Q. I’ve always been under the impression that the Antichrist will be a Jew. Is this correct?
A. The belief that the Antichrist will be a Jew comes from several Scripture passages, but a closer look at these passages refutes this idea. Daniel 11:37 is perhaps the most used passage: “He shall regard neither the God of his fathers.” Many have thought the verse means that Antichrist, as a Jew, will have rejected the God of the Hebrews. But the word “God” here, elohim in the Hebrew, can refer either to the true God or to false gods. Some Bibles indicate this fact in footnotes, correctly using the lowercase “gods.” Thus the Antichrist will have rejected whatever deity was in his background. The Antichrist will have had a religion such as Islam or Catholicism in heritage, but will have rejected or abandoned it. One Bible scholar noted that “this statement could refer to a Protestant, a Roman Catholic, or a heathen.”
Another passage is Daniel 9:27: “He shall confirm a covenant with many for one week.” Here the idea is that Antichrist would have to be a Jew for the Jews to ever accept him, whether as their Messiah or in a covenant with him. The Bible doesn’t say anything about Messiah here. The covenant with Antichrist has to do with attaining a military victory, the Antichrist saving Israel from Russian armies (see Ezekiel 38). Interestingly, Israel has already entered into covenants with non-Jews. One prime example took place when the Jews signed a peace treaty with Yasser Arafat, a Gentile, not a Jew, at the Oslo Accords of 1993.
Still another passage is John 5:43: “If another comes in his own name, him you will receive.” Jesus could have been referring to the Antichrist here, but His statement does not settle the issue of whether the Antichrist is a Jew. In fact, “in his own name” would indicate the opposite.
Supporting the position that the Antichrist is not a Jew are passages such as Revelation 13:1 and 17:15, indicating that the Beast will rise up out of the sea. “The sea” in Scripture depicts the Gentile nations. The 10 horns of both Revelation and Daniel indicate that Antichrist will come out of the Revived Roman Empire of 10 Gentile nations. Closely related to the Beast is the false prophet, who is said to arise “out of the earth” (Revelation 13:11). This might indicate that the false prophet will be a Jew, in contrast to the Antichrist himself, who is a Gentile coming out of “the sea.”
Keep in mind that people in general will be deceived and worship the Antichrist as God, not just Jews (Revelation 13:4). This evil ruler’s schedule and disposition are outlined in Daniel 11:36-45:
Verse 36: He will take absolute power for himself, the biggest power grab the world has ever witnessed.
Verse 36: He will oppose everything called God, and he will exalt himself over everything, reminiscent of Lucifer.
Verse 36: He will be the arch-blasphemer against God and all that God represents.
Verse 36: He will prosper-during the time God allows him. God will still be in control.
Verse 37: He will reject all deities.
Verses 38, 39: He will worship and ruthlessly use military might.
Verse 40: His might as head of the Revived Roman Empire will be challenged.
Verses 40-43: Since he will have made a covenant with Israel, he will fight the kings of the north (Syria) and south (Egypt and joining nations), and will be victorious at the beginning.
Verse 44: But additional conflict will take place.
Verse 45: Antichrist will set up headquarters in Jerusalem and will break his covenant with Jerusalem, posing as Christ and introducing his one-world system.
Verse 45: Antichrist will “come to his end,” when Christ descends to earth with His armies and His bride at the end of the Tribulation and defeats the world ruler (see also Zechariah 14:1-4; Revelation 19:19-21).
In looking up Daniel 11:37, some readers might wonder about the phrase “nor the desire of women.” This desire is also something that Antichrist will disdain-he will be opposed to Jesus Christ in relation to His being the promised Son of God. Before Christ was born, Jewish women desired to become the mother of the promised Messiah. This desire and its meaning would, of course, be an object of Antichrist’s hatred.
As to who the Antichrist is, as believers we may be aware of his person and see him before we are raptured. But we won’t recognize his identity, because 2 Thessalonians 2 says that this wicked one won’t be revealed as such until we believers are “taken out of the way.”
Do you have feedback or a Bible question to submit? Send your Bible questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or mail to Norman A. Olson in care of the Baptist Bulletin, 1300 N. Meacham Rd., Schaumburg, IL 60173-4806.