What Does the Bible Say about the Identity of the Antichrist?

 

One popular book suggests the Antichrist will be a Muslim. However, Revelation clearly notes the Antichrist will oppose the God of the Bible and proclaim himself as God. This person could not be a practicing Muslim since this would oppose the Islamic teaching of Allah as God. The only way in which this could be true is if a secular person from a Muslim background lived in the revived Roman Empire and arose to global leadership.

Second, the Antichrist will arise from the revived Roman Empire, indicating the person will likely be from a European background (Daniel 7:24-2-5; Revelation 17:7). However, this only indicates the person will be male, most likely from Europe (though the Roman Empire also included other areas around the Mediterranean Sea), and a Gentile (non-Jew).

Third, the Antichrist does not necessarily need to be Jewish, as some have suggested. This view proposes the Antichrist will be a Jew because he will claim to be the Messiah. However, the ethnic background of the Antichrist is not revealed in Scripture. The Antichrist could be from any ethnic background, yet will likely arise from a European, Gentile background due to his leadership of the revived Roman Empire and secular perspective regarding God.

Fourth, the Antichrist will first appeal to all religious traditions, yet later oppose all gods and set himself up as God. Those who oppose him will be put to death. This indicates a secular person who is not likely closely affiliated with any specific religion. Further, this clearly indicates the Antichrist will serve as a global end times leader who holds the power to have opponents killed.

Should we seek the identity of the Antichrist today? Those who believe Jesus returns at the rapture prior to the Tribulation period note the Antichrist will not appear until after believers are removed from the earth (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 1 Corinthians 15:51-58). Therefore, we do not need to pursue the identity of the Antichrist nor be concerned that a particular leader is already deceiving people as the Antichrist.

Past attempts to identify the Antichrist tend to focus on the leaders existing during their own generation, whether it be Martin Luther’s view that the Pope was the Antichrist or the belief during WWII that Hitler was the Antichrist. It is better to refrain from such claims and focus on the clear teachings of Scripture.

Instead, believers are to live holy lives, share the good news of Jesus with others, and look forward to Christ’s soon return. For Christians, Bible prophecy should be an encouragement (1 Thessalonians 4:18), providing godly motivation for our lives today.

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Bio

Dillon Burroughs serves as senior writer at The John Ankerberg Show and has written nearly 40 books on issues of faith and culture. He is also an associate editor for The Apologetics Bible for Students and has contributed to many works on apologetics and Christian worldview. Dillon is a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary and holds a PhD in Leadership from Piedmont International University. He lives in Chattanooga, Tennessee, with his wife, Deborah, and their three children.

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