Has antichrist ascended to world stage?

By Leo Hohmann

New Greek Prime Minister Alexios Tsipras
New Greek Prime Minister Alexios Tsipras

Alexios Tsipras has been prime minister of Greece for just over a month and is already a candidate for another office, according to some Christian prophecy buffs – the office of “Antichrist.”

Tsipras has “burst onto the scene,” as one blogger describes it, at a time of great economic uncertainty in a country, Greece, that was the 10th member to join the European Union in 1981. And, of course, everyone knows that the Bible predicts the antichrist will arise from a 10-member confederation of nations, presumed by many to be the European Union, which is seen as the “revived Roman empire” described in Daniel and Revelation.

This Euro rock star has “appeared out of nowhere over the last couple of years, almost magically,” writes one prophecy blogger with sights on Tsipras.

Among the characteristics that have put the 40-year-old leader on the radar of antichrist hunters are:

1) He is a young, charismatic leader suddenly assuming power in Greece and executing actions “in his own name.” He apparently issued his own oath of office to himself.
2) He recently met with Pope Francis at the Vatican to discuss a peace deal for the Middle East.
3) He is an avowed atheist of Jewish descent.
4) He is of Greek nationality.
5) He was born on July 28, 1974, which that year fell on the Tisha B’Av or the 9th of Av on the Jewish calendar, the day on which many Jewish calamities occurred including the destruction of first and second temples and the eviction of Jews from England in the year 1290 and from Spain in 1492.
6) He is rabidly anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist.

WND contacted several prophecy experts and Bible teachers to get their take on this phenomenon.

Joel Richardson is a Bible teacher, author and documentary filmmaker.
Joel Richardson is a Bible teacher, author and documentary filmmaker.

Joel Richardson, author of the best-seller “The Islamic Antichrist” as well as “Mideast Beast” and “When a Jew Rules the World,” is as interested as anyone in the rise of the world figure the Bible calls the antichrist. He’s written two books that deal explicitly with that topic. But, he says, it can become a distraction.

He points to all the misses of the past few decades in which well-known global figures were seen as the embodiment of Satan on earth – Ayatollah Khomeini, President Clinton, Javier Solana and nearly every pope.

And who can forget the suspicions about Ronald Wilson Reagan? Didn’t he have six letters in each name? Perhaps this theory was popular among Russian Christians, while at the same time believers on this side of the Cold War had their eyes on Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. (Remember that ugly mark on his forehead?)

Today’s WND POLL: Sound off on Christians trying to identify the antichrist

Today, many fixate on Prince Charles and Princes William or Harry, citing the “beastly” symbols in the royal family’s crest.

President Obama is in his final years in office, but rest assured, Richardson said, this article will be followed by dozens of comments declaring that it would be remiss for any good antichrist speculator to ignore the fact that Obama is indeed the lawless one, the Son of perdition.

But come on, Obama is so yesterday, others will argue.

There is a new kid on the block who is gaining the attention of today’s antichrist pointers. The man is the new Greek prime minister.

“The problem with the list of evidence against Tsipras is that there are only two of the signs that one could point to as a scripturally defined characteristic of the antichrist,” Richardson said.

He is, after all, quite charismatic, and such a nice looking fellow, too.

Yes, but couldn’t this be said of virtually every world leader, at least to some extent? Richardson gives that one a swing and a miss. Strike one.

What about his “anti-Semitism”?

Check, you may have something here, notes Richardson.

“Clearly, the antichrist will be a great hater of God’s covenant people. There are too many biblical passages that point to this reality to cite here,” he said.

He was born Jewish.

“The most glaring problem with the sometimes popular notion that the antichrist will be Jewish is the fact that every single type of the antichrist in the Bible was an antagonistic gentile ruler,” Richardson points out. “Whether Pharaoh, Nebuchadnezzar, Antiochus IV Epiphanies, or the various Roman caesars, none were Jewish.”

jew_rules_worldAll were gentile world leaders who engaged in the invasion and ravaging of the land and the people of Israel. It is common to hear Christians argue that the antichrist must be Jewish, for the Jews would never accept anyone other than a Jew as their Messiah. The problem with this line of thought is that nowhere does the Bible say that the antichrist will claim to be the Jewish Messiah. Instead, it says he will deceive the leaders of Israel into entering into a covenant with him (Daniel 9., Isa. 28:15). This will more than likely be some form of security agreement.”

A big whiff from our prophecy expert on this one. Strike two.

OK, so what about Tsipras’s Greek ethnicity? Surely the antichrist will be Greek, right?

This argument is rooted in the fact that Antiochus IV Epiphanies, perhaps the Bible’s greatest type of the Antichrist emerged from the broken Alexandrian Greek Empire.

“But if one considers the two chapters which focus in on Antiochus as a type of the Antichrist, Daniel chapters 8 and 11, neither chapter ever points to Antiochus’ ethnicity, but instead these chapters point to the region from which the antichrist will emerge,” Richardson notes. “The very title ‘King of the North’ which is applied to both Antiochus and the antichrist throughout Daniel 11 is a title which clearly points to the geography of the antichrist as emerging from the same general region as the ancient Seleucid dynasty.”

In modern terms, this correlates roughly to Turkey, Syria, Lebanon and Iraq.

