Lesson Twelve • Antichrist
Dr. Randy T. Johnson
If you have ever taken some time to study the book of Revelation or end times in general, you have heard of the Antichrist. He is also referenced as “the Beast” (Revelation 13) and “the man of lawlessness” (2 Thessalonians 2:3).
Throughout history, believers have been trying to identify the Antichrist. People have considered Nero, the pope, Adolf Hitler, and Benito Mussolini.
1. Have you heard of any other thoughts on who people guessed was the Antichrist?
2. Do you think the Antichrist is alive today? Who or from where?
Another interesting point that is often discussed is found in Revelation 13:18, “This calls for wisdom: let the one who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is 666.” I remember buying our Christmas cards one year and the total came up to $6.66. The cashier asked if I wanted to pay one cent more to avoid the number. I laughed and stated that as a Christian, I did not need to be afraid of the number (however, if she offered to take one cent off the price I may have accepted it). The number can open up a discussion about the Lord.
3. Have you had any situations involving the number 666?
It is believed that when the Antichrist appears there will be a lot of turmoil in the world. There is a tone in Scripture that he will bring a period of peace. Lewis Sperry Chafer wrote, “According to Daniel 9:27, when the dictator of the Middle East emerges as the ‘Prince that shall come’ (Daniel 9:26), he will make a covenant with Israel for a seven-year period. The details of this covenant are not given in Scripture, but it is implied as a covenant of protection.”
The main passage for the Antichrist is found in Revelation chapter 13. Merrill Tenny documents several other references to the Antichrist saying, “In the Old Testament he is prefigured under the ‘king of Babylon’ (Isaiah 14:4); ‘Lucifer’ (Isaiah 14:12), ‘the little horn’ (Daniel 7:8; 8:9), ‘the king of fierce countenance’ (Daniel 8:23), ‘the prince that shall come’ (Daniel 9:26), ‘the wilful king’ (Daniel 11:36). In the New Testament he is called ‘the man of sin,’ ‘the son of perdition,’ that ‘Wicked One’ (2 Thessalonians 2:3-8), ‘Antichrist’ (1 John 2:18) and ‘the Beast’ (Revelation 13:1-10).” It is this last passage that we will observe.
Revelation 13:1-2 says, “And I saw a beast rising out of the sea, with ten horns and seven heads, with ten diadems on its horns and blasphemous names on its heads. And the beast that I saw was like a leopard; its feet were like a bear’s, and its mouth was like a lion’s mouth. And to it the dragon gave his power and his throne and great authority.” This “Beast” is the Antichrist.
Paige Patterson points out that “a beast rising out of the sea” implies the beast is a gentile. He goes on to point out that the second beast “rising out of the earth” (Revelation 13:11) focuses on “the land” or Promised Land and represents this beast being Jewish.
4. Would it surprise you if one of the beasts was Jewish?
John Walvoord points out, “In Revelation 13:2 the beast was seen to gather in the symbolism of the three preceding empires – Greece (a leopard, cf. Daniel 7:6), Medo-Persia (a bear, cf. Daniel 7:5), and Babylon (a lion, cf. Daniel 7:4).
The book of Daniel was written more than 500 BC. It accurately records history, prophecies already fulfilled since its writing, and events yet to come.
5. How should this information found in Daniel strengthen our faith?
Revelation 13:3 continues, “One of its heads seemed to have a mortal wound, but its mortal wound was healed, and the whole earth marveled as they followed the beast.” James Hamilton points out, “We see in 13:3 the cheap imitation of a satanically empowered king setting himself up as a messianic pretender.”
6. Who is he imitating and what is the aspect of the imitation?
Revelation 13:4-10 adds, “And they worshiped the dragon, for he had given his authority to the beast, and they worshiped the beast, saying, ‘Who is like the beast, and who can fight against it?’ And the beast was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, and it was allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months. It opened its mouth to utter blasphemies against God, blaspheming his name and his dwelling, that is, those who dwell in heaven. Also it was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them. And authority was given it over every tribe and people and language and nation, and all who dwell on earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain. If anyone has an ear, let him hear: If anyone is to be taken captive, to captivity he goes; if anyone is to be slain with the sword, with the sword must he be slain. Here is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints.” Warren Wiersbe uses alliteration to explain this section. He points out there will be wonder (Revelation 13:3), worship (Revelation 13:4), words (Revelation 13:5-6), and war (Revelation 13:7-10).
7. How long is “forty-two months”?
8. What kind of “words” will the Beast use?
9. Please write out the last sentence of verse 10.
10. What does it mean and does it apply to us today?
The book of Revelation is not the only place to read about the Antichrist. Interestingly enough, the word Antichrist is not found in the book of Revelation. The word Antichrist means “against Christ” or “false Christ.” The word is found in four passages which are also written by John.
• “Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son.” 1 John 2:22
• “And every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already.” 1 John 4:3
• “For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist.” 2 John 1:7
• “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.” 1 John 2:18
11. How is the fourth passage different than the other three?
12. What characteristics would you expect to see in someone we would call an antichrist today?
13. What should we do about them?
“Here is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints.” Revelation 13:10