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A Bereans Guide to the Biblical Antichrist
on October 20, 2014
You know there is something different about a book on Bible prophecy when the introduction delves into a discussion about Minnesota Fats, Birkhoff and multi-dimensional geometry as it relates to a game of billiards. Frankly I was a little worried the entire subject matter of the book was going to be dealt with at that level.
Well I made it through the introduction and finished the book and I am glad that I did. In twenty five plus years as a student of Bible prophecy I’ve not read a more thorough investigation regarding the subject of the Biblical Antichrist than James Jacob Prasch’s: Shadows of the Beast.
This book was definitely not a light read but the subject deserved the serious scholarship with which Mr. Prasch addressed it. Few stones were left uncovered in this work. From direct Biblical descriptions of the Antichrist, to shadows and types of both Biblical and historical figures Mr. Prasch really looks deep into the subject. I thought the author’s thoughts on Judas as a type of Antichrist were especially illuminating.
I did find parts of the book to be repetitive though. In some cases the repetition helped drill the idea’s into your mind, in other cases especially when dealing with the subject of today’s many false prophets and Antichrist type spirits I thought the repetition became distracting. For instance I agree with the Mr. Prasch concerning Rick Warren’s message and the damage he is doing to the faith “once delivered”. Those who did not get the point by the third time Mr. Prasch described Mr. Warren erroneous doctrine would not have gotten the message any clearer by the 69th time Mr. Warren was mentioned, likewise for many of the other modern day charlatans mentioned in the book.
In the spirit of a Berean I would like to address a couple of points Mr. Parsch makes regarding the book of Daniel in general and the prophecy of Seventy Weeks in particular. Mr. Prasch said the following: (location 5286, 5305 & 5364 Kindle edition)
“Daniel 9 is a lynchpin that can help reconcile the true and valid considerations surrounding the Antichrist which they highlight with those other elements they downplay or mistakenly dismiss.”
“Meanwhile, it is of solid merit for Christians to exercise humility and recognize that even Daniel could only partially understand the things he saw until he was progressively given divine illumination. The same will be true for us.”
“In our quest to establish how the Antichrist will be identified we cannot overestimate the importance of the 70th week of Daniel and the events surrounding it.”
I believe these quotes by Mr. Prasch sum up the case perfect. Daniel 9 is in fact the “lynchpin” of Bible prophecy. It has influenced our view of eschatology in general and the Antichrist in particular more than any other prophecy in the Bible. Considering its importance it is troubling that Mr. Prasch takes the very basic assumptions regarding this prophecy for granted without consideration to the contextual Biblical premises upon which they rest. Two of the most problematic assumptions are worth noting here.
1. The assumption that Ezra and Nehemiah were contemporaries of the Persian king Longimanus is without any reasonable Biblical merit. All Biblical evidence given in the book of Ezra, Nehemiah, Haggai, Zechariah and Chronicles builds a conclusive case that Ezra and Nehemiah were contemporaries of Darius “the Great” Artaxerxes.
2. The authors reliance on a 360 day “lunar” year as it relates to Daniel 9 is also erroneous. Such a year is not mentioned in the Scriptural record and must be assumed based upon the presupposition that the 5 months/150 days of Genesis can be extrapolated into a strictly lunar year. This further assumes that such a lunar year was not intercalated with the solar year. Indeed the historical record does bear out a 360 day calendar but it also acknowledges the missing “5 days over the year” which the ancients understood were necessary to keep the lunar cycles in balance with the solar cycle. Historically speaking, from those who did not intercalate their years we get the “wandering” or “vague” calendar such as is exemplified by the Islamic calendar today.
The Scripture is clear that the Bibles calendar is based upon the lunar and solar cycles, not one or the other, but both. That YHWH commanded Israel to begin the first month in the “Abib”, thus fixing the first month to the agricultural cycle, provides reasonable evidence that early Israel used an intercalated calendar. Further, such an intercalated calendar can be identified in the book of Ezekiel.
On the practical side of things it makes little sense for YHWH to give the Jewish people a prophecy about the coming Messiah, yet make its interpretation based upon a reckoning of time which was not only unbiblical but also unfamiliar to how they understood time during the 2nd temple era.
In summary, my concerns above not withstanding, I agree with Mr. Prasch that it is imperative that we as believers in these last days be able to identify not only the spirit of the antichrist but the literal manifestation of him as well. Time is short as this generation races headlong into the events mentioned in the book of Revelation and Daniel. Mr. Prasch’s book Shadows of the Beast is a much need exploration of the subject. I would recommend any serious student of Bible prophecy to get a copy and then open your Bible and “see if these things be so”. Maranatha!