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The same day I received David Jeremiah’s The Book of Signs: 31 Undeniable Prophecies of the Apocalypse and Ron Rhodes’ Jesus and the End Times, I also received Ray Kroc’s autobiography Grinding It Out: The Making of McDonald’s.
End-time prophecy books never cease. Publishers keep grinding them out. They are the same worn out prophetic speculations that have been published in similar books for centuries. Only the names, cast of characters, and dates have changed.
Let’s start with Dr. Jeremiah’s The Book of Signs. Dr. Jeremiah believes in the pre-tribulational “rapture” of the church. The “rapture” is said to be a “sign-less” event since it can happen at any moment. In his chapter on “The Rapture,” there is a section titled “THE RAPTURE IS A ‘SIGN-LESS’ EVENT.” He writes, “No signs will be given to prepare us for the arrival of the Rapture. It can occur at any moment—possibly before you finish reading this chapter.” (157). It’s equally true that Dr. Jeremiah’s version of the rapture might not take place for another 10,000 years!
“No signs” before the rapture is a fundamental tenet of dispensationalism, and yet Dr. Jeremiah’s book is filled with events that he claims are signs.
The following copy is from the back cover:
Join Dr. Jeremiah as he lays out the signs of the end times and you prepare for the days ahead in thirty-one easy-to-understand chapters.
If these are signs preceding the “rapture,” and these signs didn’t exist 500 years ago, the “rapture” could not have been imminent then. “Sign-less” means no signs.
So why do dispensationalists insist on listing what they claim are end-time signs indicating that the rapture is near and at the same time telling everyone that the “rapture” is a “sign-less event”? Books about end-time signs sell!
Dr. Jeremiah’s chapter on “Antichrist” caught my attention. He claims, “there are over one hundred passages of Scripture that describe the Antichrist, and yet the word antichrist itself is mentioned in only four verses in the New Testament—each time by the apostle John (1 John 2:18, 22; 4:3; 2 John v. 7).” (247)
First, there aren’t over one hundred passages of Scripture that describe the antichrist. Second, Dr. Jeremiah does not let the Bible define the word “antichrist.” Here’s his definition:
As the word suggests, the Antichrist is a person who is against Christ. The prefix anti can also mean “instead of,” and both meanings will apply to this coming world leader. He will overtly oppose Christ and at the same time pass himself off as Christ. (247)
There’s no suggesting necessary. Why doesn’t Dr. Jeremiah use the biblical definition of antichrist instead of making up one? Because the Bible’s definition of antichrist doesn’t fit his end-time prophetic views.
As Dr. Jeremiah points out, the word “antichrist” only appears in two of John’s epistles. He’s correct. Here’s the first time the word “antichrist” is used in the Bible:
Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour (1 John 2:18).
You should notice that there were “now many antichrists.” John’s use of “now” refers to what was happening in his day. There were “many antichrists.” How does this fit into the end-time believe that there’s going to be a single antichrist? John told his readers, “it is the last hour.” This is hardly a time indicator for Dr. Jeremiah’s claim that the Antichrist is an end-time political figure like Benito Mussolini or Adolf Hitler.
In 2 John 7, we find the biblical definition of antichrist: “For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist.” John uses similar language in 1 John 2:22: “Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son.” This is a very particular definition.
These definitions are reinforced when we look at 1 John 4:3: "[E]very spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world."
Compare the biblical definition with Dr. Jeremiah’s definition. They are not the same!
John was describing antichrists (plural) in his day as evidence that “it is the last hour” (1 John 2:18), that is, the last hour for that generation. What did John mean by “the last hour”? It’s a reference to the prophecy Jesus made in the Olivet Discourse (Matt. 24; Mark 13; Luke 21) and other places (Luke 11:46-52; 13:34-35; 17:22-37; 19:41-44) that a prophetic event was going to take place before their generation passed away. When John wrote his first epistle, the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70 was very near. For a verse-by-verse study of Matthew 24, see my books Last Days Madness, Wars and Rumors of Wars, and my shorter study Is Jesus Coming Soon?
James wrote about “the coming of the Lord” (5:7). He told the recipients of his epistle, “You too be patient; strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand…. Behold, the Judge is standing right at the door” (5:8-9). Peter wrote, “The end of all things has come near” (1 Pet. 4:7). He wasn’t describing the “end of the world,” rather, he was describing the end of the old covenant order that was in the process of passing away (Heb. 8:13).
The definition of antichrist is clear. It’s someone who denies that Jesus has come in the flesh, “the one that denies the Father and the Son” (1 John 2:22). The denial of the person and work of Jesus Christ is what defines an antichrist:
He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God (John 1:10-13).
Who did John have in mind? They are identified in Revelation as “those who say they are Jews and are not but are a synagogue of Satan” (Rev. 2:9; 3:9). The early adversaries of Jesus and the gospel message were Jews.
Jews wanted to stone Jesus for His views that would end the Old Covenant rituals and be replaced with Jesus as the true temple and lamb of God (John 1:29; 2:19; 8:59; Matt. 12:14; John 10:31; 11:8). Notice how Jesus describes His Jewish opponents:
You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies (John 8:44; also see vv. 8, 41).
Some Jews conspired with Herod and Pilate to have Jesus crucified. In the end, they rejected Jesus as their king and cried out, “We have no king but Caesar” (John 19:15). In addition to Jews being the first converts to Christianity as we see at Pentecost (Acts 2:5, 37–47; 5:11), Jews were also the first opponents of the gospel (4:1-22–5:17–42). Stephen was martyred by his own countrymen (7:54–60). The book of Acts is a history of the actions of John’s definition of “antichrist.” There were many of them in the lead up to the destruction of Jerusalem that took place before their generation passed away (Matt. 24:34).
In conclusion, Dr. Jeremiah’s use of “signs” to support his dispensational, pre-tribulational, any-moment rapture view is a contradiction since it’s a “sign-less” event. In addition, his definition of “antichrist” does not fit the biblical definition.
Tomorrow I'll discuss Ron Rhodes' book Jesus and the End Times. If you've read any of his books then you've read this book.