Topical studies

The Antichrist

(1 John 2:18 NIV); and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many Antichrist’s have come.

(1 John 2:22 NIV) 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 4:3 NIV) 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.

(2 John 1:7 NIV) 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.

These Scriptures make it clear that “antichrist” refers to a plural concept. Not one but many

The Body of Christ

( 1 Cor 12:12 NRSV) For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.
Christ, is not a person, but a great body of persons. The word “christ” is itself not a accurate translation of the original. It is not a proper name, but correctly rendered “the anointed”. Our natural body given as an example is “one” body composed of many members, “so also is the anointed” Christ or the anointed, is a huge company of anointed ones.
(1 Cor 12:13 NRSV) For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body –Jews or Greeks, slaves or free–and we were all made to drink of one Spirit .
( Rom 6:3-4 NRSV) Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? {4} Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.
This is son-ship: being baptized by the Spirit into the body which is Christ.

Baptized by the Spirit into Christ is being baptized (submerged)into His death and then being resurrected a new heavenly being in the image and power and glory of the firstborn Son There is no other way to be one with “the anointed”. To so die with the Lord is to be resurrected a new creature through the new birth into or “in Christ”
(2 Cor 5:17 NRSV) So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation : everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!
This is to become m embers of a vast company, or body, composed of anointed Sons of God. This body or company that is Christ has a head, “the Christ”, “the firstborn” among many brethren, our Lord and Saviour Jesus!

First the Natural

All natural things have spiritual counterparts and spiritual meanings. Everything God does has a distinct pattern and every natural pattern has a corresponding spiritual one. Every human consists of two major parts, a head and a body. If one had only a head, he could not function, if he had only a body and no head he would lack guidance.

The complete man needs both the head and the body and the two joined together are one being. When a child is born normally the head comes first, then the body with all its many members, and finally the feet. There is neither fullness nor completeness until the head and the body stands complete and entire as one.

Then the Spiritual

The head of the anointed (the new man), came forth from the womb nearly two thousand years ago, and the body, which has been in preparation since the day of Pentecost, is to be ONE CHRIST.
( Eph 1:22-23 NRSV) And he has put all things under his feet and has made him the head over all things for the church, {23} which is his body , the fullness of him who fills all in all.
The full body of Christ is the completing of God’s Christ. Two millenniums ago the revelation of the head was given, but the body of that same Christ has been developing throughout the entire Ecclesia age so that God’s glorious Christ may stand complete at the end time. Christ the head and Christ the body, the perfect Man, Jesus the head, with all His many brethren, the body, the joint heirs with Christ.
(Rev 12:5 NIV) She gave birth to a son, a male child, who will rule all the nations with an iron scepter. And her child was snatched up to God and to his throne.
What is it that determines whether a person is in the body of Christ? All are members of the Christ who are vitally connected in living union with the head.
It is not enough to be joined to the other members of a church unless the members are themselves vitally connected with the head in living union.. If some “man” is their head, or some organization, denomination, or religious system, apart from the headship of Jesus Christ alone – there is no body of the Christ!
Sons of God exist only because of their vital relationship to Jesus Christ, not because they have an intellectual understanding of the doctrine of son-ship, or attend meetings, or belong to some “end time” movement or a “New Testament” church or any other kind of get together.

The Antichrist Body

Just as the Christ is a glorious body composed of many members, the antichrist is a body composed of many members. Apposed to the company of Christ the true Ecclesia; antichrist is the false, apostate ecclesia, that which is “anti”, or “opposed to”, or “instead of” the true. Paul speaks of this false Ecclesia, the antichrist body.
II Thes. 2:3-4. “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day (the day of Christ) shall not come, except there come a falling away f irst, and that man of sin be revealed , the son of perdition ; who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sits in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.”
The Greek word that is here translated “falling away” is “apostasia” From this word comes the English word “apostasy”. Adam “apostatized” and “fell away” from the pure essence of God’s truth in the beginning. Paul spoke of a future apostasy. It was to be a corruption, a departure from the truth of Jesus Christ – a falling away that would develop within the body of Christ itself.

This falling away is the great apostasy. It is to be found in the “visible church” and not outside the church. Paul is speaking about the state of the church not the pagan world, or the general worldly moral decline, or Judaism, Mohammedanism, or the rise and spread of Masonry, or any other lesser phenomena

The falling away began many centuries ago and continues to this day. The only way the falling away could be in our future is if the Ecclesia had remained pure in doctrine, spirit and oneness until now. This has not been so.

