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Zola Levitt By Zola Levitt

This article appeared originally in the March–May 1999 Levitt Letters.

Part 1 — this article first appeared in the March 1999 Levitt Letter.

This essay appeared as a chapter in the book entitled “Foreshadows of Wrath.”

Part 1

If it weren’t for the Bible, it would certainly be hard to explain why Israel is considered so important in the world today. Indeed when we look at nations with populations comparable to Israel’s, we find they are only rarely in the news as would be expected. Benin, Paraguay, Denmark, etc., have their ups and downs like all nations, but the goings-on in such relatively small places is of little concern to the world leaders, the media and the man on the street. David Bar-Illan, senior advisor to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel and his media spokesman, bemoaned the fact that his boss was known worldwide while he himself could not even name the prime ministers of comparable-sized nations around the world.

Israel Media attention is what makes a prime minister or a nation famous or infamous in today’s world, and for some reason (known only to Scripture), Israel gets much more than its share of it. While a handful of reporters cover European capitals, there are 400 newsmen, TV commentators and the like in Jerusalem everyday! While entire revolutions take place in countries ten times Israel’s size with minor media coverage, CNN virtually stops its news day to report that the orthodox and the secular Jewish people are arguing again on some Israeli street. The Dallas Morning News, a reliable critic of Israel along with so many of its sister newspapers in this country, ran a picture of so-called strife while covering some neighborhood disagreement in the Holy Land in which there were zero casualties. The front page story was accompanied by a huge photograph of the factions that were arguing. On page 13 of the same paper it recorded seven murders over the same weekend in Dallas. The New York Times, our “newspaper of record,” keeps up a steady drumbeat of criticism of this allied democracy no matter what else in the world is happening. I would think that if a world war broke out, the Times editor would order his reporters to keep a front-page space open for its usual Israel coverage whatever else might be happening.

Media attention in the modern world simply means negative coverage, since the media tends to feature the world’s troubles. Cynicism, negativism, and some sort of nether drama marks our media these days. They are turning into entertainment organizations simply desperate to draw a crowd to whom they hawk the products of their advertisers. The crowd is evidently better drawn by the sort of negative news that is part and parcel of the human condition. Witness the litany of robberies, killings, fires, etc., on the local TV news each night in every American city. The media could cover the good works of the city every night just as it could cover the fact of Israel’s miraculous restoration in one generation to becoming a progressive modern democracy, but news editors favor the tried and true. Bad news about good people always sells.

There might be an even more sinister idea at work in the media’s negative coverage of the news. Wars are a boon to any media. CNN charged triple the going rate for commercials during its coverage of the Persian Gulf War, and sponsors lined up to pay those prices. It did not escape the notice of the editorial board that real conflict — bombers, people dying in the streets, big fires, etc. — provided a huge audience like no local robberies and murders could. What if they could arrange their own wars? This almost science fiction concept may be unconsciously at work today. Coverage of what the media views as trouble spots — Bosnia, Ireland, Africa, and oddly enough, Israel — is in place just in case some spark ignites a real shooting war. And needless to say, coverage of the news in such places aims to exacerbate their situations. Hence the “plight” of the Palestinians and Israel, the “hopelessness” of the arguments in Ireland, etc., etc. We might say that the media are continually publishing introductions for war in the hope that some war will commence where their people are in place. Then the media accomplishes its major purpose, its reason for being. It makes big money.

We must keep in mind that the media are not some public service but simply profit-making businesses which charge substantial fees for the coverage provided. In previous editions in this series of books, I have pointed out that the media are likely supported by petro dollars since makers of oil-based products buy a great deal of advertising. If the makers of cars, cosmetics, gasolines and so forth are not pleased with the sort of coverage that they receive in the media — if it does not somehow support Arab oil interests — then they possibly buy less advertising space. And so we have a profit-making business covering an ordinary day-to-day life situation in Israel in a most negative and provocative way for reasons of greater profits.

