Just who is the Antichrist, the religious figure who will reject God’s laws and deny the true Christ? The Bible contains clear prophetic signs of his coming.
Consider these famous—or infamous—men: Ronald Reagan, Bill Gates, Henry Kissinger, King Juan Carlos, Saddam Hussein, King Charles III, and Klaus Schwab of the World Economic Forum.
What do they have in common? Each, at one time or another, has been accused of being the Antichrist, that dark and mysterious figure foretold by Bible prophecy. Some of these men are dead, and some are still alive. None of them fit the description of the antichrist in the Bible. But your Bible is clear that the Antichrist is coming, and that destruction, persecution, and death will arrive with him—such as the world has never seen before nor will ever see again. And there is cause to believe that he is alive now—certainly, his tools of deception are already in place and already affect the lives of most who consider themselves Christian today.
In our world of high-tech wonders and modern comforts, talk of an “antichrist” might seem archaic—like “doom and gloom” preaching in an age that has moved beyond scriptures and prophecies. But the opposite is true. Time hasn’t left prophecy behind—rather, time has finally caught up to prophecy. Only now do the times in which we live fit your Bible’s description of the end-time stage onto which the Antichrist will walk.
For instance, Matthew 24:22 reveals that in those prophesied days, “no flesh would be saved” from mankind’s destructive capacity were it not for Christ’s return. That was not possible until we entered the era of weapons of mass destruction—weapons that are, indeed, capable of eradicating humanity. And Daniel 12:4 describes the end times as an era in which many “run to and fro” and “knowledge shall increase”—ancient words that well describe our modern world, in which global travel is commonplace and we increasingly suffer from a daily deluge of more information than any of us can possibly process.
Truly, Bible prophecies about the Antichrist are not dusty old writings, irrelevant for our modern age. They were written specifically for our modern age—inspired by the God who declares the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10). And His warnings about the final Antichrist are vital because the rise of this figure will bring more death, destruction, and human suffering than our world has ever before experienced—a period your Bible calls the Great Tribulation.
During the lives of most who are reading this article, the Antichrist will rise to power and deceive the vast majority of human beings, subtly and seductively swaying men and women around the world to willingly accept a false and demonic counterfeit of Christianity. In fact, that version of Christianity is already present on the earth, possessing great influence. Frankly, there is a very good chance that you are already under its sway, leaving you all the more vulnerable to this future tyrant.
Imagine the full complement of modern warfare, the almost limitless destructive capacity of mankind, deployed at the beck and call of a man under the direct influence of Satan the devil. This man will be devoted to erasing true Christianity from the face of the earth and replacing it with a religion that sounds like true Christianity and uses the name of Jesus Christ—but that represents the very opposite of the Christianity that Jesus Christ taught and exemplified.
Perhaps no figure looms larger in our prophesied future than the Antichrist. Whether you will be able to recognize him will be a matter of life and death. And prophecy is plain: Most will not recognize him.
But you can. This article will reveal seven signs of the end-time Antichrist as detailed by Bible prophecy. Anyone who understands them will be able to recognize the final Antichrist when he comes. And that final Antichrist is coming—to change our world forever.
This first sign is one that most fail to see. According to God’s word, the Antichrist will not be a military or political leader. Rather, he will lead a religion—a great false church.
This mistake arises because many confuse the Antichrist with the beast of Revelation, which is a military, political, and economic powerhouse that will dominate the world. However, while they are connected, the Antichrist and this beast are two distinct beings. In Revelation 17, the Apostle John records a vision shown to Him by Jesus Christ and the angels under His command:
Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and talked with me, saying to me, “Come, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters, with whom the kings of the earth committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth were made drunk with the wine of her fornication.” So he carried me away in the Spirit into the wilderness. And I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast which was full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the filthiness of her fornication. And on her forehead a name was written: MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH (vv. 1–5).
There is much to note in this passage, but we will focus on one point. The beast with seven heads and ten horns, ridden by a prostitute, is the end-time military-economic juggernaut called the beast of Revelation. But what of the woman? A rider mounts a beast to control it, to influence its movements—and this beast is ridden, or influenced, by a wealthy prostitute.
