In Christian eschatology the Antichrist or Anti-christ (literally: anti, opposite, for, or as; christ, messiah) has come to mean a person, image of a person, or other entity that is the embodiment of evil. The name antichrist derives from the books of 1 and 2 John, which describe any who denies Christ to be antichrists. The term is also often applied to prophecies regarding a “Little horn” power in Daniel 7, and is used in conjunction with many End Times teachings.
Antichrist is translated from the combination of two ancient Greek words αντί + χριστος (antí + khristos), which can mean anti “opposite” (of) khristos “Messiah” therefore “opposite of Christ” or anti “as” (if) khristos “messiah” thus “in place of Christ”. An antichrist can be opposed to Christ by striving to be in the place of Christ.
The term itself appears 5 times in 1 John and 2 John of the New Testament–once in plural form and 4 times in the singular, and is popularly associated with the belief of a competing and assumed evil entity opposed to Jesus of Nazareth.
In the New Testament
- “Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, … 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.”
- “Savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them.”
- “There will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them – bringing swift destruction on themselves.”
- “Do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.”
- “Dear children, … you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. … They went out from us, … their going showed that none of them belonged to us.”
- “Many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh’, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist.”
- “For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.” (KJV)
- “Who is the liar? It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a man is the antichrist – he denies the Father and the Son… I am writing these things to you about those who are trying to lead you astray.”
In summary: There have been, are, and will be antichrists and false teachers. Some are Christian [“from your own number”] who teach deceptive, rather than blatant, false doctrine. This includes placing faith in and and endorsing governments, churches, organizations, and/or individuals in the place of God. Others come from outside the Christian community and attack it like “savage wolves”.
The man of lawlessness (AKA “man of sin”) is the Antichrist who will both oppose and exalt himself over God. He expects to be worshiped by deluded believers, proclaiming himself to be God. The Antichrist–“man of sin”–will be revealed before the second coming of Jesus.
Christians have used the above to indict those who, like the gnostics and their successors, expounded docetism while simultaneously claiming to recognize Jesus, but not necessarily as the Messiah.
Christians believe that instructions were given on what to do with alleged antichrists, also referred to as false teachers, false apostles, or false prophets. They are to be first publicly recognized, and then avoided (Rom. 16:17). They may be recognized through the results of their deeds (Matt. 7:15-17), through examination of their predictions to see if they actually happen (Dt. 18:21), or through comparing their teaching with that of the Bible (John 8:31,1 Tim. 6:3-5,2 John 9). In the Book of Revelation, Jesus commends a church which followed this instruction (Rev. 2:2).
Later texts and apocrypha
One such apocryphal text is the apocalyptic pseudo-prophecy falsely attributed to the Tiburtine Sibyl. It purports to prophesy (although written after the fact—see postdiction) the arrival of the Christian emperor, Constantine, beginning:
- Then will arise a king of the Greeks whose name is Constans. He will be king of the Romans and the Greeks. He will be tall of stature, of handsome appearance with shining face, and well put together in all parts of his body…
- At that time the Prince of Iniquity will arise from the tribe of Dan.
This position is supported by several Biblical sources: 1) Genesis 49:17, which reads: “Dan shall be a serpent by the way, a viper by the path, that bites the horse’s heels so that its rider shall fall backward.” However, it is probable this prophecy pertains to the fact that the Tribe of Dan historically fell into idolatry during Biblical times, leading members of other Jewish tribes into idolatry, as well; and 2) Revelation 7:1-8, which appears to show that none of the 144,000 Jewish evangelists will come from the Tribe of Dan. However, there are other Biblical examples of tribes being absent from similar lists, without any iniquity being implied. It is probable that such is the case here.
Some believe that the Antichrist will be of Jewish descent, basing their claims on Daniel 11:37. This verse says “Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any god: for he shall magnify himself above all” . Some claim disregarding the “desire of women” may indicate that the Antichrist will be celibate or homosexual , however in Jewish tradition, the desire of women is to have children, so that Daniel describes hate toward his own children or refusal to have children. Jesus hinted that the Antichrist would be Jewish by his statement “I have come in My Father’s name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, you will receive him” John 5:43. Some argue that Jesus was referring to subsequent false messiahs, such as Simon bar Kokhba, who was briefly accepted as messiah. Unlike Jesus, bar Kokhba came in his own name, not in the name of God the Father, as was implied within John 5:43. This argument has little biblical merit, however. Simon bar Kokhba’s appearance was not accompanied by miracles nor did he claim to be God. Furthermore, he never performed the magnitude of evil the Bible associates with the Antichrist. Therefore, the one who “comes in his own name” whom the Jews will receive is to be in the future.
