By Hank Hanegraaff

For centuries Christians have speculated about the identity of Antichrist. Likely candidates have included princes and popes of the past as well as potentates and presidents in the present. Rather than joining the sensationalistic game of pin-the-tail-on-the-Antichrist, Christians need only go to Scripture to find the answer.

First, the apostle John exposed the identity of Antichrist when he wrote, “Who is the liar? It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a man is the antichrist—he denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also” (1 John 2:22–23). In his second epistle, John gave a similar warning: “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” (v. 7).

Furthermore, John taught that all who deny the incarnation, messianic role, and deity of Jesus are instances of antichrist. As such, the term antichrist refers not only to the apostasy of individuals but to the apostasy of institutions and ideologies as well. In this sense, institutions such as modern-day cults and world religions as well as ideologies such as evolutionism and communism can rightly be considered antichrist.

Finally, in the book of Revelation, John identified both an individual and an institution that represent the ultimate manifestation of evil—the archetypal antichrist. John referred to this archetypal antichrist as a beast who “deceived the inhabitants of the earth” (Revelation 13:14). Drawing on Daniel’s apocalyptic depiction of evil world powers (Revelation 13; cf. Daniel 7–8), John described an emperor in his own epoch of time who arrogantly set himself and his empire against God (13:5–6), violently persecuting the saints (13:7) and grossly violating the commandments through a long litany of disgusting demonstrations of depravity, not the least of which was his demand to be worshipped as Lord and God (13:8, 15).

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. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us.

1 John 2:18–19 NKJV

For further study, see  Hank Hanegraaff, The Apocalypse Code: Find Out What the Bible Really Says About the End Times . . . and Why It Matters Today (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2007) and What is the meaning of 666? and Is the mark of the Beast a microchip?


**Note the preceding text is adapted from a new Revised and Updated version of The Complete Bible Answer Book that is forthcoming. When available we will update this page with corresponding information. Until then you can still purchase or receive for your partnering gift the current version by clicking here for purchase or here for partnering gift. ***