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Prophetic “Faces” of the Antichrist
Who is this antichrist that has been a subject of fables and apocalyptic speculation for centuries? The Holy Word of God furnishes staggering insight into this “being,” his historical setting and, soon, his final eschatological end.
The prefix “anti” in ancient Greek meant “against.” This person is against Christ. He is even portrayed as being in competition with Christ. Satan is identified as the “prince of this world” (John 12:31); Christ as the “Prince of princes” (Daniel 8:25)! The devil’s earthly dominion will shortly be time limited (Revelation 12:12). His chief minion, the antichrist, will conspire in a final desperate attempt to limit Christ’s influence.
- “And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven” (Revelation 13:6).
- “Blasphemy” means that he not only curses God but wants to assume His prerogatives!
The antichrist creates the impression that he is deeply concerned for humanity, especially the oppressed – but – he is driven by the “need” to exercise tyrannical power – not love.
The apostle John is the only Bible writer to directly use the word “antichrist.” He correctly understood that it was an end-time sign but assumed that his arrival was near (I John 2:18, 19, 26 – NIV). John perceived it as a variety of individuals who originally accepted the budding Christian faith but, later, apostatized.
By the Middle Ages, many Christian leaders (such as John Huss, John Wycliff, Martin Luther, William Tyndale and John Calvin) aggressively claimed the Roman Church to be the antichrist. In the 17th and 18th centuries, Sir Isaac Newton, Jonathan Edwards and Charles Spurgeon pointed to the papacy as the antichrist.
Today, it has become “religiously correct” to refrain from speaking about the antichrist, except through vague, futuristic predictions!
John Wycliffe (1328-84) was the first person to translate the Bible in its entirety into English. During Wycliffe's time, a cloud of spiritual darkness covered many parts of Europe, including England (his home country). Only popes and priests were allowed to read God’s Word. He taught that the pope was the antichrist.
Martin Luther (1483-1546) said, “I … can hardly doubt any more that the Pope really is the Antichrist ... because everything so exactly corresponds to his life, action, words, and commandments [as noted in Scripture]. -- “We ... are attacking the pope as the Antichrist and seducer of the whole world. We are incited to anger against him not by personal ambition but by righteous jealousy and fervor of conscience to vindicate and protect the glory of God”
The Apocalyptic Antichrist
The Bible presents this demonic being in many ways: a little horn (Daniel 7:8, 8:9), a vile person (Daniel 11:21), the king of the north (Daniel 11:40), a sea beast (Revelation 13:1), the man of sin (II Thessalonians 2:3), the son of perdition (II Thessalonians 2:3), that wicked (one) (II Thessalonians 2:8) and a harlot (Revelation 17:1-4).
- It is apparent by such references that most scholars see this being as a single individual.
- Prophecy suggests that this man will shortly have power and charisma, leading the world away from primitive Christianity and to put their trust in him!
The Biblical Antichrist Narratives
The Little Horn of Daniel 7
On the fourth beast, representing the Roman Empire (Daniel 7:8), a “little horn” arises among ten existing horns. That identifies the “little horn” as of Roman origin.
- This horn power has the eyes of man and a speaking mouth (Daniel 7:8), suggesting it is a human being.
- The eyes imply insight and wisdom.
- The mouth is speaking “great things,” later clarified as “words against the most High” (7:25) – blasphemy.
Daniel later develops important insight: (1) it will persecute God’s people (7:25), (2) it is permitted to function three and a half years (7:25), (3) then, when God sets up His kingdom, it will end, be destroyed, and (4) in Daniel 7 the antichrist power spans (apparently intermittently) from the end of the Roman Empire through to the very end of time, when God sets up His kingdom.
Emperor Theodosius, based in Constantinople, outlawed paganism in 380 A.D., with the Edict of Thessalonica. Roman Christianity then rose with growing power, tragically adopting many pagan symbols and rites. When the western part of the Empire fell in 476 A.D., this tarnished apostolic faith lived on.