The Name and Nature.

As with all names in the Scriptures the name reveals the nature and so it is in the name “Antichrist” Anti in Greek means “in the stead of, in place of, against” and Christ means anointed.
These persons and ultimately the final antichrist manifestation seek to put themselves forward in place of Godís anointed; the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Scriptures teach the rising of a body in the last days/time/hour that will be the embodiment of all that is evil. This antichrist spirit has been given many names. These names reveal the Antichrist nature, who he is, where he comes from, and what he will do. He will seek to deceive many and will succeed in leading many astray. The Apostle John told the early disciples that they were in the last hour/time and many antichrists had come. The antichrist body was beginning to form from the beginning.
(1 John 2:18 KJV) Little children, it is the last time: and as you have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.

The Deceivers

(Luke 21:8 NIV) He replied: “Watch out that you are not deceived. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ and, ‘The time is near.’ Do not follow them.

Jesus warned that there would be many who would come and lay claim to being the anointed one This has indeed been so since the early days of the church. False cults have arisen on all sides who have taught “another Jesus” and individuals have arisen who profess to be Christ. In the end they go down into the grave as do all humankind. Many have large gatherings of people who follow their teachings but the test of Scripture always finds them out in the end. As Jesus taught “By their fruit you will know them.” The spirit of Antichrist has tried in many and varied ways to deceive over the years. Examples in these later times can be found among the Hindu mystics and so called avatars of Vedic mysticism such as Sai Baba Maharishi. All claim some kind of spiritual anointing. Similarly the “Cosmic Christ” of the New Age movement is another manifestation of the deceiving spirit of Antichrist. The list is endless but all fail to align with the Word of God and seek in some way to pervert or ignore its teachings.
Do not be led astray by their seeming power over natural things or their insightful thinking. Like their evil master they do manifest spiritual power and overcome the simple with their demonstrations.
. (2 Th 2:9 NIV) The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with t he work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders,

The Apostate System

Originally the New Testament Ecclesia was filled with truth and spiritual power. The book of Acts gives an account of those days. The apostle John foresaw that the Ecclesia would spread over the world and become popular. Many arose within its ranks who appreciated its form without having been transformed by its Spirit. Grace achieved much but with many the inner nature remained unchanged. The natural man with his carnal mind was still at enmity with God, and the cloak of Christianity could not long conceal his corruption. The infant Ecclesia was not very old before the seeds of apostasy began to appear.
Before the apostles died, an apostate spiritual system had been set up among the saints. Many people were wearing the Babylon garment and instituting rules and regulations, laying down laws, formulating creeds, observing days, establishing sacraments and ordinances, elevating human government, becoming disciples of Paul, of Apollos, of Cephas, and of many others. The confusion had begun and the mysterious man of sin raised his head.

Soon men began to set themselves up as “bishops” and “lords” over God’s heritage in place of the Holy Spirit. Instead of conquering by the power of the Spirit and truth – as in the early days – men began to substitute their ideas and their methods. Soon the glory and power, the presence of God in the morning time Ecclesia began to be eclipsed, and the power of carnal minded men gradually took the place of the active presence of God.
Man’s carnal understanding was put upon the Scriptures, and as the Spirit of Christ was ignored, men established a vast and elaborate system of substitutes to take the place of reality. A massive “falling away” of a dreadful nature began as gradually the religion of Christ became the religion of antichrist. The Church visibly known to the world as the body of Christ became the body of the antichrist where carnal observances replaced spiritual reality. The ceremonial took the place of His indwelling life, human tradition obscured the Word of God, human authority usurped the leadership of the Holy Spirit, and idolatry replaced true spiritual worship.

The Son of Perdition. ( perdition = eternal death, damnation)

(2 Th 2:3 KJV) Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
The only other one called by this name is Judas Iscariot, the betrayer and thief. The link between the two is significant. Note that Jesus said that Judas was a devil.
(John 6:70 NIV) Then Jesus replied, “Have I not chosen you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is a devil!”
After Judas took his own life he went to his own place.
(Acts 1:25 NIV) to take over this apostolic ministry, which Judas left to go where he belongs.”

