The Counterfeit Antichrist
t’s been said one of the Devil’s cleverest tricks is to convince people that he, a very real fallen angel, does not exist. However, we might reverse that thinking and suggest that his coup de grace is to pose as someone who does exist, in order to confuse the most crucial issue of Spiritual identity. After all, genuine Christians know that those who fail to perceive Jesus for who He really is are in for a rude awakening.
However, in the convoluted world of end time’s prophetic “interpretation,” many doctrinal systems are actually based on their identification of the Antichrist, as their diverse theologies purport to expose Satan’s supposed man of the hour. Worse yet, by developing opposing views which are both wrong, as a platform which elicits a dialogue of opposing opinions, the deceived believer is in a lose/lose position.
The rising star in the Antichrist sweepstakes is the Mahdi – the Moslem Messiah who is expected by over a billion souls in our time. With Islamic fervor and power rising all around the world at an alarming rate, the Islamic Antichrist scenario provides the perfect storm of deception, as prophetically sensitive Christian believers see Armageddon approaching on all fronts. The problem is, the Moslem Beast is not the Antichrist, he is the Counterfeit Antichrist – a supernatural Lee Harvey Oswald presently being positioned to take the Spiritual fall, as a cover for the genuine Antichrist power.
The proponents of the Islamic Antichrist prophecy are being firmly opposed by the much older school of thought, which continues to authoritatively claim the Papacy is the culprit. The Pope-As-Antichrist prophetic system has been around a thousand years, as evidenced by research into the title The Vicar of Christ – with the term Vicar (as in vicarious, or a substitute for Christ) tracing back to Pope Leo in 1054. Others note Irenaeus (130-202 AD) connected the word Lateinos (as in Latin) to Revelation’s 666 a very long time ago. With the centuries long Protestant Reformation in which the “Church” burned people to death for being caught with a copy of the Scriptures, passions run deep on this subject.
The permutations are endless, as a steady parade of well meaning prophecy figures put forth their favourite candidate. Indeed, this writer spent years articulating what was at one time my certain belief that a former leader of the United Nations fulfilled the role. It is now self evident that I was wrong. However, the idea of the Mahdi as fulfilling the prophecies of the Antichrist is clearly gaining ground, which is unfortunate, as the forthcoming Mahdi is not the Antichrist. But then, neither is the Pope.
One of the things learned after years of study is how error compounds error. Few believers, when studying the Bible, instantly jump into significant error. Instead, it’s a steady process where one makes determinations which are largely built upon earlier misconceptions. The prophet Isaiah describes this succinctly:
“…the priest and the prophet have erred…they err in vision, they stumble in judgment. For all tables are full of vomit and filthiness, so that there is no place clean. But the word of the Lord was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken” (Isaiah 28:7,8,13).
Although most who have heard this verse usually quote it as though it’s a positive encouragement to learn “precept upon precept,” this Scripture actually concludes that this building of doctrine is designed that “they might fall” – not exactly what most have been taught. Furthermore, I note the word “snared” is included in this description, which connects to Jesus Christ’s stern admonition of a forthcoming snare, which shall come upon the entire world:
“For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth” (Luke 21:35).
You don’t need a Strong’s Concordance to know a snare is just another word for a trap, but very few believers are willing to acknowledge the LORD Himself is setting a horrible trap for everyone that dwells “on the face of the whole earth” – but that’s exactly what the Scripture says. In fact, even though Peter tells us the LORD knows how to “reserve the unjust” (II Peter 2:9) unto the day of judgment, it is a rare Christian indeed who actually understands the terrifying truth found in the following text:
“And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion [read a snare], that they should believe a lie…with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved” (II Thessalonians 2:11,10).
Earlier I noted how the line upon line verse addresses the idea of systematically building on a foundation which is faulty. Thus, even though we periodically revise our perceptions via more mature realizations of the aforementioned precepts, if the foundations are false, it is to no avail.
“If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?” (Psalm 11:3).
Thus, the problem with ALL faulty prophecy is the foundations of the faith, as those ensnared in false doctrine have simply missed the mark, and their salvation is built upon a clever ruse, an almost gospel – which equivocates to Another Gospel. This means that when we truly understand the Gospel, not only will we not be swayed by the alleged Antichrist, we also won’t be detoured by the Counterfeit Antichrist.
Predictably, as just noted, where we saw that error upon error occurs because the foundations are faulty, we find the Islamic Antichrist fiction makes the same error as the Papal Antichrist error, as do many other approaches to Antichrist. These foundational errors are widespread, but they may be distilled into a denial of what JESUS CHRIST has already accomplished.
“Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son” (I John 2:22).
The most fundamental definition of the Greek word “Christ,” is related to the term anointed – but the anointing of the Spirit of the LORD was to identify the messenger of the covenant, so that Christ could accomplish the promise of the Father – who repeatedly stated that He would redeem Israel. This is why Jesus, standing before the Jews, read from the prophet Isaiah, in a Messianic prophecy describing the Christ:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord. And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears” (Luke 4:18, 19, 21).
Unfortunately, most “believers” have been taught that Jesus did not redeem Israel, and this takes a multitude of forms – usually centered around some variation related to the acceptance of the Gospel by a separate entity dubbed the “Church.” Some say the alleged “Church” replaced Israel, while others say the “Church” rotates for salvation with Israel, and God will yet redeem Israel. Some even say Israel didn’t need saving, as the Christians are saved under the New Covenant, and the people of Israelite descent (including Jews) are supposedly saved under the Old Covenant.
Every perspective just mentioned, and many, many more, deny that Jesus is the Christ. This is because the role of Christ is to redeem Israel, so even if one “faithfully” clings to the idea that Jesus will yet return to save Israel, you have denied that He has already accomplished His astonishing feat of redemption. This is the theological sleight of hand – a subtle snare indeed – put forth by Satan. Thus, as I John stated, when you assert that Jesus has not yet redeemed Israel, you are Antichrist – and a liar.
Earlier I noted how the Islamic Antichrist scenario is built upon the same foundational error as its predecessors, as well as adjacent systems. Just about every imaginable false doctrine fails to recognize the Kingdom of God – and the redemption of Israel – arrived during the days of the Roman Empire.
“And in the days of these kings, shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed” (Daniel 2:44).
The only kings mentioned in that passage are Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome – the ancient quartet of kingdoms which was preceded by the Egyptian and Assyrian dynasties. Thus, since the latter four kingdoms followed Egypt and Assyria (making Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome kingdoms number 3,4,5 and 6), the Kingdom of God is the 7th Kingdom – associating it with the Sabbath rest found in the LORD (Hebrews 4:3, 4).
Furthermore, this means that if you say that God did not set up His kingdom in the days of the Roman Empire, you have denied that Jesus is the Christ, because the Word of God tells us this is how we know the identity of the redeemer.
In fact, the New Testament has many verses which plainly state that Christ has redeemed us – with the “us” in question pointedly stated to be Israel. For instance, Zecharias, the father of John the Baptist, upon encountering the Christ child still in Mary’s womb, stated that Christ redeemed Israel:
“Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people” (Luke 1:68).
When the two disciples of Christ encountered Him on the road to Emmaus, even though they were then in despair at the death of Jesus, they plainly stated they believed that the redemption of Israel was underway when He was crucified:
“But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel…” (Luke 24:21).
The Apostle Peter, writing to the elect, a euphemism for Israel in I Peter 1:2, spoke of the redemption in the past tense:
“…ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold…but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (I Peter 1:18).
The prophecies given to David, wherein the LORD Himself told David that He would redeem Israel, and forever deliver them from their enemies, was specifically tied to Jesus, the son of David:
“Moreover I will appoint a place for my people Israel, and will plant them, that they may dwell in a place of their own, and move no more; neither shall the children of wickedness afflict them anymore, as beforetime” (II Samuel 7:10).
The Apostle Peter pronounced this promise was fulfilled with the resurrection of Christ:
“Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David…knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ…therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:29-31, 36).
Since the throne of David was over Israel, and Peter said that Christ was resurrected and was sitting on that throne in the heavenlies at the right hand of the Father (Ephesians 1:2), only those who are deeply deceived continue to claim that God has not redeemed Israel.
The Islamic Antichrist paradigm claims that “Israel” is now re-gathered in the historic land, where they will be confronted by an Islamic power, usually presented as a modern Caliphate (read religious empire), thus fulfilling the predictions of the Antichrist. This is but another variation of the earlier lie that a particularly evil Pope will rise, and he will be “the Antichrist.” The fraud goes on to say that after the Jewish nation is betrayed by trusting in such a figure, they will cry out for the LORD, who will fight on their behalf, rescuing them, even as His return coincides with the setting up of His kingdom. The variations are endless, but they all rest on the faulty foundation that Jesus did not set up the kingdom of God, and Israel has not been redeemed.
