The Rise and Fall
of the Antichrist
Is he alive today? Who
will he be? What will he be like? Where will he come from?
What will be his role on the world scene?
What will be his ultimate destiny?
Bible teaches that in the end times, right before the return of
Jesus, the greatest political leader in the history of Mankind
will emerge from Europe. After taking over that area by diplomatic
cunning and deceit, he will launch a military campaign that will
result in his acquiring "authority over every tribe and people
and tongue and nation" (Revelation 13:7). His empire will be the
most extensive in all of history, encompassing the entire world,
and his rule will be the most demonic the world has ever experienced.
He will begin his rise to power as a dynamic,
charismatic, insightful, visionary leader who will astound the
world with the cleverness of his solutions to world problems.
He will appear to be the savior of the world. But as he consolidates
his power, his true nature will be revealed. He will emerge as
a Satan possessed and empowered person who hates God and is determined
to annihilate both Christianity and Judaism. For this reason,
he is identified in scripture as the Antichrist (1 John 2:18),
for he will stand against God and His anointed one, Jesus Christ.
Where will this sinister person come from?
Some have speculated that he will come out of Syria since one
of his prophetic types in history -- Antiochus Epiphanes (215
- 164 BC) -- was a Syrian tyrant. But Antiochus was actually of
Greek heritage. Could he therefore be a Greek? It is not likely.
It is much more likely that he will rise
out of the heartland of the old Roman Empire and that he will
be of Italian descent. This conclusion is based upon a statement
in Daniel 9:26. In that passage the Antichrist is referred to
as "the prince who is to come," and he is identified as being
from the people who "will destroy the city and the sanctuary."
We know from history that both Jerusalem
and the Jewish Temple were destroyed by the Romans in 70 A.D.
Therefore, according to Daniel, the Antichrist must be of Roman
Will he be a Jew? Many assume he will be
because Jesus said, "I have come in My Father's name, and you
do not receive Me; if another shall come in his own name, you
will receive him" (John 5:43). Based on this statement, people
ask, "How could the Jews possibly receive a Gentile as their Messiah?"
But the Bible does not teach that the Jews
will receive the Antichrist as their Messiah. It teaches they
will accept him as a great political leader and diplomat and that
they will put their trust in him as the guarantor of peace in
the Middle East.
But the moment he reveals himself as the
Antichrist by desecrating the Jew's rebuilt Temple and blaspheming
God, the Jewish people will revolt. They will reject him as Messiah,
and he will respond in fury by attempting to annihilate them.
The Antichrist does not have to be a Jew.
And, in fact, the Bible makes it clear that he will be a Gentile.
In Revelation 13:1 he is portrayed as a "beast coming up out of
the sea." The sea is used consistently throughout the prophetic
scriptures as a symbol of the Gentile nations (Daniel 7:3; Luke
21:25; and Revelation 17:1).
By contrast, the Antichrist's right hand
man, the False Prophet, who will serve as his religious leader,
will be a Jew. This is revealed in Revelation 13:11 where it says
that John saw "another beast coming up out of the earth [literally,
the land]." Just as the sea is used symbolically in prophecy to
refer to the Gentile nations, the land (or earth) is used to refer
to Israel. This does not mean the False Prophet will be an Orthodox
Jew. It only means that he will be of Jewish heritage. Religiously,
he will be an apostate Jew who will head up the One World Religion
of the Antichrist.
There is one other issue concerning the
origin of the Antichrist that we need to consider. Many argue
that he will be a person resurrected from the dead -- most likely
Nero or Judas Iscariot. This assumption is based on a statement
in Revelation 13:1-3 where John describes the Antichrist as a
beast with seven heads. He then makes the observation that one
of his heads appeared "as if it had been slain, and his fatal
wound was healed." He comments that "the whole earth was amazed"
by this and therefore "followed after the beast" (Revelation 13:3).
The problem with this interpretation is
that "the fatal wound" referred to in the passage has nothing
to do with the person of the Antichrist. The seven heads represent
seven Gentile empires -- namely, Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia,
Greece, Rome, and the final empire of the Antichrist. The head
with the fatal wound that has been healed is the Roman Empire.
