What is the Antichrist?

The name "antichrist" is found in 1 John and 2 John. It means against or in opposition to Christ. The original Greek word antichristos also conveys the idea of someone putting themselves in the place of Christ. Jesus warns His disciples that there will be many false prophets before His second coming (Matthew 24:24). While anyone in opposition to Christ could be labeled an antichrist, there is a specific Antichrist who will be a prominent figure during the end-times, seven-year tribulation.

Just as the Bible does not tell us the exact date of Jesus' return, it also does not tell us exactly who the Antichrist will be. However, Scripture does provide us with some details about his character. Although the actual name "antichrist" is only found in John's writing, there are many other names used to reference the one who will oppose Christ in other books of the Bible.

In the Old Testament, Daniel has a dream about four beasts coming out of the sea (Daniel 7). The fourth beast he sees represents a group of nations and people who will oppose Christ during the tribulation. The beast has a little horn that will deny God and wage war against Christians and Israel. The little horn will be the Antichrist.

In the New Testament, 2 Thessalonians 2:1–12 depicts the Antichrist as a man of lawlessness. Mark 13:14 describes the Antichrist in association with the abomination of desolation (cf. Daniel 9:27; Matthew 24:15). Revelation 6:2 talks about a rider on a white horse, a symbol of peace, who really intends to wage war (Revelation 6:2); though opinions on who this rider is vary, some commentators have identified him as the Antichrist. Later the Antichrist is described as a beast that comes out of the sea and receives power from the dragon, or Satan (Revelation 13).

First and Second John provide four key identifying characteristics of the Antichrist. First, he will come right before Christ's second coming (1 John 2:18). Second, he will deny both the Father and Jesus (1 John 2:22). Third, he will deceive people into following him. Christians can test whether or not someone is truthful if they confess that Jesus did come in the flesh (1 John 4:2–3). Finally, the Antichrist will deny that Jesus ever came to the earth in order to disclaim that He died to save us from our sins. "For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist" (2 John 1:7).

While the Antichrist will bring great destruction and suffering upon the world, those who have put their faith in Christ have nothing to fear. Jesus has already defeated sin by dying on the cross. When He returns a second time He will defeat Satan and his pawns, the Antichrist and the False Prophet. So how should we prepare for Jesus' second coming? We must be diligent to teach both believers and non-believers the truth so that they will not be deceived, but instead come to salvation in Christ.

Related Truth:

Is there an end times unholy trinity? Who is part of the unholy trinity?

Who is the Antichrist?

Who is the man of lawlessness Paul talks about in 2 Thessalonians 2:1–12?

Who is the beast of Revelation?

What does the Bible say about a strong delusion in the end times (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12)?

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