The expected role of the Antichrist
Christian denominations disagree on what will happen in the end times, and the role that Satan and the Antichrist will play. Among them are those who believe that the antichrists of whom John wrote are instead a single individual and expect this one person to rise in the future. There is a consensus that sometime prior to the expected return of Jesus, there will be a period of “trials and tribulations” during which the Antichrist, inspired by Satan, will attempt to win supporters with great works, and will silence anyone or make enemies of any country that refuses their allegiance (by refusing to “receive his mark” on their foreheads or right hands). This “mark” is expected to be required to legally partake in commerce, as noted in the book of Revelation. Some Christians believe that the Antichrist will be assassinated half way through the Tribulation, being revived and indwelt by Satan. The Antichrist will continue on for three and a half years following this. 
In this view, an event popularly termed the “White Throne Judgment” will take place, at which time both the living and the dead will be resurrected, some for everlasting life, and some for everlasting death. All those who worship God through Jesus will be admitted to the presence of God; but everyone who would not repent of the Antichrist will be thrown into the “lake of Fire”. Finally, the “Dragon” (often interpreted as Satan), the “Beast” (often interpreted as the Antichrist) and the “false prophet” (interpreted in many ways) who compels the world to worship the Beast, and all who received his mark (cast their lot with him), will be thrown into a lake of fire together with death and Sheol. These views are based on controversial passages in the Apocalypse of John, more commonly known as the Book of Revelation.
In the picture on the right the artist demonstrates how the Pope is viewed as the Antichrist by some Protestants, because he sells indulgences to people who will pay him to reduce their time in Purgatory and demands all Christians recognize him as holding infallibility, all in the name of God.
The Bible verse from chapter 8 of the Book of Daniel is seen as a prophecy of the Antichrist: “And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full, a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up. And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power: and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practise, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people. And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many: he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand.”
In other views, the role is far less dramatic – the Antichrist is simply believed to be a group of individuals as well as organizations, who, for their history of trying to deceive and stifle the faithful, are finally destroyed for all time by God on the day of Armageddon. Gog and Magog are identified as the nations in the four corners of the earth, and their attack is represented as an eschatological crisis after the Millennium, to be vanquished by divine intervention. The language of Gog and Magog‘s destruction is very similar to that of their mention in Ezekiel.
Another Christian view concerning the Antichrist finds its understanding based in its overall view of the Book of Revelation. Those who ascribe to this theory believe that the Book of Revelation is not simply predicting what will happen at the end of time, but is also describing what is always happening upon the earth. In this view, each generation has an Antichrist that the faithful will identify and defeat through exposing his evil.
Identity of the Antichrist
A discerning person can identify the Antichrist by the number of the beast, specifically, 666 according to Book of Revelation 13:18 (although most now consider it to be 616). The Hebrew numerology called Gematria appears to be the most likely approach for calculating the numeric value of a name, although other numerology schemes are used in attempts to confirm the identity of the Antichrist. There are Christian pastors who see Maitreya (professed by Benjamin Creme of Share International as the World Teacher) as the awaited Anti-Christ. They believe that Maitreya is The Anti-Christ because Maitreya denies that Jesus was the Son of God and claims to embody the the Christ as the New Testament book of the bible says that a man in the New Age would. Christians also point to the fact that the name Maitreya equates to 666 in the Hebrew language(Hebrew letters like Greek letters also serve as numbers)in all of the names variations(Rev 13:18)..
Identifications during the 1st millennium
According to Bernard McGinn, in Christianity’s early days the Antichrist was identified variously as spirit of heresy (by Polycarp), the Roman empire (by Irenaeus), or the resurrected Nero (by John Chrysostom).
Arnulf of Rheims wrote in A.D. 991, “What do you estimate this to be, reverend fathers? When you see him sitting on a lofty throne glittering in purple and gold, what do you estimate this to be, I say? Without a doubt, if he lacks love, and is only swelled up and lifted up, must he not be the Antichrist, ‘sitting in the temple of God, and also showing himself as God’”? 
