What is the Antichrist?
Anyone who ever saw the Omen films during the seventies will have an idea about the Antichrist. This is refers to a biblical prophecy that a certain individual will become increasingly powerful in the world and that he will deceive many into believing that he is their saviour. People will hold him in Christ like awe, but he is in fact the complete opposite. Those who fall for the lies of the Antichrist are said to be doomed.
There is much debate as to who the Antichrist actually will be. After the reformation there were many Protestants who felt that the Pope was the Antichrist; in fact there are quite a few who still believe this. Members of the Mormon Church claim that there are actually three antichrists. During the rise of the third Reich it was common to view Hitler as the Antichrist.
Evangelicalism and the Antichrist
There are many Christian groups who downplay the importance of the Antichrist but for evangelicals this is a hugely important idea. Those who believe in the tribulation and rapture feel certain that this is a real person who will become increasingly powerful during the period known as the tribulation. During those seven years many people will be won over by this deceiver and this will mean that they are doomed. Only saved Christians will manage to escape his clutches. Satin will be defeated in the end but many will be lost before this time.
How to identify the Antichrist?
This does not seem to be an exact science and there have been many people in the past who have been wrongly accused. It could be said that a lot of these people deserved the title, but it has harmed the credibility of those making the claims. There have been a number of American presidents who some groups suspected of being the Antichrist, but so far none of these accusations have proved correct. There has been a fall in the number of Christian groups who view the pope as the Antichrist, but this is a claim that occasionally resurfaces.
Do many people still believe in the Antichrist?
In parts of the United States this idea is taking very seriously and is accepted literally as referring to a person who will rise up and create havoc; it is believed to be only a matter of time before this occurs. In Europe there is less support for the idea and it is probably not something that most Christians would spend much time thinking about. It is interesting to ponder as to the reasons this belief has not taking hold as strongly in European countries even though the ideas were first floated in England in the nineteenth century. There has been a slow growth in the number of American-type evangelical followers in the UK and elsewhere in Europe, but it seems doubtful that this belief will become as influential as it is across the water. Of course if the time of tribulation does arrive there may be more people willing to consider the possibility.
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