Identifying The AntiChrist
As a Christian, I spend time wondering, "Who is the AntiChrist? Has he appeared yet on the world scene? Where will he come from?" Over the years, having been called to teach, I've learned to trust that the Lord manages the Latter Days to His Own glory. Nevertheless, I do read material related to Christian eschatology because Christians are commanded to watch for signs of our Lord's coming.
The essay below, by Walid Shoebat, offers insights, including prophecies and historical background from the Bible and Christian theologians.
From The Tedland Daily:
THE DEBATE OVER ANTICHRIST
By Walid Shoebat
THE THREE CHALLENGES
Does the beast of Revelation involve Middle Eastern Muslim nations, is it exclusively European, or is it both? Some say the notion that Islam could play a prominent role in the coming revival of the Roman Empire is impossible, unorthodox, untraditional, the work of ‘Lone Ranger’ type interpretation, and even revisionist..1
The majority of American evangelicals believe that the Antichrist system must be exclusively European, yet this view is changing after the last few years with the rise of Islam.
So, could Islam play a role in this end-times scenario? You might think to yourself—so what? Why should we care? Well, why then did the Almighty give us Daniel and Revelations? Even better still — why did God give us all the Messianic prophesies regarding Jesus’ first coming? Careless followers that missed these ended up without salvation, regardless of whether they sacrificed lambs in the Temple or obeyed the law—when it comes to the issue of Messiah, they missed the most crucial event in history. All for not paying close attention to Bible Prophecy. And what about the second coming? Are we to be careless with respect to the evidence presented in the Bible? I am not saying that you could lose your salvation, but if you end up on the side of Antichrist, you never had salvation in the first place.
Yet today, the debate is brewing—what about the threat of Islam? Did the Bible warn us about it? Are we supposed to keep our focus exclusively on Europe?
To shed light on the implications of such detailed evidence (which spawned countless challenges and questions) I decided to write God’s War on Terror regarding Islam’s involvement in end-times. Consequently, I get challenges daily, not only by Muslims that want me dead but also from Christians who are dogmatic about their views. Ironically, we have no record of any Christian minister killed for exposing the E.U. as the work of Satan, yet we have millions who gave their lives for standing up to Islam. So please allow me to alleviate some pressure and present you with only three challenges:
CHALLENGE 1: Did traditional Prophecy scholars teach that Europe is exclusively the Antichrist kingdom?
You might be shocked to know that the highest caliber commentators of old did not believe that Europe was the exclusive player in the End-Times. A revival of a Roman Empire never meant a revival of a European Empire.
Many of our best western scholars on Bible prophecy believed that Islam would be a major player and will revive in the end of days as part of this end-time beast. John Wesley interpreted the Iron in Daniel 2 as Islam (Works, 1841). Hilaire Belloc foresaw Islam‘s rise.2 Gregory Palamus of Thessalonica interpreted the martyrdom of Christians during the Great Tribulation to come from Islam. Josiah Litch interpreted Revelation as the ushering in of Islam.3 He even described the magnitude of Islam’s role being Antichrist to the extent of calling it the “general agreement among Christians, especially protestant commentators.” Cyril of Jerusalem (315-368 A.D) in his Divine Institutes believed that Antichrist proceeds forth from the region of ancient Syria 4, which today extends from Syria well into portions of Asia Minor (Turkey). Sophronius, Patriarch of Jerusalem (560-638) and Maximus the Confessor (580-662) identified Islam with Antichrist and lived through Islam’s invasion of Jerusalem. Maximus was also an important theologian and scholar of the early Church who helped defeat the Monothelite heresy referred to the Muslim invasions as “announcing the advent of the Antichrist.” John of Damascus (676-749) was another very important figure in the early church. In his famous book, Against Heresies, he identified Islam as the forerunner to the Antichrist. Eulogius, Paul Alvarus and the Martyrs of Cordova (9th century) believed Muhammad to be a false prophet and the precursor to the Antichrist. 5 Many are not aware that while Martin Luther, father of the Protestant Reformation, believed that the Papacy played the role of the spiritual harlot, he also believed that the Muslims were the Kingdom of Antichrist. 6
John Calvin interpreted Daniel 2 eastern leg as the Eastern-Roman Islamic Empire and that Daniel 11:37 applied to the Muslims. 7 Even Jonathan Edwards the great American congregational preacher, revivalist, and president of Princeton University, like Luther and Calvin, saw Islam as one of the premiere elements of the Antichrist Kingdom. 8 Calvin even interpreted Islam’s fall at the sound of the great trumpet 9 Islam falling at the sound of the great trumpet even carries Islam into the Great Tribulation and not as many of our contemporary prophecy analysts who allege that Islam must be removed prior to Christ coming.