- That was represented by its leader, this “little horn.”
- Through the Dark Ages, the inquisitions of this religious Roman power nearly extinguished primitive Christianity.
In Daniel 7:26-27 this entity comes to its end.
Little Horn of Daniel 8
This comes out of one of the four winds (direction of the compass), identified as from the north (Daniel 8:9). It is arrogant and grows in power. It, too, persecutes God’s people, His church and even throws “truth” to the ground. In 8:13, Gabriel asks a superior being (thought to be Christ) about this little horn’s era or timing, identifying its actions as “transgressions” (be•pesha – H). That word reflected the worst sins in Jewish theocracy.
This “transgression” is known lexically as rebellion against God’s law, authority and covenant that pierces the very heart of the Decalogue. Daniel later continues: “Through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many: he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand” (8:25).
- This little horn magnifies himself to, and then against, Christ, the Prince of princes.
- But – this antichrist will come to his end.
This “little horn” orientation is distinctly end-time, whereas in Daniel 7 it covers a broad history from its beginning, during the Roman Empire, to when God’s kingdom is established.
- “So he [Gabriel] came near where I stood: and when he came, I was afraid, and fell upon my face: but he said unto me, Understand, O son of man: for at the time of the end shall be the vision” (Daniel 8:17).
- “And he said, Behold, I will make thee know what shall be in the last end of the indignation [God’s wrath]: for at the time appointed the end shall be” (Daniel 8:19).
This time is detailed in Daniel 11:30 to 12:13.
As the chapter progresses, this “little horn” is called a “king” (8:23-24). He is fierce, deceptive and arrogant. He persecutes God’s people and becomes stunningly powerful.
Who might this powerful “king” be?
From the historical account of Daniel 7:8, which goes to the end of time, it can be sequentially assumed to begin with Rome, morphing into the “Holy Roman Empire” – then, here, a revived Roman power at the end!
- Since we are viewing end-time prophecy in Daniel 8, this appears to be a final rise of this power.
- Lest this be overlooked, Gabriel reviews this prophetic history in Daniel 11. The first rise is noted in verses 21-28, the final rise in verses 29-45!
Vile Person (Daniel 11:30-39)
A historical being identified as a “vile person” (later, the “king of the north”) is described in Daniel 11:21-28. This covers the era of papal power during the crusades against Islam (King of the South), the long history of Christian persecution, the Protestant Reformation, and the onset of the Counter-Reformation.
- This “person” lost its power in 1870, when all land was confiscated from the Roman Church by the new country of Italy. It wouldn’t be a church and state again until 1929, under the Lateran Treaty.
Then Daniel 11 continues: “At the time appointed he shall return” (Daniel 11:29a).
- This would be in 1929, when the Roman Church was given the Vatican City State land as an independent country.
- Within months, this country began to exchange ambassadors with other global nations. Today (2020) 177 nations have formal diplomatic ties to the Vatican.
God had many things to say about this revived power!
- He hates God’s holy covenant, even forsaking it (11:30).
- He takes away something that God established and puts in its place a law God hates so much that He calls it an abomination (11:31).
- He is a deceiver (11:32).
- He, again, persecutes God’s people (11:33).
- He is so powerful that he is identified as a king (11:36; cf. 8:23).
- He has no “desire” for women (11:37) – either homosexual, celibate or preventing women from marrying.
- His god relates to wealth and ease (11:38).
- He will have major power over earthly “regions” (11:39).
Then a final saga is described: this “vile person” becomes an end-time “king of the north.”
The King of the North (Daniel 11:40-45)
This is a small segment of the greater prophecy that began in verse 29. There is a conflict between the King of the North (apostate Christianity) and the King of the South (Islam). The King of the North is the same antichrist power as seen in Daniel 7:26 and 8:25.
