The Pursuit of God

Serious Topics for Serious Christians

No Antichrist in the End Times: Can it really be true?

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AUDIO VERSION: YouTube  Podbean

If you read through our material about the end times, you’ll discover that the prophetic picture we paint is significantly different than the Church’s widely accepted fear fest.  The Church is telling you to expect a modernized version of the book of Revelation in which some power hungry human with serious issues stars in the role of the infamous antichrist. 

So what did we do with the antichrist?  What did we do with his famous beast sidekick?  How strange would it be for the American president and the Catholic pope if they couldn’t look up “666” and find their own faces depicted with demonic features?  Who can we count on to start tattooing the world with triple 6 or making us all bow down to Satan if there’s not going to be any antichrist in the end times?  What a letdown, right?

Let’s get real about end time prophets.  Centuries of failed prophecies haven’t boosted anyone’s confidence in this particular group.  It’s more like the world perceives them as a bunch of glory hungry fruitcakes who are always telling us that Satan’s main man walks among us.  We’ve been waiting an awfully long time for that one world government to form, haven’t we?  And poor Russia and China keep getting assigned the uncomplimentary labels of Gog and Magog.  One minute we’re told that New York City is going to get nuked off the map.  Then we’re told that all of the US is going to be blown off the map.  Some prophets insist that Christians are going to get raptured before the trouble starts.  But others warn that we should expect a fearsome period of oppression before Jesus finally gets around to parting those heavenly clouds.

With so many self-anointed prophets spending so much time pontificating about their latest visions on YouTube, who needs anyone to put out a new theory?  With enough butchering and rearranging of media clips, it’s not hard to make President Obama and the pope sound as evil as Christians apparently need them to be.  So why don’t we just stick to the script and claim to have had a bunch of visions of the antichrist rising to power?  Because, you see, God has this thing called wrath and when prophets start spewing a bunch of lies in His Name, He has a way of making them really, really sorry that they tried to use the Authority of God as their personal promo tool.

In our end time material, we tell you to stop looking for the antichrist, because he’s just not coming.  We tell you to stop obsessing over demons and humans because it really ticks God off when you act like created beings are more worthy of your attention than He is.  We talk about an end time prophet who will be functioning as God’s impotent prop in a lot of His destructive miracles. We tell you that this prophet will be a fully devoted Christian who is obsessed with pleasing God instead of a Satan worshiping psycho.  We know it’s a shocker.  But then again, who says you have to believe us?

Here’s what makes the prophetic calling possible to succeed in: you don’t have to please people, you just to have to please God.  Very happily for us, God doesn’t hold His prophets responsible for how well their messages are received.  If you blow us off, that’s all on you.  And if we’re just another batch of delusional fruitcakes, then clearly no harm will come to you for blowing us off. In fact, you really should discount everything we say if we’re not accurately speaking for God, because He’s the only Source of truth.  If our rendition of the end times is nothing more than a figment of our own demented imaginations, then you should run far and fast away from us.  You really don’t want to be hanging out with folks who use the phrase “God says” as often we as do unless they’re using it correctly because when that lightning strikes us, you don’t want it nailing you as well.  If we’re just putting words in God’s mouth that He never said, then it’s only a matter of time until He takes us down, and you should be cheering when He does.  If we’re accurately predicting the end times, then just imagine all of the fun we won’t have when we’re getting interrogated up one side and down the other by really angry people who are looking for someone to blame their problems on.  You see, there is no glory for prophets who are actually obeying God.  He has a way of pinning His guys into no-win situations which prevent them from raking in any glory when He does what He says He’s going to do.  And why should they?  Glory is for God, not humans.

