Who in the World is the Antichrist? And What is the Mark of the Beast?
Who in the world is the “Anti-Christ?” What is the “Mark of the Beast?” And does any of this have any basis in the Bible?
Over the years, Christians have used these doctrines to create all sorts of interesting conspiracies. And if you browse the web, you’re certain to find a good number of cults who are honest-to-God convinced that many modern celebrities (like Barack Obama or Bill Gates III are the anti-Christ). And after using Microsoft windows (and the “Control/Alt/Delete” sequence) to reboot my glitchy software too many times, I’ve been tempted to agree! But seriously, what does the Bible actually teach about this villain?
Believe it or not, the book of Revelation doesn’t even mention the word “Anti-Christ.” So, it begs the question: Where does it come from? And why do Christians believe that the book of Revelation has so much to say about the Anti-Christ?
Keep in mind, the same John (who wrote the book of Revelation), said:
“Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come.”1 John 2:18. Thus, John refers to THE Anti-Christ as a specific person who is coming. Yet, he also refers to many anti-Christs (a.k.a., the spirit of the anti-Christ). To prep them for this coming enemy, two chapters later, he teaches them how to discern the “spirit” of the antichrist: He continues, two chapters later:
“This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.” 1 John 4:2-3 Or, as John puts it in his follow-up epistle: “I say this because many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist.” 2 John 1:7
A lot of scholars argue that, similar to Christ, the Antichrist has many distinct names in the Bible. Here are a few of the alternate names that scholars associate with this person:
- The Beast (from the Sea) Revelation 13:1 (not to be confused with the Beast from the earth, aka., the False Prophet)
- The Man of Lawlessness (2 Thess 2:3) or “the Lawless One” (2 Thess 2:8)
- The Man Doomed to Destruction (2 Thess 2:3)
- A Little Horn: (Daniel 7:8)
- The Ruler who will Come: Dan 9:26
- The King who will do as he pleases.” Daniel 11:36
But how do we know that all of the above epithets refer to the same person? Honestly, there are a lot of scholarly discussions which question the links between the above-mentioned names and passages. But, I personally believe they refer to the same person due to this person’s behavior.
For example, when you study the prophecies regarding the “abomination that causes desolation,” you will discover multiple passages in the Old and New Testament that discuss this future event. Even more, they all reference a future evil leader who’s associated with this event. We also know from Daniel 9 that this future abomination occurs at the midpoint of a future “seven-year tribulation.” (And half of 7 is 3.5, right?) And the reason this is significant is because, there are a half dozen passages that refer to 3 and a half years (a.k.a., 42 months, 1260 days, ‘a time, times, and a half of time’ – all of which mean 3.5 years). And all of them refer to a future evil leader who does extremely specific things in this time frame. And many of these behaviors have a striking resemblance.
To put it another way, the prophecies about the antichrist are similar to the prophecies regarding the first coming of Christ. Many of the prophecies about the soon coming Messiah weren’t super clear until after Christ came. Many of these prophecies didn’t refer to Christ using the same “name” (eg., Son of David, Lion of Judah, The Root of Jesse); yet, each Messianic passage referred to specific events, fulfilled by a specific person. Thus, the same logic applies when it comes to studying the Antichrist: We need to focus on the specific prophetic clues. And like a puzzle, the picture begins to emerge.
But if you’re anything like me, I’m kind a skeptical. Over the years, I’ve read a lot of books by end-times scholars who quote random prophecies from Isaiah, and I think to myself: “How the heck did you get THAT interpretation out of THAT passage!?” So, it’s important that we approach Bible prophecy with a bit of humility. I always try to carefully hang on all the details without getting too carried away (which is easier said than done)!
But before we dive into a few of the top antichrist proof-texts, it’s critical you understand a few of my assumptions: the doctrines about the antichrist (and the seven year tribulation) all begin with the prophecy called, “Daniel’s Seventy Weeks.” And if you haven’t read my blog on that, or watched my video message, you might want to start there first. And why? Because some scholars say that the Antichrist has already come and gone. (An interpretive style called Preterism). And if you’ve read some of these authors, you might get confused about the way I’m explaining things.
Now, I personally don’t believe that the antichrist has come yet because, the Bible teaches that the antichrist will be killed by Christ at his Second coming (which, I’m quite confident hasn’t happened yet – see 2 Thess. 2:8)! Yet, I say this because, you really can’t make sense of the Antichrist passages until you first work through your doctrines on Millennialism. (And by the way, I wrote a blog on “the order” in which you need to work through these ideas too).
But with all the disclaimers out of the way, what are some of the basic ideas of this coming “Antichrist.”
Many Premillennialist scholars argue that the Antichrist will be a skilled politician that emerges from a confederation of ten nations that find their roots in some form of revived Roman Empire. And it probably won’t surprise you to hear that, some people believe that the rise of the European Union is “evidence” that the Antichrist is soon to come.
It is commonly argued in Premillennial schools that there will be some sort of world war (called Ezekiels War) that will likely precede (or follow) the start of a worldwide Seven-year tribulation. Amidst this tumultuous time, the antichrist will seize the moment, sign a peace treaty with Israel (kicking off the 7-year countdown to Christ’s return). And halfway through, this leader will betray the agreement he made with Israel. And he will demand religious loyalty as well as political loyalty – setting himself up to be worshipped (the Abomination) and ultimately forcing people to receive “the Mark of the Beast” – in order to participate in the global economy.
But let’s back up a bit and ask: What’s the Biblical foundation behind all of this?
The idea of the antichrist coming from ten countries and a revived Roman empire starts in Daniel Chapter two. Nebuchadnezzar, the king of the Babylonians had a dream of a large statue representing a blue-print for human history. The statue was comprised of 4 different sections, representing the coming empires: The Babylonians, the Medo-persians, the Greeks, the Romans. But, in his dream, the “God of heaven” took a rock, and smashed the feet (the fourth great empire), causing the statue to crumble to the ground. And finally, God set up a kingdom “that will never be destroyed.” (See Daniel 2:31-45 pasted in the footnote below).
When analyzing this prophecy, scholars are quite united in their belief that “the feet” represent the Romans. After the Greeks, the empire was divided. And just like the dream stated, it would lead to the Romans (a.k.a., “10 toes”) which were smashed by “a Rock”, (commonly interpreted as Jesus). And then, in Daniel 9:26, we learn that “the Ruler who is to come” will emerge from the people who destroy the Second Temple – (who we also know to be the Romans).
As if this connection to Rome wasn’t enough, in Daniel chapter seven, God gives Daniel a follow-up vision that expands on the previous one. Except, rather than using the image of a giant statue (comprised of four kingdoms), we see the imagery of four beasts representing these same kingdoms. Once again, scholars are fairly united in the interpretation that the fourth beast with the iron teeth and ten horns is the Roman empire. And it’s important to note this reference to “ten horns” because, the Book of Revelation expands on this ten-horned beast — which is kind of specific right? I mean, what are the odds of two random beasts having ten horns, right? Scripture comments on scripture.
In Revelation 13, John writes about the Beast from the Sea with ten horns – which was clearly intended to connect with the beast from Daniel. But even more, we are told that the beast will “blaspheme God” (the signature move of the antichrist) as well as rule for 42 months – which is another super specific detail that clearly connects us to the “Ruler who is to come” from Daniel’s Seventy Weeks prophecy in Daniel 9 (see Rev. 13 in the following footnote).
Therefore, the doctrines of the anti-Christ are like clumps of puzzle pieces that need to be connected to the puzzle. The prophecies of Daniel and Revelation are the cypher…Or, to stick with our metaphor, they are the “connecting pieces” that cause the clumps to click into place! To be more specific, the prophecies of Revelation chapters 11 & 13 have a huge impact on Daniel 9, 11, & 12 – and why? It’s hard to intellectually dismiss the eerie similarities between these prophetic chapters.
Thus, when scholars connect these prophecies together, they argue: There is clearly some sort of evil future leader coming who will emerge from a revived Roman Empire (comprised of ten nations/kings). And this person will oppose God.
And I realize this conclusion is kind of basic. If you were expecting me to suddenly connect this passage to Lil Nas X or President Biden – I’m sorry to disappoint. (I’m sure I would sell a lot more books if I made those types of claims haha).
But with the basics out of the way, let’s color in the sketch of the antichrist using the details given in the above-linked passages. In other words, what else can we learn about the so called “antichrist?”
The Antichrist lives in a time when Israel has a temple (Dan. 9:26-27) Currently, Israel has not had a temple since 70 AD. And guess what, there are many Jewish groups who are planning on rebuilding one!
The Antichrist lives in a time of global turmoil surrounding Israel (He emerges during or after an event known as Ezekiels war – Ezek 38-39) (also see Dan 8:19,23; 9:27).
The Antichrist will be a highly successful politician and military strategist (Dan 8:24; 11:21-22) who will win the hearts of both politicians and military leaders (Dan. 7:20). Some scholars argue that “Gog” the military leader of Ezekiel 38 is the Antichrist. Others believe that “Gog” paves the way for the antichrist to set up a one-world order (Rev. 13:7-17).
The Antichrist will live in a time when a one world religion is possible – perhaps Chrislam or some sort of universalist approach to Christianity that rejects the authority and exclusivity of scripture. (2 Thess 2:3-4; 2 Tim 3:1-5)
They will issue a “Mark” that enables a person to purchase goods. This mark will be related to the name of the Antichrist. (Rev. 13:16-18; 14:9-11; 16:2; 19:20; 20:4). And if you’re interested in a prophetic checklist surrounding “the mark,” see the footnote below).
In his essay on “The Ten Keys to the Antichrist’s Identity,” Ed Hindson, writes:
- He will rise to power in the last days: “Later in the time of wrath [the time of the end]…a stern-faced king, a master of intrigue will arise” (Daniel 8:19,23).
- He will rule the whole world: “And he was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation” (Rev. 13:7).
- His headquarters will be in Rome: “The beast, which you saw, once was, now is not, and will come up out of the Abyss… The seven heads are seven hills on which the woman sits.” (Rev. 17:8-9). [Note: Rome was famously built on seven hills.]
- He is intelligent and persuasive: “The other horn…looked more imposing than the others and… had eyes and a mouth that spoke boastfully.” (Daniel 7:20).
- He will rule by international consent: “The ten horns you saw are ten kings… They have one purpose and will give their power and authority to the beast” (Rev. 17:12-13).
- He will rule by deception: “He will become very strong… and will succeed in whatever he does… He will cause deceit to prosper, and he will consider himself superior” (Daniel 8:24-25).
- He will control the global economy: “He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his name.” (Rev. 13:16-17).
- He will make a peace treaty with Israel: “He will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven.’ In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering” (Dan. 9:27).
- He will break the treaty and invade Israel: “The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed” (Daniel 9:26).
- He will claim to be God: “He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God” (2 Thess.2:4).
But here’s why this information is helpful to you and me: Every event in the seven-year tribulation has a check-list of prophetic details (Eg., the Mark of the Beast; the abomination; the treaty, etc.) And the more you understand them the easier it is to rule out all the conspiracies and fear-mongering that often accompanies this subject.
For example, as I write this during the COVID pandemic, people keep sending me conspiracy videos claiming that the COVID vaccine is the infamous mark of the beast – which is obviously wrong when you run it through the list of Biblical criteria. And even if there was such a mark that fit all of the criteria, it still wouldn’t be “THE mark” unless it came from a person who simultaneously fit the criteria for the antichrist – not to mention the criteria about the timing of it (mid-tribulation, after Ezekiel’s War, while a ‘tribulation temple’ stands in Jerusalem). In other words, even if Premillennial check-lists were significantly off (regarding a few items on the check-lists), it would still create a fairly specific picture – like a forensic sketch artist – who draws a picture of the criminal using eye-witness testimony.
Thus, Jesus specifically told his disciples: “You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen” (Mt. 24:46). Or Paul made it clear that God would soon “remove the mist” surrounding the antichrist (2 Thess 2:7). After all, the whole point of prophecy is “strengthening, encouragement, and comfort” – not fear of impending doom (1 Cor. 14:3). So don’t allow fear-mongering to be a part of your eschatology. The whole point is this: If this is the “end times” then, we have been blessed with the greatest end-times harvest in all of human history! Thus, “3 Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it” (Rev. 1:3).
Do not miss the opportunity amidst the crisis!
For More Videos and Blogs on the End Times, visit the BRB landing page for more on the History of the End Times Views, Daniel’s 70 Weeks, Blood Moon conspiracies, and some End Times Book Recommendations!
CITATIONS & FOOTNOTES:
 The day after President Obama won the 2008 election, the Illinois pick 3 lottery numbers were 666! Coincidence? People were also convinced that “Barney the Purple dinosaur” was the anti-Christ (for real). And if you’re curious, the “Rose Guide to End Times Prophecy” lists 14 hilarious (yet fascinating) theories about who is (or was) the antichrist (pg. 252)
 Daniel 2:31-35, 40-45 NIV “Your Majesty looked, and there before you stood a large statue—an enormous, dazzling statue, awesome in appearance. The head of the statue was made of pure gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze, its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of baked clay. While you were watching, a rock was cut out, but not by human hands. It struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and smashed them. Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were all broken to pieces and became like chaff on a threshing floor in the summer. The wind swept them away without leaving a trace. But the rock that struck the statue became a huge mountain and filled the whole earth.” Skip to Vs 40 “Finally, there will be a fourth kingdom, strong as iron—for iron breaks and smashes everything—and as iron breaks things to pieces, so it will crush and break all the others. Just as you saw that the feet and toes were partly of baked clay and partly of iron, so this will be a divided kingdom; yet it will have some of the strength of iron in it, even as you saw iron mixed with clay. As the toes were partly iron and partly clay, so this kingdom will be partly strong and partly brittle. And just as you saw the iron mixed with baked clay, so the people will be a mixture and will not remain united, any more than iron mixes with clay. “In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever. This is the meaning of the vision of the rock cut out of a mountain, but not by human hands—a rock that broke the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver and the gold to pieces. “The great God has shown the king what will take place in the future. The dream is true and its interpretation is trustworthy.” Daniel 2:31-35, 40-45 NIV
 For further study, read about the Destruction of the Jerusalem by Titus in 70 A.D.
 Daniel 7:15-28 “I, Daniel, was troubled in spirit, and the visions that passed through my mind disturbed me. I approached one of those standing there and asked him the meaning of all this. “So he told me and gave me the interpretation of these things: ‘The four great beasts are four kings that will rise from the earth. But the holy people of the Most High will receive the kingdom and will possess it forever—yes, for ever and ever.’ “Then I wanted to know the meaning of the fourth beast, which was different from all the others and most terrifying, with its iron teeth and bronze claws—the beast that crushed and devoured its victims and trampled underfoot whatever was left. I also wanted to know about the ten horns on its head and about the other horn that came up, before which three of them fell—the horn that looked more imposing than the others and that had eyes and a mouth that spoke boastfully. As I watched, this horn was waging war against the holy people and defeating them, until the Ancient of Days came and pronounced judgment in favor of the holy people of the Most High, and the time came when they possessed the kingdom. “He gave me this explanation: ‘The fourth beast is a fourth kingdom that will appear on earth. It will be different from all the other kingdoms and will devour the whole earth, trampling it down and crushing it. The ten horns are ten kings who will come from this kingdom. After them another king will arise, different from the earlier ones; he will subdue three kings. 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. “ ‘But the court will sit, and his power will be taken away and completely destroyed forever. Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of all the kingdoms under heaven will be handed over to the holy people of the Most High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey him.’“This is the end of the matter. I, Daniel, was deeply troubled by my thoughts, and my face turned pale, but I kept the matter to myself.” Daniel 7:15-28 NIV
 Revelation 13:1-13 “The dragon stood on the shore of the sea. And I saw a beast coming out of the sea. It had ten horns and seven heads, with ten crowns on its horns, and on each head a blasphemous name. The beast I saw resembled a leopard, but had feet like those of a bear and a mouth like that of a lion. The dragon gave the beast his power and his throne and great authority. One of the heads of the beast seemed to have had a fatal wound, but the fatal wound had been healed. The whole world was filled with wonder and followed the beast. People worshiped the dragon because he had given authority to the beast, and they also worshiped the beast and asked, “Who is like the beast? Who can wage war against it?” The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise its authority for forty-two months. It opened its mouth to blaspheme God, and to slander his name and his dwelling place and those who live in heaven. It was given power to wage war against God’s holy people and to conquer them. And it was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation. All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast—all whose names have not been written in the Lamb’s book of life, the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world. Whoever has ears, let them hear. “If anyone is to go into captivity, into captivity they will go. If anyone is to be killed with the sword, with the sword they will be killed.” This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of God’s people. Then I saw a second beast, coming out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb, but it spoke like a dragon. It exercised all the authority of the first beast on its behalf, and made the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose fatal wound had been healed. And it performed great signs, even causing fire to come down from heaven to the earth in full view of the people.”.”
 In his essay, “Mark of the Beast,” (Popular Encyclopedia of Biblical Prophecy, pg. 203-205) Scholar Timothy J. Demy writes about 13 indications regarding the “Mark of the Beast.” Keep in mind, I do not lean towards Dispensational Premillennialism or agree with a Pre-trib rapture; so, I don’t even fully agree to the following list. (So, if you’re curious about his logic for each, be sure to read the essay); but, he argues that the mark will be: (1). The Antichrist’s mark and identified with his person. (2). The actually number 666 and not a representation; (3). A mark like a tattoo, visible to the naked eye. (4). On the person as opposed to in him or her; (5). Easily recognized and no questions; (6). Received voluntarily and not given through trickery or stealth; (7). Used after the rapture and not before it; (strikeout, mine lol); (8). Used during the second half of the Tribulation; (9). Necessary for conducting commercial transactions; (10). Universally received by non-Christians and rejected by Christians; (11). A Sign of worship and allegiance to the Antichrist; (12). Promoted by the False Prophet; (13). A Mark that leads to eternal punishment.”
 The Greek, in 2 Thess 2:7 is often translated: “7 For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back [God] will continue to do so till he [the antichrist] is taken out of the way.” But a more literal translation of “taken out of the way” is sometimes rendered: “removed from the mist.”