For its part, Israel goes along, the only democracy in the Middle East, achieving wonderful things. Its per capita income is now comparable to that of England and greater than that in the largest Arab oil-producing states, including Saudi Arabia. As a result the Arabs of Israel, the only Arabs privileged to live in a democracy in the Middle East, are profiting as well and have a standard of living hardly imagined by Arab people elsewhere. (The Egyptian government issues precious few visas for its citizens to visit Israel even though this is perfectly allowable under the Camp David peace accords, and Israelis visit Egypt every day in huge numbers. The fact is the government of Egypt doesn’t want its citizens to see how well the Arabs of Israel are living. They fear an absolute revolution when people see their cousins of the Holy Land driving cars, drinking clean water, having doctors in their villages and schools, etc.)

The international solution to Israel’s success seems to be to cut the place in half, give the Jewish people less land, and somehow bring peace by dividing one of the smallest nations in the world. Certainly it is the division of the world’s available land into smaller and smaller parcels with different governments that causes the rash of “wars and rumors of wars” of the latter half of this century. When the United Nations was founded in the late ’40s there were less than a hundred nations, and at this point there are close to two hundred. Having more nations simply provides the situation where “nation will rise against nation.”

Israel must be the most obvious example of creating new boundaries that create new troubles. If Saddam Hussein of Iraq could complain that the British mapmakers drew a boundary cutting off the province of Kuwait from Iraq, then what would Israel say? Iraq has a murky history emanating from about the time of the Arab conquest of Mesopotamia over a thousand years ago, but Israel started out as one nation under Jewish leadership 35 centuries ago!

History and archaeology show this to be Jewish land from the Mediterranean to past the Jordan River, and from the deserts of the south to northern borders that exceed the Galilee and Golan Heights on the north. But even though the formal boundaries of Israel are about half the size of what they were in Biblical times, world leaders, and especially Arab leaders, demand that even this small area be cut in half again and an equal portion be given to those who have sworn to drive Israel into the sea.

Why is all this happening to Israel? The best of all reasons is that prophetic Scripture says it will happen. While the world press dithers over Israel’s supposed intractability with the peace process or bad treatment of the Palestinians or a wrong-headed prime minister, the real reason is that Israel must be maneuvered into a position where it will be “hated of all nations” (Matthew 24:9). It is well to remember that close to 100 percent of end times prophecy concerns that tiny nation and that the Biblical signs of the end pertain especially to Israel.

The Olivet discourse of our Lord. His answer to the disciples. question, “What will be the signs of Your coming and of the end of the world?” (Matthew 24:3) — details phenomena that are global in scope but of particular concern to those in the Holy Land. The Lord addresses His disciples as Israelites in particular when He observes, “He that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved” (v. 13). It is the Jewish people gathered in Israel at the time of Armageddon that must endure “unto the end” — that is the second coming of the Lord — to be saved.

At the time, “they shall look upon Me whom they have pierced and mourn for Him as for an only son … and a fount of cleansing will be opened unto the house of David (Zechariah 12:10 and 13:1). It is imagined that the Jews are receiving some sort of favor or second chance due to their salvation at the Second Coming, but they are saved by seeing the Lord come out of heaven to stop that mad battle raging in Jerusalem. Since He is coming back to the earth exactly in their midst where they stand back to back in their nation’s capital (“And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives….” Zechariah 14:4), they simply see Him come and they believe. Undoubtedly, Gentile soldiers engaged in Armageddon who look up and see Him are saved as well. After all, anyone looking up into the sky and seeing a heavenly figure riding a white horse with a robed army behind Him and an identification on that robe reading “King of Kings and Lord of Lords” will believe, and that’s all there is to that. They believe by seeing, but this is after the age of grace when we believe in “things not seen.”

Besides that piece of evidence that the signs of the end are given in particular to Israel, Matthew 24:15-16 advises “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) then let them which be in Judea flee unto the mountains” rather than try to cope with the Antichrist. The advice presupposes that the Jews are pretty much gathered in Jerusalem at that dramatic time. I belabor the point that Israel is concerned in Matthew 24 because that discourse is often taught in reference to the Church and erroneously leads to the Church having to endure the tribulation. But obviously Israel is singled out for instructions because Israel is deeply involved in end times prophecy.

