REVELATION 13:1-2: “And I saw a beast rising out of the sea, with ten horns and seven heads, with ten diadems on its horns and blasphemous names on its heads. And the beast that I saw was like a leopard; its feet were like a bear’s, and its mouth was like a lion’s mouth. And to it the dragon gave his power and his throne and great authority.” (ESV)
OBSERVATION: Who is the Antichrist? Is the Antichrist a political leader? Is the Antichrist a spiritual leader? Will the Antichrist come from Rome, Israel, or maybe even the United States? The thoughts and theories surrounding this intriguing question are many. For generations Christians have been convinced they knew who the Antichrist was. Many during World War II were convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that Adolph Hitler was the Antichrist. Since the Pope’s visit to the United States, Facebook has been filled with many elaborate and detailed theories and analysis endeavoring to prove that the Pope is the Antichrist. So the question remains – Who is the Antichrist?
Many have proclaimed the Antichrist is now alive and among us in the world. This may be true, but it also may not be true. The one thing that we can say for certain from the Scriptures is that the “spirit of antichrist” is alive in the world. It has been since the fall of man. It is this same spirit that will culminate in the rise and rule of the Antichrist that we see in the Book of Revelation. John, the same apostle who wrote the Book of Revelation, pens in his first epistle:
- “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already.” (1 John 4:1-3 ESV)
The “spirit of antichrist” is just what it says – it is anti-Christ. It does everything it can to defame and disprove the deity of Jesus Christ. Its’ main goal is to keep men and women from salvation. Misery likes company, and the “spirit of antichrist” is endeavoring to bring to destruction as many souls as possible through lies and deceptions regarding Jesus Christ.
While many of the theories of the “identity” of the Antichrist can make for intriguing reading, I do not think any of them are correct. The reason I believe this is no doubt influenced by my view of eschatology. I unashamedly hold a pre-tribulation view of the rapture and a literal view of the Millennial Reign of Jesus Christ. As I study the Scriptures the verses that seem to disprove any identification of the Antichrist are found in II Thessalonians.
- “Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we ask you, brothers, not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by a spirit or a spoken word, or a letter seeming to be from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God. Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? And you know what is restraining him now so that he may be revealed in his time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. Only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming. The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” (2 Thessalonians 2:1-12 ESV)
I believe the “he” who is now restraining the unveiling of the Antichrist is the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit indwells believers. Believers are the living stones that make up the Church. When the Church, the only restraining force on earth against the onslaught of evil, is taken away, the Holy Spirit will be removed in His present ministry through the Church, and then the identity of the Antichrist will be revealed. The Antichrist will rise to exercise power for a short time (7 years), and then will be destroyed at the return of Jesus Christ when He comes to set up His Millennial Kingdom. What is the Church doing all during this time? Read Revelation 19!
So, rather than read and ponder endless conspiracy theories regarding the identity of the Antichrist, I choose to look upward – for my redemption draws nigh! My ear is tuned to the sounding of the trumpet that will call the Church into the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. My heart is directed toward the lost so that we might reach as many as we can with the Gospel of Jesus Christ before the day of unveiling and the Great Tribulation. There is so much work to be done in the harvest. I cannot afford to spend time on endless “end-time” theories, conspiracies, and distractions. Jesus has called me to make disciples! I will leave the rest to Him.
In Jesus Name!