27 February 2010: New Info in Comments Section
21 February 2010: The proponents of the spiritually bankrupt teaching that the Biblical Antichrist will be one and the same person as the Islamic al-Mahdi insist that the first sentence in the two-sentence verse found in Revelation 20:4 provides compelling evidence for this association:
And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands.
Thus is the above offered as one of the principle, no pun intended, "pillars" of the Islamic Antichrist speculation founded upon a single word used a single time in the Word of God Almighty. In the interests of economy, this rebuttal lumps all of the Islamic Antichrist proponents into one basket because they all basically propagate the identical speculation on this subject. Thus with one stone shall this rebuttal strike many birds.
It totally escapes the attention of the Islamic Antichrist proponents that a historical template of early apostate "Christian" origin might be inferred as a precursor in the prophecy of Revelation 20:4; it is a historical fact which reflects a template for both a completely European Antichrist and a completely European False Prophet: Charlemagne and Pope Leo III.
Charlemagne (Karolus Magnus a/k/a Charles the Great, a grandson of the famous Karolus Martellus), is universally acknowledged as the greatest of all the medieval European kings. A warrior king, Charlemagne was the protector of the medieval European Church, and the defender of a United Europe against neighboring pagan barbarians of various ethnicities as well as invading Islamic armies. He was crowned "Imperator Augustus" as the Holy Roman Emperor by Pope Leo III on December 25, 800 AD, and became the first unifying crown in Europe since the breakup of the Roman Empire. It was the right of the Pope to preside over the coronation of European kings, and the duty of those kings to protect and defend the Roman Catholic Church. Charlemagne was so highly esteemed through his unifying of Europe and its successful defense against barbarians and invading Islamic armies that he was given the appellation "Father of Europe."
All non-Christian rebellious subjects, all pagan enemies and all captured Islamic soldiers were offered a chance to spare their own lives by conversion and baptism into Christianity. Those who rejected the offer were summarily beheaded. Some historical accounts say Charlemagne oversaw the opportunity afforded pagan Saxons to convert by being baptised as Christians. A total of 4,500 refused and all lost their heads on that single day.
Clearly, in the post-Harpazo (Rapture) world, a template is existent within the European apostate Christian historical record for the beheading of any person who in the future who refuses to acknowledge the Antichrist, worship him or his image or accept his mark in their hand or forehead by steadfastly witnessing commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ and the Word of God. To speculate that such decapitations are a uniquely Islamic trait are completely unfounded and take on the appearance of garden variety newspaper exegesis.