We know that the start of the Tribulation period is signaled by the Antichrist’s peace covenant with Israel, and it is obvious that we are being prepared for such news day by day. The “peace process” has conditioned the world to imagine that there is some drastic situation in Israel that badly needs some international agreement to settle it. To look at the world objectively, it is clear that peace covenants are needed much more in other trouble spots where there are real conflicts going on, and not in Israel which is suffering from something more like a common ghetto problem. But to satisfy the prophecy, world opinion is being manipulated to where the Antichrist’s seven year offer will be most welcome. Even the Israelis, I think, will sign that covenant in a hopeful spirit out of necessity at the time it is offered. (The necessity will not be the need to make peace, but simply pressure from the United Nations and certain powerful members to come to some accommodation with the Arabs.) The media will immediately trumpet the idea that peace has at least been achieved in Israel only to be proved as wrong as when we trumpeted the same thing about Ireland in 1998. We can all recall the glad ceremonies and triumphant dinners and toasts which preceded the worst bombing in the history of Irish terrorism.

Coming: The End! Russia & Israel in Prophecy The Antichrist’s false peace will last longer than the Irish false peace by three years or so. At the mid-point of the tribulation, at exactly three and a half years after the signing of the covenant, he will perform that “abomination of desolation, spoken of by the prophet Daniel” (Matthew 24:15) and proclaim himself God in the tribulation temple! The temple may have been built as one of the stipulations of the original peace covenant, but in any case, it will be standing on Mount Moriah at the midpoint of the tribulation and the Antichrist will “cause the sacrifices and oblations to cease” (Daniel 9:27), as he renegs on his agreement. And that, in a sense, begins Armageddon because I believe it is from that point that the kings of the East begin to mobilize the most fearsome army the world has ever known. China and possibly other Far Eastern powers will march 200 million men all the way to Israel evidently to challenge the Antichrist who they do not believe is God. The Chinese communists, after all, are atheists and believe that no one is God, and the huge number of Chinese Moslems (out-numbering the ethnic Chinese!) will take the Antichrist to be a total pretender since he is not Allah. And finally, military-minded Chinese will simply note that the Israelis did not believe he had supernatural powers since they bolted (taking the Lord’s advice). And so, the Chinese and other Far Easterners will be motivated to vanquish the pretender, the Anti-christ in Jerusalem, claiming to be the God of Israel.

A visit by a 200,000,000-man army will do Israel little good. This will be the most difficult-to-handle tour of Israel ever undertaken, and the land and the people will suffer.

Part 2

Part 2 — this article first appeared in the April 1999 Levitt Letter.

Anti-Semitism: A Sign of the End

Anti-Semitism is the motivating factor of the Antichrist, as it is for all of those who counterfeit or simply cannot accept the simple Gospel of the Lord. Jesus Christ, the Messiah of the Jews said, “If you’re not for me, you’re against me,” and the Antichrist is certainly first among those who are against Him, and His people, at the end. It is amazing that just a generation after the Holocaust, anti-Semitism is obvious again in the world today. In the United States and elsewhere, the Jews, for reasons hard to understand, are despised with a special derision. From American country clubs to Swiss banks to Oriental imaginings of Jewish-caused economic problems, hatred of Israel and the Jewish people is a normal state of affairs in this world. And increasing anti-Semitism is a true symptom of the end of the age.

Anti-Semitism has a long history, much of it chronicled in scripture. Moses’ pharaoh, Nebuchadnezzar, Antiochus and Titus received scriptural credit, or were prophesied in scripture, but hatred of the Jews did not let up after Biblical times. The coming of the Moslems in the seventh century A.D. was the beginning of a perennial prejudice against Israel as virulent today as it ever was. The Crusades, the Inquisition and general discrimination against Jewish communities throughout Europe and Russia kept the chosen people moving from place to place in hope of respite. Finally in the United States, and seemingly only there, did the soles of their feet find rest and there they prospered.

