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THE SECOND COMING OF CHRIST AND JUDGMENT
Separating Fact from Fiction
Victor M. Eskew
A. One of the key players in the Dispensational Doctrine is the Antichrist.
1. “The Antichrist is scheduled to be the last ruler of this world – just before Jesus comes (Are We Living in End Times?, LaHaye and Jenkins, 282).
2. “In the end time Satan will give world dominion to the Antichrist (Rev. 13:1-4) (The Millennial Reign of Christ, Duncan, 47).
B. Right now, Premils are looking for someone who they can label as the Antichrist.
C. Because of the fascination with this supposed world leader, we believe that it is necessary to discuss “him” in some detail.
I. THE PREMILLENNIAL DOCTRINE OF THE ANTICHRIST
A. The Names of the Antichrist
(Given by Arthur Pink, http://www.pbministries.org/books/pink/Antichrist/anti_03.htm)
1. The Antichrist (I John 2:22)
2. The Man of Sin, the Son of Perdition (II Thess. 2:3)
3. The Lawless One (II Thess. 2:8)
4. The Beast (Rev. 11:7)
5. The Bloody and Deceitful Man (Ps. 5:6).
6. The Wicked One (Ps. 10:2, 4)
7. The Man of the Earth (Ps. 10:18)
8. The Mighty Man (Ps. 52:1)
9. The Enemy (Ps. 55:3)
10. The Adversary (Ps. 74:8-10)
11. The Head over many countries (Ps. 110:6)
12. The Violent Man (Ps. 140:1)
13. The Assyrian (Ps. 10:5, 12)
14. The King of Babylon (Isa. 14:4)
15. The Son of the Morning (Isa. 14:12)
16. The Spoiler (Isa. 16:4,5)
17. The Nail (Isa. 22:25)
18. The Branch of the Terrible Ones (Isa. 25:5)
19. The Profane and Wicked Prince of Israel (Ezek. 21:25-27)
20. The Little Horn (Dan. 7:6)
21. The Prince that shall come (Dan. 9:26)
22. The Vile Person (Dan. 11:21)
23. The Willful King (Dan. 11:36)
24. The Idol Shepherd (Zech. 11:16, 17)
25. The Angel of the Bottomless Pit (Rev. 9:11)
B. The work of the Antichrist is supposedly foretold in Bible prophecy.
1. In an article entitled, “Who Is the Antichrist?”, Michael Snyder lists 32 characteristics of the Antichrist.
2. On the website, www.alamongordo.com, forty-eight prophecies are listed that the Antichrist is supposed to fill.
a. The antichrist will be a man (Dan. 7:24-25)
b. He will confirm a covenant for seven years (Dan. 9:27)
c. He will rise among 10 kings (Dan. 7:8)
d. This 10 nation union will be a revived Holy Roman Empire (Dan. 2:44)
e. He will uproot 3 kings from the original 10 kings to gain political power (Dan. 7:8).
f. His 10 nation union will merge into a world government which he will dominate (Rev. 13:1-2).
g. He will ascend to power on a platform of peace. By peace, he will destroy many (Dan. 8:25).
h. He will be promoted and exalted by a miracle working religious partner (False Prophet) (Dan. 13:11-12).
i. He was , and is not, and yet is (Rev. 17:8)
j. The world government over which he rules will be a red (communistic or socialistic) government (Rev. 17:14)
k. The antichrist will be preceded by 7 kings or rulers. He will be the 8th king. He will also be of “the Seven” (Rev. 17:11).
l. He will have a mouth speaking great things. Very boastful (Dan. 7:8).
m. His look will be more stout than his fellows (Dan. 7:20).
n. He will have a fierce countenance (Dan. 8:23).
o. He will understand puzzling things (Dan. 8:23).
p. He will cause craft to prosper (Dan. 8:25).
q. He apparently assumes world dominating power 3-1/2 years after he confirms the covenant. He will then continue to reign for 42 months (Rev. 13:5).
r. The Abomination of Desolation is the event that signals the beginning of this final 42 months (Dan. 9:27).
s. He opposes God (II Thess. 2:4).
t. He will speak marvelous things against the God of God (Dan. 11:36).
u. He will exalt himself above all that is called God (II Thess. 2:4).
v. He will sit in the temple of God (II Thess. 2:4).
w. He will claim to be God (or an incarnation of God) (II Thess. 2:4).
x. He will take away the daily sacrifices from the temple (Dan. 11:31).
