Saturday, February 5, 2011

Where will the Antichrist Come From?

One of the most common questions Bible prophecy teachers receive when speaking to people about prophecy is where will the Antichrist come from.  The actual origin of the Antichrist (that is, his ethnicity and, thus, where he will come from) is not conclusively known.  There are many good scholars who have equally strong opinions about the matter. The main theories are that the Antichrist will either be:
  1. Muslim
  2. Jewish
  3. Gentile/Roman


When one studies the Islamic religion and sees some of the parrallels between what they think is their savior and then what the Bible describes the Antichrist to be, we can understand how some may come to the conclusion that Antichrist will be Muslim.  The problem that is foreseen with that theory is that not many Jews would accept a Muslim to be their savior, as Muslims have been a sworn enemy of the Jewish people for centuries and do not share their faith whatsoever.

As we look at Muslim's hatred of the Jewish people, it both supports and rejects the idea of a Muslim Antichrist.  In one sense, it would make sense that Satan would use the Islamic religion to further persecute the Jewish people; yet how could the Jews accept someone who so adamantly hates them?  Perhaps the person will very convincingly seem friendly to Israel at first, or be of a mixed ethnic background of both Jewish decent, yet also Muslim.  It is also hard to ignore the idea that Muslim's practice the barbaric act of beheading, which lines up with what we're told in Revelation 20:4 about people martyred for their faith in Christ will be beheaded.

Yet some scholars suggest that there is no further scriptural evidence of a Muslim Antichrist, and they point to the idea that upcoming wars (e.g. the war described in Psalm 83) will substantially diminish the role of the Muslim world.   We must understand that Israel will be living in a time of peace when the Antichrist comes upon the scene (1 Thessalonians 5:1-9), which diminishes the threat of Muslims to the Jews.


Others believe the Antichrist will be of Jewish descent, as that would help lull the Jewish people into accepting him.  Yet we read in scripture that the Antichrist will be bent on destroying the Jews, just as Satan has wanted to do since the Jews existed.  It would seem unnatural for Satan to choose a Jew to do that bidding since that has not been the precedent in the past.  We also learn that the Antichrist will have the attention and respect of a worldwide audience.  It would be very unusual for a Jew to have that respect given much of the world is anti-Semitic.  While we should never rule it out completely, I think this idea has the least merit. 


Most scholars believe that the Antichrist will have Roman origins.  The best support for that is given in Daniel 9:26, which has the most detailed literal account of the origin (not characteristics) of the Antichrist.  There we are told that the Antichrist will originate from the people who would, in the future, destroy the city of Jerusalem and the Jewish temple.  Looking back in history it is clear that the Roman Empire accomplished that in A.D. 70. 

In contrast to the unliklihood that a Jew would be an accepted world leader, the Antichrist prototype, Antiochus Epiphanes, was a Gentile.  As we look at current events, we can also see how a man originating from the powerful European Union could quickly rise to world power.  Another very strong biblical argument for this theory is that "the sea" typically represents Gentiles in scripture; thus, when we read in Revelation 13:1 that the Antichrist (the “Beast”) will rise out of the "sea", it suggest he will come from a Gentile nation.


From the Christian's perspective, since the Antichrist will not appear until after Christians are Raptured to heaven (1 Thes 4:16-17; 1 Cor 15:51-52), we must be very careful not to prematurely point to world leaders or others in the world now and claim they are the Antichrist.  For unbelievers that are left to face the tribulation, however, the Bible has left many clues about his characteristics so that he may be identified which I have already detailed in a previous article entitled What Will the Antichrist Be Like?

Thus, while Christians should be wary that some day the Antichrist will arrive on the scene, we should especially follow the words provided to us by Jesus in Luke 21:36, "“Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.”  In other words, we should especially be focusing on the return of our Lord and Savior Jesus CHRIST rather than the Antichrist.  Maranatha!

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