Many Christians enjoy speculating about Antichrist’s possible identity and when he will appear. It is wasted effort. He can only be “revealed in his time” (2 Thessalonians:2:6). That phrase clearly indicates that no one can discover the identity of Antichrist; it must be revealed – and that will not occur except at a special time. Paul tells us that the Antichrist, pretending to be God, will sit “in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God” (2 Thessalonians:2:4) – further proof that the Temple will indeed be rebuilt.
In spite of many prophecies concerning Antichrist setting up a kingdom that Christ will destroy at His Second Coming, there are professing Christians who reject the Rapture and are convinced that the church must take over the schools, media, government, and entire world. They teach that the church must set up the kingdom of God on earth, and only then will Christ return – not to take them to heaven, as He promised, but to rule the kingdom they have established in His name. They warn those who think they will be taken to heaven in the Rapture before Antichrist comes that they would not be prepared to face him and could be deceived into thinking he is Christ.
The response to that error is simple: those who are waiting for Christ to catch them up to meet Him in the air and to take them to heaven could never be deceived into accepting a “Christ” who meets them with his and their feet planted on earth. Tragically, those who deny the Rapture and are working to establish an earthly kingdom to present to Christ will find that they have been preparing a false church and the world for Antichrist. His kingdom must be established first, because only after Christ has destroyed that kingdom will He sit on David’s throne to rule the world:
“Then shall that Wicked [i.e., the antichrist] be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: Even him whose coming is after the working of Satan…with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved” (2 Thessalonians 2: 8-10).