The Ultimate Identity Theft



Dr. John Hoole – February 24, 2019




In our last lesson, we noted that Satan is a master identity thief, and his grandest identity theft is yet to come.  Scripture tells us people in the last days will be looking for a savior of the world, and, having rejected Jesus Christ, will gladly welcome the Antichrist and yield to his authority.  Isn’t this exactly what Christ prophesied would happen,


John 5:43 NKJV


43     I have come in My Father's name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, him you will receive.


They are deceived by identity theft in the highest level.


Satan has another major counterfeit or identity theft.  God is a trinity made up of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Satan will also have a trinity - an “unholy” trinity.  Yes, Satan is a master at imitating the things of God.  His “unholy” trinity is a counterfeit, made up of Satan, the Antichrist and the False Prophet, and it will be an attempt to steal the identity of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.


 There are two verses where all three individuals of the unholy trinity are mentioned in the same verses.


                           ---  Revelation 16:13;  20:10


Revelation 16:13 NKJV


13     And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs coming out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet.


Revelation 20:10 NKJV


10     The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.


There is another place where all three are also mentioned in one chapter – Revelation, chapter 13.  As we begin our lesson today, let’s read all 18 verses.  In this chapter we find one of the most descriptive accounts of the Antichrist’s activities.


Revelation 13 NIV


1       And the dragon stood on the shore of the sea. And I saw a beast coming out of the sea. He had ten horns and seven heads, with ten crowns on his horns, and on each head a blasphemous name.  [We will come back, in our next lesson, and discuss what these weird symbols represent.]

2       The beast I saw resembled a leopard, but had feet like those of a bear and a mouth like that of a lion. The dragon gave the beast his power and his throne and great authority.

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 astonished and followed the beast.

4       Men worshiped the dragon because he had given authority to the beast, and they also worshiped the beast and asked, "Who is like the beast? Who can make war against him?"

5       The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise his authority for forty-two months.

6       He opened his mouth to blaspheme God, and to slander his name and his dwelling place and those who live in heaven.

7       He was given power to make war against the saints and to conquer them. And he was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation.

8       All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast-all whose names have not been written in the book of life belonging to the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world. 

9       He who has an ear, let him hear.

10     If anyone is to go into captivity, into captivity he will go. If anyone is to be killed with the sword, with the sword he will be killed. This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of the saints.

11     Then I saw another beast [False Prophet], coming out of the earth. He had two horns like a lamb, but he spoke like a dragon.

12     He exercised all the authority of the first beast on his behalf, and made the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose fatal wound had been healed.

13     And he performed great and miraculous signs, even causing fire to come down from heaven to earth in full view of men.

14     Because of the signs he was given power to do on behalf of the first beast, he deceived the inhabitants of the earth. He ordered them to set up an image in honor of the beast who was wounded by the sword and yet lived.

15     He was given power to give breath to the image of the first beast, so that it could speak and cause all who refused to worship the image to be killed.

16     He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead,

17     so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his name.

18     This calls for wisdom. If anyone has insight, let him calculate the number of the beast, for it is man's number. His number is 666.


         Scriptures relating to end-time prophecy, and especially the book of Revelation, use figurative images to help relay their messages.  We need to decipher their meaning and most of the time that is easily discerned.  For instance, take the first symbol in this chapter – Dragon.




                            It is Satan.




The word “dragon” is used 13 times in the book of Revelation.  Each time, it is a reference to the Devil.  Twice we are told specifically that this dragon is the Devil.


Of the 13 references to the dragon in the Book of Revelation, 8 of them are found in the 12th chapter.  See what verse 9 tells us.


Revelation 12:9 NIV


9       The great dragon was hurled down-that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.


                   There should be no doubt as to who the dragon is – it is the devil himself.


Revelation 20:2 NIV corroborates this fact.


2       He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years.


Now let’s turn our attention again to the 2nd member of this unholy trinity.  WHO IS THE “BEAST COMING OUT OF THE SEA?”  The first beast mentioned is the Antichrist.  We discussed some aspects of this figure in our last lesson.


The Antichrist


As soon as the word antichrist is mentioned, all kinds of questions or images come to mind.  Could the antichrist be alive somewhere in the world today?  Could he be a child, or perhaps a teenager, a college student, or even an adult waiting in the wings to emerge as a world leader?


