Most books on the Antichrist overly focus on a few characteristics provided in Scripture or on a single aspect of his background. This is why at varying times throughout church history, and even to this present time, there are those who assert the Antichrist must be the pope, or that he must come from Rome, or that he must be Islamic, just to name a few of the apparent paradoxes. One of the critical teachings provided in Shadows of the Beast is how these elements are all pieces of the puzzle and that there is actually no contradiction in stating that they are all partially correct. The seeming contradictions have come about because authors and scholars have taken their one piece of the puzzle and tried to make it the solution to the whole puzzle instead of realizing they are only in possession of part of the solution. As Jacob states in the book, they are correct in what they are saying but incorrect in what they fail to say.
To begin with, when it comes to the topic of the Antichrist, Scripture clearly depicts three aspects: the spirit of antichrist which has been and is at work during every period of history, the "many" antichrists who appear throughout Scripture and history as figures who teach something about the final one to come, and the final person of the Antichrist who is the ultimate fulfillment in the two Beasts of Revelation 13 which we most often refer to as the Antichrist and the False Prophet. (Make no mistake, however, there are two persons involved.) Therefore in order to piece together the entire puzzle it is necessary to study each of these in depth in order to know exactly what the picture looks like that we are trying to assimilate.
In Shadows of the Beast the twenty or so chapters are divided into six major sections:
Part One: The Spirit of the Antichrist.
Part Two: The Many Antichrists—Biblical
Part Three: The Many Antichrists—Historical
Part Four: The Milieu of the Antichrist
Part Five: The False Prophet
Part Six: The Final Antichrist
The goal of this book is not to name a specific person and declare him to be the Antichrist and the reader will find none. There are greater purposes at work here that have come as the result of Jacob’s many years of prayerful consideration and preaching where the person of the Antichrist is concerned.
Why do some say the Antichrist must and only can be Islamic, while others categorically maintain he will be a ruler from Rome, while others still say he would have to be a Jew in order to successfully deceive the Jews? Jacob painstakingly employs the whole counsel of God’s Word to show that each of these positions provides a part of the answer, but by not taking into consideration the whole of God’s Word they are each falling short in providing a conclusive answer. Instead of these factors all being mutually exclusive as some might maintain, the scriptural truth is that many of these things are actually complementary to each other.
Another critical teaching in Shadows of the Beast is the biblical foundation that the Rapture will not occur until the Antichrist is identified to the faithful church, much the same way as the Apostles never recognized Judas—the most important figure of the Antichrist in Scripture—until he was revealed to the Apostles at the Last Supper just prior to his coming out against Christ.