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Who Is Anti-Christ?

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Introduction

Many people today identify the pope, a world leader, a country, a union, or a religious leader as anti-Christ. But, can they support their claims from Scripture? The term “anti-Christ” only occurs four times in the Bible. Therefore, those verses provide the key to understanding who or what is the anti-Christ and the activity of anti-Christ. Those verses provide evidence of the identity of Anti-Christ. Many people make sweeping assumptions about the identity of the anti-Christ, but do not offer support from the Scriptures.

Section One

The Term Anti

1.1 Anti. John used the term “anti” (“ἀντί”) joined to the term “Christ” (“χριστος”) to describe a particular person. This preposition “anti” may mean “against ” (for examples, see Matthew 5:23; 12:30). 1The preposition “anti” (“ἀντί”)] occurs in connection with the accusative and genitive cases. Among other things, “anti” may also mean “according to” (Romans 8:27) or pay back one thing for another thing in succession (Romans 12:17; 1 Thessalonians 5:15; 1 Peter 3:9). We will see how John used the term “anti-Christ” with those meanings in mind.

Section Two

The Last Hour

2.1 The Last Hour and anti-Christ. John declared that the anti-Christ comes, and many anti-Christs have become, whereby we know it is the last hour.

Little children, last hour it is, and as you have heard that anti-Christ comes, and now anti-Christs many have become, whereby we know that last hour it is.”

1 John 2:18

2.2 Not Yet There. The last hour had begun by the time John wrote his first epistle (1 John 2:18). 2John used the phrase “last hour” (“ἐσχάτη ὥρα”). Therefore, we know that John first described a time, before he described anti-Christ himself. Although the last hour had begun, John indicated that anti-Christ is coming before the last hour ends.

2.3. Coming. The anti-Christ is coming (1 John 2:18). 3John used the term “ἔρχεται”–present middle/passive indicative, third singular. The present tense indicates he is coming, but he has not arrived yet.

2.4 Many anti-Christs. Using John, God revealed the difference between “many anti-Christs” and “anti-Christ.” The devil is a spiritual person, who may indwell a human being. He may also use his spiritual influence to control people and governments. Likewise, the devil may work through other spirits who obey him (and so disobey God) to control people and governments. Therefore, we must be careful to test the spirits in people and governments to understand their true spiritual purposes. Also, do not forget that spirits are people, even if they do not have a body and have never been human people. All humans have spirits that interact with them. The spirit of anti-Christ will indwell a specific person named anti-Christ in the future, but his spirit will influence many other spirits and humans. The spirits of anti-Christ have already come into the world, but the anti-Christ himself will not be revealed in his true nature until the middle of the Tribulation (a future, seven-year period of intense trouble upon earth).

2.4.1 Anti-Christs. John described many anti-Christs now have become (1 John 2:18). 4John provided: “καὶ νῦν ἀντίχριστοι πολλοὶ γεγόνασιν.” This group of anti-Christs, coming in succession, would fit well with the use of “anti” meaning one replaced by another. Please recall that Jesus said a kingdom divided against itself cannot stand, referring to the allegation that Jesus was casting out demons by the ruler of demons (Luke 11:15). Therefore, it seems unlikely that they would be fighting each other (unless it is a unified plan of destruction), but rather they appeared in succession, one after another. Because John spoke about many present anti-Christs, you have many anti-Christs succeeding one another. Of course, nations will rise against nations, but the overall plan of the devil will be to oppose Christ in every way, including His Person, His People, and His Plans.

2.4.2 Become. One mark of anti-Christs is they have become anti-Christs (1 John 2:18). 5John used the term “γεγόνασιν’–perfect active indicative, third plural. They did not start out as anti-Christs, they become anti-Christs. By using the perfect tense “have become,” they became anti-Christs and they continue in the class of anti-Christs. Saints never lose their salvation, but unbelievers always show their true spiritual colors.

2.4.3 From Us. The anti-Christs went out from us (1 John 2:19). 6John provided: “ἐξ ἡμῶν ἐξῆλθαν”. John indicated that the anti-Christs were not of (ἐξ) us, in the sense they were among saints. They went out from (ἐξῆλθαν) us, demonstrating they were never saints, but became anti-Christs when they went out from us to oppose Christ. Many anti-Christs come out from local assemblies, speaking perverse things, to draw people after them (Acts 20:30). They seek to make disciples. If they were truly of (ἐξ) us, they would have abided with us (1 John 2:19). If someone does not abide in Christ, they are cast out and burned (John 15:6).

