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Paul and John both said Antichrist was on earth between 52 and 64CE just as Jesus prophesied.

1. Introduction

The popular teaching is that the Antichrist (sometimes called anti-Christ) is still to come, resulting in the Great Tribulation.

In the previous teachings, we have learnt that Jesus prophesied about the Great Tribulation within One Generation of His death and resurrection. He clearly stated there would never be another like it.

For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be.

Matthew 24:21

The Great Tribulation occurred between the two scriptures limiting it to THE generation alive at the time of Christ. (after Matthew 23:36 and before Matthew 24:34):

Assuredly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.

Matthew 23:36

And:

Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place.

Matthew 24:34

In the study False Christs and Prophets, we learned that Jesus prophesied false Christs and prophets would appear during the 40 years following His death and resurrection. Although there will always be false Christs and false prophets, we cannot use today’s examples to fulfil Matthew 24 because it has already happened. The same study also taught us the spirit of the Antichrist was Gnosticism, which theorizes that Jesus did not come in the flesh.

We will find that there are only two references to the person of Antichrist in the Bible. Both the Apostles Paul and John say he was alive when writing epistles from 52CE to 64CE.

Victorious Eschatology teaches us that there is a more optimistic view of the end of the age.


2. Different Names for the Antichrist


A. Antichrist.

There are five references to Antichrist in the Bible – all by the apostle John.

The word Antichrist consists of two Greek words:

ἀντί anti; a primary particle; opposite, i.e. instead or because of

And:

Χριστός Christos; anointed, i.e. The Messiah, an epithet of Jesus: — Christ.

Christos comes from the word:

χρίω chriō; through the idea of contact; to smear or rub with oil, i.e. (by implication) to consecrate to an office or religious service: — anoint.

Therefore, we can say that the Antichrist spirit opposes the anointing and the anointed one, the Messiah, Jesus Christ.

and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.

1 John 4:3

The Antichrist has two other names attributed to it: the beast and the lawless one.


B. The Beast

The book of Revelations is the only New Testament book to mention the beast.

The Greek word for the beast is:

θηρίον thērion; a dangerous animal: — (venomous, wild) beast.

Revelations mention the beast as coming out of the abyss, with an apparent reference to it being a spirit being.

When they finish their testimony, the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit will make war against them, overcome them, and kill them.

Revelation 11:7

The beast is a direct reference to the spirit-being identified in Daniel.

After this I saw in the night visions, and behold, a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, exceedingly strong. It had huge iron teeth; and was devouring, breaking in pieces, and trampling the residue with its feet. It was different from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns. I was considering the horns, and there was another horn, a little one, coming up among them, before whom three of the first horns were plucked out by the roots. And there, in this horn, were eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking pompous words.

Daniel 7:7-8

The beast is not the Antichrist; instead, it is the spirit behind the Antichrist.


C. The Lawless One

The only reference to the lawless one is in Thessalonians:

And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming. The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

2 Thessalonians 2:6-10

We will look again at the lawless one when we identify who the Antichrist was.


3. John’s References to The Antichrist

John refers twice to the Antichrist and the spirit of Antichrist in three instances.


A. John’s First Reference to The Antichrist:

and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.

1 John 4:3

In the original Greek, it looks like the image below. The words highlighted in red refer to the Antichrist rather than the spirit of Antichrist.

NKJV Greek-English Interlinear Bible

The third word in blue (pneuma for spirit) is present in the Greek text. Followers of Jesus believe the Son of God came in the flesh, so John refers here to the heart within the believers.

The first word highlighted in red is the word ‘the’.
‘The’ is then repeated with the masculine form of the word. John is referring to THE Antichrist, not the spirit of the Antichrist because pneuma does not appear.

Let us take a moment to look at the outcome of a mistranslation that this verse is the spirit of Antichrist. Antichrist spirit had been around since Herod Agrippa tried to kill Jesus. Therefore, if John is saying that the spirit of AntiChrist was coming, then it is illogical.


B. The Antichrist is in the World

Looking closely at the last phrase of this verse, John says that the Antichrist was already in the world in 61-64CE.

and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.

1 John 4:3

The apostle John teaches that the Antichrist was already in the world in 61-64CE


C. Which You Have Heard is Coming

John declared that the churches knew of Antichrist’s coming.

and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.