Could one of today’s well-known political leaders be the antichrist?  And if he is in world today, is he indwelt by Satan even now, or does that take place in the future?  Will he be a Muslim?  Will he be a Jew?  Is he the mysterious person named Gog in the book of Ezekiel?  Do any prophecies need to be fulfilled before the antichrist emerges on the world scene?  If so, which ones?  Can we calculate with precision when the antichrist might emerge?  Will the antichrist have some kind of supernatural birth?  Will he be half human and half demon?  Will he actually claim to be God on earth one day?  Will he really suffer a fatal head wound and then be resurrected from the dead, and, thus, inspire awe and wonder around the world?


Interest in the antichrist has been significant for a long time.  It has been a topic of interest and fascination throughout the many centuries of church history.  I have a book that documents what two early church leaders – Irenaeus & Hippolytus, in the 2nd and early 3rd centuries, wrote on the topic of the antichrist.  Irenaeus, a disciple of Polycarp, who was a disciple of the apostle John, wrote a voluminous document called ADVERSUS HAERESES.  In it he has much to say about the antichrist.


Hippolytus was a disciple of Irenaeus, and the first church leader to write a Bible commentary.  One volume he wrote was titled, On Christ and Antichrist, written about A.D. 200.  Tertullian, one of the early Christian apologists who lived approximately AD 160-220, wrote a volume titled Against Marcion, an early heretic in which he discusses the antichrist.


Newspaper headlines throughout the world document the rise and fall of leaders, alliances, and nations.  With them comes new names, new promises and new hopes for their countries.  Each day we read of national and international tensions, turmoil, and uncertainty.  Changes is world leadership can change overnight.


Throughout history there have been many important rulers and leaders.  Some have been conquerors, others were master diplomats, still others were financial giants controlling vast economic resources.


The Bible clearly prophesies and warns of a future political leader, who will be welcomed to take control of the earth – in politics, economics and the military.  And yet, in the end, his actions and power will cause international chaos.  Under his rule, democracy will give way to dictatorship.  And prosperity will give way to great persecution.


         Down through the ages, scholars and scoffers, saints and sinners, poets and prophets have studied and written about this man.  Although his name is never given to us in the Bible, his title has been uttered by Bible students and prophets throughout the centuries.  He is the Antichrist!!  This individual will be the embodiment of all that is anti-God and anti-Christian.


Yes, Satan is a prolific counterfeiter and identity thief.  Several of the counterfeits Satan offers to the world centers around this person known as the Antichrist.  He is one of the dominant figures on earth during the Tribulation.


The Antichrist will be a counterfeit of Jesus Christ and will try to take His identity.  Whereas, Christ is God the Antichrist will claim to be God  (2 Thess 2:4).




On the basis of the original Greek text, there are two possible interpretations of the word “antichrist.”  The prefix anti means “against.”  This emphasizes Satan’s program to oppose Christ.  He is out to destroy, deceive and discredit all the plans of God.


The second meaning is more intriguing.  It can also means “in place of”  or “instead of.” -- this speaks of one who comes as a substitute for Christ.


Both of these definitions apply in the case of the Antichrist.  Satan and his unholy conspirators are against God and are seeking to take the place of God.


At first, the Antichrist won’t come out blatantly and say that he opposes Christ.  He will, in fact, seem to be, and will set himself up as, the true Christ.  He will be the devil’s counterfeit.  He has stolen the identity of Christ and will want the world to think he is in fact Christ.  Or he will want the Jews to think he is their Messiah.  More than any other person, he will position himself as instead of Christ, against Christ, and opposed to Christ.


He will set himself up against Christ and against the people of God in the last days before Christ’s second coming.  More than 100 passage in Scripture speak of this diabolical being.




The actual word “antichrist” is found only five time in only two books of the Bible.


         èèDo you know which ones?


                    1 John 2:18, 22; 4:3;  2 John 7


1 John 2:18 NIV


18     Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour.


Unlike the many men who have been labeled down through history as the antichrist, Scripture reveals there is a single individual known as THE antichrist who is yet to come.  He will emerge into power during the future Tribulation period.


While John is the only writer who pins the name “antichrist” on him, there are a number of other Passages which speak of this person.


Glimpses of the person and work of the Antichrist are found in numerous places in both the Old and New Testaments.  Although there are many allusions and references to him, two major sections of Scripture focus on the Antichrist.  Daniel 7 – 9 (especially 7:8, 24-27 and 9:26, 27) and Revelation 10 – 13 (especially 13:1-10).