What power hates Christianity enough to fight it and even tries to annihilate it? There is only one collective force that could mount such resistance. Intriguingly, the Islamic world (the global competitor of Christianity) easily meets this description. Their global “membership” rivals Christianity with 1.2+ billion people. They are driven by such “sacred” texts from the Qur’an as:
- Qur’an 5:51: “O ye who believe! Take not the Jews and Christians for friends. They are friends one to another. He among you who taketh them for friends is (one) of them. Lo! Allah guideth not wrongdoing folk.”
- Qur’an 2:21b: “Fighting is prescribed for you, and ye dislike it. But it is possible ye dislike a thing which is good for you, and ye love a thing which is bad for you. But God knoweth, and ye know not.”
- Qur’an 8:12: “I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them.”
- Qur’an 5:33: “The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His messenger and strive to make mischief in the land is only this, that they should be murdered or crucified or their hands and their feet should be cut off on opposite sides or they should be imprisoned; this shall be as a disgrace for them in this world, and in the hereafter they shall have a grievous chastisement.”
The victory over Islam does come through aggressive “military” incursions. Then the antichrist, the King of the North, appears to locate his spiritual center in Jerusalem.
- “And he shall plant the tabernacles of his palace between the seas in the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, and none shall help him” (Daniel 11:45).
- The Vatican craves to control Jerusalem. Prophecy suggests that it will occur for a short period of time.
As it came from the north in Daniel 8, so it is called here the King of the North. It is important to know that the Bible says God’s throne is on the “sides of the north” (Psalm 48:2)! Also, Lucifer’s rebellion in heaven was driven by his passion to exalt himself to God’s throne on the “sides of the north” (Isaiah 14:13) and be like the “most High” (vs. 14).
Man of Sin (II Thessalonians 2:1-12)
Helping to orient the Thessalonian church regarding the eschatological Christ (already introduced in I Thessalonians 4:13 to 5:11), Paul provides vital antichrist insight surrounding this timing. It was important information for them and, now, for us. The Second Coming is alluded to there as the “Day of the Lord.”
- With the deepest concern: “Let no man deceive you by any means” (II Thessalonians 2:3a).
- Preceding His Olivet discourse, Christ gave the same warning (Matthew 24:4).
Before Christ comes, the antichrist will appear. Paul describes him in two ways:
- “the man of lawlessness” – he opposes God’s law (assumed to be the Ten Commandments – Daniel 11:36-37). He is an individual person.
- “the son of perdition” (as Judas Iscariot was described – John 17:12). He is destined to destruction – hell fire.
Of this “being” it is further noted:
“Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God”
(II Thessalonians 2:4).
- This echoes “And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done” (Daniel 11:36).
- These are the same end-time antichrist prophecies as are described in Daniel
The antichrist will take over the “Christian” church – not a temple in Jerusalem. That has been carefully analyzed by Gregory Beale. He notes that the context in the New Testament refers to either Christ, per se, or His apostolic church.
“And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit
of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders”
(II Thessalonians 2:8-9).
- Three times in this prophecy Paul notes that the antichrist will be “revealed.” God’s people will see its assumption of power over Christendom. His teachings will be at variance with the Decalogue. He will even work miracles and signs.
As with other narratives, he will come to an end! This exposé is summarized with remarkable insight for God’s people:
“They [the wicked who follow the antichrist] 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 [contextually, the antichrist’s deceptions] and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness”
(II Thessalonians 2:10-12 – NET).
- The “world” will be deceived! God “enhances” their blindness because: (1) they didn’t love the truth, (2) they didn’t care about being saved and (3) they delighted in evil.
Fearful is the history of what Pope Leo XIII said regarding the Papacy and Protestants in the late 1800’s:
“Our thoughts went out towards the immense multitude of those who are strangers [Protestants] to the gladness that filled all Catholic hearts: some because they lie in absolute ignorance of the Gospel; others because they dissent from the Catholic belief, though they bear the name of Christians.
