Will Christians See the Antichrist?

antichrist

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.

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LAURENCE WEBB
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LAURENCE WEBB

If the church goes into the great tribulation would that not mean the seven years of the tribulation are not the same seven years of Daniel’s seventieth week? If the gap between the 69th and 70th weeks began with the commencement of the church logically it would finish with the departure of the church. After the departure of the church Israel’s 70 week “commission” of Daniel 9:24 would then re-commence and operate for the next seven years.

Michael Rubio
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Michael Rubio

Does this mean the Christians will suffer with the rest of the world beginning from the sixth seal to say, the seventh trumpet? That’s a lot of deaths, and if the Christians don’t die as part of the 1/4 and the 1/3, then the survivors would be predominantly Christian. Then the Rapture happens, the remaining population must be slim. I have no aggressive arguments I’m just seriously contemplating 🙂 I personally subscribed to the pre-trib doctrine very recently and that’s just because I found it inconsistent with God’s promises that we suffer His wrath (earthquakes and the scorpion thingos that… Read more »

Michael Ling
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Michael Ling

Regarding the last days scripture does say to pray that you are accounted worthy to escape all these things. The great tribulation is the wrath of the Father which we are not appointed to. The tribulation is the time of Jacob’s trouble, the purifying of Israel when their old stony heart is replaced, the very admonition Apostle Paul had for gentile believers who thought the Father was done with Israel. Apart from the remnant of Israel at Christ’s first coming who saw Christ as the Messiah Redeemer, the remainder were blinded for the gentiles sake and until our time is… Read more »

Connie
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Connie

Chapter and verse for where it says that the great tribulation is God’s wrath, please. I only see verses that say it is Satan’s wrath. I see many verses that say that God’s wrath is after the great tribulation.

Michael Ling
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Michael Ling

The seal, bowl and trumpet judgements are the Father’s wrath poured out on the unregenerate. The Father, not Satan, brings those events upon the world. Once unrestrained by the Father and consequently knowing his time is short, Satan’s wrath is his murderous desire to destroy all, especially those who do not worship him and take the mark and specifically those who are heirs by the flesh, Israel. Roman’s 11 is emphatically clear regarding the future of the house of Israel and of the gentiles and explicitly defines and contrasts Israel, gentiles and the Body of Christ. Paul is amplifying here… Read more »

Connie
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Connie

Nowhere are the seal judgments indicated to be the wrath of God by Scripture. Just because people desire that they be, does not make it a fact, nor does Scripture uphold that theory. It is an assumption that was arrived at by trying to fit a theory into Scripture, not the reverse of starting with Scripture to develop a doctrine. In fact, the only ones suffering in the 5th seal are Christians, (no unbeliever suffering) who are not supposed to suffer the wrath of God. So how do you explain that since Christians are not appointed to God’s wrath. NO… Read more »

Michael Ling
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Michael Ling

Rev 6:17 14:10 15:1,7 16:1,19

Jonathan Faas
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Jonathan Faas

Hello, I stumbled across your writing this morning, and I must say it’s pretty well thought out but; It is written… “Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.” ‭‭Revelation‬ ‭1:3 (The Church) “John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne; And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and… Read more »

Laurence Webb
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Laurence Webb

An obstacle to believing in a mid,late or post trib rapture is that at the opening of the 6th seal “every bondman, and every free man hid themselves” and told the rocks to hide them “from the wrath of the Lamb.” “Free” and “bond” covers everyone, including Christians. (1Cor 7:21-22) Why would any Christians on earth feel the need to do so? Similarly at the 6th trumpet, all those not killed refused to repent. They do not sound like rapture material. Finally if “as many” as refuse to worship the beast are killed, who will there be left to rapture… Read more »

Mark
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Mark

See him? I’d not be surprised if most non-elect ‘Christians’ vote him in to power! If recent history governs.

Craig C. White
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Nice job Wayne. I have also considered many of the things that you talk about in your article. I agree. The Church will see quite a lot of the Antichrist. As a matter of fact I’m pretty certain that Turkish President Erdogan is the Antichrist. But back to your article. The falling away describes the fall of Satan from heaven. Satan must be cast out of heaven before he can empower the Antichrist on earth. Israel’s tribulation will start after those two things happen. God bless you, Craig C. White

Barry
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Barry

Agree with you 100% But have a question that has racked me brain and maybe you can help. If we are here to preach the truth and preach against the Antichrist, then why are the 144000 and the 2 witnesses needed? If we are the saints mention in Rev 13 then we should be the voice of God. Thoughts?

Jonathan Dane
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Will Christians see the Antichrist? Well, certainly Christians present and living during the tribulation will see the Antichrist. Does anybody disagree with that? Even pre-trib dispensationalists say that much.

Duane
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Duane

Great article and well done connecting the scriptures together. I think the verses you mentioned connected with Matthew 24:30-31 show there is no secret pre-trib rapture. Well done, look forward to checking out your new book.

Michael Ling
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Michael Ling

The Jew is the audience of Matthew.

adam
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adam

Love the website! I do believe in a pre-tribulation rapture, but there will by many Christians who are left behind.

No doubt that there will be Christians who see the rise of the AC.

Connie
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Connie

Adam, I was brought up pre-trib (and after 50 years of study, I no longer believe it, but that is beside the point) and they never taught then that some would be left behind, simply because they did not agree with this doctrine. Now I have noticed since the Left Behind series and some other things, they now teach that some will be left behind. On what Scriptural basis, since I’m assuming that you believe that no Christian is appointed to God’s wrath, do you say that many will be left behind? By what criteria are some judged to that,… Read more »

Max
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Max

Christians will surely see the antichrist as he will be alive for years prior to the tribulation, but they will not know he is is the antichrist at that time (just probably some other world leader at that time) given they will be raptured prior to the mid point of the Tribulation (which is the correct timing that antichrist will be revealed). The tribulation saints will see him, not the Church who is raptured well before he is revealed. Perhaps we already see him, strong chance given the way the nations are aligning and the convergence of prophecy that is… Read more »

PapaWolf
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PapaWolf

So Wayne, if Im correct here……….. are you saying that you believe in a mid or shortly after rapture? This is what i am beginning to believe after years of being “taught” the pre-trib rapture.

kelly
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kelly

To begin on this subject…none of us have the right to opinion or personal interpretation…esp when the Word speaks plainly and clearly on the subject at hand…He commands us to call no man rabbi father or teacher, which means that He is looking for ones who become nothing, ones who die daily, as Paul did…so He can say what He wants, and do what He wants through us…the only kind of life acceptable, so we become a Holy Temple unto, some day His Glory will fill up that temple…not built by the hands of man. Concerning Matthew 24 and II… Read more »

Bill Newton
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Bill Newton

Hello, I stumbled across your writings tonight while looking for something else. It usually doesn’t take long for an author to bear false witness, especially as it pertains to Prophecy…..especially when it includes a “Word from the Lord” or is hostile towards a Bible believing/teaching Christian. I thought that’s exactly where you were headed but was very impressed by your wisdom to give Sgripture “as reproof, doctrine and correction in righteousness” (quotes do not mean that my words are absolutely correct or evem in the right order but rather that I chose that section of God’s Word to commend you… Read more »