Questions & Answers

Part 2


John Hoole – November 4, 2012




1.  Will believers during the Church age know who the Antichrist is prior to the Rapture?


The identity of the Antichrist has intrigued people for 2,000 years.  Many people have found it difficult to resist the temptation to identify the Antichrist.  Many who try to identify the Antichrist make use of the number 666 – the Mark of the Beast.  Using the number 666, they try to match a person’s name to it, using last name, both names, title with name, in Greek or in Hebrew, etc..  We will deal with this more when we have a lesson on the Mark of the Beast.


Many people down through history thought they had positively identified the living Antichrist.  And most of them used some variation of the number 666 to make that identification.  I quote A. Salmon:


“We cannot infer too much from the fact that a key fits the lock if it is a lock in which almost any key will turn.”


But this has not stopped people from playing “pin the tail on the Antichrist.”  That raises the question:  Is it possible for us to know the identity of the Antichrist in this age?


We have looked at 2 Thessalonians 2 before, but it would serve us well to look at it again here.


2 Thessalonians 2:1-3 NIV


1       Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers,

2       not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by some prophecy, report or letter supposed to have come from us, saying that the day of the Lord has already come.

3       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.


These first three verses instruct us that the “day of the Lord” cannot come until the man of lawlessness – the Antichrist – has been revealed.  As we have learned in earlier lessons, the “day of the Lord” is a reference to the Tribulation.


We pick it up again in verse 7.


2 Thessalonians 2:7-8 NKJV


7       For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way.

8       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.


Not only can the Day of the Lord not occur until the Antichrist is revealed, but the Antichrist cannot be revealed until He who restrains is taken out of the way.  God is telling us, through the apostle Paul, that there is a specific obstacle that is hindering the opening of the door for the Antichrist’s entrance onto the world stage.  We showed in an earlier lesson that the view that makes the most sense is that the restrainer is the Holy Spirit working in and through the Church.


Let me summarize our answer and include some statements made in earlier lessons.  As the Antichrist rises to power, he will not be viewed as the Antichrist.  The Antichrist himself will probably not know he will become the Antichrist someday.


The Antichrist will emerge from relative obscurity to take the political scene by storm.  He won’t make a big splash or attract much attention when he first enters the political arena.  He will begin without fanfare as a “little horn” among ten larger horns (Daniel 7:8).  He will rise quickly through the ranks to be the ruler of a ten-nation confederacy.  At first everyone will love him.  He will be the great unifier.  His platform will be peace and prosperity.  He will temporarily solve the political standoff in the Middle East.  This may well earn him accolades such as the Nobel Peace prize, or being anointed as the Time magazine’s man of the year.  Somehow he will bring about Israel having complete sovereignty of the Temple Mount.  He will gather more and more power under the stealth of diplomacy.  He will undoubtedly be hailed as the greatest peacemaker the world has ever seen.


All of that will change at about the midpoint of the 7-year Tribulation.  It is at this time, according to Revelation 12, that Satan is cast out of heaven permanently.  And for the first time, Satan knows he has only 3½ years left.


When John wrote Revelation, there were no chapter divisions – just a continuous document.  What is written in chapter 12 continues in chapter 13.  Notice the first verse of chapter 13.


Revelation 13:1 NAS


1       And the dragon stood on the sand of the seashore. Then I saw a beast coming up out of the sea, having ten horns and seven heads, and on his horns were ten diadems, and on his heads were blasphemous names.


The word AND suggests a continuing of the scene mentioned in the previous chapter.  I believe it is at this time that Satan take possession of his man.  And it is probably at this time the man realizes he is the “man of perdition.”  It is at the mid-point of the Tribulation that the underlying evil character of the Antichrist comes to the front.


When that happens, we are told that Satan, through the Antichrist, begins his onslaught of the Jews.  But this visible change in his character doesn’t stop most of the rest of the world from following him.


So, to finally answer our question:  If  he is not identified as the Antichrist until the mid-point of the Tribulation, then believers during the current Church Age will not know his identity before the Rapture.


2.  What is the “spirit of Antichrist?”


To answer this question, I want to read every passage in the epistles of John where the term “antichrist” appears.  These letters of John are the only places in the Bible where this term is used.  He is described in many other biblical passages, but identified by other names and terms.


1 John 2:18 NKJV


18     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 2:22 NKJV


22     Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son.


2 John 7 NKJV


7       For many deceivers have gone out into the world who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.


1 John 4:1-3 NKJV


1       Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

2       By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God,

3       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 Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.


Part of the confusion about the coming Antichrist arises from the fact that the term “antichrist” is applied to both an individual and the evil system he represents.  The recipient of this letter penned by the apostle John not only knew that the spirit of antichrist was coming, but was already in the world.


By the time John wrote this letter in about 90 A.D.,  Christianity had already been around for some 50 years.  Plenty of time had passed for spiritual and doctrinal errors to develop.  John seems to be dealing with an early strain of the Gnostic heresy.  We know from historical records that Gnostic evangelists were traveling from church to church spreading their teachings.  In this letter, John is warning true followers of Christ against such heresies.


