As we fight for Jesus in spiritual warfare the Spiritual Soldier must be prepared to face the evil spiritual powers in this world. One of the more interesting members of this evil coalition is the antichrist. But Scripture talks about the antichrist in ways we don’t normally think of.
We will look at the antichrist as both a person and a spirit in the world. How does the Bible talk about the antichrist? What are his chief characteristics? Let’s dive in!
- He is opposed to Christ.
The antichrist is named for his opposition to Christ. “Anti” in Greek means “against.” The antichrist is anyone who denies that Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah (1 John 2:22). He will deny the Trinity and the power of God.
Hollywood has embellished the idea of antichrist. There are so many predictions of who the antichrist may be or was. Popular books like the Left Behind series make a lot of intrigue about the antichrist and his characterizations.
The Bible gives us an understanding of his basic nature but does not spend an awful lot of time on him. Why? Because he loses in the end. He may rule the earth for a time, but it is a very short time in human history.
He works within the evil world system at the end of time. In this system he opposes anything godly. This world system set up by Satan has philosophies and arguments that go against God (2 Corinthians 10:3-5).
- He is both a person and a spirit.
Scripture talks about the antichrist as a person in the end times during the Great Tribulation. As we will discuss in the next point Paul refers to him as the “man of lawlessness.” The antichrist represented by the beast of Revelation will be a person who begins the one world order.
The antichrist is spoken out by John in 1 John as a person. He is a person who denies that Jesus is the Christ (1 John 2:23). John says that anyone who denies Jesus is the Christ is at least a form of the antichrist.
In 2 John 7 he refers to the antichrist as a “deceiver-in-chief,” for many deceivers have come but they’re all in the mold of the antichrist. Here these deceivers have denied that Jesus Christ came in the flesh. He will deny Christ just as in the passage in 1 John above.
John also refers to the antichrist as “the spirit of antichrist” (1 John 4:3). This is in this section where John talks about testing the spirits to see whether they are from God. The test is that the spirit that does not claim Jesus is from God is a spirit of antichrist.
This spirit of antichrist is both coming into the world and now in the world (1 John 4:3). There is and has always been a spirit of antichrist that opposes Jesus from the time Jesus walked the earth until now and beyond. But in the end times the spirit of antichrist is coming in the person of antichrist and his practices.
Anytime you see someone or something oppose Christ, say that He is not from God or that He did not come into the world in the flesh (in history as a human being), that person is working for the spirit of the antichrist. These could be false prophets, liars that may be “wolves in sheep’s clothing,” or those in the world who directly oppose Christ in some way.
The spirit of antichrist works with Satan, the prince of the power of the air (Ephesians 2:2) and his evil world systems that persecute saints and the Church. They stand against Christ even now and will become more pronounced in the person of the antichrist in the end times.
- He is a man of lawlessness.
Paul speaks of the antichrist with the phrase “man of lawlessness” as he explains the actions of the antichrist as he rises to power (2 Thessalonians 2:1-12). Paul says the man of lawlessness must come before the Day of the Lord, the final judgment day (2 Thessalonians 2:2-3).
First must come the rebellion that reveals the man of lawlessness (2 Thessalonians 2:3). This rebellion may refer to a war, perhaps a government coup, or a takeover of the government or the world governments. Paul is not specific on the rebellion.
But this rebellion reveals the man of lawlessness and Paul describes him as the son of destruction (2 Thessalonians 2:3), the one who opposes every god or object of worship (2 Thessalonians 2:4), and exalts himself over all religions.
Paul likens the antichrist’s power grab in religious terms, saying he will proclaim himself to be God. He takes his seat in the temple in Jerusalem as if he is on a throne (2 Thessalonians 2:4). In other places the antichrist seizes political power. This gives him the ability to create a one world order where he controls the politics of the world, the religions of the world, and the economic power in the world.
He will not be able to seize power until the restrainer is removed (2 Thessalonians 2:7-8). This restrainer could be the Church, the Holy Spirit, or believers. Or it could be all three since the Church is Christians who are indwelt and filled with the Holy Spirit.
- He is the beast of the Great Tribulation.
Another reason the Bible doesn’t talk a lot about the antichrist is that he is part of the false Trinity or counterfeit trinity along with the false prophet and Satan the dragon. The Great Tribulation according to most scholars is a seven-year period where the antichrist seizes power and rules the world.
The first beast rises out of the sea and is given power by the dragon, Satan (Revelation 13:1-2). As part of the signs and wonders the antichrist will use to show the world he is like Jesus Christ is to receive a mortal wound and recover from it (Revelation 13:3-4).
John continues to speak of this beast (antichrist) with words that lineup with Paul’s teaching about the man of lawlessness. He sees the beast blaspheming God in heaven (Revelation 13:5-6, see also 2 Thessalonians 2:4).
The second beast rises out of the ground and is identified as the false prophet, a counterfeit of the Holy Spirit because he testifies about the antichrist (Revelation 13:11-12, 14-17). And the dragon, Satan, gives both the antichrist and the false prophet his authority and power to rule the nations and deceive them. This is the counterfeit or false trinity of Revelation.
- He deceives the nations.
In 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12 Paul describes the coming of the antichrist as part of the activity of Satan. He will be able to perform false signs and wonders to deceive the people of the earth. The false signs and wonders he does will resemble those of Jesus.
The majority of humanity that refuses to believe in Christ will gladly be deceived, the wool pulled over their eyes. They are under a strong delusion from God. They choose to believe in the antichrist and worship him. The antichrist will promote wickedness and unrighteousness, and that will be the desire of those who are deceived and living blind in darkness.
We see this borne out in the prophecy of Revelation. As I have shown above, the beast is the antichrist. He will rule the world and the world will gladly accept him rather than Jesus when He comes to rule in the millennial reign (Revelation 20:1-6). In fact, after Christ has ruled for one thousand years the people return to the beast when he is released from the pit (Revelation 20:7-10).
There is more to know about the antichrist in Scripture, but everything in this battlefield training will prepare you to understand the spirit of antichrist that is in the world right now. You will come up against people who are pawns of the enemy who oppose God.
As with any other evil spiritual power you have the upper hand. The Holy Spirit is greater in you then anything you encounter in this world (1 John 4:4). Stand firm against God’s enemies and you will see victory. What else about the antichrist do you see in the Bible that would help us fight the spirit of antichrist in the world today?
We have talked about the spirit of antichrist and the antichrist in this battlefield training for the Spiritual Soldiering Christ. Now we will turn to look at the ways the Holy Spirit helps us in our spiritual battles.