If you’ve followed Tomorrow’s World for long, you know that we let the Bible interpret its own symbols, and the Bible frequently uses women to picture different faiths and religious organizations. But unlike the chaste virgin that God uses to symbolize His Church in passages such as 2 Corinthians 11:2 and Revelation 19:7–8, a wealthy prostitute pictures the church riding this powerful beast. God often uses the terms fornication, adultery, and harlotry to refer to the corrupting influence of religious compromise with pagan practices and pagan worship, as in Jeremiah 3 and Ezekiel 16.
The religious system of the Antichrist is the harlot riding this beast! But it is not the same as the beast. In fact, in Revelation 17:16, we see that the beast will eventually turn on the woman to destroy her: “And the ten horns which you saw on the beast, these will hate the harlot, make her desolate and naked, eat her flesh and burn her with fire.” But until then, the harlot rides the beast—manipulating it, influencing it, guiding it for her purposes.
This is why the Apostle John, in 1 John 4:1–3, wrote of the Antichrist in the context of false prophets—because the Antichrist will be the ultimate false prophet. He will not be a military or political ruler, but a religious figure who will control the most powerful church on earth. In turn, he and his church will direct the military-economic powerhouse known as the end-time beast power of Revelation.
What more can we understand about the religious system led by this Antichrist? That question brings us to our second sign.
In his powerful prophecy given on the Mount of Olives and recorded in Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21, Jesus Christ warned His disciples that many would come practicing religious deception, and that they would come in His name—that is, in the name of Jesus Christ (Matthew 24:4–5).
And they have! John saw the spread of that deceptive, counterfeit Christianity even in the first century, writing, “Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour” (1 John 2:18). Yes, many antichrists had come by the time John wrote those words, and the deceptive, counterfeit Christianity they wove—falsely using Jesus’ name—persists and dominates world religions today.
Many fail to recognize that the word “antichrist” represents more than a person. It represents a system of belief that appears Christian but is actually a counterfeit of true Christianity. Paul wrote of those who preached “another Jesus” and brought a “different gospel” (2 Corinthians 11:4). This different gospel has existed since the time of the Twelve Apostles. And in John’s own day, many representing that system—“many antichrists”—were already preaching.
The final, end-time Antichrist will be the culmination of this deception—a great false prophet who will appear very Christian on the outside. Prophetic symbolism portrays this Antichrist as a different beast rising from the earth—not the seven-headed beast of Revelation found earlier in the chapter and in chapter 17. We read, “Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon” (Revelation 13:11).
Scripture consistently uses a lamb as a symbol for Christ—and uses a dragon, or serpent, as a symbol for the devil. This false prophet to come, this final Antichrist, will look like the Lamb, Jesus Christ. He may seem kind and compassionate, and he may seem to teach from the Bible. Yet prophecy says he will be speaking the words of the dragon—the devil. The “Christianity” he teaches will be a subtly twisted version of Christianity—not the true Christianity of Jesus Christ, even though it will claim His name.
Our next sign is one of the tools the end-time Antichrist will use to deceive even the skeptical and bring them into his corrupted version of Christianity.
Continuing in Revelation 13, we read, “He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men. And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast” (vv. 13–14).
This individual will be able to call fire from the sky, much like the prophet Elijah in the Old Testament. Such a powerful “sign” will amaze vast multitudes of people. The Apostle Paul said of this coming false prophet that “the coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders” (2 Thessalonians 2:9). Even skeptics will admit that they are seeing supernatural events brought by this person—yet these “miracles” will be lies. They will be supernatural, but they will be demonic, satanic, in origin.
The key to resisting the appeal of supernatural lies and false miracles is to compare the teachings of the “miracle worker” to biblical truth. Remember that the end-time Antichrist will appear to be Christlike, but speak like the subtle dragon, Satan the devil. That brings us to the fourth sign.
This is a vital point—but a subtle one, easy to miss. Scripture describes the fundamental doctrine of the Antichrist: “For many deceivers have gone out into the world who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist” (2 John 7).
Many think John was merely condemning the idea that Jesus didn’t really come in the flesh 2,000 years ago—and it is true that he condemns such falsehoods. But read carefully: John says that the deceivers do not teach Christ “as coming in the flesh.” That is a present tense verb, indicating that Christ is continually coming in the flesh. Dr. Charles B. Williams, whose translation of the New Testament is praised for its attention to the detail of the Greek verbs in the original New Testament text, translates this passage as saying that the antichrist does not confess that Christ “continues to come” in the flesh.
But what does that mean?
It means that the Antichrist does not teach that Jesus Christ is continually living in Christians today—living the same kind of life He lived 2,000 years ago as He helps them to grow in obedience and godly character. The Apostle Paul explained this in a beautiful passage: “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20, King James Version).
