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The Antichrist - His Rise and Fall

John Hoole May 19 & 26, 2002

In our last lesson, we noted that the Bible says Satan will counterfeit a number of God's programs during the Tribulation. One of those counterfeits will be an "unholy" trinity. 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 mimic the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Also in our last lesson we saw that there were two passages where all three individuals are mentioned in the same verses. (Revelation 16:13; 20:10)

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 relay their messages. We need to decipher their meaning.


It is Satan.


The first beast mentioned is the Antichrist.


We actually answered this in our last lesson, but let's look at it again. 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 to the 2nd member of this unholy trinity.

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 these areas. Each day we read of national and international tensions, turmoil, and uncertainty. A month ago, we were told that the president of Venezuela had been deposed by a coup. Two days later, he was back in power. 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 leaders whose actions and power will cause international chaos. Under his rule, democracy will give way to dictatorship. And prosperity will give way to 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!!

In our previous lesson, we noted that several of the counterfeits Satan offers to the world centers around the 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. 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 both against God and are seeking to take the place of God. Satan will offer the world an individual who will come on the world scene not only to oppose Christ's program but also as a substitute for Christ.

He 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 will want the world to think he is in fact Christ.


The actual word "antichrist" is found in only two books of the Bible.

Do 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.

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)

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?"


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. 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." 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.

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.

And one last Scripture. Christ said in John 5:43 NIV

43 I have come in my Father's name, and you do not accept me; but if someone else comes in his own name, you will accept him.

The Antichrist is more than a symbol of evil or an impersonal force. He will definitely be a real live person who will manipulate and destroy many real people.


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. 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.

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 heel.

Over the years, I have often been asked a number of question about the Antichrist.

1. When will the Antichrist rise to power?

2. Is the Antichrist alive today?

3. Is he a religious or a political figure?

4. From where does the Antichrist receive his power?

5. Will he be a homosexual?

6. What will be the fate of the Antichrist?

Let's take a look at the answer to each of these questions.

1. When will the Antichrist rise to power?

I believe the Rapture of the Church will be the event that will launch the career of the Antichrist. I believe we find this mentioned by Paul in 2 Thessalonians 2.

2 Thessalonians 2:7 NKJV

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

Notice that the Antichrist (that wicked one) is currently being restrained by someone. Until that restraint is removed, the Antichrist cannot come to power. He cannot be revealed. But this verse says that there is coming a day when Divine restraint will be removed. The light of God will be withdrawn, and then, and only then, will "darkness cover the earth and gross darkness cover the people." (Isaiah 60:2)

The big question is, who is the restrainer of this man of lawlessness that now holds in check the desires of Satan? The restainer seems to be a person, because they are referred to as "he." I think that most would agree that the only person who can restrain the evil one is the Holy Spirit. But let's look at this restrainer a little more closely. I think we can discover some additional information.

How does the Holy Spirit restain the spirit of Antichrist today? Remember that shortly after Jesus left his disciples and returned to heaven, the Holy Spirit was sent, as promised, to indwell believers. This day - the Day of Pentecost - is the birthday of the Church. The Church is the body through whom the Holy Spirit works today.

Does this mean that before the Day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit was not on planet earth? Of course not! One of the characteristics of the Holy Spirit, as is also true of the Father and the Son, is that He is omnipresent. This means he is everywhere.

Psalm139:7-10 (NIV)

7 Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 Even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.

We have just established that the Holy Spirit was on planet earth, both before and after the Day of Pentecost. It is also true that the Holy Spirit will be on planet earth both before and after the rapture of the Church. Jesus tells us in the Sermon on the Mount, in Matthew 5, that the church is "the salt of the earth" and "the light of the world."

Through those two illustrations, the people of God are seen as that which keeps the world from becoming totally polluted….and totally without light to show the way. This verse in 2 Thessalonian 2:7 is speaking of the Holy Spirit's ministry through the Church. The church is the restraining force which keeps Satan and his demons from running totally without restraint. It is when this restraining force is taken away, that Satan will launch his masterpiece of deception. The Holy Spirit will remain in the world, as seen in the fact that many will be saved, but the agency through which the Holy Spirit currently works to restrain evil, the Church, will be removed. With the restrainer - that is, the Holy Spirit at work on the earth through the Church - removed, Satan feels he has the best shot he has ever had in taking God's place.

