Maitreya – Who is this? Is Maitreya the Antichrist?
According to Buddhist teachings, Maitreya is a coming enlightened one (bodhisattva) who will come in the future, teach pure teachings (dharma), and achieve perfect enlightenment. Maitreya will be a successor to Buddha who comes at a future time when true teachings (dharma) have largely been forgotten.
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As with many Buddhist teachings, specific views about Maitreya vary based on the particular Buddhist sect or subgroup. For example, the Baha'i faith believes Baha'u'llah' was the coming Maitreya, while other groups still await his coming.
Benjamin Creme studied popular occult writing in the mid-twentieth century and popularized the idea that Maitreya appeared in Kenya in 1988 and has since appeared to many individuals. His ideas have influenced many in Western nations.
From a biblical perspective, Maitreya is not mentioned. Instead, the idea of Maitreya as a coming one comes from the teachings of other religions and is not accepted by Christianity. However, it is possible that in the future tribulation period (Revelation 6—12), some will claim the Antichrist is an enlightened one and associate him with Maitreya.
However, even this connection will not be sustainable for long. The Antichrist will claim to be a god and also will resort to violence to achieve his goals. Those who refuse to worship the Antichrist will face persecution and death during the second half of the tribulation period. Those who attempt to associate the Antichrist with Maitreya would most certainly change their minds at that point since the Antichrist would no longer fit the description of such an ideal, enlightened figure.
Further, some have even claimed the coming Maitreya is the Christ or coming Lord. This has led some to accuse claimants as being false teachers and to claim Maitreya is instead the Antichrist. However, just because the claim of Maitreya as Christ is wrong does not necessarily mean Maitreya is the Antichrist.
The Antichrist will be a powerful global leader in the last days, but will not appear as an enlightened one with teachings specific to Buddhism. Instead, he will offer peace, yet demand worship and punish by death those who refuse.
The end of the Antichrist will be judgment. Revelation 19:20 states, "And the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who in its presence had done the signs by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped its image. These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur." After a short release of Satan at the end of the millennial kingdom, we find the Antichrist's final judgment: "The devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever" (Revelation 20:10).
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