Jerry Falwell Claims the Anti-Christ is a Male Jew
by Lewis Loflin
In a story in the Bristol Herald Courier, Jerry Falwell, speaking to a crowd of 1500 Sullivan County Baptists in Kingsport, Falwell told an enthusiastic audience that the Antichrist was alive, walking around somewhere, and was a male Jew. What he didn't know was a reporter was in the audience and the word leaked out.
What is strange is there are no references in Scripture about the religion of this so-called "Antichrist" or even if it is a real person. This really isn't surprising because fundamentalist never follow the Bible; they prefer their own revelations that they pass off as biblical. Where did Falwell get this Satan/Jew business?
Bishop Walter Sullivan of Richmond, VA, called the statements "outrageous" and "reprehensible." Sullivan, in a letters to pastors and pastoral coordinators, to the Richmond Times Dispatch, etc. wrote:
"Reverend Falwell's claims are an absolute offense to our Jewish sisters and brothers. They deserve our strictest rejection, rebuttal and condemnation." (Falwell) "recklessly targets the Jewish people as the fountainhead of evil itself."
This is the reconstructionist view on Jews as stated by David Chilton:
"The god of Judaism is the devil. The Jew will not be recognized by God as one of His chosen people until he abandons his demonic religion and returns to the faith of his fathers--the faith which embraces Jesus Christ and His Gospel."
I have no idea what these nuts are talking about. Wasn't Jesus a Jew? Didn't He pray to His Father, the God of Judaism? Here is a copy Bishop Sullivan's letter he wrote to the Bristol Herald Courier our local newspaper, while mine followed a few days later:
Year of Jubilee
I was astounded by remarks attributed to Rev. Jerry Falwell about the new millennium and the Antichrist. Your paper reported that Rev. Falwell claims that the Antichrist is probably already alive and is certain to be a man of Jewish origin.
Presuming that the report is correct, Rev. Falwell's claims are as reprehensible as they are outrageous. By linking the new millennium to the Antichrist, Rev. Falwell displays a total lack of understanding of the year 2000 as a jubilee year. By defining, as he does, the Antichrist to be a Jewish "counterfeit" of Christ, he recklessly targets the Jewish people as the fountainhead of evil itself.
Ironically, the idea of the millennium as a year of Jubilee comes from the richness of Jewish tradition itself, found in the Book of Leviticus. Jubilee is a time of celebration and rejoicing, a time for atonement and reconciliation, when justice and righteousness rule, a time of hope and promise.
Instead, Rev. Falwell paints the Year 2000 as a time of doom and gloom. Adding an Antichrist to the mix make a perfect entree to incite prejudice and hatred.
In my opinion, the Antichrist is not a person but a biblical symbol for what Pope John Paul II has called "the culture of death." It is a whole pattern of attitudes and lifestyles that contradict values held in common by Christians and Jews alike. The Antichrist is everything in our culture that devalues the sanctity of life. Ironically, again, the Antichrist embodies the very things that Rev. Falwell's remarks can set into motion hatred, prejudice, discrimination, bigotry and the pain, upheaval and violence those things beget.
I, for one, put my money on Pope John Paul II, who is not dreading the millennium, but hoping to live to see it arrive. He has proclaimed the Year 2000 as a Holy Year for Roman Catholics, a time to conform our living to the values of "the culture of life". Likewise, the pope has invited all people of good will to embrace the millennium as a year of Jubilee, a time of healing and reconciliation when we can replace our fears with hope.
Bishop Walter F. Sullivan Richmond, VA.
Bible doesn't say
From the Bristol Herald Courier 1/29/99
I am writing this letter in praise of Bishop Walter F. Sullivan of Richmond for his stand against ignorant bigots like Jerry Falwell. Bishop Sullivan seems to have actually read the Bible and sticks to what is actually in there and doesn't try to rewrite the scriptures. He doesn't interject his personal ideology or politics like the many Falwell Baptists of this region. I would also like to support the Virginia General Assembly in its bill commending Bishop Sullivan.
The facts are that the Bible doesn't say when Armageddon will happen, who or what faith the Antichrist will be, or even who the people in this mythical (or perhaps symbolic?) war would be. Most likely, Revelations refers to the persecution Christians were suffering at the hands of 2nd and 3rd century Rome, and that is who the story was probably aimed at.
All of these TV preachers (none have any credentials or standing in theology) make a mockery of the Christian faith by interjecting personal and right-wing politics into their churches. The fact that Falwell made these stupid remarks in Sullivan County reflects the mindset of certain people that claim that Bill of Rights and Declaration of Independence are derived from the Bible and the Ten Commandments. Falwell is dead wrong, and so are they.
In conclusion, we need more Christians like Bishop Sullivan who will speak up and protect the Bible from people whose main motivation is greed and political power. Christians need to stop sending millions of dollars to amateur doomsday prophets on TV that self-interpret the scriptures to fulfill their own fantasies. Why not give this money to local Christian charities to help local people? When Christians start learning what is actually in the Bible, and stop being told what is in it, those of us that don't believe in the Bible will be a lot less vocal. Read the Bible and actually follow it!
Falwell's back pedaling and damage control went immediately into high gear. At a prayer breakfast in Nashville, Falwell apologized "not for what I believe, but for my lack of tact and judgment in making a statement that served no purpose whatsoever."
