Who Is the Antichrist?

Erwin Lutzer
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There is a lot of conversation about the identity of the person the Bible calls the “Antichrist.” Questions arise like:

  • Who is the Antichrist?
  • Has the Antichrist already been here?
  • What will the Antichrist be like?
  • Are there multiple Antichrists?

Let’s do our best to understand how the pluralism of our day might eventually grow to become a worldwide movement. At the head of this coalition will be a charismatic leader who will mesmerize the nations with his brilliance and ingenuity. This religious/political ruler will embody everything that our age stands for, but in the end he will be destroyed by Christ.

Let’s do our best to understand how the pluralism of our day might eventually grow to become a worldwide movement.”

Many believed, for instance, that Adolf Hitler, the leader of Nazi Germany, was the Antichrist. He was obviously anti-Christian and anti-humanity, but he was more likely a prototype of the Antichrist. After World War I, Germany was in a state of hyperinflation, thus most Germans had their savings wiped out in a matter of days. Hitler appeared to be a political genius who brought them out of economic chaos. He was a man who initially gave a sense of pride and identity to the German people who needed their faith in humanity revived.

Antichrist, I believe, will walk onto the stage of history and do economic and political miracles. He will capture the imagination of millions, or rather billions, who will follow his peace and prosperity platform. With smooth words and reasonable assurances of good intent, he will lure an unsuspecting world into the greatest bloodbath that has ever taken place on planet Earth.

The world is so interdependent that instability in any sector will spread and destabilize all societies. With the world in a state of unrest the Antichrist will seize power.

Satan does not know when Christ is planning to return to earth. He knows what will happen, but he doesn’t know when, so he must always have someone in place to play the role of Antichrist should the need arise.

The final battle in history as we know it will be between two religious powers. On the one hand will be all the religions of the world unified and directed by Antichrist; on the other side of the conflict will be Jesus of Nazareth and His followers. Here, at last, the truth will be revealed for all to see.

Millions are already believing in the very doctrines Antichrist will proclaim. The Parliament of the World’s Religions emphasized the very doctrines that will eventually be accepted by the vast majority of the world’s population.

The Doctrines of Antichrist

Let’s review the doctrines of Antichrist and then describe how the final religious confrontation will end. Look around you and you will agree that these ideas are already widely accepted.


Marilyn Ferguson, in her book The Aquarian Conspiracy, writes that an “irrevocable shift” is overtaking us. It is not a new system but a new mind. An underground movement is changing society based on an “enlarged concept of human potential . . . a transformation of personal consciousness.”

The New Agers teach, and Antichrist will concur, that we can change ourselves by using the proper techniques. The human mind has latent powers, which, if properly trained, can tap into the spiritual powers of the universe. Man is in a period of evolutionary transition that is so great that we are leaving an Old Era for the New Era. There are two ways to bring about such a transformation; the slow way is through meditation; the accelerated track is psychedelic drugs.

Daniel predicted that the Antichrist would be a king who would be skilled in intrigue, “And his power will be mighty, but not by his own power, and . . . he will destroy mighty men and the holy people” (8:24). In Revelation we repeatedly read that his authority and power were not natural to him, but rather these were “given to him” (13:7).

Satan evidently indwells this man, taking total possession of his every word and movement. This transformation of consciousness is Satan’s most dazzling deception. He wants not only Antichrist but all humans to have a “demonic new birth” that corresponds to Christ’s teaching, “you must be born again.” Think of the delight he receives when people have an encounter with him and think it is an experience with the living God!

The Deity of Mankind

The apostle Paul calls Antichrist the son of destruction, “who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God” (2 Thessalonians 2:4).

Ever since Satan told Eve that if she accepted his suggestion she would “be like God, knowing good and evil,” the idea of the divinity of man has always been popular in occult teaching. This brazen notion is man’s attempt to mimic Satan’s rebellious desire to be like the Most High. This absurdity has always been widely believed in the East, but now it is gaining acceptance in the Western world as well.

By the time Antichrist appears, the world will be ready to deify a leader if he appears to have what it takes to unite the world and bring in the new era of peace. But the missiles of war will fly behind the doves of peace.

The master deceiver will actually try to duplicate the three members of the Trinity! “

The world will gladly trust this new Caesar. At the beginning of the tribulation period, he will make a covenant with Israel, evidently guaranteeing the peaceful existence of that small but significant country. After three and one-half years, he has enough confidence to go to Jerusalem and break his treaty. He enters the temple which will have been built at that time and desecrates it, declaring himself to be God. Although such a pronouncement may be reprehensible to the Jews, the world at large will welcome the opportunity to worship a man. If we are all little gods, why cannot Antichrist be the embodiment of God? He will be accepted as the Messiah of the world.