But even in America, anti-Semitism has been a latent, but effective, force against God’s Chosen. We could take for granted a certain amount of anti-Jewishness in the church, particularly in the “liberal” churches. It was these very denominations who punished the Jews in Europe throughout the Middle Ages. One does not normally find aversion to the Jews among Bible-reading people, but occasionally the biases of the denominations seem to infect the true believers. And even some Biblical seminaries and colleges are going awry.

Because of a situation concerning my own son, I had to take action against a certain textbook at a Bible college recently. I told the story in a letter from our ministry and I will quote from that here. “… of making many books there is no end” (Ecc. 12:12). That would be fine with me if they were all good books. But sometimes I run into something really discouraging. One of our ministry’s most tedious duties is responding to churches, seminaries and the like to correct their anti-Israel and anti-Jewish biases. When my son Aaron went to a Christian high school, a teacher said one day that Christianity did not start in Israel, but actually in Greece. I ended up sitting in the principal’s office, having to inform a so-called Bible teacher that thousands of people were saved in Israel at Pentecost, in Antioch, in Ephesus, etc., before the Gospel took real root in Greece. I informed him that Jesus Christ is Jewish. So were all of His disciples and all of His apostles. I explained that all of the New Testament writers were Jews and that Christianity is part and parcel of Judaism. I reminded him that Jesus came to this earth and declared to His disciples, “Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matthew 10:5,6).

I was discouraged that this teacher, in a denominational school, had so little comprehension of Scripture. Most of the large denominations put the Bible away long ago and are almost unaware of the roots of their faith. I was relieved when Aaron graduated and went on to Dallas Baptist University, and then to The Criswell College to take up serious Bible studies. But lately I have been very disappointed. A perfectly awful textbook called A Survey of the New Testament, by Robert H. Gundry, is in use at both colleges. It is the most anti-Israel, anti-Semitic and Biblically wrong-headed textbook I personally have ever seen. I used to teach at Dallas Baptist University, and I realized then the sober responsibility of those who would train future pastors and other ministry workers. I would not have had such a book in the same building with my students.

Let me give you a few quotations:

  • Trying to leave out the Jews, the author asserts, “‘And they glorified the God of Israel’ (Matthew 15:31), shows that the 4,000 whom Jesus now feeds are Gentiles.”

    This preposterous idea on the part of the one who said, “I am come only unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matthew 15:24) is followed by a vain attempt to create a non-Jewish following of Jesus. The author goes on, “Together then, with the preceding Gentile woman and, earlier, the centurion and the Magi, they represent the great mass of Gentiles who are flocking into the church of Matthew’s time.” Naturally, there was no Church in Matthew’s time, nor any “great mass of Gentiles” saved in the Gospels, though they are to come in considerable numbers later on.

  • The author subscribes to Replacement Theology: “Matthew writes his Gospel for the Church as the new chosen nation, which at least for the time being has replaced the old chosen nation of Israel.”
  • “Luke was probably a Gentile … his name is Greek. His facility in using the Greek language also suggests that he was a Gentile ….” The same things were true of Paul, certainly a Jew and a “Pharisee of Pharisees.” Other inane arguments on the point are contradicted by our excellent study by Dr. McCall entitled “Was Luke a Gentile?” which appears in the March 1996 issue of the Levitt Letter. You can read it on our website at www.levitt.com.
  • When Peter converts Cornelius, he has to “defend himself against parochially minded Jewish believers in Jerusalem who criticize his going to the Gentiles.” Naturally, these Jewish believers were questioning of Peter because they had never seen Gentile salvation before. Evidently, they missed author Gundry’s 4,000 Gentiles fed, followed by “the great mass of Gentiles flocking into the Church of Matthew’s time.” I could go on and on. This is a book a competent Bible teacher can open almost anywhere and want to laugh, or cry, out loud. Truly the author has an agenda to promote an anti-Israel Replacement Theology doctrine, and he utterly misunderstands the mission of Jesus Christ, who came, as He said, to bring the Kingdom to Israel. If secular colleges are bothered by PC (political correctness), the Bible colleges need to watch out for PD (Progressive Dispensationalism), the awful doctrine behind these distortions.

