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


What is the character of the Antichrist? What will he be like? What can be expected of him? How will he be energized? What will be his temperament? What traits of personality will he exhibit? The Scriptures are not totally silent on this matter of character, but do provide some  insight into this pernicious person.

The Antichrist is against Christ. Perhaps the title by which he is best known, Antichrist, conveys all that needs to be known concerning him. “Antichrist” is composed of two words: “anti” and “Christ,” so the basic concept is “against,” “over against,” or “opposed to.” Therefore, the Antichrist is opposed to Christ, or sets himself against Christ. He is the opponent of Christ.

Not only is he an opponent of Christ, he is the supreme example of opposition to Christ; each previous antichrist anticipates and illustrates the end-time Antichrist. It may not be too bold to suggest that he is the sum of every antichrist that has preceded him. All that the antichrists of history have attempted and accomplished, the Antichrist will encapsulate all of that in one final expression of hatred for Christ and in an attempt to supplant Christ.

Antichrist is the ultimate human example of opposition to Christ. Who and what Christ is, the Antichrist is against. He opposes both the person of Christ and the work of Christ. Not only does he oppose Christ, he is against Christ in the most extreme sense. The Antichrist even affirms deity and seeks to be worshipped. All the individuals who have objected to Christ throughout history find their champion in the Antichrist.

The Antichrist is Satanic. Paul writes that the coming of the Antichrist is “according to the working of Satan” (II Thess. 2:9; ESV has “by the activity of Satan”). Specifically what is meant by these words is not clear, but it is evident that the appearance of the Antichrist is orchestrated by Satan himself. It is the “working of Satan” or the “activity of Satan” that brings the Antichrist  to the world stage.

By this statement of his involvement with the rise of Antichrist we know that Satan is involved in various aspects of the historical process. The manner and the extent of his contribution is withheld from us, but it is manifest that Satan, as much as is designed by God does affect the flow of history (see: God is Sovereign).

John confirms the statement of Paul regarding Satan's involvement. For those who accept a literal end-time Antichrist, the “beast arising out of the sea” (13:1) in Revelation is usually interpreted as a reference to him. If this is accepted then consider the relationship of this beast from the sea to the dragon:

And to it (the beast) the dragon gave his power and his throne and great authority.
Rev. 13:2

And they worshiped the dragon, for he had given his authority to the beast.
Rev. 13:4

And who is this dragon? It, or he, is identified as “that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan” (12:9; also see 20:2). According to John Satan is the real instigator and energizer of Antichrist.

So Satan is the one who gives “authority,” “power,” and even “his throne” to the Antichrist. Again, all that is involved in these statements is not known, but it is unmistakable that the Antichrist will be Satanic, in that his position and power will be what it is because of the direct activity of Satan.

In stark contrast to Christ, who came in the power of God the Father, the Antichrist will come in the power of Satan. So Christ is the perfect display of righteousness, the personification of good, whereas the Antichrist is the personification of evil, the embodiment of wickedness. In these two, Christ verses Antichrist, there is the opposition of God to Satan, of good against evil, of right against wrong. In these two and in the followers of the two, there is the realization of the need for judgment and the explanation for hell and heaven. If God is God, then there must be justice.

The Antichrist will be sinful and lawless. The NKJV in II Thessalonians has “the man of sin (amartias),” while the ESV has “the man of lawlessness (anomias).” At this point a textual discussion or a discussion of manuscripts is not necessary, for in either word insight into the character of the Antichrist is gained; and in a larger sense both concepts overlap and contribute to the larger picture. Antichrist will be evil and the epitome of that which is opposed to Christ and His goodness. The man of no law will be exceedingly sinful.

Daniel in his prophecy makes reference to the Antichrist and asserts that he “shall think to change the times and the law” (7:25). Such arrogance will cause him to believe that he can change the calendar and the rudimentary concepts of law, so that “the times and the law” no longer represent the Creator God but reflect the new Apostasy that rejects the God of heaven in favor of a god of earth, namely the Antichrist.

The Antichrist will be blasphemous. Consider the following statements:

There came up among them another horn, a little one . . . and in this horn were eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking great things (Dan. 7:8);

. . . the horn that had eyes and a mouth that spoke great things (Dan. 7:20);

He shall speak words against the Most High (Dan. 7:25);

He shall exalt himself and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak astonishing things against the God of gods (Dan. 11:36);

. . . 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. 2:4;

And the beast was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, and . . .  he opened his mouth to utter blasphemies against God, blaspheming His name, His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven (Rev. 13:5-6).

