From BiblePortal Wikipedia

Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament [1]


The word is found in the NT only in  1 John 2:18;  1 John 2:22;  1 John 4:3,  2 John 1:7, but the idea further appears in the Gospels, the Pauline Epistles, and above all in the Apocalypse. It is not, however, an idea original to Christianity, but an adaptation of Jewish conceptions which, as Bousset has shown ( The Antichrist Legend ), had developed before the time of Christ into a full-grown Antichrist legend of a hostile counterpart of the Messiah who would make war against Him but whom He would finally overthrow. The NT references to the subject cannot be rightly appreciated without some previous consideration of the corresponding ideas that were present in Judaism before they were taken over by Christianity.

1. The Antichrist of Judaism. -Although the word ‘Antichrist’ does not occur till we come to the Johannine Epistles, we have many evidences in pre-Christian Jewish literature, canonical and extra-canonical, that there was a widely spread idea of a supreme adversary who should rise up against God, His Kingdom and people, or His Messiah. The strands that went to the composition of the idea were various and strangely interwoven, and much obscurity still hangs over the subject. But it seems possible to distinguish three chief influences that went to the shaping of the Jewish conception as it existed at the time of Christ.

(1) Earliest of all was the ancient dragon-myth of the Babylonian Creation-epic, with its representation of the struggle of Tiâmat, the princess of chaos and darkness, against Marduk, the god of order and light. The myth appears to have belonged to the common stock of Semitic ideas, and must have become familiar to the Hebrews from their earliest settlement in Canaan, if indeed it was not part of the ancestral tradition carried with them from their original Aramaean home. In any case, it would be revived in their minds through their close contact with the Babylonian mythology during exilic and post-exilic times. Traces of this dragon-myth appear here and there in the OT, e.g. in the story of the Temptation in Genesis 3, where, as in  Revelation 12:9;  Revelation 20:2, the serpent=the dragon; and in the later apocalyptic literature a dragon represents the hostile powers that rise up in opposition to God and His Kingdom ( Pss. Sol. 2:29). But it was characteristic of the forward look of Prophetism and Messianism that the idea of a conflict between God and the dragon was transferred from cosmogony to eschatology and represented as a culminating episode of the last days ( Isaiah 27:1, Daniel 7).

(2) Side by side with the dragon-myth must be set the Beliar ( Belial ) conception , a contribution to Jewish thought from the side of Persian dualism, with its idea of an adversary in whom is embodied not merely, as in the Babylonian Creation-story, the natural forces of chaos and darkness, but all the hostile powers of moral evil. In  1 Chronicles 21:1 Satan is evidently represented as God’s adversary, just as we find him in later Jewish and primitive Christian thought. And in the interval between OT and NT Beliar is frequently used as a synonym for Satan, the Devil or arch-demon ( e.g. Jubilees , 15; cf.  2 Corinthians 6:15). The Beliar idea was a much later influence than the dragon-myth, for Babylonian religion offers no real parallel to a belief in the Devil, and Cheyne’s suggested derivation of the name from Belili , the goddess of the under world ( Encyclopaedia Biblica , article‘Belial’), has little to recommend it. But a subsequent fusion of Beliar with the dragon was very natural, and we have a striking illustration of it when in  Wisdom of Solomon 2:24 and elsewhere the serpent of the Temptation is identified with the Devil. Cf.  Revelation 12:9;  Revelation 20:2, where ‘the dragon, the old serpent,’ is explained to be ‘the Devil and Satan.’

(3) But the development of the Messianic hope in Judaism was a more determinative influence than either of those already mentioned. The Jewish Antichrist was very far from being a mere precipitate of Babylonian mythology and Iranian eschatology. It was, above all, a counterpart of the Messianic idea, as that was derived from the prophets and evolved under the experiences of Jewish national history. Ezekiel’s prophecy of the overthrow of Gog and Magog (Ezekiel 38); Zechariah’s vision of the destruction of the destroyers of Jerusalem (Zechariah 14); above all, the representation in Daniel, with reference to Antiochus Epiphanes, of a world-power that waxed great even to the host of heaven ( Daniel 8:10), and trod the sanctuary under foot ( Daniel 8:13), and stood up against the Prince of princes until it was finally ‘broken without hand’ ( Daniel 8:25)-all contributed to the idea of a great coming conflict with the powers of a godless world before the Divine Kingdom could be set up. And when, by a process or synthesis, the scattered elements of Messianic prophecy began to gather round the figure of a personal Messiah, a King who should represent Jahweh upon earth, it was natural that the various utterances of OT prophecy regarding an evil power which was hostile to God and His Kingdom and people should also be combined in the conception of a personal adversary. Ezekiel’s frequent references to Gog (chs. 38, 39) would lend themselves to this, and so would the picture in Daniel of the little horn magnifying itself even against the prince of the host ( Daniel 8:11). And the preoccupation of the later Judaism with utterances like these, sharpened as it was by hatred of the heathen conquerors not merely as political enemies but as enemies of Jahweh and His Kingdom, would render all the easier that process of personalizing an Antichrist over against the Christ which appears to have completed itself within the sphere of Judaism (cf. Apoc. Bar . 40, Asc. Is. 4:9-11).

2. Antichrist in the NT. -Deriving from Judaism, Christianity would naturally carry the Antichrist tradition with it as part of its inheritance. That it actually did so Bousset has shown by a comprehensive treatment of the later Christian exegetical and apologetic literature, which evidently rests on a tradition that is only partially dependent on the NT ( op. cit.  ; cf. Encyclopaedia Biblica i. 180ff.). But, so far as the NT is concerned, the earlier Antichrist tradition is taken over with important changes, due to the differences between Judaism and Christianity, and especially to the differences in their conception of the Messiah Himself. At the same time it must be noticed that nothing like a single consistent presentation of the Antichrist idea is given by the NT as a whole. Elements of the conception appear in the Gospels, the Pauline Epistles, the Apocalypse, and the Johannine Epistles; but in each group of writings it is treated differently and with more or less divergence from the earlier Jewish forms.

(1) In the Gospel .-In the Synoptic Gospels it is everywhere apparent that Jesus recognized the existence of a kingdom of evil under the control of a supreme personality, variously called the Devil ( Matthew 4:1;  Matthew 13:39, etc.), Satan ( Matthew 4:10;  Matthew 12:26,  Luke 10:18, etc.), or Beelzebub ( Matthew 12:24 ff.||), who sought to interfere with His own Messianic mission ( Matthew 4:1-11;  Matthew 16:23||), and whose works He had come to destroy ( Mark 1:24;  Mark 1:34;  Mark 3:11-12;  Mark 3:15, etc.; cf.  Hebrews 2:14). But from all the crude and materialistic elements of the earlier tradition His teaching is entirely free. In the reference to the ‘abomination of desolation’ standing in the holy place ( Matthew 24:15; cf.  Mark 13:14,  Luke 21:20), which occurs in the great eschatological discourse, some critics have seen a parallel to  2 Thessalonians 2:1-12 and an evident allusion to the Jewish Antichrist tradition; but they do so on the presumption that the words were not spoken by Jesus Himself and are to be attributed to a redactor of the original source. If they wore uttered by our Lord, it seems most probable that they portended not any apocalypse of a personal Antichrist, but the destruction of Jerusalem by the Roman armies-a calamity which He had already foreshadowed as coming upon the city because of its rejection of Himself ( Matthew 23:37 f.). For the adversaries of the Son of Man, the real representatives of the Antichrist spirit in His eyes, were the false Christs and false prophets by whom many should be deceived ( Matthew 24:5;  Matthew 24:24)-in other words, the champions of that worldly idea of the coming Kingdom which He had always rejected ( Matthew 4:1 ff;  Matthew 16:23,  John 6:15), but to which the Jewish nation obstinately clung.

(2) In the Pauline Epistles .-A familiarity on the part of St. Paul with the Antichrist tradition is suggested when he asks in  2 Corinthians 6:15, ‘What concord hath Christ with Belial?’ and when he speaks in  Colossians 2:15 of Christ triumphing over ‘the principalities and powers.’ This familiarity becomes evident in ‘the little apocalypse’ of  2 Thessalonians 2:1-12, where he introduces the figure of the ‘man of sin,’ or more correctly ‘man of lawlessness.’ Nestle has shown ( Expository Times xvi. [1904-5] 472) that the Beliar-Satan conception underlies this whole passage, with its thought of an opponent of Christ, or Antichrist, whom the Lord at last shall ‘slay with the breath of his mouth and bring to nought by the manifestation of his coming’ ( 2 Thessalonians 2:8). But the distinctive character of this Pauline view of the Antichrist is that, while features in the picture are evidently taken from the description of Antiochus Epiphanes in Daniel (cf.  2 Thessalonians 2:4 with  Daniel 7:25;  Daniel 11:36), the Antichrist is conceived of, not after the fashion of the later Judaism as a heathen potentate and oppressor, but as a false Messiah from within the circle of Judaism itself, who is to work by means of false signs and lying wonders, and so to turn men’s hearts away from that love of the truth which brings salvation ( Daniel 11:9). See, further, Man of Sin.

(3) In the Apocalypse .-As follows naturally both from its subject and from its literary form, the Apocalypse is more permeated than any other book in the NT with the idea of the Antichrist. For its subject is the speedy return of Christ to subdue His enemies and set up His Kingdom ( Revelation 1:7;  Revelation 2:16;  Revelation 3:11, etc.), and its form is an adaptation to Christianity of the ideas and imagery of those Jewish Apocalypses, from Daniel onwards, which were chiefly responsible for the growth of the Christian Antichrist conception. It would be out of place to enter here into any discussion of the conflicting interpretations of the symbolism of the dragon and the beasts that appear and reappear from ch. 11 to the end of the book (see articles Apocalypse, Dragon). But in ch. 11 ‘the beast that cometh up out of the abyss’ was evidently suggested by the dragon-myth as embodied in the Jewish Antichrist tradition, while the ‘great red dragon’ of  Revelation 12:3, who is also described as ‘the old serpent, he that is called the Devil and Satan’ ( Revelation 12:9), and who is clearly represented as the Antichrist ( Revelation 12:4-5;  Revelation 12:17), reproduces both the mythical dragon and the later Beliar-Satan conception, now fused into one appalling figure. Again, the scarlet-coloured beast of  Revelation 13:1-10 and the realm of the beast in ch. 17 are described in language which recalls the apocalyptic imagery of Daniel (see esp. ch. 7), and clearly applies to a hostile and persecuting world-power represented by its ruler. In Daniel that power was the kingdom of the Seleucidae under Antiochus Epiphanes; here it is very plainly indicated as the Roman Empire ( Revelation 17:3;  Revelation 17:9;  Revelation 17:18) with the Emperor at its head ( Revelation 13:6-8). But to these pre-Christian forms of the Antichrist tradition-the dragon, Satan, and a hostile world-power-the Apocalypse contributes two others which are peculiar to Christianity and which play a large part in the Christian tradition of later times.

The first of these is found in the application to Christian ideas of the Antichrist of the contemporary Nero-saga , with its dream of a Nero Redivivus who should come back to the world from the realms of the dead (cf. Sib. Or. iv. 119ff.; Suetonius, Nero , 47; Augustine, de Civ. Dei , xx. 19). That Nero is referred to in  Revelation 13:18 is most probable, the number 666 being the equivalent of Nero Caesar (Νερων Καισαρ ) when written in Heb. characters (נרון קסר). And the legend of his return from the under world of the dead explains in the most natural way the healing of the beast’s death-stroke ( Revelation 13:3;  Revelation 13:12) and the statement that it ‘shall ascend out of the bottomless pit … and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder when they behold the beast, how that he was, and is not, and shall come’ ( Revelation 17:8). See also articleApocalypse.

The second contribution was the idea of the false prophet ( Revelation 16:13;  Revelation 19:20;  Revelation 20:10), who is to be identified with ‘another beast’ of  Revelation 13:11 ff. It is most probable that the false prophet represents the Imperial priesthood as propagandists of the Caesar-cult, but it seems not unlikely that elements in the representation are taken from the legend that had grown up around the name of Simon Magus (cf. Justin Martyr, Apol . i. 26, 56; Irenaeus, c. Haer , i. 23). To the early Church, Simon with his magic arts and false miracles was the arch-heretic and the father of all heresy, and suggestions of his legendary figure loom out from the description of the second beast ( Revelation 13:13-15), even while the author attributes to it functions and powers that belong more properly to the ministers of the Emperor-worship ( Revelation 13:12).

(4) In the Johannine Epistles .-In these writings, where the word ‘Antichrist’ appears for the first time, the idea is spiritualized as nowhere else in the NT except in the teaching of Jesus. The Antichrist is not, as in the Apocalypse, a material world-power threatening the Church from without, but a spirit of false doctrine rising up from within ( 1 John 2:19). It is true that Antichrist is spoken of as still to come ( 1 John 2:18;  1 John 4:3), so that some culminating manifestation is evidently expected-probably in a definite personal form. But even now, it is said, there are many antichrists ( 1 John 2:18; cf.  2 John 1:7), and the spirit of Antichrist is already in the world ( 1 John 4:3). And the very essence of that sprit is the denial of ‘the Father and the Son’ ( 1 John 2:22), i.e. the refusal to acknowledge the Son as well as the Father; more explicitly it is the refusal to confess that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh ( 1 John 4:2-3,  2 John 1:7). The spirit of Antichrist, in other words, is a spirit of heresy-such heresy as flourished in Asia Minor towards the close of the 1st century through the doctrines of Cerinthus ( q.v. [Note: quod vide, which see.] ).

When the NT utterances regarding the Antichrist are looked at in their variety and as a whole, it is difficult to derive from them any justification for the view that the Church should expect the advent of a personal Antichrist as an individual embodiment of evil. The NT authors were evidently influenced in their treatment of the subject by contemporary situations as well as by an inheritance of ancient traditions. To St. Paul, writing out of his own experience of Jewish persecution and Roman justice and protection, Judaism was the ‘man of lawlessness,’ and Rome the beneficent restraining power. To the Apocalyptist, writing to a Church which had known Nero’s cruelty and now under Domitian was passing through the flames once more, Antichrist was the Roman Empire represented by a ruler who was hostile to Christianity because it refused to worship him as a god. In the Johannine Epistles, Antichrist is not a persecuting power but a heretical spirit, present in the world already but destined to come in fuller power. The ultimate authority for our thoughts on the subject must be found in the words of Jesus when He teaches us to pray for deliverance from ‘the evil one’ ( Matthew 6:13), and warns us against false Christs and false prophets who proclaim a kingdom that is not His own ( Matthew 24:24).

