Jul 20, 2009

Antichrist - Legend or Looming, Lethal Reality?

Terry James
By Terry James

Recently I interviewed with The History Channel for its documentary series that will be aired this fall. I have reported before that I was very kindly treated by the film company's crew. They are classy folks, and this commentary is in no way meant to cast aspersions their way.

That said, I'm under no delusion that the secular presenters will, in this History Channel presentation, come down on the side of the pre-trib view of Bible prophecy, much less on the side of my view in considering prophetic matters in the general sense. Their series, I believe, will invoke the sacred name — in secular thinking — of Nostradamus, the sixteenth-century French seer credited with predicting such things as the rise of Adolf Hitler and the Second World War. Nostradamus is always, it seems, right smack in the center of all documentaries on things to come.

This puts all such presentations into a somewhat adversarial role with what God's Word has to say about truth, when it comes to the foretelling of things to come:
"For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty. For He received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to Him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. And His voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with Him in the holy mount. We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost" (2 Peter 1:16-21).
Jesus Christ, you see, is the Word (John 1:1). He gave the prophecies to the Old and New Testament prophets. His is the only truth there is with regard to prophecy or anything else. He said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life..." (John 14:6a). Jesus alone knows the end from the beginning, and has given us all we need to know. He IS the very Word of God.

So it is with annoyance that drives me to distraction that I've listened to (I must listen, because I'm blind) the many documentaries on prophecy coming across the TV cables in these trying although exciting times. The documentary, no matter which of any given series on prophecy, without fail presents short clips of those who champion the literal — and, in my view, true — perspective of things to come. Academic theologians of the non-literalist ilk then are placed to follow those who give the literal position. These always put off the Bible renderings of prophecy as symbolism, allegory, or as history already accomplished.

For example, you might remember watching one of these programs in which a proponent of literal fulfillment presents the Antichrist as the most terrible tyrant who will ever rule on planet earth. Jesus himself said that the time of the beast's rule — the Great Tribulation — will be the worst time of human history (Matthew 24:21-22). Following the literalist view, immediately, is a theological professor from a major university or other high ecclesiastical chair saying with a tolerant smile that John, the writer of Revelation — whom, he pedantically asserts, was not John the apostle — was just speaking in language couched in coded verbiage. The warnings about the Antichrist, these debunkers of the literal view claim, is just meant to slam imperial Rome and its Caesar ruling at the time of John's 90-96 A.D. writing of the Revelation.

Revelation was given, these proclaim, only to give the persecuted Christians of the time hope of Christ's return to put an end to their suffering. Revelation, in this historical view, was not prophecy — in actuality was no more than an anti-Roman Empire political pamphlet. This constant effort to dispel any and all notions of Bible prophecy being any more than apocalyptic literature is proof positive, in this writer's view, that Lucifer, the angel of false light, is indeed the prince of the power of the air in these quickly fleeting end of days.

My prayerful hope is that those in the cutting rooms of documentary filmmakers will change the formula for once...that they will let the high-minded theoretical anti-literalist theologians be given their say first, and follow their — in my view - prevarication with the views of those who hold up God's Word, who is Jesus Christ, as saying what He means and meaning what He says.

Bible prophecy calls Antichrist “the Beast” for good reason. Revelation is the book of the unveiling of Jesus Christ in all of His power and glory, and of His literal return to this sin-fallen sphere. Chapter 13 of that book also unveils a literal coming world ruler — the most dastardly in history — who will force all to worship him or be murdered. We see today the setting up of his future kingdom in ways that are astonishing, considering the speed of their development.

Antichrist isn't a legend; he is a looming, lethal reality.