The Anti-Christ

THE ANTI-CHRIST – The anti-Christ is the end-times antagonist of God and His people. He is a person who will be empowered by Satan and will function as an enemy of Jesus Christ and the Church. In the context of apocalyptic literature, this figure performs false miracles, deceives many in order to discourage people from worshiping the true God, and persecutes God’s people. The term anti-Christ could be interpreted either as against Christ or in place of Christ. (1) The end-time anti-Christ will be both. He would be against Christ and he will set himself in the place of God, or Christ.

The anti-Christ is mentioned in various places in Scripture by different names or titles (anti-Christ, deceiver, false Messiahs and false prophets, man of lawlessness, son of destruction, and beast).

In the Gospels – All three Synoptic Gospels (general view of the whole – synopsis) present the concept of the anti-Christ (“false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders”) in Jesus’ so-called Olivet Discourse. Jesus warns His disciples concerning things which are to come and against following those who come proclaiming (“do not believe it”) to be the Christ (Matthew 24; Mark 13; Luke 21). (2)

In Paul’s Epistles – Second Thessalonians 2:1-4 provides the earliest written New Testament statements concerning the anti-Christ. Paul writes to the Thessalonians to correct their misunderstanding that the Day of the Lord had already occurred, explaining that specific events must occur prior to the Day of the Lord. These are the rebellion from the faith and the revelation of the antagonist against the faith. Paul refers to this figure as “the man of lawlessness” and “the man doomed to destruction.(3)

In John’s Epistles – The actual term anti-Christ, used extensively in modern commentaries and literature, occurs only four times in the Bible. All are in John’s epistles (1 John 2:18, 22; 4:3; 2 John 7). 1 John 2:18 refers to “many anti-Christ’s,” as did Jesus in His Olivet Discourse. John elaborates further in 1 John 4:3 by stating that any person or message that did not “confess Jesus” as being the spirit of the anti-Christ. In his Second Epistle, John once again referred to “many deceivers” who would not “acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh” (2 John 7). Such a person, he wrote, was “the deceiver and the anti-Christ.” Finally, John warned that a final anti-Christ, who, like the others, would deny that Jesus is the Christ, would yet make an appearance. John took it for granted (“as you have heard that the anti-Christ is coming”) that his Christian readers knew about the anti-Christ and had been taught to expect his coming (1 John 2:18–27). (4)

In Revelation – It is the book of Revelation that contains the most information concerning the anti-Christ. Unlike other New Testament writings, this work (perhaps because of the apocalyptic genre) utilizes an imagery of the anti-Christ that is inhuman – a “beast”. John actually refers to two “beasts.”

Political Manifestation (The Anti-Christ) – The first is a beast from the sea, which represents the political anti-Christ, and depicts him as wearing ten crowns and receiving the dragon’s (Satan’s) power, throne, and authority (Revelation 13:1-2).

Religious Manifestation (The False Prophet) – The second is a beast from the land, which represents the religious anti-Christ, and who exercises the authority of the first beast by using its power to perform signs to deceive the people and directing them to worship the first beast (Revelation 13:13–14). John later refers to the second beast as the “false prophet” (Revelation 16:13; 19:20). (5)

Characteristics of the Anti-Christ – While it is impossible to know who the anti-Christ will be before he is revealed there are certain things about him that we can know. Figure 1.6 identifies several characteristics of the anti-Christ, which will be examined further in future “Studies In Revelation” musings.

Rev 1.6

Next Up – Armageddon, Millennium and Last Judgment.

  1. Morrison, D. I. (2012, 2013, 2014). Antichrist. In J. D. Barry, L. Wentz, D. Mangum, C. Sinclair-Wolcott, R. Klippenstein, D. Bomar, … D. R. Brown (Eds.), The Lexham Bible Dictionary. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
  2. Morrison, D. I. (2012, 2013, 2014). Antichrist. In J. D. Barry, L. Wentz, D. Mangum, C. Sinclair-Wolcott, R. Klippenstein, D. Bomar, … D. R. Brown (Eds.), The Lexham Bible Dictionary. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
  3. Morrison, D. I. (2012, 2013, 2014). Antichrist. In J. D. Barry, L. Wentz, D. Mangum, C. Sinclair-Wolcott, R. Klippenstein, D. Bomar, … D. R. Brown (Eds.), The Lexham Bible Dictionary. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
  4. Elwell, W. A., & Beitzel, B. J. (1988). In Baker encyclopedia of the Bible (pp. 118–119). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.
  5. Morrison, D. I. (2012, 2013, 2014). Antichrist. In J. D. Barry, L. Wentz, D. Mangum, C. Sinclair-Wolcott, R. Klippenstein, D. Bomar, … D. R. Brown (Eds.), The Lexham Bible Dictionary. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
  6. Willmington, H. L. (1987). Willmington’s book of Bible lists (pp. 28–29). Wheaton, IL: Tyndale.

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