4 Myths about the Antichrist
No end times’ sermon is complete without a reference to that eschatological bogeyman, the antichrist. For those who came in late, the antichrist is evil incarnate. He’s in league with the devil, and he is your worst nightmare. According to some, he will be responsible for the deaths of two out of every three people in these terrifying last days.
Who is he? The antichrist is widely believed to be a charismatic figure who will take control of the one world government before persecuting Christians in a great tribulation.
When I was a kid, everybody knew the antichrist was Henry Kissinger. It was obvious. But then Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols said he was the antichrist. So did Marilyn Manson.
Some say the antichrist is Harry Potter or that freaky kid from The Omen. But those are fictional figures. The real antichrist is the pope. At least that’s what Protestants have been saying ever since the Reformation.
And who do the Catholics think it is? Obama, apparently, although I imagine his stock has fallen since he left office. I guess now it could be Trump. Or Putin. Or that new Austrian leader.
According to one movie I saw, the antichrist is a smooth-talking blond and blue-eyed political maestro. At first, he seemed like a nice guy. But in the end, his true colors were revealed as he unleashed hell on an unsuspecting world.
One thing these antichrist candidates all have in common, is they all sound like generic Bond villains!
The antichrist in popular culture
The antichrist has a huge grip on our imagination, both inside and outside the church. I did a search for products related to the antichrist on Amazon, and this is what I found:
Number of books about the antichrist: 4,893
You could fill a school library with books about the antichrist. Indeed, there are more books about the antichrist than there are on the Apostle Paul. And there are more books on the antichrist than the gospel of grace!
What’s wrong with that picture?
I also searched the top three Christian magazines to see how often they mentioned the antichrist:
- Christianity Today: 452
- National Catholic Register: 5,520
- Charisma Magazine: 7,440
In online news sites such as CharismaNews, there are literally hundreds of articles about the Antichrist. (And they always describe him with a capital A even though the vast majority of Bibles do not. I follow Biblical practice here.) The articles deal with questions such as, Who is the antichrist? What is his agenda? How do we avoid worshipping the antichrist? How can we fight the antichrist? How is the antichrist spirit active in global politics?
Read these magazines and you will conclude that the antichrist is about to be revealed and that the great tribulation is about to begin. But what if you read the Bible instead? How would that shape your views of the antichrist?
The antichrist in scripture
I’ve given you some numbers to show how the antichrist figures prominently in the modern mind. Now I want to give you some numbers to show how often he appears in the Bible:
Number of times Jesus spoke about the antichrist: 0
If you’re a red-letter Christians who only preaches what Jesus preached, you’ll never mention him.
Number of times the Apostle Paul mentions the antichrist: 0
Number of times Peter, James, and Jude mention the antichrist: 0
Number of times the antichrist appears in the Book of Revelation: 0
Isn’t that interesting? The antichrist casts a huge shadow over the modern church, yet he barely rates a mention in scripture. Altogether, the label “antichrist” appears in just four verses. Four verses!
Is it possible that we have blown things out of proportion (4,000 books for 4 verses)? Have we mythologized someone who barely rates a mention?
Four things the Bible does NOT say about the antichrist
Myth #1: The antichrist is someone we need to talk about. He’s hugely influential.
Fact: The Bible says little about him. There are 31,102 verses in the Bible and 99.99% of them say nothing about the antichrist.
If the antichrist was so important, don’t you think Jesus would’ve mentioned him? And don’t you think the man who wrote most of the New Testament would’ve said something?
Myth #2: The antichrist is a world leader, probably with nukes.
Fact: According to the only person who wrote about him, an antichrist is someone who denies Jesus is the Christ come in the flesh from God (1 John 2:22, 2 John 1:7).
Given the context, John was most likely addressing the demonic spirit behind Gnosticism, a false teaching that infiltrated the first-century church. It takes a huge leap to connect the antichrist of scripture with the bogeyman of modern eschatology.
Myth #3: The antichrist will play a major role in these last days.
Fact: John said the antichrist, or many antichrists, were at work in his generation: “Even now many antichrists have appeared… (and are) now already in the world” (1 John 2:18, 4:3).
If you think the antichrist is a uniquely 21st century personality, your thinking doesn’t align with scripture.