1 John 4:3

We need to remember that John is talking to the believers of that time. The believers were living amongst the Jews and their culture. His teaching would have involved many Messianic prophecies from the Old Testament as there was no New Testament yet.

How had they heard Antichrist was coming? The early church would have recognized the terminology of the book of Daniel. As well as this, they would have known about Jesus’ last days’ prophecy coming to pass within one generation. We will look at the prophecy of Daniel in detail below.


4. The Last Hour


A. John’s Other Reference to the Antichrist

Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour.

1 John 2:18

John is making a direct reference to the teaching of Jesus


B. Jesus Teaching on the Last Hour

Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.

Matthew 24:42-44

In the previous section, I said that the church had heard about the coming of the Antichrist. Here John is saying they heard from Jesus regarding the appearance of the AntiChrist. He is saying that the last hour Jesus’ referred to is coming very soon.


C. Jesus is Not a Thief

Not only that, but he identifies who the thief is: Antichrist. Some well-known Futurists have infamously theorized the thief as Jesus Christ!

John writes this epistle sometime between 61 and 64CE. He says that the Antichrist is coming, and it is now the last hour. Indeed it was the last hour because we will see that the persecution by the Antichrist started in 64CE.

The Last Hour Jesus promised in Matthew 24 is here and the Great Tribulation
is about to start (64CE to 70CE)
.

Apostle John 61-64CE


5. Paul’s Reference to the Antichrist.


A. The Lawless One

Paul refers to the lawless one in his writing to the Thessalonian church sometime in-between 51CE and his martyrdom in 62-67CE:

And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming. The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

2 Thessalonians 2:6-10

In this scripture, Paul writes to the church in Thessalonica, not to people 2000 years later. It is evident when we read this passage through the minds of the Thessalonians that the Antichrist was already on earth in 51-67CE.

Paul is stating the Antichrist is currently restrained and about to be revealed.

The Antichrist was known by the Thessalonians in 51 and 67CE, and Paul said he was about to be revealed.

2 Thessalonians 2:6-10
B. The Antichrist was in the World Between 51CE and 64CE

Putting the teachings of Paul and John together, Antichrist was in the known world between 51CE and 64CE.

Later in this study, we will identify:

  • why he was ‘not revealed’
  • who was restraining him and
  • who the Antichrist was in 61-64CE.

Earlier we see that John said the believers in 61-64CE had heard the Antichrist was coming. They heard it from:

  • Jesus in His last days prophecy, and from
  • Paul in his second letter to the church of Thessalonica, and
  • the prophecy of the book of Daniel


6. The Antichrist in the Book of Daniel


A. The Beast Comes into a Man

‘Those great beasts, which are four, are four kings which arise out of the earth.

Daniel 7:17

It is clear from this scripture that the beast comes into people to fulfil the devil’s desire. We need to be clear that the beast is a spirit that rules over the kingdom and possesses its leader.


B. The Antichrist Dominates

“I watched then because of the sound of the pompous words which the horn was speaking; I watched till the beast was slain, and its body destroyed and given to the burning flame.

Daniel 7:11

The word pompous is:

רַבְרַב raḇraḇ; (Aramaic)huge (in size); domineering (in character): — (very) great (things).

Daniel prophesies that the Antichrist would dominate the people of God.


C. Timing of the Antichrist in the Book of Daniel

The majority of theologians teach that the fourth beast in the book of Daniel is the Roman empire. He who speaks pompous words is a human mouthpiece for the fourth beast. Because it is the Roman empire, Futurists commonly look for a link between the current Rome when looking for an Antichrist now. However, we will see there is no need for this. The timing is evident because it sits around the time of Jesus’ ascension and enthronement soon after His resurrection. It is when God gave the kingdom to Jesus. Daniel 7:11 sits before Daniel 7:13-14

“I was watching in the night visions,
And behold, One like the Son of Man,
Coming with the clouds of heaven!
He came to the Ancient of Days,
And they brought Him near before Him.
Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom,
That all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him.
His dominion is an everlasting dominion,
Which shall not pass away,
And His kingdom the one
Which shall not be destroyed.

