Who is the Antichrist?
From the days of the first Christians to today’s believers,
this question has fascinated millions through the centuries.
And rightly so, the Antichrist is an intriguing figure.
Some say he doesn’t exist, that there’s no scriptural
evidence. While others describe him
as the human incarnation of Satan.
So who is the Antichrist?
Is he a real figure? Is he
alive today? And if so, how will the
world recognize him?
Fortunately, the Bible provides us with answers to all
these questions and more.
Antichrist in the Bible
Who is the
Antichrist according to the Bible?
people claim the Bible never refers to an individual as the “Antichrist,” but
rather the existence of “a spirit of Antichrist,” a complete picture of this
infamous man emerges from a thorough reading of the scriptures.
In fact, the
Antichrist is referenced throughout the Bible as a man of many names…
The Seed of Satan –
Genesis 3:15 (NLT)
The Little Horn - Daniel 7:8 (NLT)
The Fierce King, a Master of Intrigue
- Daniel 8:23 (NLT)
The Prince Who is to Come - Daniel
The Defiler –
Daniel 9:27 (NLT)
The King Who Does as He Pleases –
Daniel 11:36 (NLT)
The King of Assyria –
Isaiah 10:12 (NLT)
The Worthless Shepherd - Zechariah
The One Who Brings Destruction - 2
Thessalonians 2:3 (NLT)
The Man of Lawlessness -
2 Thessalonians 2:8 (NLT)
The Antichrist –
1 John 2:18 (NLT)
The Beast - Revelation 13:11 (NLT)
As the above
verses and many others attest, the Antichrist is a very real person.
During the final
seven year period before the Glorious Appearing of Jesus Christ, the Antichrist
will achieve unprecedented global power:
he was given authority to rule over every tribe and people and language and
nation." Revelation 13:7 (NLT)
reach and power of the Antichrist will extend to the farthest corners of the
earth. In fact, his dominion will be
so extensive, not a single person will be able to buy or sell without his
required everyone - great and small, rich and poor, slave and free - to be given
a mark on the right hand or on the forehead.
And no one could buy or sell anything without that mark, which was either
the name of the beast or the number representing his name." Revelation
will use his position of authority to persecute Christians and Jews:
the beast was allowed to wage war against God's holy people and overcome them."
Revelation 13:7 (NLT)
Not only will the
Antichrist assault God’s holy people, but he’ll even dare to raise his hand
against Jesus Christ:
will destroy powerful leaders and devastate the holy people. He will be a master
of deception, defeating many by catching them off guard. Without warning he will
destroy them. He will even take on the Prince of princes in battle, but he will
be broken, though not by human power." Daniel 8:24-25 (NLT)
final act of rebellion will be the Antichrist’s ultimate undoing.
Characteristics of the Antichrist
Any attempt to
answer the question, “Who is the Antichrist?” requires an in-depth examination
of the man’s characteristics as outlined in the bible.
By studying these characteristics, those who are alive on earth during
the end times will be able to recognize the Antichrist.
Here are just a
few of his characteristics:
Nationality / Race
According to the
bible, the Antichrist will come from among a distinct race of people:
ruler will arise whose armies will destroy the city and the Temple." Daniel
armies that destroyed the city and the Temple in A.D. 70 were Roman armies.
This means the Antichrist will arise from among the Roman and/or Italian
Whether or not he’s of Italian ethnicity is a subject of ongoing debate.
But regardless, the bible is clear.
The Antichrist will come from among the people who destroyed the Temple.
Arrogance / Hubris
will also be a man of unrivaled arrogance:
"This little horn had eyes like human eyes and a mouth that was boasting
arrogantly." Daniel 7:8 (NLT)
will believe his great boasts, thinking himself to be greater than God Himself:
king will do as he pleases, exalting himself and claiming to be greater than
every god there is, even blaspheming the God of gods." Daniel 11:36 (NLT)
Powered by Satan
addition, the Antichrist will be a man of unprecedented power, not of his own
accord, but because he is backed by Satan:
will become very strong, but not by his own power." Daniel 8:24 (NLT)
Because of the power given to him by Satan, the Antichrist will be able to
deceive many people with false signs and miracles:
"This evil man will come to do the work of Satan with counterfeit power and
signs and miracles. He will use every kind of wicked deception to fool those who
are on their way to destruction because they refuse to believe the truth that
would save them." 2 Thessalonians 2:9-10
Unfortunately, these deceived people will follow the Antichrist, believing his
power to be that of God and not Satan.
Nevertheless, the bible reveals that the Antichrist derives his power
the dragon gave him his own power and throne and great authority." Revelation
Worships a God of Fortresses
Antichrist will also worship a god his forefathers never knew – a brand new god
will have no regard for the god of his ancestors, or for the god beloved of
women, or for any other god, for he will boast that he is greater than them all.
Instead of these, he will worship the god of fortresses - a god his ancestors
never knew - and lavish on him gold, silver, precious stones, and costly gifts."
Daniel 11:37-38 (NLT)
who the Antichrist is, we need to understand that he’s a man of unrivaled
arrogance and inflated self-worth, who believes himself to be greater than
anyone else who has ever lived.
He’s also an
idolater who worships “a god of fortresses,” which in all likelihood represents
his enormous military power.
Speculations About Who is the Antichrist
So now that we know who the Antichrist is, can we identify
According to Paul, the Antichrist will not be known until
there is a great rebellion in which the Antichrist enters the Temple of God in
Jerusalem and exalts himself above every object of worship:
that day will not come until there is a great rebellion against God and the man
of lawlessness is revealed – the one who brings destruction.