Myth #4: The antichrist is the little horn of Daniel 7 and the prince of Daniel 9. He’s the lawless man Paul spoke of and he will bring about a great tribulation that kills many.
Fact: The great tribulation is past, not future.
Space precludes me dealing with the little horn of Daniel and the lawless man of 2 Thessalonians. (I cover them in my book.) But according to Jesus, you have as much to fear from a great tribulation as a great flood. They have both happened; they will never happen again.
There are many other traditions about the antichrist – he will make peace with Israel, he will rebuild the temple, etc. – but such a figure is so far removed from scripture, I am reluctant to spend any more time on him. In this article I have already written more words about him than the entire Bible.
Time to move on.
But let me leave you with this: even if the antichrist turned out to be all the things the Bible said he isn’t, I fail to see why we should fear him. Greater is he that is in you, than he that is a figment of an over-excited eschatological imagination.
Will there be a world leader who opposes Jesus and his church before the Final Coming? I suppose so. There have been many such leaders throughout history. There will be more in the future.
But if you have been living in fear of the antichrist and what he might do, renew your mind and be set free by the truth of God’s Word.
Our supporters are helping people all over the world get free from fear! Join us today:
Thanks. After reading AD70, this is not even worth talking about Paul.
Brilliant as always.
I enjoyed this thank you! A real eye opener. I love how this is solely based on facts from the bible, not just mere assumptions. May God continue to speak through you! God bless you 💓
Another homerun as far as i see it, this antichrist fear overshadows the grace and glory of Christ to some believers.. its a shame..
You never fail to both enlighten and amaze me with your post. Good word!!
I’m surprised you think the great tribulation is passed? It says clearly after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened and the moon shall not give her light, I supposed you would say this happened also?
Yes I would, because the Bible does – on more than one occasion – and I don’t like to disagree with scripture. For more on this subject, please see the Archives > Scripture Index. Jesus provided ten detailed prophetic signs in connection with the GT. Since all have come to pass, I conclude the GT is past.
Which ten signs are you referring to that Jesus spoke and are fulfilled
And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? Matthew 24:3 KJV
So what’s this end of the world he’s referring to. If the signs were fulfilled then end of world would have happened if you say all signs are fulfilled.
The antichrist is not mentioned in the Olivet Discourse. For articles on that passage, please refer to the Archives > Scripture Index.
I’m not talking about the Antichrist here, you mentioned all the signs were fulfilled and hence GT was passed, but the disciples are asking signs of the end of the world. If end of world has already happened, according to your assumptions that GT is passed,then how are we living in this world. Disciples clearly asked what are the signs of your coming and of the end of the world. What’s this abomination of desolation Jesus is speaking of reference to Daniel.
Please note I do not normally publish comments unrelated to the article. This one’s about the antichrist. For my take on other scriptures, please check out the Scripture Index. Thanks.
It is great insight for today’s church
Great, article Paul. Keep up the good work! I will be getting a couple copies of your book after reading this! My father used to belong to SDA church who focus on end times, but he no longer is involved with them. He would greatly benefit from your book. Thanks.
Often wondered about this.
Thanks Paul I couldn’t agree more. It’s time for believers to walk in the the authority Jesus has given to us and rule and reign in life.
Thank you Paul, now who is this 666,Where without his mark, people will not be allowed to sell or buy? Is this in the past or in the future? Or there is an interpretation we are missing here?
That would be the subject for another day. Here my focus is on what the scriptures say about the antichrist.
Alright I will wait, I thought this was connected since the antichrist’s name is 666 according to the scripture.
Thank you Paul for your work.
I am sure that the antichrist’s name is 666 according to some of the magazines I mentioned, but the two are not directly linked in scripture.
Well for all of those who spend their time in the Tree of Good and Evil instead of the Tree of Life, Paul you might have been the antichrist. But with great joy, you again proclaim the name of Jesus and put all the glory on Him. Your mind must be at rest now huh? Love your site and love being a regular supporter each month Paul. For those that are reading each post, please consider making this site a monthly commitment. I hope this is taken tongue in cheek like I wrote it, because we love Dr. Ellis and his family as well. As an entrepreneur, I know all too well that it takes both my wife and children to be called or it does not work. Thank you Jesus!
