The Antichrist – Man of Lawlessness

The term “antichrist” has a double meaning in Scripture:

1. Antichrist as a general enemy

[Greek antichristos, against or instead of Christ]. (DAVIS DICTIONARY OF THE BIBLE, p. 39).

The-word antichrist may mean, as the etymology shows, an enemy of Christ or a usurper of Christ’s name and rights — this meaning has the broad application to include all that is opposite to Christ is thus antichrist; i.e., see 1 John 2:18 … Even now are there many antichrists. 1 John 4:3 — includes the spirit of antichrist — alluding to any who in spirit or in person is opposed to Christ, to teach antichristian doctrine, and deny the fact of the incarnation [of Jesus Christ as God the Son] i.e., false teachers and false disciples. (SYSTEMAT1C THEOLOGY, Vol. VII, L. S. Chafer, pp. 16-17).

2. The Antichrist as a future person

“The Man of Sin” (II Thessalonians 2:3). It is not certain exactly who this person will be; but the identification of the “Man of Sin” with the coming Antichrist of Revelation is the most logical conclusion. He is the “beast out of the sea” (Revelation 13:1), the “little horn” of Daniel 7:8. He is the Antichrist; i.e., the false Christ who will force himself and his kingdom upon the world one day hence (see Revelation 13:15-17). (LIBERTY BIBLE COMMENTARY, Vol. II, p. 620).

“The Son of Perdition,” “The wicked one” (II Thessalonians 2:3,8) refers to the personification of evil and sin in one who resists the power and person of Christ. He is to be identified with the first beast of Revelation 13, the little horn of Daniel 7:8, and the abomination of Matthew 24:15. Antichrist is apparently a historical person who makes his debut in history at a crucial moment and thus achieves incredible power and influence. His true character emerges at the midpoint of the Tribulation (see Daniel 9:24-27). Ultimately, he is destroyed at the coming of Christ (see II Thessalonians 2:8). (CRISWELL STUDY BIBLE, p. 1409).

Several theories as to the identity of the Antichrist:

  • Some believe the Antichrist will be a Gentile, since he comes from the sea (Revelation 13:1), which is often a symbol for Gentile and heathen nations.
  • Some believe the Antichrist will be a resurrected individual, on the basis of Revelation 13:3 and 17:8.
  • Some believe the Antichrist will be Judas Iscariot, on the basis of the following verses: John 6:70-71; Luke 22:3, John 13:27; 17:12; II Thessalonians 2:3; Acts 1:25.

Others interpret the second beast of Revelation 13:11, i.e., the False Prophet as the Antichrist.

His origin is from the earth (or land) or the Land of Promise, thus he is an apostate Jew. The Jews would not accept a non-Jew as their Messiah, and history witnesses that they have received some scores of false Messiahs already (see John 5:43; Acts 5:36-37). But the portrayal of the Antichrist in Daniel 11:36-45- Zechariah 11:15-17, Matthew 24:15-28; John 5:45; II Thessalonians 2:1-12; Revelation 13:1-10, is such that the one called “the man of sin” is not likely to be compelled by truth as to his national origin, any more than he adheres to the facts in claiming to be God Himself (see II Thessalonians 2:4).

Falsehood is one of the staples of his stock in trade. Thus, he will arise from the Land of Promise and will falsely claim to be of the nation of promise and the promised Messiah … He seeks to imitate the kingly and prophetic ministries of Christ. “Spake as a dragon (Revelation 13:11). But his speech betrays him as a tool of Satan; he pretends meekness and humility as a lamb, but in actuality is a masterpiece of the devil.

He is stationed in Jerusalem (see II Thessalonians 2:4); but owes his position and power to the first beast, who resides in Rome (see Daniel 11:38-39), especially the words “god of forces” and “strange god.” With the military help of his superior, he can command universal compliance with his demands. (LIBERTY BIBLE COMMENTARY, Vol. 11, pp. 823-825).