He was as Jesus said a devil, the offspring of perdition; he drew life (in his spiritual nature) from the “pit” of the Adamic nature and returned from whence he came. The evil one put it into the heart of Judas to betray Jesus. Judas acceded to this and then Satan himself entered into Judas and the prince of all demons took over the work of destroying Jesus.
(John 13:2 NIV) The evening meal was being served, and the devil had already prompted Judas Iscariot, son of Simon, to betray Jesus.
(Luke 22:3 NIV) Then Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, one of the Twelve.

This story of Judas may well be a shadow of the end time Antichrist, the final son/sons of perdition who will be/are being tempted to betray the Bride of Christ and become Satan incarnate in the last days. This will come from among the members of the church after the pattern of Judas.
Paul calls those(plural)involved in this falling away “the man of lawlessness” and “the son of perdition”. Both phrases have the same meaning. “Son of perdition” follows Hebrew custom in using “son of” as a descriptive adjective. Paul is naming those involved in failing away. Like Satan the father of rebellion this “man of sin” or “man of lawlessness” are ones who “opposes and exalts themselves above all that is called God
( 2 Th 2:4 NRSV) He opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, declaring himself to be God.

NOTE::- What/where is the temple of the living God? Scripture says you are the temple

Many apply the word “man” in II Thes. 2:3 to mean one individual, assuming that when Paul spoke of “that man of sin” he referred to only “ONE” individual man. In discussing the falling way it is not just one man who falls away and this could be man as a plural identity..
The Greek word used for man, “anthropes”, in the New Testament is also more likely to refer to “many people”.
II Tim. 3:17 includes the phrase “that the man of God may be perfect”.
This refers to all men of God.
Heb. 2:6, “What is man , that You are mindful of him?”
Refers to humankind, or all humans.This is the same Greek word used in phrase “son of man” to all the members of Adam’s race. The Ecclesia – the long succession of believers through the centuries – is spoken of as
“one new man ” (Eph. 2:15),
and all the mature Sons of God are called
“A perfect man” (Eph. 4:13),
and the body of Christ is not one individual man in a literal sense.
John saw in vision a “woman” called
“Babylon the Great, the Mother of harlots” (Rev. 17),
but this is not taken to mean one literal woman, nor is the glorious woman
“woman clothed with the sun” (Rev. 12)
thought of as a literal woman!
A single “beast” in prophecy often represents a whole empire or kingdom in all its changes and revolutions from beginning to end.

The Man of Sin.

(2 Th 2:3 KJV) Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed

The Lord Jesus Christ during His earthly ministry was the man of God and He was embodiment of deity
(Col 2:9 KJV) For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.
In the same sense the Antichrist is the embodiment of sin in all its fullness. The nature of Satan will find itself fully expressed in the final body of fallen humankind.

The Wicked (lawless) One

(2 Th 2:8 KJV) And then shall that Wicked one be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:
Subject neither to the law of God or the laws of man, this wicked one brings into being a reign of lawlessness. The great apostasy will head itself up in this wicked one. This kind of world suits the advocates of hedonism and humanism. If it feels good do it, is the order of the day.
the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. Who can know it?’ (Jer. 17:9).
Scripture teaches that the heart of man is the most deceitful thing in the world.
“That which comes out of the man that defiles the man. For from out of the heart of man, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: all these evil things come from within and defile the man’ (Mk. 7:20-23).
Every sin-category imaginable is contained in this discourse. Everything that a man could ever do or think that is evil is said by Jesus to come – not from outside himself, but from within
Jesus said, ‘for from within, out of the HEART OF MEN. ..’ The word “heart” is in the genitive singular case. The word ‘men’, however, is in the genitive plural case. one heart – but many men! This ‘one heart’ or ‘one mind’ is the common possession of all men — one great “subconscious?” mind shared by all the inhabitants of the world. The mind of Adam – shared with his many-membered body. Prodding, goading, tempting, whispering, the inherited mind of Adam makes its subtle suggestions to the conscious mind and man’s will bows before it. From within, out of the heart of humankind, out of the Adamic mind precedes all evil things!”

The Deceiver

Through lying, signs and wonders, false miracles, he will bring about the great religious deception. Because much of mankind rejects the truth they will be ensnared by the deception. This process is at work all around us today. Even Christian leaders are accepting teachings that are contrary to Scripture and are giving place to spiritist practices. The evils of Sodom are glossed over, a new Cosmic Christ is being proposed, lawlessness is being accepted among our children as “childrenís rights” and the faith once delivered to the saints watered down by manís traditions. But this is a small measure compared to the final blind acceptance of the Antichrist.
(2 Th 2:9 NIV) The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders ,

The Beast.