The Antichrist's ability to resolve the chaos resulting from the disappearance of millions of Christians will, very likely, be the event that will catapult him into power. He will seem to have all the answers to the world's problems, which will be many at that time.

The 7-year time period of the Tribulation will actually begin when the Antichrist negotiates a 7-year treaty with Israel. But, the wording of 2 Thess. 2:7, seems to indicate that the "man of sin, the son of perdition." which is the subject of the verses immediately preceding it will have the Godly restraint of Satan's plans for the antichrist removed.

If you think sin has the upper hand in the world today, you haven't seen anything yet. Satan is restrained in carrying out his evil plans by the power of the Holy Spirit who indwells the Church.

No one who lives from the time of Pentecost until the Rapture of the church will know for certain who the Antichrist is. This is because he will not make his appearance on the world stage until the church is gone. With that restraint gone, he will then move quickly into power.

2. Is the Antichrist alive today?

The answer to that question can only be given speculatively and depends on at what point in God's prophetic calendar we are now living. There is certainly the possibility that we are now living in the final days before Christ's comes for His bride. If so, then the Antichrist must be alive today.

We need to keep in mind that God will not reveal the identity of the Antichrist until after the Rapture. This would be in keeping with the passage we just read in 2 Thess. 2, in answering question #1.

There are, however, two other reasons to think that he might be alive right now.

1. The rebirth of the nation of Israel.

I believe the Scriptures teach that the generation that sees the re-establishment of Israel (May 14, 1948), will probably live to see all the end time prophecies fulfilled.

2. The signs of the times.

I believe the signs of the times clearly indicate that we are standing on the threshold of the Tribulation. The nations that have aligned themselves into various camps are identical with what is portrayed in the Bible for the End Times.

If the Antichrist is alive today, does he know who he is? I don't think so. I don't think he has the foggiest idea of the role that Satan has in mind for him.

Additionally, his full revelation will not occur until he enters the rebuilt Temple in Jerusalem, and desecrates it by offering an unclean sacrifice, and then proclaiming himself to be god.

3. Is the Antichrist a religious or a political figure?

I believe he will emerge into prominence as a political leader. But he will also gradually acquire religious connotations. Eventually he will require that his subjects worship him when he sets up his image in Israel's temple.

The deification of emperors, kings, and other political leaders has occurred throughout history. Ultimately, in the case of the Antichrist, it stems from Satan's desire to be like God. It will not be until the midpoint of the tribulation that he will display his true nature and demand to be worshiped.

Most of the religious controls will be exercised through the False Prophet, who will head up a pagan or apostate religious system (Revelation 13:11-15). He - the False Prophet - will force all of humanity to worship the Antichrist. He will be a deceiver who will astound people with "great signs" that appear miraculous.

In Revelation 12, we find Satan and his demons cast out of heaven. At that time, I believe Satan himself will possess the Antichrist, and the Antichrist will become obsessed with two things:

a. Himself
b. The Jews

At that moment, he will suddenly march into the rebuilt temple in Jerusalem, stop the sacrifices, blaspheme God, and declare himself to be the one and only true god. And when they reject this horrible blasphemy in their temple, he turns on them and seeks to annihilate them. This will be his all-consuming passion for the last half of the Tribulation.

During the second half of the Tribulation, he will almost succeed in accomplishing his goal. We are told in Zechariah 13:8-9 that two thirds of the Jewish people will die during this holocaust.

4. From where does the Antichrist receive his power?

Revelation 13:2 NIV

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.

Whatever power he acquires from military or political alliances, or from "natural" talents and abilities is secondary to his real source of strength and cunning. His power is given him from Satan himself.

5. Will the Antichrist be a homosexual?

Daniel 11:37 NKJV

37 He shall regard neither the God of his fathers nor the desire of women, nor regard any god; for he shall exalt himself above them all.

Some students of Bible prophecy interpret the words, "nor the desire of women" as meaning that he will be a homosexual. In their argument, they believe the Antichrist, as totally controlled by Satan, will live his life in complete disobedience to God in every area of life including his sexual orientation.

While this interpretation is allowed by the Hebrew words used, it is not the only interpretation. In saying he will not have a natural desire for women, it doesn't say that he will have a sexual desire for men.

Others believe that he will be so intoxicated with his love for power, that it will totally consume all of his passion.