Daniel 7:13-14


7. False Teaching Concerning the Antichrist in Daniel 9.

One of the severe Futurist errors of John Nelson Darby’s theology is that the Messiah mentioned in Daniel 9 is the Antichrist. Charles Spurgeon’s warning about the Darbyites is in the Millennium teaching. Before looking closer at the Messianic interpretation of Daniel 9:24-27, let us look again at Charles Spurgeon’s writing concerning Darby’s teaching on eschatology.

“With the deadly heresies entertained and taught by the Plymouth Brethren, in relation to some of the most momentous of all the doctrines of the Gospel and to which I have adverted at some length, I feel assured that my readers will not be surprised at any other views, however unscriptural and pernicious they may be, which the Darbyites have embraced and zealously seek to propagate.

Quote Charles Spurgeon from Grant, James (1875). The Plymouth Brethren: Their History and Heresies.

A. Summary of Futurist teaching on Daniel 9

Those who have listened to Futurist teaching will recognize the following rhetoric:

  1. The Temple will be rebuilt in Jerusalem now that the Jews have returned to Israel
  2. Red heifer sacrifices will be re-instituted.
  3. The Antichrist will make a seven-year covenant with Israel.
  4. In the middle of the seven years, the Antichrist will put the “abomination that causes desolation” in the temple by making an idol.
  5. He will then put a stop to sacrifices

One of the more serious Futurist errors is that the Messiah is the Antichrist.

The Antichrist is the prince, which is a poor explanation of Daniel 9:24-27. So let us now go through this scripture very carefully.


8. The Messianic Explanation of Daniel 9:24-27


A. Seventy Weeks

Seventy weeks are determined
For your people and for your holy city,

Daniel 9:24

70 weeks equals 490 years
(see Gen 29:27; Lev 25:8; Num 14:34; Ez 4:4-6)

B. Jesus’ Atoning Work

To finish the transgression,
make an end of sins,
To make reconciliation for iniquity,
To bring in everlasting righteousness,

Daniel 9:24

Jesus put an end to transgressions
He put an end to sin, so sin no longer reigns
Jesus reconciled us to God
The New Covenant gives us the righteousness of God.

To seal up vision and prophecy

Daniel 9:24

Sealing up vision and prophecy refers to Jesus fulfilling the prophets

C. Holy Spirit Fills the Temples of God

And to anoint the Most Holy

Daniel 9:24

The Hebrew word for Most Holy is:
קֹדֶשׁ qôḏeš; a sacred place or thing; rarely abstract, sanctity: — consecrated (something), dedicated (thing), hallowed (thing), saint, sanctuary.

When Jesus died, rose again and ascended, He made temples for the Holy Spirit in every person who believes in Him. The temples are the sanctuaries Daniel is referring to.

But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, .

1 John 2:27

“Know therefore and understand,
That from the going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem.

Daniel 9:25

Daniel is not referring to the natural Jerusalem, which Jesus called Sodom and Egypt (Revelation 11:8). He is referring to the church of God:

for this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and corresponds to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children— but the Jerusalem above is free, which is the mother of us all.

Galatians 4:25
D. Jesus is the Prince

Until Messiah the Prince,

Daniel 9:25

Here the prince is identified as the Messiah, NOT the Antichrist, as Futurists have misinterpreted.


E. Sixty Nine Weeks Until the Start of Jesus’ Ministry

Until Messiah the Prince,
There shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks;

Daniel 9:25

Above we learnt one week equals seven years. Therefore seven weeks are 49 years and sixty-two weeks are 434 years. added together, this equals 483 years
In 457BCE, Artaxerxes, the king of Persia, decreed that the Jews were free to return to their homeland and rebuild Jerusalem and the Temple (Ezra 7: 12-26). If we add 483 years to that date, we come to the year 27CE.
Historians tell us that Jesus was born in 4BCE, which means that He was 30 years old in 27CE. That was the year in which Jesus was water baptized, and a voice came out of heaven saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased” (Matt. 3: 17).


F. The Jews are the People of the Prince

And the people of the prince who is to come

Daniel 9:26

The ‘people of the prince’ are the Jewish people whom Jesus was born into and whom His ministry focussed upon.

