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What We Don’t Know About the Antichrist

Four things we don’t know about the antichrist are the subject of much speculation. The first is his nationality. It isn’t hard to find writers who teach that Antichrist will be a Syrian. The Bible doesn’t say he will come from that ancient nation, but some conclude this through reasoning that usually goes like this: “Antiochus Epiphanes was a type of the antichrist and he was a Syrian. Therefore, the antichrist will be a Syrian.”

Although it’s permissible to conjecture in these matters to some extent, the problem with this kind of reasoning is that it overlooks individuals of other nationalities who were also a type of the Antichrist. Nebuchadnezzar was a type of the Antichrist, and he was a Chaldean. So why not say the Antichrist will be a Chaldean? Adolf Hitler was a type of the Antichrist, and he was a German. So why not say the Antichrist will be a German? The same can be said for Pharaoh, an Egyptian. We could go on and on, but the point is that maintaining an adamant position in this kind of reasoning doesn’t settle the issue.

The second thing we don’t know about the Antichrist is whether he will be a Jew or a Gentile (a non-Jewish person). Some say he’ll be a Jew because the Bible says “neither shall he regard the God of his fathers” (Daniel 11:37, KJV). Others say he will be a Gentile because this verse has been incorrectly translated and it should read, “He will show no regard for the gods of his fathers” (Daniel 11:37, NIV). If the correct translation is “God,” he will come from a monotheistic religion (probably Jewish); if the correct translation is “gods,” he will come from a polytheistic religion (probably Gentile).

Then there are those who reason that “the antichrist will be Jewish because the Jews will accept him as their Messiah and they would never accept a Gentile.” Or “the antichrist will be Jewish because he will be a counterfeit of Christ and He was a Jew.” The late Reverend Jerry Falwell (father of currently embattled Liberty University president Jerry Falwell Jr.), whose theology was usually sound, got in trouble on this one. He believed the Antichrist will be a Jew—and he might have been right, but the… fact is, whether the Antichrist will be a Jew or a Gentile is not revealed in the Bible. Those who think he will be are definitely in the minority. Incidentally, one of the complaints against Reverend Falwell was that he was anti-Semitic for thinking like this. On the contrary, Falwell was one of Israel’s strongest supporters and did much to help the Jewish people.

The third thing we don’t know about the Antichrist is his name. We know “his number is six hundred threescore and six,” but that’s different from his name (Revelation 13:18). Several elaborate systems have been developed in an effort to reveal the name of the Antichrist, but they have all been wrong. Some names these systems have come up with are Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, Henry Kissinger, Ronald Reagan, William “Bill” Clinton, Barack Obama, and several of the popes. These should be seen for what they are—just wild guesses.

In connection with this, let’s hasten to add that 666 is the Antichrist’s number. It isn’t a driver’s license number, credit card numbers, Social Security number, or any other numbers associated with us. It will not be several billion different numbers for the several billion different individuals. It is his number—one specific number that identifies one specific individual.

The fourth thing we don’t know about the Antichrist is whether he is already alive as a person. It seems reasonable that he will have to be a full-grown man when he appears. If the Second Coming of Christ is as close as we and most prophetic scholars think, it makes sense to assume that he is not only alive, but already grown.

What the Antichrist Will Be Like

We can better understand what the Antichrist will be like when he appears by observing a few things about the First and Second Coming of Jesus. The First Coming of Jesus, commonly called His Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem, occurred while Jesus was riding upon a donkey, a symbol of peace (Luke 19:28–38). The Second Coming of Jesus, commonly called the Revelation (the Revelation of Jesus Christ in His power and glory) will take place at the end of the Tribulation period when Jesus returns in righteousness to judge and make war riding upon a white horse, a symbol of conquest (Revelation 19:11–21). The first time, Jesus came peacefully as the Lamb of God; the second time, He will come conquering as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords (John 1:36; Revelation 19:11–16).

This has relevance to what the Antichrist will be like as he carries out his bloody career. During his rise to power, he will present himself as a man of peace. So we might expect the prophets to depict him riding upon a donkey, a symbol of peace, but that is incorrect. John said:

And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer. (Revelation 6:2)

The Antichrist will ride across the pages of history on a white horse, a symbol of conquest. His eloquent promises of peace will not match his horrendous acts of war. This fictitious christ will present himself as a lamb, but he will really be a wolf in sheep’s clothing. When asked about the sign of His coming and the end of the age, Jesus answered:

Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. (Matthew 24:4, 5)

The list of people who have done this is long, but the ultimate false christ will be the Antichrist. Multitudes will think they have met the Messiah, but he will really be the man of sin.

The bow was a weapon of war and a symbol of military power in John’s day. The Antichrist will appear with a bow in his hand, but he will have no arrows. This is like carrying a gun without bullets. The Antichrist will have weapons of war, but he will act like he is unarmed. Daniel said, “by peace shall [he] destroy many” (Daniel 8:25).