He is also mentioned in 2 Thessalonians 2:3, 4, 8… and Matthew 24.  There are over a dozen references to the Antichrist in the book of Revelation.


If there are many references to this person, but John is the only writer who refers to him as the “antichrist”, then the other writers must refer to him by different names.




                   1.      The prince who will come                           Daniel 9:26-27


                   2.      The man of sin (lawlessness)                       2 Thessalonians 2:3


                   3.      The son of perdition (destruction)               2 Thessalonians 2:3


                   4.      The beast                                                   Revelation 11:7, 13:1, 14:9, 15:2


                   5.      That wicked one                                        2 Thess. 2:8


                   6.      The abomination of desolation                    Daniel 9:27,  Matthew 24:15


                   7.      The little horn                                             Daniel 7:8, 24


                   8.      the strong-willed king                                  Daniel 11:36


                   9.      The worthless shepherd                              Zechariah 11:16-17


This certainly is not a complete list, but each of these titles give an indication of the true nature of this person’s character.


When addressing the subject of the antichrist, I have often been asked:  Is the name “antichrist,” and the other names which are used, speaking of a literal human being or merely of an anti-Christian principle or philosophy?  Is it sort of an evil influence that is to pervade the world prior to the return of Christ?”




Those who hold the term antichrist as a metaphor for a broad view of the principle of evil today, can be illustrated this way:  “Just as Uncle Sam is the personification of all that is American, so the Antichrist will be the personification of all that is evil.”


Seen in this way, antichrist is a broad term inclusive of a variety of forms of evil in the world today.  It is the essence of  “some evil principle, power(s), or idea(s) in opposition to the kingdom of God.”


In reminding ourselves of what the word “antichrist” means, it is certainly true that there exists an evil influence in the world today which opposes Christ on all fronts.  This philosophy continually, and sometimes quite successfully, tries to replace the True Savior with a false one, who has stolen his identity..


1 John 4:3 speaks of a “spirit of antichrist” which is even now already in the world.”  Both in this verse and again in 2 John 7, John speaks of those who do not believe Jesus, as God, has come in the flesh, and refers to such people as “antichrist.”


So, in one sense, any system or program that opposes Christ, or attempts to take his place can be referred to as “antichrist.”  This could include such systems like Communism, humanism, and even atheism.


But the Bible also speaks of one person who will be the embodiment of all that is represented by that name.  This will be a single individual who tries to usurp the place of Christ.  I am sure you have surmised that this is my personal view.  This is also the view of most Christians who interpret end time prophecies literally.


Earlier, we mentioned that one of the names ascribed to the Antichrist is the title “man of sin.”  The Greek word translated “man” is ANTHROPOS.”  This word is not used anywhere else in the Bible for anything other than a human being.


The phrase “man of sin” is used in the same sense that Isaiah 53:3 uses the phrase, “the man of sorrows.”  We know that the “man of sorrows” is the man Christ.  Similarly, the “man of sin” is an individual human being.


Then too, the use of the personal pronouns “himself” and “he” indicates a person  (2 Thess. 2:3, 4, 8)  Paul gives this “man of sins” names, or descriptors, which could only be given to an individual human being.


Also, Daniel speaks of him as a person, when he refers to him as the “king” who raises his voice against the Most High.  Daniel also pictures him opposing real people called “saints” (Daniel 7:24-26).


This person is described as doing whatever he desires, and will declare war on all who oppose him.  The Bible also speaks of his ultimate defeat.  None of this would make sense if the Antichrist was anything other than a human being.


I have no doubt the Antichrist is more than a symbol of evil or an impersonal force.  He will definitely be a real live individual person who will manipulate and destroy many real people.  To reiterate, personal names and titles are consistently ascribed to him in the Bible.  He engages in personal relationships with other persons.  He performs personal actions, talks like a person, is consistently addressed with personal nouns and pronouns.       


During the future Tribulation, this evil person will stand against Jesus Christ and all that is holy.  He will force the entire world to submit to himself.  His defeat will come only at the hands of the Messiah Himself, Jesus Christ.  Christ will then cast this diabolical person into the lake of fire, where he will spend all eternity.


Even though the antichrist will attempt to mimic the real Christ, there are also many significant dissimilarities between Christ and the Antichrist.


