One of the great mysteries concerning bible prophecy and the
end times is the national identity of the Antichrist. This is an important
topic because it will eventually aid the last days generation of Christians in
the correct identification of the Antichrist. Fortunately, the Bible provides
us with several details regarding the nationalistic origins of this sinister personality.
His Roman Nationality
Although much debate surrounds his national identity, the
Book of Daniel clearly states that the Antichrist will come from among the
people whose armies destroy the Temple.
“A ruler will arise whose armies will destroy the city and
Daniel 9:26 (NLT)
The City and the Temple
referenced in this passage were destroyed in A.D. 70 by Titus and the Roman
legions, but Titus was not the ruler referenced in this verse. Daniel 9:27
describes the ruler as one who will make a seven-year treaty with Israel, put
an end to the sacrifices and offerings, and set up a sacrilegious object that
causes desecration. These are events that will be fulfilled in the life of the
Antichrist. According to Daniel, the Antichrist will come from among the people
who destroyed the Temple.
Therefore, we can be certain that the Antichrist will come from among the Roman
However, coming from among the Roman people does not
automatically mean that the Antichrist will be of Italian heritage or Roman
ethnicity. It simply means he must come from among those people who were part
of the Roman Empire at that time. From an
ethnic standpoint, this leaves the door open to countless possibilities. The Roman Empire covered most of the known world in its day,
and Roman citizenship was extended to many non-Italian peoples. So how do we
interpret this passage?
Most likely, Daniel 9:26 is a reference to the power base
from which the Antichrist will operate. The Book of Daniel clearly states that
the final world empire before the establishment of Christ’s Millennial Kingdom
will be a resurrected form of the Roman Empire.
In all likelihood, the Antichrist will be the ruler of this revived Roman Empire which will “devour the whole earth,” and in
this way, Christians will be able to identify him as the Antichrist.
Is the Antichrist
Daniel Chapter 8 provides us with further clues in regard to
the life and times of the Antichrist. In it, the angel Gabriel explains
Daniel’s vision of a Ram and Goat as events relating to the Greek Empire of
Alexander the Great. In a claim verified by history, Gabriel states that
following the death of Alexander, the empire will be divided into four parts.
From one of those four parts, the Antichrist will arise:
“The shaggy male goat represents the king of the Greek
Empire. The four prominent horns that replaced the one large horn show that the
Greek Empire will break into four sections with four kings, none of them as
great as the first. At the end of their rule, when their sin is at its height,
a fierce king, a master of intrigue, will rise to power. He will become very
strong, but not by his own power. He will cause a shocking amount of
destruction and succeed in everything he does. He will destroy powerful leaders
and devastate the holy people.” Daniel 8:21-24 (NLT)
Daniel Chapter 11 provides an in-depth examination of the
history of the breakup Alexander’s empire, describing historical events
relating to the King of the North and the King of the South. The latter part of
the chapter describes the Antichrist, identifying him with other historical
figures who have held the title “King of the North.”
This, along with the passage cited above, clearly links the Antichrist to the Northern Kingdom of the divided Greek Empire. This
kingdom was ruled by one of Alexander’s generals, Seleucus, who ruled the areas
of Syria, Mesopotamia, and Persia.
Therefore, it is reasonable to assume that the Antichrist will in some way be
linked to this geographic area of the Middle East.
Isaiah Chapter 10
In addition to Daniel 8, the prophet Isaiah also offers some
interesting insight concerning a “king of Assyria”:
“After the Lord has used the king of Assyria to accomplish
his purposes in Jerusalem, he will turn against
the king of Assyria and punish him – for he is
proud and arrogant. He boasts, ‘By my own power and wisdom I have won these
wars. By my own strength I have captured many lands, destroyed their kings, and
carried off their treasures. By my greatness I have robbed their nests of
riches and gathered up kingdoms as a farmer gathers eggs. No one can even flap
a wing against me or utter a peep of protest.” Isaiah 10:12-14 (NLT)
Although not directly identified by Isaiah, this king of Assyria bears a striking resemblance to the Antichrist.
Both the Book of Daniel and the Book of Revelation describe the Antichrist as
proud and arrogant, boasting arrogantly and blaspheming God Himself. His boast
that “no one can even flap a wing against me or utter a peep of protest” also
fits the description of the Antichrist as given in the Book of Revelation:
“They worshiped the dragon for giving the beast such power,
and they worshiped the beast. ‘Is there anyone as great as the beast?’ they exclaimed.
‘Who is able to fight against him?’” Revelation 13:4 (NLT)
Isaiah 10, coupled with Daniel 8, lends support to the idea
that the Antichrist will somehow be connected to political power in this region
of the world.
Is the Antichrist Jewish?
Is the Antichrist Jewish? Although there is no definitive
answer, two Bible verses provide us with good reason to believe he will be. The
first appears in the Book of Genesis when God prophesies the coming of Israel’s
Messiah and Satan’s Antichrist.
