The Antichrist Debate

September 7, 2021.

Here is a good article about the Antichrist Debate. I enjoyed reading it, so I’ve posted it here from the following website:

01.  https://pilgrimbobby.wordpress.com/2021/08/05/the-antichrist-will-rise-yet-debate-about-the-antichrist-raises-some-real-questions-about-end-time-christians/

Walk it out: The Antichrist will rise, yet debate about the Antichrist raises questions about End-Time Christians

“Antichrist will Rise in Syria as Daniel’s 11th Horn:  the three kings he will subdue as he drives Israel into the Negev Wilderness; the 3 are likely to be the rulers of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, And Jordan; the 3 rulers will be taken over internally by Muslim Brotherhood, Al-Qaeda, and other terrorist groups as the 10 horns bypass the Negev and take them over;   Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia will then become part of the Mahdi’s Caliphate of conquest and, when they fall, it will influence many other Islamic countries to join the Mahdi’s continuous caliphate across Morocco-Pakistan-India and Indonesia. The Mahdi will demand a full Sharia Law in all the countries of his Caliphate. That law will last across the Middle East until Jesus Christ comes at His Second Advent.”

So says the anonymous curator of Bible Sermons MP3. That website, Bible Sermons MP3, does not have an “About” page and its Home Page is not particularly illuminating with respect to the post’s author or authors, except to acknowledge that (original emphases):

The Sermons and most of the studies listed on this Website are from: Pastor Tom McElmurry, At Dardanelle Missionary Baptist Church, Dardanelle, Arkansas, USA. His Website is:  www.TribulationPeriod.com.

The website does have a “Privacy Policy” page that, under a title, “Who we are,” only states: “Our website address is: https://www.biblesermonsmp3.org; before addressing any viewer fears about the security of internet cookies and concluding with a July 4th, 2021 address that begins with “The Sounding of the Trumpets – Are You Ready?” which, no less, is quite a good summary of the Book of Revelation.

Which is fine. Everyone has the right to free speech, including Christians. And he that gathereth, does not scatter. But why so fearful and timid and seemingly clandestine? Recall that the Lord said:

20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. 21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.

John 3:20-21 KJV

A bit more transparency, then, would not go astray at Bible Sermons MP3. Going all out the other way in exegesis, but far less anonymous at least, is “Big Addison” of the Book of Revelation site. “Big Addison” remains convinced that there is no single Antichrist but that the name refers to “the Unholy Spirit,” something that, he contends, John the Evangelist identified 2000 years ago. So confident is Big Addison in his conviction that he publicly challenges anyone to prove him wrong. But for all his conviction, “Big Addison” ultimately seems too closely aligned with the views of a Pastor Joseph Cortes because at the end of the post is a two-part video, presumably from Pastor Cortes (I did not watch the videos because they seemed too overtly graphic, on the still image, to even contemplate) that seemingly underpins Big Addison’s entire Antichrist exegesis. “Big Addison” is clearly an amillennialist, which is all well and good. That is the least of my concerns. But whatever my concerns about “Big Addison,” at least we know whoBig Addison” is. Kudos to him for that. Yet without going too far, Big Addison’s exegesis is completely counter, for instance, to those at The Christ in Prophecy Journal, whose article titled “The Antichrist Destroys Islam,” bears also the subtitle: “The central figure of the Tribulation — the Antichrist — will rise out of what region?” In the post, the question is answered by Dr David Reagan, with a background in international relations, and Nathan E. Jones., with a Bachelors from Philadelphia Biblical University; both men ministers and reputable Bible scholars and both of whom NB3S is obliged to for moments of teaching and inspiration. Dr Reagan founded Lamb and Lion Ministries on April 1, 1980. Nathan Jones serves as the Internet Evangelist at Lamb and Lion Ministries.

In the article immediately aforementioned, Nathan Jones shows that he, unlike many Bible pundits, understands the significance of the meaning of “synecdoche,” with this prudent remark:

“The biblical origins of the Antichrist begin with his rule as one of Ten Kings. These Ten Kings will either rule over a repartitioned European Union as the Revived Roman Empire, or the whole world will eventually be partitioned into ten regions. The text doesn’t clearly make that distinction.”

Synecdoche is a figure of speech in which a part is made to represent the whole, or vice versa. Like when the Old Testament refers to “all the world” when, conceivably, it is probably in most instances referring only to the world known to the Israelites of the time–i.e. the lands of Egypt, Canaan (the Levant), and the lands immediately to its East (the kings of the East), and to its North. Likewise, New Testament eschatological references, such as all those in The Book of Revelation, may also refer only to the areas covered by the empires of old, lands known to John the Revelator. The significance of which is to potentially restrict all End-Time prophecy to the lands of the “Middle East,” using the modern parlance. Synecdoche is a relevant concept that should be grappled with by all Bible students, lay and professional alike. But that too, important as it is, is an aside to the present concern.