And the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary

Daniel 9:26
  • Futurists have said that the prince is the Antichrist, however we have seen that the prince is the Messiah.
  • The people of the prince are the Jews, not the Romans.
  • Few historians would disagree that it was the Jews who forced the Romans to attack Jerusalem in 67CE and 70CE, and again in 130CE. The Romans attacked because the Jews were repetitively attacking each other and the Roman occupiers. For an in depth look at this please read Wars and Rumours of Wars.

G. Jesus Brings the New Covenant

Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week;

Daniel 9:27

Jesus started His ministry, where he confirmed the New Covenant for seven years. He confirmed it through His earthly ministry for three and a half years. Jesus’ death brought in the New Covenant. There was then a further period of peace before the persecution started with the martyrdom of Thomas.

For where there is a testament, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testament is in force after men are dead, since it has no power at all while the testator lives. Therefore not even the first covenant was dedicated without blood.

Hebrews 9:16-18

H. Jesus Stops Sacrifice and Offerings at His Death.

But in the middle of the week
He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering.

Daniel 9:27
  • Jesus put an end to sacrifice and offering when He died and the veil was torn in two. The law was nailed to the cross
  • Futurist teach this is the Antichrist and half way through the 7 year peace treaty he will stop sacrifices at the (yet to be built) third temple!

Daniel 9:24-27 is referring to the Messiah, not the Antichrist

We now know that Daniel 9:24-27 is referring to the Messiah. Because we are looking at the beast, we will show that John authored Revelation before Titus destroyed Jerusalem and the temple in 70CE.


9. When was the Book of Revelation Written?

We have ascertained that John wrote his epistles in 61-64CE. Futurists claim that John wrote Revelation in 96CE during his imprisonment by Domitian. We will see that it is just as likely, if not more so, that John wrote Revelation between 61 and 64CE.


A. Historians Accounts of John

From the writings of Epiphanius (c. 315-403), we know that Claudius first imprisoned John sometime from AD 41 to 54.
Then there is ample evidence that John was on Patmos in 61-64CE. For example, one of the earliest manuscripts, the Second Century Syriac, (called Peshitta) introduces the Book of Revelation with:

The Revelation which was made by God (to John on) Patmos, into which he was thrown by Nero Caesar.

Syriac Translation (Peshitta)

The historian Tertullian (155CE to 220CE) said that Nero persecuted John:

Rome . . . where Peter had a like Passion with the Lord; where Paul bath for his crown the same death with John; where the Apostle John was plunged into boiling oil, and suffered nothing, and was afterwards banished to an island.

Tertullian

B. Written Before the Destruction of the Temple

John authored the book of Revelation before the destruction of the Temple because God instructed John to measure the temple.

Then I was given a reed like a measuring rod. And the angel stood, saying, “Rise and measure the temple of God, the altar, and those who worship there. But leave out the court which is outside the temple, and do not measure it, for it has been given to the Gentiles. And they will tread the holy city underfoot for forty-two months.

Revelation 11:1-2

We know that it is the physical temple because the next verse talks about its destruction.


C. Written After the Earthquake of 61CE

The Colosse earthquake of 61-62 CE caused the cool river to go underground Hierapolis had a hot thermal Spring where they worshipped Apollos.

So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.

Revelation 3:16

Jesus was saying to the churches of Asia that, like the earthquake had caused a mixing of the cold, natural river water with the hot water of the temple of Hierapolis would bring luke-warmness.


D. Written Whilst John was Able to Travel

And he said to me, “You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, tongues, and kings.”

Revelation 10:11

The NKJV has incorrectly translated epi as the word ‘about’. Whereas looking closely, we find the following information from Strongs Concordance concerning the different ways’ epi’ is translated:

AV (896) – on 196, in 120, upon 159, unto 41, to 41, misc 339;
upon, on, at, by, before of position, on, at, by, over, against to, over, on, at, across, against

If, as Futurists claim, John wrote Revelation in 96CE, he must have been able to travel. Historians disagree this is possible, as we see in Jerome’s account:

In his writings, Jerome (c. 340-420) stated the church members saw John in 96CE, and he was so old and infirm that “he was with difficulty carried to the church and could speak only a few words to the people.” How could John speak to many nations, tongues and kings since he was barely able to stand?

Written during his imprisonment under Nero meant that John had thirty years of ministry ahead of him.

Now we know John wrote Revelation 61 to 64 CE; let us look at the Antichrist’s number.


