There seems to be an elevating of interest in things prophetic these days. It is likely that the concerns about what 2022 may bring has been a major factor in this growing interest. One of the subjects within the prophetic arena that generates interest is the man we commonly refer to as the Antichrist (AC). And it really is not surprising that he garners interest in the current climate. With there being unceasing violence, economic uncertainty, a never-ending pandemic and a whole group of worrisome matters, people wonder if there is anyone that can bring some sort of peace and order to our troubled planet. Jesus, of course, will do just that. But before He comes, there will be a false messiah who will come with great claims but also with great abilities. This one will come with great signs and amazing supernatural demonstrations. With a renewed focus on this Antichrist coming from numerous teachers, it would be good for us to remind ourselves of what the Bible does and does not say about this individual. As followers of the true Messiah, we don’t want to be fooled by distorted teachings, and we want to be able to give a reasonable explanation for what we believe, especially to those around us who may have questions about this individual and the end times. And while there can be legitimate differences on some details, the following four points are made with the hope that they might prove helpful.
- The Antichrist arises from a “western” nation. Vladimir Putin is not the Antichrist, nor is Xi Jinping. Daniel 7:24 speaks of the “little horn” (the Antichrist) and says that he will come out of the renewed fourth empire, which was Rome. And while we ought to allow for Antichrist come from a nation that is culturally “western”, this designation in Daniel 7 limits where Antichrist can emerge from. Africa, China, North Korea and many other places are not the geographic location where this man comes from.
- The Antichrist does not work alone. Revelation 13 is the capstone of biblical revelation about this man. And that passage is abundantly clear that Antichrist (“the Beast”) does not work alone, but rather is intimately connected with the Devil. Antichrist’s power and ruling authority come from the Evil One (Rev. 13:2-7). His amazing abilities in the realm of war, economics and politics flow from his relationship with Satan. But he also has a fellow human being who is his right-hand man. This man is called the False Prophet (FP), but he is not the Antichrist. FP is the one who will receive from Satan and the Antichrist the ability to work great, and deceptive, miracles. He is the one who actually requires placement of the “mark of the beast” (the infamous 666) on people, which results in keeping an iron grip on the world’s economy. And the infamous mark also is key to the universal worship of the Antichrist and Satan. The only place where the FP activities are discussed in the Bible is Revelation 13 (Rev. 13:11-18; 19:20). So, while Antichrist is on center stage, he is actually part of an unholy trinity along with the False Prophet and with the Devil. But the Bible is clear that Antichrist will be a man of unique abilities and great power and authority, unlike any other human ruler in the history of mankind.
- The Antichrist will aggressively oppose God and God’s people. The intense hatred for the Lord God is seen in his active blasphemy against God (Dan. 7:11, 25; Rev. 13:5-6); in his successful murdering of God’s people (Rev. 13:7; Dan. 7:21); in his willful arrogance in claiming deity and seating himself in the holy of holies in the newly constructed Jerusalem temple (2 Thess. 2:4; Dan. 9:27; Matt. 24:15); and in his demand to be worshipped (Rev. 13:4, 8). This man will surpass all the Pharaohs, Caesars, Emperors and Kings in human history in his demand for worship.
- The Antichrist has very distinct phases to his “career”. There are four distinct parts to this man’s political life. First, in the end of times, he is the leader of a single nation. In that capacity he will enter into an agreement (treaty) with the leaders of Israel (Dan. 9:27), which will be the start of the Tribulation period. It is the inking of that treaty that identifies him as the end times Antichrist. Today, such a man exists. Satan does not know when the end time events will commence, and so, must always have a man ready to go when the Lord God does declare that “this is now the time”. Someone is out there and can, at a moments notice, step into that role. Second, he will become the ruler of an eleven-nation confederacy of western nations during the first half of the Tribulation period (Dan. 7:24). Apparently, three nations of Europe will be forced (militarily?) to submit to him, while seven others will simply submit to him. The third phase of his career will be the greatest of all. He will be the ruler of the entire world during the last half of the Tribulation (Rev. 13:5). It is this period of 3 ½ years that Jesus said was “the tribulation, the great one” (Matt. 24:21). It is a time of great oppression, great judgment and great deception. The carnage and destruction cause by him is unprecedented. There has never been a time like it in all of human history (Matt. 24:21-22). This third phase will be brought to an abrupt end by Christ’s return. Christ Himself will finish him. It is at Christ’s 2nd Coming that the Antichrist will enter the fourth phase of his career, his permanent time in the Lake of Fire (Rev. 19:19-20; 20:10).
There are a number of other scriptures which ought to be investigated in order to get a full and complete picture of this coming end times man. These other scriptures include Daniel 11:36-45, 2 Thessalonians 2:1-11; and Revelation 17:3, 12-17.
Knowledge of truths, like those concerning the Antichrist, can be a means of stimulating conversation with those in our culture who increasingly have little or no Bible knowledge. When we speak in a reasoned manner with our thoughts grounded clearly on the Scriptures, we can speak not only of the Antichrist, but the true Christ. The Holy Spirit does use such conversations to lead individuals to the Savior Himself, the real giver of life and peace. While we recognize that knowledge can inflate our egos (1 Cor. 8:1), we also know that mixed with love (a concern for the well-beings of others), it is what the Spirit uses in the lives of others. If indeed our culture is getting curious about end time events, who better to kindly and clearly engage them than we who know the coming Savior?