Antichrist is most frequently referred to as a specific man foretold to be history's last and most terrible dictator, who will rule the world just before the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
The term Antichrist has 2 meanings, basically. One: that which is against Christ, and two: that which counterfeits and/or takes the place of Christ.
The word Antichrist is mentioned specifically only in the following scriptures of the Bible.
"Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time" (1 John 2:18).
"Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son" (1 John 2:22).
"And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that [spirit] of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world" (1 John 4:3).
"For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist" (2 John 1:7).
The future world leader who will be Antichrist is called by other names in Bible prophecy. He is called The little horn (Dan. 7: 8,) king of fierce countenance (Dan 8: 23,) the prince that shall come (Dan 9: 26,) the king (Dan 11: 36,) man of sin (2 Thes. 2: 3,) son of perdition (2 Thes 2: 3,) the beast (Rev. 13: 1-4, 12, 14-15, 17, chp. 19: 19-20, six hundred threescore and six (Rev. 13: 18,).
Prophecy writer/broadcaster, Daymond Duck writes the following about the one who is also called the lawless one.
Most scholars agree that John's usage of the word [Antichrist] implies two different meanings: 1) against the Christ, and 2) instead of the Christ. Both meanings fit the final fuhrer. The antichrist will be against the Christ; that is, he will be an enemy of the Christ, and he will try to replace the Christ; that is, he will be a false Christ.
Daniel revealed the final fuhrer's opposition to the Christ when he said the antichrist will "stand up against the Prince of princes" (Daniel 8:25). And Paul revealed the evil one's effort to replace the Christ when he said the antichrist will sit in the Temple as God "shewing himself that he is God" (2 Thessalonians 2:3, 4). Many people have opposed Christ, but other than Satan, there has never been a more sinister or worthy opponent on the face of planet earth. Many false Christs have arisen and some have been noteworthy imposters, but there has never been a greater or more evil deceiver than this one.
What We Do Not Know About the Antichrist
Four things we do not know about the antichrist are the subject of much speculation. The first is his nationality. It is not hard to find writers who teach that the antichrist will be a Syrian. The Bible does not say he will come from that ancient nation, but some conclude this through reasoning that usually goes like this: "Antiochus Epiphanes was a type of the antichrist and he was a Syrian. Therefore, the antichrist will be a Syrian." The problem with this kind of reasoning is that it overlooks those individuals of other nationalities who were also a type of the antichrist. Nebuchadnezzar was a type of the antichrist and he was a Chaldean. So why not say the antichrist will be a Chaldean? Adolf Hitler was a type of the antichrist and he was a German. So why not say the antichrist will be a German? The same can be said for Pharoah, an Egyptian. We could go on and on, but the point is that this kind of reasoning does not settle the issue.
The second thing we do not know about the antichrist is whether he will be a Jew or a Gentile. Some say he will be a Jew because the Bible says, "neither shall he regard the God of his fathers" (Daniel 11:37 KJV). Others say he will be a Gentile because this verse has been incorrectly translated and it should read, "He will show no regard for the gods of his fathers" (Daniel 11:37 NIV). If the correct translation is "God," he will come from a monotheistic religion (probably Jewish); if the correct translation is "gods," he will come from a polytheistic religion (probably Gentile).
Then there are those who reason that "The antichrist will be Jewish because the Jews will accept him as their Messiah and they would never accept a Gentile." Or "The antichrist will be Jewish because he will be a counterfeit of Christ and He was a Jew. " The Reverend Jerry Falwell, whose theology is almost always very sound, got in trouble on this one. He believes the antichrist will be a Jew, and he may be right, but the fact is, whether the antichrist will be a Jew or a Gentile is not revealed in the Bible. And those who think he will be are definitely in the minority. Incidentally, one of the complaints against the Reverend Falwell has been that he is anti-Semitic for thinking like this. On the contrary, Falwell has long been one of Israel's strongest supporters and has done much to help the Jewish people.
The third thing we do not know about the antichrist is his name. We know "his number is Six hundred threescore and six," but that is different from his name (Revelation 13:18). Several elaborate systems have been developed in an effort to reveal the name of the antichrist, but they have all been wrong. Some names these systems have come up with are Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, Henry Kissinger, Ronald Reagan, William 'Bill' Clinton, and several of the Popes. These should be seen for what they are - just wild guesses. Furthermore, trying to identify antichrist is just a waste of time because he will not be revealed until after the rapture (2 Thessalonians 2:1-12). Dr. Ed Hindson concisely stated it when he said:
Only after the rapture of the church will the identity of the antichrist be revealed. In other words, you don't want to know who he is. If you ever do figure out who he is, you have been left behind! This is absolutely true. Nothing is more futile than trying to identify the antichrist before the rapture. Doing so would be an effort to prove the Bible wrong. That has never happened and it is not going to happen now. All anyone does by trying to identify the antichrist before the church is taken out is embarrass himself and bring criticism upon Christians.
In connection with this, let me hasten to add that 666 is the antichrist's number. It is not my driver's license number, my credit card number, my Social Security number or any other number associated with me. Also, it is not any of your numbers. It will not be several billion different numbers for the several billion different individuals on earth. It is his number, one specific number that identifies one specific individual.
