When Christians talk about the Antichrist, the discussion almost always results in the topic of where the Antichrist will come from. Everyone is always interested to know exactly what nation he will emerge from, and because of this we tend to ignore or downplay the nature and character of the Antichrist. What I mean is “what does the Bible teach us about the personality and attitude of the Antichrist?” What will he be like? How will he act towards others? In this article, I will examine the basic characteristics about the man whom the Bible says will come during the end times and be overthrown by Christ.
A good place to start is the various names and titles that are given to the Antichrist. These will help us to understand a lot about him. First, he is called the Antichrist (1 John 2:18). Anti- means either “opposed to” or “opposite of.” 1 John 2:22 says that an antichrist is someone who denies that Jesus is the Christ. This goes along with Daniel 11:37 where he will reject the Father and Son.
Second, he is called the beast in Revelation 13. A beast is a ferocious animal that devours other animals or even people. In the Ancient Middle East, travelers would have to worry about animals such as lions, leopards, and bears. Interestingly, the Antichrist and his empire are symbolized by these three beasts in Revelation 13. The Antichrist, as I will show below, will be ferocious towards others.
Third, he is called the Assyrian. The Assyrian Empire was one of the major superpowers in the Ancient World. They were ruthless, powerful, and practically everyone feared them. The Antichrist will be a powerful ruler, who will be ruthless towards others. (I also believe that this title indicates that he will come from the region of Assyria.)
Fourth, he is called the “little horn” in Daniel 7:8. Daniel continues in 8:9-11 that the horn started small but grew more and more powerful, so powerful that he declared himself greater than God. A horn was sometimes used to symbolize strength and kingship. This shows us that he will start out with a little power, but overtime will grow so powerful that he will be so arrogant that he will declare himself better than God.
Fifth and lastly, Paul, in 2 Thessalonians 2:3, calls the Antichrist the “man of lawlessness” (or “man of sin” in some translations). “Man of lawlessness” (or “sin”) shows us that he will be the embodiment of what sin and lawlessness truly are. Throughout history there have been many people who have been dictators, but the Antichrist will go further than anyone else before him.
These titles tell us quite a bit about the Antichrist: 1) he will reject the Father and the Son; 2) he will be a ruthless and powerful ruler who will prey upon people; and 3) he will be the embodiment of sin.
One characteristic that the Antichrist will have is that he will be a deceitful man. Daniel 8:23, 25 say that he will be a master of intrigue and that he will cause deceit to prosper. The American Heritage Dictionary defines intrigue as “a secret or underhand scheme.” The Antichrist will use peace to gain control over his enemies. Daniel 9:27 states that he will make a peace treaty with Israel for seven years and that he will break it three and a half years into it. Daniel 8:25 says that he will destroy many when they feel secure and Ezekiel 38:8 says that he will invade Israel when they are living in safety and are recovered from war. Paul even talks about “peace and safety” in 1 Thessalonians 5:3 when discussing the return of Jesus.
Repeatedly throughout the Bible we hear about the tribulation being a time of war. Daniel 9:26 says that “war will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed.” Daniel 11:38-39 say that the Antichrist will worship a god of war, and Daniel also teaches that the Antichrist will cause astounding devastation and will destroy many (8:24-25). Jesus taught that the end times will be a time of wars and rumors of wars (Matthew 24:6). Revelation 6:3-4 teaches that peace will be taken from the earth and men would slay each other. These passages teach us quite clearly that the reign of the Antichrist will be an age of war and that he will be the major promoter for these wars.
The Antichrist will be a very arrogant and proud man. He will boast and will say horrible things against God (Daniel 7:25; revelation 13:6), and he will take a stand against God (Daniel 8:25) even attempting to battle him when Jesus returns (Revelation 19:19). He will be so full of himself that he will exalt himself above God, all the pagan gods, and even every object of worship (Daniel 11:37; 2 Thessalonians 2:4). The Antichrist will even place an image (an idol) in the Temple and will demand the world’s inhabitants to bow down to it or be killed (Daniel 9:27; Revelation 13:14-15; also see Matthew 24:15).
He will persecute the People of God
Daniel 7:25 and Revelation 13:7 say that the Antichrist will be given power to persecute the saints and be successful at it.
His Success by Another
The Antichrist will prosper in everything that he does and will become very strong (Daniel 8:12, 24). However, it will not be by his own power. There are two aspects to this. First, it is by signs, wonders, and miracles by Satan that the Antichrist will gain power. Revelation 13 says that this will be done by the False Prophet. Second, God allows the Antichrist to deceive the world because “they [the ones being deceived] perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness” (2 Thessalonians 2:10-12).
God allows Satan and the Antichrist to deceive the world because they have rejected and hated God. This deception, along with the wars that he wages, will make him so powerful that that no human will be able to defeat him. He is so powerful that only God himself will be able to destroy him.
The Antichrist will be a man who will come on the world scene and make peace. However, his plan is to use this very peace in order to deceive the world and use it to attack those living peacefully in order to get the upper hand. He will be ruthless and will become so powerful that he will place himself above God and every other religion. However, this power will come through Satan. In the end, he will be overthrown by Jesus at his second coming and be thrown into hell.
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