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The biblical portrait of the Antichrist has evoked much interest not only in Christian circles but in secular culture, being grist for the mill of movies and bizarre novels. The Antichrist is the ultimate villain, the supreme “black hat” who embodies to the nth degree all that is .

The portrait of the Antichrist is somewhat enigmatic. There is much and debate that focuses upon his role and nature. The term anti- that is used to describe him (or it) can mean either “against” or “in place of.” The Antichrist is one who not only opposes Christ, but seeks to usurp the rightful place of Christ. He seeks to substitute himself for Christ. The Antichrist, therefore, is a false Christ, who seeks to deceive people into thinking that he is the true Christ.

Debate has ensued about the identity of the Antichrist. Is the Antichrist a person, a power, or an institution? Is the Antichrist a religious or a political figure, or both? Is there only one Antichrist, or are there many? The Antichrist has been identified at times by as a particular person in history such as , Hitler, and , just to name a few. Many have identified the of Rome as the institution of antichrist, while others look to a yet unrevealed figure or power to be the Antichrist.

speaks of “many antichrists” (1 2:18) and of the “spirit of Antichrist” that was “already in the world” (1 4:3). We can conclude from this that during the period between the apostolic age and the return of Christ there are to be many manifestations of antichrist, at least in spirit and power.

The indicates that a special manifestation of antichrist will appear before the final . This “man of ” will come in accordance with the working of and will have his seal of power in the “temple of ” (2 2:1–12). Some believe this can only occur if temple worship is restored to the nation of , others interpret it as a reference to an appearance in the New Testament “temple,” the .

The coming of the Antichrist is linked with a great apostasy in the . Perhaps an alliance between secular and religious institutions is in view. The goal of the Antichrist is to make war on the people of God and to seek the destruction of Christ and His . The assures us, however, that despite the tremendous power and influence of the Antichrist, his defeat, , and doom are sure. He is no match, in the final analysis, for the true and living Christ.

Summary

  1. The Antichrist works both “against” and “in place of” Christ.
  2. Antichrist has been manifested throughout in persons and institutions.
  3. The Bible foretells a special manifestation of antichrist with extraordinary power and influence at the end of the age.
  4. The Antichrist will be defeated by Christ.

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