Derek Prince - Is There A Spirit Of Antichrist In Judaism?
Now let’s take some historical examples and I have to confess that what I’m going to say is somewhat controversial. The problem with the truth is, it is liable to be controversial. I have certainly no desire to offend anybody and I have no particular desire to attack other religions. What I want to do is present the truth. But the first and most persistent and long-standing manifestation of the spirit of antichrist is in Judaism. We always used to think that Christianity kind of branched off from Judaism and that is what the Jewish people basically will tell you.
Let me say, I’m not Jewish, although my wife is, and we are very, very close to the Jewish people. I have come to see that that is not true. What has happened is, Christianity (that is, the teaching of Jesus and His disciples, not the whole lot of Churchianity that has followed ever since, but the teaching of Jesus and His disciples) is the true continuation of the religion of the Old Testament. And Judaism has branched off from it. You see? That is a very important thing to see, especially in contact with Jewish people, as we often are.
So that is the first mark: It started in association with the people of God. I’m no expert on Judaism but if you analyze its teaching, much of it is an unacknowledged refusal to believe in Jesus. A great deal of what is taught is a way of denying the claims of Jesus. The second manifestation of antichrist in Judaism of course is very simple. It denies that Jesus is the Messiah but it believes in the Messiah who is to come. Third, it denies the Father/Son relationship within the Godhead. It rejects the claim of Jesus to be the Son of God and does not accept that God has a Son. And fourthly, as I have said, it denies that Messiah has come.
Interestingly, just to make this up-to-date, this past summer (1988) in Jerusalem very elegant posters appeared in the city on all the main streets of the city, in Hebrew, saying this: Messiah has come and if you want to meet Him, go to the Mount of Olives on a certain Sunday and He will be there. Beautifully printed. I have no idea who printed them. I do know one journalist went there to see what happened but he did not find Messiah. But that is just to show you how real this issue is. If you talk to Jewish people in a sympathetic attitude and you use the name Messiah, something changes in their eyes, because it is a word that has a special significance for Jewish people.
Now I want to offer you a suggestion, a thought that I have and you are perfectly free to disagree with me. I want to turn to Matthew, chapter 27 for a moment and just read one verse. I suggest to you that in this verse we have the first actual powerful manifestation of the spirit of antichrist. Matthew 27, verse 21. Jesus has been brought before the governor Pontius Pilate. Pilate can find nothing wrong with Jesus, but the Jewish religious leaders persist in accusing Him and stir up the whole Jewish multitude to turn against Him.
And we need to bear in mind that any of those people in that multitude must have been in the same multitude that just one week earlier had welcomed Him to Jerusalem, had put palm branches in the way and said, "Blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord!" which illustrates something that we ought not to ignore, that humanity is extremely fickle. It did not take them more than one week to totally reverse their attitude, but I don’t believe it was just a natural human reaction. I believe there was a tremendous spiritual war going on in the unseen realm and unfortunately the spirit of antichrist prevailed. And this is what happened.
The governor Pontius Pilate brought Jesus out and said, It is your privilege that I release one prisoner to you this season every year. Shall I release Jesus or shall I release Barabbas? Barabbas was a political agitator, a murderer, a man of violence. He had never done anybody any good, whereas on the other hand Jesus had never done anybody any harm. He had healed thousands, blessed thousands, fed thousands. There was no logical reason whatever to turn against Jesus. It was not logic, it was a spiritual force at work. And this, I believe, is the key verse, Matthew 27:21: "The governor", that’s Pilate, "answered and said to them", the Jewish crowd, "which of the two do you want me to release to you"?
And so Israel is a kind of anti-type of what will happen to humanity, in my opinion. Because I believe all humanity ultimately is going to be faced with this choice, Which of the two? Do you want Jesus, the Savior, the Healer, the Righteous One; or do you want Barabbas, a wicked, violent, political agitator? In a certain sense Barabbas is a type of the antichrist. And they chose... Whom did they chose? Barabbas. Listen, let us not point a finger at them. Let us be very careful when the time comes we don’t make the same mistake.
There was a spiritual force at work that swept through that crowd and changed them. And they became almost insane with anger, jealousy and rage without any cause whatever. And I personally believe that is when the spirit of antichrist first impacted humanity. And it has in a sense sought to dominate the Jewish people from then until now. Now Jesus warned them, if you turn to John chapter 5, and verse 43, they were at this point disputing His claim to be the Messiah, and the Son of God: And Jesus said, I have come in my Father’s name and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, him you will receive.
Now that has been proved abundantly true. In other words, I am the true Messiah but you will not receive Me. If a false Messiah will come in his name, you will receive him. And the Jewish encyclopedia records approximately 40 false Messiahs who have come since then and have been received by Jewish people. To name just one or two or three of them, the most famous probably is Bar Kochba who led a revolt against Rome in the year 138 A.D., I believe.
Then there was Moses of Crete, I think about the fifth century, who persuaded people that they should wade out into the sea from Crete and they’d meet the Messiah and thousands went into the sea and were drowned. And then in the year 1666, which was supposed to be the miraculous year, Schabbtai Zvi claimed to be the Messiah and was enthusiastically received by multitudes. One of the false teachings of Judaism, it's not taught by all of Judaism, but there is a teaching in Judaism, is that the one who gives us back our temple is the Messiah.
You know, I am sure that the temple area, the sacred site of all Jewish people, is still occupied by a Moslem mosque and the Jews are not even permitted to go there although they actually control politically the whole area. And I personally believe that if a political personality would arise who could somehow intervene in the Middle East and obtain for the Jewish people the right to build their temple there, they would enthusiastically hail him as Messiah. And he would appeal to the whole community of Jewish people worldwide. And I would suggest that that might not be very far away.