Identifications during the 2nd millennium
Similarly, another idea that began appearing early in the history of the Christian church is that the Antichrist will be an apostate priest or Christian secular ruler, perhaps a Pope or other high leader of the Christian church, or a pretender to the Papacy.
Some Protestant Churches have made it an issue of faith to identify the Bishop of Rome and the papal system as the Antichrist. See, for example, the Smalcald Articles, Westminster Confession and the 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith; early Protestant Reformers, including Martin Luther, John Calvin, Thomas Cranmer, John Knox, Cotton Mather, and John Wesley, identified the Roman Papacy as the Antichrist . Headed by Matthias Flacius, several Lutheran scholars in Magdeburg, known as the Centuriators of Magdeburg, wrote the 12-volume “Magdeburg Centuries” to discredit the papacy, including identifying the pope as the Antichrist. Virtually all popes have been called the Antichrist by their enemies, and many popes have applied this title of “Antichrist”, “son of perdition”, or “man of sin”, to their enemies as well. Some Catholics expected a son of Martin Luther to be the Antichrist, as his scion would be the son of an ex-priest and ex-nun.
Contemporary, conservative, Confessional Lutherans also hold that the pope is the Antichrist, insisting that this article of faith is part of a quia rather than quatenus subscription to the Book of Concord. In 1932, the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod (LCMS) adopted A Brief Statement of the Doctrinal Position of the Missouri Synod. Statement 43, Of the Antichrist:
43. As to the Antichrist we teach that the prophecies of the Holy Scriptures concerning the Antichrist, 2 Thess. 2:3-12; 1 John 2:18, have been fulfilled in the Pope of Rome and his dominion. All the features of the Antichrist as drawn in these prophecies, including the most abominable and horrible ones, for example, that the Antichrist “as God sitteth in the temple of God,” 2 Thess. 2:4; that he anathematizes the very heart of the Gospel of Christ, that is, the doctrine of the forgiveness of sins by grace alone, for Christ’s sake alone, through faith alone, without any merit or worthiness in man (Rom. 3:20-28; Gal. 2:16); that he recognizes only those as members of the Christian Church who bow to his authority; and that, like a deluge, he had inundated the whole Church with his antichristian doctrines till God revealed him through the Reformation — these very features are the outstanding characteristics of the Papacy. (Cf. Smalcald Articles, Triglot, p. 515, Paragraphs 39-41; p. 401, Paragraph 45; M. pp. 336, 258.) Hence we subscribe to the statement of our Confessions that the Pope is “the very Antichrist.” (Smalcald Articles, Triglot, p. 475, Paragraph 10; M., p. 308.)
The Lutheran Churches of the Reformation, the Concordia Lutheran Conference, the Church of the Lutheran Confession, and the Illinois Lutheran Conference  all hold to Brief Statement. In 1959 the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS) formally issued its “Statement on the Antichrist”, a doctrinal statement that declared, “we reaffirm the statement of the Lutheran Confessions, that ‘the Pope is the very Antichrist'”.“WELS Statement on the Antichrist”.
After the reforms of Patriarch Nikon to the Russian Orthodox Church of 1652 a large number of Old Believers held that tzar Peter the Great was the Antichrist , because of his treatment of the Orthodox Church, namely separating church from state, requiring clergyman to conform to the standards of all Russian civilians (shaved beards, being fluent in French), and requiring them to pay state taxes. In 1914 , a woman believing the faith healer Rasputin was the Antichrist, for his supposedly evil influences over the tzar and tzarina, stabbed him, cutting a large wound in his chest. He fully recovered.
Preterists look to an early antichrist. The Roman emperor beginning with Nero, sometimes together with the four emperors who succeeded him in the year following his suicide, until the elevation of Nero’s general Vespasian to emperor, have been interpreted from very early times, either alone or collectively as the Beast of the Apocalypse. This is supported by some numerological interpretations.
In this tumultuous period, superstitious fear and mob violence grew against Christians, and the Roman wars against the Jews intensified (AD 66–70), ending with the destruction of the Temple in AD 70 under the command of general Titus (later emperor), and the slaughter of the Jews who were living at Jerusalem. According to tradition, Nero ordered the crucifixion of St. Peter and the beheading of Saint Paul. Both Jewish and Christian literature survives, referring to Emperor Nero as the Antichrist. A more detailed description of this Preterist interpretation can be found in the entry on the Book of Revelation.