So here’s a question: since we say that there’s not going to be any antichrist in the end times, how do we explain all of those New Testament predictions of him?  In other words, doesn’t it make us nervous to be contradicting greats like Paul, John and Peter?  No it really doesn’t.  What does make us nervous is contradicting God when He suddenly tells us about something that He’s planning to do.  It goes back to that whole wrath thing.  We aren’t God’s supervisors, and we know better than to get in His face and say, “Hey, God, sounds to us like You’re wandering away from human expectations here.  That’s not cool.  This Bible that we’re all told to worship is supposed to be an unbreakable contract that controls Your every move, and that means You’re not allowed to end the world the way You say You’re going to.  What You’re describing doesn’t look enough like what You showed John in Revelation.  Where’d You get the idea that You can do something original?  Do You think You’re omnipotent or something?”

If you want to talk to God like this, then you go for it.  But you’re on your own with that one.  We choose not to talk smack to the Creator of all things.

Now since we understand how weird it sounds to hear Christians talk about God as if He is…well, God, let’s talk about this Bible thing for a moment.

You would do well to actually read the New Testament for yourself instead of just buying the Church’s interpretation of it.  It turns out that what the Church claims the New Testament says and what it actually says are often two very different things.  Let’s start with Jesus’ famous Olivet Discourse in the Gospel books.  In that private discussion with a few of His disciples, He laid out a clear and simple timeline for the end of the world.  He said that very shortly after He left, the Romans would sack Jerusalem, the Temple would be destroyed, and there would be an epic persecution of both Jews and Christians.  But the good news was that He promised to return very quickly—so quickly that the generation of folks who were alive at the time He was speaking would see Him come back.  You see, Jesus didn’t leave any room for 2,000 to pass before His famous Rapture.  What He said was:

“Now learn this parable from the fig tree: As soon as its branch becomes tender and sprouts leaves, you know that summer is near. In the same way, when you see all these things, recognize that He is near—at the door! I assure you: This generation will certainly not pass away until all these things take place.” (Matt. 24:32-34)

What were the signs of the end that Jesus gave?  Gentiles taking over Jerusalem.  The fall of the Temple.  A massive persecution of ethnic Jews and Christians.  Well, the signs all happened—although not nearly as quickly as Jesus’ guys were expecting.  And because the disciples were counting on the fact that Jesus was being totally straight with them, they kept on persevering even as they saw each other getting killed off by the Romans.

Jump ahead several decades after Jesus’ resurrection and we’ve got a very elderly John stuck on the Roman prison island of Patmos.  John is feeling more than a little discouraged about how things have turned out, and with good reason.  John has lived through the reign of psycho Nero, who kicked off a brutal persecution of Christians by blaming them for starting a massive fire in Rome.  Nero’s popularity among the Romans was already shaky when the fire started and he really needed a scapegoat.  Christians were already making Romans uncomfortable with some of their religious rituals, so they were a convenient target.

By the time of Revelation, Nero was long dead, but the current guy in power—Emperor Domitian—was looking like Nero’s reincarnation to the very frustrated Jewish Christians.  This is why you’ll find hints about Nero coming back from the dead in the visions that John sees. Yahweh and Jesus knew all about the way Jewish Christians in those days viewed the world.  From their idolatrous awe of demons, to their hatred of Nero, to their belief that the sea was the source of evil and that dead souls were drifting about in the core of the planet—all of these superstitions and more are being intentionally played on in the Divine series of visions which we call the book of Revelation today.  Evil beasts slink out of the sea, and Old Testament symbolism abounds.  The book is loaded with references to ancient Jewish culture and history, clearly indicating how limited its intended audience was.  Start paying attention to how absurdly resilient the planet is despite God trashing it with one epic plague after another and you’ll realize how ridiculous we’re being to take these messages literally (see Applying Revelation 17: Rome Gets It…Again).

