12.  Characteristics of the Antichrist

(Revelation 13)

There are various opposites or contrasting statements in the book of Revelation, emerging from the great conflict between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of Satan. These opposites explain the high degree of tension and polarisation between the two kingdoms. The antithesis between God and Satan is the reason for the evil struggle of Satan to become the ruler of the universe in the place of God. He is also intent on influencing and controlling, and even destroying, the human race which is part of the creation of God. The antithesis between Christ and the Antichrist is a further reason for the great spiritual battle experienced during the church dispensation. In the coming tribulation period, this struggle will also become manifest physically through the revelation of the Antichrist as a person who will be head of the antichristian new world order.

Since the kingdoms of Christ and the Antichrist are utterly opposed and polarised, no synthesis or reconciliation between them is possible – they are locked in a battle for supremacy that will be settled during a final confrontation. In this struggle, Jesus Christ has already proved Himself as the Conqueror having declared Himself to be “the First and the Last… who lives, and was dead, and behold I am alive for evermore… And have the keys of Hades and of Death”. During His Second Coming He will destroy the Antichrist and his evil world government that will be based on the power of Satan. In its place, Christ will then physically establish, on this present earth, a world government as part of the kingdom of God.

As it will be one of the strategies of the Antichrist to be accepted and worshipped as Messiah in the place of Christ, he will reveal himself in a highly deceptive way as a Prince of Peace. In that way he will pretend to be the promised Messiah for whom the world has waited. He will apply the messianic titles of all religions to himself to create the impression that he is the universal Messiah of mankind. In the light of this strategy of his it is imperative that we should be able at all times to clearly distinguish between Christ and the Antichrist. People who are not able to make this distinction beyond any doubt, are vulnerable to the deception of the Antichrist and may naively accept and worship the false messiah in the place of the true Messiah. The following is a list of contrasts between Christ and the Antichrist, which should help people to clearly distinguish between the true Messiah and false messiahs:


The Antichrist

Christ came down from heaven. He said: “For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me” (Jn. 6:38). He is the Word who was with God from the beginning, and became flesh (Jn. 1:1, 14). He is the Day-spring from on high who has visited us (Lk. 1:78). The house of His Father is in heaven (Jn. 14:2).

The Antichrist will ascend out of the bottomless pit. As a human being he will emerge from the sea of nations (Rev. 13:1), but he will be possessed of a satanic spirit which comes up from the pit – the place from where the demons also come (Rev. 11:7 and 17:8). His power and authority come from Satan who will give his throne to the Antichrist (Rev. 13:2).

Christ is the Son of God. “And Simon Peter answered and said: You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Mt. 16:16).

The Antichrist is the son of perdition. Paul said: “[He is] the man of sin… the son of perdition, who opposes …God” (2 Thes. 2:3-4).

Christ is sinless. “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathise with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin (Heb. 4:15). He is the spotless Lamb of God (1 Pet. 1:19).

The Antichrist is the man of sin. “…the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition” (2 Thes. 2:3). He will establish a culture of sin and rebellion on earth.

Christ came in the Name of His Father. He said to the people of Israel who rejected Him as Messiah: “I have come in My Father’s name, and you do not receive Me” (Jn. 5:43).

The Antichrist will come in His own name. The consequence of rejecting Jesus is severe: “…you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, him you will receive” (Jn. 5:43).

Christ came to glorify the Father. In His High Priestly prayer He said to the Father: “I have glorified You on earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do” (Jn. 17:4).

The Antichrist will glorify himself and blaspheme God. He will “exalt himself…” and also “open his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His Name” (2 Thes. 2:4; Rev. 13:6).

Christ is one with the Father and the Holy Spirit, and came to reveal the Father to us. “For there are three who bear witness in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one” (1 Jn. 5:7). Jesus said: “He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (Jn. 14:9).

The Antichrist will associate himself with the dragon and the false prophet in a triumvirate and personalise Satan. “And the dragon gave him his power, his throne, and great authority…” and “another beast” [the false prophet] “caused people to worship the first beast” [Antichrist] (Rev. 13:2, 11-12).

Christ is the Saviour of the world who came to break our bonds and set us free. John says: “And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Saviour of the world” (1 Jn. 4:14). He can break the bonds of Satan. “Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed” (Jn. 8:36).

The Antichrist will bind people and make them political, religious, and economic slaves of the kingdom of darkness. “And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue and nation. And all… will worship him… no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark of… the beast” (Rev. 13:7-8, 17).

Christ came as a lowly servant to the world. “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mk. 10:45).

The Antichrist will be high and exalted in his own eyes. This “king shall do according to his own will: he shall exalt and magnify himself above every god” (Dan. 11:36).

