Identifying The Antichrist

AntichristNo, this is not going to be a post about who, at this stage of history, is the coming false messiah. I’ve seen enough guessing games to last me a lifetime!

In fact, it’s the opposite.

I have witnessed a growing trend on social media, where people – even non christians and agnostics – tend to label every sinister or evil person as the “antichrist”. These people have little to no biblical understanding of who he will be, in reality.

Can We See The Antichrist Here Today?

Far from arbitrarily labelling this or that person as “the Antichrist” just because he is deceitful or corrupt, we cannot identify this person at the moment, at all. That’s because there are certain events that need to take place first, and because there are certain hallmark signs of his appearance and character.

According to Revelation, all the events associated with the seven seals, and the seven trumpets, and the opening of the bottomless pit have to happen before the rising up of the Beast. (This is if you read Revelation chronologically.)

I don’t rule out the appearance of a political leader or prominent celebrity who can at this time start to lead the world into the antichrist deception, and perhaps become possessed at a later date so as to receive the spirit of the devil incarnate.

However, as at this day, we have NO indication who he might be, so all speculation is futile.

False Images

Cartoon DevilThe world has been conditioned by movies, photos and general banter to see what they call “the antichrist” as an evil monster who comes to destroy the Church and all that is good.

He’s some kind of Damien from “The Omen”.

This in itself is the work of the devil, because ultimately the devil WILL come, not as a red-horned monster, but as an “angel of light” [2 Cor 11:14]. He will not even, at first, be antagonistic to the Church or to Israel, instead posing as their hero and saviour.

Indeed, much of the current fearmongering about a secret cabal that is overthrowing society is being exaggerated to the extreme, to one end: in order to present the ANSWER – a strong, capable, miraculous hero bringing peace and order, leading the world to the promised ‘1000 years of peace’ (but without the return of Jesus Christ).

So, it is time to look at the biblical characteristics of the prophesied Antichrist, in order to avoid misjudgments.

Ten Reasons

1. First, he is not called “The Antichrist” – is that a shock to you? The Book of Revelation nowhere uses that term! The ONLY books using the term Antichrist are the two letters of John:

  • 1 John 2:22 Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son.
  • 1 John 4:3 Every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world.
  • 1 John 2:18 Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour.
  • 2 John 1:7 For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist.

The problem John was referring to was a religious one, a perversion of the true christian faith, involving:

  • Denial of Jesus as divine
  • Denial of Jesus as Messiah
  • Denial that Jesus is the Son of the Father
  • Denial that Jesus was flesh (that he was a spirit-being)

These were hallmarks of religious heresies that the Church was beginning to deal with at the time John wrote his letters.

The Gnostics taught that spirit is always good, and matter (including the human body) is always evil. Docetism, one branch of gnosticism, taught that Christ only seemed to have a body. Cerinthianism, another variant, taught that the divine Christ joined the man Jesus at baptism and then left him before he died. Ebionism, a third variant, taught that Jesus was only a man and not God. All these ideas rejected the truth that God actually came “in the flesh” (became a mortal man and was therefore capable of death). {Source]

So the letters of John identified the heretics as “antichrists” who had “gone out” of the Church into the world to preach an alternative gospel.

I’m not saying these verses could never describe the ultimate Deceiver of Revelation, but I’m just correcting the common misunderstanding that the Book of Revelation refers to the devil there as “The Antichrist”. It does not. In Revelation he is referred to as “The Beast”.

  • To obtain a thorough understanding of what the Bible says — and does not say — about “antichrist,” read “What Does the Bible Say and Not Say About Antichrist?” {source]

There are two of them

Antichrist and False Prophet

The religious pretender in the Book of Revelation, the one who does the miracles and arranges the worship of the Beast is the “False Prophet”.

Most people who are interested in Bible prophecy believe there will be one evil leader in the end time who will fulfill the role of the Antichrist. But the Bible actually talks about TWO evil leaders — called “the beast” and “the false prophet” (Revelation 19:20). Which one will be the Antichrist? Or will both together be the Antichrist? Or does the Bible not refer to either one as the Antichrist? [Source]

Satan causes his False Prophet to appear like a meek and gentle lamb when in reality he has the heart of a destroyer. Jesus Himself said to beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves’ (Matthew 7:15). This False Prophet is the epitome of every false prophet who has ever lived. [Source]

The Title is Misapplied

I have argued in the past that this False Prophet of Revelation has more claim to the title of ‘Antichrist’, if we are going to be pedantic about it, than does the Beast.

This is because he is a pseudo-christian false prophet “like a lamb”, not a political figure like the Beast, and because it is he (not the Beast) who does the miracles and “great signs”, makes the talking image of the Beast, and brings in the “mark” of the beast, along with his worship. (Rev 13:11-18 and 2 Thess 2:9-12)

But I have come to realise that the term “antichrist” is now so entrenched in the public mind as well as the Church that there is no hope of changing the title, and I have to succumb to popular terminology to avoid misunderstanding.