2.4.4 The Anointing. All saints have an anointing from the Holy One, which all saints know (1 John 2:20). 7John provided: “καὶ ὑμεῖς χρῖσμα ἔχετε ἀπὸ τοῦ ἁγίου καὶ οἴδατε πάντες” (1 John 2:20). The anointing provides protection from the anti-Christs. Because of the anointing which every saint has, they know the truth. Every (πᾶν) lie (ψεῦδος) is not of (ἐκ) the truth (1 John 2:21).  By knowing the truth, the saints are able to identify lies.

2.5 Summary of the Last Hour.

The anti-Christ is coming, implying he was not there at the time John wrote the epistle in the first century A.D.

 The anti-Christ is a specific person.

  The anti-Christs (plural) are specific people.

  People become anti-Christs, they are not born anti-Christs.

 The anti-Christs will go out of us.

 The anti-Christs were never one one of us.

 The anti-Christs would have abided with us, if they were truly of us.

 The anti-Christ will be preceded by many anti-Christs.

All saints have the anointing from the Holy One and they know the truth.

Section Three

The liar

3.1 Liar. John described the anti-Christ as the liar.

Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son.

1 John 2:21

No lie is of the truth (1 John 2:21). 8John provided: οὐκ ἔγραψα ὑμῖν ὅτι οὐκ οἴδατε τὴν ἀλήθειαν ἀλλ’ ὅτι οἴδατε αὐτὴν καὶ ὅτι πᾶν ψεῦδος ἐκ τῆς ἀληθείας οὐκ ἔστιν. Lies and truth do not mix.

3.2 Denies the Truth. The anti-Christ denies the truth. 9John provided: Τίς ἐστιν ὁ ψεύστης εἰ μὴ ὁ ἀρνούμενος ὅτι Ἰησοῦς οὐκ ἔστιν ὁ Χριστός; οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ ἀντίχριστος, ὁ ἀρνούμενος τὸν πατέρα καὶ τὸν υἱόν (1 John 2:22). Every lie is not of the truth. The anti-Christ is the liar, denying: (1) Jesus is the Christ; and (2) the Father and the Son (1 John 2:22). We know that the devil has no truth in him, he speaks lies, he speaks from his own, he is a liar and the father of lies (John 8:44). Therefore, this verse forms the link between the father of lies (the devil) and the anti-Christs who speak lies. The anti-Christ will also be a liar and related to the father of lies. Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father. The one who confesses the Son has the Father also. Therefore, presumptively, anti-Christ was not at work at any time before Jesus took flesh, because that is what anti-Christ denies.

3.3 Summary of the Liar.

 No lie is of the truth.

 anti-Christs deny the truth.

 The anti-Christ is the liar.

 The anti-Christ denies Jesus is the Christ.

 The anti-Christ denies the Father and the Son.

 The devil is the father of lies.

 The devil has no truth in him.

Section Four

No Confession

4.1 The spirit of anti-Christ and the spirits of anti-Christ. Before the anti-Christ himself appears in the world, he sends the spirits of anti-Christ to attack and control the world.

and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world.

1 John 4:3

The spirit of anti-Christ fills people and controls their evil behavior. 10John provided: καὶ πᾶν πνεῦμα ὃ μὴ ὁμολογεῖ τὸν Ἰησοῦν ἐκ τοῦ θεοῦ οὐκ ἔστιν· καὶ τοῦτό ἐστιν τὸ τοῦ ἀντιχρίστου ὃ ἀκηκόατε ὅτι ἔρχεται, καὶ νῦν ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ ἐστὶν ἤδη (1 John 4:3).

4.2 False Prophets. False prophets have a false spirit. Saints must test the spirits to identify the many false prophets with false spirits which have gone out into the world  (1 John 4:1). 11God revealed that the false prophets have false spirits (τὰ πνεύματα).

4.3 The Testing the spirits. Saints must test all the spirits using the following questions.12The saints must test ( δοκιμάζετε) all (παντὶ) the spirits before they believe any of them. In other words, merely looking at people will not reveal the spirits at work in people.

4.3.1 Confession of Jesus Christ. Does the spirit confess that Jesus Christ has come into the world? (1 John 4:2). 13John provided: ἐν τούτῳ γινώσκετε τὸ πνεῦμα τοῦ θεοῦ· πᾶν πνεῦμα ὃ ὁμολογεῖ Ἰησοῦν Χριστὸν ἐν σαρκὶ ἐληλυθότα ἐκ τοῦ θεοῦ ἐστιν. If so, that spirit is of God. If not, then that spirit is a false prophet and the spirit of anti-Christ lives in him.

