The Antichrist (his demonic nature)
Another key truth to grasp about Antichrist, in order to understand his role in the tribulation is to note that he is in some way satanic in nature. In the context of any serious study of eschatology from a pre-millennial perspective, one understands clearly that Antichrist is given a great amount of power. He will be a master deceiver, yet will have an impressive array of supernatural abilities which will give credibility to his claim to godhood. It is at this point that the biblical student must come to terms with his nature so as to determine exactly how he is empowered to do the things he will be able to do. He is either fully demonic, demon possessed, or in some other way receiving a great amount of dark spiritual power. The question is, “exactly how?” Being fully demonic is easily ruled out, because Antichrist is noted to be a man in 2 Thessalonians 2:3, being called “the man of lawlessness.” And, being only a man is also ruled out by a truth which will be observed later in this work, whereby Antichrist will be cast into the Abyss, a place where elsewhere in the entire Bible only demons are ever sentenced to.
These truths lend one to lean toward Antichrist being a sort of hybrid man/demon, since he clearly exhibits characteristics of the demonic while also being called a man. But how does one come to be a hybrid between demon and man? How would such an entity come to be?
There are several scriptural clues as to how exactly Antichrist draws his Satanic power, and more specifically, how he came to his unique nature. The first clue is found in 2 Thessalonians 2:9, which states (NIV) “The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders.” The phrase rendered “in accordance with the work of Satan” in the NIV is translated from the Greek term “energeo,” which means “to be energized of” Satan. This clue notes, then, that it was Satan himself whom empowered the coming of Antichrist. To understand that Antichrist is energized of Satan is not a terribly fascinating revelation. Yet, in the context of the text it is specifically noted that “the coming of” Antichrist is energized of Satan, or stated differently, “his advent” is energized of Satan. Thus, Antichrist’s very existence is inspired from Satan’s peculiar work. It was Satan’s unique action which energized Antichrist onto the playing field.
The second clue is found in Genesis 3:15 (NIV):
15 And I will put enmity
between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and hers;
he will crush your head,
and you will strike his heel.”
Spoken in judgment against the serpent for the deception leading to man’s fall, Genesis 3:15 is noted from almost every theological background and perspective to be a Messianic prophesy. The “offspring” of the woman is understood by the bulk of biblical students to represent the coming Christ, who would “crush (the) head” of the serpent. And, most who accept this position also allow that the prophecy is spoken to Satan himself, rather than to the serpent. The prophecy “you will strike his heal” clearly doesn’t speak to all serpent-kind, but uniquely to an individual; “you.” It is Satan’s head which Christ will crush, not the head of some future random snake. While this position is accepted throughout Christendom, what is not as frequently discussed is the answer to the question, “who is Satan’s offspring?“ If Christ is the woman’s offspring, who is the offspring of Satan whom will have enmity toward Christ?
If the offspring of the woman is a unique individual, then the offspring of Satan must also be understood to be unique personage. That person is the coming Antichrist; the offspring to be energized of Satan himself.
The mere mention of the idea that Satan, a fallen angelic being, could have an offspring sends many scurrying for the cover of another possible translation for Genesis 3:15. The text itself, however, simply states its prophecy and moves on. It is up to the biblical student to uncover the ramifications of it and build a theology of the future offspring of Satan.
The questions remaining lead to a place which many dare not tread. Those questions are beyond the latitude of acceptance of many, yet find their answers clearly from scriptural study. The first question is “how will Satan produce an offspring?” The second question is, “how can Satan’s offspring be called a man and yet have a demonic nature?” The answers are found in a single statement of answer: Satan will procreate Antichrist with a human host.
This answer to these questions is simple and biblical, yet is difficult to accept by many. Likewise the concepts of Virgin birth, the resurrection of the dead and the eternal nature of the spirit are simple and biblical, yet hard to accept by many. Never in the Bible is the supernatural characteristic of a principle grounds for dismissal. Never is the difficulty of human grasp a cause to reject a biblical principle. The following section will give a biblical thread of evidence which supports not only the possibility of the author’s position on the nature of Antichrist, but also evidence that all processes required to achieve it have been formerly observed in scripture.
The thread which begins the biblical revelation of how this could all happen begins only a few short chapters further into Genesis, in the portrayal of the Nephilim of Genesis 6.
The Feasibility of Angelic/Human Procreation
The immediate objection by many to the position that Antichrist is the product of the copulation of Satan and a human host is that it is impossible for angels to procreate. After all, Satan is a cherub; an angelic being for which there is no biblical description of family life, marriage or procreation.
That postulate, however, is not accurate, for a careful examination of scripture tells another story.