In contrast to the spotless one from heaven the Antichrist will a beast from the pit.
(Rev 17:8 NIV) The beast, which you saw, once was, now is not, and will come up out of the Abyss and go to his destruction.

From where does this Antichrist arise?

Numerous ideas are heard as to who this person is and from what part of the society of humankind he will come.
Some have suggested that he will come out of Russia, others thought Napoleon was the Antichrist; others Hitler or Mussolini; some suggested the Papacy; some that he would be a giant computer…….and there are many more suggestions.
No doubt most of those suggested by sincere thinkers were and are antichrist and have been and are motivated by the “spirit of Antichrist” which is abroad even to this day. But none meet the fullness of the character and nature given in Scripture as the description of “the” Antichrist of the last days.

Paul teaches that the final Antichrist will arise in the temple of God (Where/what is the temple of God?)
(2 Th 2:4 NIV) 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.
I Paul also said that we, i.e. the Ecclesia are the temple of God.
(2 Cor 6:16 NIV) What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God . As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.”

John also speaks of false prophets and antichrists going out from the ecclesia .
(1 John 2:18 NIV) 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.
(1 John 2:19 NIV) 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.

There is much to support the view that the Antichrist will be/and is part of the chosen ones and will fall away. A pattern may be seen in Scripture from Genesis to Revelations giving support to this view. Remember that the body of Christ is a composite man. The Antichrist is fully revealed in a composite man having the Adamic nature.

Typical Antichrist

Type 1. Who is this person ? Only Adam fits these Scriptural references, not Satan as many suppose.
(Ezek 28:14 NIV) You were anointed as a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you. You were on the holy mount of God; you walked among the fiery stones.
(Isa 14:12 NIV) How you have fallen from heaven, O morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations!
(Isa 14:13 NIV) You said in your heart, “I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain.
(Isa 14:14 NIV) I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.”

Type 2. Counting the generations from Adam through Ham we come to Nimrod, whose name means rebel. (As with Judas he is number 13 counting Adam. The number 13 speaks of rebellion.) From Nimrod came the idea of building the tower of Babel and this resulted in scattering of a rebellious people. (Babel means confusion.)
(Gen 10:8 KJV) And Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be a mighty one in the earth
(Gen 11:9 KJV) Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.

Type 3. Esau is number 12 after Noah (again 13 counting Noah.) He was rejected because he sold his birthright and Jacob took his place.

Type 4. Jacob had 12 sons and one of these Reuben aspires to go up to his Fatherís couch and loses the birthright.
(Gen 35:22 NIV) While Israel was living in that region, Reuben went in and slept with his father’s concubine Bilhah, and Israel heard of it. Jacob had twelve sons:
(Gen 49:4 NIV) Turbulent as the waters, you will no longer excel, for you went up onto your father’s bed, onto my couch and defiled it.

Type 5. The rebellion of Korah, Dathan and Abiram. It is interesting to note that these three men are the thirteenth generation from Eber, the father of the Hebrews. Korah through Levi, and Dathan and Abiram through Reuben.
(Num 16:1 NIV) Korah son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, and certain Reubenites–Dathan and Abiram, sons of Eliab, and On son of Peleth–became insolent (Num 16:2 NIV) and rose up against Moses.

Type 6. Manasseh was 12 years old when he began to reign (he was in his 13th year.) We find in 1 Chron. that Manasseh is the 13th king to reign over Jewry after the division of into House of Israel and House of Judah. Manasseh set up an image to be worshipped in the temple of God.
(2 Chr 33:6 KJV) And he caused his children to pass through the fire in the valley of the son of Hinnom: also he observed times, and used enchantments, and used witchcraft, and dealt with a familiar spirit, and with wizards: he wrought much evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger. (2 Chr 33:7 KJV) And he set a carved image, the idol which he had made, in the house of God,
Notice the similarity to 2 Thess 4 which describes the behaviour of the Antichrist.

Type 7. Judas is both 12 and also 13 as we have earlier discussed.

Falling Away.

Adam is not one man, but a whole race of men. Christ is not one Person, but a many-membered body. The great harlot John beheld sitting on many waters is not a single woman, but a universal spirit and system that sits astride the whole earth. Similarly “the man of sin” is not one individual man but a vast company, a many-membered man. All who are parts of the “falling away” are also parts of this lawless “son of perdition”.

