The Antichrist Unveiled

Herein we will attempt to remove the veil of confusion surrounding the enigmatic subject of the antichrist. The aim is not to project a prophetic insight into the future or provide a personal interpretation of symbols in apocalyptic language. You will not find that here. The purpose is to make light of how the prophecies relate the antichrist to the man of sin, the son of perdition, and the various mentions of “beasts” in the Bible. Our wish is to allow God’s Word to interpret itself, even though a portion is a product of human reasoning. You are encouraged to search the scriptures and verify whether it accurately represents the intended message in God’s Word.

The Antichrist by Definition

To begin, there are only four verses in the Bible that mention the term “antichrist.” These are contained in the books of 1 John and 2 John (1 John 2:18,22, KJV; 1 John 4:3, KJV; 2 John 1:7, KJV). Given that the Bible is the inspired Word of God, we regard these four verses as four incontrovertible facts about the antichrist:

1. There are many antichrists.

“Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.” (1 John 2:18)

2. An antichrist is defined as anyone who “denieth the Father and the Son” or all “who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh.”

“Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.” (1 John 2:22)

“For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.” (2 John 1:7)

3. There were already many antichrists in the world, even as early as the first century when the epistles of John were written.

For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.” (2 John 1:7)

4. There is a “spirit of antichrist” which was also in the world already. This spirit is defined as “every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh”.

And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.” (1 John 4:3)

Perhaps you may ask, how can the antichrist be one man but also “many?” The fact that there are many antichrists in the world already poses a contradiction to the conventional idea of it representing one world leader in the future – if we are true to the text. The truth is, the antichrist (strictly speaking in terms of its mention in 1 John and 2 John) is not only one man. There is an antichrist spirit that indwells any person or group/system that rejects the core doctrine of the Christian faith – that Jesus is the Son of God who “is come in the flesh”(1 John 4:3, KJV). We gather that this is why the Bible says there are “many antichrists” (1 John 2:18, KJV; 2 John 1:7, KJV).

The Antichrist and the Beast

And this leads us to how the antichrist relates to the beast in scripture. The king demonstrates the same denial of God’s deity in Daniel 11 and the beast in Revelation 13. (We will explain later how a “king,” a “beast,” and a “horn” can all represent a government or a kingdom.)

“And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done.” (Daniel 11:36)

“And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him? And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months. And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven.” (Revelation 13:4-6)

A common characteristic that unifies the beast and the antichrist is found in the behavior of the beast. The blasphemy committed by the beast – when he speaks great things and exalts himself above God – is a manifestation of the antichrist spirit in him. In other words, his relationship to the antichrist is spiritual.

And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist…” (1 John 4:3)

So far, we have covered the definition of antichrist, and the spiritual relationship it has with the beast. But, what is the beast? Concerning the apocalyptic language in the Bible, the beast is a symbol for a king or a kingdom – specifically a kingdom that opposes God and His son – an antichrist kingdom. There is evidence of this found in Daniel 7:16-17. Here, Daniel begins by saying the four beasts in a dream “are four kings,” and further clarifies in verse 23 that the four beasts also represent four “kingdoms.”

“I came near unto one of them that stood by, and asked him the truth of all this. So he told me, and made me know the interpretation of the things. These great beasts, which are four, are four kings, which shall arise out of the earth.” (Daniel 7:16-17)

“Thus he said, the fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces.” (Daniel 7:23)

The Four Beasts and Four Horns of Daniel and Zechariah

Furthermore, the four symbolic beasts found in the book of Daniel are well known to be the historic empires of Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome (not to be confused with the four beasts in the midst of God’s throne). These same four beasts also appear in the first chapter of Zechariah. History long confirms that these four gentile empires were the four horns that scattered the Jews (known to historians as the Jewish Diaspora (meaning dispersion or scattering).

“Then lifted I up mine eyes, and saw, and behold four horns. And I said unto the angel that talked with me, What be these? And he answered me, These are the horns which have scattered Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem.” (Zechariah 1:18-19)

The “four horns” prophesied in Zechariah 1 could literally be interchangeable with “four kings” or “four beasts,” (not that we would want to interchange words) because the Bible consistently uses symbolic imagery of horns to prophesy of kings. And as mentioned earlier, a beast can signify either a king or a kingdom (Daniel 7:17, 23, KJV). Quoted below are two of the most explicit examples where horns represent kings.

