Who is the Antichrist? Top characteristics and clues to identify The Beast mentioned in the Bible
The Antichrist (also known as The Beast) is described in Revelation, 2 Thessalonians, Daniel, and other Old and New Testament books. Direct allusions to The Beast tells us there is to be an individual known variously as the Antichrist (note the capital “A”), The Beast, The False Prophet, and Man of Lawlessness.
There is much debate over who the Antichrist is, what characteristics will signal his arrival, and which biblical scriptures refer to the “person” known as Antichrist. In some cases, scripture is purposely vague which leads to confusion for some. For instance, in Revelation, two beasts are described. Some believe the first beast is Satan while the second is the Antichrist. Others believe the first beast is the Antichrist and the second is a supporting partner, the False Prophet. The verses, on their own, are vague and require proper context to form the correct identification.
Regardless, whether the entity referred to as the Antichrist is one person, two people, or inhuman really doesn’t matter. What matters is that you are familiar with prophesy’s coded message and “ready”. Combine the Bible’s symbolic clues and the identity of the Antichrist will be clear to all Christians – when the time is appropriate.
List of Antichrist characteristics
The following are characteristics of the beast, Antichrist, and/or the False Prophet. Note that many of the characteristics may be symbolic representations. We are given coded clues to his identity, painted with a metaphorical brush, which together should allow Christians to identify The Beast when he attempts his dominion over earth.
Note that there are also references in the Bible to “anti-christ” (note the lowercase name) which do not refer to The Beast but instead refer to anyone who opposes God, not an individual person.
- Will rise from the sea (likely referencing location, possibly a city by the ocean or other large body of water) (Revelation 13:1)
- Will be related to three other notable entities (i.e. the lion, the bear/ox, the winged leopard, lion, or eagle, possibly related or linked to China, Russia, and the United States) (Daniel 7:2)
- Will be given his power by Satan (2 Thessalonians 2:9, Revelation 13:2)
- Will have or be related to ten horns (i.e. ten kings, kingdoms, leaders, or nations) and seven heads (crowns and a blasphemous name on each head, likely referencing 10 leaders who give their power and authority to the Antichrist) (Daniel 7:20, Revelation 13:1)
- Will have three of its “ten horns” (i.e. three leaders) displaced and replaced by a “little horn” (likely a supportive person, potentially a second person known as The False Prophet) (Daniel 7:8)
- Will fill the world with wonder and respect – people will willingly follow the beast (Revelation 13:3)
- Will be worshiped by all (along with his partner, the False Prophet) (Revelation 13:4)
- Will corrupt (with false flattery) those who have “violated the covenant” (Daniel 11)
- Will be allowed to “exercise his authority” for 42 months (will be an active leader for 3 1/2 years) (Revelation 13:5)
- Will be given power to wage war over God’s people and to conquer them (Revelation 13:7)
- Will eventually be given authority over every tribe, people, language, and nation (possibly referring to some sort of worldwide organization) (Revelation 13:7)
- Will make the earth worship Satan (or will make evil attractive to them) (Revelation 13:14)
- Will have holy people “delivered into his hands” (possibly referring to arrest of confinement of religious leaders, but more likely indicates religious leaders will willfully join his movement) (Daniel 7:25)
- Will be boastful (an egotistical braggart) (Daniel 7:8)
- Will be successful in everything he does (Daniel 8:24)
- Will eventually perform great miracles, signs, and wonders (including making fire come down from Heaven) (2 Thessalonians 2:9, Revelation 13:13)
- Will be miraculously healed from fatal wounds (or related to someone who was healed from fatal wounds, likely a head injury, could refer to a pre-existing scar) (Revelation 13:3)
- Will deceive people (will be a liar, fraud) (2 Thessalonians 2:10)
- Will have “large iron teeth” with which it “crushes and devours its victims” (likely referring to great military power, could reference a dominating personality) (Daniel 7:7)
- Will arise along with or with help from three other “kings” (three leaders will offer some sort of assistance that advances his cause) (Daniel 7:15)
- Will blasphemy God (either directly or through his actions) (Daniel 7:25)
- Will invade many countries (will be a strong, successful military leader) (Daniel 11:40)
- Will invade the “Beautiful Land” (likely Jerusalem but possibly any country near Jerusalem or any other respected country) (Daniel 11:41)
- Will conquer many countries but Edom, Moab, and Ammon will survive (these are areas around present-day Jordan) (Daniel 11:41)