Literature.-H. Gunkel, Schöpfung und Chaos , Göttingen, 1895; W. Bousset, The Antichrist Legend , Eng. translation, London, 1896; W. O. E. Oesterley, The Evolution of the Messianic Idea , do. 1908; C. Clemen, Primitive Christianity and its Non-Jewish Sources , Eng. translation, Edinburgh, 1912; articles ‘Antichrist’ in Realencyklopädie für protestantische Theologie und Kirche 3, Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics , and Encyclopaedia Biblica , and ‘Man of Sin’ in Hasting's Dictionary of the Bible (5 vols)  ; H. Cremer, Bib.-Theol. Lex., s.v .; J. Moffatt, ‘Revelation’ in Expositor’s Greek Testament  ; Expository Times xvi. [1904-5] 472, xxiii. [1911-12] 97.

J. C. Lambert.

Fausset's Bible Dictionary [2]

There are seven sets of passages noteworthy.


(I.) Christ's predictions of false Christs and false prophets ( Matthew 21:3-31).

(II.) John's prophecy of "Antichrist" (this name occurs only with him) ( 1 John 2:18-23;  1 John 4:1-3;  2 John 1:5;  2 John 1:7).

(III.) Paul's "adversary" (Greek Antikeimenos , in sound and sense answering to Antichrist) ( 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12;  2 Timothy 3:1-5), "in the last days, perilous times," characterized by heady high mindedness, with the form but without the power of godliness, the love of pleasure supplanting the love of God, contrasted with the earlier "latter times," marked by seducing spirits, doctrines of demons, celibacy, and abstinence from meats ( 1 Timothy 4:1-5).

(IV.) Daniel's "little horn" from among the ten horns of the fourth beast, or Roman empire ( Daniel 7:7-27).

(V.) Daniel's "little horn" from one of the four notable horns of the third beast, or Graeco Macedonia divided into four at Alexander's death, the willful king ( Daniel 8:8-25;  Daniel 11:36-39).

(VI.) The beast from the sea ( Revelation 13:1-8), ridden by the whore ( Revelation 17:1-7).

(VII.) The beast from the earth and the bottomless pit, or the false prophet ( Revelation 11:7;  Revelation 13:11-18;  Revelation 17:8-18;  Revelation 19:11-21).


(I.) The false Christs and false prophets (Matthew 24) point to the pretenders to Messiahship before the fall of Jerusalem, the foreshadowing of the future impostors about to deceive all but; the elect. They are the spirits of demons which prepare the false prophet's way, but they are not the false prophet himself ( Revelation 16:13-14).

(II.) John's Antichrist is stated to have been a subject of his oral teaching first ( 1 John 2:18;  1 John 4:3), so Paul ( 2 Thessalonians 2:5), and is therefore alluded to, not described. All who deny Jesus's Messiahship and Sonship (as Cerinthus and the Gnostics of John's days) forerun the Antichrist "to come" (the same Greek verb is used as of Christ's" coming".)

(III.) Paul's Antikeimenos , "who opposeth all that is called God," is the "Antichrist" of John. He is not to come until "he who now letteth (hinders) and that which withholdeth" (hinders; the same Greek verb as before, only neuter instead of masculine) be taken out of the way; i.e., the curbing power of human law (neuter) and the curber (masculine), namely, the Roman emperor and whoever may be representative of the fourth world kingdom's power just before Antichrist. The unanimous consent of the early Christians that the Roman empire is "what withholdeth" was so unlikely to suggest itself to them, inasmuch as regarding it as idolatrous and often persecuting, that this explanation seems to have been preserved from Paul's oral teaching. Another less probable view is that the Holy Spirit is "He who now letteth," and the elect church the thing "that withholdeth," and that is to be taken out of the way on the eve of Antichrist's coming.

(IV.) Daniel's "little horn" ( Daniel 7:7-27) of the fourth kingdom is the papacy as a temporal power, rising on the ruins of the Roman empire, and plucking up three of its ten horns.

(V.) Distinct from the" little horn" of Daniel 8, which is connected with the third, not the fourth, kingdom; ANTIOCHUS Epiphanes, of the Syrian fourth part of the divided Graeco-Macedonian or third kingdom, who persecuted the Jews, prohibited circumcision, and substituted the worship of Jupiter Olympius, with whom he identified himself as if God, instead of that of Jehovah, in the templeat Jerusalem. But this Old Testament Antichrist has a worse antitype in the New Testament, namely, the Antichrist of the last days. The language of  Daniel 8:8-25 and  Daniel 11:36-39, partially fulfilled by Antiochus, is exhaustively fulfilled only in the last Antichrist.

(VI.) As the beast from the sea has ten horns, comprising both E. and W., and power is given to it for forty-two months ( Revelation 13:1;  Revelation 13:5), so the little horn ( Daniel 7:3;  Daniel 7:7) absorbs the power of the ten-horned fourth beast out of the sea (the Roman empire) and wears out the saints for three and a half times (3 1/2 years, i.e. 42 months, or 1260 years, a year for a day). Both have "a mouth speaking great things" ( Daniel 7:8;  Daniel 7:11-20;  Daniel 7:25); both blaspheme against the Most High ( Revelation 13:6-7); both make war with the saints, and prevail; both persecute the saints ( Revelation 13:7-10;  Revelation 17:6), the beast being under the guidance of the harlot "drunken with their blood." The little horn of Daniel 7 therefore is the first beast of Revelation 13. Neither the little horn nor the first beast is Antichrist, who is an individual; it is a polity.

(VII.) The beast from the earth ( Revelation 13:11), or as he soon reveals himself ( Revelation 11:7;  Revelation 17:8), from the bottomless pit, the false prophet ( Revelation 16:13;  Revelation 19:20;  Revelation 20:10), appears only when the harlot is unseated from the first beast. The harlot, the once pure woman (Revelation 12) corrupted, the apostate church, is distinct from the beast which it rides. The church, though corrupted, retains the human form, i.e. God's image, in which man was originally formed. The beast is the world estranged from God and under Satan, and so, however powerful, intellectual, and refined, essentially bestial. The faithful city ( Isaiah 1:21) having become Babylon, the whore (Rome on the seven hills,  Revelation 17:9) is punished in righteous retribution by that world upon which she rode, and for which she abandoned her faithful witness for God (Revelation 17).

Then after her judgment follows Antichrist's development. The "falling away" of  2 Thessalonians 2:3 answers to the first beast of Revelation 13, also to the departure from the faith, in enforced celibacy, asceticism, doctrines of demons, etc., of  1 Timothy 4:1-3. In the second Council of Nice, A.D. 787, image worship was sanctioned. In 754 the temporal power of the popes began by Pepin's grant to Pope Stephen III. of the three territories (answering to the three horns plucked up before the little horn,  Daniel 7:8): Rome, the kingdom of the Lombards, and the exarchate of Ravenna; 1260 years from this date would end in 2014. Others date from A.D. 533, Justinian's edict acknowledging Pope John II: head of the church. The wounding to death and then the healing of the beast's deadly wound answers to the revival of idolatry and the setting up of a virtually pagan kingdom again at Rome in the eighth century ( Revelation 13:3).

Again, in the case of the second beast or the false prophet, the wound given at the Reformation is healed, and he appears again as "the beast that was, and is not, yet is," a resurrection man, the embodiment of a resurrection empire, a mock Christ; as the true Christ saith, "I am He that liveth, and was dead, and behold I am alive for evermore" ( Revelation 1:18;  Revelation 17:8). As Christ is the second Person in the Trinity, so Antichrist is the second in the anti-trinity, composed of the dragon, the beast, and the false prophet (who bears witness to the first beast, as the Holy Spirit witnesseth of the Son).

Antichrist's characteristics (2 Thessalonians 2;  1 John 2:18-22;  1 John 4:3) shall be open opposition to God and religion, a claim to God's exclusive prerogatives, lawlessness, power of lying miracles and of beguiling souls under Satan's energizing, having a lamb's horns, i.e., outwardly resembling Christ or Messiah ( Revelation 13:11); sitting in God's temple as God, apparently restored Israel's persecutor, whence the sacred Hebrew is the language of Daniel 8-12, wherein the little horn from the East is a leading subject, whereas the world's language, Chaldee, is that of Daniel 7 wherein the Romish little horn is described. At first hailed by Israel with hosannahs as her Messiah ( John 5:43), and making a covenant with the Jews, then breaking it (Daniel 9; 11; 12; Zechariah 11; 12; 13; 14).

Antichrist, as the second beast or false prophet, will be personally an avowed atheist ( 1 John 2:22), yet represent himself as the decaying church's vindicator, compel men to reverence her, breathe new life into her by using the secular arm in her behalf ( Revelation 13:12-17), concentrating in himself the infidel lawless spirit working in the world from Paul's days ( 2 Thessalonians 2:7). Heretofore infidelity and superstition have been on opposite sides, but when these shall combine against law, liberty, and Christianity, a period mercifully brief shall ensue, unparalleled in horrors by any that has gone before ( Daniel 12:1-3). The two witnesses (Revelation 11) are variously explained as Moses and Elijah; Joshua the high priest and Zerubbabel the civil prince; the Word and the faithful church, to be slain or suppressed, perhaps about the same time that the harlot too is judged by the beast or Antichrist (Revelation 17; 18; 19.) The place of their temporary death is Jerusalem ( Revelation 11:8), "where our Lord was crucified."

"The number of the beast" is 666, i.e. 6, the world's number, in units, tens, and hundreds. Six is next to the sacred seven, which it mimics but falls short of; it is the number of the world given over to judgment. There is a pause between the sixth and seventh seals, the sixth and seventh trumpets: for the judgments of the world are completed in six; at the seventh the world kingdoms become Christ's. As twelve is the number of the church, so six, its half, symbolizes the world kingdoms broken. The radicals in Christ are CH, R and ST (X P); Antichrist's monogram personates it, but falls short of it, Ch X St (X) (666). It is curious that the only unquestionable 666 ( 1 Kings 10:14;  2 Chronicles 9:13) in the Old Testament is the 666 talents of gold that came in yearly to Solomon, and were among the correcting influences that misled him.

Moreover, the only two Greek nouns in the New Testament, whose value numerically is exactly 666, are precisely the two expressing the grand corrupters of the church and sources of idolatry, "tradition" ( Paradosis ), the corrupter of doctrine, "wealth" or the pursuit of it ( Euporia , only in  Acts 19:25), the corrupter of practice ( Colossians 3:5). The children of Adonikam are 666 in  Ezra 2:13, but 667 in  Nehemiah 7:18. Adonijah, bearing the name of the Lord Jehovah, rose up against the Lord's anointed, and so is a type of Antichrist.

The Hebrew letters of Balaam (type of the false prophet whose spiritual knowledge shall be perverted to Satanic ends;  Revelation 2:14 favors this, also the fact that Antichrist mainly shall oppress Israel, Daniel 8; 9; 11; 12) amount to 666. The Greek letters of Lateinos (Irenaeus), Rome's language in all official acts, amount to 666. The forced unity marked by Rome's ritual being everywhere in Latin is the premature counterfeit of the true unity, only to be realized when Christ, God's true Vicar on earth, shall appear, and all the earth shall "in a pure language serve the Lord with one consent" ( Zephaniah 3:9). The last Antichrist will be closely connected with his predecessor (as the second beast is with the first in Revelation 13), and will arrogate all Rome's claims besides those peculiar to himself.

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [3]

ANTICHRIST . The great opponent and counterpart of Christ, by whom he is finally to be conquered. The word appears only in the NT (  1 John 2:18-22;   1 John 4:3 ,   2 John 1:7 ), but the idea was present in Judaism and developed with the growth of the Messianic hope.

1. The origin of the conception . While the precise term ‘Antichrist’ is lacking in Jewish literature, the idea of an opponent who persecutes God’s people and is ultimately to be conquered by the Messiah, is an integral part of that general hope, born in Prophetism, which developed into Messianism in the NT period. As in the case of so many elements of Messianism, the beginning of the ‘opponent’ idea may fairly be said to have been   Daniel 11:36 (cf. also   Zechariah 12:1-14;   Zechariah 13:1-9;   Zechariah 14:1-21 ), where the reference is to Antiochus IV.; but it would be a mistake to see in the Antichrist conception of the Johannine literature an unprecedented description of distinct personalities. There seems to have been rather a gradually developing anti-Messianic scheme, which at many points duplicated the developing Messianic hope. This general conception, which played an important rôle in early Christianity, was probably due to the synthesis of at least five factors, each independent in origin.

( a ) The historical opponents of the Jews , such as Antiochus IV., Pompey, and the Roman Empire in general (cf. the position of Gog in Prophetic thought). These naturally aroused the most intense hatred on the part of the Jews, particularly those under the influence of Pharisaism. Their hostility was regarded as extending not only to the Jews as a nation, but as heathen, to Jehovah himself, and particularly to His plans for the Jewish people. This political hatred of the Pharisees entered into the Antichrist expectation, just as their political hope went into the Messianic programme. Both alike tended to grow transcendental.

( b ) The dualism of Babylonia and Persia, especially as it was expressed by the dragon , between whom and the agents of righteousness there was to be a fight to the death. This dragon conception may with much probability be seen not only in the identification of the serpent of the Temptation with the devil, but also in the beast of the Johannine Apocalypse, the great opponent of the Christ, and in the sea monster of Rabbinism.

( c ) The Beliar ( or Belial ) myth , which underlies the NT thought (cf.   2 Corinthians 6:15 ), as well as Jewish fears. The first reference to Beliar seems to have been in Jubilees 1:20, but the myth is not unlike that of the Babylonian Tiamat , queen of the abyss, who was conquered by Marduk. Subsequently he was identified with Satan, who was also identified with the dragon (cf. Ascens.   Isaiah 4:3-4 ,   Revelation 12:10 ). This identification was the first step towards the fully developed expectation of the Talmud, of a conflict between God and the devil.

( d ) Belief in the return from death of the persecuting Emperor Nero . This expectation seems to have been widely diffused throughout the Roman Empire in the latter part of the first Christian century ( Sib. Or . iv. 119 150, v. 363 ff.), and lies behind the figures of   Revelation 13:1-18;   Revelation 16:1-21;   Revelation 17:1-18 . He is apparently to return with the kings of Parthia, but he is also, in   Revelation 17:8-11 , identified with the beast of the abyss (cf. Sib. Or . v. 28 34).

( e ) The myth of Simon Magus, or that of the false prophet . This myth seems to have been common in Christian circles, and Simon Magus (wh. see) became the typical (Jewish) prophet and magician who opposed Christianity.