4.3.2 Confession that Jesus Is from God. Does the spirit confess Jesus? 14καὶ πᾶν πνεῦμα ὃ μὴ ὁμολογεῖ τὸν Ἰησοῦν ἐκ τοῦ θεοῦ οὐκ ἔστιν· καὶ τοῦτό ἐστιν τὸ τοῦ ἀντιχρίστου ὃ ἀκηκόατε ὅτι ἔρχεται, καὶ νῦν ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ ἐστὶν ἤδη. If the spirit does not confess Jesus, then that spirit is the spirit of anti-Christ.

4.3.3 World Listens to anti-Christs. Does the world listen to the anti-Christs? If the world listens to the anti-Christs, then we know they are anti-Christs. If the spirit listens to the apostles of Jesus Christ, then we know that spirit is of God. The anti-Christs do not listen to the apostles. 15John provided: ἡμεῖς ἐκ τοῦ θεοῦ ἐσμεν· ὁ γινώσκων τὸν θεὸν ἀκούει ἡμῶν· ὃς οὐκ ἔστιν ἐκ τοῦ θεοῦ οὐκ ἀκούει ἡμῶν. ἐκ τούτου γινώσκομεν τὸ πνεῦμα τῆς ἀληθείας καὶ τὸ πνεῦμα τῆς πλάνης.

4.4 The spirit of anti-Christ. The spirit of anti-Christ was coming into the world in the early church. In fact, it was already in the world (1 John 4:3). 16John provided: καὶ πᾶν πνεῦμα ὃ μὴ ὁμολογεῖ τὸν Ἰησοῦν ἐκ τοῦ θεοῦ οὐκ ἔστιν· καὶ τοῦτό ἐστιν τὸ τοῦ ἀντιχρίστου ὃ ἀκηκόατε ὅτι ἔρχεται, καὶ νῦν ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ ἐστὶν ἤδη. Therefore, the spirit of anti-Christ came into the world before the anti-Christ himself comes into the world. 17God revealed that “the” (“τὸ”) of the anti-Christ is “the” (ὃ) which comes into the world. The τὸ in 1 John 4:3 describes the spirit of anti-Christ himself at work in the spirits who do not confess Jesus and those spirits are not from God. In 1 John 4:4, the first ὃ relates back to the τὸ of the preceding verse and describes the one who comes (ἔρχεται) and now is in the world already. The term term “comes” (ἔρχεται–present middle/passive indicative, third singular). John used this term ἔρχεται referring to things happening now. John also used ἔρχεται to describe things coming in the future (1 John 2:18;  2 John 1:10; Revelation 1:7; 9:12; 11:14). John drew a distinction between (1) anti-Christ  comes (ἔρχεται); and (2) now (νῦν) many anti-Christs have arisen (γεγόνασιν–perfect active indicative, third plural) (1 John 2:18). John drew that same distinction in 1 John 4:3, between (1) the spirit of anti-Christ comes (ἔρχεται); and (2) already now (νῦν) in the world is (ἐστὶν) already (ἤδη).  Notice that in 1 John 2:18 anti-Christ himself comes, and in 1 John 4:3 the spirit of anti-Christ comes.

4.5 The Time of anti-Christ. The spirit of anti-Christ is already in the world influencing many false prophets, but anti-Christ himself indwelling a body and influencing future governments has not yet arrived. The work of anti-Christ focuses upon denying that Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ. Therefore, the work of anti-Christ begins at the incarnation. To be clear, the person and work of anti-Christ may be revealed in the time before the incarnation of the Son of God, but his work focuses upon denying that the Christ has come in the flesh. Therefore, Antiochus Epiphanes cannot be the anti-Christ, because Jesus had not yet taken flesh. Likewise, when considering the prophecies of the Old Testament, only those prophecies describing a time after the incarnation may apply to anti-Christ.

4.6 Summary of No Confession.

The anti-Christ sends many anti-Christs into the world before he makes his personal appearance in the world.

The false prophets have false spirits and work in league with the anti-Christ.

The saints must test the spirits to see if they are of God.

The spirit of anti-Christ is coming into the world, but also has already come into the world.

The work of anti-Christ opposes the incarnation of Jesus.

Section Five

The deceiver

5.1 The Deceiver and anti-Christ. Many deceivers have come out into the world.

For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist.