A Survey of the New Testament This must be the first book on the New Testament whose index does not even mention Israel. The book refers to the land as Palestine, has a map called “Palestine in the Time of Jesus” (as does the new MacArthur Study Bible), and calls Peter, John, etc., Jesus’ “Palestinian disciples.” I can’t say it strongly enough: this textbook is a travesty. I am amazed that any believing Christian anywhere would try to defend it.

When Aaron originally came to me, troubled about what he was hearing in class and reading in this textbook, I consulted Dr. Tom McCall, senior theologian of our ministry, and asked what to do. Aaron had selected 49 different passages that were unacceptable, even to a 19-year old freshman Bible student. Dr. McCall, an ordained Baptist minister and theologian of great experience and skill, counseled me to schedule a meeting with the college administration. We discussed the fact that these two colleges were not unique. Dr. McCall mentioned other conservative seminaries, including Moody Bible College and Dallas Theological Seminary, whose doctrines concerning Israel seem to be subject to Progressive Dispensationalism. I would appeal to our readers and viewers to ask questions at their own Bible schools about such doctrines as amillennialism, Progressive Dispensationalism, and all the other fancy “isms” for cutting Israel and the Jews out of faith in the Jewish Messiah. The problems seem endemic. Of course, the liberal seminaries, the public media, and certain Christian magazines are a lost cause on this issue. They have long ago written off the family of our Lord.

But back to The Criswell College. Aaron and I met with the President and the Executive Vice President, and we discussed his 49 points. We were treated courteously and both administrators substantially agreed with all of our complaints. They seemed disappointed and taken aback that such a textbook had gotten into their college. They knew the author’s doctrine was suspect, they admitted. They told me they would correct the situation in good time. Two months later, I was obliged to write and ask if anything was being done. And nearly six months later, I finally received a letter defending the textbook — even defending the use of the term Palestine for the Israel of Jesus’ time! (Zola Levitt Ministries letter, June 1998)

It was a long battle just to get the attention of these college administrators, notwithstanding that I had made my original complaint six months previously. I was confronted with a situation where I turned to my own readers in desperation. The above letter was received at the beginning of June at The Criswell College but was ignored. Later in June, Dr. McCall wrote a heartfelt letter to the president of Criswell. That one received an answer some two months after it was written and after we had reported this college to every relevant authority we could think of. But the story has a relatively happy ending. In a long letter that again defended the textbook and the author, President C. Richard Wells finally stated the following:

“On the other hand, it is unquestionably true that Gundry’s eschatology differs from that which is stated in the Articles of Faith of The Criswell College. Of course, as you would know from your own experience in theological higher education, the use of a text does not imply that either the professor or the institution agrees with everything in the text. Still, in such cases, we (speaking of this institution) are duty bound to make clear where and how a text differs from our doctrinal position.

“For some weeks, I have reflected on and prayed over your objections to our use of the Gundry text, all in light of our obligation to teach faithfully. My judgement is that, while it seems best not simply to forbid outright any use whatsoever of the Gundry book, if a professor has good reason for doing so, we should at the same time instruct faculty to make clear where Gundry’s text differs from the doctrinal statement of The Criswell College.

“As a practical matter, however, these strictures hardly appear necessary. As Dr. Cooper indicated, the Gundry text was not used at all in the spring semester. This fall, only one professor plans to use it — and then only as a supplement to his two other primary texts. (The professor is using it because of its superb chronological outline of the New Testament, but is not requiring it to be read as a main text.) At this point, we do not anticipate its use as a primary text in the future.”

At the same time, we received a rather angry letter from Zondervan Publishing House and a 2000-word defense of his textbook from author Gundry. Zondervan felt that my complaints were “reckless, unjustified, arbitrary, and groundless” and said they had received “a few letters and e-mail messages” from our viewers and readers. They were sending the Gundry defense to those folks, and they threatened me that I had to print it all if I were going to criticize it. In the end we printed most of it, along with a critique by Dr. McCall. For your edification, that interesting debate is available in our September 1998 newsletter which you can find on the web at www.levitt.com.