We know this from the book of Daniel where it is prophesied that
the Roman Empire will be the last of the Gentile empires until
the end times when the empire of the Antichrist will emerge from
a reunited Europe -- that is, from a revival of the old Roman
Empire (Daniel 2:31-45 and 7:1-8, 24-28).
The prophecies of Daniel have proved to
be absolutely accurate. The Roman Empire was the last of the Gentile
empires. It disintegrated into the nation-state system that has
prevailed to this day. There have been numerous military attempts
to resurrect the Roman Empire, most notably by Napoleon and Hitler.
Today, the core of the Empire is coalescing before our eyes through
diplomatic means, producing a united Europe that will serve as
the base for the rise of the Antichrist.
Another passage that is used to justify
the idea of the Antichrist being a resurrected person is Zechariah
Woe to the worthless
It is argued that this passage indicates that
the Antichrist will be a person who has suffered a fatal wound.
Now, there is no doubt this passage refers to the Antichrist, but
I believe it is talking about his fate rather than his origin. Using
symbolic language, it seems to me the prophet is saying that divine
judgment (the sword) will fall upon the Antichrist's power (his
arm) and his intelligence (his eye), and that he will suffer complete
defeat (the withering of his arm and the blinding of his eye).
Who leaves the flock!
A sword will be on his arm
And on his right eye!
His arm will be totally withered,
And his right eye will
The idea that the Antichrist will be a resurrected
person raises a serious theological problem concerning the power
of Satan. The Scriptures make it clear that the Antichrist will
be Satan's man, empowered by him and possessed by him. But there
is no indication in Scripture that Satan has the power to give
life to anyone. Satan is not omnipotent. Jesus is the one who
has "the keys to death and Hades" (Revelation 1:18).
One of the most commonly asked questions
is whether or not the Antichrist is alive today. I believe he
is, and I believe so for two reasons. First, I believe the Scriptures
teach that the generation that sees the re-establishment of Israel
(May 14, 1948) will live to see all the end time prophecies fulfilled
(Matthew 24: 32-34). Second, I believe the signs of the times
clearly indicate that we are standing on the threshold of the
Tribulation, the most important of those signs being the regathering
of the Jews to their land (Isaiah 11:10-12) and their re-occupation
of the city of Jerusalem (Luke 21:24).
If the Antichrist is alive today, does he
know who he is? I think not. I don't think he has the foggiest
idea of the role that Satan has in mind for him. He will not become
the Antichrist until Satan possesses him and empowers him to deceive
Europe and the Jews. His full revelation will not occur until
he enters the rebuilt Temple in Jerusalem in the middle of the
Tribulation and declares himself to be god.
But we are getting ahead of our story. Let's
consider his character before we take a look at his career.
The Bible is very specific about the character
of the Antichrist, and the picture it paints is a disgusting one.
The most detailed information can be found in the book of Daniel.
Consider the chart below:
of the Antichrist
|Man of Lawlessness
2 Thess. 2
Braggart / Egotist
||Blasphemer of God
Persecutor of Believers
||Deceptive / Shrewd
Over and over emphasis is given to the Antichrist's
mouth. He will boast non-stop about himself (Daniel 7:8). He will
"speak monstrous things against the God of gods" (Daniel 11:36).
He will be "given a mouth speaking arrogant words and blasphemies"
(Revelation 13:5). First and foremost, he is going to be a braggart
and a blasphemer.
He will be strong willed and reckless in
his determination to have his way. He will show contempt for human
traditions and will, of course, change even the calendar so that
it will no longer be related to the birth of Jesus (Daniel 7:25).
Another point that is emphasized repeatedly
is that the Antichrist will be possessed by Satan, just as Judas
was (Luke 22:3). Daniel says his power will be mighty, "but
not by his own power" (Daniel 8:24). Paul says his coming
will be "in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power
and signs and false wonders" (2 Thessalonians 2:9). John says
that Satan will give his power and authority to the Antichrist
(Revelation 13: 2).
Because he will be demonized, he will be
a man who cannot be trusted. Psalm 52:2 says he will be a "worker
of deceit." Psalm 55:21 says his speech will be "smoother than
butter" but his heart will be filled with war. Psalm 5:6 calls
him "a man of bloodshed and deceit." In Psalm 43:1 he is referred
to as a "deceitful and unjust man."
