Is the antichrist just a mythical figure or is he someone we can identify through Bible Prophecy?
Podcast Transcript: To listen to the full episode click HERE
If you have been listening to this podcast over the past several months you have probably noticed that we have danced around the topic of Antichrist on several different episodes now, and some of you have probably been wondering if we were ever going to address it directly. If that is the case, this is the episode you have been waiting for. And if this is your first time listening I definitely encourage you to go back – particularly to episodes 17, 22, 25, and 27.
So for this episode, I decided to try an experiment. What would happen if we started our discussion on the antichrist by simply googling it and seeing what we can discover from the first page of hits? I mean who doesn’t go to google when searching for information? I know I do almost every day. So are you curious what I discovered?
Well not surprisingly the #1 ranking website that pops up is Wikipedia; and so this is what Wikipedia had to say:
“In Christian eschatology, the Antichrist is someone recognized as fulfilling the Biblical prophecies about one who will oppose Christ and substitute himself in Christ’s place before the Second Coming.”
This was by far the most balanced definition I found on the first page.
The 2nd hit on google was for a 2009 movie entitled “Antichrist”
that upon inspection appears to be a graphic horror movie with gnostic influences that have little or nothing to do with biblical prophetic themes. Enough said about that.
The #3 ranking hit was from Britannica.com and here is what they had to say:
“Antichrist, the polar opposite and ultimate enemy of Christ. According to Christian tradition, he will reign terribly in the period prior to the Last Judgment. The Antichrist first appeared in the epistles of St. John, and the fully developed story of Antichrist’s life and reign is found in medieval texts.”
The emphasis here was clearly more on extra-biblical source material.
Hits 4-6 surprisingly were pretty bland. However, #7 hits the current events jackpot.
In this article the author boldly states, “America is ready for the end times” and keenly points back to the bizarre forces at work during the 2016 US presidential election that inspired both sides of the aisle to point the other as supporting antichrist as their candidate of choice. And here is the key takeaway quote from the article:
“Lacking textual anchors, those troubled by the coming end times have been free to succumb to their imaginations.”
Makes sense – left to our imaginations anyone we fear who has power automatically becomes a candidate for antichrist.
So what do we make of all this?
Is the answer to the Antichrist’s identity found in today’s politics as many assert or is it found in the annals of medieval Christianity as others would say?
Is there really a lack of textual anchors in the Bible that could help us identify who are what the antichrist really is today or are we left to wonder into the future without a clue until he just one mysteriously decides to show up?
Thankfully, upon close inspection, the Bible doesn’t leave us in the dark on this topic
In previous episodes, we have already seen how Revelation 13 identifies the antichrist as a Beast rising up out of the sea. And this Beast is a part of a counterfeit trinity that also includes the Dragon and the False Prophet.
Let’s remind ourselves what Revelation has to say about him by going back to Revelation 13 beginning in verse 1:
“Then I stood on the sand of the sea. And I saw a beast rising up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his horns ten crowns, and on his heads a blasphemous name. Now the beast which I saw was like a leopard, his feet were like the feet of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. The dragon gave him his power, his throne, and great authority.” (Revelation 13:1–2 NKJV)
Now since the language used in apocalyptic literature is almost always symbolic, we are going to have to put on our detective hat and glasses to decipher what God is trying to show us here.
Since we dont want to bring our own ideas to the passage it is important to allow the Bible to interpret the clues for us.
And so what are those clues?
Notice the Beast is made in the likeness of the Dragon – who also has seven heads and ten horns (See Revelation 12:3) which makes sense because since the Dragon and the Beast are counterfeit God the Father and God the Son. Thus just as Jesus was express image of the Father in heaven and received his authority from him so the Beast is the express image of the Dragon – from whom he receives his power, throne, and great authority.
If you remember from episode 27 – the dragon is the fallen Angel – Lucifer himself who still can make himself appear as an angel of light – thus the beast – made in his image has the power to do the same.
Beyond the inherited qualities the beast received from the Dragon we can also see that Revelation describes him as conglomeration of a lion, a bear, and a leopard. The next logical question then is, where else in apocalyptic scripture do we find these three beasts?
It shouldn’t take long to realize that the clues point us back to chapter 7 of the book of Daniel. Now we will see why our study in Daniel 2 was so important in episode 22.
Let’s read the chapter starting in verse 1.
“In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon, Daniel had a dream and visions of his head while on his bed. Then he wrote down the dream, telling the main facts.
Daniel spoke, saying, “I saw in my vision by night, and behold, the four winds of heaven were stirring up the Great Sea.And four great beasts came up from the sea, each different from the other. The first was like a lion, and had eagle’s wings. I watched till its wings were plucked off; and it was lifted up from the earth and made to stand on two feet like a man, and a man’s heart was given to it.
