In this chapter, I will attempt to show how the Antichrist could use popular but wrong beliefs about the Gog-Magog war and the battle of Armageddon to make it seem as if he is the Jewish Messiah or even Jesus Himself. I already talked about many aspects of this deception in chapter 7, “The Disastrous Results of Jewish and Islamic Eschatology,” and that chapter should be considered preliminary reading to this one. In this chapter I want to focus on Christian views of Armageddon and the Gog-Magog war, and how they could be exploited by the Antichrist.
To Christians—indeed, to many people in the secular world—there can be no return of the Messiah without a battle of Armageddon. This is one of those non-negotiable aspects of eschatology that spans almost all belief systems. If the Antichrist is going to try to deceive people in this way, he is going to have to fake the battle of Armageddon and win it in order to validate his Messianic claims.
I am not sure whether the Antichrist will attempt to fake two separate wars (Gog-Magog and Armageddon) or if he will make it seem like the wars he fights described in Daniel 11:40–45 are the fulfillment of both of these wars. Since there are so many similarities between the Gog-Magog war and the battle of Armageddon, and since most Christians and Jews already see the two wars as being one and the same, I lean toward the view that he will make no distinction between them. I suggest that he will lead people to believe that when he defends himself and Israel from virtually the entire Middle East in a miraculous way, it should be seen as the fulfillment of all known eschatological wars, and that the Messianic Age has come.
The belief that the Gog-Magog war will occur before the Millennium, a view I argued against in a previous chapter, is dangerous for a few reasons. First, it makes people believe that a war with the Muslim world is a necessary part of the end-time scenario. This is because, unlike the references to the battle of Armageddon, where no specific nations are mentioned, the Ezekiel passages about the Gog-Magog war name certain nations like Persia in Iran and Turkey that are mostly Muslim nations today. It doesn’t matter whether someone believes that Gog-Magog and Armageddon are the same event or are separated by a few years, the effect is still the same: It makes people believe a war with Islam is in the near future. The same is true with the belief in a Psalm 83 war. The belief that we are all to be expecting a war with the Muslims and that the Messiah will emerge victorious from that war will be exploited by the Antichrist, for reasons I will soon discuss.
As detailed previously, I also believe that the Gog-Magog war will occur. But when it does take place, at the end of the thousand-year reign (Revelation 20:7–8), it won’t be with people who believe in the Islamic faith. It is impossible to know the mindset of the people who attack Israel after the Millennium, but one thing is certain: Islam will not be a viable religion during the thousand-year reign of Christ. And it’s unlikely that it will be revived when Satan is released from the pit after the thousand years, either, given the fact that all the major tenets of Islam will have been unquestionably refuted one thousand years prior to the event. In addition, Islam will not play a role in the battle of Armageddon due to the fact that the people who fight in that war will be firm adherents to the religion of the Antichrist, which requires them to worship a man who had recently fought a war with the Islamic world and is sitting in the Jewish temple as God! These things simply cannot be reconciled with Islam in any form. To say that the war of Armageddon is with those believing in Islam as opposed to the religion of Antichrist is absurd for those reasons. In other words, neither the battle of Armageddon nor the Gog-Magog war will have anything to do with Islam. Yet, this has become a prevailing belief among prophecy teachers. What is the problem with that thinking? And how could it be exploited by the Antichrist?
As discussed in chapter 7, the Antichrist will easily be able to manipulate the Muslim world into attacking him by claiming to be the Messiah, whom it will see as the Dajjal. His rebuilding the temple and starting the daily sacrifices will also incite the Muslim world to attack him, as seen in Daniel 11:40–45. If Christians can be convinced that the Muslims are the enemy that needs to be defeated in order to usher in the Messianic Age, then they will reflexively see the wars that the Antichrist fights against the Muslims as the Gog-Magog war, the war of Armageddon, or both. The obvious problem with this is that since the Antichrist wins the wars in Daniel 11, and Scripture says God wins the wars of Gog-Magog and Armageddon, the Antichrist will be seen as God by Christians and Jews when he emerges victorious from the wars of Daniel 11:40–45. Essentially, the Antichrist will be creating an artificial Gog-Magog/Armageddon war way before any of these wars actually take place in order to convince people that the reign of the Messiah has come.
The following chart shows the chronology of these events.
It should be said that the illustration depicts my best guess. By their very nature, the deceptions of the Antichrist are difficult to anticipate, and I am not dogmatic that it must play out exactly as I suggest. I am only putting forth one possible theory that I think best explains the evidence. Regardless of the details, however, the fact that that the Antichrist is attacked by the Muslim world and then defeats it before making his claim to be God and starting a fake Messianic Age should suggest that he will attempt to look like the savior of Israel. Many modern prophecy teachers are telling their students that when they see an attack by the Muslim world and then see it defeated, they will know that the person who does that is God. This should be seen as the terrible danger that it is. We are being set up to see the Antichrist as God. I have to say that, from the state of modern prophecy teaching, the Antichrist stands a pretty good chance of convincing more of us than we would have ever thought possible.