- Will gain control over the treasures of Egypt (could refer to any of the now-ancient Egyptian treasures, could refer to Egyptian civilians – most likely its youth) (Daniel 11:43)
- Will exalt himself above every other God (either directly or through his actions) (Daniel 11:36, 2 Thessalonians 2:4)
- Will try to change religious laws or customs (likely by proposing changes to existing law) (Daniel 7:25)
- Will acknowledge a “new god”, one unknown to anyone in present-day (could reference an actual deity or possibly an abstract entity such as money) (Daniel 11:38)
- Will honor anyone who acknowledges the “new god”, make them rulers, and distribute property to them (he will reward his followers with riches and fame) (Daniel 11:39)
- Will gather with leaders of earth and their armies to make war (likely indicating other countries will support his military conquests) (Revelation 19:19)
- Will attack nations with help of a “foreign god” (possibly with assistance from a foreign leader) (Daniel 11:39)
- Will extend his power over many countries (many countries will respect his leadership) (Daniel 11:42)
- Will claim he is the messiah (or God-like) (Matthew 24:23)
- Will eventually setup a camp in Jerusalem on Temple Mount (possibly a temporary military camp but could be a more permanent structure such as an official office or embassy) (Daniel 11:45, 2 Thessalonians 2:4)
- Will hate and destroy a great city that “rules over the kings of earth” which helped him reach power (could be any number of influential cities such as Los Angeles, New York City, Paris, etc) (Revelation 17:15, Daniel 8:24)
- Will give breath to an “image of the beast” so the image becomes animated and can speak (possibly referring to Artificial Intelligence or robotics) (Revelation 13:15)
- Will causes anyone who does not worship the beast to be killed (will destroy those who disagree with him) (Revelation 13:15)
- Will control the world’s economy and force a “mark” containing the name or number of the beast on right hand or forehead so that none can buy or sell without the mark (possibly referring to RFID or similar technology embedded under the skin) (Revelation 13:16)
- Will claim that Jesus did not rise bodily from the grave and was not the Messiah (could refer to the inherent Jewish belief that Jesus was merely a man) (1 John 4:3)
- Will spew three foul spirits from its mouth (possibly referring to insults, racist or hateful comments, could refer to three supporting persons) (Revelation 16:13)
- Will have a name (human number 666) that can be figured out by those with wisdom (possibly relates to given name, nickname, location, address, etc.) (Revelation 13:18)
- With armies gathered together, will wage war against Jesus (Revelation 19)
- When he comes to his end, no one will help him (Daniel 11:45)
- Will be cast into hell, along with Satan, where it will be tormented day and night forever (Revelation 19:20)
The dragon stood on the shore of the sea. And I saw a beast coming out of the sea. It had ten horns and seven heads, with ten crowns on its horns, and on each head a blasphemous name. 2 The beast I saw resembled a leopard, but had feet like those of a bear and a mouth like that of a lion. The dragon gave the beast his power and his throne and great authority. 3 One of the heads of the beast seemed to have had a fatal wound, but the fatal wound had been healed. The whole world was filled with wonder and followed the beast. 4 People worshiped the dragon because he had given authority to the beast, and they also worshiped the beast and asked, “Who is like the beast? Who can wage war against it?”
5 The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise its authority for forty-two months. 6 It opened its mouth to blaspheme God, and to slander his name and his dwelling place and those who live in heaven. 7 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. 8 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.
11 Then I saw a second beast, coming out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb, but it spoke like a dragon. 12 It exercised all the authority of the first beast on its behalf, and made the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose fatal wound had been healed. 13 And it performed great signs, even causing fire to come down from heaven to the earth in full view of the people. 14 Because of the signs it was given power to perform on behalf of the first beast, it deceived the inhabitants of the earth. It ordered them to set up an image in honor of the beast who was wounded by the sword and yet lived. 15 The second beast was given power to give breath to the image of the first beast, so that the image could speak and cause all who refused to worship the image to be killed. 16 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, 17 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.
18 This calls for wisdom. Let the person who has insight calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man. x That number is 666.