“This thought has been, and is, a source of deep concern to us; for it is impossible to think of such a large portion of mankind deviating, as it were, from the right path, as they move away from us, and not experience a sentiment of innermost grief. But since we hold upon this earth the place of God Almighty.”
Earlier, he said: “Furthermore, we declare, we proclaim, we define that it is absolutely necessary for salvation that every human creature be subject to the Roman Pontiff.”
Harlot named Babylon – Revelation 17
In Revelation 15:1, 5-8, 16, the wrath of God is expressed in seven vial plagues. During the seventh, this is noted:
- “The great city split into three parts, and the cities of the nations collapsed. God remembered Babylon the Great and gave her the cup filled with the wine of the fury of his wrath” (Revelation 16:19 – NIV).
- That wrath was predicted in Revelation 14:10!
Babylon is prophetically seen as an apostate agency against God. Here, it is revealed that it is made up of three parts – in context, the dragon, the beast and the false prophet (16:13-14). That is known as the “False Trinity.”
Then – in 17:1, one of the vial angels came to John and said: “I’m going to tell you how Babylon came to her end.” In that chapter, the angel explains that the harlot (representing an apostate church) is named Babylon. She is the end-time antichrist!
This is briefly her storyline from that angel:
- The harlot is “sitting on” – meaning has authority over or is ruling over:
- Waters (peoples of the whole world – Revelation 17:1, 15).
- Beast (nation – Vatican City State – Revelation 17:3, 9) – the only church that governs a state.
- Seven hills/heads (authority centered in Rome – Revelation 17:9) – the best known city of seven hills.
- The seven heads (popes) from 1929 to 2013 are Popes Pius XI through Benedict XVI. 1929 is when the Roman Catholic Church became a church and state – woman and beast – after having lost all its land in 1870.
- Pope John Paul II was the “one that is” – or sixth head, when key end-time prophecy moved forward.
- Of him the Catholic Church said: “Karol Wojtyla walked onto the world stage as
His Holiness, Pope John Paul II, and eyed each of his contentious globalist contemporaries from a geopolitical standpoint. For it was as a geopolitician he had been elected Pope. And he entered the ranks of world leaders as the Servant of a Grand Design [a New World Order] he claimed as God’s will for the society of nations.
“From the beginning of his pontification, John Paul has been talking incessantly about the convergence of the nations [New World Order – which he assumed the papacy would lead].”
- During his tenure, positive global opinions of the Holy See’s role in the world materialized.
- Of him the Catholic Church said: “Karol Wojtyla walked onto the world stage as
Then, in information-packed verses, the angel speaks to John regarding the horns on the beast that the woman is sitting on:
- “And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast. These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast” (Revelation 17:12-13).
- Babylon is seen as the woman (a church – 17:5), made up of three parts (the false trinity – 16:19), ruling over a beast (a nation – 17:3) that is given world power by ten world leaders (these horns, “kings”).
This church/woman is identified by the angel in several negative ways:
- She is excessively dressed with riches to cover her evil.
- She has a cup of abominations she gives the world (wine of her fornication).
- The beast or nation she is sitting on speaks blasphemies against God (challenging the very power and rule of God).
- She carries the guilt of martyrs’ blood.
- She has many “harlot” daughters – an ecumenical travesty.
Of interest is the note in Revelation 17 that those ten horns/kings do not have kingdoms as yet. Though, in some way, they give power to the beast with that woman on it. The era when those horns have kingdoms is in the next antichrist prophecy.
The Abominable Sea Beast – Revelation 13
“The dragon stood on the shore of the sea. And I saw a beast coming out of the sea. It had ten horns and seven heads, with ten crowns on its horns, and on each head a blasphemous name” (Revelation 13:1).
Few expositors deny that this sea beast represents the end-time antichrist. It is so important to Satan, the dragon, that he is on the seashore, waiting for it to rise from the waters [Revelation 13:1 – NIV (KJV not the best rendition)]. In prophecy:
- The “sea” represents wickedness and slime (Isaiah 57:20-21).