2 John 1:7 

They do not confess Jesus Christ coming in the flesh. The one who does not confess Jesus Christ coming in the flesh is the deceiver and the anti-Christ (2 John 1:7). 18John provided: Ὅτι πολλοὶ πλάνοι ἐξῆλθον εἰς τὸν κόσμον, οἱ μὴ ὁμολογοῦντες Ἰησοῦν Χριστὸν ἐρχόμενον ἐν σαρκί· οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ πλάνος καὶ ὁ ἀντίχριστος. Many deceivers have come out into the world. John does not signal that the deceiver himself has entered the world in the flesh, because he is referring to many deceivers (plural). They work with the spirit of anti-Christ, but the arrival of the anti-Christ in bodily form upon the earth remains future. Remember that the Jews rejected Jesus as Savior, in part, because they understood Jesus was a man, and therefore, because He was a man, falsely concluded He could not be God (John 10:33; see Jesus and the Incarnation). anti-Christ will display himself as God, falsely claiming to be God in the flesh when he displays himself as God (2 Thessalonians 2:4). The timing of the revelation of Jesus and the anti-Christ remains crucial. The deceivers going into the world were from us, but they went out from us, because they were not of us. We know that many anti-Christs have gone out into the world to deceive as many people as possible. The revelation of the anti-Christ occurs when he sets up the abomination in the temple, setting himself up as God in the flesh and he will deceive many people.

5.2 Summary of the deceiver.

The one who does not confess Jesus Christ coming in the flesh is the deceiver and the anti-Christ.

The arrival of the anti-Christ remains yet future, but will happen during the Tribulation.

Section Six

The man of lawlessness

6.1 The Coming of the Lawless one. Paul warned the Thessalonians that they should not be disturbed or shaken when some people falsely claim that Jesus has returned and they missed it. To reassure the Thessalonians, Paul reminded them that several events must take place before the appearing of Jesus (2 Thessalonians 2:3).

6.1.1. Apostasy. First, the apostasy must come before the appearing of Jesus (2 Thessalonians 2:3). 19Paul provided: Μή τις ὑμᾶς ἐξαπατήσῃ κατὰ μηδένα τρόπον. ὅτι ἐὰν μὴ ἔλθῃ ἡ ἀποστασία πρῶτον καὶ ἀποκαλυφθῇ ὁ ἄνθρωπος τῆς ἀνομίας, ὁ υἱὸς τῆς ἀπωλείας. The man of lawlessness will only be revealed after a time of significant apostasy. The time of apostasy will be clearly evident, because Paul implied the Thessalonians had not seen that apostasy yet. The Jews alleged that Paul taught apostasy (ἀποστασίαν) because he taught people not to circumcise their children nor to follow Jewish customs (Acts 21:21). Therefore, the apostasy at issue would be wide-spread teaching contrary to Scripture, particularly aimed at immature Christians. Such apostasy fits well with the work of anti-Christ who works primarily as a deceiver.

6.1.2 Revealed. Second, the man of lawlessness must be revealed (2 Thessalonians 2:3). The man of lawlessness may be working before he is revealed, but the revelation had not happened by the time of writing of 2 Thessalonians. 20Paul used the term ἀποκαλυφθῇ–aorist passive subjunctive, third singular, indicating he likely did not reveal himself, but someone else revealed him, because the middle voice was not used, however, this passive voice is not conclusive. When he is revealed, he is revealed with particular titles highly descriptive of his work. God chose the title man of lawlessness (ἄνθρωπος τῆς ἀνομίας), meaning he had no regard for religious laws. He also had no regard for civil laws. Jesus described the scribes and Pharisees as hypocrites, because they outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwards are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness (ἀνομίας) (Matthew 23:28). These men claimed strict adherence to the Mosaic law, but actually they were lawless.  This characteristic hypocrisy of outward righteousness, but inward lawlessness, characterizes anti-Christ. As the great deceiver, he will appear to be a religious man at first, but later will be revealed for what he truly is, lawless.

6.1.3 In his Time. Third, the man of lawlessness will be revealed in his time (ἐν τῷ ἑαυτοῦ καιρῷ) (2 Thessalonians 2:6). Paul described a particular epoch (καιρῷ) as the time of anti-Christ. When satan is cast out of heaven, he knows he will have only a little epoch (ὀλίγον καιρὸν) to act upon the earth (Revelation 12:12). Paul said that the Thessalonians already knew about the times (τῶν χρόνων) and the epochs (τῶν καιρῶν), because they knew that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. Paul implied that the day of the Lord provided an anchor for the timeline of all prophetic events (1 Thessalonians 5:9).

6.1.4 The son of Destruction. God also described the man of lawlessness as the son of destruction (ὁ υἱὸς τῆς ἀπωλείας) (2 Thessalonians 2:3). Earlier, Jesus described Judas Iscariot at the son of destruction (John 17:12). Notice the contrast between man and son here. Jesus is the Man of Sorrows (אִ֥ישׁ מַכְאֹב֖וֹת) and Son of Man (בַ֥ר אֱנָ֖שׁ–Aramaic, Daniel 7:13; Υἱὸς  τοῦ ἀνθρώπου, Matthew 10:23) and the Son of God.