It is not enough for Satan to inhabit a man who will claim to be God. The master deceiver will actually try to duplicate the three members of the Trinity! These three personalities will do their best to confuse the world by pretending to be the true and living God.

Let’s take a better look at this unholy triad.

  • Satan corresponds to God the Father, and he is spoken of in Revelation as the dragon who gives his authority to the beast who is Antichrist (Revelation 13:4).
  • The Antichrist, who is empowered by the dragon, corresponds to Jesus Christ. He will try his best to do miracles and duplicate something similar to Christ’s resurrection. Speaking of this beast, John writes: “And I saw one of his heads as if it had been slain, and his fatal wound was healed. And the whole earth was amazed and followed after the beast” (Revelation 13:3).

The world will believe that the Antichrist survived a wound that would have put any other man to death. The skeptical will be convinced that this is the man to follow and worship.

Finally, there will be religious unity. The dragon and the beast will receive the worship of the world.

And they worshiped the dragon, because he gave his authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast, and who is able to wage war with him?” And there was given to him a mouth speaking arrogant words and blasphemies; and authority to act for forty-two months was given to him. And he opened his mouth in blasphemies against God, to blaspheme His name and His tabernacle, that is, those who dwell in heaven. And it was given to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them; and authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation was given to him. And all who dwell in the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain. (Revelation 13:4–8)

All who dwell upon the face of the earth will worship him! One notable exception will be the elect whose names were written in the Book of Life from before the foundation of the world. Apart from the relatively few who have the courage to oppose this dictator, he will capture the hearts of everyone.

  • The third member of the unholy trinity is referred to as the second beast in Revelation 13:11–18. Just as the Holy Spirit draws attention to Christ, so the assignment of this evil man is to get the world to worship Antichrist, “And he makes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose fatal wound was healed” (v. 12). To gain their confidence, he performs great miracles, even causing fire to come down out of heaven to the earth. He also gives breath to an image, giving the appearance of being able to create life.

How will Antichrist gain such religious power? He will do some things that people think only God can do. Paul says of him that he will be “in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved” (2 Thessalonians 2:9–10). The three words used here—power, signs, and wonders—are all used for the miracles of Christ. Antichrist’s power to duplicate the works of Christ is so remarkable that multitudes believe!

Many of the miracles performed by the unholy triad are specified: Fire will come down from heaven, an image will be made to speak (possibly this will be accomplished through trickery since it is unlikely that Satan can create life), and the fatal wound will be healed (Revelation 13).

A world schooled in New Age thought will believe.

A Commitment to Globalism

Antichrist will be firmly committed to globalism, the belief that the massive problems in the world can only be solved by bringing all nations under one banner. Through economic, political, and religious reform, we can put an end to hunger and war.

The world will believe that the Antichrist survived a wound that would have put any other man to death.”

At the Parliament of the World’s Religions, “A Global Ethic” was adopted that stressed the need for cooperation among the religions of the world to end hunger, war, and injustice. Much of the document could be supported by Christians, and yet at its root it is stridently anti-Christian. For one thing, as pointed out earlier, the word God does not appear as a concession to Buddhists since many of them do not believe in the existence of any God or gods. Instead the word earth is capitalized throughout, reflecting the pantheistic emphasis of the conference. Second, the document is committed to the notion that we can personally experience a self-transformation and thereby the whole world can be changed. In keeping with this globalism, the final paragraphs contain these words:

In conclusion we appeal to all the inhabitants of this planet. Earth cannot be changed for the better unless the consciousness of individuals is changed. We pledge to work for such transformation in individual and collective consciousness, for the awakening of our spiritual powers. . . . Together we can move mountains!

Traditional religions, therefore, must be viewed as a springboard to finding the hidden spirituality that is within all of us. Whereas the old religions separated people into sharply divided camps, the new religion unites them under a common banner. Theology divides, the spirituality of self-transformation unites.

In this new synthesis, religion and science are combined. God is defined as “energy” or “the force” that men can harness to bring about Utopia. The technology of advanced computers, lasers, and psychological control mechanisms will be at the disposal of the coming world dictator. Religion will be defined as the doctrine of the spiritual unity of mankind, and everyone will be forced to accept this or be tortured to death.