•  One is called the Christ (Matthew 16:16); the other, the Antichrist (1 John 4:3).


•  One is called the man of sorrows (Isaiah 53:3); the other, the man of lawlessness (2 Thess. 2:3).


•  One is called the Son of God (John 1:34); the other, the son of destruction (2 Thess. 2:3).


•  One is called the Lamb (Isaiah 53:7); the other, the beast (Rev. 11:7).


•  One is called the Holy One (Mark 1:24);  the other, the lawless one (2 Thess. 2:8).


•  Christ came to do the Father’s will (John 6:38); the antichrist will do his own will (Dan. 11:36).


•  Christ was energized by the Holy Spirit (Luke 4:14);  the antichrist will be energized by Satan, the Unholy spirit (Rev. 13:4).


•  Christ submitted Himself to God (John 5:30);  the antichrist defies God (2 Thess. 2:4).


•  Christ humbled Himself (Philippians 2:8);  the antichrist exalts himself (Daniel 11:37).


•  Christ honored the God of His fathers (Luke 4:16);  the antichrist refuses to do so (Daniel 11:37).


•  Christ cleansed the temple (John 2:14, 16);  the antichrist defiles the temple (Matthew 24:15).


•  Christ was rejected by men (Isaiah 53:3); the antichrist will force people to accept him (Revelation 13:4).


•  Christ was slain for the people (John11:51);  the antichrist slays the people (Isaiah 14:20).


•  Christ was received up into heaven (Luke 24:51);  the antichrist goes down into the lake of fire (Revelation 19:20).


This Satan-inspired individual will rise to prominence in the Tribulation period, initially making a peace treaty with Israel (Daniel 9:27).  But then he will dominate the world, double-cross the Jews and attempt to destroy them, persecute believers, and set up his own kingdom (Revelation 13).




Early in this lesson, we listed some of the names or titles given to this person, and we said they are indicators of his true character.


We must not think, however, that just because these names are used of the Antichrist that when he comes upon the world scene, he will appear to be very repulsive.  Rather, he will talk about justice and love and peace and prosperity.  He will be both brilliant and eloquent.  In short, like Satan himself, this man will appear as an angel of light.  He will be hailed by millions as a superman who will save mankind.


Even though he will be a human being, he will truly be unlike any human being who ever lived.  In fact, he will be so different that people living during the tribulation period will say, “Who is like the beast?” (Revelation 13:4).  The implied answer is, no one is like the beast.


If you do any amount of reading on various end time topics, you will undoubtedly run across opinions of people who think they know who the Antichrist is.


During the late 1930s and early 1940s a flurry of pamphlets identified Adolf Hitler as the Antichrist.  Others declared that Mussolini was the Antichrist, because of his relationship to Rome.  Other thought it might Stalin, Kennedy, Kissinger, Gorbachev, King Juan Carlos, etc.


Throughout church history, zealous prophets have presumptuously identified certain characters as the “Antichrist” only to suffer theological and personal disrepute.


But when the Antichrist comes to prominence, he won’t appear as a Hitler, Mussolini or a Stalin.  Nor will he appear as a Charles Manson, or Ayatollah Khomeini or Idi Amin, or Saddam Hussein.  He won’t look like a Jim Jones or Madalyn Murray O’Hare.  He won’t appear to be a warmonger or a devil.


This beast – the Antichrist – will rise to power so legitimately and peacefully, that the world will never suspect the evil power behind him.


If ever a person met the distinctions required to be “Time Magazine’s Man of the Year,” this one will.  If ever a leader was destined for greatness – he will fit the part


Who knows, because of his ability to bring a semblance of order out of chaos, including the Arab/Israeli conflict, he just may receive the Nobel Peace Prize.


The Antichrist will be a man who makes his debut with nearly irresistible charm.  He is vested with an overpowering charisma.


At some point during the 7-year Tribulation, the true colors of the Antichrist will come forward.  He will show that he is a diabolical fanatic who will brazenly crush and destroy those who oppose him.  Eventually, he will become a foul-mouthed egomaniac a self-promoter, who will be as much a con man as a legitimate conqueror.


He will appear as an “angel” of peace, but will become the most cruel and ruthless warmonger of all times.  He will appear as a political savior, but underneath, he is a spiritual devil.


Once the reigns of power are in his grasp, he will exploit his combination of military genius and hypnotic influence to bring a bewildered world under his heal.