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Saturday, November 22, 2014


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The Coming Anti-Christ: Jesus of Nazareth?

A Tragic Case of Mistaken Identity?

Part Two of Three


[From part 1: Two questions do arise, (1) By what authority is it stated that these expositions of a Coming Antichrist are not sound? (2) Surely it is not being implied that good christian people, many of them currently holding this Antichrist view, will be among those deceived, if the above hypothesis is, in fact, true? Is the writer unaware that the Rapture will occur just prior to the manifestation of this Antichrist (according to present day expositions) and that they will be in heaven with Jesus during the reign of the Antichrist, and therefore could not possibly be deceived?"]

The response to these eminently reasonable queries is as follows:

1) The entire basis for this Antichrist view is founded upon an interpretation of a portion of Daniel 9 -- the prophecy of the Seventy Weeks. This particular view was championed by Sir Robert Anderson in his book The Coming Prince, first published in 1881. This interpretation is discussed in detail in the second portion of this pamphlet [Part Two].

Question (2) above involves of necessity a detailed discussion of another widely held tenet of faith, namely that an event known as "The Rapture" (or "The Great Snatch"), as one evangelical writer termed it, is soon going to occur. What is this "Rapture", as it is commonly conceived, and upon what is it founded?

This popular notion has its foundation, ostensibly, in 1 Thessalonians 4:17: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air (or atmosphere): and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

This is interpreted to mean that believers will be caught up into the literal clouds high above the surface of the earth ("in the air") and taken off to heaven. One well-known writer on the subject states:

"The largest descriptive volume of the Tribulation is found in Revelation 6 through 19. Here is a fascinating revelation about Revelation.

In the first five chapters of this book, the church is mentioned thirty times. In fact, in chapters 2 and 3, at the end of each letter to the churches, John says, 'Let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches'. This is repeated seven times. Then we have the beginning of the description of the Tribulation and there is not one mention of the churches. The church is conspicuous by its absence. Why? Because the church will be in heaven at that time. If you are a believer, chapters 4 and 5 describe what you will be experiencing in heaven. (Lindsey, Hal, "The Late Great Planet Earth," Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, 1970, p. 143-144)

One further point should be made at this time with respect to the "rapture". There are currently three views as to when in the seven-year career of Antichrist this remarkable event will occur. (The reason for a period of seven years, rather than some other period of time, will be explained in Part 2 of this pamphlet [Part Two].) The most popular view is known as the "Pre- tribulation" rapture. Exponents of this understanding believe that believers will be taken to heaven just before Antichrist begins his seven-year reign. Then there is the "Mid-tribulation" exposition, which states that the church will be here on earth for the first half of Antichrist's rule, and then be taken to heaven by Christ. Lastly, there is the "Post-tribulation" rapture, in which the view is maintained that the believers will be on earth for the whole of the seven-year reign of Antichrist. The three views are depicted diagrammatically overleaf. The important point that the reader should file away in his mind for future consideration is that the question of when the rapture will occur is one upon which there is some disagreement. Hence, there exists a great deal of flexibility on this point. The possible implications of his flexibility will be examined presently.

On returning to 1 Thessalonians 4:17 for a moment, the key verse used to support the entire rapture theory, it is found that the commonly accepted evangelical interpretation is not borne out either by the verse itself or by other Scripture. The clear meaning intended is that a large body of people (here translated "clouds"-- see Hebrews 12:1) will be gathered by the power of God to a place of judgment here on this earth, in the very air or atmosphere. The place of judgment will most probably be somewhere in the Sinai Peninsula, from which Jesus and his redeemed brethren will proceed to Jerusalem. (See Deut. 33:2,3; Isaiah 63:1-6; Habakkuk 3:3; Obadiah 21; Matthew 23:39.) The theory that there will be two comings of Christ separated by a seven-year interval is one that has no basis in Scripture but is rather one that has been introduced to coincide with the theory of a Coming Antichrist.

Is there a possibility then that the following situation could develop?

The three theories of the rapture:

1. Christ takes believers to heaven where they spend the next seven years; Antichrist appears in Jerusalem and reigns for seven years.

2. Believers live on the earth for the first 3-1/2 years of Antichrist's reign; in the middle of his reign, they are taken to heaven by Christ, while on earth his reign is dreadful for the next 3-1/2 years, known as the "Great Tribulation". (The "Great Tribulation" is supposedly described in the book of Revelation, with the time periods there being understood as literal periods.)

3. Believers live on earth throughout the whole of Antichrist's reign; Christ appears at the end of the last week and gathers believers. Armageddon follows in which Christ subdues the nations.

A new Jewish leader has suddenly appeared in Jerusalem. The rapture * has not occurred. What will professing christendom conclude as this new leader commences his ambitious programs, apparently with supernatural power? Slowly, dimly, do we not begin to see a spectre taking shape on the horizon, giving us the answer to the question in Psalm 2? In their estimation this new ruler cannot possibly be Jesus, for he is expected to take the church away from the earth. There is only one conclusion left for them to reach: This new ruler must be the Antichrist, and the rapture must occur either at Mid-tribulation or Post-tribulation. Meanwhile, it is the duty of all sincere christians to prepare themselves to "witness" against this new dictator. For suddenly onto the world scene comes a new leader who:

    1. Appears suddenly
    2. Is a Jew
    3. Claims that he is the long-looked-for Messiah of Israel
    4. Has supernatural powers
    5. Resides in Jerusalem
    6. Commences the rebuilding of the Temple
    7. Talks of restoring the Jewish nation to their position under the Covenant
    8. Appears very near to the time when Russia was defeated
    9. Promises the world a new era of peace and prosperity, but demands submission and commences military operations when his request is not complied with by the nations.



Can we not see that when he manifests his power, the religious leaders of the day will come to fear this political ruler and brand him as the long-awaited "Antichrist"?

And so, sad to relate, history will repeat itself. The first time, the professing religious people were expecting a Lion, and found a Lamb.

When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone. (John 6: 15)


* It is our position that those who will be called to judgment at Christ's appearing will be those noted in Psalm 50:5 -- "Gather my saints together unto me; those who have made a covenant with me by sacrifice." This covenant is the one God made with Abraham and his "seed" or descendants. Those who are outside this covenant are not counted as saints. The two positions, namely those who are adopted into the commonwealth of Israel and are included under the terms of the Covenants of Promise, and those who are not, are clearly delineated in Ephesians 2:11-13. Others, however sincere, are not named in this agreement. They have never been adopted into the family of Abraham, that is, become spiritual Israel, and therefore have no claim to the things promised. This, unfortunately, encompasses a large group of persons who believe that they are in the way of salvation, but are not so as defined by Scripture, our only reliable guide in this most important matter. One evangelical writer expresses his hope as follows:

"For us, as believers, our hope is different from Israel's . . . First there is a great distinction between God's purpose for the nation of Israel and His purpose for church, which is His main program today." (Lindsey, Hal, "The Late Great Planet Earth, pp. 139-142)

This contrasts starkly with the declaration of the apostle Paul: "For this cause therefore I have called for you, to see you and to speak with you; because that for the hope of Israel I am bound with this chain." (Acts 28:20)

The Hope that the Bible holds out is that Israel will become the centre of the Kingdom of God with the faithful seed of Abraham (whether Jew or Gentile) as the rulers. The future of Israel and the future of the redeemed are inextricably linked.


*. This statement was written by bro Julio Scaramastro [eds].


References to the phamphlet