Our viewers nationwide began to call their local seminary and Christian college bookstores to determine which institutions were using the textbook. We will eventually publish a complete listing of those schools. There are plenty of other bad textbooks in our seminaries and plenty of other seminaries that have fallen into this sort of doctrine. I don’t need to single out the ones mentioned other than tell my personal experiences with them. As a matter of fact, our ministry made a telephone survey of evangelical seminaries and determined that this particular textbook is in use in about 50 of them nationwide. That is approximately 15% of those listed in the National Evangelical Directory. Some of the best-known names in Christian education are involved, I’m afraid. We also discovered schools that sent the book back after obtaining it from the publisher.

In view of the fact that Zondervan Publishing House claims to have printed 250,000 copies over the nearly thirty years of the textbook’s three editions, a large number of church men and women have sat under this sort of error. Almost 30 graduating classes are out there in churches and ministries evidently believing that Jews are unimportant and the church has replaced Israel.

Part 3

Part 3 — this article first appeared in the May 1999 Levitt Letter.

One cannot arrive at Replacement Theology by reading scripture. It’s just not in the Bible. One has to first be motivated to find some doctrine to fit a bias against the Jews and their homeland. And so among what should be the best friends of Israel that America contains, a false doctrine based on anti-Semitism is rife.

But to speak of prosperity is to cite the fact that the countries that took in the Jews and gave them at least freedom to be employed generally prospered by Jewish industry and ingenuity. The most anti-Semitic of nations — Germany, Russia, England — also profited by their Jewish communities, and history will attest to this ironic fact. Despised and yet respected, the Jews have put up with their hapless lot for some 4,000 years!

What causes hatred of a people who have done little to earn it? The phenomenon may go all the way back to the argument between God and Satan in the first chapter of Job. “Hast thou considered my servant Job?” God asks his enemy, with reference to the idea of righteousness in the world, and Satan cynically points out that if God were to take away what Job has “he will curse thee to thy face.” God replies, in effect, “If you think that, you don’t know Job,” and he takes up the devil’s challenge and begins to persecute Job. In the story, Job, the symbol of righteousness, seems to represent the chosen people and the devil, their antagonist. In the end Israel will be saved, as we pointed out, and in the end Job declared, “Yea, though he slay me, yet will I trust in him.” But as the story of each progressed, Job and the Jews suffered mightily, and the calamities that befell them only underlined their steadfastness. Are the persecutors of the Jews merely modern-day tools of Satan? Is the contention between God and his enemy still going on over the Jews?

Ultimately, the Antichrist will bring the most horrific anti-Semitism the Jews have ever experienced. It is important to the Antichrist’s counterfeit of Jesus that he be accepted as Israel’s Messiah, and he evidently attempts to make that happen. He is rebuffed by Israel, which has a long history of rejecting false Messiahs (and the real Messiah), and so he ultimately enters the Temple itself and proclaims himself almighty God! At this, the Jews flee, and the doom of Armageddon is sealed.

Many teach that Israel will accept the Antichrist as their Messiah, but this is nowhere indicated in scripture. The fact that they sign a peace covenant with him is an act of far less magnitude than accepting him as Messiah, of course. They have been signing peace agreements for years now, and the Antichrist’s will seem to them to be just a longer term, more serious attempt to settle Middle East turmoil. Their mere acceptance of his treaty terms does not amount to accepting him spiritually. It is quite possible that they are rightly suspicious of him from the beginning, but they want so badly to have peace — and possibly to have some arrangement whereby they can rebuild the Temple— that his covenant will seem acceptable at the time. But when he later reveals himself as a true counterfeit of God, they will have no more of him. And that, of course, sets the stage for the world mobilization for that cataclysmic battle.

Who Is the Antichrist?