Paul of Tarsus has been theorized by some Muslims and others (notably English political radical Jeremy Bentham) to have fulfilled the role of the Antichrist within the chronicles of the New Testament of the Bible itself. This theory is premised on an idea that the original teachings of Christ were distorted by Paul, rather than elaborated upon or revealed to Paul by Christ.
Widespread Protestant identification of the Papacy as the Antichrist persisted until the early-1900s when the Scofield Reference Bible was published by Cyrus Scofield. Prior to the Scofield Bible, with few exceptions, the Protestant confessions of faith declared the Papacy as the Antichrist. Westminster Confession of Faith:
- 25.6. There is no other head of the Church but the Lord Jesus Christ: nor can the Pope of Rome in any sense be head thereof; but is that Antichrist, that man of sin and son of perdition, that exalteth himself in the church against Christ, and all that is called God; whom the Lord shall destroy with the brightness of his coming.
In response to the majority Protestant identification of the Papacy as Antichrist, the modern view of Futurism (Christian eschatology), a product of the Counter-Reformation, was advanced beginning in the 16th Century. This theory was developed by a Jesuit priest named Francisco Ribera in his 1585 treatise on the Apocalypse of John entitled In Sacrum Beati Ioannis Apostoli, & Evangelistiae Apocalypsin Commentarij. This view was then codified by St. Bellarmine, who gives in full the Catholic theory set forth by the Greek and Latin Fathers, of a personal Antichrist to come just before the end of the world and to be accepted by the Jews and enthroned in the temple at Jerusalem—thus endeavoring to dispose of the Protestant exposition which saw Antichrist in the pope. Bellarmine’s interpretation, in modified form, is now accepted by most premillennial dispensationalists. . The Leader of the Free Presbyterian Church, Ian Paisley, loudly denounced the then Pope, Pope John Paul II as the Antichrist when the pontiff was giving a speech at a sitting of the European Parliament in Strasbourg in 1988 , when Paisley was an MEP
Identifying the Antichrist has returned as a task in the Internet age, and has created a body of literature in its own right.
Many now believe that the ancient brotherhood of the Illuminati will rise up and act on their promise of a new world order and people will take the leaders of the “Illuminati” as the antichrist. Many believe that the scientific ideas of the “Illuminati” will lead to the destruction of the earth.
Since the Bible indicates that the antichrist beast may be identified by a number, “Number of the Beast” which “is the number of a man” (Revelation 13:18), various numerological methods of calculating the number of the name of the Beast (“666” in most manuscript sources, “616” in a minority), and other methods are used to identify the Antichrist before he has the chance to lead astray. The oldest historical example is in Latin where each letter has an equivalent numerical value.
In fact, getting someone’s name to add up to 666 involves solving a very simple linear diophantine equation. Critics of numerology point out that any name can be made to add up to 666 or any other number using the technique of diophantine equation. The name of Jesus Christ himself can be made to add up to 666, and thereby linked to the antichrist, a result that exposes the meaninglessness of such techniques.
Revelation 13 contains another description of the Antichrist against which people try to match contemporary figures:
1. “And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.”
2. “And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.”
3. “And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast.”
4. “And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? Who is able to make war with him?”
5. And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months.”
6. “And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven.”
7. “And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.”
8 .”And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” (KJV)
The third verse especially attracts attention. For example, some theorists attribute this wounding and resurgence to the papacy, referring to General Louis Berthier‘s capture of Pope Pius VI in 1798 , and the pope’s subsequent death in 1799 . Instead of reducing the power of the papacy, however, it grew and became the most influential political and religious power in the world. As another example, Gerard Bodson claims in his book “Cracking the Apocalypse Code” that this line refers to the defeat of Germany in World War I and its recovery under the Nazis. Germany is named as one of the heads of the beast (the other heads representing the other members of the Axis Powers: Italy, Japan, Finland, Romania, Bulgaria and Hungary).
Many claims about world leaders also echo the plot of the Left Behind series of novels (by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins), which put forward the idea that the Antichrist may be the Secretary-General of the United Nations. LaHaye and Thomas Ice publish a newsletter that speculates about these matters, and they have also suggested that the rise of militant Islam in the 21st Century is a possible sign of the End Times, as being the false religion and reign of the Antichrist, otherwise known as the False Prophet, although Muslims also believe in the false Messiah, known as Messiah Dajjal.