The Antichrist’s personal characteristics:

  • He will be an intellectual genius (Daniel 8:23).
  • He will be an oratorical genius (Daniel 11:36).
  • He will be a political genius (Revelation 17:11-12).
  • He will be a commercial genius (Revelation 13:16-17; Daniel 11:43).
  • He will be a military genius (Revelation 6:2; 13:4).
  • He will be a religious genius (Revelation 13:8; II Thessalonians-2: 4).

The activities of the Antichrist:

  • He begins by controlling the western power block [Federation of nations i.e., Revised Roman Empire] (Revelation 17:12).
  • He makes a seven-year covenant with Israel but breaks it after 3 1/2 years (Daniel 9:27).
  • He gains absolute control over the Middle East after the Russian invasion (Ezekiel 38-39).
  • He attempts to destroy all of Israel (Revelation 12).
  • He destroys the false religious system, so that he may rule unhindered (Revelation 17:16-17).
  • He thereupon sets himself up as God (Daniel 11:36-37; II Thessalonians 2:4,11; Revelation 13:5).
  • He briefly rules over all nations (Psalms 2; Daniel 11:36; Revelation 13:16).
  • He is utterly crushed by the Lord Jesus Christ at the Battle of Armageddon (Revelation 19).
  • He is the first creature to be thrown into the Lake of Fire (Revelation 19:20).

(Excerpts from THE KING IS COMING, by H. L. Willmington, pp. 78,79,82):

It should be pointed out that the Antichrist will be identified with a number 666 (see Revelation 13:16,17,16). The mark of the Beast (666) is a mark which the Antichrist will require people to have on them if they are to buy or sell. It is to indicate they accept him. It’s such a deep committal to him and such a deep turning away from the true Christ that all who receive the mark of the Beast will go to Hell (Revelation 14:9-11). Therefore, it is obvious no saved person will accept the mark of the Beast even if it costs him his life to reject it.


There is one simple but profound act, a destiny determining and life-transforming act, which will guarantee one will never have the mark of the Beast. That act is to repent of one’s sins and accept the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior for the forgiveness of sins and for the gift of everlasting life. One then has become a member of the family of God (John 1:12-13) and shall never perish (John 10:28). If one accepts Jesus Christ as his Savior now, he will not have to go through the terrible reign of the Antichrist, but will be taken out of this world (I Thessalonians 4:16-17).

The Bible teaches the identity of the Antichrist will not be known until after Christ takes out of the world all Christians (I Thessalonians 4:16-17; II Thessalonians 2:3-9) and until the Antichrist makes a seven year covenant or agreement with Israel (Daniel 9:27). The one who will become the Antichrist may be alive and may be an adult ready for action today. However, God has not revealed him, and it would be wrong to try to point him out before those two events occur (Rapture of saints and seven-year covenant).

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Dr. Elmer Towns is a college and seminary professor, an author of popular and scholarly works (the editor of two encyclopedias), a popular seminar lecturer, and dedicated worker in Sunday school, and has developed over 20 resource packets for leadership education.His personal education includes a B.S. from Northwestern College in Minneapolis, Minnesota, a M.A. from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, a Th.M. from Dallas Theological Seminary also in Dallas, a MRE from Garrett Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois, and a D.Min. from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California.He is co-founder of Liberty University, with Jerry Falwell, in 1971, and was the only full-time teacher in the first year of Liberty’s existence. Today, the University has over 11,400 students on campus with 39,000 in the Distance Learning Program (now Liberty University Online), and he is the Dean of the School of Religion.Dr. Towns has given theological lectures and taught intensive seminars at over 50 theological seminaries in America and abroad. He holds visiting professorship rank in five seminaries. He has written over 2,000 reference and/or popular articles and received six honorary doctoral degrees. Four doctoral dissertations have analyzed his contribution to religious education and evangelism.

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