Genesis 6:1-4 (NIV) 1 When men began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them, 2 the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose. 3 Then the LORD said, “My Spirit will not contend with man forever, for he is mortal ; his days will be a hundred and twenty years.”
4 The Nephilim were on the earth in those days–and also afterward–when the sons of God went to the daughters of men and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown.
Genesis 6 speaks of a specific group of Nephilim, a race of giants which lived on the Earth at that time. The term “Nephilim” has a simple and literal meaning, which is “giants.” Nothing more should be noted about the term Nephilim unless otherwise gleaned from the text in which that term resides. Certainly there are giants appearing later in scripture, such as the offspring of Anak in Numbers 13. Nothing is noted of the sons of Anak except that they were in fact Nephilim, or giants. They were perhaps large because of normal genetic processes, much like is observed in the animal kingdom. Any given species of creature can vary from very small members, such as the miniature pony, to larger members, such as the Clydesdale, without any requisite supernatural intervention. Truly it is possible for normal genetic processes to vary the size of any species, including man. Thus, the term “Nephilim” doesn’t necessitate an outside influence to account for the size of the race.
The Nephilim of Genesis 6, however, were in fact unique to other Nephilim which are mentioned in scripture. These Nephilim were special:
when the sons of God went to the daughters of men and had children by them.
Specifically, it is noted that these Nephilim were the product of “the sons of God” and “the daughters of men.” There was something distinctive about the combination of the sons of God and the daughters of men which created a unique species of giants.
Biblical students have challenged this text throughout biblical history to answer the question “who are the sons of God?” The daughters of men is simple enough, but who are the sons of God, and why are they given that particular name? Some contend that the sons of God refer to godly people who were true to their fellowship with the Lord and the daughters of men were ungodly people who rebelled against God, or “the lost,” if you will. Yet this interpretation does not account for how the marriage of the godly and the ungodly would produce a race of giants. Godly people have married ungodly people throughout history. While it is not a good idea nor a biblical practice, never has it been observed that a godly person having children with an ungodly person will produce an offspring which will grow into a giant. It seems the world would team with giants if that were the case.
Furthermore, this interpretation does not account for God’s sudden destruction of the earth via the flood, which is the very next event in the narrative. If there are a solid number of godly people called “the sons of God” who married ungodly people, the “daughters of men,” then why does God proclaim his judgment later in the chapter against the entire world other than Noah’s immediate family? It is clear from the text that Noah’s family alone found favor in God’s eyes. It is not likely, then, that the sons of God would refer to godly people of only one generation prior. There must be a better interpretation.
The phrase “sons of God” is translated from the Hebrew term bane ‘elohiym, which is quite literally rendered “sons of God” in English, yet is rendered differently throughout the Old Testament in several English translations. One example is Job 1:6-7 (NIV):
6 One day the angels (bane ‘elohiym) came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came with them. 7 The LORD said to Satan, “Where have you come from?”
The NIV translates bane ‘elohiym as “angels” in Job 1:6, as do other translations. While many prominent translations use the more literal rendering, “sons of God,” the context clearly exhibits that “angels” is a good translation. It is not possible for a human “son of God” to have approached the throne of God and present himself to the Lord. When this text is taught and preached throughout the globe bane ‘elohiym is almost universally understood to be referring to angels in this scripture. In Sunday School classes across the globe, the story of Job is taught with understanding that Satan came with the angels to present himself before God. Whether the English translation states “sons of God” or “angels,” the interpreter knows from the context that the meaning of the phrase refers to angels.
Likewise, Job 38:6-7 (NIV) states:
6 On what were its footings set,
or who laid its cornerstone–
7 while the morning stars sang together
and all the angels (bane ‘elohiym) shouted for joy?
Once again the NIV uses the term “angels” to translate bane ‘elohiym while others, such as the KJV, use the more literal “sons of God” for the same text. Yet clearly, again, the context indicates that “angels” is a good translation, for the context dictates that surely the phrase bane ‘elohiym refers to angels rather than a human “son” of God as some would desire the Genesis 6 passage to refer to.
While bane ‘elohiym only occurs a few times in the Old Testament, every usage is consistent in its meaning. And, in each usage the phrase refers to “angels” rather than common man. If bane ‘elohiym refers to angels elsewhere, why should it not have the same meaning in Genesis 6? The common sentiment seems to be that using the translation of “angels” creates problems with interpretation. In reality, however, using the term “angels” clears up many problems with interpretation, since that understanding alone gives a proper light to the context. If ungodly people have children with godly people, they produce common people of normal genetic stature; not giants. However if angels have children with humans, however wild it sounds, it certainly fits the context of Genesis 6 in that the product of that conception could create a distorted race.
Some find Matthew 22:30 to be a hindrance to the doctrine of angelic and human procreation:
Matthew 22:30 (NIV) 30 At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven.