10. The Number of the Antichrist


A. The Number of a Man

Revelation tells us the number is of a man:

Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666.

Revelation 13:18

It is NOT the number of a mark. We will look at the beast’s mark in another study where we will find it will not be an implant or physical mark.

There are several interesting words in this verse. We need to remember that John is talking to the people of 61-64CE, who were already facing persecution. From John’s and Paul’s epistles, they knew the Antichrist was in the world.


B. Wisdom and Understanding is required.

Wisdom and understanding are different from prophetic insight. If I said to you that something 2000 years in the future required prophetic insight, that would be true. On the other hand, we need wisdom and understanding for present-day decisions based on the political situation. Therefore this verse applied to the people who were alive at the time.


C. Time Limitation for the Appearing of the Antichrist

The timing limitation of the Antichrist is Jesus’ prophecy in Matthew 24 and Luke 21. The Antichrist needed to appear within one generation of Jesus’ last Days Prophecy.

We know:

  1. the number of his name is 666, and that,
  2. he was ‘not revealed’ when Paul wrote to the Thessalonians, and
  3. he was restrained when Paul wrote to the Thessalonians, and
  4. the Antichrist was in the word in 61-64CE, and finally
  5. he had to be revealed as the Antichrist by 70CE.

So can we name the Antichrist? Yes!


11. Was Nero the Antichrist?


A. The Number of the Beast

In Hebrew, each letter has a numerical value:

Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666.

Revelation 13:18

Rome, under Nero, was persecuting the Christians, and John wanted to ensure that interrogators could not accuse the believers of maligning the powerful Antichrist when they carried Revelation with them. So Christians used his number instead of his name. They used his name in Aramaic translated into Greek, rather than Aramaic translated into Latin. Using this code enabled them to maintain innocence without lying.


B. NRON QSRN

Nero’s name in Aramaic was NRON QSRN for Nero Caesar. An Aramaic scroll from Wadi Murabba’at, dated to “the second year of Emperor Nero”, refers to him by his name and title, Nero Caesar spelt NRON QSRN.

 נרון קסר is the Hebrew word for the Greek name for Nero Caesar ‎

Each letter in Hebrew has a number, and these letters add to 666.

The Jews knew who the Antichrist would be!


C. NRO QSRN

However, when we look at the Latin translation into Hebrew, it is NRO QSRN. In Hebrew, there is one letter missing. It, therefore, adds up to 616.

Having an alternate explanation was necessary for the Christians because the language of the Romans was Latin. So if Romans interrogated them, they could say that Nero was 616 rather than 666. Therefore the number 666 was used as the number of the man to try and protect the Christians from persecution.


12. Was Nero the Lawless One?

Now let us look again at 2 Thessalonians written 51-67CE to see if Nero fulfils the requirements:

And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming. The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

2 Thessalonians 2:6-10

A. What is Restraining Nero?

Some people have tried to say that the Spirit of God is restraining the Antichrist.

What, not who, is restraining the Antichrist. The Holy Spirit is a person, not a thing.

The Greek word for ‘what is restraining’ is:

katechō; to hold down (fast),: — have, hold (fast), keep (in memory), possess, retain, seize on, stay, take, withhold.

For those who understand parsing in grammar, this word is a Verb, Present, Active, Participle, Accusative, Singular, Neuter.

In other words, it is an active action time of writing and is neuter, i.e. not a person.

The next verse is:

So it is not God or a person; it is a “what” as correctly translated. To understand what was restraining Antichrist, we need to look at the early life of Nero.


B. Nero’s Early Reign

Nero Caesar ruled over the Roman Empire from October 54CE to June 9, 68CE. He was only 16 years old when he became Emperor. Because of the character of both his father Domitius and his mother Agrippina, the senate feared he would be a dangerous leader. Nero was assigned two tutors; Seneca and Burrus, during the early reign to have a restraining influence on him, as we see in this excerpt:


C. Senate’s Approval of the Restrained Nero

Most historians says that while he was under the care of the tuors ands his mother, his reign was going well. Nero’s tutor, Seneca, prepared Nero’s first speech before the Senate. During this speech, Nero spoke about “eliminating the ills of the previous regime”. H.H. Scullard writes that “he promised to follow the Augustan model in his principate, to end all secret trials intra cubiculum, to have done with the corruption of court favorites and freedmen, and above all to respect the privileges of the Senate and individual Senators.” His respect of the Senatorial autonomy, which distinguished him from Caligula and Claudius, was generally well received by the Roman Senate.