6.2 The Works of the man of Lawlessness. The man of lawlessness promotes lawlessness and destruction.

6.2.1 Opposes and Exalts. The man of lawlessness opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship (2 Thessalonians 2:4). At first glance, some people may claim that anti-Christ himself will claim to be the Christ, and establish a covenant with Israel. They further claim that anti-Christ denies Jesus of Nazareth was the Christ for the purpose of presenting himself in the temple as the Christ, thus fulfilling the prophecies concerning the Christ. One major problem with the anti-Christ presenting himself as the Christ of prophecy is that the anti-Christ does not serve the God of the fathers of Israel. He shows no regard for the gods of his fathers or any god. He serves a god of fortresses (Daniel 11:38-39). 21One may argue that the anti-Christ pretends to be the Christ at the beginning of his rise to power, establishes the covenant with Israel in the beginning of the Tribulation (the seventieth week of Daniel 9:27), and then reveals his true nature in the middle of the Tribulation, displaying himself as God in the temple. To support such a view, clear textual support would be required. The rise of anti-Christ relates to a prince arising from the people who will come, apparently the Romans. The Romans were not noted for worshiping the God of Israel, but a pantheon of false gods who are no gods at all. Anti-Christ comes and takes power with a small force and deception. Some of the prophecies of Daniel apply to historical figures appearing before the incarnation of the Son of God, but they also describe the work of anti-Christ in the future after the incarnation of the Son of God.

6.2.2 Seat in the Temple of God. The man of lawlessness takes his seat in the temple of God (2 Thessalonians 2:4).

6.2.3 Displaying himself. The man of lawlessness displays himself as God (2 Thessalonians 2:4).

6.3 Restrains. Today the man of lawlessness is restrained (κατέχων), but in the future time he will be revealed (2 Thessalonians 2:6). 22Paul provided: τὸ γὰρ μυστήριον ἤδη ἐνεργεῖται τῆς ἀνομίας· μόνον ὁ κατέχων ἄρτι ἕως ἐκ μέσου γένηται. Paul identified the restrainer as ὁ κατέχων–definite article with the present active participle, nominative masculine singular. Paul then described the time element with the term  “ἄρτι,” providing a contrast with ἕως signaling that the man of lawlessness out of the midst becomes. He does not come from outside, he becomes anti-Christ from inside the saints, although he was never a saint himself, but a liar and deceiver. While satan remains in heaven, he appears restrained. When he is cast out of heaven, he goes out from heaven unrestrained, knowing he has only a little time. In the middle of the Tribulation, the man of lawlessness will be revealed, and he will take his seat in the temple, falsely displaying himself as God. It appears that time coincides with satan being cast out of heaven (Revelation 12:12) and his descent to earth. Having left heaven, he is unrestrained in his evil, which has not been seen before nor will be seen again. God shortened the unrestrained reign of satan upon earth through the anti-Christ, whose coming is in accord with the activity of satan himself in a way never seen before. Therefore, God restrained satan in heaven, but once he was cast out of heaven and into the earth, the time of anti-Christ began with all power and signs and false wonders (2 Thessalonians 2:8-9).

6.4 Mystery of Lawlessness. A mystery in the New Testament describes something hidden in the past before it was revealed in the New Testament through the apostles and prophets (Romans 16:25-27; Ephesians 3:1-7). Therefore, the mystery of lawlessness concerns something that was hidden according to the wisdom of God in the Old Testament before it was revealed in the New Testament. So, any identification of the man of lawlessness with a prophecy from the Old Testament would require clear textual support that it describes people and events after the incarnation of Jesus.

6.5 Summary of the Man of Lawlessness.

The man of lawlessness will be preceded by great apostasy.

The man of lawlessness claims to be one thing, but actually practices great hypocrisy for saying one thing and doing the opposite.

The man of lawlessness will be revealed in his time.

The man of lawlessness was described by God as the son of destruction.

The man of lawlessness promotes lawlessness and destruction.

The man of lawlessness opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship.

The man of lawlessness takes his seat in the temple of God.

The man of lawlessness displays himself as God.

The man of lawlessness is restrained (κατέχων), but in the future time he will be revealed.

The mystery of lawlessness concerns something that was hidden according to the wisdom of God in the Old Testament before it was revealed in the New Testament.

