Is the Antichrist a Jew or Gentile?

antichrist Jew 1

Daniel has one more chapter (11) about the Antichrist and his type Antiochus Epiphanes, under the figure “the Willful King”:

Dan 11:36-37 Then the king shall do according to his own will: he shall exalt and magnify himself above every god, shall speak blasphemies against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the wrath has been accomplished; for what has been determined shall be done. He shall regard neither the God of his fathers nor the desire of women, nor regard any god; for he shall exalt himself above them all. (NKJV)

Besides reiterating his exalting himself above every god, including blaspheming against the God of gods, v 37 adds he will disregard the God of his fathers. Is the God of his fathers Yahweh? This raises an interesting question, “Will the Antichrist be Jewish, or gentile?” What’s his religion, and ethnicity?

This issue has been much debated, especially with the decline of Western Christianity and the rise of Islam. Will the Antichrist be Moslem? The Bible does not explicitly state the Antichrist’s religion, but both sides have their supporting evidence. Those who argue that he is a Jew claim so because:
• Jews will never accept a gentile Messiah;
• The pseudo-Christ must mimic Christ in most aspects, including His Jewishness;
• Jesus said in Jn 5:43 “I have come in My Father’s name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, you will receive him.” The word “another” in Greek is “allos“, meaning another of the same kind, not “heteros“, another of a different kind. So the Antichrist will be the same kind as Christ and therefore a Jew.

On the other hand, those who support a gentile Antichrist point out that:

• In Dan 11:37 “God of his fathers” should be “gods of his fathers”, as reflected in newer versions like NASB or ESV, which would imply that he is a polytheistic gentile. [Actually the Hebrew can be translated both ways, as indicated in both the NKJV and newer versions’ footnotes.]
• The Antichrist is the Beast from the Sea. In Jewish thinking, the sea represents turmoil and the nations, whereas land represents stability and Israel. So he must be gentile, in contrast to the false prophet, the Beast from the Land, who must be a Jew.
• The Beast has 7 heads and 10 horns (Rev 13:1; 17:3, 7). According to Rev 17:9 ” Here is the mind which has wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits.” Rome is the city built on seven hills. So the Antichrist must be of Roman stock and therefore gentile.

There are other arguments on either side, too lengthy for me to go into. Which is correct?

(To be continued)

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