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His rise and fall


1.     The apostle John uses the word “antichrists” in his first epistle (2:18) to indicate those who deny that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. However, he also refers to “the Antichrist” who will surpass all preceding antichrist figures. 

2.     In the book of Revelation, John calls this person the “beast coming out of the sea” (Rev. 13). He shows the same characteristics as “the king of the north” in Daniel 11. Jesus also referred to him when he talked about the end-time (Matt. 24:15). 

3.     The apostle Paul calls the Antichrist “the man of lawlessness” and “man doomed to destruction” (2 Thess. 2):  

3 Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. 4 He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God. 5 Don’t you remember that when I was with you I used to tell you these things? 6 And now you know what is holding him back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time. 7 For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way” (NIV).  

Note that in verse 6, what is holding him back; in verse 7, who is holding it back. Are “what” and “who” the same, and are “him” and “it” the same? Does verse 7 repeat verse 6, or does it add to it

4.     From the context it is clear that “him” refers to the Antichrist (verse 3-4), and “it” refers to lawlessness (verse 7a). Paul says that the ultimate lawless one (anomos) is still to come, but that the trend of lawlessness (anomias) is already at work. John makes the same statement: “Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come” (1 John 2:18). Something (“what”) restrains the Antichrist, and someone (“who”) restrains lawlessness. The last one is obvious: governments, police and courts of law restrain lawlessness by making and applying the law.  

5.     What holds the Antichrist back? His big goal will be to unite the world under his rule (Rev. 13:7). Different nationalities and countries stand in the way of complete world unity. At the Tower of Babel (Gen. 11:1-9), people stood together against God by trying to build a tower that would reach into heaven. God broke up their unity by confusing their speech. Different languages and cultures emerged, and they have existed until today. The Antichrist will try to reverse this Babel-factor. Pentecost did not reverse but honored the Babel-factor because those filled with the Spirit spoke in different existing languages. 

6.     Great strides have been made towards world unity. Large areas have been united economically: UN, US, Canada, UK, EU, AU, ASEAN, The Russian Federation, the G7 and the G20. By bringing clusters of countries together (first economically and then politically), it will be easy to unite these blocks during a worldwide crisis. 

7.     Conclusion: Independent countries  (“what”) blocks the way of the Antichrist (“him”), and governments (“who”) restrain lawlessness (“it”). Read 2 Thess. 2:6-7 again from this viewpoint.  

8.     What will the Antichrist’s methods and destiny be?

a)     Jesus, John, Paul and Daniel emphasized that he will deceive many with the help of a false prophet who will do false miracles (Matt. 24:4-5, 11, 23-24, Rev. 13, 2 Thess. 2:9-12, Daniel 11:36-37).

b)     The Antichrist will unite the world under his dictatorship (Rev. 13:7). People will worship his speaking image. He will blaspheme the true God, and pretend to be a god himself.

c)     He will control the world by economic means: nobody will be able to buy or sell without his number. People may wear his number literally on their brows and hands, or their support of the beast may be evident in their thoughts and deeds.

d)     Those who do not comply are killed – the great tribulation to which Jesus referred (Matt. 24:21). Jesus said that for the sake of the “elect” the tribulation will be short. In the epistles, Gentile Christians are addressed as “elect” (Eph. 1:4, 1 Pet. 1:2, 2:9, 2 John 1). Christians will be in the tribulation. The “rapture” of 1 Thess. 4:16-17 is preceded by the resurrection, which will take place on the last day according to Jesus (John 6:39, 40, 44, 54). The multitude in white robes comes out of the great tribulation (Rev. 7:14).

e)     Eventually, the Antichrist and his army will face the true Christ and his host of angels (Rev. 19:19-20). By the breath of his mouth – his word – Christ will overpower the Antichrist and false prophet and cast them into a pool of fire. The Antichrist will end in anticlimax. After 3.5 years his bubble will burst.