Due to the fact most people are aware of the Antichrist figure and because we will be discussing his characteristics and actions throughout this project in depth to make comparisons to the Mahdi, this post won't be too tedious but will simply offer a brief introduction to the history of the Antichrist prophecies.
Note: Not all Christians believe a future, literal Antichrist is to appear. Those who adhere to a PRETERIST view point of Biblical prophecy believe the Antichrist prophecies were fulfilled in the life and actions of Nero while those who adhere to the interpretation of HISTORICISM believe the prophecies have been fulfilled metaphorically throughout the course of this current church age. Historicists believe the Antichrist is not a literal figure but instead a metaphor for the continual spirit of Antichrist prevalent throughout the church age.
Opposed to the Pretersist and Historicist view, this project will consist of the FUTURIST viewpoint taking on the perspective of a still future, literal, and single human Antichrist.
A Brief Summary & History of the Antichrist Prophecies
The Antichrist is given many names throughout the Hebrew and Christian texts. These titles include but are not limited to:
The Abomination that Causes Desolation.
The Man of Lawlessness.
The Son of Perdition.
The Little Horn.
The Man of Sin.
The Beast/The Beast out of the Sea.
The Antichrist will ultimately be a powerful political and military world leader of the final one world government prophesied in the Bible. Although the Antichrist will be assisted by a religious leader known as 'the false prophet,' the Antichrist will also take part in this movement and demand political as well as religious allegiance. He will implement a one world monetary system as well as create a false peace with Israel who he will later betray. The Antichrist will be a fierce world dictator who will lead mankind into the most terrible period of history the world will ever know, known as the tribulation.
Examples of Antichrist Prophecies
Because my research partner in his first post will provide a thorough list of Antichrist prophecies and because the prophecies will be analyzed in depth later, the below are only a few examples of Antichrist prophecies found in the Old and New Testaments:
Example 1: The Two Shepherds of Zechariah 11.
One of the Old Testament prophets, Zechariah, foretold the coming of two shepherds. One would be the 'Good Shepherd' while another 'Evil Shepherd' is yet to come who will be the Antichrist.
Christians believe Jesus was the 'Good Shepherd' promised to come. Even Jesus acknowledges He has fulfilled this role when He states:
I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd who owns the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. -John 10:11-12
Reading the above linked Zechariah passage will also help clarify the good shepherd was Jesus with the prophecy:
I told them, "If you think it best, give me my pay. But if not, keep it." So they paid me thirty pieces of silver. And the LORD said to me, "Throw it to the potter"-the handsome price at which they priced me! So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them into the house of the LORD to the potter.
This is an obvious prophetic reference to us today of the betrayal by Judas. However, both the prophecy in Zechariah and Jesus allude to a future bad shepherd who will be the antithesis of Jesus, the good shepherd. Just like the bad shepherd will 'oppress the flock,' so will the Antichrist.
Example 2: The Man of Lawlessness of II Thessalonians 2.
This passage is a direct refutation to the concepts held in futurism and historicism claiming the Antichrist has already come or that he will not be a single man but is instead some figurative concept or government system. Some important excerpts from II Thessalonians 2 are:
Don't let anyone deceive you in any way, for (that day will not come) until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God's temple, proclaiming himself to be God.
For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming. The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing.
Many important things in the above passage:
1). He will be a physical man.
2). He is described as being different from the 'spirit of lawlessness already at work.' This is a contrast between the general Antichrist spirit throughout the age and an actual human figure who will appear and will embody this spirit.
3). This passage must be contrasted with the 'King Who exalts himself' of Daniel 11: 36-39 (among others we will be discussing later).
He will exalt and magnify himself above every god and will say unheard-of things against the God of gods. He will be successful until the time of wrath is completed, for what has been determined must take place. 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.
We will be discussing many more examples in depth later and next my partner will provide a list and commentary regarding the Antichrist prophecies. In my next post, I will then be presenting some introductory history of the Islamic prophecies concerning Al Mahdi, the Dajjal, and Islamic eschatology.
[edit on 1/5/2009 by AshleyD]