The apostle John uses the word “antichrists” in his
first epistle (2:18) to indicate those who deny that Jesus is the Christ,
the Son of God. However, he also refers to “the Antichrist” who will surpass
all preceding antichrist figures.
In the book of Revelation, John calls this person the
“beast coming out of the sea” (Rev. 13). He shows the same characteristics
as “the king of the north” in Daniel 11. Jesus also referred to him when he
talked about the end-time (Matt. 24:15).
The apostle Paul calls the Antichrist “the man of
lawlessness” and “man doomed to destruction” (2 Thess. 2):
Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until
the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed
to destruction. 4
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.
Don’t you remember that when I was with you I used to
tell you these things?
And now you know what is holding him back,
so that he may be revealed at the proper time.
For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work;
but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till
he is taken out of the way” (NIV).
in verse 6, what is holding him back; in verse 7, who
is holding it back. Are “what” and “who” the same, and are “him” and
“it” the same? Does verse 7 repeat verse 6, or does it add to it?
From the context it is clear that “him” refers to the
Antichrist (verse 3-4), and “it” refers to lawlessness (verse 7a). Paul says
that the ultimate lawless one (anomos) is still to come, but that the trend
of lawlessness (anomias) is already at work. John makes the same statement:
“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). Something (“what”) restrains the Antichrist, and someone (“who”)
restrains lawlessness. The last one is obvious: governments, police and
courts of law restrain lawlessness by making and applying the law.
What holds the Antichrist back? His big
goal will be to unite the world under his rule (Rev. 13:7). Different
nationalities and countries stand in the way of complete world unity. At the
Tower of Babel (Gen. 11:1-9), people stood together against God by trying to
build a tower that would reach into heaven. God broke up their unity by
confusing their speech. Different languages and cultures emerged, and they
have existed until today. The Antichrist will try to reverse this
Babel-factor. Pentecost did not reverse but honored the Babel-factor because
those filled with the Spirit spoke in different existing languages.
Great strides have been made towards
world unity. Large areas have been united economically: UN, US, Canada, UK,
EU, AU, ASEAN, The Russian Federation, the G7 and the G20. By bringing
clusters of countries together (first economically and then politically), it
will be easy to unite these blocks during a worldwide crisis.
Conclusion: Independent countries
(“what”) blocks the way of the Antichrist (“him”), and governments (“who”)
restrain lawlessness (“it”). Read 2 Thess. 2:6-7 again from this viewpoint.
What will the Antichrist’s
methods and destiny be?
Jesus, John, Paul and Daniel emphasized that he will
deceive many with the help of a false prophet who will do false miracles
(Matt. 24:4-5, 11, 23-24, Rev. 13, 2 Thess. 2:9-12, Daniel 11:36-37).
The Antichrist will unite the world under his
dictatorship (Rev. 13:7). People will worship his speaking image. He will
blaspheme the true God, and pretend to be a god himself.
He will control the world by economic means: nobody
will be able to buy or sell without his number. People may wear his number
literally on their brows and hands, or their support of the beast may be
evident in their thoughts and deeds.
Those who do not comply are killed – the great
tribulation to which Jesus referred (Matt. 24:21). Jesus said that for the
sake of the “elect” the tribulation will be short. In the epistles, Gentile
Christians are addressed as “elect” (Eph. 1:4, 1 Pet. 1:2, 2:9, 2 John 1).
Christians will be in the tribulation. The “rapture” of 1 Thess. 4:16-17 is
preceded by the resurrection, which will take place on the last day
according to Jesus (John 6:39, 40, 44, 54). The multitude in white robes
comes out of the great tribulation (Rev. 7:14).
Eventually, the Antichrist and his army will face the
true Christ and his host of angels (Rev. 19:19-20). By the breath of his
mouth – his word – Christ will overpower the Antichrist and false prophet
and cast them into a pool of fire. The Antichrist will end in anticlimax.
After 3.5 years his bubble will burst.