Section Seven

The Names of anti-Christ

The anti-Christ appears in Scripture under different names. The following evidence supports linking anti-Christ to several other names in the Scriptures. Many people link anti-Christ to different names in Scripture, but do not provide textual support from the Scriptures for such identifications. Merely assuming they are the same amounts to eisegesis and should be avoided. Please recall that the term anti-Christ only appears four times in the entire Scriptures. The Scriptures never identify anti-Christ as satan. They are separate persons. Satan had many names associated with him in prophecy including the dragon and the serpent of old (Revelation 20:2). Likewise, the anti-Christ has many names associated with him in Scriptures. The evidence discussed below is by no means exhaustive. I simply chose some evidence to link three names (among many) in Scripture with anti-Christ to illustrate the different names for anti-Christ.

man of lawlessness

7.1 Linking the man of Lawlessness to anti-Christ. What evidence supports linking the man of lawless to anti-Christ? Many people simply identify the man of lawlessness as the anti-Christ without providing a shred of evidence from the Bible for such a conclusion.

7.1.1 Future Appearance. Both the man of lawlessness and the anti-Christ will appear in the future. When Paul wrote 2 Thessalonians 2:8  and John wrote 1 John, neither the anti-Christ nor the man of lawlessness had appeared yet. Therefore, the man of lawlessness links to the anti-Christ because both of them appear in the future with specific prophecies associated with their appearances and those prophecies share many similarities.

7.1.2 Apostasy. The apostasy will precede the appearance of the man of lawlessness (2 Thessalonians 2:3). Jesus prophesied that because lawlessness is increased, many people’s love will grow cold (Matthew 24:12). Because Matthew 24 provides the chronological key to prophecy (see Key to Prophecy), the seven year period of tribulation begins with apostasy and the love of people growing cold. Therefore, the apostasy and lawlessness rising before the appearance of the man of lawlessness links precisely with anti-Christ revealing himself in the temple as God in the middle of the Tribulation (2 Thessalonians 2:4; Matthew 24:15; Daniel 9:27).

7.1.3 Revealed. Both the anti-Christ and the man of lawlessness will be revealed at specific times. Paul wrote that  the appearing of the man of lawlessness will be in accord with the works of satan in all power and signs and wonders false. 23Paul provided: οὗ ἐστιν ἡ παρουσία κατ’ ἐνέργειαν τοῦ σατανᾶ ἐν πάσῃ δυνάμει καὶ σημείοις καὶ τέρασιν ψεύδους (2 Thessalonians 2:9). Likewise, Paul warned the Thessalonians that anti-Christ will be revealed (ἀποκαλυφθῇ) when the restrainer is taken away (2 Thessalonians 2:7-8). John wrote that many deceivers (πλάνοι) have come out  (ἐξῆλθον) into (εἰς) the world (2 John 1:7). They were among us, but they were not of us (1 John 2:19). In that sense, the deceivers came out from us (saints), but they were never saints themselves. John wrote that this (οὗτός–singular) is the deceiver and the anti-Christ, indicating that they were empowered by satan and together as one they are the deceiver and the anti-Christ. John did not mean that the anti-Christ personally has already appeared on earth in the flesh, because the restrainer had not yet been taken away (2 Thessalonians 2:6). Therefore, the man of lawlessness links with anti-Christ because both of them will be revealed at the same time on the prophetic calendar.

7.1.4 Opposes and Exalts. The man of lawlessness takes his seat in the temple and opposes all gods and exalts himself as God (2 Thessalonians 2:4).  Therefore, the man of lawlessness links to the anti-Christ because both of them oppose all other gods and exalt themselves as God.

7.1.5 The Time of anti-Christ. The man of lawlessness will be revealed in his time (καιρῷ) (2 Thessalonians 2:6). That time describes when satan is cast out of heaven (Revelation 12:12). The devil is cast out of heaven to the earth, knowing he has a short time (ὀλίγον καιρὸν) (Revelation 12:12). The devil then empowers the sea beast (the anti-Christ) to display himself as God in the temple while setting up the abomination of desolation (Matthew 24:15; Daniel 9:27; 2 Thessalonians 2:8). 24God described satan persecuting the woman (Israel) for a time, times and half a time, corresponding to three and half years (Revelation 12:13-16). This time of intense persecution of Israel coincides with the one who makes desolate breaking off the covenant with Israel at the mid-point of the Tribulation (Daniel 9:27; 2 Thessalonians 2:4; Matthew 24:15. Notice that the sea beast reigns on earth until a complete destruction is poured out upon him, so that his reign terminates with the parousia of Jesus Christ (Daniel 9:27; Revelation 13:1; 19:20). Therefore, the man of lawlessness links to the anti-Christ because both will be revealed at a specific time and they both know they have a short time to act, which starts at the mid-point of the Tribulation.

