|The following article was written by a Muslim reporter in 2008. We are not in the business of naming who we think the antichrist is, or might be, and though he is probably already revealed (which simply and only means uncovered or seen), this does not mean he is positively identified yet. This positive identification will not likely happen, until after the ready followers of Jesus are taken out of the world at the "great escape" via the Rapture event. But there are only two possible positive identifiers anyway. Some think one is, the signing of the seven year peace treaty with Israel. The problem with that is, he won't be the only one signing it, instead many countries along with the Antichrist will be confirming it. If he was the only one, we would have an easy identifier.
Instead the bible says in Revelation chapter 13, he will receive a mortal head wound. This is a positive identifier. The other one is he will go into the last temple and defile it and set himself up in it to be worshipped along with setting up the destroying terror, which is likely to be a guillotine to behead the saints and others who oppose him with. So until the head wound event occurs it is almost a complete waste of time trying to identify who is. It is interesting to speculate, but being positive with it, is currently impossible. The head wound event is likely to happen sometime between the Rapture and the defilement of the temple which starts the last 3-1/2 years of the tribulation period. If it happened now, it would be shocking and at least one billion or so Christians would be screaming who he is.
It is very likely that we see the antichrist right now every day in the news. The fact that he has not yet been positively identified, does not mean he has not been revealed. You can uncover something in the forest, which is an example of revealing something, but not have it properly identified for what it actually is long afterwards, and this is much the same here.
The bottom line is we are looking for Jesus, as Paul and the rest of the early church was in the 1st century. They were not looking for the Antichrist as the "last sign", if it were that easy he would have told us in other scripture. Also if the Antichrist identification was before the Rapture, it would again negate his coming with the surprise of a thief as he must.
However, having said all of this, the following is still interesting to ponder.
Let me give you an example of what some mid or post-tribbers do to bolster their positions:
I just read an article in Charisma Magazine by a gentleman named Francis Frangipane which reads as follows and is in regards to 2 Thess 2:1-4: Francis said " Paul stated plainly that the day of the Lord won't come unless the man of sin is revealed "first". This is the first problem with this mans interpretation. Paul did not say "first". Francis added this word because he and others like him want to.
Then Francis said: "The antichrist will actually take his seat in "the temple of God" and he will display himself as being God".
Francis and others like him, add to and take away from scripture by not reading and understanding it completely and literally. We know by other scripture that the Lord has to come as a thief. If he were to come after the Antichrist is so easily identified, it would negate this important truth, so we can't ever do that.
Then Francis goes on to say : "These events will be open, irrefutable realities, not types and shadows, that will precede the Lords return. They will not be cryptic; they will be open."
So Francis is half right in one aspect, but it contradicts other scripture that says Jesus is coming as a thief. Because the storming of the Temple by the Antichrist will be so blatant and in the open, Jesus has to Rapture his ready followers beforehand. Since we already know this occurs earlier at the 6th seal, it makes sense, but it makes no sense when some take these events out of the original order they were meant to stay in.
Paul and the rest of the early church were not looking for the antichrist as a sign. He knew that would be a sign to the Jews and the left behind, but not the Rapture ready followers. They were looking for Jesus alone and thought that it could occur at any moment. How could this be possible if Paul knew that the antichrist must desecrate the temple first? The answer is, Paul knew that the Rapture was first, not the positive identification of the Antichrist.
If you think the tribulation does not start until the desecration of the temple, then you will be twisted in the rest of your theology as well. The tribulation starts when the bible says it does which is at the beginning of God's wrath at the 6th seal, not after.
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