Wikipedia

D. Removal of Restraint Means Nero is Revealed

Nero was directly involved in the deaths of the three restraining influences, either by murder or by forced suicide.

Once Nero removed the restraining influences of Agrippina, Seneca and Burrus, historians agree that Nero quickly revealed his true character.

What was restraining Nero? The senate. Paul and the Thessalonians would have been aware of the political intrigue in Rome.

For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way.

2 Thessalonians 2:7

There is nothing in the original text that says the word he must have a capital letter. Therefore, who is ‘he’ in verse 7? It will be the restraining influence of Seneca or, less likely, Burrus.


13. Nero as the Revealed Antichrist

For Nero to be the Antichrist, the following had to be true of him:

  • a man of sin
  • the son of perdition
  • produce signs and wonders
  • sit as God in the temple of God

… and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.

2 Thessalonians 2:3-4
  • no one can buy or sell without the mark

A. Man of Sin

There is plenty of evidence in Nero’s history that shows him as a man of sin, even before the Great Tribulation.


B. Son of Perdition

Son of perdition means son of destruction. Another person called the son of perdition was Judas Iscariot.

While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name. Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled.

John 17:12

Like Judas, Nero is believed to have committed suicide. Like Judas, Nero liked to look good when it came to giving to the poor.

Coin depicting Nero giving money to the poor

C. Signs and Wonders

The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders,

2 Thessalonians 2:9

Remember that Futurist eschatology comes out of dispensationalism and cessationist theology. Purists of Futurist eschatology must agree that healings, signs and wonders ceased with Paul if they are faithful to their beliefs.

Therefore, futurist teachings hold that any healings, signs and wonders that occur now are the devil’s work. Of course, this is false teaching.

Furthermore, Cessationist theology has resulted in the error that Antichrist will perform healings and miracles similar to that which Jesus did. This thinking grieves the Holy Spirit because it is dividing the body of Christ.

A careful look at the Greek and the book of Daniel brings a different interpretation.


D. Antichrist Power

The Jewish believers in Thessalonica would not have had any difficulty in understanding Paul. They would have remembered what the prophet Daniel said:

“I was watching, and the same horn was making war against the saints, and prevailing against them,…
He shall speak pompous words against the Most High,
Shall persecute the saints of the Most High,
And shall intend to change times and law.
Then the saints shall be given into his hand
For a time and times and half a time.

Daniel 7:21,25

God did not restrain Satan from giving power to the Antichrist. Jesus would then come in judgment over the Jewish nation in 66-70CE.


E. Signs of the Antichrist

The word signs in Greek is:

σημεῖον sēmeion; a sign, mark, token by which a person is distinguished from others and is known

Jesus did not perform sēmeion. The word for Godly signs is different to sēmeion.

Paul warned the Thessalonians that the Antichrist would give them evidence of who he was by his actions (signs). These signs included requiring them to worship him.

Therefore the signs that Antichrist would perform are signs so the Christians would recognize that Nero was the Antichrist. There is little doubt that Nero produced signs and wonders that made people realize he was indeed the promised Antichrist:

Nero “inflicted upon the Christians punishments exquisitely painful.” And wrote how thousands of Christians were tortured, being covered in animal skins then torn to death by dogs, or nailed to crosses, or being covered in tar and then lit on fire to illuminate Nero’s gardens while he entertained guests in the evenings. Multitudes suffered a cruel martyrdom amidst derision and insults, and among the rest were the venerable apostles, Saint Peter and Saint Paul.

Tacitus (55 – 120CE)

F. Lying Wonders of the Antichrist

The Greek word for lying is the word pseudos, where we get the English word pseudo from

The Greek word for wonders is:

τέρας teras; of uncertain affinity; a prodigy or omen: — wonder.

This word means a sign or warning that a momentous or calamitous event is likely to happen. Indeed Nero fulfilled this very well, sending his armies to surround Jerusalem in 66CE.

Jesus never performed teras, as teras was always in a negative context.


