Consumed and Destroyed
A look at how the Antichrist and his unrighteous kingdom will meet their demise
Years ago, my boss at the office where I worked asked me about the Antichrist: “Does the Bible teach that the Antichrist will be destroyed? Or does he win in the end?” His question came following the release of The Omen in 1976, a movie that revolves around the idea that one of the film’s characters—a young, adopted boy—might be the Antichrist.
The film apparently scared my boss. But he needn’t have worried. The Bible is clear about Jesus’ victory in the end-times battle between Christ and Antichrist.
Several passages speak of the Antichrist’s demise. In Daniel 7, Daniel described a vision of four beasts representing four world empires—Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome. Some people claim Daniel did not identify the beasts or kingdoms, especially Rome. But that is not true.
A parallel passage in Daniel 2 clearly identifies the first beast as the Babylonian Empire. Daniel 8 says the second and third empires are Medo-Persia and Greece, respectively. And Daniel 11:30 refers to the ships of Kittim (Hebrew, “western coastlands”), which became a designation for Rome. Consequently, Jewish translators of the Greek Septuagint (250 BC–150 BC) used the Greek word for the Romans in that passage.
Daniel 7:8 describes the Antichrist as a little horn emerging from the fourth world empire, or Rome. His pompous ascent will end as described in the courtroom scene where the Ancient of Days judges him:
I watched till thrones were put in place, and the Ancient of Days was seated; . . . 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 (vv. 9, 11).
The passage describes the final destruction of the empire or beast, along with its leader, the little horn. It is hard to imagine a clearer description of complete destruction. The later interpretation of Daniel’s vision reiterates this powerful portrait of the Antichrist’s demise: “And they shall take away his dominion, to consume and destroy it forever” (v. 26).
The 70-weeks prophecy of Daniel 9:24–27 also adds to our understanding of the Antichrist’s absolute defeat. Verse 27 reveals that his abominable behavior toward Israel and the world during the seven-year Tribulation will be followed by his annihilation: “And on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate” (NASB).
The “one who makes desolate” is the Antichrist. He will perform his horrible deeds until he is completely destroyed. God has decreed the Antichrist’s irreversible demise and judgment. His ruin will be absolutely final. Daniel 11:45 reinforces this truth, claiming the Antichrist “shall come to his end, and no one will help him.”
The New Testament also describes the Antichrist’s destiny. Second Thessalonians 2:1–12 provides information about the rise of Antichrist, who is called the “man of sin” (or “man of lawlessness”) and “son of perdition” (v. 3).
The title son of perdition identifies him with his own destruction. His demise is clearly in view: “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” (v. 8). This verse implies two things: First, Christ will destroy the Antichrist simply by speaking (“consume with the breath of His mouth”). Jesus needs no weapons of warfare. Second, his destruction will take place at the Lord’s Second Coming.
The book of Revelation completes the biblical picture. Revelation 13 describes the Antichrist as a beast from the sea (v. 1). Later, chapter 17 describes him as one on his way to perdition, or destruction (vv. 8, 11).
However, the clearest depiction of the Antichrist’s destruction is the awe-inspiring prophecy of the brilliance of Christ’s Second Coming in Revelation 19:11–20. It states Jesus will return riding a white horse and brandishing a sharp sword in His mouth with which He will strike the nations.
The phrase out of His mouth goes a sharp sword (v. 15) resembles the phrase the Lord will consume [the lawless one] with the breath of His mouth (2 Th. 2:8). Revelation 19:15 says Jesus will merely speak the word and thereby strike the nations during the final war of the Tribulation. The late theologian Harry A. Ironside eloquently described the future scene:
The kings of the earth, with all their hordes, are hurrying to the fray, all combining in one last desperate effort to make successful war against the Lord Jesus Christ and everything that is of God. . . . It is an awful picture—the climax of man’s audacious resistance to God; a picture too that may fill the heart with gladness as it tells of the end of unrighteous rule on this planet, and the ushering in of the Golden Age for which all nations have sighed.1
Furthermore, as part of the consequence of Christ coming in judgment, the Antichrist and his false prophet will be cast into the Lake of Fire:
Then the beast [Antichrist] was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone (v. 20).
Note, the Antichrist will be cast into the Lake of Fire alive; he will not suffer physical death before Christ sends him to his final judgment.
Many Christians during World War II thought Adolf Hitler was the Antichrist. Hitler’s location in Central Europe, his attempt to conquer much of the world, his alliance with Rome and Italy, his hatred and persecution of the Jews, and his pagan views against Christ and Christianity led reasonable believers to wonder about his identity. But Adolf Hitler was not the Antichrist, although he went to his complete destruction much like the real Antichrist will do when Jesus returns.
The Bible is clear: The Antichrist’s plans for the world will not succeed. His hatred of the Jewish people and his lust for power will come undone. Like Babylon’s King Nebuchadnezzar of old, the Antichrist will have humility forced on him by the God of heaven. He will be brought low.
Yet unlike Nebuchadnezzar, the Antichrist will not repent and return to power. God through Christ will destroy him and his kingdom and establish Jesus the Messiah’s Millennial Kingdom, centered in Israel, followed by the eternal state and a new Earth.
Our good and holy God will win in the end. Victory is certain and decisive, and the Antichrist will meet his deserved destruction.
- Harry A. Ironside, Revelation (Neptune, NJ: Loizeaux Brothers, 1920), 330.