Jerry Falwell recently (1/14/99) predicted that the antichrist will appear within ten years. Since the appearance is so near, he said, the antichrist must already be alive.
Although Scripture speaks of “many antichrists” (1 John 2:18), today the term “antichrist” is usually used exclusively in reference to “the man of sin” (2 Thessalonians 2), one of the beasts of Revelation 13, and the little horn of Daniel 7. Most Bible students agree that these three texts do refer to the same evil power, and that this evil power certainly is an antichrist. But can it be said that this antichrist is alive today, as Falwell asserts?
Alive? Yes! But Falwell is wrong in claiming that the antichrist has not yet appeared. The Thessalonians text talks of “the falling away” in relationship to “the temple of God” (the church; see 1 Corinthians 3:16). The apostate (fallen-away) church has been visible for centuries.
As for the beasts in Daniel 7 and Revelation 13, all the evidence points to Rome. Even today’s popular prophecy teachers believe this. That is why they promote the theory of a reborn Roman Empire. But the Roman Empire does not have to be reborn today. It was already reborn in the first millennium when the papacy of the apostate church arose from the rubble of the old Roman Empire. It is no mere coincidence that it is called the Roman Catholic Church nor that the papacy is in Rome.
Yes, the antichrist is not only alive today, he has been visible and active for at least fifteen hundred years.