Daniel indicates that he will be a sexual
pervert, most likely a homosexual. As Daniel puts it, the Antichrist
will show no regard "for the desire of women" (Daniel 11:37).
The overall picture is that of an ego-maniac
who abhors God and exploits people for his own purposes. He is
deceptive and ruthless. He is a man devoid of integrity. This
is probably the reason that when Jesus returns, John characterizes
Him as the "Faithful and True" One (Revelation 19:11), in contrast
to the Antichrist who has been both unfaithful and untrue.
The lack of character that will be displayed
by the Antichrist is perhaps best summed up in some of the names
given to him in the Scriptures:
The Beast -- Revelation 13:1
The Man of Lawlessness -- 2 Thessalonians
The Son of Destruction -- 2 Thessalonians
The Despicable Person -- Daniel 11:21
The Willful King -- Daniel 11:36
The Worthless Shepherd -- Zechariah
The Insolent King -- Daniel 8:23
The Abomination -- Matthew 24:15
The Rapture of the Church is the event that
will launch the career of the Antichrist. This is revealed in
2 Thessalonians 2 where Paul states that the Antichrist cannot
be revealed until "he who now restrains" him is "taken out of
the way" (verse 7). The restrainer of evil in the world today
is obviously the Holy Spirit, and the Spirit performs that task
by working through the Church.
It is the Church that will be "taken out
of the way," not the Holy Spirit. We know this for certain because
the book of Revelation teaches that a great multitude will be
saved during the Tribulation (Revelation 7:9-14), and no one can
be saved apart from the witness of the Spirit (John 6:44, John
15:26, and 1 John 5:7). The Spirit will remain in the world, but
the agency the Spirit currently works through to restrain evil,
the Church, will be removed.
The Rapture itself is likely to be the event
that will catapult the Antichrist to power. This is because the
Rapture will produce international chaos and panic. The Antichrist,
energized by Satan (Daniel 8:24), will seem to have all the answers
to the world's problems. He will take over the European Union
through skillful intrigue (Daniel 8:23) and will establish his
headquarters in Rome (Revelation 17:3,9,18).
The seven year time period of the Tribulation
will actually begin when the Antichrist negotiates a treaty that
will bring true peace to the Middle East, enabling the Jews to
rebuild their Temple (Daniel 9:27). With his European base consolidated
and peace achieved in the Middle East, he will set forth to subdue
the whole world.
One of the myths about the Antichrist that
has developed in modern day interpretation is that the whole world
will become so enamored with him that all the nations will surrender
their sovereignty to him voluntarily. The Bible does not teach
this. It is also contrary to common sense. Africa and Asia and
Latin America have not spent a century casting off European colonialism
in order to suddenly turn around and receive a European dictator
with open arms.
The world will resist him, and the result
will be a Third World War in which he "will destroy to an extraordinary
degree" (Daniel 8:24). This war will initially result in the death
of one-fourth of humanity, or 1.5 billion people in today's terms
(Revelation 6:2-8). As the Tribulation approaches its mid-point,
this war will escalate into a nuclear holocaust that will result
in the deaths of an additional one-third of those still alive
-- another 1.5 billion (Revelation 8 and 9).
It will be a empty victory because in the
process of his conquest, one-third of the earth will be destroyed
and half its population will be killed. He will then consolidate
his "victory" by instituting a one-world economy and a one-world
The key to his economic control will be
a mark that each person will have to bear on their right hand
or on their forehead (Revelation 13:16-18). No one will be able
to buy or sell unless they have this mark. The mark will consist
of "either the name of the beast or the number of his name" (Revelation
His religious control will be exercised
by a false prophet who will head up his pagan religious system
(Revelation 13: 11-15). He will force all of humanity to worship
the Antichrist. He will be a deceiver who will astound people
with "great signs" that appear miraculous in nature. In order
to consolidate this Satanic religious system, the Antichrist will
launch a great persecution of all those who have placed their
faith in the true God since the Rapture of the Church (Revelation
12:13-17). The result will be a mass slaughter of believers (Revelation
This means that by the mid-point of the
Tribulation, the Antichrist will have killed more than half of
humanity (1.5 billion in the seal judgments, 1.5 billion in the
trumpet judgments, and an undetermined multitude of saints.) It
is no wonder that he is referred to in Scripture as "the man of
lawlessness" and "the son of destruction" (2 Thessalonians 2:3).
