s flat-out wrong, but honestly I don’t think it’s necessarily right, and over-complicates things—I actually believe that the symbolism in the book of Esther is far more overt and clear than that.  More importantly, I believe that there is one clear warning that Esther’s story highlights that, regardless of your feelings on allegory, we can’t afford to ignore.

From a timing standpoint, the key events in the book of Esther appear to happen right around Passover.  Haman’s decree was written on Nisan 13 (Esth. 3:12; Passover is on Nisan 15), and we can assume Mordecai—sitting in the king’s gate—found out fairly soon and went into mourning.  When Esther finds out, she mentions that she hasn’t been called into the king for the past 30 days, and commands a fast for three days and nights before she will go before him to try and save her people.  So while we don’t know the exact dates, it’s almost certainly Passover timing.

FIRST, I strongly recommend reading through the whole book—it’s short, it will seriously will take about 15 minutes, and it’s worth it.  We’ll quickly run through two allegory symbolism scenarios to get the whole picture, then get down to the heart of what we need to learn from Esther.  If you’re a total spoilsport, you can skip this part and jump to the moral of the story at the end, but I think this part is pretty fascinating and fleshes out some important details…

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Christ As Our Kinsman Redeemer: Redemption From Slavery (Passover Themes)

“As for our Redeemer, the Lord of hosts is His name, the Holy One of Israel” ~ Is. 47:4

Each of God’s holy days has many themes to be explored, Passover maybe even more so because it has already been fulfilled—so we see much more of the whole picture.

The first time we see the Passover commanded and celebrated in the bible, it directly precedes God redeeming His chosen nation out of slavery and leading them toward the Promised Land.  Many see this story as a specific event in time that the Passover commemorates, and nothing more.  However, the theme of redemption from slavery and how it ties to the Passover goes far beyond just Israel and Egypt.  It’s actually one of two core stories that permeate the entire bible from start to finish (the other being that of a betrothal and marriage that build a family).

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Lessons From Rahab’s Faith – “Come Out of Her, My People” (Musings on Faith)

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen…By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they were encircled for seven days. By faith the harlot Rahab did not perish with those who did not believe, when she had received the spies with peace” (Heb. 11:1, 30, 31)

“By faith, Rahab the harlot did not perish…”

Rahab the harlot is one of the unlikeliest heroines in the bible—a pagan prostitute in the city of Jericho, which was a place as corrupt and depraved as it got. Yet, because of her faith and actions, she is one of only two women named in Hebrews 11 (known as the “faith chapter”), and one of only two women named in the genealogy of Jesus Christ (Matt. 1:5).  There are many parallels between Rahab and the church, and a number of lessons we can draw from her life and character.

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