2. Synthesis of the elements . These various elements possess so much in common that it was inevitable that they should be combined in the figure of the Satanic opponent whom the Christ would utterly destroy as a pre-condition of establishing His Kingdom of God. A study of the Book of Revelation, as well as of other NT writings ( e.g.   2 Thessalonians 2:1-12 , 2Co 6:15 ,   1 John 2:18-22;   1 John 4:3 ,   2 John 1:7 ,   Revelation 11:4-13;   Revelation 13:1-18;   Revelation 13:17;   Revelation 19:11-21 ,   Mark 13:14-20 ), will show that there was always present in the minds of the writers of the NT a superhuman figure, Satanic in power and character, who was to be the head of opposition both to the people of Christ and to the Christ Himself. This person is represented in Assumption of Moses (ch. 8), Ascension of Isaiah (ch. 4), as well as in other Jewish writings, as one who possessed the Satanic supremacy over the army of devils. He was not a general tendency, but a definite personality. As such it was easy to see his counterpart or incarnation in historical characters. Indeed, the entire anti-Messianic programme was employed to characterize historical situations. We must think similarly of the use of ‘the man of lawlessness’ of St. Paul (  2 Thessalonians 2:3; see Man of Sin) and the various opponents of Christ in the Apocalypse. Transcendental pictures and current eschatology set forth the Christian’s fear on the one hand of the Roman Emperor or Empire as a persecuting power, and on the other of Jewish fanaticism. Just which historical persons were in the mind of the writers it is now impossible to say with accuracy, but Nero and Domitian are not unlikely.

In the Patristic period the eschatological aspects of the anti-Messianic hope were developed, but again as a mystical picture of historical conditions either existing or expected. In Ephraem Syrus we have the fall of the Roman Empire attributed to Antichrist. He is also by the early Church writers sometimes identified with the false Jewish Messiah, who was to work miracles, rebuild the Temple, and establish a great empire with demons as his agents. Under the inspiration of the two Witnesses (Elijah and Enoch) the Messianic revolt against the Antichrist was to begin, the Book of Revelation being interpreted literally at this point. The saints were to be exposed to the miseries that the book describes, but the Messiah was to slay Antichrist with the breath of His mouth, and establish the Judgment and the conditions of eternity.

Thus in Christian literature that fusion of the elements of the Antichrist idea which were present in Judaism and later Christianity is completed by the addition of the traits of the false prophet, and extended under the influence of the current polemic against Jewish Messianism. The figure of Antichrist, Satanic, Neronic, falsely prophetic, the enemy of God and His Kingdom, moves out into theological history, to be identified by successive ages with nearly every great opponent of the Church and its doctrines, whether persecutor or heretic.

Shailer Mathews.

Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary [4]

compounded of αντι , contra, against, and Χριστος , Christ, in a general sense, denotes an adversary of Christ, or one who denies that the Messiah is come. In this sense, Jews, infidels, &c, may be said to be antichrists. The epithet, in the general sense of it, is also applicable to any power or person acting in direct opposition to Christ or his doctrine. Its particular meaning is to be collected from those passages of Scripture in which it occurs. Accordingly, it may either signify one who assumes the place and office of Christ, or one who maintains a direct enmity and opposition to him. The Fathers all speak of antichrist as a single man; though they also assure us, that he is to have divers precursors, or forerunners. Yet many Protestant writers apply to the Romish church, and the pope who is at the head of it, the several marks and signatures of antichrist enumerated in the Apocalypse, which would imply antichrist to be, not a single person, but a corrupt society, or a long series of persecuting pontiffs, or rather, a certain power and government, that may be held for many generations, by a number of individuals succeeding one another. The antichrist mentioned by the Apostle John,   1 John 2:18 , and more particularly described in the book of Revelation, seems evidently to be the same with the man of sin, &c, characterized by St. Paul in his Second Epistle to the Thessalonians, chap. 2; and the whole description literally applies to the Papal power. A late writer, after collecting the principal prophecies relating to antichrist, infers from them that a power, sometimes represented as the little horn, the man of sin, the antichrist, the beast, the harlot, the star falling from heaven, the false prophet, the dragon, or as the operation of false teachers, was to be expected to arise in the Christian world to persecute and oppress, and delude the disciples of Christ, corrupt the doctrine of the primitive church, enact new laws, and establish its dominion over the minds of mankind. He then proceeds to show, from the application of prophecy to history, and to the remarkable train of events that are now passing in the world, how exactly Popery, Mohammedanism, and Infidelity, correspond with the character given in Scripture of the power of antichrist, which was to prevail a certain time for the especial trial and punishment of the corrupted church of Christ. Upon this system, the different opinions of the Protestants and Papists, concerning the power of antichrist, derived from partial views of the subject, are not wholly incompatible with each other. With respect to the commonly received opinion, that the church of Rome is antichrist, Mede and Newton, Daubuz and Clarke, Lowman and Hurd, Jurieu, Vitringa, and many other members of the Protestant churches who have written upon the subject, concur in maintaining, that the prophecies of Daniel, St. Paul, and St. John, point directly to this church. This was likewise the opinion of the first reformers; and it was the prevalent opinion of Christians, in the earliest ages, that antichrist would appear soon after the fall of the Roman empire. Gregory the Great, in the sixth century, applied the prophecies concerning the beast in the Revelation, the man of sin, and the apostasy from the faith mentioned by St. Paul, to him who should presume to claim the title of universal priest, or universal bishop, in the Christian church; and yet his immediate successor, Boniface III, received from the tyrant Phocas the precise title which Gregory had thus censured. At the synod of Rheims, held in the tenth century, Arnulphus, bishop of Orleans, appealed to the whole council, whether the bishop of Rome was not the antichrist of St. Paul, "sitting in the temple of God," and perfectly corresponding with the description of him given by St. Paul. In the eleventh century, all the characters of antichrist seemed to be so united in the person of Pope Hildebrand, who took the name of Gregory VII, that Johannes Aventinus, a Romish historian, speaks of it as a subject in which the generality of fair, candid, and ingenuous writers agreed, that at that time began the reign of antichrist. And the Albigenses and Waldenses, who may be called the Protestants of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, expressly asserted in their declarations of faith, that the church of Rome was the whore of Babylon. The Papists imagine they view in the prophetical picture of antichrist, imperial Rome, elated by her victories, exulting in her sensuality and her spoils, polluted by idolatry, persecuting the people of God, and finally falling like the first Babylon; whilst a new and holy city, represented by their own communion, filled with the spotless votaries of the Christian faith, rises out of its ruins, and the victory of the cross is completed over the temples of Paganism. This scheme has had its able advocates, at the head of whom may be placed Bossuet, bishop of Meaux, Grotius, and Hammond. Some writers have maintained, that Caligula was antichrist; and others have asserted the same of Nero. But in order to establish the resemblance, they violate the order of time, disregard the opinions of the primitive Christians, and overlook the appropriate descriptions of the Apostles. After the point had been maturely debated at the council of Gap, held in 1603, a resolution was taken thereupon to insert an article in the confession of faith, whereby the Pope is formally declared to be antichrist. Pope Clement VIII was stung with this decision; and even king Henry IV, of France, was not a little mortified, to be thus declared, as he said, an imp of antichrist.

In the book of Daniel it is foretold, that this power should exercise dominion until a time and times, and the dividing of time,  Daniel 7:25 . This expression is generally admitted to denote 1260 years. The papal power was completely established in the year 755, when it obtained the exarchate of Ravenna. Some, however, date the rise of antichrist in the year of Christ 606; and Mede places it in 456. If the rise of antichrist be not reckoned till he was possessed of secular authority, his fall will happen when this power shall be taken away. If his rise began, according to Mede in 456, he must have fallen in 1716; if in 606, it must be in 1866; if in 755, in 2015. If, however, we use prophetical years, consisting of three hundred and sixty days, and date the rise of antichrist in the year 755, his fall will happen in the year of Christ 2000. Every thing however in the state of the world betokens a speedy overthrow of the Papal and Mohammedan powers, both of which have indeed been already greatly weakened.

Morrish Bible Dictionary [5]

The name ἀντίχριστος signifies an opposer of Christ. It is used only by John in his first and second epistles, though those opposed to Christ are referred to by others under different names. It is important to distinguish between an antichrist and the antichrist. John says, "as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists;" whereas "he is the antichrist that denieth the Father and the Son."  1 John 2:18,22 . He is the consummation of the many antichrists. To deny Jesus Christ come in the flesh is the spirit or power of the antichrist, but it eventuates in a departure from the special revelation of Christianity: 'they went out from us.'  1 John 2:19;  1 John 4:3;  2 John 7 . Now this clears the ground at once of much that has obscured the subject. For instance, many have concluded that Popery is the antichrist, and have searched no farther into the question, whereas the above passage refutes this conclusion, for Popery does not deny the Father and the Son; and, in  Revelation 17,18 , Popery is pointed out as quite distinct from 'the false prophet,' which is another name for the antichrist. It is fully granted that Popery is anti-christian, and a Christ-dishonouring and soul-deceiving system; but where God has made a distinction we must also do so. Besides Popery there were and there are many antichrists, which, whatever their pretensions, are the enemies of Christ, opposers of the truth, and deceivers of man.

As to the Antichrist, it should be noticed that John makes another distinction between this one and the many. He speaks of the many as being already there, whereas the one was to come; and if we turn to  2 Thessalonians 2:3-12 we read of something or some one that hinders that wicked or lawless one being revealed, although the mystery of iniquity was already at work. Now there has been no change of dispensation since this epistle was written, and John wrote much later, from which we learn that the revelation of the antichrist is still future, though doubtless the mystery of iniquity is getting ripe for his appearing; that which hindered and still hinders the manifestation of the antichrist is doubtless the presence of the Holy Spirit on earth. He will leave the earth at the rapture of the saints.

This passage in Thessalonians gives us further particulars as to this MAN OF SIN.His coming is after the working of Satan, that is, he will be a confederate of Satan, and be able to work signs and lying wonders with all deceit of unrighteousness in them that perish. Those that have refused the truth will then receive the lie of this wicked one. We get further particulars in  Revelation 13:11-18 , where the anti-christian power or kingdom is described as a beast rising out of the earth, having two horns as a lamb, but speaking as a dragon. Here again we read that he will do great wonders, making fire come down from heaven, with other signs or miracles.

In the description in Thessalonians he opposeth himself against all that is called God or that is worshipped, and sits down in the temple of God, and sets forth himself as God. The Jews will receive him as their Messiah, as we read in  John 5:43 . In the above passage in the Revelation this counterfeit of Christ's kingdom is openly idolatrous. He directs the dwellers on the earth to make an image of the beast (named in ver. 1, the future head of the resuscitated Roman empire) to which image he gives breath, that it should speak, and persecutes those who will not worship the image. He also causes all to receive a mark on their hand or their forehead that they may be known to be his followers; and that none else should be able to buy or sell. We thus see that in the Revelation the anti-christian power called also 'the false prophet' will work with the political head, and with Satan — a trinity of evil — not only in deceiving mankind, but also, in  Revelation 16:13-16 , gathering together by their influence the kings of the earth to the battle of that great day of God Almighty. The three are cast into the lake of fire  Revelation 19:20;  Revelation 20:10 .

In the O.T. we get still another character of this wicked one. In  Daniel 11:36-39 he is called 'king.' Here he exalts himself and speaks marvellous things against the God of gods. He will not regard the God of his fathers (pointing out that he will be a descendant of Israel, probably from the tribe of Dan, cf.   Genesis 49:17 ), nor "the desire of women" ( i.e. the Messiah, of whom every Jewess hoped to be the mother): he exalts himself above all. Here again he is an idolater, honouring a god that his fathers knew not. In  Zechariah 11:15-17 he is referred to as the foolish and idol shepherd, who cares not for the flock, in opposition to the Lord Jesus the good Shepherd.

This man of sin will 'do according to his own will' — just what the natural man ever seeks to do. In contrast to this the blessed Lord was obedient, and came not to do His own will. May His saints be ever on the watch against the many false prophets in the world,  1 John 4:1 , and be loyal to their absent Lord, behold His beauty in the sanctuary, and reproduce Him more down here in their earthen vessels.

Charles Buck Theological Dictionary [6]

An adversary to Jesus Christ. There have been various opinions concerning the Antichrist mentioned in the Scripture,  1 John 2:18 . Some have held that the Jews are to be reputed as Antichrist; others Caligula; others Mahomet; others Simon Magus; others infidelity; and others, that the devil himself is the Antichrist. Most authors agree, however, that it applies to the church of Rome. Grotius, Hammond, Bossuet, and others, supposed Rome pagan to be designed; but Rome Christian seems more evident, for John "saw the beast rise up out of the sea, "  Revelation 13:1 . Now, as heathen Rome had risen and been established long before his time, this could not refer to the Roman empire then subsisting, but to a form of government afterwards to arise. As, therefore, none did arise, after Rome was broken to pieces by the barbarians, but that of the papal power, it must be considered as applying to that. The descriptions also, of the beast as the great apostacy, the man of sin, the mystery of iniquity, and the son of perdition, will apply only to Christian Rome.

See  Daniel 7:1-28 :   2 Thessalonians 2:1-17 : and   Revelation 13:1-18 : Besides the time allowed for the continuance of the beast will not apply to heathen Rome; for power was given to the beast for 1260 years, whereas heathen Rome did not last 400 years after this prophecy was delivered.

Authors have differed as to the time when Antichrist arose. Some suppose that his reign did not commence till he became a temporal prince, in the year 756, when Pepin wrested the exarchate of Ravenna from the Lombards, and made it over to the pope and his successors. Others think that it was in 727, when Rome and the Roman dukedom came from the Greeks to the Roman pontiff. Mede dates this rise in the year 456; but others, and I think with the greatest reason, place it in the year 606. Now, it is generally agreed that the reign of Antichrist is 1260 years; consequently, if his rise is not to be reckoned till he was possessed of secular authority, then his fall must be when this power is taken away. According to the first opinion, he must have possessed his temporal power till the year 2016; according to the second, he must have possessed it till the year 1987. If this rise began, according to Mede, in 456, then he must have fallen in 1716. Now that these dates were wrong, circumstances have proved; the first and second being too late, and the third too early. As these hypotheses, therefore, must fall to the ground, it remains for us to consider why the last mentioned is the more probable. It was about the year 606 that pope Boniface III. by flattering Phocas, the emperor of Constantinople, one of the worst of tyrants, procured for himself the title of Universal Bishop.

The bishops of Rome and Constantinople had long been struggling for this honour; at last, it was decided in favour of the bishop of Rome; and from this time he was raised above all others, and his supremacy established by imperial authority: it was now, also, that the most profound ignorance, debauchery, and superstition, reigned. From this time the popes exerted all their power in promoting the idolatrous worship of images, saints, reliques, and angels. The church was truly deplorable; all the clergy were given up to the most flagrant and abominable acts of licentiousness. Places of worship resembled the temples of heathens more than the churches of Christians; in fine, nothing could exceed the avarice, pride, and vanity of all the bishops, presbyters, deacons, and even the cloistered monks! All this fully answered the description St. Paul gave of Antichrist,  2 Thessalonians 2:1-17 : It is necessary also to observe, that this epoch agrees best with the time when, according to prophecy, he was to be revealed. The rise of Antichrist was to be preceded by the dissolution of the Roman empire, the establishment of a different form of government in Italy, and the division of the empire into ten kingdoms; all these events taking place, make it very probable that the year 606 was the time of his rise.