19 Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to wage war against the rider on the horse and his army. 20 But the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who had performed the signs on its behalf. With these signs he had deluded those who had received the mark of the beast and worshiped its image. The two of them were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur. 21 The rest were killed with the sword coming out of the mouth of the rider on the horse, and all the birds gorged themselves on their flesh.
2 Daniel said: “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me were the four winds of heaven churning up the great sea. 3 Four great beasts, each different from the others, came up out of the sea.
4 “The first was like a lion, and it had the wings of an eagle. I watched until its wings were torn off and it was lifted from the ground so that it stood on two feet like a human being, and the mind of a human was given to it.
5 “And there before me was a second beast, which looked like a bear. It was raised up on one of its sides, and it had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth. It was told, ‘Get up and eat your fill of flesh!’
6 “After that, I looked, and there before me was another beast, one that looked like a leopard. And on its back it had four wings like those of a bird. This beast had four heads, and it was given authority to rule.
7 “After that, in my vision at night I looked, and there before me was a fourth beast—terrifying and frightening and very powerful. It had large iron teeth; it crushed and devoured its victims and trampled underfoot whatever was left. It was different from all the former beasts, and it had ten horns.
After them another king will arise, different from the earlier ones; he will subdue three kings. 25 He will speak against the Most High and oppress his holy people and try to change the set times and the laws. The holy people will be delivered into his hands for a time, times and half a time.
26 “ ‘But the court will sit, and his power will be taken away and completely destroyed forever. 27 Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of all the kingdoms under heaven will be handed over to the holy people of the Most High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey him.’
23 “In the latter part of their reign, when rebels have become completely wicked, a fierce-looking king, a master of intrigue, will arise. 24 He will become very strong, but not by his own power. He will cause astounding devastation and will succeed in whatever he does. He will destroy those who are mighty, the holy people. 25 He will cause deceit to prosper, and he will consider himself superior. When they feel secure, he will destroy many and take his stand against the Prince of princes. Yet he will be destroyed, but not by human power.
36 “The king will do as he pleases. He will exalt and magnify himself above every god and will say unheard-of things against the God of gods. He will be successful until the time of wrath is completed, for what has been determined must take place. 37 He will show no regard for the gods of his ancestors or for the one desired by women, nor will he regard any god, but will exalt himself above them all. 38 Instead of them, he will honor a god of fortresses; a god unknown to his ancestors he will honor with gold and silver, with precious stones and costly gifts. 39 He will attack the mightiest fortresses with the help of a foreign god and will greatly honor those who acknowledge him. He will make them rulers over many people and will distribute the land at a price.
40 “At the time of the end the king of the South will engage him in battle, and the king of the North will storm out against him with chariots and cavalry and a great fleet of ships. He will invade many countries and sweep through them like a flood. 41 He will also invade the Beautiful Land. Many countries will fall, but Edom, Moab and the leaders of Ammon will be delivered from his hand. 42 He will extend his power over many countries; Egypt will not escape. 43 He will gain control of the treasures of gold and silver and all the riches of Egypt, with the Libyans and Cushites in submission. 44 But reports from the east and the north will alarm him, and he will set out in a great rage to destroy and annihilate many. 45 He will pitch his royal tents between the seas at the beautiful holy mountain. Yet he will come to his end, and no one will help him.
2 Thessalonians 2:4-12
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.
5 Don’t you remember that when I was with you I used to tell you these things? 6 And now you know what is holding him back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time. 7 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. 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. 9 The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie, 10 and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.
11 For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie 12 and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.
15 “So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ w spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand—16 then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17 Let no one on the housetop go down to take anything out of the house. 18 Let no one in the field go back to get their cloak. 19 How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! 20 Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. 21 For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again.
22 “If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. 23 At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. 24 For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you ahead of time.
26 “So if anyone tells you, ‘There he is, out in the wilderness,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here he is, in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it.
27 For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 28 Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather.
1 John 2:18-22
18 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. 19 They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.
20 But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth. v 21 I do not write to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it and because no lie comes from the truth. 22 Who is the liar? It is whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a person is the antichrist—denying the Father and the Son.
1 John 4:1-3
4 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. 2 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, 3 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.
2 John 7
7 I say this because many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist.