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Throughout history, dozens of world leaders and religious institutions have been labeled as such. From Nero to Hitler and many more after, people have tried for centuries to put a face to the Biblical title known as the “man of lawlessness.”
So who is the antichrist? Is he a mythical character created from someone’s wild imagination? Or is he an actual person who’ll rise to power and oppose Christians in the future?
Before we consider what the Bible says about the antichrist, let’s take an objective look at what skeptics and atheists have to say.
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What Skeptics & Atheists Say
Skeptics have long criticized people for their attempts to use calculations to determine who the antichrist might be. For example, some have taken the names of presidents and run them through a series of mathematical equations to declare them as being the antichrist. However, as skeptics are quick to point out, these calculations have been applied to dozens of people over the centuries and proven to be false. Most skeptics are in opposition to the idea that the antichrist will be an actual figure who rises to power and claims to be God.
Atheists don’t regard Jesus Christ as a deity, and therefore have no reason to think of the antichrist as an actual person who will precede Christ’s return. Because atheists maintain a staunch, non-religious view of the past, present, and future, they reject the prophecies of the Bible regarding the antichrist. Most of them view the Bible’s revelation of the antichrist as a dramatic interpretation of fictional events.
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What The Bible Says
Surprisingly, the Bible tells us in 1 John 2:18 that “the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come.” While it also says there will be one specific person who rises to power as the antichrist, the Bible confirms that there have been many antichrists throughout the ages. These are described as people who deny that “Jesus is the Christ.” (1 John 2:22)
Specifically, Daniel 7:25 describes the antichrist this way: “He will speak against the Most High and oppress his holy people and try to change the set times and the laws. The holy people will be delivered into his hands for a time, times, and half a time.”
This, along with many other Bible passages, suggests that the antichrist will take an active stance against Jesus and His followers. It also suggests that he’ll attempt to change the laws in his favor and to oppress God’s people for a designated period of time.
Nevertheless, the Bible assures us that the antichrist will not be victorious in the end. While he will be allowed to rise to power for a specific time and purpose, his end will not be a favorable one. According to Revelation 19:20, the antichrist will be “captured” and “thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur.”
Although no one likes to think of an actual person as being the antichrist of the Bible, such a person will exist. One comforting thought is that everyone who believes in Jesus as the Christ and who receives Him as their personal Savior will be victorious over the antichrist in the end.
What would happen if you embraced the possibility that the God of the Bible really did create the world and really does care for you?
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In the seventeenth century, a famous philosopher and mathematician, Blaise Pascal, encouraged people to make a wager when it came to belief in God. If a person chose to believe in God and God did exist, that person would gain everything (eternal life). If a person chose to believe in God and God did not exist, that person would lose nothing. On the other hand, if a person chose not to believe in God and he was right, he would lose nothing. But if that person did not believe in God and he was wrong- he would lose everything (lose eternal life).
This wager can be said another way:
Based on this logic, Pascal suggested the rational person would choose to believe in God as believing offers a person everything (eternal life) while losing nothing. Wherever you are in your faith journey, would you consider taking Pascal’s wager? If the good God of the Bible exists, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain by believing in Him today.