A crown is worn by people who earn or inherit the right to wear one, but the Antichrist will not earn or inherit the right to wear his crown. It will be a gift from the wicked power brokers of the world. What a terrible mistake! The world’s gullible politicians will empower a leader without doing the all-important background check. Some will think they are crowning a godly man, but they’ll be elevating a fake with a very dark side. The Bible says this fraud will “ascend out of the bottomless pit” (Revelation 17:8). That is the gruesome, subterranean abode where God is holding the very worst of Satan’s demonic spirits. It makes one wonder what kind of background this man will have. Considering his origin, it must be filled with terrible atrocities.

The World When the Antichrist Appears

When addressing this subject, the Apostle Paul used the phrase “perilous times” (2 Timothy 3:1). “Perilous times” include war, and one of the signs of the last days that Jesus talked about is “wars and rumors of wars” (Matthew 24:6). While the Antichrist is negotiating peace and consolidating his power, God will release a second horse and rider. John said:

There went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword. (Revelation 6:4)

The second rider will bring war to the earth. God will allow him to do this to show the world that the Antichrist is not the true Prince of Peace, Jesus.

“Perilous times” also include economic disaster. While the Antichrist is boasting about having solutions to the world’s problems, God will release a third horse and rider. John said:

I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand. And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine. (Revelation 6:5, 6)

The third rider will bring economic collapse to the world. God will allow him to do this to show the world that Jesus Christ, not the Antichrist, is the true Bread of Life. Food will be so valuable it will have to be weighed on scales before it’s sold. Money will be so worthless that what a man earns in one day will purchase barely enough food for the survival of one person.

Despite all the terrible consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, financial and otherwise, it seems that America, and perhaps the entire world, has forgotten that a good economy is a blessing of God and not a benefit of having the right kind of politician in office. This moral confusion will be disastrous in the days to come.

“Perilous times” also include starvation and sickness, and two more signs of the last days Jesus talked about are “famine” and “pestilence” (Matthew 24:7). God will release a fourth horse and rider that will fulfill this dire prophecy. John said:

I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth. (Revelation 6:8)

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The Lord of Heaven will allow this horse and rider to come on the scene to show the world that Jesus Christ, not the Antichrist, is the Great Physician. One-fourth of the world’s population will die as war and economic disaster spreads like wildfire, triggering hunger and disease on every continent.

Most conservative Christians believe the “perilous times” Paul prophesied have arrived. Looking around at the ungodly characteristics of mankind, it’s difficult to see how the Christian attuned to truth given in 2 Timothy 3 could come to any other conclusion.

Perhaps the top scholar today in the pre-Tribulation, pre-Millennial view of Bible prophecy, Dr. Thomas Ice, writes further about Antichrist and his number-one assistant, the False Prophet.

While I think it may be possible that the False Prophet (Rev. 13:11–18; 16:13; 19:20; 20:10) could be a Jew (I am not saying that I necessarily think he will be), there does not appear to be any Scriptural grounds to think that the Antichrist will be of the tribe of Dan nor of Jewish descent. It appears that he will be a Gentile and will arise from within the Revived Roman Empire. In the middle of the tribulation he will take his seat in Israel’s rebuilt Temple and claim to be God Himself (2 Thess. 2:4). His career will be a short-lived seven-year period for which he will spend eternity in the Lake of Fire upon Christ’s return to planet earth (Rev. 19:20; 20:10).[i]

As the Fourth Reich rises, there will arise at the same time a call for “peace and safety” from the troublous times that generate fear among earth’s inhabitants. The final Führer will emerge from the sea of humanity to take by force control of world power. He ultimately will proclaim himself to be God.

It is the call for “peace and safety” at a certain moment in the end of days that will give this deceptive man of peace the steps leading to his place upon the stage of world history. His rise will culminate in the most brutal dictatorship ever to be suffered by the people of this planet. Here is what the Apostle Paul prophesies about that time:

But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. (1 Thessalonians 5:1–3)

Left Behind!

Paul, as a Holy Spirit-inspired prophet, said that at a time—one that he could not or would not divulge—there will come the “day of the Lord.” It will come suddenly and without announcement, like a “thief in the night.”

This break-in upon the human conditions of the time, Paul prophesied, will take place when there, as mentioned earlier, will be that great call by the fearful for “peace and safety.” People will be willing to embrace any leader who seems to offer answers to the desperate times in which they are embroiled.

The Revelation 6 rider on the white horse will set in motion his own version of the “Final Solution”—a Fourth Reich that will, when full blown in its virulence and destruction, overshadow the evil perpetrated by the Nazis and their Third Reich.

The only saving grace in this is that whereas the Third Reich lasted twelve years, the Fourth Reich will last no more than seven. Antichrist’s rule of terror will be ended as promised in the prophecy we looked at previously:

And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders. (2 Thessalonians 2:8–9)

Paul prophesied that when the world is in perilous times and becoming so dangerous that there is a cry for peace and safety, the Day of the Lord will break into the situation like a thief in the night. The Day of the Lord will be God’s judgment beginning to fall on a rebellious, God-opposing generation. Jesus put it this way in the Olivet Discourse:

Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed. (Luke 17:28–30)

God will have had His fill of the evil perpetrated by humanity and Antichrist’s genocidal actions against God’s chosen people, the Jews. Jesus, who is God, will be revealed to the world, secretly, by completely disrupting all who live on earth. He will call to Himself all of God’s people—those who know Christ for salvation through being born again as the Lord said and as Paul wrote, regarding the gospel of grace. (Read John 3:3 and Romans 10:9–10.)