Further study of these chapters reveals that the Antichrist emerges out of the region of the Seleucid dynasty and begins as a leader of little account. He is called a “small horn.”

While intriguing, it looks like another strike, perhaps a foul tip into the catcher’s mitt. Oh, by the way, that’s strike three if you’re counting.

“In the end, there is absolutely nothing of any substance that would indicate that the new Greek Prime Minister is the antichrist,” Richardson concludes.

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Yet, many prophecy watchers will waste countless hours over the next few years of their life obsessing over yet another false antichrist.

“How many souls will not be won as a result?” Richardson asks. “How many poor and needy will not be cared for? How many hours of prayer will be passed over? How many hours of Bible study will be neglected?

Could antichrist be coming into focus?

Pastor and author Carl Gallups
Pastor and author Carl Gallups

Carl Gallups, a Baptist pastor and author of “Final Warning: Understanding the Trumpet Days of Revelation,” a book that strikes close to this issue, is also skeptical about the new Greek prime minister’s antichrist qualifications.

First, we must be honest with scripture, he said. There will be a generation that finally sees the “real deal” in the way of the antichrist.

The apostle John was declaring the “spirit of antichrist” already present in the first century and “even now many antichrists have come.”

It is also a fact that the Bible contains a plethora of distinguishing characteristics of, and warnings about, the antichrist. In the New Testament, Jesus himself gave specific details regarding the diabolical figure (Matthew 24) and related the topic back to the book of Daniel. While speaking prophetically about the end-times generation, Jesus told His disciples (who would eventually represent the church itself), “When you see the abomination …”

The apostle Paul gave the church more details about the antichrist (2 Thessalonians 2), and John gave the church even more particulars (Revelation 13). The book of Daniel is chock full of antichrist identification facts from chapters 7 through 11.

“So, there seems to be a biblical precedent for the people of God to cautiously engage in a process of ‘contextual biblical discernment’ concerning the times in which we live, including at least the biblical understanding of the antichrist figure that surely is to come,” Gallups said.

However, in the 2,000 years since the time of Christ, Christians have attempted to identify many characters as “the antichrist.”

Stalin, Mussolini, Hitler, various popes, various U.S. presidents, and other powerful world leaders have made the list. And, it is no secret that many Christians claim to see “antichrist spirit” characteristics in any number of current world leaders. Again, their batting average has been abysmal and if these prophecy gurus were baseball players they would not even make it in the minor leagues.

“There can be little doubt that the ‘spirit of antichrist’ continues to grow stronger with the passing years and the continual degradation of the world’s attitude toward the Word of God and Jesus Christ,” Gallups said. “The advice I give to Christians who inquire upon this subject is: carefully discern the times, rightly divide the Word of truth, stay cognizant of the growing spirit of deception and deceit so that we might speak biblical truth and relevance to the decaying culture around us, and keep the main thing – the main thing. Winning souls, equipping the saints, and effectively advancing the Kingdom of Jesus Christ in hearts and lives.”

Beware of ‘Chrislam’ and similar deceptions

Pastor and author Mark Biltz
Pastor and author Mark Biltz

Mark Biltz, author of the “Blood Moons: Decoding the Imminent Heavenly Signs,” says Tsipras is not the antichrist, and this type of speculation is a waste of time.

“We need to stay focused on the Messiah, not the anti-messiah,” he said.

Today’s WND POLL: Sound off on Christians trying to identify the antichrist

The Bible says the antichrist will be a master deceiver, and most of modern Christianity is vulnerable to deception because they adhere to replacement theology, he said. This is the idea that the church has replaced Israel as God’s chosen people and God is done with Israel.

Revelation says that God will have His “two witnesses” on earth in the same time frame that Satan has his antichrist and false prophet, Biltz noted.

Biltz believes more focus needs to be on understanding and dividing sound doctrine from false doctrine, rather than pointing to various personalities. If the focus is on a man, deception will be the rule. Biltz writes:

“Here we are coming upon Purim and the story of Haman and Esther. A few months ago we had the story of Hanukkah and Antiochus Epiphanes. What was the difference between Haman and Antiochus? Which one will the antichrist be more like? Historically, Haman came first and Haman wanted to kill all the Jews regardless. He was all about annihilation. Then came Antiochus. Antiochus did not want to kill all the Jews as he was all about assimilation. Hitler was a type of Haman. The antichrist will be more like Antiochus and will be more concerned with assimilation. We see this happening now with the advance of Chrislam and all the churches coming together under the banner of assimilation.”

When the antichrist does take power, those who refuse to assimilate into his system will be annihilated.

“So what will be advanced is, ‘You can keep your Jesus, just submit to me as well.'”

“Most people, given this option, will compromise because they do not know Torah principles or believe they are all done away with and we are only under grace. They will think God will understand if they submit because they are under grace and after all we still ‘believe’ in Jesus.”

In Daniel, it says he will look to change the “times and seasons.”

“Many don’t understand this is talking about God’s appointed times and festivals such as Passover,” Biltz said. “Because the church is on the wrong calendar they have done just that. As a matter of fact, next year Easter is a month before Passover! How do you celebrate the Resurrection a month before Christ even died?! Only if you changed the times and seasons! Believers need to wake up and get on God’s calendar, or they may think they figured out who the antichrist is but are completely deceived.”

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