According to early and medieval Christian belief, Antichrist
is the universal enemy of human beings who in the latter days
will scourge the world for its wickedness. He is only mentioned
as a character in the Bible in two brief passages occurring in the
First and Second Epistles of John (1 John 218, 22, and 43; and
2 John 7). However, the ‘‘man of Lawlessness’’ (2 Thessalonians
23–12) and the ‘‘beast’’ (Revelation 13) are also commonly
thought to represent the Antichrist.
Abbot Bergier described the Antichrist as a tyrant, impious
and excessively cruel, the arch enemy of Christ, and the last
ruler of the Earth. The persecutions he will inflict on the elect
will be the last and most severe ordeal that they will have to endure.
The Antichrist will pose as the Messiah and will perform
things wonderful enough to mislead the elect themselves. The
thunder will obey him, according to St. John, and Leloyer asserts
that the demons below watch over hidden treasures with
which he will be able to tempt many. Because of the miracles
that he will perform, Boguet calls him the ‘‘Ape of God,’’ and
it is through this scourge that God will proclaim the final judgment.
Antichrist will have a great number of forerunners and will
appear just before the end of the world. St. Jerome claimed that
he will be a man fathered by a demon; others said that he will
be a demon in the flesh. But, following the thinking of Saints
Ireneus, Ambrose, Augustine and almost all of the church fathers,
Antichrist will be a man similar to and conceived in the
same way as all others, differing from them only in a malice and
an impiety more worthy of a demon than of a man. More recently,
however, Cardinal Bellarmin asserted that Antichrist
will be the son of a demon incubus and a sorceress.
He will be a Jew of the tribe of Dan, according to Malvenda,
who supported his view with the words the dying Jacob spoke
to his sons, ‘‘Dan shall be a serpent by the way—an adder in the
path’’ by those of Jeremiah, ‘‘The armies of Dan will devour
the earth’’; and by the seventh chapter of the Apocalypse,
where St. John has omitted the tribe of Dan in his enumeration
of the other tribes.
Elijah and Enoch will return to convert the Jews and will die
by order of Antichrist. Then Christ will descend from the heavens,
kill Antichrist with the two-edged sword, which will issue
from his mouth, and reign on the earth for a thousand years.
It is claimed by some that the reign of Antichrist will last fifty
years; but the opinion of the majority is that his reign will last
three and a half years, after which the angels will sound the
trumpets of the day of judgment, and Christ will come and
judge the world. Boguet declared that the watchword of Antichrist
will be ‘‘I abjure baptism.’’ Many commentators foresaw
the return of Elijah in these words of Malachi ‘‘I will send Elijah,
the prophet, before the coming of the great and dreadful
day of the Lord.’’ But it is not certain that Malachi referred to
this ancient prophet, since Christ applied this prediction to
John the Baptist when he said, ‘‘Elias is come already, and they
knew him not’’; and when the angel foretold to Zacharias the
birth of his son, he said to him ‘‘And he shall go forth before
the Lord in the spirit and power of Elias.’’
The word ‘‘Antichrist’’ probably refers to the persecutors of
the church. Through the centuries, different groups of Christians
declared that one or more of their contemporaries was the
Antichrist. For example, sixteenth-century Protestants called
the pope Antichrist. Even Napoleon was called Antichrist.
The third treatise in the History véritable et mémorable des trois
possédees de Flandre (1613) by Father Sebastien Michaelis, a Dominican
friar, described Antichrist
‘‘Conceived through the medium of a devil, he will be as malicious
as a madman, with such wickedness as was never seen on
earth. An inhuman martyr rather than a human one, he will
treat Christians as souls are treated in hell. He will have a multitude
of synagogue names, and he will be able to fly when he
wishes. Beelzebub will be his father, Lucifer his grandfather.’’
According to Michaelis, exorcised demons revealed that Antichrist
was alive in 1613 but had not yet attained his growth.
‘‘He was baptized on the Sabbath of the sorcerers, before his
mother, a Jewess, called La Belle-Fleur. He was three years old
in 1613.’’ Louis Gaufridi is said to have baptized him, in a field
near Paris. An exorcised sorceress claimed to have held the little
Antichrist on her knees. She said that his bearing was proud
and that even then he spoke many languages. But he had talons
in the place of feet. His father is shown in the figure of a bird,
with four feet, a tail, a bull’s head much flattened, horns, and
black shaggy hair. He will mark his own with a seal representing
this in miniature. Michaelis added that things execrable will
be around him. He will destroy Rome and the Pope with the
help of the Jews. He will resuscitate the dead, and, at the age
of 30 will reign with Lucifer, the seven-headed dragon. After
a reign of three years, Christ will slay him.
Many such details might be quoted of Antichrist, whose
coming has long been threatened but not yet realized (see End
of the World). A volume by Rusand published many years ago
at Lyons, Les Prècurseurs de l’ Antechrist, stated that the reign of
Antichrist, if it has not begun, is drawing near; that the philosophers,
encyclopedists, and revolutionaries of the eighteenth
Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology • 5th Ed. Antichrist
century were only demons incarnated to precede and prepare
the way for Antichrist. During World War I, there were people
who were convinced that Antichrist was none other than the exkaiser
of Germany.
Another way to recognize Antichrist is by the title ‘‘Beast
666,’’ because Revelation describes the beast as a ‘‘false prophet.’’
The title ‘‘Beast 666’’ was applied to modern occultist Aleister
Crowley (1875–1947) by his mother, and he accepted it
as a symbol of his break with the severe fundamentalism of his
Plymouth Brethren father.
Crowley, Aleister. The Confessions of Aleister Crowley. Edited by
John Symonds and Kenneth Grant. New York Hill & Wang,
Kirban, Salem. 666. Huntingdon Valley, Penn. Salem Kirban,
McBirnie, William S. Anti-Christ. Dallas International Prison
Ministry, 1978.

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