I’m going to annoy you today.
Yesterday I teased you that I’d be revealing the Antichrist.
And there you were up early this morning refreshing the page every second just waiting until this post appeared.
And still no identification?! No name, no picture, no Facebook page.
Sorry to disappoint you, but I’m only following the Scriptural precedent of describing the characteristics to look out for rather than the Antichrist’s name and address.
But stay with me because you need to know what to look out for and, who knows, maybe someone will read the seven characteristics and think, “Hey I know that guy!” And remember, although THE Antichrist may not yet have arisen, John warns us that there are many antichrists already in the world. So what are we looking for?
He is Lawless
Paul calls him “The Man of Sin,” literally “The Man of Lawlessness” (2 Thess. 2:3). He will disregard God’s Word and God’s law and replace it with his own arbitrary laws. He will re-define what is evil and what is good. He will promote doctrinal and ethical lawlessness.
He is a Destroyer
In the same verse, Paul names Antichrist as “the son of perdition,” meaning “son of destruction.” He will physically destroy those who oppose him; he will spiritually and eternally destroy all who believe him and follow him.
He Opposes God
“He opposes and exalts himself against all that is called God” (v. 4). Well, that doesn’t help much, does it? Half the world oppose God and exalt themselves over Him. But what’s unique about this opposition is that the Antichrist opposes mainly by substitution.
He is a Substitute
As “Anti” can mean “instead of” as well as “against,” Antichrist can mean “replacement Christ,” “instead of Christ,” “substitute for Christ.” Paul confirms this when he says that the Antichrist “sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God” (2 Thess. 2:4). This is not necessarily an enemy from outside the church, but from inside it. He opposes Christ by replacing him, by taking Christ’s titles, worship, and roles.
He is a Deceiver
The only other person called “the son of perdition” was Judas (John 17:12). Under cover of professing to be a friend of Christ, He tried to destroy Christ. This theme of deception is taken up by Jesus, Paul, and John when describing the Antichrist. In fact, the dominant message from passages dealing with the Antichrist is, “Don’t be deceived!” Just as Satan rarely comes painted red with horns, a fork, and a pointy tail, the Antichrist will not come with a big “A” on his forehead. Like Satan, he will come with false signs, wonders, and miracles; he will be so plausible and persuasive that, if it were possible, He would deceive even the elect (Matt. 24:24).
He is a Heretic
John’s main concern with the Antichrist is his promotion of false doctrine surrounding the person and work of Christ (1 John 4:3; 2 John 7). Just like the mini-antichrists in John’s day, THE ultimate Antichrist will not deny everything about Christ, but just enough to undermine the power of Christ’s gracious salvation.
He is a Politician
While Daniel and Revelation confirm and expand upon these six characteristics, their main emphasis is on the political nature of the Antichrist. He will head up a kingdom, even an empire, similar to other nation states or empires. These books also make clear that this aspect of Antichrist’s work will become clearer and clearer nearer the end of time. Deception will be replaced with destruction, fraud will give way to force, the wolf in sheep’s clothing will shed his fleece and bare his fangs.
Serious, scary stuff, isn’t it?
Yes, but forewarned is forearmed, and, as I’ll explain tomorrow, while God sends us this warning in His love, He also sends a ton of comfort as well.
In the meantime, any other marks and characteristics that I’ve missed?