7.1.6 The son of destruction. Jesus will slay the man of lawlessness with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming (2 Thessalonians 2:8). Therefore, when combined with Revelation 12, the man of lawlessness is at work during the last half of the Tribulation because Jesus ends (καταργήσει) him by His appearance, which closes out the tribulation and starts the millennial reign of Christ upon earth. The parousia (coming) of the man of lawlessness at the midpoint of the Tribulation (2 Thessalonians 2:9) contrasts sharply with the parousia of Jesus, Who ends the reign of the man of lawlessness by slaying him with the breath of His lips (2 Thessalonians 2:8). Please note that at the parousia of Jesus, the sea beast and the false prophet are seized and put into the Lake of Fire (the second death–Revelation 20:14), where they undergo eternal destruction (Revelation 19:20; see also Matthew 25:41; Jude 1:7; 2 Thessalonians 1:9; Afterlife. Notice that they are personal spirits, not just empires, confederations, or countries (Revelation 19:20).  At that time, the dragon (the devil) is thrown into the abyss (Revelation 20:3), but later he too will be thrown into the Lake of Fire (Revelation 20:10). 25Although it is fairly obvious from the text, we should keep in mind that the dragon goes to the abyss and the sea beast goes directly to the Lake of Fire at the parousia of Jesus. Therefore, the dragon and the sea beast are two distinct figures and should be kept separate, because they are not the same person. Therefore, the man of lawlessness links to the anti-Christ because they both come to an end on earth at the appearing of Jesus.

7.2 Summary of the Links to the man of lawlessness.

Both the man of lawlessness and the anti-Christ will appear in the future at a specific time.

The man of lawlessness links to the anti-Christ because both of them appear in the future with specific prophecies associated with their appearances and those prophecies share many similarities.

The apostasy and lawlessness rising before the appearance of the man of lawlessness links precisely with anti-Christ revealing himself in the temple as God in the middle of the Tribulation.

The man of lawlessness links with anti-Christ because both of them will be revealed at the same time on the prophetic calendar.

The man of lawlessness links to the anti-Christ because both of them oppose all other gods and exalt themselves as God.

The man of lawlessness links to the anti-Christ because both will be revealed at a specific time and they both know they have a short time to act, which starts at the mid-point of the Tribulation.

The man of lawlessness links to the anti-Christ because they both come to an end on earth at the appearing of Jesus.

The sea beast

7.3 The sea beast. John described a future beast rising from the sea (Revelation 13:1). The sea beast had ten horns and seven heads, and on his horns were ten diadems, and on his heads were blasphemous names. He appeared as a leopard, with feet like a bear, and a mouth like a lion (Revelation 13:2). The dragon (satan) gave him his power and his throne and great authority, and so the dragon is not the same as the sea beast (Revelation 13:2). Please avoid the mistake of thinking that the dragon is the same person as the sea beast or the man of lawlessness. At this point, the sea beast may be linked to anti-Christ and to the man of lawlessness, because evidence supports the conclusion that the man of lawlessness is a name for anti-Christ.

7.3.1 The man. While the sea beast possessed some qualities of confederacy of nations or other alliance among groups of people, he is certainly a man, because he has the number of a man (Revelation 13:18). Therefore, the man of lawlessness links with the sea beast because they both have qualities of groups and an individual presence in a man.

7.3.2 The Abyss. The sea beast has qualities of a person who arises from the abyss (Revelation 11:7). In the Old Testament, the sea is source of evil sea monsters in Job 26:12-13; Psalms 74:13-14; 87:4; 89:9-10; Isaiah 27:1; 51:9-10. Paul also linked the abyss with the sea (Romans 10:7, citing Deuteronomy 30:13). Therefore, the abyss links the sea beast to the man of lawlessness through their relationship to the abyss.

7.3.3 Rising. Immediately after satan is cast out of heaven, the sea beast rises from the sea on earth (Revelation 13:1). This timing coincides with the rise of the man of lawlessness at the midpoint of the Tribulation. Therefore, the sea beast links in time with the rising of the man of lawlessness at the mid-point of the Tribulation.

7.3.4 Exalts. When the sea beast arises from the sea, he begins a program of exalting himself on earth, accepting worship and acting with the authority of the dragon (Revelation 13:4). He also exalts himself with his mouth speaking arrogant words and blasphemies against God, to blaspheme His Name and His tabernacle (those who dwell in heaven) (Revelation 13:6). Therefore, the sea beast links with the man of lawlessness because of their shared blasphemy of God and opposition to God, His works, and His people.

7.3.5 War. The sea beast also makes war with the saints and he overcomes them. He gains authority over every tribe, people, tongue and nation on earth, so that everyone on earth worships the sea beast, except those people whose name has been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life (Books of Life) (Revelation 13:7-8). Therefore, the sea beast who imposes his will upon the world so that all unbelievers worship him because he has made war upon the earth and overcomes them links with the man of lawlessness, setting himself as God and imposing his evil will upon all the earth with all power, signs, and wonders.

