THE ANTICHRIST WILL NOT BE JEWISH
I had always assumed the antichrist would be Jewish because if he was going to try to pass himself off as the true Messiah, he would have to be Jewish. But because I had not found any scriptural evidence to support that view, I was never quite certain of my assumption. But recently I have found that the Bible teaches that the antichrist will not be Jewish and I will address the above mentioned assumption in the study of this question.
We will address the following:
God’s name and His titles.
The Gentile destruction of Jerusalem
Does the antichrist have to be Jewish in order to be a counterfeit of the true Messiah?
GOD’S NAME AND HIS TITLES
God has one Name, and that Name is “Jehovah”. Isaiah 42:8 reads, “I am Jehovah, that is My Name…”. We have a very clear statement in this verse as to what God’s name is, it is “Jehovah”. This verse does not say that “Jehovah” is one of God’s names, it says that “Jehovah” is His name, implying that it is His only name.
But we read in Gen. 1:1 that “Elohim created the heaven and the earth”. If Jehovah has but one name, what is “Elohim”? “Elohim” is one of the many titles of Jehovah. Among the other titles of Jehovah is “El”, “Eloah” and “Ehl”, etc. In other words, “Jehovah” is God’s name and He has many titles. With that in mind we may go on to consider Dan. 11:36-37.
We read in Dan. 11:36-37, “And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every God, and shall speak marvelous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: for that is determined shall be done. Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any God: for he shall magnify himself above all”.
The phrase “he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every God” is quoted in II Thess. 2:4 which speaks of “that man of sin….the son of perdition” (the antichrist, vs. 3). In other words, Dan. 11:36-37 does indeed refer to the coming antichrist.
Having established that Dan. 11:36-37 refers to the antichrist we are ready to look carefully at this passage which, I believe will tell us that the antichrist will not be Jewish. It is necessary to first consider the various Hebrew words translated “God” or “gods” in this passage.
In the phrase, “shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every God”, the Hebrew word translated “God” is “El”. “El” is, as stated above, one of Jehovah’s titles. But it is also used of false gods. The only way to tell if it is used in reference to Jehovah or to false gods is by the context. It is clear from the phrase “every god” that in this context, “el” refers to false gods, i.e. the antichrist will magnify himself above every and all false gods.
Now let us consider the phrase, “shall speak marvelous things against the God of gods”. The Hebrew word translated “God” is also “El”. But the God of gods, is Jehovah, so in this case the context tells us that “El” is used as one of the titles of Jehovah. The Hebrew word translated “gods” is “elohim”. Again the context (in this case the phrase in which it is used), tells us that it refers to false gods. So Jehovah is the God (Heb. “El”) of all false gods (Heb. “elohim”).
In verse 37 we read, “Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers”. The Hebrew word translated “God” in this phrase is “elohim” (the Hebrew language has no indication of upper or lower case letters). As mentioned above, “elohim” is one of the many titles of Jehovah. But “elohim” is also used of false gods. I will give just three scriptures to prove that point, but there are many more. For example we read in Ex. 12:12 of “all the gods of Egypt”. In Ex. 18:11 we read, “The Lord (Heb. Jehovah) is greater than all gods“. And in Ex. 20:3 we read, “Thou shalt have no other gods before Me”. With that in mind let us come back to the phrase, “Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers” as it will tell us that antichrist will not be Jewish. Let me, for clarity, restate the question.
If we take “elohim” to refer to one of the titles of Jehovah that will tell us that the fathers of the antichrist were Jewish because “elohim” would be a title of Jehovah Who is the God of the Jews. But if “elohim” is used in reference to false gods, that will tell us that the antichrist will not be a Jew because even though Jews did indeed worship false gods in their history, false gods were never the gods of the Jews. Jehovah is the God of Israel. So how can we know which is meant?