y. He will plant the tabernacle of his glorious palace between the seas in the glorious holy mountain (Dan. 11:45).
z. He will have the power to make war with the saints and overcome them (Rev. 13:7).
aa. He will continue this war with the saints for 3-1/2 years (Dan. 7:21-25).
bb. The time of Great Tribulation is launched upon the Earth by the antichrist at the Abomination of Desolation (Matt. 24:15-21).
cc. During this time, the antichrist will scatter the power of the holy people (Dan. 12:7).
dd. He will rule a mighty and strong kingdom (Dan. 7:7).
ee. He was given power over all kindreds, nations and tongues (Rev. 13:7).
ff. His kingdom will devour the whole earth (Dan. 7:23).
gg. He will have great military power that will stand behind him, to enforce his laws (Dan. 11:31).
hh. He will try to change times and laws; and they will be given into his hand for 3-1/2 years (Dan. 7:25).
ii. He will give great honor to the God of forces, with gold, silver, jewels… (Dan. 11:38).
jj. He will prosper in everything he does (Dan. 8:24).
kk. He will not regard the God of his fathers (Dan. 11:37).
ll. He will not regard the desire of women (Dan. 11:37).
mm. The mark of the beast will be the amount of his name (Rev. 14:11).
nn. All that dwell upon the Earth will worship him, except those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life (Rev. 15:2).
oo. He will have an image made after him (Rev. 15:2).
pp. His coming will after the workings of Satan (II Thess. 2:8).
qq. He will fight against Jesus Christ at Armageddon. And he will lose (Rev. 17:14).
rr. He will stand against the Prince of princes (Dan. 8:25).
ss. The Lord will consume him with the spirit of his mouth. Which is the Word of God (II Thess. 2:8).
tt. The Lord will destroy him with the brightness of his coming. Which is his glory (II Thess. 2:8).
uu. He will be cast alive into the lake of fire (Rev. 19:20).
vv. He will be tormented day and night for ever and ever (Rev. 20:10).
II. DISCREDITING THE PREMILLENNIAL THEORY
A. Throughout the course of time, man has attempted to determine “who” the Antichrist is.
1. Earliest attempts
a.. Irenaeus (2nd Century – c. 202) wrote Against Heresies. In very
loosely proposed terms, he suggests that the Antichrist is “Evanthos,” Lateinos” (“Latin” or pertaining to the Roman Empire).
b. The Ascension of Isaiah presents a detailed exposition of the Antichrist as Belial and Nero.
c. Athanaius of Alexandria (c. 298-373) writes that Arius of Alexandria is to be associated with the Antichrist.
2. Many Protestant Reformers, including Martin Luther, John Calvin,
Thomas Crammer, John Thomas, John Knox., and Cotton Mather, indentified the Roman papacy as the Antichrist.
3.. Widespread Protestant identification of the Papacy as the Antichrist
persisted in the USA unto the early 1900s when the Scofield Reference Bible as published by Cyrus Scofield. This commentary promoted Futurism, causing a decline in the Protestant identification of the Papacy as Antichrist (Wikipedia, “Antichrist”).
4.. In an introduction to the book, Naming the Antichrist: The History
of an American Obsession by Robert C. Fuller, we read the following:
“Fuller begins by offering a brief history of the idea of the Antichrist and its origins in the apocalyptic thought in Judeo-Christian tradition, and traces the 72 Gws how the colonists saw Antichrist personified in native Americans and French Catholics, in Anne Hutchinson, Roger Williams, and the witches of Salem, in the Church of England and the King. He looks at the Second Great Awakening in the early nineteeneth century, showing how such prominent Americans as Yale president Timothy Dwight and the Reverend Jedidiah Morse (father of Samuel Morse) saw the work of the Antichrist in phenomena ranging from the French Revolution to Masonry. In the twentieth century, he finds a startling array of hate-mongers – from Gerald Winrod (who vilified Roosevelt as a pawn of the Antichrist) to the Ku Klux Klan – who drew on apocalyptic imagery in their attacks on Jews, Catholics, blacks, socialists, and others. Finally, Fuller considers contemporary fundamentalist writers such as Hal Lindsey (author of The Late Great Planet Earth, with some 19 million copies sold), Mary Stewart Relfe (whose candidates for the Antichrist have included such figures as Henry Kissinger, Pope John Paul II, and Anwar Sadat), and a host of others who have found Antichrist in the sinister guise of the European Economic Community, the National Council of Churches, feminism, New Age religions, and even supermarket barcodes and fibre optics (the latter functioning as ‘the eye of the Anti-christ’). Throughout, Fuller reveals in vivid detail how our unique obsession with the Antichrist reflects the struggle to understand ourselves – and our enemies – within the mythic context of absolute good versus absolute evil.”