The reason for the falling away is because this “man” exalts HIMSELF. In each individual member’s body which is the temple of God, the “egotistic self” takes the seat of the true and living God .
“Know not that YOU ARE the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple YOU ARE. What? know you not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you?” (I Cor. 3:16-17; 6:19).

Man as “self” takes the seat of the true and living God in the temple of God, (the temple of God is within you) becomes independent of the leadership of the Holy Spirit, sets his own standards of spiritual life, establishes his own programs to do the work of God, and even while his lips speaks the things of Christ, his own bestial desires peep out from between the lines. Behind all the facade of spirituality the inner motive of the flesh builds the kingdom of self.
Even the religious desire of seeing souls saved, sick healed and lives blessed, may be discovered as a self desire to build – gather around self for the furtherance of his own kingdom (denomination/sect/special group) and glory and financial gain, so that while he appears as a servant of God he is in reality serving the false god of self as he resists the Holy Spirit and “opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God. He as god sits in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.”

Knowing All Things

“Beloved, believe not every spirit but try the spirits whether they be of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: and every spirit that confesses not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist but you have an unction from the Holy One, and YOU KNOW ALL THINGS” (I Jn. 4:2-3; 2:20).
Every Christian has, or should have anointing from the Holy One. Jesus Christ, the head of His body will anoint you with the Holy Spirit. This anointing is that you might know all things.

This does not mean that you will at all times have the conscious awareness of knowing everything in the world.. The mind of the Christ dwelling in your regenerated spirit knows all things, but the Holy Spirit shows you and allows you to perceive only those things that are necessary moment by moment, and day by day.
Jesus told us that false prophets would come and that their coming is to be a sign of the end of the age. If you will keep in union with the Holy Spirit, depending on Him for instruction, He will give you an inner witness as to know if the spirits are of Christ or antichrist.

Seeking your neighbour or some preacher is to get a human opinion.. There is a much better way than this to know the will and way of God. Go directly to your Father who dwells within you. He will make the truth known to you by the anointing which you have received from Him. While the Lord does indeed often confirm the truth to our hearts by the testimony of others, the Holy Spirit must always be your teacher. You have no need that any man teach you,
“but the anointing which you have received of Him abides in you. and you need not that any man should teach you : but as the same anointing teaches you all things and is the truth, and is no lie, and even as it has taught you, you shall abide in Him. ” (I Jn. 2:27).

The Final Fulfilment.

In Rev. 12 there appears the Woman who is crowned with 12 stars. In later chapters we read of a star falling from heaven and becoming invested with satanic power. A third of the stars of heaven fall with this star.

One interpretation of these events sees the sun-clad woman as the end time church; the Bride of Christ in all her glory.

The star that falls as the end time is the completed Antichrist. Fulfilling the type we have discussed above; the body of antichrist falls from heavenly grace and in the great apostasy of 2 Thess. 2:1-3. The ecclesia is now seated in heavenly places
(Rev 12:1 NIV) A great and wondrous sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head.
(2 Th 2:3 NIV) 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.

Closing Comment.

As with all these types and shadows, teachings and writings we share with Paul the “seeing in a glass darkly”. One thing is sure that all these things have been written to guide us and it is a wise man who attends closely to their instruction.
(Rom 15:4 NIV) For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.


The following is a good example of the views generally held by many evangelical groups. The writer does not necessarily share any of the interpretation discussed in the content.

Elwell Evangelical Dictionary

Topics: Antichrist

Although the term “antichrist” occurs only in the Johannine letters,

the conception of an arch opponent of God and his Messiah is found in

both testaments and in the inter testamental writings. Opposition is

reflected in anti, which here probably means “against,” not “instead

of,” although both ideas may be present: posing as Christ, Antichrist

opposes Christ.

OT Background. Because Christ is not fully revealed, the OT offers no

complete portrait of Antichrist but furnishes materials for the picture

in description of personal or national opposition to God.

Belial. Certain individuals, infamous for wickedness, are called “sons

of [or men of] Belial” (beliya’al, probably “without worth,”

“useless”). Idolatry (Deut. 13:13), sodomy and rape (Judg. 19:22;

20:13), drunkenness (1 Sam. 1:16), disregard of God (1 Sam. 2:12),

sacrilege (1 Sam. 2:17, 22), disrespect for authority (1 Sam. 10:27; II

Chr. 13:7), lack of hospitality (1 Sam. 25:17, 25), perjury (1 Kings

21:10, 13), and evil speech (Prov. 6:12; 16:27) are among the sins of

these “empty men” (II Chr. 13:7), whom the good shun (Ps. 101:3).