Muslim believe “The False Messiah” (as named by the Prophet) or “Maseeh Dajjal” in Arabic but more known as ” Awar Dajjal” “The One Eyed Liar” since the Prophet said that a white nail-like piece will be in the pupil on one of his eyes, and in one of the last sermons of the Prophet he warned “When the False Messiah rise up (i.e. declares Godly status), Remember Remember God is not one eyed (meaning God can not show up with a dysfunction)”. This “One Eyed Liar” will come to this earth with great power and Muslims which are true and faithful will stand up against him and will be “The False Messiah”‘s sole enemy, until the “Return of Jesus Christ” which is the last sure End Time Sign mentioned in the Qur’an, while the Antichrist is not mentioned by any name or title in the Qur’an
Jerry Falwell told a pastors’ conference in January 1999 in a sermon on the Second Coming that the Antichrist was probably alive on earth, and certainly a Jewish male . He subsequently clarified that “[t]his is simply historic and prophetic orthodox Christian doctrine” and had no anti-Semitic roots.
One of the more interesting Internet conspiracy theories about the Antichrist that has spawned as a result of renewed interest in the Magdalene-Christ debate, seemingly ties in both Holy Blood, Holy Grail and The Da Vinci Code while actually going a step further to put forth that the entire “Bloodline of Christ” theory is a well orchestrated and intentional hoax directed at the world yet having a single sinister goal to bring bloodline believers into acceptance that one of these living “bloodline descendants” will rise up to become a future Arthurian-like “Messianic figure” (not Christ, but the literal Antichrist), and that this bloodline heresy is the very deception secret societies are using to promote this future Merovingian King onto the world stage.
Conspiracy theorists who advocate the existence of the Illuminati have claimed that its head, the immortal Count of Saint Germain is the Antichrist or somehow analogous to Lucifer. Thus they claim that he lives out his days under the name Sampson Bennetts planning the final war.
Friedrich Nietzsche, German philosopher and son of a Lutheran pastor, called himself the Antichrist. He even went as far as to write a book called The Antichrist. His later philosophy was based on the Dionysian aspects of individuals. In his famous first book, The Birth of Tragedy, he wrote this passage: “As a philologist and man of words, I baptized it, taking some liberties (for who knew the correct name for the Antichrist?), after the name of a Greek god: I called it the Dionysian.”
Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda, a minister with a large Latin American following, claims not only to be God, but at the same time, the Antichrist. He claims that the Bible is mistranslated and that it really states that the Antichrist is Jesus Christ’s replacement on Earth. De Jesus also preaches that sin and the devil do not exist and heaven can be found on Earth. He also has 666 tattooed on multiple places on his body.
In addition, certain occultists have proclaimed themselves to be the Antichrist, including John Whiteside Parsons. The Antichrist is a popular archetype for villainous behavior.
Many people joked that Ronald Reagan could be the Antichrist because each of his three names (his middle name was Wilson) contained six letters. 
Antichrist in fiction
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This article has been tagged since October 2006.
Antichrists have been an idea explored often in fiction, and have even developed their own sort of fictional mythology. For example, the Book of Revelation does not necessarily say the Antichrist will be the son of Satan; but the idea was made popular in the movie The Omen, and its sequels, with the evil, childish Damien who grows up with the destiny to rule and destroy the world, as was Rosemary’s Baby with her son, Adrian.
- ^ Strong’s G500
- ^ 2 Thessalonians 2:1-4 (NIV)
- ^ Acts 20:29-30 (NIV)
- ^ 2 Peter 2:1 (NIV)
- ^ 1 John 4:1-3 (NIV)
- ^ 1 John 2:18-19 (NIV)
- ^ 2 John 1:7 (NIV)
- ^ 1 John 2:22, 26 (NIV)
- ^ Daniel 8:23-25 (NIV)
- ^ Marvin Harris, Cows, Pigs, Wars and Witches, Chapter 10 .
- ^ Sahih Bukhari (Hadith Collection): Available Online in English
- Jewish Encyclopedia: Antichrist
- Encyclopaedia Britannica, Antichrist – full article
- Catholic Encyclopedia: Antichrist
- The Scripture about Satan and Antichrist.
- Concordia Cyclopedia: Antichrist (page 1) (page 2)
- Lutheran Scholarly Works on the Antichrist
- Encyclopedia Britannica: Antichrist
- Regarding the theory of Antichrist’s rise prior to a pre-Tribulation Rapture.
- Regarding the theory of Antichrist’s possible identity; pre-Tribulation Rapture.