People have been trying to figure out the identity of the antichrist since Biblical times. The being that we commonly refer to as the “antichrist” is referred to as the beast in several places in Revelation. Many people have been accused of being the antichrist throughout the ages, including Nero, Barack Obama, Charlemagne, Michael Gorbachev, and Ronald Reagan. While many people look to living individuals as being the potential antichrist, we rarely contemplate that the antichrist might currently be dead. One individual that is currently not alive, but could potentially be the antichrist, is Judas Iscariot. Judas and the antichrist have a lot of things in common, according to the Bible. While the antichrist could potentially be a person currently alive, Judas has many of the qualifications of the job.
Both are the “Son of Perdition”
Both Judas and the antichrist have been described as “the son of perdition”. The phrase is only used twice in the King James Bible: once to refer to Judas, the other describing the antichrist. In John 17:12, Jesus refers to Judas as the son of perdition. While he doesn’t refer to Judas by name, in this verse, he is saying a prayer. During the prayer, he says “those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition.” The only disciple that was given to Jesus that was lost was Judas Iscariot. In 2 Thessalonians 2:3, Paul is writing about the return of Jesus Christ in the last days. He says that Jesus will not come back until the “man of sin be revealed; the son of perdition.” He goes on to describe that this man of sin will sit in the temple of God, and show himself as god. This is a description of the beast of Revelation that is more commonly known as the antichrist. In both verses, the Bible refers to “the son of perdition” and not “a son of perdition,” implying that there is only one son of perdition.
The Beast Ascends from the Pit
When we see the beast rise to power in Revelation 11:7, the Bible refers to the antichrist as “the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit.” The bottomless pit is also known as hell. Could someone that is alive today come out of hell? Perhaps a spirit could come out of hell, but another explanation could be that Judas, who went “to his own place” at death, came out of hell and took his place as the charismatic leader that deceives nearly everybody on the planet. Satan will get the key to the bottomless pit after the Christians are taken up into Heaven in the rapture (Revelation 9:1), and by the time the “beast” makes his appearance, the world will be in chaos. Someone that has risen from the dead after 2000 years could take advantage of this chaos, and could either assume the identity of someone who has gone missing, or could create his own persona and not be questioned when he appears seemingly from out of nowhere.
He was, is Not, and Yet Is
In Revelation 17:8, the Bible says that the beast “was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit.” In 96 AD, when John wrote the book of Revelation, Judas Iscariot no longer existed: he had killed himself. He was, because at one point he was alive. He would “ascend out of the bottomless pit,” or hell, during the end times. Nobody born today could have been alive prior to 96 AD, could be gone in 96 AD, and then appear in the future.
Satan Doesn’t Know When the Lord Will Return
Satan does not know when the Lord will return. He knows that after the rapture, he will be given nearly free reign over the earth, and needs to have an antichrist ready. There are two ways that he could approach this task. He could always have someone waiting in the wings, prepared to do the antichrist’s job, or he could give the job to someone that was around when Jesus was born. Satan knew when Jesus would be born (you can calculate the time of Jesus’ birth using Daniel), so he could prepare someone that was around Jesus’ age for the task. If Satan took the other route, always having an antichrist waiting in the wings, he would have to have a new potential successor ready every 20 or so years, as an infant antichrist would do no good; neither would an elderly antichrist.
While we cannot know for sure that Judas Iscariot will be the antichrist, there is a lot of evidence that points to him. Either way, we do know that the antichrist will be someone that will be charismatic, will sign a peace treaty with Israel for seven years, and will be a global leader during a time of unimaginable chaos.
Sharp, Bryan. “Revelation Revival”, sermon, May 20, 2010.