The Scriptures assert that the Antichrist will speak “great things” and “astonishing things”; his words will be “against the Most High.” His evil mouth will utter blasphemies against God, including His name, His dwelling, and those who occupy heaven with Him. The Antichrist will personify opposition to God.

The Antichrist will be characterized by deception.  Paul depicts the Antichrist as coming “with all unrighteous deception” (II Thess. 2:10). Not only does he come with deception, but the deception is characterized as “unrighteous.” According to Paul this unrighteous deception is strong among “those who perish,” and this is because “they did not receive the love of the truth” (II Thess. 2:10).

Rejection of the Truth makes one susceptible to deception, especially pernicious deception. Against such onslaught the only defense is the Truth, but a refusal to recognize and accept it is also to incur additional intellectual and moral darkness. For those who are deceived because of their rejection of the Truth (see: Truth), Paul points out that “God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie” (II Thess. 2:11). Therefore, a self-imposed blindness that makes possible deception from the Antichrist culminates by God increasing and accentuating the blindness—the strong delusion from God results in a complete acceptance of “the lie” by the gullible individual (II Thess. 2:11).

The Antichrist will be powerful. He will come “with all power, signs, and lying wonders” (II Thess. 2:9). “Power” is dunamis, from which is derived our English word “dynamite,” and it speaks of “might” or “strength.” “Signs” is semeion and speaks of “miracle” or “distinguishing sign”; the miracles of Christ were semeion. “Wonders” is terpas and speaks of “miracle,” “omen,” or “sign,” a wonder in the sense of a supernatural phenomenon. From these three words it is clear that power and might will characterize the Antichrist.

The power with which the Antichrist operates is the power of Satan. According to the book of Revelation the dragon, identified as the devil and Satan, will give his power and authority (13:2, 4) to the Antichrist—the might of the Antichrist will be the might of Satan. Paul adds that his coming is “according to the working of Satan” (II Thess. 2:9).

His power will be universal; John writes: “And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation” (Rev. 13:7). He will dominate the world scene, and he will be so powerful that no one will be able to buy or sell without his mark (Rev. 13:16-17). Evidently, his control will be absolute, and only true believers will oppose him.

The Antichrist will persecute and kill the saints. “It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them” (Rev. 13:7). From Daniel we read:

I was watching; and the same horn was making war against the saints and prevailing against them (Dan. 7:21);

He shall speak words against the Most High, and shall persecute the saints of the Most High . . . and the saints shall be given into his hand for a time and times and half a time (Dan. 7:25);

His power shall be great—but not by his own power; and he shall cause fearful destruction and shall succeed in what he does, and destroy mighty men and the people who are the saints (Dan. 8:24; while many see this as a reference to Antiochus Epiphanes, some equate the passage with the Antichrist).

The suffering of the saints is limited because their suffering is under the Sovereign control of God (see: God is Sovereign). Daniel observed that war prevailed against the saints “until the Ancient of Days came, and a judgment was made in favor of the saints of the Most High, and the time came for the saints to possess the kingdom” (Dan. 7:22). Note three points: the Ancient of Days is in full charge of historical events; the saints will be vindicated by a judgment being made; and the saints will ultimately be triumphant, for they will possess the kingdom. Consider these additional words from Daniel:

But the court shall sit in judgment, and his dominion shall be taken away, to be consumed and destroyed to the end. And the kingdom and the dominion and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven shall be given to the people, the saints of the Most High; His kingdom shall be an everlasting kingdom and all dominions shall serve and obey Him (Dan. 7:26-27).

In the Olivet Discourse Jesus informs his disciples that when the Abomination of Desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet appears, “then there will be great tribulation” (Matt. 24:21; and He adds: “Unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened” (Matt. 24:22).

For the believers, the Antichrist will be the great persecutor of the Church. What evil awaits the end-time world! What suffering awaits the end-time Church! But God will limit and determine the amount of the suffering that believers will endure.

The Antichrist will claim to be God and will demand worship. The Scriptures speak for themselves:

He shall speak words against the Most High (Dan. 7:25);

He shall exalt himself in his heart . . . he shall even rise against the Prince of princes (Dan. 8:25; while many see this as a reference to Antiochus Epiphanes, some equate the passage with the Antichrist);

He shall exalt and magnify himself above every god, shall speak blasphemies against the God of gods . . . He shall regard neither the God of his fathers nor the desire of women, nor regard any god; for he shall exalt himself above them all (Dan. 11:36-37);

the man of sin . . . 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. 2:4);

So they worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast (Rev. 13:4);

All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world (Rev. 13:8);

And he exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence, and causes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast (Rev. 13:12).

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