While Revelation punches home some very shocking and sobering lessons about how our Gods communicate with humans, the book was never intended to be viewed as a guideline to the real end times.  Just as Jesus was intentionally deceiving the early believers by promising to come back in their lifetimes, Revelation is filled with deceptive promises as well.  From Heaven being depicted as a shrine to the Jewish ethnicity, to that famous millennial reign of Christ which only beheaded martyrs get to participate in, and the conspicuous absence of the tribe of Dan from that famous list of 144,000 ethnic Jews, Revelation is filled with evidence that its imagery is not meant to be taken literally.  But of course today we don’t respect historical context, nor do we recognize the many glaring contradictions that Jesus intentionally slips into the visions to help us learn the right lessons (see Applying Revelation: Its Warning for Modern Day Believers).  Instead we take a message to Jewish Christians about the Roman persecution of the early Church and declare that it is an end times manual for all modern day believers.   Because you are letting the Church tell you how to think instead of going directly to Yahweh, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, you are letting yourself get freaked out by all of these end time books and films which do nothing more than glorify the power of demons and teach you to fear some spiritual idiot and his militant thugs.  How is such garbage helping you progress in your walk with God?

It makes no difference to us if you take our warnings seriously or if you blow them off.  But if you’re going to develop good discernment skills, you need to understand that when God speaks, He will always turn your focus onto Him and encourage you to focus on His truths.  God’s truths have a calming effect on your soul—they don’t leave you lying awake in bed stressing over how you’re going to find the guts to not spit on Jesus when the 666 branding crew finally gets around to your hometown.  The Church and her legions of irreverent blowhards are driving you down the wrong road on the subject of the end times.  We send you in a totally different direction.  Who should you be listening to?  God, not humans.

Any egotistical fool can claim to be a prophet of God, toss Jesus’ Name around a lot, and yank verses out of context.  But you don’t know who is speaking accurately for God and who isn’t until you actually ask God for yourself.  And while we’re on the subject, you really need to rethink the theory that every word in the Bible is Divinely inspired.  That’s just another doctrine which you accepted without bothering to check with God Himself.  And since God is the One being discussed in Scriptures, don’t you think it’s rather disrespectful of you to not even ask Him if He approves of the way that He is being portrayed by other humans in the Bible?  It was the apostle Paul who declared “all Scripture to be God-breathed.”  Paul is not God, so why are you treating him like a supreme authority?

Speaking of Paul, we’ve been asked to comment on some of Paul’s antichrist teaching in his epistles.  To understand Paul, you have to realize that he is still going by Jesus’ timeline of end time events.  In the Olivet Discourse, Jesus referred to a specific prophecy from Daniel which described some human ruler intentionally desecrating Yahweh’s sacred Temple in Jerusalem.

“The day is coming when you will see what Daniel the prophet spoke about—the sacrilegious object that causes desecration standing in the Holy Place.” (Matt. 24:15)

Jesus said that right after this event happened, things would really get ugly for the Jews.  In the book of Daniel, a ruler is described as seizing the whole Temple compound, shutting down the sacrificial system, and intentionally desecrating the place by displaying some kind of irreverent object in it.

“His army will take over the Temple fortress, pollute the sanctuary, put a stop to the daily sacrifices, and set up the sacrilegious object that causes desecration.” (Dan. 11:31)

The apostle Paul wrote 2 Thessalonians about twenty years before the Romans finally succeeded in shutting down an intense Jewish rebellion by sacking Jerusalem and burning down the Temple.  Because the Temple is still standing in Paul’s day, and because he’s focused on Jesus’ timeline, he’s teaching people to watch the Temple for signs that the true “man of lawlessness” has arrived.

Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to Him: We ask you, brothers, not to be easily upset in mind or troubled, either by a spirit or by a message or by a letter as if from us, alleging that the Day of the Lord has come. Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way. For that day will not come unless the apostasy comes first and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction. He opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he sits in Yahweh’s sanctuary, publicizing that he himself is God. (2 Thess. 2:1-4)

Naturally the believers in Paul’s day are wondering why Jesus hasn’t shown up yet when He said He would come back so soon.  In this passage, Paul reminds them that something awful has to happen to the Temple first.  Sure enough, about twenty years later the Temple gets sacked just after the hated Nero finally dies.  Utterly traumatized by the horrible persecution they are now experiencing, Jewish believers are really wondering what the heck happened to Jesus.