Characteristics of the Antichrist

2. The term “anti-christ” does not always or primarily mean, in Greek, OPPOSED to Christ, but ANOTHER Christ, a replacement, a pretender. A ‘false christ’ (just as Jesus warned in Matthew 24:24). This immediately corrects the view that an obviously evil, satanic monster of a person arises to overthrow Christianity. Such a person would be opposed to God and Jesus, but this man (at first anyway) poses as a messiah-figure, a peace-maker.

3. He is the leader of a united world empire, represented by the many parts of his body. (Rev 13:2) He has the characteristics of an Emperor of the ancient Roman Empire.

4. He sets up a ten-kingdom empire, governed by leaders that he himself chooses and sets in place. (Rev 17:12)

5. He is worshipped by “the whole earth” so his appeal is both overwhelming and strong. (Rev 13:3) Some of the wonder he generates is that he has, or had, a head (leader) who appeared to be dead but who was raised to life.

6. He will be the “Lawless One” and a “Man of Sin” (2 Thes. 2:3) This also is not an obvious sign at first, because the devil overthrows God’s righteousness by replacing it with a very appealing self-willed humanism in which choosing our own way is wiser and better.

7. He will be a Reformer, seeking to change times and laws (Dan. 7:25). This might appear to the world to be a good thing, especially if he introduces new laws that appeal to them, such as removing the institution of marriage, and replacing Christian holidays.

8. He will be a blasphemer. Daniel 7:25 “He shall speak great words against the most High” and John saw on his head “names of blasphemy” Revelation 13:1, variously translated as “insulting words, a name of blasphemy, or a blasphemous name”. This could refer to what he calls himself (being a kind of christ/messiah) or a reference to Jesus that rejects his divinity. See also Rev 13:5. He “opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, his tabernacle and his throne”.

9. He will pose as a god, or God himself. He will do this by seating himself in the very Temple in Jerusalem (which has been rebuilt by his permission) and proclaiming himself “as god”. (2 Thess 2:4) There will also be a talking statue of him in the Temple, enabled by the False Prophet (possibly a hologram?).

10. He will be very closely associated with a false religious body (a harlot, as opposed to the faithful wife of God) who will at first be allowed to work with him and “steer” him in his decisions, but who is later overthrown and destroyed by the ten international leaders, who hate her. (Rev 17:16-18).

Don’t Be Deceived

Not only the Lord Jesus, but the writers of the New Testament warned of a great deception just before the return of Jesus to this world.

FruitWe cannot afford to be slack, or blase, about this deception. We cannot dismiss the idea that we might be deceived, wooed away from correct doctrine and enticed by exciting new ideas. The flesh is always with us, and the flesh delights in new things.

Adam and Eve were not drawn by a desire to sin and offend God, but to be more like him.

They wanted to become wise and capable. They wanted to know what the angels knew, and to possess their power. These things did not seem contrary to their relationship with God. The forbidden tree was “good for food, pleasing to the eyes, and desirable to make one wise.” (Genesis 3:6)

What the devil did at the beginning, he will do at the end.

The devil will entice mankind with promises of good things, wisdom, knowledge and power. The “new-age” doctrine – the gnostic wisdom of old – still has the same appeal. It does not appear to be contradictory to religion, in fact it exalts religion – uniting them ALL in love and brotherhood.

The devil is a LIAR, but he is also SUBTLE.

That is why we cannot fix upon an evil, depraved man and give him the title “antichrist” because we do not approve of his words and lifestyle. Rather, we have to be on our guard against a different kind of man who is eloquent, hypnotically attractive, eager to share his understanding of humanity with us all, and with the power to transform this world into a better place.

When evil forces have strung out the chaos for long enough, made everyone yearn deeply for peace and order, and scared everyone half to death with “rumours of war” (Matthew 24:6) they will start to present the glorious answer to it all, and at that point it will be VERY tempting to sigh with relief and accept the lie.

Yet Jesus does NOT promise a time of peace and safety before his coming. 1 Thessalonians 5:3: “While they are saying, “Peace and safety!” then destruction will come upon them suddenly like labor pains upon a woman with child, and they will not escape”.

False prophets will mislead us: “Because they have seduced my people, saying, Peace! and there was no peace”. Ezekiel 13:10-16

What Does Your Soul Crave?

If what you want out of life is peace and safety, a reliable career, financial security, calm and tranquility, Christian values, an untroubled existence and a sure future without the fear of tribulation, then you might just be in the Church of Laodicea, in danger of being cast out of the Lord’s Body, because you are highly likely to be deceived by the Antichrist delusion.

Jesus did not promise ease and pleasure, but tribulation – especially drawing near to the time of his coming!

  • John 16:33: “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
  • Acts 14:22: “we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God”.

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