G. Sit as God in the Temple of God.

who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.

2 Thessalonians 2:4

Futurist teaching is that the Jews will rebuild the temple in Jerusalem, and the Antichrist will sit there as God. However, outside of Futurist eschatology, there is no need for the rebuilding of the temple. We will look at the temple of God in a separate study. Jesus was very clear that the temple He was building was not a natural temple.

Futurist teaching is that Matthew 24 refers to the Antichrist when it says:

“Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand),

Matthew 24:15

H. Jesus’ Teaching on the Temple

However, the words’ holy place’ is Hagios topos in Greek.

The words Hagios topos does not refer to the temple. We will find in a separate study that the abomination that causes desolation is not referring to something inside the temple; instead, it relates to the armies of Rome surrounding the city of Jerusalem.

We will look at the temple separately; however, Jesus was not referring to a natural temple. Instead, He was referring to the temple of the Holy Spirit, which lives inside every believer,

Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are

1 Corinthians 3:16-17

So God was saying to the believers of Thessalonica that the Antichrist would have them worship him instead of Jesus. Many of them would lose their lives by refusing to worship Nero or his Roman Gods. The Romans believed that the Christians were the cause of disasters because their prosperity relied on everybody worshipping their pagan gods. As Emperor, he set himself up as God.

That is what it means when it says that Antichrist will set himself up as God in the temple of God, their hearts.


I. Resurrection of the Antichrist(?)

Futurists believe that Satan will resurrect Antichrist from the dead because it says in Revelation:

And I saw one of his heads as if it had been mortally wounded, and his deadly wound was healed. And all the world marveled and followed the beast. So they worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?”

Revelation 13:3-4

However, the resurrection is the head of the beast, not the Antichrist himself. We have found that the Antichrist is NOT the beast.

We know from Daniel that the beast appears at different times in different forms. No man can do this. We also understand that the multi-headed beast can only be a spirit, not a natural man.

Therefore there was no need for Nero to resurrect from the dead. The spirit, however, was raised from the dead. Within a year of Nero’s death, Rome was again marching against Jerusalem.


I. No-One Can Buy or Sell

and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

Revelation 13:17

Roman coins had the Emperor’s head on them, as we saw above. To buy or sell, you could not do it without the use of coins bearing the head of the representation of a deity. In another study, we will find that the mark of the beast is not necessarily physical.

14. Summary

  1. Futurist eschatology teaches that we are now living in the last days. It states the early apostles did not know when Jesus would return and that the apostles were mistaken in believing they were in the last days!
  2. We need to remember that the Bible is the word of God. When the apostles taught that they were in the last days, it was because they were in the last days! The last days finished in 70CE, just as Jesus said they would. The end of the age is still in the future.
  3. John writes in 61-64CE that they are in the last hour of revealing the Antichrist and the Great tribulation, John meant it before Jesus’ return in 66CE!
  4. Jesus time limitation for the Great Tribulation was one generation. Therefore the Antichrist must also appear within one generation.
  5. Antichrist was known to John in 61-64CE.
  6. Revelation was written by John sometime in 61-64CE.
  7. Antichrist was restrained when Paul wrote to the Thessalonica sometime between 52CE and his death at the hand of Nero.
  8. Antichrist was soon to be revealed when Paul wrote 2 Thessalonians
  9. Nero’s character met with the requirements of Antichrist put down by Paul.
  10. Nero’s number in the Greek translation into Aramaic was 666.

© Use by Permission Awakening Impact Ministries / Dr Neville van Eerten 2021

2 Comments

  • Anonymous says:

    If I remember correctly, where Nero held parties using Christians as the human torches, is the same place where the Vatican sits now.
    I also seem to remember that he was also married a young man Pythagoras who was 18 from memory, and another man. To one he was the wife and would dress accordingly, and to the other the husband. Also I think he killed his pregnant wife. A nasty man! It spoke to me of the unclean paedofiliac spirit that sat over the Vatican, and also abortion murderous spirit, of which there has been evidence of that too, sadly.
    Anyway this is very interesting, I guess knowing history really helps understand a lot of the Bible.

  • Neville says:

    Thanks for sharing. You are correct in this, as both Tacitus and Cassius Dio refer to this. I have added to the text for the pastoral training in our bible and ministry schools

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