Nor have the events of the last century made it less probable. The power of the pope was never so much shaken as within a few years: "his dominion is, in a great measure, taken from him;" and every thing seems to be going on gradually to terminate his authority; so that, by the time this 1260 years shall be concluded, we may suppose that Antichrist shall be finally destroyed. As to the cruelties of Antichrist, the persecutions that have been carried on, and the miseries to which mankind have been subject, by the power of the beast, the reader ma consult the articles Inquisition and Persecution In this we have to rejoice, that, however various, the opinions of the learned may be as to the time when Antichrist rose, it is evident to all that he is fast declining, and will certainly fall,  Revelation 18:1;  Revelation 18:5 . What means the Almighty may farther use, the exact time when, and the manner how, all shall be accomplished, we must leave to him who ordereth all things after the counsel of his own will

See Bp. Newton on the Prophesies; Simpson's Key to ditto; Moseley's Ser. on Fall of Babylon; Ward's Three Discourses of Prophecy and books under that article.

Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology [7]

The term "antichrist" occurs only in 1,2John, and there in both singular and plural forms. It is part of a complex of images and figures that represent the activity and power of evil—of those forces that are hostile to God. The Old Testament uses the figure of a dragon to symbolize evil's conflict with God existing from the time of creation to God's final triumph ( Isaiah 27:1; cf.  Genesis 1:21; see also the reference to Rahab the dragon/sea monster defeated at the time of creation,  Psalm 89:9-10; cf.  Job 9:13;  26:12 ). The dragon figure is applied to earthly powers who are enemies of God, such as Nebuchadnezzer ( Jeremiah 51:34 ) and Pharoah ( Ezekiel 32:2 ). The figure of the beast also denotes forces (specifically political powers) hostile to God ( Daniel 7 ). Both these figures reappear in the New Testament, particularly in Revelation. The dragon is used twelve times in Revelation and designates the devil and Satan and the enemy of God's Messiah. The beast is a central image in Revelation used to symbolize that which opposes and parodies God.

The New Testament indicates the presence of cosmic opposition to God through reference primarily to forces, people, or a person who seek to deceive those who already know God's Messiah. The cosmic struggle with evil is now chiefly localized in the church. So the spirit of antichrist ( 1 John 4:3 ), the false Christs ( Mark 13:22 ) and antichrists ( 1 John 2:18 ), the antichrist ( 1 John 2:18,22;  4:3;  2 John 1:7 ), the man of lawlessness ( 2 Thessalonians 2:3 ), and the "desolating sacrilege" ( Mark 13:14 the; masculine participle suggesting a person such as the antichrist ) all concentrate their activity on the elect or the community of faith. These figure(s) lie and deny Christ (  1 John 2:22;  2 John 7 cf.   1 John 4:3 ), lead astray ( Mark 13:22 ), oppose and even declare himself as God in the temple ( 2 Thessalonians 2:4 ,; cf.  Mark 13:14 ).

In both Testaments these figures function not only to describe the magnitude and threat of evil but to affirm God's control over creation. In the Old Testament and New Testament the image of the beast is used to describe both the power and intensity of evil and to declare God's ultimate victory. The figure of the antichrist and the man of lawlessness do not occur in the Old Testament, although their New Testament use is replete with Old Testament allusions. In the New Testament these figures function in line with the Old Testament conviction that God will ultimately defeat the forces of evil.

The predominant venue for these figures in the Bible is in the context of discussion of the last days. The eschaton is recognizable because of the unleashing of evil and will be characterized by a particularly vivid and horrific confrontation between God and his enemy ( 2 Thessalonians 2;  1 John 2:18 ). This expectation accords with that of Jewish apocalyptic literature (Sybilline Oracles, Book 3; 4Esdras 5:6) and early Catholic Christianity (Didache 16:1-4). The constant biblical conviction is that God will ultimately triumph over every opposition to him and his people, whether such enmity is manifested in earthly or supernatural powers. The last battle will be won by God and the beneficiaries will be God's people.

L. Ann Jervis

Bibliography . M. D. Hooker, BJRL 65 (1982):78-99; H. K. Larondelle, Andrews UNIVersity Seminary Studies 21 (1983):61-69.

People's Dictionary of the Bible [8]

Antichrist. This term is employed by the apostle John alone, who defines it in a manner which leaves no doubt as to its meaning. Its application is less certain. In the first passage— 1 John 2:18—in which it occurs, the apostle makes direct reference to the false Christs whose coming, it had been foretold, should mark the last days. In verse 22 we and, "he is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son;" and still more positively, "every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of antichrist." Comp.  2 John 1:7. From these definitions it has been supposed that the object of the apostle in his first epistle was to combat the errors of Cerinthus, the Docetæ and the Gnostics, who denied the union of the divine and human nature in Christ. The coming of Antichrist was believed to be foretold in the "vile person" of Daniel's prophecy,  Daniel 11:21, which received its first accomplishment in Antiochus Epiphanes, but of which the complete fulfillment was reserved for the last times. He is identified with "the man of sin, the son of perdition."  2 Thessalonians 2:3. This interpretation brings Antichrist into close connection with the gigantic power of evil, symbolized by the "beast,"  Revelation 13:1-18, who received his power from the dragon ( I.E., the devil, the serpent of Genesis), who was invested with the kingdom of the ten kings.  Revelation 17:12;  Revelation 17:17. The destruction of Babylon is to be followed by the rule of Antichrist for a short period,  Revelation 17:10, to be in his turn overthrown in "the battle of that great day of God Almighty,"  Revelation 16:14, with the false prophet and all his followers.  Revelation 19:1-21. The personality of Antichrist is to be inferred as well from the personality of his historical precursor, as from that of him to whom he stands opposed. Such an interpretation is to be preferred to that which regards Antichrist as the embodiment and personification of all powers and agencies inimical to Christ, or of the Antichristian might of the world. But the language of the apostles is obscure, and this obscurity has been deepened by the conflicting interpretations of expositors. All that the dark bints of the apostles teach us is, that they regarded Antichrist as a power whose influence was beginning to be felt even in their time, but whose full development was reserved till the passing away of the principle which hindered it, and the destruction of the power symbolized by the mystical Babylon. The word antichrist does not always mean openly opposed to Christ, but putting something in the place of Christ. Any person teaching any way to God, excepting through Christ, is Antichrist. Any person teaching any way of salvation, excepting through the blood of Christ, is Antichrist. John says that in his day, "Now are there many antichrists."  1 John 2:18. The papal church, putting its traditions in the place of the Scriptures, putting the Virgin Mary, the saints, the Pope, the priest, good works, the mass, purgatory, etc., as the way of salvation, in place of salvation by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, is pre-eminently Antichrist.

Holman Bible Dictionary [9]

 1 John 2:22 1 John 4:3 2 John 1:7

Old Testament The Old Testament, described the antichrist in various ways. Especially in Daniel, there arose the expectation of one who would oppose the Lord and His people Israel. This evil leader was referred to as the king of the north ( Daniel 11:40 ) who would come with a mighty army to crush the nations, to persecute the righteous ( Daniel 7:25 ), to bring death ( Daniel 8:10 ), and to set up his throne in the Temple ( Daniel 8:13 ). This latter event the Jews term the “abomination of desolation.” Many Jews viewed the arrival of Antiochus Epiphanes IV as the embodiment of these verses. Yet in the mind of many Jews, the rule of Antiochus did not meet the full expectations of these Scriptures. There evolved a permanent expectation of an antichrist figure in Judaism. In later Jewish history such Roman figures as Pompey and Caligula were identified with the antichrist.

In Daniel one also finds a collective antichrist. In  Daniel 7:7-28 the Fourth Empire was viewed as a collective antichrist. In later Judaism, the Fourth Kingdom or the collective antichrist was viewed as the Roman Empire (2Baruch 26-40; 4Ezra 5:3-4).

New Testament In the New Testament, the only use of the term “antichrist,” is in the Johannine epistles.  1 John 2:18 speaks of the antichrist who is the great enemy of God and, in particular, antichrists who precede that great enemy. These antichrists were human teachers who had left the church. Such antichrists deny the incarnation (  1 John 4:3 ) and Christ's deity ( 1 John 2:2 ). In  2 John 1:7 , the antichrists are identified as deceivers who teach that Jesus Christ did not come in the flesh. The concept of the antichrist appears in the term “false Christ” (pseudo christos) ( Matthew 24:24;  Mark 13:22 ). Mark and Matthew apparently expected a Roman ruler to once again enter the Temple as did Antiochus and Pompey. In  Revelation 13:3 , the beast from the sea is often viewed as an antichrist figure. There John may have looked for a return of the emperor Nero.

In  2 Thessalonians 2:1-12 , the antichrist figure is armed with satanic power and is fused with Beliar, a satanic being. In this passage the Roman government is viewed as restraining its power. In Revelation, the Roman Caesar is the evil force.

Contemporary Concerns Christians today have differing views of the antichrist figure. Dispensationalists look for a future Roman ruler who will appear during the tribulation and will rule over the earth. Those in the amillennialist school interpret the term symbolically. In every age there will be individuals and groups who will oppose Christ.

James L. Blevins

Smith's Bible Dictionary [10]

An'tichrist. This term, antichrist, is employed by the apostle John alone, and is defined by him in a manner which leaves no doubt as to its intrinsic meaning. With regard to its application, there is less certainty. In the first passage -  1 John 2:18 - in which it occurs, the apostle makes direct reference to the false Christs whose coming, it had been foretold, should mark the last days. In  1 John 2:22, we find, "he is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son;" and still more positively, "every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of antichrist." Compare  2 John 1:7.

From these emphatic and repeated definitions, it has been supposed that the object of the apostle in his first Epistle was to combat the errors of Cerinthus, the Docetae and the Gnostics on the subject of the Incarnation. (They denied the union of the divine and human in Christ ).

The coming of Antichrist was (believed to be foretold in the "vile person" of Daniel's prophecy,  Daniel 11:21, which received its first accomplishment in Antiochus Epiphanes, but of which the complete fulfillment was reserved for the last times. He is identified with "the man of sin, the son of perdition."  2 Thessalonians 2:3.

This interpretation brings Antichrist into close connection with the gigantic power of evil, symbolized by the "beast,"  Revelation 13:1, who received his power from the dragon (that is, the devil, the serpent of Genesis), continued for forty and two months, and was invested with the kingdom of the ten kings who destroyed the harlot Babylon,  Revelation 17:12;  Revelation 17:17, the city of seven hills.

The destruction of Babylon is to be followed by the rule of Antichrist for a short period,  Revelation 17:10, to be in his turn overthrown in "the battle of that great day of God Almighty,"  Revelation 16:14, with the false prophet and all his followers. Revelation 19.

The personality of Antichrist is to be inferred, as well, from the personality of his historical precursor, as from that of him to whom he stands opposed. Such an interpretation is to be preferred to that which regards Antichrist as the embodiment and personification of all powers and agencies inimical to Christ , or of the Antichristian might of the world.

Bridgeway Bible Dictionary [11]

Towards the end of the first century, certain false teachers denied that Jesus Christ was fully divine and fully human. In doing so they denied a basic fact of the Christian faith, and so showed themselves to be enemies of Christ. The name that the Bible gives to people who show such opposition to Christ is antichrist ( 1 John 2:22;  1 John 4:3;  2 John 1:7).

The spirit of antichrist is always in the world and has shown itself in many ways and in many people down the ages. It will have its last and most violent expression in the final great rebellion against God immediately before the return of Christ ( 1 John 2:18; cf.  Psalms 2:2-3;  Daniel 9:27;  Daniel 11:36-39;  Matthew 24:15-21). More specifically, it seems that it will express itself in the leader of that rebellion, one who is variously known as the antichrist, the man of sin, the man of lawlessness and the wicked one.

Empowered by Satan, this last great antichrist will recognize no authority, Christian or otherwise, apart from his own, and will put himself in the place of God as the sole controller of the human race. He is probably the one whom the book of Revelation symbolizes by the beast with seven heads and ten horns ( 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4;  2 Thessalonians 2:9-10;  Revelation 13:1-10). He is destined to perish in judgment at the return of Jesus Christ, and is therefore called also ‘the son of perishing’ ( 2 Thessalonians 2:3;  2 Thessalonians 2:8;  Revelation 19:20).

Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT Words [12]

1: Ἀντίχριστος (Strong'S #500 — Noun Masculine — antichristos — an-tee'-khris-tos )

can mean either "against Christ" or "instead of Christ," or perhaps, combining the two, "one who, assuming the guise of Christ, opposes Christ" (Westcott). The word is found only in John's epistles, (a) of the many "antichrists" who are forerunners of the "Antichrists" himself,  1—John 2:18,22;  2—John 1:7; (b) of the evil power which already operates anticipatively of the "Antichrist,"  1—John 4:3 .

 Revelation 13 2—Thessalonians 2 Revelation 13 Matthew 24:24 Mark 13:22

American Tract Society Bible Dictionary [13]

Strictly means one opposed to Christ. In this sense, John says were already in his time many antichrists, many having the spirit of an antichrist; unbelievers, heretics, and persecutors,  1 John 2:18   4:3 . They were characterized by the denial of the Father and the Son, and of Christ's coming in the flesh,  1 John 2:22   4:3 . But the apostles and early Christians seem to have looked forward to some one great antichrist, who should precede the second coming of our Lord, and whom Paul calls "the man of sin, the son of perdition,"  2 Thessalonians 2:3 . To this passage John alludes,  1 John 2:18 . Able interpreters agree that antichrist denotes an organized body of men, perpetuated from age to age, opposed to Christ, and which he will destroy,  Revelation 11:1-19   13:1-18   17:1-18 .

Easton's Bible Dictionary [14]

  • And to the "beast from the sea" ( Revelation 13:1;  17:1-18 ).

    Copyright Statement These dictionary topics are from M.G. Easton M.A., DD Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Third Edition, published by Thomas Nelson, 1897. Public Domain.

    Bibliography Information Easton, Matthew George. Entry for 'Antichrist'. Easton's Bible Dictionary. 1897.

  • Webster's Dictionary [15]

    (n.) A denier or opponent of Christ. Specif.: A great antagonist, person or power, expected to precede Christ's second coming.

    Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [16]

    ( Ἀντίχριστος , Against Christ; others, Instead Of Christ [see below]), a term which has received a great variety of interpretations. Although the word Antichrist is used only by the Apostle John (Epistle 1 and 2), yet it has been generally applied also

    (1) to the "Little Horn" of the "King of Fierce Countenance" ( Daniel 7:1-28;  Daniel 8:1-27);

    (2) to the "false Christ" predicted by our Savior ( Matthew 14:1-36);

    (3) to the "Man of Sin" of St. Paul (2 Thessalonians); and

    (4) to the "Beasts" of the Apocalypse (Revelations 13, 18).

