The Antichrist

Many people want to know about the person referred to in Scripture as the Antichrist.  The Bible tells us about this End Times leader by the things he will do.  Scripture also reveals where the Antichrist comes from and how he rises to power.

The Apostle John  used the term “antichrist” in referring to this End Times leader.

Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us. But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth. I do not write to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it and because no lie comes from the truth. Who is the liar? It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a man is the antichrist--he denies the Father and the Son (1 John 2:18-22).

Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world (1 John 4:1-3).

Many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist. Watch out that you do not lose what you have worked for, but that you may be rewarded fully. Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son (2 John 1:7-9).

John says, those “who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh” are “not from God.” John means that those who do not acknowledge that God has come in the flesh - Jesus the Christ - are not true believers. Anyone who denies Jesus Christ is God – is antichrist.

Paul referred to the Antichrist as “the man of lawlessness.”

Paul used the term “man of lawlessness,” in his second letter to the church in Thessalonica, when referring to the “Antichrist.”  Paul was writing to clear up some deception and false teaching that had come into the church about “the Day of the Lord.” To clear this up, Paul explained that our gathering and Christ’s return would not happen until “the man of lawlessness is revealed.” Paul went on to describe when “the man of lawlessness” would be revealed.

Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers, not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by some prophecy, report or letter supposed to have come from us, saying that the day of the Lord has already come. Don't let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God's temple, proclaiming himself to be God (2 Thessalonians 2:1-4).

Notice that Paul describes the event using the same language that Daniel used in his prophecy about the Antichrist.  Daniel wrote,

"The king will do as he pleases. He will exalt and magnify himself above every god and will say unheard-of things against the God of gods. He will be successful until the time of wrath is completed, for what has been determined must take place. He will show no regard for the gods of his fathers or for the one desired by women, nor will he regard any god, but will exalt himself above them all (Daniel 11:36-37).

Paul wrote that the Antichrist “sets himself up in God's temple, proclaiming himself to be God.” Daniel called it “the abomination that causes desolation.”

He will confirm a covenant with many for one 'seven.' In the middle of the 'seven' he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on a wing of the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him." (Daniel 9:27)

Jesus referred to the “abomination that causes desolation

So when you see standing in the holy place 'the abomination that causes desolation,' spoken of through the prophet Daniel--let the reader understand-- Matthew 24:15.

Based on what is written, we can see the connection between this Last Days “king” in Daniel 11 and the “man of lawlessness

Daniel wrote how this “king” “the beast” will come to power.

"Then I continued to watch because of the boastful words the horn was speaking. I kept looking until the beast was slain and its body destroyed and thrown into the blazing fire. …"He gave me this explanation: 'The fourth beast is a fourth kingdom that will appear on earth. It will be different from all the other kingdoms and will devour the whole earth, trampling it down and crushing it. 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 (Daniel 7:11, 23-25).

Therefore, “the man of lawlessness” is the “king” which Daniel called “the beast.” This “king” will perform the “abomination that causes desolation” in the middle of Daniel’s 70th 'seven.'

In Revelation, the Antichrist is a “beast.”

John also referred to the “Antichrist” as “the beast.” John describes the characteristics of “the beast” as Daniel did.

And the dragon stood on the shore of the sea. And I saw a beast coming out of the sea. He had ten horns and seven heads, with ten crowns on his horns, and on each head a blasphemous name. The beast I saw resembled a leopard, but had feet like those of a bear and a mouth like that of a lion. The dragon gave the beast his power and his throne and great authority. One of the heads of the beast seemed to have had a fatal wound, but the fatal wound had been healed. The whole world was astonished and followed the beast. Men worshiped the dragon because he had given authority to the beast, and they also worshiped the beast and asked, "Who is like the beast? Who can make war against him?" The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise his authority for forty-two months. He opened his mouth to blaspheme God, and to slander his name and his dwelling place and those who live in heaven. He was given power to make war against the saints and to conquer them. And he was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation. All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast--all whose names have not been written in the book of life belonging to the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world. He who has an ear, let him hear (Revelation 13:1-9).

John states that the “Antichrist” will receive his power from Satan.  We also see in Luke’s gospel, that Satan can give his power to who he wants..

The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And he said to him, "I will give you all their authority and splendor, for it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. So if you worship me, it will all be yours." (Luke 4:5-7)

Then I saw three evil spirits that looked like frogs; they came out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet. They are spirits of demons performing miraculous signs, and they go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them for the battle on the great day of God Almighty (Revelation 16:13-14).

The powers exercised by “the beast” and “the False Prophet” are supernatural and demonic. With these powers they will deceive the whole world.

In the OT the Antichrist is referred to as the Assyrian and Gog.

From Daniel’s writing we learned that the Antichrist will confirm a covenant with Israel before he breaks the covenant in the middle of the last seven years, Daniel 9:27.  Isaiah writes that this End Times leader will at first protect Israel but then he will become their persecutor.  Let’s read how Isaiah describes this changing relationship between Israel and the Antichrist.