Nathan goes on to say:

“My primary reason for doubting the Antichrist could ever be a Muslim stands on the prophetic timeline. Two prophetic wars will lead up to the beginning of the Tribulation — the Psalm 83 War and the Gog and Magog War of Ezekiel 38-39. […]  In one fair swoop, God guts Islam in the Middle East, proving Allah has no power. Russia can no longer exert any influence over the world. […] And so, I do not believe that the Antichrist will be a Muslim because it appears that on the onset of the Tribulation Islam is pretty much wiped off the earth.”

In what ultimately proves to be a bit of a backslapping interaction, Dr Reagan then chimes in (this is the usual interaction between the two men, appropriate, given they occupy the two cardinal posts at Lamb and Lion Ministries) to say:

“Another reason the Antichrist will not be a Muslim is the fact that we are told by the Apostle Paul in 2 Thessalonians that at the middle of the Tribulation the Antichrist will go to Jerusalem, enter into the Temple which must have been newly built, and declare himself to be God. No Muslim would ever declare himself to be God. All the other Muslims would kill him on the spot for such a blasphemy.”

Who is right and who is wrong, the anonymous compiler at Bible Sermons MP3, “Big Addison” (and silent partner, Pastor Cortes), or the duo at Lamb and Lion Ministries, is very hard to say. But this all goes to show why the Lord wants each person to run his own race and not be too heavily influenced by too much opinion. Not that we should entertain any infighting especially over irrelevancies, an infighting that is all too common in many congregations, but some disagreement is not only allowed it is actually healthy. For the proverb of old tells us that “Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend” (Pro 27:17 KJV).

It is true that NB3S is replete with other people’s point of view. But, rarely, if ever, do their opinions become the site’s convictions. Rather, people’s diverse opinions are showcased here to help edify the Church, sharpen proverbial swords, and often simply used as a leverage to discussion. Rightly dividing the Word of truth not only requires a sober mind and the diligent search for truth, but also the Spirit of God for revelation.

Obviously, Messiah was never backslapping like that; the way many people naturally become through affiliation. Rather, he set every man, albeit with tender mercy and kindness, to his rightful place, rebuking even Peter–and in no uncertain terms–when Peter was offended at the thought of Messiah taken captive (Mat 16:23; Mar 8:33; Luk 4:8). Similarly, although perhaps not quite as keenly merciful as Messiah, the Apostle Paul, who has come under much scrutiny of late, was ever-mindful that he try to remain merciful and all the while at pains to divide the Word in truth, both in explication and in his dealing with men:

10 Therefore I write these things being absent, lest being present I should use sharpness, according to the power which the Lord hath given me to edification, and not to destruction.

2Co 13:10 KJV

These then are the appropriate examples Christians ought to follow as the Father and Messiah asks of them to go further into righteousness. Neither backslapping nor harsh, but rather honest yet merciful. This is where time alone with God is so rewarding; because it holds one in good stead.

Do not remove yourselves from fellowship, for fellowship with others is designed to bear each other’s burdens, to help to endure, and to sharpen the sword. But there is the risk, also with fellowship, that the Christian become compliant and complacent rather than less compromising with time. Before fellowshipping with others, it is crucial then to first fellowship privately with the Lord, so not to lose that first love and to maintain a clarifying distance from others’ opinion and gain what might be called a “professional” independence. Such independence helps make it through the trials and tribulations not only with robes of righteousness but with eyes full of light, beholden to no man. For it is, perhaps, the anonymous writing at Bible Sermons MP3–a paragraph out of which opens this post here–that seems the better exegesis of all the contenders. (It should be said, that the contenders are essentially chosen at random and not singled out as any better or worse than any host of others that could readily be put in their place. The point is that all Christians and at different stages of their walk, some more and some less perhaps, are guilty of this.) For all their lack of transparency about who they are, then, the author-compiler at Bible Sermons MP3, albeit heavily indebted to Pastor Tom McElmurry, seems set apart from much opinion and mainstream thinking.

The Antichrist will come and go, but Christians will endure. Although the casual Christian runs the real risk of falling away, the patient and enduring Christian keeps a sober mind, living out a simple (away from much fanfare), albeit fruitful, life. I have long wondered why the Lord has kept me separate from much fellowship. Now I see why.

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