    I. Meaning Of The Word. Some maintain (e.g. Greswell) that Antichrist can mean only "false Christ," taking Ἀντί in the sense of "instead." But this is undue refinement: Ἀντί bears the sense of "against" as well as "instead of," both in classical and N.T. usage. So Ἀντικτήσεσθαι means to Gain Instead of, while Ἀντιλέγειν means to Speak Against. The word doubtless includes both meanings "pseudo-Christ" as well as "opposed to Christ," much as "anti-pope" implies both rivalry and antagonism. According to Bishop Hurd, it signifies "a person of power actuated with a spirit opposite to that of Christ." For, to adopt the illustration of the same writer, "as the word Christ is frequently used in the apostolic writings for the doctrine of Christ, in which sense we are to understand to put on Christ,' to grow in Christ,' or to learn Christ,' so Antichrist, in the abstract, may be taken for a doctrine subversive of the Christian; and when applied to a particular man, or body of men, it denotes one who sets himself against the spirit of that doctrine." It seems, however, that the Scriptures employ the term both with a general and limited signification. In the general sense, with which Bishop Hurd's idea mainly agrees, every person who is hostile to the authority of Christ, as Lord or head of the Church, and to the spirit of his religion, is called Antichrist; as when the Apostle John, referring to certain false teachers who corrupted the truth from its simplicity, says, "Even now are there many Antichrists" ( 1 John 2:18;  1 John 4:3), many who corrupt the doctrine and blaspheme the name of Christ, i.e. Jewish sectaries (Lucke, Comment. in loc.).

    II. Types And Predictions Of Antichrist In O.T. 1. Balaam. As Moses was the type of Christ, so Balaam, the opponent of Moses, is to be taken as an O.T. type of Antichrist ( Numbers 31:16; comp.  Judges 1:9-11;  2 Peter 2:14-16;  Revelation 2:14). (See Balaam).

    2. Antiochus Epiphanes, the "King Of Fierce Countenance" ( Daniel 8:23-25): "And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come tothe full, a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up. And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power; and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practice, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people. And 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." (Comp. also chapters 11, 12.) Most interpreters concur in applying this passage to Antiochus Epiphanes as a type of Antichrist. Antiochus is here set forth

    (ch. 8) as a theocratic anti-Messiah, opposed to the true Messiah, who, it will be remembered, is generally described in O.T. as a king. Jerome (quoted in Smith, Dictionary, s.v.) argues as follows: "All that follows (from ch. 11:21) to the end of the book applies personally to Antiochus Epiphanes, brother of Seleucus, and son of Antiochus the Great; for, after Seleucus, he reigned eleven years in Syria, and possessed Judaea; and in his reign there occurred the persecution about the Law of God, and the wars of the Maccabees. But our people consider all these things to be spoken of Antichrist. who is to come in the last time . . . . It is the custom of Holy Scripture to anticipate in types the reality of things to come. For in the same way our Lord and Savior is spoken of in the 72d Psalm, which is entitled a Psalm of Solomon, and yet all that is there said cannot be applied to Solomon. But in part, and as in a shadow and image of the truth, these things are foretold of Solomon, to be more perfectly fulfilled in our Lord and Savior. As, then, in Solomon and other saints the Savior has types of His coming, so Antichrist is rightly believed to have for his type that wicked king Antiochus, who persecuted the saints and defiled the Temple" (Hieron. Op. 3, 1127, Par. 1704). (See Antiochus Epiphanes).

    3. The Little Horn ( Daniel 7:1-28). Here the four beasts indicate four kings; their kingdoms are supposed to be the Assyrian, Persian, Grecian, and Syrian (some say Roman) empires. The last empire breaks up into ten, after which the king rises up and masters three ( Daniel 7:24) of them. It is declared ( Daniel 7:25) that he shall speak great words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High, and think to change times and laws; and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time" indicating a person, as well as a power or polity. It is likely that this prediction refers also to Antiochus as the type of Antichrist, at least primarily. (See Little Horn).

    III. Passages In N.T.

    1. In  Matthew 24:1-51, Christ himself foretells the appearance of false Messiahs; thus,  Matthew 24:5 : "For many shall come in my name, saying I am Christ, and shall deceive many;" also  Matthew 24:23-24 : "Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here Is Christ or there, believe it not; for there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if It Uwere possible, they shall deceive the very elect."

    (Comp.  Mark 13:21-22.) In these passages Anti-Christian teachers and their works are predicted. Christ teaches "that

    (1) in the latter days of Jerusalem there should be sore distress, and that in the midst of it there should arise impostors who would claim to be the promised Messiah, and would lead away many of their countrymen after them; and that

    (2) in the last days of the world there should be a great tribulation and persecution of the saints, and that there should arise at the same time false Christs and false prophets, with an unparalleled power of leading astray. In type, therefore, our Lord predicted the rise of the several impostors who excited the fanaticism of the Jews before their fall. In antitype He predicted the future rise of impostors in the last days, who should beguile all but the elect into the belief of their being God's prophets, or even his Christs. Our Lord is not speaking of any one individual (or polity), but rather of those forerunners of the Antichrist who are his servants and actuated by his spirit. They are Ψευδόχριστοι (false Christs), and can deceive almost the elect, but they are not specifically Ἀντίχριστος (the Antichrist); they are Ψευδοπροφῆται (false prophets), and can show great signs and wonders, but they are not Ψευδοπροφήτης ( The false prophet) (Revelations 16:14).

    2. St. Paul'S Man Of Sin. Paul specifically Personifies Antichrist,  2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 : "Let no man deceive you by any means; for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of-sin be revealed, the son of perdition; 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;" also  2 Thessalonians 2:8-10 : "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, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish." Here he "who opposeth himself" ( Ἀντικείμενος , the Adversary,  2 Thessalonians 2:4) is plainly Antichrist. Paul tells the Thessalonians that the spirit of Antichrist, or Antichristianism, called by him "the mystery of iniquity," was already working; but Antichrist himself he characterizes as "the Man of Sin," "the Son of Perdition," "the Adversary to all that is called God," "the one who lifts himself above all objects of worship;" and assures them that he should not be revealed in person until some present obstacle to his appearance should have been taken away, and until the predicted Ἀποστασία should have occurred. Comp.  1 Timothy 4:1-3;  2 Timothy 3:1-5. (See Man Of Sin).

    3. The Antichrist Of John. The Apostle John also personifies Antichrist, alluding, as St. Paul does, to previous oral teaching on the subject, and applying it to a class of opponents of Christ:  John 2:18 : "Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that Antichrist shall come, even now are there many Antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time;" and to a spirit of opposition;  John 4:3 : "And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, is not of God. And this is that Spirit of Antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world." The Apostle here teaches "that the spirit of the Antichrist could exist even then, though the coming of the Antichrist himself was future, and that all who denied the Messiahship and Sonship of Jesus were Antichrists, as being types of the final Antichrist who was to come. The teaching of John's Epistles, therefore, amounts to this, that In type, Cerinthus, Basilides, Simon Magus and those Gnostics who denied Christ's Sonship, and all subsequent heretics who should deny it, were Antichrists, as being wanting in that divine principle of love which with him is the essence of Christianity; and he points on to the final appearance of the Antichrist that was "to come" in the last times, according as they had been orally taught, who would be the antitype of these his forerunners and servants." Comp. also  1 John 4:1-3,  2 John 1:7. "From John and Paul together we learn

    (1) that the Antichrist should come;

    (2) that he should not come until a certain obstacle to his coming was removed;

    (3) nor till the time of, or rather till after the time of the Ἀποστασία ;

    (4) that his characteristics would be

    (a) open opposition to God and religion;

    (b) a claim to the incommunicable attributes of God;

    (c) iniquity, sin, and lawlessness;

    (d) a power of working lying miracles;

    (e) marvellous capacity of beguiling souls;

    (5) that he would be actuated by Satan;

    (6) that his spirit was already at work manifesting itself partially, incompletely, and typically, in the teachers of infidelity and immorality already abounding in the Church."

    The Obstacle ( Τὸ Κατέχον ) . Before leaving the apostolical passages on Antichrist, it is expedient to inquire into the meaning of the "obstacle" alluded to in the last paragraph: that which "Withholdeth" ( Τὸ Κατέχον ,  2 Thessalonians 2:6); described also in  2 Thessalonians 2:7 as a person: "He Who Now letteth" ( Κατέχων ) . The early Christian writers generally consider "the obstacle" to be the Roman empire; so "Tertullian ( De Resur. Carn. c. 24, and Apol. c. 32); St. Chrysostom and Theophylact on  2 Thessalonians 2:1-17; Hippolytus ( De Antichristo, c. 49); St. Jerome on  Daniel 7:1-28; St. Augustine ( De Civ. Dei, 2 0, 19); St. Cyril of Jerusalem ( Catech. 15, 6; see Dr. H. More's Works,  Luke 2:1-52, ch. 19, p. 690; Mede, bk. 3, ch. 13, p. 656; Alford, Gk. Test. 3 , 57; Wordsworth, On The Apocalypse, p. 520). Theodoret and Theodore of Mopsuestia hold it to be the determination of God. Theodoret's view is embraced by Pelt; the Patristic interpretation is accepted by Wordsworth. Ellicott and Alford so far modify the Patristic interpretation as to explain the obstacle to be the restraining power of human law ( Τὸ Κατέχον ) wielded by the empire of Rome ( Κατέχων ) when Tertullian wrote, but now by the several governments of the civilized world. The explanation of Theodoret is untenable on account of Paul's further words, until he be taken out of the way,' which are applied by him to the obstacle. The modification of Ellicott and Alford is necessary if we suppose the Ἀποστασία to be an Infidel apostasy still future; for the Roman empire is gone, and This apostasy is not come, nor is the Wicked One revealed. There is much to be said for the Patristic interpretation in its plainest acceptation. How should the idea of the Roman empire being the obstacle to the revelation of Antichrist have originated? There was nothing to lead the early Christian writers to such a belief. They regarded the Roman empire as idolatrous and abominable, and would have been more disposed to consider it as the precursor than as the obstacle to the Wicked One. Whatever the obstacle was, Paul says that he told the Thessalonians what it was. Those to whom he had preached knew, and every time that his Epistle was publicly read ( 1 Thessalonians 5:27), questions would have been asked by those who did not know, and thus the recollection must have been kept up. It is very difficult to see whence the tradition could have arisen, except from Paul's own teaching. It may be asked, Why then did he not express it in writing as well as by word of mouth? St. Jerome's answer is sufficient: If he had openly and unreservedly said, "Antichrist will not come unless the Roman empire be first destroyed," the infant church would have been exposed in consequence to persecution (ad Algas. Qu. 11, vol. 4, p. 209, Par. 1706). Remigius gives the same reason: He spoke obscurely for fear a Roman should perhaps read the Epistle, and raise a persecution against him and the other Christians, for they held that they were to rule for ever in the world' (Bib. Patr. Max. 8, 1018; see Wordsworth, On the Apocalypse, p. 343). It would appear, then, that the obstacle was probably the Roman empire, and on its being taken out of the way there did occur the falling away.' Zion the beloved city became Sodom the bloody city still Zion though Sodom, still Sodom though Zion. According to the view given above, this would be the description of the church in her present estate, and this will continue to be our estate, until the time, times, and half time, during which the evil element is allowed to remain within her, shall have come to their end."

    4. Passages In The Apocalypse.

    (1) The Beast From The Sea. The Apocalypse symbolizes the final opposition to Christianity as a beast out of the pit ( Revelation 11:7): "And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them;" out of the sea (13): "And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion; and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority" (comp. the whole chapter, and  Revelation 17:1-18). The "beast" is here similar to the Little Horn of Daniel. "The Beast whose power is absorbed into the Little Horn has ten horns ( Daniel 7:7), and rises from the sea ( Daniel 7:3): the Apocalyptic Beast has ten horns ( Revelation 13:1), and rises from the sea (ibid.). The Little Horn has a mouth speaking great things ( Daniel 7:8;  Daniel 7:11;  Daniel 7:20): the Apocalyptic Beast has a mouth speaking great things ( Revelation 13:5). The Little Horn makes war with the saints, and prevails ( Daniel 7:21): the Apocalyptic Beast makes war with the saints, and overcomes them ( Revelation 13:7). The Little Horn speaks great words against the Most High ( Daniel 7:25): the Apocalyptic Beast opens his mouth in blasphemy against God ( Revelation 13:6). The Little Horn wears out the saints of the Most High ( Daniel 7:25): the woman who rides on, i.e. directs, the Apocalyptic Beast, is drunken with the blood of saints ( Revelation 17:6). The persecution of the Little Horn is to last a time, and times and a dividing of times, i.e. three and a half times ( Daniel 7:25): power is given to the Apocalyptic Beast for forty-two months, i.e. three and a half times ( Revelation 13:5)." These and other parallelisms show that as the Little Horn was typical of an individual that should stand to the Church as the leading type of Antichrist, so John's Apocalyptic Beast was symbolical of a later individual, wiho should embody the elements of a similar Antichristian power with respect to the Christians.

    (2) The Second Beast And The False Prophet (Revelations 13:11-18; 19:11-21). In these passages we find described a second beast, coming up out of the earth, who is accompanied by (or identical with) "the False Prophet." The following views are from Smith, s.v.: "His characteristics are

    [1] doing great wonders, so that he maketh fire to come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men' (Revelations 13:13). This power of miracle-working, we should note, is not attributed by John to the First Beast; but it is one of the chief signs of Paul's Adversary,

    whose coming is with all power, and signs, and lying wonders' ( 2 Thessalonians 2:9).

    [2] He deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the Beast'

    ( Revelation 13:14). He wrought miracles with which he deceived them that received the mark of the Beast and worshipped the image of the Beast' ( Revelation 19:20). In like manner, no special power of beguiling is attributed to the First Beast; but the Adversary is possessed of all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish because they received not the love of the truth that they might be saved' ( 2 Thessalonians 2:10).

    [3] He has horns like a lamb, i.e. he bears an outward resemblance to the Messiah ( Revelation 13:11); and the Adversary sits in the temple of God showing himself that he is God ( 2 Thessalonians 2:4).

    [4] His title is The False Prophet, Ψευδοπροφήτης (Revelations 16:13; 19:20); and our Lord, whom Antichrist counterfeits, is emphatically the Prophet, Προφήτης . (The Ψευδοπροφῆται of  Matthew 24:24, are the forerunners of Ψευδοπροφήτης , as John the Baptist of the True Prophet.) It would seem that the Antichrist appears most distinctly in the Book of the Revelation by this Second Beast or the False Prophet, especially in the more general or representative character. He is not, however, necessarily a person, but rather the symbol of some power that should arise, who will ally itself with a corrupt religion (for the two Apocalyptic beasts are designated as distinct), represent itself as her minister and vindicator ( Revelation 13:12), compel men by violence to pay reverence to her ( Revelation 13:14), breathe a new life into her decaying frame I by his use of the secular arm in her behalf ( Revelation 13:15), forbidding civil rights to those who renounce her authority and reject her symbols ( Revelation 13:17), and putting them to death by the sword ( Revelation 13:15)." (See Beast).

