Who or what is this mysterious figure? Many over the years have had the doubtful privilege to have been identified as the Antichrist, for example Nero, the Roman Catholic Church, Hitler and Henry Kissinger among others. Some of these personalities may have been some kind of incarnation of the antichrist-spirit, but as far as being the Antichrist himself, we can now only laugh at that suggestion.
Let us look a bit closer at what the Scriptures teach about the Antichrist. This entity is not always called the Antichrist of course, but sometimes he is called the “Man of Lawlessness”(2 Thessalonians 2) and “the Beast” in Revelation 13. The most popular scripture for the Antichrist is Revelation13:16-18; “It also forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads, so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of its name. This calls for wisdom.
Let the person who has insight calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man. That number is 666″
Let the person who has insight calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man. That number is 666″Now, I do not claim for one moment that I have the only correct interpretation for that verse but it definitely makes sense in the light of the central message of the Bible and in the light of our daily experience. This entity and his cohorts ”force” humans to take a number on their right hands or their foreheads. The right hand in the scriptures is usually symbolic of our deeds or actions while the forehead is seen as the centre of our thought processes. It is also an established Biblical principle that “a man is what he thinks” and in Romans 12:2, Paul also make a clear link between the mind and our actions; “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Man was created on day six and the number six in the scriptures is often used to symbolise humanity or human imperfection as opposed to seven, the number of Divine perfection. In the number 666 we see how Man outside of Christ can never be seven even though he can achieve a lot through scientific and technological advancements. That this number is symbolic rather than physical can be seen from Revelation 14:1 where the following is said about another symbolic number of people, the 144,000; “Then I looked, and there before me was the Lamb, standing on Mount Zion, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads.”
To be honest the Antichrist has never been away! The indications are that the Antichrist is a corporate entity and a spiritual mindset rather than one superhuman creature. This entity has also a religious character as can be seen in an interesting passage in one of John’s letters; “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 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. You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.”(1 John 4:1-4). This passage makes it clear that one of the clearest signs of the Antichrist is the denial about the incarnation! This means a denial that God was present in Jesus but also a denial that Christ now lives His life through His followers!
The most important reason why I find it hard to believe that the Antichrist and his number are literal and physical realities is because if it is true that there will come a time when people’s salvation or not will be determined by accepting or rejecting a physical number, it goes against the central message of salvation as revealed in the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. Only through God’s provision in and through Jesus Christ and by accepting His perfect work on the cross can humans be saved. It makes sense though that those who are deceived in their thinking to reject the perfect provision of God and rather trust the original lie by satan that humans can somehow achieve their own salvation either through religious works or trusting human reason and scientific advancements, are the ones with the number on their foreheads and on their right hands.
In these last days those with spiritual and prophetic insight believe that we live in the climax of the ages and we see the coming to maturity of two corporate entities. The one is the manifestation of the Omega Man; the mature Seed of the Woman, or the Christ, namely Jesus the Head living in and expressing His life through His Body. In opposition stands the “Man of Lawlessness” or the Antichrist. This reminds us of Jesus’ words in Matthew 13 about the weeds and the wheat growing together until the harvest when both will be mature and it will be clear what is weed and what is wheat; “No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’(verses 29-30). In the maturing of the Christ lies the exposing or revelation of the Antichrist. The dividing lines will become very clear and this is how Paul describes the fall of the Antichrist in 2 Thessalonians 2: 8; “And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming.” The Antichrist will be no match for the glorious appearance of Jesus in and through the corporate Christ!