In many denominations of modern Christianity the Antichrist is the evil world leader who forces people to take the mark of the beast. After reading through Revelation and seeing for myself that the Antichrist is not mentioned at all, I began to search where, then, in the Bible is the Antichrist mentioned.

According to 1st John 2:22, anybody who denies Christ is antichrist. Furthermore in 4:3 John tells that any spirit that denies Christ is of the spirit of antichrist. Neither of these passages make a case for the Antichrist with a capital A. To me it merely tells that there are many who oppose Christ, in the past and in the future, and they can be identified in such and such a way.

It turns out that when people talk about the Antichrist, they really refer to eg:

  • The son of perdition
  • The man of lawlesness
  • The beast of revelation (seemingly forgetting that there are two)

Why is it that the term Antichrist is so bluntly exchanged with these other terms? I have been unable to find the origins of this way of interpreting the Bible. Who did it first and where did it start?

  • According to what denomination? There are varying opinions in Denominations, and may even be the reason some Denomination exist, since After the schism begun by John Calvin disagreements on that and other interpretations is the cause for other Schisms in the Protestant Denominations.
    – BYE
    Commented Jan 21, 2014 at 13:49
  • @CecilBeckum Do you mean Calvin disagreed with somebody over this particular issue? Where could I read more about that? Commented Feb 21, 2014 at 8:23
  • No Calvin's split with the Church was mainly due to the fact that the some Church officials were taking money and telling church members that if they gave enough money the priest would pray the soul of a dead relative out of hell and into Heaven. Most later schisms were due to the concept of purgatory
    – BYE
    Commented Feb 21, 2014 at 15:00
  • @BYE the question asks about the origins of the doctrine. I assume the asker would be interested in early interpretations of the beast as the person of the antichrist, regardless of denomination, and I suspect that such origins will be dated to before the reformation, anyway.
    – Andrew
    Commented Dec 15, 2015 at 20:21
  • @SimonJosefKok I don't think that BYE's objection is relevant. Your question of him, however, is: Calvin, along with many of his fellow reformers (Luther, Wycliffe, Crammer, Knox, etc.) identified the Antichrist with the office of the Pope. See Calvin's Institutes, Book 4, Chapter 7, Section 25 for an example from Calvin.
    – Andrew
    Commented Dec 15, 2015 at 20:31

4 Answers 4


Just to add an answer to Cecil's, which is solid, but to elaborate more closely on the ideal of a personal antichrist.

Anti in the context of Christ refers to not only being opposite or opposed to, but also "in place of." Since, from Revelation, we see that this antichrist is given power and authority by the dragon (universally recognized as Satan), the antichrist is indeed a singular person -- but beyond that, he is meant to REPLACE the real true Christ, Jesus.

Just look at some parallels, again from Rev 13 as Cecil used:

3 And I saw one of his heads as if it had been mortally wounded, and his deadly wound was healed. And all the world marveled and followed the beast. 4 So they worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?”

Two things here -- first we see the "beast" (the one empowered by the dragon, satan, has been mortally wounded but was healed). As a result this causes people to marvel and worship satan. This is a simulation of Jesus Christ's resurrection from the Cross.

The one goal of this is satan is prideful and wants to be in the place of God. Naturally his antichrist would stand to be in place of Jesus. We see this beginning in the Old Testament, for example, Isaiah 14:

12 “How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer,[b] son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, You who weakened the nations! 13 For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation On the farthest sides of the north; 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’

Let's go back to Christ in the wilderness where satan tries to tempt Jesus. From Matthew 4:

8 Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. 9 And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.”

Satan wants worship, that's his only price for all the nations of the world. This is what got him thrown down from heaven, to the earth, where he has power and authority over this world until Christ's return; and this is his motivation for an antichrist. Christ warns us in Matthew 24 to be weary of false Christs and false prophets whom perform wonders. The dragon, the beast he raises up (the antichrist) and the antichrist's prophet itself imitates the Holy Trinity.

Again, to imitate, and be in place of, the true Godhead. Since Jesus Christ is our personal Lord and Savior, it only makes sense the knock off attempt to take his place for non-believers would be a personal savior-like figure as well.

