What are the characteristics of the anti-Christ? Are there some people alive that have these characteristics already? How can we identify the anti-Christ by his attributes?
What is an Anti-Christ?
The word “anti” means to be opposed to or to be the opposite of. You could say that anything that has the prefix “anti” on it is against what it is attached to. The word “anti” literally means to be opposed too. Like the word antibacterial means that the substance attacks bacteria or is against bacteria. So the anti-Christ attacks anything about Christ; His message, His person, His character. There are many anti-Christ’s out there today and there always have been since the time of Christ on earth. This is nothing new today. The fact that there are anti-Christ’s, lower-case “a”, has nothing to do with the Anti-Christ, upper-case “A.” There are many anti-Christs but there is only one Anti-Christ.
The apostle John, among other writers in the New Testament, mentions certain characteristics of the anti-Christ. In the first place, there is the Anti-Christ with a capital “A.” There were also many anti-Christ’s in the world at the time of the New Testament church with a lower-case “a.” What is the difference between these two? Did the writers of the New Testament make a mistake in their choosing between a lower-case “a” and an upper-case “A?” No, they were simply pointing out that anyone that opposes, for example, the divinity of Christ is an anti-Christ. There are many out there today who are anti-Christ’s in that they deny the deity of Jesus Christ who is God (John 1). Unbelievably, many who graduate from seminary deny that Jesus was fully God and fully man. These, by definition, are anti-Christ’s. Atheists could be said to be anti-Christ because they do not believe in God and thus Jesus Christ as God and so they stand condemned (John 3:18). The anti-Christ is not one person but a spirit of anti-Christ and so we know that there are many anti-Christ’s but it is the spirit of anti-Christ that lives within humans and not a specific person (2 John 4:3).
In 1 John 2:18 John makes a distinction regarding the anti-Christ as he wrote, “Children it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour.” Here John states that there are many anti-Christ’s and that “you have heard that anti-Christ is coming.” John continues in verse 22, “Who is the liar? It is whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a person is the antichrist-denying the Father and the Son.” Here again the identity of the lower-cast anti-Christ is anyone who denies that Jesus is the Christ. The Christ means the “anointed One of God.” As John says, whoever denies Jesus as the Christ, or as the Messiah, denies the Father and the Son and this person and these people are the anti-Christ’s.” There are many anti-Christ’s out there today just as there were in John’s day. But the anti-Christ is not the same as the Anti-Christ, upper-case “A.”
The characteristics of anti-Christ’s are whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ, that He is the Messiah or that He is fully God. The world has no shortage of anti-Christ’s. Their characteristics are that they also deny His virgin birth, His resurrection, His living a sinless life, and that He will return again to judge the world. For the believer, He will come as their King. For those who reject His gospel, He will come as their Judge (Rev 20). Either way, everyone will bow the knee and acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord.as a condemned sinner or a resurrected or glorified saint (Rom 14:11, Phil 2:10).
The Characteristics of the Anti-Christ
Paul spoke of one man as being the man of lawlessness (2 Thes 2:3-4). Since we know the difference between the many anti-Christs and the Anti-Christ, let’s look at Scripture to identify ten characteristics of the Anti-Christ. Some theologians say that there are up to 37 characteristics of the Anti-Christ’s so we know that there are more than ten but we will only look at the most obvious of these ten, although you may think of different ones other than those mentioned here.
He Will Blaspheme God
Many of these same characteristics of the one Anti-Christ are also held by the many anti-Christ’s. One of the greatest of these characteristics is that he will blaspheme the holy name of God. In Revelation 13:6 it says, “And he opened his mouth in blasphemies against God, to blaspheme His name and His tabernacle, that is, those who dwell in heaven.” Many who are unbelievers blaspheme God too when they use God’s name as a swear word. This includes the vain use of Jesus’ name as it is written in Exodus 20:7 (and several other places), “You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.” In fact Jesus warned that every idle word that men and women speak they will have to give an account for in the Day of Judgment. Let that sink in.every idle word! That includes every word that is used with God’s name in useless, vain or even casual speaking like “Oh my God!”
He Claims to be God and is Worshiped
A strong characteristic is that the Anti-Christ will seek to be worshpped like God is as Paul writes, “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. He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God“ (2 Thes 2:3-4). This Anti-Christ is identified as the “man of lawlessness” and will not appear until the “rebellion” occurs (Rev 17). This man is supposed to come to power during the Tribulation and he will set in the temple of God to proclaim himself as God.
He Will Display Miraculous Powers
Paul knew that this man of lawlessness would dazzle those who are deceived and that is why many will worship him. In 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12 Paul writes that “The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie, and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.” The sad fact is that people will be so far removed from knowing Jesus Christ that they won’t recognize the true God from the false one. These powers are also mentioned in Revelation 13:13 as he “performed great signs, even causing fire to come down from heaven, to the earth in full view of the people.” The difference is Jesus never performed miracles to draw attention to Himself but to glorify God. The Anti-Christ will try and draw glory to himself with miracles (John 4:48).