Look at this verse in its context, especially the verses that immediately follow.

Daniel 11:37-39 NKJV

37 He shall regard neither the God of his fathers nor the desire of women, nor regard any god; for he shall exalt himself above them all. 38 But in their place he shall honor a god of fortresses; and a god which his fathers did not know he shall honor with gold and silver, with precious stones and pleasant things. 39 Thus he shall act against the strongest fortresses with a foreign god, which he shall acknowledge, and advance its glory; and he shall cause them to rule over many, and divide the land for gain.

While it is certainly possible that the Antichrist will be a homosexual, it seems more likely that he will be someone who is obsessed with the god of military might, conquest and power, and this will eclipse his normal desire for women.

6. What will be the fate of the Antichrist?

With his obsession on eliminating the Jews, the Antichrist seems to lose interest in his own kingdom. With his focus on the Middle East and the Jews, some of world begins to revolt.

The antichrist seems to spend at least the second half of the Tribulation fighting off one challenge after another to his rule. Satan seeks a worldwide compliance to his laws, but the best the Antichrist can do is to rush around attempting to squash one rebellion after another. And he never fully succeeds.

A large sector of the revolt is centered in the Asian nations who raise an army of 200 million. You will also see it in northern Africa - namely Egypt.

Daniel 11:40-44 NIV

40 At the time of the end the king of the South [most likely = Egypt] will engage him in battle, and the king of the North will storm out against him with chariots and cavalry and a great fleet of ships. He will invade many countries and sweep through them like a flood.
41 He will also invade the Beautiful Land. Many countries will fall, but Edom, Moab and the leaders of Ammon will be delivered from his hand.
42 He will extend his power over many countries; Egypt will not escape.
43 He will gain control of the treasures of gold and silver and all the riches of Egypt, with the Libyans and Nubians in submission.
44 But reports from the east and the north will alarm him, and he will set out in a great rage to destroy and annihilate many

While the Antichrist and his armies are rampaging around the Middle East, he suddenly hears "rumors" that disturb him. Something about armies approaching from the east and north toward him.

Now notice what Revelation 16:12 (NIV) adds concerning this 200,000,000 man army from the east.

12 The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up to prepare the way for the kings from the East.

Back in Daniel 11, we were told, in verse 44, that the Antichrist is actually subduing Egypt and other northern African countries when he receives the "rumors" about the kings of the east.

To confront these invading armies, the Antichrist had earlier set his home base in Jerusalem. His specific headquarters is in the rebuilt Jewish Temple.

Daniel 11:45 NIV

45 He will pitch his royal tents between the seas at the beautiful holy mountain [Mt. moriah - where the Dome of the Rock currently sits]. Yet he will come to his end, and no one will help him.

The Antichrist returns to his home base and prepares to take on the army from the east. As they fight, other nations will join in this Battle. This quickly leads to the Battle of Armageddon.

The Antichrist's reign as Satan's world ruler will come to an abrupt end, but not because this army from the east, or any other army, defeats him. Defeat for the Antichrist will come swiftly and totally when Jesus Christ rides out of heaven with His armies. This is the 2nd Coming of Christ.

Zechariah 14:4 tells us that when Jesus comes, He will set his feet on the Mount of Olives. When this happens, all the armies that have been battling each other will now turn their combined attention to this invader from the sky.

Revelation 19:19-20 NIV

19 Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to make war against the rider on the horse and his army.
20 But the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who had performed the miraculous signs on his behalf. With these signs he had deluded those who had received the mark of the beast and worshiped his image. The two of them were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur.

Earlier in Revelation 19 we are told that Jesus speaks a supernatural word that causes all the armies to drop dead in their tracks. Paul says the Antichrist will be slain by the "breath of the Lord" (2 Thessalonians 2:8) Zechariah 14:12 adds: "Their eyes rot in their sockets and their tongues rot in their mouths."

According to Revelation 19:20, the Antichrist and the False Prophet will be the first occupants to take up residence in the Lake of Fire. At that moment the Antichrist will be finished in history, unlike Satan, who will be bound for 1,000 years and then released and judged after a final rebellion.

The Antichrist will indeed be against Christ, but it will be Christ who will have the final victory. When Jesus comes back, that will be it for the Antichrist.

His beastly days come to an end, because number 6 has run into number 7.

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