Let us, for the sake of clarity, use the Hebrew terms and omit a few phrases that do not help us answer our question. This passage would read, “he ……shall speak marvellous things against the El of elohim (i.e. the God of gods)…….Neither shall he regard the elohim of his fathers……”
We are told that the antichrist will speak against the El of elohim”, i.e. the God of gods, who is, of course, Jehovah. Note the word “neither” in the phrase, “neither shall he regard the elohim of his fathers”. The word “neither” tells us that the antichrist will do one thing and he will also do something else. He will speak against Jehovah and he will not regard the elohim of his fathers. If we understand the phrase “elohim of his fathers” to refer to Jehovah the “neither” has no meaning. That is to say, it is not likely, in my opinion, to say that the antichrist will speak against Jehovah and not regard Jehovah because to “not regard” is not as damning as to “speak against”. But if we understand “elohim” to refer to false gods it all makes sense. That is to say this passage tells us that the antichrist will speak against Jehovah and he will not regard the false gods of his fathers. In other words, he will reject Jehovah and all other gods.
Let us also consider the phrase, “for he shall magnify himself above all“. The context has to do with the antichrist and his relationship to Jehovah and false gods. Therefore we may conclude that he will magnify himself above all gods. If we understand “elohim” in the phrase “neither shall he regard the elohim of his fathers” in reference to Jehovah (“elohim” is one of the titles of Jehovah) then we read that the antichrist will speak against Jehovah “for he shall magnify himself above all“. But he will not magnify himself above all gods by speaking only against Jehovah. On the other hand if we consider “elohim” to refer to false gods then it makes perfect sense. That is to say, the antichrist will speak against false gods and by doing so he will magnify himself above all false gods.
So Dan. 11:36-37 tells us that the antichrist will speak against Jehovah and he will also not regard the gods of his fathers and he will magnify himself above all the false gods of his fathers. The phrase “gods of his fathers” refers not to the God of Israel. It refers to many gods.
THE GENTILE DESTRUCTION OF JERUSALEM
The destruction of Jerusalem by the Gentiles is spoken of in Luke 21. Unfortunately, there is some controversy as to what period this chapter refers. Most of that controversy is due to the fact that some views are based on the historical records of man, rather than on the Word of God. I believe that man is fallible, and if we base our conclusions of God’s prophecies on the records of fallible man, we may be basing them on incorrect data. Let me give an example of that.
We read in Luke 21:24 that the conquered of Jerusalem will be “led away captive into all nations“. Many believe that the destruction of Jerusalem spoken of in Luke 21 refers to the destruction by the Roman army in 70 AD. It is, in my opinion, illogical that one nation, i.e. Rome, would be the victors and yet their captives would be sent to “all nations”. But more to the point, no one knows if the captives of Jerusalem were indeed carried away into all nations. Even if Josephus, who was an eye witness to the events of 70 AD, had recorded that they were carried away to all nations, which as far as I know he did not, we could not count on the accuracy of that observation because it comes from fallible man.
On the other hand, we do have Scriptural evidence that in the destruction of Jerusalem during the tribulation “all nations” will come up to battle Jerusalem, and that those in Jerusalem will indeed be carried away captive. We read in Zech. 14:2, “For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity.….”. Proof that this has to do with the tribulation is found in the context. Zech. 14:3-4 reads, “Then shall the Lord go forth, and fight against those nations, ……And His feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives….”.
The battle described in Luke 21:24 between the nations and Jerusalem will take place during the tribulation, and during the tribulation, the Jews will be carried away to “all nations”.
We have then a choice as to whether to rely on the historical records of fallible man, which may or may not be correct, or to rely on the perfect Word of God. Let us assume for the moment that Zech. 14 (quoted above) is the God-given fulfillment of the prophecy recorded in Luke 21 and continue with our study of the antichrist.
The destruction of Jerusalem will be headed up by the antichrist. How do we know that? We read in Dan. 9:26, “…..and the people of the (should be “a“) prince that shall come (i.e. the antichrist) shall destroy the city and the sanctuary…..”