Since Jesus told us the kingdom of God “is not of this world” (John 18:36), it follows that the kingdom of Antichrist is of this world. Further, the Apostle John, who wrote extensively about Antichrist (and the connection to the denial of Christ), addressed a presence referenced as “the Spirit of Antichrist” (I John 4:3), indicating the real “antichrist” entity must be of this world, and empowered by that “Spirit” – a wicked presence characterized by the denial that Jesus is the Christ.
While this does not preclude an Islamic presence in prophecy, Islamic Antichrist proponents assume this “Antichrist” is a world leader – to say nothing of the fact the view is also predicated on the identity of the modern Jewish state as “Israel” – an impossibility based on the entire New Testament. Since the Kingdom of God did arrive “in the days of these kings,” and Jesus did accomplish the redemption of Israel through His shed blood, Spiritual discernment requires we recognize that ground zero in the denial of Christ must be associated with people formerly known as Jews.
To put this another way, the Jerusalem which is “below” -- the Jerusalem which Paul says remains “in bondage” (Galatians 5:1) – is inhabited by the Spirit of Antichrist; whereas JESUS has already stated God “hath anointed me…to preach deliverance to the captives”(Luke 4:18), followed by His statement:
“This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears” (Luke 421).
As he sought to explain to the Romans, how the arrival of the Kingdom of God occurred even as Israel was redeemed in the Spiritual realm, the Apostle Paul plainly stated that those who “say they are Jews” (Revelation 2:9, 3:9) are not Jews, because the kingdom of God – the 7th Kingdom described in Daniel -- is inhabited by those who have been born again in the Spirit:
“For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly…but he is a Jew which is one inwardly…in the spirit, and not in the letter…” (Romans 2:28, 29).
The Spirit of Antichrist which rejects Jesus, is behind the idea there is a forthcoming Moslem leader who will be the “Antichrist,” and it is a Spiritual ruse, designed to obscure the truth. Further, since the body which is born again in Jesus is redeemed Israel, comprised of former Jews and Gentiles, those who claim otherwise – such as members of the so called “Church” (or Islam), are actually associated with the Spirit seen in the False Prophet described in Revelation.
There are many indicators in Scripture which prove the Islamic Antichrist formula is inaccurate, but perhaps the most interesting one is how the proponents of the Mahdi as Antichrist formula fail to recognize the timing of the arrival of the Kingdom of God and – in a classic Spiritual Signature, inadvertently insert a Satanic kingdom in its place. Once again, this is related to the count of the six kingdoms alluded to earlier, where Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome produce kingdoms documented in Scripture. Referring to the last four (kingdoms 3,4,5,6), Daniel tells us it is in the days of these kings that the kingdom of God – Kingdom number Seven – arrives:
“And in the days of these kings, shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed” (Daniel 2:44).
Revealingly, all the proponents of the Islamic Antichrist concept completely skip the Kingdom of God, and insert the original Islamic Empire in its place!
For example, Joel Richardson, a leading proponent of the idea, in his World Net Daily book Mideast Beast, offers a chart with the six kingdoms followed by the “Islamic Caliphate,” as the seventh. Recognizing the connection to the seven heads on the beast in Revelation, Richardson writes the following:
“The historical Islamic Caliphate is the seventh head of the beast, and the revived Islamic Caliphate – the kingdom of the Antichrist – will be the eighth. It’s very simple” (Mideast Beast, Joel Richardson, WND Books, page 157).
Similarly, Walid Shoebat, a former Moslem who has been pushing the Mahdi as Antichrist system for years through books and videos, says the same thing. Speaking of the Ottoman Empire, he says the following:
“Mohammed II, in 1453 took the mantle from the Roman Empire. He was the 7th king. This was the 7th kingdom that the bible talked about. The Bible says the one that is not, number 7 – is himself the 8th. Number 7 was wounded in the head, and its wound was healed – the Islamic empire was revived and it will come again” (Walid Shoebat, Bible Prophecy And The Coming Antichrist Video).
Applying the Beast with 7 Heads texts to Islam is actually just a variation of the “Revived Roman Empire” fraud which has led so many astray – and a lengthy examination of the “eighth is of the seven” passage in Revelation 17 has been repeatedly covered in adjacent prophetic work. For now, suffice it to say that the Kingdom of God is within you – and any mathematical equation which completely ignores the reality of the eternal Kingdom of God – as established by Jesus Christ “in the days of these kings” – places the adherent on the opposite side of the truth.
-- James Lloyd