Does this mean we should quit looking for new ways to calculate the number 666?
Haha. Has there ever been a number on which more time and energy have been wasted? John’s readers probably knew exactly who he was referring to (Nero?), but because we don’t understand the significance of Jewish numerology we have chased our tails finding triple-sixes everywhere. I think John would have shaken his head at the effect his number has had on believers 20 centuries after he wrote it.
Such a deceiving and misleading article. I will pray for you Paul.
Speaking of deceptive and misleading, how is it that your name is sometimes Rupert, Freddy, Steve, Richard, Jack, Dude, Jason, or, my personal favorite, Watchman? Why not pick a fake name and stick with it?
Well, I can’t send anyone to hell by using a fake name. Figured I would get banned if you had the same ol dude disagreeing with you all the time. Turns out you are a pretty good sport. Didn’t think you would see the same IP address. What I’m doing, is for the Glory of God and for the stand of the truth. I don’t decieve tens of thousands to hell. Come out of your error Paul.
Greetings so Busted!…. very funny stuff. Thank you
I wish I was as level headed as you Paul. This response has me laughing.
Thank you Paul and Rupert (or whatever your name is) brilliant! My wife and I were in stiches reading this. What are people like!!
Some people lie for the Glory of God and some people preach Grace (Jesus) for the Glory of God . . . keep up the good work Paul !!!!
Congratulations, Barry. You have called me a heretic before, but I think this comment mentions heretic or heresy a record number of times.
I agree with all you have said Paul, the same goes for the devil, he has everyone believing he’s bigger and greater than he really is, kind regards.
If one holds to a preterism or a majority of prophesies or end times passages are to be viewed in the past tense then your view is “Scriptural”. But what if one holds to a futurist View? Oh they are all wrong and we are right. I’ll agree to disagree. But our salvation our relationship with God our fellowship with fellow believers (which is based on Jesus and the new birth) is not rooted in our eschatology. When I was in Bible College we studied end times and I never once saw it as a harsh judgment God is mad at everyone. I follow Hilton Sutton and his teachings based upon Scripture and not one time was his teaching doom and gloom and taught a victorious end times and taught a future tense eschatology. The truth is right now our job is to reach a lost dying world with the message of Grace that Jesus loves the world He died for them and brings salvation and new life. This is what’s most important. Preaching the gospel of peace. 😊
Framing the debate as preterist vs futurist is unhelpful in this case, since John is not prophesying. He is describing what he is seeing. “Even now many antichrists have appeared… (and are) now already in the world” (1 John 2:18, 4:3). For sure, we have antichrists today, but John wasn’t writing about our day. His focus was on his day.
I wholeheartedly agree we make to much of the ‘antichrist’, but wasn’t John prophesying in the verse prior when he said ‘we know that the anti-christ is coming’?
John doesn’t say the antichrist is coming, but “you heard that antichrist is coming.” And when is he coming? “Even now many antichrists have appeared” (1 John 2:18). John repeats this two chapters later: “The spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world” (1 John 4:3). So if there ever was a prophecy about a coming antichrist that his readers had heard, John is saying the prophecy is fulfilled “even now.” Now means now. There can be no doubt that John was referring to something happening in his day.
I do believe it is because I see revelation 13 speaking of the anti christ. But again salvation isn’t dependent upon this. So peace. 😊
The antichrist is mentioned nowhere by name in Revelation. Rev 13 refers to the beast which some infer is the antichrist. However, that is an inference and like all inferences it’s validity rests on the strength of the claim. I hesitate to make such an inference as there are several differences between the many antichrists of John’s letters and the singular beast of his apocalypse. The antichrists have come; the beast is coming. If the beast was Nero, as some claim, then it’s fair to say he had an antichrist spirit. But even if the beast was not Nero, this changes none of the 4 facts above.
As a futurist, I agree with the inference made by John W. Reed about Antichrist being a future literal person. Antichrist will not be “revealed” for who he really is until he (as Satan’s representative) begins openly persecuting Christians after a yet-to-come Rapture (Rev. 12). As you point out, the term “Antichrist” is found only in I and II John. There, it is anyone who denies Christ. But futurists believe that, although his actual name is not revealed, various Bible writers have their own terms for Antichrist.