He will exalt himself and defy everything that people call god and every
object of worship. He will even sit in the temple of God, claiming that he
himself is God." 2 Thessalonians 2:4 (NLT)
Since that event (the abomination of desolation) has yet to happen, we can say
with confidence that the man of lawlessness has not yet been revealed, and we
can not identify the Antichrist today.
Nevertheless, that’s never stopped people from speculating about the
Here’s a list, by no means exhaustive, of people throughout
history who have been rumored to be the Antichrist:
Franklin Roosevelt (FDR)
John Kennedy (JFK)
Pope John Paul II
George W. Bush
Osama Bin Laden
Pope Pius XVI
Most of these people can be definitely be ruled out as the
Antichrist since they lived long ago and have since died.
The remaining candidates are all but certain to prove undeserving of the
ominous title given Paul’s statement in regard to when the man of lawlessness
will be revealed.
However, this list does serve a valuable purpose.
It vividly illustrates the pitfalls associated with singling someone out
as the Antichrist before the appointed time.
Is the Antichrist
the biblical prophecies of the Antichrist, many inevitably ask the question, “Is
the Antichrist alive today”?
The best answer
is, “we don’t know for sure.”
the lateness of the hour, it’s highly probable the Antichrist is alive today.
Paul stated, we will only know for sure when the Antichrist enters the Temple
and commits the abomination of desolation:
will put an end to the sacrifices and offerings. Then as a climax to all his
terrible deeds, he will set up a sacrilegious object that causes desecration,
until the end that has been decreed is poured out on this defiler." Daniel
can not happen until the Jewish Temple is rebuilt in Jerusalem, and in all
probability, this will happen soon.
than a century ago, Israel did not exist.
Then, one day in 1948, Israel became a nation.
than twenty years later, Israel regained control over Jerusalem.
due time, Israel will rebuild the Temple in that same City.
can I be so sure? Because God’s Word
since Jesus stated that the generation which witnesses these things will not
pass before His Glorious Appearing, in all likelihood, the Antichrist is alive
learn a lesson from the fig tree. When its buds become tender and its leaves
begin to sprout, you know without being told that summer is near. Just so, when
you see the events I've described beginning to happen, you can know his return
is very near, right at the door. I assure you, this generation will not pass
from the scene before all these things take place. Heaven and earth will
disappear, but my words will remain forever." Matthew 24:32-35 (NLT)
Why Does It Matter?
Why bother asking “who
is the Antichrist?”
One reason is
because the appearance of the Antichrist precedes the Glorious Appearing of
Jesus Christ and the establishment of God’s Millennial Kingdom.
And the rapture precedes all of these events.
in regard to these events lends an element of urgency to God’s Word.
If we live each
day as though Christ can return at any moment, then we are inspired to live
the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people. And we are
instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in
this evil world with self-control, right conduct, and devotion to God, while we
look forward to that wonderful event when the glory of our great God and Savior,
Jesus Christ, will be revealed." Titus 2:11-13 (NLT)
"Another reason for right living is that you know how late it is; time is
running out. Wake up, for the coming of our salvation is nearer now than when we
first believed." Romans 13:11 (NLT)
think clearly and exercise self-control. Look forward to the special blessings
that will come to you at the return of Jesus Christ. Obey God because you are
his children. Don't slip back into your old ways of doing evil; you didn't know
any better then. But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God -
who chose you to be his children - is holy." 1 Peter 1:13-15 (NLT)
While a Christian’s primary focus should always be Jesus Christ, the study of
the Antichrist and end times bible prophecy in general serves a valuable
purpose. Those who believe Christ
can come for His church at any moment remain alert and prepared, prompting them
to holy living on a daily basis.
Paul reveals, a special crown awaits those who eagerly await Christ’s return:
now the prize awaits me - the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the
righteous Judge, will give me on the day of his return. And the prize is not
just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to his appearing." 2 Timothy
So who is the
is a man of unrivaled arrogance who will ascend to the pinnacle of wordly power
in the end times. He will boast of
his greatness, place himself above God, and persecute God’s people.
will rally a godless world to wage war against Jesus Christ Himself:
I saw three evil spirits that looked like frogs leap from the mouth of the
dragon, the beast, and the false prophet. These miracle-working demons caused
all the rulers of the world to gather for battle against the Lord on that great
judgment day of God Almighty." Revelation 16:13-14 (NLT)
they gathered all the rulers and their armies to a place called Armageddon in
Hebrew." Revelation 16:16 (NLT)
However, the gathering at Armageddon marks the end for the Antichrist and his
will halt between the glorious holy mountain and the sea and will pitch his
royal tents there, but while he is there, his time will suddenly run out, and
there will be no one to help him." Daniel 11:45 (NLT)
the Antichrist comes to Armageddon, he will face the wrath of Jesus Christ.
Christ will strip the Antichrist of all power and completely destroy his
godless world government:
then the court will pass judgment, and all his power will be taken away and
completely destroyed." Daniel 7:26 (NLT)
the end, despite his acquisition of power undreamed of by dictators past, the
destiny of the Antichrist is the eternal lake of fire:
"Both the beast and his false prophet were thrown alive into the lake of fire
that burns with sulfur." Revelation 19:20 (NLT)
Ultimately, it’s nowhere near as important to ask “Who is the Antichrist?” as it
is to ask “Who is Jesus Christ?”
Because it doesn’t do any good to know the answer to the former if you don’t
know the answer to the latter. If
you want to avoid sharing in the Antichrist’s eternal punishment, make sure you
develop and cultivate your relationship with the Lord of lords, Jesus Christ.
"Whoever has the
Son has life; whoever does not have God's Son does not have life." 1 John
Britt Gillette is author of End Times Bible Prophecy, a website dedicated to
helping people better understand God’s prophetic Word.
information or to sign up for his free monthly newsletter, please visit