The Anti-Christ Comes Back to Life
Just like Jesus Christ died on the cross and was resurrected, the Anti-Christ will recover from what was considered a mortal wound. After this happened he “ordered them to set up an image in honor of the beast who was wounded by the sword and yet lived“ (Rev 13:14). What a feat that will cause many to be motivated by the sight of this “fatal wound [that] had been healed“; so much so that many will worship him (Rev 13:12). This is imitating Jesus Christ again for even the disciple Thomas doubted that Jesus could recover from the death at His crucifixion but when he saw the resurrected Christ he confirmed that Jesus was Lord and God (John 20:28).
The Anti-Christ Rules in Full Authority
The Anti-Christ, again mimicking Jesus sovereignty, will rule for 42 months over the earth. For three and a half years he “was given authority to continue [literally “make war”] for forty-two months” (Rev 13:5). In fact the Anti-Christ “was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation“ (Rev 13:7). Christians know who actually reigns supreme for Jesus is Lord of all and has been given all authority in heaven and on earth. The Anti-Christ thinks he has power but he is given only as much power as God allows him to have. All this mans power is within the sovereign plan of God as God can even use evil for good.
The Anti-Christ Will Control the World’s Economy
Whoever rules the world’s goods rules the unsaved world. This man will have “forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads, so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of its name“ (Rev 13:16-17). When people start getting hungry, they will do almost anything to keep from starving. Even submit to an ungodly ruler. He causes everyone to receive a mark so that they can’t even buy food or any goods at all unless they have his mark upon them. This is also mimicking the sovereign God who gives to all, great and small, the sustenance to survive. The Anti-Christ makes everyone receive his mark but this mark comes with a great price.
The Anti-Christ Desecrates God’s Temple
Daniel 11:31 mentions this abomination of desolation as his “armed forces will rise up to desecrate the temple fortress and will abolish the daily sacrifice. Then they will set up the abomination that causes desolation.” The “daily sacrifice is abolished“ (Dan 12:11). He can not be trusted because “He will invade the kingdom when its people feel secure, and he will seize it through intrigue. Then an overwhelming army will be swept away before him; both it and a prince of the covenant will be destroyed. After coming to an agreement with him, he will act deceitfully, and with only a few people he will rise to power. When the richest provinces feel secure, he will invade them and will achieve what neither his fathers nor his forefathers did. He will distribute plunder, loot and wealth among his followers. He will plot the overthrow of fortresses-but only for a time“ (Dan 11:21-24). He is a liar and a thief of thieves. He makes an agreement and promises peace but then breaks his promise and deceives many.
Jesus spoke about this saying, “Therefore, when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place’ (whoever reads, let him understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house. And let him who is in the field not to back to get his clothes. “But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath, For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no nor ever shall be“ (Matt 24:15-21)
The Anti-Christ’s Attempted Destruction of Israel
Satan and all of those under his rule have always sought the destruction of the Jews. The end times see this brought to fruition. In Daniel 11:40-41 is says, “And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over. He shall enter also into the glorious land [Jerusalem], and many [countries] shall be overthrown: but these shall escape out of his hand, [even] Edom, and Moab, and the chief of the children of Ammon.” This happens after another treaty is broken. At first he promises to help be Jerusalem’s savior but he, as always, is a liar and the truth is not in him (Dan 9:27). He breaks one treaty after another and makes one promise after another, breaking them all. It is obvious that his power comes from the father of lies, the Devil.
Causes Earth’s Armies to Fight Against Christ
The Anti-Christ makes an unwise decision, showing that pride comes before the fall.and what a great fall this is. John records that he “saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to wage war against the rider on the horse and his army“ (Rev 19:19). He is so deluded by power and by pride that he actually believes that he can even defeat Jesus Christ but he sorely miscalculates (Rev 19:20-21). Power not only corrupts but it also blinds a person to logic and common sense. What makes this man think that he can destroy God Almighty in the Person of Jesus Christ!?
That will be the last decision that Anti-Christ makes and it will be a fatal one for he is cast alive into the lake of fire where he can deceive the nations no more.
All Anti-Christ’s Final Destiny
All of the little “a” anti-Christ’s and the Anti-Christ are ultimately headed to one place; the lake of fire. If you are denying Jesus Christ is God and that He came in the flesh and lived a perfect, sinless life, that He died for sinners, and was raised again and today sits at the right hand of God, and that He is coming again to judge the world in righteousness, then you are also an anti-Christ (little “a”). There is nothing that is not forgivable except not believing in Jesus Christ as the Son of God (1 John 1:9). If you do not believe in Jesus Christ then you are an anti-Christ and you stand condemned unless you repent (John 3:18).
There is still time to repent if you are reading this. If not, I hate to tell you the bad news of your and the Anti-Christ’s final destination. It is found in Revelation 20:19-20, “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 who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone.” Notice that they were cast into the lake of fire alive! Now, the good news means nothing unless we tell you the bad news first. So now the good news (Rom 10:9-13). You don’t have to go there (Acts 4:12). Since Christ has not yet returned, He is still waiting for some to repent. He is not willing that any perish apart from His saving grace (Acts 16:30-31). I beg you to come to Him and place your trust in the Savior, but if not you will face Him as Judge. My prayer is that you trust Him today with your eternal destiny and place your faith in the only one Who can save you. Jesus Christ who died for you.