Since posting “Is Barack Obama the Antichrist?” I’ve received a number of emails from well-intentioned individuals who have been quick to point out the folly of my reasoning in definitively stating that he is not. Most responses have centered around Barack Obama’s lineage and how he can still fulfill the prophecies of the Antichrist for varying reasons which differ depending on the emailer.
This is my fault. I apologize for writing a post that was incomplete in its analysis of the prophecies which identify the Antichrist and his various character traits. As previously stated, I certainly understand why this speculation surrounds Barack Obama. He is a unique figure in modern American politics. However, he simply does not fulfill the prophecies of the Antichrist.
Our authoritative source on the Antichrist’s identity should not be human theories or speculations, no matter how badly we want them to be true. Our authoritative source should be the Word of God only. When we turn to scripture, we will find the unfiltered truth.
Here’s what Paul had to say about the Antichrist:
“Now, dear brothers and sisters, let us clarify some things about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and how we will be gathered to meet him. Don’t be so easily shaken or alarmed by those who say that the day of the Lord has already begun. Don’t believe them, even if they claim to have had a spiritual vision, a revelation, or a letter supposedly from us. Don’t be fooled by what they say. For that day will not come until there is a great rebellion against God and the man of lawlessness is revealed – the one who brings destruction. He will exalt himself and defy everything that people call god and every object of worship. He will even sit in the temple of God, claiming that he himself is God. Don’t you remember that I told you about all this when I was with you? And you know what is holding him back, for he can be revealed only when his time comes. For this lawlessness is already at work secretly, and it will remain secret until the one who is holding it back steps out of the way. Then the man of lawlessness will be revealed, but the Lord Jesus will kill him with the breath of his mouth and destroy him by the splendor of his coming.” 2 Thessalonians 2:1-8 (NLT)
Notice what Paul says – “Do not be easily alarmed or shaken by those who say the Day of the Lord has already begun.” Although we are certainly living in the end times, the Tribulation has not yet begun. And the man of lawlessness, the Antichrist, will not be revealed until the Tribulation begins.
As Paul states:
“And you know what is holding him back, for he can be revealed only when his time comes. For this lawlessness is already at work secretly, and it will remain secret until the one who is holding it back steps out of the way. Then the man of lawlessness will be revealed…” 2 Thessalonians 2:6-8 (NLT)
The Antichrist is currently being held back by the Holy Spirit which indwells every believer on earth. Once the followers of Christ are taken into heaven following the rapture, then and only then, will it be possible for the identity of the Antichrist to be revealed. According to Paul, the Antichrist’s identity will remain a secret until that time.
Does Paul say, “You’ll have suspicions about who the Antichrist is, but they’ll only be confirmed after the rapture and once the Tribulation begins”? No. Paul states, “it will remain secret until the one who is holding it back steps out of the way.” This is a clear statement from Paul that prior to the Tribulation, no one will know the Antichrist’s identity.
Undoubtedly, I’ll still get emails saying I’m wrong, and Paul didn’t really mean what he said – that what Paul really meant was that Christians couldn’t be certain about the identity of the Antichrist until that time, but in the meantime, they could know or have an idea or certainly make an educated guess.
Yet, the scriptures are clear. Paul plainly states that, prior to the Tribulation, the identity of the Antichrist “will remain secret until the one who is holding it back steps out of the way.”
If this is the case, then why study prophecies concerning the Antichrist?
This is a good question.
As Christians, it’s our duty to study the scriptures and teach others as guided by the Holy Spirit. By teaching scriptural prophecies concerning the Antichrist, we will enable those who are living on earth during the Tribulation to clearly understand who the Antichrist is once he is revealed. Our hope is that his widely recognized fulfillment of these prophecies will verify the accuracy of scripture for non-believers, and in turn, they will become believers who place their faith and trust in Jesus Christ.
Current speculations on the identity of the Antichrist don’t serve this purpose. Instead, they serve to undermine prophecy and Christianity in the eyes of non-believers. Those who don’t take the time to study the scriptures look back on various historical Christian speculations concerning the identity of the Antichrist and see a long list of failed candidates – Nero, Charlemagne, Napoleon, Hitler, Ronald Reagan, Saddam Hussein, and countless others. In due time, when Barack Obama’s name is added to the list of failed candidates, all the current speculation surrounding him will have come to nothing.
As followers of Jesus Christ, we should diligently study prophecy and the Word of God, but we shouldn’t spend our time diligently scanning the geopolitical landscape in a search for the Antichrist. We should spend our time diligently scanning the scriptures and searching the sky for Jesus Christ.
He is our hope. He should be our central focus.
The identity of the Antichrist will be revealed at its appointed time.