7.3.6 Lies. The sea beast, through the earth beast (Revelation 13:11-18), also known as the false prophet (Revelation 16:13; 19:20; 20:10), deceived the world, giving them the mark of the beast and causing them to worship him (Revelation 19:20). Therefore, the sea beast links with the man of lawlessness because they both use lies to deceive the world.

7.3.7 Time. The sea beast has authority to act for forty-two months (Revelation 13:5). His reign upon earth ends with the parousia of Christ, and the sea beast is thrown into the Lake of Fire (Revelation 19:19-20). Therefore, the sea beast links with the man of lawlessness because both of them act for three and a half years, and their reign ends with the parousia of Jesus.

7.4 Summary of the Links to the sea beast.

The sea beast may be linked to anti-Christ and to the man of lawlessness, because evidence supports the conclusion that the man of lawlessness is a name for anti-Christ.

The sea beast links with the man of lawlessness because they both have qualities of groups and kingdoms and an individual presence in a man.

The sea beast in the abyss links the sea beast to the man of lawlessness through their relationship to the abyss.

The sea beast links in time with the rising of the man of lawlessness at the mid-point of the Tribulation.

The sea beast links with the man of lawlessness because of their shared blasphemy of God and opposition to God, His works, and His people.

The sea beast who imposes his will upon the world so that all unbelievers worship him because he has made war upon the earth and overcomes them, links with the man of lawlessness, setting himself as God and imposing his evil will upon all the earth with all power, signs, and wonders.

The sea beast links with the man of lawlessness links because they both use lies to deceive the world.

The sea beast links with the man of lawlessness because both of them act for three and a half years, and their reign ends with the parousia of Jesus.

The little horn

7.5 The little horn.  Daniel wrote about the fourth beast with a little horn. He possessed eyes like a man and a mouth uttering great things (Daniel 7:8). Because we reviewed evidence suggesting that the man of lawlessness and the sea beast both link back to anti-Christ, any link between either of them with the little horn of Daniel will link back to anti-Christ.

7.5.1 Time. For a period of forty-two months (time, times, and half a time), the little horn will speak out against the Most High and wear down the saints of the Highest One (Daniel 7:25). Therefore, the little horn links to the sea beast (Revelation 13:5) and the man of lawlessness (2 Thessalonians 2:4) because in the future, during the Tribulation, they both reign for forty-two months upon the earth.

7.5.2 Mouth. The little horn has a mouth uttering great things (Daniel 7:8, 25). Therefore, the little horn links with the man of lawlessness because both of them use their mouths to exalt themselves and speak out against God (see the despicable person who links to the little horn in Daniel 11:20-45).

7.5.3 War. The little horn promotes war, devouring the whole earth and will tread it down and crush it (Daniel 7:23). He also was waging war with the saints and overpowering them (Daniel 7:21). Therefore, the little horn links with the sea beast because they both subdue the whole earth and crush it and make war with the saints, overpowering them.

7.5.6 Destruction. The little horn goes to destruction and his dominion will be taken away, annihilated forever (Daniel 7:26). Therefore, the little horn links with the sea beast and the man of lawlessness because they all go to destruction at the end or three and one half years.

7.5.7 Parousia. The little horn will be ended when the Son of Man receives the kingdom from the Ancient of Days and His eternal kingdom will have no end (Daniel 7:12-13; 26-27).  Therefore, the little horn links with both the sea beast and the man of lawlessness because the parousia of Jesus will signal the end of the little horn’s reign upon the earth.

7.6 Summary of the Links to the little horn.

The little horn links to the sea beast and the man of lawlessness because, in the future, during the Tribulation, they both reign for forty-two months upon the earth.

The little horn links with the man of lawlessness because both of them use their mouths to exalt themselves and speak out against God.

The little horn links with the sea beast because they both subdue the whole earth and crush it and make war with the saints, overpowering them.

The little horn links with the sea beast and the man of lawlessness because they all go to destruction at the end of three and one half years.

The little horn links with both the sea beast and the man of lawlessness because the parousia of Jesus will signal the end of the little horn’s reign upon the earth.

Conclusion

The Scriptures describe anti-Christ as a person who will reign during the last three and one half years of the Tribulation. He has many names in the Scriptures. This study provides an introduction to the identity of anti-Christ and a few of the names God used to describe him and his work. When Jesus returns to earth, He will put an end to anti-Christ and his reign of destruction upon the earth. Jesus will rescue the saints and give them the kingdom of God, which Jesus will inaugurate with His appearance.

HALLELUJAH !

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