As I demonstrated
in my previous installment, Matthew 24:4- 14 deals with events of the first half
of the seven-year tribulation period known as " the beginning of birth pangs"
(Matt. 24:8). These events are
parallel to the seal and trumpet judgments of Revelation 6, 8- 9. I take it that in Christ' s discourse
" The disciples were the representatives of godly Jews, and were warned of what
should befall their nation."  Thus, this passage, which is before us
will take place in the future, after the rapture of the church, at the time of
the beginning of the tribulation.
Do Not Be Deceived
tribulation begins with the arrival of the antichrist on the scene, it is not
surprising that this section also begins with a warning to believers about his
arrival. Jesus begins answering
the disciple' s question with a warning about false messiahs. " And Jesus answered and said to them,
' See to it that no one misleads you.
For many will come in My name, saying, ' I am the Christ,' and will mislead many' " (Matt. 24:4- 5).
I think William
Kelly is correct to note that this passage is not referencing Christians during
the current church age.
In the epistles of Paul it is never exactly such a thought as
warning persons against false Christs.
For there the Holy Ghost addresses us as Christians; and a Christian
could not be deceived by a man' s pretensions to be Christ. It is most appropriate here, because
the disciples are viewed in this chapter, as representatives, not of us
Christians now, but of future godly Jews.
The first thing
Jesus tells them is to make sure that no one misleads you. Spiritual deception will be the primary
purpose of the Antichrist during the tribulation and thus a primary item to be
avoided. " This warning was
prompted by their eagerness for a sign.
The danger of being misled was increased if one was too enthusiastic or
anticipated some symbolic indication of the event."  Dr. Stanley Toussaint tells us:
The key to understanding the discourse is found in this first
sentence. The disciples thought
that the destruction of Jerusalem with its great temple would usher in the end
of the age. The Lord separates the
two ideas and warns the disciples against being deceived by the destruction of
Jerusalem and other such catastrophes.
The razing of the temple and the presence of wars and rumors of wars do
not necessarily signify the nearness of the end.
Many False Christs
Why are they to
be on guard against deception?
Vigilance will be needed since there will be during the tribulation a
host of those claiming to be the Messiah and many will believe them. But the Jewish believers during the
tribulation are not to fall for that line.
The emphasis in
verse 5 is upon " many." Not just a
single person will come claiming to be the Messiah, but a whole host of
individuals will make such claims.
Multiple claims to Messiahship is one of the reasons why this passage is
not referring to events leading up to the a.d.
70 destruction of Jerusalem. A. H.
M' Neile says, " No such definite claim to Messiahship is known till that of
Barkokba in the reign of Hadrian."  The Barkokba revolt was put down by the
Romans in a.d. 135 when Hadrian
lead the Roman legions to once again destroy Jerusalem, and the surrounding
area, which resulted in the death of half a million Jews. Robert Gundry notes the following:
The lack of evidence that anyone claimed messiahship between
Jesus and Bar-Kokhba a hundred years later militates against our seeing the
discourse as a vaticinium ex eventu [a
prophecy of an event] concerning the first Jewish revolt (a.d. 66- 73). False prophets figured in that revolt (Josephus J.W. 6.5.2 ¤¤285-87; 7.11.1 ¤¤437-39; Ant. 20.5.1 ¤97); but one did not have to claim
messiahship to be a false prophet.
Cf. Acts 5:36; 8:9; 21:38.
R. Gray tells us, " strict claims to the Messianic office in the strictest sense
are almost nonexistent in history."  However, in the future, this passage
tells us it will be rampant.
The First Seal Judgment
As noted in my
previous article, the judgments of Matthew 24:4- 11 parallel in order the first
five seal judgments of Revelation 6:1- 11.
" The first seal depicts a false Messiah," 
as observed in Revelation 6:1- 2.
And I saw when the Lamb broke one of
the seven seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures saying as with
a voice of thunder, " Come." And I looked, and behold, a white horse, and he who sat on
it had a bow; and a crown was given to him; and he went out conquering, and to
conquer. (Rev. 6:1- 2)
Gaebelein, that great Bible teacher from a former generation says the following
about this similarity:
The rider upon the white horse under the first seal is a
counterfeit. He is a false Christ,
who goes forth to conquer. His
conquest is a bloodless one, as he has only a bow. He will bring about a false peace among the nations, which
for a time may have been alarmed by the supernatural removal of the
church. The second rider " takes
peace from the earth," from which we would conclude that the first rider upon
the white horse (white emblem of peace) has established peace.
as we turn to Matthew xxiv we find that the first thing our Lord saith, is
about the deceivers who will come with the beginning of the age ending
saying: " I am Christ," and succeeding
to lead away many.