B. What the Bible teaches about the antichrist.
1. The word “antichrist” is used in four verses in the New Testament. Its plural, “antichrists,” is also found in one of those verses.
a.. I John 2:18
Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists, whereby ye know that it is the last time.
b. II John 2:22
Who is a liar, but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist that denieth the Father and the Son.
c. I John 4:3
And any spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is the spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.
d. II John 7
For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.
2. Summary thoughts
a. The word “antichrist” is applied to many people and no to just one person.
b. The distinguishing mark of an antichrist was the that he denied
the essential deity of Jesus.
1) He proclaimed that Jesus was only a man.
2) To strike at the deity of Jesus is to strike at the core of the Christian faith.
c. The antichrist does not have to be a personal being.
1) In I John 4:6, John contrasts the spirit of truth and the spirit
We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth us not. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.
2). “Briefly, we may say that any one who opposes Christ and His
kingdom, any opposition to the person and work of Christ, is
antichrist and antichristian”
3) “The only one of the last 1st/early 2nd Century Apostolic Fathers to use the term is Polycarp (ca. 69 – ca 155). Who warned the Philippians that everyone who preached false doctrine was an Antichrist. His use of the term Antichrist follows that of the New Testament in not identifying a single personal Antichrist but a class of people (Wikipedia, “Antichrist”).
d. The antichrists were Christian apostates who had forsaken the Church and who were teaching false views concerning the person of Jesus Christ (I John 2:18-19).
Little children, it is that last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now there are many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. They went out from us, but they were not of us: for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.
C. There is much confusion about the Antichrist.
1. We have already seen that no one is really able to identify him.
2. Another question centers around his background.
a.. LaHaye and Jenkins tell us that he will be a Roman based upon
“From this crucial passage we learn that the Antichrist will be of the racial stock of those who destroyed the city and the temple in A.D. 70 (‘the people of the prince who is to come’). From history we know that this ‘people’ refers to Romans, so Antichrist’s heritage must also be ‘Roman,” that is, from the eastern Mediterranean” (End Times?, LaHaye and Jenkins, 277).
b. In January, 1999 Jerry Falwell spoke to a “pastor’s conference” in Kingsport, TN. In his speech, he asserted that “most evangelicals believe that the Antichrist, will by necessity be a Jewish male.”
c. Many have declared the Antichrist to be a citizen and a leader of the United States. In an article by Todd Ristau, we read: “Reagan is the Anti-christ, and he knew what we had never considered…that the best way to discredit God, to keep the 2nd coming from occurring was to read ahead in the script and not do what it says to do….and when the man, the actor, the empty shell has served its usefulness, the demonic being that was the spawn of Lucifer left the body of Ronald Wilson Reagan, and today that shell lies alone in a hospital and Nancy holds its hand praying to a darker god that her husband will find his back from hell to take back his life and body” (“How I Know for a fact that Ronald Reagan is the Anti-christ,” 2002).
3. Will the antichrist die and be brought back to life again for his role in the Tribulation? (See LaHaye and Jenkins, 281).
“We believe that the Beast really is killed, for John twice says that he “ascends out of the bottomless pit” (11:7; 17:8); we believe this means that the Beat is killed, descends to the pit, and ascends from there to the earth then is resurrected – an evil counterfeit of the Lord’s own death and resurrection.”
4.. It is even possible to know who the antichrist is until the Rapture? LaHaye and Jenkins say: “No.” “Once the Rapture takes place (and the Holy Spirit is ‘taken out of the way’), the Antichrist will be revealed to the world” (End Times?, LaHaye and Jenkins, 278).
A. If those interpreting the Bible prophecies are so reliable, why have we had hundreds of individuals over the course of hundreds of years named as “the Antichrist”?
B. The Bible teaches that
1. Antichrists have been upon the earth since the first century.
2. An antichrist is anyone who opposes the deity of Jesus, Jesus Christ, His teachings, and His kingdom.
C. The next step in one’s study should be to go to the numerous texts that are alleged to be about the Antichrist and come to a proper interpretation of them.