To whet your appetite for this coming Lord’s Day sermon, I’m excerpting from a post in my blog on August 14, 2008, less than three months before the last U.S. presidential elections. The Republican campaign put together a video rife withÂ image after image foisting presidential candidate Barack Obama as the Antichrist of the Bible.
Throughout church history, Christians, no thanks to mostly premillennial dispensationalists, have speculated who this Antichrist might be: Nero, the Roman Pope, Islam, Mussolini, Stalin, Hitler, JFK, Anwar el-Sadat, Henry Kissinger, Juan Carlos of Spain, Ronald Wilson Reagan (6 letters in 3 names), Mikhail Gorbachev (has an uncanny birthmark on his forehead), Bill Gates, and most recently, Saddam Hussein. Like the heretic Montanus who predicted Christ’s return about 150 A.D., today’s dispensationalist false prophets who speculate about the identity of the Antichrist, such as Lindsey, Lahaye, Hunt, Kirban, Whisenant, etc. (“If at First You Don’t Succeed, Fail, Fail Again!”), are also habitual date-setters.
A lot of speculation centers around the number 666  mentioned as the “number of the beast,” Antichrist, in Revelation 13:18. The name of the Roman Emperor Nero Caesar (Aramaic NRON KSR) was associated with this number:
Some years ago, someone prophesied that Barney the Dinosaur will be the Antichrist:
Recent events in the Middle East, however, has some of the most popular “prophets” thinking about Libya’s Moamar Gadaffy as the newest candidate. But what proof do they have? Bestselling dispensational Zionist Joel Rosenberg says, “InÂ Daniel 11, we learn that Libya is one of the countries that will be under the control and direction of the Antichrist in ‘the last days.'” Another evangelical Zionist, John Hagee, agrees,Â “What you’re seeing on the television screen and reading on the front pages of your newspaper is exactly this [referring to Ezek 38:5-7]â€¦ Bible prophecy is exploding almost everyday on your television screen.”
These are flimsy evidences at best. Here’s my solid evidence, taken directly from Revelation 13:18:
On the serious side, Kim Riddlebarger has a sobering word to all those who are obsessed with “end-time” scenarios:
It is a shame that so many Christians can quite readily dialogue about the latest theory as to the Antichrist’s identity, when at the same time they are often unable to defend the deity and humanity of Christ from the pages of Holy Scripture… But if anything is clear from John’s use of Antichrist terminology, it is that his focus is certainly on the present danger facing the church from heretical false teaching and not on the rise of a nebulous future tyrant. And so while this series of Antichrists that John describes may indeed culminate in an Antichrist, the biblical evidence demonstrates that the primary thrust is doctrinal (the Antichrist is primarily a false teacher) and only incidentally political and economic (i.e., people being prevented from buying and selling).
For a weightier consideration of what the Bible says about the Antichrist, read:
“The New Millennium” by Michael Horton
“The Antichrist” by Kim Riddlebarger
“The Mark of the Beast” by Kim Riddlebarger
“Left Behind?” by Iain D. Campbell
“Prophecy Makes Strange Bedfellows: On the History of Identifying the Antichrist” by Stephen J. Nichols
 Regarding the calculations: Nero’s number was well-known from early church history; Barney’s circulated from the 1990s; Gadaffy’s is my original (I wasted about 10 minutes of my life to figure it out). Gadaffy’s name has been spelled as many as 112 different ways.
My Favorite Eschatology Books
Beale, G. K. 1-2 Thessalonians. IVP New Testament Commentary Series. Downers Grove, IL: IVPress, 2003.
_________. The Book of Revelation: A Commentary on the Greek Text (New International Greek Testament Commentary. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1998.
Demar, Gary. Last Days Madness: Obsession of the Modern Church. Atlanta: American Vision, 1999.
Johnson, Dennis E. Triumph of the Lamb. Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R, 2001.
Hoekema, Anthony. The Bible and the Future. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1994.
Koester, Craig R. Revelation and the End of All Things. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2001.
Mathison, Keith. From Age to Age: The Unfolding of Biblical Eschatology. Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R, 2009.
Poythress, Vern S. The Returning King. Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R, 2000. (This book is published online by permission of publisher.)
Riddlebarger, Kim. The Man of Sin: Uncovering the Truth About the Antichrist. Grand Rapids: Baker, June 2006.
Venema, Cornelis. The Promise of the Future. Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 2000.