On his own web site, Falwell now says that his remarks were misinterpreted. "When I delivered my sermon on the second coming of Jesus Christ last week to a pastors' conference in Kingsport, Tennessee, I conveyed biblically based truths that I have believed and preached nationally for more than 40 years. In addition to asserting that I personally believe that Christ could return soon, I stated that the Antichrist may possibly be alive on the earth today.
Many evangelicals, including Billy Graham and millions of others, believe in the imminent, pre millennial, pretribulational second coming of Jesus Christ for all of His Church. Since Jesus came to the earth the first time 2,000 years ago as a Jewish male, many evangelicals believe the Antichrist will, by necessity, be a Jewish male. This belief is 2,000 years old and has no anti-Semitic roots. This is simply historic and prophetic orthodox Christian doctrine that many theologians, Christian and non-Christian, have understood for two millennia."
The problem is Falwell is wrong again. All of this "imminent, pre millennial, pretribulational second coming" garbage was concocted by a 19th century mystic named Charles Nelson Darby. (See fundamentalism.) It isn't biblical at all, just more cult nonsense.
For example, 2 John 1:7 says: "Many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist." Historically, the belief over the centuries has been that the Antichrist is a person pretending to be a Christian, someone like Falwell himself. Falwell's idea that the Antichrist is a Jew seems to have been invented by Falwell himself.
Falwell concludes his website with the statement that his remark that the Antichrist is a Jew is neither anti-Jewish nor anti-Semitic and that some of his best friends are Jewish. This is total nonsense. Why has his Southern Baptist Convention opened a national campaign targeting Jews?
Falwell has traveled many times to Israel and has personally met every Prime Minister of Israel he claims and is considered to be a strong supporter of Israel. However, Rabbi Leon Klenicki, director of inter-faith affairs for the ADL, said his remarks reflect his "lack of understanding of Judaism and the Jewish people in God's design." The fact is he doesn't like Jews as Jews, he wants to convert them. Thus he just doesn't like Jews at all as people.
"He supports Israel for his own Christological ends," Rabbi Klenicki said. "My concern is that when the year 2000 comes and he realizes that the Jewish people will not convert to Christianity, that he'll be critical of the State of Israel."
Regardless of what Falwell meant or where he got it, his claims of world collapse for Y2K has left him back pedaling on that as well. But that isn't the only problems he had over this.
The Virginia General Assembly was drafting a resolution in support of Bishop Sullivan's stand against Falwell's stupid remarks. When asked for his reaction to the condemnation of his remarks, Falwell and others complained they didn't know a reporter was present and still refuse to retract the statement. The decision to allow Falwell and his followers to hang a plaque in the Sullivan County Courthouse, along with their usual silence on the latest outrage, only proves what the Sullivan County Commission really stands for.
Here is a reprint of an AP article.
Falwell tells group Antichrist probably is on earth now
By The Associated Press
WILLIAMSBURG - The Rev. Jerry Falwell said the second coming of Christ probably will be within 10 years and the Antichrist is probably alive today.
In a speech Thursday about the concern people have over the new millennium, Falwell told about 1,500 people at a conference on evangelism at Kingsport, TN., that the Antichrist is male and is a Jew. He also said he believes Christ will return very soon. "Who will the Antichrist be? I don't know. Nobody else knows," said Falwell, whose Sunday morning services at Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg are carried by television stations across the nation.
"Is he alive and here today? Probably. Because when he appears during the Tribulation period he will be a full-grown counterfeit of Christ. Of course he'll be Jewish. Of course he'll pretend to be Christ. And if in fact the Lord is coming soon, and he'll be an adult at the presentation of himself, he must be alive somewhere today." According to the Bible, the Antichrist will spread universal evil before the end of the world but will be finally conquered at the second coming of Christ.
Falwell, the chancellor of Liberty University in Lynchburg and founder of the now-defunct Moral Majority, said Friday in Williamsburg that he did not intend for his statement to be anti-Jewish. He said he meant only that the Antichrist must be Jewish because Jesus Christ was a Jew.
"If he's going to be the counterfeit of Christ, he has to be Jewish," Falwell said. "The only thing we know is he must be male and Jewish."
Rabbi James Rudin, the director of inter-religious affairs for the American Jewish Committee in New York, said the comment surprised him because he knows Falwell is a strong supporter of Israel and is not anti-Jewish. "This is part of what I call millennial madness," Rudin said. "To single out any one man and particularly to identify him as Jewish plays into some latent and historical anti-Semitism from the past."
"This is very, very radioactive material. I think Christian leaders have to exercise great care because this can produce negative responses among people who are not educated in the New Testament," Rudin said.
Rabbi Marvin Hier, the dean .and founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, said he also feared such comments might spread anti-Jewish feelings. "Ninety-nine percent of the people that hear these remarks will only hear that the Antichrist is Jewish. That's what will remain in their minds and consciousness," Hier said.
Editor's note: On Tuesday at a prayer breakfast in Nashville, Falwell apologized "not for what I believe, but for my lack of tact and judgment in making a statement that served no purpose whatsoever.'
Quoting the Kingsport Times-News (1-18-2004)
"It seems clearer and clearer and clearer that we are promoting a particular religion, and that's a violation of the Constitution. The Constitution is the one document that protects minorities, and just because most people feel the Christian faith or the Jewish faith is the right faith, that doesn't mean they have a right to impose it on everyone else.