This is why Paul wrote that we are reconciled by Christ’s death, but “saved by His life” (Romans 5:10). As opposed to Christ “doing it all” at His crucifixion, as many false preachers teach, Christ lives in converted Christians daily, helping them grow and conquer sin now, in this life. The Antichrist will deny this fundamental—but often ignored—teaching, and this denial connects directly to our fifth sign.
As we’ve read in 2 Thessalonians 2, Paul calls the final Antichrist “lawless.” But this statement doesn’t concern human laws. The Antichrist will oppose the laws of God—in fact, he will replace God’s laws, as revealed in the Bible, with religious laws rooted in human tradition and pagan superstition.
Daniel describes this, saying, “He shall speak pompous words against the Most High, shall persecute the saints of the Most High, and shall intend to change times and law. Then the saints shall be given into his hand for a time and times and half a time” (Daniel 7:25). Daniel reveals that the Antichrist will reject God-ordained times of worship in favor of a counterfeit set of worship days, and that he will replace the laws of God with a different set of laws—laws that will seem Christian, but will not be rooted in the laws of God found in the Bible.
The Antichrist will promote man-made religious laws, creeds, confessions, and traditions, and will claim the authority to overrule the clear commands and laws of God given in Scripture. Church calendars with man-made holidays will be touted as superseding the Holy Days and Festivals of God that are found in every Bible. This coming “lawless one” will, as the Antichrist, claim authority over what Almighty God Himself has established, attempting to change the very laws of God.
As you may have noticed, many of you reading this article are already affected by the system of the Antichrist, which is already in place. The vast majority of those who call themselves “Christian” have already placed their faith in such a system.
However, the Antichrist will not be content with simply converting the world to his false teachings. He will also want to eliminate the few who dare to believe the true teachings of the Bible—the teachings that contradict His false doctrine. That leads us to our sixth, tragic sign.
Jesus Christ warned His disciples that a time will come when those who kill true Christians will think they are doing God a service (John 16:2). This is the time mentioned above in Daniel 7:25—a time when the Antichrist will violently persecute those who obey God’s true laws and commands.
Think back to the images of concentration camps and the horrors of World War II, in which millions of people were herded to their deaths. Now imagine such machinery turned against a different minority—those Christians Jesus calls His “little flock,” who actually strive to obey the Ten Commandments of God (Exodus 20:1–17; Deuteronomy 5:1–21).
Revelation 12 describes the anger their obedience engenders in Satan the devil—and how he will respond. “[T]he dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ” (v. 17). How does the Antichrist accomplish this persecution of Christians? That power is connected to our final sign.
Remember that the woman rides the beast. Revelation 13 warns that the false prophet will influence the masses to support the coming beast of Revelation, and that the Antichrist will marshal the might of this beast power—leading a revived end-time “Roman Empire” that will eclipse even the power and might of today’s United States. This political and military powerhouse will wield strength and might such as the world has never seen before—and it will lead to the most widespread suffering in human history.
The Antichrist will direct the might of the beast against those who refuse to reject the laws of God—those who worship Jesus Christ in spirit and truth and refuse to accept the Antichrist’s counterfeit Christianity. The result will be a modern-day Inquisition on a horrific scale never before seen in human history. This unholy alliance of false church and tyrannical state will dominate the world in the times just ahead of us.
Yet, even with their powers combined, this most powerful alliance of religious, political, economic, and military might will be no match for the returning Jesus Christ, who will arrive on the earth with His glorified faithful followers from this present age, resurrected to rule under His benevolent authority, establishing the Kingdom of God forever. “Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone” (Revelation 19:20).
So, what should we do about these sobering prophecies? We must remember that the Antichrist’s religious system, which he will eventually sell to the whole world, exists today—and most who call themselves “Christian” are already deceived by it. We do not need to wait until this religious tyrant appears on the scene—we can act now to reject his system and his counterfeit Christianity.
Yet, just as Revelation 12 reveals persecution ahead, it also reveals that many zealous Christians will be protected during the coming Great Tribulation (v. 14). Indeed, Jesus admonishes us, “Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man” (Luke 21:36).
Now is the time for seeking the truth of God over the lies of counterfeit “Christianity.” We pray that you will seek that truth and reject the deceptions of the coming end-time Antichrist, even as they are at work in our world today.