Even Sir Robert Anderson, perhaps one of the best prophecy experts who unlocked the seventy weeks of Daniel, in his remarkable book The Coming Prince, insists to focus on the Levant (Eastern) parts rather than the Adriatic (West). 10
Countless other Bible commentators warned about Islam being the kingdom of Antichrist—Selnecker, Nigrinus, Chytraeus, Bullinger, Foxe, Napier, Pareus, John Cotton, Thomas Parker, Increase Mather, Cotton Mather, and George Stanley Faber. 11
Also added to the list is Rev. Professor Dr. Francis Nigel Lee who sums up the traditional view in his excellent work Islam in the Bible: “from the seventh century onward – [the two legs] would degenerate respectively into the Papacy (which progressively took over the West) and Islam (which progressively took over the East.” (p. 5)
Making Europe the exclusive body of Antichrist kingdom is not the orthodox or even the traditional view. Some insist that Antichrist is Italian since he comes from the Roman Empire, but Roman does not strictly mean Italian, just as Alexander the Great was Grecian, this does not mean Athenian—he was from Macedonia. Antiochus Epiphanies, another biblical prediction was Syrian not Athenian or Cypriot. Why then, when it comes to Antichrist, insist on an Italian ignoring the whole empire. Even Jesus insisted that Pergamum in Revelation 2:12-13, was the seat of Satan and not the gymnastically altered interpretation for an archeological relic that sits in Berlin.
While contemporary prophesy analysts trumpet the idea that the fourth composite of Daniel 2 iron metal as strictly European, traditionalist views differ. Dr. Matthew Henry comments: "Who is this enemy—whose rise, reign and ruin are here foretold? Interpreters are not in agreement. Some will have the Fourth Kingdom to be that of the Seleucidae and the ‘little horn’ to be Antiochus.... Others will have the Fourth Kingdom to be that of the Romans, and the ‘little horn’ to be Julius Caesar and the succeeding emperors, as Calvin says. The Antichrist, the Papal Kingdom, says Mr. Joseph Mede.
Others make the ‘little horn’ to be the Turkish Empire [Muslim]; so Luther, Vatablus, and others. Now I cannot prove either side to be in the wrong. Therefore, since prophecies sometimes have many fulfillments, we ought to give Scripture its full latitude (in this as in many other controversies)—I am willing to allow that they are both in the right.” 12
Most students of prophecy that ascribe to a revival of the Roman Empire ignore that North Africa (Phut) encompasses five Muslim nations historically part of the western wing of the Roman Empire, and already mentioned literally in several end-times references. In order for the exclusively European model to fit, the whole of this Muslim region must be irrelevant. So what part of the Roman pie do we slice off and what parts do we include?
CONTEMPORARY VS TRADITIONAL
So what happened? Why do we have such a variation between contemporary versus traditional? The problem began in 1981 when Greece joined as the tenth nation in the European Union and many sounded a false alarm that announced they unlocked the mystery and have the fulfillment of Revelation 17, all with its ten horns, to later be embarrassed when the European Union mushroomed into twenty some nations.
Instead of pulling back their books, these analysts ran back to the drawing board, not to confess their error, but to insist that the E.U. model must shrink to only ten.. They still chose to finagle with the theory. Some, like Arnold Fruchtenbaum, realized that this was wrong: “It has become common today to refer to the ten kingdoms as being in Europe only, especially the Former Common Market, now the European Union. But the text does not allow for this kind of interpretation. At the very best, the European Union might become one of the ten, but it could hardly become all of the ten.'' 13
According to Fruchtenbaum, the European model comprises only one tenth, a mere slice of the whole pie. Jamieson Fausset & Brown insist that, “the ten toes are not upon the one foot (the west), as these interpretations require, but on the two (east and west) together, so that any theory which makes the ten kingdoms belong to the west alone must err..”
CHALLENGE 2: Besides the argument on whether Magog is Russia, can anyone cite any literal reference to a nation that God destroys in the End-Times that is not Muslim?
Only if you ponder this question can you grasp its magnitude. On one occasion during a lecture to a group of prominent Bible prophecy teachers in the Pre-Trib Prophecy Conference in Dallas, I asked this question and no one raised a hand to answer.
In frustration, I pointed to Dr. Randall Price, a known Prophecy teacher and asked him to respond, in which he pointed that when it comes to literal references there are none. Grant Jeffrey, another known author, once attempted to respond with Cush, not realizing that biblical Cush (a reference sometimes translated as Ethiopia) is defined in the Unger Bible Dictionary as a landmass south of Egypt. Today this will be Sudan and Somalia.