The fourth thing we do not know about the antichrist is whether or not he is already alive as a person. It seems reasonable that he will have to be a full-grown man when he appears. And if the rapture is as close as most prophetic authorities think, it makes sense to assume that he is not only alive, but already grown. The thing to remember is nobody knows and all a person can do is speculate.
What the Antichrist Will Be Like When He Appears
We can better understand what the antichrist will be like when he appears by observing a few things about the first and second coming of Jesus. The official first coming of Jesus, commonly called His triumphal entry into Jerusalem, occurred while Jesus was riding upon a donkey, a symbol of peace (Luke 19:2838). The official second coming of Jesus, commonly called the Revelation, will take place at the end of the tribulation period when Jesus returns in righteousness to judge and make war riding upon a white horse, a symbol of conquest. (Revelation 19: 1121). The first time, Jesus came peacefully as the Lamb of God and the second time He will come conquering as the KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS (John 1:36; Revelation 19:11-16).
This has relevance to what the antichrist will be like as he carries out his bloody career. During his rise to power, he will present himself as a man of peace. So we might expect the prophets to depict him riding upon a donkey, a symbol of peace, but that is wrong. John said, "And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer" (Revelation 6:2).
The antichrist will ride across the pages of history on a white horse, a symbol of conquest. His sweet-sounding words of peace will not match his terrible acts of war. This fictitious christ will present himself as a lamb, but he will really be a wolf in sheep's clothing. When asked about the sign of His coming and the end of the age, Jesus answered, "Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many" (Matthew 24:4, 5). The list of people who have done this is long, but the ultimate false christ will be the antichrist. Multitudes will think they
have met the Messiah, but he will really be the man of sin.
The bow was a weapon of war and a symbol of military power in John's day. The antichrist will' appear with a bow in his hand, but he will have no arrows. This is like carrying a gun without bullets. The antichrist will have weapons of war, but he will act like he is unarmed. Daniel said, "by peace shall [he] destroy many" (Daniel 8:25).
A crown is worn by people who earn or inherit the right to wear one, but the antichrist will not earn or inherit the right to wear his crown. It will be a gift from the wicked power brokers of the world. What a terrible mistake! The world's gullible politicians will empower a leader without doing the all-important background check. Some will think they are crowning a godly man, but they will be elevating a fake with a very dark side. The Bible says this fake will "ascend out of the bottomless pit" (Revelation 17:8). That is the gruesome subterranean abode where God is holding the very worst of Satan's demonic spirits. It makes one wonder what kind of background this man will have. Considering his origin, it must be filled with terrible atrocities.
What the World Will Be Like When the Antichrist Appears
When addressing this, the Apostle Paul used the phrase "perilous times" (2 Timothy 3:1). "Perilous times" includes war, and one of the signs of the last days that Jesus talked about is "wars and rumors of wars" (Matthew 24:6). While the antichrist is negotiating peace and consolidating his power, God will release a second horse and rider. John said, "there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword" (Revelation 6:4). The second rider will bring war to the earth. God will allow him to do this to show the world that the antichrist is not the true Prince of Peace, Jesus.
"Perilous times" also includes "economic disaster." While the antichrist is boasting about having solutions to the world's problems, God will release a third horse and rider. John said, "I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand. And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine" (Revelation 6:5, 6).
The third rider will bring economic collapse to the world. God will allow him to do this to show the world that the antichrist is not the true Bread of Life, Jesus. Food will be so valuable it will have to be weighed on scales before it is sold. Money will be so worthless that what a man earns in one day will purchase barely enough for one person to survive on. It definitely seems that America, and perhaps the entire world, has forgotten that a good economy is a blessing of God and not a benefit of having the right kind of politician in office. This moral confusion will be disastrous in the days to come.
"Perilous times" also includes starvation and sickness, and two more signs of the last days Jesus talked about are "famine" and "pestilence" (Matthew 24:7). God will release a fourth horse and rider that will fulfill this. John said, "I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth" (Revelation 6:8). God will allow this horse and rider to come on the scene to show the world that the antichrist is not the Great Physician, Jesus. One-fourth of the world's population will die as war and economic disaster spreads like wildfire triggering hunger and disease on every continent. Most conservative Christians believe the "perilous times" have arrived.
Dr. Thomas Ice writes further about Antichrist and his number one assistant, the false prophet. While I think it may be possible that the False Prophet (Rev. 13:11-18; 16:13; 19:20; 20:10) could be a Jew (I am not saying that I necessarily think he will be), there does not appear to be any Scriptural grounds to think that the Antichrist will be of the tribe of Dan nor of Jewish descent. It appears that he will be a Gentile and will arise from within the Revived Roman Empire. In the middle of the tribulation he will take his seat in Israel's rebuilt Temple and claim to be God Himself (2 Thes. 2:4). His career will be a short-lived seven-year period for which he will spend eternity in the Lake of Fire upon Christ's return to planet earth (Rev. 19:20; 20:10). (The Final Fuhrer Daymond R. Duck)
The Ethnicity of The Antichrist, Dr. Thomas Ice Professor, Tim LaHaye School of Prophecy Liberty University