Christ came to save repentant sinners and give them eternal life. “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Lk. 19:10). Anyone who believes in Him “has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgement, but has passed from death to life” (Jn. 5:24).

The Antichrist will come to scatter and kill many people. His father, Satan, is a murderer of people from the beginning (Jn. 8:44), that is why the Antichrist himself, during the great tribulation, will “go out with great fury to destroy and annihilate many with his armies” (Dan. 11:44).

Christ came to reveal and establish God’s righteousness on earth. Paul said: “I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith” (Phil. 3:8-9).

The Antichrist will promote sin and unrighteousness on earth. “Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition” (2 Thes. 2:3). He is “the lawless one” whose coming will be “with all unrighteous deception among those who perish” (2 Thes. 2:9-10).

Christ came to fulfil the law. He said: “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfil” (Mt. 5:17).

The Antichrist will change times and the law. “He shall persecute the saints of the Most High, and shall intend to change times and law” (Dan. 7:25).

Christ brings peace into people’s hearts, but His peace brings conflict with the unsaved world. “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you” (Jn. 14:27). In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (Jn. 16:33).

The Antichrist will establish a false peace and global unity that will suddenly collapse and give rise to the great tribulation. “For when they say: Peace and safety! Then sudden destruction comes upon them… and they shall not escape” (1 Thes. 5:3).

Christ came to expose Satan and to destroy his evil works. “For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil” (1 Jn. 3:8). He “disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it” (Col. 2:15).

The Antichrist will honour the god of fortresses (Satan) with everything that he has. “He shall honour a god of fortresses [the one who wages wars]; and a god which his fathers did not know he shall honour with gold and silver, with precious stones and pleasant things” (Dan. 11:38).

Christ takes a strong stand against greed and earthly wealth. “And He said to them: Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses” (Lk. 12:15). Treasures must instead be gathered in heaven by doing things that have value for eternity.

The Antichrist will accumulate great wealth, give gifts to his accomplices and also bribe people. He shall cause his special friends “to rule over many, and divide the land for gain… He shall have power over the treasures of gold and silver, and over all the precious things.” (Dan. 11:39, 43).

Christ proclaimed the truth about God, Satan, sin, salvation, heaven and hell to people, as well as the rewards of eternal life. Jesus said: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (Jn. 14:6). The Apostle John declares: “We know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding that we may know Him who is true” (1 Jn. 5:20).

The Antichrist will come to spiritually deceive humanity by making them believe lies that will lead to their eternal doom. His coming will be “according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth that they might be saved” (2 Thes. 2:9-10).

Christ only associates Himself spiritually with the true church that confesses His Name. “Also I say to you, whoever confesses Me before men, him the Son of Man also will confess before the angels of God” (Lk. 12:8). “I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own” (Jn. 10:14). Paul says to the Corinthian church: “I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ” (2 Cor. 11:2).

The Antichrist associates himself with all the false religions. John refers to the false religions as an immoral woman: “And I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast which was full of names of blasphemy… And on her forehead a name was written: Mystery, Babylon the Great, the mother of harlots and of the abominations of the earth” (Rev. 17:3-5). She deceived the nations to bow down to idols instead of worshipping the true God.

Christ and His bridal congregation will be together forever. With the first resurrection, the true Christians will be caught up to meet Christ in the air, “and thus we shall always be with the Lord” (1 Thes. 4:17). “Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him” (Rev. 20:6).

The Antichrist will reject and destroy his bride, the false world religions, after 3½ years. The political allies and the majority of the deceived followers of the beast will worship him as God after the false world church has been destroyed: “And the ten horns which you saw on the beast, these will hate the harlot, make her desolate and naked, eat her flesh and burn her with fire” (Rev. 17:16).

Christ convicts people through the Holy Spirit. John 16:8 says that the Holy Spirit convicts people of sin, of righteousness, and of the coming judgement. Jesus also said: “The Spirit of truth… will guide you into all truth… and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you” (Jn. 16:13-14).

The Antichrist convicts people through a satanic spirit of deception. “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… He who is not of God does not hear us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error” (1 Jn. 4:3, 6).

Christ’s kingdom will endure forever in the new heaven and on the new earth. “Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying: The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever” (Rev. 11:15).

The Antichrist’s kingdom on earth will be of short duration. The angel said to John that when the beast (the Antichrist) comes, “he must continue a short time… And the ten horns which you saw are ten kings who… receive authority for one hour as kings with the beast” (Rev. 17:10, 12).

Christ is the conqueror who will triumph over the Antichrist and his powers. “And I saw the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army. Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet… These two were cast alive into the lake of fire… And the rest were killed with the sword which proceeded from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse” (Rev. 19:19-21).

