I adduced five reasons why I believe the Bible teaches a literal, personal Antichrist figure, not a figurative, impersonal Antichrist. The Bible uses many descriptions and titles for this eschatological Antichrist figure. The term “Antichrist” is the most popular term. Historicists (most) and Idealists deny a literal personal Antichrist, construing instead an impersonal embodiment such as “government” or a “principle of evil.”
The five reasons I gave are as follows:
1. John in his epistle 1 John 2:18, 22 refers to a personal Antichrist figure. He describes an already-not-yet sense of Antichrist.
2. Jesus in his Olivet Discourse in Matthew 24:15 draws from the prophet Daniel’s writing on the Antichrist figure, highlighting his desolating actions and personifying that action with “standing.” Mark’s account in Mark 13:14 indicates the personal attribute of the Antichrist being masculine, as well as “standing.”
3. The apostle Paul provides the most explicit teaching that the Antichrist will be a real person, describing him with many personal pronouns and calling him “the man of lawlessness” and “the son of destruction.”
4. The book of Revelation describes Antichrist (i.e. the Beast) as a literal personal figure. I explained the distinction between figurative language and the referent it points to. The book of Revelation uses very rich figurative language to describe literal, personal figures (e.g. Jesus, Satan, and the Antichrist, etc.).
5. The early church document, the Didache, from the first century explicitly interprets Jesus’ teaching as referring to a real, literal Antichrist: “And then the deceiver of the world will appear as a son of God and will perform signs and wonders, and the earth will be delivered into his hands, and he will commit abominations the likes of which have never happened before.” (Didache 16:4).
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