Nor will all this slaughter satisfy his
blood thirst. About the time that the Antichrist has consolidated
his world empire, Satan will be cast from Heaven and will come
to earth in "great wrath, knowing that he has only a short time"
(Revelation 12:12). At that point he will possess the Antichrist,
even as he possessed Judas (Luke 22:3).
When the Antichrist becomes Satan incarnate,
he will become a megalomaniacal tyrant obsessed with two things:
himself and the Jewish people.
He will suddenly march into the rebuilt
Temple in Jerusalem, stop the sacrifices, blaspheme God, and declare
himself to be the one and only true god (Daniel 9:27 and 2 Thessalonians
2:4). And when the Jews reject this horrible blasphemy, he will
turn on them and seek to annihilate them. This will be his all-consuming
passion during the second half of the Tribulation. That's why
Jesus told the Jews that this period of time would be the "great
tribulation" (Matthew 24:21) -- not because it would be worse
than the first half, but because the wrath would be focused upon
them as a nation and a people.
Satan has an insane hatred for the Jews.
He hates them because they gave the world the Scriptures. He hates
them because God sent the Messiah through them. And he hates them
because God has promised that He will bring a great remnant of
them to salvation in their Messiah. He wants to destroy them so
that God cannot keep that promise.
During the second half of the Tribulation,
he will almost succeed in accomplishing this goal. We are told
in Zechariah 13:8-9 that two-thirds of the Jewish people will
die during this holocaust (another 9.3 million people).
The Bible indicates that as the Antichrist
becomes obsessed with the Jews, he loses interest in his worldwide
empire, and segments of that empire begin to revolt. The core
of the revolt is centered in the Asian nations who raise an army
of 200 million and send it marching across Asia toward Israel
where they hope to engage the Antichrist in a decisive battle
for their freedom.
Daniel says that while the Antichrist and
his armies are rampaging around the Middle East, looting the nations
and killing the Jews, the Antichrist suddenly hears "rumors" that
"disturb him" (Daniel 11:40-44). He evidently hears about the
great Asian army coming to challenge him. He responds by consolidating
his forces "between the seas and the beautiful Holy Mountain"
(Daniel 11: 45). This is the same area that is referred to in
Revelation as the Valley of Armageddon.
We are told that the Euphrates River dries
up at this time and the great Asian army crosses to engage the
Antichrist and his armies in battle (Revelation 16:12). As they
fight, the Lord Jesus Christ breaks from the heavens, returns
to the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, and speaks a supernatural
word that causes all the armies to drop dead in their tracks.
"Their eyes rot in their sockets and their tongues rot in their
mouths" (Zechariah 14:12), and the valley is filled with blood
up to the horses' bridles for a distance of two hundred miles
Paul says the Antichrist will be slain by
"the breath of the Lord" (2 Thessalonians 2:8). John says the
Lord will make war against the Antichrist "with the sword of His
mouth" (Revelation 2:16). Daniel says the Antichrist's "dominion
will be taken away, annihilated and destroyed forever" (Daniel
17:26). Daniel also says that the Antichrist will be thrown into
"the burning fire" (Daniel 7:11).
John confirms the fate of the Antichrist
in Revelation when he says that both the Antichrist and the False
Prophet will be thrown into "the lake of fire which burns with
brimstone" (Revelation 19:20) where "they will be tormented day
and night forever and ever" (Revelation 20:10). This means that
the Antichrist and the False Prophet will be the first occupants
of Hell. (Satan will not be confined there until the end of the
Millennium -- Revelation 20:10).
The good news for believers is that we will
not have to experience the horror of the Antichrist. We are never
told to watch for the Antichrist; rather, we are told to look
for Jesus Christ. In 1 Thessalonians 1:10 we are assured that
we who are believers are waiting for Jesus to return to "deliver
us from the wrath to come." That is a glorious promise. That's
why Paul calls the Rapture our "blessed hope" (Titus 2:13), and
its also the reason that he tells us to "comfort one another"
with the promise of the Rapture (1 Thessalonians 4:18).