In that day the remnant of Israel, the survivors of the house of Jacob, will no longer rely on him who struck them down but will truly rely on Yahweh, the Holy One of Israel. A remnant will return, a remnant of Jacob will return to the Mighty God. Though your people, O Israel, be like the sand by the sea, only a remnant will return. Destruction has been decreed, overwhelming and righteous. The Lord, Yahweh Almighty, will carry out the destruction decreed upon the whole land. Therefore, this is what the Lord, Yahweh Almighty, says: "O my people who live in Zion, do not be afraid of the Assyrians, who beat you with a rod and lift up a club against you, as Egypt did. Very soon my anger against you will end and my wrath will be directed to their destruction." (Isaiah 10:20-25)

At first Israel will rely on the Assyrian, then the Assyrian will strike them down and finally the remnant of Israel will turn back to God. This will ultimately happen when the remnant of Israel says, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord” as the Jesus prophesied, in Matthew 23:39.

Isaiah prophecies about the King of Assyria who persecutes Israel, until the Lord returns delivers Israel in fulfillment of the Gospel promise.

I will crush the Assyrian in my land; on my mountains I will trample him down. His yoke will be taken from my people, and his burden removed from their shoulders." This is the plan determined for the whole world; this is the hand stretched out over all nations. For Yahweh Almighty has purposed, and who can thwart him? His hand is stretched out, and who can turn it back? (Isaiah 14:25-27)

Woe to the Assyrian, the rod of my anger, in whose hand is the club of my wrath! I send him against a godless nation, I dispatch him against a people who anger me, to seize loot and snatch plunder, and to trample them down like mud in the streets… 12 When the Lord has finished all his work against Mount Zion and Jerusalem, he will say, "I will punish the king of Assyria for the willful pride of his heart and the haughty look in his eyes. …16 Therefore, the Lord, Yahweh Almighty, will send a wasting disease upon his sturdy warriors; under his pomp a fire will be kindled like a blazing flame. The Light of Israel will become a fire, their Holy One a flame; in a single day it will burn and consume his thorns and his briers (Isaiah 10:5-6,12-13, 16-17).

Compare the passages in Isaiah above with the next passage in Ezekiel. There are a number of similarities regarding the Day of the Lord from these accounts.

The word of Yahweh came to me: "Son of man, set your face against Gog, of the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal; prophesy against him. This is what the Sovereign Yahweh says: I am against you, O Gog, chief prince of Meshech and Tubal. I will turn you around, put hooks in your jaws and bring you out with your whole army--your horses, your horsemen fully armed, and a great horde with large and small shields, all of them brandishing their swords. Persia, Cush and Put will be with them, all with shields and helmets, also Gomer with all its troops, and Beth Togarmah from the far north with all its troops--the many nations with you. … 11 You will say, "I will invade a land of unwalled villages; I will attack a peaceful and unsuspecting people--all of them living without walls and without gates and bars. I will plunder and loot and turn my hand against the resettled ruins and the people gathered from the nations, rich in livestock and goods, living at the center of the land.” …18 This is what will happen in that day: When Gog attacks the land of Israel, my hot anger will be aroused, declares the Sovereign Yahweh. In my zeal and fiery wrath I declare that at that time there shall be a great earthquake in the land of Israel (Ezekiel 38:1-6, 11-12, 18-19).

Ezekiel and Isaiah each prophesied at different times in the history of Israel. At the time of Ezekiel the “land of Magog” was the territory to the south and west of the Caspian Sea.  At the time of Isaiah the Land of  “Assyria” was the territory to the south and west of the Caspian Sea. Both were prophesying about the Antichrist as being from the territory of Iraq and Iran.

Another reason to believe that the Antichrist may come from this area of the world is the similar descriptions provided by the prophecies in Revelation and Daniel.

And the dragon stood on the shore of the sea. And I saw a beast coming out of the sea. He had ten horns and seven heads, with ten crowns on his horns, and on each head a blasphemous name. The beast I saw resembled a leopard, but had feet like those of a bear and a mouth like that of a lion. The dragon gave the beast his power and his throne and great authority (Revelation 13:1-2).

Four great beasts, each different from the others, came up out of the sea. "The first (Babylon) was like a lion, and it had the wings of an eagle. I watched until its wings were torn off and it was lifted from the ground so that it stood on two feet like a man, and the heart of a man was given to it. "And there before me was a second beast (Medio-Persia), which looked like a bear. It was raised up on one of its sides, and it had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth. It was told, 'Get up and eat your fill of flesh!' "After that, I looked, and there before me was another beast (Greece), one that looked like a leopard. And on its back it had four wings like those of a bird. This beast had four heads, and it was given authority to rule (Daniel 7:3-6).

The fourth beast kingdom, out of which the Antichrist will rise, includes the territory of Iran and Iraq.  For years people have said that the Antichrist will come from the Europe, the revived Roman Empire, the United Nations or some other place.  However, Scripture  presents a different picture.

Therefore, we know this about the Antichrist:

  1. He will arise out the Fourth Beast Kingdom with 7 heads and 10 horns.
  2. The Fourth Beast Kingdom will include the areas of Iran and Iraq.
  3. He will dominate the world and be worshipped by unbelievers.
  4. He will confirm a covenant with many for Israel's security.
  5. After 3 ½ years he will  proclaim that he is God in the temple.
  6. For 3 ½ years he will persecute and kill the people of God.
  7. He will be defeated and thrown into the lake of fire at Christ’s return.

Richard H Perry