-The Little Horn (Dan. 7:8; 8:9)
-A Vile Person (Dan. 11:21)
-The Assyrian (Is. 10:5)
-The Chaldean (Hab. 1:6)
-Gog and Magog (Ezek. 38)
-The Man of Sin (II Thess. 2:3)
-The Beast out of the sea (Rev. 13:1)
Right On Paul! Funny how scripture has the answers and history makes it so clear i.e. AD 70.
Excellent! As always !!! Grace and peace bro !!!
Another eye opener to those who cannot move on on their own theory. Nice job Paul.
Here’s some advice, Barry. When you call someone a “HERETIC OF HERETICS” it generally stops them from listening to anything you might say after that, even if it makes sense. Which your post did not. Also – you can make yourself seem slightly less crazy if you simply depress the caps lock key.
Paul’s main message is the awesome wonderful grace of God. You shouldn’t feel ok about talking about him the way that you did. If you don’t like what he writes why don’t you just go somewhere else. It’s a big internet.
Thank you Paul for the clarifications and explanations! Why worry?…Jesus is Lord!
Great post! Love it! Thank you Paul 😇
Thanks Paul for this revelation of God about the antichrist! Great article and always refreshing reading your blog. Grace be with you brother
I’m amazed at some of the above comments and backslapping of Paul. When exactly did this great tribulation happened. When were the threat of all flesh being wiped out but for The Lord’s intervention. Paul you are writing absolutely heretical rubbish…
You are welcome to disagree with my views on the antichrist, but if you wish to comment on the great tribulation, please do so under one of the articles on that subject. A link to one such article is provided above.
I find this very confirming what Lord Spirit has led me think. BEST WORDS —— “FEAR NOT”
I always thought the idea of a mega human anti-christ never meshed with the plain description of anti-christs in 1 John. Too much guessing at inferences with tradition passing those guesses off as scriptural fact. My apologies for the folks who think disagreement on end times things makes you some kind of heretic on the fast train to hell. Last time I knew salvation and eternity have nothing to do with a person’s opinion about the end times or preterism.
Paul how can i buy your book on end times. I would like to read it word by word. I have been deceived for a long time and this deception still going on must end.!
Here’s a link to the book site: http://www.ad70.org
Antichrist may be on the mind of so many precisely because the “spirit of” is so prevalent (your own citations of 1 John 2:18, 4:3). Don’t condescend or mock us. That Jesus, Peter, James, Jude or Paul never uttered the word “antichrist” confirms or denies nothing. That “antichrist” appears in “just four verses” is ver significant as the hermeneutic standard of truth is only two or more canonical mentions. Plain text scripture does not confirm or deny any of the things you dismiss as “myth.” Scripture can indicate both the spirit of antichrist present in many and also culminating in a central, historically significant figure. Acknowledging future tribulation and end time “boogeyman” doesn’t indicate or dictate fear for anyone found in Christ. Your unnecessary denial of a central, end-time figure seems to be solely predicated on your denial of a well-defined, future tribulation.
Hi John, please note it is our policy to publish short comments that are relevant to the article under discussion. You are welcome to disagree with my views on the GT and rapture, but please do so under articles where I have written about the GT and rapture. Thank you.
This article is the only one I’ve seen in the last year about the Antichrist that is full of complete and utter lies.
Merry Christmas, Tracy. I pray that you have a grace-filled and blessed New Year.
Here’s the deal fellow believers!, Whether I agree or disagree with Brother Paul, has zero effects on my salvation. Lets say for the sake of argument, he’s wrong! does the unsaved person reading this, foolishly rejects Christ because of an eschatological difference of opinion? How’s that going to hold water on judgment day? I have my understanding of this subject that is somewhat different from his, but guess what? i don’t even dwell on it. As a matter of fact, since grace has ruled in my life I can count on my one hand how many times i even talked about this subject. i don’t even mention it when i witness. Jesus only!
