Speculation as to the identity of the Antichrist often appears in writings or talks given by experts in the field of eschatology. Eschatology is the technical name for the study of end times Bible prophecy. Just about everyone thinks that the Antichrist is a human being who will rise to power and take control of the world by political means. Some scholars believe this man will emerge as the leader of the European Union (EU). Others say he will come from the combined forces of the United Nations (UN). I have even heard a noted prophecy teacher name a particular Arab leader and states with certainty that this is the man who indeed will be the Antichrist.
I am going to approach this from a totally different angle with what you might call, lateral thinking. I am going to go to certain passages in the Bible which speak of this man and I am going to take a literal interpretation of their meaning. Where it is obvious that the language is figurative or symbolic, we will endeavor to point this out and derive the correct interpretation. For, as was earlier stated, even parables have a literal meaning.
This is not an easy task and as I write, I am aware of how little I know regarding many of the prophecies still hidden in the book of Revelation and elsewhere. I do not have all the answers and neither do any other writer who teaches and studies this subject. The last man to have all the answers got out of here 2000 years ago and hasn’t come back yet. Now we see through a glass darkly. But when He returns, then we will know and understand. But until then…
So, the first verse I want to quote in regard to discovering who the Antichrist is and where he comes from is Revelation 11:7. Speaking of two prophets who are called the two witnesses and are to come and speak on behalf of God in the coming Apocalypse, it says:
“Now when they had finished their testimony, the beast that comes up from the Abyss will attack them and overpower and kill them. Their bodies will lie in the street of the great city…where also their Lord was crucified.”
These two witness will preach the Word of God and will be a thorn in the side of the Antichrist and his administration. Some say that these two prophets will be Moses and Elijah. Others propose they will be someone else. But they are not named so we shall not speculate here as to who they are. They have the power of God and they perform miracles such as shutting up heaven so that no rain fails. If anyone tries to harm them, fire comes from their mouths and devours them (Rev. 11:5).
However, the Antichrist, aka the beast from the Abyss, overcomes them and kills them. For three and a half days the people from all nations will gaze on their bodies and rejoice that these two prophets are dead. This is interesting in that in order for people from different countries to see these dead bodies in the streets of Jerusalem, they would need to be watching CNN or SKY News or some other global network. Amazing that this prophecy was written almost 2000 years ago and yet is a reality in our day.
But I digress. Regarding the Antichrist, it is stated that “the beast that comes up from the Abyss” kills them. Again, most scholars gloss over this phrase or suppose it to be symbolic. But is there more information in scripture regarding an actual location somewhere called “the Abyss?”
The first mention of this place is given in a story related in chapter eight of the Gospel of Luke. It concerns a demon-possessed man who roamed naked among the tombs near the region of the Gadarenes close to Galilee. Often this man was bound hand and feet in chains but the demons that possessed him were so great that he could break free of the fetters. It takes immense power for a man to be able to break chains like this. Yet it was not the man himself but the evil spirit that controlled him and lived in his body that could accomplish such a feat. When he saw Jesus…
“He cried out and fell down before him and with a loud voice said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, Son of God Most High I beseech thee, torment me not.(For he had commanded the evil spirit to come out of him). And Jesus asked him saying; “What is thy name? And he said, Legion, for many demons were entered into him.” And they besought Him that He would not command them to go out into the deep” (Luke 8:28-31).
The NIV translates the last phrase in this way:
“And they begged Him repeatedly not to order them to go into the Abyss (Gk: abussos).”
The word deep in the KJV is “abussos” from which we derive the word abyss. The evil spirit and the demons that were indwelling in this man repeatedly begged Jesus not to order them into this Abyss. So apparently spirits can be ordered into this place. This is borne out in Jude 6 and 1 and 2 Peter where it talks of spirits being in prison.
“By which also He (Jesus) went and preached unto the spirits in prison, which sometimes were disobedient…in the days of Noah” (1 Peter 3:19).
“For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell (Tartarus), and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment” (2 Peter 2:4).
There is a lot of pertinent information in these verses and we get another few titbits in Jude 6.
“And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, He hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.”
When we parse and analyze these verses together we find that disobedient spirits or angels, which sinned in the days of Noah, after having left their first estate, have been incarcerated in this prison of gloomy dungeons which is also called Tartarus. This place is the same Abyss that the demons begged Jesus not to send them to.
Later, after Jesus had risen from the dead, it says He went and preached to these selfsame spirits who caused the sin in the days on Noah. This is reiterated in Ephesians 4:9
“Now that He ascended, what is it but that He also descended first into the lower parts of the earth.”
Eureka! Now we know where this Abyss is. For when it says that Jesus descended into the lower parts of the earth, it is not talking about Him being buried when He died. For He was placed in a tomb which is above ground and which was bought for Him by his wealthy friend. When He rose from the dead He received a new, spiritual body which allowed Him do things like pass through walls and disappear at will. It also allowed Him travel into the lower parts of this earth to preach to these angels who are held there. So the Abyss is somewhere in the depths of this earth, under our feet.
By the way, Jesus didn’t preach to these spirits in order to get them saved. They are beyond redemption. The word preached means he heralded his triumph over them. He displayed to them that He was up from the dead and His victory was final.
Victorious Roman generals returning from campaigns in foreign lands would parade their treasures and captives before the citizens of Rome. This is the meaning of the word “preach.” I’m sure when Jesus appeared to these evil angels in His glorious risen body, they must have received some shock. I bet their legs turned to jelly, figuratively speaking.
There are more truths in these passages we need to illicit. It says that this Abyss is inhabited by both spirits and angels. It is also called Tartarus. These clues are important and in the next installment I want to look at the connection between spirits and angels. In the meantime, here is another reference to the beast and the Abyss from Rev 17:8
“The beast which you saw once was, now is not, and will come up out of the Abyss and go to his destruction.”
Patrick Heron is bestselling author of Apocalypse Soon and The Nephilim and the Pyramid of the Apocalypse .