January 25, 2010

 Hello,

 I greet you once again in the Name of Jesus!

 Among the writers of the Old Testament, I suppose it would come as no real surprise that Moses is the most often mentioned. Moses is named in scripture some 768 times, while Abram or Abraham is mentioned only 303 times. The one individual, who holds more predictions concerning His life and ministry, is none other than the promised Messiah.

 There are hundreds of prophecies that refer to the Messiah, many of which were fulfilled in the first Coming of Christ, and others that will be fulfilled in His Second Coming and 1,000 year reign.

 The only other person who receives such attention, and it may surprise some, in the biblical prophetic scriptures is the coming final prince of darkness, the Antichrist. This individual is given several names in scripture; the beast, the son of perdition, the man of sin, etc. However, the best known of these names is the one interestingly enough that is only mentioned by the Apostle John in his general epistles, the Antichrist. There are few I would venture to say at least in the Western hemisphere who have not heard this name. If you have watched Christian TV, read prophecy books, watched End Time DVDs, or viewed apocalyptic-oriented specials, you probably understand four basic facts revealed in scripture concerning the coming Antichrist. They are:

  1. The Antichrist is a man who will form a final empire at the end of the age.
  2. The Antichrist will make a treaty with Israel for seven years.
  3. The Antichrist will eventually set up his kingdom in Jerusalem.
  4. The Antichrist will be in involved in the final battle, called Armageddon.

 These four basic facts are revealed clearly in scripture. Two Biblical Prophets, Daniel and John reveal much in their writings concerning this man and his rise to power. In a future installment we will do a detailed comparison of these two writers. However for now I want to get to some other pertinent material.

 Soon after my rededication to the Lord in 1978, I surrendered to the call to preach the gospel. At that time the Holy Spirit instilled in me a virtually insatiable thirst and hunger for the Word of God. My wife and I would travel to meetings and conferences almost every night of the week. My greatest interest was in eschatology, or Bible prophecy. I can look back now and understand why given what I am doing today. I read after many great Bible teachers and learned all that I could. I listened to tapes. I discovered at about this time the, in my opinion, best study Bible in print then or now, the Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible.

 One of the greatest criticisms of those whom I refer to as “rapture fighters”, is that those of us who teach a pre-tribulation catching away, is that we simply regurgitate the teachings of other teachers in our “camp.” Frankly, I did exactly that for years. For example, there are some common teachings with regard to the Antichrist that have circulated in prophecy circles for years. I have both read and heard these things about this individual for years. If you have attended a prophecy conference or read a prophetic book, perhaps you have heard the following:

  • The Antichrist will be a Jew from the tribe of Dan.
  • The Antichrist will rebuild a temple for the Jews on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.
  • The Antichrist will be a man of peace who will oversee the Common Market.

 These three theories are largely based on individual interpretations or traditional theological ideas handed down for generations from a few early church fathers’ specific interpretations, and they are not necessarily based upon specific scriptures. In fact, as I will explain, there is much more information alluding to the Antichrist that has not been taught or understood than what has been taught or written. Those areas that have not been understood or written are what I will share in this section of teaching over the next few editions of THE WEEKLY WORD. I firmly believe the following is an accurate description of coming events related to the Antichrist:

  • The Antichrist will be a Gentile (from an Islamic background) and not a Jew from Israel.
  • The Antichrist will not re-build the Jewish Temple – the prophet Elijah will initiate that process.
  • The Antichrist will control the oil-rich Gulf States and will control much of Europe.
  • The Antichrist brings peace only to his followers and death to those who resist him.

 As you can see, we have much ground to cover. First consider,

 THE ANTICHRIST WILL BE A GENTILE (from an Islamic background) AND NOT A JEW FROM ISRAEL.

 During the second and third centuries, many early church fathers became quite anti-Semitic in their theological interpretations. Several early fathers like Irenaeus and Hippolytus taught that the Antichrist will be a Jew from the tribe of Dan, a teaching based on their interpretation of Jeremiah 8:15 – 16, and three other passages in the scriptures. [See Gen. 49:17, Jer. 8:16] Interestingly, two of these passages mention the tribe of Dan and horses.

 The assumption links the tribe of Dan to the four horsemen of the Apocalypse, mentioned in Revelation 6:1 – 8, whose appearance introduces the Tribulation and the rise of the Antichrist.

 A third passage is found in the registers of the tribes of Israel in Revelation 7. Scholars note that the tribe of Dan is missing from among the list of tribes of Israel that receive a protective seal from God during the Tribulation. Thus, since Dan is missing, it is assumed that the Antichrist will arise from the tribe of Dan, inside of Israel. Why is Dan missing?

 We will explore that and more next time.

 The Weekly Word is found in Revelation 7:1 – 8. Here the Bible says,

 1 After these things I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, on the sea, or on any tree. 2 Then I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God. And he cried with a loud voice to the four angels to whom it was granted to harm the earth and the sea, 3 saying, “Do not harm the earth, the sea, or the trees till we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads.” 4 And I heard the number of those who were sealed. One hundred and forty-four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel were sealed:
       5 of the tribe of Judah twelve thousand were sealed;
      of the tribe of Reuben twelve thousand were sealed;
      of the tribe of Gad twelve thousand were sealed
;
       6 of the tribe of Asher twelve thousand were sealed;
      of the tribe of Naphtali twelve thousand were sealed;
      of the tribe of Manasseh twelve thousand were sealed
;
       7 of the tribe of Simeon twelve thousand were sealed;
      of the tribe of Levi twelve thousand were sealed;
      of the tribe of Issachar twelve thousand were sealed
;
       8 of the tribe of Zebulun twelve thousand were sealed;
      of the tribe of Joseph twelve thousand were sealed;
      of the tribe of Benjamin twelve thousand were sealed
. [Rev. 7:1 – 8 NKJV]

 Until next time, this is THE WEEKLY WORD.

 Pastor Kevin E. Johnson

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