The truth is salvation comes not looking at the future eschatology but knowing Jesus because what He did for us. I do see in the world today evidence for a mystery of iniquity heading in a opposite direction of the Mystery of Grace which is the household and body of Christ. There seems to me a conspiracy fomented by the devils minions always in competition with God, a spiritual battle. But the key to win is always the spirit of prophecy which is the testimony of Christ. Paul you are doing that! Making known Christ. the enemy does the opposite, distracts any way he can from the Good news. I spend much time researching the hidden hand because I want to be wise as a serpent but harmless as dove. I think people who are unsaved should there is no hope in their human eutopia, only HOPE in Christ, so I tell them. The world is dim in comparison.
These articles all refresh me and my thinking. I’m glad I am born again again through this blog and I bless the name of Jesus as I link many to the truths here.
Sir, could you please give us a little taste of the little horn of Daniel and the lawlessness man(man of sin) the Apostle Paul talk on in 2 Thessalonians?
This will be another relieve.
I discuss them briefly in my AD70 book.
OK, sir. Good to hear. By the grace of Christ I’ll get that AD70 book. It has been so so much on my mind, I think about it, and I dream of it daily. I’ll get it.
As for the preterist position that the Olivet discourse (Mt 24-25) and Revelation 1-20:6 were all fulfilled in A.D. 70 (Nero was the Antichrist, etc.), that is easily refuted…
Thanks for your comment, Carl. However, the article above is about the antichrist. If you would like to comment about the Great Tribulation, you may want to do so here. If you’d like to comment about the other signs of Matt 24, you can find relevant articles here.
Who is the lawless man of 2 Thessalonians? (I don’t own the book)
Wow, these comments really bothered me. WHERE IS BARRY’S HERESY PRONOUNCEMENT??? I feel like I just started watching a TV series somewhere in the middle, and I’ll never get to see a previous key episode that is referred to in the later ones… 🙂
Good question, MikeL. I don’t know the answer. But sometimes a commenter will write to me years later apologizing for something they said in a rash moment and asking me to delete the offending comment. If the comment is easy to find I’ll do it, but that can leave a whole discussion thread without a starting point. Possibly that’s what happened here.
If the GT had already passed, then what are waiting for.??
How about the glorious return of the Lord?
In Matt 24:3, the disciples asked Jesus three questions about future events, to which Jesus gave three answers. Since some of these events were soon (eg: the great tribulation) Jesus said things like “you will see it” and “it will happen within a generation.” Since other events were far off, Jesus said things like “no man knows the day or hour.” Jesus provided ten signposts for the Great Tribulation and all of them were fulfilled in the timeframe he specified. To say the GT is yet to happen is to rewrite or dismiss the words of Jesus.
Hmmm .. I am curious now, I wanted to learn more about these future events and the things that already passed .
You’ve come to the right place. Check out the Archives > Subject Index > Eschatology.
Since Paul Ellis (P.E.) believes the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD WAS the Great Tribulation, he believes the next major prophetic event is the Second Coming of Christ. As a futurist, I disagree. But I note that in his book “AD70,” he rightly repudiates the mistaken idea that Jesus returned in 70 AD to destroy Jerusalem for rejecting him. So P.E. is by no means a typical preterist.
Nevertheless, there is an important principle of interpretation which preterists like P.E. do not recognize: many prophecies, including the Olivet Discourse, are written directly to the people who will be living when the prophecy is fulfilled. So when Jesus announced in Matthew 24:34 that “this generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled,” he was prophetically addressing that yet future generation, those who will be alive when the events are finally being completely fulfilled.
P.E. misses the connection between Mt. 24:30—when Jesus prophesies that “all the peoples of the earth [tribes of the land] will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory,” and Zech. 12—the mourning that happens after Armageddon, at his Second Coming.
This dismissive comment shows why it is nigh impossible to have a fruitful conversation on eschatological subjects. Labelling people is intellectually lazy and leads to all sorts of misjudgments, such as the several you have made here.
For the record, I am not a preterist or a futurist. A preterist is one who sees all prophecy as fulfilled; a futurist anticipates only future fulfillment. I am neither. In Matt 24, Jesus prophesied the temple would come down and it did. It’s past. Tick. He prophesied a glorious return and it hasn’t happened. It’s future. No tick. I don’t see why it’s so difficult to see some prophecies as fulfilled while others remain to be fulfilled.