I am getting the above question in speaking engagements more than almost any other these days. I tend to be asked to speak to Biblical churches who are reasonably well taught where prophecy is concerned. And the members of those churches have realized that the Antichrist is very likely alive and mature today. Some folks make educated guesses, but they’ve been doing that since the beginning. The various popes, Hitler, Henry Kissinger, etc. have been selected, among others, for this very special dishonor. Kissinger has been a suggestion for some 25 years, and that is because he is Jewish. People think the Antichrist is to be a Jew. This is almost universally believed in the churches, but there is just no evidence for that idea.

The scriptural sanction for this theory is Daniel 11:37.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.” (King James Version).

It is rendered this way in a different translation. “He will show no regard for the gods of his fathers or for the one desired by women, nor will he regard any god, but will exalt himself above them all.” (New International Version).

The second translation is the accurate one. The Hebrew word used for God is not Elohim, but elohai. The difference is crucial. Elohai means “gods” in the sense of idols. The verse states that the Antichrist will not worship the idols his father worshipped. The King James translators, living in particularly anti-Semitic times in England, must have fallen into temptation to use the ancient Jewish expression “God of his fathers.” This indictment of the Antichrist being Jewish has persisted for all these centuries. (The King James translators’ aversion to Judaism is obvious again in Acts 12:4 where they substitute Easter for Passover.)

The idea that the Antichrist is a Gentile is easier to support. All Biblical persecutors of the Jews were Gentiles from the pharaohs to the foreign kings to the Caesars. Also, Israel undertakes a formal covenant with the Antichrist. If he were one of their own, they probably would not have to actually sign a document. The policies of Prime Ministers Rabin, Peres or Netanyahu were accepted by their fellow Jews without the necessity of signing formal documents. But dealings with Gentile powers like the U.S., the Arabs, or the Oslo peace accords themselves were contractual matters more like the Antichrist’s upcoming covenant.

And finally, there is the lack of logic in assuming that this major anti-Semite will persecute his own people. It really is difficult to imagine a Jewish person blaspheming to the extent of claiming to be the God of Israel.

But on the matter of just who among the world’s Gentiles the Antichrist may be, I just don’t know. And that is how I answer that question in the churches.

Where Do We Stand?

There are many renditions of end times events and many educated guesses as to the motivations of the characters. Suffice it to say that the construction above fits with scriptural fact. Other factors not foreseen at this time may change some of the motivations, but I feel that this scenery fits well with what we understand now.

So where do we stand now?

Today’s society is as much on the verge of the end of the age as the newspapers say it is. That is to say, while there’s no Biblical sanction for imagining the end to be at the change of millenium, it should surprise no Bible student if it were. There are any number of factors urging this point of view, including the satisfaction of all of the Lord’s warnings in Matthew 24:4-14. The anti-Semitism, which the Anti-christ will utilize to justify his ultimate raid of Israel, and the idea that some peace covenant must be made in Israel are all in place. The analogy of a stage play with pieces of a set and certain actors being in their right places for the culmination of a play is often used, and it is very appropriate.

Around that stage, besides what I have already mentioned, are global economic problems; alliances very similar to that described by Ezekiel in his invasion of Gog and Magog; a powerful European confederacy in the offing; a rising of the king of the East to a position where he could conceivably attack the Middle East; the proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons; the hostility of world Islam to democracy; the apostasy of the “liberal” churches: all conspire to make it seem that the world has either gone haywire or is simply conforming to our Lord’s sad picture of the end of the age. If these are not forewarnings, then we are misunderstanding either the world situation or scripture. Any reasonable person ought to deeply consider his position with God at a time like this.

I have always personally felt that prophecy is placed in scripture not only for the edification of the saints but as a tool of witness. Surely a common-sense appeal in a world like the one we now have is justified. Sometimes when I speak in churches, I am impressed to give an invitation — not so much an emotional appeal accompanied by stirring hymns, but rather a simple “Don’t be a fool.” In view of all of the forewarnings, this is the best time we have seen so far to expect the Lord’s imminent arrival. With that in mind, make your peace with Him and reserve your place in a much finer, more peaceful, more wonderful life on Earth to come.

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