One of the most foreboding characters in the Word of God, Antichrist embodies the very essence of Godlessness.
Christians have the enlivening and purifying hope in their hearts of the Rapture of the church. The Apostle Paul wrote of this event. “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17). This Rapture of the Church could happen any moment.
Events to take place
The Apostle did not want the brethren to confuse the Rapture of the Church with the Revelation of Jesus Christ when He comes to set up His kingdom. God’s Word tells us that certain events will transpire before Christ establishes His kingdom on earth. “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day [the day of Christ] shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition” (2 Thessalonians 2:3). Here the Bible tells of the sign of the coming of the Antichrist—apostasy. As we look at Christendom today, we see in many circles a departure from the faith, people turning away from God and holiness, often “having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof” (2 Timothy 3:5).
The falling away includes many who deny the virgin birth of Jesus Christ and deny that He is the divine Son of God. Some professing Christians have grown lukewarm, linking hands with the world. However, the Word says, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15). This “mystery of iniquity” (2 Thessalonians 2:7) was already working in the days of the Apostles, but there was, and is, a hindering power—the Holy Spirit in His present office as the reprover of the world and gatherer of the Church. When this restraining One is taken from the world at the Rapture of the Church, then the Antichrist will be revealed.
Characteristics of the Antichrist
The name Antichrist identifies one of the most foreboding personages in the Word of God. The Antichrist is opposed to God and to Jesus Christ. A single individual, he is called “that man of sin,” “the son of perdition,” “that Wicked . . . whose coming is after the working of Satan” (2 Thessalonians 2:3,8,9). This person, the Antichrist, is also called the “beast,” because, from God’s point of view, that is exactly what he is. In Revelation 13:2, it is said that he will have similarities of the leopard, bear, and lion—animals which are strong, fearless, and quick to seize their prey. The Antichrist will be very strong and powerful, there will be an air about him which is self-assured and proud, and his conquest will be rapid.
The Bible tells us that the dragon will give the beast his power, his seat, and great authority. The dragon is that serpent, called “the Devil and Satan” (Revelation 12:9). The devil offered the kingdom of this world to Jesus in temptation, but Jesus refused (Matthew 4:8-10). The Antichrist, however, willingly takes this offered kingdom. The beast will be wounded to death, as it were, but the deadly wound will be healed, causing the world to wonder and to worship the dragon and the beast (Revelation 13:3,4).
The Antichrist will come into power through flatteries, the promise of peace, and a certain measure of prosperity. He will change his tactics during the Tribulation, however, and become the most cruel and despotic ruler this world has ever seen. He will be a monster of iniquity, and will deceive the nations of the world. See Revelation 13:1-18.
This “man of sin” draws to himself the admiration and worship of the world, “whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb” (Revelation 13:8). Humanity is represented as being captivated by the Antichrist’s qualities and powers. Their wonderment is, “Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?” (Revelation 13:4).
He will deceive the Jewish people. The Antichrist will make a treaty with them during the first part of his reign, probably assuring them that he will solve their problems and guarantee their peace. It is possible that during this time the Temple will be rebuilt in Jerusalem, and the sacrificial worship to God by the Jewish people will once again be reinstated.
However, in the midst of the Antichrist’s seven-year rule, his covenant with the Jews will be broken. This action by the Antichrist, will reveal to the Jews his demonic nature. There will follow a terrible time for the Jewish people, and for the whole earth—a time of great tribulation. “Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble; but he shall be saved out of it” (Jeremiah 30:7).
The false prophet will be the promoter of the Antichrist. He will set up an image of the beast and cause all who will not worship the image to be killed. He will force everyone to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their forehead, establishing that no person will be able to buy or sell without the mark, the name of the beast, or the number of his name. There will be no salvation for the man or woman who worships the beast or takes his mark (Revelation 14:9-11). The safe course is to believe in the Lord Jesus today, follow His instructions, and be ready for the Rapture of the Church.
After the Tribulation period, Jesus Christ, the King of kings and Lord of lords, will come with His armies from Heaven to end the reign of the Antichrist and the false prophet. They will be “cast alive into a lake of fire.” The dragon, which is the devil, will be cast into the bottomless pit. At that time, Jesus will set up His literal kingdom upon earth and reign for a thousand years, which the Bible refers to as the Millennial Reign. What a glorious time this will be! Those who believe in the Lord Jesus, do His will, and follow His instructions given in the Word of God, will be included among the overcomers who enjoy the glories and privileges of the Millennium.