    IV. Interpretations. Who or what is Antichrist? The answers to this question are legion. The Edinburgh Encyclopoedia (s.v.) enumerates fourteen different theories, and the list might be greatly enlarged. We give

    (1) a brief summary of the Scripture testimony;

    (2) the views of the early Christians;

    (3) the views held in the Middle Ages;

    (4) from the Reformation to the present time.

    In this sketch, we make use, to a considerable extent, of information from various sources, from which paragraphs have already been cited.

    1. Scripture Teaching. The sum of Scripture teaching with regard to the Antichrist, then, appears to be as follows: Already, in the times of the apostles, there was the mystery of iniquity, the spirit of Antichrist, at work. It embodied itself in various shapes in the Gnostic heretics of John's days; in the Jewish impostors who preceded the fall of Jerusalem; in all heresiarchs and unbelievers, especially those whose heresies had a tendency to deny the incarnation of Christ; and in the great persecutors who from time to time afflicted the church. But this Antichristian spirit was originally, and is now again diffused; it has only at times concentrated itself in certain personal or distinct forms of persecution, which may thus be historically enumerated: 1. Antiochus Epiphanes, the consummation of the Hellenizing policy of the Greco-Syrian monarchy, and denoted by the Little Horn and fierce king of  Daniel 2:1-49. The apostate Jewish faith, especially in its representatives who opposed Christianity in its early progress, and at length caused the downfall of the Jewish nation, as represented by the allusions in our Savior's last discourse and in John's epistles. 3. The Roman civil power (the first beast of Revelation) abetting the pagan mythology (the second beast, or false prophet) in its violent attempts to crush Christianity, at first insidious, but finally open, as culminating in Nero and Domitian. It is this phase which seems incipiently alluded to by Paul. All these-hiave again their refulfilment (so to speak) in the great apostasy ofthe papal system. (Compare especially the characteristics of the Second Beast, above.) There is also dimly foreshadowed some future contest, which shall arouse the same essential elements of hostility to divine truth. (See Babylon); (See Gog).

    2. Early Christian Views. The early Christians looked for Antichrist in a person, not in a polity or system. "That he would be a man armed with Satanic powers is the opinion of Justin Martyr, A.D. 103 (Dial. 371, 20, 21, Thirlbii. 1722); of Irensus, A.D. 140 (Op. 5,25, 437, Grabii. 1702); of Tertullian, A.D. 150 (De Res. Carn. c. 24; Apol. c. 32); of Origen, A.D. 184 (Op. 1, 667, Delarue, 1733); of his contemporary, Hippolytus (De Antichristo, 57, Fabricii, Hamburgi. 1716); of Cyprian, A.D. 250 (Ep. 58; op. 120, Oxon. 1682) of Victorinus, A.D. 270 (Bib. Patr. Magna, 3, 136, Col. Agrip. 1618); of Lactantius, A.D. 300 (Dyv. Inst. 7, 17); of Cyril of Jerusalem, A.D. 315 (Catech. 15, 4); of Jerome, A.D. 330 (Op. 4, pars 1, 209, Parisiis, 1693); of Chrysostom, A.D. 347 (Comm. in 2 Thessalonians); of Hilary of Poitiers, A.D. 350 (Comm. in Matthew); of Augustine, A.D. 354 (De Civit. Dei, 20, 19); of Ambrose, A.D. 380 (Comm. in Luc.). The authors of the Sibylline Oracles, A.D. 150, and of the Apostolical Constitutions, Celsus (see Orig. c. Cels. lib. 6), Ephraem Syrus, A.D. 370, Theodoret, A.D. 430, and a few other writers, seem to have regarded the Antichrist as the devil himself, rather than as his minister or an emanation from him. But they may, perhaps, have meant no more than to express the identity of his character and his power with that of Satan. Each of the writers to whom we have referred gives his own judgment with respect to some particulars which may be expected in the Antichrist, while they all agree in representing him as a person about to come shortly before the glorious and final appearance of Christ, and to be destroyed by His presence. Justin Martyr speaks of him as the man of the apostasy, and dwells chiefly on the persecutions which he would cause.

    Irenaeus describes him as summing up the apostasy in himself; as having his seat at Jerusalem; as identical with the Apocalyptic Beast (c. 28); as foreshadowed by the unjust judge; as being the man who should come in his own name,' and as belonging to the tribe of Dan (c. 30). Tertullian identifies him with the Beast, and supposes him to be about to arise on the fall of the Roman Empire (De Res. Cam. c. 25). Origen describes him in Eastern phrase as the child of the devil and the counterpart of Christ. Hippolytus understands the Roman Empire to be represented by the Apocalyptic Beast, and the Antichrist by the False Prophet, who would restore the wounded Beast by his craft and by the wisdom of his laws. Cyprian sees him typified in Antiochus Epiphanes (Exhort. ad Mart. c. 11). Victorinus, with several others, misunstanding Paul's expression that the mystery of iniquity was in his day working, supposes that the Antichrist will be a revivified hero; Lactantius, that he will be a king of Syria, born of an evil spirit; Cyril, that he will be a magician, who by his arts will get the mastery of the Roman Empire. Jerome describes him as the son of the devil, sitting in the Church as though he were the Son of God; Chrysostom as Ἀντίθεός Τις , sitting in the Temple of God, that is, in all the churches, not merely in the Temple at Jerusalem; Augustine as the adversary holding power for three and a half years-the Beast, perhaps, representing Satan's empire. The primitive belief may be summed up in the words of Jerome ( Comm. On Daniel ) : Let us say that which all ecclesiastical writers have handed down, viz., that at the end of the world, when the Roman Empire is to be destroyed, there will be ten kings, who will divide the Roman world among them; and there will arise an eleventh little king, who will subdue three of the ten kings, that is, the king of Egypt, of Africa, and of Ethiopia, as we shall hereafter show; and on these having been slain, the seven other kings will also submit. "And behold," he says, "in the ram were the eyes of a man" this is that we may not suppose him to be a devil or a daemon, as some have thought, but a man in whom Satan will dwell utterly and bodily "and a mouth speaking great things;" for he is "the man of sin, the son of perdition, who sitteth in the temple of God, making himself as God"' (Op. 4, 511, Col. Agrip: 1616). In his Comment. on  Daniel 11:1-45, and in his reply to Algasia's eleventh question, he works out the same view in greater detail, the same line of interpretation continued. Andreas of Casarea, A.D. 550, explains him to be a king actuated by Satan, who will reunite the old Roman Empire and reign at Jerusalem (In Apoc. c. 13); Aretas, A.D. 650, as a king of the Romans, who will reign over the Saracens in Bagdad (In Apoc. c. 13)."

    3. Middle-Age Views. In the Middle Age it was the prevailing opinion that Antichrist would either be brought forth by a virgin, or be the offspring of a bishop and a nun. About the year 950, Adso, a monk in a monastery of Western Franconia, wrote a treatise on Antichrist, in which he assigned a later time to his coming, and also to the end of the world (see Schrockh, Kirchengesch. 21, p. 243). He did not distinctly state whom he meant to be understood by Antichrist (Hagenbach, Hist. of Doctrines, § 203). "A Frank king," he says, "will reunite the Roman Empire, and aldicate on Mount Olivet, and, on the dissolution of his kingdom, the Antichrist will be revealed." The same writer supposes that he will be born in Babylon, that he will be educated at Bethsaida and Chorazin, and that he will proclaim himself the Son of God at Jeruralem (Tract. in Antichr. apud August. Opera, 9, 454, Paris, 1637). In the singular predictions of Hildegarde ( 1197), Antichrist is foretold as the spirit of doubt. She states that the exact season of Antichrist is not revealed, but describes his manifestation as an impious imitation or "parody of the incarnation of the Divine Word" (Christian Remembrancer, 44, 50). (See Hildegarde). But "the received opinion of the twelfth century is brought before us in a striking manner in the interview between Richard I and the abbot Joachim of Floris ( 1202) at Messina, as the king was on his way to the Holy Land.

    I thought,' said the king, that Antichrist would be born in Antioch or in Babylon, and of the tribe of Dan, and would reign in the temple of the Lord in Jerusalem, and would walk in that land in which Christ walked, and would reign in it for three years and a half, and would dispute against Elijah and Enoch, and would kill them, and would afterward die; and that after his death God would give sixty days of repentance, in which those might repent which should have erred from the way of truth, and have been seduced by the preaching of Antichrist and his false prophets.' This seems to have been the view defended by the archbishops of Rouen and Auxerre, and by the bishop of Bayonne, who were present at the interview, but it was not Joachim's opinion. He maintained the seven heads of the Beast to be Herod, Nero, Constantius, Mohammed, Melsemut, who were past; Saladin, who was then living; and Antichrist, who was shortly to come, being already born in the city of Rome, and about to be elevated to the apostolic see (Roger de Hoveden, in Richard 1, anno 1190). In his own work on the Apocalypse, Joachim speaks of the second Apocalyptic Beast as being governed by some great. prelate who will be like Simon Magus, and, as it were, universal pontiff throughout the world, and be that very Antichrist of whom St. Paul speaks.' These are very noticeable words. Gregory I had long since (A.D. 590) declared that any man who held even the shadow of the power which the popes of Rome soon after his time arrogated to themselves would be the precursor of Antichrist. Arnulphus, bishop of Orleans (or perhaps Gerbert), in an invective against John XV at the Council of Rheims, A.D. 991, had declared, that if the Roman pontiff was destitute of charity and puffed up with knowledge, he was Antichrist; if destitute both of charity and of knowledge, that he was a lifeless stone (Mansi, 9, 132, Ven. 1774); but Joachim is the first to suggest, not that such and such a pontiff was Antichrist, but that the Antichrist would be a Universalis Pontifex, and that he would occupy the apostolic see. Still, however, we have no hint of an order of men being the Antichrist; it is a living individual man that Joachim contemplates." Amalrich of Bena ( 12th century) seems to have been the first to teach explicitly that the pope (i.e. the papal system) is Antichrist: Quia Papa esset Antichristus et Roma Babylon et ipse sedet in monte Oliveti. i.e. in pinguedine potestatis (according to Caesarius of Heisterbach; comp. Engelhardt, Kirchenhistorische Abhandlungen, p. 256, quoted by Hagenbach). The German emperors in their contests with the popes, often applied the title Antichrist to the latter; we find instances of this as early as the times of the Hohenstaufen. Emperor Louis, surnamed the Bavarian, also called Pope John XXII the mystical Antichrist (Schrockh, 31, p. 108). John Aventinus, in his Annalium Boiorunm, libri 8, p. 651, Lips. 1710), himself the Romish writer, speaks of it as a received opinion of the Middle Age that the reign of Antichrist was that of Hildebrand ( 1085), and cites Eberhard, archbishop of Salzburg (12th century), as asserting that Hildebrand had, "in the name of religion, laid the foundation of the kingdom of Antichrist 170 years before his time." He can even name the ten horns. They are the "Turks, Greeks, Egyptians, Africans, Spaniards, English, French, Germans, Sicilians, and Italians, who now occupy the provinces of Rome; and a little horn has grown up with eyes and mouth, speaking great things, which is reducing three of these kingdoms i.e. Sicily, Italy, and Germany to subserviency; is persecuting the people of Christ and the saints of God with intolerable opposition; is confounding things human and divine, and attempting things unutterable, execrable." Pope Innocent III (A.D. 1213) designated Mohammed as Antichrist; and as the number of the beast, 666, was held to indicate the period of his dominion, it was supposed that the Mohammedan power was soon to fall.

    The Waldenses have a treatise (given in Leger, Hist. des Eglises Vaudoises) concerning Antichrist of the 12th century (Gieseler, Maitland, and others, dispute the date, but the best authorities now agree to it). It treats of Antichrist as the whole anti-Christian principle concealing itself under the guise of Christianity, and calls it a "system of falsehood adorning itself with a show of beauty and piety, yet (as by the names and offices of the Scriptures, and the sacraments, and various other things may appear) very unsuitable to the Church of Christ. The system of iniquity thus completed, with its ministers, great and small, supported by those who are induced to follow it with an evil heart, and blindfold this is the congregation which, taken together, comprises what is called Antichrist or Babylon, the fourth beast, the whore, the man of sin, the son of perdition." It originated, indeed, "in the times of the apostles, but, by gaining power and worldly influence, it had reached its climax in the corruption of the Papal Church. "Christ never had an enemy like this; so able to pervert the way of truth into falsehood, insomuch that the true church, with her children, is trodden under foot. The worship that belongs alone to God he transfers to Antichrist himself to the creature, male and female, deceased to images, carcasses, and relics. The sacrament of the Eucharist is converted into an object of adoration, and the worshipping of God alone is prohibited. He robs the Savior of his merits, and the sufficiency of his grace in justification, regeneration, remission of sins, sanctification, establishment in the faith, and spiritual nourishment; ascribing all these things to his own authority, to a form of words, to his own works, to the intercession of saints, and to the fire of purgatory. He seduces the people from Christ, drawing off their minds from seeking those blessings in him, by a lively faith in God, in Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Spirit, and teaching his followers to expect them by the will, and pleasure, and works of Antichrist.

    "He teaches to baptize children into the faith, and attributes to this the work of regeneration; thus confounding the work of the Holy Spirit in regeneration with the external rite of baptism, and on this foundation bestows orders, and, indeed, grounds all his Christianity. He places all religion and holiness in going to mass, and has mingled together all descriptions of ceremonies, Jewish, heathen, and Christian and by means thereof, the people are deprived of spiritual food, seduced from the true religion and the commandments of God, and established in vain and presumptuous hopes. All his works are done to be seen of men, that he may glut himself with insatiable avarice, and hence every thing is set to sale. He allows of open sins without ecclesiastical censure, and even the impenitent are not excommunicated" (Neander, Church History, 4, 605 sq.).

    The Hussites followed the Waldenses in this theory of Antichrist, applying it to the papal system., So did Wickliffe and his followers: Wickliffe, Trialogus (cited by Schrockh, 34, 509); Janow, Liber de Almtichristo (Hist. et Monum. J. Huss, vol. 1). Lord Cobham (Sir John Oldcastle), executed as a Wickliffite, 1417, declared to King Henry V that, "as sure as God's word is true, the pope is the great Antichrist foretold in Holy Writ" (New Genesis Dict. s.v. Oldcastle).