John appears to focus mostly on the Gnostic view of Jesus.  The primary error related to whether Jesus was both human and divine.  The Gnostics argued that Christ did not actually become human but rather entered into a human Jesus at the time of baptism and left Jesus just before his crucifixion.


In the Gospel of John and this letter, the apostle effectively refutes this heretical view of Christ.  In his gospel, John begins it by telling us about Jesus as the WORD.  He tells us:  The Word: 1) was in the beginning, 2) was with God, 3) was God (John 1:1).  He adds, in verse 3, that the Word created everything that exists.


When John pens verse 14, he informs us that the Word, Jesus Christ, “became flesh and dwelt among us.”  The main emphasis of the gospel of John is to show Jesus is divine.  He is God in the flesh.  And John reemphasizes this point in his first letter.


In the last two passages from John’s epistles that we read a moment ago – 2 John 7 and 1 John 4:1-3 John reiterates that the divine Jesus Christ became flesh.  And anyone who says Christ did not come in the flesh, John calls antichrist.  Look at those two verses again.


2 John 7 NKJV


7       For many deceivers have gone out into the world who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.


1 John 4:3 NKJV


3       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.


In essence, John’s writings were aimed straight at the spirit of antichrist.  Based on John’s writings, we can conclude that the spirit of antichrist:


         1.      Involves deception (2 John 7).


         2.      Denies that Christ came in the flesh (1 John 4:2-3).


         3.      Denies the Father and Son (1 John 2:22).


         4.      Was prevalent in the early Church period (1 John 2:18; 4:3).


         5.      Was closely related to false prophets (1 John 4:1).


John was likely not limiting the manifestation of the spirit of antichrist to the Gnostics alone.  Docetism, a near cousin to Gnosticism, was already active as well.  But he used these heretical systems as indicators of the “spirit of antichrist” in his day.  They not only existed in the first century, but today in the 21st century as well.  Any ideology or belief system that undermines the truth about Jesus Christ is antichrist.  It is the spirit of antichrist that works feverishly to oppose, undermine, deny, twist, distort, and reject the truth about Jesus Christ.


Satan has battled the church at every turn throughout its long history.  But, he is also waiting for just the right moment to indwell the right person, the Antichrist, his final masterpiece.


3.  Will the Antichrist be under God’s control?


The biblical books of Daniel and Revelation teaches that the Antichrist will be the epitome of evil.  He will be indwelt and controlled by Satan himself.  Some might wonder that with the removal of the “Restrainer” mentioned in 2 Thessalonians 2, will the Antichrist be allowed to do all or anything he and Satan desires.  Or does God have any control over the actions of the Antichrist.


During the past several weeks, we have read every passage in Revelation 13.  You many have noted a four-word phrase used multiple times in this chapter.  The phrase is: Was given to him.


Revelation 13:5a            “there was given to him a mouth speaking arrogant words.”


Revelation 13:5b            “authority to act for forty-two months was given to him.”


Revelation 13:7a            “it was…given to him to make war with the saints.”


Revelation 13:7b            “authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation was given to him.”


Revelation 13:14            “the signs which it was given him to perform”


Revelation 1315             “it was given to him to give breath to the image of the beast.”


Yes, Satan will be allowed much more freedom during the 7-year Tribulation.  But, like everything in the universe, Satan’s actions can only go so far.  As powerful as the Antichrist is, his power will be a limited, delegated power.  Satan and his Antichrist will only be able to do the things God allows.


Here are some examples.


1.      144,000 Jews have the seal of God on their forehead and the Antichrist cannot kill them (Revelation 7:3-4).


2.      In Revelation 11, we are told about two witnesses, who prophesy for 1,260 days.  Those that try to harm them will themselves will themselves be harmed (Revelation 11:5).  The two cannot be killed by the Antichrist until their ministry is completed  (Rev. 11:7).  God is definitely in control of this.


3.      As we come near the end of the 7-year Tribulation, Daniel 11 tells us the Antichrist in battle with some who rebel against his rule.  We are told he overruns the countries of Egypt, Ethiopia and Libya and some northern nations.  But God does not allow him into Edom, Moab and Ammon (Daniel 11:41).


4.      When the Antichrist gathers his armies to take Jerusalem, Zechariah 14:2 informs us that they will be allowed to take only half the city.


Satan is never allowed to go beyond the boundaries God has set for him.  As powerful as Satan and the Antichrist will be, it is definitely limited.




The most important thing is that you have placed your trust in Jesus Christ, alone.  He will reveal to you everything that you need to know in His timing.  If you are not a Christian, you will face horrible things unless you place your hope and trust in Jesus Christ.  You can do that today by saying a simple prayer asking Jesus to forgive you for your sins and ask Him to come into your life and be your Savior.