Who is the Antichrist?
Although the Bible does not specifically name who the antichrist will be, it does give us some clues as to what he will be like.
During my research I came across a lot of current speculation about the antichrist, who he is or who he might be. A great many unlikely guesses were among the suggestions. The most popular names to come up were George W. Bush,Barack Obama, and the Pope. I too have been accused of being the antichrist by a few of my readers who don’t agree with a biblical perspective or an editorial I’ve written. However, it’s highly improbable that one of these (Bush, Obama, Francis, or yours truly) is the actual “son of perdition” spoken of in 2 Thessalonians, chapter 2.
Bible Names for Antichrist:
By taking a look at the different names for the antichrist in the Bible, we can gain a better understanding of the kind of person he will be.
The name “antichrist” is only found in 1 John 2:18, 2:22, 4:3, and 2 John 7. The Apostle John was the only Bible writer to use the name antichrist. Studying these verses, we learn that many antichrists (false teachers) will appear between the time of Christ’s first and Second Coming, but there will be one great antichrist who will rise to power during the end times, or “last hour,” as 1 John phrases it. He will deny that Jesus is the Christ. He will deny both God the Father and God the Son. He will be a liar and a deceiver.
1 John 4:1-3 says, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.” (NKJV)
By the end times, many will easily be deceived and embrace the antichrist because his spirit will already dwell within the world.
Man of Sin
In 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4, the antichrist is described as the “man of sin,” or “son of perdition.” Here Paul, like John, is also warning believers about the antichrist’s ability to deceive:
“Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.” (NKJV)
The NIV makes it clearer that a time of rebellion will come prior to Christ’s return and then the “man of lawlessness, the man doomed to destruction” will be revealed. The antichrist eventually will exalt himself above God to be worshiped in the Lord’s Temple, proclaiming himself to be God. Verses 9 and 10 say that the antichrist will do counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, to gain a following and deceive many.
In Revelation 13:5-8, the antichrist is referred to as “the beast.”
In Revelation 13:5-8, the antichrist is referred to as “the beast:”
“Then the beast was allowed to speak great blasphemies against God. And he was given authority to do whatever he wanted for forty-two months. And he spoke terrible words of blasphemy against God, slandering his name and his dwelling—that is, those who dwell in heaven. And the beast was allowed to wage war against God’s holy people and to conquer them. And he was given authority to rule over every tribe and people and language and nation. And all the people who belong to this world worshiped the beast. They are the ones whose names were not written in the Book of Life before the world was made—the Book that belongs to the Lamb who was slaughtered.” (NLT)
We see this name “the beast” used for antichrist several times in Revelation.
The antichrist will gain political power and spiritual authority over every nation on the earth. He will most likely begin his rise to power as a very influential, very charismatic, political or religious diplomat. He will rule the world government for forty-two months. According to many eschatologists, this time frame is understood to be during the latter half (3.5 years) of the tribulation. During this period, the world will endure a time of unprecedented trouble.
A Little Horn
In Daniel’s prophetic vision of the end of days we see “a little horn” described in chapters 7, 8 and 11.
In the interpretation of the dream, this little horn is a ruler or king, and speaks, of the antichrist. Daniel 7:24-25 says, “The ten horns are ten kings who will come from this kingdom. After them another king will arise, different from the earlier ones; he will subdue three kings. He will speak against the Most High and oppress his saints and try to change the set times and the laws. The saints will be handed over to him for a time, times and half a time.” (NIV)
According to many end times Bible scholars, Daniel’s prophecy interpreted together with verses in Revelation, specifically point to a future world empire coming from a “revived” or “reborn” Roman Empire, like the one in existence at the time of Christ. They predict that the antichrist will emerge from this race.
Joel Rosenberg, author of fiction (Dead Heat, The Copper Scroll, Ezekiel Option, The Last Days,The Last Jihad) and non-fiction (Epicenter) books about Bible prophecy, bases his conclusions about the antichrist on extensive Scripture study including Daniel’s prophecy, Ezekiel 38-39, and the book of Revelation. He says that at first, the antichrist won’t appear to be evil, but rather a charming diplomat. In an interview on April 25, 2008, he told Glenn Beck of CNN that the antichrist will be “somebody who understands the economy and the global sphere and wins people, a winsome character.”
Rosenberg went on to say, “No commerce can be done without his approval. He will be … seen as an economic genius, a foreign policy genius. And he will emerge out of Europe. Because Daniel chapter 9 says, the prince, who is to come, the antichrist, will come from people who destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple … Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 A.D. by the Romans. We are looking for someone of a reconstituted Roman Empire …”
In the Gospels (Mark 13, Matthew 24-25, and Luke 21), Jesus warned his followers of the terrible events and persecution that will occur before his second coming. Most likely, this is where the concept of an antichrist was first introduced to the disciples, although Jesus does not refer to him in the singular:
“For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.” (Matthew 24:24, NKJV)
Is the Antichrist alive today? He could be. Will we recognize him? Perhaps not at first. However, the best way to avoid being deceived by the spirit of the antichrist is to know Jesus Christ and be ready for his return.