Foreign Enemies. Opposition of God’s kingdom is opposition to him. The

nations’ vain plot against the Lord’s anointed king in Ps. 2 may be a

foreshadowing of the antichrist idea. Similarly, the taunt songs

against the rulers of Babylon (Isa. 14) and Tyre (Ezek. 28) vividly

describe the calamitous fall of monarchs who usurp divine prerogatives.

Gog’s defeat (Ezek. 39:1-20; Rev. 20:7-10) seems to climax the

fruitless struggle of nations to frustrate God’s purposes by harassing

his people.

The Little Horn. This rebellion is symbolised in Daniel’s little horn.

Chapter 7, the more eschatological, seems to depict the defeat of God’s

final enemy, while chapter 8 describes Antiochus IV Epiphanes (175-163

B.C.), the foreign ruler most hated by the Jews because of his personal

wickedness and ruthless persecution of their religion.

The portrait of this “king of the north” (Dan. 11), the

personification of evil, has helped significantly to shape the NT

figure of Antichrist: (1) he abolished the continual burnt offering and

erected the abomination of desolation in the temple (Dan. 11:31; Matt.

24:15; Mark 13:14; Rev. 13:14-15); (2) he exalted himself to the

position of deity (Dan. 11:36-39; II Thess. 2:3-4); (3) his helpless

death points to Christ’s slaying of “the lawless one” (Dan. 11:45; II

Thess. 2:8; Rev. 19:20). Whatever the antecedents of Daniel’s beasts

(W. Bousset, Antichrist Legend, holds that the battle of Antichrist and

God stems from the Babylonian legend of Marduk’s struggle with Tiamat),

they are clearly nations opposing God and his people. The beast from

the sea in Rev. 13:1 recalls Dan. 7:3,7 and strengthens the link

between Daniel’s prophecy and the NT account of Antichrist.

Intertestamental Elaboration. Two emphases appear in the Apocrypha and

Pseudepigrapa: (1) Rome replaces Syria as the national enemy, and

Pompey supplants Antiochus IV as the epitome of opposition to God; (2)

Belial (Beliar) is personified as a satanic spirit.

The “lawless one” (II Thess. 2:8) has been connected with Beliar,

which rabbinic tradition interpreted as “without yoke” (beli’ol), i.e.,

refusing the law’s yoke. This connection seems strengthened by the LXX

translation of belial by paranomos, “lawbreaker” (Deut. 13:13, etc.).

However, though Paul’s description may partially reflect the Beliar

tradition, he distinguishes Beliar from the lawless one: Beliar is a

synonym of Satan (II Cor. 6:15), while Satan and the lawless one are

differentiated (II Thess. 2:9).

NT Development. The Gospels. References to Christ’s opponent are

neither numerous nor specific. The disciples are warned that false

Christs will attempt to deceive even the elect (Matt. 24:24; Mark

13:22). Similarly, Christ speaks of one who comes in his own name, whom

the Jews receive (John 5:43). This may be a veiled reference to

Antichrist or to any false Messiahs who present themselves to Judaism.

Even the mention of the abomination of desolation (Matt. 24:15; Mark

13:14), recalling vividly Daniel’s prophecy, is made with remarkable

restraint. A single evil personality may be in view, but his portrait

is not even sketched.

II Thessalonians. Paul gives a clearer picture of Christ’s archenemy,

whose outstanding characteristic is contempt of law. Two names, “man of

lawlessness” (preferable to “man of sin”) and “the lawless one” (II

Thess. 2:3, 8-9), stress this anarchistic attitude, recalling Dan.

7:25, where the little horn tries to change the times and law.

Furthermore, Antichrist makes exclusive claim to diety (II Thess. 2:4)

in terms reminiscent of Dan. 7:25; 11:36. Paul does not picture a

pseudo-Messiah posing as God’s messenger, but a pseudo-God viciously

opposing all other religion. His model may have been the blasphemous

emperor Gaius (A.D. 37-41).

He deceives many by wonders (II Thess. 2:9-10). Christ worked miracles

by God’s power, and the Jews attributed them to Satan (Matt. 12:24ff.);

Antichrist will work miracles by satanic power, and many will worship

him as God.