We read in Luke 21:24 that “Jerusalem will be trodden down of the Gentiles“. And we read n Rev. 11:2, “But the court which is without the Temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles; and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months”.
We are now ready to put the pieces together.
1) We have Scriptural evidence that the captives taken from Jerusalem in the battle during the tribulation will be taken to all nations.
2) The antichrist will destroy Jerusalem during the tribulation.
3) Luke 21:24 and Rev. 11:2 tells us that the destruction of Jerusalem by the antichrist will be by the Gentiles.
4) Logic demands that the antichrist will be a Gentile.
For a more complete study of when the times of the Gentiles will take place please see the paper on that subject.
DOES THE ANTICHRIST HAVE TO BE JEWISH TO BE A COUNTERFEIT OF THE TRUE MESSIAH?
As mentioned above, I had thought for many years that if the antichrist was going to try to pass himself off as the Messiah, he must be Jewish or he would convince no one that he was the Messiah. But I had not been at all sure of this thinking because I could find no Scriptural evidence that convinced me that he would be Jewish. But since I have found the Scriptural evidence to convince myself at least, that the antichrist will not be Jewish, I must reconcile my old thinking with my new discoveries.
Let us establish first that the antichrist will try to be a counterfeit of the true Messiah. We read in Matt. 24:23, “Then if any man shall say unto you, ‘Lo, here is Christ, or there;’ believe it not”. The note in the Companion Bible tells us that the definite article “the” precedes the word “Christ”, so it should read, “here is the Christ”. In other words, there will be those in the end times who will be declaring themselves to be “the Christ”.
Having established that some will claim to be the true Messiah, we are ready to address the question of how they will be able to convince anyone of that if they will not be Jewish. To begin, I believe the truth of the old adage that people will believe what they want to believe. And this is a case in point. It will be, of course, unbelievers that will accept the antichrist as the true Messiah. If they are unbelievers they will not believe that Jesus Christ, born of the virgin Mary, was the Messiah, and are therefore looking for the Messiah’s first coming. That is to say, unbelievers do not believe that Jesus Christ fulfilled the role of the true Messiah, i.e. the Son of God, if they had they would not be unbelievers. They are therefore, still looking for the coming (they do not accept a “second coming”) of the true Messiah. But, there are any number of prophecies concerning the first coming of Christ which will certainly not be fulfilled by the antichrist. In other words, many will accept the antichrist as the true Messiah despite the fact that he will not fulfill many of the prophecies concerning him. Let us consider a few of the prophecies concerning Christ’s first coming.
It was prophesied that Christ will be born in Bethlehem (Mic 5:2). Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem (see Lu 2:4-7). As mentioned above, the paper on this web-site Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream” The Greek Antichrist will prove from Scripture that the antichrist will come from Greece, not Bethlehem. We read in Mal 3:1 that there will be a forerunner to prepare the way of Christ. We read in Lu 7:24,27 that that prophecy was fulfilled by John the Baptist who was the forerunner of Christ. We do not read of the antichrist having a forerunner.
My point is that because those who are deceived into believing the antichrist is the Messiah in spite of the fact that he will not fulfill any of the prophecies announcing the first coming of Christ, they may not even consider the fact that he will not be Jewish. We have a perfect example of people believing what they want to believe in the Nazi Germany of Adolph Hitler. Hitler’s Nazis did what they could to realize Hitler’s goal of ridding Europe of Jews, and totally overlooked the fact that Hitler’s father was Jewish, which according to Hitler’s own laws, he should have been gassed.
Because there is no Scriptural evidence to suggest that the antichrist will be Jewish, and it seems that logic does not mean much to those who will believe what they want to, l believe, we must not place too much weight on what is logical for unbelievers to believe concerning the Jewishness, or lack thereof, of the antichrist.
This paper was written by Joyce Pollard. If you would like to respond please write to me at: firstname.lastname@example.org