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.
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.
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.
Catch up on the other parts of this series:
- Part 1: Roman Antichrist Theory Debunked
- Part 2: Muslim Antichrist Theory Debunked
- Part 3: False Jewish Messiah Theory
- Part 5: False Jewish Messiah Theory Continued, Mystery Babylon