“And suddenly another beast, a second, like a bear. It was raised up on one side, and had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth. And they said thus to it: ‘Arise, devour much flesh!’
“After this I looked, and there was another, like a leopard, which had on its back four wings of a bird. The beast also had four heads, and dominion was given to it.
“After this I saw in the night visions, and behold, a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, exceedingly strong. It had huge iron teeth; it was devouring, breaking in pieces, and trampling the residue with its feet. It was different from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns.” (Daniel 7:1–7 NKJV)
Wow there can be no shadow of doubt we are on the right path to discover the identity of the Antichrist now.
Just as the beast in Revelation comes up out of the sea – so these four great beasts who preceded it do the same. But what does this mean?
Well if you remember from Daniel 2 – there were 3 successive kingdoms that were shown to King Nebuchadnezzar that would rise and fall after Babylon: Medo-Pesia, Greece, and Rome. And instead of a 5th ruling empire the 4th kingdom Rome – would be divided and would remain as such until the 2nd coming of Jesus.
Now here in Daniel 7 – we see the same progression – and instead of metals we have Beasts. How do we know these Beasts represent kingdoms as well? Well later in on Daniel 7 – the vision is explained to Daniel by an Angel and he is told directly
““Those great beasts, which are four, are four kings (or kingdoms) which arise out of the earth.” (Daniel 7:17 NKJV)
Not surprisedly then – each of the 4 beasts themselves contain qualities of the Kingdoms they represent.
The Lion with Eagle wings – was an actual symbol Babylon used to represent herself during her reign – And the king of the jungle is a fitting symbol for the most glorious kingdom of all antiquity.
But as we know Babylon was replaced on the world stage by Medo-Persia who like a bear rose up and devoured 3 kingdoms symbolized by the 3 ribs (Lydia, Egypt, and of course Babylon)
And of course Persia was eventually conquered by Greece – who like the four-headed leopard rose up to power quickly and was subsequently divided into four parts after Alexander the Great’s untimely death.
Finally, Rome – the non-descript, dreadful and terrible beast with iron teeth and ten horns rises up to defeat Greek empire – which connects logically with iron legs of the image in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. However instead of ten toes we now have ten horns.
As you can see – at this point not only do we have historical context for the Lion, Bear, and Leopard conglomerate in the Antichrist beast of Rev 13 – but we also have a context for the ten horns.
Could the dragon of Revelation 12 – the symbolic representation of Satan – also represent Rome the 4th beast of Daniel 7? Both have 10 horns and share many other common characteristics.
We will have to ome back to this later.
For now though, this is where things start to get very interesting in Daniel 7.
For if the ten horns correspond to the ten toes of Daniel 2 – then we know already that they represent the 10 divisions of Rome.
So we are talking history.
This is all unfolding in a historical context that not only moves well beyond Daniel’s time as he is writing but even beyond John the Revelator who was writing during the resign of the Roman Empire – nearly 400 years before her fall in 476
Thus the Ten Divisions of Rome make up what today we would refer to as Europe – originally a group of ten tribes known as:
1. Anglo-Saxons 6. Visigoths
2. Alemanni 7. Suevi
3. Heruli. 8. Lombards
4. Vandals 9. Burgundians
5. Ostrogoths 10. Franks
Thus on a historical timeline we have moved over 1000 years from Daniel’s time of 538BC to the call of Rome in 476AD.
So the question now is, what did Daniel see next?
Lets go back to Daniel 7 and pick it up in verse 8.
“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.
“I watched till thrones were put in place, And the Ancient of Days was seated; His garment was white as snow, And the hair of His head was like pure wool. His throne was a fiery flame, Its wheels a burning fire;
A fiery stream issued And came forth from before Him. A thousand thousands ministered to Him; Ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him. The court was seated, And the books were opened.
“I watched then because of the sound of the pompous words which the horn was speaking; I watched till the beast was slain, and its body destroyed and given to the burning flame. As for the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away, yet their lives were prolonged for a season and a time.” (Daniel 7:8–12 NKJV)
Here we are introduced to a new character – new detail that we didn’t receive in Daniel 2 – but that historically may help us identify the Antichrist.
Notice the little horn rises up to power among the other ten – and then just as vision in Daniel 2 stays on the world stage until the judgment of the last days. In Daniel 2 all we see is a large rock cut out without hands that strikes the nations symbolized by the image and grounds them into powder – here we are given more detail – a formal judgement in heaven is taking place and result of that judgment is destruction for all the beasts or kingdoms of the earth.
So it is clear that this vision is historical in nature and takes us from the past to the present and all the way to the future – when Jesus shall come again.
In fact we dont have to guess because the chapter goes on to say in verse 13.
““I was watching in the night visions, And behold, One like the Son of Man, Coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, And they brought Him near before Him.
Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, That all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, Which shall not pass away, And His kingdom the one Which shall not be destroyed.” (Daniel 7:13–14 NKJV)
Of course the son of man is the title for the Messiah – the tittle Jesus loved to use most in reference to himself – 79 times in fact are recorded in the gospels. And every time he says it he is pointing us back to this prophecy.
But we are getting a little ahead of ourselves.
For now – we have this gap to fill in historically between 476AD and the Judgment and the 2nd coming of Jesus.
To identify the little horn historically we now will look at the clues provided in the chapter which are derived exclusively from scripture itself – not speculation.
Verse 8 gives us our first set of clues – we already read it in context with other verses but lets read it again to remind ourselves what it said.
“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 NKJV)
- Geographically it rises in Europe after 476AD among the other 10 horns
- It exerises the political power of a nation and is responsible for the destruction of 3 of the 10 horns or original nations that formed out of the Roman Empire
- Eyes of man – indicate a religious aspect to this power as well – eyes of man stand in contrast to a Seer of God as the true prophets of the Old Testament were often referred to as. Thus the little horn takes on the qualities of a false prophet.
- Not surprisingly than pompous words follow – which is another way of saying blasphemy – which simply means assuming for itself prerogatives that only belong to God – as a reference Jesus was accused of Blasphemy in the New Testament for claiming he could forgive sins.
Ok – so at this point there is no doubt that this power is a historical force to be reckoned with. But thankfully there are more clues to the little horns identify in verse 25.
“He shall speak pompous words against the Most High, Shall persecute the saints of the Most High, And shall intend to change times and law. Then the saints shall be given into his hand For a time and times and half a time.” (Daniel 7:25 NKJV)
- Adding to the list we see the little horn shall be a persecuting power of God’s people
- The Little Horn shall boast of its ability to change or alter God’s times and law – a clear reference to the Ten Commandments.
- And that the time of its rule shall be 3 1/2 years. Given the historical context of the vision – the 3 1/2 years most certainly refer to 3 1/2 prophetic years – 360 days in a year x 3 1/2 = 1260 literal years.
Now the question is how many of these clues correspond with the clues provided for us in reference to the Beast in Revelation 13?
“And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he was given authority to continue for forty-two months. Then he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven. It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation. All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. If anyone has an ear, let him hear.” (Revelation 13:5–9 NKJV)
I think you can see both Daniel and John are describing the same entity.
The little horn in Daniel and the first beast of Revelation 13 are one – they both represent the Antichrist.
Thus – there is no need to speculate of wonder about the future manifestation of an unknown power – this power is an ancient one.
This religious power has its roots in Rome – the Dragon – and received all its power and authority directly from her – and even as the Dragon fell of the MainStage – his express image remained – a conglomerate of paganism and wrapped in the religious garbs of Christianity.
An Antichrist that not only stands against Christ but more subtly tries to take his place.
So you be the judge.
Just who or what historical religio-politcal power is Bible Prophecy pointing to that has its roots in Rome, dominated Europe during for 1260 years after the fall of Rome in 476, Claimed for herself prerogatives that belong to God alone such as forgiveness of sin – attempted to change God’s Ten Commandment law and the time associated with it, and viciously persecuted all of God’s people who stood against her?
A church you say?
And you would be right in saying it.
But is it God’s church?
Is it really that surprising that a church could be the seat of the throne of antichrist in the last days?
Paul said it this way:
“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, 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 NKJV)
Let’s not fall for into the trap of speculation when it comes to this topic.
Antichrist is not coming – Antichrist is already here and has been for hundreds and hundreds of years.
When we set aside God’s commandments and replace it with our own opinions and traditions while still claiming to represent God on earth – we become that which we fear the most.
There is nothing we should fear more than the unrestrained power of a man who has put himself in the place of God.
Antichrist is the spirit of this world and one day the world will once again turn to a religious entity that embodies his spirit to rule.
All the world will worship and follow the beast – all that is except those whose names have been written in the Lamb’s book of life.
Only those who keep the commandments of God and faith of Jesus will be able to resist the power that is soon to sweep over the entire world as it once did over Europe.
The dark ages are called dark for a reason… and darkness is coming again.
That is why we must walk today while we have the light – walk but the word of God and power of the Holy Spirit that comes through faith in Jesus Christ.
If you commit to doing that you have nothing to fear – like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego you may be compelled by the King of Babylon himself to bow down and worship the image – but he will not be able to hurt you – even if you are thrown into the fire – Jesus – the son of God himself – will go into the fire with you to keep you safe.
Don’t buy into the hype but don’t neglect this time as an opportunity to study for yourself.
History will repeat itself again.
History is repeating itself again.
The cry of the world for a strong man to fix its problems is the cry for the antichrist to retake his power over the earth once again.
Don’t give up
Don’t give in.
Be Ready for Jesus.
Jesus is coming soon. And in the mean time he says to you,
“Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.”” (Luke 21:28 NKJV)