Now it was the custom for well-liked Roman emperors to receive the status of gods after they died, much like the Catholic pope declares certain people to be saints today. And just as we Christians pretend that idolatry is fine when we’re praying to sainted humans, the Romans didn’t see what was wrong with worshiping their deified emperors.  So now we’ve got a bunch of super stressed Jews waiting on pins for Jesus to show up.  And everyone’s feeling haunted by the prediction of some evil guy who is going to declare himself to be God.  Decades later in the lifetime of John, Domitian rises to power.  Domitian doesn’t want to wait until he’s dead to get treated like a god, so he experiments with claiming the status of a deity while he is still alive.  While most Romans are disgusted with Domitian’s raging ego, you can just imagine how the Jewish Christians were freaking out.  First the Temple goes down, then evil Domitian is declaring himself to be a god.  It is super obvious to the Jews that Domitian was the antichrist, and John assigns him the code name of 666, which was like saying “Mr. Evil, Evil, Evil.”  Writing smack about Domitian was enough to get a man killed, so John had to stick with metaphors if he was going to ever get his letter into circulation.  Revelation was written at the end of Domitian’s reign, after everyone had had a bellyful of Domitian’s tyrannical style.  The man was so hated that some superstitious Jews believed him to be a reincarnation of the psychotic Nero.

So what’s the bottom line?  Well, once you understand historical context, you can see how all of the prophecies of a notorious antichrist in both the New Testament epistles and Revelation were fulfilled by Domitian. It was during Domitian’s reign that the apostle John announced that the antichrist had come:

But every spirit who does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist; you have heard that he is coming, and he is already in the world now. (1 John 4:3)

And once the antichrist had been identified as Domitian, it was obvious to Jews like John that they were truly living in the last days.

Children, it is the last hour. And as you have heard, “Antichrist is coming,” even now many antichrists have come. We know from this that it is the last hour. (1 Jn. 2:18)

If the early believers could see us all waiting on pins for the antichrist to show up today, they’d say we were crazy.  The antichrist they were anticipating came and went a very long time ago.  The problem is that Jesus never showed up when He said He would.  Welcome to the wildness of our Gods. Jesus’ famous “Behold, I am coming soon,” was hardly the first Divine prophecy in Scriptures to never be fulfilled.  Jesus never intended to come when He said He would—instead He used deception to give His followers hope to hang on to.  False hope is a whole lot better than no hope when it comes to inspiring people to persevere through brutal circumstances.

You aren’t going to find teaching about the actual end times in the Bible.  God simply didn’t choose to comment on matters that would be totally irrelevant to His immediate audiences.  The only way for us to know what’s really going to happen during the end times is if God decides to give us new prophecy that is actually meant for the people who are alive on the planet today.  This is what He has done because He’s nice like that, and you’ll find an explanation of His key points laid out in our end time material.  There won’t be an antichrist, there won’t be a beast, there won’t be an epic persecution of Christians, and Jesus isn’t going to come back and whisk us all away before things get ugly.  Our material on the end times sounds so different than what the Church teaches because she’s just recycling prophecy that expired a very long time ago.  What we’re telling you is totally new.  When you read our material, you’re not just reading stuff that God said to someone else.  You’re reading stuff that He is saying directly to you.  It is the people who are alive on the planet today who are the target audience of this material—not folks who lived and died thousands of years ago.  At least that’s our story.  The big question is, should you believe us?  Only God can tell you.

FURTHER READING:
Understanding the Purpose of Terror in the End Times
The End Time Prophet: Driving Us Closer to God
Your End Times Faith Crisis: Staying Aligned with a Scary God
Distinguishing Between the Real End Times & the Day of Yahweh
Living in the End Times: A Thrilling Opportunity

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