    4. From The Reformation Downward. One of the oldest German works in print, the first mentioned by Panzer in the Annalen Der Alteren Deutschen Literatur, is Das Buch Yom Entkrist (The Book of Antichrist), or, also, "Bichlin von des Endte Christs Leben und Regierung durch verhengniss Gottes, wie er die Welt tuth verkeren mit seiner falschen Lere und Rat des Teufels," etc. " Little Book concerning Antichrist's Life and Rule through God's Providence, how he doth pervert the World with his false Doctrine and Counsel of the Devil," etc. (reprinted at Erfurt, 1516). As early as 1520 Luther began to doubt whether the pope were not Antichrist. In a letter to Spalatin, Feb. 23, 1520, he says, "Ego sic angor ut prope non dubitem papam esse proprie Antichristun." In the same year, when he heard of Eck's success in obtaining the bull against him from the pope, Luther exclaimed, "At length the mystery of Antichrist must be unveiled" (Ranke, Hist. of Reformation, Uk. 2, ch. 3). In the Reformation era the opinion that the papal system is Antichrist was generally adopted; and it is the prevalent opinion among Protestants to this day, although, as will appear below, some writers make Rome only one form of Antichrist. The various classes of opinion, and the writers who maintain them, are given by Smith, s.v., as follows: Bullinger (1504), Chytraeus (1571), Aretius (1573), Foxe (1586), Napier (1593), Mede (1632), Jurieu (1685), Bp. Newton (1750), Cunninghame (1813), Faber (1814), Woodhouse (1828), Habershon (1843), identify the False Prophet, or Second Apocalyptic Beast, with Antichrist and with the papacy; Marlorat (1574), King James I (1603), Daubuz (1720), Galloway (1802), the First Apocalyptic Beast; Briihtman (1600), Pareus (1615), Vitringa (1705), Gill (1776), Bachmair (1778), Fraser (1795), Croly (1828), Fysh (1837), Elliott (1844), both the Beasts. That the pope and his system are Antichrist was taught by Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, Melancthon, Bucer, Beza. Calixtus, Bengel, Michaelis, and by almost all Protestant writers on the Continent. Nor was there any hesitation on the part of English theologians to seize the same weapon of. offense. Bishop Bale (1491), like Luther, Bucer, and Melancthon, pronounces the pope in Europe and Mohammed in Africa to be Antichrist. The pope is Antichrist, say Cranmer (Works, 2, 46, Camb. 1844), Latimer (Works, 1, 149, Camb. 1844), Ridley (Works,p. 53. Camb. 1841), Hooper (Works, 2, 44, Camb., 1852), Hutchinson (Works, p. 304, Camb., 1842), Tyndale (Works, 1, 147, Camb. 1848), Sandys (Works, p. 11, Camb. 1841), Philpot (Works, p. 152, Camb. 1842), Jewell (Works, 1, 109, Camb. 1845), Rogers (Workes, p. 182, Camb. 1854), Fulke (Works, 2, 269, Camb. 1848), Bradford (Works, p. 435, Camb. 1848). Nor is the opinion confined to these 16th century divines, who may be supposed to have been specially incensed against popery. King James held it (Apol. pro Juram. Fidel. Lond. 1609) as strongly as Queen Elizabeth (see, Jewell, Letter to Bulling. May 22, 1559, Zurich Letters, First Series, p. 33, Camb. 1842); and the theologians of the 17th century did not repudiate it, though they less and less dwelt upon it as their struggle came to be with Puritanism in place of popery. Bishop Andrewes maintains it as a probable conclusion from the Epistle to the Thessalonians (Resp. ad Bellarm. p. 304, Oxon. 1851); but he carefully explains that King James, whom he was defending, had expressed his private opinion, not the belief of the church, on the subject (ibid. p. 23). Bramhall introduces limitations and distinctions (Works, 3, 520, Oxf. 1845); significantly suggests that there are marks of Antichrist which apply to the General Assembly of the Kirk of Scotland as much as to the pope or to the Turk (ibid. 3, 287), and declines to make the Church of England responsible for what individual preachers or writers had said on the subject in moments of exasperation (ib. 2, 582). From this time onward, in the Church of England, the less evangelical divines are inclined to abandon the theory of the Reformers, while, of course, the Romanizers oppose it. Yet it appears, from the list above, that some of the best interpreters in that church, as well as in other branches of Protestantism, maintain the old interpretation of the prophecies of Daniel, Paul, and John.

    Some writers have gone back to the old idea of an individual Antichrist yet to come, e. p. "Lacunza or Benezra (1810), Burgh, Samuel Maitland, Newman (Tracts for the Times, No. 83), Charles Maitland (Prophetic Interpretation). Others prefer looking upon him as long past, and fix upon one or another persecutor or heresiarch as the man in whom the predictions as to Antichrist found their fulfillment. There seems to be no trace of this idea for more than 1600 years in the church.: But it has been taken up by two opposite classes of expounders by Romanists who were anxious to avert the application of the Apocalyptic prophecies from the papacy, and by others, who were disposed, not indeed to deny the prophetic import of the Apocalypse, but to confine the seer's ken within the closest and narrowest limits that were possible. Alcasar, a Spanish Jesuit, taking a hint from Victorinus, seems to have been the first (A.D. 1604) to have suggested that the Apocalyptic prophecies did not extend further than to the overthrow of paganism by Constantine. This view, with variations by Grotius, is taken up and expounded by Bossuet, Calmet, De Sacy, Eichhorn, Hug, Herder, Ewald, Moses Stuart, Davidson. The general view of the school is that the Apocalypse describes the triumph of Christianity over Judaism in the first, and over heathenism in the third century. Mariana sees Antichrist in Nero; Bossuet in Dipoletian and in Julian; Grotius in Caligula; Wetstein in Titus; Hammond in Simon Magus (Works, 3, 620, Lond. 1631); Whitby in the Jews (Comm. 2, 431, Lond. 1760); Le Clerc in Simon, son of Giora, a leader of the rebel Jews; Schottgen in the Pharisees; Nossett and Krause in the Jewish zealots; Harduin in the High-priest Ananias; F. D. Maurice in Vitellius (On the Apocalypse, Camb. 1860)."

    5. The same spirit that refuses to regard Satan as an individual, naturally looks upon the Antichrist as an evil principle not embodied either in a person or in a polity. "Thus Koppe, Storr, Nitzsch, Pelt. (See Alford, Gk. Test. 3, 69.) Some of the Romish theologians find Antichrist in rationalism and radicalism, others in Protestantism as a whole. Some Protestants fix it in Romanism as a whole, others in Jesuitism; others, again, in the latest forms of infidelity, while some of the ultra Lutherans find it in modern radicalism, political and religious. Any view of this kind, when carried so far as to exclude all personal identification, is certainly too vague to be satisfactory. But, at the same time, the just conclusion seems to be that Antichrist is not to be confined to any single person or power, but is essentially a great principle or system of falsehood, having various manifestations, forms of working, and degrees, as especially exemplified in Antiochus Epiphanes, Jewish bigotry, and pagan intolerance; while it is undeniable that later Romanism exhibits some of the most prominent characteristics of Antichrist in a manner so striking and peculiar as to assure us that the system is not only one among the many species of Antichrist, but that it stands in the fore-front, and is pointed at by the finger of prophecy as no other form of Antichrist is.

    V. Time Of Antichrist. A vast deal of labor has been spent upon computations based upon the "time, times, and dividing of time" in Daniel (7:25), and upon the "number of the Beast" (666) given in  Revelation 13:18. We can only refer to the commentators and writers on prophecy for these, as it would take too much space to enumerate them. As to Daniel's "time, times, and dividing of time," it is commonly interpreted to mean 1260 years. "The papal power was completely established in the year 755, when it obtained the exarchate of Ravenna. Some, however, date the rise of Antichrist in the year of Christ 606, and Mede places it in 456. If the rise of Antichrist be not reckoned till he was possessed of secular authority, his fall will happen when this power shall be taken away. If his rise began, according to Mede, in 456, he must have fallen in 1716; if in 606, it must be in 1866; if in 755, in 2015. If, however, we use prophetical years, consisting of three hundred and sixty days, and date the rise of Antichrist in the year 755, his fall will happen in the year of Christ 2000" (Watson, s.v.). As to the "number of the beast," the interpretation suggested by Irenaeus is one of the most plausible. The number is "the number of a man" ( Revelation 13:18); and Irenaeus names Λατεινος as fulfilling the conditions (see Alford, Comm., who considers this the nearest approach to a complete solution). But human ingenuity has found the conditions fulfilled also in the name of Mohammed, Luther, Napoleon, and many others. After all the learning and labor spent upon the question, we must confess that it is yet left unsolved.

    VI. Jewish And Mohammedan Traditions Of Antichrist. Of these we take the following account from Smith, s.v.

    1. "The name given by the Jews to Antichrist is ( אִרְמַילוּס ) Armillus. There are several rabbinical books in which a circumstantial account is given of him, such as the Book of Zerubbabel,' and others printed at Constantinople. Buxtorf gives an abridgment of their contents in his Lexicon, under the head Armillus,' and in the fiftieth chapter of his Synagoga Judaica (p. 717). The name is derived from  Isaiah 11:4, where the Targum gives By the word of his mouth the wicked Armillus shall die,' for with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.' There will, say the Jews, be twelve signs of the coming of the Messiah:

    (1.) The appearance of three apostate kings who have fallen away from the faith, but in the sight of men appear to be worshippers of the true God.

    (2.) A terrible heat of the sun.

    (3.) A dew of blood ( Joel 2:30).

    (4.) A healing dew for the pious.

    (5.) A darkness will be cast upon the sun ( Joel 2:31) for thirty days ( Isaiah 24:22).

    (6.) God will give universal power to the Romans for nine months, during which time the Roman chieftain will afflict the Israelites; at the end of the nine months God will raise up the Messiah Ben-Joseph that is, the Messiah of the tribe of Joseph, named Nehemiah who will defeat the Roman chieftain, and slay him. (7.) Then there will arise Armillus, whom the Gentiles or Christians call Antichrist. He will be born of a marble statue in one of the churches in Rome. He will go to the Romans and will profess himself to be their Messiah and their God. At once the Romans will believe in him and accept him for their king. Having made the whole world subject to him, he will say to the Idumaeans (i.e. Christians), Bring me the law which I have given you.' They will bring it with their book of prayers; and he will accept it as his own, and will exhort them to persevere in their belief of him. Then he will send to Nehemiah, and command the Jewish Law to be brought him, and proof to be given from it that he is God. Nehemiah will go before him, guarded by 30,000 warriors of the tribe of Ephraim, and will read, I am the Lord thy God: thou shalt have none other gods but me.' Armillus will say that there are no such words in the Law, and will command the Jews to confess him to be God as the other nations had confessed him. But Nehemiah will give orders to his followers to seize and bind him. Then Armillus, in rage and fury, will gather all his people in a deep valley to fight with Israel, and in that battle the Messiah Ben-Joseph will fall, and the angels will bear away his body and carry him to the resting-place of the Patriarchs. Then the Jews will be cast out by all nations, and suffer afflictions such as have not been from the beginning of the world, and the residue of them will fly into the desert, and will remain there forty and five days, during which time all the Israelites who are not worthy to see the redemption shall die.

    (8.) Then the great angel Michael will rise and blow three mighty blasts of a trumpet. At the first blast there shall appear the true Messiah Ben-David and the prophet Elijah, and they will manifest themselves to the Jews in the desert, and all the Jews throughout the world shall hear the sound of the trump, and those that have been carried captive into Assyria shall be gathered together; and with great gladness they shall come to Jerusalem. Then Armillus will raise a great army of Christians, and lead them to Jerusalem to conquer the new king. But God shall say to Messiah, Sit thou on my right hand,' and to the Israelites, Stand still and see what God will work for you to-day.' Then God will pour down sulphur and fire from heaven ( Ezekiel 38:22), and the impious Armillus shall die, and the impious Idumaeans (i.e. Christians), who have destroyed the house of our God and have led us away into captivity, shall perish in misery; and the Jews shall avenge themselves upon them, as it is written: The house of Jacob shall be a fire, and the house of Joseph a flame, and the house of Esau (i.e. the Christians) for stubble, and they shall kindle in them and devour them: there shall not be any remaining of the house of Esau, for the Lord hath spoken it' ( Obadiah 1:18).

    (9.) On the second blast of the trumpet the tombs shall be opened, and Messiah Ben-David shall raise Messiah Ben-Joseph from the dead.

    (10.) The ten tribes shall be led to Paradise, and shall celebrate the wedding-feast of the Messiah. And the Messiah shall choose a bride among the fairest of the daughters of Israel, anid children and children's children shall be born to him, and then he shall die like other men, and his sons shall reign over Israel after him, as it is written: He shall prolong his days' ( Isaiah 53:10), which Rambam explains to mean, He shall live long, but he too shall die in great glory, and his son shall reign in his stead, and his sons' sons in succession' (Buxtorfii Synagoga Judaica, p. 717, Basil, 1661).

    2. Mussulmans, as well as Jews and Christians, expect an Antichrist. They call him Al Dajjal, from a name which signifies an impostor, or a liar; and they hold that their prophet Mohammed taught one of his disciples, whose name was Tamini Al-Dari, every thing relating to Antichrist. On his authority, they tell us that Antichrist must come at the end of the world; that he will make his entry into Jerusalem, like Jesus Christ, riding on an ass; but that Christ, who is not dead, will come at his second advent to encounter him; and that, after having conquered him, he will then die indeed. That the beast described by John in the Revelation will appear with Antichrist, and make war against the saints; that Imam Mahdi, who remains concealed among the Mussulmans, will then show himself, join Jesus Christ, and with him engage Dajjal; after which they will unite the Christians, and the Mussulmans, and of the two religions will make but one (D'Herbelot, Bibl. Orient. s.v. Daggial, etc.).

    "These Mohammedan traditions are an adaptation of Christian prophecy and Jewish legend, without any originality or any beauty of their own. They too have their signs which are to precede the final consummation. They are divided into the greater and lesser signs. Of the greater signs the first is the rising of the sun from the west (comp.  Matthew 24:29). The next is the appearance of a beast from the earth, sixty cubits high, bearing the staff of Moses and the seal of Solomon, with which he will inscribe the word

    Believer' on the face of the faithful, and Unbeliever' on all who have not accepted Islamism (comp.  Revelation 13:1-18). The third sign is the capture of Constantinople; while the spoil of which is being divided, news will come of the appearance of Antichrist, and every man will return to his own home. Antichrist will be blind of one eye and deaf of one ear, and will have the name of Unbeliever written on his forehead ( Revelation 13:1-18). It is he that the Jews call Messiah Ben-David, and say that he will come in the last times and reign over sea and land, and restore to them the kingdom. He will continue forty days, one of these days being equal to a year, another to a month, another to a week, the rest being days of ordinary length. He will devastate all other places, but willnot be allowed to enter Mecca and Medina, which will be guarded by angels. Lastly, he will be killed by Jesus at the gate of Lud. For when news is received of the appearance of Antichrist, Jesus will come down to earth, alighting on the white tower at the east of Damascus, and will slay him;

    International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [17]

    an´ti - krı̄st ( ἀντίχριστος , antı́christos ):

    I. In the Old Testament

    II. In the New Testament

    1. The Gospels

    2. Pauline Epistles

    3. Johannine Epistles

    4. Book of Revelation

    III. In Apocalyptic Writings

    IV. In Patristic Writings

    V. Mediaeval Views

    1. Christian

    2. Jewish

    VI. Post-Reformation Views


    The word "antichrist" occurs only in  1 John 2:18 ,  1 John 2:22;  1 John 4:3;  2 John 1:7 , but the idea which the word conveys appears frequently in Scripture.