- The “beast” represents a nation or kingdom (Daniel 7:17).
- “Horns” represent kings or leaders (Daniel 7:24).
- “Crowns” represent rulers over nations or regions (the Greek word for these crowns means “kingly crowns”).
- “Heads” represent leaders of the beast (noted in sequence in Revelation 17:10).
- “Dragon” – “Satan” is the devil (Revelation 12:9).
The beast ascends out of the influence of wickedness. The antichrist has arrived!
Immediately, we are informed that on the heads of this creature are the “names of blasphemy.” Either those leaders resist Christ and/or they want to assume His place here on earth, wanting to be worshiped.
“The dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority” (Revelation 13:2).
- As Jesus shares His Father’s throne (Revelation 3:21):
- This antichrist beast shares power on Satan’s throne (2:13).
The epitome of being a false Christ is to be worshiped! This represents the “deification” of the devil and/or this antichrist. “And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?” (Revelation 13:4).
Satan had tried to kill the Christ child (12:4-5), he had fought the very kingdom of God in heaven (12:7) and he then made accusations against God’s people (12:10); finally, he levied persecution against the saints (12:14-15). This chapter fills in details of that hatred towards God’s people. The sacred record says, however, that they (the remnant – the saints) will “overcome” him by the “blood of the Lamb” (12:11).
In the context of Satan’s knowledge that his “time was short,” God permits him one more opportunity to reveal his side of the conflict. The war that is waged against the church is, however, God contained. How do we know? It is given a time limit of 42 months (13:5)! Elsewhere, we see similar expressions of controlled “permission” (6:4, 8; 7:2; 9:5).
This clearly states that the papacy has been granted this limited amount of time to work. It will be a frantic period of hateful activity as was noted in Daniel’s “little horn” visions (chapters 7 and 8). This period represents the last half of the 70th week of the Daniel 9 prophecy. Since the probation for the Jewish people ended at the Cross (Matthew 21:43, 23:36-39), the final purpose of the 490-year mission is yet to be accomplished. John’s prophecy notes that there will be a remnant (12:17) of saints (14:12).
Three and a half years is a predestined eschatological period of time. It is important to note that the beast with the crowned horns coalition is in place before this 42-month period begins!
This record reveals the sea-beast antichrist:
- Accepts worship (13:4).
- Defies God (13:5).
- Assumes roles belonging only to God (13:3).
- Undermines His church (13:6).
- Wars against the saints (13:7).
The Antichrist Today
Expositors, pastors, many scholars and evangelists often excel in describing the characteristics of the antichrist. As this overview has shown, there are abundant illustrations describing this “being.”
- Few address his location as being in Rome.
- Most shy away from its historical template of horrors, graphically illustrated by the Inquisitions.
Five years ago, Jennifer LeClare, senior editor of Charisma Magazine wrote an article entitled, “Why So Many People Think Pope Francis is the Antichrist.” Her reasons include:
- Roman Catholics are cooling off to this first-ever Jesuit pope – Francis.
- He originally emerged as a “darling among the evangelical community because they sensed he was ‘Spirit-filled.’” But his focus moved away from their area of cultural concern.
- Francis has been vocal about the evils of capitalism.
- His views of homosexual behavior are liberal.
- He wants a “New World Order,” which minimizes nationalism.
- He has opened the door for the reading of the Quran and Muslim prayers in the Catholic churches. He said that the Bible and the Quran are the same.
Of deepest interest, retired Pope Benedict seems to be sabotaging Francis in opposing his liberal reforms related to abortion, homosexuality, contraception and gay marriage. Recent comments by Benedict hinted that only an antichrist would support these issues.
Attorney, pastor and writer Scott Lively, intimated (October 2020) that discussions by Pope Francis parallel those of the antichrist and the “times of evil noted in II Peter 2 are harbingers of God’s wrath.
