What You Need to Know About the Antichrist

Posted on May 19, 2021


By David Ettinger

An Eye-Opener
Eyes tend to grow a bit wider whenever they scan the word “Antichrist.” Perhaps yours do as well. This is understandable as the word invokes images of a fierce ruler who will wreak havoc, death, and destruction upon the earth.

According to the Bible, this is precisely what this future monarch will do. In fact, the Bible has much to say about the Antichrist, and I believe we are nearing his time. With this in mind, let’s take a quick look at what the Bible says about the Antichrist.

Though books have been written about him, all I can do here is give you a brief overview, noting biblical references you can study on your own. This article will survey Antichrist passages, what he will be like, where he will come from, and how you will recognize him.

Where He is Mentioned, What He Will Be Like
In Scripture, the word “anti” means not only “being against” something, but also “in place of.” Therefore, the Antichrist will be both against Jesus Christ and claim to be the true Christ (the word “Christ” means “anointed” or “chosen one”).

The foremost Antichrist passage is 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4:

Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.

This passage teaches several things: 1) The Antichrist will have no regard for civil law. 2) His end is determined. 3) He will be both against and declare himself in place of God. 4) He will set up an image for himself in Israel’s rebuilt temple. 5) He will call himself “God.”

Other major Antichrist passages are:

Daniel 7:24: “The ten horns are ten kings who will come from this kingdom. After them another king will arise, different from the earlier ones; he will subdue three kings.” Daniel 9:24-27 tells us that this current era of human history will come down to 7 final, climactic years. During this time, a world government will be established consisting of 10 regional rulers. The Antichrist will not be one of them, but will persuade 3 rulers to give their authority to him.

Revelation 13:3: “One of the heads of the beast seemed to have had a fatal wound, but the fatal wound had been healed. The whole world was filled with wonder and followed the beast.” What will cause the world to follow after – even worship – the Antichrist? He will suffer some type of severe affliction which will either kill him, or appear to kill him. Empowered by Satan, the Antichrist (before his rise to power) will fully recover from this “fatal” wound. This seeming miracle will astound much of the world, which will in turn give him its allegiance.

Daniel 7:25: “He will speak against the Most High and oppress his holy people and try to change the set times and the laws. The holy people will be delivered into his hands for a time, times and half a time.” Antichrist will openly blaspheme God. He will wage full-out war against the “holy people” – Christians and Jews – and abolish their holy days. Most notably, the last sentence clearly tells us that the Antichrist will kill both Christians and Jews. The term “time [1 year], times [2 years], and half a time” equals 3½ years.

Revelation 13:5, 7: “The beast [the Antichrist] was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise its authority for forty-two months. … It was given power to wage war against God’s holy people and to conquer them. And it was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation.” This complements Daniel 7:25. The Antichrist will blaspheme God. His reign of power will last 3½ years (42 months). He will be permitted, for this limited period, to massacre Christians and Jews. His authority will be worldwide.

Where Will He Come From?
For centuries, it was believed the Antichrist would emerge from a revived Roman Empire, but this view is being increasingly challenged by Bible scholars. The rise to prominence of Turkey, Syria, Iran, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia (because of oil) in the middle of the 20th century, along with Israel’s “rebirth” as a nation in 1948, has cast doubt on the “European Antichrist” notion.

Daniel Chapter 8, which concerns the Greek Empire (330-63 B.C.), is crucial. Following the death of Alexander the Great – who had no legitimate heir – the empire was divided among his four generals. The region of Israel, Syria, and Mesopotamia was given to General Seleucus. Many years later this region came under the control of Antiochus Ephiphanes (175-164 B.C.), who became one of Israel’s most brutal persecutors.

Antiochus’ oppression of Israel is laid out in verses 9-14 and 23-25. Among his atrocities, Antiochus blasphemed God, forbade the Jews from worshiping God, proclaimed himself God (“Ephiphanes” means “God Manifest”), desecrated the Temple, and murdered multitudes of Jews. In essence, on a geographically smaller level, he did everything the Antichrist will do on a worldwide level. Bible scholars agree that Antiochus Epiphanes is a forerunner, or foreshadow, of the Antichrist.

Also, Antiochus’ headquarters was in the Middle East, not Europe. If Antiochus is the forerunner of the Antichrist, logic dictates that the Antichrist follows in Antiochus’ train and emerges from the same part of the world. If this is the case (and for many other reasons space won’t allow for here), the Antichrist will be a native of the Middle East and either a proclaimed Muslim or someone with strong Islamic allegiances.[1]

This makes sense in light of the world’s current penchant for proclaiming Islam a “religion of peace.” The world will embrace a charismatic leader from the Middle East who will promise to harness the destructiveness of extreme Islam. This man will be able to curb the actions of terrorist groups, something a European leader could never do. Because of this, the world will make a beeline to his door.

How Will You Recognize Him?
The key here, of course, is Israel, and the key to understanding Israel’s role in all this is Daniel 9:24-27. This is the section of the Bible which introduces us to the final 7 years of this era of human history and “the ruler who will come [the Antichrist]” (v. 26). Verse 27 tells us that Israel will also align herself with this charismatic Middle Eastern (possibly Muslim) leader: “He [the Antichrist] will confirm a covenant with many [not all, but most Israelis] for one ‘seven.’” The question is, why will Israel sign a pact with a leader with Islamic ties?

First, Israel is primarily a Jewish nation in “name only” and is far more secular than religious. Second, Israel’s modern history has been scarred by war after war, bombing after bombing, attack after attack, and heartache after heartache. Third, Israel continues to become more abhorred by the nations of the world, and is being increasingly isolated. America could one day join the list of Israel’s deserters, and the time could soon be coming when Israel will stand alone.

Tired of war, being hated, and fearing for her survival, she will enter into a seven-year agreement with a world leader who will promise her peace if she will turn her authority – as well as her military – over to him. This will happen. Ezekiel 38:11 shockingly describes near-future Israel as “a land of unwalled villages … a peaceful and unsuspecting people – all of them living without walls and without gates and bars.” This is extraordinary considering Israel is perhaps the most powerful fighting force on Earth in proportion to size.

This 7-year covenant, however, will fail. (The prophet Isaiah refers to it as a “covenant with death,” 28:15, 18). When will it fail? At the 3½-year point: “He [the Antichrist] will confirm a covenant with many [in Israel] for one ‘seven.’ In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And at the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him” (Daniel 9:27).

So, how will you recognize the Antichrist? You will recognize him when an Islamic-affiliated leader makes a 7-year peace agreement with Israel. When this occurs, you will know who the Antichrist is, and that we have entered the final 7 years of this era of human history.

A Golden Opportunity
This is a lot to digest, and is disturbing. I don’t know how near we are to the fulfillment of these biblical prophecies, but they are coming. If we are the generation which enters this cataclysmic time, view it as a golden opportunity to stand for Christ as never before. Light shines brightest in deepest darkness. No matter what happens, never forget that your ultimate destiny is eternity with Christ. Until then, do the work Christ has called you to do, and sound the warning to whoever will listen. Christ is coming soon, and with Him His glorious salvation!

David Ettinger is a writer/editor at Zion’s Hope, Inc., and has written for Zion’s Fire magazine since its inception in 1990.

[1] For more on this, listen to John MacArthur’s sermon, “Islam and the Antichrist,” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2sci_WFp8ec

* I also recommend Joel Richardson’s book, The Islamic Antichrist.