"I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and know that no lie is of the truth. Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father. He who confesses the Son has the Father also." (1 John 2:21-23 RSV)
Christians have long wondered about the end-time Biblical antichrist. Who is he going to be? What is he going to do?
The word antichrist is derived from the original New Testament Greek word pronounced antichristos, which means someone who opposes, and/or takes the place of, the true Messiah.
Although the "spirit of the antichrist" (1 John 4:3) has been around for a very long time, and there were relatively minor examples of antichrists long ago (1 John 2:18-19), the ultimate end-time antichrist, identified variously as the "lawless one" or "man of sin" (2 Thessalonians 2:9) or "beast" (all of Revelation 13) is going to be more evil and more incredibly powerful (made possible by That Old Serpent) than any human that has ever existed. In a way, he will be the embodiment of Satan himself because no one is more anti-Christ than Satan.
For centuries, many have believed that a certain great, highly popular religious leader will be the antichrist. Although the idea has much superficial merit, it does not fit all of the stated facts in Bible Prophecy. While the antichrist will have his own extremely powerful and influential Great False Prophet, a role that will be filled by a very important religious leader, the actual antichrist will be a great, for a time undefeatable, military leader, who, like Satan, will not accept anything less than a leading role - the motive behind Satan's rebellion long ago (see Did God Create The Devil?). However, both of them will be judged equally guilty, and both will be cast alive into the lake of fire after the Return of Christ (Revelation 19:20).
Let's look at what The Bible actually says about them, with our own notes in brackets -
The antichrist will be a great military leader:
"Men worshiped the dragon [that is, Satan] 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 [the same forty-two months in which The Two Witnesses will be active]. 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 [he will conquer countries all around the world]. All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast [many will be deceived into worshiping the man] - 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 13:4-9 NIV)
The antichrist's false prophet:
"Then I saw another beast, coming out of the earth. He had two horns
like a lamb [he appears righteous - a lamb is the symbol of Christ], but
he spoke like a dragon [a dragon is one of the symbols of Satan]."
"He exercised all the authority of the first beast [the political leader]
on his behalf, and made the earth and its inhabitants worship the
first beast [the great religious leader will take a secondary role to
the political leader], whose fatal wound had been healed [the Roman
empire has "fallen" and come back to life a number of times]. And he
performed great and miraculous signs, even causing fire to come down
from heaven to earth in full view of men [he is going to put on quite
a show to convince people]."
"Because of the signs he was given power to do on behalf of the first beast, he deceived the inhabitants of the earth. He ordered them to set up an image in honor of the beast who was wounded by the sword and yet lived. He was given power to give breath to the image of the first beast, so that it could speak and cause all who refused to worship the image [the political ruler is the one who will demand worship, not his powerful and influential religious ally who will merely be serving as his "prophet"] to be killed."
"He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his name. This calls for wisdom. If anyone has insight, let him calculate the number of the beast, for it is man's number. His number is 666." (Revelation 13:11-18 NIV)
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