One of Antichrist’s names, “son of perdition” (II Thess. 2:3; cf. John

17:12), reveals his destiny: Christ will slay him by his breath and the

brightness of his appearing (II Thess. 2:8; Rev. 19:15, 20; cf. Isa.


Antichrist is the personal culmination of a principle of rebellion

already working secretly, “the mystery of lawlessness” (II Thess. 2:7).

When God’s restraining hand which preserves law and order is withdrawn,

this spirit of satanic lawlessness will become incarnate in “the

lawless one.”

The Johannine Letters. Though John recognised the expectation of a

single antichrist, he turns his attention to the many antichrist who

have come denying that Jesus is the Christ and thus denying the true

nature of both Father and Son (1 John 2:18, 22; 4:3). Contemporary

docetists discredited Christ’s humanity (II John 7), claiming that he

seemed to have human form. To John they were the embodiment of the

antichrist spirit. Their view taught that man was divine apart from God

in Christ and left God and the world un united.

John’s account complements rather than contradicts Paul’s. Following

Daniel, Paul depicts a single archenemy, who claims the right to

personal worship. John stresses the spiritual elements in these claims

and the spiritual lie which made Antichrist seemingly strong.

Revelation. The Apocalyptist’s beast (Rev. 13), dependent in spirit

and detail on Daniel, combines the characteristics of all four OT

beasts. Further, the NT beast has an authority belonging only to the

little horn of Daniel’s beast. John seemingly implies that the savage

impiety of Antiochus will be embodied in a kingdom; for the beast,

although he has some personal characteristics, is more than a person:

his seven heads are seven kings (Rev. 17:10-12). The beast himself is

an eighth king, springing from one of the seven. This complicated

picture suggests that the beast symbolises worldly power, the anti-God

spirit of a nationalistic ambition (in Daniel’s prophecy personified in

Antiochus and in John’s day in Rome) which will become incarnate in one

great demagogue, Antichrist.

To Paul’s account John adds at least one important element, the false

prophet, a second beast who works under the authority of Antichrist, as

Antichrist gains his authority from the dragon, Satan (Rev. 13:2,

11-12). After directing Antichrist’s political and religious

enterprises, the false prophet shares his fate at Christ’s advent (Rev.


Christian Interpretation. The fathers generally believed in a personal

antichrist. His identity hinged on whether the “mystery of lawlessness”

was interpreted politically or religiously. Politically, the most

likely candidate was Nero, who, lengend held, would reappear in

resurrected form (redivivus) to continue his terrible reign. This

interpretation, propounded by Chrysostom and others, has gained

prominence in this century through preteristic interpreters of

Revelation like R.H. Charles and C.A. Scott Irenaeus and others who

held that Antichrist would emerge from a religious context traced him

to Dan on the basis of Gen. 49:17; Deut. 33:22; Jer. 8:16 (cf. the

omission of Dan in Rev. 7:5ff.).

The Reformers equated Antichrist with the papacy, as had some medieval

theologians, Gregory I, who taught that whoever assumed the title

“universal priest” was Antichrist’s forerunner; Joachim of Floris; and

Wycliffe. Luther, Calvin, the translators of the AV, and the authors of

the Westminster Confession concurred in this identification. Roman

Catholic scholars retaliated, branding Rome’s opponents Antichrist.

In the ideal or symbolic view Antichrist is an ageless personification

of evil, not identifiable with one nation, institution, or individual.

This idea gains support from the Johannine letters and has value in

emphasizing the constancy of the warfare between Satan’s manifold

forces and Christ’s.

Futurists (e.g., Zahn, Seiss, Scofield) hold that idealists fail to

stress sufficiently the culmination of this hostility in a personal

adversary. They believe that Antichrist will usher in a period of great

tribulation at history’s close, in connection with a mighty empire like

a revived Rome, and will dominate politics, religion, and commerce

until Christ’s advent.



Bibliography. S.J. Andrews, Christianity and Antichristianity; G. G.

Findlay, Thessalonians, CGT; G. Milligan, Epistles to the

Thessalonians; H.H. Rowley, Relevance of Apocalyptic; G. Vos, Pauline

Eschatology; W. Bousset, The Antichrist Legend; E. Kander, NIDNTT, I,

124ff.; G.C. Berkouwer, The Return of Christ; A. L. Moore, The Parousia

in the NT; J. Jeremias, Der Antichrist in Geschichte und Gegenwart;

A.A. Hoekema, The Bible and the Future; H. Ridderbos, Paul.