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The Deception of the Antichrist
In the last days, the Antichrist will offer himself as a replacement for Jesus Christ
You might be surprised to know the title “Antichrist” isn’t used very much in Scripture. In fact, the New King James Version of the Bible, which I prefer, only has four uses of the word. All of these occur in 1 and 2 John.
Only two of these uses represent a title: The Antichrist. Here they are:
Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour.—1 John 2:18
…and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.—1 John 4:3
Of course, the number of times a word is used in the Bible is not necessarily a measure of its importance. After all, the word “Trinity” is not used in the Bible at all—even though the doctrine of the Trinity is central to Christianity.
So even though “Antichrist” with a capital A is rare in the Bible, there are plenty of teachings about this evil individual. Some Bible scholars have catalogued as many as 38 different biblical names or phrases to describe the Antichrist.
Here are a few of them. This is an incomplete list but should give you an idea of the different ways the Bible refers to him:
The King of Assyriah
Therefore it shall come to pass, when the Lord has performed all His work on Mount Zion and on Jerusalem, that He will say, “I will punish the fruit of the arrogant heart of the king of Assyria, and the glory of his haughty looks.”—Isaiah 10:12
The Little Horn
I was considering the horns, and there was another horn, a little one, coming up among them, before whom three of the first horns were plucked out by the roots. And there, in this horn, were eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking pompous words.—Daniel 7:8
The Prince Who is to Come
And after the sixty-two weeks
Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself;
And the people of the prince who is to come
Shall destroy the city and the sanctuary.
The end of it shall be with a flood,
And till the end of the war desolations are determined.
A Vile Person
And in his place shall arise a vile person, to whom they will not give the honor of royalty; but he shall come in peaceably, and seize the kingdom by intrigue.—Daniel 11:21
Then the king shall do according to his own will: he shall exalt and magnify himself above every god, shall speak blasphemies against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the wrath has been accomplished; for what has been determined shall be done.—Daniel 11:36
The Worthless Shepherd
For indeed I will raise up a shepherd in the land who will not care for those who are cut off, nor seek the young, nor heal those that are broken, nor feed those that still stand. But he will eat the flesh of the fat and tear their hooves in pieces.
17 Woe to the worthless shepherd,
Who leaves the flock!
A sword shall be against his arm
And against his right eye;
His arm shall completely wither,
And his right eye shall be totally blinded.
The Man of Sin and Son of Perdition
Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, 4 who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.—2 Thessalonians 2:3-4
When they finish their testimony, the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit will make war against them, overcome them, and kill them.—Revelation 11:7
A Deceptive Alternative to Christ
As you can see, while the term “Antichrist” is used infrequently in the Bible, the concept and person of the Antichrist is a prevalent theme. In all instances, these passages and title have one common characteristic:
They are about deception.
If I were to tell you a person was “anti,” what would that imply? It means being against or in opposition to something. An antisemite is someone who is prejudiced against Jewish people. An antiterrorism operative is someone who focuses specifically on preventing terrorism.
Obviously someone who is “antichrist” would be a person set against or opposed to Jesus Christ. But being “anti” can also mean replacing something, or instead of. In the case of the Antichrist, he isn’t just opposed to Jesus, but he will present himself to the world as the alternative to Christ. Through this deception, many will believe and follow him.
Against the Law
I mentioned 2 Thessalonians above, in which Paul refers to the Antichrist as “the man of sin” and “the son of perdition.” In a later passage, he also calls the Antichrist “the lawless one,” which is in keeping with the other biblical names for this powerful individual:
And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming.—2 Thessalonians 2:8
The Greek word that we translate into “lawless” is the word anomia. This word is used 13 times in the New Testament, and it describes the condition of being without the law or having a contempt for the law. It can be used to describe someone who is ignorant of the law, but it usually describes someone who violates the law willingly.
In this verse, Paul describes a person who knowingly and intentionally opposes God’s law, or a person who opposes God’s Word as we know it in the Bible. As a consequence, this “lawless one” directly disobeys God and the Word, which is Jesus Christ (see John 1).
Opposed to God
Many people will be antichrists with a little “a”—they will oppose Jesus in some way or another—but only one man will be the Antichrist with a capital “A.” This man will be diametrically opposed to God and His Son, Jesus Christ. In fact, we could say he will be Satan incarnate. He will be antithetical to the Word of God.
I mean that literally. The Antichrist will tell people that he is God incarnate and offer himself as the replacement for Jesus Christ. He will demand to be worshiped, sitting as God in the temple in Jerusalem. He will promise peace and even bring peace on a temporary basis, but he will only be a counterfeit messiah in partnership with Satan.
If you are a regular reader of this site, you know I believe we are seeing our world quickly moving, day by day, toward the events of the end times and the revelation of the Antichrist. Satan will never win, but he is always working against God. His strategy is to pour out his deception upon the world, preparing it for an all-out rebellion against God.
Satan is known in Scripture as the Deceiver. The Antichrist will also be a great deceiver. Both will deceive people with the ideas that sin isn’t real and there is no need to fear God—or that idea that God doesn’t exist at all!
So far, this strategy has had great success. As we get closer to the end, the deception will become even greater. I am thankful that God has shared so much with us about the Antichrist in the Bible so that we may be watchful and wary.