This text clearly notes that the angels in heaven neither marry nor are they given in marriage. However, the phrase “like the angels in Heaven” does not indicate that angels are incapable of procreation, but that the angels of Heaven are not given in marriage, which leads to the understanding that they do not procreate. It is biblically plausible, however, that the angels of Heaven are in fact capable of sexuality. The fact that they are not given in marriage does not negate the possibility of having reproductive capabilities. It is entirely possible that they do have the capability to procreate, but are obedient to not utilize their sexuality.
Men are created with the capability for procreation, yet obedience to Christ mandates that a man restrain himself until marriage to utilize that capability. Thus, the godly man who is unmarried will restrain himself from his God-given capability for sexual intimacy out of obedience while the ungodly man may not. Likewise, godly angels would be obedient not to exercise sin.
The “angels of Heaven” are elect angels; righteous angels who did not sin when Satan rebelled against God. This text does not mention, however, the angels that did rebel; the demons. Demonic angels are disobedient by their very nature. In fact, all scriptural evidence suggests that a demonic angel would certainly fulfill the fruition of any sinful action possible. If it is possible for the angels of Heaven to procreate, yet they do not do so out of obedience, then it is possible- and even likely- that the disobedient angels would choose to go against their nature and procreate out of disobedience to God, and perhaps even in obedience to a direct call of Satan. Theologians who accept this interpretation of Genesis 6 commonly believe this demonic intervention into the lives of mankind, or the daughters of men, was an attempt to corrupt the seed of woman, thus thwarting the prophecy of Genesis 3:15 and preventing the offspring of woman, Jesus, from bashing the head of Satan, as prophesied.
Interestingly, immediately following the story of the Nephilim of Genesis 6 God’s disfavor was turned against mankind.
Genesis 6:5-8 5 The LORD saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. 6 The LORD was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain. 7 So the LORD said, “I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth–men and animals, and creatures that move along the ground, and birds of the air–for I am grieved that I have made them.” 8 But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD.
Genesis 6:11-12 continues,
11 Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight and was full of violence. 12 God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways.
Clearly the action of the sons of God having children with the daughters of men was a serious offense to God; so much so that he destroyed the entire population of the Earth, minus one godly family.
Further evidence of a demonic perversion of the seed of man is found in Jude:
Jude 1:6-7 (NIV) 6 And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their own home–these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day. 7 In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion.
The book of Enoch is a non-canonical and extra-biblical book. It is not the basis of biblical theology. Yet, Jude quotes Enoch directly in verses 14-15, giving strong probability to the idea that Jude writes verse 6 with Enoch’s writings in mind as well. And, the non-biblical book of Enoch tells the story of demons procreating with humans to create a race of Giants. It further tells of God locking those angels away in the deepest regions of fire and torment for their actions.
For Jude to make the statement And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their own home–these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day in context with other quotes from Enoch indicates that it is in fact Enoch’s account of demonic and human conception which these angels are guilty of. While Enoch is not part of the Bible, Jude is. And, Jude appears strongly to be giving credibility to that certain part of Enoch’s writing, though not the whole of the book.
But, Jude 7 gives an even more direct indication of the actions which caused the particular angels to be bound when he states 7 In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. Setting the book of Enoch aside, Jude clearly writes the offense of the angels who were bound in this context was one equated to the sexual perversion of Sodom and Gomorrah, a culture so sexually deviant that the term “sodomy” was named after their customs.
These angels have done something specifically evil in God’s sight that they are bound in “everlasting chains”. Being bound in everlasting chains is a unique state for demons. The only other time angels are referred to as being put into everlasting chains are those cast into “tartarus” in 2 Peter 2:4. Other angels are cast into the “Abyss” periodically (the Abyss will be dealt with later in this work) which is a temporary holding place for particularly disobedient demons. These are later released, as their sentence is not eternal. Tartarus, however, is eternal, as is the punishment of the Jude 6 angels who committed a certain specific act of sin that God sentenced them firmly to this place until they are cast into the lake of fire.
In conclusion, there is a clear biblical thread of evidence that angels, hurled to earth in rebellion, which we refer to as demons, gave themselves up to sexual perversion, and they, the “sons of God”, interbred with the daughters of men, creating the Nephilim of Genesis 6:4 “when the sons of God went to the daughters of men and had children by them”
This is a difficult teaching for many to grasp, but it plays an important role in the understanding of Antichrist. Suddenly, the idea of Antichrist being “in accordance with the work of Satan,” or literally “being energized of Satan” has new meaning from scriptural study. It is not out of the realm of scriptural boundaries for Satan to impregnate a woman and create a demonic human who will serve as his counterfeit son, having experienced a counterfeit virgin birth.