A while back, I sat in my church’s balcony listening to a sermon related to Bible prophecy. Bible prophecy is not a topic often preached at my church, but when it is preached I try to bite my tongue and let the speaker preach uninterrupted no matter how much I might disagree with what is being taught. The speaker (who was not the pastor) discussed 2 Thessalonians 2, which is a notable Bible prophecy chapter because it references Christ’s coming and an individual known as the Antichrist. The speaker briefly suggested that Christians might only see the early stages of the Antichrist’s career and will not see the Antichrist serving in the role as the Antichrist. I found the speaker’s assertion regarding Christians and the Antichrist highly debatable to say the least, but I kept my silence. Instead of debating the speaker, I will share my thoughts on the issue of whether Christians will see the Antichrist in this article.

The Apostle Paul wrote to the church of the Thessalonians about the coming of Christ in 2 Thessalonians 2. Paul indicated that Christ would not come until the “falling away” (apostasy) comes first and that the “man of sin” (the Antichrist) is revealed (discloses his true identity):

(1) Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and [by] our gathering together unto him, (2) That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. (3) 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; (4) Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.” (2 Thessalonians 2:1-4)

The speaker at my church argued that the apostasy is underway today with declining moral values and declining regard for the Bible’s teachings. I will not argue this point because there seems to be a decline in moral values and fewer churches and individuals are teaching what is found in the Bible as time goes on.

Recall that the Apostle Paul indicated that the Antichrist’s true nature would be revealed before Christ comes (“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”). I believe the Apostle Paul gave us an indication of what to look for when the Antichrist reveals his true identity as the man of sin to the world in verse 4 by suggesting that the Antichrist will want to be viewed as God.

“Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.” (2 Thessalonians 2:4)

I believe the Apostle Paul’s description of Antichrist is significant because it can be used to approximate when Antichrist will reveal his true identity as the man of sin on the end time timeline.

When Antichrist Will Reveal His True Identity

Daniel 7 provides an overview of four beasts emerging from the sea, which represent four different kingdoms in history. The fourth beast/kingdom is the most notable kingdom because it is a kingdom that has not yet come. The fourth beast is initially described in Daniel 7:7-8:

“(7) After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it [was] diverse from all the beasts that [were] before it; and it had ten horns. (8) I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn [were] eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things.” (Daniel 7:7-8)

The fourth beast is also described in Daniel 7:23-25, but in clearer terms:

“(23) 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. (24) 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. (25) And he shall speak [great] words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.” (Daniel 7:23-25)

The fourth beast represents the kingdom of the Antichrist. The Antichrist is characterized in Daniel’s vision as a “little horn” in verse 8: “I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things.” The characterization of the Antichrist as a “little horn” may be an indication that the Antichrist will not be as powerful as the other ten kings represented by the ten horns at that time when he begins his career. This will change as the Antichrist accumulates power and overthrows leaders, but I do not believe the Antichrist’s true identity will be known to the entire world as he begins his career and begins to accumulate power.

Daniel 7:25 describes a phase in Antichrist’s career when Antichrist will utter blasphemies against God as described in 2 Thessalonians 2 and wage war with the saints for “a time and times and the dividing of time” or three and one-half years.

“And he shall speak [great] words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time” (Daniel 7:25)

This phase of Antichrist’s career is covered in Revelation 13, which also describes a beast from the sea. I believe that the beast from the sea of Revelation 13 represents the empire of the Antichrist described in Daniel 7 at a mature stage of its development as the dragon, Satan, is described giving his power to the beast (Rev 13:3). I also believe the actions of the beast from the sea (the empire of the Antichrist) and the actions of the Antichrist are synonymous since the Antichrist is the ruler of his empire. Here is Revelation 13:1-10 with a few key verses highlighted:

“(1) And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. (2) And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as [the feet] of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority. (3) And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast. (4) 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? (5) 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. (6) And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. (7) And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. (8) And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. (9) If any man have an ear, let him hear. (10) He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.” (Rev 13:1-10)

Revelation 13:4-6 states that the beast from the sea will utter blasphemies against God and will be an object of the world’s worship. This passage parallels other passages about the Antichrist, including 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4. These passages are shown in the following table, and the similarities between these passages are highlighted:

The Antichrist Will Utter Blasphemies Against God and Persecute
The AntichristBlasphemy God42 Month War with the Saints
Revelation 13:4-6: (4) 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? (5) 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. (6) And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. (7) And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.
Daniel 7:24-25: “(24) 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. (25) And he shall speak [great] words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time”.
2 Thessalonians 2:3-4: (3) 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; (4) Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.

The reason for the overview of the fourth beast of Daniel 7 and the beast from the sea of Revelation 13 is that these chapters taken together suggest that the Antichrist will begin to demand worship of the world and utter blasphemies against God at the start of a forty-two month war with the saints (especially when you compare Daniel 7:25 and Revelation 13:4-7). I believe that this forty-two month war with the saints is connected with the midway point of the seventieth week of Daniel when Antichrist will cease temple sacrifice and establish an abomination of desolation:

“And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make [it] desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.” (Daniel 9:27)

The midway point of the seventieth week of Daniel is a logical point in time for the Antichrist to reveal his true identity to the world since he will be halting religious practices and setting up something that is affront to God in the temple of God (recall that 2 Thessalonians 2:4 states that Antichrist will sit in the temple of God showing himself to be God when he reveals his true identity to the world). Furthermore, the midway point of the seventieth week of Daniel is worth strong consideration as the point in time when Antichrist will reveal his true identity to the world when you consider that the great tribulation-a time of unprecedented persecution-will begin as soon as the abomination of desolation is established.

(15) When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) (16) Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: (17) Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: (18) Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. (19) And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! (20) But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: (21) For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. (22) And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened. (Matthew 24:15-22)

The war with the saints will begin as the Antichrist begins to demand worship from the world and begins to utter blasphemies against God while the great tribulation will begin as the Antichrist sets up something affront to God. I believe it is no coincidence that the great tribulation and the war with the saints will begin at the same time as the Antichrist begins to do things that are an affront to God.

Therefore, I do not believe the Antichrist will reveal his true identity to the world until the midway point of the seventieth week of Daniel. The implication of this is that Christ may not come until at least after the midway point of the seventieth week of Daniel given that 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 suggests that Christ’s coming will not occur until first the falling away and the unveiling of the man of sin.

(3) 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; (4) Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.” (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4)

This means that Christians are not only going to see the Antichrist, but are likely going to see a lot of the Antichrist, including his entire rise to power.

I expect many supporters of the Pre-Tribulation Rapture position to strongly disagree with this article’s conclusion. Anyone who disagrees with the belief that Christians will see the Antichrist is welcomed to comment and express their disagreement.