Most worshiped the dragon because he had given authority to the beast, and they also worshiped the beast and asked, “Who is like the beast? Who can make war against him? The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise authority for forty-two months… He was given power to make war against the saints and to conquer them. And he was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation. (Revelation 13:4-5, 7 NIV)

Americans are rich in Bibles, but poor in understanding them. Last summer “the antichrist” came up in our study. One new student blurted out “Trump,” implying the then future U.S. president was the devil with a red tie. I’m sure others in the class noted my grimace. I would have been just as displeased had he named Mr. Trump’s opponent.

I don’t believe it is wise to say someone is the antichrist.  “Be careful,” I said for the benefit of the class. “You’ll know it is the antichrist when those with the world’s power lay their crowns before him.” (cf. Revelation 13:1-8)

A scheme of the enemy is to misuse a Bible term like “the antichrist” until it is obscured. When the true definition has been confused, the devil turns it into a weapon for evil. An accusation of “the antichrist” omits many others equally deserving of the title.

Our problem is in the definite article “the”. In our minds, “the” implies “one and only”. I’ll try to explain with Scripture: The one and only Apostle John wrote near the end of the first century A.D. At that time there were many “antichrists” (1 John 2:18). That was then, so how many are there over 1900 years later? If Jesus has followers who are “like Christ”, then why can’t the devil have antichrists? If there are many “the” cannot be “one and only.”

So who is “the antichrist”? Again, our Bible tells us: It is the one who promotes the big lie. It is “the” one–not “a” one– who denies Jesus is the Christ, “such a person is the antichrist—denying the Father and the Son.” (1 John 2:22)

In past years, I have heard former U.S. presidents George W. Bush and Barack H. Obama referred to as “the antichrist”. Pointing a finger is a sign of Biblical illiteracy, a Pharisaical attitude and a foolish slandering of authority (Jude 7-11).

Deceit is a characteristic of the antichrist. Biblically, the gender is neutral, so, the antichrist also applies to females. Were Jezebel or Herodias (Herod’s wife), the antichrist? Is the woman in Revelation 17 not a consummate example? John asks “Who is the liar?” (1 John 2:22). Deceiver and lover of wickedness does not just describe males.

“I say this because many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone into the world. Any such person is the antichrist.” (2 John 7)

The devil is a liar. Do we all agree? Where do all liars eventually go? Revelation 21:8 tells us theirs is the second death. Those lying and deceiving are “the antichrist.” Repeaters of falsehoods–however far removed from the original untruth–are on dangerous ground.

Boasters, the conceited and the blasphemer are “the antichrist”. Beware of calling someone an awful name. By doing so, we break “the Golden Rule”. Since slander is so hateful and destructive, the Lord warns the consequences are equal to what awaits the evil one. “But anyone who says ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.” (Matthew 5:22b)

The one who will deceive the nations and wars against God’s saints is THE ANTICHRIST or “the beast of Daniel and Revelation”.  Stick with prophecy. No adding or subtracting or we join in the deception and disinformation, and we know what that means (cf. Rev. 22:18-19). It means don’t worry about Trump or Putin being “the antichrist”, we are–with the definite article.