Several months ago I had the pleasure of reading Chris White’s provocative and well-researched book, False Christ: Will the Antichrist Claim to be the Jewish Messiah? At the time I recommended the book through my newsletter list, but I did not promote it elsewhere. Looking over the course that my studies have taken I now feel that it is time to highlight this book and dig in to some of the new ideas that Chris White brings to the table.
If you are like me then your interest in end-times was probably first shaped by Dispensationalism and from the ideas that have come from of Darby, Scofield, Ryrie, Walvoord, Moody Bible Institute and Dallas Theological Seminary. The biggest dispensational success stories have been Hal Lindsey and Tim LaHaye, whose popular and best-selling ideas have shaped our expectation of the future. We have been taught that God’s end-times plan revolves around Israel, that as Christians we must wholeheartedly support the modern state of Israel, and that some day soon the rapture will remove the Church from the earth, after which the Lord will finally show himself to Israel, save them from the Antichrist, and redeem the final generation of Jews in a last amazing rescue. Regarding the Antichrist, we have been taught that he will be the greatest anti-Semite that has ever lived, that he will trick Israel into signing a covenant, but then he will turn against Israel and carry out mass genocide against Jews prior to Christ’s rescue.
Chris White comes on the scene in his study of the Antichrist and argues very persuasively that the Antichrist in fact rises to power as the savior of Israel, who will be wholeheartedly accepted by Israel as their champion, because of his successful wars on Israel’s behalf against her Islamic enemies!
You can order the book, or you can watch an 18-minute video of the most important points here.
The crux of the argument lies in Chris’s analysis of Daniel 11:36-45, which shows the Antichrist defeating armies to the north, and armies to the south, before triumphantly establishing his capital in Jerusalem itself. Of course the enemies to the north and south of Israel are today Islamic. After defeating these enemies Daniel gives no hint that the Antichrist must war against Israel, or that his sweeping through Israel is an invasion. No indeed, the AC may even ride through Tel Aviv on his way to Jerusalem in a ticker-tape parade, for all we know!
For Chris White, support for the idea that Israel’s leaders will embrace the Antichrist also comes from the words of Jesus Himself in John 5:43,
I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not receive me. If another comes in his own name, you will receive him. (John 5:43)
The reality is that the early Church fathers almost unanimously agreed that the Antichrist would in fact be Jewish. Chris shows that Irenaeus, Hippolytus, John Chrysostom, Methodius, John Damascene, and many more, held this view. Now I know that in many circles the earliest Christian writings are dismissed as unorthodox and of little value, but over the years I have come to value them more and more. After all, these were the men who were discipled by the disciples. They weren’t just “book taught” in a seminary! The earliest of them lived their lives with the Apostles, who in turn lived their lives with the next generation, and so on. I think the discipleship tradition carried far greater weight at the beginning than it does now, when sola scriptura is the final word, and Irenaeus and Hippolytus traced their lineage right back to the Apostle John.
Now the Jewishness of the Antichrist is debatable, as even Chris concedes, and at least two church fathers thought the AC would be the resurrected Roman emperor Nero, yet even these early theologians believed that Nero would somehow gain the trust of the Jews as an expert in their Law, and be embraced by the Jews as a whole.
This brings the subject back to my own personal theory on the identity of the AC being the resurrected Nimrod. Somehow I see how this potential outcome could be compatible with the Antichrist being embraced by the modern state of Israel.
Consider for a moment the fact that at the birth of Christ the name Yeshua (a form of the verb “to save”) was a very popular name at the time within Israel. There were all kinds of different men running around with the name “Yeshua” in first century Israel. Now let’s take a look at the social subconscious at the time of the founding of the modern nation of Israel, as explained at a blog called “The Jewish History Channel.” This blog highlights the fact that a generation ago the name “Nimrod” was a very popular name among Israel’s secular political leadership. The fact that Nimrod was an enemy of God was actually the reason for its popularity among these anti-religious Jews! Here are some of the blog’s concluding words:
… “Nimrod” has become a fairly common male name in present-day Israel. In the 1940s, bestowing it upon a newborn child was something of political statement. In the present generation, however, it is taken simply as a name like any other…
Does this strange social trend reveal something going on under the surface of modern political Israel? I don’t know for sure but it certainly seems to support my own research into the identity of the AC, who may in fact play an end-times role in Israel that is far outside the popular evangelical Lindsey/LaHaye paradigm.
Thank you Chris White for thinking outside of the box.