To suggest Jesus was misleading his disciples when he said “this generation will not pass away” is repugnant to me and tantamount to calling Jesus a liar. The fact is, the early Christians believed him and fled. Those who held your view stayed and died.
I miss nothing about Matt 24:30 but have a whole chapter on it in the book and have written about it here on E2R. But why try to find out my views when it’s simply easier to label me as part of the wrong camp and dismiss me.
Please note I will not publish any further comments on this thread that are unrelated to the subject at hand, namely the antichrist, and what the Bible says about him.
You are incorrect about Paul not mentioning the Antichrist.
2 Thessalonians says “that time will not come until the falling away happens first and the Man of Lawlessness (Antichrist) is revealed.”
Olivate discourse, Jesus mentions the Antichrist “when you see the Abomination that causes desolation (idol/image the Antichrist sets up) In the Holy Place, as spoken of by Daniel the profit” (move to Daniel to see the event and who causes it, Jesus assumes the reader knows the scriptures, as we should, and this is a direct reference to the Antichrist)
While the name “Antichrist” is not written, it is SURELY referenced.
Except there are some substantial differences between these portrayals. Paul speaks of a future man of lawlessness while John speaks of a present spirit already active in the world (1 John 2:18, 4:3). Paul speaks of an individual; John speaks of many antichrists (1 John 2:18).
Neither Jesus nor Daniel mentioned the antichrist and Daniel’s abomination prophecy was fulfilled around 170BC when Antiochus Epiphanes captured Jerusalem. Your picture of the antichrist is unlike the one painted by John, so you will forgive me if I’m go with the one found in the Bible.
I am well-acquainted with the views you share since these are the ones I was raised with. I have little time for them, not because they may be wrong, but because they are conjectural and lead to quarrels (2 Tim. 2:23). They also undermine the faith of many. A thousand years ago at the turn of the millennium many Christians were conned into believing Jesus’ return was imminent and that the new pope was the antichrist. Many gave their property to the church. When Jesus didn’t return, do you think the church returned their money?
The same shameless practice continues today. Hysterical people make fortunes propagating stories about end times’ boogeymen. They fleece the sheep and when their prophecies turn out to be wrong – and they always are – they make new ones. I want nothing to do with this wicked practice.
Here’s a radical thought: Instead of perpetuating these stories, why don’t we limit our discussion to what the Bible actually says? Instead of filling the gaps with fanciful conjectures and fruitless speculations, why don’t we concede that there is much we do not know? Jesus got annoyed with the disciples when they asked about his return (Acts 1:7). Since we don’t know when that will be, why do we think we can guess when the man of lawlessness will be revealed?
We’re supposed to watch and be ready for Jesus, not the man of lawlessness.
Hi Paul, i read your book Ad70 but nowhere do you say what is holding back the antichrist. Some say it’s the holy spirit, some say it’s the church, some say it’s God. What do you think?
Which scripture are you referring to?
2 Thessalonians 2:7
You are conflating the “many antichrists which are now in the world” with the singular man of lawlessness who Paul said was in the future. The article above pertains to the former; if you would like to know my thoughts on the latter, check out my Grace Commentary. The short version: nobody really knows who Paul had in mind and this has opened the door for all sorts of speculation.
On this thread, I would be happy to publish any comments or questions you may have on what the Bible says about the antichrist.
I don’t think I have confused things! I said antichrist in the singular not in the plural…
But the Bible does not speak of a singular or coming antichrist:
John: “Many antichrists have gone out and are at work now” (plural and present)
Paul: “The lawless one will be revealed.” (singular and future)
Hello sir, I’ve been wondering who the “son of perdition” is if he isn’t the antichrist. Who do you believe him to be exactly?
You can find my thoughts on the son of perdition a.k.a. the man of lawlessness over on the Grace Commentary.
Great article Paul, thank you!
Do you have any articles regarding Revelation and “tribulations”? I have those close to me when I bring up the points mentioned here, that go and point to Revelation. In my opinion that’s all tied to what Jesus had already discussed? I was curious to read your thoughts on it and dig a little deeper.
Keep up the good fight 🙂
Thanks Joseph. Check out the Resources > FAQs > End times for more. Alternatively, search for specific scriptures using the Archives > Scripture Index.