Will Christians See the Antichrist?

antichrist

A while back, I sat in my church’s balcony listening to a sermon related to Bible prophecy. The speaker (who was not the pastor) discussed 2 Thessalonians 2 in his message. This chapter is important because it refers to Christ’s coming and the Antichrist. The speaker briefly suggested as he discussed the chapter:

  • Christians might only see the early stages of the Antichrist’s career.
  • Christians 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.

2 Thessalonians 2

The Apostle Paul wrote about the coming of Christ in 2 Thessalonians 2. Paul indicated that Christ would not come until:

  • The “falling away” (apostasy) comes first.
  • 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 from the Bible as time goes on.

Recall that the Apostle Paul indicated that the Antichrist’s true nature would be revealed before Christ comes. He gave us an indication of what to look for when this happens. Verse 4 suggests the Antichrist wants people to view him as God when he reveals his true identity:

“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)

This detail is significant because we can use it to pinpoint when Antichrist will reveal his true identity as the man of sin.

When Antichrist Will Reveal His True Identity

The Rise of the Antichrist

Daniel 7 provides an overview of four beasts emerging from the sea. Each beast represents a different kingdom in history. The fourth beast is the most notable kingdom because it is a kingdom that has not yet come. Daniel 7:7-8 introduces the fourth beast:

“(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)

Daniel 7:23-25 gives us more detail about the fourth beast:

“(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 “little horn” represents the Antichrist 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.” (Daniel 7:8)

The portrayal of the Antichrist as a “little horn” may mean that he will not be as powerful as the other ten kings (the ten horns) when he begins his career. This will change as the Antichrist gains power and overthrows leaders. However, the Antichrist’s true nature will remain hidden as he begins his career and begins to amass power.

The Reign of the Antichrist Begins

Daniel 7:25 describes a phase in Antichrist’s career when he 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 3.5 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)

Revelation 13 covers this phase of Antichrist’s career. The chapter also describes a beast from the sea.

  • 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, gives his power to the beast (Revelation 13:3).
  • 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.” (Revelation 13:1-10)

Revelation 13:4-7 states that the beast from the sea will speak blasphemies against God and will be an object of the world’s worship. This passage parallels other passages about the Antichrist like 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4. The table below shows the similarities between these passages:


The Antichrist Will Speak Blasphemies Against God and Persecute

  • The Antichrist
  • Blasphemy God
  • 42 Month War with the Saints

Revelation 13:4-7: (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:

  • The Antichrist will begin to demand worship of the world and speak blasphemies against God at the start of a 42 month war with the saints (especially when you compare Daniel 7:25 and Revelation 13:4-7).

The Abomination of Desolation

This 42 month war with the saints relates to the midpoint of the tribulation (or the 70th week of Daniel) when Antichrist will cease temple sacrifice and set up 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 midpoint of the tribulation is a logical point in time for the Antichrist to reveal his true identity to the world.

  • At that time, he will halt religious practices and set up something that is affront to God in the temple of God. This reminds us of how 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.
  • The great tribulation will begin as soon as the abomination of desolation is set up. This is a time of extreme persecution that relates to the war with the saints:

“(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 starts to demand worship from the world and starts to speak blasphemies against God. Meanwhile, the great tribulation will begin as the Antichrist sets up something affront to God.

  • It’s no coincidence that both events begin when the Antichrist starts to do things that are an affront to God.

Conclusion

Therefore, Antichrist will not reveal his true nature to the world until the midpoint of the tribulation. This implies that Christ may not come until at least after the midpoint of the tribulation. Remember, 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 will likely see a lot of the Antichrist, including his entire rise to power. I expect many who believe in the Pre-Trib Rapture to disagree with this article. Anyone who disagrees is welcome to express their views in the comments below.

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