Will the Antichrist be a future figure who will rise to power and wreak havoc upon the Earth? While some would say that they see biblical evidence for such a dynamic, others would fervently push back, yielding a variety of alternative views on the complex subject matter.
According to a new poll released in conjunction with my book, The Armageddon Code: One Journalist's Quest for End-Times Answers, nearly half of Protestant pastors (49 percent) in the U.S. said that they believe that the Antichrist will be "a figure who will arise sometime in the future" when asked to choose from a series of proclamations about the Antichrist.
The second largest proportion of preachers (14 percent) said that they believe that the Antichrist is "just a personification of evil," with an additional 12 percent saying "there is no individual Antichrist." Almost equal proportions of pastors said that the Antichrist is "a figure who already arose sometime in the past" (6 percent) or is "an institution" (7 percent).
An additional 7 percent of pastors surveyed said that they are not sure where they stand on the matter.
As TheBlaze has reported, some Christians believe that the Antichrist is a biblical figure who will emerge during the future end times, with that individual appearing to have all the answers to the world's problems. With so much chaos raging, author and biblical expert Dr. Ron Rhodes previously told TheBlaze that he believes people will be looking for someone to trust.
"He will be an individual that people will look up to. People are crying out for an individual who can make sense of this world so I think the path is being prepared for that today," he said. "By the middle of the tribulation period — that's when things get bad. At that point the Antichrist sets up his headquarters at Jerusalem."
That is, of course, simplifying that proposed timeline quite a bit, but you can read more about all of that here. As the pastoral poll shows, some faith leaders believe that the Antichrist is merely symbolic, that he has already come or that he is essentially an institution and not a person.
The perspectives are plentiful, though belief in a future end-time figure clearly attracts the most support among pastors and ministers.
As extensively noted in my new book The Armageddon Code, there are a number of key Bible verses in which some Christians see references to an Antichrist figure. Here are some of those verses in the order in which they are presented in the Bible.
Daniel 9:27 (Old Testament): "He will confirm a covenant with many for one 'seven.' In the middle of the 'seven' he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And at the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him."
Matthew 24:15-19 (New Testament): "So when you see standing in the holy place 'the abomination that causes desolation,' spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand—then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let no one on the housetop go down to take anything out of the house. Let no one in the field go back to get their cloak. How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers!"
2 Thessalonians 2:3–4 (New Testament): "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. 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."
Revelation 13:5–8 (New Testament): "The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise its authority for forty-two months. It opened its mouth to blaspheme God, and to slander his name and his dwelling place and those who live in heaven. It was given power to wage war against God's holy people and to conquer them. And it was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation. All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast—all whose names have not been written in the Lamb's book of life, the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world."
As for the actual term "antichrist," it only appears a few times in the Bible and is seen solely in the books of 1 and 2 John, though the context of those references seems to be speaking more to the "spirit of the Antichrist," which is described as the character of a person who denies Jesus. 1 John 2:18 reads, "Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many Antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour."
This is the second story in a three-part series surrounding the pastoral, end-time research that was conducted for The Armageddon Code. Yesterday's piece covered preachers' views on the rapture. Read a detailed explanation of the Antichrist debate in the book and download the complete research on pastors' views on the rapture and Antichrist here.
This article originally appeared on TheBlaze.com.
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