The Antichrist will be eternally condemned when Jesus comes. Paul refers to the disastrous end of the Antichrist not long after his revelation. He says that first the one who withholds will be taken out of the way, “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” (2 Thes. 2:8). Daniel says that “he shall come to his end, and no one will help him” (Dan. 11:45).

Christ’s followers will inherit an eternal and unshakeable kingdom. “The God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed” (Dan. 2:44). “For so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ” (2 Pet. 1:11).

All the Antichrist’s followers will share his fearsome, eternal doom with him in hell. “And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name” (Rev. 14:11).

Character of the Antichrist

In Revelation there are several references to the evil and blasphemous character of the Antichrist. To get the full picture of the major aspects of his character the information in Revelation must be considered in conjunction with statements in other books of the Bible. Paul mentions a number of key aspects of the Antichrist’s corrupt and immoral character:

“Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God… 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. And then the lawless one will be revealed… [whose] coming is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish” (2 Thes. 2:3-4, 7-10; emphasis added).

From this and other sections of the Bible the following character profile of the Antichrist can be constructed:

·      He will be the Lawless One. After what is restraining the appearance of the Antichrist has been taken out of the way, complete spiritual darkness will set in and the Lawless One shall be revealed. Lawless means a morally bad person who rejects the righteousness of God's laws.

·      He will be without integrity. Through political fraud he will gain a position of leadership, and by the use of clever diplomacy (political lies) he will soon become world leader (Dan. 9:27).

·      He will be the big briber. Double standards, bribery and corruption will be the order of the day in his wicked regime. Special favours will be granted to his accomplices: “…he shall  cause them to rule over many, and divide the land for gain” (Dan. 11:39).

·      He will be a satanic reformer. “He shall… intend to change times and law” (Dan. 7:25). He will suspend various traditions and laws based on Judeo-Christian morality. He will possibly abrogate the institution of marriage or, at least, encourage same-sex marriage and co-habitation and also change the days of the week. In the political sphere he will remove the boundaries among the nations and institute an integrated Babylonian world order of planetary citizens (Is. 10:13; Rev. 13:3).

·      He will be the man of sin. Disobedience, immorality, rebellion, violence and utter selfishness are manifestations of the spirit of sin, and will pave the way for the revelation of the man of sin. There will be no limits to the conceit and evil intentions of this dictator’s perverted character. He is called the son of death and destruction or the son of perdition (2 Thes. 2:3). His close companion, the false prophet, will be one of his foremost butchers and use occult powers to achieve his evil purpose.

·      He will be the self-declared God of this world. After he has been honoured as world messiah for 3½ years he will proceed to the most extreme form of rebellion against God by declaring himself to be God and by demanding the worship of all people. (Rev. 13:8, 12).

·      Pride and self-exaltation will motivate him to deify himself (Is. 10:12, 14).

·      He will be a blasphemer of the true God and of the saints (Rev. 13:5-6; Dan. 7:25).

·      He will be the greatest hater of Jews of all times. Although he will be accepted as Messiah by the Jews during the first 3½ years, he will order the killing of all Jews after they have suspended their covenant with him in the middle of the tribulation (Mt. 24:15-22).

·      He will be a notorious occult practitioner who will make use of the great powers given to him by Satan (Rev. 13:2). His coming will be “after the working of Satan with all power, signs and lying wonders” (2 Thes. 2:9).

·      He will be the great deceiver of mankind. His coming will be “with all unrighteous deception among those who perish” (2 Thes. 2:10). “Those who do wickedly against the covenant he shall corrupt with flattery” (Dan. 11:32).

·      He will be a man of violence and a murderer. “But news from the east and the north shall trouble him; therefore he shall go out with great fury to destroy and annihilate many” (Dan. 11:44).

·      He will be a psychopath with a schizoid personality: a man with many facets of personality as he is also seen as a beast with many heads. At times he will seem exceedingly friendly and charming when he deceives people – to the extent that no one will believe that there is anything evil in him. But there will also be the times when the dark side of his character gets the upper hand and leads him to commit the most unimaginable cruelties. During the first half of the tribulation period the innocent, angel of light aspect of his personality will be dominant. In the second 3½ years the dark and vicious aspect of his character will be openly manifested. Because of his lack of moral principles he will be completely unpredictable.

Emanating from the example of the Antichrist as a violent person and a man of sin, a culture of violence and sin will be established world-wide. It will form the basis of an international, devil-inspired rebellion against God, His kingdom, His Son (the true Messiah), His Spirit who convicts the world of its sin, and also against His Word which proclaims all His attributes, moral and spiritual laws as well as His judgements upon the wicked, and furthermore patently reveals the evil kingdom of darkness under the leadership of Satan, the Antichrist, the false prophet and their hordes of deceiving spirits. The truth is only to be found in the Bible, which also reveals the major manifestations and plans of the Antichrist and his coming reign of terror on earth.