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THEOLOGY > Future > The End of the Age > The Antichrist > Antichrist Predicted  


Scripture states that the Antichrist will come; there can be no mistaking the clear teaching of the Scriptures:

Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness (some MSS have “sin”) is revealed, the son of perdition, 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 (II Thess. 2:3-4 in ESV).

Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin (ESV has “man of lawlessness”) is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God (II Thess. 2:3-4 in NKJV).

Before the Lord returns the Antichrist (“the man of lawlessness” in ESV, or “the man of sin” in the NKJV) will appear; in fact, he will be revealed. This terminology  affirms that ultimately he is controlled and only arises due to the will of God (see: God is Sovereign); he “is revealed.” In his first epistle John, like Paul in II Thessalonians, plainly asserts that Antichrist will come:

Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour (I Jo. 2:18; some MSS omit the article before Antichrist; regarding “the last hour,” see: The Last Days).

Evidently this was not new information to his readers, for John says to them: “as you have heard”; it is obvious that from the earliest time knowledge of an end-time opponent of Christ was common among believers. They knew that he was coming. And even in the first century there were harbingers of him: “even now many antichrists have come.” They, “the many antichrists,”  serve as reminders that he is coming and also serve as examples of the manner of personage he will be when he does appear.

It is “the spirit of the antichrist” that will bring about the environment that will culminate in the end-time Antichrist. In his first epistle John writes:

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 (I Jo. 4:2-3).

John asserts that this evil spirit was already at work, and this pernicious spirit has been at work throughout the passing centuries. The “spirit of the antichrist” is behind all that is opposed to Christ and behind all those who do not accept the Revelation concerning Christ, and this spirit will finally bring into history the person who is the ultimate human opponent of Christ.

The “spirit of antichrist” in I John 4 is identical to “the mystery of lawlessness” in II Thessalonians 2. And both of these concepts are related to the end-time Apostasy that concludes with the appearance of Antichrist (see: The Apostasy). Together, “the spirit of antichrist” and “the mystery of lawlessness” create an environment, the Apostasy, that contributes to the rise of Antichrist.

How can it be denied that there is a definite personal reference by Paul to the Antichrist in II Thessalonians 2? It is obvious that Paul is discussing a person and not just a concept. Antichrist is more than a mere principle or a personification of evil, Antichrist is an individual doing certain deeds. He is referred to as the “man” and the “son”; also it says that he “exalts himself” and shows “himself that he is God.” These descriptions apply to a person not to a principle. Berkhof observed:

The more general opinion in the Church, however, is that in the last analysis the term “Antichrist” denotes an eschatological person, who will be the incarnation of all wickedness and therefore represents a spirit which is always more or less present in the world, and who has several precursors or types in history This view prevailed in the early Church and would seem to be the Scriptural view (ST, 702-3).

It is evident that the Antichrist will come at the end-time. In both the Old and New Testaments his appearance is related to the last days. In fact, both Jesus (Matt. 24) and Paul (II Thess. 2) connect his appearance with the return of Christ—before Christ returns Antichrist will be revealed. According to the Scriptures Antichrist will be on the earth when the Lord returns and will be destroyed by the returning Chris

The Antichrist is presented in Scripture under various designations; for brief commentary on these titles, see: Titles and Designations:

Little horn (Dan. 7:8, 23-26; first reference in Scripture to the Antichrist; he changes the times and law);

The prince who is to come (Dan. 9:2, 26);

The king of the north (Dan. 11:31-45);

Abomination of Desolation (Matt. 24:15);

Man of lawlessness (II Thess. 2:3; NKJV has “man of sin”);

Son of perdition (II Thess. 2:3; ESV has “destruction”; the designation revels his destiny);

Antichrist (I Jo. 2:18, 22; 4:3; II Jo. 7);

The beast (Rev. 13:1-4; 17:3, 7-17; 19:19-20).

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