“And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings.” (Daniel 7:24)

“And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast.” (Revelation 17:12)

Thus we gather that the four beast kingdoms that scattered the Jews all rose and fell long ago. Rome became the fourth to scatter them when it crushed the Jerusalem Temple to pieces in 70 AD. However, some argue that the Roman Empire did not altogether fall in 476 AD like much of mainline history gives account. As the pseudonymous author John Daniel wrote in his book, Scarlet and the Beast, the Roman Empire continued to reign as the Holy Roman Empire long after its fall.

“We could possibly understand the fourth horn mentioned by Zechariah as indeed the horn of the Roman Empire. But of Rome, as it extended to medieval Europe where the old Roman Empire became known as the ‘Holy Roman Empire’, Europe’s Babylonian system of united church and state continued to be governed [spiritually, at least] by Rome.” (Scarlet and the Beast by John Daniel)

This beast, identified as Rome, is further described in Daniel 7:7 as having ten horns of its own. Revelation 13 describes two more beasts: one “having seven heads and ten horns” which did “rise up out of the sea,” and another after it that “had two horns like a lamb” which was “coming up out of the earth.” The first of these two beasts – the one which rose up out of the sea – had one of his heads “wounded to death” and “his deadly wound was healed.” Some researchers believe the deadly head wound (Revelation 13:3,12, KJV) represents the fall of Rome, and his healed wound was the continuation of the Holy Roman Empire. We do not claim this to be accurate, but it is an interesting interpretation nonetheless.

The Man of Sin and the Son of Perdition

As for the ‘man of sin’ and ‘son of perdition,’ a strong case can be made for these two titles being synonymous. Evidence for this claim may be found in 2 Thessalonians 2:3. There we see the two names are stated back to back, as in listing two titles for the same person.

“Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day 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)

Assuming they are two titles for the same figure, are they also the same as the antichrist? We’ve already established that there are many antichrists, meaning there is a spirit of antichrist that indwells many people. Based on the King James translation, there is no indication of the Bible using the term “antichrist” for any one person. So, how can the son of perdition be represent the many antichrists? Isn’t there only one Son of Perdition?

In the 17th chapter of John, Jesus prays to the Father. This entire chapter is known as the High Priestly Prayer. Starting from John 17:2, you may notice a common thread throughout the chapter. He repeatedly mentions how believers in Christ are given to Him by the Father. When we reach John 17:12, Christ is still praying about believers, referring to them as “those that thou gavest me.” In this verse, Christ also declares that “none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.”

“While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.” (John 17:12)

Keep in mind that the context of this entire chapter is Jesus praying about all of his believers. We can be certain He is not only talking about the twelve disciples – even though the previous chapter is a conversation between Him and his disciples, and that John 17:9 may sound like his prayer is exclusively for them. We can be confident that He prayed for all believers because of what we find in verse 20!

Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;” (John 17:20)

It appears as if Jesus was so thoughtful as to include this identifying statement for anyone who might ask the question, ‘for whom was he praying?’ He was not only praying “for these alone” (the disciples who were near him at that moment), but “for them also which shall believe on me through their word.” This is important because it further identifies “them” mentioned earlier in John 17:12 when he said, “…and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition…”

All who are not in Christ are lost. The same is true about all who possess the spirit of antichrist. Every man who denies the Father and the Son, or confesses not that Jesus came in the flesh, is antichrist. We are all enemies of God until we are reconciled to Him (Romans 5:10).

In closing, we see that scripture provides evidence that the man of sin and the son of perdition are synonymous with the antichrist. These are all three titles of a man who denies that Christ came in the flesh (2 John 1:7, KJV), thereby denying the Father and the Son (1 John 2:22, KJV). The “beast” (equated with a horn or a king/kingdom) found in the Bible may correctly be labeled antichrist because it is characterized spiritually by his denial of God’s deity (Daniel 11:36, KJV; Revelation 13:4-6, KJV) – being characteristically similar to the antichrist spirit (1 John 4:3, KJV).

 

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