What is the nationality
of the Antichrist?
A widely held
belief throughout the history of the church has been the notion that Antichrist
will be of Jewish origin. This
view is still widely held in our own day.
However, upon closer examination we find no real Scriptural basis for
such a view.
for a Jewish Origin
Three reasons are
often given in support of the argument that Antichrist will be Jewish. First, it is argued that he will
be a Jew since the Jews are responsible for the world' s problems. Thus, it follows that the greatest
problem of history- Antichrist- will also be Jewish. This is the Anti-Semitic reason. It should be clear that since Anti-Semitism is unbiblical,
and so is any logic that reasons upon such a premise.
Fruchtenbaum offers a refutation of the second reason, which he calls " The
Logical Reason." He writes:
Stated in a syllogism, this argument goes as follows:
Major Premise: The
Jews will accept the Antichrist as the Messiah
Minor Premise: The
Jews will never accept a Gentile as the Messiah.
Conclusion: The Antichrist will be a Jew.
of this argument are many, not the least of which are the two premises. Neither premise can be supported from
the Bible. Just because the Jews
make a covenant with the Antichrist (Dan. 9:27; Isa. 28:15), it does not follow
either textually or logically that they accept him as Messiah (or
Antichrist). Second, since they
are not accepting him as Messiah, the fact that he is a Gentile peacemaker is
irrelevant. Thus, the conclusion
does not follow.
An attempt at a
Scriptural argument reasons that Antichrist will spring forth from the tribe of
Dan. This has been a view that has
been widely held throughout church history, from the earliest times to our
modern day. Support for this view
is inappropriately derived from Genesis 49:17; Deuteronomy 33:22; Jeremiah
8:16; Daniel 11:37; Revelation 7:4-8.
Even though many passages are cited in support of this argument, none of
them actually support the notion since they are all taken out of context. In reality, only Daniel 11:37 refers to
the Antichrist. Even though some
believe that the phrase in Daniel 11:37 " the God of his fathers" (KJV), implies
a Jewish apostasy, the phrase is more accurately translated " the gods of his
fathers" (NASB). Since Antichrist
will be a Gentile, as will be shown, the argument is unfounded. Since the original Hebrew supports the
NASB translation and not the KJV, Antichrist' s apostasy will be Christian and
for a Gentile Origin
We have seen that
the Bible does not teach that Antichrist will be Jewish; however, Scripture
does teach that he will be of Gentile descent. This can first be seen from biblical typology. Most commentators agree that Daniel 11
speaks of Antiochus Epiphanes, a Gentile, who typifies the future
Antichrist. Since Antiochus is a
Gentile, then so will be Antichrist.
biblical imagery supports a Gentile origin of Antichrist. Scripture pictures Antichrist as rising
up out of the sea (Rev. 13:1; 17:15).
In prophetic literature the sea is an image of the Gentile nations. Thus, Antichrist is seen as a Gentile
nature of the " Times of the Gentiles" (Luke 21:24) supports a Gentile Antichrist. Fruchtenbaum notes:
is agreed by all premillennialists that the period known as the Times of the
Gentiles does not end until the second coming of Christ. It is further agreed that the
Antichrist is the final ruler of the Times of the Gentiles. . . .
this is so, how then can a Jew be the last ruler at a time when only Gentiles
can have the preeminence? To say
the Antichrist is to be a Jew would contradict the very nature of the Time of
Bible not only teaches that Antichrist will be Gentile, but it also implies
that he will be of Roman descent.
This is understood from Daniel 9:27, where the one cutting a covenant
with Israel is said to represent the revived Roman Empire, since it was the
Romans who destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple in a.d. 70. The
revived Roman empire comes from a second phase of the Roman Empire, i.e., " feet
partly of iron and partly of clay" (Dan 2:33, 40- 45).
of the non-Jewishness of the antichrist has significant implications as noted
Because the true Anti-Christ is not a Jew (cp Daniel 7, 11,
Revelation 13:1), therefore he will not claim to be a false Messiah. These false claimants will be
contemporaneous with Antichrist and will likely oppose him. During this time Israel will have many
options and opportunities to follow false Messiahs, yet, the Antichrist will
not be one of them. He comes as a
benefactor of Israel, a great world diplomat turned persecutor, but not a
Messianic deliverer. He will be
worshipped, not as Messiah, but as God.
Continued . . .)