Responding to Ron Rhodes’ The 8 Great Debates of Bible Prophecy
Debate 6: Ron Rhodes asks, ‘How Are We to Understand the Antichrist?’
The Antichrist Conundrum
Throughout church history many have postulated who the Antichrist is. Some believe that he is yet to come. Among them are those like Ron Rhodes who believe that the Church will have nothing to do with the Antichrist because, according to him, the church will have been raptured before anyone is identified as the Antichrist. Others have proposed 1st century Roman emperors, certain world or religious leaders, various popes and even the papal system itself.
Is this ongoing conundrum ever solvable? I believe it is. I propose that the interpretation of the sum of all the events and attributes that are ascribed to the Antichrist in the Bible leads to an understanding that he belongs to more than one generation and, therefore, that he has to be more than one individual. Having said that, I do not believe he will exist after the Church has been raptured as Rhodes has suggested, because after the Church is raptured the earth and all that is in it will be destroyed with fire.
Scriptures clearly point to an initial 1st century Antichrist, while others indicate repeated manifestations of this figure throughout Church history, and still others speak of a final Antichrist who is destroyed at Christ’s return. In a nutshell, Daniel prophesied about the Antichrist as a specific 1st century Roman emperor, which is corroborated by John who wrote in 1 John that they were expecting the Antichrist’s imminent appearance. However, the book of Revelation also clearly shows the Antichrist as an ongoing enemy of the Church throughout its history. And, finally, both 2nd Thessalonians and Revelation speak of the Antichrist’s demise when Christ returns.
Clearly, in order for the Antichrist to be a 1st century manifestation, as well as an ongoing one and an end-time character, he has to be represented by more than one person. As I see it, our inability to agree on who the Antichrist was, is, or will be, is proof that not one person fully represents the person of the Antichrist.
The Antichrist Distraction
I believe that the Bible gives us sufficient revelation concerning the Antichrist so that we are aware of him and his ways. Having said that, we are not to be enamored by him in any way. Sadly, however, it appears that some in the Church get just as attracted by the topic of the Antichrist as they do with Christ Himself. Strangely, this is often especially true of many who think that the Church will be raptured before the Antichrist is manifest.
Similarly, knowledge of the spirit of the Antichrist should be of far more concern than speculating about the Antichrist. While the Church is distracted by trying to pinpoint a person or project some future figure, the spirit of the Antichrist is at work in all of society, manifesting as unbelief in multitudes, driving false religion, and operating through multiple religious and governmental leaders.
In my next post I will expand on the various forms in which the Antichrist is revealed to us in Scripture. My goal is to leave the reader with a sober view of a real enemy who operates in our midst rather than attempt to imbibe you with a narrow nauseating view so often spoken about in books and popular television and that is unrelated to real life.
Before you may be tempted to come at me with your proofs of your version of the Antichrist or shoot down what I have said thus far, I would like you to hear me out as I explain my perspective through this series of posts.
Responses To Ron Rhodes’ ‘The 8 Great Debates of Bible Prophecy’:
- Bible Prophecy: Literal or Allegorical
- Toppling Dispensationalism
- Israel is Saved or Judged, not Replaced or Distinct
- The Signs of the Times – Do Current Signs Point to Prophetic Fulfillment? – PART 1
- The Signs of the Times – Do Current Signs Point to Prophetic Fulfillment? PART 2 – Israel
- The Signs of the Times – Do Current Signs Point to Prophetic Fulfillment? PART 3 – Middle East, European Union, Globalism?
- The Signs of the Times – Is America in Bible Prophecy?
- The Signs of the Times – Can We Know When the Ezekiel Invasion Will Occur? PART 1 – Israel regathered from Many Nations
- The Signs of the Times – Can We Know When the Ezekiel Invasion Will Occur? PART 2 – Russians and Muslims to Invade Israel on Horseback?
- When Will The Rapture Occur?
- Taking Issue with Futurism – Interpreting Revelation Part 1
- Daniel’s Seventieth Week and the Book of Revelation – Interpreting Revelation Part 2
- Babylon, the 144000 and The Two Witnesses – Interpreting Revelation – Part 3
- Who is the Antichrist? – Part 1
- Who is the Antichrist? – Part 2
- Who is the Antichrist? – Part 3
- Who is the Antichrist? – Part 4
- The Millennium
- Prophetic Events and Their Timing