    I. In the Old Testament

    Antichrist in the Old Testament

    As in the Old Testament the doctrine concerning Christ was only suggested, not developed, so is it with the doctrine of the Antichrist. That the Messiah should be the divine Logos, the only adequate expression of God, was merely hinted at, not stated: so Antichrist was exhibited as the opponent of God rather than of His anointed. In the historical books of the Old Testament we find "Belial" used as if a personal opponent of Yahweh; thus the scandalously wicked are called in the King James Version "sons of Belial" ( Judges 19:22;  Judges 20:13 ), "daughter of Belial" ( 1 Samuel 1:16 ), etc. The the Revised Version (British and American) translates the expression in an abstract sense, "base fellows," "wicked woman." In  Daniel 7:7 ,  Daniel 7:8 there is the description of a great heathen empire, represented by a beast with ten horns: its full antagonism to God is expressed in a little eleventh horn which had "a mouth speaking great things" and "made war with the saints" (  Daniel 7:8 ,  Daniel 7:21 ). Him the 'Ancient of Days' was to destroy, and his kingdom was to be given to a 'Son of Man' ( Daniel 7:9-14 ). Similar but yet differing in many points is the description of Antiochus Epiphanes in  Daniel 8:9-12 ,  Daniel 8:23-25 .

    II. In the New Testament

    1. The Gospels

    In the Gospels the activity of Satan is regarded as specially directed against Christ. In the Temptation ( Matthew 4:1-10;  Luke 4:1-13 ) the Devil claims the right to dispose of "all the kingdoms of the world," and has his claim admitted. The temptation is a struggle between the Christ and the Antichrist. In the parable of the Tares and the Wheat, while He that sowed the good seed is the Son of Man, he that sowed the tares is the Devil, who is thus Antichrist ( Matthew 13:37-39 ). our Lord felt it the keenest of insults that His miracles should be attributed to Satanic assistance ( Matthew 12:24-32 ). In  John 14:30 there is reference to the "Prince of the World" who "hath nothing" in Christ.

    2. Pauline Epistles

    The Pauline epistles present a more developed form of the doctrine. In the spiritual sphere Paul identifies Antichrist with Belial. "What concord hath Christ with Belial?" ( 2 Corinthians 6:15 ). 2 Thessalonians, written early, affords evidence of a considerably developed doctrine being commonly accepted among believers. The exposition of  2 Thessalonians 2:3-9 , in which Paul exhibits his teaching on the 'Man of Sin,' is very difficult, as may be seen from the number of conflicting attempts at its interpretation. See Man Of Sin . Here we would only indicate what seems to us the most plausible view of the Pauline doctrine. It had been revealed to the apostle by the Spirit that the church was to be exposed to a more tremendous assault than any it had yet witnessed. Some twelve years before the epistle was penned, the Roman world had seen in Caligula the portent of a mad emperor. Caligula had claimed to be worshipped as a god, and had a temple erected to him in Rome. He went farther, and demanded that his own statue should be set up in the temple at Jerusalem to be worshipped. As similar causes might be expected to produce similar effects, Paul, interpreting "what the Spirit that was in him did signify," may have thought of a youth, one reared in the purple, who, raised to the awful, isolating dignity of emperor, might, like Caligula, be struck with madness, might, like him, demand Divine honors, and might be possessed with a thirst for blood as insatiable as his. The fury of such an enthroned maniac would, with too great probability, be directed against those who, like the Christians, would refuse as obstinately as the Jews to give him Divine honor, but were not numerous enough to make Roman officials pause before proceeding to extremities. So long as Claudius lived, the Antichrist manifestation of this "lawless one" was restrained; when, however, the aged emperor should pass away, or God's time should appoint, that "lawless one" would be revealed, whom the Lord would "slay with the breath of his mouth" ( 2 Thessalonians 2:8 ).

    3. Johannine Epistles

    Although many of the features of the "Man of Sin" were exhibited by Nero, yet the Messianic kingdom did not come, nor did Christ return to His people at Nero's death. Writing after Nero had fallen, the apostle John, who, as above remarked, alone of the New Testament writers uses the term, presents us with another view of Antichrist ( 1 John 2:18 ,  1 John 2:22;  1 John 4:3;  2 John 1:7 ). From the first of these passages ("as ye have heard that antichrist cometh"), it is evident that the coming of Antichrist was an event generally anticipated by the Christian community, but it is also clear that the apostle shared to but a limited extent in this popular expectation. He thought the attention of believers needed rather to be directed to the antichristian forces that were at work among and around them ("even now have ... arisen many antichrists"). From  1 John 2:22;  1 John 4:3;  2 John 1:7 we see that the apostle regards erroneous views of the person of Christ as the real Antichrist. To him the Docetism (i.e. the doctrine that Christ's body was only a seeming one) which portended Gnosticism, and the elements of Ebionism (Christ was only a man), were more seriously to be dreaded than persecution.

    4. Book of Revelation

    In the Book of Revelation the doctrine of Antichrist receives a further development. If the traditional date of the Apocalypse is to be accepted, it was written when the lull which followed the Neronian persecution had given place to that under Domitian - "the bald Nero." The apostle now feels the whole imperial system to be an incarnation of the spirit of Satan; indeed from the identity of the symbols, seven heads and ten horns, applied both to the dragon ( Revelation 12:3 ) and to the Beast ( Revelation 13:1 ), he appears to have regarded the raison d'être of the Roman Empire to be found in its incarnation of Satan. The ten horns are borrowed from Dan 7, but the seven heads point, as seen from   Revelation 17:9 , to the "seven hills" on which Rome sat. There is, however, not only the Beast, but also the "image of the beast" to be considered ( Revelation 13:14 ,  Revelation 13:15 ). Possibly this symbolizes the cult of Rome, the city being regarded as a goddess, and worshipped with temples and statues all over the empire. From the fact that the seer endows the Beast that comes out of the earth with "two horns like unto a lamb" ( Revelation 13:11 ), the apostle must have had in his mind some system of teaching that resembled Christianity; its relationship to Satan is shown by its speaking "as a dragon" ( Revelation 13:11 ). The number 666 given to the Beast ( Revelation 13:18 ), though presumably readily understood by the writer's immediate public, has proved a riddle capable of too many solutions to be now readily soluble at all. The favorite explanation Nerōn Ḳēṣar (Nero Caesar), which suits numerically, becomes absurd when it implies the attribution of seven heads and ten horns. There is no necessity to make the calculation in Hebrew; the corresponding arithmogram in the Sib Or, 1:328-30, in which 888 stands for Iesous , is interpreted in Greek. On this hypothesis Lateinos , a suggestion preserved by Irenaeus (V, 30) would suit. If we follow the analogy of Daniel, which has influenced the Apocalyptist so much, the Johannine Antichrist must be regarded as not a person but a kingdom. In this case it must be the Roman Empire that is meant.

    III. In Apocalyptic Writings

    Antichrist in the Apocalyptic Writings

    Although from their eschatological bias one would expect that the Jewish Apocalyptic Writings would be full of the subject, mention of the Antichrist occurs only in a few of the apocalypses. The earliest certain notice is found in the Sibylline books (1:167). We are there told that "Beliar shall come and work wonders," and "that he shall spring from the Sebasteni (Augusti)" a statement which, taken with other indications, inclines one to the belief that the mad demands of Caligula, were, when this was written, threatening the Jews. There are references to Beliar in the Xii the Priestly Code (P), which, if the date ascribed to them by Dr. Charles, i.e. the reign of John Hyrcanus I, be assumed as correct, are earlier. Personally we doubt the accuracy of this conclusion. Further, as Dr. Charles admits the presence of many interpolations, even though one might assent to his opinions as to the nucleus of the Xii the Priestly Code (P), yet these Beliar passages might be due to the interpolator. Only in one passage is "Beliar" antichristos as distinguished from antı́theos  ;  Daniel 5:10 ,  Daniel 5:11 (Charles' translation), "And there shall rise unto you from the tribe of Judah and of Levi the salvation of the Lord, and he shall make war against Beliar, and execute everlasting vengeance on our enemies, and the captivity shall he take from Beliar and turn disobedient hearts unto the Lord." Dr. Charles thinks he finds an echo of this last clause in   Luke 1:17; but may the case not be the converse?

    The fullest exposition of the ideas associated with the antichrist in the early decades of Christian history is to be found in the Ascension of Isaiah. In this we are told that "Beliar" (Belial) would enter into "the matricide king" (Nero), who would work great wonders, and do much evil. After the termination of 1,332 days during which he has persecuted the plant which the twelve apostles of the Beloved have planted, "the Lord will come with his angels and with armies of his holy ones from the seventh heaven, with the glory of the seventh heaven, and he will drag Beliar into Gehenna and also his armies" ( Daniel 4:3 ,  Daniel 4:13 , Charles' translation). If the date at which Beliar was supposed to enter into Nero was the night on which the great fire in Rome began, then the space of power given to him is too short by 89 days. From the burning of Rome till Nero's death was 1, 421 days. It is to be noted that there are no signs of the writer having been influenced either by Paul or the Apocalypse. As he expected the coming of the Lord to be the immediate cause of the death of Nero, we date the writing some months before that event. It seems thus to afford contemporary and independent evidence of the views entertained by the Christian community as to Antichrist.

    IV. In Patristic Writings

    Patristic References to Antichrist

    Of the patristic writers, Polycarp is the only one of the Apostolic Fathers who refers directly to Antichrist. He quotes John's words, "Whosoever doth not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is Antichrist" (7), and regards Docetism as Antichrist in the only practical sense. Barnabas, although not using the term, implies that the fourth empire of Daniel is Antichrist; this he seems to identify with the Roman Empire ( Daniel 4:5 ). Irenaeus is the first-known writer to occupy himself with the number of the Beast. While looking with some favor on Lateinos , he himself prefers Teitan as the name intended ( Daniel 5:30 ). His view is interesting as showing the belief that the arithmogram was to be interpreted by the Greek values of the letters. More particulars as to the views prevailing can be gleaned from Hippolytus, who has a special work on the subject, in which he exhibits the points of resemblance between Christ and Antichrist ( On Christ and Antichrist , 4.14.15. 19.25). In this work we find the assertion that Antichrist springs from the terms of Jacob's blessing to Dan. Among other references, the idea of Commodian (250 ad) that Nero risen from the dead was to be Antichrist has to be noticed. In the commentary on Revelation attributed to Victorinus of Petau there is, inserted by a later hand, an identification of Genseric with the "Beast" of that book. It is evident that little light is to be gained on the subject from patristic sources.

    V. Medieval Views

    Much time need not be spent on the medieval views of Antichrist in either of the two streams in which it flowed, Christian and Jewish.

    1. Christian

    The Christian was mainly occupied in finding methods of transforming the names of those whom monkish writers abhorred into a shape that would admit of their being reckoned 666. The favorite name for this species of torture was naturally Maometis (Mohammed). Gregory Ix found no difficulty in accommodating the name of Frederic Ii so as to enable him to identify his great antagonist with "the beast coming up out of the sea": this identification the emperor retorted on the pope. Rabanus Maurus gives a full account of what Antichrist was to do, but without any attempt to label any contemporary with the title. He was to work miracles and to rebuild the temple at Jerusalem. The view afterward so generally held by Protestants that the papacy was Antichrist had its representatives among the sects denounced by the hierarchy as heretical, as the Kathari ̌ . In various periods the rumor was spread that Antichrist had been already born. Sometimes his birthplace was said to be Babylon, sometimes this distinction was accorded to the mystical Babylon, Rome.

    2. Jewish

    The Jewish views had little effect on Christian speculation. With the Talmudists Antichrist was named Armilus, a variation of Romulus. Rome is evidently primarily intended, but Antichrist became endowed with personal attributes. He makes war on Messiah, son of Joseph, and slays him, but is in turn destroyed by Messiah, Son of David.

    VI. Post-Reformation Views

    Post-Reformation Theories of Antichrist

    In immediately post-Reformation times the divines of the Romish church saw in Luther and the Reformed churches the Antichrist and Beast of Revelation. On the other hand the Protestants identified the papacy and the Roman church with these, and with the Pauline Man of Sin. The latter view had a certain plausibility, not only from the many undeniably antichristian features in the developed Roman system, but from the relation in which the Romish church stood to the city of Rome and to the imperial idea. The fact that the Beast which came out of the earth ( Revelation 13:11 ) had the horns of a lamb points to some relation to the lamb which had been slain ( Revelation 5:6 ). Futurist interpreters have sought the Antichrist in historical persons, as Napoleon III. These persons, however, did not live to realize the expectations formed of them. The consensus of critical opinion is that Nero is intended by the Beast of the Apocalypse, but this, on many grounds, as seen before, is not satisfactory. Some future development of evil may more exactly fulfill the conditions of the problem.


    Bousset, Der Antichrist  ; "The Antichrist Legend," The Expositor T, contains an admirable vidimus of ancient authorities in the subject. See articles on subject in Schenkel's Biblical Lex. (Hausrath); Herzog's RE , 2nd edition (Kähler), 3rd edition (Sieffert); Encyclopedia Biblica (Bousset); with Commentaries on 2 Thess and Revelation. A full account of the interpretations of the "Man of Sin" may be seen in Dr. John Eadie's essay on that subject in his Commentary on Thessalonians .

    Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature [18]

    The meaning attached to this word has been greatly modified by the controversies of various churches and sects. In Scripture, however, and the early Christian writers, it has an application sufficiently distinct from partial interpretations. Antichrist, according to St. John, is the ruling spirit of error, the enemy of the truth of the Gospel as it is displayed in the divinity and holiness of Christ. This is the primary meaning of the term, and we are led at once to consider it as the proper title of Satan. But the same apostle speaks of the existence of many antichrists; whence we learn that it is applicable to any being who opposes Christ in the high places of spiritual wickedness.

    The Nuttall Encyclopedia [19]

    A name given in the New Testament to various incarnations of opposition to Christ in usurpation of His authority, but is by St. John defined to involve that form of opposition which denies the doctrine of the Incarnation, or that Christ has come in the flesh.