When people think about the end times, they tend to think about the Antichrist. And when they think about the Antichrist, they usually think he's going to be dark and sinister. But that's far from how he'll come on the scene. He'll enter the world poised, charismatic, and full of himself. He will be the ultimate man.
Revelation 13 gives us a sixfold description of the Antichrist:
1. Wickedness (see v. 1). This man is called a beast because that's how God sees him. Paul called him the man of sin and the son of perdition (see 2 Thessalonians 2:3), as well as the lawless one (see 2 Thessalonians 2:8). He'll begin as a peacemaker but end very wickedly.
2. World dominance (see vv. 2, 7). This leader will form a global confederacy, a final, world-governing empire—dominating, rapid, and ferocious, just like Daniel saw (see Daniel 7:23).
3. Wonder (see v. 3). Verse 2 tells us that "the dragon gave him his power"—the dragon being Satan himself. And verse 3 says one of the Antichrist's heads will be mortally wounded and then healed. Some believe he'll receive a fatal head wound and then be able to stage some sort of fake resurrection. The world would certainly wonder at that.
4. Worship (see vv. 4, 8; see also 2 Thessalonians 2:4). This is what Satan has wanted all along (see Isaiah 14:12-14). When we talk about the Antichrist, most people think the little prefix anti means against. But anti also means instead of. He will be the guy who wants to be the Christ instead of the real, authentic Christ.
5. Words (see vv. 5-6). This leader will have the ability to sway people with his "pompous words" (Daniel 7:8, 11, 20, 25). He will be a master politician, exuding self-confidence. But it will all go downhill from there.
6. War (see vv. 7-10; see also Daniel 7:25). Once the Antichrist succeeds in influence and domination, all hell will break loose. He will persecute and kill the tribulation saints—those who come to faith during the tribulation period.
After all that, how can this end on an encouraging note? Simple—by comparing the Antichrist to Jesus Christ. The Antichrist is called the man of sin; Jesus Christ was the sinless man. The Antichrist is called the idol shepherd (see Zechariah 11:17, KJV); Jesus is known as the Good Shepherd (see John 10:11). Here in Revelation 13, the Antichrist is pictured as a beast; in this same chapter, Jesus is seen as a lamb (see v. 8). The Antichrist's death will deceive the world; Jesus Christ's death saved the world.
Now, the world is already being deceived. What was once wrong is now right, and what was once right is now wrong. Deception is on the move and will increase in epic proportions.
But we follow the true Christ—the authentic, real, legit Jesus Christ. And we're not called to look for and identify the Antichrist—we're called to look for Jesus Christ, for "the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ" (Titus 2:13).