Former and late Jesuit priest (who severed all ties to that church) noted in his website, the Berean Beacon:
“Rome’s law demands submission of mind and will to the one ‘… shewing himself that he is God.’ The official law of the Roman Catholic Church enunciates the necessity of submitting one’s highest faculties, that of mind and will, not to God Himself, but to the Roman Pontiff.
“A religious respect of intellect and will, even if not the assent of faith, is to be paid to the teaching which the Supreme Pontiff or the college of bishops enunciate on faith or morals when they exercise the authentic magisterium even if they do not intend to proclaim it with a definitive act; therefore the Christian faithful are to take care to avoid whatever is not in harmony with that teaching.
“Not only does Rome demand this, but also in Canon 1371 she decrees that the consequence for not obeying is punishment with a ‘just penalty’.
“To presume to take the place of Christ Himself as Prophet, Priest, and King, and to presume to act as in His person is clearly tantamount to ‘sit[ting] as God in the temple of God, setting himself forth, that he is God.’ Yet this is exactly the documented claim of Papal Rome. The teaching given in Rome’s Code of Canon Law puts teeth into its claim by exacting submission and promising punition for those who fail to obey.”
The integrity of the apostolic faith was tarnished for hundreds of years. Then it returned in a God-driven Reformation. The thousands of lights that brought renewed brilliance to the Christian faith are once again dimmed by the antichrist forces. In humanity’s coming tests, the side chosen will have eternal consequences! “Which side will you be on?”
Summation graph follows:
Overview of these Biblical Antichrist Narratives
Franklin S. Fowler, Jr., M.D.
Prophecy Research Initiative – non-profit 501(c)3 © 2020
EndTime Issues…, Number 244, December 3, 2020
Click here to go to PRI’s website: endtimeissues.com
 Bennett, Richard; The Antichrist Unveiled, p. 3. www.temp.bereanbeacon.org
 Quoted: JATS 18/1 (Spring 2007): 81–100. Article copyright © 2007 by Dennis Pettibone.
 Miller, Stephen R.; The New American Commentary, Daniel, vol. 18 (Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1994),
 Steinmann, Steinmann, Andrew E.; Daniel (Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, 2008), p. 348.
Miller, op. cit., p. 202.
 Doukhan, Jacques B.; Secrets of Daniel (The Review and Herald Publishing Association; Hagerstown, MD 21740; 2000), p. 124. DARCOM, Hasel, Gerhard F.; Symposium on Daniel, “The ‘Little Horn,’ the Heavenly Sanctuary, and the Time of the End: A Study of Daniel 8:9-14” (Holbrook, Frank B., editor; Biblical Research Institute, Silver Spring, MD – 1992), p. 429.
 Fowler, Franklin S., Jr.; “Time of the End” within Daniel 7 (Christian Heritage Foundation, 2014), pp. 12-16; cf. its Appendix V (Decree to Build and Restore), p. 139.
 Bruce, F. F.; The Epistles to the Colossians, to Philemon, and to the Ephesians (William B. Eerdmans; Grand Rapids, MI, p. 95.
 Beale, Gregory K.; 1–2 Thessalonians, (Intervarsity Press, Academic, Downers Grove, IL – 2003), pp. 207-208.
 Pope Leo III, Praeclara Gratulationis Publicae – The Reunion of Christendom (Rome: 1894).
 Pope Boniface VIII, Unam Sanctam (Rome 1302).
 Martin, Malachi, Keys of This Blood (Simon & Schuster – September 15, 1991), pp. 480, 637-639, 656-657.
 Thomas, Robert L.; Revelation 8–22 – An Exegetical Commentary (Moody Press, Chicago, 1995), p. 160.
 Manuscript Releases, vol. 19, p. 282.
 Aune, David E.; Word Biblical Commentary, Revelation 17–22, vol. 52c (World Books; Dallas, Texas – 1997), p. 743.