Antichrist will capitalize on the present doctrinal inclusiveness and bring about a religious unity that will encompass the globe. To quote John once more, “And all who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain” (Revelation 13:8).

A Commitment to Utopia

We’ve already emphasized that the rush to unite the religions of the world is driven by the belief that such unity will solve the problems of the world. Through the development of our human potential, we will usher in a New Era of Peace and Prosperity.

The Bible predicts that Antichrist will come to power as a peacemaker. “And through his shrewdness he will cause deceit to succeed by his influence; and he will magnify himself in his heart, and he will destroy many while they are at ease. He will even oppose the Prince of princes, but he will be broken without human agency” (Daniel 8:25).

“The Bible predicts that Antichrist will come to power as a peacemaker.”

The phrase, “He will destroy many while they are at ease” means that the Antichrist will take advantage of the peace movement. The King James Version translates this phrase, “Through peace he shall destroy many.” Peace will be his platform; peace will be his bait. The world will be at rest militarily, and there will be a worldwide feeling that at last the nations of the earth can destroy their weapons. But this false sense of security will only prove to be an advantage to the coming prince.

Since the Middle East still is an explosive powder keg, Antichrist will make a covenant with the tiny nation of Israel to guarantee its survival. With much worldwide fanfare the covenant is signed and the world breathes more easily. Peace is at hand.

Plans to eradicate hunger and the disproportionate economic balance of the world will fall quickly into place. Health care and education will be high on the agenda of world leaders, driven by the persistent belief that it is time to seize the day in an atmosphere of unrestrained euphoria. Man, we will be told, is in the process of evolutionary change, and the future is now.

But while the leaders publicly speak peace, privately preparations for war will escalate. Science will give the world hideous new chemical weapons and new methods of torture such as have never been seen before.

An Intolerance of Dissent

Of course, today, a document like “A Global Ethic” has no power; no one has to sign an agreement that he or she is willing to fall in line with the global agenda. Its goal was to be inclusive enough to be supported by all religions. But if some do not get on board, how will unity eventually be enforced?

Initially, people who do not sign on will be branded as warmongers who are unconcerned about the problems of the world; they are prejudiced, selfishly opinionated. But when Antichrist comes to power, he will use economic reprisals against those who do not follow his program. Those who cooperate will be given a mark on the forehead or on the hand, and they will be permitted to buy and sell; those who refuse will be tortured. Primarily, two groups will be singled out for persecution—the Christians and the Jews.

New Age literature speaks of a purging that must take place so that the New Era is not delayed. This will involve bloodshed and suffering so negative emotional energy can be dissipated. Some writers speak candidly of Christians as the cancerous tissue that must be cut out for the healing of planet earth. In her book Prophecies and Predictions: Everyone’s Guide to the Coming Changes, author Moira Timms says that the plagues of the book of Revelation are reserved for those who stand in the way of the coming new order:

The plagues of Revelation are a special package of Karma visited upon the obstinate that they might awaken to their wrong attitudes . . . animals that don’t adapt become extinct. Remember? Survival today means understanding and responding to change within the context of the “internal revolution.”

Modern technology will give the Antichrist control over most of the people in the world. There will be the use of lasers and computers for surveillance and possibly new biochips that can be inserted into the human brain to make a person believe in any false doctrine. Refined methods of torture will be routinely used.

The mark on the hand or forehead might be a computer chip, which could usher in a new era of a cashless society. Scanners in stores, factories, and banks would be used for all business transactions. Perhaps the number given to an individual would not even be known by that individual, thus no one could ever get his PIN (Personal Identification Number) even at gunpoint.

Erwin Chargaff, the “Father of Bioengineering,” perceives there is a new barbarism in our future:

I see the beginnings of a new barbarism . . . which tomorrow will be called a “new culture.” . . . Nazism was a primitive, brutal and absurd expression of it. But it was a first draft of the so-called scientific or pre-scientific morality that is being prepared for us in the radiant future.

Just think of the awe and worship that would be accorded a man if he were to arise on the stage of history claiming to be the reincarnation of Winston Churchill or John Kennedy! With some spectacular miracles to prove it, he will be enthusiastically accepted as the Savior of the world.

After a few years of successful economic and military maneuvers, he will go into the temple of God in Jerusalem to claim his official title to deity. He will break his covenant with Israel and desecrate the temple. Then he will begin the cruelest reign of terror known to man.

For Further Reading:

Christ Among Other Gods

by Erwin Lutzer

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book cover for Christ Among Other Gods