Grant Jeffrey chose one of the most fundamentalist Muslim nations as a response to find non-Muslim nations in end-times. David Reagan of the Lion and Lamb Ministries with frustration pointed to Mystery Babylon 14 ignoring that the crucial word in that question is “literal”. If Babylon is a response to cite any literal reference for a non-Muslim nation that God destroys, this would still support my view— Mystery Babylon is an allegoric reference.
CHALLENGE 3: In every portrayal of Christ’s return to the earth, is He not fighting a nation that today is Muslim?
The significance of this question is as follows —scholars are unanimous, that Christ’s second coming must happen after Antichrist appears on the scene. Christ’s mission will be to destroy Antichrist and establish His Millennium kingdom. The European Union model has the Muslim hordes destroyed before the Tribulation period. Yet the text shows that Messiah Himself deals with Muslim nations.
The next prophecy conference you attend ask, “Is Jesus on earth on the Day of the Lord?” Ezekiel tells us of that day, “For the day is near, even the Day of the Lord is near” (Ezekiel 30:3). Yet this is when “Cush and Phut, Lydia [Turkey] and all Arabia, Libya and the people of the covenant land will fall by the sword along with Egypt” (Ezekiel 30:5). Other prophesies show these nations are cast into Hell, including Asshur – “Iraq – Syria”, (Ezekiel 32:22-23) Elam – “Iran” (Ezekiel 32:24-25) Meshech & Tubal “Asia minor—Turkey” (Ezekiel 32:26) – Edom – “Arabia” (Ezekiel 32:29). These nations are punished for striking terror against Israel and the believers (Ezekiel 32:22-24 & 27).
Perhaps sharing a few from the volume of hundreds of prophecies of Jesus’ wars during the Great Tribulation can shed more light on the matter: “See Jehovah rides on a swift cloud and is coming to Egypt. The idols of Egypt tremble before him, and the hearts of the Egyptians melt within them” (Isaiah 19). Does this remind you of the song “behold He comes riding on the clouds”? Yet rarely are we told that Jesus here is fighting Egypt—a Muslim nation.
Even in Christ’s judgment of the nations (Joel 3) He is fighting Muslim entities. “Now what have you against me, O Tyre and Sidon [Lebanon] and all you regions of Philistia [Gaza]” (Joel 3:4) It couldn’t be more clear! It was as if Jesus Himself was speaking directly to Hezbollah (Tyre and Sidon) and Hamas (Philistia), challenging them regarding their bloodlust against the Jewish people. Their fight against Israel is in reality a declaration of war on the King Himself.
In Isaiah 25:9-10 at the time of the Lord’s return, we have Christ fighting Moab “And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for Him, and He will save us: this is the LORD; we have waited for Him, we will be glad and rejoice in His salvation. For in this mountain shall the hand of the LORD rest, and Moab shall be trodden down under Him, even as straw is trodden down for the dunghill.” (Isaiah 25:9-10).
Even in Isaiah 63, scholars unanimously agree that He fights Edom (Arabia).
Are the Muslim nations in prophecy destroyed prior to the Christ’s coming? Will the Antichrist then establish his European rule? Can anyone find a verse in the Bible in which Christ fights and nations are literally mentioned which are not Muslim?
This is why many who exclusively see Europe as Antichrist insist on removing Islam from the scene prior to the coming of Christ. Since the Muslims still exist on earth upon the Lord’s return fighting against Him, their whole premise of an exclusively European Antichrist falls apart.
Walid Shoebat, God’s War on Terror,
1 Lamplighter Newsletter, David Reagan, January 2009 edition.
2 The Great Heresies, chapter 4 March, 1936, page 127-128
3 Hosiah Litch, The Three Woe Trumpets, Fall of The Ottoman Empire, August 11, 1840
4 Divine Institutes, 7:17
5 Paul Alvarus, Memoriale sanctorum 2.4
6 Martin Luther, Tischreden, Weimer ed., 1, No. 330
7 Calvin On Islam Revelation Prof. Dr. Francis Nigel Lee, Lamp Trimmers El Paso, 2000
8 Jonathan Edwards, The Fall of Antichrist, Part VII, page 395, New York, Published by S. Converse 1829
9 Jonathan Edwards, The Fall of Antichrist, Part VII, page 399, New York, Published by S. Converse 1829
10 The Coming Prince, Page 273
11 Froom: op. cit., II pp. 323f, 325f, 331, 340f, 412f, 458 & 518f and also III pp. 40f, 74f, 125-31, 149, 183, 240f, &352f.
12 M. Henry: A Commentary on the Holy Bible, with Practical Remarks andObservations, London: Marshall Bros. Ltd., n.d., IV:1270f.
13 Fruchtenbaum, Footsteps of the Messiah, page 36
14 Lamplighter Newsletter, David Reagan, January 2009 edition.