  • My concern is that the meaning for the word "antichrist" has shifted away from its origins. Martin Luther and his peers at the time of the reformation identified the papacy as antichrist. Some say they were wrong, because the Antichrist does not appear until the very end of times, according to them. That statement completely ignores the fact that antichrists come and go in many shapes and colors. Commented Jan 23, 2014 at 7:24
  • It's valid to say someone or something is antichrist. Anyone who doesn't proclaim Jesus as Lord could be considered "antichrist." However, you specifically seemed to be asking about a personal antichrist, of which the Bible reveals there will be many, but there is a specific player in the end of days that will fill the role as THE anti christ. But yes, there's an "antichrist" spirit in the world, and many people follow that over the teaching of the true Christ.
    – Dan H
    Commented Jan 23, 2014 at 20:20

Revelation chapter 13 verses 11 through 18 describe the Antichrist, and his actions during the buildup to Armageddon, and even though the Bible does not implicitly call him the antichrist, many denominations, and many Christians have dubbed that individual as the Antichrist because his actions are diametrically opposite of what Christ did.

Rev 13:11 through 18 KJV

18 And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon.

12 And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.

13 And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men,

14 And 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; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.

15 And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.

16 And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:

17 And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

13:18 Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.

  • Could it be that this was a prophesy of one of the 666 antichrists that will arise? Commented Jan 21, 2014 at 16:53
  • @ Gideon marx it doesn't seem to matter to me, this is the Antichrist as far as I have been taught, whether old or new, The use of the word he indicates to me it is some sort of either human or beast. If anything other than a human it would seem to be restricted to a fallen Angel(A Demon)to my way of thinking.
    – BYE
    Commented Jan 21, 2014 at 17:05
  • It is true that the passage you quote describes the actions of such an entity or person the modern christendom tends to call the Antichrist, but it does not explicitly state that it is the Antichrist. My question, why this entity or person is called the Antichrist, is still unanswered. I just call it the second beast, as it is written. Why would anybody call it anything different? Commented Jan 22, 2014 at 20:41
  • @ Simon Josef Kok As is stated by DanH Anti-Christ means against or opposite Christ, and that is exactly who and what the second beast is.
    – BYE
    Commented Jan 22, 2014 at 21:15
  • The second beast is undoubtedly anti-christian. However, in my opinion, labels are important and should be preserved as originally intended. Somebody somewhere has at some point decided: "let's call the second beast of the revelation THE Antichrist." I still do not know who it was and when was this decision made. Calling the second beast of the revelation THE Ultimate Antichrist of all Antichrists blurs the focus off the original concept of the antichrist in John's letters, which is anybody and anything that opposes Christ. There are, and have been, and will come many and they are everywhere. Commented Jan 23, 2014 at 6:49

On the one hand, I agree with the premise of your question, that there is nothing in the Bible that explicitly links the "beast" of Revelation with the "antichrist" of 1 and 2 John.

It is easy enough to see how people link them: the character of the beast of Revelation is certainly consistent with the character of the antichrist of 1 and 2 John.

But I think that someone who wants to say they are the same person should be expected to give a logical argument why this is so. These days it's so commonly accepted that they're the same that people see no need to justify the identification at all.

  • 1
    While I do think along the same lines, this is not really an answer, but rather a comment. Also, the character of the beast (the second one) of Revelation is consistent with the character of an antichrist. This seemingly insignificant switch of an article makes the world of difference. Commented Jan 23, 2014 at 7:29
  • 1
    RE "an": That's the point. The conventional thinking these days is that there is one person who is "THE antichrist", who is the same person as the beast of Revelation. But the more natural reading -- or if someone wants to debate it, let's say a plausible reading -- of 1 John is that there have been and will be many antichrists. I.e. that "antichrist" is not a description of one individual but rather of a type of person, more like "military leader" than "Napoleon I".
    – Jay
    Commented Jan 23, 2014 at 17:02
  • @SimonJosefKok You use the words "character of an antichrist" Have you considered that the beast is meant to represent all such characters, simultaneously? It is, as it were, the symbol of the spirit that drives the antichrists?
    – Andrew
    Commented Dec 15, 2015 at 20:34

An antichrist is "anyone or anything that counterfeits the true gospel plan of salvation and that openly or secretly opposes Christ." (See http://www.lds.org/scriptures/gs/antichrist?lang=eng) There are many antichrists today and they are everywhere. There will be many more who will have power to deceive those who are not firmly rooted in Christ. Lucifer is the great Antichrist but he has many followers, both spirit and mortal beings.

We learn from (1 John 4:3-6) that anyone who teaches that Jesus Christ was not the Son of God, but just a good man who had good philosophies is an Antichrist.

Personally I have always thought of the passage found in revelations (Revelations 13:11-18) to be referring not to one particular being, but of the idea, the attitude, the philosophies that will accompany those who are Antichrists. If you think of this beast not as a man or a being but more of an idea like money, power, scientific knowledge, etc. you can get a clearer image of the beast.

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