“From now on, you and the woman will be enemies, and your
offspring and her offspring will be enemies. He will crush your head, and you
will strike his heel.” Genesis 3:15 (NLT)
Later on, when Jacob is blessing his sons, he makes this
prophecy about Dan:
“Dan will govern his people like any other tribe in Israel. He will
be a snake beside the road, a poisonous viper along the path,
that bites the horse’s heels so the rider is thrown off.” Genesis
This reference to a serpent striking a heel may indicate
that the Antichrist will be a Jew from the tribe of Dan, but it isn’t certain
and many reasonable people are divided on this issue.
In addition to this reference to the tribe of Dan, the Book
of Daniel points out that the Antichrist will worship himself above all else:
“Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the
desire of women, nor regard any god: for he shall magnify himself above all.”
Daniel 11:37 (KJV)
This passage is often referenced by those who believe the
Antichrist will be of Jewish heritage. The fact that he will have no regard
“for the God of his fathers” is viewed as a reference to the monotheistic God
of the Jews.
Adding further fuel to speculation that the Antichrist might
be Jewish is the following passage from the Book of Revelation:
“Then I saw another beast come up out of the earth. He had
two horns like those of a lamb, and he spoke with the voice of a dragon.”
Revelation 13:11 (NLT)
This verse states that the Antichrist will “come up out of
the earth,” a biblical phrase often associated with the promised land and the
Jewish people. Throughout the Old Testament, the earth is used as a symbol for Israel, while
the sea is used as a symbol for the Gentile peoples:
“And now in my vision I saw beast rising up out of the sea.
It had seven heads and ten horns, with ten crowns on its horns. And written on
each head were names that blasphemed God.” Revelation 13:1 (NLT)
The verse above is a reference to the Antichrist’s kingdom,
which as stated before, will be a revived form of the Roman
Empire – thus emerging from among the Gentile people. But all the
authority of this kingdom will be exercised by “the beast from the earth”
referenced in Revelation 13:11:
“He exercised all the authority of the first beast. And he
required all the earth and those who belong to this world to worship the first
beast, who death-wound had been healed.” Revelation 13:12 (NLT)
The first beast, whose “death-wound had been healed,” is the
revived Roman Empire. The Book of Daniel
clearly states that this world empire will re-emerge in the last days, thus
becoming healed of its mortal wound. But the one who rules it will “come up out
of the earth.” Could this be a reference to the Antichrist’s Jewish heritage?
Will the Jews Accept the Antichrist as Messiah?
All the speculation surrounding the Antichrist’s possible
Jewish heritage lends itself to another question: Will the Jews accept the
Antichrist as their Messiah? Many believe that the following statement by Jesus
is really a prophecy that the Jewish people will accept the Antichrist as their
“I am come in my Father’s name, and ye receive me not: if
another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive.” John 5:43 (KJV)
The Antichrist would have to be Jewish in order to be
accepted by Israel
as the Messiah. Many believe this scripture points to a specific person in the
future who will “come in his own name” and be accepted as the Redeemer of
It is an absolute certainty that the Antichrist will arrive
on the world scene as the ruler of a revived Roman empire.
However, it is less certain whether or not he will be of actual Italian descent
or some other ethnic background. Several scriptures offer the possibility that
he could be Assyrian, Greek, or Jewish. But none of them offer us the
definitive statement contained in Daniel 9:26.
So how do we rectify these seemingly contradictory
prophecies concerning the Antichrist’s nationality? Is he Roman? Italian? Jewish? Assyrian?
Greek? He doesn’t necessarily have to be exclusively
one or another. He could be an Assyrian Jew born and raised in Italy, or any
number of possible combinations. We don’t know for certain, but history
indicates that each of these prophecies will be harmonized when the Antichrist
Two thousand years ago, the seemingly contradictory
prophecies of the first coming of the Messiah were all harmonized in the life
of Jesus Christ who was a Nazarene born in Bethlehem
who came out of Egypt.
With the benefit of hindsight, we can see how this was possible, but for the
Jewish scholars who lived before the birth and ministry of Jesus, these
prophecies were a topic of intense debate. Would the Messiah come from Nazareth, Bethlehem, or Egypt? The
answer, of course, was all three.
In similar fashion, a debate continues today in regard to
the prophecies of the Antichrist and his national identity. But no matter how
much we speculate on the ultimate meaning of the scriptures, we won’t know the
absolute truth until God’s appointed time. As such, it is wise to study these
prophecies and teach them to others, so that Christians of the Antichrist’s
generation will be able to positively identify him based on sound Scriptural
May the Lord Jesus Christ, upon His Return, find us actively
engaged in teaching these truths to others. Until
then, live with a patient and enduring faith that His Return is soon upon us.
Britt Gillette is founder of BrittGillette.Com, a website examining the relationship between bible prophecy and emerging trends in technology. For more information or to sign up for his email alerts, please visit http://www.brittgillette.com