All others living on the planet at that instant will, within a short period, begin to suffer a fate many times worse than those who were targeted for Hitler’s Final Solution. They will have been left behind to undergo Antichrist’s unadulterated evil straight from the mind of Satan.

For Christians—again, those who have accepted God’s Son, Jesus Christ, as their Savior—will be instantly and forever in Heaven with their Lord. To the world, it will have been a “thief-in-thenight” break-in, but for believers, it will be an electrifying moment of jubilant gathering as Christ fulfills His promise:

In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. (John 14:2–3)

The final Führer’s Final Solution will have begun; the family of God will have been removed, out of harm’s way.

There are many questions about this man who will be Antichrist. The following are some of those questions and our answers—based, we believe, on what God’s Word says about the first beast of Revelation 13.

  1. Will the Antichrist be a Jew?
  2. The main argument against him being be a Jew is that he comes out of the sea of Gentile nations, according to Revelation chapter 13. This, against the second beast coming out of the land, indicates he will emerge onto the world scene out of Israel. The second beast may well be an “apostate” Jew or a Pope in our view of these verses.
  3. Could the Antichrist be a Muslim?
  4. We doubt it. There are a number of reasons we believe this, but the one that resonates most is based on historical timeline factors. Bible prophecy tells us that the “prince that shall come” is of the people who will destroy the city (Jerusalem) and the sanctuary (the Jewish Temple on Moriah). The people who did that were the Romans (current seat of the Vatican).

There might have been other ethnic and nation-types of peoples within the ranks of the Roman legion who destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple in AD 70, but the overwhelming constituency of that force was from in and around Rome itself. Certainly, Vespasian and his son Titus were born in, and/or lived in areas immediately around, Rome.

Islam didn’t come into being until a few centuries later. The eastern leg’s capital, Constantinople, likewise. Timeline wise, an eastern Antichrist is out of the question, in our opinion.

Antichrist is referred to as “the Assyrian,” of course, in God’s Word, so that implies the Middle East. We believe that he might well be of Middle Eastern extraction genetically, but likely born and raised in the area of Europe implied by the “the phrase people that shall come” (KJV).

Further, the argument that Antichrist will be Muslim because Islam uses beheading as a means of execution, the same method prophesied to be employed by the beast’s regime in Revelation 13, is weak. The Roman Empire of Paul’s day used beheading. Paul, himself, died by that method centuries before Islam was invented.

  1. Will the Antichrist be killed and resurrected from the dead?
  2. Not really. Christ alone holds the keys to death and Hell. Antichrist is Satan’s man, and God certainly would not use Satan or anyone to raise anyone from the dead without it being a part of His Holy will. Such evil certainly would never be in God’s will. This will be one of many facades perpetrated by Antichrist.

That’s not to say the Lord doesn’t allow evil to run its course in many cases—but always under His absolute control. So it will be with this false resurrection. The word used to describe this “resurrection” uses language that implies it will be a deception: “I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death” (Revelation 13:3a, emphasis added). This reads as if the point of death is not actually reached, we think.

God will allow people who have rejected His offer of salvation through His Son to come under strong delusion so that they will believe a lie (2 Thessalonians 2). The false resurrection from the dead (healing of the deadly wound) will be part of that lie, which will encompass quite a bit more than most have imagined, we suspect.

  1. Where will the Antichrist’s headquarters be located?
  2. This question is difficult to answer. He is said to make Rome his seat of power. He is said to make Babylon his headquarters. Yet, Jerusalem and the Temple—in the Holy of Holies—is where he will take up residence and demand worship.

It may very well be that in the earliest part of his coming to power, Europe (the revived Roman Empire) will be the geographical area where he derives his growth as a politician/leader and his ultimate political power. Babylon—whether the actually rebuilt Babylon or another power center—will be the geographical heart as well as the evil spiritual headquarters while his satanic megalomania grows. Then, the final place he resides is in Jerusalem—which, after all, is called spiritual Babylon by the Lord Himself for allowing evil to reside within its confines.

  1. Is the Antichrist alive today?
  2. Based on the geopolitical, socioeconomic, geophysical, and religious exigencies on the scene today, we believe he almost has to be alive now. Israel being front and center, in the bull’s eye of the Middle East peace process directed by the “international community” and surrounded on all sides (except the Mediterranean side) by enemies who have blood-vowed to erase them from the earth—as well as being the object of disdain for practically all nations—makes Antichrist’s nearness almost guaranteed.

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[i] Dr. Thomas Ice, college professor, pastor, and president, Pre-Trib Study Group, “The Ethnicity of the Antichrist.”

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